A Little Book of Western Verse

Eugene Field
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Title: A Little Book of Western Verse
Author: Eugene Field
Release Date: January, 2006 [EBook #9606]?[This file was first posted on October 9, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland and Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders
by Eugene Field
A dying mother gave to you?Her child a many years ago;?How in your gracious love he grew,?You know, dear, patient heart, you know.
The mother's child you fostered then?Salutes you now and bids you take?These little children of his pen?And love them for the author's sake.
To you I dedicate this book,?And, as you read it line by line,?Upon its faults as kindly look?As you have always looked on mine.
Tardy the offering is and weak;--?Yet were I happy if I knew?These children had the power to speak?My love and gratitude to you.
E. F.
Go, little book, and if an one would speak?thee ill, let him bethink him that thou art?the child of one who loves thee well.
When those we love have passed away; when from our lives something has gone out; when with each successive day we miss the presence that has become a part of ourselves, and struggle against the realization that it is with us no more, we begin to live in the past and thank God for the gracious boon of memory. Few of us there are who, having advanced to middle life, have not come to look back on the travelled road of human existence in thought of those who journeyed awhile with us, a part of all our hopes and joyousness, the sharers of all our ambitions and our pleasures, whose mission has been fulfilled and who have left us with the mile-stones of years still seeming to stretch out on the path ahead. It is then that memory comes with its soothing influence, telling us of the happiness that was ours and comforting us with the ever recurring thought of the pleasures of that travelled road. For it is happiness to walk and talk with a brother for forty years, and it is happiness to know that the surety of that brother's affection, the knowledge of the greatness of his heart and the nobility of his mind, are not for one memory alone but may be publicly attested for admiration and emulation. That it has fallen to me to speak to the world of my brother as I knew him I rejoice. I do not fear that, speaking as a brother, I shall crowd the laurel wreaths upon him, for to this extent he lies in peace already honored; but if I can show him to the world, not as a poet but as a man,--if I may lead men to see more of that goodness, sweetness, and gentleness that were in him, I shall the more bless the memory that has survived.
My brother was born in St. Louis in 1850. Whether the exact day was September 2 or September 3 was a question over which he was given to speculation, more particularly in later years, when he was accustomed to discuss it frequently and with much earnest ness. In his youth the anniversary was generally held to be September 2, perhaps the result of a half-humorous remark by my father that Oliver Cromwell had died September 3, and he could not reconcile this date to the thought that it was an important anniversary to one of his children. Many years after, when my uncle, Charles Kellogg Field, of Vermont, published the genealogy of the Field family, the original date, September 3, was restored, and from that time my brother accepted it, although with each recurring anniversary the controversy was gravely renewed, much to the amusement of the family and always to his own perplexity. In November, 1856, my mother died,
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