Page images
[blocks in formation]


The side boards groan beneath the weight

Of frosted cakes and ices rare, And viands served on crystal plate

Complete the bill of regal fare.


To make the festive scene replete

The elements have all combined, And wood-nymphs clad in slippered feet

Dance to the piping of the wind. The carnival runs wild and high

With flowing bowl, and clinking glass; Sport on! ye revillers of the sky,

Till occasion asks it-But, Alas!

The Southern breezes greet the king

And kissing, leave him bathed in tears, His requiem shall the Zephyrs sing;

His death knell mark the passing years. A subtle force behind the throne

Resistless as the tide of doom, Marshalled by Spring, the conqueror comes,

To lay the Frost King in the tomb.


When sinks the sun in Western sky,

And golden beams the mountains crown, When darkling where the valleys lie

The shades of night are settling down, His mountain horn the Herder takes And Alpine twilight silence breaks With summons loud, “Praise the Lord God.”

ATHARINE LEE BATES, the laureate ot

Wellesley, has a birthright of character and intellect. Her grandfather, Rev. Joshua Bates, was President of Middlebury College, and her uncle, the late Joshua Bates of Boston, held an honored place among the successful teachers of that city. Her father, Rev. William Bates, was settled in Falmouth, Mass., where she herself was born, on August 12th, 1859. He died three weeks afterwards, leaving his children to the care of their brave, bright and tenderly conscientious mother. This lady fostered the literary tastes which began early to appear in the little Katharine. After making her mark in the public schools of two or three Massachusetts towns, the girl entered Wellesley College in 1876. Her reputation as a scholar had preceded her; she soon held a unique place in the college; and throughout her course she was President of the Class of '80, a distinction which can be fully appreciated by those only who are familiar with the annals of Wellesley. Her fellow-students were attracted by her irrepressible wit and daring, her profound mind, her unfailing practical insistence on the brotherhood of mankind, her large heart and nobility of soul. But college successes, like those of later years, whether social or intellectual, came to her by the way, and beckoned her in vain from that secret and strenuous search for truth which is the underlying effort of her life, and from that love for poetry which is its master-passion. As a child she had begun the struggle to express herself in verse, and out of the many lyrical attempts of her undergraduate days, one found a ready place in the Atlantic Monthly, while another became the favorite song of her Alma Mater, and is still sung there on occasions of high festival. She was the Class Poet, and in 1886, Commencement Poet.

After graduating from college, she taught for some years in the Natick High School and the Dana Hall Preparatory School. In 1885 she was called back to Wellesley as instructor in the department of English literature. Steadily gaining in her exceptional power to teach and to uplift, always broadening and deepening her already fine education, she has risen step by step until she was appointed Professor in her department.

Miss Bates has been too faithful a teacher to allow herself much time for authorship. Yet, in the hurried intervals of her other duties, she has edited Coleridge's “Ancient Mariner” and a collection of "Ballads," with notes and suggestions showing rare scholarship and insight; she ha

[blocks in formation]

But their ears only hear mighty melodies ringing, And their souls never know 'tis my angel there

singing, That the grand organ-angel awakes in his cell

Under my spell.

written two story-books for young people, “Rose and Thorn,” and “Hermit Island,” the former of which took a first prize of seven hundred dollars from the Congregational Publishing Society of Boston, and she has contributed short stories, sketches and lyrics to various periodicals, including the Century, Independent, Christian Union, Youth's Companion, New England Magazine, Chautauquan, Wide-Awake, etc. But her power as a writer should be estimated from her more serious verse; such, for instance, as her poem on “The Ideal,” published in the Century for April, 1890. Though her modesty and reverence forbid her claiming for herself what she justly considers the great name of poet, those who know her best are conscious that a light is in their midst, and effectual of its farther shining in years to come.

M. P. G.

There in the midst of the wandering pipes,

Far from the gleaming keys,
And the organ front with its gilded stripes,

My glorious angel lies sleeping at ease.
And the hand of a stranger may beat at his gate,
And the ear of a stranger may listen and wait,
But he only cries in his pain for these,

Witless to please.

Angel, my angel, the old man's hand

Knoweth thy silver way;
I loose thy lips from their silence-band

And over thy heart-strings my fingers play,
While the song peals forth from thy mellow-throat,
And my spirit climbs on the climbing note,
Till I mingle thy tone with the tones away,

Over the day.


A BARREN tree against the sunset sky,
A brown, bleak tree, whose leaves of emerald

Which singing birds were wont to peep between,
Long since have fallen. Through its summit high
The winter winds have swept with bitter cry,

And left it desolate, a crownless queen,

But beautiful, where golden clouds serene The sharp, black outlines fill and glorify.

So I look up as I follow the tone,

Up with my dim old eyes,
And I wonder if organs have angels alone,

Or if, as my fancy might almost surmise,
Each man in his heart folds an angel with wings,
An angel that slumbers, but wakens and sings,
When thrilled by the touch that is sympathy-wise,

Bidding it rise.

[ocr errors][merged small]



SLEEP, Sorrow, sleep!

For I have watched thee weep Till all the purpose of my days is riven. Her quest forsaken, shall the soul be shriven ? My vows are melted with unceasing woe, As April rainfalls waste the winter snow.

Slowly I circle the dim, dizzy stair,

Wrapt in my cloak’s gray fold, Holding my heart lest it throb to the air

Its radient secret, for though I be old, Though I totter and rock like a ship in the wind, And the sunbeams come unto me broken and

blind, Yet my spirit drinks youth from the treasure we hold,

Richer than gold.

Rest, Sorrow, rest!

For thee a curtained nest Of faith and truth and lulling tendernesses Is shaped within the spirits dim recesses, Where all the tumult of life's eddying stream Sounds hollow as the rivers of a dream.

Princes below me, lips wet from the wine

Hush at my organ's swell; Ladies applaud me with clappings as fine

As showers that splash in a musical well.

Rest, Sorrow, rest!

Upon thy heaving breast White poppy leaves I strew, so heavy-scented I deem that pulsing heart will be contented To droop on dull oblivion awhile, As sinks the spent wave on a tropic isle.

[blocks in formation]

Chirp! chirp! chirp! alack! for pity! who hath

marred my merry ditty ? Who hath stirred the scented petals, peeping in

where robins dwell ? Oh, my mate! May heaven defend her! Little

maidens' hearts are tender, And I never, never, never, never, never meant to


Upon these withered grasses is no rest.

Thy crimson-dotted mosses are denied. In dewy vines I see thy portal dressed,

But know that only on the further side

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »