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The Singing Man A Book of Songs and Shadows   By: (1874-1922)

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THE SINGING MAN

A Book of Songs and Shadows

By JOSEPHINE PRESTON PEABODY

[Illustration]

BOSTON and NEW YORK

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

The Riverside Press Cambridge

1911

COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY JOSEPHINE PEABODY MARKS

Published November 1911

NOTE

Thanks are especially due to the editors of The American Magazine, Scribner's, The Atlantic Monthly, and to Messrs. Harper and Brothers, for their courteous permission to reprint certain of the poems included in this volume.

FOREWORD

We make our songs as we must, from fragments of the joy and sorrow of living. What Life itself may be, we cannot know till all men share the chance to know.

Until the day of some more equal portion, there is no human brightness unhaunted by this black shadow: the thought of those unnumbered who pay all the heavier cost of life, to live and die without knowledge that there is any Joy of Living.

No song could face such blackness, but for the will to share, and for hope of the day of sharing.

Upon that hope and that mindfulness, the poems in this book are linked together.

J.P.M.

4 October, 1911.

CONTENTS

THE SINGING MAN 3

THE TREES 15

O, do you remember? How it came to be? 21

RICH MAN, POOR MAN 23

But we did walk in Eden 29

THE FOUNDLING 31

Love sang to me. And I went down the stair 35

THE FEASTER 37

Belovèd, if the moon could weep 43

THE GOLDEN SHOES 45

NOON AT PÆSTUM 47

VESTAL FLAME 48

The dark had left no speech save hand in hand 51

THE PROPHET 53

THE LONG LANE 56

Ah but, Belovèd, men may do 59

ALISON'S MOTHER TO THE BROOK 61

You, Four Walls, wall not in my heart! 65

CANTICLE OF THE BABE 67

And thou, Wayfaring Woman whom I meet 73

GLADNESS 75

THE NIGHTINGALE UNHEARD 81

Envoi 87

THE SINGING MAN

AN ODE OF THE PORTION OF LABOR

' The profit of the Earth is for all. ' ECCLESIASTES.

THE SINGING MAN

I

He sang above the vineyards of the world. And after him the vines with woven hands Clambered and clung, and everywhere unfurled Triumphing green above the barren lands; Till high as gardens grow, he climbed, he stood, Sun crowned with life and strength, and singing toil, And looked upon his work; and it was good: The corn, the wine, the oil.

He sang above the noon. The topmost cleft That grudged him footing on the mountain scars He planted and despaired not; till he left His vines soft breathing to the host of stars. He wrought, he tilled; and even as he sang, The creatures of his planting laughed to scorn The ancient threat of deserts where there sprang The wine, the oil, the corn!

He sang not for abundance. Over lords Took of his tilth. Yet was there still to reap, The portion of his labor; dear rewards Of sunlit day, and bread, and human sleep. He sang for strength; for glory of the light. He dreamed above the furrows, 'They are mine!' When all he wrought stood fair before his sight With corn, and oil, and wine.

Truly, the light is sweet Yea, and a pleasant thing It is to see the Sun. And that a man should eat His bread that he hath won; (So is it sung and said), That he should take and keep, After his laboring, The portion of his labor in his bread, His bread that he hath won; Yea, and in quiet sleep, When all is done... Continue reading book >>




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