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Thomas Bailey Aldrich

 I 

BIRTHDAY VERSES 

Dear Aldrich, now November's mellow days
Have brought another Festa round to you,
You can't refuse a loving-cup of praise
From friends the fleeting years have bound to you.
Here come your Marjorie Daw, your dear Bad Boy, Prudence, and Judith the Bethulian, And many more, to wish you birthday joy, And sunny hours, and sky caerulean! Your children all, they hurry to your den, With wreaths of honour they have won for you, To merry-make your threescore years and ten.
You, old? Why, life has just begun for you! There's many a reader whom your silver songs And crystal stories cheer in loneliness.
What though the newer writers come in throngs? You're sure to keep your charm of only-ness.
You do your work with careful, loving touch, -- An artist to the very core of you, -- You know the magic spell of "not-too-much ": We read, -- and wish that there was more of you.
And more there is: for while we love your books Because their subtle skill is part of you; We love you better, for our friendship looks Behind them to the human heart of you.
November 24, 1906.
II MEMORIAL SONNET THIS is the house where little Aldrich read The early pages of Life's wonder-book: With boyish pleasure, in this ingle-nook He watched the drift-wood fire of Fancy spread Bright colours on the pictures, blue and red: Boy-like he skipped the longer words, and took His happy way, with searching, dreamful look Among the deeper things more simply said.
Then, came his turn to write: and still the flame Of Fancy played through all the tales he told, And still he won the laurelled poet's fame With simple words wrought into rhymes of gold.
Look, here's the face to which this house is frame, -- A man too wise to let his heart grow old!

Poem by Henry Van Dyke
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