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Barbara's Courtship.

Horatio Alger Jr 1832 ( Chelsea, Massachusetts)

'Tis just three months and eke a day,
Since in the meadows, raking hay,
On looking up I chanced to see
The manor's lord, young Arnold Lee,
With a loose hand on the rein,
Riding slowly down the lane.
As I gazed with earnest look
On his face as on a book,
As if conscious of the gaze,
Suddenly he turned the rays
Of his brilliant eyes on me.
Then I looked down hastily,
While my heart, like caged bird,
Fluttered till it might be heard.
Foolish, foolish Barbara!
We had never met before,
He had been so long away,
Visiting some foreign shore,
I have heard my father say.
What in truth was he to me,
Rich and handsome Arnold Lee?
Fate had placed us far apart;
Why, then, did my restless heart
Flutter when his careless glance
Fell on me by merest chance?
Foolish, foolish Barbara!
There are faces--are there not?-
That can never be forgot.
Looks that seen but once impress
With peculiar vividness.
So it was with Arnold Lee.
Why it was I cannot say
That, through all the livelong day
He seemed ever near to me.
While I raked, as in a dream,
Now the same place o'er and o'er,
Till my little sister chid,
And with full eyes opened wide,
Much in wonder, gently cried,
"Why, what ails thee, Barbara?"
I am in the fields again;
'Tis a pleasant day in June,
All the songsters are in tune,
Pouring out their matin hymn.
All at once a conscious thrill
Led me, half against my will,
To look up. Abashed I see
His dark eyes full fixed on me.
What he said I do not know,
But his voice was soft and low,
As he spoke in careless chat,
Now of this and now of that,
While the murmurous waves of sound
Wafted me a bliss profound.
Foolish, foolish Barbara!
Am I waking? Scarce I know
If I wake or if I dream,
So unreal all things seem;
Yet I could not well forego
This sweet dream, if dream it be,
That has brought such joy to me.
He has told me that he loves me,-
He in rank so far above me;
And when I, with cheeks aglow,
Told him that it was not meet
He should wed with one so low,
He should wed with one so low,
Then he said, in accents sweet,
"Far be thoughts of rank or pelf;
Dear, I love thee for thyself!"
Happy, happy Barbara!
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

2:07 min read

Horatio Alger Jr

Horatio Alger Jr. (; January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was an American writer of young adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" narrative, which had a formative effect on the United States during the Gilded Age. All of Alger's juvenile novels share essentially the same theme, known as the "Horatio Alger myth": a teenage boy works hard to escape poverty. Often it is not hard work that rescues the boy from his fate but rather some extraordinary act of bravery or honesty. The boy might return a large sum of lost money or rescue someone from an overturned carriage. This brings the boy—and his plight—to the attention of a wealthy individual. Alger secured his literary niche in 1868 with the publication of his fourth book, Ragged Dick, the story of a poor bootblack's rise to middle-class respectability. This novel was a huge success. His many books that followed were essentially variations on Ragged Dick and featured stock characters: the valiant, hard-working, honest youth; the noble mysterious stranger; the snobbish youth; and the evil, greedy squire. In the 1870s, Alger's fiction was growing stale. His publisher suggested he tour the American West for fresh material to incorporate into his fiction. Alger took a trip to California, but the trip had little effect on his writing: he remained mired in the staid theme of "poor boy makes good." The backdrops of these novels, however, became the American West rather than the urban environments of the northeastern United States. In the last decades of the 19th century, Alger's moral tone coarsened with the change in boys' tastes. The public wanted sensational thrills. The Protestant work ethic was less prevalent in the United States, and violence, murder, and other sensational themes entered Alger's works. Public librarians questioned whether his books should be made available to the young. They were briefly successful, but interest in Alger's novels was renewed in the first decades of the 20th century, and they sold in the thousands. By the time he died in 1899, Alger had published around a hundred volumes. He is buried in Natick, Massachusetts. Since 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans has awarded scholarships and prizes to deserving individuals.  more…

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