Krinken, by Eugene Field

Krinken was a little child,—
It was summer when he smiled.
Oft the hoary sea and grim
Stretched its white arms out to him,
Calling, “Sun-child, come to me;
Let me warm my heart with thee!”
But the child heard not the sea
Calling, yearning evermore
For the summer on the shore.

Krinken on the beach one day
Saw a maiden Nis at play;
On the pebbly beach she played
In the summer Krinken made.
Fair, and very fair, was she,
Just a little child was he.
“Krinken,” said the maiden Nis,
“Let me have a little kiss,—
Just a kiss, and go with me
To the summer-lands that be
Down within the silver sea.”

Krinken was a little child—
By the maiden Nis beguiled,
Hand in hand with her went he
And ’twas summer in the sea.
And the hoary sea and grim
To its bosom folded him—
Clasped and kissed the little form,
And the ocean’s heart was warm.

Now the sea calls out no more;
It is winter on the shore,—
Winter where that little child
Made sweet summer when he smiled;
Though ’tis summer on the sea
Where with maiden Nis went he,—
It is winter on the shore,
Winter, winter evermore.

Of the summer on the deep
Come sweet visions in my sleep;
His fair face lifts from the sea,
His dear voice calls out to me,—
These my dreams of summer be.

Krinken was a little child,
By the maiden Nis beguiled;
Oft the hoary sea and grim
Reached its longing arms to him,
Crying, “Sim-child, come to me;
Let me warm my heart with thee!”
But the sea calls out no more;
It is winter on the shore,—
Winter, cold and dark and wild.

Krinken was a little child,—
It was summer when he smiled;
Down he went into the sea,
And the winter bides with me,
Just a little child was he.

A Chrysalis, by Mary Emily Bradley

My little Mädchen found one day
A curious something in her play,
That was not fruit, nor flower, nor seed;
It was not anything that grew,
Or crept, or climbed, or swam, or flew;
Had neither legs nor wings, indeed;
And yet she was not sure, she said,
Whether it was alive or dead.

She brought it in her tiny hand
To see if I would understand,
And wondered when I made reply,
“You’ve found a baby butterfly.”
“A butterfly is not like this,”
With doubtful look she answered me.
So then I told her what would be
Some day within the chrysalis:
How, slowly, in the dull brown thing
Now still as death, a spotted wing,
And then another, would unfold,
Till from the empty shell would fly
A pretty creature, by and by,
All radiant in blue and gold.

“And will it, truly?” questioned she—
Her laughing lips and eager eyes
All in a sparkle of surprise—
“And shall your little Mädchen see?”
“She shall!” I said. How could I tell
That ere the worm within its shell
Its gauzy, splendid wings had spread,
My little Mädchen would be dead?

To-day the butterfly has flown,—
She was not here to see it fly,—
And sorrowing I wonder why
The empty shell is mine alone.
Perhaps the secret lies in this:
I too had found a chrysalis,
And Death that robbed me of delight
Was but the radiant creature’s flight!

I Remember, I Remember, by Thomas Hood

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor brought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups—
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,—
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.

The Brook, by Alfred Tennyson

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeams dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses.

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

My Old Kentucky Home, by Stephen Collins Foster

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home;
‘Tis summer, the darkeys are gay;
The corn-top’s ripe, and the meadow’s in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By-’n'-by hard times comes a-knocking at the door:—
Then my old Kentucky home, good-night!

Weep no more, my lady,
O, weep no more to-day!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home, far away.

They hunt no more for the ‘possum and the coon,
On the meadow, the hill, and the shore;
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by the old cabin door.
The day goes by like a shadow o’er the heart,
With sorrow, where all was delight;
The time has come when the darkeys have to part:—
Then my old Kentucky home, good-night!

The head must bow, and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the darkey may go;
A few more days, and the trouble all will end,
In the field where the sugar-canes grow.
A few more days for to tote the weary load,—
No matter, ’twill never be light;
A few more days till we totter on the road:—
Then my old Kentucky home, good-night!

Weep no more, my lady,
O, weep no more to-day!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home, far away.

The Flag Goes By, by Henry Holcomb Bennett

Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of colour beneath the sky:
Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

Blue and crimson and white it shines
Over the steel-tipped, ordered lines.
Hats off!
The colours before us fly;
But more than the flag is passing by.

Sea-fights and land-fights, grim and great,
Fought to make and to save the State:
Weary marches and sinking ships;
Cheers of victory on dying lips;

Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land’s swift increase;
Equal justice, right, and law,
Stately honour and reverend awe;

Sign of a nation, great and strong
Toward her people from foreign wrong:
Pride and glory and honour,—all
Live in the colours to stand or fall.

Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;
And loyal hearts are beating high:
Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

The Death of Napoleon, by Isaac McClellan

Wild was the night, yet a wilder night
Hung round the soldier’s pillow;
In his bosom there waged a fiercer fight
Than the fight on the wrathful billow.

A few fond mourners were kneeling by,
The few that his stern heart cherished;
They knew, by his glazed and unearthly eye,
That life had nearly perished.

They knew by his awful and kingly look,
By the order hastily spoken,
That he dreamed of days when the nations shook,
And the nations’ hosts were broken.

He dreamed that the Frenchman’s sword still slew,
And triumphed the Frenchman’s eagle,
And the struggling Austrian fled anew,
Like the hare before the beagle.

The bearded Russian he scourged again,
The Prussian’s camp was routed,
And again on the hills of haughty Spain
His mighty armies shouted.

Over Egypt’s sands, over Alpine snows,
At the pyramids, at the mountain,
Where the wave of the lordly Danube flows,
And by the Italian fountain,

On the snowy cliffs where mountain streams
Dash by the Switzer’s dwelling,
He led again, in his dying dreams,
His hosts, the proud earth quelling.

Again Marengo’s field was won,
And Jena’s bloody battle;
Again the world was overrun,
Made pale at his cannon’s rattle.

He died at the close of that darksome day,
A day that shall live in story;
In the rocky land they placed his clay,
“And left him alone with his glory.”

Driving Home the Cows, by Kate Putnam Osgood

Out of the clover and blue-eyed grass
He turned them into the river lane;
One after another he let them pass,
Then fastened the meadow bars again.

Under the willows and over the hill,
He patiently followed their sober pace;
The merry whistle for once was still,
And something shadowed the sunny face.

Only a boy! and his father had said
He never could let his youngest go:
Two already were lying dead,
Under the feet of the trampling foe.

But after the evening work was done,
And the frogs were loud in the meadow-swamp,
Over his shoulder he slung his gun,
And stealthily followed the footpath damp.

Across the clover, and through the wheat,
With resolute heart and purpose grim:
Though the dew was on his hurrying feet,
And the blind bat’s flitting startled him.

Thrice since then had the lanes been white,
And the orchards sweet with apple-bloom;
And now, when the cows came back at night,
The feeble father drove them home.

For news had come to the lonely farm
That three were lying where two had lain;
And the old man’s tremulous, palsied arm
Could never lean on a son’s again.

The summer day grew cool and late:
He went for the cows when the work was done;
But down the lane, as he opened the gate,
He saw them coming one by one:

Brindle, Ebony, Speckle, and Bess,
Shaking their horns in the evening wind;
Cropping the buttercups out of the grass,
But who was it following close behind?

Loosely swung in the idle air
The empty sleeve of army blue;
And worn and pale, from the crisping hair,
Looked out a face that the father knew.

For close-barred prisons will sometimes yawn,
And yield their dead unto life again;
And the day that comes with a cloudy dawn,
In golden glory at last may wane.

The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes;
For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb,
And under the silent evening skies
Together they followed the cattle home.

The Ballad of the Clampherdown, by Rudyard Kipling

It was our war-ship Clampherdown
Would sweep the Channel clean,
Wherefore she kept her hatches close
When the merry Channel chops arose,
To save the bleached marine.

She had one bow-gun of a hundred ton,
And a great stern-gun beside;
They dipped their noses deep in the sea,
They racked their stays and stanchions free
In the wash of the wind-whipped tide.

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
Fell in with a cruiser light
That carried the dainty Hotchkiss gun
And a pair o’ heels wherewith to run,
From the grip of a close-fought fight.

She opened fire at seven miles—
As ye shoot at a bobbing cork—
And once she fired and twice she fired,
Till the bow-gun drooped like a lily tired
That lolls upon the stalk.

“Captain, the bow-gun melts apace,
The deck-beams break below,
‘Twere well to rest for an hour or twain,
And botch the shattered plates again.”
And he answered, “Make it so.”

She opened fire within the mile—
As ye shoot at the flying duck—
And the great stern-gun shot fair and true,
With the heave of the ship, to the stainless blue,
And the great stern-turret stuck.

“Captain, the turret fills with steam,
The feed-pipes burst below—
You can hear the hiss of helpless ram,
You can hear the twisted runners jam.”
And he answered, “Turn and go!”

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
And grimly did she roll;
Swung round to take the cruiser’s fire
As the White Whale faces the Thresher’s ire,
When they war by the frozen Pole.

“Captain, the shells are falling fast,
And faster still fall we;
And it is not meet for English stock,
To bide in the heart of an eight-day clock,
The death they cannot see.”

“Lie down, lie down, my bold A.B.,
We drift upon her beam;
We dare not ram, for she can run;
And dare ye fire another gun,
And die in the peeling steam?”

It was our war-ship Clampherdown
That carried an armour-belt;
But fifty feet at stern and bow,
Lay bare as the paunch of the purser’s sow,
To the hail of the Nordenfeldt.

“Captain, they lack us through and through;
The chilled steel bolts are swift!
We have emptied the bunkers in open sea,
Their shrapnel bursts where our coal should be.”
And he answered, “Let her drift.”

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
Swung round upon the tide.
Her two dumb guns glared south and north,
And the blood and the bubbling steam ran forth,
And she ground the cruiser’s side.

“Captain, they cry the fight is done,
They bid you send your sword.”
And he answered, “Grapple her stern and bow.
They have asked for the steel. They shall have it now;
Out cutlasses and board!”

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
Spewed up four hundred men;
And the scalded stokers yelped delight,
As they rolled in the waist and heard the fight,
Stamp o’er their steel-walled pen.

They cleared the cruiser end to end,
From conning-tower to hold.
They fought as they fought in Nelson’s fleet;
They were stripped to the waist, they were bare to the feet,
As it was in the days of old.

It was the sinking Clampherdown
Heaved up her battered side—
And carried a million pounds in steel,
To the cod and the corpse-fed conger-eel,
And the scour of the Channel tide.

It was the crew of the Clampherdown
Stood out to sweep the sea,
On a cruiser won from an ancient foe,
As it was in the days of long-ago,
And as it still shall be.

A Dream, by William Blake

Once a dream did wave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
When on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, ‘wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

“Oh, my children! do they cry?
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see.
Now return and weep for me.”

Pitying, I dropped a tear;
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, “What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

“I am set to light the ground
While the beetle goes his round.
Follow now the beetle’s hum—
Little wanderer, hie thee home!”

Letty’s Globe, by Charles Tennyson Turner

When Letty had scarce pass’d her third glad year,
And her young, artless words began to flow,
One day we gave the child a colour’d sphere
Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know,
By tint and outline, all its sea and land.
She patted all the world; old empires peep’d
Between her baby fingers; her soft hand
Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap’d,
And laugh’d and prattled in her world-wide bliss!
But when we turn’d her sweet unlearned eye
On our own isle, she rais’d a joyous cry,
“Oh! yes, I see it! Letty’s home is there!”
And, while she hid all England with a kiss,
Bright over Europe fell her golden hair!