A Book of Poems.
H. S. BATTERSBY.
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This second volume of HOME LYRICS has been published since the death of the authoress, and in fulfilment of her last wishes, by her children, and is by them dedicated to the memory of the dearest of mothers, whose whole life was consecrated to their happiness and welfare and who fully reciprocated her self-denial, devotion and love.
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To the Memory of a Beloved Son who passed from Earth April 3rd, 1887
Birdies. For a Little Five Year Old
The Angel on War
A Binghampton Home
Mrs. Langtry as Miss Hardcastle in "She Stoops to Conquer"
The Shaker Girl
The Fable of the Sphynx
Up, Sisters, Morn is Breaking
Oh! I Love the Free Air of the Grand Mountain Height
To the Empress Eugenie on the Death of Her Son
A Victim to Modern Inventions
It is but an Autumn Leaflet
Written on board the S. S. "Egypt," September 5th, 1884
Roberval. A Legend of Old France
The Brooklyn Catastrophe
The Naini Tal Catastrophe
To Our Polar Explorers
To the Inconstant
"Peace with Honour"
The New Year
It is but a Faded Rosebud
A Voice from St. George's Hall
To the Museum Committee, on opening Museums on Sundays
Only a Few Links Wanting
A Painful History
To a Faithful Dog
A Welcome from Liverpool to the Queen
In Response to a Kind Gift of Flowers
To a Faithful Dog
The Centenary of a Hero
Recollections of Fontainebleau
The Tunbridge Wells Flower Show
TO THE MEMORY OF A BELOVED SON WHO PASSED FROM EARTH, APRIL 3rd, 1887.
I would gaze down the vista of past years, In fancy see to-night, A loved one passed from sight, But whose blest memory my spirit cheers.
Shrined in the sacred temple of my soul, He seems again to live, And fond affection give, His mother's heart comfort and console.
Perception of the beautiful and bright, In nature and in art, Evolved from his true heart Perpetual beams like sunshine's cheering light.
A simple unsophisticated life, With faith in action strong, And perseverance long, Made all he did with vigorous purpose rife.
Responsive to sweet sympathy's kind claim, His quick impulsive heart Loved to take active part In mirthful joy or sorrowing grief and pain.
His manly face would glow with honest glee. As with parental pride, Which he ne'er sought to hide, He fondly gazed on his loved family.
For them he crowned with industry his days; Ever they were to him The sweetest, holiest hymn Of his heart's jubilant, exultant praise.
And Oh, the tender pity of his eye. The gentle touch and word, When his fond heart was stirred To practical display of sympathy.
His true affection, manners gently gay, The kiss that seems e'en now Warm on my lips and brow, Are memories that ne'er can pass away.
Naught can e'er lessen the fond hope that we May, one day, meet above With all we dearly love, To live again in blissful unity.
* * * * *
BIRDIES. FOR A LITTLE FIVE YEAR OLD.
A tender birdie mother sat In her soft nest one day, Teaching her little fledglings, three, To gambol, sing, and play.
Dear little brood, the mother said, 'Tis time for you to fly From branch to branch, from tree to tree, And see the bright blue sky.
Chirrup, the eldest, quick replied, O yes, sweet mother mine, We'll be so glad to hop about, And see the bright sunshine.
Twitter and Downy also said, We, too, shall happy be, To bask within the sun's warm rays, And swing on branch and tree.
Well, then, the mother said, you shall, And straight the birdies all, Perched on the edge of the high nest, Beside the chestnuts tall.
Remember, said the mother bird, You must not go beyond That row of trees that skirt the edge Of the transparent pond.
For if you do you might get lost, Or drowned, and die in pain, And never to our dear home nest Return in joy again.
Well mind your orders, mother dear, And will not disagree, But do just what you tell us now, Said all the birdies three.
They hopped off on delighted wing, To the next chestnut tree, O'erjoyed and panting with delight, The great, grand world to see.
Oh! what a bright, glad scene, they cried, And what a wond'rous sky! What joy 'twould be to kiss the Sun, And be with him on high.
And I, said Downy, I should like To sail on yonder sea, And with that pretty milk-white bird, Skim o'er the waters free.
Said Twitter, you talk very large, And do not seem to know Our little wings have not yet power Beyond these trees to go.
Besides, said Chirrup, mother said We must not go beyond, But only hop and fly about The trees that skirt the pond.
But mother's gone to get us food, And she will never know, Said Downy, so upon the pond I am resolved to go.
O fie! exclaimed the birdies both, To think of such a thing, You might get harm, and on us all Sorrow and trouble bring.
Oh, I am not a bit afraid, I feel so strong and free, And will not homeward go until I float on yonder sea.
Ah, well, said both the other two, We will not go with you, Good-bye, we will not disobey Our mother kind and true.
Off went the two obedient birds, And safely reached their nest, The little birdies' happy home Of sweet delight and rest.
Meanwhile, poor naughty Downy flew From off the chestnut tree, Away towards the milk-white bird That skimmed the waters free.
But ah! his wings were much too weak To bear him all the way, And Downy fell imploring aid From loved ones far away.
But no help came. The mother bird Was far off gathering food, From perfumed clover meadows round, For her beloved brood.
And when she reached her nest and found But two birds there alone, And heard that Downy to the pond So wilfully had flown,
Her heart, so lately full of joy, Was rent with grief and pain, For fear lest she should never see Her darling bird again.
Calling upon his name she flew, In terror, far and near, From tree to pond, from pond to tree, Seeking her birdie dear.
She called; alas, no answer came To that poor mother's cry, She searched among the sweet, wild flowers, And chestnut branches high.
At length she spied a tiny speck Beside the waters clear, It was, alas, the lifeless form Of her lost Downy dear.
She drew him on the soft green grass, And chafed his lifeless form, Opened his glassy eyes and mouth, And tried his limbs to warm.
But all in vain, her darling bird Was dead, and nevermore Would he into that mother's ear, His pretty warblings pour.
Then in despair she buried him Beside the chestnut tree, And covered him with twigs and leaves, While weeping bitterly.
And then, with torn and sorrowing heart, She flew back to her home, Where Twit and Chirrup trembling staid, Disconsolate and lone.
My little birdie dears, she said, In bitterness and pain, Our darling Downy to his nest Will never come again.
His wilful disobedience To my direct commands, Has brought its own dire punishment, Such as all sin demands.
I thought I could have trusted him, For he, as you well know, Promised me very faithfully Not from these trees to go.
I want you both, my birdies dear, To learn from this to see How lying disobedience Will ever punished be.
So take a lesson from it, dears, And be resolved that you Will never disobey or lie, Whatever else you do.
O yes, we'll try our very best, Your orders to obey, And always strive to tell the truth, Whether at work or play.
Dear children who may hear this tale, You, too, should also try To do whatever you are told, And never tell a lie.
* * * * *
THE ANGEL ON WAR.
An angel spirit winging Through aerial space her flight, O'er peaceful, sleep-bound nature Thus sang one autumn night: What are those hosts advancing In legions o'er the plain, Through orchards heavy laden And fields of full-eared grain?
Eastward and westward come they Shining like gems of light, Beneath soft, silvery moonbeams Of peaceful, silent night. Surely assembled nations Are gathering for a fete Of tournament, sham fight or joist, In pride of strength elate.
Or, may be, some grand meeting On field of cloth of gold, Attracts those swarming legions A peaceful tryst to hold; For see, the steeds caparisoned In trappings rich and bright, With noble, high-bred men astride, In transports of delight!
The flower of German fatherland, In manhood's strength and pride, Press on in measured marching, By grey-haired veterans' side, And westward press the youth of France, Whose ardour none can stay, Thirsting for laurels in the tilts And contests of the day.
Emperors, with marshals, generals, And stalwart men, are there; Flushed with excitement swift they come The splendid sports to share, Doubtless each wears the colours Of some loved lady fair Whom they predict shall one day Their heart and fortunes share.
Now sable night droops kindly Into the arms of morn, Who comes to herald in the day And nature's face adorn? Heaven's soft grey eastern portals For her wide open fly, As the grand sun's golden chariot Wheels proudly through the sky.
Night's gentle Queen and star gems Withdraw their gracious sway, As the sun in rose-hued splendour Kisses to life the day. Waters like polished silver Dotting the plain like shields, Babble their morning greeting From golden, grain-crowned fields.
Then the glad light of morning Trips joyful o'er the plain, As the angel horror stricken Takes up her strain again, Alas! those hosts advancing In hot haste from afar, But yesternight so joyous, Now close in bloody war.
And, as ferocious tigers, On tasting human blood, Revel in greedy madness Amid the crimson flood, So these fierce hostile warriors, Now stained with human gore, Grow unrestrained and reckless, And fiercer than before.
The valley late so peaceful Steams with the rage of strife, Fast down the gloated furrows Flows the red stream of life. Maddened to rage and fury, Th' opposing hosts contend, And murder, ruin, carnage, death, Through the gorged plains extend.
What can be, cried the angel, The meaning of such strife, And how dare man thus rashly Trifle with human life? Can all the so-called glory, That man to man can pay, Outweigh the dire inheritance Of this unhallowed fray?
Are hearts thus drunk with life blood, And hands thus steeped in gore, Not calculated to become More brutal than before? And do not youth and manhood Deserve a better fate, Than to be rashly sacrificed To jealous greed and hate?
Thousands of glittering lances Cut through the startled air, As valiant chiefs and mighty men The blood-red carnage share. Flashes, like sunlight splendour, Gleam forth from brazen shields, And burnished arms dart back the light, O'er the blood-gorged fields.
List! said the angel, sighing, From many a ghastly mound Deep groans of torture mingle With the battle din around. What piteous cries of anguish Are those, who dying moan, That they may never more behold Their dearly loved at home!
Some of earth's best and brightest, 'Mid prospects glad and gay, Others to loved ones plighted Slaughtered and bleeding lay! Some, sons of widowed mothers Who had none else to cheer, Some, guardians of fond sisters, Many to wives most dear!
Ah! who can tell the sorrow Intailed by war's foul breath, Or gauge the dire inheritance Of all this murderous death! The sinew of their country, The hope of years to come, Cut down in prime of manhood, Buried in stranger tomb!
O sages, statesmen, rulers, Bestir yourselves and teach The nation's misled millions A higher goal to reach; Exchange for greed and murder, A reign of peace divine; Thus, elevate earth's children To brotherhood sublime!
Thus spake the gentle angel As, gathering each fond prayer, She wreathed them into garlands, Of flowerets rich and rare For Sardanapolis to plant, Where they shall ever bloom, In the eternal gardens Beyond the silent tomb.
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CHARLES OLIVES BAYLIS, M.D., M.R.C.S.,
Late Medical Officer of Health for West Kent, and formerly of Birkenhead.
DIED DECEMBER 12TH, 1884.
Broken the silver cord! the harp unstrung! And kindred hearts with grief and anguish wrung, For a beloved one from the earth hath flown Leaving his dear ones desolate and lone.
Cheerless, deserted now each empty place, So lately filled by him with radiant grace; Sad memories in each lone corner dwell, Vocal of him our torn hearts loved so well.
To feelings sympathetic and refined, He joined a well-stored, richly cultured mind, Where holy reason held her peerless sway, Dictating all he had to do and say.
Self-discipline in action, thought and deed, Was his uncompromising, glorious creed; To do to others as he would that they Should do to him, his crystal rule each day.
Dark superstition never gained his ear, Or led to slavish and debasing fear; A hater of hypocrisy in all The varied forms by which it doth enthrall.
His logical and comprehensive mind, Was marvellously gentle, loving, kind, Which gave him with his patients wonderous power, And served them well in many a trying hour.
A man of penetration, forethought, tact, Loving to solve, elucidate each fact; He firmly held to truth with friend and foe, And ne'er was known to act from greed or show.
A safe and trusted counsellor was he, And helpful, sweet companion as could be, Of such calm, chastened thought, that all he said Was fraught with wisdom, and by justice led.
His sense of duty formed the crucial test By which to rule his actions, work and rest. And his well-regulated heart and mind Were full of charity towards all mankind.
A zealous public worker in the cause Of sanitation, based on nature's laws; For fifteen years in Birkenhead and Kent, To this great end he his rare knowledge lent.
He loved his work and duties, as some love Their pleasures, and with earnest purpose strove, To prove that each right action surely brought Its blessing, as all evil misery wrought.
Entheal concord, where 'twas possible, And truth and justice made it feasible, The armour his peace-loving spirit wore, The love-crowned banner which aloft he bore.
The beautiful in nature and in art, Charmed and delighted his devoted heart, A gorgeous sunset, and a moonlit sky, Ne'er failed to captivate both mind and eye.
As circlets made by weights flung in the deep, Clear multiplying forms concentric keep, Obedient to the heavenly law sublime, Each circle forming others through all time.
So our beloved one leaves his track behind, Of multiplying circles to his kind, In the rich lessons of his well-spent life, With holy God-like teachings ever rife.
No storied marble setting forth his praise, A more enduring monument could raise, Than the productive seed which he has sown, Which chants his requiem in undying tone.
A priceless heritage he leaves behind, In the example of his well-trained mind, A blessed Aftermath! God grant that we May tune our hearts to its sweet melody.
For though the jewel casket be no more Amongst us, as in happier days of yore, The radiance of the gem it held will still Remain our lonely home and hearts to fill.
Let us then try courageously to tread, The footprints where his noble teachings led, With self-denying zeal right onward go, Striving to vanquish every inward foe.
And thus we'll hope to meet again once more Unitedly with loved ones gone before, In the divine hereafter-home above, Safe in each other's and the Father's love.
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HENRY LEWIS PROWSE,
Died at Longueuil August 2nd, 1884.
AGED 6 YEARS AND 7 MONTHS.
A fair child of promise, just nipped in the bud, To plant on heavenly shore, To bloom and expand in its love-light and peace Not dead, only gone there before!
Just six years he lived in his loved earthly home, His fond parents' joy and delight, Where his bright little spirit shed gladness around, And filled it with radiant light.
His fond little heart with affection o'erflowed, To all his beloved ones at home; Oh, think not these heavenly cords will be riven, In the spiritual land where he's gone!
Grieve not, then, fond parents, your darling is safe, In the happier realms of the blest, There waiting to welcome and join you again, In the time the Great Father finds best.
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The rink, the rink, th' entrancing rink! Come there to prove the sweet Delicious joys of exercise, In rhythmic glide of feet.
'Tis pleasure pure that all should taste For it makes the spirit gay, In graceful sylph-like movements free, O'er the smooth floor to sway.
It stirs life's pulses to a glad. Refreshing, genial flow; It paints the cheeks with roses bright, And lovely, healthful glow.
Come, then, and in enjoyment pure, With loved ones at your side, To sweet melodious music's strain, Like fairies graceful glide.
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A BINGHAMPTON HOME.
A lovely, happy, peaceful home, Within the fond embrace Of circling mountains and a stream Of calm meandering grace.
The Susquehanna's limpid flow, With the Chunango strove, And at their mild contention formed The lovely sylvan grove.
Nature smiled sweetly all around This homestead glad and bright, Which seemed peculiarly endowed With heaven's blent rainbow light.
So danced its colours through that home, As if they sought to prove Their harmony with the glad hearts That formed this shrine of love.
A tender wife refined and pure, A husband brave and true Ruled o'er this shrine of happiness, And darling children two.
Blossy, a dark-eyed, happy girl, Whom fourteen years have seen, Blooming in gentle maidenhood, As fair as e'er was seen.
And then a darling child of four, Like a fair beam of light, The household flower, who filled the home With perfume and delight.
Nice Annie, a fair, dimpled girl, Who with untiring care Strove in the home's machinery To take her loving share.
Mary, the maid, with active zeal And ever thoughtful heart. With conscientious care fulfilled Her well-directed part.
Well skilled in culinary lore, Her "graham gems" kept time With all the other household gems Which in rare grace combine.
Accept these simple words of love, Dear friends, as we now part, And guard kind thoughts of me, I pray, Within the household heart.
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MRS. LANGTRY AS MISS HARDCASTLE IN "SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER."
Like a radiant gleam of sunshine She glanced upon the sight, A being rare and lovely, With wit and beauty bright.
Moulded and fashioned finely, With tall, lithe, rounded form, And graceful mien and manner, Her beauty to adorn.
Without one graceless effort, And perfected by art, She gave a faithful rendering Of her adopted part.
Her every turn and movement Was poetry and grace, Which lent a sweet enchantment To her expressive face.
Supported splendidly by all The other artists there, Who well deserve with her, their star, The public praise to share.
Would that we had more artists As natural as she, Then might the stage a mirror Of true life prove to be.
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THE SHAKER GIRL
I met a pleasant, thoughtful girl, Fresh from a homely band Of Shaker brethren who fare well In this far Western land. I talked to her of earthly love, She answered with a sigh; I sought to know the hidden truth, And asked the reason why She would prefer a Shaker's life, Pleasant though it might be, To working in the free, grand world, Consistently and free, With household duties wooing her, And babies on her knee? She blushed a trifle, and looked shy, Confessed the truth was plain, That if "some one" should ever come And seek her love again, She would, with all her loving heart, Accept his profferred hand, And leave her Shaker friends with him, For any clime or land; But that she doubted that the love He once professed was o'er, And that she feared that it for her Was quenched for evermore; And so she guessed she'd best return To her calm Shaker home, And curb the feelings of her heart, And never seek to roam. O Shaker maiden, pause, I pray, Take further earnest thought, Nor stay the longings of your heart, With heaven-born nature fraught Duties there are on every side, Awaiting willing hands, All unrestricted, unconfined By any creeds or lands. Sweet ties of home are holier far, Spontaneous acts more true, Than any Shaker work ordained For man to struggle through.
* * * * *
O palace of marvellous beauty and light, Like a shrine of enchantment thou art to the sight, As sparkling with pride 'neath the sun's fond caress, Thou blushest with love's conscious joyful excess.
Ten thousand bright jewels, from Neptune's realm won, Compose thy weird structure, where daily the sun And nightly the Moon in turn sparklingly play Through each lunar ripple and bright solar ray.
Like some ancient temple upreared to the sun, As chaste as a bride—and as pure as a nun, Result of stern winter's imperious commands, Fitting tribute to it in these northern lands.
Thy empire, O ice king, is stern and severe, But it has rare pleasures which all hold most dear. We, our winter pastimes to greet thee convoke, And the goddess of health with thee daily invoke.
In gleeful assemblage we now celebrate Thy reign, through tobogganing, snow-shoes, and skate, In sliding along to the sleigh-bells' blithe sound, O'er rivers, and meadows, and snow-mantled ground.
Then hurrah for the Palace, the ice king, the snow; Around them let mirth and hilarity flow, Hurrah for our Governor, country, and main, And God bless our loved Queen, and long may she reign.
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THE FABLE OF THE SPHYNX
Facts gathered from a lecture by George Chainey, of Boston, U.S.
Oh! the image and the fable of the Sphynx! What lessons do they teach, What sermons do they preach Of the riddle and the mystery of life!
'Tis a union of brute force and love sublime. A female face and head To a lioness form are wed, Embodying strength and purity divine.
The lioness, a symbol of wild might; The peerless head and face, And bust of female grace, Are types of pure affection and delight.
In each one lies this dual element: Leonine cruelty, That well might master be, If not o'er-ruled by strict fidelity.
And the all-powerful conquering light of love, Which, blessing those who give No less than who receive, Makes bliss on earth, as God's laws clearly prove.
In crowning thus the Sphynx with love's sweet worth, We have for us the old, Sweet gospel ever told That love in peerless might should rule the world.
Shall then our path o'er life's uncertain way Be led by a true heart, Acting pure love's kind part, Or by fierce guidance of a beast of prey?
To what heroic heights mortals may climb, Humanity to serve, With loving heart and nerve, Are seen in Buddha, and in Florence Nightingale.
And to what depths of leonine lust and crime A cruel man may go, Scattering fear, ruin, woe, Witness fierce Nero and Caligula!
In each these possible heights and depths betide, All, then, may freely choose, None can the choice refuse, Between the higher and the lower guide.
Where selfishness and unchecked passions stray As ruling motives sole, To reach a tinselled goal, There crouches the ferocious beast of prey.
Shall life to us be crowned with blessings sure, As noblest woman's life, Harmonious 'mid all strife, Or blurred with bestial appetites impure?
Surely the answer should be prompt and plain, That we, at any cost, Will not be so far lost As to permit the beast o'er love to reign.
The purport of the dual female form, Shrines the grand truth, that Might Should bravely nourish Right, Life's checkered pathway sweetly to adorn.
'Tis said the Sphynx in ancient Afric' stood Upon the great highway, Beckoning all to stay, Who passed, to guess life's riddle if they could,
Which if they failed in, she devoured them there, As she believed that they Who would not learn life's way, Were not entitled its best joys to share.
But Oedipus, a wiser man than most Passing, the riddle guessed, That gave the Sphynx sweet rest, And forthwith she descended from her post.
Knowing her secret, once devined, would be Learned by all thinkers, then Proclaimed by them to men, Her mission o'er, she vanished 'neath the sea.
The axiom of "Man, know thyself" is worth The pains it costs to learn, E'en through long labours stern, Since 'tis the key that opes rich joys on earth.
Pure knowledge entereth through struggles fierce, And only to the few Who sternly seek the true, Is given to solve the mystery of the Sphynx.
* * * * *
UP, SISTERS, MORN IS BREAKING.
Up, sisters! morn is breaking Over the mountains grey, As, borne on silvered pinions, She ushers in the day.
She comes, and at her bidding The empress of the night, And starry hosts of heaven, Veil their supernal light.
Scarce has their empire ended, O'er the awakening earth, When morning, fresh and joyous, With dewdrops clad comes forth.
And now the great sun's chariot, Led by the rosy hours, Sweeps through the heavens proudly, And o'er fond nature towers.
The grand, majestic sun-god, Pavilioned is on high, And throned in golden splendour He reigns o'er earth and sky.
Dispersing gloom and sadness, Giving to all new birth, Dispensing light and gladness, O'er the rejoicing earth.
Up, then, fair sisters, early His call from sleep obey, His first sweet healthful teachings Will sanctify the day.
Inhale his breath delicious, Its freshness health bestows; It tints the cheeks with colours Of Persia's lovely rose.
Up, then, at nature's bidding, Over the hills away, With freshened pulses glowing, To hail the King of Day.
* * * * *
OH! I LOVE THE FREE AIR OF THE GRAND MOUNTAIN HEIGHT.
Oh! I love the free air of the grand mountain height, In its freshness new vigour I find, It makes life's warm pulses throb high with delight, And stimulates body and mind.
Its freedom inspires happy thought and desire, And the heart cannot fail to rejoice, As it makes the glad spirit receptive and quick To translate nature's eloquent voice.
The sun-illumed firmament royally decked In pearly-tinged cloudlets of grey, Framed in exquisite clearness of deep tender blue, Fit throne for the Monarch of day!
The city below lies in tranquil repose, Betraying no symptom of life, Ah! who could suppose at this distance that it Could be moved by dissension and strife!
For it lies like an innocent, slumbering babe In the fold of a fond mother's breast, Between the fair river that kisses its feet, And the mountain in well-guarded rest.
Then o'er the St. Lawrence and spanning its flow, Is Stephenson's triumph of skill, The grand bridge that laughs at a kingdom of ice, Which essays its stern ramparts to kill.
And there like an emerald shrined in mid stream, Is St. Helen's bright islet of grace, Whose trees on the river's soft waters, delight To mirror their beautiful face.
Then hurrah! for the mountain, the islet and bridge, And fair Montreal in their midst, With her clear sun-lit skies, that bring blessing and health, For few pleasanter cities exist.
* * * * *
Behold a miracle! the eastern sky Is whispering of a new creation nigh, As the fair dawn, with love-born joy and pride, Is gently opening day's grand portals wide.
And see her rosy sisters tripping o'er Land, sea and mountain, lake and pebbly shore, Spreading th' entrancing tidings, near and far, Of the sun's advent in his golden car.
And now through lustrous, glad, effulgent sheen, God's presence manifest to man is seen, As the majestic herald of his love Enthrones himself in matchless pomp above.
And see, each rippling streamlet, mount and sod Obeys the mandate sent to it from God, To do the work to each by Heaven assigned, And in its due performance joy to find.
With joy extatic all creation springs To glad new life each his anthem sings To the sun-god's Creator and upraise Their thrilling melodies of morning praise.
Have ye e'er heard it echoed through the woods By birds and insects, mountain, streams and floods? Then, say, do man's best efforts match the song Of that harmonious, grateful, fervent throng?
Renewed and glad the denizens of earth Obey the will of Him who calls them forth: Obedience makes all labour doubly sweet, And victory crowns the race with willing feet.
The great sun never wavers from his line Of duty, in his gracious work sublime, His grand example perfect is, as when The Everlasting first created men.
Symbol he is of the Great Father's power, Discoursing of it every passing hour, As calling to new life each germ and seed, He teaches earth to bring forth what men need.
Streams, plants and insects, animals and earth Fulfil the role assigned to them at birth; Soft, gentle showers in cooling streams descend O'er verdant nature freshened joy to lend.
Planets and stars obey the law divine, And in the pre-concerted plan combine. To do this bidding who in ether placed Their glorious orbs, and their grand circles traced.
And think ye mortals that a God so great Could be unmindful of our mortal state? Ah, no, His grand unchanging laws apply To every living creature equally.
There's not a denizen of earth, sky, sod, But bears some message to us from our God; The changeless laws of earth and firmament Are with deep truths and glorious lessons blent.
The Great Eternal, ruler of the earth, Formed laws immutable for it at birth; Charging the realm of nature to befriend, The race for whom he formed it, to life's end.
Grand proofs of His great love through it are found, By those who seek them, and rich joys abound For all who learn themselves, and the blest will Of the Creator lovingly fulfil.
* * * * *
Immortal love! what power is thine, To quicken and inspire! Fabled Prometheus well might dare To steal from heaven such fire. For 'tis a beacon light to guide To rapturous joy and peace, In this our present earthly home, And where all sorrows cease.
Thy subtle fire electrical, In word, look, touch or kiss, Thrills through our being to invoke Responsive mutual bliss. Once moved by this Herculean power, What cannot mortals dare? Dangers else insurmountable, They with impressment share.
Nothing on earth e'er nerved the arm Of knight or warrior bold, Like love of country, home, and heaven, In the brave days of old. No matter what man's form of words, Uttered or written down, If thy incisive, quickening spell, Does not their labour crown.
And still thou reign'st supremely fair, In homes and battle fields, And his the arm victorious, Who thy grand armour wields. For they who with untiring zeal, Thy heart-fires ceaseless feed, Know their supernal warmth alone, Can meet man's highest need.
But hearts e'en at the altar pledged Oft seek for love in vain, And hungering souls are doomed to starve, In freezing, cold disdain. Ah, why should mortals thus refuse To wield that grace divine, The chief of the blest three that heaven Gives to make life sublime.
Some make a grave mistake, and seek Pity beyond their home; No friend or relative on earth Should counsel thus to roam. Others have cultivated minds, Are leaders in high art, Whilst in the little things of life, They take no kindly part.
And yet if we investigate, It is these little things, Which make up human happiness, And lasting pleasure brings. And tastes objectionable oft, May on life's harp-strings jar, Producing irritation And much domestic war.
The little word in the right place, The gentle touches, tones, The watchful loving sympathy, Which for so much atones, Are potent means which moral force Finds it the best to wield, For 'neath their mystic influence, Most hearts are bound to yield.
Oh! for this love that conquers self, That binds us to our kind, That raises us to heaven and God, And purifies the mind! Ecstatic, sweet, rekindling power, Bright altar-fire sublime, Most precious gift to mortals given, That will outlive all time.
The Rubicon is past when wed, And there is no retreat, Brave hearts should then accept the lot, Which none but they can meet. 'Tis always wise and safe to choose The heaven directed course Of ruling by all-conquering love, Than by the rod of force.
Let home be made a sacred shrine, The best, most cherished spot, All others then will surely be Deserted and forgot. Each should uphold the other self, Before the world's keen sight; In thus upholding, each will keep His honour doubly bright.
Like Graecian vestals who of yore Believed no duty higher Than tending night and day the flame Of the celestial fire, So let the broad world's denizens Foster this heart-fire bright, Which can their pilgrimage on earth Illume with glorious light.
Domestic bliss, how beautiful! No idol is so fair. Set in the royalty of love, What can with it compare? Models of virtue are the homes Where this blest power holds sway, Where parents' words suffice to move Their offspring to obey.
I know of such a happy home, Where love-signs rarely cease, And 'tis in very truth a throne Of harmony and peace. Nature's grand law of order there, Reigns with exactness sure The wheels of time glide smoothly through An atmosphere so pure.
A group of healthy children six Their happy parents meet, For breakfast where food, simple, pure, Their hungry senses greet. Those budding blossoms of the home With joy-lit life appear, A daily morning glory they, So neat, clean, trim and dear.
No wonder if the father's soul, Worships his darling bride, No wonder if his manly heart, Swells with delighted pride: For does she not make home a shrine, Where love and duty vie To honour, through her peerless love, Their holy marriage tie?
He daily leaves his happy home, Next heaven the holiest place, Strengthened by her sweet words and kiss, For action in life's race. And she through all her daily rounds, Thinks foremost of the one, Who no less now than years ago, Her steadfast love has won.
God bless them in their happy home! God bless their children nine! And may they through a peaceful life, Ever in love combine, To aid and cheer each other here, And when this life is past, Be reunited in that life Which will for ever last.
Such homes of cheerful industry, Of order, thrift and care, Sweetly reflect on those whose minds, Their thrice blest precincts share. And since 'tis in the reach of most To make a home like this. What pity that e'en one refuse To win such priceless bliss.
People there are who ceaseless moan, Their hard and cruel fate, Yet never see their course is wrong, Until alas! too late; To such the axiom I'd repeat, That 'tis God's righteous will, To help all those who help themselves, Life's duties to fulfil.
'Tis written upon every life With which we mingle here, And throughout nature's wide domain It also doth appear, That all unchanging are God's laws, Their consequences sure; That as we choose to sow we reap, Fruit holy or impure.
Trace the effects of idleness, Extravagance and play, Of self-indulgence, vice and pride, And then reflecting say, It was not stern Nemesis' part, To punish each, as cause Of retribution to himself For breaking nature's laws.
Let all, then, bravely conquer self, And use the means which heaven Has placed within the reach of each, Life's sorriest state to leaven. Industry, perseverance, thrift, Love, honesty and skill, Will aid the weakest in their work, Life's duties to fulfil.
All-conquering, grand, unselfish love! Nought can withstand the power Of thy divine, o'ermastering force, To man heaven's richest dower. All know who own thy sovereign sway, No wealth can equal thine, Inspiring and constraining each, To sacrifice sublime!
* * * * *
TO THE EMPRESS EUGENIE ON THE DEATH OF HER SON.
If sympathy can soften a mourner's poignant woe, And stay the bitter tear drops that from her sad eyes flow, Then take it, honoured Empress, from the land of thy retreat, Where hearts in bitter anguish with thine now sorrowing beat.
Alas, we cannot fathom the mysteries of doom, Which set its mark upon a life brilliant in youthful bloom, Full of undaunted ardour, and eager for that strife That robbed the sorrowing mother of his most precious life.
Ah, who can help recalling, and who the fervour tell, Of his bright words on parting in that sad but brave farewell, With bounding heart hope-laden and holy ardour fraught, Scorning all fear and danger, as by thy wisdom taught.
Think, mourner, of thy darling as safe within heaven's fold, Crowned with a victor's chaplet within the gates of gold, His young, bright, earnest spirit happy on yonder shore, Where you will be in God's own time united evermore.
A crown of earthly splendour might have enwreathed his brow, But could that weigh 'gainst glory with which 'tis radiant now? Would'st thou exchange the latter for all earth's gaud and glare? No, sad one, thou would'st rather in God's time join him there.
Far from all warring tumult, in peaceful joy above, Safe in the tender keeping of everlasting love; Think of him thus for ever in the dear Father's care, And say would'st thou recall him, earth's proudest throne to share?
Only a few swift time-strokes to make up life's brief day, Only some few more pulse-beats till we, too, pass away; There in the bright hereafter with great exceeding joy, There, never to be parted, thou wilt rejoin thy boy.
* * * * *
Science! thou mirror of celestial type Wherein e'en mortals may discerning see, If they with steady perseverance seek, The will and purpose of Deity.
By the effulgence of Thy affluent light Men learn the hidden mysteries of earth, Unlock the secrets of the starry heavens And solve the problem of each dewdrop's birth.
Thou art the magic key that opens wide Sources of knowledge, beauty, wealth and grace, Which teach man how to help his brother man, And benefit and elevate the race.
Beneath thy guidance men have found the stone Philosophers long sought but rarely found, Whose lesson is that the Great God helps those Who feel to help themselves and others bound.
What blest results are following in thy train, To physical as well as mental wealth, Through sanitation, in its myriad forms, By which it now promotes the nation's health.
Well regulated physical as mental work Opens rich sources of enjoyment sweet; And mind and body strengthened, thus delight New difficulties to withstand and greet.
Few know how strengthening is resisting power, In mind and body as in physics too, And what accumulating force it lends To man his life work daily to renew.
The richest happiness comes from within, From duties well accomplished blessings flow, And precious fruits of action, thought and deed That will not give rude switch grass place to grow.
Thou teachest that a form to be a square Must have its lines of length, breadth, depth, exact, Without the least divergence right or left, And with its due proportions clear, compact.
What helpful lessons might not this form teach, If testing thus the lines of motives, thought, Which make the sum of action square or false, Each would discern the application taught.
When truth as the soul's standard is set up, Making the inner life exact and square, With love to God producing love, to all, What will not man for man and duty dare?
True brotherhood consists in making each, As far as may be, just another self; The priceless sequence of such action would Exceed the greatest riches men call wealth.
Then might the blest commandment, do to all As to ourselves we would that they should do, Flow as a natural sequence, and such act Would bring its own reward and comfort, too.
For truest happiness is known to those Who learn to know themselves through struggles brave. Such conquerors steer serenely o'er the calm, Clear sea of life, as o'er its troubled wave.
Knowing that the Great Father wills that man Should, through much strife and suffering win that prize, Whose precious fruits of knowledge wait for all Who use full well each moment as it flies.
Then let us strive to form each thought, word, deed, On the exact, undeviating square, Seeking to learn and discipline ourselves, And win rewards which all who will may share.
* * * * *
Dear, happy Christmas! once again We joy to welcome thee, With all thy glad surroundings, grouped For world-wide jubilee.
We'll crown thy peace-illumined brow With holly burnished bright, Entwined with glowing crimson buds, And mystic berries white.
Then the sly bough of mistletoe We must not, cannot miss, For, privileged beneath its shade, We hope for many a kiss.
Kisses of joy from those we love, Kisses of pardon, too, That chase all anger from the heart, And feelings seared renew.
E'en as the song of peace on earth Flows lovingly from heaven, Should men forgive their foes, as they Expect to be forgiven—
Burying all painful bygones deep, Far out of thought and sight, Sweet peace possessing, reconciled, In new love-bonds unite.
And round the merry Christmas board Pledges of good-will give, That they can, once a year, at least, Old grudges quite forgive.
And let the poor, the blind, the maimed Be kindly feted, too; In blessing others all are bathed In blessings rich and new.
Thus, peace-proclaiming, loving friend, Time-honoured Christmas dear, Thou wilt, indeed, have well fulfilled Thy love-fraught mission here.
* * * * *
A VICTIM TO MODERN INVENTIONS.
(Founded on a tale which appeared in Chambers' Journal, 4th series, No. 630, Saturday, January 22nd, 1876, page 69.)
Since quite a boy Hal Gradient had been Noted for ingenuity—between The hours when not on active duty he Immersed in some new scheme was sure to be; So, by the age of twenty-five he grew Absorbed in plans, constructive, rare and new. We both in engineering works were then, On contract work engaged in France, when He the gratifying news received, That some unknown rich relative had died, Leaving him sole executor and heir To an estate both lucrative and fair.
Prior to leaving for his native land, He said to me, Now, Mark, my friend, you understand, I shall expect to see you at my home As soon as your engagement here is done; And such a home, my boy, as you shall see, You cannot well conceive what it may be, For I intend to exercise my skill, Its precincts with inventions new to fill, And have things so arranged that work and time Shall reap rich harvests in their course sublime.
Time passed; my contract done, I hastened home, Unwilling longer from its joys to roam, When Harry, hearing that I had returned, To have me by him with impatience burned; So, to his pressing lines that I should pay A visit to his country home next day, I cordially assented, for I, too, Was anxious our prized friendship to renew.
Descending at the station I espied The dear old boy, with dog-cart at his side, Waiting to welcome me with heart and hand, To all we prize most in our native land; For howsoe'er or wheresoe'er we roam, We find no joys like those of home, sweet home!
We bowled along the pleasant country lanes, By wooded heights and blossom-covered plains. See! said he, there's my house among the trees, Sheltered, yet open to the southern breeze. In that beyond, with other two, you see, Whose grounds close round my own so pleasantly, Live valued friends of whom I never tire; With each abode a telegraphic wire Communicates, so, when we feel inclined For whist or billiards, after we have dined We telegraph to fix the time and place, And oft arrange a meet for hunt and chase, Which is convenient, as you soon will see, And makes us like one social family.
Just then arriving at the gate hard by, I will descend and open it, said I; Sit still, said Harry, when without a word, The gate seemed opened of its own accord. Hallo, that's "open, Sesame," I said, How is it done? to which Hal answer made: Why, don't you see; I've placed across the path A narrow gutter like a shallow bath, And when we stop the wheels press on it, so It slightly sinks, and forces cranks to go, These then force back the gate until we've passed, Whilst others set it free and close it fast. Well, now that is convenient, I cried, Yes, and saves lodge and keeper, he replied.
Arriving at the house, the groom we found And waitress at the door, for the clear sound From two electric wires pressed by the cart In passing through the gate, had sent a dart Of electricity that rang a bell, To man and maid of our approach to tell.
Hal's sister met us in the entrance hall, A lady of a certain age, erect and tall, Whose bearing was, to say the least, severe, One not just suited hearts to win and cheer; She eyed me in a curious sort of way, And then, with haughty mien, she went away.
I noticed as I hung up coat and hat, A sort of cage, and said to Hal, what's that? 'Tis my automaton machine, he said, For brushing thoroughly from heels to head; I will explain: a platform there below On which you step, makes wheels and levers go, In fact, your weight the motive power supplies, On which the action of the whole relies, Those arms with brushes then revolving wheel, And from your clothes the dust adroitly steal, Whilst overhead another like machine Is also placed your hat to smooth and clean; Observe it, like a hat box cleft in twain, With bristled, lever-working jaws that claim Your hat within their grasp, so for the nonce You've trowsers, coat and hat all brushed at once. A very curious contrivance; how I'd like to see it set in action now. That you shall do, said he, and stepping in Upon the little platform neat and trim, The numerous brushes vigorously spun Some fifteen times, and then their work was done. There, shouted Harry, what d'ye think of that? Jump in and try, but don't forget your hat, For if you do you'll bitterly repent, And have good reason, too, for discontent. No, not just now, some other day, said I, Feeling a bit too nervous then to try. Excuse me, then, a moment while I seek My sister, for to her I wish to speak. Hal had no sooner left, than as I stood Before the strange machine, I thought I would Venture to test it then when none were by To chaff if I should chance to bolt or cry, So, stepping boldly in, the brushes ran, And their appointed active work began, And that they did it well there is no doubt, But having rashly bent one elbow out, Its funny bone was rapped, which made me shout, Then, horrors! the hat brushes wheeled about, I had forgot my hat, so they instead Most unceremoniously seized my head! The horrid thing whirled round at frightful pace, Stripping, it seemed, all skin off nose and face. I tried to stoop, escape from it to find, But only got distracting blows behind, Soothing the part affected not the less; I felt abused, insulted, I confess. The hateful thing, however, stopped at last, And springing to the floor I cast Bewildered and distrustful glances round When, like an added insult, there I found Harry convulsed with laughter at my side, Which nettled my already wounded pride. My anger was extreme on rushing out With one loved whisker curled my ear about, The other brushed across my face; my hair All twisted in a vortex of despair; I felt unable to express my rage At his so vaunted but abusive cage. 'Tis an infernal, demon-formed machine, Shrieked I to Hal, as ever yet was seen, He only roared with laughter as he sat, Saying, 'twas so because you had no hat, You know I charged you to remember that. I tried to laugh but 'twas of little use After such diabolical abuse, But calming down at last I cheerful rose, Wishful, in private, to survey my nose, To see if any skin were left there now, And what the state of my disordered brow. So, hastening to my room with Hal, I found All there so cosily arranged around, That in my admiration I forgot The consequences of my ill-starred lot Why, what a jolly room, to him I said Yes, and you see that second little bed. If you are nervous, or should like me to, As when in France, I'll sleep in it by you. O no, in England I can have no fear, As in the old times when you were not near. All right, old boy, but stay, before I go I'll light the gas, and I must let you know 'Tis done by electricity, through aid Of batteries in the basement; I've wires laid All through the house—now see this knob I touch Causes two wires in contact swift to rush, Then an electro magnet turns the stop, At the same moment sparks from out them hop, The gas is thus ignited—'tis not all, You see along the ceiling, down that wall, On either side the gas jet placed, a bar. Each of a different metal, one has far More power than has the other to expand When hot, which makes it bend, you understand, In doing so it acts upon a rod And lever, under whose constraining nod A catch which holds the shutters is set free, And with a spring they close to instantly.
The metal, as he touched it, heated grew, And, as by magic, shutters were closed to. 'Tis very cleverly arranged, I say, But here's a knob marked with the letter A; What is its use? This A stands for alarm, When pressed in case of fire or threatened harm, A large alarum placed above the roof, Soon to the neighbours gives convincing proof; We won't try that just now as its sound, would Undoubtedly alarm the neighbourhood. But see, in this recess with curtained way Is a self-acting shower-bath that you may Try in the morning if you're so inclined. There's just one more contrivance yet I find That I must show you; by your bed side stands A nest of speaking tubes; this one commands My bedroom, number two, my sister's, and The third, Jane's room; this last, you understand, Might be convenient should you e'er require, If ill, an early cup of tea, or fire. Is Jane the pretty housemaid? I reply, She is, you sly boy, but she's coy and shy. Harry, I thought you'd known me better to—— All right, old boy, I was but joking you. Harry now left. When dressed for dinner I Resolved tube numbered one at once to try, I blew the whistle, from the other end Hallo, was quickly answered by my friend. I'm waiting to go down, will you be long? I'm ready now, came mellowly along, And so we met upon the landing soon, And joined the ladies in the drawing-room. A charming little dinner o'er, and then The ladies left and we were chatting when A bell was rung; Hallo, that's Pool, Hal cried; What does he want, I wonder, quick replied His friend by numerous clicks. He wants to know If we will sup with him. Mark, will you go? I've no objection; click, click, click soon sent The answer to his friend, and off we went.
On our return Hal showed me many more Of his inventions, of which he'd a store, Till my bewildered and distracted head Was fairly dazed, so I escaped to bed, But not, alas, to sleep; th' exciting day Had been too much for my poor nerves; I lay Tossing and restless, could not sleep at all, So thought I'd summon Harry to my call, As he'd suggested, and we had agreed That I should do in case of urgent need. I seized the tube, blew through it lustily. Well, soon was answered through it sleepily. I cannot get to sleep, I wish you'd come To me, or have me with you in your room; I'd rather of the two that you'd come here, As you proposed, in case of need or fear. As I proposed! you base, abandoned wretch, Repeat those words and I'll my brother fetch. Horror of horrors! the wrong tube I'd grasped, And to Miss Gradient had been talking fast. What should I do? I tried, but all in vain, Th' unlucky error meekly to explain. Dear madame, I assure you on my word, 'Twas a mistake, but no response was heard; 'Twas clear she'd hear no more I had to say, However I might for forgiveness pray, So, putting in the whistle, on the bed I once more settled my distracted head. The bare idea of my speaking so To that old lady was an awful blow; How could I meet her at the breakfast? how Sustain the anger of that rigid brow? At last I made a desperate resolve To wake up Hal, the mystery to solve, So, quickly seizing the next tube o'erhead, Oh! I have made a great mistake, I said, I wanted you to come and sleep by me, But, seizing the wrong tube, unluckily I asked Miss Gradient to come instead Of you; pray come to me at once, I said, Or I shall try to find you, quickly too; I'm dying something to explain to you. The answer almost drove me wild with pain, 'Twas in a quick, sharp, female voice again, But not Miss Gradient's evidently now, 'Twas Jane's, the pretty housemaid's: how— How dare you, Sir! I'd have you know, young man, That I'm an honest girl, and scorn your plan, And if you dare to come you can't get in, For cook has double locked the door within. My dear girl, I assure you, I commenced— I ain't your dear girl, then said Jane, incensed, 'Tis no use talking any more to-night, With curl papers I'll stop the plug up tight, And in the morning, to your cost, you'll see I will expose your conduct thoroughly. Another awful error—what a scrape I found myself within, and how escape? I threw myself once more upon the bed, Great drops of perspiration on my head, Feeling bewildered, destitute of hope, With such a series of mishaps to cope. If those fast bolted shutters had not been So firmly closed, I might have had a gleam Of the blest early dawn, but I will try, Thought I, to open them; then by and bye I'll dress and go to Harry to explain, Before he meets his sister or sees Jane. I felt my way then cautiously along, Quite nervous, lest I should again go wrong. The window was a bow one—on I passed, Still groping onward, till I cried at last, Ah! here it is, this is the curtain slide; I passed within, when—how shall I describe My woeful plight? I screamed and yelled with pain, My feelings to describe, alas! 'twere vain, In the self-acting shower bath I had stepped. And in a torrent its freed waters leapt On my distracted form, with deafening sound, Which sent me stunned and spinning to the ground In painful and undignified surprise; The curtains having deadened the wild cries, Wrung from me under such enforced surprise, No one had been aware of my sad plight. As dripping, shivering with the sudden fright, I drew my wet clothes off and felt my way For dry ones, longing for the light of day, As longs some sun-struck traveller, from whose sight A momentary shock obscures the light. The darkness so oppressive and intense Seemed round me an impenetrable fence, As well to physical as mental view, Deadening the intellect and reason too. I could not long the awful state endure, So making a great effort to secure A calmer mood, by sad experience taught, Why, what a fool I've been, at length I thought, To have forgotten like an arrant dunce I've but to press the knob to have at once The gas jet lit; so groping bit by bit, I reached it, pushed the knob, but no gas lit; Terrific noise above I heard instead, I'd set th' alarum crashing overhead! What should I do? the neighbourhood would be Aroused, and perhaps as terrified as me. I'd no idea how to stop the thing Which now distractingly began to ring. I'd rush to Harry; ah, he'd heard the crash, And to my room now rushed with hurried dash; Why, what on earth's the matter, quickly tell? Nothing but that abominable bell. I wished to light the gas, the wrong knob pushed; There, Harry said, I've stopped it, and off rushed To satisfy the neighbours who were now Ringing t' inquire th' occasion of the row. He soon returned, saying he'd telegraphed To tell of the mistake, and then he laughed, Lighted my gas, and quickly went to bed, As he, like me, was chilled from heels to head. Alas! my friend was gone ere I'd the power T' explain the contretemps of that sad hour. To get away was now my only thought, But then this all-important step was fraught With seen and unseen dangers everywhere, Suppose I met Miss Gradient on the stair, Or Jane—for this I candidly confess I did not the required aplomb possess. Besides I dreaded now to rouse the house; No, I would dress, then wait, still as a mouse, For early dawn, a note to Harry write, Which would my wronged position soon make right. Yes, I would go before the servants were, Or any of the family, astir. Consulting Bradshaw, then, I found a train Arranged to leave at six—could I but gain The station by that hour, how happy I Should be. I soon resolved to try. I dressed at once, my letter with sad heart Placed on the table, and prepared to start. Opening the door I crept out cautiously, With boots in hand down stairs quite noiselessly; Arriving in the hall I put them on, But found the front door locked and the key gone! Confound it! what on earth was I to do? I'd try the kitchen entrance to get through; Steering in that direction, on I went, To find some egress resolutely bent; Coming to baize-clad folding doors at length, I turned the handle, pushed with all my strength. Then, Murder! Thieves! and Fire! I shouted loud, For tightly clasped in writhing pain I bowed Within the thief trap, where I had been caught, Which Harry had explained, but I'd forgot; The sharp, excruciating agony, From the electric current, cruelly Vibrated through me from my head to feet, Urging the goaded blood to fever heat. At last the cruel knocks and shaking ceased, And from the horrid thing I got released; I dropped bewildered on a chair hard by, With tortured body and despairing cry, And then spied Harry shivering at my side, Asking how I came there, when I replied, Why, I was going off, I gasping said, I've been most miserable since I went to bed, This is the climax, I have suffered so That I am quite determined now to go. Nonsense, said Harry, come upstairs again, I'm sorry you've been put to so much pain, But I will soon make all things right, you'll see. No, in this house I'll never happy be; I'm much obliged for all your kind intent, But am on leaving resolutely bent, For what with handles, tubes, bells, wires and such, With pipes, coils, batteries, and knobs to push, I've almost lost my head, am racked with pain, And long my own snug lodgings to regain. Well, wait at least until the men arrive, When we can to the station quickly drive, And meanwhile Jane your breakfast shall prepare. No, no, I cannot wait for Jane, I then declare, Pray let me go, or I shall miss the train; Good-bye, in town we'll shortly meet again, I've left a note to tell the reason why I felt obliged to go; again, good-bye. I'd not gone far along the path before I ventured to look back again once more. Then walking at a less excited rate I just remembered that within the gate Electric wires were laid, so, turning round. And seeing Harry still upon the ground, Cried, is there any danger at the gate? Danger, what do you mean? at any rate You're sure there're no more wires or such like thing, No coils or batteries, no more bells to ring? Oh, nothing of the kind, you need not fear, But, Frank, said Hal, come back and reason hear. I shook my head and resolutely cried, No, thank you, for that moment I espied Jane opening shutters, so I quickly pushed Aside the gate, and out exulting rushed. I breathed more freely when once fairly through, And o'er the highway to the station flew. I caught the early train and reached my home, Almost determined nevermore to roam, For what I'd suffered on that single night, Was quite enough to make me die of fright; And as I sank upon my chair I said, Thank goodness, I've no wires above my head, For as to lighting gas I'd rather stir And light it with the humble lucifer; Encounter burglar with my own strong arm, In place of man traps to create alarm; Pull at the shower bath in a Christian way, And face to face with friends my visits pay, Than have electric wires take my commands, And do the honest work of willing hands.
* * * * *
IT IS BUT AN AUTUMN LEAFLET.
It is but a bright autumn leaflet, Blown adrift from the fond parent stem, To wither and perish in silence, Like many a flowering gem; But I gathered the flame-tinted treasure, As it fluttering fell at my feet, To send to my own absent darling, Her radiant glances to greet.
It grew in the grand air of freedom, From the heart of the mountain sod, Fulfilling its destiny gladly, In cheerful obedience to God. It struggled through life well and bravely, 'Gainst wind, cruel night, frost and storm, Which gained it that bright sheen of glory, Its fond dying face to adorn.
'Tis said that the song of the bulbul, Floating sweetly through calm moonlit skies, As he sings to his dearly loved partner, Is the sweetest just ere he dies; So it seemed that the leaflet whilst dying, Was discoursing of love from its core, Which gave it a beauty and glory It had never appeared in before.
It spoke of a life in the future, Transcending the glory of this, Where hearts in harmonious concert, Would form an existence of bliss. So I gathered the love-freighted leaflet, Which brought such sweet message to me, In hopes that its heavenly language, Might be eloquent also to thee.
For I knew that the beautiful message, Came from fond nature's glorious king, So I linked it in rhythmical measure, For you, my own darling, to sing. And as your clear voice gives it utterance, Think of her who has sent it to thee, As a love-laden token and blessing, From her fond heart far over the sea.
* * * * *
WRITTEN ON BOARD THE S.S. "EGYPT," SEPTEMBER 5th, 1884.
Kind friends and passengers, we near Our destined port, in England dear, But ere we land, our thanks are due, To our skilled captain and brave crew, For having brought us safely o'er, Broad ocean from its further shore, With uniform consummate care, Beyond expression or compare.
Then, Captain Sumner and your crew, Accept our loyal thanks, most true, For steering the good ship Egypt o'er, In safety to her destined shore. Then, as is customary here, Let these thanks find expression clear, Towards sailors' orphans, who have claim On all who safely cross the main.
Then pass the broadest plate around, Let great bright coins on it resound. The claim ungrudgingly fulfil, With generous heart and right good will. Then, ere we part, let each one try To sing "Good-bye, sweetheart, good-bye," With hopes, some day, again to meet And each the other kindly greet.
* * * * *
A LEGEND OF OLD FRANCE.
Never did rosy morning Sweep o'er the skirts of night, Calm nature's face adorning, With more intense delight; Never did earth exultant Summon her offspring all, To life-work, love and duty With more inspiring call,
Than in the young spring season, Three centuries ago, When Roberval set sail from France To skim broad ocean's flow. Nobles, rich, young and restless, Statesmen and soldiers too, Women of birth, and sailors, Composed the adventurous crew.
Leaving St. Malo's harbour. They steered in Cartier's wake, For that New France which Francis hoped A source of wealth to make. For of it wondrous stories Were floating in the air, A very Paradise it seemed Of joy beyond compare.
A vast, mysterious country, Studded with gems and gold, Where virgin soil and forests grand Were girt by headlands bold. A land of beauty, where 'twas said Celestial fountains played, Whose waters made the aged young, And Time's dread havoc stayed.
Such were the thrilling stories Of ancient Florida. And of that favoured part of it Now known as Canada. France, prompted by ambition, Was on its conquest bent, Though Rome to Spain had given The whole vast continent.
To subjugate a people In wildest freedom bred, Whose trade was armed barter, To utmost hardship wed, To potent savage nations, To teach the white man's creed; This was the hardy project That France's king decreed.
Among the group of women Was Marguerite, the fair Niece of the Viceroy, Roberval, Young, lovely, debonnaire, Like gleams of summer sunshine That glorify the sea, Among the ship's companions, Her presence seemed to be.
There, too, was a young noble, Who with her left his home, Content all honours to renounce, With her he loved to roam; Together had they plighted Their vows before high heaven, To the new faith together Their pledged adhesion given.
Before their loving pastor, And Marguerite's maid, with prayer, These Huguenots in secret, To sign the contract dare, In the still hour of midnight, Whilst all were thought to be, Bound in the gyves of slumber, In that ship far out at sea.
Alas! a listening traitor, Ere waned the morning star, Prompted by hate and malice, Had spread the secret far; And Roberval rose furious, In wild ungoverned rage, Against the hated heretics, A deadly war to wage.
Fast bind the men in irons, The women thrust, he said, Into a boat with fire-arms, Some powder, meat and bread, For see! the Isle of Demons Lies close athwart our lee, And they the fit companions Of its horned fiends shall be.
The wild, infernal orgies Of these winged imps of night Yet fill the air with horror, And thrill it with affright; To these I now consign them, Quick, thrust them out to sea, And through a life of torture May they repentant be.
Thus Roberval, the Viceroy, Thundered his fierce commands, As Leon, Marguerite's husband Burst from his iron bands, Plunged headlong in the wild flood And toward the threatening shore, Swam boldly forth'—defiant Of him and ocean's roar.
The swimmer and the boat's crew Long fought for life and breath, And all appeared together Entering the jaws of death, As Roberval steered from them, Outbreathing curses loud, And imprecations furious That stout hearts chilled and cowed.
The ship receded—vanished, Leaving the wave-tossed three All valiantly contending With the belated sea. The swimmer battled fiercely, With ocean's maddening strife, As the frail women bravely Contended for dear life.
Till haply, thanks to heaven, They're saved, for see, they stand Linked heart and hand together, The three once more on land. 'Tis said infernal demons, Beset them day and night, And with their shrieks satanic Chilled them with dire affright.
But a strong hand celestial Was ever interposed, And round about them ever A viewless barrier closed. Unutterably hideous, Th' infernal brood of hell, Howling in baffled fury, Around them powerless fell.
In course of time kind heaven Gave them a baby boy, Who filled their hearts with rapture, And thrilled them to new joy, But death soon stole their treasure, Then Leon made his own The Norman nurse then summoned, And Marguerite was alone!
Alone on that dread island, In whose accursed soil Her loved ones found unhallowed rest From harrowing care and toil. Still courage never failed her, Though fettered to the sod Where hideous fiends assailed her, To try her faith in God.
Though foes came gathering round her, Appalling to the view, From upper as from nether worlds, And nearer lurking drew, Of these, grim bears were foremost, Who boldly round her close, But with her gun brave Marguerite Slew three of these fierce foes.
Thus, though most gently nurtured, This maiden rose to be A heroine undaunted On the lone isle of the sea, And Leon was a hero, Who risked fame, fortune, life, To be the sworn defender Of helpless maid and wife.
Two dreary years of warfare Had passed o'er Marguerite's head, Crowded with deeds heroic, Since she with Leon wed, When, far at sea some whalers Observed a curling smoke Rise from the haunted island, Which fear and wonder woke.
Was it the trick of demons To lure them to the shore, And lead them on to ruin, As many had been before? They thought it was, and kept aloof, Then vague surmises made. That some unhappy mortal Might need their timely aid.
So, triumphing o'er terror, They warily drew nigh, Descried a female figure Waving her signals high; Clothed in the skins of white bears, So lovely she appeared, That the brave-hearted sailors Most gladly toward her steered.
Thus Marguerite was rescued, Through a heaven-directed chance, Restored to home and country In her beloved France. 'Tis said the baffled demons At her departure fled, And never to the island Again their legions led.
Firm in her new faith, Marguerite Was a brave pioneer, Of those devoted Hugenots, To true hearts justly dear, Who, half a century after, Composed that sturdy flock, Who from the good ship May Flower Landed on Plymouth rock.
And who shall say how many This noble woman led, To break their bonds asunder, Who were to priestcraft wed? And as I close this ballad, Historically true, Learn, reader, that its heroes Toiled not in vain for you.
* * * * *
NOTE—Isles of Demons: one of two islands north-east of Newfoundland supposed to have been given over to the fiends, from whom they derive their name, variously called by Thevet Isle de Fische, Isle de Roberval, and Isle of Demons. The Isle Fichet of Sanson and the Fishot Island of some modern maps.
* * * * *
THE BROOKLYN CATASTROPHE OF DECEMBER 5TH, 1876.
Twas eve in Brooklyn, and the bracing air Of northern regions fanned the city fair, Urging life's currents to a generous flow And quick'ning nerve and pulse to joyful glow.
A touching tragedy had been installed Within the theatre, "The Orphans" called, One of the most successful dramas sage, America has placed upon the stage.
To it for peaceful recreation strayed Scores of the citizens, en fete arrayed, Some with beloved ones whom they hoped one day, Might be their partners through life's checkered way.
Others formed parties from the family group, Maidens and children in the joy of youth, Glad schoolboys taken for reward or treat, And worthless idlers sauntering from the street.
Many a fond and loving pair were there Who in each other's joys and griefs had share; Grave statesmen, merchants, all in that brief hour, Sat spell-bound by the dramatist's rare power.
When in an instant the appalling cry Of fire! fire!! fire!!! was heard resounding high; The terror-stricken crowd in blank dismay Rushed frantically towards each narrow way.
No ears had they for the brave girl who sought To counsel in that hour with horror fraught, Who cried "We are between you and the fire, Be calm, for God's sake, in this danger dire."
[Footnote: On the first alarm of fire and whilst others were escaping, Miss Kate Claxton with three other actors came bravely forward to the footlights uttering these words of passionate entreaty.]
Those nearest haply reached the narrow way, And thanking God, emerged from the affray, Whilst others stumbled, dazed with terror wild And soon in tangled heaps lay powerless piled.
In wildest proxysms of fear and pain, Each sought his giddy footing to retain, Whilst piercing cries of agonized despair, Rose through the gloomy smoke-charged stifling air.
Then suffocation, oft more merciful Than fire, its victims claimed to lull, Scared victims, gasping for that precious air, Which fire and smoke alike refused them there.
Fast hurried on the greedy tongues of fire, To make of those dread mounds a funeral pyre, As raging onward o'er their victims broke, The fearful conflict of the fire and smoke.
Dread was the scene o'er which the Fire King laughed As he his bowl of frantic pleasure quaffed, Whilst the doomed structure tottered in the girth Of his wild, bellowing, satanic mirth.
Strong men and feeble women, young and old, Statesmen, financiers, and warriors bold, Who were a short hour since elate with pride. Now charred and calcined, slumber side by side.
The fierce insatiate fire-fiend raging flew In wild demoniac rage the structure through, Tearing down rafters, hurling to the ground, Props, pillars roof-beams with appalling sound.
Oh! what a scene of strife raged wildly there, 'Mid cries for help and struggles of despair; All human efforts powerless to assuage, The greedy fire-fiend's devastating rage.
The fiery monster dashed away all trace, Of that late mimic world of beauteous grace, Swallowing in a fleet, wrathful breath of rage, All the vain baubles of the tinseled stage.
All the wild tumult has subsided now, Hushed is the pleading prayer and woe strung vow, Breathed by fond parents, brothers, husbands, wives Of near three hundred late exultant lives!
Then, as the demon's rage was well nigh spent, He o'er the drenched and trampled corses bent, Effacing as he best could, every trace Of recognition from each ghastly face.
Drunken and gorged the sated fire-fiend spread His gloomy sable shroud about the dead, And left the fort he could not longer hold Conquered by man's heroic efforts bold.
Too painful 'twould be to prolong the tale, Of that which followed, or the piteous wail Of friends bereaved, who sought with harrowing dread, To single out their loved ones from the dead.
Close we, by urging those in power to do What well becomes all rulers wise and true, To make new laws, enforced by vigorous means, To spare all repetition of such scenes.
Oft will Columbia sing to future time, Of her centennial union sublime But ever with the memorable year, Will mingle memories of this history drear.
* * * * *
THE NAINI TAL CATASTROPHE OF THE 18TH SEPTEMBER, 1880.
The morning broke with streams of welcome rain, Such as the two preceding ones had brought. Rain, that in tropic climes means life and joy To man and beast as to the thirsty soil And though the sky hung like a sable pall Over the fair oasis, nestling calm Beneath the trusted shelter of the hills, And o'er the broad lake-outlet of the floods, What cause had they to fear? 'Twas often thus, And the long wished-for rains would bring forth joy So reasoned they who, peaceful, viewed unmoved Th' outpouring of that sullen ocean cloud, When suddenly, they who had calmly felt So safe one little span of time before, Discovered in dismay the swollen floods Meant danger—that the safety of their homes. Was menaced, walls were tottering, waters rose, Sapping foundations, threatening precious life. Security was lost in maddening fear, And, panic-stricken in disordered haste And direst plight, they quit their homes, and fly To seek a refuge from the merciless, Relentless flood. On, on, they wildly rush, No matter where, so they preserve the lives Of those they dearly, passionately love. Some o'er fierce rolling streams are helped by men In mercy sent to render priceless aid, And happy they, the rescued, who escape, For scarcely had they timely refuge found, Than a huge limb of the great mountain fell, Sweeping the fair hill-side of house and land, And burying dozens of their fellow men In one uncompromising, living tomb!
Brave men with tender hearts and stalwart arms, Regardless of their lives flew quickly there. Seeking to save their fellows; but, alas! The task is useless, they are past all aid; The cold earth sepulchres their mortal frames— Still, hope's star-beacon lures the toilers on, And with stout hearts and mercy sinewed arms, They, toiling, dig, if haply they may save But one poor soul from out the piteous heap. But as they worked, their honest hearts elate With love-inspiring toil, Oh, sad to tell! Another mass, far larger than the last, Fell from the dark flood-loosened mountain side, Burying those noble men beneath the deep Dank heap, like those they fondly hoped to save.
O noble band! thy Christ-like heroism Shall be enshrined in deathless memories Outliving time; for rolling ages love To chronicle the history of brave deeds, That spur by their example other minds To acts of heroism such as thine!
Oh! fearful was that avalanche of earth, That in its fury, e'en with lightning speed, Swept to eternity such precious freight! Strong men in the proud glory of life's prime, Women in joyful trustfulness of love With little children in full bloom of life; All in the twinkling of an eye cut down, In that rude harvest of the tyrant Death!
Now the late lovely valley, Naini Tal Stands as a witness of the frailty Of human strength 'gainst the o'erwhelming might Of forces, which the All Mighty only guides; Proving, that great as oftimes is man's force, It is as nothing, when the elements Proclaim Him monarch of all power and might, In language for the world to comprehend.
* * * * *
TO OUR POLAR EXPLORERS.
Now, welcome home, ye valiant band, By science lured to roam, Thrice welcome to your native land, To Britain's hearth and home; For ye have conquered many a foe, And vanquished many a fear, Since in your country's name ye sailed So bravely forth last year.
Then many a fervent "Good speed ye" Was wafted from the land, That blent with blessings from the ships, For those left on the strand. Hope streaming through each hot tear formed Rainbows of promise sweet, To comfort each lone sundered heart, Till blest again to meet.
But eighteen months have passed away Since those farewells were breathed, And ye've accomplished what was wished Without a sword unsheathed. And with her royal chaplets light Of honour and renown, Your brows of manly fortitude Britain delights to crown.
Ye've had the courage, nerve, and skill, To do, and bravely dare, That which none other save yourselves Have had the joy to share. In penetrating furthest yet, Into that region lone, Where grim uncompromising ice Girdles the Polar Zone.
"The sea of ancient ice," henceforth Inscribed on the world's chart, Though never of that world to be A sympathetic part; Since mighty floating fortresses, With adamantine towers, Form everlasting barriers grim, That mock man's feebler powers.
Heroic Nares! Commander bold Of the well-ordered band, Accept with thy intrepid crews, Thanks from thy native land, For having with determined zeal, Reached a much longed-for goal, And solved the mystery that veiled The regions of the Pole.
Thus proving inacessible The ice-ribbed polar sea, Ye've earned your laurels valiantly, Still it is well that we Join ye in rendering fervent thanks, To the Supreme above, For safe return in joyous health, To country, home and love.
* * * * *
TO THE INCONSTANT.
Oh! what a change since last we met, when thou wert all my own, And love dictated every word, and sweetened every tone. Cold and repelling was the gaze that rested on the one Whose heart's devotion, true as steel, thy treachery had won. Who could have thought that vows exchanged before the God of heaven, And pledged so solemnly, could be so soon, so rudely riven? But, false one, I fling back to thee thy hollow, withering gaze, And spurn thee in the bitterest tones my scorn-strung voice can raise.
* * * * *
Arise, ye valiant warrior hosts, arise! Now, in the flush of victory, pierce the skies With grateful outbursts of exultant praise. Such as victorious hosts alone can raise,
To the great God of nations, Lord of lords, Who in your pride of conquests sheathes your swords, And claims your rapturous homage from afar, For all the brilliant exploits of the war.
Let the majestic paeans heavenward sent, Be with united voice of Britain blent; Like measured thunders the grand anthem swell, A nation's fervent gratitude to tell.
And yet another strain of prayer outpour For the lamented victims of the war. And for our Queen, who now delights to crown Her brave commanders with deserved renown.
God bless these mighty men of mind and power, Who led the well-trained hosts in war's dread hour, Crushing rebellion, bidding rapine cease; Then, with heroic valour, courting peace.
And as each soul is heavenward winged to raise To the Creator this grand psalm of praise, Forget not the crest-fallen hosts, but bear Their country's troubles to the throne of prayer.
Sons are we all of the same Father wise. Who rules in sovereign pomp the earth and skies, Who bids all live in brotherhood divine, Without distinction of race, creed or clime.
God speed the day when cruel wars shall cease, And all the wrestling earth shall be at peace, When liberty's proud flag shall be unfurled, And justice, not the sword, shall rule the world.
* * * * *
"PEACE, WITH HONOUR."
"Peace with honour," glorious, joy-lit words! Britons, lay down your arms, re-sheath your swords, For the red demon War lies foiled and chained, And Britain's prestige is anew proclaimed. With re-united Europe, grateful raise To Heaven glad paeans of exultant praise; For see, crest-fallen strife, abashed, retreats, As Berlin's congress her design defeats. While Justice, Peace and Hope effulgent stand, Aiding the Council of the patriot band. Grand conclave of the wise, 'twas well ye bade Such Heaven-born guests lend to your council aid, Well for the good and welfare of the world That ye your Heaven-blest flag of peace unfurled!
Great Emperor Peacemaker! well hast, thou done, To link to thy long list of victories won, This bloodless one, where all alike contend, With cultured courtesy, as friend with friend, To help the fallen, bid rude passions cease, Through moral suasion, and re-throne blest peace. And thou, Disraeli, pillar of the State, With the proud flush of triumph now elate, Well hast thou earned thy laurels, nobly won Thy Queen's and country's verdict of "well done," For with far-seeing mind, unflinching skill, Rare tact and talent, calm, consummate skill, Thou hast, with thy brave colleagues, fought our fight, And made stern right triumphant over might.
Since to the foremost and most honoured place A subject could aspire to, or could grace, Thou hast ascended by the nation's will, Let "Peace with Honour" be thy motto still. Thus shall our civilizing mission be To future ages a reality, That where the flag of Britain is unfurled, Peace and good-will may flow to all the world, Till throughout every nation wars shall cease, And honour reign triumphantly with peace.
* * * * *
THE NEW YEAR.
The long day of the year is nearly done, The atoms through its sand-glass almost run, Another bridge is well-nigh swung—by Time O'er the grand current of life's course sublime.
For see! through floods of eastern glory high The morn's fair chariot swoops athwart the sky, And from its circling rose-lit atmosphere Steps, beaming with young hope, the infant year!
Knowing no bygones, he points gaily on To battles to be waged and victories won, Struggles with self, o'ercomings that will crown The combatants with honour and renown.
Battles which make the men of mark on earth. Men who feel culture of all God's gifts worth, A thorough abnegation of self-will, To fit them life's work rightly to fulfil.
Then let each with the glad New Year begin To act so they may fadeless victories win, Since heaven's choice gifts and deathless wreaths of fame Wait for the good, and great, their joys to claim.
* * * * *
Home! magic name of sweetest sound, That thrills us like a spell; That consecrates the humblest cot Where loved ones kindly dwell.
How much that simple name recalls Of happy childhood's days, When the old homestead was illumed By love's inspiring rays.
Visions of beauty unsurpassed, Are conjured by that word That thrills a Briton's heart where'er The English tongue is heard.
And when in exile wandering, On fairer, brighter plains; How the melodious name of home Our best affection claims.
The roof-tree may be stricken down, And loved ones be no more; But the sweet memories of our home Live on for evermore.
Wealth may attract and pleasure lure When far away we roam; But ah! how joyful we return To the pure shrine of home.
There we find sweet repose and peace, There too our holiest love; And there we gain a foretaste pure Of coming joys above.
Then "Home, sweet home," shall be our song On earth, and when on high 'Twill still be home, dear, happy home, In the glad "by-and-by."
* * * * *
IT IS BUT A FADED ROSEBUD.
It is but a lone faded rosebud That a dearly loved one gave to me, In years now long past but remembered And shrined for the years yet to be.
It opens the floodgates of memory, Discoursing of dear days gone by, Dead and buried except to rememb'rance Which never can slumber or die.
For hearts that have once truly mingled, In sympathy, love and esteem, Can never be really sundered Though oceans and seas roll between.
And still I will cherish my rosebud, Though it never may bloom to a flower, As a symbol of love that was strangled In life's saddest yet happiest hour.
* * * * *
(Erected on the Thames Embankment, 1878).
Thou reverend relic from a far-off clime, Of ancient days, triumphant over Time. Thou ocean traveller, brought with peril o'er, To rise again on London's busy shore.
Superb exponent of Egyptian art, What wondrous secrets load thy granite heart Since thou wert fashioned from the ribs of earth To show the great sun's golden glory forth!
Thou with six noble compeers hast surveyed The birth and death of empires undismayed. Some of them saw at On the guiding light Shed o'er the Holy Family in their flight.
The oldest still ennobles Goshen's brow, Almost the sole surviving relic now Of her foundation, and upon whose sod, When years had rolled their courses, Jesus trod.
And one in Turkey, yet one more in Rome, Captives and aliens from their childhood's home, Tower in lone majesty, recording still The grandest era of Egyptian skill.
A fifth in Alexandria calmly rears Its stately form, and o'er it kindly peers A noble landmark, like an angel guide To wanderers o'er Egypt's sand plains wide.
Ask of the ages where the sixth has gone, For naught of that stone mountain now is known. Thus perish all things, save the spirit free, Inheritor of immortality!
Past ages fondly raised to Ra and Tum (Whose morn and evening glory robed the sun), These sacred fanes, to grace the sun shrine high, Full in the golden splendour of the sky.
Where now is Heliopolis? ah, where Her sun-shrine, raised in classic beauty rare? Crumbled, and lost in rainless Egypt's dust, Save what these columns guard in sacred trust.
And shall we fondly consecrate and raise Vast monuments to sing of mortal praise, And then presume to criticise and scorn Fanes raised the sun-god's temple to adorn?
Ah no, but let us rather consecrate Anew this worship-sign of ancient date, Than join in scoff by sneering cynic thrown On faith and on religion not his own.
Upon the generous donor's aged brow Let Britain place her graceful chaplet now, Since unto him is due that she doth hold This precious relic of the faith of old.
And let us not forget what thanks are due To skilful Dixon and his gallant crew, And as is just, be honour also paid. To useful Dmetri for his timely aid.
Then plant the precious fane on Britain's shore. In solemn tribute of the faith of yore, That coming ages may revere the sod That shrines this tribute to the living God.
* * * * *
A VOICE FROM ST. GEORGE'S HALL, LIVERPOOL.
Inhabitants of Liverpool, List to the urgent call, Which summons you in crowds to-day, Within St. George's Hall.
There earnest Women are convened, In purpose strong to seek, Through your kind help and influence, To aid the Faint and Weak.
The Convalescent Hospital Stands burdened with a debt, Which we resolve (if you permit) Shall now be promptly met.
To this intent, a Grand Bazaar Is held by us to-day; And fifteen hundred pounds the sum We fondly hope to pay.
The cause is good; then quickly prove Your gratitude for health, By giving with a willing heart Of your abundant wealth.
Or if not quite disposed to give, Then freely buy, I pray, Of the rich stores of wondrous art Displayed for you to-day.
Work marvellously wrought, and rare As beautiful you'll find; With good plain, homely garments, too, Of varied form and kind.
And lovely flowers, in sweet perfume, Breathing delight and love; Discoursing, in mute eloquence, Of fadeless ones above.
Groups, too, of artificial flowers, To serve when others die; Like photos of dear absent friends, Delighting heart and eye.
Presents there are for Boys and Girls, And darling Pets at home, And souvenir for Grandmamma, If too infirm to come.
And, mingling with the festive scene, Is music's witching voice, Swelling, in harmony divine, Man's spirit to rejoice.
Beneath the master hand of "Best" The organ springs to life, Like some roused monster in his lair, Goaded to deadly strife.
Attuned to Angel sweetness, then, And tremblings of delight, It fills the dreamy marble Hall With visions pure and bright.
Then merchant Princes, Tradesmen, too, Dry business leave awhile; And with your dear ones by your side, With us an hour beguile.
* * * * *
TO THE MUSEUM COMMITTEE.
O ye in power, thus placed to minister To every pressing local, social claim, Of those who gave you this authority, Trusting you to act wisely in their name, See that the precious heirloom of our race, For which our fathers suffered, toiled and bled, Our glorious Constitution, Britain's pride, Be to the people's rights in justice wed.
Withhold not from them what in trust ye guard, For calm enjoyment on the day of rest, By opening parks, museums, libraries, That their closed treasures be enjoyed with zest. Why should our city's priceless treasures not Be freely open on the day of rest, That the inspiring thoughts of noble minds Be to the people thus divinely blest?
And if the masses do not agitate, For free admission to these works of art, This fact adds reason more why cultured men, Should lead them in these joys to share a part. This day was made for man, not he for it, And should he to him of all days the best, For moral, physical and mental life, Since calm exertion may be actual rest.
Surely the study of the Father's laws, And survey of His wondrous works and power, Seen through all nature's grand and wondrous realm, Is fit enployment for a Sunday hour; Think ye the public house a fitter place, In which to spend that blessed afternoon? I fear that many of you must do so, Or you would grant what has been claimed right soon.
Sweet object lessons from the King of Kings Are found in animal and insect life, And birds and fishes, beauteous flowers and trees, Are with such lessons eloquently rife; So are the gracious, light-dispensing heavens, Grand ocean's depths and mountain heights sublime, Day's regent King, night's lovely gentle Queen, Each one discoursing of the Power Divine.
I've lived in Paris and in wonder seen, A mighty host of people wend their way In thousands, to the lovely sylvan park Of Versailles, to spend part of that blest day, In families of husband, children, wife, With basket of refreshments, simple, pure, Which, seated on some verdant bank, they shared, In peaceful happiness, serene and sure.
I've watched them closely, willing to detect, In those past days of prejudice and pride, Some flaw of conduct, wantonness, excess, Which I could criticise, rebuke or chide, But I was staggered not to find save one Excess of drunkenness in that vast throng, And that one was a foreigner, which proved That all my foregone censure had been wrong.
And further careful observation proved Tha wisdom of thus opening freely all Art treasures, which refine and cultivate, Whilst giving joy alike to great and small, For families, who, parted all the week, On this one day could mingle happily, And bodily, as well as mental health, Be thus promoted most agreeably.
The crowd passed pleasantly and peacefully Through the rich treasures in the palace spread, And to his credit, be it here remarked, The priest full oft these happy parties led; They passed the forenoon of the day at church In prayer and praise to the great Lord of all, And now in calm enjoyment praised Him here, Who hears when and where'er his children call.
Then ye who rule this city, pause I pray, Give to this subject your attention best, And make the Sunday to the poor as rich, A day of liberty, a day of rest. Let each be free to exercise his choice; For to keep Britain really great and free, We should not fetter consciences, or yet Deprive its people of true liberty.
* * * * *
ONLY A FEW LINKS WANTING.
Only a few links wanting, Earth's toilers oft exclaim, Only a few charmed linklets, To make life's perfect chain; Philosophers and statesmen, Poets and courtiers gay, And cunning craftsmen, at life's forge Echo the same each day.
The students of life's mysteries Toil hard, with stern resolve, The secrets of the universe To penetrate and solve; For most minds have some purpose, Some goal they fain would gain, Which they believe the linklet Wanting in life's grand chain.
The warrior risks dear life-blood, Others toil hard for fame; The Sage works on through midnight To earn an honoured name. The Lover pleads untiring, At the beloved one's feet, Each seeking the missed linklet That may life's chain complete.
Some seek the link in pleasure, In rioting and sin. Others, in forced retirement Of self, in cloisters dim. Some make the world's applauses Their sole reward and aim, Some torture gold to fashion The missed links of life's chain.
Strive on, ye band of workers, In faith and courage strong, Knowledge by labour entereth, Through perseverance long; No prize is half so precious As that obtained through pain, No means like self-denial, For perfecting life's chain.
Ever a something wanting, Ever, just one link more; Such is the hope-lit watchword Of pilgrims to heaven's shore, Nor till on that shore landed, Will missed links of life's chain Be found, and firmly welded, To sunder ne'er again.