Posts tagged ‘1899’

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A.D. 19—? by Arthur Henry Adams

As in some quiet city bathed in sleep,
Where like a kiss the twilight lingereth,
When suddenly the earth stirs far beneath—
Just moves, then pauses—and a silence deep
Falls on all ere the second shock should sweep
Spire, column, pinnacle to shapeless death!
And white face peers at white face, and no breath
Is drawn, and every heart forgets to leap!

So now across this quiet, dreaming world
The first faint shock has thrilled; and men, aghast,
Wait for the second, whose blind forces pent
Shall in one last convulsion find their vent;
And all the builded fabrics of the past
Shall be in ruins on their builders hurled.


Date: 1899

By: Arthur Henry Adams (1872-1935)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Midnight Minuet by Minnie Odell Michiner (Minna Irving)

It is dark and dull and gloomy, with its windows facing north,
This the old colonial mansion from its ivy peering forth.
There’s a flintlock o’er the mantel, and a flag above the door,
And a harp with strings that dangle in the dust upon the floor.
But when falls the purple twilight, then the silver sconces flare.
Comes a hand upon the knocker, and a step upon the stair.
And she courtesies from the threshold in her sweet, patrician grace,
As he grounds his moldy musket by the fireless chimney place.

Here and there the yellow laces from her sleeves have dropped away.
And her pearls have lost their luster in the darkness and decay;
Brown and scentless are the roses that are clustered’ on her breast,
But her gown is gold embroidered, and her hair with powder dressed.
He is clad in tattered garments that were once of buff: and blue.
On his temples is a bandage where the blood is oozing through;
Sash and plume are grimed with battle, spur and saber red with rust—
But the harp is faintly sounding from its covering of dust.

It is played by unseen fingers that with touches soft and slow
Gently wake the mournful music of a century ago;
Quaint old tunes that were in fashion in the days of patch and puff,
Periwigs and ostrich feathers, lace cravats and perfumed snuff;
And they walk with prim precision through the stately minuet,
Though her faded satin slippers with the grave dews glisten wet,
And he moves a little stiffly, since beneath the flower and vine
He has slept a hundred summers on the field of Brandywine.

Hark! The ancient clock is striking in the dim deserted hall,
Slowly, as with age grown weary, twelve deliberate strokes in all,
And the tinkling harp is silent, and the lady lifts her train.
And the soldier takes the musket to his shoulder once again;
Dies the candle in the socket, loudly creaks the crumbling stair,
Swings the door on broken hinges with a rush of chilly air.
But the mouse behind the curtain and the spider in her net
Still remain to tell the story of the midnight minuet.


Date: 1899

By: Minnie Odell Michiner (Minna Irving) (1857-1940)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Platypus by Oliver Herford

My child, the Duck-billed Plat-y-pus
A sad ex-am-ple sets for us:
From him we learn how In-de-ci-sion
Of char-ac-ter pro-vokes De-ri-sion.
This vac-il-lat-ing Thing, you see,
Could not de-cide which he would be,
Fish, Flesh, or Fowl, and chose all three.
The sci-en-tists were sore-ly vexed
To clas-si-fy him; so per-plexed
Their brains that they, with Rage at bay,
Called him a hor-rid name one day,–
A name that baf-fles, frights, and shocks us,–
Or-ni-tho-rhyn-chus Par-a-dox-us.


Date: 1899

By: Oliver Herford (1863-1935)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Moon Flower by Lala Fisher

I know a valley ― through its solitude
A brown road winds towards a mountain crest;
There gnarly ti-trees dripping sweetness rest,
And grasses bend, too heavily bedowed.
In that still valley by the still lagoon,
A ruined homestead for her secret shrine,
Dwells Beauty’s self, half-earthly, half-divine ―
Thrilling, I saw her waken to the moon.
In peaks of emerald the cactus crept,
And there o’er rafters falling to decay,
A miracle of flowers, spray on spray,
Burst into perfect life while nature slept.
First a slim silver riband from the sky
Uncurled green fronds from each imprisoned bud,
Then, one by one, bathed in the beaming flood,
Like ghost-notes in a spirit litany.
They blossomed out before my eyes,
Great chalices of snow filled up with light;
Set in the mystic radiance of night
They seemed a vision from immortal skies.
Hidden in shadow near the still lagoon
Nightly I worship at a secret shrine,
There on a ruin ― lily-white, divine,
Is beauty lying naked to the moon!


Date: 1899

By: Lala Fisher (1872-1929)