Thousands of images, texts, and audio/video from ECU's diverse collections and beyond.

Poetical geography of North Carolina, Cold water, Reply to Gray's Elegy, and other poems

Date: 1887 | Identifier: PS1356 .C55 1887
Poetical geography of North Carolina, Cold water, Reply to Gray's Elegy, and other poems / by Needham Bryan Cobb. Cambridge [Mass.] : Printed at the Riverside Press, 1887. v, 63 leaves : ill., port. ; 20 cm. more...

Poetical Geography
of North Carolina


Needham B. Cobb 1872



Printed at the Riverside Press.

Copyright, 1887, BY NEEDHAM BRYAN COBB.

All rights reserved.

The Riverside Press, ‘Cambridge’: Printed by H. O. Houghton & Company.’


The following rhymes on the counties, rivers, creeks, sounds, bays, and mountains of North Carolina were prepared by the author to aid his own pupils in memorizing the geography of their native State. They were written out on the blackboard, a few lines at a time, and the whole school required to repeat them in concert. After this, different parts were parceled out to each pupil: for instance, one little girl committed the “Key to the Counties;” another, “Now we'll learn the lengthy rivers,” etc.; another, “The Skyland Rivers;” another, “Tributaries of the Catawba,” etc. The larger pupils divided

the creeks, the sounds, the bays, and the mountains in the same way; and on Friday afternoons the whole was rehearsed in the presence of visitors. In this way each pupil acquired not only his own part, but the parts of all the others, by hearing them recite and anticipating his own part in the performance.

After the repetition of the “Key to the Counties,” one of the larger pupils might be required to go to the wall map and point out the counties, naming them in alphabetical order, the whole school repeating the names of the county towns. He might also point out the factories, mines, and date of organization of each county, as laid down on Cobb's School Map of the State, and tell something of its early settlement, products, etc.

The rivers, creeks, bays, sounds, and mountains should also be pointed out on the map.

This method of instruction has been so satisfactory to the author and so pleasurable to the pupils of his school, that he has concluded to publish the rhymes just as they were prepared, with the hope that they may be helpful to other North Carolina teachers and pupils.

The other poems of this little volume were composed in different places and at different periods of life, and are given to the public for what they are worth.

N. B. C.

Lilesville, N. C.


Poetical Geography of North Carolina1
A Home in the Mountains31
Cold Water36
Reply to Gray's Elegy47
Worldliness and Worth, or the Butterfly and the Bee50
The Christian's Comfort56
The Terrible Storm57
Would I be Missed?61



  • Here's an alphabetic key,
  • Written out by N. B. C.,
  • To assist your memory
  • Of the counties of N. C.

  • One in E, I, U, and V;
  • Two in F, L, O, Y, T;
  • Only three in N and J;
  • Five in D and S and A;

  • Six in B, R, H, and G;
  • Seven in W; same in P;
  • Eight in M, fifteen in C;
  • And none in K, Q, X, and Z.

  • Now we'll learn the lengthy rivers
  • Flowing through the Old North State;
  • Take them down for future study,
  • Write them all upon your slate.

  • Swanannoa, Tahkeosta,1
  • Tuckaseigè, Tennessee,
  • Wild Watauga, Hiawasse,
  • Nantahala, Cheowee,
  • Valley, Elk, Oconalufta,




  • New and Toe and Pigeon flow
  • From the Skyland through the mountains
  • To the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Linville, Johns, and upper Little
  • Come from mountains tall and blue,
  • Join Catawba flowing eastward,
  • Then flow southward with it too.
  • South Catawba then approaches,
  • With its branches, large and wee;
  • Green and Broad, from Blue Ridge tumbling,
  • Join it, and they form Santee.

  • Reddies, Roaring, Elkin, Mitchell,
  • Fish, and Ararat, you know,
  • With the waters of the Yadkin,

  • On their eastern journey flow
  • Till South Yadkin and Uwharrie,
  • Rocky, Little, and Pee Dee
  • Turn their mingling waters southward
  • Through pocosins to the sea.
  • Lumber with its sandy marshes
  • Changes to the Small Pee Dee,
  • Joins all these in South Carolina,
  • And they flow to Georgetown Bay.
  • All the others treat us better,
  • Stay at home where they were born,
  • Or come down from Old Virginia
  • To our land of pine and corn.

  • Second Rocky, Haw, and Deep
  • Through the Chatham Coal Fields sweep,



  • Take two Littles, Black and South,
  • And the North-East to the mouth
  • Of the Cape Fear famed in story
  • For the fights of Whig and Tory.

  • Little, Flat, and small Eno,
  • Trent and Neuse and Pamlico,
  • Pungo, Tar, and Pantego,
  • Bay and Long-Shoal slowly flow
  • To the Sound of Pamlico.

  • Nottaway and dark Meherrin
  • Form the Chowan, deep and wide,
  • Pottecasy, Cattawisky,
  • And Ahoskie swell its tide.
  • Pasquotank and queer Perquimons,

  • Yeoppim, Little, and Cashie,
  • Sluggish North and Alligator,
  • And the Scuppernong all lie
  • In the vine-land and the swamp-land
  • Of historic Albemarle,
  • Where our early royal rulers
  • Were forever in a snarl.
  • Here too Roanoke pours the waters
  • Of the Mayo, Smith, and Dan,
  • From the distant mountain regions
  • To the mouth of wide Chowan.
  • All these waters flow south-eastward
  • By Roanoke and Croatan,
  • Till they find at Boddies Island
  • Two small outlets to the main.
  • New and Newport, filled with fishes,
  • White Oak, famed for marl and marshes,

  • Close the catalogue of rivers
  • Flowing in the Old North State.

  • These sixty all lie
  • In the “Land of the Sky.”
  • Stekoah, Tuskegee, Balds, three and Cowee,
  • Cataloochè and Jonathans', Cove and Crabtree,
  • Two Ivys and Laurel and Piny and Pines,
  • Beaver and Beaverdam, Sugarton, Fines,
  • Hurricane, Hominy, Richland, and Scotts',
  • Sandy-Mush, Gash', Mud, Cove, and Plott's,
  • Brushy and Beech, Jack's, Grassy, and Rheams,
  • Licklog and Shooting (queer little streams),
  • Barker's, Alarka, and tumbling Cat-Stair,

  • Red-Marble and Briertown, high up in air,
  • And Kirklands, Hardscrabble, and Wesser, they say,
  • With Hanging-Dog, Indian, Cartoógacháye,
  • And Soco and Burningtown, Brasstown and Glade
  • (Some leaping from mountains, some sleeping in shade),
  • And Nottley and Nolan's and Forney's and Horse,
  • And Gap and Peach-Bottom and Meat-Camp, of course,
  • And Howard, Land, Shoal, and a few others flow
  • Into New and Watauga, and French Broad and Toe,
  • Tuckaseigè and Pigeon, Hiawasse, and so
  • They run to the Tennessee and Ohio.

  • Irish and Paddy's and Upper, you know,
  • And Lower, Gunpowder, and Davidson flow,
  • With Green Paw and Crowder and Sugar and Nail



  • And Little Catawba, McAlpine's, and Steele.
  • Paw, Clark's, and three other Littles you've seen,
  • And Henry's and Stanly's and Jacob's and Green,
  • And Muddy and Turkey and Howard's and Long,
  • And Silver and Indian, Big-Long and Young,
  • And Allen's and Lyle's,
  • And Falling and Bells,
  • With hundreds of rills,
  • Come down from the hills
  • To sing in the mills
  • Of Mecklenburg, Gaston, and Lincoln, you see,
  • And then in Catawba they flow to Santee.

  • The Brier and Mulberry, Laurel and Snow,
  • Two Elkins and Elk, Cub, Hunting, Bamboo,
  • Bearing and Swearing and Panther and Cane,
  • Middle and Muddy and South-Fork and Lane's,

  • North Deep and South Deep, Double and Rock,
  • Big Fish and Fishers come with a shock
  • To mingle with Dutchman's and Hannah's and Tree,
  • Two Cedars and Flat on their way to Pee Dee;
  • Then Royall and Rocky and Abbott's and Fort,
  • And Timber and Cabin (there are two of this sort)
  • And Second and Flat-Swamp, and Third, Deep, and Long,
  • And Big Bear and Little Bear, mingling their song
  • With two Buffaloes (the Irish and Dutch)
  • And Negrohand, Richardson, Richland, and Goose,
  • Savannah and Stewart's, Jones, Coddle and Clark's,
  • Rich's and Hitchcock's, Solomon's, Marks,
  • Cartledge's, Falling, Smith, Mountain and Brown,
  • Island and Dison, Gould, Witherow's and Town.
  • Some from the mountains and some lower down,

  • Some creeping and sleeping,
  • Some dashing and splashing,
  • Some jumping and leaping,
  • And crashing and smashing,
  • But all intermingling
  • Their jingling and tingling,
  • Until in the Rocky
  • And muddy South Yadkin,
  • And bouncing Uwharrie,
  • And lengthy old Yadkin
  • And splendid Pee Dee,
  • They flow to the sea.
  • Juniper, Naked, and Drowning, these three,
  • Two Shoeheels and Jordans make Little Pee Dee.

1. Through Haw River.

  • Two Stinkings and Stoney,
  • Two Troublesomes, Rock,
  • And Varnal's and Crooked,
  • And Cane and South-Fork,
  • And Middle-Fork, Mary's,
  • And Morgan's and Mill's,
  • Boyd's, Booker's, and Bowlin's —
  • Come down from the hills
  • Of Rockingham, Guilford,
  • And brave Alamance,
  • To mingle with New Hope,
  • And join in the dance
  • With two Buffaloes
  • (The Little and Big)
  • And two Alamances,

  • And Robertson's, Stagg,
  • Pokeberry and Hogan's,
  • Winningham and Pine Hill,
  • To help out the Haw
  • In its tortuous flow
  • To the Deep and the Cape Fear Rivers below.

2. Through Deep, Little, and Cape Fear Rivers.
  • Indian, Governor's, Long-Fork and Lick,
  • McLendon and Grassey and Richland and Lick
  • Silver-Run, Sandy, Mt. Pleasant, and Brush,
  • All run into Deep with a terrible rush,
  • From Guilford and Randolph and Chatham and Moore.
  • While Darnley's and Dunfield's (singular names),
  • Hector's and Nicholson's, Campbell's and James,
  • Ellis's, Muddy, and Fall Branch and French,
  • Taylor's-Hole, Pole-cat, (Oh! what a stench!)

  • Cedar and Sugar Loaf, Nettles and Cross,
  • White-Lake and Fishing and Rockfish and Bush,
  • Beaver and Juniper, Comers, and Gray,
  • And Big Buffalo all come in the way,
  • With Patterson's, Branson's, two Stewarts and Platts,
  • And flow to Cape Fear from the hills and the flats
  • Of Harnett and Cumberland, Bladen and Moore.

3. Through Black and South Rivers.
  • Then Sampson and Duplin and Pender, you see,
  • Send Stewarts and Six-Runs and Big Coharie,
  • And Bear-Skin and Little Coharie, you know,
  • To enter Black River, and mingle below
  • With Cypress and Harrison, Andrews and Moore's,
  • That come through the South with its feculent shores.

4. Through North-East River.

  • Trumpetery, Merrick's, and Long Creek and Lock,
  • Maxwell, Persimmon, and forked Land-Fork,
  • And Goshen, Sarecta, Bear-Marsh, and Limestone,
  • And slow Holly Shelter and swift Jumping Run,
  • Angola and Island and small Lillington,
  • And Chinquepin, Rockfish, and Lewis come down
  • Through swampy North-East by our principal town,1
  • Where they join the Cape Fear, and then take in the Town
  • From the rice-fields of Brunswick, before they go down
  • By Smithville, Ft. Caswell, and Bald Head, all three
  • To roll with the tide of the billowy sea.



  • Beaverdam and Vine Spring, Mill and Tuckahoe,
  • Travel through the swampy lands of little Trent below.

  • Shelton and Hatcher's and Tabb's and Peach Tree,
  • And Williams and Clayfoot and Creeping, you see,
  • And Shoccoe and Reedy and Otter's come down
  • With Blounts and Opossum and Tyson and Town,
  • And Beaverdam, Fishing, and Company, Hall's
  • To mingle and jingle in Tar River Falls,
  • Or, flowing with Durham, Pactolus, and Deep,
  • And Swift and Grinnell into Pamlico creep.


  • From Person, Granville, Orange,
  • From Durham and from Wake,
  • Flow the forks of Little River,
  • And the Big and Little Lick,
  • And Hannah's, Dry, and Chunk-pipe,
  • And Crabtree, small Eno,
  • And Knap of Reed's and Elerbe's,
  • And Smith and Buffalo,
  • Then Black and Falling, Sleepy,
  • And Nauhunta, out of Wayne;
  • And Toisnot, Bear, and Turkey,
  • Two Contentneas out of Greene,
  • And Moccasin and Stoney,
  • And Deep and South-West, flow
  • With Upper Broad and Club-foot,
  • And Falling, Broad below,

  • And Beards and second Falling,
  • And Middle-Creek and Goose
  • Through many hills and lowlands,
  • To mingle in the Neuse.

  • Wolf Island and Marrows, Town, Hogan, and Show,
  • And Neilman and Double, two prongs of Hyco,
  • And Big, Mill, and Moon, (these name are no jokes,)
  • From Rockingham, Caswell, and Person and Stokes,
  • And Bearskin and Nutbush, from Granville and Vance,
  • Big Grassey, Big Island, and Jonathan's prance,
  • With Sassafras, Gardener's, and long County Line,
  • Kehukee, Skewarkee, and old Sandy Run
  • To famous Roanoke with its deep Devil's Gut,
  • And, rushing and pushing through many a rut,
  • They all hie away into Edenton Bay.


  • Troublesome, Butman's, Broad, and Stono,
  • Wilkinson's, Wallace's, Deer, and Pungo
  • Cowhead, Core, Fur, Duck, and Harlow,
  • All these wide creeks, as we now know,
  • Flow through Beaufort, Hyde, and Onslow
  • Into the Sounds of Stump, Bogue, and Pamlico.
  • Mill Tail, Second, and Frying-Pan tear
  • Into Big Alligator from Tyrrell and Dare.
  • Knobb's, Flatty, and Sawyer's, three creeks of renown,
  • With the waters of Pasquotank River run down.
  • Sumner's to queer old Perquimons does flow,
  • While Kendrick's and Salmon to Albemarle go.
  • Willis's-Quarter and Cypress both lie
  • In the juniper regions of ruby Cashie.
  • While Bennet's, Cole's, and Catawiskie,

  • Panther Creek and Conaritsa,
  • Middle Swamp and dark Ahoskie,
  • Pottecasy, Coinjock,
  • And the rambling Rocky-hock
  • Fill the list of Chowan's stock.

  • Just eleven shallow sounds
  • Slumber on our shore:—
  • Albemarle and Pamlico,
  • Topsail, Stump, and Core,
  • Currituck and Croatan,
  • Where the wild geese soar,
  • Wrightsville, Masonboro’, Bogue,
  • Roanoke—and no more.


  • Onslow and Raleigh, — the largest of all,—
  • Thoroughcars, Shallowbag, Kittyhawk, Bull,
  • Juniper, Germantown, Edenton, Rose,
  • Yesocking, and Stumpy-Point, — these all compose
  • The principal bays
  • Of our wide water-ways,
  • Where vessels may ride
  • On the incoming tide
  • Of a gathering storm,
  • And be free from alarm.

  • As every wise pupil will often review,
  • I'll finish these lessons to benefit you.
  • To sum up in brief what we've studied before,
  • We have Creeks three hundred and ninety-four;

  • Five and nine Rivers that flow north and west,
  • And fifty-nine others that flow south and east;
  • Ninety-six Counties, twelve Bays and some more,
  • And ten and one Sounds on the Atlantic shore.


(Highest Peak East of the Mississippi River.)


  • Now study the mountains,
  • So lofty and blue.

  • These furnish the fountains
  • With rain-fog and dew,
  • And fill up the rivers
  • That water the plains
  • By cooling the vapors
  • And causing the rains.

  • Pilot in Randolph and Pilot in Surry
  • Stanley and Chamber's, Car's, Tyrrell's, Uwharrie,
  • Oconeeche, Ben's, Baker's, Fox, Crowder's and King's
  • To the men of Tide-Water seem wonderful things;
  • But the men of the Skyland have mountains so tall,
  • They call these “small hillocks, — not mountains at all.”
  • The South and the Brushy of Burke and Caldwell
  • Are ranges with peaks that do “moderately well;”

  • Hibriten and Rip-shin will do better still;
  • But Table-Rock, Shortoff, Linville, Hawk's-Bill,
  • Hickory-nut, Bald, Black Brothers, the Dome,
  • And Big Craggy, Hairy-Beard, Mitchell, and Roan,
  • Grandfather, Grandmother, the Balsam Divide,
  • Hog-Back and Pisgah they mention with pride.
  • Between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky ranges
  • Are ridges as many as spring weather changes:
  • First comes the great Black, with peaks tall and shaggy
  • As Mitchell's and Clingman's and Guyot's and Craggy;
  • Then next is the New-Found, then Balsam's dark range,
  • With its bears and its wolves and its panthers so strange.
  • Cataloochè and Soco and Cowee Divides
  • Come in where the Cherokee Indian abides.

  • Nantahala and Whitesides extend farther west,
  • And Stanbury winds up the troublesome list.



  • These cross mountain ranges
  • Have many queer changes.
  • And all have their spurs,
  • Like so many burs;

  • For every small fountain
  • Is matched with a mountain.
  • Asheville's Beaucatcher
  • And Waynesville's, Lickstone,
  • Marion's Mount Ida
  • And Bakersville's Roan,
  • Polk County's, Tryon
  • And Wilkes County's, Stone,
  • And Bending and Blowing Rocks,
  • Not far from Boone;
  • And famous Old Chimneys
  • Below the Hot Springs;
  • And Shining Rock, Chimney Rock,
  • Wonderful things;
  • And Baldface and Hyder,
  • And quaking old Bald,
  • Junaluska and Serbal,

  • Six thousand feet fall,
  • And hundreds of others,
  • Grand, fertile, and high,
  • You'll find on the map of
  • “The Land of the Sky.”


  • I love to live in the mountains,
  • This beautiful “Land of the Sky,”
  • Where streamlets from hundreds of fountains
  • Go singing and scampering by.
  • I love the beautiful Pigeon1
  • And Jonathan, Soco, and Scott,
  • Tuckasiegè and Lufty2 and Richland,
  • That tumble from Pisgah and Plott.
  • I love the tall Junaluskas
  • And Lickstone and Serbal and Bald,


  • And Crabtree and Hyder and Bald Face,
  • I do love to gaze on them all.
  • I love the valley of Richland,
  • When waving with grasses and grain;
  • It heaves like the bosom of ocean,
  • As breezes come bringing the rain.
  • Oh! look at the smoke on those mountains!
  • See Lickstone and Serbal and Bald,
  • All rumbling and roaring and darkening,
  • With clouds rolled around by the squall!
  • How gloriously grand! How impressive!
  • How wondrously awful! to view
  • These mountains while God is distilling
  • The rain and the sleet and the snow.

  • I love these beautiful meadows;
  • These streamlets, these mountains tall;
  • These cloudlets, these mimic volcanoes;
  • I love, I do love them all.
  • Words fail me to tell of the grandeur
  • And beauty and glory and power
  • Of the mountains and rivers of Haywood,
  • As witnessed in sunshine and shower.
  • The scenes are unceasingly shifting,
  • The sky, now brilliantly blue,
  • Next moment is curtained with cloudlets,
  • And rainbows are spanning your view.
  • I love to live here in Summer;
  • The air is so bracing and light,
  • The breezes so cool and refreshing,
  • The waters so sparkling and bright.

  • I love to be here in Autumn,
  • When forests are changing their hue
  • From green to orange and yellow,
  • Red, violet, russet, and blue.
  • Oh! then is the time of rare beauty,
  • These mountains, sun-painted and grand,
  • Seem wreaths and rosettes of God's making,
  • Dropped down on the beautiful land.
  • I love to live here in Summer,
  • I love to live here in Fall;
  • But let me live elsewhere in Winter
  • If you'd have me live here at all.
  • When turnpikes are turned to morasses
  • Of reddest and deepest of mud,
  • And horses and oxen and asses
  • Sink down with a splash and a thud,

  • When the mercury sinks below zero,
  • And icicles hang from your nose;
  • When fires are fruitless to warm you,
  • Though clad in your warmest of clothes:—
  • Then give me a home in the Lowlands,
  • The warm-hearted Land of the Sun,
  • Where people don't freeze by their firesides
  • When Summer and Autumn are gone.

Waynesville, N. C., July 1884.


  • Come, weary, thirsty mortals,
  • Who ’neath life's burdens sink,
  • Come, try this sparkling nectar,
  • And ask your friends to drink.
  • ’T is not from sim'ring still-worms,
  • Where, over smoking fires,
  • ’Mid stifling pois'nous vapors
  • The bruised grain expires.
  • ’T is not from sick'ning odors
  • Of putrefying corn
  • And rye and wheat and barley,
  • This beverage is born.


Engraving of a mountain stream]

  • But up in lofty mountains,
  • Where mighty rivers rise
  • In leaping, laughing rivulets
  • Just born of humid skies;

  • Where storm clouds brood and thunder,
  • And lightnings leap and flash,
  • And glittering granite boulders
  • Fall headlong in the crash —


Engraving of a mountain valley with storm in distance]

  • Or where the red deer wander
  • O'er grassy glen and glade,
  • And rippling rills meander,
  • This beverage was made.

  • ’T was brewed in grand old ocean
  • Where tossing sea-gulls scream;
  • When hurricanes are howling,
  • And livid lightnings gleam, —
  • When waves are surging wildly,
  • The sea in anger roars,
  • And wrecks and shells and sea-weeds
  • Are dashed upon the shores.


engraving mountain stream]

  • From clouds upon the mountains,
  • From mists of lowly fens,
  • From froth of briny billows,
  • From rills amid the glens,—


ocean waves]

  • From all the mighty rivers,
  • From every glassy lake,
  • From every dew and raindrop
  • That falls upon the brake,
  • From every foggy hill-top,
  • From every dewy plain,

  • Our Maker is distilling
  • This beverage for man.
  • It glistens in the raindrops;
  • It dances on the hills;
  • It laughs along the rivulets;
  • And sings among the rills;


forest trees high meadow storm]

  • Then, creeping through the meadows,
  • It glides into the brooks,
  • Where lazily it lingers
  • In many muddy nooks.

  • Till, meeting other waters,
  • It rushes on its way,
  • And in the mighty river
  • It marches to the sea.


meandering stream]

  • There with the briny billows
  • It mingles in the main
  • To be distilled in sea-fog
  • And dew and mist again,
  • Then rising from the ocean,
  • ’T is blown o'er hill and plain,


snow trees forest]

  • To feed again the mountain springs
  • And water man's domain.
  • No poison from it bubbles;
  • No headache from it comes;
  • It starves no wives and children;
  • It desolates no homes;
  • But shining in the ice-gem,
  • Or sparkling on the grain,

  • Gleaming in the glacier,
  • Or singing in the rain,


mountain stream forest]

  • Sleeping in the dew-drop,
  • Or dancing in the hail,
  • Or dressing up the wintry woods
  • In sleety coats of mail,

  • Sporting in the cataract,
  • Or sinking ’neath the sod,
  • It every where, in every form,
  • Reflects the love of God.


woman praying chair fireside fireplace]

  • Think not thy worth and work are all unknown
  • Because no partial penmen paint thy praise;
  • Man may not see nor mind, but God will own
  • Thy worth and work, thy thoughts and words and ways.


Thoughts suggested by reading the following lines in “Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard:”

  • “Full many a gem of purest ray serene
  • The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear,
  • Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
  • And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”
  • No flower on earth “is born to blush unseen,
  • And waste its sweetness on the desert air,”
  • No ocean “gem of purest ray serene”
  • Is planted in the deep to perish there.
  • The eye of Man may ne'er behold that gem
  • “The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear,”

  • His keenest sense ne'er note the sweet perfume
  • That rose distils upon the desert air.
  • Still not one sparkle of that gem is lost;
  • And not one breath of fragrance from the rose,
  • For round about them are a countless host
  • Who in their splendor revel or repose.
  • Those “dark unfathomed caves” of ocean's deep
  • Are not so dark as poets sometimes write;
  • There myriads, moving, mingling monsters creep,
  • And doubtless to them all that gem is bright.
  • Within the caverns of the grains of sand
  • That lie around that desert rose's feet,
  • A thousand living things, fed by God's hand,
  • Find joyous homes. To them that rose is sweet.

  • But still, if not a creature wandered where
  • That rose is blooming, or that gem is laid,
  • The great Creator,God, who placed them there,
  • Would take delight in works His hands have made.
  • Think not thy worth and work are all unknown,
  • Because no partial penmen paint thy praise.
  • Man may not see nor mind; but God will own
  • Thy worth and work, thy thoughts and words and ways.
  • The desert rose, though never seen by man,
  • Is nurtured with a care divinely good.
  • The ocean gem, though ’neath the rolling main,
  • Is ever brilliant in the eyes of God.

Shelby, N. C., August 29, 1871.



woman cornhusking sitting farm corn crib]

  • Among the wingèd insects
  • That visit summer bowers,
  • Two kinds, of different habits,
  • Are seen among the flowers.
  • One has imposing plumage
  • That shines like dust of gems,
  • As, dressed in velvet vesture,
  • She struts o'er flowers and stems.

  • Her looks are very lofty,
  • Her steps are very light,
  • Her carriage very queenly,
  • Her colors very bright.
  • She lights upon the flow'rets,
  • And sips the nectar there;
  • Then flitters round the roses,
  • And floats away in air.
  • You cannot help admiring
  • The ease with which she flies,
  • So gracefully and noiselessly,
  • She skims along the skies.
  • The little prattling children
  • Gaze on her with delight,
  • And fondly seek to follow
  • The Butterfly in flight.

  • The other's not so pretty,
  • She's not so gayly dressed;
  • She wears no gaudy colors,
  • Nor diamonds on her breast.
  • She has no flashing plumage,
  • Nor even graceful flight;
  • She never charms the simple
  • By waltzing in the light.
  • She doesn't travel swiftly,
  • For she lights everywhere,
  • On all the leaves and roses,
  • And gathers honey there.
  • The dragon mouth she opens,
  • The buttercup explores;
  • And every shrub she visits
  • Yields up its nectar stores.

  • Her friend of gaudy plumage
  • Disdains her lowly state;
  • She giggles at her old brown dress,
  • And mocks her stupid gait.
  • She sees no use of spending
  • One's life in this dull way,
  • And thanks her stars she's better off
  • Than prosy, droning Bee.
  • The Bee works on: she visits
  • The flowers and shrubs and trees,
  • The cider mills, the butchers’ stalls,
  • The piles of filth and lees.
  • In everything she touches,
  • This humming plodder sees
  • Rich nectar for the working ones,
  • There's honey for the Bees.

  • Now come and see the sequel—
  • The lesson ne'er forget—
  • The one died last October,
  • The other's living yet.
  • The Butterfly has perished
  • In Autumn's early storm;
  • The Bee ’mid fragrant nectar
  • Is sheltered safe and warm.
  • Ye worldly-minded mortals,
  • Who live for pomp and show,
  • Learn from the fate of Butterfly
  • How you must quickly go.
  • Death's autumn cold is coming;
  • Its storms are gathering fast:
  • Will you have hive and honey
  • To flee to in the blast?

  • Some people read their Bibles
  • Like foolish Butterfly,
  • Who drinks alone the juices
  • Which on the surface lie.
  • They dive not to the bottom,
  • As earnest, honest Bee,
  • And miss the hidden nectar,
  • Which worldly ones can't see.
  • Within this blessed Volume
  • There's honey everywhere;
  • But those alone extract it
  • Who read with earnest prayer.

Shelby, N. C., October, 1871


  • If God is my light I never shall stumble;
  • For He is the Way as well as the Light.
  • If He is my wisdom I never should grumble;
  • For He doeth all things timely and right.
  • If God is my Shepherd I never shall want.
  • If he is my Truth I never can lie.
  • If He is my Strength I never can faint.
  • If He is my Life I never can die.


  • Oh! the storm, the terrible storm!
  • Filling the sky and the earth with alarm;
  • Bending the forests, blasting the trees,
  • Tumbling the cattle on haunches and knees;
  • Roaring,
  • Pouring,
  • Scouring along,
  • Terrible storm! will it do nothing wrong?
  • See how it tosses the leaves o'er the plains!
  • Hear how it rattles the shutters and panes!
  • Oh! the storm, the terrible storm!
  • Hark! how it roars! ’T is time for alarm.

  • Hushed are the voices of aged and young,
  • Stilled is the music of prattle and song.
  • Squeaking,
  • Creaking,
  • Breaking they fall,
  • The stately oaks and the pine-trees tall;
  • Jumbled and tumbled and twisted around
  • In tangled confusion all over the ground.
  • “Oh! the storm, the terrible storm!
  • Those darkening clouds are freighted with harm.”
  • The householder looks to the cloud in the west,
  • And instantly falls to smiting his breast.
  • Surging,
  • Splurging,
  • Crushing, it's come,
  • The horrible charge of a wild cyclone.
  • The window-panes rattle, the house-rafters creak,
  • And shutters are slammed to and fro till they break.

  • “Oh! the storm, the horrible storm!”
  • Wife, husband, and children now scream with alarm;
  • They huddle together, they fall on their knees,
  • And there, ’mid the creakings of timbers and trees,
  • Crashing,
  • Dashing,
  • Smashing their home,
  • All thinking the Day of the Judgment has come,
  • They cry to their Maker, “Great Saviour, we vow
  • To lead better lives. O God, spare us now!”
  • O cyclone, O dreadful cyclone!
  • What deeds of destruction on earth hast thou done!
  • What property wasted! What families rent!
  • How many proud spirits in agony bent!
  • Tumbling,
  • Jumbling,
  • Rumbling away

  • Through the homes of the rich and the poor and the gay;
  • Teaching the wealthy their riches are rust,
  • And the produest of mortals are ashes and dust.
  • “O cyclone! O dreadful cyclone!
  • Thanks to a Merciful Father, it's gone.”
  • So said the skeptic, when frailing away
  • The storm went to teach other rebels to pray.
  • Dashing,
  • Smashing,
  • Crashing along,
  • Stopping all prattle and laughter and song,
  • Shattering houses and fences and sod,
  • Forcing the haughty to reverence God.

Hickory, N. C., December 30, 1884.


  • Should I to-day be taken from this world,
  • And laid away in some neglected spot,
  • To wait in silence till that awful day
  • When God shall call his ransomed people home,—
  • Would I be missed?
  • I know my wife would grieve to see me die,
  • My children too would gather round my bier,
  • And with their mother weep at their great loss.
  • But then from others’ homes and hearts and plans
  • Would I be missed?

  • What have I done this day to make me missed?
  • What burden lifted, or what trouble soothed?
  • What darkened life made brighter by my deeds?
  • What orphan helped? what widow comforted?
  • Would I be missed?
  • What have I said this day to make me missed?
  • What soul in darkness have I led to light?
  • What saddened heart made glad by words of hope
  • Drawn from God's word? What have I said
  • To make me missed?
  • For five and twenty years I have stood
  • Before the world as minister of God,
  • Head of a household, and for twenty-eight
  • A free and independent citizen; I ask
  • What have I done?

  • Great God, when I review the past and see
  • How little I've accomplished for Thy cause,
  • How little for the world, myself, and Thee,
  • My soul is humbled, and I feel that I
  • Am vile indeed!
  • Help me, dear Saviour, from this hour to be
  • More faithful to myself, the world, and Thee,
  • In all those duties which vain man calls least;
  • That when, at last, I stand before Thy throne
  • With all mankind, I then may hear Thee say
  • “Servant well done.”
  • If saved from hell I know ’t is all by grace,
  • For naught I've done commends me to thy care.
  • If these poor eyes e'er see the Father's face,
  • Thy love not mine, Thy toils, Thy sufferings
  • Will bring me there.

Hickory, N. C., February 1, 1885.

Un-cataloged item icon

The details for this item have not yet been reviewed by cataloging.

To request review of this item, click here.