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LADDIN selling the dishes of the genii's banquet while the wonderful lamp rested unused in his closet, may stand as a prophetic image of a poet put to business. Imagination, however, does not disqualify a man for practical work, and the subject of this study, Mr. Henry Abbey, has probably been as successful in business as if the gods had not made him poetical. He is at present a flour and grain dealer at Rondout, New York, is vice-president of a bank at Kingston, and a mem. ber of the Produce Exchange, of New York City.
Mr. Abbey was born at Rondout, New York, July 11, 1842. He is the eldest son of Stephen Abbey and Caroline Vail. His great-grandmother was Lucy Knox, for whom is claimed a lineal descent from John Knox the great Scotch Reformer. Mr. Abbey's grandfather came when a boy into New York state from Connecticut. Caroline Vail was a descendant of one of three brother Vails who came over in the Mayflower and whose names are engraved in the monument at Plymouth. It is said that one of the brothers married a daughter of Massasoit and a geneological tree shows that Caroline Vail was a descendant of this marriage.
Mr. Abbey received his education at several institutes in Kingston and the neighborhood. While preparing for college the panic of 1857 brought financial embarrassment to his father and he was compelled to forego his studies. Probably his training was more an affair of libraries than of schools, his determination towards letters being strong enough to survive the deprivation of college. His first book of verse was published in 1862. This and other early work he regards merely as evidence of an intuitive groping for expression. Soon after the publication of his first work, Mr. Abbey became assistant editor of the Rondout Courier. He did not serve many months in that capacity, however, as he left Rondout and went to New York. Here he wrote verses for the New York Leader and enjoyed the acquaintance of Henry Clapp, Jr., George Arnold, Fitzhugh Ludlow and other literary people of the time. From New York he went to Orange, New Jersey, and started the Orange Spectator, which paper, however, was soon discontinued. In 1864 Mr. Abbey returned to Rondout. He was married in 1865 to Mary Louise du Bois daughter of Mr. Elijah du Bois a member of the Holland Society.
In 1872 was published Mr. Abbey's "Ballads of Good Deeds." Most of the poems in this collection had previously appeared in various periodicals— Harper's Magazine, Appleton's Journal, The Galaxy, Chambers' Journal, and others. This volume, under the same name, but somewhat enlarged, was published in London in 1876 and attracted some
THE AGE OF GOOD.
I HAD a vision of mankind to be:
And likes not pomp and show; he seemed to be
O Thou, the Christ, the Sower of the seed,
When each will love his neighbor as himself! The hopes of man, our dreams of higher good, Are based on Thee; we are Thy brotherhood.
THE DRAWBRIDGE KEEPER. DRECKER, a drawbridge keeper, opened wide The dangerous gate to let the vessel through; His little son was standing by his side, Above Passaic River deep and blue, While in the distance, like a moan of pain, Was heard the whistle of the coming train.
At once brave Drecker worked to swing it back,
Either at once down in the stream to spring
And yet the child to him was full as dear
For Drecker, being great of soul and true,
And yet the man was poor, and in his breast
He is most noble whose humanity
THE pale day died in the rain to-night,
And its hurrying ghost, the wind, goes by: The mountains loom in their silent might, And darkly frown at the sea and sky.
The petrel wings close to his surging home,
And stabs with a shriek the shuddering night: The mad wave beckons with hands of foam Dipped in the blood of the sea-tower's light.
So, in my heart, is a storm to-night,
Storm and tumult that will not cease; And my soul, in bitterness, longs for the light, For the waking bird and the dawn of peace.
THE SINGER'S ALMS.
IN Lyons, in the mart of that French town,
To see, behind its eyes, a noble soul.
He paused, but found he had no coin to dole.
His guardian angel warned him not to lose
The sky was blue above, and all the lane
Of commerce where the singer stood was filled,
I think the guardian angel helped along
The singer stood between the beggars there,
Held toward heaven, land of the heart's desire,
The hat of its stamped brood was emptied soon Into the woman's lap, who drenched with tears Her kiss upon the hand of help: 't was noon, And noon in her glad heart drove forth her fears. The singer, pleased, passed on, and softly thought, "Men will not know by whom this deed was wrought."
But when at night he came upon the stage,
WHEN from the vaulted wonder of the sky
And death, that dread annulment which life shuns,
The thoroughfare to greater worlds on high, The bridge from star to star. Seek how we may, There is no other road across the sky;
And, looking up, I hear star-voices say:
"You could not reach us if you did not die."