Carolina Chansons eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about Carolina Chansons.

    After the ship—­how good the spacious rooms! 
    How strange mosquito canopies on beds! 
    Knights of St. Louis sniff the frying yams,
    Venison, and turtle,—­
    The old green turtle died tonight—­
    The children’s eyes grow wider on the stairs.

    Down in the library,
    The Marquis, writing back to old Auvergne,
    Has sanded down the ink;
    Again the quill pen squeaks: 
    “A ship will sail tomorrow back to France,
    By special providence for you, dear wife;
    Tonight there will be toasts to Washington,
    To our good Louis and his Antoinette—­
    There will be toasts tonight for la Fayette....” 
    He melts the wax;
    Look, how the candle gutters at the flame! 
    And now he seals the letter with his ring.


[4] See the note at the back of the book.



    And must the old priest wake with fright
    Because the wind is high tonight? 
    Because the yellow moonlight dead
    Lies silent as a word unsaid—­
    What dreams had he upon his bed?

    Listen—­the storm!

    The winter moon scuds high and bare;
    Her light is old upon his hair;
    The gray priest muses in a prayer: 

    “Christ Jesus, when I come to die
    Grant me a clean, sweet, summer sky,
    Without the mad wind’s panther cry. 
    Send me a little garden breeze
    To gossip in magnolia trees;
    For I have heard, these fifty years,
    Confessions muttered at my ears,
    Till every mumble of the wind
    Is like tired voices that have sinned,
    And furtive skirling of the leaves
    Like feet about the priest-house eaves,
    And moans seem like the unforgiven
    That mutter at the gate of heaven,
    Ghosts from the sea that passed unshriven.

    And it was just this time of night
    There came a boy with lantern light
    And he was linen-pale with fright;
    It was not hard to guess my task,
    Although I raised the sash to ask—­
    ‘Oh, Father,’ cried the boy, ’Oh, come! 
    Quickly with the viaticum
    The sailor-man is going to die!’
    The thirsty silence drank his cry. 
    A starless stillness damped the air,
    While his shrill voice kept piping there,
    ’The sailor-man is going to die’—­
    The huge drops splattered from the sky.

    I shivered at my midnight toil,
    But took the elements and oil,
    And hurried down into the street
    That barked and clamored at our feet—­
    And as we ran there came a hum
    Of round shot slithered on a drum,
    While like a lid of sound shut down
    The thunder-cloud upon the town;
    Jalousies banged and loose roofs slammed,
    Like hornbooks fluttered by the damned;
    And like a drover’s whip the rain
    Cracked in the driving hurricane.

Project Gutenberg
Carolina Chansons from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook