Top 20 Most Popular Poems of Horatio Alger, Jr.

These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of Horatio Alger, Jr.

From The Whippoorwill And I. to Mrs. Merdle Discourseth Of The Necessity Of Good Wine And Other Matters..

If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.

Keep reading!.

The Whippoorwill And I.

In the hushed hours of night, when the air quite still,
I hear the strange cry of the lone whippoorwill,
Who Chants, without ceasing, that wonderful trill,
Of which the sole burden is still, “Whip-poor-Will.”

And why should I whip him? Strange visitant,
Has he been playing truant this long summer day?
I listened a moment; more clear and more shrill
Rang the voice of the bird, as he cried, “Whip-poor-Will.”

But what has poor Will done? I ask you once more;
I’ll whip him, don’t fear, if you’ll tell me what for.
I paused for an answer; o’er valley and hill
Rang the voice of the bird, as he cried, “Whip-poor-Will.”

Has he come to your dwelling, by night or by day,
And snatched the young birds from their warm nest away?
I paused for an answer; o’er valley and hill
Rang the voice of the bird, as he cried, “Whip-poor-Will.”

Well, well, I can hear you, don’t have any fears,
I can hear what is constantly dinned in my ears.
The obstinate bird, with his wonderful trill,
Still made but one answer, and that, “Whip-poor-Will.”

But what HAS poor Will done? I prithee explain;
I’m out of all patience, don’t mock me again.
The obstinate bird, with his wonderful trill,
Still made the same answer, and that, “Whip-poor-Will.”

Well, have your own way, then; but if you won’t tell,
I’ll shut down the window, and bid you farewell;
But of one thing be sure, I won’t whip him until
You give me some reason for whipping poor Will.

I listened a moment, as if for reply,
But nothing was heard but the bird’s mocking cry.
I caught the faint echo from valley and hill;
It breathed the same burden, that strange “Whip-poor-Will.”

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Friar Anselmo.

Friar Anselmo (God’s grace may he win!)
Committed one sad day a deadly sin;

Which being done he drew back, self-abhorred,
From the rebuking presence of the Lord,

And, kneeling down, besought, with bitter cry,
Since life was worthless grown, that he might die.

All night he knelt, and, when the morning broke,
In patience still he waits death’s fatal stroke.

When all at once a cry of sharp distress
Aroused Anselmo from his wretchedness;

And, looking from the convent window high,
He saw a wounded traveller gasping lie

Just underneath, who, bruised and stricken sore,
Had crawled for aid unto the convent door.

The friar’s heart with deep compassion stirred,
When the poor wretch’s groans for help were heard

With gentle hands, and touched with love divine,
He bathed his wounds, and poured in oil and wine.

With tender foresight cared for all his needs,–
A blessed ministry of noble deeds.

In such devotion passed seven days. At length
The poor wayfarer gained his wonted strength.

With grateful thanks he left the convent walls,
And once again on death Anselmo calls.

When, lo! his cell was filled with sudden light,
And on the wall he saw an angel write,

(An angel in whose likeness he could trace,
More noble grown, the traveller’s form and face),

“Courage, Anselmo, though thy sin be great,
God grants thee life that thou may’st expiate.

“Thy guilty stains shall be washed white again,
By noble service done thy fellow-men.

“His soul draws nearest unto God above,
Who to his brother ministers in love.”

Meekly Anselmo rose, and, after prayer,
His soul was lightened of its past despair.

Henceforth he strove, obeying God’s high will,
His heaven-appointed mission to fulfil.

And many a soul, oppressed with pain and grief,
Owed to the friar solace and relief.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

The Confession.

I am glad that you have come,
Arthur, from the dusty town;
You must throw aside your cares,
And relax your legal frown.
Coke and Littleton, avaunt!
You have ruled him through the day;
In this quiet, sylvan haunt,
Be content to yield your sway.

It is pleasant, is it not,
Sitting here beneath the trees,
While the restless wind above
Ripples over leafy seas?

Often, when the twilight falls,
In the shadow, quite alone,
I have sat till starlight came,
Listening to its monotone.
Yet not always quite alone,–
Brother, let me take the place
Just behind you now the moon
Shines no longer in my face.

It is near two months ago
Since I met him, as I think,
By God’s mercy, when my horse
Trembled on the river’s brink.
I had fallen, but his arm
Firmly seized the bridle-rein,
And, with one decided grasp,
Drew me back to life again.
I was grateful and essayed
Fitting words my thanks to speak.
Arthur, when the heart feels most,
Words, I think, are oftenest weak.

So I stammered and I fear,
What I said had little grace
But I knew he understood,
By the smile upon his face.
There are faces–his was such–
That are sealed when in repose;
Only when a smile floods out,
All the soul in beauty glows.
With that smile I grew content,
And my heart grew strangely calm,
As with trustful step I walked,
My arm resting on his arm.

Brother, turn your face away,
So, dear, I can tell you best
All that followed; but be sure
You are looking to the west.
Arthur, I have seen him since,
Nearly every day, until
If I lose him, all my life
Would grow wan, and dark, and chill.
Brother, this my love impute
Not to me for maiden-shame;
He has sought me for his wife,
He would crown me with his name.
Only yesterday he said
That my love his life would bless:
Would I grant it? Arthur, dear,
Was I wrong in saying “Yes”?

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Carving A Name.

I wrote my name upon the sand,
And trusted it would stand for aye;
But, soon, alas! the refluent sea
Had washed my feeble lines away.

I carved my name upon the wood,
And, after years, returned again;
I missed the shadow of the tree
That stretched of old upon the plain.

To solid marble next, my name
I gave as a perpetual trust;
An earthquake rent it to its base,
And now it lies, o’erlaid with dust.

All these have failed. In wiser mood
I turn and ask myself, “What then?”
If I would have my name endure,
I’ll write it on the hearts of men,

In characters of living light,
Of kindly deeds and actions wrought.
And these, beyond the touch of time,
Shall live immortal as my thought.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Rose In The Garden.

Thirty years have come and gone,
Melting away like Southern Snows,
Since, in the light of a summer’s night,
I went to the garden to seek my Rose.

Mine! Do you hear it, silver moon,
Flooding my heart with your mellow shine?
Mine! Be witness, ye distant stars,
Looking on me with eyes divine!

Tell me, tell me, wandering winds,
Whisper it, if you may not speak–
Did you ever, in all your round,
Fan a lovelier brow or cheek?

Long I nursed in my heart the love,
Love which felt, but dared not tell,
Till, I scarcely know how or when–
It found wild words,- and all was well!

I can hear her sweet voice even now–
It makes my pulses leap and thrill–
“I owe you more than I well can pay;
You may take me, Robert, if you will!”

One pleasant summer night,
the garden walks alone,
Looking about with restless eyes,
Wondering whither my Rose had flown,

Till, from a leafy arbor near,
There came to my ears the sound of speech.
Who can be with Rose to night?
Let me hide me under the beach.

It must be one of her female friends,
Talking with her in the gloaming gray;
Perchance–I thought–they may speak of me;
Let me listen to what they say.

This I said with a careless smile,
And a joyous heart that was free from fears;
Little I dreamed that the words I heard
Would weigh on my heavy heart for years.

“Rose, my Rose! for your heart is mine,”
I heard in a low voice, passion-fraught,
“In the sight of Heaven we are truly one;
Why will you cast me away for naught?

“Will you give your hand where your heart goes not
To a man who is grave and stern and old;
And whose love compared with my passion-heat,
As the snow of the frozen North, is cold?”

And Rose–I could feel her cheek grow pale–
Her voice was tremulous, then grew strong–
“Richard,” she said, “your words are wild,
And you do my guardian bitter wrong.

“Did you never hear how, years gone by,” —
She spoke in a tremulous undertone–
“Bereft of friends, o’er the world’s highways,
I wandered forth as a child alone?

“He opened to me his home and heart–
He whom you call so stern and cold–
And my grateful heart I may well bestow
On him for his kindness manifold.”

“Rose,” he said, in a saddened tone,
“I thank him for all he has done for thee;
He has acted nobly–I did him wrong–
But is there no voice in your heart for me?”

And Rose–she trembled–I felt it all;
I heard her quick breath come and go;
Her voice was broken; she only said,
“Have pity, Richard, and let me go!”

And then–Heaven gave me strength, I think–
I stood before them calm and still;
You might have thought my tranquil breast
Had never known one passion-thrill.

And they alternate flushed and paled;
Rose tottered, and I feared would fall;
I caught her in supporting arms,
And whispered, “Rose, I heard it all.

“I had a dream, but it is passed,
That we might journey, hand in hand
Along the rugged steeps of life,
Until we reached God’s promised land.

“This was my dream; — ’tis over now;–
Thank Heaven, it is not yet too late!
I pray no selfish act of mine
May keep two young hearts separate.”

I placed her passive hand in his-
With how much pain God only knows–
And blessing him for her sweet sake,
I left him standing with my Rose!

Horatio Alger, Jr.

A Soldier’s Valentine.

Just from the sentry’s tramp
(I must take it again at ten),
I have laid my musket down,
And seized instead my pen;
For, pacing my lonely round
In the chilly twilight gray,
The thought, dear Mary, came,
That this is St. Valentine’s Day.

And with the thought there came
A glimpse of the happy time
When a school-boy’s first attempt
I sent you, in borrowed rhyme,
On a gilt-edged sheet, embossed
With many a quaint design,
And signed, in school-boy hand,
“Your loving Valentine.”

The years have come and gone,–
Have flown, I know not where, —
And the school-boy’s merry face
Is grave with manhood’s care;
But the heart of the man still beats
At the well-remembered name,
And on this St. Valentine’s Day
His choice is still the same.

There was a time– ah, well!
Think not that I repine
When I dreamed this happy day
Would smile on you as mine;
But I heard my country’s call;
I knew her need was sore.
Thank God, no selfish thought
Withheld me from the war.

But when the dear old flag
Shall float in its ancient pride,
When the twain shall be made one,
And feuds no more divide,–
I will lay my musket down,
My martial garb resign,
And turn my joyous feet
Toward home and Valentine.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

How The Author Sometimes Dines.

And now by your leave I will try to expound it,
In truth as it is and the way that I found it.

My dinner, sometimes, like things transcendental
And things more substantial, like women and wine
A thing is, uncertain, and quite accidental,
And sometimes I wonder, “Oh! where shall I dine?”

It was when reflecting one evening of late,
What tavern or hotel or dining-room skinner,
With table cloth dirty and dirtier plate,
Would give me a nausea and call it a dinner,
I met with Jack Merdle, a name fully known
As good for a million in Stock-gamblers’ Street,
Where none but a nabob or forger high flown
With “bulls” or with “bears” need look for a seat.

Horatio Alger, Jr.


I sit in the shadow of apple-boughs,
In the fragrant orchard close,
And around me floats the scented air,
With its wave-like tidal flows.
I close my eyes in a dreamy bliss,
And call no king my peer;
For is not this the rare, sweet time,
The blossoming time of the year?

I lie on a couch of downy grass,
With delicate blossoms strewn,
And I feel the throb of Nature’s heart
Responsive to my own.
Oh, the world is fair, and God is good,
That maketh life so dear;
For is not this the rare, sweet time,
The blossoming time of the year?

I can see, through the rifts of the apple-boughs,
The delicate blue of the sky,
And the changing clouds with their marvellous tints
That drift so lazily by.
And strange, sweet thoughts sing through my brain,
And Heaven, it seemeth near;
Oh, is it not a rare, sweet time,
The blossoming time of the year?

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Summer Hours.

It is the year’s high noon,
The earth sweet incense yields,
And o’er the fresh, green fields
Bends the clear sky of June.

I leave the crowded streets,
The hum of busy life,
Its clamor and its strife,
To breathe thy perfumed sweets.

O rare and golden hours!
The bird’s melodious song,
Wavelike, is borne along
Upon a strand of flowers.

I wander far away,
Where, through the forest trees,
Sports the cool summer breeze,
In wild and wanton play.

A patriarchal elm
Its stately form uprears,
Which twice a hundred years
Has ruled this woodland realm.

I sit beneath its shade,
And watch, with careless eye,
The brook that babbles by,
And cools the leafy glade.

In truth I wonder not,
That in the ancient days
The temples of God’s praise
Were grove and leafy grot.

The noblest ever planned,
With quaint device and rare,
By man, can ill compare
With these from God’s own hand.

Pilgrim with way-worn feet,
Who, treading life’s dull round,
No true repose hast found,
Come to this green retreat.

For bird, and flower, and tree,
Green fields, and woodland wild,
Shall bear, with voices mild,
Sweet messages to thee.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Last Words.

“Dear Charlie,” breathed a soldier,
“O comrade true and tried,
Who in the heat of battle
Pressed closely to my side;
I feel that I am stricken,
My life is ebbing fast;
I fain would have you with me,
Dear Charlie, till the last.

“It seems so sudden, Charlie,
To think to-morrow’s sun
Will look upon me lifeless,
And I not twenty-one!
I little dreamed this morning,
Twould bring my last campaign;
God’s ways are not as our ways,
And I will not complain.

“There’s one at home, dear Charlie,
Will mourn for me when dead,
Whose heart–it is a mother’s–
Can scarce be comforted.
You’ll write and tell her, Charlie,
With my dear love, that I
Fought bravely as a soldier should,
And died as he should die.

“And you will tell her, Charlie,
She must not grieve too much,
Our country claims our young lives,
For she has need of such.
And where is he would falter,
Or turn ignobly back,
When Duty’s voice cries ‘Forward,’
And Honor lights the track ?

“And there’s another, Charlie
(His voice became more low),
When thoughts of HER come o’er me,
It makes it hard to go.
This locket in my bosom,
She gave me just before
I left my native village
For the fearful scenes of war.

“Give her this message, Charlie,
Sent with my dying breath,
To her and to my banner
I’m ‘faithful unto death.’
And if, in that far country
Which I am going to,
Our earthly ties may enter,
I’ll there my love renew.

“Come nearer, closer, Charlie,
My head I fain would rest,
It must be for the last time,
Upon your faithful breast.
Dear friend, I cannot tell you
How in my heart I feel
The depth of your devotion,
Your friendship strong as steel.

“We’ve watched and camped together
In sunshine and in rain;
We’ve shared the toils and perils
Of more than one campaign;
And when my tired feet faltered,
Beneath the noontide heat,
Your words sustained my courage,
Gave new strength to my feet.

“And once,– ’twas at Antietam,–
Pressed hard by thronging foes,
I almost sank exhausted
Beneath their cruel blows,–
When you, dear friend, undaunted,
With headlong courage threw
Your heart into the contest,
And safely brought me through.

“My words are weak, dear Charlie,
My breath is growing scant;
Your hand upon my heart there,
Can you not hear me pant?
Your thoughts I know will wander
Sometimes to where I lie–
How dark it grows! True comrade
And faithful friend, good-by!”

A moment, and he lay there
A statue, pale and calm.
His youthful head reclining
Upon his comrade’s arm.
His limbs upon the greensward
Were stretched in careless grace,
And by the fitful moon was seen
A smile upon his face.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

John Maynard.

‘Twas on Lake Erie’s broad expanse
One bright midsummer day,
The gallant steamer Ocean Queen
Swept proudly on her way.
Bright faces clustered on the deck,
Or, leaning o’er the side,
Watched carelessly the feathery foam
That flecked the rippling tide.

Ah, who beneath that cloudless sky,
That smiling bends serene,
Could dream that danger awful, vast,
Impended o’er the scene,-
Could dream that ere an hour had sped
That frame of sturdy oak
Would sink beneath the lake’s blue waves,
Blackened with fire and smoke?

A seaman sought the captain’s side,
A moment whispered low;
The captain’s swarthy face grew pale;
He hurried down below.
Alas, too late! Though quick, and sharp,
And clear his orders came,
No human efforts could avail
To quench the insidious flame.

The bad news quickly reached the deck,
It sped from lip to lip,
And ghastly Faces everywhere
Looked from the doomed ship.
“Is there no hope–no chance of life?”
A hundred lips implore,
“But one,” the captain made reply,
“To run the ship on shore.”

A sailor, whose heroic soul
That hour should yet reveal,
By name John Maynard, eastern-born,
Stood calmly at the wheel.
“Head her south-east!” the captain shouts,
Above the smothered roar,–
“Head her south-east without delay!
Make for the nearest shore!”

No terror pales the helmsman’s cheek,
Or clouds his dauntless eye,
As, in a sailor’s measured tone,
His voice responds, “Ay! ay!”
Three hundred souls, the steamer’s freight,
Crowd forward wild with fear,
While at the stern the dreaded flames
Above the deck appear.

John Maynard watched the nearing flames,
But still with steady hand
He grasped the wheel, and steadfastly
He steered the ship to land.
“John Maynard, can you still hold out?”
He heard the captain cry;
A voice from out the stifling smoke
Faintly responds, “Ay! ay!”

But half a mile! a hundred hands
Stretch eagerly to shore.
But half a mile! That distance sped
Peril shall all be o’er.
But half a mile! Yet stay, the flames
No longer slowly creep,
But gather round that helmsman bold,
With fierce, impetuous sweep.

“John Maynard!” with an anxious voice
The captain cries once more,
“Stand by the wheel five minutes yet,
And we shall reach the shore.”
Through flame and smoke that dauntless heart
Responded firmly still,
Unawed, though face to face with death,-
“With God’s good help I will!”

The flames approach with giant strides,
They scorch his hand and brow;
One arm, disabled, seeks his side,
Ah! he is conquered now!
But no, his teeth are firmly set,
He crushes down his pain,
His knee upon the stanchion pressed,
He guides the ship again.

One moment yet! one moment yet!
Brave heart, thy task is o’er,
The pebbles grate beneath the keel.
The steamer touches shore.
Three hundred grateful voice rise
In praise to God that he
Hath saved them from the fearful fire,
And from the engulphing sea.

But where is he, that helmsman bold?
The captain saw him reel,-
His nerveless hands released their task,
He sank beside the wheel.
The wave received his lifeless corpse,
Blackened with smoke and fire.
God rest him! Never hero had
A nobler funeral pyre!

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Mrs. Merdle Discourseth Of Pudding.

A pudding! why yes, as I live, too, it’s plum;
So plain, Susan makes them on purpose for me
I never refuse, when the plum puddings come,
To finish my dinner, if finished ‘t can be
On things unsubstantial, like puddings and pies,
So made up of suet, and currants, and flour,
Like this one before us, to get up the size,
And stirred up and beaten with eggs by the hour,
With bread crumbs, and citron, and small piece of mace;
With nutmeg, and cinnamon, and sugar, and milk,
And” currants, and raisins, and spices so race,
And what else I know not of things of that ilk.

The whole after cooking six hours at the least,
When thus well compounded with delicate skill,
With wine sauce is eaten, to finish the feast,
And suits the digestion of ladies quite ill,
Who suffer as I do, from having bad cooks,
And very weak stomachs, and food that near kills ’em;
And then such a sight of bad rules in the books
From contents to finis, to cure one that fills ’em.

There’s one of all others so much recommended
To cure every ill of old Eve’s every daughter,
With nothing or next to’t, for medicine expended,
For nothing to cure with is used but cold water.

And what with the bathing, and washing, and scrubbing;
The packing, and sweating, and using the sheet;
The shower bath, and douche bath, and all sorts of rubbing;
And literally nothing but brown bread to eat,
No wonder the patient accepts of the lure,
To escape such a ducking, acknowledged a cure.

But Lord, what a skein I have made of my yarn,
While Susan’s arranging and changing the plates,
And running all round old Robin Hood’s barn,
Like puzzles at school that we made on our slates;
But talking of puzzles, no one that we made,
While playing the fool we played as a trade,
When childhood and folly joined hands at the schools,
Could equal the pranks of these cold-water fools.

Yes, yes, Mr. Merdle, I knew by the smelling
The pudding was ready, without any telling;
So Colonel, I’ll help you a delicate slice–
For nothing, I’m sure, like a dinner you’ve eaten–
And afterwards follow with jelly and ice,
So pleasant while waiting to cool off the heat on;
And then with a syllabub, comfit, or cream,
Our dessert of almonds and raisins we’ll nibble,
Till coffee comes in to revive with it’s steam,
When cakes in its fragrance we’ll leisurely dibble.

I’m sure after all it’s a terrible bore
To labor so hard as we do for our victuals;
I envy the women that beg at the door,
Or hire out for wages to handle your kettles,
And wash, bake, and iron, and do nothing but cooking,
So rugged and healthy, and often good looking:
The doctor has told me except when they’re mothers,
They never take tincture, or rhubarb, or pill,
And swears the profession if there were no others,
Their patients would use up, and starve out and kill.

I’m sure I don’t see how that makes them exempt
From all sorts of sickness and woman’s complaints,
With nothing to hinder if appetite tempt
From eating or drinking as happy as saints.

Oh Lord, now, this pudding so delicate made,
And gravy I’m sure with nothing that’s rich in,
That one of those women who beg as a trade,
The whole in one stomach could leisurely pitch in,
Is now in my own so terribly painful in feeling,
Its calls for relief are most loudly appealing.

Horatio Alger, Jr.


Throw open wide your golden gates,
O poet-landed month of June,
And waft me, on your spicy breath,
The melody of birds in tune.

O fairest palace of the three,
Wherein Queen Summer holdeth sway,
I gaze upon your leafy courts
From out the vestibule of May.

I fain would tread your garden walks,
Or in your shady bowers recline;
Then open wide your golden gates,
And make them mine, and make them mine.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

King Cotton.

King Cotton looks from his window
Towards the westering sun,
And he marks, with an anguished horror,
That his race is almost run.

His form is thin and shrunken;
His cheek is pale and wan;
And the lines of care on his furrowed brow
Are dread to look upon.

But yesterday a monarch,
In the flush of his pomp and pride,
And, not content with his own broad lands,
He would rule the world beside.

He built him a stately palace,
With gold from beyond the sea;
And he laid with care the corner-stone,
And he called it Slavery:

He summoned an army with banners,
To keep his foes at bay;
And, gazing with pride on his palace walls,
He said, “They will stand for aye!”

But the palace walls are shrunken,
And partly overthrown,
And the storms of war, in their violence,
Have loosened the corner-stone.

Now Famine stalks through the palace halls,
With her gaunt and pallid train;
You can hear the cries of famished men,
As they cry for bread in vain.

The king can see, from his palace walls.
A land by his pride betrayed;
Thousands of mothers and wives bereft.
Thousands of graves new-made.

And he seems to see, in the lowering sky,
The shape of a flaming sword;
Whereon he reads, with a sinking heart,
The anger of the Lord.

God speed the time when the guilty king
Shall be hurled from his blood-stained throne;
And the palace of Wrong shall crumble to dust,
With its boasted corner-stone.

A temple of Freedom shall rise instead,
On the desecrated site:
And within its shelter alike shall stand
The black man and the white.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

The Lost Heart.

One golden summer day,
Along the forest-way,
Young Colin passed with blithesome steps alert.

His locks with careless grace
Rimmed round his handsome face
And drifted outward on the airy surge.

So blithe of heart was he,
He hummed a melody,
And all the birds were hushed to hear him sing.

Across his shoulders flung
His bow and baldric hung:
So, in true huntsman’s guise, he threads the wood.

The sun mounts up the sky,
The air moves sluggishly,
And reeks with summer heat in every pore.

His limbs begin to tire,
Slumbers his youthful fire;
He sinks upon a violet-bed to rest.

The soft winds go and come
With low and drowsy hum,
And ope for him the ivory gate of dreams.

Beneath the forest-shade
There trips a woodland maid,
And marks with startled eye the sleeping youth.

At first she thought to fly,
Then, timid, drawing nigh,
She gazed in wonder on his fair young face.

When swiftly stooping down
Upon his locks so brown
She lightly pressed her lips, and blushing fled.

When Colin woke from sleep,
From slumbers calm and deep,
He felt- he knew not how- his heart had flown.

And so, with anxious care,
He wandered here and there,
But could not find his lost heart anywhere.

Then he, with air distraught,
And brow of anxious thought,
Went out into the world beyond the wood.

Of each that passed him by,
He queried anxiously,
“I prithee, hast thou seen a heart astray?”

Some stared and hurried on,
While others said in scorn.
Your heart has gone in search of your lost wits”

The day is wearing fast,
Young Colin comes at last
To where a cottage stood embowered in trees.

He looks within, and there
He sees a maiden fair,
Who sings low songs the while she plies her wheel.

“I prithee, maiden bright,”–
She turns as quick as light,
And straight a warm flush crimsons all her face.

She, much abashed, looks down,
For on his locks so brown
She seems to see the marks her lips have made.

Whereby she stands confest;
What need to tell the rest?
He said, “I think, fair maid, you have my heart.

“Nay, do not give it back,
I shall not feel the lack,
If thou wilt give to me thine own therefor.”

Horatio Alger, Jr.

What Another Poet Did.

Another expounder of life’s thorny mazes
Excited our pity at fortune’s hard fare,
And troubled the city’s most troublesome places,
While singing his ditty of “Nothing to Wear.”
“A tale worth the telling,”‘ though I tell for the same,
Great objects of pity we see in the street,
“With nothing to wear, though a legion by name,
Is not to buy clothing, but something to eat.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Song Of The Croaker.

An old frog lived in a dismal swamp,
In a dismal kind of way;
And all that he did, whatever befell,
Was to croak the livelong day.
Croak, croak, croak,
When darkness filled the air,
And croak, croak, croak,
When the skies were bright and fair.

“Good Master Frog, a battle is fought,
And the foeman’s power is broke.”
But he only turned a greener hue,
And answered with a croak.
Croak, croak, croak,
When the clouds are dark and dun,
And croak, croak, croak,
In the blaze of the noontide sun.

“Good Master Frog, the forces of right
Are driving the hosts of wrong.”
But he gave his head an ominous shake,
And croaked out, “Nous verrons!”
Croak, croak, croak,
Till the heart is full of gloom,
And croak, croak, croak,
Till the world seems but a tomb.

To poison the cup of life,
By always dreading the worst.
Is to make of the earth a dungeon damp,
And the happiest life accursed.
Croak, croak, croak,
When the noontide sun rides high,
And croak, croak, croak,
Lest the night come by and by.

Farewell to the dismal frog;
Let him croak as loud as he may,
He cannot blot the sun from heaven,
Nor hinder the march of day,
Though he croak, croak, croak,
Till the heart is full of gloom,
And croak, croak, croak,
Till the world seems but a tomb.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Harvard Odes.


(Feb. 23, 1869.)

Fair Harvard, dear guide of our youth’s golden days;
At thy name all our hearts own a thrill,
We turn from life’s .highways, its business, its cares,
We are boys in thy tutelage still.
And the warm blood of youth to our veins, as of yore,
Returns with impetuous flow,
Reviving the scenes and the hopes that were ours
In the vanished, but sweet Long Ago.

Once more through thy walks, Alma Mater, we tread,
And we dream youth’s fair dreams once again,
We are heroes in fight for the Just and the Right,
We are knights without fear, without stain;
Its doors in fair prospect the world opens wide,
Its prizes seem easy to win,–
We are strong in our faith, we are bold in our might,
And we long for the race to begin.

Though dimmed are our hopes, and our visions are fled,
Our dreams were but dreams, it is true;
Dust-stained from the contest we gather to-night,
The sweet dreams of youth to renew.
Enough for to-morrow the cares it shall bring,
We are boys, we are brothers, to-night;
And our hearts, warm with love, Alma Mater, to thee,
Shall in loyal devotion unite.


(Feb. 11, 1870.)

As we meet in thy name, Alma Mater, to-night,
All our hearts and our hopes are as one,
And love for the mother that nurtured his youth
Beats high in the breast of each son.
The sweet chords of Memory bridge o’er the Past,
The years fade away like a dream,
By the banks of Cephissus, beneath the green trees,
We tread thy fair walks, Academe.

The heights of Hymettus that bound the near view
Fill the air with an odor as sweet
As the beautiful clusters of sun-tinted grapes
From the vineyards that lie at our feet.
O realm of enchantment, O Wonderful land,
Where the gods hold high converse with men,
Come out from the dusk of past ages once more,
And live in our fancy again.

Let us drink to the Past as our glasses we lift,
Let eye speak to eye, heart to heart,
Let the bonds of sweet fellowship bind each to each,
In the hours that remain ere we part.
And thou, Alma Mater, grown fairer with age,
Let us echo the blessing that fell
From thy motherly lips, as we stood at thy side,
And thou bad’st us God-speed and Farewell.


(Feb. 21, 1872.)

Fair Harvard, the months have accomplished their round
And a year stands full-orbed and complete,
Since last at thy summons, with dutiful hearts,
Thy children sat here at thy feet.
Since last in thy presence, grown youthful once more,
We drank to the past and its joys,
Shaking off every care that encumbered our years,
And dreamed that again we were boys.

To-night once again in thy presence we meet
In the freshness and flush of life’s spring;
We wait but thy blessing, we ask but thy smile,
As our sails to the free air we fling.
The winds breathe auspicious that waft us along,
The sky, undisturbed, smiles serene,
Hope stands at the prow, and the waters gleam bright
With sparkles of silvery sheen.

And thy voice, Alma Mater, so potent and sweet,
Still sounds in our ears as of yore,
And thy motherly counsel we hear, wisdom-fraught,
As we push our frail barks from the shore.
From the foam-crested waves of the mountainous sea
As backward our glances we strain,
We see the dear face of our mother benign,
And bless her again and again.


(Feb. 21, 1873.)

There’s a fountain of Fable whose magical power
Time’s ravages all could repair,
And replace the bowed form and the tottering step,
The wrinkles and silvery hair,
By the brown flowing locks and the graces of youth,
Its footstep elastic and light,
Could mantle the cheek with its long-vanished bloom
And make the dull eye keen and bright.

‘Tis only a fable–a beautiful dream,
But the fable, the dream, shall come true,
As thy sons, Alma Mater, assemble to-night
The joys of past years to renew.
Our eyes shall grow bright with their old wonted light,
Our spirits untrammelled by care,
And the Goddess of Hope, with her fresh rainbow tints,
Shall paint every prospect more fair.

How sweet were the friendships we formed in thy halls!
How strong were the tendrils that bound
Our hearts to the mother whose provident care
Encompassed her children around!
Now strong in our manhood we cherish her still;
And if by misfortune brought low,
Our strength shall support her, our arms bear her up,
And sustain her through weal and through woe.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Gone To The War.

My Charlie has gone to the war,
My Charlie so brave and tall;
He left his plough in the furrow,
And flew at his country’s call.
May God in safety keep him,–
My precious boy–my all!

My heart is pining to see him;
I miss him every day;
My heart is weary with waiting,
And sick of the long delay,–
But I know his country needs him,
And I could not bid him stay.

I remember how his face flushed,
And how his color came,
When the flash from the guns of Sumter
Lit the whole land with flame,
And darkened our country’s banner
With the crimson hue of shame.

“Mother,” he said, then faltered,–
I felt his mute appeal;
I paused– if you are a mother,
You know what mothers feel,
When called to yield their dear ones
To the cruel bullet and steel.

My heart stood still for a moment,
Struck with a mighty woe;
A faint as of death came o’er me,
I am a mother, you know,
But I sternly checked my weakness,
And firmly bade him “Go.”

Wherever the fight is fiercest
I know that my boy will be;
Wherever the need is sorest
Of the stout arms of the free.
May he prove as true to his country
As he has been true to me.

My home is lonely without him,
My hearth bereft of joy,
The thought of him who has left me
My constant sad employ;
But God has been good to the mother,–
She shall not blush for her boy.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

Mrs. Merdle Discourseth Of The Necessity Of Good Wine And Other Matters.

So while we are eating the fruits of the vine,
Don’t let us forget such a health giving juice,
As Champagne, or Sherbet, or other good wine,
Nor sin by neglecting its ‘temperate use.’

Now Sherbet, my husband extols to the skies,
With me though, my stomach is weak and won’t bear it:
And Sherry, though sometimes affecting my eyes,
A bottle with pleasure we’ll open and share it.

Ha, ha, well-a-day–what a queer world to live in,
If one were contented on little to dine,
We need not be longing another to be in,
Where women, they tell us, exist without wine;
Where husbands are happy and women content;
Where dresses, though gauzy, are fit for the street;
Where no one is wretched with purses unbent,
With nothing to wear and nothing to eat.

Where women no longer are treated la Turk,
Where husbands descended from Saxon or Norman,
For women when sickly are willing to work,
And not long for Utah and pleasures la Mormon–
Where men freely marry and live with their wives,
And not live as you do, mon Colonel, so single.

Such wretched and dinnerless bachelor lives;
You don’t know the pleasure there is in the tingle
Of ears pricked by lectures, la curtain, au Caudle,
Or noise of young Dinewells beginning to toddle;
While plodding all day with your paper and quills,
And copy, and proof sheets, and work for the printer,
Pray what do you know of the housekeeper’s bills,
And other such ‘pleasures of hope’ for the winter?

You men, selfish creatures, think all of the care
Of living and keeping yourselves in existence,
Is due to your own daily labor, and share,
From breakfast to dinner of business persistance;
While woman is either a plaything or drudge,
According to station of wealth or position,
Which men help along with a word or a nudge
To heaven high up or low down to perdition.

But what was I saying of a world free from care,
Of eating and drinking and dresses to wear?

Where women by husbands are never tormented,
And never asked money where husbands dissented?
And never see others, their rivals, in fashion ahead,
And never have doctors–a woman’s great dread–
And nothing, I hope, like my own indigestion,
To torment and starve them, as this one does me,
And keep them from sipping–forgive the suggestion–
The nectar etherial they drink for their tea.

Horatio Alger, Jr.

These are extraordinarily poems indeed! No wonder Horatio Alger, Jr.’s writings, not only his poems, were characterized by the “rags-to-riches” narrative. Which also had a formative effect on the United States during the Gilded Age. He’s doubtlessly one of the best poets of all time.

Carving A Name is my most favorite work in his poetry collection. It conveys lots of emotions and facts based on the importance of our lives. Not based on objects or assets but based on the influence our lives impacted other people. I couldn’t help but be amazed by how well it was composed by him.

What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of Horatio Alger, Jr.?

Do you still want to add another of his poem to this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉


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