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2. I might tell how, but the day before,

John Burns stood at his cottage-door,
Looking down the village street,

Where in the shade of his peaceful vine,

He heard the low of his gathered kine, And felt their breath with incense sweet; Or, I might say, when the sunset burned The old farm gable, he thought it turned The milk that fell in a babbling flood Into the milk-pail, red as blood; Or, how he fancied the hum of bees Were bullets buzzing among the trees. But all such fanciful thoughts as these Were strange to a practical man like Burns, Who minded only his own concerns, Troubled no more by fancies fine Than one of his calm-eyed, long tailed kineQuite old-fashioned and matter-of-fact, Slow to argue, but quick to act. That was the reason, as some folks say, He fought so well on that terrible day.

3. And it was terrible. On the right

Raged for hours the heavy fight,
Thundered the battery's double bass-
Difficult music for men to face;
While on the left—where now the graves
Undulate like the living waves
That all the day unceasing swept
Up to the pits the rebels kept-
Round shot plowed the upland glades,
Sown with bullets, reaped with blades:
Shattered fences here and there
Tossed their splinters in the air;
The very trees were stripped and bare;
The barns that once held yellow grain
Were heaped with harvests of the slain;
The cattle bellowed on the plain,

The turkeys screamed with might and main.

And brooding barn-fowl left their rest
With strange shells bursting in each nest.

4. Just where the tide of battle turns,

Erect and lonely stood old John Burns.
How do you think the man was dressed ?
He wore an ancient, long buff vest,
Yellow as saffron, but his best;
And buttoned over his manly breast
Was a bright blue coat with a rolling collar,
And large gilt buttons—size of a dollar-
With tails that country folk called “swaller."
He wore a broad-brimmed bell-crowned hat,
White as the locks on which it sat.
Never had such a sight been seen
For forty-years on the village green,
Since old John Burns was a country beau,
And went to the “ quilting” long ago.

6. Close at his elbows all that day

Veterans of the Peninsula,
Sunburnt and bearded, charged away.
And striplings, downy of lip and chin,
Clerks that the Home Guard mustered in,
Glanced as they passed at the hat he wore,
Then at the rifle his right hand bore;
And hailed him from out their youthful lore,
With scraps of a slangy repertoire:
“How are you, White Hat ? ” “Put her through!”
Your head's level!" and, “Hurrah for you!”
Called him “ Daddy,” and begged he'd disclose
The name of the tailor who made his clothes,
And what was the value he set on those;
While Burns, unmindful of jeer and scoff,
Stood there picking the rebels off-
With his long, brown rifle and bell-crown hat,
And the swallow-tails they were laughing at.

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17. 'Twas but a moment, for that respect

Which clothes all courage their voices checked;

And something the wildest could understand,
Spake in the old man's strong right hand,
And his corded throat, and the lurking frown
Of his eyebrows under his old bell-crown,
Until, as they gažed, there crept in awe
Through the ranks in whispers, and some men saw
In the antique vestments and long white hair,
The Past of the Nation in battle there.
And some of the soldiers since declare
That the gleam of his old white hat afar,
Like the crested plume of the brave Navarre,
That day was their oriflamme of war.
Thus raged the battle. You know the rest,
How the rebels beaten, and backward pressed,
Broke at the final charge and ran.
At which John Burns, a practical man,
Shouldered his rifle, unbent his brows,
And then went back to his bees and cows.

7. That is the story of old John Burns;

And is the moral the listener learns :
In fighting life's battle the question's whether
You'll show a hat that's white, or a feather.

Creeds of the Bells.


1. How sweet the chime of Sabbath bells !

Each one its creed in music tells,
In tones that float upon the air,
As soft as song, and pure as prayer;
And I will put in simple rhyme
The language of the golden chime.
My happy heart with rapture swells
Responsive to the bells—sweet bells.

2. “In deeds of love excel-excel,”

Chimed out from ivied towers a bell;

“ This is the church not built on sands,
Emblem of one not built with hands;
Its forms and sacred rites revere;
Come worship here—come worship here;
Its rituals and faith excel—excel,"

Chimed out the Episcopalian bell.
3. “O, heed the ancient landmarks well,”

In solemn tones exclaimed a bell;
“No progress made by mortal man
Can change the just, eternal plan.
With God there can be nothing new;
Ignor the false, embrace the true
While all is well-is well—is well,”

Pealed out the good old Dutch Church bell. 4. “O swell, ye purifying waters, swell,”

In mellow tones rang out a bell;
“Though faith alone in Christ can save,
Man must be plunged beneath the wave,
To show the world unfaltering faith
In what the sacred Scripture saith.
O swell, ye rising waters, swell,”

Pealed out the clear-toned Baptist bell. 5. "In after life there is no hell!"

In raptures rang a cheerful bell;
“Look up to heaven this holy day,
Where angels wait to lead the way;
There are no fires, no fiends, to blight
The future life; be just, do right.
No hell! no hell! no hell! no hell!"

Rang out the Universalist bell.
6. “Not faith alone, but works as well,

Must test the soul,” said a soft bell;
“Come here, and cast aside your load,
And work your way along the road,
With faith in God, and faith in man,
And hope in Christ, where hope began:
Do well-do well—do well-do well,”
Pealed forth the Unitarian bell.

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7. Farewell! farewell! base world, farewell !"

In touching tones exclaimed a bell;
“Life is a boon to mortals given,
To fit the soul for bliss in heaven.
Do not invoke the avenging rod;
Come here, and learn the way to God.
Say to the world farewell! farewell!"
Pealed out the Presbyterian bell.

8. "To all the truth we tell—we tell,”

Shouted in ecstasies a bell;
Come, all ye weary wanderers, see!
Our Lord has made salvation free.
Repent! believe; have faith! and then
Be saved, and praise the Lord. Amen.
Salvation's free we tell—we tell,”
Shouted the Methodistic bell.

The Vagabonds.


1. We are two travelers, Roger and I.

Roger's my dog. Come here, you scamp! Jump for the gentlemen-mind your eye!

Over the table-look out for the lamp! The rogue is growing a little old;

Five years we've tramped through wind and weather And slept out-doors when nights were cold,

And ate and drank—and starved—together.

2. We've learned what comfort is, I tell you!

A bed on the floor, a bit of rosin,
A fire to thaw our thumbs (poor fellow!

paw he holds up there's been frozen), Plenty of catgut for my fiddle

(This out-door business is bad for strings), Then a few nice buckwheats hot from the griddle,

And Roger and I set up for kings !

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