Sea Weeds and Heath Flowers, or Memories of Mona
Dedicated to the Memory of a Valued Friend.
“Fair offspring of a deep regret.
Seems tins poor flower of Poesy,
Which, little cared for, fades not yet;
But since it pleased a vanish’d eye,
I go to plant it on his tomb,
That, if it can, it there may bloom.
Or dying, there at least, may die!”
The Insular Poems were written in early life, and enshrine all the golden memories of youth.
Their chief merit lies in the fact, that they were the first poetical tributes of admiration for the beautiful and romantic Scenery of the Isle of Man, ever published. Possibly they were the remoter causes of the harmonies and hues, with which Poet and Painter have since lavishly imbued glen, mountain, and streamlet of the lovely Island, as I trust they may be the pioneers, of its prosperous and enduring celebrity.
The Miscellaneous Poems are simple thoughts — rising spontaneously in the solitary walk or by the household hearth, and shaping themselves into rhyme amid humble home duties, delights, and sorrows.
That they may help to cheer or solace other homes, in their present form and simple fashion, is the highest ambition of
Stanzas: Inscribed to G. H. Wood, Esq
A Dream of Glenmay
Lines on the Ancient Monument in the Church Yard of Braddan
The Violet in the Groves
A Song of the Hills
Kirk Braddan Church Yard
A Memory of Mona
The Pensee gathered in the Groves
A Sigh for Glenmay
To an Old Friend in Mona, J. G
The Groves of Ballaughton
The Grave in Kirk Michael
The Departing Vessel from Douglas Bay
The Lament of the Fairies
To a Friend in Mona
A Bye-Gone Hour
My Heart is o’er the Sea (for Music)
A Legend of Mona
A Chamber Scene
The Maiden Rose of England
Bread by the Way-Side
The Evangels of Life
The Return of Florence Nightingale
Lily’s New Year
Loved and Lost
The China Tea Cup
The Peasant Bard
The Vernal Bouquet
Waiting for Beethoven
A Mother’s Consolation
Alas, that we should die
A Summer Thought
Faith to believe
A Poet’s Musings
A Railway Sketch
The Flower of France
The Hawthorn Bough in the Workroom
The Angels of Love
The Song of Fatherland
Beyond the Veil
Genius and the World
The Poor Maiden and the Angels
The Green Land of the Rhine
The Moorish Maid
From the Shore (for Music)
Past — 1857
Under the Sycamore
The Form and the Spirit
“He Giveth his Beloved Sleep”
The Household Relique
Cannon from Sebastopol
A Lover’s Logic
Lavender and Roses
The Child Teaching her Infant Sister to Pray
The Fair Maids of February
The Look from the Lattice
The Trysting Tree
Lines addressed to Charles Kenworthy
The Infant’s Bier
The Garland of Life
God Bless You
Our English Queen
Love in Death
To J. B. Rogerson, Esq
The Power of the Pen
After the Ball
Once we Loved
The Trance of the Improvisatrice
The Bard’s Farewell
Aloyse de Montemar to Her Child
The Sunrise Sketch
The Flowers of Calder Dale
The Voyage of Hope and Youth
The Song of Lillian
The Green Holly Bough
The Linden Tree
A Child’s Faith
The Field Flower
A Picture on my Wall
To my Fire
The Snow-Drop in the Poor Man’s Window
An Echo from the Sea
The New Year’s Kiss
By Express Train
In Memory of the Brave
The Grave of Adrian Hope
A May Morning
The Island Harp
Inscribed to G. H. Wood Esq., Douglas, Isle of Man
Hadst thou my lyre! alas its simple chords
Have never echoed unto strains like thine!
High thoughts that, wedded to harmonious words.
Make a rich music of each graceful line.
Till the heart listens, rapt, as if it heard
Sweet descants from angelic harps divine!
My songs are but as murmurings from the woods —
Air-voices of the hidden Dryades,
Or Sea-maids ‘plaining from the ocean floods —
Faint warblings scatter’d by the Autumn breeze.
With a sad farewell sighing in their tone.
Like sylvan wailings ere the leaves are strewn.
Yet, if their simple cadence ere they die.
Touch the fine sympathies of loftier minds.
Or wake in lowly hearts an answering thrill.
Then not in vain upon the mountain winds
And the wild sea waves have I cast the lays
Whose noblest guerdon is thy minstrel praise!
A DREAM OF GLENMAY
My thoughts have rested on thee
Till the murmur of thy streams
Comes like sighs of elfin music
To the shadowy hour of dreams.
And the winds that love thy waters
And their showers of diamond spray
Whisper freshly in their dewy flight
Of the Valley of Glenmay.
Thy very name does breathe of flowers.
And the sunny eves of Spring;
And what can sweeter thoughts
To the Minstrel’s vision bring?
Many hearts have linger’d o’er thee
In the silent trance of joy;
And if thus thou art in beauty,
What can e’er thy charm destroy?
The rocks that guard thy lovely glen
Are wreath’d with blossoms fair;
The emerald leaves of Ivy shower
Their bright luxuriance there;
And the dewy moss lies green and deep.
As if ’twere trod by none.
Save the Fairies in their moon-light dance
When the Summer day is done.
Oh! here, upon the Eve of May,
They surely wake again.
To bless the loveliest glen of all
That own their festal reign;
And the dark gems of the Violets,
The Woodbine’s blossoms fair.
Seem as they were wreaths from Fairy-land
And left at sunrise there.
The song of summer wild birds
So joyous and so free.
The bright rush of the water-fall
With its elfin melody.
The silvery leaves of willows
Just trembling on the stream.
As if they loved, yet feared to break
Its soft and sunny gleam.
So lonely and so lovely
Is the dream I’ve form’d of thee:
I know not if so many charms
May in thy valley be;
Nor will I wander near thee,
Lest the spell should pass away
That has thrown its wild enchantment
O’er the Valley of Glenmay.
LINES ON THE ANCIENT MONUMENT IN THE CHURCH YARD OF BRADDAN
Oh, dark and nameless! I have gazed on thee
Until the silent dweller in thy shrine
Was to my heart no more a mystery.
And in each wildly traced and fading sign
There was a spell for spirits such as mine;
The very winds around me seemed the tone
Of an unearthly voice at day’s decline
Breathing the legend of the lonely stone.
I lingered o’er the silent characters
Of a forgotten language darkly gone
With those who traced them to their sepulchres.
Until it seemed their shadowy lore was won:
The mystery of the dead! and dreams came on
In fearful beauty such as might not last —
The lineage — deeds — of that departed one, —
His life — his love, — a moment, they were past!
The winds came o’er the dwellings of the dead.
The wild grass waved up to their passing sigh,
And from my heart the mystic trance had fled;
The shadowy legend seem’d at once to die
And he forgot! — the freshness of the sky
Bending in beauty o’er me, and at times
The music of the birds and waters nigh.
With the far cadence of the Sabbath chimes.
Seeming to swell, amid the silvery clouds.
And die in the bright West: the winds of balm,
The flowers that shone around in dewy crowds —
The incense shrines of earth, — the holy calm
Breath’d o’er the hallow’d spot, the o’erpowering charm.
Nameless, yet sweet in its intensity, —
All that was bright and beautiful and warm;
Oh, who could look on these and lonely be?
They mingled with my spirit; it was one
With these bright elements, and might not rest
O’er the dark memory of ages gone
Down to the dust; for there was in my breast
All glorious hopes, and thoughts too long represt,
That were not of this earth, and lived alone
In the heart’s silent worship — breath’d not, lest
There should be dimness o’er their beauty thrown!
And thou! O, silent dweller in the dust.
Was this fair earth as full of bliss for thee?
Hadst thou as bright a hope — as firm a trust —
A heart of such enthusiast fervency?
Thou answerest not! the silent mystery
Of the grave has no voice, or will not show
The secret of its power: and such shall be
My resting place — as nameless and as low.
And full as silent; this young heart, that springs
To meet the sunbeams, and would pierce their light.
Whose thoughts mock the wild eagle’s daring wings
In their free ranging and their uncheck’d flight.
Shall there come darkness o’er its visions bright —
Coldness o’er what is now the impassion’d shrine
Of life and hope? Yes; such shall be my night —
The solitude of death as deep as thine!
* * * * *
Didst thou come proudly o’er the ocean foam
To the lone Island of the storms, to reign
A northern Sea-king in thy desert home,
The dark usurper of the trackless main,
Whose proud heart yielded in the Pagan fane.
Spelled by their runic rights and mystic force.
But when far sweeping on the waves again,
What power might check the wild marauder’s course?
Or woke thy spirit in this lonely Isle
First to the light — child of the wilderness! —
Free as its stormy waters by the smile
Of sunbeams seldom blest (not loved the less
For all their tempests)? Was it thine to press
With the first wind of morn, amid the still
And shadowy mists, from thy lone cave’s recess
To wake the red deer on their silent hill?
Tired Hunter of the Isle! thy chace is past;
Dark Ruler of the Waters! we can trace
No shadow of thy course o’er ocean cast;
It is forgotten like thy resting-place!
Where is the legend of thy name or race?
Far in the mist of ages. Time has shed
Oblivion o’er thy glory or disgrace;
We know but this — thy rest is with the dead.
The dream of thy valley —
Thy waters — is o’er;
I have looked on thy beauty,
And loved thee the more!
Thou still art before me.
So lovely and lone —
The rush of thy fountains.
The sunbeams that shone
With a quivering brightness
The verdure amid,
As if seeking the roses
Their wild branches hid.
The sweet woodbine showering
Its drapery of flowers
Where the green ivy shadowed
The birds’ summer bowers;
The winds that came sighing
O’er fountain and tree.
And whispering of blossoms;
The wild melody
Of thy sparkling waters;
Oh! is it not vain?
The enchantment that bound me
Must fade in this strain.
But when shall its magic
From memory depart? —
Oh! vale of the fountains.
How lovely thou art!
If mine were the numbers
That Fame would prolong.
Thy shadowy beauty
Should live in this song.
When the heart of thy Minstrel
Lies cold in the shrine.
And the wild harp is broken
Whose music was thine.
But I leave thee for ever!
On Mona’s lone shore
The step of the Wanderer
Must linger no more.
I go — but thine image
Shall still with me dwell!
Sweet glen of the waters
For ever, farewell!
“A stream of water runs on each side of the temple, issuing from two fountains about fifty yards higher up the hill, and which were undoubtedly regarded by the Druids as sacred; the name of the vale plainly indicates that their favourite tree, the oak, surrounded them; for Glendarragh in Manx signifies the Vale of Oaks.” — Haining’s Guide.
Sweet fountains, where are now your worshippers?
Your consecrated waters still flow on;
But who shall trace their nameless sepulchres;
The Druid and the warrior — all have gone!
The echoes of their footsteps long have died
From your green margins, weeds have overgrown
The mystic altar and the temples pride;
They stand deserted — dark’ning and alone.
But ye are all unchanged, in pureness welling
Out to the sun-beams, fresh, as when the hymn
That hallowed ye, in choral music swelling,
Rung through the sacred wood and temple dim.
Free, as when first ye sparkled to the light,
Unsought and nameless. Nature’s joyous own!
E’er aught of worship or of Pagan rite.
In the lone valley of your course was known;
When no step wandered near your mountain spring.
Save when the red deer left its silent glade.
And ye swept on like birds upon the wing.
Pouring your wild song to the forest shade.
Where are your festal garlands now, sweet fountains? —
The stranger weaves no chaplet — breathes no vow;
The pilgrim steps have left your lonely mountains.
Your rites are all forgot — your worship ended now!
And thou, lone relic of departed years, —
Deserted Temple — are the mighty gone?
Where is the glimmering of their thousand spears.
As to the field they past in triumph on,
With the wild hymn and war song mingling, and
The green oak garlands from this hallowed spot?
Where are thy gifted seers that ruled the land?
The lion hearts are cold — the inspired ones forgot;
And the fierce riders of the pathless waters,
That paid their rude and mystic homage here.
Reddening thy altar-stone with victim slaughters.
They too have past and left thee lone and drear.
The dimness of unnumbered years has shed
Its mystery o’er thee — dweller in the waste —
Desolate shadow of the mighty dead:
When the grey circle of thy power was placed.
Looked the sun down as bright? did the same sound
Of winds and waters greet thy worshippers?
The undying voice of nature breathed around.
From every trembling leaf or breeze that stirs.
Thou art deserted now, thy altar lonely —
All, all have past, that held thee once divine;
Thy consecrated fountains linger only
Unchanged, with all their music near thy shrine.
Glendarragh! where is now thy sacred shade,
The dim recesses of the forest gloom?
Where the deep mysteries of thy rites were paid,
Where rose the prophet voice as from a tomb.
And warriors trembled at the oracle?
Vale of the Oaks! the name is still thy own.
But their green branches with their votaries fell —
They wither’d unprofaned, and thou art waste and lone,
They left thee dark’ning in the mist of ages.
Wild temple of Glendarragh! — long have fled
The hero worshippers, thy gifted sages!
Why art thou here when they are with the dead?
THE VIOLET IN THE GROVES
It seem’d as fairy hands had rear’d
The green moss for its throne,
Where, underneath the forest tree.
It lived and bloom’d alone:
The primrose stars were scatter’d forth.
With coronals of dew;
But none were near the shadowy spot
Where that lone Violet grew.
A trembling sunbeam early glanced
The bowery leaves amid,
As if to woo the maiden flower
Their green luxuriance hid;
And ever as the timid ray
Trembled o’er leaf and stem,
A passing gleam of purple light
Reveal’d the living gem.
I left it to its loneliness —
Its sweet and silent reign —
The shadow of its forest bower.
And minstrel birds again;
And still can dream it blossom’d there,
To all but me unknown, —
Its greenwood temple unprofan’d.
Pure — beautiful — alone!
Oh emerald waves! to me your music cometh
Like the dim music in an ocean shell.
Calling me back, with fond, familiar voices.
To tread again the shores, beloved, alas! too well.
I look far down into your gleaming waters.
And listen for the songs that came of yore
With a faint cadence from the seamaid’s dwelling,
(Her spell-wrought mist still guards the enchanted shore.)
But far away the Mermaid has departed.
No music on the midnight sea is cast;
Yet in the murmurs of the wave remaineth
A low, sweet, fitful sound — an echo of the past!
Oh lovely are ye, ye encircling waters.
Girdling with brightness the romantic shore.
With faery sails in the far sunlight gleaming.
And silvery shower-drops from the glancing oar.
There the green headland with its crowning turrets,1
The far grey cliffs — the clear and sparkling sands.
And the sweet homes of peace whose groves and gardens
Blossom in beauty as the view expands.
No fairer scenes may to the Poet’s spirit
Beneath the blue skies of Italia smile,
Than these, oh lovely bay, that fondly guardest
With thy far spreading waves, dear Mona’s Isle.
* * * * *
It is the ocean harvest!2 what kind wishes
Go with that moonlight navy’s spreading sails!
From many hearts the fervent prayer ariseth.
That hope, yet tremble, as the breeze prevails.
Husband and lover, — brother, son, and sire,
Go forth upon thy water; may they come
With gladsome triumph back, their treasures garner’d —
Their perils past — to bless their Island home!
* * * * *
Fair shores of Mona! fond remembrance hallows
Your changing scenes thro’ mist and sun and shade, —
A cherish’d dream of beauty, unforgotten.
Till life itself shall from your minstrel fade!
1 Fort Anne and Harold Tower.
2 The Herring Fishery.
A SONG OF THE HILLS
Come, come to the hills, they are wild and free! —
A thousand voices in music call.
From the pleasant song of the mountain bee
To the sound of the rushing waterfall.
There is ever the presence of nature there.
To wrap the soul in a holy calm;
And the vernal winds in their flight appear,
As if wafted from sunny isles of balm.
For a fragrance comes from their quiet breath,.
As if they had swept over incense vales:
Come, come to the hills! ’tis their wild-flower wreath
That odour has given to the spicy gales.
The crimson flowers of the fairy moss,
Like ruby sparks from an elfin mine.
Where the bee still lingers as if at a loss
Whether gems or blossoms beneath him shine.
The mountain heath with its purple bells,
The dewy leaves of the scented thyme.
And the sweet, sweet violet’s honey’d cells;
Oh is it not joy the hills to climb?
The pastoral hills, where no sound is sent
From the distant world of toil and gloom;
Where the winds and waters are redolent
With music and fragrance, light and bloom.
Where ever the free song of the bird
And the rustle of leaves, like a whisper’d hymn.
In the silence of their green depths is heard;
Where the bowering branches are close and dim.
Where the blue sky arches far away,
And the silvery clouds their bright wings close.
As if they loved on that spot to stay,
Where all is calm as their own repose.
Come seek thee a home where the free heart springs
Up to the heavens with the birds that seem.
With the sparkling rush of their joyous wings.
Like the fairy shapes of a Poet’s dream.
If thou rememberest that guileless time.
Ere ambition had lured thy steps away
From thy sylvan home in the mountain clime
To that world where the brightest hopes decay;
If thou hast sighed for thy boyhood’s choice.
Or the vernal haunts thou hast left in vain;
If thy heart still echoes to freedom’s voice.
Come, nature’s child to the hills again!
KIRK BRADDAN CHURCH YARD
Silent and still
Art thou in thy green solitude: we hear
No sound, save with a strange and fitful thrill,
The low wind sweeping through the solemn trees —
A voice that breathes unearthly mysteries:
We stand amid the past, whose Sabbath-sleep is here!
Grey altars of our rest.
How are ye gathered in this quiet place.
Where the worn pilgrim, weary and distrest, —
The high in hope, — the joyous and the fair, —
The sinless child, — the evil heart’s despair, —
Share in the silent dwellings of their race.
Where those white roses bloom,1
Beauty, and love, and youth are with the dust, —
The snowy marble guards the virgin’s tomb:
Bright angel! early summoned to the skies,
To smile amid the flowers of Paradise, —
To wear thy crown of stars and worship with the just!
Where the wild grass is deep,
Forgotten hearts have moulder’d in the clay;
And those who left them to their dreamless sleep
Perchance have given their dust to foreign graves;
Whilst here the churchyard nettle slowly waves.
Sighing, to stranger ears, of those long passed away.
And thou, dark Runic stone, —
Who knoweth what thy voiceless silence hides? —
Sternly thou frownest in the moonlight lone;
Thy legend undisclosed; thy mystic lore —
Holding the secret of a race of yore —
Fading, as Times corroding finger glides
O’er the dim characters.
That have for us no language to impart
Who raised thee in this place of sepulchres, —
If human love or a stern conqueror’s pride —
Triumph or sorrow, thy dark symbols hide, —
We know not; of our race thou hast no part
Save that thy shadow falls
Upon their graves? Shall thus Oblivion shroud
Our lov’d and lost ones? No! our Hope recalls
The Christian’s glorious immortality!
The frozen North — the Indian’s burning sky.
Echo with anthems unto Him who bow’d
Meekly, amid his dying agony,
His thorn-crown’d head upon the Cross! — the sign
That shall unto the gather’d nations be
A symbol through all time; and those who sleep
In grey Kirk Braddan’s silence thus shall keep
The Record of their Heritage Divine.
1 The Tomb of Miss Scott, behind the western extremity of the Church.
A MEMORY OF MONA
Green Island of my love! still at thy name
A lingering tone
Sighs o’er the trembling harp whose earliest lays
Were thine alone.
The shadows of the Grave have darken’d near, —
The Phantom’s wing
Swept from my heart the beautiful of earth, —
Troubling the spring
And fountain of sweet thoughts within my soul, —
The glory and the freshness of my dreams
With funeral pall.
Oh, lovely caves, wild hills, and haunted glens!
Your Poet’s strain
Is silent now, but ye are to the last
Beloved — in vain!
I would not be forgotten on the shores
Where I have been
Heard, like a haunting voice, amid the caves
And waters green.
Weaving the spells of Memory and Love,
In charmed rhyme.
Round the fair scenes to which my spirit clings
Thro’ Change and Time.
Yet, if Oblivion’s cloud now coldly rests
Upon my name.
Still art Thou dear, — the memory of Love
THE PENSEE, GATHERED IN THE GROVES
“The Pansy? —
That’s for thoughts.”
‘Tis but a lone, a simple flower,
I dare to give to thee,
In memory of our parting-hour
And thy last words to me.
The Rose — with its leaves of crimson light.
A vase of dews and bloom —
I offer not; ’tis all too bright
To image forth my doom.
And the flowers that cluster round this spot
With their thousand stars of blue —
The wreaths of the wild Forget-me-Not,
They speak of a faith too true, —
Of a fond devotion I dare not seek
To a fate so sad as mine;
Then let this simple Pensee speak
From my absent heart to thine!
A SIGH FOR GLENMAY
Oh Island Harp!
I loved to touch thy charmed strings of yore,
But the wild echo of the Mermaids’ song
Within thy sea-worn caves is heard no more!
Oh sweet Glenmay!
Hold’st thou as yet thy fairy solitude?
Still flashes forth thy waters’ diamond spray
Out to the sunlight? — and by wild birds wooed.
Still freshly green
Hangs the wild ivy on thy sylvan wall
Its thousand garlands? Ever hast thou been
A spell to hold thy Minstrel’s heart in thrall.
Tho’ long have died
The songs that spoke of thee from Mona’s shore.
Yet has thy name as with a voice replied
To the fond memories of the past! — restore.
Oh lovely dream,
The vernal freshness of my spirit’s prime.
When glen and mountain path and lonely stream,
Were poesy’s worshipp’d altars! — then stern Time
Paused not to dim
The bright romance of minstrel ecstacy,
And flowers and sunlight, and the greenwood hymn
Of the free birds brought charmed dreams to me!
No more! no more!
Sweet glen of the green Isle, hast thou the power
With all thy fairy beauty to restore
The Elysian dreams that were my spirit’s dower;
Yet shall thou be
A lovely thought within my soul to dwell, —
A talisman, that o’er the distant sea
Calls back the memory of my last farewell!
TO AN OLD FRIEND IN MONA, J. G.
‘Tis long since, old Friend, now, since either enquired
What Time has effected since “days o’ lang syne,” —
If my heart was still by the Muses inspired.
Or if taste, wit, and eloquence still brighten’d thine.
So just for one moment, tho’ wild waves divide us.
And twenty long years have gone by since we met,
We’ll call back the vision that hover’d beside us
When my curls were auburn and thy locks were jet.
Now, both have been silver’d by Time’s hand, or sorrow’s,
(Ah! ask not the anguish that early blanch’d mine,)
And I’ll fondly hope that to-day’s and to-morrow’s
Have, calmly revolving, brought snow into thine.
But away with the present, — we’ll meet now in spirit
As oft we have met in the Isle of the Sea,
When, dreaming of laurels that each might inherit.
The Song of the Mermaid was pour’d forth for thee, —
When too much with the wealth of the Muses o’erladen.
Thy hand check’d the measure and tun’d the wild strings:
Ah! in Memory’s lucida the Sage and the Maiden
Still live on unchanged, tho’ Time has had wings.
Oh, Mona! dear Mona! my spirit returneth,
Like a bird to its eyry, to seek thy green shore;
Thro’ the mist and the tempest thy light ever burneth.
But my bark on Life’s ocean shall reach thee no more!
Farewell then, old Friend! still may blessings attend thee;
May the sands in thine hour-glass run gold to the last;
And sometimes, at twilight, may Memory send thee —
Like a vision from cloud-land — a Thought of the Past!
THE GROVES OF BALLAUGHTON
Oh, beautiful Ballaughton!
Tho’ many years have flown.
Still art thou in thy loveliness
A vision of my own.
When spring looked forth in other lands.
My heart remembered thee;
I thought how fresh the vernal leaves
In thy sylvan groves would be.
And in the flush of roses,
(Bright summer’s regal dower,)
I knew within thy gardens
There grew a simple flower.
With a faint, sweet tinge of crimson
Hid within its leaves of snow,
Like the blush upon an ocean-shell:
We named it — long ago —
The Mermaids’ Rose!— Oh, bloom they yet.
Those fair and mystic flowers.
Since the lovely and the lost are gone
From thy Arcadian bowers?
Alas! the loving hearts are cold
In the silent grave’s decay.
Since the groves of green Ballaughton
First heard my minstrel lay!
The autumn winds — the winter storms,
Amid their shades have been.
To wither and to desolate
The sweet romantic scene;
Yet ever to the breath of spring
They blossomed forth again,
As if their affluent verdure
Had never known a stain.
Oh! that the weary heart could cast
Its blighted hopes aside.
And wear its flush of early dreams.
Its glow of summer pride!
Then might this earth still hold for me
The lost, enchanted spell.
As, when to green Ballaughton
I gave my last farewell!
THE GRAVE IN KIRK MICHAEL
“Let this Island speak the rest.”1 — Bishop Wilson’s Epitaph.
And it has spoken for thee! oh, thou just
And humble follower of thy Master’s will!
The ground is hallow’d that contains thy dust.
And we approach it with a chasten’d thrill
Of reverence and of love! For thee who spread
The table in the Wilderness for all
Who thirsted for the truth: Thou didst not call
The proud ones of the earth alone to share
The Banquet of the Lord, but kindly led
The simple and the lowly suppliant there.
Feeding the Lambs with a true Shepherd’s care.
With thee were Charity and Peace: thy name
Went forth to distant nations. Gorgeous Rome
From the high altars of her glittering pride
And incense-shrines of idols deified
Look’d on thy simple, pure, and stedfast Faith
With homage, and forgot her enmity
To the true Church of Christ to reverence thee
Its blameless Minister! the ocean foam
Bore not War’s thunders to this Isle, thrice blest
And guarded by thy pastoral holiness.2
While prouder realms had trouble and unrest,
Thine was the home of Peace and Righteousness —
The Ark amid the waters!
Time and Death
Have not had power to dim thy Memory,
Or raze the records of thy gracious deeds,
Oh true Apostle of the Church which leads
The willing heart to household charities —
To poor men’s hearths and chambers desolate —
With words of love and kind alms freely given.
To banish earthly griefs and point the way to Heaven!
Blest in thy virtuous life and gentle fate,
Which led thee thro’ all peril undismay’d
With holy zeal that fail’d not: undecay’d
By time, thine energies, thy enfranchised soul
Sprang forth at once to win its radiant goal.
Rapt, like the Prophet Seer of old, from earth.
To see thy Master’s face and know no fear,
True servant of thy Lord!
Still lingereth here
The brightness of thy glory, even as shone
Elijah’s fiery car — this simple stone
In grey Kirk Michael’s solitude has power
To lift the spirit from the present hour, —
To school the Sceptic’s pride and win the tear
For the Good Man who sleeps in Jesus, here!
1 The Bishop’s remains were interred in the church-yard of Kirk Michael,
and a plain black marble monument has been erected over his grave, with the
following Epitaph inscribed on it: —
Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of this Isle,
Who died March 7th, 1755,
Aged 93, and in the 58th year of his consecration.
This Monument was erected
By his Son, Thomas Wilson, D.D., a native of this Parish,
Who, in obedience to the express commands of his Father,
Declines giving him the character he so justly deserved.
Let this Island speak the rest!
2 The celebrated Cardinal Fleury had received such an impression of his character as rendered him exceedingly desirous to see him. He sent purposely to enquire after the Bishop’s health, his age, and the date of his consecration, observing that they were the two oldest, and, as he believed, the two poorest bishops in Europe; and at the same time inviting him to France. The Bishop’s answer to this invitation gave the Cardinal so high an opinion of his piety and talents, that out of regard to his correspondent, he obtained an order from the French Government (then at war with Great Britain) that no French privateer should pillage the Isle of Man, — Stowell’s Life of Bishop Wilson.
THE DEPARTING VESSEL FROM DOUGLAS BAY
Eve on the Ocean,
The waters are still —
Sunset in Heaven,
And mists on the hill.
Winds have not waken’d.
And shadows have thrown
Their mystery o’er thee;
And, dim and alone.
Afar on the waters
Thou lingerest yet.
As if some enchantment
Was over thee set!
And She — the deserted —
Whose lonely despair
Even wild tears relieve not,
Is still watching there.
Her’s is that deep sorrow —
That passionate woe —
Words never may utter,
And tears faintly show!
All of Love’s deepest feelings, —
That love which alone,
In the true heart of Woman,
Unchanging is shown, —
Which Time cannot shadow.
Nor absence control, —
In that wild hour of parting,
Has rushed on her soul!
That glance to the far ship —
The desolate tears —
Oh! show they not passion
Undarken’d by years, —
The holiest and purest
Earth’s pilgrim’s may share —
The love of a Mother —
A mother’s despair?
What are thy thoughts, lone one, —
Of darkness and storms?
I read thy soul’s terror —
The madness it forms.
The fear of the wild waves
And winds in their might, —
The last look of fondness
On those eyes of light
Whose beauty has blest thee
In this world of care,
For the glance of thy first love
Seemed still smiling there.
A wind from the mountains —
The shadows are gone;
In the warm glow of sunset.
How proud she sails on!
Fair speed, gallant vessel!
The green hills are past;
It fades in the distance;
That look was thy last!
Oh, sunny day of brightness! tho’ Autumn winds are near.
There is freshness yet and beauty for the lingering sunbeams here;
And the mountain springlet scatters forth its sparkling waters free.
As if Summer in Glenaldyn dwelt for aye with bird and bee.
Once valley lillies wreath’d it a pearly coronal.
Like an offering to the Spirit of the hidden Waterfall,
When music and a silvery thread amid the lichens grey
Betray’d, amid the bowery leaves, the fairy fountain way.
Was it not sweet to linger here and have a magic dream
Of the Naiad of the Wilderness — the Lady of the Stream, —
Till from the green and shadowy depths gleam’d out a vision rare —
The dewy light of fawn like eyes and pearl-entangled hair, —
And a sweet and sighing voice breath’d forth, — each silvery note a spell —
A wild, entrancing fairy-song — that none again may tell;
For when the Summer wind came by to catch the mystic tone.
The Lady of the Wilderness had left me all alone!
THE LAMENT OF THE FAIRIES
Oh, well we loved the Ocean Isle
Ere our revels passed away;
And we came with songs at the Violet’s birth
On the balmy Eve of May.
We led the dance, and scatter’d free
Our charmed favors round;
Token and gift for the threshold stone1
Where the offering flowers we found.
Then the music of our silver bells
Came ringing on the wind.
As the night-bewilder’d peasant sought
The mountain-path to find, —
And with song, and shout, and gladsomeness,
A gay and frolic band
Swept past him on their elfin steeds —
The Knights of Fairyland!
The cloudless Moon came glancing out
To cast her sparkling sheen
On silver helm and diamond crest
And silken robes of green,
As we pledg’d the cup and spread the feast
Beneath the hawthorn tree.
Till the stars look’d dim on the mimic jousts
Of the fairy chivalry.
Then far away — like shadows grey —
We fled from the coming Sun,
Lifting the spell from the watcher’s eyes
When the festal rout was done.
And for many a year by the household hearth
He told the wondrous tale.
But never again might find the path
That led to the haunted vale.
Sorrow and Sin — like a darkening cloud —
O’er our fair regions fell.
And we past away to the hidden land
With a long and sad farewell.
Leaving our names to the forest-streams.
And the pastoral vallies fair,
And the sylvan nooks where the lady-ferns
Hang out their plumage rare.
But One remain’d tho’ he knew a spell
Would change his radiant frame.
And send him forth, a fearful shape,
With wild and mystic name —
To come no more to his fairy home
Till Time itself shall fade;
Yet he braved the curse and endured the wierd,
For the love of a mortal Maid!
His was the wizard hand that toil’d
At Midnight’s witching hour,
That gather’d the sheep from the coming storm
Ere the shepherd saw it lour, —
Yet ask’d no fee save a scatter’d sheaf
From the peasant’s garner’d hoard,
Or a cream-howl — kist by a Virgin’s lip —
To be left on the household board.
He liv’d in the light of the smiling eyes
That first his homage won
‘Till the dust was laid on her lovely head —
The mortal’s race was run.
The very stone that bore her name
Had crumbled to decay
Ere the Exiled Spirit chain’d to earth
Past from his toils away.
You may hear his voice on the desert hill
When the mountain winds have power, —
A wild lament for his buried love
And his long lost fairy bower.
But the Elfin Knight is now a form
Beheld on earth no more —
A moaning voice and a legend wild
Of the wizard days of yore.
* * * * *
“We have past away, but ye may recall
Our songs in the voice of the Waterfall,
Lover and Maiden, who chance to stray
When sunset blushes on lone Glenmay.
Never shall vow that is plighted here
Be broken on earth in its faith sincere;
For we wrought a Charm and we spoke a Spell,
Ever and aye in its bowers to dwell, —
A charm of Love that shall ne’er decay.
If ye plight but your promise in sweet Glenmay.
1 A beautiful superstition of the native Manx people, who leave green boughs or flowers on the threshold on May Eve to propitiate the “Good People.”
TO A FRIEND IN MONA
We seek not to know whether Beauty reposes
In the fair laughing eyes and the bright sunny hair.
But we feel there’s a charm, as thy spirit discloses
That the heart’s brightest sparkles of kindness are there.
We trace not thy image, and yet ’tis enshrined
In our brightest of thoughts and our gayest of dreams;
Like a fresh dewy rose with lifes ivy entwined.
Or the flash of the sunlight on wild mountain streams.
Thy words gay and careless — and yet they come glancing
Like gems from the sea cave, a treasure divine;
And the smile on thy lips all their sweetness enhancing.
Shows how gracious the spirit, how stainless the shrine.
They come in their brightness when thou hast departed.
Like a lute’s fairy echo when fadeth the strain;
A sigh would profile them, the fresh and light-hearted
Romance of a heart without sorrow or pain.
A spell is around thee — this lay is a token.
Who else could command it? its music is free;
Yet so bright was the smile when the mandate was spoken.
That the light of the wild harp awaken’d for thee.
‘Tis thine and thine only, oh smile on its numbers.
The strain may be rude, but the heart’s words are there.
And when in oblivion the lone Minstrel slumbers.
As the light of thy spirit, her song may be fair.
A BYE-GONE HOUR
It was a pleasant garden.
And fair the sunbeams shone
On the ripples of the fountain
Where we two sat — alone.
We gather’d the crimson roses.
And cast them on the stream;
And fame that might not perish
Was our hearts’ impassion’d theme.
To his lyre’s entrancing music,
My minstrel words replied;
A life of bright Elysium
Was that hour by the fountain’s side.
Oh, Time, and Death, and Sorrow!
That the heart should be your slave,—
There is snow in my auburn tresses,
And he — is in the grave!
MY HEART IS O’ER THE SEA
To-night there will be mask and mirth
Within the lordly hall.
The red wine and the minstrel’s song —
A joyous festival.
The laurel-wreath, the rose of love.
To crown my harp and me:
I cannot give them smile for smile, —
My heart is o’er the sea!
I lov’d the hues of flowers once.
But now there seems a spell
In the sunset tints by mermaids trac’d
Upon the ocean-shell.
The sweet and glistening light of pearls,
Whose trembling lustre seems
As if scatter’d from the Moon’s bright urn
While she watch’d Endymion’s dreams.
Rich sea-weeds, like to crimson wreaths
Of fairy fillagree;
All tell me of the distant waves.
And my heart is o’er the sea!
When the summer-day is over
And its loney cares have flown,
I sit beneath the starlight,
With a weary heart, alone.
Then rises like a vision,
Sparkling bright in Nature’s glee.
My own dear Ellan Vannin
And its green hills by the sea.
Then I hear the wavelets murmur
As they kiss the fairy shore.
And beneath the emerald waters
Sings the Mermaid — as of yore.
And the Fair Isle shines in beauty.
As in youth it dawn’d on me, —
My own dear Ellan Vannin
And its green hills by the sea!
Then memories — sweet and tender —
Come, like music’s plaintive flow.
Of the hearts in Ellan Vannin
That lov’d me, long ago.
And I give, with tears and blessings.
My fondest thoughts to thee,
My own dear Ellan Vannin
And thy green hills by the sea!
1 Ellan Vannin, is the vernacular appellation for the Isle of Man.— Music composed and published by J. Townsend, King-street, Manchester.
A LEGEND OF MONA.
[This Fragment, or irregular Poem, is founded on a tradition in the Isle of Man, that a Mermaid once becoming enamoured of a beautiful youth, took an occasion of his walking on the sea-shore to accost him and declare her passion; but, meeting with no corresponding feeling, she wrought a spell and cast a Mist over and around the Isle, by which it could no more be found by mariners, except when shipwrecked on its coasts, as the mist had rendered it invisible.
— Forests formerly graced the rising grounds of Mona, which have now disappeared.]
CANTO THE FIRST.
Freshness and sunshine! — is not this
The very home of sylvan bliss?
The deep green moss and the ivy wreath.
The clustering violets shower’d beneath.
Clouds in heaven, but oh! how few.
And they are all of silvery hue,
Too bright to gaze on, and far away
The sparkling sea and its fairy bay!
The mountain waters come with a tone
Of music over each mossy stone,
‘Till, gathering in brightness, at once they rush
Thro’ the wild rocks, with a joyous gush.
Out to the sunbeams, gemming again
Ivy and blossoms with silver rain
Dashed from the foaming coronal
The spray-shower wreaths o’er the waterfall.
My spirit is with them — the beautiful!
Mine is no heart that the world can dull;
Years may change me, but where shall be
The cloud to shadow its fervency?
Could I but utter the wordless thought —
The o’erpowering feeling within me wrought —
Of beauty and brightness without a name.
And how to my heart the enchantment came;
Annabel then might joy to own
Her minstrel love where the noblest shone!
Thou art here, as beautiful and young
As the brightest ever by Poet sung;
And can’st thou look on all around.
And listen thus to each sylvan sound,
And have no thought of the fairy train
That once held here their festal reign?
The sweet creations of some lone heart
That had dwelt in solitude, apart
From the world’s rude throng, till its passionate thought
To the wild belief of its dreams was wrought.
And the shadowy forms it had learnt to frame
To moonlight glen and wild wood came
With spell and sign, and enchanted wand.
And the Elfin pomp of the FAIRY LAND!
And ever since then, from childhood’s hour.
Hearts have worshipp’d and owned their power;
And here they have held their boundless sway
In the fairy valley of sweet Glenmay.
Shall I not win thy brightest smile
With a legend of this enchanted Isle —
Where the magic of beauty lingers yet.
Though the light of its mystic lore is set.
Chaining all hearts with a sweeter spell
Than e’er in enchanted rites might dwell?
Listen then, love, though ’tis but a dream
Such as over thy Minstrel gleams.
Shadowy and strange, and yet ’tis known
In mountain waste and valley lone.
The island maiden, when winds are high.
And the storm in the wild and starless sky.
Looks to the deep, from her mountain home —
Its dark’ning waters and gathering foam —
And thinks of the wild and fearful hour
When the Sea Maid’s curse and the Mist had power.
In sweet Glenmay on summer eves.
The wild birds pour their music still.
While the warm sunset-glory leaves
A crimson gleam on wave and hill.
But SHE, whose heart with rapture heard
The aerial warble of the bird,
So passionately wild and lone.
Yet silvery clear, as if the tone
Was waked by an enchanted wand
From some sweet harp of fairy land, —
The beautiful, the young, the pure
And gentle dweller by the sea!
The flowers, the birds, the glen endure
In freshness yet, — but where is she?
And her young warrior-love — the brave
And faithful Harolde? far beneath
The silence of the emerald wave.
The dark weed forms their funeral wreath;
And the lone dashing of the sea.
With its undying murmur, pours
A low, wild, requiem melody
Ever around the fated shores
Where slighted love and magic power
Withered fair Mona’s loveliest flower.
Harolde had nought of lineage — name —
To bear on crest or trace on shield;
But his free sword had won him fame
In many a dark and hard fought field.
He had that sweet and speaking glance
That can at once the soul entrance
In his clear, sparkling eyes — their hue
The summer violet’s deepest blue;
A form as proudly free and fair
And stately as the noblest were;
A lofty air, a warrior’s tread,
A smile that seemed like moonlight shed
O’er dewy rose buds; and the proud
White forehead had a radiant crowd
Of cluster’d waves of sunny hair
Shining in silken beauty there:
He came with many a noble one
When the wild battle hour was done
(The fair haired warriors of the North
Who bore the Charmed Raven forth
To conquest or to death) to call
The feast in Hacho’s island hall.
And one was there in loveliness —
A sunbeam in the wilderness —
Whose very presence seemed a spell.
Whose accents like a trancing chord
Of music in their sweetness fell —
The daughter of the Island Lord,
The beauty of his halls, the star
That many a warrior loved afar!
For when she swept the harp to pour
The glory of the days of yore.
With white hands trembling, as there came
The spirit of her father’s fame
To her young heart and wild harp’s tone.
How bright the love of warriors shone,
In her sweet trance of minstrel bliss,
‘Mid the dark banners and the swords.
As her white fairy fingers kissed
With feathery sweep the thrilling chords.
But SHE — the Lady of the Isle —
With her free step and glorious eyes, —
She seemed a flower too bright to smile
‘Mid lonely rocks and stormy skies —
Too beautiful to wither there;
And yet around her there was thrown
The freedom of the mountain air.
For Ilda’s heart was nature’s own.
And the lone hills and wild waves’ foam
Were dear as sunny lands might be:
The waves swept by her island-home —
The mountain winds were pure and free.
She had some portion of the fire.
The ardour, of her warior sire;
And in her eyes at times there shone
A glance as haughty as his own;
And proudly then her father smiled
To trace his spirit in his child.
Without one passion’s shade to dull
That brow so brightly beautiful.
Such Ilda was, as pure and free
In her.’young heart’s simplicity
As, when a fair and smiling child.
She sought the shores and caverns wild
For sea-weed wreath and glossy shell.
To deck the grot she loved so well.
And who might wonder Harolde’s heart
At once to that bright maid was given.
Or deem one thought of his could part
From her whose beauty seem’d of heaven.
‘Twere idle, sweet, to tell THEE now
Of Love’s first glance and whisper’d vow,
For well I read its dearest sign
In that one answering smile of thine;
And love in Ilda’s heart was shown
As pure and tender as thy own.
This lonely glen the loveliness
Of the island beauty used to bless.
And here she has listened to sigh and vow
As true as thy minstrel offers now.
Anabel! does not the very air
Breathe of Love’s own presence there?
The dark grey rocks and their ivy wreath.
The streams are hallowed by his breath.
And the radiant freshness over the scene
Does but show where his steps have been.
* * * *
Stars in heaven, and clear and bright
They sparkled out in the blue midnight;
O’er the tranquil sea and the silent shore
The voice of the winds was heard no more;
Silence and calmness o’er earth was thrown.
And the summer moon — the bright, the lone.
The beautiful in heaven! — was high
O’er the pathless waves and the cloudless sky.
Harolde had left the festal tower
For the quiet sands and the silent hour:
The gleaming sea and the rocky bay
Far and lonely around him lay.
And the clouds were gathering dark and still.
Their veil o’er each dim and distant hill.
Heard he aright?— for it seem’d the sound
Of fairy music murmur’d round;
Did it not seem that the warbled strain
Rang from beneath the gleaming main?
Nearer and nearer the cadence came.
And the burthen still was Harolde’s name-
He turned — and who may that beauty be
At that lonely hour by the moonlight sea?
The uncertain hue of her garment’s fold,
Gather’d by belt of pearl and gold,
Was silvery and dim like the shadowy gleam
Of the green wave under the pale moon-beam;
The silken veil of her golden hair
Floated o’er brow and bosom fair.
Braided with gems, and wreath’d with flowers
Which never had blossomed in earthly bowers;
And back as their clustering shade she threw
From her forehead of snow and her eyes of blue,
The moon shone down on her features fair.
But no mortal beauty was beaming there.
Like the white rose leaf on a summer eve
When the fading hues of sunset leave
A dim blush o’er it — just seen and gone.
Such was the bloom her cheek upon:
There seemed a strange and nameless spell
In the dreamy light of her eyes to dwell —
A shadowy lustre, a trembling gleam —
Like eve’s first star on a lonely stream;
For that wierd, wild glance had power to bind.
The impassive form, the struggling mind.
On she came, with so light a tread,
It did not the spray from the sea moss shed;
Still on the warrior’s face she gazed.
With her blue eyes fixed and her white hands raised.
He started not — but there came a chill
Over his heart, with a sudden thrill.
As, brightening in beauty, at once she smil’d.
And her voice of music low and wild
Came to his ear with so sweet a tone
He might almost deem it Ilda’s own:
“Oh! glorious in the battle-field, and brightest in the hall,
Where the banners wave and the falchions gleam with flower-wreaths on the wall;
Oh! leave the war-song and the harp and the festal revelry, —
There are brighter bowers for thee, my love, beneath the moonlit sea.
“But of all the treasure -caves and halls that beneath the waters shine,
There are none so beautiful and lone — so glorious — as mine;
Its very floor is starr’d with gems, nud wreaths of coral flowers
Blush out in crimson beauty amid the glancing showers
” Of gleaming pearls and glowing shells that deck my ocean home,
And the diamond sparkles brightly there — like the sunlight on the foam;
And it shall be thy own, my love, if thou wilt dwell with me,
And leave this island’s lonely rocks for the beauty of the sea.
“I’ll wake the enchanted ocean harp with all its golden chords.
And pour to thee my song of love in passion’s sweetest words:
Oh! could’st thou read the Sea Maid’s heart, for words may never tell
The love of the devoted one — how deeply and how well
“That love to thee was given from the moment when thy sail
Was gleaming on the midnight sea beneath the starbeams pale.
And I looked upon the smiling eyes and the fair and gallant brow.
But they had not then the wilder’d gaze that shades their beauty now.
“If love or treasures win thee not, then know my words have power
To change the bright moon in her course and bring her dark’ning hour, —
To wake the Tempest in its might, and, from its demon lair.
Call the SPECTRE HOUND1 whose presence tells of shipwreck and despair.
“And thine shall be both spell and sign and the deep and magic word
That has power o’er all and never yet by mortal ear was heard, —
The treasures of the ocean cave — the love that cannot change;
Oh! will not these thy heart from earth, and all but me, estrange?”
The song was hush’d, yet o’er the waves
Came the echo of music from ocean caves:
Never had mortal look’d upon
Aught so fair as that lovely one.
Yet, aye, she chang’d in the bright moon-beam.
Like the ‘wildering shapes in an eldritch dream,-
Wavering and fading in mist away.
Like a tossing wreath of the ocean spray;
Then ghancing forth from its shadowy fold,
With her fairy beauty and locks of gold.
As if expression and life she caught
From the charmed gazer’s answering thought;
Yet all her unearthly beauty shed
A thrill o’er his heart of doubt and dread,
Tho’ rapt he stood, as spell-bound long.
By the witching notes of the magic song.
He remember’d the vow he had pledged for aye
In the lonely valley of calm Glenmay,
And the countless treasures of earth or sea
Shook not his heart’s fidelity;
Word or sign, or the might that dwells
In the fearful power of magic spells.
He recked not of while he still was lord
Of a dauntless heart and a stainless sword.
Read the Sea Maid his cold disdain?
For a low faint wail passed over the main,
And the waves awoke at the mournful cry,
As the wings of the wind rush’d wildly by.
Low and few were the words he said.
But they spoke of doubt, aversion, dread;
And the voice of wild and deep despair
Came in the Sea Maid’s accents there: —
“Fare thee well, cold one,
I read thy disdain;
Is the love of the Sea Maid
Then — given in vain?
“The passionate homage
That should have been thine,
Thy heart cannot shadow, —
‘Tis colder than mine.
“Beauty more glorious.
This earth cannot show
Than now is around me
In brightness and glow.
“Fade it shall never,
If there is a charm
Dwelling within it
Thy spirit to warm.
“Oh, madness to woo thee!
But, if in thine heart
Another is shrined.
Thus cold as thou art,
“Her beauty shall perish;
By sign and by spell,
The curse of the scorn’d one.
Around her shall dwell;
“The cold earth shall darken
Full soon on her brow,
And thine be the madness
That withers me now.”
Her fearful words were lingering still
Over his heart with icy chill.
When mist and darkness and tempest shroud
Veil’d the pure moon and the silvery cloud —
Her bright pavilion— where she had slept
In silent beauty, while one clear star
In the deep blue heaven had fondly kept
Watch over her in its pearly car.
The darkness came, — and the moaning sound
Of despair’s wild accents murmuring round —
A rush of waters — a fearful cry, —
And the moon broke forth on the troubled sky.
Hallowing all that she gleam’d upon;
But the Lady of the Deep was gone.
And left no trace that there had been
A change in that still and midnight scene:
Where late the enchantress-beauty shoue
The sparkling sands lay calm and lone.
And her voice of wildering music died
In the murmurs of the waveless tide.
CANTO THE SECOND.
Days, months, had past, — from Harolde’s heart
The fearful memory seem’d to part
Of that wild hour; he did not now
So wildly gaze on Ilda’s brow
And smiling eyes, as if he sought
To shadow forth her secret thought,
Or shade aside her ringlets’ veil
To see if that fair cheek was pale.
And start, as if at once there came
A fear he could not — dared not — name.
The Mermaid’s curse — the magic song —
In his young heart had linger’d long,
Like the remembrance of a dream
We scarce can trace or yet forget, —
Where shadowy thoughts in dimness gleam.
Like a strange spell around us set;
Something of fear, and doubt, and pain.
We know has been, yet seek in vain.
At first he listen’d to each sigh,
And marked each glance of Ilda’s eye.
As if he fearcd the witheriug power
Was soon to blight his island flower.
Her voice of low and silver tone.
Was not its touching softness flown?
The dark, dark eyes, oh! had they still
The glance that to his heart could thrill;
Or came there any shade to dull
Their light so wildly beautiful?
No; still they smil’d the same, to bless
His spirit with their loveliness.
So bright, that from his heart at last
The memory of that vision past;
Or, if some fearful thought would cling
To that strange, fearful, visiting.
When moonlight gleam’d on sea and shore, —
‘Twas but a moment and ’twas o’er;
For still unchanged his Ilda shone —
The beautiful, the young, the lone, —
The last of all her noble race.
Whose name had never known disgrace;
And neither curse nor spell had power
O’er Harolde’s love and Mona’s Flower.
Without a name, save what his sword
Had gain’d him in the field, his free
And eagle spirit proudly soar’d
Above his lowly destiny.
But, even in its uncheck’d flight.
How had he dar’d to woo the smile
Of her — the beautiful and bright.
And high-born Lady of the Isle?
And she, the young — the innocent, —
How deeply heart and soul were bent.
In her love’s steadfast pureness, on
Her true and best beloved one.
Without a thought that there could be
A shadow o’er their destiny!
* * * *
In that sweet glen where first their plight
Was given beneath the clear moonlight,
When rock, and stream, and fresh leaves, dewed
And still in their green solitude —
As if they listen’d, one and all,
To the wild song of the waterfall —
Gleam’d in the moonbeams’ silver shower,
Young Harolde waits his island flower.
And where is she? — a sound was heard —
The flight of an awaken’d bird —
The rustling of the leaves — no — there
His Ilda stood, so coldly fair!
There seem’d a desperate feeling wrought
In her dark eyes, that wildly sought
Her lover at her feet, and then
Glanc’d to the entrance of the glen.
“Harolde! this is the first, the last,
Of perils that my heart has past!
I come to bid farewell — to part
And die! — beloved as thou art —
Ere from another’s lips I hear
A mockery of that sacred vow
Which first to thee I plighted here,
And breathe as fondly, deeply, now.
Speak not, for I will tell thee all;
On me alone the blight shall fall!
My Father — words may never show
My heart’s devotion to that name:
I loved him, Harold, — loved him! — no.
From deeper source the feelings came!
He has destroy’d me, — ask me not
His words, for they are all forgot;
But, oh! their dreadful import came
On me as they were trac’d in flame!
That I must wed — nay, more — forget
The love that with my life is twin’d!
I hear the fatal sentence yet;
But could thy heart be thus resign’d?
I told him all — the love — the vow
I plighted once and give thee now!
I will not tell thee how he spoke
Of thee, for then my spirit broke
At once from its devotedness;
For, Harolde, I had lov’d thee less
If I had heard him say thy fame,
Thy birth — oh! this I will not name!
He spurn’d me, scorn’d me, — prayers were vain!
Harolde! we never meet again.
The sun shall look on bridal flowers
And banners on my father’s towers;
There shall be mirth and glorious pride.
But death and darkness o’er the bride I
At once with life and love I part;
Oh! mourn not for the broken heart!
Forget me, Harolde” Then was past
The strength despair around her cast;
And all of Woman’s tenderness —
The agony of that distress
When Love’s first dream has fled — came on.
And sunk that young and gentle one
To tears: and how might Harolde raise
The dark eyes to his tender gaze.
When in his arms she sought to hide
The grief that mock’d her spirit’s pride?
And he — the low-born and the spurn’d —
Within his heart, how deeply burn’d
The blighting words! — for this, had he
Borne the charmed RAVEN o’er the sea,—
‘Mid storm and battle, still the first
To shake its proud wings to the sun,
Where the wild tide of carnage burst.
Or the dark waters swept them on?
Should he not seek at once the proud
And high-born scorner, ‘mid the crowd
Of revellers — his festal train —
And give the bitter taunt again?
Fear’d Ilda this?— for then she twin’d
Her white arms o’er him, as to bind
His spirit with a gentler spell;
And it was won, for Love, to him.
Still seem’d in fairy light to dwell —
A star that nought on earth could dim!
“Ilda! I know too well thou art
Above me: I have nought to give
Save the true worship of a heart
That but for thee might scorn to live.
“My Island Flower! my plighted one!
Thou wert too fondly, gently won
To part thus wildly: is there not
For us some sweet and lonely spot.
Far distant o’er the ocean’s foam.
Where love and thee may find a home?
I will forget the glorious scene
Where once my warrior path has been.
And only seek, with hunter’s skill.
The red deer on their silent hill:
I’ll form a sweet and lonely bower
That well may suit my gentle flower;
And years shall pass, and thou shalt own
No shadow o’er my love is thrown.
We must not part — nay, will not! — now:
Where is thy love — thy faith — thy vow?
Ilda — my own — my bark is near;
We part not — or I perish here I”
In Ilda’s young, devoted heart,
A thousand feelings then had part;
A backward glance — a gush of tears.
Spoke the fond thoughts of other years;
But Harolde’s wild and pleading words
Struck on her fond heart’s tenderest chords.
He spoke in darkness of his fate —
The madness of the desolate;
She listen’d to that voice, whose tone
Her very spirit seem’d to own
As kindred with its tenderest thought;
And, to despairing sorrow wrought.
Yielding to Love’s resistless sway, —
In one wild word, she cried — ” Away!” —
With hurried step, at once they gain
The silent shore — the gleaming main;
Their course is o’er the clear green wave,
Sparkling with all its wreaths of foam:
Sadly she paus’d, and lingering gave
A last glance to her Island Home.
” Haste, haste, my love!” then wildly came
A gush of music o’er the sea —
A voice that called on Harolde’s name.
Amid the wildering melody!
Why shrinks he at the warbled strain?
” Harolde! — this hour — we meet again!”
Was it for HER who trembling stood
As spell-bound, by that charmed flood
Whose waves were still’d beneath the breath
Of the wild song, with cheek and brow
As cold and pale as if the death —
The CURSE— were dark’ning on her now?
A shadow by her side— a cloud,
Silvery and faint — yet his despair
Has traced amid its misty shroud, —
The cold blue eyes, the gleaming hair.
The pearl-wreath’d brow, the snowy arms.
And all the Mermaid’s fatal charms.
E’er the unearthly beauty shone
Out from the mist, — and then he rush’d
To save his Island Maid — his own;
But out again the music gush’d
With a wild swell, and one white hand
The Mermaid raised, as in command.
And he stood chained and powerless
Beneath her glance of fearfulness:
He heard her words, all wildly ringing,
A colder spell around him flinging,
But could not trace their meaning till
A low, faint shriek from Ilda rung
E’en to his heart, with sudden thrill.
And broke the charm that o’er him hung,
Dead’ning his very sense and will!
Who lies at Harolde’s feet? — ^the young,
The beautiful — so cold, so still.
As even in death to him she clung.
Still on her lip Love’s parting smile, —
The Lily of the lonely Isle!
Then came the darkness and the storm.
And, ‘mid the lightning’s arrowy gleams.
How changed the Mermaid’s radiant form
To one too fearful even for dreams
To image forth! — the scaly train
Marked the wild demon of the main;
Beauty and bloom alike had fled.
But still the fearful blue eyes shed
Their pale, unearthly, glare on him
Whose life was passing! o’er the dim
And fading form of Ilda, there
He knelt, in fixed and deep despair,
And heard not the wild words that came.
With midnight winds and tempest flame.
As desolating as the power
Of her who ruled that fatal hour.
” Oh, leave for me that fallen one! the Warrior’s love should be,
As the winds and waves I waken now — uncheck’d, and wild, and
Come! in the might of charms and spells, we’ll seek the ocean halls;
The waves shall pay us homage with their foaming coronals.
The blue gleam of the lightning’s wrath our bridal lights shall be.
And the winds that lift her raven hair shall waft us o’er the sea!
Why is thy cheek as cold as her’s who fell beneath my power?
Come, quit the withering child of earth for my immortal bower!
The tempest that is gathering now shall leave no trace to show
The beauty of the fading one who lies so cold and low;
The waters shall be dark and deep where her coral tomb shall be!
Arise, arise, my warrior love, our course is o’er the sea.”
A pause amid the storm: in vain
Arose the Mermaid’s magic strain.
The last wild flash — how true it sped;
Both, both at once, it withered!
The lover and the lov’d, — they lay
Blighted alike beneath its sway!
The tempest scar upon his brow.
How darkly slept the warrior now.
By his devoted one! He past
With one wild word — her name, — his last!
And the storm rushed, in darker power.
O’er Harolde and his faded flower.
With all the banners of its wrath
Streaming amid the lightning path.
Then fled the Mermaid from the shore.
Where Harolde’s step was heard no more;
But the wild CURSE that linger’ d, long
O’er Mona’s lonely shore was heard;
And as it peal’d her rocks among.
It shook them with each magic word.
My curse on thy waters.
My curse on thy shore;
It shall come, with the darkness.
To leave thee no more.
The MIST shall be on thee.
Its shadow is near;
Oh! rest thee beneath it,
In silence and fear.
Thy shores to the stranger
Shall still be unknown;
They shall dream not of MONA,
Indeed the ALONE!2
Alone on the ocean.
The desolate Isle;
No sunbeam shall bless thee —
No Summer shall smile!
Where the deep forest darkens —
Green, leafy, and still.
There shall be but the wild heath
To shadow the hill.
And the curse of the Sea Maid
Shall come in its might,
To wither thy beauty
And shadow thy light!
The free ships shall pass thee,
All swift and unseen;
The mariners name thee.
And know thou hast been.
They shall look on the darkness,
And trace not thy form;
But know thou art cursed,
By mist and by storm!
The bold hearts that seek thee.
Shall seek thee in vain;
And their white sails shall never
Light ocean again!
The wings of the north wind
My bidding have done;
At the voice of the Sea Maid,
The shadows come on!
The dim Mist is o’er thee.
And, dark and unknown,
Rest desolate Mona,
The wild and ALONE!
* * * *
And years pas’d on, and still the smile
Of summer sunbeams blest it not;
The mist was o’er the lonely Isle —
Alike accursed and forgot!
But, o’er the deep, the Cross was raised.
Where late the Pagan altars blaz’d;
From isle to isle it past, and shone
Pure as the faith which martyrs own.
Both idol fane and magic rite
Faded before the sign of light;
And once again fair Mona smiled,
With her free waves and mountains wild, —
A lone, and yet a lovely, gem
In ocean’s island diadem!
Yet there was left a lingering trace —
A shadow over shore and sea —
Dimning the free and fairy grace
Of her romantic scenery.
For winds of balm no longer fling
The breath of that unfading Spring,
Which once was hers, on every sense,
In fresh and fragrant redolence;
And, for the deep, calm, forest bowers,
With their green darkness and their still
Cool wilderness of leaves and flowers,
The grey moss withers on the hill;
And the heath waves its purple gems
As the winds kiss its feathery stems
Where the dew diamond sparkles, — all
That shades her mountain loneliness —
Save the dim, misty, coronal —
Still hovering, though its power be less.
Over the fated shores. The smile
Of Summer comes to bless the Isle, —
The memory of the curse has past;
Yet, when the mist -wreath’s veil is cast
O’er distant hill and shadowy glen,
It wakens to the Minstrel then
Strange dreams and legends of the hour
When first it came in tempest power
To wither and to desolate
Both Harolde’s love and Ilda’s fate.
Note I, page 43, line 25.
Call the Spectre-Hound, whose presence tells of shipwreck and despair.
“It is said, that an apparition, called, in the Manx language, the Mauthe Doog, in the shape of a large black spaniel with curled shaggy hair, was used
to haunt Peel Castle; and has been frequently seen in every room, but particularly in the guard-chamber, where, as soon as candles were lighted, it came and lay down before the fire, in presence of all the soldiers, who, at length, by being so much accustomed to the sight of it, lost great part of the terror they were seized with at its first appearance. They still, however, retained a certain awe, as believing it was an evil spirit, only waiting permission to do them hurt; and, for that reason, forbore swearing and all profane discourse while in its company. But though they endured the shock of such a guest when all together iu a body, none cared to be left alone with it. It being the custom, therefore, for one of the soldiers to lock the gates of the castle at a certain hour and carry the keys to the captain, to whose apartment the way led through the church, they agreed among themselves that whoever was to succeed the ensuing night his fellow in this errand should accompany him that went first, and by this means no man would be exposed singly to the danger; for I forgot to mention, that the Mauthe Doog was always seen to come out from that passage at the close of day and return to it again as soon as the morning dawned, which made them look on this place as its peculiar residence. — One night, a fellow being drunk, and by the strength of his liquor rendered more daring than ordinarily, laughed at the simplicity of his companions; and although it was not his turn to go with the keys, would needs take that office upon him to testify his courage. All the soldiers endeavoured to dissuade him; but the more they said, the more resolute he seemed, and swore that he desired nothing more than that the Mauthe Doog would follow him as it had done the others, for he would try whether it were dog or devil. After having talked in a very reprobate manner for some time, he snatched up the keys and went out of the guard-room. In some time after his departure a great noise was heard, but nobody had the boldness to see what occasioned it, till, the adventurer returning, they demanded the knowledge of him; but as loud and noisy as he had been at leaving them, he was now become sober and silent enough, for he was never heard to speak more; and though all the time he lived, which was three days, he was entreated by all who came near him to speak, or, if he could not; do that, to make some signs by which they might understand what had happened to him, yet nothing intelligible could be got from him, only that, by the distortion of his limbs and features, it might be guessed that he died in agonies more than is common in a natural death. — The Mauthe Doog was, however, never after seen in the Castle, nor would any one attempt to go through that passage; for which reason it was closed up and another way made. This accident happened about three score years since.” — Waldron’s Description of the Isle of Man, p.107.
It is still, however, believed to appear at certain times, and its presence fortells storms and shipwrecks. Allan Cunningham, in his “Traditional Tales of the English and Scottish Peasantry,” frequently mentions the apparition’s appearance during tempests, and that at every bark of the Demon Hound a ship is supposed to sink.
Note 2, page 54, line 4.
Indeed the Alone.
It is, perhaps, needless to mention here that MONA signifies ALONE
A CHAMBER SCENE.
Be hush’d! her sleeping innocence
Has sanctified this chamber fair,
And only prayers of holiest love
And purest thoughts may enter there.
From shaded lamps soft amber light.
Like mellow moonlight, seems to fall;
And smiles the well-belov’d St. John,
In pictured glory, from the wall.
Soft gleaming folds of draperies white.
Like angel-pinions round her lean;
And violet dyes and ‘broideries rare.
With silken lustre, glance between.
What hand may lift the charmed veil,
To paint the virgin slumberer fair? —
Call back thy youth’s first Eros-dream,
And shape its beauteous semblance there!
I LAID ye down on the green hill’s breast.
In that hallow’d Garden of Peace to rest.
Where a glory shines from the crimson west
On your slumber, children mine!
My gallant boy! with his golden hair.
His frolic laugh and his dauntless air;
And my bashful girl, with her ringlets fair
And eyes of azure shine!
Back to the world and its cares I came;
The current of life flowed on the same,
Tho’ Love for me was a buried name —
A joy no more to be!
Others have left me, through change and time.
In Woman’s beauty and Manhood’s prime;
But the Flowers I gave to the Angel-clime
Still bloom, unchang’d, to me.
When my heart grows weary of strife and wrong.
And I sit apart from the heedless throng.
Then cometh to me a spirit-song.
And my spring-time children say, —
“Come, come to us, on the green hills crest,
Where a glory shines from the crimson west.
And fold us soft to thy loving breast,
For ever and for aye!”
I HAVE won a garden from Elf-land,
Where feathery fern-leaves wave.
And a flower only named by the fairy folk
Lifts up its lances brave.
Its crimson lances all crystal clear,
Plum’d with a sea-green crown.
Whilst another bears on an ivory stalk
Grey tufts of silvery down.
Here cluster garlands of orbed leaves,
That shadow, with tapestry green.
Bright orange cups with their purple hearts
Frosted with diamond sheen.
And delicate bells like the opal gauze
Of the May -fly’s shimmering wing, —
A faery chaplet all scented soft
With the primrose breath of Spring;
And velvet verdure spreads richly deep
Where those elfin flowrets shine —
Though ’tis only a patch of woodland moss
To any eye but mine!
Beneath the hill the watch-fire glows.
Fast falls the arrowy rain,
And fiercely from the frozen North
The tempest sweeps the plain.
I pace, a lonely sentinel.
Upon the wild plateau.
And picture to my yearning soul
The hopes of long ago.
In that dear English home from which
My truant footsteps fled, —
I see it in the amber light
By parting sun-rays shed!
A little dwelling, grey and old.
Lattice and arched door,
Broad eaves and peaked roof, round which
The snow-white pigeons soar;
The shadow of the old church tower.
The quaint monastic street.
Where, rustling in the summer air,
Wave up the lindens sweet.
It rests amid the city’s stir,
A hidden nook so calm
And hush’d, that from the ancient church
You hear the evening Psalm.
Beside the lattice, day by day,
A Maid her needle plies;
Yet oft she pauses in her task —
A dream is in her eyes:
She sees the bleak Crimean waste —
The grey tents stretching wide;
Sweet Love! ’tis thus our souls unite,
Tho’ war and waves divide!
THE MAIDEN ROSE OF ENGLAND.
To bless our England’s Royal Rose,
A bud of beauty blooms;
The Regal Flower unfaded glows,
While the sweet bud illumes,
With tender grace and timid charms,
Britannia’s garland fair,
Sweet Maiden Flower! a nation’s love
Enfolds thee with a prayer, —
A prayer to guard thy gracious youth
With influences divine.
High knowledge of thy state august.
And sympathies benign.
All gifts which favouring Heaven bestows
To bless our Island Queen, —
The willing homage of a world.
And household love serene, —
Be thine, as ripening years expand
Thy charms and virtues rare.
When Heaven, to crown the favor’d land.
Shall plant thy sweetness there!
BREAD BY THE WAY-SIDE.
I wander’d forth, — a rural walk
Led from the dusky town
To fields with harvest treasures rich.
And upland fallows brown.
I rested on the old field-stile,
(Fantastic wrought and rude,)
And saw a mossy, gnarled stump
With bread-crumbs lightly strew’d.
Some little, loving, childish hand
Had left its offering there.
With simple trust that wandering birds
Would find the dainty fare.
And thus, I thought, might Christian Love
Sweet words of comfort leave
By Life’s wayside, and passers-by
The cordial cheer receive.
If but one faltering, fainting soul
Be strengthen’d by the Word,
Or but one feeble note of praise
By listening angels heard.
Then blessed be the hands that fed
The Stranger and the Bird!
THE EVANGELS OF LIFE.
SlLENT, upon the threshold of Life’s portal.
Sits the veil’d Isis of the Future: all
That Time has yet of bitterness and sorrow,
Lies hid beneath the dark uulifted pall.
Behind us sadly stands a mournful Maiden,
With an enchanted mirror in her hand;
Cypress and Violets on her brow are blended
With Daisies, ever fresh from Childhood’s Land.
The shadowy Past glides o’er the changeful mirror,
Like sunny tears, and clouds o’er April skies.
Or lit by vengeful lightnings that have smitten
The heart with agony that never dies!
Thus the Accusing and the Unknown haunt us —
The hidden woe and the remember’d pain;
But Faith and Duty in the orbed Present,
With angel pinions, hide the phantoms twain!
THE RETURN OF FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.
A gracious woman retaineth honour. — Proverbs.
She came, with simple household welcomings!
No triumph-crowds receiv’d her on the shore;
But what a joy sprang up in England’s heart
As each to each the gladsome tidings bore:
The sternest cried, — “Thank Heaven, that she is safe!
Safe, and at home, our noble Enghsh maid!”
Prayers were thy welcome, lady, — grateful tears
And blessings, — amaranths that cannot fade.
To call thee Saint, or Angel, were to wrong
Thy meek, true “Womanhood, that owns and shares,
With perfect love and holiest sympathies,
Its kindred fellowship with human cares
And human anguish.
Evermore, thy name
Becomes a portion of thy country’s fame,
Pric’d above rubies! — Lady, such thou art,
Written by Love upon a nation’s heart!
Soft loving lips and friendly hands
Still greet me as they did of yore;
But ah! one kind familiar smile.
On earth, will never bless me more.
Blithely the festal board is spread.
And green the holly garlands wave;
With ruddy flame the hearth is bright,-
But snow lies on my Mother’s grave!
* * * *
‘Tis not for human grief to mar
The holy gladness of the Time
When shines again the Magi’s star
And cheerly rings Christ’s herald chime.
Then touch with reverent lips the cap
That silent circles at her name,
And think, with holiest teachings fraught,.
To us the chastening Angel came.
So, shining over Sorrow’s strife.
The unshadow’d eye of Faith shall rise.
And, through the crystal of her life.
Behold her dwelling in the skies.
LILY’S NEW YEAR.
Oh Life’s rosy dawning! — Oh, beautiful morning,
Whose dewdrops are diamonds, whose light is divine!
I feel my heart blossom once more in my bosom;
But the sunshine that lights it my Lily is thine!
Thy sweet, wondering rapture, thy musical laughter.
Thy artless delight as the marvels appear ;
For boundless the pleasure, and rare is the treasure.
That love brings to gladden my Lily’s New Year.
A Doll fresh from Paris — a belle so enchanting,
So charming, so tasteful, so dainty and fair.
With hair a-la-Empress and robe a-la-Louis,
And a crinoline jupe that seems woven from air;
What gay toys and bon-bons! — What triumphs in sugar!
A new siege of candy to storm at thy will —
A fortress that bristles with almond tipp’d lances.
And chocolate guns charg’d with eau-de-vanille.
Thus Beauty and War, as in old world romances.
Are blent with the pastimes of Childhood again;
They toy with Life’s terrors, all gilded and garnish’d.
And dance on the roses, unheeding their stain;
But who with a moral would cloud thy young pleasure
Or mar thy sweet mirth with a doubt or a fear;
With kisses and blessings I’ll add to thy treasure.
And share in the joy of my Lily’s New Year.
LOVED AND LOST.
“Will Spring and the Flowers return again?”
Yes, happy child, to thee;
But sorrow has darkened many a leaf
That once was fair to me!
I sigh when I see the Crocus break
Through the earth with a golden gleam.
For I know that it grows with a ruddier tinge
On a grave by the Alma’s stream!
The pleasant breath of awakening Spring
Can charm my heart no more.
For it wafted to us the words of grief
That came from the cypress shore;
And I weep when the vernal Hyacinths
Their tender flowers expand,
For I know they bloom, with a crimson stain,
On a grave in the Eastern Land!
Oh, roses! crimson roses! how beautiful ye seem,
Bringing back my golden childhood, my girlhood’s early dream.
When, blossoms sprang beneath my steps, in Youth’s enchanted
And the first hopes of my lover were breath’d to me in FLOWERS!
I have wept for blighted fortunes, for slighted Love’s decay.
But ever bloometh in my heart the Poet’s dream of May;
And, like the incense breathing forth beneath the vernal showers,
From the sorrow of my chastening arise celestial Flowers.
‘Tis well to love you, beautiful and blessed things of earth!
Remembering the Eden-land, where Angels hymn’d your birth,
And thanking Him whose mercy gave, to glad this world of ours.
Even the thorn and thistle stem, the purple light of Flowers!
THE CHINA TEACUP.
Oh, fairy shape of clay! thou bearest
A green leaf and a purple flower.
And with a wond’rous charm transportest
My spirit hack to childhood’s hour.
How bright a draught of nectar sparkled
Within thee at the evening tide!
How gay were all the hearts that gather’d
That hour around our own fireside!
The day’s allotted tasks were over.
And youth gave to our simple fare
A zest that prouder boards might covet.
Though graced by dainties rich and rare:
For us no urn of silver glitter’d.
Nor richer porcelain’s gorgeous stain;
The household kettle’s cheerful music.
Rejoiced us with its homely strain.
But then what kindly words were spoken ,
What harmless mirth and laughter clear;
What gentle themes of matron knowledge
Were pour’d upon the willing ear.
With what a warmth of pure devotion,
We heard our sire’s thanksgiving pour’d;
And felt a holier bliss encircle.
With angel-wings, our simple board.
Alas! the golden dreams have perished.
Frail symbol of a vanished hour!
Yet still thy snowy surface beareth
The green leaf and the purple flower.
Broken for aye, that joyous circle,
That household band shall meet no more;
The world has hush’d the world’s sweet laughter.
And changed the trusting faith of yore.
We have gone forth from that old dwelling.
And left the loving hearts alone;
But oh! how worthless is the guerdon
That in our early visions shone!
Never shall that sweet peace revisit
Our spirits in the world’s turmoil —
A haunting grief for ever mourneth
Around us with our daily toil;
And in its fearful mirror showeth
The wrecks of many a slighted hour:
Oh, for the time when first I gazed on
The green leaf and the purple flower.
Lay her gently down to rest,
Whose young life was sorrow;
Fold her pale hands on her breast.
For her earth has no morrow.
Never shall she wake again,
To that long, long ceaseless pain;
Death has loosed its burning chain, —
Wherefore should ye sorrow?
Fitting time for her to die.
Wild and waste December!
Snow upon her heart shall lie.
Nor will it remember
Him who found her young and fair.
Wooed her, won her, left her there.
To contempt and long despair.
Bitterer than December!
Now that agony is past.
Death alone could sever.
And her eyes have wept their last.
Close them soft, for ever!
Beautiful and desolate!
For thee no longer angels wait.
Thou has reach’d their golden gate, —
Peace be thine — for ever!
THE PEASANT BARD.
The echo of thy song
Comes to me like a soft and southern breeze
Thro’ the ambrosial shadow of green trees,
Fresh’ning the soft gloom of a summer bower.
And bearing Doric music on its wing:
And now, again, with sweet and sad bewailing.
Touching new chords of human sympathies.
Till Love and Sorrow in my heart of hearts.
Waken fond memories of the lost and dear.
Again! — high sounding from a golden lyre,
Sweep angel strains, — triumphant harmonies, —
Up-swelling to the azure! — Hope and Faith
Have conquer’d Death, and hymn the life Divine!
So the wild harp notes thrill me.
A simple refrain of familiar thoughts
And images, that form the hourly life
(Hallow’d by labour) of the common day,
Circles the melody with home sweet strains.
Songs that shall live till tenderness and truth
And kindness perish! Sing, then, rustic bard.
And seek not Fame. — The mighty one, whose power
Touch’d the wild violets with celestial hues
And fragrance, has attuned thy poet heart.
To bless and purify thy lowly sphere.
Out in the rosy dawn-light.
By fresh airs met and fann’d.
Went a Sylvan Youth, enamour’d,
Into Poesy’s faery land.
From a lattice in the green wood,
Look’d out a Maiden fair.
Light and May-bloom in her blushes,
Violets in her loosen’d hair.
From her hand there fell a garland.
Green with blades of springing-corn,
Scented with a primrose odour.
Gleaming with the pearls of Morn.
Her voice with music gladden’d
The sylvan echoes round;
The haunted groves of Arcady
Return’d the dulcet sound,
Soft and sweet as fountain murmurs
Or the notes that thrushes sing;
And the Poet wooed the Wood-nymph,
For his charmer’s name was, SRING.
THE VERNAL BOUQUET.
Oh, fair and fragrant leaves, I read
Within ye many a charmed story.
Of sunny rays and lucid dews,
A perfumed page of silken glory;
Sweet messages from Spring ye bear.
My pale and silent life illuming —
A wooing breath of vernal air
Salutes me, as I watch ye blooming!
The tender light of April skies.
Has touch’d with hues divine each blossom.
And nature, in her fairest guise.
Comes, blushing, in her Poet’s bosom.
WAITING FOR BEETHOVEN.
ALLUDING TO THE WELL- KNOWN STORY OF THE MOONLIGHT SONATA.
“For me this dreary life is almost ended,
Yet still I wait!” the pale blind maiden cried:
“You say how fair to-night the moonbeams glisten.
In trembling silver — set the casement wide;”
“Then he will know once more our humble portal.
Catch the faint echo of these trembling strings.
And I shall hear again those strains angelic,
That lifted all my soul on radiant wings!”
Ah, never more! — but when from all his struggles.
He, too, went forth and left us memories grand;
Perchance the Love that here so vainly waited,
With welcome met him — in the Angel-land!
A MOTHER’S CONSOLATION.
I HAE a blythesome laddie yet,
Wi’ lint locks touch’d wi’ gold;
But a gentler and a bonnier ane
Lies deep beneath the mould.
I hae a winsome lassie left,
Wi’ een o’ twilight blue;
But a fairer ane lies happit up
Where gowans glint wi’ dew.
The living seek for chance and change,
And frae the homestead flee.
And a lovesome word or a sonsy smile
Can lure their hearts frae me.
But I hae sweet companions still
I canna change or tine, —
The bonnie bairns whom Love and Death
Have made for ever mine.
And if my soul can upwards win
To tread Heaven’s gou’den floor,
I hae twa smiling Angels there.
To greet me at the door!
Shall my footstep press the heather
Lightly by the side of thine,
As that sunset-hour, together.
Forth we went where streamlets shine.
With romance and leisure gladdened,
Pilgrims twain to Poesy’s shrine:
Pausing where the breezy moorland
Rose abrupt from woodland glade.
Shall we watch the white sheep-shearing.
Shepherd carle and rustic maid,
Or unite in sweet heart-worship,
Loving all things God has made.
Shalt thou ope with me the portal
Leading to the enchanted shore;
White wings of the lost Immortal
Wave not round us, as of yore.
And the silver cord is loosen’d
From our hearts, for ever more.
Earth has for me two household graves.
Where holiest memories meet;
One lies within a church-yard grey
Beside the city street.
There rustles, sear, the scanty grass.
There weeds grow high and tall.
And straggling yew trees, all adust,
Droop o’er the ancient wall.
The noisy stir of busy life
Beats round with ceaseless din.
But silent lies that gravestone old
The sacred bounds within.
There all my gather’d ancestors
Mingle their kindred dust;
Their hope was in the Crucified,
His sacrifice their trust.
And so until the Judgment Day
They rest there, side by side;
May heavenly mercy never more
That kindred band divide.
And ONE upon a green hill’s breast
Receives the evening ray
That rises o’er the breezy moor
With all its lambs at play.
Sweet anthems in the ancient elms
The earliest thrushes sing,
And ‘mid its dewy vernal grass
The first white daisies spring.
There natural beauty ministers
To calm the mourner’s tear;
Death and the grave no longer seem
Dark images of fear;
But, cradled soft, the children sleep
Beneath the hallow’d sod,
And Faith can say, “Thy will be done;
Our treasures are with God.”
At sunset-hour a yellow ray
Glides o’er our cottage walls.
And well I know the selfsame light
Upon their headstone falls.
It syllables their infant names
With golden finger clear.
And to my heart celestial love
Brings unseen angels near.
Whilst linger’d in the quiet street
Faint traces of the later snow,
I watch’d the tender hyacinths
Within a neighbouring window blow.
Up-springing from their lucid vase,
I saw the earliest leaves unfold
Their varied tints of vernal green.
From gauzy sheaths of filmy gold.
Then o’er the waxen petals flush’d
The soft love-purple’s tender stain.
For still the immortal sorrow lives
Within the flowret’s silken vein.
Oft o’er them bent a lovely shape,
A gentle maid, serenely fair.
With quiet eyes of childlike blue
And drooping folds of auburn hair
‘Tis long ago, — the flowers, the maid.
Have vanish’d from the window pane:
Oh, Time and Death! what morning dreams
Of life and love ye render vain!
Her name ! — it was a household word, so innocently dear;
It is a sad and mournful sound, we almost dread to hear:
How sweetly round the evening hearth rang out her laugh of glee,
But death has hush’d that silver sound— the voice of Emily!
The carol of her bird-like song shall gladden us no more.
There’s silence where her dancing step fell lightly on the floor;
No more within her joyous eyes shall we love’s welcome see.
For death has closed in dreamless rest the eyes of Emily!
There ‘s silence in that place of tombs where now she sleeps alone,
And the pale moon looks sadly down upon her funeral stone;
But if as free from earthly sin our weary hearts could be.
How gladly would we share the grave — the peace of Emily!
“Little Ellie!— blythesome Ellie!
Garlanding thy golden hair.
What new gift can love devise thee.
What new jewel rich and rare?”
” Oh, I have so many treasures.
That I only tint and tine;
I should like — don’t tell mama though-
I should like, — a Valentine!
“Down, last night, sit sister Clara
By the dull fire’s ember glow.
There she read a silken letter.
Read it, and then kissed it — so!
“All of gold, and pink, and azure.
Was the border’s gleaming shine,
With a heart all hid in roses,
Give me, then, — a Valentine!”
“Little Ellie! blooming Ellie!
On my brow lies Age’s snow;
Valentines for me have perish’d.
With the dreams of long ago.
“But, sweet Ellie! charming Ellie!
Life’s bright May for thee will shine.
And thy heart, amid the roses,
Find its chosen Valentine!”
Once I gathcr’d flowers enchanted,
Red and white, with perfume rare,
And I heard the fairy music.
Dulcet in the golden air.
All the skies were flush’d with dawn-light
As I trod the magic clime.
Gathering May-bloom, blithe and careless.
In the Morning-land of Time!
But the Day came, stern and weary.
Giving thorns for blossoms fair,
And I lost the dewy path-way.
In the Noontide’s desert bare.
Vainly, now, amid the Twilight,
Seek I for that fairy clime, —
Only ONCE we gather May-bloom
In the Morning-land of Time!
ALAS, THAT WE SHOULD DIE,
ALAS! that we should die!
Leave the fair earth and all the flowers up-springing.
Sunshine, and starlight, and the happy day, —
Lose the glad chorus of the wild birds winging
In their free rapture to the cloudless sky.
And die, — to be forgot in our decay!
Alas! that we should die!
That death should strike the Young, in the first morning
Of their fresh innocence, and rend the ties
That clasp around the blossoms — stern the warning
When the young buds before us withered lie, —
We have not Abraham’s faith, we mourn the sacrifice!
Alas! that we should die!
That the cold darkness of the grave should cover
The emanations of the beautiful, —
Blight the rose garland of the Bride and Lover,
And, to the trumpet note of Victory,
Strike the young warrior’s ear for ever dull!
Alas! that we should die!
And the glad senses lose their thrilling power, —
The melody of language soothe no more
The delicate ear, no more the blest light shower
Its thousand hues upon the raptur’d eye, —
And each voluptuous pleasure’s charm be o’er! .
Alas! that we should die!
That the proud energies of Thought and Feeling, —
Star-crown’d Imagination’s glorious reign,
The brilliant eloquence, like light, revealing
The wealth that in the mind’s bright chambers lie, —
Are meteors of the night pursu’d in vain!
Alas! that we should die!
That from the Poet’s heart at once should perish
The aspirations that are half divine, —
The bright intelligence that seeks to cherish
All thoughts that are sublime, and pure, and high, —
That Death should desecrate so rich a shrine!
Oh! BLEST that we should die!
And bear those glorious offerings of our being
Up to the foot of the Eternal Throne, —
The untarnish’d gifts of the All-Wise, All-Seeing;
Youth, beauty, genius, yield without a sigh.
Ere Earth has shadows on their radiance thrown!
Oh! blest that we should die!
Weep not for those who win that golden portal.
With all their jewel crowns nor stain’d nor dim;
All that they triumph’d in is now immortal;
No blight shall on the deathless roses lie.
Nor bush the seraph host’s eternal hymn!
Let us not fear to die!
The Grave is but a path to life eternal, —
All human knowledge, waves upon the shore:
The spring of Paradise is ever vernal,
The fount of glory is for ever nigh.
And wisdom, power, and bliss are ours for evermore!
When the spring violets die,
As twilight closes,
Hope whispers gently by,
“Think of the Roses!”
When the pale roses faint,
Hope to the vintage feast
Gaily is calling.
When the grey autumn leaves
Rustle and wither,
Hope, by the household hearth,
Blythely sings ” Hither!”
When the last earthly joy
Sorrow has riven,
Hope, with her angel eyes,
Gazes to Heaven!
A SUMMER THOUGHT.
Sweet summer idlesse!
Underneath green boughs.
To watch the azure glancing, silver-fleck’d
Thro’ trembling foliage, stirr’d by balmy air.
And hear the tinkling of the springlet, set
To Dryad Music! — even so, sweet-heart,
Thy Idyl dream-life findeth summer joy;
But I, in the hot glare of dusty streets,
Work out fate’s sterner purpose, yet I prize
The sweet, still under-current of fair thoughts
That soothe me even here, — there’s not a blade
Of innocent grass that peeps forth from the chinks
Of grey untrodden stones, but blesses me
With freshness and delight. The rural wain,
Heap’d with ripe clover and long-trailing green,
Still dewy cool, sweeps by me on the road.
And all its colours and its odours stir
My heart, like music!
Poesy has touch’d
With fairy hand mine eyes, and all unseal’d
They look into her own enchanted land.
Glory and beauty mine for evermore!
FINIS CORONAT OPUS.
A name of power, now graved, with adamant,
In the High Temple of the Glorious Dead!
Wise, brave, and loyal, to his country true.
And reverend ever of his Sovereign’s weal:
There was no stain upon the laurel wreath
Long garlanding, in peace, his patriot brow —
Peace won by triumphs. Now the funeral pall,
Majestic, closes up his grand career
With a world-homage — solemn and sincere!
Fittest for Warrior and for Statesman’s theme
Are his high deeds, and yet a Woman’s hand
May scatter amaranths on the Hero’s grave!
Matrons, that sit secure by English hearths.
And virgin daughters of fair Albion’s isles.
Thro’ him your homes were sacred, — his right hand
Upraised for ye Achilles’ seven-fold shield.
And, scathless, never yet have foreign foes
Sullied with blushes your “unsmirched” brows.
Or stained your household hearth with kindred gore.
Lay, then, with reverend hand, triumphal Palms
And vestal Lilies on the Patriot’s bier.
And, with the crowned Lady of the Isles,
Blend with a noble grief a noble pride.
That — wise and glorious — he was Britain’s own!
FAITH TO BELIEVE.
” Faith to believe!” Oh, hallow’d words divine!
That shadow forth the glorious mystery
Of the Incarnate God, before whose shrine
Thousands of burning angels bend the knee,
And, with the bright wings of the seraphim,
Veil from the Throne their own immortal eyes.
Rapt in eternal homage! can our dim
And mortal natures ever dare to rise
Up to that light ineffable, to seek
(Thus humble, lowly, as we are, and weak)
The Lamb without a spot, — the sacrifice
Offered, for us, upon Mount Calvary?
Yes! — for our sins he died — the Eternal One,
“Who shall come forth to judgment! even for ns,
He bore the pangs of life and would not shun
The cup of agony; and even thus
Shall He judge mortal natures; had He known
No touch of earthly anguish, then how stern
Had been our last account! but thus to learn,
And thus to pity, left He that bright throne,
Raised for Him e’er old Time began its flight
Or earth emerged from chaos, — e’er the Word
Said to the darken’d sphere, ” Let there be light,”
He was and is our own forgiving Lord!
Wash’d in His blood, behold our deepest sins
Shall be as wool cleansed in the crystal streams
That water Eden! When our hope begins
To cast aside this earth with all its dreams,
How does He welcome every thought that springs
To Him, and lifts, as with untiring wings.
The soul from its remorse! His promise shines,
” Believe in me, and lo, ye shall not die!”
Press forward ye whose wavering hope inclines
To know His mercy. He is ever nigh;
Fear not. He too was Man, and knows full well
This earth’s temptations; let your spirits thirst
As the hart panteth for the water brooks.
The Lamb was slain for us! The very worst
May cast upon His wounds their trusting looks.
And clasp that hope which never shall deceive, —
The blessed hope of Faith that does believe!
A POET’S MUSINGS.
My heart has pour’d its treasures forth
Too wild and free,
The shattered urn is all that now
Is left to me;
For wither’d leaves, and ashes dark
As my despair,
Are all that show there has heen light
And perfume there!
My life’s bright hopes! how glorious once
Did ye not seem?
Alas, how fearful ’tis to wake
From such a dream!
The bitterness of death is there.
Oh, Idol Fame!
Thy martyrs perish in the hope
To win — a Name,
Renowned in future ages far
Above their lot:
They mingle with the unnumber’d dead.
And — are forgot!
Or, if some wild and thrilling lay
Survives their fate.
Men wonder who first breath’d this song,
And offer — what he sought in vain–
The Wreath of Fame,
But where is he? — Alone he died.
Without a name!
They have no record of his fate;
Perchance he bore
Scorn — hunger — madness! all is past:
He is no more!
From the low sky the lightning-flash
Leap’d with a red blaze on the pane,
And large and slow, in circling plash.
Fell hot drops of the thunder-rain.
Strange, in that hour of mortal woe.
The common things of sight and sound
Should press upon the sense, and grow
Into intenser life around:
Carv’d rafters of the low-roof’d hall.
Grey marble hearth-place stretching wide.
Grim pictures frowning on the wall,
Heraldic oriel, richly dyed.
It was the hour when passed away
All hopes that made my life divine!
What recks it now? my hair is grey.
And ocean weed-shrouds tangle thine.
I gaze upon ye till within mine eyes
Tears for departed pleasures sudden rise,
And Memory showers
Round me bright glimpses of a happier lot.
Sweet talisman of flowers, Love’s own Forget-me-Not!
Here, here I pine.
Worn in the same dull round of petty toil.
The wasting hours of faded youth decline.
And the grave opens for the coming spoil;
For the dim weariness that ceaseless preys
On the crush’d spirit with its blighting power,
Warneth the victim, and its long delays
Fetter the dark wing of the coming hour
When all shall pass away! — Yet why repine?
The Vale of Shadows is already mine.
And Death, can lift the veil that shrouds the Light Divine.
To me there cometh none
Of the bright glory of the summer sun;
I know it shines but by the sudden glare
Cast on dull walls and gathered rooofs: I bare
My fevered forehead to the heated air,
But feel no breath of Summer redolent;
It comes not here: where I am captive pent,
I have not gazed upon a springing flower
Or green grass-blade, that sparkles in the dew
Of fragrant morn, or to the passing showers
Yields up its incense breath. Oh, pleasures new, —
Bright memories of Eden! all in vain
Was given a spirit yearning to be free
In nature’s sylvan haunts! Bright Poesy!
The wooed, the loved, and lost, in vain to me
Thy charmed laurel wreath ” did rustling play ;”
Light of my early dreams, even thou hath past away.
Like to the sun-ray on the dungeon chain
Of some worn captive, come ye, lovely flowers,
Albeit no hand of mine had power to cull
Your opening blooms, yet are ye beautiful!
Ye picture forth
The green banks of some dark translucent pool
O’erhuug by arching trees, for ever cool.
Where the bright earth
Is carpeted with moss and flowers that seem
The sweet creations of a fairy’s dream.
In that fair spot,
Open’d your azure eyes, Oh charmed Forget-me-Not!
Blest be the hand that bore your radiant bloom
To gladden eyes that gaze but on the tomb!
Who art thou with the vine-wreath on thy brow, —
The Thyrsus and the wine-cup, — and the glow
Of a rich Autumn sunset on thy charms?
Thou art the bright creation of some heart
Blest with sweet visions of the olden time.
Whose pencil has been dipt in sunbeams or
The secret urns from which the flowers draw
Their wealth of glorious colourings.
Oh, for a draught of that rich nectar gleaming
Through the transparent wine-cup that, just parted
From thy ripe lips, seems to have won from them
The dewy crimson of its Hippocrene.
Beautiful Ariadne! art thou not
The Bride of the young Wine-God? —
She who sigh’d
Forlorn by the wild sea nor heard the tread
Of the rein’d Panthers on the tawny sands.
Till the young Wine-God took thee to his heart,
Flush’d with immortal passion?
Nymph that reignest
O’er him Anacreon worshipped! let me gaze
On the love-glory in thy violet eyes,
And fill my dreams with beauty evermore!
A RAILWAY SKETCH.
-So swept we on
Through the fierce splendour of the Autumn noon
And sultry sunset, — all the sky aglow
With crimson vapours and translucent isles
Of sun-gilt amber that, intensely bright,
Soar’d from a sea of living chrysolite, —
Into the freshness of the twilight calm,
Serene, without a star, but all transfused
With shadowy opal through transparent grey;
Hush’d, in the west, reposed far-stretching clouds,
Deepening to blackness through the violet flush
Of the departed glory; slowly down
Gathered the solemn stillness of the Night,
Mistlike and dim; on the horizon’s verge
Flitted pale lights from some far-distant town.
Or sudden shot from mine or moorland-forge
A fiery streamer, startling all the sky!
Still on we rushed: amid the deepening gloom.
The wayside trees took dim majestic shapes.
And hedges darkened indistinct around;
A cottage light — sudden as shooting star- —
Sparkled, and vanished in the void profound:
Then all grew dark, — a hundred hearts were hush’d
In the still cars, scarce knowing that they swept.
With lightning speed, through the obscurer gloom.
Past ghostlike houses, silent all with sleep,
Save where a chamber light, through window-blind.
Cast forth white glimmers o’er the iron way
Into the unseen solitude of Night.
THE FLOWER OF FRANCE.
A YEAR ago, the Angel Peace,
Kist into life thy violet eyes.
And, ‘mid all-blessed auguries,
France crown’d thy cradle with a wreath
Won from a thousand victories!
And now the unconscious Life that clasp’d.
With baby touch, the purple’s fold.
And slept beneath the regnant gold.
Blooms forth in Childhood’s fairest grace,
Stamp’d with the old heroic mould.
So may thy fortunes to the end
Thus ripen fair, consummate flower!
And Time’s unfolding glories dower
Thy life with blessings such as shone
Upon thy golden natal-hour, —
Peace and Abundance — Clemency and Power!
THE HAWTHORN BOUGH IN THE WORKROOM.
It is but a bough of the wilding May,
A common wayside blossom fair.
But it comes to our hearts with a cordial breath
Of meadow freshness and summer air,
And we lose our sense of the dreary street.
The whirling wheels, and the dusty glare;
We tread green slopes where the cowslip rings.
With the nodding blue bell, a faery chime;
The far-off azure has clouds of light
Like silver barks from the happy clime;
And we sing with the thrush as we used to sing.
In the careless days of our primrose time.
Oh, vanish’d pleasures! oh, bye-gone hours!
Still buds the lilac and blooms the May!
We had forgotten that earth was fair,
Through the night of toil and the barren way.
But the breath of the hawthorn has kist our lips.
And with Hope,* my sister, we’ll work and pray
For the golden dawn of God’s better day!
* The Hawthorn Blossom, in the language of flowers, is the emblem of Hope.
THE ANGELS OF LOVE.
They veil their eyes before Thy throne.
The mighty Seraphim,
The shining Ministers of Light
That nearest Thee adore,
Watching in the living waters
Of the chrystal sea of splendour.
The image of Thy glory reflected evermore!
Above the anthem harpings
Of the crowned saints victorious.
The thunders and the harmonies
That around thy footstool play.
Arise the Seraph voices,
In celestial rapture thrilling
Like the sound of golden trumpets,
” We love Thee and obey!”
Angels read the leaves of knowledge
On the tree once fair in Eden;
Mighty are they in their wondrous power.
Glorious in their glance sublime.
Unto them all truths are given.
But before Thee wait for ever
The radiant Seraph-band of Love,
Before and after Time!
Such the true service of the Soul
Aspiring to Thy presence.
Resisting earth’s temptations
For the love of God alone.
Never mingling with its fervent hopes
A thought of self-rewarding;
Seeking not on earth dominion.
Asking not a heavenly throne:
Only striving to obey Thee,
Seeking faith to love Thee truer.
Keeping pure the mortal temple.
The spirit’s shrine of clay;
Increasing here the talent given,
With earnest heart-endeavour.
But looking only towards thy throne
To love Thee and obey!
Accepted even as the least
Amid Thine own, Redeemer!
Oh, may my soul, in humble faith,
Awaken to adore!
Feel its immortal being blent
With purity diviner.
And love Thee, God and Saviour,
For ever, evermore!
THE SONG OF FATHERLAND.
WRITTEN AFTER LISTENING TO AN AIR COMPOSED BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE ALBERT.
SILVERY, and sweet, and dim,
Echoes from Fatherland! — oh, strain divine.
How the heart listens to thy spirit hymn.
Calling back Youth and Hope, once more to shine.
Starlike, o’er Life’s dark sea,— and Love, the pure
Unwearying Evangel, seems to stand
With soft beseeching eyes like Her’s whose voice
Sighs to me in the Song of Fatherland!
Up from the night of long forgotten hours,
Spring up bright memories of my early prime —
Sun-pictures of the Past! the joys that blest
The unclouded moments of that golden time.
Even as the magic phantom of a Rose,
Above the incense ashes of the flower.
Painted on air, with shadowy incense glows.
So wakes my soul to Song’s resistless power.
With all its perish’d hopes! — how soft and sweet
The thrilling harmonies, like odours, steal
Upon the charmed sense! — oh, witching sounds.
Fragrance of Music, do ye not reveal
The passion of the spirit, touch’d, subdued.
By the strong magic of the Master-hand
That wrought the entrancing strain! — oh, listening stars.
Have not such melodies an echo bland
Of Eden’s angel-songs — the soul’s bright Fatherland?
BEYOND THE VEIL.
All Life leaves something unfulfill’d,
Some earnest purpose strongly will’d,
But baffled, as a hand unskill’d
Touches a Lute’s deep chords, yet brings
No certain cadence from the strings.
On the red field the Warrior dies.
Just as the Triumph lights the skies,
Far gleaming o’er his failing eyes;
And never shall he wear the crown
Of victory, in that captured town.
The Student, toiling long and late.
Struggling with want and low estate,
Reaches at length the temple gate.
And, striving to inscribe his name.
Sinks on the threshold of his fame.
The Poet, in his early prime.
Breathing sweet fancies into rhyme.
Shall wake at noon a strain sublime;
Alas! the unseen shaft has sped,
The chorda are snapt — the singer dead.
Oh mournful! if we did not know
The work imperfect here below
To our weak sense, — but seemeth so;
The light has risen, we saw grow pale.
Serenely orb’d — Beyond the Veil!
GENIUS AND THE WORLD.
Sad and lonely sat the Poet,
Never came a word of cheer
To his cold and silent chamber.
In the midnight of the year.
Dark the starless sky above him,
Mournful plash’d the chilling rain.
And the restless wind came moaning
With a phantom voice of pain.
The Poet’s heart was failing,
Weary with the ceaseless strife
Of the craving, earthly nature.
With the nobler inner life.
And he felt that bitter anguish.
Beyond poverty and scorn,
When the well-belov’d and nearest
Shun us, alien and forlorn.
Far away, glad youthful voices.
Where Christmas fire-sides glow.
Sang the Poet’s songs of beauty.
To music’s dulcet flow.
O’er the hearts of happy lovers.
With incense warmth they shone.
But that winter night the Poet
Died — forsaken and alone.
THE POOR MAIDEN AND THE ANGELS.
She sleeps, for she is weary
With toil and watching long;
And her spinning wheel no longer
Hums its busy even song.
Almost a child she seemeth,
Just reaching girlhood fair;
And her young face palely gleameth
‘Midst her soft unbraided hair.
A failing lamp above her.
Glows like a dusky star;
And her small hands on her bosom,
Close up her white cymar.
Oh poor and lowly maiden,
Not long thy rest must be;
Life hangs upon thy spindle.
All ask their bread of thee, —
The little weeping children.
The dying mother pale:
Thine eyes must know no slumber.
Thy fingers must not fail.
Yet still, yet still she sleepeth!
Serenely, by her side.
Its watch an angel keepeth,
With white wings floating wide.
Her innocence it foldeth,
With calm from Heaven around,
And a solemn stillness holdeth
That spot of holy ground!
Sleep, poor and pious Maiden,
Till wakes the winter sun;
Thy spindle is unladen,
Thy work by Angels done!
THE GREEN LAND OF THE RHINE.
SONG OF THE GERMAN MOTHERS IN EXILE.
For the Vineland! for the Vineland! with weary hearts we sigh,
The Rhine streams castled waters in our dreams come gliding by.
Rich and ripe the yellow harvests round our new found dwellings stand.
But we yearn for the olden home-ties of our own dear Fatherland!
We clasp our nursling children to our bosoms, and we pine
That their young eyes have not look’d on the green land of the Rhine!
A strange and foreign aspect, has every thing around.
The birds have other voices, the streams another sound.
No hallowing link of kindred, no customs of our race,
Have sanctified the dwellings where now we have a place;
We sit at our sunny thresholds, and for the lindens pine
That wave around our birth-place, in the green land of the Rhine!
There dwelt our gentle Mothers amid their household cares.
Their meek hearts ever mingling sweet deeds of love with prayers;
With household thrift increasing home comforts more and more.
Heaping up the ancient linen press with a fair and finer store:
Giving alms and making blessings like light around them shine —
Oh blest was our maiden girlhood, in the green land of the Rhine!
Green churchyards of our Fathers! how quiet is your rest —
There sleep the little children, that first our bosoms prest!
There the loving hearts that nursed us are gathered to their race.
And the prayers of the grey-haired pastor hallow their resting
Pure land of our religion, still our exil’d hearts are thine.
And the mighty forests harken to the old hymns of the Rhine.
THE MOORISH MAID.
“Rise up, rise up, my mother, cast thy tapestrie work away,
I have seen my father’s vessel come sailing to the hay!”
“Thy father, ah! my dearest, still wears a captive’s chain
Within the Paynim’s dungeon, or has long ago been slain!”
“Not so, not so, my mother, I have seen the silken sheen
Of his banner, gaily dancing, tied all with ribbons green!”
Down went that stately lady with her young son in her hand,
Just as her knightly husband had stepped upon the strand;
He kiss’d her sweet lips softly, that flower of chivalrie! —
“Now dearest lord and husband, thou’rt welcome back to me,
A gallant vessel brings thee, and a goodly company.
But to whom belongs that lady, that’s veiled to the knee?”
He took the veiled lady by her hand so white and small.
And led the fair dames onward up to his stately hall;
Loud rang its ancient turrets to his gather’d vassals cry.
And his hooded Falcon fluttered as his mail’d foot went by.
Then first the Moorish maiden dropp’d down her silver veil.
And show’d the English lady, her face, so darkly pale;
“Take back, take back thy husband, I have brought him o’er the
He has scorn’d an Eastern Princess, all for the love of thee.
Well might he not forget thee, oh lady! sweet and fair,
I would give my brightest jewels, for thy curls of yellow hair!
For thee I loosed his fetters, for thee his ransom paid.
Take back, take back thy husband and forget the Moorish maid!”
Out-stepp’d the lady Alice and took her by the hand,
” I am the happiest lady in all this Christian land,
And shall I send thee weeping, back from our English shore!
No! be to me a sister, and love us evermore!”
* * * * *
Within a ruin’d chapel, I paced a chancel lone.
And saw an ancient monument of alabaster stone,
Upon its crumbling marble, a mailed warrior pray’d —
On his right hand slept his lady, on his left — the Moorish Maid!
From the Fay -land of Childhood, with white daisies laden,
Thou hast past with light footsteps and smiling serene,
On thy cheek kindles soft the first blush of the Maiden,
In Life’s prima vera, sweet artless Fifteen!
For thee does Time’s shallop, all spangl’d with roses.
Glide forth in the sunshine o’er Life’s azure sea.
Whilst Love at the helm his white plumage discloses,
For dove-like, as yet, do his wings seem to thee.
Fair, fair be thy voyage! — through vistas Elysian
Youth and hope’s golden islands rise bright on the scene.
The winds breathe of May -time! — oh, beautiful vision!
Oh, Life’s prima vera, — sweet, charming Fifteen!
Down by the sparkling Fountain, at eve there us’d to stray,
A young and lonely student to watch the ripples play;
High thoughts were soaring in him, and many a glorious theme
Of old immortal story, of love’s celestial dream;
He fill’d with his soul’s bright vintage the golden cup of song,
And offer’d up his treasure to the world’s unheeding throng —
Unknown, in the world’s arena, he sought for fame to strive,
That gladiator combat, alas! how few survive! —
Still down on the ceaseless Fountain, red shines the sunset ray,
But HE no more returneth, to watch the ripples play!
FROM THE SHORE.
I SEND you a sea-weed garland.
The wave wash’d it up to me.
Blushing thro’ bright foam spangles
From the garden of the sea.
Far down, in the wide Atlantic,
The coral-leaf ‘d palm tree grew.
From which a wandering billow
Gather’d a branch for you.
And fain would I send you the music.
That the ocean-wave bore to me —
A song, and a fairy token.
From the garden of the sea!
EVER I see when sunset fades,
A meadow’s winding way,
A moorland hollow, dimly touch’d
With shadows, purple grey.
A wind-swept brook, whose ripples fret
Amid the water weeds,
And dimple, with a silvery break.
Against the swaying reeds,
A simple picture, yet ’tis blent
With memory’s saddest pain;
We parted there, in hope and youth —
Never to meet again!
Oh springing life! Oh glorious wine
Of youth, that glows in every vein,
And thro’ the alabaster shines,
With rosy light and vintage stain,
Sweet vintage of all pleasures new.
And fresh as fruits that Eden grew.
Oh love! that round a simple maid
Sheds magic light — enchantment rare,
Till all her beauty seems arrayed
With glories of the upper air.
As if a star had shot to earth.
And crown’d a brow of mortal birth.
Oh bright ambition! that leaps forth
To snatch the sword — the pen — the lyre,
To dare some deed of royal worth,
A hero’s death — a martyr’s fire.
And wear, amidst the world’s acclaim,
The circlet of immortal fame.
Oh pale and shrunken life! that sits
Crouch’d, aimless, by the winter’s fire.
With drowsy ear, that starts by fits.
To hear the far off surge retire;
The spring-tide surge, that never more
Returneth to thy twilight shore.
Damp stains were on the trodden way,
The chilling mist fell dim and grey,
Above, pale gleam’d the cheerless day.
With, in the west, a sullen stain.
Like smouldering embers quench’d by rain,,
From the fond love of many a year.
From light and warmth and household cheer,
We bore thee to the churchyard drear.
And left thee, in the waning light.
To silence, and the coming night!
Then human grief, awaking lone.
Heard the rain plash, the wild winds moan.
And thought upon thy funeral stone.
Not on the rapture thou hadst won,
In realms of bliss — beyond the Sun!
Oh Faith! what strong, sad memories cling
Of Earth, around thy struggling wing.
E’er clear thy angel pinions spring.
And from the darkness and the clay.
We lift our eyes to Love’s eternal day!
Come, sweet Clara, let us run
Out beneath the autumn sun;
Thro’ the quaint old garden walks
By the wither’d lily stalks,
Past the yew-tree giants, grim.
Thro’ the laurel alleys dim.
By the mossy dial-stone
Where the fountain weeps alone;
Where the red leaves rustle thro’
The long beechen avenue;
And the old armorial crest
O’er the gateway seems to rest,
(Likeness of a couchant Hound)
Guarding some enchanted ground.
Then we’ll pause and gaze awhile
On the sun-touch’d ancient pile;
Golden gleam and crimson stain,
Lighteth up the oriel’s pane.
And its turrets, stain’d and grey.
Brighten in the passing ray.
Does not Beauty, as of yore,
Pace the moss grown terrace floor.
Bending down a listening ear
To her favour’d Cavalier —
Comes no cadence of a lute
To those chambers cold and mute,
Faint, sweet voices, warbling low.
As they sang, long, long ago.
(Dreaming youth and love could last.)
Phantom voices of the Past? —
No! their step shall pace no more
Terrace-stone or oaken floor.
They were mortal in their pride,
So they lived, and loved, and died;
Now the scutcheon of their race
Moulders o’er their burial place,
Canker’d brass and mildew’d stone,
Hidden in a chancel lone;
Dull oblivion hideth all
Lords and dames of Belmont Hall!
Now our holyday is done,
Twilight veileth setting sun,
Back, into our darksome room
In the murky city’s gloom.
Pent with roof and court and wall
Almost into prison thrall;
Back unto our daily care.
Life-long toil and scanty fare.
Let no thought of vain unrest.
Vex the quiet of thy breast.
That this earth should be so fair,
Yet OUR pathway bleak and bare.
He who marks the sparrow fall
Careth for us in our thrall;
And tis well for us to wait
Humbly at the Threshold Gate.
Home — and let us with us bear
Visions of this Pleasaunce fair;
Wearying in our needle task.
In its calmness we may bask;
Here its fountain waters play.
Thro’ the hot and dusky day.
And upon the darksome wall
(Blinding half our lattice small)
Trace the groves of Belmont Hall.
She stood before the mirror quaint.
Which erst had shown, in days gone by.
To high born Belle her patch and paint.
Lappets and love-locks, powder’d high;
She wore, in part, the antique garb, —
Long stomacher and ruffled arm,
Yet left (dan Cupids darts to barb)
Her ringlets to their simplest charm;
So, all undimn’d their golden sheen.
Tied with a ribbon blue — displayed
Fair brows above the velvet screen
That show’d the coming Masquerade.
And many an olden gem she wore, —
Long eardrops, brooch, and necklace fair.
Garnet and topaz — prized of yore,
Enamell’d rings and trinkets rare;
Whilst close beside her antique fan,
(Where doves and nymphs and Cupids shone.
And roses blush’d thro’ gold japan,)
Two sweet bouquets were careless thrown.
Exotics one, with orient bloom,
And scarlet, silken blossoms frail.
One, — Snowdrops, with their faint perfume.
White lucid bells and leaflets pale.
Ah! well the lowly flowers she knew.
Evangels of an early dream.
And back her wandering fancy flew.
To starlight and a village stream!
Then was it love or was it haste.
When called to join the festive ring,
That in her bosom softly placed
The Snow-drops of a vanish’d Spring?
Oh Year! that came to us in gentlest guise,
A crowned cherub, floating on the wings
Of Peace, thy fair Evangel! Gracious eyes
Were thine, and thy ambrosial locks were crown’d
With festal garlands lovelier than the Spring’s
Green olive gleaming ‘mid the golden round
That crown’d thy radiant brow, as with a star;
Ah! who might dream so fair a masque could hide
Failure, and fear, and woe, to want allied
Revolt and carnage, deeper stain’d than war
With tragic horrors that transcend all peer —
Yet such have been thy gifts, oh fatal year!
Thy reign is past! and solemnly we meet
The veiled Stranger on the threshold stone.
Silent our welcome, yet perchance we greet
A power benign, that on Time’s shadowy throne
May, crown’d with blessings, for the Past atone!
UNDER THE SYCAMORE.
” About a mile from Heliopolis, or the City of the Sun, we were shown an aged Sycamore Tree, under the shadow of which, according to tradition, the Holy Family reposed; and a well which afforded them drink.” — Letters from Egypt.
The shadow of the Sycamore
Maketh a tapestry floor
Of light and darkness on the cool green grass.
Kept ever emerald by a fountain clear,
Dimpling with silvery fall the crystal glass
Of the translucent well. Upon the ear
The soft, sweet hushing of a lullaby
Comes with a floating murmur.
A babe’s fair linen vestments snow white gleam
From the green boughs, laved in the desert streams
And freshening the hot air; for all is brown
And sun-parch’d waste beyond that haven won
Ere the sojourners reach the City of the Sun.
A babe lies hush’d upon his mother’s breast.
With loving lips apart, and pearly drops
Dew yet their fresh carnation; fondly prest.
With tender clasp, half-slumbering and carest
The fair child nestles to its balmy rest.
Lightly she folds it in her azure veil.
And all the holy rapture of her bliss
Breathes o’er its brow in one sweet, timid kiss.
The broad deep shadow of the Sycamore
Falls darkly cool around them, yet there gleams
A soft, translucent glory on the air!
Around the Babe the ambient splendor beams
And its fair maiden-Mother, worshiping,
With love and awe. Heaven’s own Incarnate King!
THE FORM AND THE SPIRIT.
Not stately temples wrought with Art’s adornings,
High fretted roof and tesselated floor.
Carvings of porphyry and alabaster.
And golden gloamings seen thro’ arched door;
Not stained windows, rich with gorgeous tinges.
Orange and emerald, lighting chancels grey;
Not purple, nor phylacteries nor fringes.
Not crimson alb nor floating white array;
Not flower-deck’d altars with high tapers burning —
Give pleasure to the Lord of light and life.
Like the true offering of the Spirit turning
To him for refuge in its nature-strife.
Trembling, yet trusting in his love; relying
On no vain tinsel-pomp to speed its prayer, —
His presence only the heart’s worship seeketh,
Feeling and knowing but the Godhead there!
”HE GIVETH HIS BELOVED SLEEP.”
Sleep comes to thee at last!
How tenderly its angel plumes are spread,
Lightly and soft, above thy wearied head;
Thy watching hour is past!
No longer shalt thou fear
The wasting strife of that dim agony.
Thro’ the long night of sorrow haunting thee.
Thy Comforter is here!
Softly around thee close
The shadows of thy slumber, still and deep.
And with a holy silence Love shall keep
The hush of thy repose!
Dreamless and still!
For He, the Merciful, has given thee sleep.
And closed thy failing eyes, never to weep
Or waken more, until
The silver trumpet’s call
Shall with its awful echoes piercing bid
Earth’s slumbering millions to arise, tho’ hid
Beneath tho funeral pall;
And Earth and Heaven
Shall vanish like a scroll! Oh be it thine
To wake in joy and hear those words divine —
” Enter! Thou art Forgiven!”
I HAVE a little maid at home,
Whose years are scarcely seven,
And she said, in her child-innocence,
“Do Daisies grow in Heaven? —
“I think they must, all silvery white.
Amid the pastures fair.
Where the little lambs of Jesu’s flock
Are guarded by his care?”
Such beautiful and blessed thoughts
Are folded up in flowers.
When link’d by holier sympathies
To childhood’s guileless hours,
And from the simplest things of earth
Lessons divine are given.
To lift the soul’s bright innocence
With loving hopes to Heaven!
There is before mine eyes a colour’d shadow,
Like to a Picture — beautiful yet dread,
Ever the strongest when the fading twilight
Sinks into dusk and all bright hues are dead;
Then, in the darkness, vividly there seemeth
The abyss of a green wave, its foam-arch curl’d
Above a woman and her child — a mother
Forlorn in the wild sea! — the unfathom’d world
Of raging waters, night and terror round her,
The blinding lightning flash the only gleam
Showing the pitiless sky — the engulphing ocean.
Back from her brow her long fair tresses stream,
Shining amid the darkness; her young bosom
Is bared in its soft beauty to the deep,
One hand is struggling with the o’erwhelming waters.
The other strives with desperate force to keep
Her child above their fury. Up to heaven
She lifts it with one shriek — one thrilling cry —
” My child! my child !” — the mother’s dying prayer.
Herself forgot in that fierce agony.
That war with Death and Love! The shriek is driven
Back with a sweep of winds and dashing spray;
The waves rush by like war steeds, wild, triumphant:
The child and its young mother — where are they?
Sweet shadow! floating on my wall —
Uncertain, wavering, magic thrall,
Painted by light on viewless Air,
The Shadow of my Lady fair!
Now bends the head with easy grace,
While o’er the clear dusk of the face
A smile seems rippling. Now a hand
Is raised to loosen braid or band.
And now, tost back in careless glee,
Loose waving locks are dancing free!
Whilst thus the airy Image shows
Each charm of motion or repose.
Perchance upon the lawn without
She stands with sunshine all about,
Unconscious what sweet company
Her Shadow keepeth here with me!
THE HOUSEHOLD RELIQUE.
Touch it not! for it is hallow’d
By a sorrow and a pain,
Which the soul’s diviner nature
Has not taught her to restrain.
Mingling with the purer essence,
Still the mortal part enthralls —
So to her a joy departed.
Ever more its sight recalls!
On that infant’s chair she gazes,
Fills it with an image fair!
May-bloom cheeks and curls of sunlight.
Eyes of azure — greet her there.
And a voice of babbling music.
Like the singing of a rill —
Joyous, plaining, gleesome — calleth
With a haunting echo still!
Youngest, best belov’d, and fairest.
Was that child whose daisy chain
Still she sees around it scatter’d —
Wanderer on the stormy main!
Unto thee her yearning sorrow
Surely oft like shadows came.
When the midnight watch was lonely.
And remorse, regret, and shame.
Pictured the dear home deserted,
In thy boyhood’s rash emprize —
Till the very stars seem’d gleaming
O’er thee, like her loving eyes!
Twenty years have ‘lapsed, but never
Of the Lost did tidings bear;
Twenty years her love has hallowed,
Relique like, that wicker chair.
Ever o’er her dreamy spirit,
Surges sweep and breakers roll;
Not a night-wind shakes the lattice.
But it thrills the mother’s soul.
With a shuddering thought of tempest.
On some wild and unknown sea.
And a prayer for those whose perils
Evermore untold shall be!
Lightning scathe or iceberg’s fetters.
Famine pang or savage foe, —
Who shall tell her how he perished.
Whom she cradled long ago?
Twenty years! across the threshold.
Forth he went and turning smiled —
Twenty years! yet still she listens
For the footsteps of her child!
CANNON FROM SEBASTOPOL.
Silent ye stand.
The stern and terrible! whose iron hail
Bore down our best and bravest — those who sleep
In the wild valleys of the Chersonese,
By Alma’s waters and the holy hill
Of England’s martyr heroes.
Round ye sweep
The moorland breezes, wafting every thrill
Of sweet child-laughter or the kindly words
Spoken at cottage doors; above ye shine
The sunset glories — opal, hyaline —
Blent with translucent topaz, amethyst,
And ruby, melting into purple mist.
Joyful was England when your thunders ceased;
Thanksgivings and Hosannas hail’d your fall,
Echoing from cottage home and lordly hall;
The noble’s heart had suffer’d with the least
And humblest in the land, so festival.
Clarions, and welcomes woke the ovation day.
And laurel chaplets strew’d the victor’s way!
Alas! we saw not the Pale Angel raise
His sword to strike the threshold of our power
In that bright land once thought a radiant dream
Of gold, and treasure, and dominion, blent
With pomps and pleasures of the Orient,
But now a blood-stain’d page of awful theme!
From Cawnpore’s well, from Jhanzi’s fatal tower.
Robed in their martyr-innocence, they rise
Who trod on earth the wine-press of his wrath.
Pale witnesses, to stand before the throne
And join the saints who cry, ” Oh, Lord, how long!”-
Shall human dust arraign its Maker’s will
Or dare to mete his judgments? — He who saith,
” Vengeance is mine, and lo, I will repay!”
The sword is drawn — far off we kneel and pray.
In humble faith. What seemeth hideous wrong.
May purge the land from all its heathen crime
And plant the Cross of Christ in India’s clime.
A LOVER’S LOGIC.
You call me inconstant, ah sweet little Fanny!
You wrong- me, thus doubting a faith that’s sincere;
You say I have smiles and soft whispers for many
And bid me begone with a frown and — a tear!
Yes a tear, like a pearl on a May rose that trembles.
And I swear by that jewel, I still am your thrall.
For in each changing fair one some sweet trait resembles
The one peerless charmer transcending them all.
If I float through a waltz with the volatile Mary,
Tbat Psyche from cloudland, aerial, divine,
With the step of a sylph and the form of a fairy —
I dream the soft cestus I girdle is thine!
If Clara has lips like half open’d carnations,
With the honey dew fresh on their untarnish’d bloom,
I but watch their bright dimples in ceaseless flirtations.
For a smile, like thy own love, my heart to illume.
If Annie has eyes blue and dreamy and tender.
Like violets kiss’d by the vesper-star’s shine.
And I seem as entranced by their dangerous splendour —
It is only because they remind me of thine.
If Ellen has tresses, like May sunshine tangled
In a fleece of fair ringlets, soft, silken and brown.
Ah why should thy speech be like sweet music jangled
When just such are the locks o’er thy brow shaken down?
It is thus in thine absence, my heart ever glowing.
Accepts each reflection from star-beam or sun,
Like a diamond cut mirror, each new beauty showing
But the multiplied image, believe me, of one.
What not yet convinced that I know no estranging?
Then fetter me captive for ever thine own.
Rejoicing I’ll yield thee a homage unchanging
And gaining Perfection adore Thee alone.
Flowers of my life! how sweetly are ye folded
In the calm stilless of your happy rest;
The fond reliance that an angel watches
Your sinless slumbers calms each infant breast:
And the young lips, whose last sweet words were prayer.
Smile, as if seraph music lulled ye there!
Flowers of my life! how fresh and fair ye blossom,
Thus bound together by the silken tie
Of my heart’s love! alas that time should sever
The fond frail link, and cast it heedless by;
Alas that years, and sorrow’s cankering breath
Should blight the scattered roses of my wreath.
But if the dew of faith and heavenward seeking.
Has sunk into your hearts, and not in vain.
Your watcher still may hope, when time has perished,
Her flowers shall bloom in Paradise again —
Bright in immortal beauty — undecayed —
An angel garland, never more to fade!
LAVENDER AND ROSES.
I ask’d thee once for summer flowers.
But none to cheer the Minstrel came,
Tho’ roses in thy garden bowers
Were all a-glow with crimson flame.
Tho’ pansies round thy borders trim
Showed violet and narcissus hues.
And ” freaked with jet” and amber stains
Their velvet hoods thro’ pearly dews.
Tho’ climbing o’er thy sylvan porch.
Thro’ clematis and sweet briar thorns.
The painted woodbine, saffron gilt,
Tassell’d her fairy bugle horns.
Tho’ orange, azure, pink and snow
Shone forth in bells and blossoms fair.
Yet not one simple flowret came
To me with scent of woodland air.
I sighed, for in my heart of hearts
Thy valley in its beauty shone.
And in the city wilderness,
My path was barren, bleak, and lone.
But now I grieve not, for thy thought
Past lightly o’er each fading bloom.
And gave pale lavender, that brought
The spirit life of flowers’ perfume.
A gentle incense, freshly pure
With grateful odour, lingering near,
Recalling with its charmed breath
Far distant scenes, for ever dear.
And thus, with more than gracious art,
The Lavender’s dim azure shows
Calm friendship’s type, as love usurps
The Orient splendor of the Rose.
THE CHILD TEACHING HER INFANT SISTER TO PRAY.
The morning sun
Gleam’d through the lattice, and its first young beams
Shone on a sight as fair as it had left
Behind in Paradise — a gentle child
Lifting a kneeling infant’s cherub hands
In adoration! Pure herself she seemed
As the calm angel shapes that meekly bend
O’er sculptur’d tombs in dim cathedral aisles.
Serene in youthful beauty — loosely flow’d
Her snowy robes, and the soft tresses, ting’d
With flitting gold gleams, as the sun-ray shone
Around her like a halo — and at times.
O’er her fair neck and delicate shoulder, play’d
A quivering shadow from the trembling leaves
Of the green ivy round the lattice twin’d;
Even as she pray’d, on her transparent cheek
The rose-hues deepeu’d, and her soft, sweet eyes
Brighten’d with holy joy to hear the sounds
Of the imperfect tones ot infancy
Lisping its first-breathed prayer! How lovely seem’d
The kneeling innocent o’er which she bent.
Clasping its little hands, and bowing down
Its infant head with simple reverence!
And blest was she who gazed upon that sight.
The happy mother of the kneeling twain.
That in her fair child’s heart so early shone
The light of Faith — the bright religious zeal.
Whose trust is love that cannot know decay!
When I look forth from the lattice on the chill and gloomy day —
See the distance shortly bounded by the dim mist, faint and grey.
See the thin leaves, sudden dropping, eddying slowly ere they fall,
And the ghostly asters dying, in the garden, last of all;
When a cheerless sadness broodeth over sky and earth and tree,
And my lonely heart is weary, then, belov’d, I think of thee!
Of thy winning gracious beauty, of thy fair and pleasant youth.
Of thy bright and cheerful innocence, thy tenderness and truth,
Think of all the sunny gladness flowing round thy household ways,
Of our fond and sweet communings, in the happy summer days.
Till the silent years have vanish’d and thou art mine own again, —
Ah! I gaze upon thy gravestone, darkened yet by midnight rain!
THE FAIR MAIDS OF FEBRUARY.
A MADRIGAL AFTER HERRICK.
” White snow-drops wear
Such name in shepherds’ carols.”
Pale vestals of the early year,
“Fair Maids,” as rustic minstrels say.
Soon as your nun-like hoods appear,
Ye whisper of the coming May!
Come to my gentle Lady, show-
As fair types of that virgin snow
That, resting on her heart, has made
Her lover’s suit so long delayed;
And when your pearly bells shall rest
Upon her chaste but cruel breast.
Then whisper, “Maidens of the Spring,
Sweet hopes to lovers’ hearts we bring.
That, as our kisses melt the snow
“Where crimson roses soon shall glow.
Coy hearts may loose their icy chain.
And blushing Love succeed Disdain!”
THE LOOK FROM THE LATTICE.
From the high convent lattice,
A veiled nun look’d down.
And saw the spreading corn-fields
Sun-touch’d with golden brown.
Beneath a waving linden,
A mother sat and smiled.
As on her loving bosom
She hush’d her infant child.
Adown the grassy pathway,
A homeward peasant came, —
A sunburnt youth, yet manly, —
With Labour’s stalwart frame.
He blest that happy mother.
Caressing and carest.
And claspt his dearest treasures
With welcome to his breast.
Then slow, with tender dallyings.
They took their homeward way.
Where shone the distant hamlet
With many a household ray.
Ah, then, what full revealings
Of Woman’s nature stole,
In that rush of anguish’d feelings.
Upon the Watcher’s soul!
She drew back from the lattice,
And gazing up above,
Saw where the fair Madonna
Smil’d with maternal love.
And cried, ” Oh, cruel teachers.
That bar our natures in,
Yet show us heavenly glimpses
Of what in us is sin,
“Oh, Saviour, born of woman!
Oh, sacred Mother pure!
Must creatures weakly human
This death-in-life endure?
” All that our being urges —
Love and domestic joy —
Must we repress with scourges.
With penance-wounds destroy?
” They teach us this: despairing.
We faint beneath the chain.
And perish unbelieving, —
Soul-martyrs lost in vain!”
Up, to the morning sunlight.
Arose the household pair;
But the veil’d nun’s endless sorrow
Saw but the night’s despair.
THE TRYSTING TREE.
A Girl sat by the fountain’s side.
When eve was grey — alone,
And the fountain-voice replied
With a wild and wailing tone
To the words of her mournful melody,
” Why comes he not to the Trysting Tree?”
The stars came trembling, one by one,
In the deep and silent sky;
But the pale girl sat alone
As the winds of night went by,
Bearing that mournful melody —
” Why comes he not to the Trysting Tree?”
That morn, in the midst of the gather’d fight.
Where the red-rose banners prest.
There lay a fallen Knight,
With the death- wound on his breast,-
And long shall the night of the watcher be:
He comes no more to the Trysting Tree.
LINES ADDRESSED TO CHARLES KENWORTHY
ON RECEIVING FROM HIM A VOLUME OF HIS POEMS; THE VENERABLE MINSTREL BEING IN HIS 77th YEAR.
Bright are the laurels that enwreathe thy brow,
Calm in the dignity of lengthened days;
For palms and amaranths of Christian faith
Have sanctified thy garland of the bays.
A halo, from the Sun of Righteousness,
Lighteth thy pilgrim footsteps towards the west:
Fair Poesy with thee hath heavenward soared.
To hold communion with the loved and blest;
And biddeth thy rapt glance of faith behold
The city with its walls of crystal gold!
Yet not the less thy kindly heart is stirred
With earthly sympathies and charities,
Linking together, as with golden bands,
Divinest hopes and sweet humanities;
A reverent yet a cheerful heart, that shares
Life’s mingled cup of joy, and care and pain;
Unmurmuring that in the nectar draught
Some bitters of mortality remain.
Flowers bloom for thee, although the “way is strait,’
And life leads onwards to the Heavenly gate!
THE INFANT’S BIER.
Young Mother of the Lost, how fond thy soul yet seems to cling
To what was once so beautiful, but now so perishing,
An Infant on its early bier! alas, how very fair
The blossom must have been in life to look so lovely there.
I see it in its snowy shroud, as pure and even as pale
As those white rose-buds scatter’d o’er its bier and funeral veil;
Sure in some dream of heaven it sank to such a calm repose.
Oh had it past life’s pilgrimage would such have been its close?
No! watcher by the dead, arise, and think what might have been
The fate of thy enfranchised one: how tranquil and serene
It lies that never knew a grief, and think’st thou it would bear,
If it had died in after years, a brow so calmly fair?
No! — passion, toil, and grief, of all the allotted heritage,
Would sure have left their impress there as on a sullied page;
And what undying anguish might in life’s sad course have wrung
The heart now hush’d without a pang — the blest — departed
Thou might’st have died even in thy prime, and left thy cherished
For cruel hearts to blight and scorn, for colder ones to shun.
With none to calm its early griefs, or soothe its childish pain.
Or guide it to that heavenly path which none have sought in vain,
Or lived to see thy beautiful and blessed one decay.
By wasting grief, or slow disease, still fading day by day.
Till even a mother’s hopes were gone, and anguish and despair
Could scarce in thy worn heart be hush’d by the hallowed balm
An earthly grief has never dimmed the brightness of its brow.
The pureness of its sinless soul is dwelling round it now,
The smile just trembling on its lips an angel’s self might wear;
It sleeps for aye! but, oh, how calm thy infant’s slumbers are;
Never upon thy fragrant breast or in thy circling arms
Was its repose so sweet, so soft, so free from earthly harms.
A mother’s love (even to the death how faithful and how fond).
Was pour’d in its deep fulness forth all other love beyond.
To guard and bless this blighted flower, but when could’st thou
The heavenly bliss, the eternal love its happy soul doth know.
I know how blest thou would’st have been its early smiles to prize,
To see the dawning consciousness shine out in its young eyes,
To find thyself its best beloved, and know no other bliss
Beyond its little soft embrace, its sweet caressing kiss!
But would’st thou call it back again, the seraph from its rest.
That thine own selfish heart might be so transitorily blest? —
No!— mother of the blest in heaven, arise, and weep no more.
Thou hast given another angel there to worship and adore.
THE GARLAND OF LIFE.
Lilies perfume the air:
With a maiden blush and a garland white,
She comes from her virgin bower;
But her downcast eyes have a tenderer light
At the sound of the bridal hour,
As the Bride is a Lily fair.
Roses, red roses, shine!
Her cheek is rife with a warmer bloom.
And her voice has a gladsome sound,
Joy-music, breathing of love and home.
Her true heart’s golden round;
Roses, sweet wife, are thine.
Pansies, with purple leaves!
A gentle peace on her matron brow,
Calm locks with silver strown;
Soft memories touching with sunset glow
Her heart, as she sits alone;
Pansies for Autumn eves.
Violets, dim and pale!
Hush’d and holy her silent rest,
Her day’s true duties o’er;
Violets and Palms on the shrouded breast, —
Flowers of the golden shore
Beyond the funeral veil.
”GOD BLESS YOU.”
” God bless you!” kind, familiar words;
Before mine eyes the letters swim,
As touching nature’s holiest chords;
My sight with fond regret grows dim.
” God bless you,” closes up each page
Traced by the loving hand of yore.
Whose letters still, from youth to age,
That fondly anxious signet bore.
I heeded not in earlier days
The import of that yearning prayer;
To me ’twas but a kindly phrase
Which household love might freely spare.
But now that Grief strange power affords.
In those love-hallow’d scrolls I find
Those earnest, pleading, sacred words
With all Life’s tenderness entwined.
Now thou art gone — ah, dark above
Thy gravestone floods the winter rain! —
And all the old, sweet household love
Fades into Memory’s silent pain.
On earth for me no human heart
Again will breathe those words divine.
But, Sainted Soul! where’er thou art.
Thy angel-pleading still is mine!
Green leaves are on the lilac tree.
And May-buds on the briar;
The daffodils and crocuses
Light up the golden fire.
The pansies in their garden plot
Lift up their dewy eyes
And velvet blooms, as painted by
Moonlight and purple skies.
The linden in the dim court-yard
Shakes out its silvery green;
Thus even in the city street
The Beautiful is seen.
The children gather the springing grass,
I bless them in their glee;
But daisies on a village grave
Are the flowers Spring gives to me.
I BOAST no classic polish’d Lyre,
Whose chords with gold and ivory shine;
The wild songs of the woodland choir
Find simple echo-notes in mine.
The springlet welling from the rock,
With crystal sparkles — cool and clear,
Falls not (as Art’s bright fountains play)
With measured cadence on the ear;
Yet its uncertain music has
A sylvan freshness in its tone,
Gladdening the way-worn passer-by.
Whose arid path was long and lone:
Thus murmuring from my Doric lute,
A simple home-familiar strain
May cheer some toiling, weary heart.
And nerve it for the strife again.
OUR ENGLISH QUEEN.
FROM A PICTURE BY WINTERHALTER
I SAW her in her beauty.
Not in pride of pomp and power;
Not in halls of regal glory
Nor in rose-enameled bower.
But, in a summer chamber.
Sat, tranquil and serene.
With a smile like moonlight splendour.
Our lovely English Queen.
Soft to her snowy bosom
A precious gem she prest —
A sweet and priceless treasure,
The jewel of her breast, —
A smiling infant, wearing
Her graces in its mein;
The home-charm of affection
Adorn’d our English Queen.
As long as Wife and Mother
Are names to Britons dear.
And Home a blessed bond-tie
To strengthen and to cheer,
A sweet and proud emotion
Shall thrill us at this scene.
And true hearts bless and honour
Our gentle English Queen.
High in historic story
The Maiden Sovereign shines.
But Love’s diviner glory
Victoria’s brow entwines, —
Star of our sea-girt Island,
Bright in her virtue’s sheen,
VICTORIA THE BELOVED!
Our own true Enghsh Queen!
LOVE IN DEATH.
A Mother sits by an infant’s grave,
A hillock small and green,
With two grey stones, at the head and feet.
And the daisied turf between.
Silent she sits, as that lowly bed
Still needed her loving care,
And her hand oft plays with the rustling grass.
As with curls of an infant’s hair.
Does she think of the time when she hush’d it soft
With cradle lullabies,
Or when it hung on her fragrant breast
With a smile in its lifted eyes?
Or when she touch’d with a reverent hand.
(When its sunny years were three)
The lamb-like fleece of its flaxen locks.
As it pray’d beside her knee?
Or the time when a little funeral pall
Went forth from the cottage door.
And its dancing step was never heard
Again on the household floor?
Does she fondly image a cherub shape,
‘Mid a shining angel-band.
With locks of light, in garments white.
And a lily in its hand?
Silent her thought, — but, at eventide,
Ever she sitteth there.
And her hand oft plays with the rustling grass
As with curls of an infant’s hair.
TO J. B. ROGERSON, ESQ.,
AUTHOR OF “RHYME, ROMANCE, AND REVERIE,” ETC.
Long years have departed since first from your laurels
You gave me a garland to hang on my lyre,
And Time has for each dimm’d the dream of the Poet,
And quench’d with Life’s sorrow its first eager fire.
Yet still, softly lambent, amid the dim embers.
The light I once worship’d illumines the shrine;
Tho’ I kneel there no longer, I sadly remember
How fair was the vision I once held divine, —
The fame-crown’d ambition, — the name trac’d in story;
Yours is deeply engrav’d there — mine reacli’d not the goal;
Yet I gather these leaflets and, heedless of glory.
Ask only your friendship to smile on the scroll.
No! not in vain has heaven bestowed
The gift of poesy,
Tho’ all unhonor’d be thy lyre
By earthly praise or fee.
Humble and rude perchance thy lot,
Unmark’d, unknown thy name,
And songs that thrill thy secret heart,
Perish without their fame.
And thou may’st struggle with the world,
Amid the common throng.
And bear uncheer’d the common lot
Of toil, and grief, and wrong.
No heart may echo back thy thoughts.
No ear regard thy lay.
And all thy bright aspirings fade
With life itself away.
But deep within thy soul is hid
A talisman divine;
The jewelled Orient cannot boast
A treasure like to thine, —
A ray of that immortal light
Which sinless Eden knew.
Has left its glory on thy heart,
Its visions to imbue.
The spirit of the Beautiful
Is smiling by thy side.
An angel pilgrim evermore.
The Poet’s steps to guide.
A cloud, a pebble, or a leaf.
Aye, even the simplest weed,
Seems blent with marvel and with joy
No other eye can heed.
Link’d with each bright intelligence
That haunts us though unseen.
Thy thoughts sublimed and purified
Spring from the rude — the mean
And sordid thralls of earth, to share
A transport undefin’d,
Snatched like Promethean light from heaven.
The sovereignty of mind.
Then chafe not, i’ret not, that thy lays
Die on the common ear.
Their music has an echo heard
Within a brighter sphere:
The unheeded wild flowers idly crush’d
Amid the vernal rain,
Give up their perfume to His throne
Who form’d them not in vain;
And not one pure or glorious thought
The Poet’s heart may frame.
But is an incense-offeriug
To the Eternal Name!
THE POWER OP THE PEN.
Feather of eagle or plume of snow,
On Warrior’s crest or on Beauty’s brow,
Kissing the fair cheek’s peach-like bloom.
Or seen by a flash through the battle’s gloom,
Mighty your conquests,— but prouder still
Is the triumph won by the Grey Goose Quill!
Ye have revell’d long in the golden store
Of the Poet’s thought and the Sage’s lore —
Ye who have won by the power of mind
The charmed land where the Past is shrin’d;
But the veil from the temple is rent, and lo!
In a thousand heart’s its treasures glow.
And a spirit lives in that mighty throng,
Born of the glory obscur’d so long:
The many have drunk from the fount diviue.
And their souls are athirst for its deathless wine!
Light from heaven has warm’d the clay.
Darkness shrinks from the coming day;
The World’s deep heart has felt a thrill.
The hidden might of the Grey Goose Quill!
In the darken’d mine, by the restless wheel.
Bright thoughts on the weary one shall steal.
The furrow has past from the Craftman’s brow.
Some pleasant fancy is with him now.
Or his lieart is tranced by the potent rhyme
Of some mighty bard of the olden time:
He shall couch no more by his cottage hearth.
Like a darken’d, soulless, shape of earth —
A tool just fashion’d from human clay,
To be wrought at will or cast away.
His mind’s awake, he has heard the call,
” Knowledge and life for the bondsman thrall;”
He has wip’d from his name the serfdom ban,
And taken his place with his fellow man.
Power! and Knowledge! and Freedom! ye
Speed well on your course, oh, mighty three!
Who shall resist your boundless will.
Or stay the flight of the Grey Goose Quill?
How shall thy wonders, oh Art, expand
When the mind shall guide the working hand, —
When science enlightens the craftsman’s skill,
And his thought shall live and be shaped at will:
Peace and love through the land shall reign.
The Demagogue’s brand shall be lit in vain;
The many shall judge, and be tost no more
Like shifting sands on the wild sea shore,
Tools of a party strife, — their power
Shall have nobler aims in the coming hour.
True and trustful shall each unite.
Calm in their own acknowledg’d might;
Throne and altar no change shall move,
Upheld by the bond of a people’s love.
Land of the bold, the wise, the free.
Bright shall thy name amid nations be;
Knowledge and glory shall guard thee still
For strong is the might of the Grey Goose Quill!
AFTER THE BALL.
Loosen’d fall her silken tresses
From their net of tassell’d pearls,
But a crimson rose still lingers,
Tangl’d in her raven curls.
Lightly from her snowy shoulder
Drops her garment’s purple fold,
As her hand unfastens slowly
Half its boddice clasps of gold.
For her heart beats quick beneath them,
With a sweet bewildering pain.
Like a captive dove that flutters —
Captive in a silken chain.
Past and gone the gorgeous revel;
Musing o’er each brilliant hour.
Sits she now with dark eyes gazing
On two talismans of power.
One a ring, whose diamond fetter
Lures her half to Age’s arms, —
One, a dewy violet, offer’d
By a Poet to her charms.
And a thousand dreams uncertain,
Half of pride and half disdain.
With sweet hopes and wishes mingle.
Echoes of a tenderer strain.
Mused she thus till, slowly flushing,
Blushes kindle cheek and brow.
From her hand she drops the jewel;
What are riches to her now?
Disregarded, in the moonlight,
Sparkl’d forth the diamond’s sheen;
But that night the violet rested
On the heart of Imogene!
‘TIS well when lowly footsteps tread
Within a lordly palace.
And wond’ring eyes on tapestry gaze —
On gold and jewell’d chalice.
‘Tis also well when lordly hands
Hold forth in friendly token
A welcome thus from man to man
In brother love unbroken.
So let us roam with joyous hearts
Through groves and glades embower’d.
And lightly tread the stately halls
Of regal Castle Howard.
‘Tis well to view the inner life
Of wealth and lofty station,
And feel that wide as stars apart
Our portion in creation.
But not to cloud our humbler lot
With bitter, vain repining.
Since stars and glow-worms have alike
Allotted spheres for shining.
Let us return to lowly homes.
With thoughts more high and tender.
And a new grace reflected from
That scene of stately splendour.
Let us resume with truer zest
Our duties poor and homely,
For parterre rose and way-side flower
Have separate virtues comely.
While righteous toil and loving care
Ennoble Life’s endeavour,
A joy shall rest on lowly homes
For ever and for ever.
The above was written when the Earl of Carlisle kmdly permitted the Railway
excursionists of Leeds to view the state apartments of Castle Howard, after
the visit of Her Majesty the Queen.
ONCE WE LOVED.
Once we loved who meet as strangers.
Or with bitter blighting words;
In life’s May-time our young hearts thrilled
With loves divinest chords.
Time, and wrong, and weary absence.
Have unlinked the golden chain.
And that early dream of tenderness
We ne’er can know again;
Yet I cannot hear from careless lips
Thy haunting name, unmov’d,
Or forget, tho’ thou art lost to me,
That once, yes once, we loved!
I have not marr’d thy happiness.
If happiness it be;
Yet Time, the true avenger,
May bring an hour to thee
When the Syren’s smile shall leave thee
Alone the storm to bide;
Then shall thou find how true the heart
Cast ruthlessly aside.
How firm the faith once vowed to thee
Tho’ friends and foes reprov’d;
For all may be forgotten but.
That once — yes once, we lov’d!,/em>
THE TRANCE OF THE IMPROVISATRICE.
I GAZED upon the impassion’d trance
Of that dark-eyed Italian girl;
Her’s were no tresses festered by
Or clasping wreath or braiding pearl.
But down they swept luxuriant, free,
A rich dark cloud of ringlets shed
Back from a forehead white and high.
And goddess-like as her’s who led
The imperial Roman to her cave.
Dream-born Egerin! — to the face
Of that inspired one genius gave
A wild, divine, yet radiant grace,
A bright revealing of the soul! —
Communing with the mysteries
Of Poesy and Passion, seem’d
The silence of her glorious eyes.
Spell-bound in dreamy beauty! — ” Wake,
Thy hands are on the lute, awake and pour
Thy tranced spirit forth in song!” — I gazed
Upon a Picture — matchless! but no more.
THE BARD’S FAREWELL.
And part we thus? the charm is broken!
On thee my thoughts no more may dwell,
And all that now remains is spoken
In this sad, simple word, ” Farewell!”
We meet no more, and thus shall perish
The dreams, the hopes, that once were mine;
And memory may not dare to cherish
One gentle look or smile of thine!
Even this is well — I could not meet thee
And read indifference on thy brow;
This heart could ne’er with coldness greet thee.
But must forget and leave thee now!
Yes, thus we part — as coldly, lightly.
As if I ne’er had felt thy power;
The smile that charm’d me once, still brightly
Beams o’er me in this parting hour!
But there is worse than coldness in it;
‘Tis but in mockery of my doom, —
Yet let it pass, our parting minute
May set in light as well as gloom.
Thou hadst a song so sadly tender.
The music of the Emerald Isle;
I heard it first ‘mid festal splendour —
‘Mid flowers, and light, and Beauty’s smile.
And oh, that Glen, so loved and lonely,
In shadowy beauty rose again.
Where first I pour’d to wild woods only
The minstrel dreams that now are vain!
Its meeting waters murmured round me.
In each wild cadence of the song;
Yes! till that sweet enchantment bound me,
I knew not I had loved so long! —
And now we part — yes, part for ever;
Yet, lady, ‘mid thy cold disdain.
Wilt thou not breathe, ere yet we sever.
That song of the Green Isle again,
And let my last farewell be taken
To it and thee alike in one? —
There is no voice may dare to waken
That strain to me — when THOU art gone.
I taught my harp the thrilling measure.
But it must rest in silence now;
The chords that rung to love and pleasure
Are broken — like thy faithless vow!
The saddest and the tenderest token
Of that despair, words may not tell.
For Heart and Harp alike are broken
With this wild song — my last FAREWELL!
Over all, the sunshine streameth!
Art thou still
Dark, oh, weary heart that pineth
O’er thoughts that kill?
Over all the sunshine streameth! —
There was a time
When sweet thoughts of pastoral beauty
And nature’s prime,
Green glades in the leafy forest,
And sylvan glee
Would have rapt thy soul like music
A dreaming hour of golden leisure,
With silent wings,
On its white plumes would have borne thee
Where ever springs
The fountain of bright thoughts that sparkle
With ceaseless play.
Where Romance, the Enchantress, singeth
Her charmed lay!
And, like pearls from golden tresses,
Fair conceits and pleasant fancies
Are gleaming found.
Over all the sunshine streameth! —
Cottage-roof or palace-hall.
Prison-bars or forest-branches —
It blesseth all!
Yet, Despair, the Phantom, pineth
Ever by thee.
Casting in Oblivion’s waters
The golden key
That once unlock’d the radiant treasures
Of the far time.
Filling thy soul with pure ambition.
And hopes sublime.
Over all the sunshine streameth! —
. .Captive arise!
Break the fetters — lift thy glances
To the bright skies.
Trust in Him who pours that splendour
Even from His throne!
Earth has many griefs — why murmur
At thine alone?
ALOYSE DE MONTEMAR TO HER CHILD.
[The story of Aloyse, the young girl executed this morning, is very affecting; deserted by her seducer, and plunged into the abyss of poverty, she committed a theft punishable by death, but which might have been mitigated but for the powerful influence of her betrayer, one of her judges,]— Letters from the French Provinces.
Oh welcome to my heart mine own! I clasp thee once again;
Would that thy sweet, sweet kiss could calm the fever of my brain,
That from my heart thy smile could chase the darkness of despair!
Alas, the worm which dieth not has long been waken’d there!
How soon wilt thou be motherless! Alas, in after time,
When cruel ones shall brand thee as the heir of shame and crime,
And thy young heart shall burn to hear thy mother’s name revil’d.
Oh think her soul’s last thought was thine, and curse me not my
Scarce eighteen summer suns have shed their influence on my brow,
But AGE ne’er traced such furrows as are darkeu’d o’er it now;
Tiiese locks were radiant as thy own, my dearest, yesterday —
Alas! what winters of despair have changed them now to grey!
I heard (and with what deadly grief my dying heart was torn)
How fair a bride thy father weds— aye, even this very morn.
And when, to meet a felon’s death, thy mother kneels to pray.
The bells will ring to consecrate the False One’s bridal day!
They say that she is beautiful— thy father’s chosen one—
Oh, may her young heart never feel the pangs that mine has done:
The bitter scorn— the cold disdain— the change from love to hate.
For even a shameful death like mine, were bliss to such a fate!
But she has lands and lineage high— a proud and princely name,
And I had nothing but my faith, my fondness, and my shame, —
She is the sharer of his home — his splendour and his power.
And I — the passing fancy of his proud heart’s erring hour!
Alas! alas! I knew not that: I was as guiltless, pure
As e’er his noble bride can be, and loved as well I’m sure;
And yet her child will be caress’d — the glory of his line,
While poverty, disgrace, and shame, is the heritage of mine!
All the proud beauty of his brow, my dearest, thou wilt bear —
His very eyes of love and light — his curls of radiant hair;
But ne’er from him caress or kiss, my sweet one, shalt thou claim,
Shalt never clasp thy father’s neck, or fondly lisp his name;
He knows not — cares not for thy fate, his own — his earliest born.
He leaves thee to the world’s neglect — its coldness and its scorn.
No hand of his shall guide thee through life’s thorny wilderness.
But there’s a Mighty One, I trust, will guard the fatherless;
My poor deserted little one! how soft is thy embrace.
How speakingly thy dove-like eyes gaze on thy mother’s face;
Oh, let me clasp thee closer yet — I feel thee in my heart —
My child! my own! my blessed one! how very dear thou art!
Hark! hark! that knell — I know the sound — it calls me to the
And they will tear thee from my arms!— oh, is there none to save?
Is there no mercy for a heart that’s broken and beguil’d, —
They come — one last, last dying kiss. Oh, heaven, my child!
A SUNRISE SKETCH.
The Sun — the Sun is rising! I know it by the gleam
Of shadowy crimson trembling upon the mountain stream —
The pearly grey of morning is deepening into blue —
The floating mist wreaths gather a bright and silvery hue;
And now a flush of amber with warmer beauty glows,
Where crimson clouds are scatter’d, like leaves shook from a rose!
O’er all the crystal ether — the shadows one by one
Are brightening into glory and heralding the Sun!
Now warmer blushes kindle, and rays of living gold
Are piercing thro’ the purple clouds that sweep in gather’d fold
Around the shrine of splendour — the dwelling of the dawn —
Till brighten’d into amethyst their curtains are withdrawn,
And in triumphant radiance out-shines the conquering Sun —
Night — Night has gone with all her clouds! the bright Day has
THE FLOWERS OF CALDER DALE.
For thee perchance exotics sweet
With balmy odours fill the gale;
But scorn not for their simple charms
The wild-wood flowers of Caldar Dale.
Kind nature’s breath has nurtured them.
Her spirit in their fragrance dwells, —
The Power that paints the wilding rose
And scents the wind-flowers airy bells.
The influence of the Beautiful
Inspired the Poet of the Vale
To gather thus his fancies sweet,
And wreathe the Flowers of Calder Dale.
Perchance not all in polish’d rhymes
Upon the courtly ear may flow;
The waters of the mountain rill
Are rougher than the stream below.
But nearer to the living spring.
With unstain’d freshness forth they pour;
And thus the lowly Minstrel’s thought.
From nature’s fountain welleth o’er.
The violet in the forest glade
Seeks not with prouder flowers to vie,
Yet offers up its vernal breath
To passing winds and waters nigh.
And thus the Peasant Minstrel pours
His own heart music to the gale.
And Beauty paints the rustic wreath —
The wild-wood Flowers of Calder Dale.
THE VOYAGE OF HOPE AND YOUTH.
Hope lightly spreads her azure sails,
As her pearl bark sweeps the sea.
For she is bound to the Fairy Isle,
Where Sorrow cannot be!
Her sails are fill’d by the breath of Love,
And fann’d by his glittering wings;
And sweet to the charmed ear of Youth,
Is the Syren lay she sings: —
” Oh come with me to the Fairy Isle,
Where the roses never die.
And every hour has a brighter joy
To mark its gliding by!”
The bark sails on, but the shores grow dim
To Youth’s now anxious gaze;
And they win not yet the enchanted land.
Where the distant sunlight plays.
No more to fill the azure sails.
Comes Love’s enamour’d sigh;
And the bark drifts on to a desert shore,
Where the flowers of Youth must die!
False HOPE has fled from the shatter’d wreck,
Launch’d forth on Life’s dark sea.
And it never shall win the Fairy Isle
Where Sorrow cannot be!
Yes, welcome in with joyous brow
This bravest feast of all the year,
And call the happiest of thy friends.
To share the merry Christmas cheer.
But if one lowly, lonely heart.
Be gladden’d by a help of thine.
That blessed thought shall warm thee more
Than all their cups of wassail wine!
Not far away from blazing hearths
And tables heap’d with dainties rare,
Sits poverty, forlorn and cold.
And desolate in wintry air.
If thou hast given a cheering brand.
To light up what was cold and drear,
Then thou may’st take with joyful hand
A sweeter draught of Christmas cheer!
If thou hast sat by Sorrow’s side,
And sooth’d thy brother’s lack or pain.
Then thou may’st joy that Christ was born.
And spread thy festal board again.
Heap up the rousing Christmas fire!
This bravest feast of all the year.
Be merry, heart! if thou hast shared
With neighbour Want thy Christmas cheer.
We wander’d in the dim green wood
At Summr eventide,
I was a knight of old romance.
And thou, my fairy bride.
I won thee from the enchanted Isle,
It was a childish play,
I thought not then that other lips
Would woo thee. Cousin May.
We read of Una and her lamb.
Within the oriel room.
The red light thro’ the pictur’d pane
Shed down a rosy bloom;
Thy white hand, as I turn’d the page
Upon my shoulder lay,
I thought not then another’s arm
Would clasp thee. Cousin May!
But that was in our early youth.
When we were girl and boy,
I since have learnt with bitter truth.
How time can love destroy:
Those sweet, familiar, idlesse hours.
With life’s dawn past away,
I knew not then that wealth alone
Might win thee. Cousin May!
Alas! within thy maiden hreast,
For me, no future shone:
Those yearnings of the heart’s unrest
Are mine and mine alone:
Too lovely in thy bridal charms,
I dare not near thee stay,
I cannot look upon his face, —
Be happy, Cousin May!
THE SONG OF LILLIAN.
Tak’ off, tak’ off this silken net.
This snood o’ siller twine,
For the lang, lang locks of my sailor luve
Are floating on the brine!
The lily hands o’ an Island Queen
Might ha’e toy’d wi’ his curls sae fair.
But now they are twin’d wi’ the tangles green
And the pearls o’ the mermaid’s hair.
I wander alone on the yellow sea sand.
Beneath the cold moonshine.
But his head is couch’d on the mermaid’s breast.
And her arms around him twine.
Ever she singeth a low sweet dirge.
Like the croon in an ocean shell.
And he sleepeth saft beneath the surge.
The laddie I lo’ed sae well!
A BRILLIANT pageant.
In that window shone —
Carkanet and zone;
A bridal coronal
Of diamonds, clear
As morning sunshine
Glass’d in dew-drops — near
Of regal amethyst,
By amber sunsets kiss’d.
Pale gleaming pearls.
Lustrous as ocean-spray.
Opals, fire sparkles,
Blent with silvery grey;
Red rubies blush’d
With warm, transparent shine.
As sun-touch’d crystal
Fill’d with ruddy wine.
Gold of the orient.
Wrought with rarest art,
Enlink’d the gems.
Or circled them, apart.
Oh, pomps of earth!
I have a fairer store —
Heaven keeps my Jewels
Radiant — evermore!
I’ll meet thee in the Dream-land,
That summer twilight hour.
When we trod the dewy purple
Of the heather’s honey-flower;
By the grey tarn on the moorland,
Our trysting place shall be.
For only in the Dream-land
Can that hour return to me.
I’ll sing to thee in Dream-land,
As I sang to thee of yore.
When thy heart first heard, enamour’d.
My lute’s enchanted lore.
Thrilling all thy soul with music
From Poesy’s golden shore.
And that magic song of Dream-land,
Shall haunt thee, evermore.
Softly and slow.
With a light eddying fall, the snow-flakes fair-
Fill with a shimmering light the upper air.
And down descending, o’er the dark and sere,
(Bleak waste and leafless bough and pastures bare,)
Hide with a veil of beauty, pure, serene.
The desolation of the wintry scene.
So on the soul,
Grace gently falls, with soft and tranquil flow
Of hallowing influences, that melt and blend
The ambition and the frailties and desires
Of erring nature to a nobler end
Of chaster harmony and purer show.
Till over all, with unstain’d light, doth shine
The Peace descending from the Love Divine!
Yet watch and pray!
For, as a wandering footstep marks and mars
The virgin snow-wreath. Sin has yet the power
To dim and blot the uncertain, wavering soul;
Pray humbly then, e’en in thy firmest hour,
That thou mayst keep thy “white robe ” pure and fair.
So when the Bridegroom comes, thy portion may be there.
THE GREEN HOLLY-BOUGH.
LIFE is not all roses, sweet Mary remember,
I swear now to love thee, warm hearted and true;
Yet sometimes our sky will be dark as December,
And grief in our nectar cup mingle its rue.
But if, heart united, we meet the rough weather,
No storm shall subdue us, no sorrow shall bow;
So cheerly we’ll take thorns and roses together,
And twine in love’s garland the Green Holly-bough.
It shines forth the brightest with gay beads of coral.
When howleth the north- wind and hurtles the snow;
And thus, all enduring, my faith shall grow stronger.
And thus, ever brighter, thy cheerfulness glow.
What care we if life then has winter and sorrow.
If true to each other we keep our love-vow;
From hope and affection May sunshine we’ll borrow.
So gather, with me love, the Green Holly -bough.
Unseen a wild flower spent its life,
Winds caught its last perfume,
And now a thousand hills are rife
With its far-scattered bloom.
Thus songs, by unknown poets sung.
Speed on their angel way.
To cheer and soothe a thousand hearts
That ask not whence the lay.
Enough that in their souls they hear
The echo of the strain,
A hope — a memory — a regret —
Too sadly sweet for pain.
For this both flower and song were given.
Evangels — each divine;
Sing, Poet! — bloom, untended Flower! —
Heaven sayeth, “Ye are mine!”
With all thy maiden pride arid tender truth.
All the fair treasure of thy Saxon charms;
In the sweet summer-dawn of happy youth.
We give thee smiling to thy lover’s arms.
Losing the Daughter, we salute the Bride,
And the new kiudred to our hearts allied
By happy links of silver unity
And bridal joy! — And ye, sweet, peerless Flowers,
Fresh rosebuds, that, in maiden purity.
Still bud and blossom in our regal bowers.
Heaven grant to each as fair a destiny,
Binding the nations by Love’s golden chain
To Freedom’s Island, throned in the main.
THE LINDEN TREE.
The wind, with a sway and a rustle,
Toss’d the leaves of the Linden Tree,
And, deep in the silvery shadow,
A treasure was shown to me.
A little brown nest, soft laden.
Wee pearlies, one, two, three;
But oh! the eyes of the watcher
That perch’d on the Linden Tree.
Little heart! in the flowery summer.
Thy nestlings shall sing to me;
Fold thy wings in the leafy shadow.
Love hallows the Linden Tree.
From out the lonely chamber where I lie
In the sad durance of a fettering pain,
I gaze upon a wide expanse of sky,
(Pierced by a frett’d spire) an airy plain.
Where Fay Morgana holds her magic reign
O’er azure ether as on shadowy main,
And paints to Fancy’s eye a changing scene.
With airy colours and celestial sheen.
Thro’ opening clouds the fairy mirage shows
A silent dell, where, hush’d in charm’d repose,
Rise silver mountains, shining lucid bright.
And vein’d with carbuncle and chrysolite;
High up the steep a topaz citadel
Wears crimson oriflammes and banners white.
Whilst glancing glories light each pinnacle.
Then sudden shatter all its crystal domes, —
A passing cloud sweeps o’er their glittering state
And all the pomp dissolves. Then Iris-gray
A deep Tarn glances in a mountain way.
Dim forests shed around enchanted glooms.
And quivering splendours pierce and undulate
Thro’ rifted caverns, purple dusk, when lo!
Out of the Shadowland an Elfin Knight
Rides forth, in panoply all sapphire bright.
Cuirass and morion — plume and scarf of white.
And couched lance, gleaming with violet light,
A radiant shape, swift lost in fleeting air
And changing rack — anon, all soft and fair,
A snowy swan with wings of rosy flame
And amber crest, sails forth in stately pride;
Ripples of golden light her course divide.
Afar, with fluttering streamers all a-glow,
A pearly shallop takes its silent way
Where, girdling a fair enchanted bay,
A sea of opal heaves with sparkles bright.
And airy headlands wear Aurora light;
Then all the floating pageant fades away
Into the cool blue of a vernal day.
A CHILD’S FAITH.
” Mother, this is not our home; our home is in Heaven!”
Such were thy words, my fair and gentle boy;
And, as my listening ear the accents heard.
Within my heart there gushed a sudden joy.
As if an Angel’s wing, indeed, had stirr’d
Its troubled waters: grief and worldly care
Had darken’d the bright fountain of my trust,
And my worn spirit, chafed with ills that are,
Look’d not beyond this dwelling of the dust,
When, like a sun-ray, came my child’s sweet words,
And the cloud past away — before me shone,
As in a mirror, all the blessings pour’d
Around my path for years, ere I had known
A blight upon the harvest. Once again
(Like incense thro’ the sanctuary) there stole
Within my chasten’d heart the breath of prayer,
And the blest promise shone upon my soul!
Oh, happy infmt! with such little ones
Dwelleth the Lamb! A dream of Angels’ songs.
And a bright dwelling in the fair blue skies
And silvery clouds above thee — happy throngs
Of white wing’d Seraphim: such is the home
Thy spirit yearns for now. Oh, may’st thou feel
The same bright aspirations, hopes as warm.
And trusting faith as fond, when Time shall steal
The sunuy lustre from thy radiant curls,
Aud grief shall dim thine alabaster brow!
Oh, that a Mother’s love could keep thee pure
And stainless as thine innocence is now!
But such is not man’s doom — thine heritage
On earth is toil and sorrow. Oh, mine own!
When thou goest forth into the world alone.
To tread the thorn-path of thy pilgrimage.
Keep but the trusting faith so early given,
And thou shalt find, indeed, thy home in Heaven!
THE FIELD FLOWER.
Bright Flower, that lightly holdeth up
Thy cup of honey dew.
Where wandering veins of lucid white
Gleam thro’ transparent blue.
Thou art as common as the light,
By hedgerow, field, and lane.
Thy clear blue stars are shining forth
Amid the vernal rain.
Thy azure tints and lilac buds,
Thy clasping tendrils green,
And meadow-scent of freshness, fill
My heart with joy serene.
Perchance thou art a vagrant weed.
Yet not the less to me
Thy tapestry of tangled leaves
Seems wondrous fair to see.
I bless thee, blythe and beautiful!
And thank the Power that shed
Thy glory and thy fragrance where
The humblest footsteps tread!
“Suffer little children to come unto Me!’
Yes, suffer them, the dust upon thy purple.
Oh! Island Queen of the far surging sea.
Imperial Allion! by the wayside trampled;
Tho’ vile and noisome weeds they seem to be.
There is in each a germ of mighty power —
A SOUL to answer at the judgment hour.
Sin-soil’d and travel stain’d, forlorn and weary.
Poor highway outcasts of the world’s disdain —
The leprosy of nations — they inherit
Scorn and neglect, and want and woe and pain;
Yet sun-crowned Seraphim, on pinions fleet,
Would gladly bear the least to Jesu’s feet.
Many receive the bread of Life eternal
Cast freely on the waters, but for these,
Their very rags have doom’d their souls to perish;
And shall we, may we, dare we sit at ease
While round us rises, ready for the share.
This fungus- growth, whose harvest is Despair?
Assist them gentle mothers! ye have power.
Heirs to the gibbet and the jail, they pine.
These worse than orphan little ones, their portion
For good or evil waiteth but the sign;
From their young brows the brand of Cain remove,
And gather all into the Fold of Love.
A PICTURE ON MY WALL.
Rude is the Cottage, but the inmate fair;
Quaint is her Flemish garb — her silken hair
Folded beneath a pearling coif — embrown’d
The sunny peach-bloom of her cheek; unbound
Her crimson boddice, modestly above
Her kerchief’s folds the fount of matron love
Showeth, like newblown lilies, — nestled there,
A ruddy infant rests its ringlets fair.
Oh, humble loving mother! purely lies
Devotion in thy blue and quiet eyes;
Hush’d is the clasping babe — before thee stand
Two simple children with uplifted hand
And reverent gaze. A blessing on the fare.
Brown bread and humble roots; they wait the prayer
” Thanks for the Giver’s gifts,” — oh blest are they.
Who with such reverent Faith receive and pray!
TO MY FIRE.
And so, my blythesome, cordial friend,
Companion kind, we part;
Grey ashes smoulder on the bars
And dullness clouds thy heart.
The Sun has shot a golden dart
Straight to thy very core.
So fare thee well, ’tis time to part,
The winter’s storms are o’er.
I ope the lattice and a breath
Of May-time fans my brow.
And see, above yon garden wall,
Young leaves are on the bough;
With sudden green, the old churchyard
Each quiet grave surrounds,
The hand of Spring “Resurgam” writes
Within its silent bounds.
Once more, farewell, my waning fire,
I quit thy company.
Yet many a sweet and solemn hour
Iv’e shared, old Friend, with thee:
Alone by thee, with silent tears.
My heart unloosed its chain.
And dar’d to show its secret thought —
Its hidden, sacred pain, —
Oh household Love for ever quench’d!
Oh grief for ever vain!
THE SNOW-DROP IN THE POOR MAN’S WINDOW.
It was a darksome alley,
Where light but seldom shone,
Save when at noon a sun-ray touch’d
The little sill of stone.
Beneath the poor man’s window,
Whose weary life was bound
To waste, at one dull, ceaseless task.
The passing seasons’ round.
Spring’s dewy breath of perfume.
And Summer’s wealth of flowers.
Or the changing hues of Autumn’s leaves
Ne’er blest his lonely hours.
He knew too well when Winter
Came howling forth again;
He knew it by his fireless grate.
The snow, and plashing rain.
He shrank from the frost wind’s biting.
Yet still his task he plied;
Want chain’d him ever to the loom
By the little window’s side.
But when the days grew longer,
He stole one happy hour.
To rear, within a broken vase,
A pale and slender flower.
How tenderly he moved it
To catch the passing ray,
And smiled to see its folded leaves
Grow greener every day.
His faded eyes grew brighter,
To see the Snow-drop bloom;
To him it seem’d a star of light.
Within that darksome room.
And as he gently moved it.
To catch the light again,
Oh! who can tell what memories
Were busy in his brain!
Perchance his home of childhood
In a sylvan valley lay.
And he heard the voice of the running streams.
And the green leaves’ rustling play.
Perchance a long departed
But cherished dream of yore,
Rose up through the mist of want and toil
To bless his heart once more,—
A voice of music whisper’d
Sweet words into his ear,
And he lived again that moonlight hour,
Gone by for many a year.
Or but the love of nature
Within his bosom stirr’d, —
The same sweet call that is answer’d by
The blossom and the bird!
And he smiled with the smile of childhood.
As he plied his task alone.
And watch’d the bending Snow-drop
Upon the window stone!
AN ECHO FROM THE SEA.
Oh, green and gladsome valleys.
Where I never more shall be,
I sit and think upon ye.
Far o’er the moonlight sea.
The home I have forsaken
For a wild and foreign shore.
Now seems to rise before me,
With all I loved of yore:
The fresh green fields, with all their lambs
Reposing in the sun;
The cool and sparkling rivulets,
That in music ever run;
The low but happy cottage.
With the swallows in the eaves;
The old trees waving round it
In their summer pride of leaves;
The sweet, glad voice of children,
A faint and fairy sound.
Half heard amid the echoing hills
And hazel copses round —
The song of bees and wild birds;
All sights and sounds arise.
Till my heart swells with it’s sorrow,
And the tears are in mine eyes:
My long-departed kindred.
How calm the yew-tree waves,
In the sighing wind of twilight.
Above your quiet graves!
Ye lived, ye ancient patriarchs.
Within your native glen,
From the laughing hours of childhood
To threescore years and ten;
But we go forth as branded
By the restless curse of Gold,
And our fathers’ ancient homesteads
Shall never more behold!
There’s one — my first-born darling —
Already shares their rest.
With the green turf laid above it.
Like a bird within its nest:
Oh! I reared thee on my heart, love,
With a mother’s blissful pride.
Till thy sunny beauty darken’d —
Thy voice of gladness died:
Thy young blue eyes grew heavy
With the shadows of the grave.
And thy sinless life was yielded!
To the MIGHTY ONE that gave!
This heart was not quite desolate.
My lost and lovely one,
While I had thy grave to gaze on —
Thy name to weep upon;
But now our very ashes —
Oh, sorrow deep and wild —
Even death will not unite them.
My first and fairest child!
In some wild and pathless desert.
Or beneath the ocean brine.
Thy Mother’s dust may perish,
But can never rest with thine!
Yet there is a meeting-place of LOVE,
Beyond the golden shore.
Where my boy, a smiling Angel,
May be mine for evermore!
THE NEW YEAR’S KISS.
Sits a maiden by the firelight — silent — shyly looking down,
Hands clasp’d, and blushes hidden by locks of golden brown;
Rings around the merry laughter — leap the dancers out and in,
The old brown cottage rafters resound with mirthful din.
She only sits and listens for the tirling at the door,
Fearing that her grey-hair’d wooer will he first foot on the floor!
Alas! alas! that maidens’ hearts should thus be tint and sold!
Oh that her bonnie shepherd lad had grey old Donald’s gold!
Comes a tapping at the casement — a rapping at the door;
Often thus her grey-hair’d wooer has boldly knocked before.
Quick as light, from out the casement, her hand withdraws the pin;
Light as love, her bonnie shepherd lad has gaily leap’d within.
Let him ope the door who listeth, his arms around her twine —
” I’m first foot on the floor, love — thy new year’s kiss is mine !”
BY EXPRESS TRAIN.
GLEAMING sand and sleeping sea,
(Scarce the night’s dim veil withdrawn)
With a white sail rising slow
Thro’ the crimson of the dawn;
On, our course outstrips the wind.
We have left the morn behind!
Rushing thro’ the mountain’s heart.
Dark as Egypt’s Apis-tomb;
Wilder shrieks the demon steed
As the red flash lights the gloom.
And strange shadows come and go
Through the dim abyss below.
Forth we rush on wings of flame
Out into the morning grey,
Chasing the last star, — the scene
Like a phantasm fleets away.
Browzing strays the scanty flock
By the lone hut on the moor.
And a solitary child,
Sitteth by the open door;
Rushes scatter’d at her feet,
Some rude, simple task supply;
Scarce she lifts her bashful eyes
As the wild race hurries by;
On, and swift in distance fade,
Moorland, hut, and shepherd maid!
Ruin’d Abbey, stern and grey.
Lonely churchyard in the wold.
Long abandoned to decay,
Mould’ring arch, and gravestone old;
Sunny hamlet in the vale,
Just seen as we glance below;
Azure smoke-wreaths, gardens gay,
Thatched roofs and walls of snow;
Desert grave, and cottage home.
Fade amid the steam-steed’s foam.
Noontide radiance o’er the vale.
Sleeping like a golden isle,
Shower’d with splendor, mirror’d soft
In the river’s crystal smile;
Uplands rife with golden grain,
Banks where scarlet poppies glow.
And the blue-eyed corn-flowers wave
‘Neath the bindweed’s bells of snow;
On, — the landscape grave or gay,
Checks us not, — away, away!
Nearer, nearer sweeps the race,
To the city’s mingled scene;
Velvet lawns and Doric halls
Gaily peep thro’ shrubberies green;
Smouldering kilns and turfless fields,
Scatter’d sheds ‘mid pools of clay,
Squalid lanes that seem to shrink,
Leper-like, before the day;
High above the city’s roofs
Spans the archway’s triumph pride,
But our rapid thunder flight
Scarce disturbs the human tide.
On, by street and busy mart;
On, by bank and bridge and stream!
Palace dome and stately shrine —
Pass and vanish like a dream:
Smoke wreaths gather dim and dun.
Halt! the wizard race is run!
Oh, hero of our hope! such deaths as thine
Are trials of our faith: at home we pour’d
A nation’s homage to thy conquering sword
(Worn with the old Norse valour of thy line);
A nation’s heart beat proudly at thy name, —
The Man, the Christian, and the Conqueror’s fame, —
Whilst faint, alas, thy honor’d head was low,
The death-grasp of the dim, insiduous foe, –
The silent pestilence, unnerved thy hand.
Quenched the high will, and smote the victor-brand._
The I’oean reach’d not thy unconsious ear;
Even as we paused to grace the chaplet well
With added honours, lo! the column fell,
And death made useless gifts and glories here!
But the Beyond?
Oh, Faith lift up thine eyes,
The hero-soul was ready for the skies.
And chang’d vain honours and an empty name
For Life Eternal and Immortal Fame!
IN MEMORY OF THE BRAVE.
A Column and a Laurel wreath,
A high and honor’d name,
With more of noble pride than grief.
In the true words of Fame;
That on its granite pedestal.
With reverent hands ye grave, —
Be this your Hero’s monument.
In Memory of the Brave!
No sculptur’d gauds of tinsel Art,
Should mar the hallow’d stone.
Be homage to your son’s renown,
In simple grandeur shown.
And, long as ocean’s restless waves
Our rocky headlands lave,
Shall Love and Glory consecrate
The Memory of the Brave!
THE GRAVE OF ADRIAN HOPE.
“At a short distance from the Camp the grave was dug— under a Tope, or cluster of Mango trees, — it was an affecting ceremony.” — Letter from India.
Amidst the bead-roll of bright names
Brave Adrian Hope’s shall stand,
A jewel in the Hero-crown
Worn by our fatherland!
And holiest tears of proud regret,
Across the Orient seas,
Shall fall upon that Indian grave
Beneath the Mango-trees!
His high devoir of knightly faith
Shone on his latest hour;
To guard, to guide his chosen band,
He dared the iron-shower —
And fell, as heroes fall! Our swords
Grow sharp at deaths like these;
An Altar seems that hallow’d grave
Beneath the Mango-trees,
Where English hearts that pray and weep.
Grow sanctified and strong, —
Not vain your death, young warrior-chief.
Avenger of the wrong:
The sacred work you leave behind
New heroes rise and seize,
Soul-strengthen’d by that hallow’d grave
Beneath the Mango-trees!
A MAY MORNING.
(In Memory of my long proved friend, the late Mr. Peter Curphy, Proprietor of the Manx Sun Newspaper.)
The young leaves rustle about the way.
And the winds that kiss them in airy play
Are sweet with the breath of the wilding May.
The gardens gladden with painted bloom.
The violets purple the woodland’s gloom,
And blithely blossoms the golden broom.
In the clear blue distance the grey hills rise
And, circled soft by the vernal skies.
Far out the luminous ocean lies;
Whilst with silvery sparkles and glancing spray.
Swept by the South-wind on its way.
The glad waves dance in the sunny bay;
And, gleaming thro’ the enchanted sheen,
A white sail rises and floats between
The azure arch and the crystal green.
Fair, as when Eden first saw thee reign.
On the breezy heath — by the sparkling main,
Beautiful Spring-time! we meet again!
But he who loved thee, and saw thee near.
Thro’ the changing moods of the early year,
Has but thy violets to strew his bier!
For him, the glory of Earth is o’er,
But we know that he treadeth a fairer shore.
With Love and Beauty for evermore!
THE ISLAND HARP.
Wild Harp of Mona’s Isle! long, long ago,
I found thee silent on the sea-beat shore;
No hand save mine had touched thy strings forlorn
Since the Rune-Maidens sang thy wizard lore.
Then in the daring of my youth, I woke
Thy magic chords and heard the Sea-maid’s song
And the wild wailing of the Elfin horn.
Distant and faint, thy haunted hills among!
I sang thy valleys and thy beauteous shore;
The far-off nations listen’d to the strain.
And strangers sought thee, loving evermore
The fairy Island throned in the main;
And my heart kindled as they praised thy tone.
Wild Harp of Mona! for thou wert my own!
But now the Minstrels of the newer Age
Have swept thee with a bolder, firmer hand,
With loftier lyrics, — and the pictur’d page
Glows with fair Mona’s glens and mountains grand,
So, with a farewell sigh, I lay thee down
With the sear laurels of my Island crown:
The faint wild music caught from fairy-land,
Dies into silence! I but led the way
For those who crown thee with a nobler lay,
But never homage deep and true as mine;
I had but Love to give — and it was thine!
“The first poetical tributes of admiration for the beautiful and romantic scenery of the Isle of Man ever published.”
Regardless of the strict truth of Eliza Craven Green’s claim in the Preface to Sea Weeds and Heath Flowers, her poems here include some extremely important Manx poems, not least amongst them, ‘Ellan Vannin.’
The book is divided into two parts: ‘Insular Poems’, which “enshrine all the golden memories of [her] youth” on the Isle of Man; and ‘Miscellaneous Poems’, which are a varied collection of poems not generally concerned with the Island.
The ‘Insular Poems’ were written from her time on the Isle of Man as an actress at a Douglas theatre between 1824 and 1825. It was in 1825 that she first published ‘A Dream of Glenmay’, which is significant for having the first appearance of Manx fairies in any poem written in English. This interest in Manx folklore was remarkable at a time before any concentrated publications on the subject and it shows itself in her other poems, notably in ‘The Lament of the Fairies’, where the Phynnodderree makes his first ever poetic appearance, and ‘A Legend of Mona’, her most substantial poem.
In addition to the Manx folklore, these poems are remarkable for the picture of the island they gave from that time, when the runes of the Manx crosses was still undeciphered and when Douglas bay could be described like this:
“Oh lovely are ye, ye encircling waters / Girdling with brightness the romantic shore, / With faery sails in the far sunlight gleaming, / And silvery shower-drops from the glancing oar.”
However, overcasting all else in the collection is the enormously popular poem, ‘Ellan Vannin’. Although this is its first appearance in book form, the poem had been published in newspapers earlier. It had already been set to music and was fast becoming known as the Manx national anthem, a label only removed when the now official National Anthem was introduced in 1907. It is a fitting poem for Eliza Craven Green to be remembered by, as it shows her abiding love and longing forthe Island.
And I give, with tears and blessings,
My fondest thoughts to thee,
My own dear Ellan Vannin
And thy green hills by the sea.
Eliza Craven Green is best remembered today for having written the lyrics for ‘Ellan Vannin’, but she was well known in her youth as a highly renowned actress on the Douglas stage during the 1820s – a period that she recalled in her poetry for the rest of her life.