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Isabella Valancy Crawford

Baby's Dreams

I SAW a fairy twine,
Of star-white jessamine,
A dainty seat, shaped like an airy swing,
With two round yellow stars
Against the misty bars
Of night; she nailed it high
In the pansy-purple sky,
With four taps of her little rainbow wing.
To and fro
That swing I'll blow.
The baby moon in the amethyst sky
Will laugh at us as we float and fly,
And stretch her silver arms and try
To catch the earth-babe swinging by

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Love's Land

Oh Love builds on the azure sea,
And Love builds on the golden sand,
And Love builds on the rose-winged cloud,
And sometimes Love builds on the land!

Oh if Love build on sparkling sea,
And if Love build on golden strand,
And if Love build on rosy cloud,
To Love these are the solid land!

Oh Love will build his lily walls,
And Love his pearly roof will rear
On cloud, or land, or mist, or sea-
LOve's solid land is everywhere!

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Bite Deep And Wide, O Axe, The Tree!

'BITE deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!
What doth thy bold voice promise me?'

'I promise thee all joyous things
That furnish forth the lives of kings;

'For every silver ringing blow
Cities and palaces shall grow.'

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!
Tell wider prophecies to me.'

'When rust hath gnawed me deep and red.
A nation strong shall lift his head.

'His crown the very heavens shall smite,
Aeons shall build him in his might.'

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!
Bright Seer, help on thy prophecy!'

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The Land Of Kisses

Where is the Land of Kisses,
Can you tell, tell, tell?
Ah, yes; I know its blisses
Very well!
'Tis not beneath the swinging
Of the Jessamine,
Where gossip-birds sit singing
In the vine!

Where is the Land of Kisses,
Do you know, know, know?
Is it such a land as this is?
No, truly no!
Nor is it 'neath the Myrtle,
Where each butterfly
Can brush your lady's kirtle,
Flitting by!

Where is the Land of Kisses,
Can you say, say, say?

[...] Read more

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The Rose

The Rose was given to man for this:
He, sudden seeing it in later years,
Should swift remember Love's first lingering kiss
And Grief's last lingering tears;
Or, being blind, should feel its yearning soul
Knit all its piercing perfume round his own,
Till he should see on memory's ample scroll
All roses he had known;

Or, being hard, perchance his finger-tips
Careless might touch the satin of its cup,
And he should feel a dead babe's budding lips
To his lips lifted up;

Or, being deaf and smitten with its star,
Should, on a sudden, almost hear a lark
Rush singing up­the nightingale afar
Sing through the dew-bright dark;

Or, sorrow-lost in paths that round and round

[...] Read more

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The Rose

The Rose was given to man for this:
He, sudden seeing it in later years,
Should swift remember Love's first lingering kiss
And Grief's last lingering tears;
Or, being blind, should feel its yearning soul
Knit all its piercing perfume round his own,
Till he should see on memory's ample scroll
All roses he had known;

Or, being hard, perchance his finger-tips
Careless might touch the satin of its cup,
And he should feel a dead babe's budding lips
To his lips lifted up;

Or, being deaf and smitten with its star,
Should, on a sudden, almost hear a lark
Rush singing up­the nightingale afar
Sing through the dew-bright dark;

Or, sorrow-lost in paths that round and round

[...] Read more

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A Perfect Strain

O BID the minstrel tune his harp,
And bid the minstrel sing;
And let it be a perfect strain
That round the hall shall ring:
A strain to throb in lady's heart,
To brim the warrior's soul,
As dew fills up the summer rose
And wine the lordly bowl!

O let the minstrel's voice ring clear,
His touch sweep gay and light;
Nor let his glittering tresses know
One streak of wintry white.
And let the light of ruddy June
Shine in his joyous eyes,
If he would wake the only strain
That never fully dies!

O what the strain that woos the knight
To turn from steed and lance,

[...] Read more

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His Mother

In the first dawn she lifted from her bed
The holy silver of her noble head,
And listened, listened, listened for his tread.
'Too soon, too soon !' she murmured, 'Yet I'll keep
My vigil longer­ thou, O tender Sleep,
Art but the joy of those who wake and weep!

'Joy's self hath keen, wide eyes. O flesh of mine,
And mine own blood and bone, the very wine
Of my aged heart, I see thy dear eyes shine!

'I hear thy tread; thy light, loved footsteps run
Along the way, eager for that 'Well done !'
We'll weep and kiss to thee, my soldier son!

'Blest mother I­ he lives! Yet had he died
Blest were I still, ­ I sent him on the tide
Of my full heart to save his nation's pride!'

'O God, if that I tremble so to-day,

[...] Read more

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Songs for the Soldiers

IF songs be sung let minstrels strike their harps
To large and joyous strains, all thunder-winged
To beat along vast shores. Ay, let their notes
Wild into eagles soaring toward the sun,
And voiced like bugles bursting through the dawn
When armies leap to life! Give them such breasts
As hold immortal fires, and they shall fly,
Swept with our little sphere through all the change
That waits a whirling world.
Joy's an immortal;
She hath a fiery fibre in her flesh
That will not droop or die; so let her chant
The pæans of the dead, where holy Grief
Hath, trembling, thrust the feeble mist aside
That veils her dead, and in the wondrous clasp
Of re-possession ceases to be Grief.
Joy's ample voice shall still roll over all,
And chronicle the heroes to young hearts
Who knew them not.....
There's glory on the sword

[...] Read more

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His Wife and Baby

In the lone place of the leaves,
Where they touch the hanging eaves,
There sprang a spray of joyous song that sounded sweet and sturdy;
And the baby in the bed
Raised the shining of his head,
And pulled the mother's lids apart to wake and watch the birdie.
She kissed lip-dimples sweet,
The red soles of his feet,
The waving palms that patted hers as wind-blown blossoms wander;
He twined her tresses silk
Round his neck as white as milk­
'Now, baby, say what birdie sings upon his green spray yonder.'

'He sings a plenty things­
Just watch him wash his wings!
He says Papa will march to-day with drums home through the city.
Here, birdie, here's my cup.
You drink the milk all up;
I'll kiss you, birdie, now you're washed like baby clean and pretty.'

[...] Read more

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