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Unreturning

by Emily Dickinson

‘T was such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
‘T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!

‘T was such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the coast;
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!

Where is My Boy Tonight?

by Horatio Alger, Jr.

When the clouds in the Western sky
  Flush red with the setting sun,–
When the veil of twilight falls,
  And the busy day is done,–
I sit and watch the clouds,
  With their crimson hues alight,
And ponder with anxious heart,
  Oh, where is my boy to-night?

It is just a year to-day
  Since he bade me a gay good-by,
To march where banners float,
  And the deadly missiles fly.
As I marked his martial step
  I felt my color rise
With all a mother’s pride,
  And my heart was in my eyes.

There’s a little room close by,
  Where I often used to creep
In the hush of the summer night
  To watch my boy asleep.
But he who used to rest
  Beneath the spread so white
Is far away from me now,–
  Oh, where is my boy to-night?

Perchance in the gathering night,
  With slow and weary feet,
By the light of Southern stars,
  He paces his lonely beat.
Does he think of the mother’s heart
  That will never cease to yearn,
As only a mother’s can,
  For her absent boy’s return?

Oh, where is my boy to-night?
  I cannot answer where,
But I know, wherever he is,
  He is under our Father’s care.
May He guard, and guide, and bless
  My boy, wherever he be,
And bring him back at length
  To bless and to comfort me.

May God bless all our boys
  By the camp-fire’s ruddy glow,
Or when in the deadly fight
  They front the embattled foe;
And comfort each mother’s heart,
  As she sits in the fading light,
And ponders with anxious heart–
  Oh, where is my boy to-night?

With a Flower

by Emily Dickinson
I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too –
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.

The Island of the Fay

by Edgar Allan Poe
    “Nullus enim locus sine genio est.”

     Servius
“La musique,” says Marmontel, in those “Contes Moraux” which in all
our translations we have insisted upon calling “Moral Tales,” as if in
mockery of their spirit–”la musique est le seul des talens qui jouisse
de lui-meme: tous les autres veulent des temoins.” He here confounds
the pleasure derivable from sweet sounds with the capacity for creating
them. No more than any other talent, is that for music susceptible of
complete enjoyment where there is no second party to appreciate its
exercise; and it is only in common with other talents that it produces
effects which may be fully enjoyed in solitude. The idea which the
raconteur has either failed to entertain clearly, or has sacrificed in
its expression to his national love of point, is doubtless the very
tenable one that the higher order of music is the most thoroughly
estimated when we are exclusively alone. The proposition in this form
will be admitted at once by those who love the lyre for its own sake and
for its spiritual uses. But there is one pleasure still within the reach
of fallen mortality, and perhaps only one, which owes even more than
does music to the accessory sentiment of seclusion. I mean the happiness
experienced in the contemplation of natural scenery. In truth, the man
who would behold aright the glory of God upon earth must in solitude
behold that glory. To me at least the presence, not of human life only,
but of life, in any other form than that of the green things which grow
upon the soil and are voiceless, is a stain upon the landscape, is at
war with the genius of the scene. I love, indeed, to regard the dark
valleys, and the gray rocks, and the waters that silently smile, and the
forests that sigh in uneasy slumbers, and the proud watchful mountains
that look down upon all,–I love to regard these as themselves but the
colossal members of one vast animate and sentient whole–a whole whose
form (that of the sphere) is the most perfect and most inclusive of all;
whose path is among associate planets; whose meek handmaiden is the
moon; whose mediate sovereign is the sun; whose life is eternity; whose
thought is that of a god; whose enjoyment is knowledge; whose destinies
are lost in immensity; whose cognizance of ourselves is akin with our
own cognizance of the animalculæ which infest the brain, a being which
we in consequence regard as purely inanimate and material, much in the
same manner as these animalculæ must thus regard us.

Our telescopes and our mathematical investigations assure us on every
hand, notwithstanding the cant of the more ignorant of the priesthood,
that space, and therefore that bulk, is an important consideration in
the eyes of the Almighty. The cycles in which the stars move are those
best adapted for the evolution, without collision, of the greatest
possible number of bodies. The forms of those bodies are accurately such
as within a given surface to include the greatest possible amount of
matter; while the surfaces themselves are so disposed as to accommodate
a denser population than could be accommodated on the same surfaces
otherwise arranged. Nor is it any argument against bulk being an object
with God that space itself is infinite; for there may be an infinity of
matter to fill it; and since we see clearly that the endowment of matter
with vitality is a principle–indeed, as far as our judgments extend,
the leading principle in the operations of Deity, it is scarcely
logical to imagine it confined to the regions of the minute, where we
daily trace it, and not extending to those of the august. As we find
cycle within cycle without end, yet all revolving around one far-distant
centre which is the Godhead, may we not analogically suppose, in the
same manner, life within life, the less within the greater, and all
within the Spirit Divine? In short, we are madly erring through
self-esteem in believing man, in either his temporal or future
destinies, to be of more moment in the universe than that vast “clod of
the valley” which he tills and contemns, and to which he denies a soul,
for no more profound reason than that he does not behold it in operation.

These fancies, and such as these, have always given to my meditations
among the mountains and the forests, by the rivers and the ocean, a
tinge of what the every-day world would not fail to term the fantastic.
My wanderings amid such scenes have been many and far-searching, and
often solitary; and the interest with which I have strayed through many
a dim deep valley, or gazed into the reflected heaven of many a bright
lake, has been an interest greatly deepened by the thought that I have
strayed and gazed alone. What flippant Frenchman was it who said,
in allusion to the well known work of Zimmermann, that “la solitude est
une belle chose; mais il faut quelqu’un pour vous dire que la solitude
est une belle chose”? The epigram cannot be gainsaid; but the necessity
is a thing that does not exist.

It was during one of my lonely journeyings, amid a far distant region of
mountain locked within mountain, and sad rivers and melancholy tarns
writhing or sleeping within all, that I chanced upon a certain rivulet
and island. I came upon them suddenly in the leafy June, and threw
myself upon the turf beneath the branches of an unknown odorous shrub,
that I might doze as I contemplated the scene. I felt that thus only
should I look upon it, such was the character of phantasm which it wore.

On all sides, save to the west where the sun was about sinking, arose
the verdant walls of the forest. The little river which turned sharply
in its course, and was thus immediately lost to sight, seemed to have no
exit from its prison, but to be absorbed by the deep green foliage of
the trees to the east; while in the opposite quarter (so it appeared to
me as I lay at length and glanced upward) there poured down noiselessly
and continuously into the valley a rich golden and crimson waterfall
from the sunset fountains of the sky.

About midway in the short vista which my dreamy vision took in, one
small circular island, profusely verdured, reposed upon the bosom of the
stream.

  So blended bank and shadow there,
  That each seemed pendulous in air–

so mirror-like was the glassy water, that it was scarcely possible to
say at what point upon the slope of the emerald turf its crystal
dominion began. My position enabled me to include in a single view both
the eastern and western extremities of the islet, and I observed a
singularly-marked difference in their aspects. The latter was all one
radiant harem of garden beauties. It glowed and blushed beneath the eye
of the slant sunlight, and fairly laughed with flowers. The grass was
short, springy, sweet-scented, and Asphodel-interspersed. The trees were
lithe, mirthful, erect, bright, slender, and graceful, of eastern figure
and foliage, with bark smooth, glossy, and parti-colored. There seemed a
deep sense of life and joy about all, and although no airs blew from out
the heavens, yet everything had motion through the gentle sweepings to
and fro of innumerable butterflies, that might have been mistaken for
tulips with wings.

The other or eastern end of the isle was whelmed in the blackest shade.
A sombre, yet beautiful and peaceful gloom, here pervaded all things.
The trees were dark in color and mournful in form and attitude–
wreathing themselves into sad, solemn, and spectral shapes, that
conveyed ideas of mortal sorrow and untimely death. The grass wore the
deep tint of the cypress, and the heads of its blades hung droopingly,
and hither and thither among it were many small unsightly hillocks, low
and narrow, and not very long, that had the aspect of graves, but were
not, although over and all about them the rue and the rosemary
clambered. The shades of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and
seemed to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the element
with darkness. I fancied that each shadow, as the sun descended lower
and lower, separated itself sullenly from the trunk that gave it birth,
and thus became absorbed by the stream, while other shadows issued
momently from the trees, taking the place of their predecessors thus
entombed.

This idea having once seized upon my fancy greatly excited it, and I
lost myself forthwith in reverie. “If ever island were enchanted,” said
I to myself, “this is it. This is the haunt of the few gentle Fays who
remain from the wreck of the race. Are these green tombs theirs?–or do
they yield up their sweet lives as mankind yield up their own? In dying,
do they not rather waste away mournfully, rendering unto God little by
little their existence, as these trees render up shadow after shadow,
exhausting their substance unto dissolution? What the wasting tree is to
the water that imbibes its shade, growing thus blacker by what it preys
upon, may not the life of the Fay be to the death which engulfs it?”

As I thus mused, with half-shut eyes, while the sun sank rapidly to
rest, and eddying currents careered round and round the island, bearing
upon their bosom large dazzling white flakes of the bark of the
sycamore, flakes which, in their multiform positions upon the water, a
quick imagination might have converted into anything it pleased; while I
thus mused, it appeared to me that the form of one of those very Fays
about whom I had been pondering, made its way slowly into the darkness
from out the light at the western end of the island. She stood erect in
a singularly fragile canoe, and urged it with the mere phantom of an
oar. While within the influence of the lingering sunbeams, her attitude
seemed indicative of joy, but sorrow deformed it as she passed within
the shade. Slowly she glided along, and at length rounded the islet and
re-entered the region of light. “The revolution which has just been made
by the Fay,” continued I musingly, “is the cycle of the brief year of
her life. She has floated through her winter and through her summer. She
is a year nearer unto death: for I did not fail to see that as she came
into the shade, her shadow fell from her, and was swallowed up in the
dark water, making its blackness more black.”

And again the boat appeared and the Fay, but about the attitude of the
latter there was more of care and uncertainty and less of elastic joy.
She floated again from out the light and into the gloom (which deepened
momently), and again her shadow fell from her into the ebony water, and
became absorbed into its blackness. And again and again she made the
circuit of the island (while the sun rushed down to his slumbers), and
at each issuing into the light there was more sorrow about her person,
while it grew feebler and far fainter and more indistinct, and at each
passage into the gloom there fell from her a darker shade, which became
whelmed in a shadow more black. But at length, when the sun had utterly
departed, the Fay, now the mere ghost of her former self, went
disconsolately with her boat into the region of the ebony flood, and
that she issued thence at all I cannot say, for darkness fell over all
things, and I beheld her magical figure no more.

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER III

by Eleanor H. Porter

BILLY AND BERTRAM
Bertram called that evening.  Before the open
fire in the living-room he found a pensive Billy
awaiting him–a Billy who let herself be kissed,
it is true, and who even kissed back, shyly, adorably;
but a Billy who looked at him with wide,
almost frightened eyes.

“Why, darling, what’s the matter?” he
demanded, his own eyes growing wide and frightened.

“Bertram, it’s–done!”

“What’s done?  What do you mean?”

“Our engagement.  It’s–announced.  I wrote
stacks of notes to-day, and even now there are
some left for to-morrow.  And then there’s–the
newspapers.  Bertram, right away, now, _everybody_
will know it.”  Her voice was tragic.

Bertram relaxed visibly.  A tender light came
to his eyes.

“Well, didn’t you expect everybody would
know it, my dear?”

“Y-yes; but–”

At her hesitation, the tender light changed
to a quick fear.

“Billy, you aren’t–sorry?”

The pink glory that suffused her face answered
him before her words did.

“Sorry!  Oh, never, Bertram!  It’s only that
it won’t be ours any longer–that is, it won’t
belong to just our two selves.  Everybody will
know it.  And they’ll bow and smile and say `How
lovely!’ to our faces, and `Did you ever?’ to
our backs.  Oh, no, I’m not sorry, Bertram; but
I am–afraid.”

“_Afraid_–Billy!”

“Yes.”

Billy sighed, and gazed with pensive eyes into
the fire.

Across Bertram’s face swept surprise,
consternation, and dismay.  Bertram had thought he
knew Billy in all her moods and fancies; but he
did not know her in this one.

“Why, Billy!” he breathed.

Billy drew another sigh.  It seemed to come
from the very bottoms of her small, satin-slippered
feet.

“Well, I am.  You’re _the_ Bertram Henshaw.
You know lots and lots of people that I never
even saw.  And they’ll come and stand around
and stare and lift their lorgnettes and say:  `Is
that the one?  Dear me!’ ”

Bertram gave a relieved laugh.

“Nonsense, sweetheart!  I should think you
were a picture I’d painted and hung on a
wall.”

“I shall feel as if I were–with all those friends
of yours.  Bertram, what if they don’t like it?”
Her voice had grown tragic again.

“_Like_ it!”

“Yes.  The picture–me, I mean.”

“They can’t help liking it,” he retorted, with
the prompt certainty of an adoring lover.

Billy shook her head.  Her eyes had gone back
to the fire.

“Oh, yes, they can.  I can hear them.  `What,
_she_–Bertram Henshaw’s wife?–a frivolous,
inconsequential “Billy” like that?’  Bertram!”
–Billy turned fiercely despairing eyes on her
lover–“Bertram, sometimes I wish my name
were `Clarissa Cordelia,’ or `Arabella Maud,’
or `Hannah Jane’–anything that’s feminine
and proper!”

Bertram’s ringing laugh brought a faint smile
to Billy’s lips.  But the words that followed the
laugh, and the caressing touch of the man’s hands
sent a flood of shy color to her face.

“ `Hannah Jane,’ indeed!  As if I’d exchange
my Billy for her or any Clarissa or Arabella
that ever grew!  I adore Billy–flame, nature,
and–”

“And naughtiness?” put in Billy herself.

“Yes–if there be any,” laughed Bertram,
fondly.  “But, see,” he added, taking a tiny box
from his pocket, “see what I’ve brought for
this same Billy to wear.  She’d have had it long
ago if she hadn’t insisted on waiting for this
announcement business.”

“Oh, Bertram, what a beauty!” dimpled
Billy, as the flawless diamond in Bertram’s fingers
caught the light and sent it back in a flash of
flame and crimson.

“Now you are mine–really mine, sweetheart!”
The man’s voice and hand shook as he
slipped the ring on Billy’s outstretched finger.

Billy caught her breath with almost a sob.

“And I’m so glad to be–yours, dear,” she
murmured brokenly.  “And–and I’ll make you
proud that I am yours, even if I am just `Billy,’ ”
she choked.  “Oh, I know I’ll write such beautiful,
beautiful songs now.”

The man drew her into a close embrace.

“As if I cared for that,” he scoffed lovingly.

Billy looked up in quick horror.

“Why, Bertram, you don’t mean you don’t
–care?”

He laughed lightly, and took the dismayed
little face between his two hands.

“Care, darling? of course I care!  You know
how I love your music.  I care about everything
that concerns you.  I meant that I’m proud of
you _now_–just you.  I love _you_, you know.”

There was a moment’s pause.  Billy’s eyes,
as they looked at him, carried a curious intentness
in their dark depths.

“You mean, you like–the turn of my head
and the tilt of my chin?” she asked a little breathlessly.

“I adore them!” came the prompt answer.

To Bertram’s utter amazement, Billy drew
back with a sharp cry.

“No, no–not that!”

“Why, _Billy!_”

Billy laughed unexpectedly; then she sighed.

“Oh, it’s all right, of course,” she assured
him hastily.  “It’s only–”  Billy stopped and
blushed.  Billy was thinking of what Hugh Calderwell
had once said to her: that Bertram Henshaw
would never love any girl seriously; that it would
always be the turn of her head or the tilt of her
chin that he loved–to paint.

“Well; only what?” demanded Bertram.

Billy blushed the more deeply, but she gave a
light laugh.

“Nothing, only something Hugh Calderwell
said to me once.  You see, Bertram, I don’t
think Hugh ever thought you would–marry.”

“Oh, didn’t he?” bridled Bertram.  “Well,
that only goes to show how much he knows
about it.  Er–did you announce it–to
him?” Bertram’s voice was almost savage
now.

Billy smiled.

“No; but I did to his sister, and she’ll tell
him.  Oh, Bertram, such a time as I had over
those notes,” went on Billy, with a chuckle.
Her eyes were dancing, and she was seeming more
like her usual self, Bertram thought.  “You see
there were such a lot of things I wanted to say,
about what a dear you were, and how much I–I
liked you, and that you had such lovely eyes,
and a nose–”

“Billy!”  This time it was Bertram who was
sitting erect in pale horror.

Billy threw him a roguish glance.

“Goosey!  You are as bad as Aunt Hannah!
I said that was what I _wanted_ to say.  What
I really said was–quite another matter,”
she finished with a saucy uptilting of her
chin.

Bertram relaxed with a laugh.

“You witch!”  His admiring eyes still lingered
on her face.  “Billy, I’m going to paint you
sometime in just that pose.  You’re adorable!”

“Pooh!  Just another face of a girl,” teased the
adorable one.

Bertram gave a sudden exclamation.

“There!  And I haven’t told you, yet.  Guess
what my next commission is.”

“To paint a portrait?”

“Yes.”

“Can’t.  Who is it?”

“J. G. Winthrop’s daughter.”

“Not _the_ J. G. Winthrop?”

“The same.”

“Oh, Bertram, how splendid!”

“Isn’t it?  And then the girl herself!  Have you
seen her?  But you haven’t, I know, unless you
met her abroad.  She hasn’t been in Boston for
years until now.”

“No, I haven’t seen her.  Is she so _very_
beautiful?”  Billy spoke a little soberly.

“Yes–and no.”  The artist lifted his head
alertly.  What Billy called his “painting look”
came to his face.  “It isn’t that her features
are so regular–though her mouth and chin are
perfect.  But her face has so much character,
and there’s an elusive something about her eyes
–Jove!  If I can only catch it, it’ll be the best
thing yet that I’ve ever done, Billy.”

“Will it?  I’m so glad–and you’ll get it,
I know you will,” claimed Billy, clearing her
throat a little nervously.

“I wish I felt so sure,” sighed Bertram.  “But
it’ll be a great thing if I do get it–J. G. Winthrop’s
daughter, you know, besides the merit of
the likeness itself.”

“Yes; yes, indeed!”  Billy cleared her throat
again.  “You’ve seen her, of course, lately?”

“Oh, yes.  I was there half the morning
discussing the details–sittings and costume, and
deciding on the pose.”

“Did you find one–to suit?”

“Find one!”  The artist made a despairing
gesture.  “I found a dozen that I wanted.  The
trouble was to tell which I wanted the most.”

Billy gave a nervous little laugh.

“Isn’t that–unusual?” she asked.

Bertram lifted his eyebrows with a quizzical
smile.

“Well, they aren’t all Marguerite Winthrops,”
he reminded her.

“Marguerite!” cried Billy.  “Oh, is her name
Marguerite?  I do think Marguerite is the dearest
name!”  Billy’s eyes and voice were wistful.

“I don’t–not the _dearest_.  Oh, it’s all well
enough, of course, but it can’t be compared for
a moment to–well, say, `Billy’!”

Billy smiled, but she shook her head.

“I’m afraid you’re not a good judge of names,”
she objected.

“Yes, I am; though, for that matter, I should
love your name, no matter what it was.”

“Even if ’twas `Mary Jane,’ eh?” bantered
Billy.  “Well, you’ll have a chance to find out
how you like that name pretty quick, sir.  We’re
going to have one here.”

“You’re going to have a Mary Jane here?  Do
you mean that Rosa’s going away?”

“Mercy!  I hope not,” shuddered Billy.  “You
don’t find a Rosa in every kitchen–and never
in employment agencies!  My Mary Jane is a
niece of Aunt Hannah’s,–or rather, a cousin.
She’s coming to Boston to study music, and I’ve
invited her here.  We’ve asked her for a month,
though I presume we shall keep her right
along.”

Bertram frowned.

“Well, of course, that’s very nice for–_Mary
Jane_,” he sighed with meaning emphasis.

Billy laughed.

“Don’t worry, dear.  She won’t bother us any.”

“Oh, yes, she will,” sighed Bertram.  “She’ll
be ’round–lots; you see if she isn’t.  Billy, I
think sometimes you’re almost too kind–to
other folks.”

“Never!” laughed Billy.  Besides, what would
you have me do when a lonesome young girl was
coming to Boston?  Anyhow, _you’re_ not the one
to talk, young man.  I’ve known _you_ to take in
a lonesome girl and give her a home,” she flashed
merrily.

Bertram chuckled.

“Jove!  What a time that was!” he exclaimed,
regarding his companion with fond eyes.  “And
Spunk, too!  Is she going to bring a Spunk?”

“Not that I’ve heard,” smiled Billy; “but she
_is_ going to wear a pink.”

“Not really, Billy?”

“Of course she is!  I told her to.  How do you
suppose we could know her when we saw her,
if she didn’t?” demanded the girl, indignantly.
“And what is more, sir, there will be _two_ pinks
worn this time.  _I_ sha’n't do as Uncle William did,
and leave off my pink.  Only think what long minutes–
that seemed hours of misery–I spent
waiting there in that train-shed, just because
I didn’t know which man was my Uncle
William!”

Bertram laughed and shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, your Mary Jane won’t probably turn
out to be quite such a bombshell as our Billy
did–unless she should prove to be a boy,” he
added whimsically.  “Oh, but Billy, she _can’t_
turn out to be such a dear treasure,” finished the
man.  And at the adoring look in his eyes Billy
blushed deeply–and promptly forgot all about
Mary Jane and her pink.

by Emily Dickinson

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
‘T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, — you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

Apocalypse

by Emily Dickinson
I’m wife; I’ve finished that,
That other state;
I’m Czar, I’m woman now:
It’s safer so.

How odd the girl’s life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.

This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I’m wife! stop there!

Uffia

by
Harriet R. White

When sporgles spanned the floreate mead
And cogwogs gleet upon the lea,
Uffia gopped to meet her love
Who smeeged upon the equat sea.

Dately she walked aglost the sand;
The boreal wind seet in her face;
The moggling waves yalped at her feet;
Pangwangling was her pace.

The Conqueror Worm

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Lo! ’tis a gala night
    Within the lonesome latter years!
  An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
    In veils, and drowned in tears,
  Sit in a theatre, to see
    A play of hopes and fears,
  While the orchestra breathes fitfully
    The music of the spheres.

  Mimes, in the form of God on high,
    Mutter and mumble low,
  And hither and thither fly–
    Mere puppets they, who come and go
  At bidding of vast formless things
    That shift the scenery to and fro,
  Flapping from out their Condor wings
    Invisible Wo!

  That motley drama–oh, be sure
    It shall not be forgot!
  With its Phantom chased for evermore,
    By a crowd that seize it not,
  Through a circle that ever returneth in
    To the self-same spot,
  And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
    And Horror the soul of the plot.

  But see, amid the mimic rout
    A crawling shape intrude!
  A blood-red thing that writhes from out
    The scenic solitude!
  It writhes!–it writhes!–with mortal pangs
    The mimes become its food,
  And the angels sob at vermin fangs
    In human gore imbued.

  Out–out are the lights–out all!
    And, over each quivering form,
  The curtain, a funeral pall,
    Comes down with the rush of a storm,
  And the angels, all pallid and wan,
    Uprising, unveiling, affirm
  That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
    And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

Success

by Emily Dickinson

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear!

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