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Burton, Annie L.
Memories of childhood's slavery days




On a green slope, most fragrant with the Spring,
One sweet, fair day I planted a red rose,
That grew, beneath my tender nourishing,
So tall, so riotous of bloom, that those
Who passed the little valley where it grew
Smiled at its beauty. All the air was sweet
About it! Still I tended it, and knew
That he would come, e'en as it grew complete.

And a day brought him! Up I led him, where
In the warm sun my rose bloomed gloriously--
Smiling and saying, Lo, is it not fair!
And all for thee--all thine! But he passed by
Coldly, and answered, Rose? I see no to rose,--
Leaving me standing in the barren vale
Alone! alone! feeling the darkness close
Deep o'er my heart, and all my being fail.

Then came one, gently, yet with eager tread,
Begging one rose-bud--but my rose was dead.


The old, old Wind that whispers to old trees,
Round the dark country when the sun has set,
Goes murmuring still of unremembered seas
And cities of the dead that men forget--

An old blind beggar-man, distained and gray,
With ancient tales to tell,
Mumbling of this and that upon his way,
Strange song and muttered spell--

Neither to East or West, or South or North,
His habitation lies,
This roofless vagabond who wanders forth
Aye under alien skies--

A gypsy of the air, he comes and goes
Between the tall trees and the shadowed grass,
And what he tells only the twilight knows ...
The tall trees and the twilight hear him pass.

To him the Dead stretch forth their strengthless hands,
He who campaigns in other climes than this,
He who is free of the Unshapen Lands,
The empty homes of Dis.


Out of the scattered fragments
Of castles I built in the air
I gathered enough together
To fashion a cottage with care;
Thoughtfully, slowly, I planned it,
And little by little it grew--
Perfect in form and in substance,
Because I designed it for you.

The castles that time has shattered
Gleamed spotless and pearly white
As they stood in the misty distance
That borders the Land of Delight;
Sleeping and waking I saw them
Grow brighter and fairer each day;
But, alas! at the touch of a finger
They trembled and crumbled away!

Then out of the dust I gathered
A bit of untarnished gold,
And a gem unharmed by contact
With stones of a baser mold;
For sometimes a priceless jewel
Gleams wondrously pure and fair
From glittering paste foundations
Of castles we see in the air.

So, I turned from the realms of fancy,
As remote as the stars above,
And into the land of the living
I carried the jewel of love;
The mansions of dazzling brightness
Have crumbled away, it is true;
But firm upon gold foundations
Stands the cottage I built for you!


You do but jest, sir, and you jest not well.
How could the hand be enemy of the arm,
Or seed and sod be rivals? How could light
Feel jealousy of heat, plant of the leaf,
Or competition dwell 'twixt lip and smile?
Are we not part and parcel of yourselves?
Like strands in one great braid we intertwine
And make the perfect whole. You could not be
Unless we gave you birth: we are the soil
From which you sprang, yet sterile were that soil
Save as you planted. (Though in the Book we read
One woman bore a child with no man's aid,
We find no record of a man-child born
Without the aid of woman! Fatherhood
Is but a small achievement at the best,
While motherhood is heaven and hell.)
This ever-growing argument of sex
Is most unseemly, and devoid of sense.
Why waste more time in controversy, when
There is not time enough for all of love,
Our rightful occupation in this life?
Why prate of our defects--of where we fail,
When just the story of our worth would need
Eternity for telling; and our best
Development comes ever through your praise,
As through our praise you reach your highest self?
Oh! had you not been miser of your praise
And let our virtues be their own reward,
The old established order of the world
Would never have been changed. Small blame is ours
For this unsexing of ourselves, and worse
Effeminizing of the male. We were
Content, sir, till you starved us, heart and brain.
All we have done, or wise or otherwise,
Traced to the root, was done for love of you.
Let us taboo all vain comparisons,
And go forth as God meant us, hand in hand,
Companions, mates and comrades evermore;
Two parts of one divinely ordained whole.


A widow had two sons,
And one knelt at her knees,
And sought to give her joy
And toiled to give her ease;
He heard his country's call
And longed to go, to die
If God so willed, but saw
Her tears and heard her sigh.

A widow had two sons,
One filled her days with care
And creased her brow and brought
Her many a whitened hair
His country called--he went.
Nor thought to say good-by,
And recklessly he fought,
And died as heroes die.

A widow had two sons,
One fell as heroes fall,
And one remained and toiled,
And gave to her his all.
She watched "her hero's" grave
In dismal days and fair,
And told the world her love,
Her heart was buried there.

Our Mission

In the legends of the Norsemen,
Stories quaint and weird and wild,
There's strange and thrilling story,
Of a mother and her child.

And that child, so runs the story,
In those quaint old Norsemen books,
Fell one day from dangerous play ground,
Dashed in pieces on the rocks;

But with gentle hand that mother
Gathered every tender part,
Bore them gently, torn and bleeding,
On her loving mother heart.

And within her humble dwelling,
Strong in faith and brave of soul,
With her love-song low and tender
Rocked and sang the fragments whole.

Such the mission of the Christian,
Taught by Christ so long ago;
This the mark that bids us stay not,
This the spirit each should know:

Rent and torn by sin the race is,
Heart from heart, and soul from soul;
This our task with Christ's sweet love-song,
Join, and heal, and make them whole.

Rev. E.M. Bartlett



Lord over all! Whose power the sceptre swayed,
Ere first Creation's wondrous form was framed,
When by His will Divine all things were made;
Then, King, Almighty was His name proclaimed.

When all shall cease--the universe be o'er,
In awful greatness He alone will reign,
Who was, Who is, and Who will evermore
In glory most refulgent still remain.

Sole God! unequalled and beyond compare,
Without division or associate;
Without commencing date, or final year,
Omnipotent He reigns in awful state.

He is my God! my living Savior He!
My sheltering Rock in sad misfortune's hour!
My standard, refuge, portion, still shall be,
My lot's disposer when I seek His power.

Into His hands my spirit I consign
Whilst wrapped in sleep, that I again may wake,
And with my soul, my body I resign;
The Lord's with me--no fears my soul can shake.


The earth, the firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
Were made by God's creative power
Six thousand years ago or more.

Man, too, was formed to till the ground;
Birds, beasts, and fish to move around;
The fish to swim, the birds to fly,
And all to praise the Love most high.

This world is round, wise men declare,
And hung on nothing in the air.

The moon around the earth doth run;
The earth moves on its center, too;
The earth and moon around the sun
As wheels and tops and pulleys do.

Water and land make up the whole,
From East to West, from pole to pole.

Vast mountains rear their lofty heads,
Rivers roll down their sandy beds;
And all join in one grand acclaim
To praise the Lord's almighty name.