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ELIZA ALLEN STARR.
most original and altogether charming contribution to art literature. The Songs of a Lifetime" is her latest publication.
Miss Starr's quaintly beautiful home is a treasurehouse of the “ Ideas," which, as she strongly expresses it,“ must make the first furnishing of a home" a centre of art and education, of benevolent enterprises and social influence, the highest charm of which is the remarkable personality of its venerated mistress.
E. W. C.
THE FIRST SNOWFLAKE.
I WELL remember how, a girl,
LIZA ALLEN STARR was born in Deerfield,
Massachusetts, in 1824. The founder of the family in America, Dr. Comfort Starr of Ashford, County Kent, England, came to Cambridge, Mass., in 1634. His son, the Rev. Comfort Starr, D. D., was graduated from Harvard University in 1647 and was one of the five Fellows named in the Col. lege Charter dated May 10th, 1650. On the maternal side Miss Starr is descended from the “ Allens of the Bars ” — originally of Chelmsford, Essex - distinguished in the colonial history of Deerfield from the time of King Philip's war. The domestic atmosphere Miss Starr breathed from childhood was of that rarer sort in which heart and mind alike develop vigorously, stimulated by the tenderest family affection, union of intellectual interests and a noble ideal of social obligations; while the love of, and familiarity with nature, so noticeable in her poems, and her highly cultivated artistic sense, found their first discipline in the woods and vales, the picturesque surroundings and traditions of her New England birthplace. While still in early womanhood she passed from the scholarly influences of the home circle to enjoy all that was best in Boston culture, and to profit also by the intellectual resources of Philadelphia, where her cousin, George Allen, LL.D., was Professor of Greek and Latin in the University of Pennsylvania. In the latter city Miss Starr was privileged to number among her most intimate friends the illustrous Archbishop Kenrick, most widely known, perhaps, through his translation of the Holy Scriptures. With his encouragement several of her earlier poems found their way into print, and the influence of the same learned prelate introduced her to those deeper studies which eventually led her into the Catholic Church. When some years later the family settled in the West, Miss Starr, while continuing always her purely literary pursuits, began the special art work with which her name is inseparably associated — a work in scope, form and execution entirely unique. This work is not confined to the very original articles upon art and artists from her pen with which readers of various periodi. cals are familiar, nor to the training of pupils in drawing and painting, but has its chief development in the inimitable lectures given in her studio, and, sometimes, at the houses of friends in Chicago and elsewhere.
In 1867 Miss Starr published a volume of poems which was most favorably received, and, later, two delightful books entitled “ Patron Saints." A sharer in the terrible experiences of the great Chicago fire of 1871, our author, as soon as circumstances permitted, resumed her labors and was enabled in 1875 to visit Europe. After a prolonged stay abroad “ Pilgrims and Shrines" was given to the public, a
And now, though I no longer dwell
And often do I close my eyes
Thus stands the picture. From the homestead door,
Close in the timber's edge, I strayed one day To yonder knoll, where — as to some calm shore
A well-worn bark might drift in its decay – A great man lies in pulseless, dreamless sleep, O'er which two oaks untiring sentry keep.
Love strewed her couch with bloom;
Laid rose and pansy on her breast, Who took so gently to that silent room
White poppies ? Dear one, rest!
A few fresh flowers, with reverent hand, I placed
Upon the grave – he loved fair nature's lore And with a quickened memory retraced
Our dear old village history once more;
VIOLETS. So fair the life, so calm the heavenly sense Of holy hearts, dear hearts of innocence, Within whose artless thoughts, like odorous bells, Such placid hopes, such mild contentment dwells; Their joys, unsought, in steadfast peace abide, The rarest blooms of love untouched by pride.
-A Bed of Wild Violets.
- Tx Parlor Andirons,
Then, from the knoll, a greensward path I took
Between the sunny cornfields and the wood, With southern aspect and a fair off-look;
Till suddenly, with pulse hushed, I stood Beneath a fretied vault, where branches high Wove their bright tufts of crimson with blue sky.
The sombrous twilight with a breathless awe
Fell on my heart; the last year's rotting leaves Strewed thickly the soft turf, on which I saw Shy stalks of dark-stemmed maiden-hair in
threes; While round me rose huge oaks, whose giant forms Had wrestled with a century's winds and storms.
The noonday sunshine, calm and warm,
Is pausing on the stair,-
Is also pausing there,
Came less from years than care;
- Six Stone Steps.
For life was there, strong life and struggle; scars
Seamed the firm bark closed over many a wound Borne 'neath the tranquil eye of heaven's far stars;
For in their woe the oaks stood, never swooned:The great trunks writhed and twisted, groaned,
then rose To nobler height and loftier repose.
Faint heart, weak faith! How oft in weary pain,
In lifelong strife with hell's deceitful power, I turn me to the brave old woods again,
Whose leafy coronals exultant tower,
From a crown of pale leaves like the thorny,
Dry crown of the passion,
In grace and fair fashion
- The Paschal Flower,
FRANCIS HOWARD WILLIAMS.
Too subtle for complaint, subdued for tears,
pale, And thins the air those patient lips inhale; Yet that meek grief some holy solace hears, A far-off hope the enduring spirit cheer, For “ Heaven has promised peace, though all the world should fail."
- Cousin Mary's Gifts.
With sighs — perchance with tears,
And close pursuing fears; For with each leaf that flushes on the tree, Some life, as dear as thine, O friend, to me, Gleams with strange beauty; shivers with strange
dread; Then falls, another trophy, with the dead;
Some heart, too, in its prayer, Sighs. Teach me how this precious life to spare!
- October. WILD COLUMBINE. Five ruddy nectaries, golden-mouthed; five wings
Ruddy as seraphs basking in God's smile,
For even when the very air is still,
- The Wild Columbine.
RANCIS HOWARD WILLIAMS, well known
as poet and critic, is a native of Philadelphia. Although he had previously contributed occasional verse to periodicals, his literary career may be said to have begun with the publication, in 1880, of his dramatic poem · The Princess Elizabeth," which was at once recognized as occupying a high place in the department of historic drama and as showing a mastery of the standard forms of English
The book received from the leading English critical reviews, as well as from the press of this country, high encomiums. It was followed by
• Theodora: a Christmas Pastoral," a work of imaginative character, written on lines entirely different from the author's previous efforts and containing several songs which showed felicity in handling purely lyric measures. Mr. Williams' exacting duties as book reviewer of a leading Philadelphia daily did not prevent him from publishing two satirical plays in prose, namely, “ The Higher Education," touching upon an advanced curriculum for women, and “A Reformer in Ruffles," dealing with the question of woman's suffrage. These comedies were successful, but the author regarded verse as his natural medium and continued to produce numerous poems, notably a considerable body of sonnets some of which have already appeared in the magazines, and several longer poems in narrative form as well as a number of purely lyrical pieces. His “ Cradle Song" is a marvel of grace and melody. His attention being again drawn to the drama by his acceptance of the post of dramatic critic on a well known weekly journal, he wrote and published a melodramatic play, called “ Master and Man," and the libretto for an opera on classical lines, not yet placed upon the stage. Mr. Williams is identified with the literary and artistic interests of Philadelphia and is promi. nent in the Pennsylvania Historical Society, the Penn. Club, and other organizations of like character. His critical papers, especially his essays on the English Poets, have received general commendation for their accuracy and judical fairness of statement. He is now devoting himself almost exclusively to poetry.
Mr. Williams' home is in Germantown; a tasteful cottage in which some of the most distinguished men and women of the land have been welcome guests. His thorough refinement of feeling, cour. tesy of demeanor and conversational gifts attract to him the best elements of the community he adorns. Walt Whitman, Louisa M. Alcott, George W. Cable, George Riddle, Alexander Harrison, the artist, and scores of other literary and artistic celebrities have lingered on summer evenings under the trees in the garden, and gathered on winter nights about the host and his graciously sympathetic
Life's dropping sands
And we, forgetting years and cares and toils,
For with them comes what time and sorrow foils, The hedge-row's sunshine in a Brother's smile.
– To My Brother.