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By the fireside there are old men seated,
Seeing ruined cities in the ashes,

Asking sadly
Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them.

By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,
Building castles fair, with stately stairways,

Asking blindly
Of the Future what it cannot give them.

By the fireside tragedies are acted
In whose scenes appear two actors only,

Wife and husband,

And above them God the sole spectator.

By the fireside there are peace and comfort,
Wives and children, with fair thoughtful faces,

Waiting, watching
For a well-known footstep in the passage.

Each man's chimney is his Golden Milestone;
Is the central point, from which he measures

Every distance
Through the gateways of the world around him.

In his farthest wanderings still he sees it;
Hears the talking flame, the answering night-wind,

As he heard them

When he sat with those who were, but are not.

Happy he whom neither wealth nor fashion,
Nor the march of the encroaching city,

Drives an exile

From the hearth of his ancestral homestead.


may build more splendid habitations, Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,

But we cannot

Buy with gold the old associations !



of mine Is a Song of the Vine, To be sung by the glowing embers

Of wayside inns,

When the rain begins
To darken the drear Novembers.

It is not a song

Of the Scuppernong,
From warm Carolinian valleys,

Nor the Isabel

And the Muscadel

That bask in our garden alleys.

Nor the red Mustang,

Whose clusters hang
O'er the waves of the Colorado,

And the fiery flood

Of whose purple blood
Has a dash of Spanish bravado.

For richest and best

Is the wine of the West,
That grows by the Beautiful River;

Whose sweet perfume

Fills all the room
With a benison on the giver.

And as hollow trees

Are the haunts of bees, For ever going and coming;

So this crystal hive

Is all alive With a swarming and buzzing and humming.

Very good in its way

Is the Verzenay,
Or the Sillery soft and creamy ;

But Catawba wine

Has a taste more divine,
More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.

There grows no vine

By the haunted Rhine, By Danube or Guadalquivir,

Nor on island or cape,

That bears such a grape
As grows by the Beautiful River.

Drugged is their juice

For foreign use,
When shipped o’er the reeling Atlantic,

To rack our brains
With the fever pains

That have driven the Old World frantic.

To the sewers and sinks

With all such drinks,
And after them tumble the mixer;

For a poison malign

Is such Borgia wine,
Or at best but a Devil's Elixir.

While pure as a spring

Is the wine I sing, And to praise it, one needs but name it;

For Catawba wine

Has need of no sign,
No tavern-bush to proclaim it.

And this Song of the Vine,

This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver

To the Queen of the West,

In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.

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