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Best Famous Eugene Field Poems

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by Eugene Field |

The great journalist in spain

 Good editor Dana--God bless him, we say--
Will soon be afloat on the main,
Will be steaming away
Through the mist and the spray
To the sensuous climate of Spain.

Strange sights shall he see in that beautiful land
Which is famed for its soap and its Moor,
For, as we understand,
The scenery is grand
Though the system of railways is poor.

For moonlight of silver and sunlight of gold
Glint the orchards of lemons and mangoes,
And the ladies, we're told,
Are a joy to behold
As they twine in their lissome fandangoes.

What though our friend Dana shall twang a guitar
And murmur a passionate strain;
Oh, fairer by far
Than those ravishments are
The castles abounding in Spain.

These castles are built as the builder may list--
They are sometimes of marble or stone,
But they mostly consist
Of east wind and mist
With an ivy of froth overgrown.

A beautiful castle our Dana shall raise
On a futile foundation of hope,
And its glories shall blaze
In the somnolent haze
Of the mythical lake del y Soap.

The fragrance of sunflowers shall swoon on the air
And the visions of Dreamland obtain,
And the song of "World's Fair"
Shall be heard everywhere
Through that beautiful castle in Spain.


by Eugene Field |

The fly-away horse

 Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse -
Perhaps you have seen him before;
Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept

Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright,
That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh
And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane,
Is up on his heels and away!
The Moon in the sky,
As he gallopeth by,
Cries: "Oh! what a marvelous sight!"
And the Stars in dismay
Hide their faces away
In the lap of old Grandmother Night.

It is yonder, out yonder, the Fly-Away Horse
Speedeth ever and ever away -
Over meadows and lanes, over mountains and plains,
Over streamlets that sing at their play;
And over the sea like a ghost sweepeth he,
While the ships they go sailing below,
And he speedeth so fast that the men at the mast
Adjudge him some portent of woe.
"What ho there!" they cry,
As he flourishes by
With a whisk of his beautiful tail;
And the fish in the sea
Are as scared as can be,
From the nautilus up to the whale!

And the Fly-Away Horse seeks those faraway lands
You little folk dream of at night -
Where candy-trees grow, and honey-brooks flow,
And corn-fields with popcorn are white;
And the beasts in the wood are ever so good
To children who visit them there -
What glory astride of a lion to ride,
Or to wrestle around with a bear!
The monkeys, they say:
"Come on, let us play,"
And they frisk in the cocoanut-trees:
While the parrots, that cling
To the peanut-vines, sing
Or converse with comparative ease!

Off! scamper to bed - you shall ride him tonight!
For, as soon as you've fallen asleep,
With a jubilant neigh he shall bear you away
Over forest and hillside and deep!
But tell us, my dear, all you see and you hear
In those beautiful lands over there,
Where the Fly-Away Horse wings his faraway course
With the wee one consigned to his care.
Then grandma will cry
In amazement: "Oh, my!"
And she'll think it could never be so;
And only we two
Shall know it is true -
You and I, little precious! shall know!


by Eugene Field |

The drum

 I'm a beautiful red, red drum,
And I train with the soldier boys;
As up the street we come,
Wonderful is our noise!
There's Tom, and Jim, and Phil,
And Dick, and Nat, and Fred,
While Widow Cutler's Bill
And I march on ahead,
With a r-r-rat-tat-tat
And a tum-titty-um-tum-tum -
Oh, there's bushels of fun in that
For boys with a little red drum!

The Injuns came last night
While the soldiers were abed,
And they gobbled a Chinese kite
And off to the woods they fled!
The woods are the cherry-trees
Down in the orchard lot,
And the soldiers are marching to seize
The booty the Injuns got.
With tum-titty-um-tum-tum,
And r-r-rat-tat-tat,
When soldiers marching come
Injuns had better scat!

Step up there, little Fred,
And, Charley, have a mind!
Jim is as far ahead
As you two are behind!
Ready with gun and sword
Your valorous work to do -
Yonder the Injun horde
Are lying in wait for you.
And their hearts go pitapat
When they hear the soldiers come
With a r-r-rat-tat-tat
And a tum-titty-um-tum-tum!

Course it's all in play!
The skulking Injun crew
That hustled the kite away
Are little white boys, like you!
But "honest" or "just in fun,"
It is all the same to me;
And, when the battle is won,
Home once again march we
With a r-r-rat-tat-tat
And tum-titty-um-tum-tum;
And there's glory enough in that
For the boys with their little red drum!


by Eugene Field |

The dreams

 Two dreams came down to earth one night
From the realm of mist and dew;
One was a dream of the old, old days,
And one was a dream of the new.

One was a dream of a shady lane
That led to the pickerel pond
Where the willows and rushes bowed themselves
To the brown old hills beyond.

And the people that peopled the old-time dream
Were pleasant and fair to see,
And the dreamer he walked with them again
As often of old walked he.

Oh, cool was the wind in the shady lane
That tangled his curly hair!
Oh, sweet was the music the robins made
To the springtime everywhere!

Was it the dew the dream had brought
From yonder midnight skies,
Or was it tears from the dear, dead years
That lay in the dreamer's eyes?

The other dream ran fast and free,
As the moon benignly shed
Her golden grace on the smiling face
In the little trundle-bed.

For 't was a dream of times to come--
Of the glorious noon of day--
Of the summer that follows the careless spring
When the child is done with play.

And 't was a dream of the busy world
Where valorous deeds are done;
Of battles fought in the cause of right,
And of victories nobly won.

It breathed no breath of the dear old home
And the quiet joys of youth;
It gave no glimpse of the good old friends
Or the old-time faith and truth.

But 't was a dream of youthful hopes,
And fast and free it ran,
And it told to a little sleeping child
Of a boy become a man!

These were the dreams that came one night
To earth from yonder sky;
These were the dreams two dreamers dreamed--
My little boy and I.

And in our hearts my boy and I
Were glad that it was so;
He loved to dream of days to come,
And I of long ago.

So from our dreams my boy and I
Unwillingly awoke,
But neither of his precious dream
Unto the other spoke.

Yet of the love we bore those dreams
Gave each his tender sign;
For there was triumph in his eyes--
And there were tears in mine!


by Eugene Field |

The wind

 (THE TALE)

Cometh the Wind from the garden, fragrant and full of sweet singing--
Under my tree where I sit cometh the Wind to confession.

"Out in the garden abides the Queen of the beautiful Roses--
Her do I love and to-night wooed her with passionate singing;
Told I my love in those songs, and answer she gave in her blushes--
She shall be bride of the Wind, and she is the Queen of the Roses!"

"Wind, there is spice in thy breath; thy rapture hath fragrance Sabaean!"

"Straight from my wooing I come--my lips are bedewed with her kisses--
My lips and my song and my heart are drunk with the rapture of loving!"

(THE SONG)

The Wind he loveth the red, red Rose,
And he wooeth his love to wed:
Sweet is his song
The Summer long
As he kisseth her lips so red;
And he recketh naught of the ruin wrought
When the Summer of love is sped!

(AGAIN THE TALE)

Cometh the Wind from the garden, bitter with sorrow of winter.

"Wind, is thy love-song forgot? Wherefore thy dread lamentations?"

Sigheth and moaneth the Wind: "Out of the desolate garden
Come I from vigils with ghosts over the grave of the Summer!"

"Thy breath that was fragrant anon with rapture of music and loving,
It grieveth all things with its sting and the frost of its wailing
displeasure."

The Wind maketh ever more moan and ever it giveth this answer:
"My heart it is numb with the cold of the love that was born of the
Summer--
I come from the garden all white with the wrath and the sorrow of Winter;
I have kissed the low, desolate tomb where my bride in her loveliness
lieth
And the voice of the ghost in my heart is the voice that forever
outcrieth!"

(AGAIN THE SONG)

The Wind he waileth the red, red Rose
When the Summer of love is sped--
He waileth above
His lifeless love
With her shroud of snow o'erspread--
Crieth such things as a true heart brings
To the grave of its precious dead.


by Eugene Field |

The wanderer

 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.

1883.


by Eugene Field |

The two little skeezucks

 There were two little skeezucks who lived in the isle
Of Boo in a southern sea;
They clambered and rollicked in heathenish style
In the boughs of their cocoanut tree.
They didn't fret much about clothing and such
And they recked not a whit of the ills
That sometimes accrue
From having to do
With tailor and laundry bills.

The two little skeezucks once heard of a Fair
Far off from their native isle,
And they asked of King Fan if they mightn't go there
To take in the sights for awhile.
Now old King Fan
Was a good-natured man
(As good-natured monarchs go),
And howbeit he swore that all Fairs were a bore,
He hadn't the heart to say "No."

So the two little skeezucks sailed off to the Fair
In a great big gum canoe,
And I fancy they had a good time there,
For they tarried a year or two.
And old King Fan at last began
To reckon they'd come to grief,
When glory! one day
They sailed into the bay
To the tune of "Hail to the Chief!"

The two little skeezucks fell down on the sand,
Embracing his majesty's toes,
Till his majesty graciously bade them stand
And salute him nose to nose.
And then quoth he:
"Divulge unto me
What happenings have hapt to you;
And how did they dare to indulge in a Fair
So far from the island of Boo?"

The two little skeezucks assured their king
That what he surmised was true;
That the Fair would have been a different thing
Had it only been held in Boo!
"The folk over there in no wise compare
With the folk of the southern seas;
Why, they comb out their heads
And they sleep in beds
Instead of in caverns and trees!"

The two little skeezucks went on to say
That children (so far as they knew)
Had a much harder time in that land far away
Than here in the island of Boo!
They have to wear clo'es
Which (as every one knows)
Are irksome to primitive laddies,
While, with forks and with spoons, they're denied the sweet boons
That accrue from free use of one's paddies!

"And now that you're speaking of things to eat,"
Interrupted the monarch of Boo,
"We beg to inquire if you happened to meet
With a nice missionary or two?"
"No, that we did not; in that curious spot
Where were gathered the fruits of the earth,
Of that special kind
Which Your Nibs has in mind
There appeared a deplorable dearth!"

Then loud laughed that monarch in heathenish mirth
And loud laughed his courtiers, too,
And they cried: "There is elsewhere no land upon earth
So good as our island of Boo!"
And the skeezucks, tho' glad
Of the journey they'd had,
Climbed up in their cocoanut trees,
Where they still may be seen with no shirts to keep clean
Or trousers that bag at the knees.


by Eugene Field |

Hymn

 (FROM THE GERMAN OF MARTIN LUTHER)

O heart of mine! lift up thine eyes
And see who in yon manger lies!
Of perfect form, of face divine--
It is the Christ-child, heart of mine!

O dearest, holiest Christ-child, spread
Within this heart of mine thy bed;
Then shall my breast forever be
A chamber consecrate to thee!

Beat high to-day, O heart of mine,
And tell, O lips, what joys are thine;
For with your help shall I prolong
Old Bethlehem's sweetest cradle-song.

Glory to God, whom this dear Child
Hath by His coming reconciled,
And whose redeeming love again
Brings peace on earth, good will to men!


by Eugene Field |

The straw parlor

 Way up at the top of a big stack of straw
Was the cunningest parlor that ever you saw!
And there could you lie when aweary of play
And gossip or laze in the coziest way;
No matter how careworn or sorry one's mood
No worldly distraction presumed to intrude.
As a refuge from onerous mundane ado
I think I approve of straw parlors, don't you?

A swallow with jewels aflame on her breast
On that straw parlor's ceiling had builded her nest;
And she flew in and out all the happy day long,
And twittered the soothingest lullaby song.
Now some might suppose that that beautiful bird
Performed for her babies the music they heard;
I reckon she twittered her répertoire through
For the folk in the little straw parlor, don't you?

And down from a rafter a spider had hung
Some swings upon which he incessantly swung.
He cut up such didoes--such antics he played
Way up in the air, and was never afraid!
He never made use of his horrid old sting,
But was just upon earth for the fun of the thing!
I deeply regret to observe that so few
Of these good-natured insects are met with, don't you?

And, down in the strawstack, a wee little mite
Of a cricket went chirping by day and by night;
And further down, still, a cunning blue mouse
In a snug little nook of that strawstack kept house!
When the cricket went "chirp," Miss Mousie would squeak
"Come in," and a blush would enkindle her cheek!
She thought--silly girl! 't was a beau come to woo,
But I guess it was only the cricket, don't you?

So the cricket, the mouse, and the motherly bird
Made as soothingsome music as ever you heard
And, meanwhile, that spider by means of his swings
Achieved most astounding gyrations and things!
No wonder the little folk liked what they saw
And loved what they heard in that parlor of straw!
With the mercury up to 102
In the shade, I opine they just sizzled, don't you?

But once there invaded that Eden of straw
The evilest Feline that ever you saw!
She pounced on that cricket with rare promptitude
And she tucked him away where he'd do the most good;
And then, reaching down to the nethermost house,
She deftly expiscated little Miss Mouse!
And, as for the Swallow, she shrieked and withdrew--
I rather admire her discretion, don't you?

Now listen: That evening a cyclone obtained,
And the mortgage was all on that farm that remained!
Barn, strawstack and spider--they all blew away,
And nobody knows where they're at to this day!
And, as for the little straw parlor, I fear
It was wafted clean off this sublunary sphere!
I really incline to a hearty "boo-hoo"
When I think of this tragical ending, don't you?


by Eugene Field |

Two valentines

 I.--TO MISTRESS BARBARA

There were three cavaliers, all handsome and true,
On Valentine's day came a maiden to woo,
And quoth to your mother: "Good-morrow, my dear,
We came with some songs for your daughter to hear!"

Your mother replied: "I'll be pleased to convey
To my daughter what things you may sing or may say!"

Then the first cavalier sung: "My pretty red rose,
I'll love you and court you some day, I suppose!"

And the next cavalier sung, with make-believe tears:
"I've loved you! I've loved you these many long years!"

But the third cavalier (with the brown, bushy head
And the pretty blue jacket and necktie of red)
He drew himself up with a resolute air,
And he warbled: "O maiden, surpassingly fair!
I've loved you long years, and I love you to-day,
And, if you will let me, I'll love you for aye!"

I (the third cavalier) sang this ditty to you,
In my necktie of red and my jacket of blue;
I'm sure you'll prefer the song that was mine
And smile your approval on your valentine.


II.--TO A BABY BOY

Who I am I shall not say,
But I send you this bouquet
With this query, baby mine:
"Will you be my valentine?"

See these roses blushing blue,
Very like your eyes of hue;
While these violets are the red
Of your cheeks. It can be said
Ne'er before was babe like you.

And I think it is quite true
No one e'er before to-day
Sent so wondrous a bouquet
As these posies aforesaid--
Roses blue and violets red!

Sweet, repay me sweets for sweets--
'Tis your lover who entreats!
Smile upon me, baby mine--
Be my little valentine!