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Grand'Ther Baldwin's Thanksgiving

Underneath protected branches, from the highway just aloof;
Stands the house of Grand'ther Baldwin, with its gently sloping roof.
 
Square of shape and solid-timbered, it was standing, I have heard,
In the days of Whig and Tory, under royal George the Third.
 
Many a time, I well remember, I have gazed with Childish awe
At the bullet-hole remaining in the sturdy oaken door,
 
Turning round half-apprehensive (recking not how time had fled)
Of the lurking, savage foeman from whose musket it was sped..
 
Not far off, the barn, plethoric with the autumn's harvest spoils,
Holds the farmer's well-earned trophies--the guerdon of his toils;
 
Filled the lofts with hay, sweet-scented, ravished from the meadows green,
While beneath are stalled the cattle, with their quiet, drowsy mien.
 
Deep and spacious are the grain-bins, brimming o'er with nature's gold;
Here are piles of yellow pumpkins on the barn-floor loosely rolled.
 
Just below in deep recesses, safe from wintry frost chill,
There are heaps of ruddy apples from the orchard the hill.
 
Many a year has Grand'ther Baldwin in the old house dwelt in peace,
As his hair each year grew whiter, he has seen his herds increase.
 
Sturdy sons and comely daughters, growing up from childish plays,
One by one have met life's duties, and gone forth their several ways.
 

 
Hushed the voice of childish laughter, hushed is childhood's merry tone,
the fireside Grand'ther Baldwin and his good wife sit alone.
 

 
Turning round half-apprehensive (recking not how time had fled)
Of the lurking savage foeman from whose musket it was sped.
 
Not far off, the barn, plethoric with the autumn harvest spoils,
Holds the farmer's well-earned trophies--the guerdon of his toils;
 
Filled the lofts with hay, sweet-scented, ravished from the meadows green,
While beneath are stalled the cattle, with their quiet drowsy mien.
 
Deep and spacious are the grain-bins, brimming o'er with nature's gold;
Here are piles of yellow pumpkins on the barn-floor loosely rolled.
 
Just below in deep recesses, safe from wintry frost and chill,
There are heaps of ruddy apples from the orchard on the hill.
 
Many a year has Grand'ther Baldwin in the old house dwelt in peace,
As his hair each year grew whiter, he has seen his herds increase.
 
Sturdy sons and comely daughters, growing up from childish plays,
One by one have met life's duties, and gone forth their several ways.
 
Hushed the voice of childish laughter, hushed is childhood's merry tone,
By the fireside Grand'ther Baldwin and his good wife sit alone.
 

 
Yet once within the twelvemonth, when the days are short and drear,
And chill winds chant the requiem of the slowly fading year,
 
When the autumn work is over, and the harvest gathered in,
Once again the old house echoes to a long unwonted din.
 
Logs of hickory blaze and crackle in the fireplace huge anti high,
Curling wreaths of smoke mount upward to the gray November sky.
 
Ruddy lads and smiling lasses, just let loose from schooldom's cares,
Patter, patter, race and clatter, up and down the great hall stairs.
 
All the boys shall hold high revel; all the girls shall have their way,-
That's the law at Grand'ther Baldwin's upon each Thanksgiving Day.
 
From from the parlor's sacred precincts, hark! a madder uproar yet;
Roguish Charlie's playing stage-coach, and the stage-coach has upset!
 
Joe, black-eyed and laughter-loving, Grand'ther's specs his nose across,
Gravely winks at brother Willie, who is gayly playing horse.
 
Grandma's face is fairly radiant; Grand'ther knows not how to frown,
though the children, in their frolic, turn the old house upside down.
 

 
For the boys may hold high revel, and the girls must have their way;
That's the law at Grand'ther Baldwin's upon each Thanksgiving Day.
 
But the dinner--ah! the dinner--words are feeble to portray
What a culinary triumph is achieved Thanksgiving Day!
 
Fairly groans the board with dainties, but the turkey rules the roast,
Aldermanic at the outset, at the last a fleshless ghost.
 
Then the richness of the pudding, and the flavor of the pie,
When you've dined at Grandma Baldwin's you will know as well as I.
 
When, at length, the feast was ended, Grand'ther Baldwin bent his head,
And, amid the solemn silence, with a reverent voice, he said:--
 
"Now unto God, the Gracious One, we thanks and homage pay,
Who guardeth us, and guideth us, and loveth us always!
 
"He scatters blessings in our paths, He giveth us increase,
He crowns us with His kindnesses, and granteth us His peace.
 
"Unto himself, our wandering feet, we pray that He may draw,
And may we strive, with faithful hearts, to keep His holy law!"
 

 
His simple words in silence died: a moment's hush. And then
From all the listening hearts there rose a solemn-voiced Amen!
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

4:19 min read
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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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