Old Devil, when you come with
horns and tail,
With diabolic grin and crafty leer;
I say, such bogey-man devices wholly fail
To waken in my heart a single fear.
But when you wear a form I
know so well,
A form so human, yet so near divine;
’Tis then I fall beneath the magic of your spell,
’Tis then I know the vantage is not mine.
Ah! when you take your horns
from off your head,
And soft and fragrant hair is in their place;
I must admit I fear the tangled path I tread
When that dear head is laid against my face.
And at what time you change
your baleful eyes
For stars that melt into the gloom of night,
All of my courage, my dear fellow, quickly flies;
I know my chance is slim to win the fight.
And when, instead of charging
down to wreck
Me on a red-hot pitchfork in your hand,
You throw a pair of slender arms about my neck,
I dare not trust the ground on which I stand.
Whene’er in place of
using patent wile,
Or trying to frighten me with horrid grin,
You tempt me with two crimson lips curved in a smile;
Old Devil, I must really own, you win.
GHOSTS OF THE OLD YEAR
The snow has ceased its fluttering
The wind sunk to a whisper light,
An ominous stillness fills the night,
A pause—a hush.
At last, a sound that breaks the spell,
Loud, clanging mouthings of a bell,
That through the silence peal and swell,
And roll, and rush.
What does this brazen tongue
That falling on the midnight air
Brings to my heart a sense of care
Akin to fright?
’Tis telling that the year is dead,
The New Year come, the Old Year fled,
Another leaf before me spread
On which to write.
It tells the deeds that were
It tells of races never run,
Of victories that were not won,
It tells of many a squandered day,
Of slighted gems and treasured clay,
Of precious stores not laid away,
Of fields unreaped.
And so the years go swiftly
Each, coming, brings ambitions high,
And each, departing, leaves a sigh
Linked to the past.
Large resolutions, little deeds;
Thus, filled with aims unreached, life speeds
Until the blotted record reads,
“Failure!” at last.
THE GHOST OF DEACON BROWN
In a backwoods town
Lived Deacon Brown,
And he was a miser old;
He would trust no bank,
So he dug, and sank
In the ground a box of gold,
Down deep in the ground a box of gold.