A Medley of Verses on the


Suggested by Alfred A. Yerxa, the author, on
Sunday, April 11th, 1897, while meditating on the Keswick of the past.

  4. TO H. D.



For miles through hills of evergreen
A stream flows swiftly to the sea,
Its name to strangers hath no charm,
But, oh!  It's dear to me.

Of thee thy glories I would sing,
And fain would I portray them,
But I’m unfit -- can't sing a bit --
I really would destroy them.

My childhood's home and friends so dear,
Long I've been absent from them,
But faces and scenes are ever clear
In memory's sacred sanctum.

Fair Keswick, ever beauteous vale,
So dear to all thy children;
Thy winding stream, thy meadows green,
So charming, so bewildering.

Long years have passed, and I am old,
But still my, bosom yearns
For that loved spot -- the Yerxas' home --
When to it memory turns,

Thou Phoebus, glorious god of day,
That opes the portals of the morn,
All nature thy commands obey,
Thy favorite valley to adorn.

And when thou art sinking in the West
Shimmering that vale with glory,
Then lovers walk in quietness,
And declare the old, old story.

That story dear to every ear
To whomever yet hath heard it;
But the heart's cold that ne’er has been told
That tale, however worded.

The fir trees crown the hill-tops high,
The queen of night mounts up the sky,
And all is happy, peaceful, blest,
As tired, labor sinks to rest.

The elm tree bows unto the oak,
The oak to the balm-of-gilead
The ash-tree green stands like a queen,
As described in ancient Illiad.

These trees, that once were young with, me,
Now mosses do their trunks entwine,
And hearts, that once beat merrily
Are stilled in death, or old, like mine.

I wander by, the brooklet clear,
And sit me down to ponder
On those so dear, who once were here,
But now are over yonder.

I hear their voices call to me
From that far-off abode of mystery;
Over death's wild and stormy sea,
That cross we must to eternity.

Those scenes from me ne'er will depart
Till memory fails, in power,
Impressions on the youthful heart
Fade not, like the passing flower.



There was Uncle Moses, calm and serene,
And Uncle Mike, that two-horse team
Who really, really went by steam,
His soul filled with such ardor
That, do his best, he could not rest,
Strife was his only pleasure.

And fair-haired, Saxon Uncle Sam,
Who never walked, but always ran --
Whose soul could not find room
Till brows were broken, timber driven,
And all safe in the boom.

Then there was Wellington and Uncle John,
And Jonathan and Uncle Brom,
With kind, benevolent Uncle Dan,
Each one of praise deserving
Who bravely fought the battle through,
Ne'er from its current swerving.

Uncle Allen, firm, business-like, yet could act humorously,
Knew how to play a joke, and could take one courteously
I liked him much; he had an earnest heart,
And on the stage of life acted well his part.

Grandfather Ben, the noblest Roman of them all;
In appearance suberb, of stature tall;
Such men as he it were that made
Old England grand;
Patrician-like he was, magnanimous,
My beau-ideal of a man.



Uncle Ben, junior, son of the former,
With heart and brain equal to any Homer
And A. D, Y., his faithful brother,
Were men of noble parts;
Honor-bright was their beacon light,
The jewel dear of their hearts.
There's Chesley, too; what he could not do
To the world would give much bother.

And Jonathan, a gentleman,
Whom fortune did not favor;
With great, big, hearty, handsome Joe,
And junior Dan, his brother,
Were men that nature favored much
With brain and brawny muscle;
But, some how or other, they fizzled out,
They could not stand the tussle.

Ted, dear friend of early youth,
I really do deplore thee,
And think it strange that thou art gone
When so much of life seemed for thee;
Thou might'st, upon the blazing page,
Have written high thy name
Had'st thou but had the wisdom;
We know thou had'st the brain.

There are two more, the Jouett boys,
Who are Yerxas more or less;
They've climbed the hill most valiantly,
And they've achieved success.
There are several more of Yerxa boys
Who should be numbered with the rest;
They are now of Minneapolis,
The Queen city of the, West.

Poor boys they were, of empty hand,
With only brains at their command --
Yes, brains their only portion --
But by their wit and energy,
Their business-like capacity,
Together with their honesty,
They have amassed a fortune.

Also Elias J. and junior Jim,
A pair of honest lumbermen
Who helped to make their country.
I honor them with all the rest,
Who have faithfully done their duty.


TO H. D.

And one there was, an earnest boy, who has climbed the ladder high;
The peer of all the rest, his aim was on the sky.
I mean by that, "he hitched his wagon to a star,"
And, like the war-horse, sniffed the smoke of battle from afar.
With prophetic eye he saw, and, girding on his armor,
Sternly grappled with work, duty, fame and honor.
And he has won the prize, and squarely hath he won it;
Much good he has done, and nobly hath he done it.

‘Tis vain for me to write of such a mind --
I, who am of common clay -- a more common kind;
Yet, sometimes I reach an elevation,
And feel the subtle touch of inspiration;
Then for a moment the human mind I scan,
And read, as in a book, its emotions, hopes, schemes, and every plan.

And still another, Elijah M., my brother, by profession a medical doctor,
Ambitious to excel, heart full of zeal, of talents superior,
He saw the trend of human life, and bent his mind thereon,
Resolved to cut the Gordian knot, and cross the Rubicon.
But dread consumption, curse of man, laid his fell hand upon him,
And, cruelly blighted, earthly hopes, tore his ambition from him.

I saw that man, in agony, bow to the High behest --
O, God of Heaven!  I'll not complain, for with Thee such matters rest.



Long ago, one day, on Keswick's shore, stood a maiden
     of surpassing beauty and wonderously fair,
A radiant picture of perfect health, o'er whose shoulders
     fell great masses of golden hair.
A youth I was, and gazed on her in rapturous joy,
As Paris gazed on Helen -- the Helen, fair, of Troy.

"O, cousin," she said,
In accents sweet,
"I want to Cross,
But I'll wet my feet.

If you'll carry me over,
I promise you this
On the other side
I’ll give you a kiss."

I stood her down on the Eastern bank
My bosom swelled with pride;
"Albina, dear, I've carried you
Way from the other side.

You know the gift you proffered me,
You saucy, pretty Miss;
If you have no objections now,
I'll take that promised kiss."

Her lips they curled and slightly smiled;
There was mischief in her eye;
"What!  Kiss a swain like you," she said,
"I guess I won't, not I.

Kiss a boy like you," said she,
"While lovers have I by the dozens;
I've somebody else to kiss, my lad,
Besides kissing country cousins."

She gave her head a regal pose,
And tossed her golden hair --
"My kisses are too precious," she said
"To waste on the desert air."

It seems but just the other day
That thou wert in thy bloom;
But death's cold hand has touched thee, dear,
Thy sun went down at noon.
If angels there, are just as fair,
As Albina was of yore,
And flowers and fields such as Keswick yields,
Then, for beauty, I'll ask no more.



A shaft, both tall and artistic, should be raised
     in the old churchyard
To the sacred memory of genius -- to the gifted
     Moses Shepherd.
A humorist born, a soul o'rflowing with mirth,
A master of the comic art, a genuine son of earth.
I have wept o'er his failure and mournful end,
And now sadly write, “what might have been.”



And there are many more -- a motley crowd of us --
Who move, and have life, and might enjoy it,
Had we really sense enough to know it.
Thus we exist, and o'er us the sod will soon be turned;
But, alas!  for us no fireworks will e'er be burned
To celebrate our greatness,
Possibly, some grandchild may speak quietly of our weakness,
Drawing the veil of charity gently over us,
Leaving us to God who may not want us.


[Sun about one hour high, May 21st 1886, while standing on the hill back of Thomas Colter’s (once our old farm.)]

Spring!  Thou morning of the Seasons,
Waking earth from slumbers drear.
Decking fields with myriad flowers,
Happy Springtime of the year.

But, in order to enjoy thee,
One must from the city hie,
Climb to the hill-tops of the country,
Raise the thoughts to God on high.

O, the morning in the country!
Gift of heaven all should share
Songsters fill the air with music,
God and peace are everywhere.

Diamonds sparkle on the meadows,
O'er a landscape that I prize;
O, ye Gods!  Pray bear me witness,
Rivals this not Paradise?

Drink of these scenes, ye sons of earth
Drink deeply, I implore you;
Dame Nature has touched her finger here,
Her masterworks before you.

You can have the city’s treasure,
Warp your hearts with sordid gain,
Give me life, in fullest measure,
On the mountain, on the plain.