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-- General Editors
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D. MARPLES, PRINTER, LIVERPOOL.
C. J. ROBERTSON, ESQ.
WORTON HOUSE, ISLEWORTH, MIDDLESEX,
THIS LITTLE VOLUME
IS MOST AFFECTIONATELY
WHERE shall we worship Thee,
Great God of Majesty,
Unto what region shall we turn our feet?
From what most lovely spot,
Temple, or grove, or grot,
Shall our prayer rise to Thee an offering meet?
Sitting beside the rills,
That from the ancient hills
Gush with a sound like a glad spirit's song;
Or in the valleys, where
The lakelets gathered are,
Or the calm river gently glides along?
Kneeling beneath the trees,
That, in the midnight breeze,
Arched darkly, wave betwixt us and the sky;
Or resting in the glade,
The quiet twilight shade,
Where the young spring leaves quiver green on high?
Or 'neath the vaulted roof,
That, strong and tempest-proof,
Riseth with many a sculptured legend graved;
Or in the chapel old,
Where altars blaze with gold,
And banners through long years have proudly waved?
Or by our kindred's tombs,
In twilight's gathering glooms,
Or by the waters of the pathless sea,--
The broad, the bounding deep,
Where restless whirlwinds sweep,--
Or where, Almighty! shall we worship Thee?
Father! Thou hearest prayer,
In these, and every where,
When riseth up from contrite hearts the tone;
In crowds and solitude,
Who hath for mercy sued,
Hath made thy undefined peace his own.
Not in the hermit's cave,
Or by the rushing wave,
In the unsorrowing bosom's depths Thou art;
Where'er pure prayer ascends,
Thy power that prayer attends,
Thy living temple is the human heart.
Vainly we bow the knee,
Unless the soul to Thee
Does with the fire of holy fervour thrill;
Vainly our hands we lift,
Unless we have the gift
To commune with our spirits, and be still.
The word went forth from the Father's throne,
And a flood of light from His blessed Son
Upon the suppliant streamed;
And the angel hosts with one accord,
Sent forth a shout and song,
For another soul by their mighty Lord
Was promised to their throng.
The words rose up as the thunder's roll,
And on the humbled, trembling soul,
The echoes fell from heaven:
And the angels touched the silver strings
Of their harps, and caught the word,
Veiled their glad faces with their wings,
And bowed before the Lord.
Great was the sound of joy above,
And brighter seemed the founts of love,
Sweeter the angels' voice;
And all because one weary heart
Had courage to be blest,
Had taken up the better part,
And bathed its wings in rest!
WHEREFORE droops thy trembling soul?
Wherefore saddened is thy brow?
Clouds around thy pathway roll,
But thy God is present now.
Raise thine eyes, the cross is there;
Stedfast still, though tempests frown,
Lift thy head, and make thy prayer,
Claim the Saviour for thine own;
Make through Him thy deep appeal,
Looking unto Jesus, kneel.
He, the Author of the faith,
Which thy spirit shall renew;
In his sacred hour of death,
Finished thy salvation too;
Learn thy Saviour's power to see,
He the Light, the Truth, the Way,
Interceded even for thee,
Ere thy heart had learnt to pray;
Lift thy heart, and lift thy hand,
Looking unto Jesus, stand.
When the water-floods of grief,
Round thy helpless head shall rise,
When there seemeth no relief,
Look towards th' eternal skies;
There behold how radiantly
Beams the Star of Faith divine;
Yesterday it shone for thee,
And to-day it still will shine;
Ask no aid the world can give,
Looking unto Jesus, live.
When thou feel'st, by many a token,
That the flesh shall soon decay,
And the "golden bowl' be broken,
And the "silver cord' give way;
Then beyond the darksome veil,
Trust that He thine eyes shall bless;
As the light of life shall fail,
Keep the Sun of Righteousness!
Ever brightening in thine eye,
And looking unto Jesus, die!
THOU art my strength, Thou great and holy God!
Almighty and all-merciful! Thy hand
Hath guided me when tremblingly I trod,
And 'midst the water-floods with Thee I stand.
Thou dost uphold me in mine hour of sorrow,
And wing'st my feet when I temptation flee,
From Thee my shield of hope and faith I borrow,
Thy powerful arm my fettered soul doth free;
God! Thou dost strengthen me.
Thou art my song, my everlasting song!
Even when silent doth my full heart pour
The gratitude that doth to Thee belong,
Yet still its founts are freshened evermore.
If on these lips is laid thy sacred fire,
Back to Thy shrine I would the tribute bring,
My soul to Thee, Most Holy! would aspire,
And all its being at thy footstool fling;
Teach me Thy praise to sing.
And Thou art my salvation! who but Thee
Could bear me in my fiery trials on,
'Midst fetters, bid me walk at liberty,
And be my hope, when earthly hope was gone?
Who else could lift the veil 'twixt earth and heaven,
And shew me, by the eye of Faith divine,
The blessedness prepared for those forgiven,
Whose spirits shall be perfect e'en like Thine?
Saviour, oh be thou mine!
WAS there a love on earth like His,
Who left His throne on high,
And changed His own celestial bliss
For human agony?
And He, who in humility
Bowed even to the tomb,
Hath in His mercy said, "To me
"Let little children come!"
Oh, blessed babes! who fearlessly
Might lift your eyes to Him,
And that benignant glory see,
That grosser orbs might dim;
Whose hearts, as opening flowers, might feel
The power of righteousness,
Like holy dew, upon them steal,
Imbuing each recess.
Oh, blessed babes! who, unreproved,
Might sit before His feet,--
Might freely love, because He loved, --
Might live in converse sweet!
Wherefore were ye the chosen band,
Called to His presence here,
Whilst others pale and trembling stand,
Wavering 'twixt hope and fear?
Because your hands were free from sin,
Your hearts from earthly pride;
Because no passion's power within,
Your spirit's depths had tried;
Because your trust was perfect trust,
Your love unstained by clay;
And from your souls earth's sinful dust
His mercy washed away.
Oh, Saviour! are we
, then, unbought,
Excluded from thy light?
May not our elder hearts be taught
To feel Thy truth aright?
Soften our pride, thy vengeance wreak
On sins that have defiled,
And make us humble, pure, and meek,
Even as a little child!
QUENCH not the holy fire
That, from the altar of the heart, would rise
In full and pure desire
Unto its kindred glories in the skies;
Oh! sooner strive, with some cold mist of earth,
To quench the lightning's flame, that hath in heaven its birth.
Stay not the spirit's flight,
In its proud soarings to a higher sphere,
Where it may rest in light,
Whose faint reflection only bathed it here;
Oh! sooner wish to bind the eagle's wing,
That towards the orb of day would on strong pinion spring.
Strive not to stem the stream
Of blessed feeling flowing in the soul,
That, lit with many a beam,
Sent from the Sun of Righteousness, doth roll:
Oh sooner strive to turn some stainless spring,
And bid it thro' the wilderness go wandering.
But cheer the spirit on
With hopes with courage, with undying faith;
Tell it how saints have gone,
With song and triumph, through the vale of death;
And let it never, never rest, until
It sitteth on the top of Zion's holy hill!
YEA blessed are they--blessed shall they be!
They ask not for renown, no praise they seek,
They have hearts beating purely, placidly,
Low voices, sweet and meek;
Quiet, entreating eyes, that seem to say,
Without a word, "Put enmity away."
Blessed are they! they mingle in the throng
Of jarring hearts, and yet are full of peace;
Springing like flowers the wilds of life among,
Breathing forth love for these;
Taking no part, yet bending the proud will,
Smoothing life's ocean, till its waves are still.
Blessed are they! they stand 'twixt enemies,
Drawn by the "cords of love" to either heart;
As stands the quiet hour of twilight skies,
Which day and night doth part;
And, linked to each, strives, with a placid smile
Yet shaded brow, the twain to reconcile.
They shall be called God's children. Brethren, then,
Though younger brethren, to the Holy One,
Who meekly stands 'twixt God and sinful men,
Till pardon shall be won.
Oh blessed they, who strive to shadow forth,
Though faintly, His perfections upon earth.
FAIR maiden! who art thou?
Who, with uplifted brow,
And folded hands, and robes of spotless white,
And eyes of heaven's own hue,
Serenely, purely blue,
Stand'st clearly imaged to my mental sight?
What! faded thus away!
Could'st thou, bright form! decay?
Vision, thou'rt changed; but in thy resting place,
Upon my very heart,
Still fixed and bound thou art,
Written by God's finger, there thy name I trace.
Faith! comforter and friend!
Who dost my steps attend,
Holding up Hope, when droop her quivering wings;
Speaking in cheering tone,
And pointing fondly on,
Unto the realm of glorious unseen things.
Sweet witness! thou art sent
Where weary hearts have bent,
And wavered in their trust, to tell of bliss,
Of holiness, and joy,
That time can ne'er destroy,
Of love, that true, and pure, and perfect is.
The image of a star,
Brightening the waves afar;
The scent that breathes from hidden violets forth;
To such we liken thee,
Thou glorious mystery!
Who cheer'st so many hearts that dwell on earth.
A bird from some far scene,
Where we have never been,
Singing a strange, and sweet, and soothing song;
That seems as if the rills,
And low winds of the hills,
Were in its soft, rich numbers borne along.
So into hearts below,
Thy melodies may flow,
Soothing them into dreams of thine own shore;
Where, homewards following thee,
Thy birth-place they shall see,
Nor wish to linger in this cold world more.
Holy thoughts! the spirit guard,
With a faithful watch and ward;
Float for ever round its orb,
Sin, and fear, in light absorb;
Sit its stainless walls about,
Fence within, and fence without.
Be like angels from above,
Shielding it with faith and love;
Smiling on it fondly down,
Turning on its foes a frown,--
A frown of virtue, pure and high,
Suiting an angel's dignity!
Shield it from the shafts of earth,
That, hid in flowers and smiles, go forth;
Shield it from the darts of hell,
Subtle, and invisible;
From dismay, and sin, and doubt,
Shield it, fence it well about.
Guard it, too, from every sin
That would creep and dwell within;
From the whispering tones that fly
Round the throne of vanity;
From the promptings, that would feel
Envyings of another's weal!
And more than guard the spirit fair,--
Be to it, as its native air;
Bring it daily wholesome food,
Gathered in the realms of good;
Lead it to the quiet springs,
Of high and pure imaginings.
Holy thoughts! for ever stand
Armed and true on either hand;
Keep, oh! keep a watch and ward,
Keep a true and faithful guard;
Fence the spirit well about,
Fence within, and fence without.
"BLESSED be God! who has not sealed
His gospel from our sight,
Who His commandments hath revealed
By their own heavenly light;
Thanks be to God! in our bright lands
We are not as the heathen bands--
"The heathen bands, who darkly kneel
To gods of wood and stone:"
Stay!--Dost thou in thy spirit feel
These idols are alone?
Alas! on this enlightened shore,
A thousand idols we adore.
Do we not hang on hopes that die
Like unsubstantial dew?
Do we not trust to thoughts that fly
Like clouds o'er heaven's rich blue?
Do we not treasure every gem
Of love, and trust, and worship them?
Have we not throned some splendid dream
On earth's upgathered gold;
And set our hearts on some dear scheme,
That years must yet unfold?
Have they not in our spirits wrought,
Until they were our highest thought?
Maiden! hast thou no idol framed,
And decked from passion's flame?
Mother! hast thou no worship, named
But by affection's name?
Patriot! what pathway hast thou trod,
Mistaking country for thy God?
Christian! I see thy quiet brow,
For thee I have no fear;
I read upon thy bosom now,
"One worship dwelleth here,--
The love of one Eternal Three--
The love of one who died for me."
Thou hadst thine earthly idols once;
But thou hast climbed a hill,
And, looking up to heaven's expanse,
Where all is calm and still,
Thou seest its placid boundlessness,
That never waxes or grows less;
And, looking down upon the earth,
Though fair and widely spread,
Thou seest how little it is worth,
The prospect overhead;
How small, how vague, how undefined,
The idols thou hast left behind!
Thy love is purity, thy soul
A deep and quiet well,
Where all affections, in control
Of faith and meekness, dwell;
Thou feel'st, on earth thy heart may love ,
But all its worship soars above.
THE stars upon the darksome sky
Are far and widely scattered,
As if some splendid sun on high
Had been to fragments shattered;
But yet we know each spark afar
Is a complete and perfect star.
God's holy church, divided sun!
Far o'er the earth is spreading;
And as the stars in darkness run,
'Midst gloom and danger treading,
And far apart, her little bands
Are scattered over many lands.
Pray for us, brethren! we from men
Of kindred minds are parted;
We wander on in care and pain,
Oppressed, and weary-hearted;
But yet, rejoicing in the love
And joy that floweth from above.
Pray for us, brethren! we have need
Of many prayers to aid us:
Amidst the thorns of life we bleed,
Yet shall God's power o'ershade us:
Floating amidst this world's cold air,
Our banner spreads, emblazoned-- "Prayer!"
Pray for us, when in prayer ye meet,
And number earthly treasures,--
The gentle friends, the infants sweet,
Who make your life's best pleasures;
We are your friends, most truly vowed,
And weak, as children in the crowd.
Pray for us, brethren! never more
Our eyes may here behold you,
But on another, brighter shore
Our spirits will enfold you;
Yet 't is a blessed thing to know,
Our prayers may mingle ev'n below.
How shall we stand before the Lord?
How shall we speak a single word?
Our hearts but sinful thoughts can pour,
Fuller of dross than unfined ore,
More fragile than the frailest gem,
Yet Thou, the Holy, provest them!
We cannot bear the trial! Thou
Our subtlest pleas wilt overthrow;
Try us by fire, and purge away
The darkness of our clinging clay;
Try us in cold affliction's wave,
And we the heavy flood will brave;
Only one proof we cannot bear,
For one ordeal cannot prepare,--
Thy searching eye, Thy holy look,
Rending our spirits as a book,
And watching how have ever wrought
Our hearts, with every secret thought.
Yet we must
bear it--there's a day,
When we this summons must obey;
How shall we fall before thine eyes,
How writhe in unknown agonies?
Father! Most Holy! every spot
Will then be seen--oh prove us not!
Hush! did not then an angel speak,
In accents merciful and meek?
"Even on this very earth, behold!
Your hearts are purified like gold;
Here by your Saviour they are proved,
That He may blameless hold His loved."
Oh blest Redeemer! truly try
Our hearts with glorious alchemy;
So in Thy likeness shall they lie
Open before that heavenly eye;
Washed, cleansed, and pure, set free from fear,
Because they sought Thy mercy here!
To sit amongst the emerald grass,
Beside the clear and placid brook;
To watch the little rivulets pass,
Eddying within some mossy nook;
To lie beneath the dim green shade
Made by the arching forest boughs;
To feel the quiet shadow laid
Calmly upon my childish brows,
And dreamily to watch the sky,
So blue, and beautiful, on high;
These were my pleasures, free and wild,
While I was yet a thoughtless child.
And then I felt, but did not know,
How holy was the spell that wrought
Upon my soul, subduing so
To calmness, every feverish thought ;
I did not know that God's own power
Was in the low and soothing wind;
That He who closed at eve each flower,
Shut up the passions in my mind:
I knew the world was beautiful,
I feft that Nature's peace could lull;
I sat upon the flowery sod,
And looked to Heaven, but knew not God.
Now childish dreams have passed away;
Thanks be to God, that I have learnt,
When the fair scenes shall all decay,
For which the young, warm spirit burnt,
Holier and brighter shall appear,
Of which the voiceless images,
Tracing out Heaven's pure glory here,
Upon a sorrowing world, are these.
I see those glories vague and dim,
As o'er the rainbow's vivid rim
Another arch seems shadowed forth,
Fainter, and farther from the earth!
And putting off my childish things,
Now that I am no more a child,
God keep my spirit's new fledged wings,
By all earth's darkness undefiled!
Teach me to love the flowers, and trees,
And brawling brook, and quiet well,
Even as my wont; but most that these
Are types of things invisible,--
Of Faith, of Hope, of streams of Life,
Of souls undimmed with stain or strife;
Yea, let me purely love them still,
But, in obedience to Thy will.
THE pure and blessed stream is open now,
The fountain is set free;
Here may'st thou stoop and lave thy fevered brow,--
Here bow the weary knee.
Lo! by this well thou may'st repair thy loss
Of strength, and safely drink;
For, hallowing its pure waters, stands the cross,
Upon its quiet brink.
And fairest fruitage, clustering on the bough
That overhangs the spring,
Shall be thy food, the branches bending low
The plenteous stores to bring
Unto thine hand. They call the waters Faith;
Oh in their virtues trust,
And thou shalt live by them--the promise saith,
That they are for the just.
And the fair fruits--they are the words of Love,
Proceeding straight from heaven;
The holy manna, dropping from above,
To feed the hungry given.
Follow the windings of that holy stream,
Although its course is traced
Through deserts scorched by Passion's lightning gleam,
Through Sorrow's desolate waste:
And thou shalt find it widen in its course,
And merge, all free from strife,
With gentle majesty, and quiet force,
Into the streams of life.
THE glow of sunset lingers yet
Upon the city's distant walls;
On turret tall and parapet,
A crimson colouring falls;
And seem with flashing gems beset
Her many-windowed halls,
And to the weary traveller's eyes,
A blessed haven doth she rise.
Upon the stilly air hath died,
The multitude's continuous hum;
And now are rolling, far and wide,
Sounds of the evening drum,
As ebbs the glow of eventide,
Proclaiming night is come;
At intervals the watchman's cry,
Sweeps on the winds of twilight by.
The watch is set, the gates are barred,
And fearlessly the people sleep;
They know a faithful, wakeful ward
Their sentinels will keep;
They are 'gainst earthly foes prepared,
Their slumbers will be deep;
Yet, feel they not how vain their care,
Unless the Lord be watching there?
Alas! how often is the heart
In human wisdom fortified;
How oft is worldly, subtle art
Taken to be its guide!
How oft to life its passions start,
But to be deified;
While it depends on reason's power,
For watch and ward in danger's hour.
Should we not trust, and hope, and pray,
That God will be our sentinel?
That he will keep each secret way,
And guard the entrance well,
Lest, trusting in an earthly stay,
It proves a broken spell?
Keep thou our hearts in peace, oh Lord!
Be Thou our strength, our watch, and ward!
HE sate by the way side, an aged man,
Turning his rayless eyeballs still around;
Unled by sight, and guided but by sound;
Cheerless and gloomy was his forehead wan,
Looking, beneath the locks of silver hair,
But sadder for the sunshine settling there.
'Tis noon, high noon--upon the olive wood
The quivering light intensely hot is lying;
Languid, and panting for the air, are sighing,
The flowers within the forest solitude;
The birds are mute, the cattle on the hill
Lie hushed and drowsy,-- the world seems still.
But there's a distant murmur, like the sound
Of myriad insects in the sultry air,
And nearer, louder now, it may compare
Unto a far off fountain's echoing bound;
And now it breaks into a thousand streams
Of shouts and voices, like confused dreams.
The old man listens--crowds are drawing near;
Amidst the din, the fall of many feet,
Though faint, and far, and mingled is their beat,
Strikes instantly the beggar's quickened ear:
And now along the path at once they pour,
Like the incoming sea waves on the shore.
"What mean the multitude?" in doubt and fear
The blind man asks, with low and tremulous breath;
They answer him, "Jesus of Nazareth,
The Mighty and the Merciful, is near."
The name he knows, and crieth eagerly,
"Have mercy, oh, have mercy upon me!"
"What would'st thou? "--"Lord, I would receive my sight!"
And straight the Saviour opened those dark eyes;
And woods, and rocks, and fields, and summer skies
Stood there before him in excess of light.
So spake the Lord to him who could believe,
"Thy faith hath saved thee, now thy sight receive."
Is not thy power the same in later times,
Thou Mighty One? Jesus! thou dost not alter;
Thy truth, thy words, thy mercy cannot falter;
And many now, in spirit blind, with crimes
And sorrow, darkening heavily their eyes,
Sit by the paths of life, with mournful cries,
Calling on mortals for relief, in vain.
Thou passest near, and when they cry to thee,
And pray to be illumined, the shadows flee
From their dim eyes, and, like a bursting chain,
The darkness leaves their souls, and joy and light
Stream down upon the newly wakened sight.
And promises, 'midst which the spirit moved,
And saw them not, (as, in his native bowers,
A blind man walks, and cannot see the flowers,)
At once are seen and known, believed and proved;
And the Redeemed from darkness and from death,
Feels he hath sight, and hope, and peace through faith.
LET thy good deeds be free from earthly stain
Of selfish feeling, as the summer rain;
Let them be pure and glorious as the sun;
And more in number than the stars, that shun
The light of day; and let them, even like those,
Gleam thro' the night, when grief leaves no repose
For the unquiet heart; and let them shine,
Apart from earth -- akin to things divine;
But most like stars in silence let them be,
To those around as bright a mystery;
Shrinking from open day, and common sight,
And only seen by their own native light.
THE ocean wave at morn is calm,
Above it glows the quiet sky,
And gentle winds, like living balm,
Upon its surface sigh;
And lo! the ship, in power and pride,
Doth o'er the circling waters slowly ride.
But shall no tempest ever come?
Shall it seem always calm as now?
Alas! full many a cloud of gloom
Must shadow heaven's bright brow;
And waves and foam shall rudely chafe
Around yon barque, that seems to sail so safe.
Deceitful calm! deceitful sea!
Oh! in all nature's varied range,
Is there a thing so false as thee?
So full of fickle change?
Oh very false thy waters are,--
One thing on earth is more deceitful far;
For should we not believe the word
Our God hath said--the sadly true!
Have not our own wild passions stirred
Its wayward mazes through?
Who hath not interest and part
In that strange, restless thing, the human heart?
Oh! most deceitful -- full of sin!
Calm, calm thy fiery throb and thrill;
Curb the strong torrents loosed within:
Oh! human heart, be still!
Alas! thou'rt like the roving wind,
That mortal power hath found no spell to bind.
Pray for the shower of heavenly dew,
To cool thy desert parched domain;
Pray that God's Spirit will renew
That holy gift again;
That there His words, fast taking root,
May bring forth plenteously celestial fruit.
Oh Saviour! though thy quiet breast
From human failings was apart,
Borest Thou not there, although at rest,
The burden of a heart?
Though pure and holy, day by day
Didst thou not feel the weight of human clay?
Our's, stained with grief, and fear, and crime,
Help us in mercy still to bear;
And in thine own most blessed time,
Relieve us of our care:
Teach the poor heart to sin no more,
E'en ere the "burden of the flesh" is o'er.
SHE stood beneath the temple's sacred roof,
Trembling, and bowed, and silent: o'er her cheek,
Passion, and fear, and shame alternate passed,
Changing its hues each moment. Her soft eyes
Were full of tears, and east upon the earth;
She dared not lift them to the stern, dark crowd,
Whose hands had dragged her there; she dared not look
Into the pure, benignant, holy face,
Whose mild eye shone on her with pitying light;
But with her hands clasped on her throbbing heart,
And her rich hair half veiling her slight form,
She stood subdued and still. She heard His voice
Speaking conviction to the consciences
Of her accusers--heard retreating feet--
And felt as if a burden left her heart,
And some great glory streamed into her soul:
Then did He speak those words of pardon--"Go,
And sin no more."
"Sin no more," the angels sang;
"Our gracious Lord hath touched thy heart,
Healed thy bosom's burning pang,
Made thee blessed as thou art:
Now the power of sin is o'er,
Go, forgiven--and sin no more!
"Sin no more! thy soul is free,
All thy guilt is washed away;
Sinner, he hath ransomed thee,
And the utmost price will pay:
Bow in spirit, and adore
Him who bids thee sin no more.
"Sin no more! yet freely weep,
Weep for holy gratitude;
Pray for His great power to keep
Passion in thy heart subdued:
Shun the snares that lured before,
Trembling, go, and sin no more.
"Sin no more! His blood hath bought thee,
Else hadst thou been ever lost;
Think on what His love hath wrought thee,
Think on what thy soul hath cost:
Tears, and prayers, and sorrow pour,
'Gainst His Spirit sin no more!
"Sin no more! this deed of His
Shall through Time be chronicled;
In the seats of heavenly bliss,
Its deathless records shall be held;
In all tongues, from shore to shore,
Shall echo, 'Go, and sin no more!'
"Penitents, with downcast eyes,
Courage from the tale shall take;
Many fearful souls shall rise,
Fearless for His mercy's sake;
And joy to them shall He restore,
Saying, 'Go and sin no more!'"
HE cometh not in earthly pomp and state;
No guards, no princely train,
Such as a mortal's honours would sustain,
Around His footsteps wait.
But in the manger, with the Undefiled,
His mother leaning near, He lies, a passive child.
A child in form, a very babe indeed,
The house of clinging clay
Veiling the God, whom angels to obey,
Fly with the lightning's speed.
Oh, Meek and Holy! what hath brought thee here,
From the pure radiance of thine own celestial sphere?
There was a gem of priceless light and worth,
Out of the stores of Heaven,
In mercy as a crowning jewel given
Unto the youthful earth;
But now, alas ! a most unholy spot
Upon the shattered diamond spreads a widening blot.
And Thou art come to seek in this drear waste
The treasure once thine own;
Alas, alas! its purest light is gone,
Its heavenly stamp effaced.
It is not fit those fragments, stained and dim,
Should meet again the gaze of myriad Seraphim!
Wilt Thou not seize those ruined gems-- the souls
Who scorned thy heavenly light,
And cast them down for ever from thy sight,
Where Sorrow's ocean rolls;
Punish at once the sin, and hide the shame,
That they have striven to bring upon thy honoured name?
No--blessed Saviour! Thou art merciful!
Thou bath'st them in the flood
Of thine own sacrifice, thy precious blood,
And they no more are dull;
But purified, and calm, and clearly bright,
They shine in Heaven again with soft and chastened light.
THE world was still, not sleeping--for an awe
Was over all the earth-- the eyes of men,
What their dim spirits could not gaze on, saw,
And they before the truth were speechless then;
The ships that were home speeding, stood like things
Dead in an instant, as the dropping wings
Of the affrighted winds ceased to upbear
Their wide spread sails-- there was a total death
Of all the powers of motion and of breath,
And nothing stirred in earth, or sea, or air;
While the loud voice rolled on from shore to shore,
The angel voice, that vowed that time should be no more.
And in an instant was the vow fulfilled,
And the unwearied wheels, on which the earth,
In her wide course, had rolled even from her birth,
Were, by the sound of that great angel, stilled;
And time was nothing more than a lone moat,
In the broad light, eternity, to float,
Forgotten, and unmarked; aye, as a sea
Whose rolling waves are checked and calm at once,
So was the boundlessness of the expanse
Of that great ocean of eternity,
When all the years that heaved upon its breast
Were gone, without a single trace, to rest.
And there was no more change; the highest heaven,
From which the sky had vanished as a scroll,
Shone out in glory, now the veil was riven,
Sending its light into the human soul,--
But not the light of mercy, or of grace;
This was the beam of truth, whereby was seen,
All that within the spirit's depth had been;
And whether dark, or stainless, was its trace,
There was no change!--the hour of change was gone,
Men by their actions stood or fell alone;
The hour of hope, of fear, of thought was o'er,
For God had vowed that time should be no more.
ALAS! and can the tale be true!
Could they to whom was given
All blessing, like the freshening dew,
All mercies straight from heaven;
Could these be false? could these be frail?
Could these rebellious fall?
Could their obedience ever fail
To Him who gave them all?
Oh wherefore, whilst they yet might stay,
Ere yet their doom was sealed,
Ere angels kept the guarded way,
Was not their misery healed?
Was there not life's immortal tree,
Was not its fruitage fair,
And might not they immortal be,
Only by tasting there?
Oh! who could doubt that ancient tale,
Whilst daily we behold
Men in their faith and fervour fail--
Hearts in their trust grow cold.
Too surely that first guilty pair
Sin's deep foundations built;
Too surely in our hearts we bear
The record of their guilt.
Alas! how many dare to sin
'Gainst God's high majesty,
Nor strive a healing balm to win,
From his life-giving tree.
How stand our passions in the way,
As hot and burning brands;
But oh ! not lit 'midst heaven's pure day,
Nor held by angel hands.
Oh Father! these our fiery swords,
Against ourselves are turned,
They stand 'twixt us and thy pure words,
Aye, near heaven's gate have burned:
From demon hands the weapons wrench,
That now in fear we see,
Their lightning flames subdue and quench,
And let us pass to Thee!
No light--no form--no order--yet a power
Is o'er the shapeless mass, impalpable,
Unseen, omnipotent. No day or hour
The endless roll of those dark waters tell.
Eternity, that hath no bound, and yet
Lies round all time--a wall supremely strong
Hath with the chaos met;
And as its silent torrents sweep along,
The spirit broods above the darksome deep,
That 'neath its veil the germs of worlds doth keep.
Yet from this void, that ever-resting Spirit
Shall bring at once an "universe-of things;"
And living forms, and souls that shall inherit
Immortal being from its deathless springs:
There shall be mighty hills, and flowery plains,
And waving forests, and rejoicing streams,
And birds with mirthful strains,
Flitting through sunny skies like passing dreams.
"Let there be light," that Spirit shall but say,
And wide shall burst the fountain gates of day.
Our minds are as the chaos -- thoughts, and feelings,
And passions mingle in one nameless flood;
Oh help us, then, Almighty! with revealings
From thine own realm of holiness and good.
O'er the dark waters of our spirits move,
And bring from this strange waste of care and sin
A world of peace and love,
Peopled with holy thoughts, to dwell within;
A world, where as a refuge we may flee,
Until we may possess "the better land" with Thee.
LONELY I wander forth--
Evening is coming down with floating wing
Noiselessly through the sky, and over earth
No wind is murmuring;
The giant shadows of the rocks no more
Fall darkly on the bed of shining sand,
That bounds the ocean hoar;
The sun hath set behind them, and unfanned
By a single breath, e'en on their very tops,
Bend the tall sea-weeds, looking down below
Upon the narrow ridge, where the goat crops
The short wild plants that in their fissures grow--
So high as they, no human foot can go;
And higher than they the birds have made their nests,
And the eagle sitteth on their craggy crests;
And higher than birds can soar we know is heaven
Oh! man should gaze, and feel his littleness!
Vainly to reach those summits he has striven,
And yet, compared to the birds, is powerless.
The quiet mists rise from the sleeping sea,
And wrap it in their curtain silently:
A mother could not gentlier veil her child,
Or hold her breath more stilly than the air;
Look up! the very clouds are resting there
Unstirred, between the faint stars--dewy, mild.
And there is but one sound--the low soft fret
Of the incoming tide,--the midmost sea
Is voiceless as the heavens,--not yet--not yet,
But soon shall all its lucid beauty be
Revealed,--for lo! afar the moon's bright face
Is raised above the eastern mountain's cover,
And the far sea hath one long line of light;
Oh! she is peering from her resting-place,
Like some fond princess on her whispering lover,
When her proud sovereign sire is out of sight!
Up, up in heaven! look, look! at last-- at last--
She is careering--not through ether clear
As in a summer's night; around her cast
Is a dim cloudy halo--it does appear
As if from the sea's mantling mist 't were formed,
But into life and perfect beauty warmed,
By her it circleth with its graceful curl;
Call it a royal chariot of pure pearl,
For is she not a queen? the queen of night!
Lo! the bold foreheads of the rocks rejoice,
And their lone weeds look silvery in her light;
And the king eagle greets her with his voice,
In one long shriek, as, turning in his nest,
His eye half opening catches her pure light:
'T is not the light he loves of all the best,
But it is grateful to him, 't is so bright:
His eye is shut again--his plumes are still,
Save where the beatings of his savage heart
Move them like the deep ocean down below;
Who knows but he may dream? and even now,
Visions of his day conquests up may start,
And through his spirit thrill,
But softened by the potency of sleep,
The moonlight, and the murmuring of the deep.
'Tis strange, I can remember some years past,
When I was yet a child, unknowing sorrow,
My heart, from such a scene as this, did borrow
Merely a sense of something vague, grand, vast;
I could not have described it for the world;
Like the mist o'er yon waters it so curled
Around my heart, it shut out all things, save
A feeling-- many feelings -- deep -- intense,
But as unlinked with any thing of sense
As the stars with the wave,
Whose bosom in its distant swell seems heaving
Close to the heavens, but when we are near it seems
Still the horizon stretching onwards--leaving
The spirit nought but dreams
Of an eternity of sea and sky.
Oh, feeling then was all my poesy!
I had no power to speak it, or my powers
Were lazy in luxuriance; in those hours
My heart slept 'midst its wealth of pure affection,
And bowed beneath its influence (like a tree
Bending with its own blossoms); cold reflection,
Like the wind, came not near, so rich, and free,
My love shed incense on the atmosphere
Of my sweet home,--alas! the blossoms died!
The breath of autumn winds is sighing near!
My heart hath brought itself to poverty,
By squandering upon worthless hearts its store
Of hope and passion--confidence and pride!
Alas, alas! it is a leafless tree!
It shall not bow beneath its blossoms more.
But its bare stem can catch each passing wind
Of passion, and re-echo it--its bough
Rustles and tells of feelings, undefined
In happy days, but named and measured now.
To sit alone at midnight hour,
To gaze upon the poet's page,
And with some still, mysterious power,
That o'er the throbbing heart may lower,
The war with reason's dart to wage;
To watch the quivering, glimmering lamp,
Or, on the uncurtained window pane,
To see the cold and misty rain
From darkness creep with glistening damp;
To listen even for a breath,
Yet on the quickened sense to feel
Only the stilliness of death,
So heavy, that the thunder peal
And lightning flash, rending at once
The veil of silence and of gloom,
That o'er the world in broad expanse
Hangs, like some giant raven's plume,
Would be relief;--oh! hours like these,
How often have I courted them,
They brought such calmness on my soul,--
The soul, that, even as the seas,
Held shrouded many a precious gem
Of thought, that in the waters' roll
Was hidden, but shone clearly through
When quiet did its strength renew.
Strange thoughts--deep thoughts--mysterious thoughts,
In hours like these have haunted me,
Sometimes as numerous as the motes
In sunshine, and as rapidly
Changing and circling, all confused;
And sometimes, stately visions came,
Built as it were of living flame;
And sometimes, calmly have I mused,
And thought of days and hours past by,
Of things that pleased me as a child;
And in my solitude have smiled,
At memories of my free and wild
Delights; and sometimes heaved a sigh
For wasted love, and hope's deceiving,
For all the dreams that came and went,
Like clouds across the firmament,
And still rebuked my fond believing.
And then, awhile forgetting self,
(That pivot upon which the mind
Still turns, and turns, and turns again,
Although our thoughts for other men
Wave round it still, as in the wind
Weeds quiver, though upon the shelf
Of some firm rock their roots are set;)
Forgetting self, I say, awhile,
Forgetting fear, and grief, and guile,
In council calm, my thoughts have met;
And in its orb, even as an eye
Dilating o'er some prospect wide,
My soul has spread, as o'er the tide
Of human hopes, and fears, and ways,
It fixed its clear and earnest gaze.
And then it seems as if my heart
And spirit, near the crowd of men,
Stood watching them, alone--apart--
And unallied to mortals then; --
And Time!--methinks it well may seem
Even as an everflowing river,
That men are breasting still, for ever,
And striving onwards 'gainst the stream
That bears all hopes and joys, --all save
Themselves, and even themselves at last,
When weak with struggling with the wave,--
Down to the ocean of the past.
And human hopes! oh! they resemble
The flowers upon the orchard trees,
That in the April breezes tremble
And fall, some leaving fruit behind,
In summer to be perfected,
But mostly scattered in the wind
Of disappointment, that doth seize
So many dreams by fancy bred.
And sometimes, in more cheerful moods,
Cheerful, yet grave, I think of all
The blessedness, that still doth fall
Upon earth's varied multitudes;
Of all the hearts where love is dwelling,
As in a temple,--of the springs
Of happiness around them welling--
And of the fervent faith, that clings
To woman's heart; of mothers, blessing
Their little children as they sleep;
Of fathers, who, again caressing
The prodigal, for gladness weep;
Of all the holy household spells,
Laid on our hearts in early days,--
Our mother's smile, our father's praise,
To be to us as pleasant wells
In memory's paths, on whose green brink
In safety we may sit and drink.
Thoughts of the glorious outer world,
Dreams of the mountain and the river,
And clouds on clouds, at sunset curled,
And of the moonlight's silver quiver
Upon the sea--and oftener still
Sweet fantasies of garden bowers,
With a low wind-like creeping thrill,
Whispering amongst the quiet flowers,
As though in unknown tongues they held
Converse, too pure and too refined
To fill the grosser earthly mind,
Which, in the chilly atmosphere
Of worldly thoughts grown hard and dull,
The subtle influences repelled
Of those low voices beautiful,
Which it imperfectly did hear.
Queen lily! and thou, crimson rose!
Blushing as if with passion, but
So pure, with such a deep repose
Around thee, and the leaves so shut
About thy heart, thou canst but be
An image made for youthful love
In its first unsummed purity,
Flowing like starlight from above.
And thou, rich dewy violet!
A gem of light in darkness set.
And blessed primrose! that dost bring,
Thoughts of the purest virgin, Spring!
Oh! often in my midnight thought,
Have ye amidst my visions wrought;
And Memory, with her power intense,
Hath your own freshest fragrance brought
Almost upon my very sense,
Leaving an aching at my heart,
A longing to be out again
Into the woodland and the plain,
Or in the garden where sweet art
Worketh with nature.--Flowers! ye are,
Of all my dreams, the fairest far.
But be my thoughts of what they will,
Still do they always merge in one,--
As many various pathways run
Unto one point, all tending still,--
The thought--Of all this world below,
How little doth the wisest know,
How less of all the thoughts that start
To life in one poor human heart,
Of which so few e'er find a word,
And fewer still are registered.
And humbled do I turn at length,
With lowly heart, and tearful eyes,
To that One Mind, whose endless strength
Around us as a girdle lies;
From whom we borrow all the light
That through our weary darkness shines,
To whom we look through life's long night,
While the impatient spirit pines
For day and knowledge. We are blind,
We stumble in an unknown path,
And faith alone may be the clue
That power, and strength, and safety hath,
To guide us the dark valley through;
And then our strength He will renew,
And from our eyes the veil unbind.
Oh, thinking on my littleness,
And on my ignorance, and sin,
On all the wayward thoughts within,
Rising like tyrants to oppress,
Kneeling, and humbled to the dust,
Thus have I prayed in faith and trust.--
The merciful art Thou,
Spirit! who dwellest in the heaven above;
Now, in thy boundless love,
Unto the creature of thy framing, bow.
I pray not to be taught
The mysteries that none have fathomed here;
I pray not 'gainst the fear
Upon my spirit by thy glory brought;
I pray not for revealings
Of future days--not for an earthly gift
My hands and heart I lift,
In the impassioned glow of earthly feelings;
I pray for patient faith,
That I may still the longings of my soul,
And its strong gasps control,
Until thou raisest up the veil of death.
I pray for holiness,
For calm, pure thoughts, untouched by passion's stain,
Like flowers, before the rain
Hath drooped their gentle heads in meek distress.
I pray that I may feel
My own unworthiness-- my helpless weakness;
Oh! keep my soul in meekness,
And full of patient hope, and trustful zeal.
And teach me to submit
Unto all earthly sorrow cheerfully--
Knowing that none shall be,
But what thy holy wisdom seeth fit.
And passing death's dark stream,
That flows between my spirit and its rest,
Oh! let my path be blest
With the pure radiance of hope's placid beam.
And breasting the cold wave,
Oh! let me feel Thou art my God indeed,
My God in utmost need,
Mighty to shield, to strengthen, and to save!
THE low, soft wind of evening, whispering near me,
Is laden with a thousand fragrant treasures,
Stolen from the summer buds; the young birds cheer me
With deep, clear song--or light and mirthful measures;
But both are burdened with the shades of pleasures
Long past and gone--come back in spirit only,
Like the wild phantoms of a warrior host
Unto the field whereon they won or lost,
And died at last, and left it pale and lonely:--
Lonely, and oh, how withered! In the morning
Of life, those pleasures came with eyes of lightning,
Their feet, the clay whereon they trampled scorning,
Their brows, with hope, and love, and glory brightening;
And then so very soon to see them whitening
Corpses, the very joys that seemed ethereal!
The cold, dim moonlight of reflection fell
On each, and shewed their rigid features well,
Fixed, spiritless--all dead, and all material.
"Are they then gone, the beautiful, the glorious!"
I said in passion--"are they all departed!
"Alas, alas!--the hour to be victorious
Was surely coming, and yet, weary-hearted,
They died!"--And, as I said, before me started
Upon the clouds, upon the breath of flowers,
On the impalpable winds, an airy troop,
Dreamy, and yet most beautiful! --a group,
Formed from the spirits of departed hours.
They float around me still--and Memory often
When I have offered sacrifice of weeping,
Relaxeth her bent brow, my woe to soften,
And shows the many treasures in her keeping
Vividly radiant,--as, unto the sleeping,
The dream of hope. Memory, the stern, the darkling,
Hath still past pleasures in her treasury,--
As on the gloom of midnight's silent sky,
Full many a star is seen for ever sparkling.
THE mists of the morning are visible still,
Rolled like a belt round the lofty hill;
Sinking away are the stars, and moon,
The sun will be risen--risen soon;
There is not a wave on the quiet sea,
There stirs not a leaf, and there shakes not a tree --
All things are still, and there's silence and rest,
On the high crag that beareth the wild Eagle's nest.
On comes the sun, and the yellow light breaks
Through the grey dawn, and the ocean awakes;
And the mists flee away, like a vanquished host
From the conqueror's face, and in ether are lost;
The light leaves dance in the playful breeze;
The bright insects hum o'er the flowers and trees.
And cast thine eye o'er the rocks' barren space,
Up to the Eagle's high dwelling-place--
The clouds are gone from the mountain's brow,
And I see, I see it plainly now;
And a newly fledged eaglet is perched there, as if
It were loath to leave its native cliff;
Long hath it lain in its narrow home,
And now its fetterless feet may roam;
Sometimes a glimpse of the clear blue sky,
As it lay in its nest, it caught from on high;
And sometimes hath seen a stormy cloud
That azure spot in darkness shroud;
And sometimes hath felt the warmth of the sun,
As its noontide rays looked down upon
The pathless rock,--but vainly hath striven
To gaze at once on earth and heaven!
Bright is the earth, and bright is the sky,
And the ocean glittering beneath thine eye,
Beautiful bird! the leaping sea,
And the woods, and fields, are wonders to thee;
And thou seest a thousand things unknown,
And thou hearest many a new, strange tone,
And thou lookest down on this glorious world,
And the dancing sea, with its bright waves curled,
And up again to the cloudless sky,
With the full bright sun careering on high,
And yet delay'st to unfold thy wings,
Bewildered 'twixt earthly and heavenly things.
Which wilt thou choose--the rejoicing earth,
With its shining bowers, and its voices of mirth,
Or the pure, high realm above thee spread,
To which thy first young wishes led?
The one is fair--deceitfully fair,
May not the death-shaft reach thee there?
Is not the sky far more secure,
And its loveliness more serenely pure?
Thy choice is made--thou hast darted away,
Up towards the burning orb of day.
Beautiful bird! thy first flight is given
Unto the calm and cloudless heaven.
So should the soul, in its youthful hours,--
Though it may gaze on earth's fleeting flowers,
Though it may wander and waver awhile,
'Twixt heaven's fixt glory, and earth's false smile,--
Trustingly turn its eyes above,
To the realms of mercy, and endless love;
And joy to take its earliest flight
Up towards the fount of eternal light!
WE struggle to subdue--we strive to bear;
For pride, for prudence, for philosophy,
We wreathe the festal roses in our hair,
We check the tear, we stifle down the sigh;
Yet what of this? Does not the bosom thrill
With a keen pang, whene'er we sit alone,
When the false smile from the parched lip is gone?
And then we can but bid our hearts be still ,
And clasp our hands upon the feverish brow,
And say, the hot tears shall not overflow;
And in its fullest, bitterest anguish feel
That wound, that still we only can conceal.
Then wherefore struggle? wherefore strive to bear
This in our human strength? Pride, pride, depart!
We will unbind the roses from our hair,
And loose the burning bondage from the heart;
Let us lift up our eyes, and clasp our hands,
And, owning all our bitter earthly grief,
Pray for the holy and the pure relief,
Sent down from Him who hears and understands
The heavy throbbings of the hearts he fashions,
With all their pathless maze of mighty passions:
Thus should we kneel, and calmly will the mind
Feel that it hath the power to be resigned.
COME hither, New Year! we'll welcome thee
With the merry bells in tuneful peal;
We'll sing to thy praise with heartfelt glee,
And with all the young heart's zeal;
Come in, and shew us thy frosty face,
We'll find thee a throne, though 't is clothed in snow,
And the ivy, twining in fadeless grace
With the holly, shall crown thy brow.
Oh welcome, New Year! the yule-clog burns,
A festal fire to hail thy birth,
And the peasant forgetteth his toil, and turns
To sit by his own loved hearth;
We welcomed thy parted father thus,
We drank to his health, and we laughed, and sang,
We put dark sorrow far from us,
And the roof with our merriment rang!
And oh, New Year! when the summer shall shine,
And the snow from thy path shall melt away,
Fling off that ermine mantle of thine,
And dress thee in green so gay:
The flowers shall be bright in thy festal crown,
The lily's cup, and the hyacinth's bell,
And the rose from thy brow shall shed odour down,
When the south wind woos it well.
And autumn will come, and the golden corn
And the purple grape shall be twined for thee,
And thou shalt list to the hunter's horn,
And the vintage revelry.
Thou shalt lie beneath the chesnut trees,
When the evening sun hath tinged them with gold,
And the soft, dim haze on the distant seas,
And the quiet blue sky, shalt behold.
And winter will come--thy time of doom!
And thou must droop, and tottering go
Along a path of mist and gloom,
Enwreathed with misletoe:
Yet many deeds done in thy reign,
And many an hour of ecstasy,
And many a pang of bitter pain,
Shall be long remembered with thee.
And we shall part with thee, coming year!
As we buried the old year yesterday;
We'll drop a tear on thy chilly bier,
And funeral honours pay:
And thou shalt listen, in thy death,
To the very bells that now resound;
And as thou weft born, shalt resign thy breath,
With holly and ivy crowned.
WE met for the first time--it was a day
In summer, and the broad sunbeam did play
Through open windows, and the half drawn blind,
That waved by fits in the low summer wind;
We met as strangers, yet as friends, for we
Had heard each other named from infancy,
As those who yet should meet. We met indeed,
And did not feel as strangers--no--my hand
Was clasped in thine, thy voice seemed clearly known,
Remembered, loved, and blessed in its tone;
Thy very smile I seemed to understand,
Thy looks were all familiar. I felt freed
From some vague aching vacancy, some want
Within my heart. I felt as one who long
Seeks to recall some floating strain of song
For days and weeks, but cannot gather up
The scattered melody, until with gush
Sudden, and sweet, it flows unto his tongue;
So fell thy presence on the empty cup
Of my deep heart, until it ceased to pant,
Stilled in delight. But when thy form was gone,
When thy sweet voice had melted from my ear,
Came back that vacancy, more deep and drear,
More full of the sad sense--I was alone!
But we have met again--in lighted rooms,
'Midst faces serious with the toil of mirth,
'Midst gentle music, song, and rich perfumes;
Yet even here the heart's flowers budded forth,
Fleeting and frail, but beauteous. Once again
Came that strange tenderness of heart, that feeling
Of old familiar friendship, that short reign
Of overpowering happiness-- once more
I clasped thy hand, and, from that eye of thine,
Felt the soft light gliding and, filling mine,
And sinking down into my heart's deep core;
Once more I felt a kindred heart was near,
And as some bird, who, in her wandering,
Drops for a little space her weary wing,
Beside the cool green grot, or bubbling spring,
So did I rest, feeling how very drear
My life would be, if such flowers did not cheer
My path on earth. And now, farewell, farewell!
If we ere meet again, may this dear spell
Be upon me! would not lose thee thus,--
My craving heart would linger, if it might;
But I must wander, in mine own despite,
'Midst mists, and clouds, and paths tempestuous.
But driving like a dead leaf o'er the waste,
Still shall I see thee shining far above,
A star of purest light, and gentlest love,
In heaven to bless my weary wanderings placed.
THE trees ! they are the very same 'neath which in childish play
I sate, and like a linnet sang, when sultry was the day.
The flowers! they are like the very flowers I cultured when a child;
There's the very root of primroses I brought from the hedgerow wild.
The hall--it is my father's hall--the shelterer of my youth
When Hope was whispering in my ear sweet dreams, that seemed like truth.
Alas! that e'er I left my home, breaking our household chain;
And alas, alas! that I should come, thus saddened, back again.
I left that home a blooming bride, white roses in my hair,
My lover smiling by my side, my parents weeping there;
The slow consent we wrung from them--the years that proved our faith,
Had strengthened that beloved bond, that only broke with death,
I came again, a mourning coif shadowing my hair and brow,
And sable weeds around me wrapt, for the bridal veil of snow,
In my arms, a helpless orphan child--in my heart, a feverish pain,
Yes!--a lonely widow I am come, to my father's house again!
The sunny home--the blessed home! a cloud is on it now,
It hath lost its happy smiles for me, and all its mirthful glow,
As my younger sisters fair and gay sit round the hearth at night,
My mother bids them take good heed of eyes of loving light;
Bids them beware no lovers' words, however sweet they be,
Shall win them to a wedded life of lowly poverty;
And though to me she does not speak, I feel it, and my brain
Grows dizzy when I think, I'm in my father's house again!
I used to be a worshipped bride--the mistress of a home;
Though small and poor, I was a star that lighted all its gloom;
My words were heeded, and I ruled my household at my will,
And now within my father's house my vacant place I fill;
Guests come and go--my sisters sing--my mother loves that tone,
But I am a neglected thing--forgotten and alone!
My child would be a playful child, but he grows subdued and meek,
They rule him, check him, bid him peace, his mother may not speak!
But were it not for that poor child, and for his future weal,
Away from these chilled hearts and home, the lonely one would steal;
I'd rather wander o'er the world, or lay me down and die,
Than read my mother's cold reproof, in her clouded brow and eye;
Than bear the many cutting words, with which they strive to dim
The memory of the buried one! oh, would I were with him!
And may I not defend thee , love? pray heaven to ease my pain,
That I may leave this cruel world, and join thee once again!
THE flowers have voices--listen to the Rose!
She is dying in her bower,
It is her latest hour,
Her fragrant life must close.
In vain, in vain that snowy butterfly
Sitteth upon a leaf
Beside her, fanning her with waving wing;
Her span is out, and she hath passed her spring;
Her lingering will be brief;
In vain the silver dew
Falls gently on her heart,
She must, she must depart,
Nought can her strength renew.
The Rose must die!
Hearken! her dying breath is passing now,
In whisper faint and low,
Addressed not to the ear, but to the heart;
'T is soft and melancholy,
But sweet, and calm, and holy;
Listen, whoe'er thou art.
"I was born in spring a queen,
With a royal robe of green,
Shrouding my infant blushes;
I burst that veil--I grew
Proud--scorned the quiet dew;
And bent my slender stem,
And my crimson diadem,
And flaunted, that the sun
Might look my leaves upon,
And love their rich, deep flushes.
One glance into my heart--one passionate glance,
One hour of happy trance,
Pouring out sweets to honour him,
And then his beams waxed dim,
And then his light was gone,
And I was left alone."
The butterfly her snowy wing hath closed,
A little breath ariseth, and the dew
Drops from the flower; and with it, too,
The leaves, that once around her heart reposed,
Are widely shed;
They scatter all pale,
In the wandering gale,
The Rose is dead!
QUIET is the broad Ocean--wide between
My footsteps and his ebbing tides, the sand
Lies damp, and glittering with dark wreaths of weed,
And little yeasty flakes of palest foam
Amidst them--disappearing in the glare
Of the hot sun, or scattered on the sand,
As some light, wanton breath of air awakes
A moment, then is still in sleep again.
Far off, beyond the line of yellow sand,
Lie the dark group of vessels, with their sails
Spread, ready to take prisoner the first wind
That, with the rising tide, shall come to bear
Them safe to harbour. In those vessels, now
All is at rest;--the seaman on the deck,
Whose heart leaped joyfully at thought of home,
Listlessly leans against the tapering mast,
Now gazing up towards the hot blue sky,
Marking the progress of the stately sun,
Now looking to the shadowy line of shore,
And with a quickened pulse again to heaven.
Yes--when the sun shall drop in yonder west,
The evening tide, and cool, fresh wind shall bring
In triumph to their homes, the weary crew.
How the sea glitters! as if all night's stars,
Driven from the heavens by the triumphant sun,
Had laid them there to sleep with open eyes,
To win the gaze of wanderers like me,
Down from the full proud blaze of day to them.
Quiet is all the shore--the fisher goes
Lazily on with his unladen creel,
Home from the town, marking the heavy sand
With slow, deep footsteps. Here a merry boy
Hath gathered up a heap of shining shells,
And builded him a fairy grotto, thatched
With dripping sea-weed; but o'erwearied now
He hath stretched him on the sand beside his task,
Not yet quite finished; still one little hand
Is grasping the pink shells, and one is laid
Behind his head, its pillow; sleep hath come
And wooed him to be her's, and watches him,
Like an invisible spirit; the hot sunshine
Falls on his brow, but wakes him not. I gaze,
But I'll not wake him--the deep, even breath
Tells of the slumber of a heart unstilled
By aught save weariness of spirit--farewell
Sleep, child! l would not wake thee for a world,
For few such slumbers more on earth are thine;
So beautiful, so peaceful, and so pure!
TO THE MEMORY OF
PASSED from the earth like a summer flower,
Even in its fullest bloom,
Passed like the glittering drops of a shower,
And hidden in the tomb.
Yet the flower shall rise again from earth,
With a fairer hue and a brighter birth,
And a lovelier perfume;
And the drop is not lost, but perchance shall be
Turned to a pearl in the boundless sea--
The ocean of eternity.
Gone from her home, like a snowy dove
From its calm and happy nest;
Gone from her children's gentle love,
And her husband's sheltering breast:
Yet the dove its snowy wing is folding,
On yonder height the sun beholding;
And she is with the blest,
In a land where no wild blast shall come,
To ruffle again her stainless plume.
Mourn we, then, that we have lost
A light, who led us on,
When on life's stormy billows tost?
Aye, mourn, for she is gone!
Weep for ourselves the bitter loss,
But not for her--dark clouds might cross
The path where once she shone,
But now, far off from human sight,
Her soft beams mingle in heaven's own light.
I SATE and mused--it was a day
In autumn--leaves were rustling there,
And quivering in pale decay
Upon the frosty air.
I thought of Love, of Faith, of Hope,
Of all the mysteries so rife,
And, strangest thing 'neath heaven's wide scope,
The mystery of Life.
And in that musing hour there passed,
Even as a slowly rolling cloud,
A solemn vision, wide and vast,
Changeful the scenes it showed.
And first, there was a wide-spread plain,
The morning sun was rising high,
And clouds that bore the early rain
Were floating from the sky.
And on the glittering earth, thus soon,
Two seeming friends together stood;
One a grey Pilgrim was, and one
A Hunter of the wood.
The first was old, and yet unbowed,
Shrivelled, yet strong in every limb,
And the cloak that did his form enshroud,
Looked like a part of him.
And steadily he journeyed on,
And silently he crossed the plain;
However bright the blossoms shone,
He ne'er looked back again.
He paused not by the rushing stream,
Turned not aside to gaze on flowers,
But travelled, steady as the beam
In heaven that marks the hours.
Up hill, down hill, 't was all the same,
He never varied in his pace,
Nor, when to fairest spots he came,
Looked for a resting-place.
The other was in hunter's guise,
And held his bow for ever bent,
And turned on every side his eyes
Keenly, as on he went.
And seemed to scorn the old man's slow
And measured step, and often sprung
Before him, with that bended bow,
And fateful arrows flung.
The young fawn playing in the wood,
The little bird upon the spray,
The eagle in his solitude
A like became his prey.
I saw, where'er the old man trod,
The grass grew paler 'neath his feet,
And the dewy blossoms on the sod
Bowed down his step to greet.
But the hunter, as in wantonness,
Would seize the flowers in fullest bloom,
And fling them down, and onwards press,
New treasures to consume.
The pair passed on through many lands,
Each with his own peculiar power,
And something, 'neath their vengeful hands,
Was changed in every hour.
That cruel hunter struck the child,
Even at his mother's heaving breast;
And laid the maiden, young and mild,
Down in her lasting rest.
But the old man only laid his hand
Upon the rocks, the trees, the stone,
And at that voiceless, still command,
They crumbled and were gone.
He touched the fair and stately hall,
And ivy did its sides emboss;
He touched the stone by the waterfall,
And o'er it crept the moss.
And he touched the man, and his hair grew grey,
And then the hunter reined his speed,
And for the pilgrim's steps would stay,
To share his fatal deed.
The hunter struck a poet down,
Who sung with all youth's early fire;
The pilgrim only touched his crown,
And his impassioned lyre.
The first, with fame's own light had shone,
The last had love on every string:
But lo! the laurel wreath was gone,
And the chords were mouldering.
I wept to see that pilgrim pair,
I saddened as I watched their course,
Carrying such sorrow every where,
With such resistless force.
But there was one most lovely form
They touched in vain--however rough
Might be the stroke, she braved the storm,
Though oft her veil fell off.
Though oft her garment might be changed,
Still was her eye undimmed and bright;
Still round and round the world it ranged,
With an undying light.
And I rejoiced that maid to see,
To think that one could still abide
Unharmed, amidst the misery
That fell on all beside.
Still stood she there, in changeless prime,
And on her brow was written-- Faith,
They called the fatal Pilgrim--Time,
The Hunter's name was--Death!
POET of glorious dreams!
I gaze upon thy page with deep delight,
Feeling as if the rush of mighty streams
Dazzled my sight.
Poet! what soul save thine
Was ever filled with such imaginings?
Who ever sought so closely to entwine
Earthly with hidden things?
Is there a brain on earth,
In which such gorgeous fancies e'er have wrought?
Is there a spirit, that could e'er give birth
To such o'erpowering thought?
There is--turn to this page,
And look on the rich visions pictured there;
An equal genius, in an after age,
Hath risen, thy fame to share.
didst but give
The outline of the beings of thy brain;
Painter! 't was thine to bid them rise, and live,
And o'er our senses reign.
For there is a strong spell
In their deep, voiceless language to our hearts,--
We gaze upon them till our bosoms swell,
And the slow tear-drop starts.
Painter! thy heart is cast
In the same heavenly mould as was his own;
From him to thee his mighty spirit passed,
That thou might'st take its tone;
And seize the thoughts, that were
In quick creation thronging in that soul,
And subject all their wild and feverish stir
To thy control.
Thy name shall ever be
Mingled with his, beside his hallowed shrine;
And glory such as his, immortally,
Painter, is thine!
SPIRIT of Beauty! say, where is thy dwelling?
Art thou an habitant of earth or sea,--
By the bright waters of the fountain's welling,
Or in the forest liv'st thou solemnly;
And what art thou? Thou tint'st the rose, and breathest
Thy soul of sweetness 'midst its crimson folds;
And in its drooping curves the ivy wreathest,
And cast'st the violets in their fairy moulds.
Spirit of Beauty, thou dost touch the mountains,
And they are shadowed on the pale blue sky
Distant and dim, or look like silver fountains
Of light, when snows are there, and stars are high.
And the rich sunset clouds, at day's declining,
Grow glorious as bright dreams beneath thy power;
And thou art surely in the pale moon's shining,
In the lone grandeur of the midnight hour.
Spirit of Beauty, on the maiden's forehead,
Beneath her braided hair, thy spell hath been;
And in the placid eyes that once have sorrowed,
But now in holy patience shine serene;
And in the autumn groves our steps thou meetest,
Upon the fading flowers thy glories be,
The saddest music often is the sweetest,
And earth's most mournful things are full of thee.
Therefore, when fadeth some sweet lip, and paleth
The cheek, and the bright eye grows sunk and dull
Where'er the spirit o'er the clay prevaileth,
We say, we scarce know why, "How beautiful!"
And when some heart of gentle mould is broken,
Yet to the very last doth faithful prove,
Cold, cold must be the lip that hath not spoken
Of the pure beauty of a woman's love.
Spirit of Beauty! now
I know thy dwelling--
'T is not in the cold earth, or sea, or air;
The human heart is thy abode, and, swelling
Its throbbing pulses, thou art shrined there.
From thence thou shinest out, and fling'st thy lightening,
Making even beautiful this world of strife;
Touchest the poets' songs, and fling'st thy brightening
And circling glory o'er the paths of life.
INSCRIPTION FOR A PRAYER-BOOK.
As, in far climes, the exile hears
The music of his native land,
And feels that, while his heart it cheers,
The thought of all that home endears,
Far, far away, brings sudden tears
Into his eyes, like dew-drops bland;
So, when upon this weary earth
Some quiet, prayer-like voice is heard,
How very much it seemeth worth,
What thoughts within the soul are stirred,
Of Heaven, the country of its birth,
At each low whispered word!
Prayer! lead us on! we are away
From Heaven, our home, our lasting rest;
Thou art our comfort day by day,
The halo of our darksome clay,
The pillow, whereupon we lay
The secrets of the aching breast.
Here at thy shrine, we bless thy power,
For thou sweet peace hast often given,
Hast held us up in sorrow's hour;
Our tears have fed thee, as a flow'r,
That, 'midst the heavy summer shower,
Breathes incense up to heaven!
A BURNING brow, a throbbing heart,
Starting with uncalled-for start,
At some imagined sound or sight,--
The vague fancy of some foot,
Stepping lightly near;
Or the imagining that an eye,
With a wild, uncertain light,
Gleamed strangely for a moment nigh,
And stirred the voice of fear,
Ever awake, though sometimes mute;
And the inward sudden shiver,
And the faint heart's sick, low quiver,
These are signs of the spirit's fever.
And the vague, mysterious dreams,
Of stormy skies, and troubled streams,
Mingled with flashes of soft light,
And gleams of scenes intensely bright;
Sounds that, ever and anon,
(But like phantoms of sweet sounds)
Come and go, now heard, now gone;
The strange unreason that confounds
Dreamy things with things of earth,--
Earth's beings with those of mental birth,
And casts o'er all a mist, half dark,
Half light, so that the world looks dim,
And the heart heaves like a labouring bark,
And there's unrest in every limb;
These have been, will be for ever,
Tokens of the spirit's fever.
And the impatience of the day,
The longing for the night,
The sleepless couch, the taper's ray,
Watched with a still affright;
The fretting at the shadows tall,
Of the curtains on the wall;
The wishing the dark hours away,
The praying for the light.
Oh wretchedness! yet this is so,
In spite of each endeavour,
How many gifted bosoms know
The spirit's restless fever!
Look on the brows of aged men,
Or on the face of many a one
Who has not reached threescore and ten,
Yet says his task is nearly done.
Many would deem that mouldering grief
Had written its records, dark and brief,
In the furrows on the brow,
In the hair's untimely snow;
Ask them--they will tell thee, though
They have had friends, and earthly treasure,
And wandered through each path of pleasure;
Yet feelings quick, and restless mind,
Have worn them, as the roving wind
Tosses unseen the bough, and tears
And scatters the rich leaves it bears:
And till the soul from clay shall sever,
These must feel the spirit's fever.
I ROSE from slumber, yet did glow
Upon my soul my dream;
I oped my casement, murmuring low,
The morning wind across my brow
Flowed like a stream.
I walked abroad, the early rain
Had ceased its pattering fall,
And I felt the morning wind again,
Cool, cool and pleasant, from my brain
Loosening that vision's thrall.
And little eddies swept around,
Amidst the shining grass;
And the morning wind with whispery sound,
Thrilled lightly o'er the flowery ground,
Where I did pass.
And joyously the sunshine crowned
With dancing beams my brow;
Then, then my tresses I unbound,
In child-like mirth, and all around
I let them flow,
Scattered, and tossing o'er my face,
A treacherous veil,
Revealing every feature's trace,
How sorrow there, her resting-place
Had left all pale.
Footsteps were near--I trembled, shrank,
Braided that vagrant hair,
And turned away, in heart to thank
Heaven, for the draught of bliss I drank
In that cool air.
LOVE, if thou would'st be wretched, look on eyes
And dream of stars, and flowers, and dropping dew;
Look for the dear one's image in the skies,
And let her spirit all around imbue;
Hang on the memory of a single glance,
Or a low word, whispered or said by chance:
Go dream that thou art loved,--revel in bliss,
Fix all thy hope of happiness on this;
And when the storm of passion bursts at last,
Bear if thou canst the tempest, till the cloud
Is past, with all the lightning it did shroud,
And waking find that it but served to blast
Thy energy of spirit, springs of youth,--
And, if it still have left thee love and truth,
Their streams will be all bitter. This is love.
This fate, if so thou lovest, thou must prove.
Love, if thou would'st be happy--not for eyes,
Albeit they are as bright as stars of even,
Insist not they shall shine like summer skies,
But see the soul that lights them is from Heaven;
Let memory cling to the soft, innocent blush
That timidly her gentle cheek will flush,--
Win her with purest faith, and tenderest truth;
And when the sunburst, thus shed on thy youth,
Hath past, thy heart shall have a thousand flowers
Ripened at once to bless thy future hours;
And all thy days thy heart in peace shall dwell,--
This shalt thou find, so that thou lovest well.
Primrose! pale primrose! orphan of the spring!
(Or, rather, art thou her neglected child,
On which a mother's eye bath seldom smiled;
Her sunshine is so often on the wing!)
Thou almost bringest tears into mine eyes,
And ever, glowing feelings to my heart;
So fragile, and so lonely as thou art,
Thou hast strong claims upon my sympathies.
I gaze on thee, till fancy, in her dream,
Will image thee as a pale sorrowing star,
Flung for some frailty from its sphere afar,
And glancing upwards with a tearful beam
To its bright sisters, who, from their high heaven,
Seem to look down, and say, "Would thou might'st be forgiven!"
BROAD are the palms, whose boughs
Shut out the sunshine from the little pool
Which lies, while noontide glows
Fierce in the Arabian heaven, serene and cool.
The reed, whose graceful stem
Riseth beside it, arrow-like and tall,
Mirrored in that pure gem,
Looks moveless as the few strong beams that fall
Upon the waters calm;
Yet here at even-tide the winds shall rise,
Bringing the wild flower's balm,
And singing low their vesper melodies.
But it is noon--high noon,
And a sound cometh up the forest glade,
Breaking the dreamy tune
By the small insects 'neath the leaflets made:
Nearer and nearer now,
And lo! with measured step of matchless force,
The white star on his brow,
He comes to rest him here, the desert Horse!
He stoops, and the long mane
Falls like a veil over the glossy neck,
That never curved to rein,
That no gay bells or silver trappings deck;
And through that falling shroud
The dark eye looks, with clear and steady gaze,
As if the steed were proud
Of the reflection of its freeborn rays,
Down in the water still
That bubbles with his breath, as from the lake
He drinks the draught so chill,
So sweet, the thirst of summer days to slake;
His head is raised again,
And yet he pauses for one downward look,
Then onward to the plain,
Fitter for him than that secluded nook!
Fitter in sooth for him!
His is the daring heart, the gallant front,
The strong and nervous limb,
All made to bear the summer's fiercest brunt.
Fitter for him the free!
Lo the earth scattereth from his bounding hoof,
As on he goes in glee;
The plain his palace, and the sky his roof.
He lifts his head on high,
And tosses back the forelock, that his gaze
May be upon the sky,
In the unclouded glory of its blaze.
He stops, and then doth start,
Even as he will; he owns no master's yoke --
His is the mighty heart
That never could be bowed, although it broke.
Oh never curb was made,
That might subdue the pulses of that steed;
Oh never hand was laid
Upon that neck, by nature's charter freed!
Better that he should lie
Beneath these cloudless heavens, a worthless corse,
Than bow in slavery,
The beautiful, the brave, the noble horse!
Better that he should fall
And perish, in the desert of his birth,
Than live to know the thrall
Of human tyranny is on the earth.
WHERE shall rest the weary head?
Where shall the feverish limbs repose?
Vainly round the downy bed
The purple curtains dimly close.
I cannot rest--I cannot sleep--
There is an aching weariness,
An overstraining of distress,
That slumber's night dew cannot steep.
Where shall lie the weary head?
Where shall rest the woe-worn frame?
Oh, sleep, "the blessed balm," is fled,
And the restless creeping flame
Of fever o'er the limbs is fretting;
Nay, though even the eyelids close
To outward sense, there's no repose,
For in the soul there's no forgetting!
Where shall drop the weary head?
On the bank with mosses green,
Where the fading rose leaves shed,
Tell the summer's pride hath been?
Where the aspen's pale bough shivers
In the moonlight, and below,
Through the grass the faint winds go,
Like the sound of distant rivers?
Waking still! oh weary head!
Throbbing pulses, cease your strife!
Would that ye slumbered with the dead,
Since such restlessness is life!
Oh I could envy even the flowers,
They sleep so sweetly 'neath the sky,
Drooped, while the dew and wind sweep by,
Through all these lingering midnight hours.
WE can know nothing here; the mightiest mind,
The loftiest soaring thought, that mortal frame
Hath in its fragile prison e'er enshrined,
Remembereth nothing of from whence it came,
Or only dimly dreameth of the past,
And of the future; and, however gifted,
Towards the dark veil we turn, and reach at last
Its foot, and find that it may not be lifted
By hand so weak as ours; while some afar
Gaze on the adventurer as a living star,
And think a mind like his must have received
The truth, and envy him, and toil in vain
To follow him, and every fibre strain,
Till they too reach the goal, and are deceived!
THE lake was broad, and clear, and still,
Each side was sheltered by a hill,
And slanting down, as on a well
Collected, the bright sunbeams fell:
In the midst an islet lay,
That might have been a fairy's home,
So green it was with grass and moss,
And the daisies did its banks emboss;
Yet closely round its rugged edge,
Sprang from the shadowed wave the sedge;
And ever silver foam,
Airy and light, when the wind went by,
Swept with a wild, faint melody
Through the weeds. One willow tree
Bent dipping down all silently
Upon the water. Small it was,
That isle,--a thing for the eye to pass
But carelessly,--yet those who look
More deeply into nature's book,
Might see e'en that small isle was rife
With all the mystery of life.
For the painted butterfly, pursued
By the schoolboy to the bank,
Would flit away in fearless mood
Unto the islet dank,
And, poised upon the willow tree,
Would swing with the swaying bough;
Companion to the honey bee,
That hummed in the flowers below;
Bending and bathing in the light,
Full in the baffled hunter's sight.
But most the island was possest
By a wild Swan's reedy nest,
A nest the graceful things had made
Half in sunshine, half in shade
Of a drooping tree;
Those wild white Swans for years had been
The grace and glory of the scene,
Its own enthroned king and queen,
The beautiful and free.
First they were seen, in stately pride,
Sailing and swimming side by side,
Scudding before the breeze, and then
Returning to the isle again;
Then slowly from the grass up grew
A nest, of many a varying hue,
Yellow and brown, and withered weeds,
And strong cross girths of sturdy reeds;
And while one spot unfinished lurked,
'T was marvellous how the creatures worked
Silently and mutually,
Till the task was featly done,
And the mansion fair to see,
And the mother's task begun.
How weariless that white Swan was,
That mother Swan-- that gentle Swan!
Whatever time I chanced to pass,
She sate her nest upon;
With her snow wings and fair broad breast,
So calm and meek,--although the wind
Ruffled the down,--she sate at rest:
Or if the sun all scorching shone
Into her eyes, still ne'er declined
Her patient love till all was done,
And the young brood came forth;
And then, with quick, impatient tread,
Her callow infant brood she led,
Over the moist green earth,
Through the quivering sedgy brake,
Into the bosom of the lake.
There was Life, and Love, and Faith,
Patience, and beating hearts and breath,
And bliss, and trust, and peace, and hope,
And innocence, and all the scope
Of natural feelings, and frames to cherish;
All these awhile, and then to perish,
All in a moment to be found
In that small islet's narrow bound.
Lo! on the leaves there is a feverish red,
And a slow rustling fills the forest walks,
And the brown mosses, and the withered stalks
Of sapless herbs, lie wheresoe'er ye tread.
The rose is drooping in the garden bower,
And the mists haunt its valleys, white and thick;
Low hangs the dying lily, pale and sick ;
A lucid dew-drop, pendent from each flower,
Slowly distilleth from each faded cup,
Lacking one bright sunbeam to drink it up.
The world is gloomy, and all scenes look drear;
Only one thing that gloom doth not partake,
The heart that beats for thee, and thus doth make
A sunshine for itself, and blossoms all the year.
WHERE art thou, Sleep? Resting in some bright flower,
Dew-bowed within the forest solitude?
Or with the wood-dove's nestlings dost thou brood,
That upon me thou wilt not shed thy power?
Is it not now the midnight hour of rest?
Am I not weary as my wont? and yet,
Torturer! thou com'st not, or but sweep'st my breast,
And in my starting effort to detain
Thy wing, as it flits by, I burst the chain
Half woven to my couch, that is beset
With weary sleeplessness. Ah, well I know
What scares thee,--thou dost dread to meet the dreams
That, sorrow-born, like dark and turbulent streams,
Whene'er thou comest round my pillow flow!
Roamer of the mountain!
Wanderer of the plain!
Lingerer by the fountain,
Where thou dost sustain
A part in Nature's rich, and wild, and varied strain!
Fairy of the summer!
I love to watch thy flight
When first thou art a comer,
On wings so gauzy light,
Flitting in wildering maze before my dazzled sight.
Thou hummest o'er the heather
Upon the breezy hill;
And in sultry weather,
When every wind is still,
Float'st through the waveless air unto the singing rill.
On the moorland mosses,
Thou sip'st the fragrant thyme;
And the tufted bosses
Of greenest grass dost climb,
With struggling feet, to rest thy wings in noontide's prime.
In the lily's blossom,
An ivory palace tower,--
In the roses bosom,
Safe from the sudden shower,
Thou shelterest, heeding not how thunder clouds may lower.
Thou lov'st the cool green places
Where the dew lies late,
Where the twilight's traces
Are, near her palace gate,--
Her palace midst the trees, wherein she keeps her state.
Thou lov'st the sunny Hours,
When upwards thou dost spring,
With the dew from chaste, cool flowers
And mosses on thy wing,--
The sweet enslaving dew, that doth so closely cling.
Thou lov'st the sunset's glowing,
When, with thy mimic toil,
Half weary, thou art going
Laden with thy sweet spoil,
Unto thy quiet home, wherein is no turmoil.
Oh vagrant, happy rover!
Gatherer of treasures rare!
Never did truest lover
A heart so happy bear,
As thou, who woo'st all flowers, without a fear or care.
I would that I might ever
Have thee before mine eyes!
Surely I should endeavour
To learn to be as wise,
And all the simple gifts of holiest nature prize.
But even now, unsteady!
Thou tak'st again thy flight,
Thy little wings already
Are quivering in the light,
Thy hum is faintlier heard, thou'st darted from my sight!
I would, when death hath stilled me,
And checked this restless heart,
When his icy hand has chilled me,
And I must needs depart,
I would I might be laid where thou, wild wanderer, art!
And then the winds should whisper,
And the willow branches wave;
And the cricket, merry lisper,
And the throstle, minstrel brave,
And thou, thou murmuring bee! should chorus o'er my grave.
THIS is no time for straying in the woods,
Or sitting idly by the river side,
No time for poet's dreaming, there's a wide
And troubled view before us;--multitudes
Murmuring like waves of the incoming tide.
Oh ! for some master spirit now to ride,
Like a strong bark, upon those angry waves!
Oh that the star of truth at once might rise,
Shedding its glory through these gloomy skies,
To guide that vessel on!--Men have been slaves
In soul too long-- they suddenly awake,
And find that in their sleep they have been chained,
And fettered to the earth--now must be strained
The chords, and they, or man's strong heart must break!
TO-MORROW I shall be nineteen! and can it really
That already my spring days are past, and summer waits for me!
I have past life's early dreaming time, and now a moment stand
Upon the utmost boundary of girlhood's fairy land,
And I cast a glance behind me where its flowery vistas be,
And feel I enter them no more, except in memory.
I see a thousand lovely flowers, and many a radiant shoot,
But, alas! that such luxuriant soil should bear so little fruit!
I see a star of hope and love above the blossoms shining;
But a mist of tears is gathering there--its glory is declining;
I hear a rivulet of song, murmuring in rapid flow,--
But, alas! for the wild and worthless weeds that by its waters grow!
A cloud hath veiled the fairy scene, and upon it, one by one,
Are painted many visions strange, of all I've thought and done;
I gaze on it with tearful eyes, and I marvel at the truth,
That such a cloud of hopes and fears could come in early youth,--
That dreams so ardent, love so strong, passions so deep and vast,
In the short space of nineteen years across my heart have passed.
I have nursed affections in that heart, that turned to agony;
And I have dreamt of earthly fame, and found it vanity;
And I have poured my feelings forth in many a heartfelt line,
And hours of silent bitterness and anguish have been mine;
And all these thoughts, and hopes, and love, and ecstasy, and fears,
Have only been within my heart the work of nineteen years.
Have others felt as I have felt? have others done as much?
Perhaps amidst the crowds of earth there may be many such;
Alas! in spite of all I've dared, of all I've striven for fame,
I feel the blush upon my cheek--the burning blush of shame,
To think that nineteen years their line have yet unbroken spun,
And that, of my allotted task, there is so little done!
To think how few the brows my power from grief and woe hath cleared,
To think how selfishly mine own deep feelings have been reared
To think how for myself the tears have been allowed to start,
How I have been a passive slave unto my own wild heart;
And oh! how often I have failed, in thought, and word, and deed,
To Him who binds the broken heart, and lifts the bruised reed.
But should it be God's holy will my life should lengthened be,--
If other nineteen years are still in future store for me,--
Oh! unto other, higher aims, may I my spirit lift,
And try to keep unstained and pure God's great and holy gift;
And thus be able to look back, when I have passed my prime,
Upon a clearer, sunnier track than marks my first spring time!
Sept. 23rd, 1831.
BLOSSOMS, that lowly bend,
Shutting your leaves from evening's chilly dew,
While your rich odours heavily ascend,
The flitting winds to woo;
I walk at silent eve,
When scarce a breath is in the garden bowers,
And many a vision and wild fancy weave,
'Midst ye, ye lovely flowers!
Beneath the cool green boughs,
And perfumed bells of the fresh blossomed lime,
That stoop and gently touch my feverish brows,
Fresh in their summer prime;
Or in the mossy dell,
Where the pale primrose trembles at a breath,
Or where the lily by the silent well,
Beholds her form beneath;
Or where the rich queen-rose
Sits, throned and blushing, 'midst her leaves and moss;
Or where the wind-flower, pale and fragile, blows,
Or violets banks emboss;
Here do I love to be,--
Mine eye alone, in passionate love, to dwell
Upon the loveliness and purity
Of every bud and bell.
Oh blessedness, to lie,
By the clear brook, where the long bennet dips!
To press the rosebud, in its purity
Unto the burning lips!
To lay the weary head
Upon the bank, with daisies all beset,
Or, with the bared feet, at early dawn to tread
O'er mosses cool and wet!
And then to sit, at noon,
When bees are humming low, and birds are still,
And drowsy is the faint, uncertain tone
Of the swift woodland rill.
And dreams can then reveal
That, wordless though ye be, you have a tone,
A language, and a power, that I may feel,
Thrilling my spirit lone.
Ye speak of Hope and Love,
Bright as your hues, and vague as your perfume;
Of changeful, fragile thoughts, that brightly move
Men's hearts amidst their gloom.
Ye speak of human life,
Its mystery--the beautiful and brief;
Its sudden fading 'midst the tempest strife,
Even as a delicate leaf.
And, more than all, ye speak
Of might, of power, of mercy, of the One
Eternal, who hath strewed you, fair and meek,
To glisten in the sun.
To gladden all the earth
With bright and beauteous emblems of His grace,
That showers its gifts of uncomputed worth
In every clime and place!
THERE have been storms all morning,--heavy clouds,--
Heavily rolling on the stormy wind,
And rain hath fallen in torrents--but at last
The wind is lulled, and, parting overhead,
A streak of brightest blue, like a fresh fount
Bursting from alpine hills of snow, comes out,
Gushing into the very heart, and full
Of sunshine and of promise; it grows wide
And wider; and the clouds are scattering fast,
And flitting through the air in fragments thin,
Like flocks of lambs dispersed by sudden fright.
And see, since last we looked upon the trees,
There is a veil of green, that silently
In a few days hath stolen out to meet
The coming Spring; and she is come at last--
Come in an hour! For never fairy's wand
Worked a more wondrous change, than now hath come
On Nature's face, since the last stormy eve
Lowered sullenly upon the dripping woods.
* * * * * The winged winds,
Young, full of warmth and softness, rose and fell
In little breezes,--even as new-fledged birds
Try first short, tremulous flights, before they soar
On their strong pinions up amongst the clouds;
Anon they sank in quietness to rest,
For as the sun set, o'er the earth a calm
Came gradually; the flowers and leaves hung, drooped,
Just quivering, yet so slightly, that the eye
Felt as if self-deceived in fancying
They moved; most still, most holy was the hour!
The fitful winds, the fleeting showers, and gleams
Of fervid sunshine, all had passed away,
Yet left their mingled spirit on the earth,
Breathless and beautiful. So doth a child,
Banishing from its face the rosy smiles,
Which, interlaced with tears, all day have shone,
Compose its features at the evening hour,
And, putting its restless youth the thoughts
And aspect of maturer age, kneel down,
And bow in prayer, before it falls asleep.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * The earth was green, all green;
Then were the fields, the mountains, and the vales,
The forest, and the lowly woodside hedge,
Clothed with one hue, varied with many a tint
Of light and dark--as love in human hearts
Is universal, yet bears many shades
In different natures. And the waters were
Bright, glittering, blue, looking up restlessly
Unto the heavens, as a babe's laughing eyes
Look brightly to its mother's placid orbs,
From whence they took their hue. Nothing was still,
Save those blue heavens. The leaves, the flowers, the grass
By the wayside were thrilling and alive
With freshness and delight. The cattle roved
Over the green hill side, and scarcely paused
To feed, but still went grazing choicely on,
For still the range of the rich growing grass
Was endless at their feet, and tempted further.
And in the woods, the pale and quiet flower
Of the anemone looked up, and caught
The sunshine gleaming down 'twixt the small leaves;
And meek primroses stole out, one by one,
From the old thorn-roots; and the violet
Sate, like a queen in royal purple robed,
Upon the dais of its broad green leaves,
That kept it from the dank and withered moss.
All things looked beautiful--the veriest weed
By the wayside had youth and vigour now,
And bore upon its head a glittering crown
Of sunshine and of rain-drops. The white clouds
Had rolled away like snow-wreaths, and the sun
Looked brightly out on all. Oh happy Spring,
How simple and how lovely are thy joys!
Like a young child sitting amidst the flowers,
Thou wreath'st thy limbs with them luxuriantly,
And sing'st from inborn joy, and liest, and look'st
In thy pure ecstasy up to the skies,
Then startest up again, and leap'st along,
O'er hills and dales, shedding those fragrant flowers
In wild profusion from thy sportive limbs.
Thou bringest back all youth into our hearts,
And we are children, dancing to thy songs,
And sharing in thy mirth. And we cast off
The hardened surface from our weary hearts,
And they come forth in freshness and in might,
Like to the eastern serpent, when he casts
His scaly coat, and bursteth out anew
In vigorous beauty. Yearly thou redeem'st
Our hearts from slavery, with thy rich wealth
Of sunshine and of flowers; and when thou art gone,
Grovelling we turn again unto our chains;
Yet still thou smilest--still unwearied comest,
And tempt'st us back again. Oh holy Spring!
Holy in innocence! thou art a type
Of God's wide charity, that faileth not,
However fails our gratitude. Thou art
An instrument of that wide charity;
He sends thee down, from thy eternal home
In heaven, to be His almoner; thou comest,
Bending beneath a burden of rich gifts,
Yet smiling as thou bendest; and where'er
Thou turn'st thy cheerful face, the sun looks out,
To answer thy sweet smile!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I AM not what I was,
My heart is withered, and my feelings wasted,
They sprung too early, like the tender grass
That by spring frost is blasted.
But thou wilt not believe
How very soon my life task will be o'er;
My heart, whose feelings never can deceive,
Is withered at its core.
I know the blight is there,
And slowly it is spreading through my youth,
And ever and anon some silvery hair
Proclaims that this is truth.
And trembles every limb,
As never trembled they in happier years;
And with a mist mine eyes are oft-times dim,
Yet not a mist of tears.
Thou dost not know, when pale
My cheek appears, that to my heart the blood
Hath rushed like lava, when some sudden gale
Of terror sweeps its flood;
And when the crimson light
Plays o'er that cheek, like lightning, seen and gone,
It is life's evening tint, that deep and bright,
Tells day is almost done.
The world! 't is nought to me!
Ambition! wherefore should it haunt me now?
Yet would I leave a gentle memory,
To dwell with every bough,
Like western sunlight ;-- flowers,
Like their own fragrance, should my memory bear
To thee, thou loved one! when at twilight hours
They scent the placid air.
O! from the laughing earth,
And all its glorious things, I could depart,
Nor wish to call one lasting image forth,
Save in thy precious heart.
Yet come not when the drear
Last hour of life is passing over me;
I cannot yield my breath if thou art near,
To bid me live for thee.
But come when I am dead;
No terror shall be pictured on my face,
I shall lie calm on my last mortal bed,
Without one passion's trace.
And come thou to my grave,--
Aye, promise that: come on some beauteous morn.
When lightly in the breeze the willows wave,
And spring's first flowers are born;
Or on some summer's eve,
When the rich snowy wreaths of cloud are turned
To crimson in the west; when waters heave,
As if they lived and burned;
Or in the solemn night,
When there's a hush upon the heavens and deep,
And all the earth lies bathed in starry light;
Oh! come thou there and weep!
Weep, but not bitter tears:
Let them be holy, silent, free from pain;--
Think of me as a bird, who many years
Was in a galling chain ;
Yet there's a change--her eyes are still
Most beautiful and bright;
But they seem, beneath their lids, to fill
With softer, tenderer light.
Her voice is sweet, and rich, and low,
And just as musical;
But 't is grown more like a river's flow,
Than a fountain's laughing fall.
Still, still she smiles as radiantly,
When friends are speaking near;
But in her smile there's less of glee,
And more of bliss sincere.
'T is not the brilliant scene around
That her quiet heart beguiles;
In her pure spirit may be found
The fountain of her smiles.
Now, ever and anon, her eye
Is fixed on vacancy,
And she seems to listen earnestly
For, 'midst the revelry,
In fancy comes an infant's wail,
Or its murmuring in its sleep;
And the splendid hall seems cold and pale,
When such visions o'er her creep.
And though the scene is very fair,
She wearies for her home,
And thinks the hour to take her there
Will never, never come!
She, who once watched the time in pain,
That would too quickly flow,--
Oh, sure she might be gayer then,
But she is happier now!
UP, on the ancient hills,
Send your voices far and wide,
Till the highest cragland thrills
With the shout of hope and pride.
Up, up, with spear and shield,
And the ringing bugle horn,
And we will down to the battle field,
Like the reaper to the corn.
Our feet again shall stand
Where our valiant fathers trod,
And we'll send this shout o'er our native land--
"For our country and our God!"
Oh little dreams the foe
Of the wild hill's hidden powers,
And little doth he know
The strength of hearts like ours.
We will pass the craggy bars
That shut us from his sight,
And out at once, like a host of stars,
From the darkness of the night;
Like the rushing of a stream,
New born from the heathery sod;
And shout, while spears and lances gleam,
"For our country and our God! "
Onward! the foeman keeps
His watch and ward in vain;
The spirit that never sleeps
Is hovering o'er the plain;
A spirit that never tires,
Oh Liberty! thou art;
And thou hast lit thine altar fires
In every true-man's heart.
For our fields so long laid waste
By the tyrant's burning rod,
For our hearths, and halls, and hearts disgraced,
"For our country and our God! "
Lo ! yonder spreads the plain,
With our dwellings scattered o'er;
But, though our path be o'er the slain,
We'll sit by their hearths once more!
For the red gold's tinsel shine,
By the tyrant they've been sold;
But we'll pay their price from a richer mine,
In a redder coin than gold.
We must make yon tall spears bow,
And yon crested helmets nod--
Farewell to caves and crags,--and now,
"For our country and our God! "
D. MARPLES, PRINTER, LIVERPOOL.