Page images
[graphic][merged small]


May the hand that makes the marble stand out

with life and nerve, May the hand that wields the chisel over every

sleeping curve, Not sway the severing hammer, where in lingering

love before It hath bent with fiery ardor-love that kindles

never more!


Father, hold thou my hands; the way is steep,
I cannot see the path my feet must keep;
I cannot tell, so dark the tangled way,

Where next to step. Oh, stay;
Come close; take both my hands in thine;

Make thy way mine.
Lead me. I may not stay:
I must move on, but oh, the way!

I mnst be brave and go;
Step forward in the dark nor know
If I shall reach the goal at all-

If I shall fall

Take thou my hand:
Take it! thou knowest best
How I should go, and all the rest;

I cannot, cannot see;
Lead me; I hold my hands to thee;

I own no will but thine;
Make thy way mine.

Some flowers bear violet on their bosom and some


Some love a hue
More tender, and you know,

Some are as white as snow,
If all the colors slept upon one breast

Our eyes would ask for rest.


Some birds have gifts of song;

Others of wings so strong
They rule as kings: some, going by,
Flush nature's heart with crimson dye,

Or blue, or gold; and some
With just a chirp of gladness come.
If all birds' wings were strong, or red,

Or all birds' songs said
Each to each the same on hills, through vales below

There would be tears I know.

Some human lips part singing; some with cries;
Some spirits weep or smile, from out their eyes;

Some eyes are blind.
Some hands are strong to loose or bind,

And some but cling:
Some spirits are so strong of wing,

With such a sweet control
Reaching from soul to soul;
And others never try

To rise and fly.
If all lips sung, or cried,
Or wings of spirits tried
The same broad flight,
Lips would fade white.

She laid in his hand a tangled thorn
Crimsoned with berries, mountain-born;
She had nothing else, though his locks were white,
Nothing to give on the Christmas night:
But he smiled and laid on her braids of gold
The fingers, shriveled and spare and old,
And was gone; but a cross of silver light
Lay where he stood on the snow-drifts white.
A morsel of porridge; the hands were small
That divided the porridge, then gave it all.
But he smiled, and bowed his locks of white-
Frosted with snow of the Christmas night-
Smiled and bent to the child-face cold,
Touched it with fingers shriveled and old,
And was gone; but a cross of silver light
Lay where he stood on the drists of white.
Faces peered from cottage and hall-
Out on the midnight, great and small,
Out on the pilgrim, shriveled and old,
Pleading for alms; but who could have told
That the little Christ on the threshold stood-
In strange disguise, for evil or good,
That the angels bearing His gifts might know
The Blessed by the cross on the drifts of snow.

Gifts are divided. Some hands hold

A weight of gold;

Some just a child;
Some, acres where the sun hath smiled.

God never made
A hand without a gift—though gifts do fade-
And some, so many hold that they forget

The gift, God-set,
High toward the Throne, and so

Bend down too low.


No life so high but it may stoop to take

The hand of evil-stoop to wake Some sleeping thing debased which might have slept.

- Footprints.


But I see the green leaves trembling, and I hear

the quivering breezes sigh, Feeling that for thy transgression thou and I and all

the world must die.


Yet a spirit whispers to me that to save the world

'tis not too late, If I turn my heart against thee, sin not, and desert

thee to thy fate.

Then the fleeting years would scatter pallid autumn

lilies on thy tomb, I, thy consort, live forever, radiant with immortal

youthful bloom.

Then mayhap the great Creator would another

woman mould for me; I would twine her locks with roses, give her kisses

that I once gave thee.

ALTER MALONE was born in De Soto

County, Miss., February 10, 1866. He attended the C'niversity of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., from the year 1883 to 1887, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. During his collegiate career he won a medal for elocution and was several times elected to deliver orations by the literary societies. He also edited the College Magazine for three years. While a boy of sixteen years of age, in 1882, he published in Louisville, a volume of poems of 300 pages entitled “Claribel and Other Poems." In 1885, at the age of nineteen, he published a second volume of poems through the Riverside Press, containing 315 pages and entitled “The Outcast and Other Poems." These two books are the largest volumes of verse ever composed by a minor, and it will be seen that Mr. Malone has written more in that line than any other boy with poetic aspirations. But since the author has reached more mature years, he has made no effort to perpetuate the works of his boyhood, because, on account of his inexperience, his early verses have not that polish and finish which would entitle them, in his opinion, to be classed among his representative works. Mr. Malone has just had published a new volume of poems, cissus and Other Poems (Philadelphia, 1893) which has been generally praised by critics and by the reading public, and in this volume are to be found his ablest efforts.

Mr Malone belongs to the romantic school of poets, has no tendency to the didactic or philosophic and is fond of brilliant coloring, and passionate, sensuous verbiage. He is best, probably, in descriptions of natural scenery

vivid and startling coloring.

Mr. Malone was admitted to the bar in 1887, and since then has continued to practice law in Memphis, Tenn.

H. H. McG.

But I cannot, wondrous being! for thy smiles and

wistful, pleading tears Still would follow, hunt and haunt me through the

maze of never-dying years.

Night's dim shades would find me ever lying by the

bride I could not save, And the piping birds at morning still would find

me weeping at thy grave.


Each would be a barren kingdom when, without

my queen, to rest I stole, Life eternal, bitter anguish, if I lost the idol of my


Thou hast conquered, sweet enchantress! I forsake

the fields of Paradise For thy bosom's realm of rapture and the blissful

glory of thine eyes.

It is done! I see the tiger, maddened, eyes ablaze,

come creeping hither! It is done! The birds cease singing, and our glori

ous garden bowers wither!

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

And “Mary” 's the soul who opes the heart's por

tals, A sweetheart, perchance, the dearest of mortals; A sister, whose soul is dowered with beauty, Or mother who lives for love and for duty.

He who hath loved hath borne a vassal's chain,

And worn the royal purple of a king;

Hath shuddered 'neath the icy Winter's sting,
Then revelled in the golden Summer's reign;
He hath within the dust and ashes lain,

Then soared o'er mountains on an eagle's wing;

A hut hath slept in, worn with wandering, And hath been lord of castle-towers in Spain. He who hath loved hath starved in beggar's cell,

Then in Aladdin's jewelled chariot driven; He hath with passion roamed a demon fell,

And had an angel's raiment to him given; His restless soul hath burned with flames of hell. And winged through ever-blooming fields of


Twas “Mary” who first wept tears of contrition, 'Twas she who was blest with God's greatest mis

sion; She stood by His cross, she saw His tomb riven, Her name shall be first on earth and in heaven.


[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »