Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

AMONG the quiet peasants in Brittany they tell
This legend of the robin, by children loved so

wellThis legend of the robin, whose merry accents ring Through every glade and covert sweet welcome to

the Spring

He never said he loved me; never told
That tale we women like so well to hold
A precious treasure folded evermore
In our hearts' keeping, something to dream o'er
When duty calls the dear one from our side,
Or in the holy calm of eventide.
And yet I knew it: plainly I could trace
The story in the brightening of his face,
The kindling glances of his azure eye,
And tenderer accents when I lingered nigh;
For we were much together in those days
Of summer's glow and autumn's golden haze-
He a young poet, skilled in learned lore
And the quaint legends of the days of yore,
From wearying labor for a while set free,
And resting there beside the sounding sea.

They say that when the Savior to Calvary's rugged

crest Bearing his cross, moved forward, sore, wounded

and oppressed When foemen thronged around him, and friends

fled far in fear, Above the angry multitude a robin hovered near,

And, reckless of the tumult and angry cries of

scorn, From out Christ's bleeding forehead it snatched

one cruel thorn; Then o'er the robin's bosom the sacred blood

flowed down, And with its ruby tinting dyed the plumes of russel

brown.

The days sped by with pleasure's cheery zest,
Till one wild eve, when cloud-veils draped the west,
And the Atlantic, summoning its host,
Charged in mad fury on the rocky coast.
I feel its thunders thrill my spirit yet
With a strange terror I can ne'er forget.
Then, as the night closed down without a star,
Arose the cry: “A vessel on the bar!”
High o'er the storm we heard a cannon boom:
Its flash revealed the brave ship through the gloom,
With broad decks crowded with a mortal freight,
Waiting 'mid surging seas a dreadful fate,
Waiting and praying 'mid the tempest's roar
For aid and safety from the friendly shore.

And evermore the sweet bird bore upon its tender

breast The warm hue of the Savior's blood, a shining seat

impressed Hence dearest to the peasants' heart, ʼmid birds of

grove and plain, They hold the robin, which essayed to soothe the

Savior's pain.

SLANDER.

And the help came, for swist the tidings flew,
And from their huts the hardy fishers drew;
In that dread moment not a hand delayed,
But all were prompt and earnest in their aid:
The dainty loiterer from the distant town
Wrought with the sturdy toiler bold and brown.
I watched them man the life-boat, saw it start,
And with it went the joy of my young heart;
For he was foremost of the brave men there-
The few brave men with strength the waves to dare.

ONLY a whisper, but that whisper fell

With blighting power upon a gentle heart. The Upas breathing forth the fumes of hell,

The deadly wound given by a poisoned dart, Were merciful compared to Slander's hiss-Which robbed a spirit of all earthly bliss.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]

JOHN AUGUSTINE WILSTACH.

Life lost its beauty, Friendship hid her face;

Love changed his vows to words of bitter scorn, And midnight darkness black as sin's disgrace

Fell o'er her ere her youth had passed its morn; While envious Slander joyed to see her pain, As vultures revel o'er a battle plain.

[ocr errors]

MORNING.

BENEATH star-gemmed arches glowing

In the Orient's gorgeous land,
Rose-hued robes about her flowing,

Diamond dew-drops on her wand,
In with merry, joyous air
Entereth Morning, sweetly fair.

Bright her lustrous eyes are glancing,

Round her flits a fairy train, Onward moves she 'mid their dancing

Over ocean, hill, and plain, Kissing Night's dark frown away, Softly ushering in the day.

CHEER UP.

KEEP a stout heart, friend, though fortune may

frown; Let not life's burdens thus weigh thee down.

OHN AUGUSTINE WILSTACH, lawyer and

author, of Lafayette, Indiana, was born in Washington, D. C., July 14, 1824, and is a son of Dr. Charles F. and Hannah Whittier (Ustick) Wilstach, the father a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. The mother, as her middle name suggests, is a relative of the Quaker poet. The name Wilstach is German, being originally Wildsdach (deer park). The Wilstach family trace their genealogy back to the time of the conquest of Gaul by Clovis, king of the warlike tribe of the Salians, "renowned,” says Gibbon, "for their love of liberty,” who in 486 defeated the Roman Governor Syagrius, in the battle of Soissons. As a result of this victory the Roman estates were confiscated and divided as rewards of meritorious service among the officers and soldiers of the Salian army. Bruno, one of the Salian generals, thus acquired the estate of Deer Park in Alsatia, and was thereafter known as Bruno de Wildsdach. His descendants were counted among the ancient nobility, and have filled many important posts of honor in church and state. Six of them at least, according to the genealogical tables preserved in the Imperial library at Vienna, have been bishops, and a still larger number attained distinguished military positions. At the age of eleven years Mr. Wilstach, the subject of this sketch, entered the Military and Academical Institute at Cincinnati, Ohio. That institute was under the management of Prof. Ormsby M. Mitchell, afterwards major general, the renowned astronomer and author, and founder of the Adams Observatory at Cincinnati. Two years afterwards the institute was transferred to, and formed the nucleus of, the Cincinnati College, and there Mr. Wilstach enjoyed the instruction of teachers of rare ability.

During the remainder of Prof. Mitchel's life-time he and Mr. Wilstach were intimate friends. The latter acquired at college, before attaining the age of fifteen years, a knowledge of the higher mathematics, and of the Greek, Latin and French languages, and since then has also studied German and Italian. History and general literature have also been specialties to which he has devoted attention.

Mr. Wilstach's law practice has been lucrative, and his investments in real estate have brought him large gains. In 1867 he was appointed one of the commissioners to the World's Fair at Paris. In 1874-75 he again visited Europe, remaining seven months By appointment from Governor Baker was also Commissioner of Immigration. In 1855 he was united in marriage to Miss Elba Cecilia

What are earth's pleasures but glittering dross ? Tread in His footsteps who carried the Cross.

Sink not aweary, faint not with fear; Angels are with thee to comfort and cheer.

Life's path not always leads through joy's bower; Griefs will assail thee and tempests will lower.

But as the morning follows :he night, After the shadow cometh the light

The light of that morning which ever endures, Whose beauty no storm-cloud of sorrow obscures;

The light of His presence in whose love is found An armor unfailing to compass the round.

Girt with that armor, what is there to fear?
Then up, friend, and onward! Be of good cheer.

Not to the coward the battle is given,
Nor to the faltering the glories of Heaven.

Gleams come in from Indian oceans,

And emotions
Seize his soul, which peoples gone
In their seats, firm fixed or shifting,

Found uplifting,
In the songs of many a swan.

Patti, her father of Italian origin, and her mother of English.

Mr. Wilstach is the author of numerous public addresses, some of them in foreign tongues in Europe. He has elaborated the subject of biblical literature, and has written, as the result of this elaboration, a free, philological translation of the entire bible. This work, up to the present, remains in manuscript. He has published, through Houghton, Mifflin & Co., in 1884, a metrical translation of the entire works of Virgil, the first one in the English language, for even Dryden's is not complete; and in 1889 through the same publishers, a rhymed translation of the “Divine Comedy” of Dante, The metrical system used in this translation was invented by Mr. Wilstach for the better setting forth the style of the original. A critical work nearly ready for the press is entitled “Dante, The Danteans, and Things Dantean." The work will be a review of the entire field of Dantean literature.

J. L. S. OCEAN CURRENTS.

Love and will are his, and glory

Gilds the story
Of the visits of the tides
Bringing boons from where old nations

Visitations
Have received, and wreck abides.

Ever inward, smiling, smiling,

Like the filing Fays that fill the mimic stage, Come and bless his lines the glorious

Though laborious Tributes of each mind and age.

TEACH US CONTENT.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »