Again I live in wondrous days,
When baby hands with chubby glee
Plucked gladness from the loaded tree
Where loving burdens bent the sprays;
The sunny songs of that sweet clime
Sing softly in my soul again,
Till I forget the ways of men
And laugh and shout at Christmas time.
Angelic joys that died in pain,
Sweet raptures from the days of bliss,
Your loving lips with clinging kiss
Thrill all my heart and soul and brain;
And turning from my weary rhyme
To count my sorrows o’er and o’er,
I’d give my life to know once more
Those wondrous days of Christmas time.
Ring, laughing bells, ring out to-night!
From happy years that now are fled,
You bring the faces of the dead,
And bless me with a deep delight!
Away, away, these thoughts of men,
These toils of mine, that sadness give;
My heart grows young and I would live
My Christmas pleasures o’er again!
TRUEST HEROES ARE UNKNOWN.
All worthies are not sung in song.
That live their lives and do their deeds
Where wounded nature writhes and bleeds
Beneath the savage blows of wrong;
From humble duties tender grown,
The truest heroes are unknown.
The heart that toils where none may know
And uncomplaining conquers care,
To save his loved ones or to spare
His fellows from the pangs of woe,
Is more the hero than who shields
His country on the bleeding fields.
He claims no praises for his love,
He seeks no tribute for his worth,
But sows the desert hearts of earth
With blossoms from the vales above;
And in their sunshine warm and bright
He holds these duties as his right.
Where lives are dark with dismal groans
Great men are often chained by fate,
And oft are slaves more truly great
Than princes on their purple thrones;
But servant brows are bound with shame,
While monarchs flutter into fame.
Deeds pure and noble, gladly done,
Unselfish work for sickly souls
When sorrow in black surges rolls
And gloomy darkness hides the sun,—
These in their truth make more the man
Than royal aim or princely plan.
But sometime man shall rule by thought,
And worth shall gain her just return,
Till all shall every singer spurn
Who in the ancient cycles taught
That heroes rest in royal graves,
But never in the tombs of slaves.
If we but knew the weary way,
The poisoned paths of hostile hate,
The roughened roads of fiercest fate,
Through which our brother’s journey lay,
Would we condemn, as now we do,
His faults and failures,—if we knew?