Enjoy these Eugene Field poems full of wisdom and wit. He was born in St Louis, Missouri, on September 2, 1850. When seven years old he was taken to Amherst, Massachusetts, where he remained for thirteen years under the charge of his foster-mother. Miss Mary Field French.
He attended Williams College, 1868; Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, 1869; and the University of Missouri, 1871. In 1872 he visited Europe, and on his return became a reporter for the St. Louis Journal, He married Miss Julia Comstock, of St. Joseph, Missouri, on October 6, 1873. In 1875-6 he was city editor of St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette; later editorial writer on the St. Louis Journal, In 1880, he was on the staff of the Kansas City Times but left that paper in 1881 to become managing editor of the Denver Tribune, August 13, 1883, he accepted a position on the editorial staff of the Chicago Morning News (now the Record), and remained In connection with that paper until his death, November 4, 1895.
Clover-top sighed when the wind sang sweet,
Dropping the thistle-down at her feet;
"Oh, dear me, never a day
Can I roam at my will, but ever, alway.
In this tiresome meadow must ever stay!"
Thistle-down floated, then sunk into rest,
Only to rise at the breezes' behest,
Hither and yon, on the wings of the air.
Tired little sprite, so dainty and fair,
"Oh, to just stop," she sighed, "anywhere."
Honey-bees swarmed to thistle and clover,
Sweet little toiling ones, over and over
A work-a-day song they cheerily sin:
"Look up, dear hearts, and what the days bring,
Bless God for it all - yes- everything! "
O Hapless day! O wretched day!
I hoped you'd pass me by-
Alas, the years have sneaked away
And all is changed but I!
Had I the power, I would remand
You to a gloom condign.
But here you've crept upon me and
I - I am thirty-nine!
Now, were I thirty-five, I could
Assume a flippant guise;
Or, were I forty years, I should
Undoubtedly look wise;
For forty years are said to bring
But thirty-nine don't mean a thing -
A bas with thirty-nine!
You healthy, hulking girls and boys, -
What makes you grow so fast?
Oh, I'll survive your lusty noise -
I'm tough and bound to last!
No, no - I'm old and withered too -
I feel my powers decline,
(Yet none believes this can be true
Of one at thirty-nine.)
And you, dear girl with velvet eyes
I wonder what you mean
Through all our keen anxieties
By keeping sweet sixteen.
With your dear love to warm my heart,
Wretch were I to repine;
I was but jesting at the start -
I'm glad I m thirty-nine!
So, little children, roar and race
As blithely as you can,
And, sweetheart, let your tender grace
Exalt the Day and Man;
For then these factors (I'll engage)
All subtly shall combine
To make both juvenile and sage
The one who's thirty-nine!
Yes, after all, I'm free to say
I would much rather be
Standing as I do stand to-day,
'Twixt devil and deep sea;
For though my face be dark with care
Or with a grimace shine,
Each haply falls unto my share,
For I am thirty-nine!
'Tis passing meet to make good cheer
And lord it like a king.
Since only once we catch the year
That doesn't mean a thing.
O happy day! O gracious day!
I pledge thee in this wine -
Come, let us journey on our way
A year, good Thirty-Nine!
Old Times, Old Friends, Old Love
Poet: Eugene Field
There are no days like the good old days, -
The days when we were youthful!
When humankind were pure of mind,
And speech and deeds were truthful;
Before a love for sordid gold
Became man's ruling passion,
And before each dame and maid became
Slave to the tyrant fashion!
There are no girls like the good old girls, -
Against the world I'd stake 'em!
As buxom and smart and clean of heart
As the Lord knew how to make 'em!
They were rich in spirit and common-sense,
And piety all supportin;
They could bake and brew, and had taught school, too,
And they made such likely courtin'!
There are no boys like the good old boys, —
When we were boys together!
When the grass was sweet to the brown bare feet
That dimpled the laughing heather;
When the pewee sung to the summer dawn
Of the bee in the billowy clover,
Or down by the mill the whip-poor-will
Echoed his night song over.
There is no love like the good old love, -
The love that mother gave us!
We are old, old men, yet we pine again
For that precious grace, - God save us!
So we dream and dream of the good old times.
And our hearts grow tenderer, fonder.
As those dear old dreams bring soothing gleams
Of heaven away off yonder.
Sing, Christmas bells!
Say to the earth this is the morn
Whereon our Saviour-King is born;
Sing to all men, - the bond, the free,
The rich, the poor, the high, the low,
The little child that sports in glee,
The aged folk that tottering go, -
Proclaim the morn
That Christ is born.
That saveth them and saveth me!
Sing, angel host!
Sing of the star that God has placed
Above the manger in the east;
Sing of the glories of the night.
The virgin's sweet humility.
The Babe with kingly robes bedight, -
Sing to all men where'er they be
This Christmas morn;
For Christ is born.
That saveth them and saveth me!
Sing, sons of earth!
O ransomed seed of Adam, sing!
God liveth, and we have a king!
The curse is gone, the bond are free,-
By Bethlehem's star that brightly beamed.
By all the heavenly signs that be,
We know that Israel is redeemed;
That on this morn
The Christ is born
That saveth you and saveth me!
Sing, O my heart!
Sing thou in rapture this dear mom
Whereon the blessed Prince is born!
And as thy songs shall be of love.
So let my deeds be charity, -
By the dear Lord that reigns above,
By Him that died upon the tree,
By this fair morn
Whereon is born
The Christ that saveth all and me!
I like the Anglo-Saxon speech
With its direct revealings;
It takes a hold, and seems to reach
Way down into your feelings;
That some folk deem it rude, I know,
And therefore they abuse it;
But I have never found it so, -
Before all else I choose it.
I don't object that men should air
The Gallic they have paid for.
With " Au revoir," "Adieu, ma chere,"
For that's what French was made for.
But when a crony takes your hand
At parting, to address you.
He drops all foreign lingo and
He says, "Good-by - God bless you!"
This seems to me a sacred phrase,
With reverence impassioned, -
A thing come down from righteous days,
Quaintly but nobly fashioned;
It well becomes an honest face,
A voice that's round and cheerful;
It stays the sturdy in his place,
And soothes the weak and fearful.
Into the porches of the ears
It steals with subtle unction,
And in your heart of hearts appears
To work its gracious function;
And all day long with pleasing song
It lingers to caress you, -
I'm sure no human heart goes wrong
That's told "Good-by — God bless you!"
I love the words, - perhaps because,
When I was leaving Mother,
Standing at last in solemn pause
We looked at one another.
And I - I saw in Mother's eyes
The love she could not tell me, -
A love eternal as the skies.
Whatever fate befell me;
She put her arms about my neck
And soothed the pain of leaving,
And though her heart was like to break,
She spoke no word of grieving;
She let no tear bedim her eye,
For fear that might distress me,
But, kissing me, she said good-by,
And asked our God to bless me.
Upon a mountain height, far from the sea,
I found a shell,
And to my listening ear the lonely thing
Ever a song of ocean seemed to sing,
Ever a tale of ocean seemed to tell.
How came the shell upon that mountain height?
Ah, who can say
Whether there dropped by some too careless hand,
Or whether there cast when Ocean swept the Land,
Ere the Eternal had ordained the Day?
Strange, was it not Far from its native deep,
One song it sang, -
Sang of the awful mysteries of the tide.
Sang of the misty sea, profound and wide, -
Ever with echoes of the ocean rang.
And as the shell upon the mountain height
Sings of the sea.
So do I ever, leagues and leagues away, -
So do I ever, wandering where I may, -
Sing, O my home! sing, O my home! of thee.
The Same Dear Hand
Poet: Eugene Field
The bells ring out a happy sound,
The earth is mantled o'er with white,
It is the merry Christmas night.
And love, and mirth, and joy abound.
And here sit you and here sit I -
I should be happiest in the land.
For oh! I hold the same dear hand
I've held for many a year gone by . . . Read the entire poem The Same Dear Hand