Knitting/sock themed poetry--
Ballou's Monthly Magazine, 1862
The Dream of the Knitter.
Loop by loop, loop by loop,
The white hands knit;
While over the eyes the fair lids droop,
And fancies flit
Wondrous and wild,
As dreams of a child—
And the soldier’s sock grows loop by loop.
Who is the one of the soldier troop
For whom she works?
And as o’er a lost loop the slight shoulders stoop,
In her heart there lurks
A longing to see
What the man may be
Who shall wear the stout sock growing loop by loop.
Is he weak and loose-jointed, with squint, halt and stoop?—
And a scowl comes unbid:
Or tall and erect, and like eagle’s sweep
The eyes flash ‘neath the lid?
And the blue eyes smiled
In their dreaming wild,
And the solder’s sock grew loop by loop.
And the well-known room, as the fire-flames droop,
The shadow drapes;
To her dreaming eyes the dark forms group
Into fearful shapes,
And all around
Is a camping-ground—
And slower the sock grows loop by loop.
Stretched on the ground lies a gallant group,
Hardy and brave:
Foremost of all the numberless troop
Who our land shall save;
And the young girl wept
While the soldiers slept,
And the sock ceased growing loop by loop.
For the men have a haggard and hungry droop,
In their deep, fierce sleep;
And young and slight is one of the troop,
And dark brows keep
Watch over the eyes
Were the sleeping soul lies—
And the socks from his feet are worn loop by loop.
Ah, the merry blue eyes, that o’er the work stoop,
Are bewildered now!
Her full sweet lips have a sadder droop,
There’s a cloud on her brow.
Yet she merrily smiled.
As willful and wild
A broad spot of red she knits loop by loop.
Perhaps in the swelling years’ rapid swoop,
She would hear from the mark.
Who shall say if the girl was a foolish dupe
Of her dream in the dark?
The web of our life,
Spite of doubting and strife,
The Future will knit for us loop by loop.
The Rebellion record:, Edward Everett [published in ]1862
The Socks That I Knit.
By “A. I.”
‘Tis a clear twilight time in November,
With the day passing on into night;
In the west fades the glow of the evening,
In the east shines the moon, cold and white;
The trees, like the nation, have parted
With summer’s soft riches at length;
But now, see the wonderful structure,
So glorious in beauty and strength!
The fire-light flashes and flickers
On low white-washed ceiling and wall,
And plays on my poor tired fingers,
At work with their gray woollen ball.
It glimmers and shines on my needles,
And lights up the stocking I knit;
It’s a sock for some volunteer soldier,--
I hope that the stocking will fit!
I suppose it will suit in dimensions,
For feet of all sizes have marched
To go to the help of the nation,--
Long, short, and flat-footed, and arched.
And the yarn is from old Massachusetts,
And the shape is an excellent hit;
So I think it may do good to some one,
This gray woolen sock that I knit.
I hope it will comfort no traitor,
But one that is loyal and true,--
Some brave boy who’s left home and fortunes,
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue.
To his foot, O sock, be thy softest!
And never wear out, nor give way;
There’s none to do darning and mending
Down there in the midst of the fray.
Protect him from cold and from dampness,
And soften the hard leather shoe;
And on the long arch or night watches,
Do all that a stocking can do.
But stocking, I charge thee! return not,
Except with thy duty performed;
Till the season is turned into summer,
And the last rebel stronghold is stormed.
Let no knitting of mine be surrendered
On a soldier afraid of the fight,
Or be dropped by the way, or borne homeward,
In some needless and panic-stuck flight.
The swift-rolling ball in my basket,
Like destiny seems to unwind;
One vision comes up as I widen,
And one as I narrow and bind.
Shall my sock be sent off to Missouri,
For some of our brave Western boys?
Or down to Port Royal and Beaufort,
Where Sherman is making a noise?
Or off to the old sea-girt Fortress,--
Or where, on Potomac’s bright shore,
There are regiments drilling and waiting
For the word to go forward once more.
Perchance this soft fabric, when finished,
May cherish and invalid’s foot;
Or, in some wild scamper of horsemen,
Lie hid in a cavalry boot.
Perchance it may be taken prisoner,
And down into Rebeldom borne;
Peradventure—alas! the poor stocking—
It may by some rebel be worn!
It may be cut through with a sabre;
Its whit top-woe’s me!—be dyed red,
And on the cold field of a battle
May cover the foot of the dead.
How weirdly the needles are working—
Click, click—as they knit up the toe:
O stocking, you look to me ghostly,
In this question of where you shall go.
I see them flash down like a whirlwind,
Their long sabres gleaming on high;
the Stars and Stripes waving among them,
“For the Nation!” their fierce battle-cry;
O see them all pallid and drooping,
In sickness, in wounds, or in death;
And yet the faint pulses are loyal,
And yet Freedom nerves every breath.
The firelight wavers and trembles
With its shadowy, fitful glance,
Till the very coals and the ashes
Seem to look at me half askance;
And I in the chimney corner
In silence and solitude sit,
And work up and army of fancies,
In the volunteer sock that I knit.
It is all full of prayers and good wishes;
Stitch by stitch, as I knit, they’re wrought in;
In my heart burns the love of the Union—
On my breast is a Stars-and Stripes pin;
So if ever sock could be loyal,
And fro a brave volunteer fit,
As well as soft, warm and elastic,
It must be this sock that I knit.
Ah, if I could only make blankets!
They should be of the warmest and best;
No night-wind should trouble the soldier,
While my blankets lay light on his breast.
And I wish that my hands could work faster,
And for every gray sock could knit two,--
You men who go forth to the battle
Don’t know what the women would do.
And perchance—who can tell?-the young soldier
May turn out a hero, and fight
His way to the heart of the Nation,
As well as to glory’s grand height;
And then, when his camp-chest is treasured,
And his uniform hung up with care,
Like Washington’s guarded and cherished,
My gray woolen sock may be there!
Lowell Daily Citizen and News, (Lowell, MA) Tuesday, January 14, 1862
We, and our “Knitting-Work”
By Laura Elmer.
Nimbly forward, knitting-pins,
When ye lag kind conscience dins;
Round and round-hast to the heel-
Click and clatter, glittering steel.
First the heel, and then the toe,
Shining bodkins quickly go.
O ye heed not, but we heed
All the good that’s in your speed.
Loop the pliant thread of wool,
In and out, each needleful;
“Slip-and-bind” the flexile string,
Till “toe’d off” ‘s the elastic thing.
So its mate-then click along,
Till we have a knitted throng;
“Pillow-case full” of the hose,
Is the rule, each woman knows.
Off now-toward your mission flit-
“Tis for loyal feet ye’re knit;
Keep them snug and warm each day-
We’ve no fear they’ll run away.
Stay, there’s one thing-just suppose
Rebels steal ye, fleecy hose!
Dare not shield their toes from damps-
‘Flame their soles, and coax the cramps.
Quick they’ll swear-but be ye sure,
‘Leglance ‘tisn’t – ‘two’n enquire!
Snap your thread and gape in holes-
Ho! their corns and swell their soles!
Dare not give to rebles aid-
For their comfort ye’re not made;
Let all traitors barefoot flee-
Be unto them P.P.C.
N.Y. Evening Post.
Dwight’s Journal of Music
To the Performances of the Belmont Theatrical Company, at Chickering’s Hall, in aid of the Volunteers, February 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th, 1862
A twelvemonth since, the lengthened nights to cheer,
Our actors raised their mimic pageant here,
And, while fair Peace in listless leisure smiled,
Their masquerade the lingering hours beguiled.
But now, when festal lights are few and dim,
And drum and trumpet swell the battle hymn,
Now that the sullen war cloud, dark and dun,
Hangs o’er the birthplace of our Washington,
And mad rebellion pours its angry wave
Hard by the hallowed precincts of his grave;
When our beleaguered Capital is set
With hedge of battery and of bayonet,
The thoughtful or the stern perchance may ask,
Why, at such season, try our trivial task?
A question pertinent and just, ‘tis true,
But still the subject has another view.
The bleakest climate has its summer hours,
When autumn’s fruits are heralded by flowers;
At epochs when long faces are in vogue
Austerity oft cloaks the clever rogue,
But breathing-space for laughter ever finds
Apology in philosophic minds;
And even when driven by Misfortune’s goad,
Courage and Pluck will whistle on the road.
Who is there, that reads history, who blames
That warring Greece still kept her Isthmian Games?
And earlier still, no doubt the somber ark
Heard in its cabin many a jocund lark;
And very like the cousins there together
Got up charades on deck in pleasant weather.
Indeed, all history shows there’s no affinity
‘Twixt Wisdom’s emblems and its fair divinity;
For Chaucer never chronicled the owl,-
Minerva’s favorite,-as a cheerful fowl.
But there’s no need of argument-you know
The proverb of the always-bended how;
And though our hearts are at the Tournament
For whose fierce lists our gallant beaux are bent,
We want some little merriment-like froth-
To show the yeast is working at the North.
The gay Germania’s strains resound no more
Where twinkling footsteps circle round the floor;
We’ve no more jolly rides in sleigh or cutter;
Papanti, too has lost his “Bread and Butter;
Logan and Dalton show their ebon faces
No longer ‘mid the crowd of ball-room Graces;
And our Champagne-domestic make or foreign-
Pops only for the prisoners at Fort Warren.
At whatsoever door the patriot knocks
He finds his sister patriot knitting socks,
While, on the floor, the scientific kittens
Study cat-hop-trios with one-fingered mittens.
All right—for if the brave are making breaches
It is but fair the fair should take some stitches;
But it is right, too, we put bound and measure
As well to knitting stockings as to pleasure,
And that some festive interlude should vary
The weightier labors of the sanitary,
Lest we, like misers in their quest of wealth-
Fall victims to an over-zeal for health.
Why, even in the cold Crimean trenches,
The soldiers had their stage and critic’s benches,
And, writers tell us, each heroic lad
Fought better for the jollity he had.
Indeed, in with or war, those gallant Zouaves
Disdained the doing anything by halves.
As there, the elastic thread and spirit light
Were good for honest work and honest fight,
So our young heroes show that merry dancers
Work none the worse for their Quadrille and “Lancers,”
For we well know that Burnside, Banks and Sherman,
Recruited their best soldiers fro “The German.”
But my Muse hurries me too far and fast;
I’m but the oyster of to-night’s repast;
And in your eyes-the stars of our astrology-
I read a dispensation from apology.
Though Shakespeare says the world’s a stage, or stages,
We trust that our seven acts may not seem ages;
And that you’ll hold our pastime no abuse,
But see its healthful and its serious use.
However stocks and manufactures are,
‘Twill serve to keep our spirits up at par;
And your rich bounty goes to swell the store
That cheers the exile on Potomac’s shore.
There, while the watch-fires flicker on his tent,
Through this long winter of his banishment,
Your thoughtful deeds and offices of love
Shall nestle in his bosom like the dove;
And while he lingers far from social charms
His heart shall bless his fair allies in arms,
Each of whom, here, in loyal measure, shares
His daily toil, his bravery and his cares;
Whose prayers make musical the silent night,
That Heaven guard him that guards his Country’s right;
Who, when in Gods’ good time, the day shall come
Which turns his footsteps toward his Northern home,
When, ‘neath Heaven’s rainbow for triumphal arch,
Her listening ear shall catch his homeward march,
Shall stand like beckoning angel at the door
To which his longing feet return once more,
Adorn with festal pomp her halls and bowers,
And welcome back her Knight with smiles and flowers.
The Daily Cleveland Herald, Cleveland, OH Saturday, March 15, 1862
To My Knitting Work.
The following lines were found by and officer of the 42d Ohio, in the toe of a stocking received from a kind friend in Ashland:
Say, tiny stitches, dost thou know
What fancies thou art weaving?
And dost thou see, as on you flow,
The bosom o’er thee heaving?
Ah! no, thou canst not know or tell
That sighs and tears embalm thee,
And prayers that neither shot nor shell
From Marshall, ere may harm thee.
And, little stitches, dost thou know
Thy destiny is – Glory?
I pray the feet on which you go,
May bring me back their story.
And if, where’ere you press the sod,
The war cry ring still louder
Oh tell thy wearer – Trust in God,
With one eye on the powder.
And comfort then his toes at night,
His heart needs no warm cover,
But shield his head, ye angels bright,
And if perchance, our country’s good
Demands his [immotation ?],
then build the alter, bring the wood,
“God will provide the’ [obiaties].”
The March [?] , from her [asure] home,
Smiles through yon dappled awning;
Oh does this new-born Spring time [?]
With Peace for her adoring?
Father, we own Thy judgments just,
Our native land deliver
Henceforth the Gift is not our trust,
We’ll worship first, the Giver.
Ashland, O. March 16th, 1862
The Ladies’ Repository, 1862
Helen and Mary, by Josephine Pollard
“Nonsense, Helen: there’s no reason
Why you should remain alone;
Nothing in the world to hinder—
Every moment is your own:
You can lounge, or walk, or visit,
Taking comfort as you go;
Dome and see me often, Helen,
I am seldom out, you know.
Household cares are so engrossing,
And my children are so small,
I have very little freedom,
Scarcely time to make a call;
But there’s nothing to prevent you,
“T is no task to grant this boon;
Come and see me often Helen,
come and see me very soon.”
“True, no children cling around me,
Claiming mother’s love and care;
Though no household cares distract me,
Duties spring up every-where.
In such times as these, dear Mary,
Want at many a threshold stands;
There is work to do in plenty—
Could I sit with folded hands?
Those brave men who have gone forward
For our country’s flag to fight,
Need warm garments to protect them
Through the wintery day and night.
Women’s hands must labor for them;
Women’s hearts must send good cheer
To the homes where widows languish;
Soothing many an orphan’s tear.
Mary, I’ve no heart to visit;
I’m not idle, though you say
I have plenty leisure moments.
Duties spring up every day.
Here are soldiers’ socks to finish;
Coverlets to baste and tack;
Slippers waiting for the binding;
Shirts and blanket yet to pack.
While brave men have left their fireside
To endure want, woe, and pain,
We should practice self-denial
Till sweet Peace returns again.
When these troublous times are over,
When with palms we deck the brow
I will come and see you, Mary,
Every day; but, O, not now.”