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Till, as a fountain that has reached its height
The passionate summer's dead! the sky's aglow
With roseate flushes of matured desire,
As sweeping chords of a lamenting lyre,
Far up among the pillared clouds of fire,
A DREAM OF THE SOUTH WIND.
O fresh, how fresh and fair
Through the crystal gulfs of air,
And the green earth lapped in bliss,
To the magic of her kiss Seems yearning upward fondly through the golden-crested calm.
From the distant Tropic strand
Where the billows, bright and bland, Go creeping, curling round the palms with sweet, faint undertune;
From its fields of purpling flowers
Still wet with fragrant showers, The happy South Wind lingering sweeps the royal blooms of June.
All heavenly fancies rise
On the perfume of her sighs,
And a peace more pure than sleep's
Unto dim half-conscious deeps,
Those dreams! ah, me! the splendor,
So mystical and tender, Wherewith like soft heat lightnings they gird their meaning round,
And those waters, calling, calling,
With a nameless charm enthralling,
Touch, touch me not, nor wake me,
Lest grosser thoughts o'ertake me;
What viewless arms caress me?
What whispered voices bless me,
Grows the preternatural glimmer
And its fairy murmur dieth,
JOHN ESTEN COOKE.
John Esten Cooke was born at Winchester, Virginia, a younger brother of Philip Pendleton Cooke and son of the eminent jurist, John Rogers Cooke, under whom he made his law studies. He seemed, however, to prefer literature to law, and when he was twenty-four he had already pub
lished several works. Among them was “Virginia Comedians," a novel of great interest and greater promise.
İn 1861 he entered the Confederate service as one of General T. J. Jackson's staff, was transferred to that of General J. E. B. Stuart at the death of Jackson in 1863; and after Stuart's death, he was Inspector-General of the horse artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia till the close of the war.
His novels deal with the life and history of Virginia, the best known of them being “Surry of Eagle's Nest,” which is said to be partly autobiographical. They hold well the popular favor. His “ Stories of the Old Dominion” are specially interesting to Virginians.
WORKS. Leather Stocking and Silk.
Youth of Jefferson. Virginia Comedians.
Ellie. Last of the Foresters,
Henry St. John, Gentleman, sequel to Life of Stonewall Jackson.
Virginia Comedians. Surry of Eagle's Nest.
Wearing of the Gray. Mohun, or the Last Days of Lee and his Fairfax, or Greenway Court. Paladins.
Hilt to Hilt Out of the Foam.
Hammer and Rapier (Grant and Lee). Heir of Gaymount.
Life of R, E. Lee. Dr. Vandyke.
Her Majesty the Queen, Pretty Mrs. Gaston, and other Stories.
Canolles. Professor Pressensee.
Mr. Grantley's Idea. Virginia Bohemians.
Stories of the Old Dominion. Virginia : a History of the People.
My Lady Pokahontas. Maurice Mystery,
THE RACES IN VIRGINIA, 1765.
(From Virginia Comedians.*) The races!
That word always produces a strong effect upon men in the South ; and when the day fixed upon for the Jamestown races comes, the country is alive for miles around with per. sons of all classes and descriptions.
*By permission of D. Appleton and Co., New York.
As the hour of noon approaches, the ground swarms with every species of the genus homo; Williamsburg and the seafaring village of Jamestown turn out en masse, and leave all occupations for the exciting turf.
As the day draws on the crowd becomes more dense. The splendid chariots of the gentry roll up to the stand, and group themselves around it, in a position to overlook the race-course, and through the wide windows are seen the sparkling eyes and powdered locks, and diamonds and gay silk and velvet dresses of those fair dames who lent such richness and picturesque beauty to the old days dead now so long ago in the far past. The fine-looking old planters too are decked in their holiday suits, their powdered hair is tied into queues behind with neat black ribbon, and they descend and mingle with their neighbors, and discuss the coming festival.
Gay youths, in rich brilliant dresses, caracole up to the carriages on fiery steeds, to display their horsemanship, and exchange compliments with their friends, and make pretty speeches, which are received by the bright-eyed damsels with little ogles, and flirts of their variegated fans, and rapturous delight.
Meanwhile the crowd grows each moment, as the flood pours in from the north, the south, the east, the west-from every point of the compass, and in every species of vehicle. There are gay parties of the yeomen and their wives and daughters, in carryalls and wagons filled with straw, upon which chairs are placed : there are rollicking fast men-if we may use a word becoming customary in our own daywho whirl in, in their curricles : there are barouches and chairs, spring wagons and carts, all full, approaching in every way from a sober walk to a furious headlong dash, all "going to the races,” There are horsemen who lean
forward, horsemen who lean back; furious, excited horsemen urging their steeds with whip and spur; cool, quiet horsemen, who ride erect and slowly; there are, besides, pedestrians of every class and appearance, old and young, male and female, black and white—all going to the races.
The hour at last arrives, and a horn sounding from the judges' stand, the horses are led out in their blankets and head-coverings, and walked up and down before the crowd by their trainers, who are for the most part old gray-headed negroes, born and raised, to the best of their recollection, on the turf. The riders are noble scions of the same ancient stock, and average three feet and a half in height, and twenty pounds in weight. They are clad in ornamental garments; wear little close-fitting caps; and while they are waiting, sit huddled up in the grass, sucking their thumbs, and talking confidentially about “ them there hosses.”
Let us look at the objects of their attention ; they are well worth it.
Mr. Howard enters the bay horse Sir Archy, out of Flying Dick, by Roderick.
Mr. James enters Fair Anna, a white mare, dam Virginia, sire Belgrave.
Captain Waters enters the Arabian horse Selim, descended in a direct line, he is informed, from Al-borak, who carried the prophet Mahomet up to heaven—though this pedigree is not vouched for. The said pedigree is open to the inspection of all comers. Note-That it is written in Arabic.
There are other entries, but not much attention is paid to them. The race will be between Sir Archy and Fair Anna, and perhaps the outlandish horse will not be “distanced."
“Prepare the horses !" comes from the judges' stand opposite.