Birthday Ode

Birthday Ode by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne

Birthday Ode

By Algernon Charles Swinburne
1837 – 1909

I
Love and praise, and a length of days whose shadow cast upon time is light,
Days whose sound was a spell shed round from wheeling wings as of doves in flight,
Meet in one, that the mounting sun to-day may triumph, and cast out night.
Two years more than the full fourscore lay hallowing hands on a sacred head,
Scarce one score of the perfect four uncrowned of fame as they smiled and fled:
Still and soft and alive aloft their sunlight stays though the suns be dead.
Ere we were or were thought on, ere the love that gave us to life began,
Fame grew strong with his crescent song, to greet the goal of the race they ran,
Song with fame, and the lustrous name with years whose changes acclaimed the man.

II
Soon, ere time in the rounding rhyme of choral seasons had hailed us men,
We too heard and acclaimed the word whose breath was life upon England then,
Life more bright than the breathless light of soundless noon in a songless glen.
Ah, the joy of the heartstruck boy whose ear was opened of love to hear!
Ah, the bliss of the burning kiss of song and spirit, the mounting cheer
Lit with fire of divine desire and love that knew not if love were fear!
Fear and love as of heaven above and earth enkindled of heaven were one;
One white flame, that around his name grew keen and strong as the worldwide sun;
Awe made bright with implied delight, as weft with weft of the rainbow spun.

III
He that fears not the voice he hears and loves shall never have heart to sing:
All the grace of the sun-god’s face that bids the soul as a fountain spring
Bids the brow that receives it bow, and hail his likeness on earth as king.
We that knew when the sun’s shaft flew beheld and worshipped, adored and heard:
Light rang round it of shining sound, whence all men’s hearts were subdued and stirred:
Joy, love, sorrow, the day, the morrow, took life upon them in one man’s word.
Not for him can the years wax dim, nor downward swerve on a darkening way:
Upward wind they, and leave behind such light as lightens the front of May:
Fair as youth and sublime as truth we find the fame that we hail to-day.

 

Happy Birthday, Roberta, and many, many more. Enjoy them all in good health.

Saturday on the Farm

Saturday On The Farm

By Edwin C. Ranck
1879

     ‘Tis Saturday morn and all is bright
By nature’s own endowing;
The sun is fiercely giving light,
And only me–
Plowing.

Across the river I hear the sound
Of a boatman slowly rowing;
I have no time to fool around,
Especially when I’m–
Hoeing.

And when the dinner hour has come,
And thoughts of work are fleeting,
I only hear the insects hum,
Because I’m busy–
Eating.

At night when all things are at rest,
Safe in Old Morpheus’ keeping,
No troubles do my mind infest,
For I am soundly–
Sleeping.

Father

—A friend of mine has just lost her father,

Father

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
1855 – 1919

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    He never made a fortune, or a noise
In the world where men are seeking after fame;
But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys
Who loved the very ground on which he trod.
They thought him just a little short of God;
Oh you should have heard the way they said his name –
‘Father.’

There seemed to be a loving little prayer
In their voices, even when they called him ‘Dad.’
Though the man was never heard of anywhere,
As a hero, yet you somehow understood
He was doing well his part and making good;
And you knew it, by the way his children had
Of saying ‘Father.’

He gave them neither eminence nor wealth,
But he gave them blood untainted with a vice,
And the opulence of undiluted health.
He was honest, and unpurchable and kind;
He was clean in heart, and body, and in mind.
So he made them heirs to riches without price –
This father.

He never preached or scolded; and the rod –
Well, he used it as a turning pole in play.
But he showed the tender sympathy of God
To his children in their troubles, and their joys.
He was always chum and comrade with his boys,
And his daughters – oh, you ought to hear them say
‘Father.’

Now I think of all achievements ’tis the least
To perpetuate the species; it is done
By the insect and the serpent, and the beast.
But the man who keeps his body, and his thought,
WORTH bestowing on an offspring love-begot,
Then the highest earthly glory he has won,
When in pride a grown-up daughter or a son
Says ‘That’s Father.’

 

as I lost mine on Christmas Eve, 1972.—

 

The Rainy Day

The Rainy Day

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1807 – 1882

The Rainy Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

The Rain

The Rain by James Whitcomb Riley
James Whitcomb Riley

The Rain

By James Whitcomb Riley

I.

The rain! the rain! the rain!
It gushed from the skies and streamed
Like awful tears; and the sick man thought
How pitiful it seemed!
And he turned his face away,
And stared at the wall again,
His hopes nigh dead and his heart worn out.
O the rain! the rain! the rain!

II.

The rain! the rain! the rain!
And the broad stream brimmed the shores;
And ever the river crept over the reeds
And the roots of the sycamores:
A corpse swirled by in a drift
Where the boat had snapt its chain –
And a hoarse-voiced mother shrieked and raved.
O the rain! the rain! the rain!

III.

The rain! the rain! the rain! –
Pouring, with never a pause,
Over the fields and the green byways –
How beautiful it was!
And the new-made man and wife
Stood at the window-pane
Like two glad children kept from school. –
O the rain! the rain! the rain!