LAYS FROM THE WEST
Then the spirit reached her fingers, Taper things of rosy snow, Took my songs, and as she took them, "Tiny germs," she whispered "go! Root among the coming hours, Seeds are ye of many flowers, Which from out the winds will grow!"
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WITH MUCH GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION
MRS. T. SPOTISWOOD ASH,
THE MANOR HOUSE,
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IN THE NORTHWEST.
"I'll not forget Old Ireland, were it fifty times as fair."
In myriads o'er the prairie Bright flowers bloom strangely fair, There's beauty in the clear blue sky, There's sweetness in the air; And loveliness, with lavish hand, Decks dell and dingle gay; Yet still I love my native land— The Green Isle, far away.
The poplar quivers in the breeze, And by the blue lake's side. The regal iris, tall and fair, Blooms in her native pride; But I dream of the broad beeches' shade In glens beside Lough Neagh And my longing thoughts go back to thee, O, Green Isle, far away!
Strange birds, in painted plumage gay, In hundreds haunt the grove; O'er marsh and moor, the loon and heron, The coot and plover rove; But I miss the lark's glad matin song, And the thrush and blackbird's lay, The summer songsters, sweet and wild, In the Green Isle, far away. Along the blue horizon line The "bluffs" rise 'gainst the sky, But in dreams I see Old Erin's coast— Her mountains wild and high Slieve Gallon, with his hoary head Gold-crowned at close of day, When sunset lights the grand old hills In the Green Isle, far away.
There's beauty in the woodland wilds With their varied foliage fair, But, cowering from the light of day, The grim wolf shelters there. Ah! dear old woods, where I have roamed At eve of summer day, No hidden dangers haunt your glades, In the Green Isle, far away.
The clear Assiniboine winds free Through many a fertile vale; The antlered deer and graceful hind Bound o'er the wooded dale; But I miss the quiet rural scenes— The farm-house, thatched and grey, That memory fondly pictures now Of the Green Isle, far away.
The Sabbath morn its holy calm Breathes o'er the prairie lands, And the answering heart hears Nature's psalm And the wild woods clap their hands. But I long to hear the church bell's sound Tell to these wilds that day, When thousands meet to praise and pray In the Green Isle far away.
Here life lays hold of brighter things For the fair years to be, But the deathless Past and all her dreams, Old land, belong to thee! The buried love, the buried hope Of youth's glad summer day, That blend with unforgotten scenes Of the Green Isle, far away.
And while we love this pleasant land And own it good and fair, Our hearts' first love goes backward And fondly lingers there— Back to the dear home country, Then forward to that day When all shall meet together, From the Green Isle pass'd away.
"In the gloaming Oh, my darling."
Oh! green-bosomed Isle, as the summer day's gloaming, Lies dreamy and dun on the prairie's wild breast There my worn, wayward heart o'er the wild waves is roaming Far, far to the scenes that are dearest and best.
As by bluff and by woodland, by swamp and by meadow, The gloom gathers round in its dim, mystic pall, Then my fancies come forth, spirit-children of shadow, Slow gliding from haunts where the lone night-birds call.
When the wind, ardent lover, in songful caressing, Speaks low to the grasses that bend to his breath, And the dew woos the rose with the balm of its blessing And steals it with love from the shadow of death.
Then I seek the wild glen, when the new moon is beaming All weirdly and wan, through a cloud's fleecy haze, 'Till I stand, young and free, in the land of my dreaming, Clasping hands with the phantoms of happier days.
And then, oh! mavourneen, in grey distance flying The present, the real, grows dimmer, and dies, See but the moonbeams, but hear the winds sighing, And bask, fancy bound, in the light of your eyes.
My own! though the years in the gloom of their sadness Stand, frowning, 'tween me and the light of my star, And memory can feel the wild might of loves madness, Or scoff as rude Time its first sweetness would mar.
Again, by the banks where Moyola is flowing We stray as the moonbeams smile sweet through the dell
Unheeded the moments, unmarked in their going, Nor dreamed we of woe in the sound of "farewell."
Is it lost—all the light of the fair morning vision? Is spirit to spirit unanswering, cold? No, it never shall die, while in memory's Elysian It lingers in beauty and brightness untold.
Love is love, and though Fate blasts our hope vines may sever From the stay which their tendrils in fondness entwine Yet the past of our joy we must cherish forever And spirit meet spirit at memory's shrine.
"Indulgent Memory wakes, and, lo! they live!" —RODGERS
Deathless, while the years are flying, And all lesser hopes are dying. To my widowed heart near lying By a life-time's love embalmed, Is a memory, dear and tender, And in dreams its bygone splendour Sweetest, holiest, balm can render To my grief, by Time uncalmed.
In life's morning, young and early Glistening fair through dew-drops pearly, Burst a bud that promised fairly Through the length of future days. Ah! it charmed my passion'd dreaming, Bathed in beauty's brightness, beaming Fadeless still, and deathless seeming In fond Hope's delusive haze.
And, as when in wild December, June's calm twilights we remember, So this dream in shadowy splendour
Ever haunts my lonely way; And I see in fond delusion, Glowing as in light Elysian, The entrancing, old-time vision Doom'd so early to decay.
Days when Hope, how false! still flaunted Through my dreamings, love enchanted, Framed by busy Fancy, haunted By glad visions of delight,— Morns of light, and sunsets golden, Dreams of legends, grand and olden, Hopes for future years, withholden From our youthful, yearning sight.
Past and gone! Ah! vain my sighing,— Hope's dead leaves are round me lying, But their fragrances, undying, Like a hallowed incense rise; And I feel, with joy unspoken, That the spirit love unbroken Leaves this Memory for a token Of its truth, that never dies.
In that land whose beauty vernal Through tried ages blooms eternal Thou, in bliss undreamed, supernal Baskest in the glory-light Where celestial joys inspire All heaven's vast, unnumbered choir With sweet songs that never tire, Through the fadeless summer bright.
Here, how sad this dreary roaming, Through the shadows of earth's gloaming, Waiting for the longed-for coming Of the lingering Morning Star; But swift time is onward fleeting— Backward is the past retreating, Nearer, nearer draws our meeting In the future, dim and far.
AFTER LIFE'S FEVER.
Obiit, June, 1882.
—"And then, a flood of light, a seraph's hymn, And God's own smile, forever, and forever."
Oh! pale, calm face; eyes by the Death-kiss sealed, Cold hands, upon the silent bosom folden; Oh! soul, set free—of all sin's sickness healed, Basking in light, from mortal eyes withholden, In coelo quies.
Still heart, that ached and throbb'd with human passion, Locks, white with snow of many a winter past, Tired body, weary after earth's poor fashion, Sleep calmly till the waking trumpet blast— In coelo quies.
All over now—the heart-ache and the burning Of thoughts, so trammelled by this "mortal coil;" The soul has cast behind its moans and yearning, The hands are resting from the long life's toil,— In coelo quies.
I, mournful gazer, watching by the portal Whence thou, from death to life, hast entered in, Would fain catch one stray gleam of light immortal, To tell me, ever drowning earth's wild din, In coelo quies.
I might not hear the angel welcome ringing, Nor see the pearly portals open wide, Wherein the ransomed band, the new song singing, In white robes wander by life's river side, In coelo quies.
"In coelo quies," while the storms are beating Along earth's desert moorlands, wild and wide; While skies shall lower, and angry waves are meeting Thy bark is moored—thou art beyond the tide, In coelo quies.
"In coelo quies"—Rest, pure, deep, eternal, Peace, in a perfect, blissful, endless calm; Charmed by the beatific joys supernal, Lull'd by the melody of seraph's psalm, In coelo quies.
Here, we but dream it all—the rest—the glory, Here we but yearn for it in sob and pain; Till knees wax weary and till locks grow hoary, Still "westward journeying," at length to gain, In coelo quies.
But thou mayest sleep; thy toilsome warfare ended, The long, rough life-path has been nobly trod, And with our lost ones, thou sweet songs hast blended, To hail them found, beside the throne of God? In coelo quies.
LIGHT AT EVENTIDE.
Round us in the stillness spreading, Comes the night. Mortal ears can't hear the treading Of her footsteps, soft and light.
Dusky veil that shades the valleys, Bringing rest; Shadowy glooms in greenwood alleys. Twilight dreamings, sweet and blest.
All the day-time cares are ended, And instead, Now by unseen bands attended, Far, in fancy, we are led.
Misty forms of mystic seeming Hover near; Memory's myriad tapers gleaming Light old scenes and make them clear—
Morn's vain hopes, and noon's stern sorrows, Tears and cares; Days of toiling, and to-morrow's Bringing less of wheat than tares.
And the chequered, varied pages Of life's book Seem a sea whose calms and rages Now the tired heart cannot brook.
Evening calm! ah, best and purest Time of peace; Soothing balm, when hope is surest, To bid all vain doubting cease.
Pointing on, when near the pleasant, Rest awaits; When we leave this weary present And have gained the pearly gates.
And as evening shadows, creeping, Gather round Dim eyes, worn so weak with weeping, Learn to smile as peace is found.
In the hope so full of cheering And delight— Home, sweet home! our rest we're nearing! Evening time shall bring us light.
Light of heaven! Earth's gloom adorning With thy smile, Earnest of the eternal morning After this brief "little while."
Ruddy bright the dying embers In the glooming, glow and burn, Scenes of olden-time Decembers, Ashes now in Times' great urn, That the heart so well remembers At this haunted hour reborn:— All the fairy scenes Elysian Born again in recollection, Seen with mirror-like reflection, Throng upon the wondering vision. Once again I hear the river In the darkness rush and roar, See the pine-boughs wave and quiver, Hear the oak trees, blasted, hoar, Muttering, as their gaunt arms shiver, "Come again, oh! days of yore!" Come, oh times of hope and longing, When the beauteous, pure ideal, Seemed tangible and real— "Love the light of Truth's belonging."
And the woodland walks, enchanted, By the moonlight's mystic sheen, Seen as near as when Hope flaunted In the distance, dimly seen, That the witched hour seems haunted By the joys that once have been. Dear old days! they seem returning. Though their radiance long has vanished, Though their rays stern fate has banished, Fancy still can see them burning.
See their magic, nameless graces, Through the shadows flit and gleam, See again beloved faces Shine around as in a dream, And the well-remembered places Of the bygone, nearer seem, Till all present melancholy, Fades away, and sweet and tender, Visions of life's spring-time splendour, Gleam among the bay and holly.
Hark! the Christmas bells are ringing From the grey church-steeple near, And the choir are sweetly singing, "Nowel! Hail Messiah here! Nowel! for He cometh, bringing Unto all mankind good cheer." Through the night the music stealing Bringeth soothing sweet and pleasant, Sheds a peace upon the present, Future days in light revealing.
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever" HEBREWS xiii. 8.
In life's young morning blue-eyed promise smiled O'er a fair future of enchanting grace, And sweet toned love the golden hours beguiled, And Fortune's radiant smile illumed the place.
But change, dread vulture, swooped upon her prey. And seized my treasures as Time's car sped on, Then traitor love took wings, and fled away. And long ere noon I wept a setting sun.
Then Phoenix-like, beside the smoldering pile, Kind friendship rose with open, outstretched hands, But, ere I grasped them, death with icy smile Had rudely snapp'd in twain the three-fold bands.
E'en while I mourned, I heard a thrilling voice That said in stirring accents, "Up! arise! Work, that in harvest time thou mayest rejoice!" And Fame stood pointing to the brightening skies.
Then dreams, false phantoms, filled the gloaming air And lured me, spell-bound, by a labyrinth maze, But morning beams awakened new despair— The meteor glories passed in mist and haze.
Through shady groves I strayed, and on before Walked high-browed Knowledge, calm-eyed and severe Unwearied still, I trod his footprints o'er, But fainting fell, the longed-for prize anear.
Hard-smitten then, I wept; all woe-all gloom! The heart-void still unfilled, ached keen and sore, When through the inky darkness shot a gleam Of new-born glory, unrevealed before.
Dear Lord! How frail these bauble-toys of Time When Thy "forever" dawns upon the heart; Thy perfect fullness, Saviour, how divine, E'en while we taste its blessedness in part! Still yesterday, to-day, while ages roll In grand, eternal vastness, still the same, Oh! potent Healer! every whit made whole, I sing glad Hallelujah to Thy name!
THE OLD TRYSTING PLACE.
"Die erste Liebe ist die beste."
Through the green boughs the golden sunshine falling Glints on the glades and lonely woodland bowers; Bird answers bird, through the wide woodlands calling, In the deep hush of the calm summer hours.
The limpid river winding through the meadows, Laughing and sparkling in the sunny noon, Takes peaceful tones here, 'neath the beeches' shadows, And sings sweet idylls in low, fitful tune.
Songs of the olden days, of hopes and pleasures, Songs of the love of youth's glad morning times, That sigh around our path like dream-world treasures, Soothing as music of the vesper chimes.
The rustic bridge, the leaves' soft shadows playing Down in the water-depths, and from away 'Mong the blue hills, come mingled echoes straying, The pleasant sounds that fill the summer day.
Aburnum's gold, and quivering beech-leaves blending, Sway, dancing in the breezes, to and fro; Wild hyacinths, their blue heads lowly bending, Listen the secrets of the winds to know.
Oh! quaint old trysting-place! oh! lights and shadows, And sounds that haunt the dreams of Life's glad May! Dreams withered like the May-flowers in the meadows Or roses of the Junes long passed away.
Here, oft in dreams, I see my own true maiden, The pure flower-face, the rippling golden hair; Ah! many years have roll'd past, sorrow-laden, Since blue-eyed Edmee waited for me there!
Ah! murmuring brook, with waving willow fringes, Ah! woodland picture, all your charmed glow Is touched and changed by Truth's own sober tinges, Tints that youth's eager eyes see not, nor know.
Fraught with these gleams of old-time faith and feeling, Fraught with the memory of "what might have been," A still, small voice says all is God's wise dealing, Behind the clouds is brightness yet unseen.
Young love and hope in all their matchless glory, Smile on our morning-time, then fade away; Teaching unwilling hearts the sad, true story, No lasting joy is here, all knows decay.
"Die erste Liebe ist die beste," leaving A holy radiance round the scenes we knew; A potent power to point lone spirits, grieving, To deathless Love whose charms are ever new.
It ever shows, "in part," in sweet tuition, What we shall know when we have gained the light, When all our highest hopes fade in fruition, Where the Eternal Summer beameth bright.
THY WORD IS A LIGHT UNTO MY FEET.
Oh! Light of Lights! dark, dark is earth's long way, Cloud upon cloud looms o'er the path I stray; Far-off and dim the heavenly Land appears, Through the thick mist of weak distrust—and fears. Helpless, I seek Thy Word, and hear Thy voice, That bids me always in the Lord rejoice; Pointing from doubts within, and this world's wile To peace and victory, in "a little while."
Oh! Saviour, Friend, how dark is life's rough path. What gloom and sorrow haunts this Vale of Death; Subtle the way, beset with many a snare And hidden evils lurking everywhere. But in this Light that shows my love, I see, This path Thou'st trod, and borne these griefs, for me, "Fear not!" I hear in tones of tenderest love "'Tis in thy weakness that my strength I prove."
The world's temptations rage on life's wild sea, Drifting the fragile bark I steer to Thee, But safe I pass the rocks and angry waves, Helped by Thy mighty arm that shields and saves. And still above the wind's and water's roar A calm voice hails me from the distant shore, "Cast all your care undoubtingly on Me, Fully and freely, for I care for thee."
When twilight shades fall round me, dim and grey, All those I love the most are far away, I look to Thee, and dry my willful tears— With love like Thine, I dread no lonely years. If 'tis Thy will, let bitter partings come, Sweet shall the meetings be in yonder Home; While here I have Thy love that cannot die, And could I feel alone when Thou art nigh?
Weary with waiting for Thy promised rest, Dismayed with doubts, with sinfulness distressed; "Oh! let Thy kingdom come!" I pray "that I May join the glad new song they sing on high;" Then thy sweet words bring patience, "I prepare For thee an heavenly mansion, bright and fair, That where I am Thou mayest with Me abide, And taste full joy for ever by My side."
I bless thee, Saviour, for this word of life, This light to guide me safe through every strife, This lantern o'er my pathway shining clear To show the dangers, and the Helper near. I love to see it beaming, day by day, Thine own bright smile, that lights the darksome way; "Led by Thy counsel," oh! what joy to be "Received in glory," Lord, at last by Thee.
"In der Weit, weit, Aus der Einsamkeit, Wollen sie Dich locken."—FAUST.
When the glad, bright days of our youth's fresh prime, Shall have pass'd, as a dream that at morning dies; When the long blank stretch of the coming time Like a desolate desert before us lies, Dreary and cheerless, 'neath sunless skies.
When young, sweet love, with her luring smile, The mystic charm-light of halcyon hours, Shall no more with her witch'ry our souls beguile, As the leaves grow seer on Life's fading bowers, And the blushes are pale on its withering flowers.
When the strains we loved in the days of yore No more with their sweetness our heart's-chords thrill, When Hope's roseate meteors glow no more, Like the summer sunrise o'er vale and hill, That our dreamings with radiance were wont to fill.
When these are gone, shall the lone heart know No solace the solitude's gloom to cheer? Shall no stray beams lighten the spirit's woe As it moans "alone!" e'en when crowds are near? Must all be lost that was once so dear?
Ah, no! Though Time is a thief, I ween, Stealing youth's best wealth as the swift years go, Still the memories of pleasures which once have been— The dreams of the beautiful "Long ago," Are our own to keep, and shall aye be so!
"THE KING IS DEAD."
Hush! There's a solemn pause, And looks of fear! You ask—Whence comes the cause? Grim Death is here!
Oh! well thou answerest, well— 'Tis fairly said; Our hearts thrill to the knell, "The King is dead!"
Dead! And the bell swings, swings On in its deep, sad tone; We own the King of Kings Is King alone!
We crown our Kings, we place Bay leaves on victors' brow, But all our mortal race Can boast is now.
The body lay in state, All fair to mortal eye; The soul's eternal fate— Oh! Death, thy mystery!
TO "X. Y. Z.," On receiving a paper from him.
"Old places have a charm for me The new can ne'er attain; Old faces—how I long to see Their kindly looks again!"—Anon.
"X. Y. Z.," your paper was A welcome thing, indeed, to me; It brought the memories of old days, Like fragrance wafted o'er the sea.
It spake about familiar nooks, The dear old paths I know so well; I almost thought I heard the brooks, Or roamed again my favourite dell.
The happy hours, the rustic glades, The gloaming time, the twilight stroll, Ah, me! these April evening shades With old-time dreams can haunt one's soul.
The heart feels young again and free, And no such word is known as care; Sweet rays of light that used to be Seem hovering in the twilight air!
The hedges and the fields of green, The lanes, the flowers, the wild bird's trill, The trees, seen down the water's sheen. The cattle lowing o'er the hill!
Your well-drawn school-life picture, too, My school-time morn recalls again; 'Tis like an old tune, sweet and true, That mingles pleasing notes with pain.
The fields, the schools, the village way, The quaint, old-fashioned, country rhyme, All come, like mystic glows that stray Across the yellowing fields of Time.
The English lanes have lovely flowers, And moss, and ferns, and birds that sing, But Erin—green Erin—still is ours. And to her name our fond hearts cling.
Each land we visit claims some grace— Some special charm it calls its own; Yet patriot souls must love the place Which childhood's happy memories crown.
When first from Eden's blissful bowers, Man roamed o'er earth in exile driven, Kind Heaven, to cheer his lonely hours, A source of joy to him hath given.
'Tis Love, that lights our darkest days, 'Tis Love, that cheers our keenest woe, 'Tis Love, whose soul inspiring rays, Gilds all our lives with heaven-lent glow.
Ambition leads us for a while To follow many a meteor light— Whose flickering beams our souls beguile, And lure us on to hopeless night.
And Fame may sound her clarion voice— Wealth bring his hoards from every clime, But Age shall come, and earth's frail joys Must own the sway of sovereign Time.
But Love, as flying years go past, Shall glow with holier, tenderer beam, And shine, our guiding star at last Till our dull hearts shall catch a gleam.
And when our life on earth is o'er And we from all our toil shall rest, The beams of Love will light that shore Where Love has ransomed all the Blest!
A BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY.
"Tis sweet, when year by year we lose Friends out of sight, in faith to muse How grows in Paradise our store!"—KEBLE.
His Birthday! but to-night there is no gladness, As in the bright old days forever flown; And in my heart one aching thought of sadness Seems ever whispering, Alone! Alone!
The darkness gathers round, and, wan and olden, The worn day paler grows, and dies away, And all life's light and brightness now seem folden Beneath the twilight's dusky mantle gray.
The old church tower, amid the shadows looming, Stands grim and sombre in the dying light; The trees with leafless branches shiver, moaning, As the sad winds sigh softly through the night.
Weird looks the ruined church, where ivy creeping Decks the old walls fast mouldering in decay; And peace rests o'er the graves in whose calm keeping, In quiet safety, sleeps the treasured clay.
Here in this corner, where his grave is lying, The fir trees throw deep shade, and soft and low, When summer eve or winter day is dying, The winds seem ever sighing songs of woe!
Oh! cherished spot! beloved beyond all measure, Your holy peace that brings a balm so blest! When turning from the world, in grief or pleasure, I seek your calm, and hunger for your rest!
How feeble, then, seem all the ties that bound me To this world's ways, that held such charms for me And heaven-born dreams and holy thoughts surround me Until from earth's vain things my soul is free!
Then do I feel this wound of Mercy's giving Draws all my hopes from earth to holier love. An e'en while here, sin-stained and lonely living, My heart is with my treasure fixed above!
Still, looking upward to the Heavenly Mansion, Where he abides—where we shall meet him there— Where soul with soul shall blend in the expansion Of that world's higher life, immortal, fair!
That land of beauty, where the Lamb in glory Gathers His own to perfect bliss and peace, Where all the ransomed sing Redemption's story In joys celestial that can never cease.
Thrice happy lot was thine, oh, blessed spirit! So early called from this dark vale of woe— From chequered scenes of warfare—to inherit That perfect love that God's own favoured know.
Then could we wish thee back to dwell with mortals And bear those storms that toss Time's troubled sea? No! from that home beyond the pearly portals Thou canst not come, but we will go to thee!
R. A. WILSON, ESQ.,
EDITOR OF THE BELFAST MORNING NEWS.
Fair vales of Ulster! in the noontide smiling, Blue Northern mountains, frowning to the sky; Rivers that flow along, with song beguiling The summer day your beauties, too, must die!
Know ye no requiem? Ah! streamlets borrow Your tones from tearful voices! Mountains blue, O'er your high heads let heavy clouds of sorrow Tell that ye mourn the death of Patriot true.
Erin! green Erin! let your great heart feel it! Bid all your sons and daughters, fair and brave, By dropping tears and mourning faces tell it, As they place laurels on a new-made grave!
Lowly he lies to day? Death's deep, calm slumber Has claimed another of our cherished ones; As he, the talented, ranks with the number Of Erin's lost, best-loved—her gifted sons!
"Barney Maglone" is dead! Let the winds sighing On their fleet wings, bear far the wail of woe To every land. Let them in wild, sad crying Tell out to all the sorrow that we know.
Our Poet, and not all Westminster's glory Could ever give him half so loved a grave As this green mound, with simple cross, whose story Shall live 'mong annals of our gifted brave!
Methinks that far among old Ireland's mountains I hear the breezes sing a sad dirge, low, Wild, and yet soft, with tears from many fountains And murmuring riven wailing in their flow.
The grand old woods, with leafy branches waving, Mingle their many harps in one refrain, Blent with the waves, whose foam our coast is laving, Rolling afar, weeping aloud the strain—
Waters and wondrous deep, Mountains and valleys; Woodlands and heathery steep, Lone greenwood alleys,
Sound the long wail of woe, Tell the news, sad and low, Let all the wide world know Of the loved, lost one!
Waves of deep, boundless sea, Boiling for ever free, Tell through the time to be Of the bright, lost one!
Erin, whose bosom green, His own, his loved shrine has been, Feel the woe thou hast seen For the true, lost one!
His land, in weal or woe, In dark gloom or sunny glow, Do all Ireland's great ones know Such zeal as this lost one?
Bright dreams! ah, how fleeting Was his life's fair story! Swift, swift was the meeting Of Death, with earth's glory!
Unrivalled in splendour His sky was at morning, Still brightening, its grandeur His noonday adorning.
But a dark cloud rose glooming, Ah, me! 'twas Death's shadow! It chilled the heat blooming Of hillside or meadow!
Oh, waters and wondrous deep, Mountains and valleys, Woodlands and heathery steep, Lone greenwood alleys—
Sound the weird wail of woe, Tell the news sad and low, Let all the wide world knew Of Erin's best lost one!
WELCOME TO SPRING.
Oh, Spring! sweet Spring! with your golden hours, Thrice welcome back to our vales and bowers! I have sighed for you through the Winter's gloom, And counted the months, till again you come. Then, welcome, sweetest! I hail you here, Fairest child of the smiling year!
I have watched for your advent with longing eyes, As you lingered 'neath sunnier southern skies; I have wafted songs o'er the winds to thee The sighs of a lover's fond constancy. Then, welcome, darling! to glen and grove, Child of gladness, and nope, and love!
I see your footprints along the woods, And your magic touch on the opening buds, Bursting to birth on hedge and tree, In promise of vernal life to be. Then, welcome, Spring! to our land again, Bringing beauty and me in your happy train!
I have marked where you paused by the streamlet's side, There smiled the primrose, in early pride, All golden fair 'mid her leaves of green. Dropped from your garland, oh, beauteous queen! Then, welcome! to brighten our long-left bower Fair child of sunshine, and joy, and flowers!
I have paused entranced in the early morn, When the birds awoke as the day was born, Pealing welcomes wild in their native glee. And my heart went out in their songs to thee, On the fresh winds borne o'er the hills along, Child of music, and mirth, and song!
Oh, Spring! sweet Spring! 'neath your gentle reign. Life, light, and beauty are born again; And sad hearts, hopeless in Winter days, Break forth to singing glad songs of praise— For that promise renewed in your yearly birth Of a fadeless Spring and a ransomed Earth!
ONLY "A LITTLE WHILE."
I saw the sun arise in light at morning; My being drank the beauty, like some dream That comes when all is dark, the gloom adorning With gilding mystic—bright—a soul-world gleam
I saw the noontide flush on grove and meadow, I heard the coo of birds that seem'd at rest; And the fair radiance, all undimm'd by shadow, Was like a foretaste of the bright and blest.
I saw, when evening's mellow sunlight glinted, Far and anear, gleaming on wood and gold; Mountain and valley shone all carmine-tinted, Old Ocean's burnished breast seem'd heaving gold.
Only "a little while" since morn rose brightly, Followed by noontide calm: a little while Since sunset glory lit all Nature, lightly Blessing the earth with one sweet parting smile.
Only "a little while" a meet type, showing How brief is earth's short day—how soon 'tis o'er; Morn, noon, and night, still onward, onward going, So soon to land us on the eternal shore.
Only "a little while," poor child of sadness! The shadows must come first, the clouds and gloom; Then, the full glow of Heaven, the new born gladness, When Christ, thy risen Lord, prepares thee room.
In that fair Home, where He has passed before us, And in "a little while," shall call us in; Here, with His love's own glory shining o'er us, Strong in His strength, we run that goal to win!
Only "a little while," gay child of pleasure! The night is spent so far—the morn is near; Then think! oh, think! where hast thou hid thy treasure? In these frail, dying toys that charm thee here.
Oh! in "a little while," their borrowed radiance Shall fade, as starlight fades when dawn is nigh; And all earth's glittering show, her smiles and fragrance, In the fierce fire of wrath shall melt and die!
Only "a little while!" would we but ponder These three brief words, their length and breadth and height A solemn sign to each, a ray of wonder From the Unseen, to light the spirit's night.
"A little while"—past, present, future blending Shall be a tale soon told, and pass'd for aye; Then the eternal life, that cannot die—unending, Undying woe, or Heaven's own dazzling day.
We walk among labyrinths of wonder, but tread the mazes with a club; We sail in chartless seas, but behold! the Pole-star is above us—TUPPER.
Life is a pathway, stretched from morn till eve, O'er which, through shade and sunshine, we must go And, whether bright or dark this life we live, Its end must bring us unto joy or woe; Joy, that no mortal's holiest dreams can know, Or dread, unending; fearful depths of woe!
This path is fair at morning, wondrous fair; With verdant windings, hiding from the view The far-off journey, and what may be there, Hid by the Future hilltops, high and blue; And morn's glad sunlight smiles from dazzling skies, Gilding the path we tread with heaven-lent dyes.
Oh! youth is sweet! for tender hands are near, And eyes aglow with Love's own magic ray, Heart meeting heart, each to the other dear— Through hours that, ere we count them, glide away; For none can turn to seek a cherished place— One only life, whose path we can't retrace!
And soon they pass, these meteor joys of earth, That flash and gleam along the troubled way; Till wondering wanderers question if their birth Dawns from a Land that knows no sad decay; Some sinless region, from whose portals bright These fleeting rays descent in heavenly light.
Such glorious hues, in golden glory glowing, When sunrise splendour glads the morning sky; That bloom awhile, and as they bloom bestowing Beauty and light, so soon to melt and die, Leaving a yearning in the darkened heart To know more closely what we see in part.
The noonday calm, the sunny Summer hours, The wild-birds' warbled songs, the balmy air; Life's early pathway strewn with earth's sweet flowers— Can these be dying things—so bright, so fair? Or lights to lead us o'er a chequered road, And cheer the shadows to a blest abode?
Oh! spell-bound Fancy fain would wander far, If we might only break this mortal thrall; And roam, unshackled, o'er Time's broken bar, Trace these gleams whose glory lights on all! Then would we see in all below, above, The Great Creator's perfect power and love.
Yet in this path that stretched before us lies We may, as oft with weary feet we tread Through chequered ways of change, see through the mysteries The living promise from their gleamings shed, That far from mortal things, and sin, and care, There is a glorious world, unchanging, fair.
Oh! may we trace in all that lives and grows The shadows of a perfect life, unseen; As when some star that in the twilight glows In mirrored dimly in the water's sheen, And we can see, in the calm lake's cool breast, The far-off glow that lingers in the West.
Thus, as we onward go, may thoughts be ours Whose holy pureness in our souls may raise An anthem of thanksgiving, till life's hours, Ending, shall find our hearts' attuned to praise That Love which cheered us on earth's chequered way, O'er the long path that led to Cloudless Day!
CLOUDS IN MAY.
"May is here, sweet 'Mois de Marie,' but my sky is overcast!"—ST. GERMAN.
The hush of twilight, fair and still Great cloud-ranks, bright with gorgeous dyes That linger in the Western skies, Ere Night's deep gloom steals o'er the hill. The wind sighs softly round the eaves, The May's fresh sweetness fills the air, And Peace seems hovering everywhere. Oh, restless heart, that aches and grieves!— Grieves when the earth is bright and green, And Summer's balmy breeze and flowers Are brightening, charming all the hours That span the long, long "bridge between" Dear hopes and their fruition, laid In many a way, by human plan. But ah! these dream-world thoughts of man Soon, soon can droop, and blight and fade!
We know 'tis best. Then wherefore try To ask whence come the darksome clouds? We know 'tis God's own hand that shroud Our coming days in mysteries. "A little while," and there is room In that bright, blessed land above, To see, and feel, and taste the love That sends us now the clouds and gloom. Why come the clouds? God only knows Why human hearts need pain and woe; But Faith's glad gleams still come and go, Like sunbeams flashing on the snows Of earth's dark winter-time, and He Shall smile at last, and frosts shall melt, And heavenly sunshine shall be felt When Time fades in Eternity
"My spirit beats her mortal bars As down dark tides the glory glides, Then, star-like, mingles with the stars."—TENNYSON.
Oh, restful peace of night! The balmy air Laden with myriad sounds of things so fair, The waving branches, and the leaves' low whispering The wondrous songs the winding river sings, That through the meadow-lands and forest ways, By flowery nooks, and glades, and valleys strays.
Oh! shadowy time of dreams, and mysteries, And longing hopes! Far in the dark blue skies The star-worlds glimmer brightly through the night; The flowers are sleeping that at close of day Wept dew-tears, as the sun's last fading light From glen and moor land slowly passed away, When amorous zephyrs wooed them softly sighing In odorous breaths, as eve's last glow was dying.
Oh! stars, that through the darkness smile and gleam, Like glory-rays that gild the dreary gloom, Or like some soul-world glance or mystic dream That from the mind's vast store of summer bloom We feel at times—your influence comes to raise Our hearts above earth's night of doubts and haze For all these holy thoughts of peace, that spring From hearts at rest from daytime cares and pains, Are messengers of love, sent from the King That in the blessed country lives and reigns. And from its gates, above the starry heaven, Come mystic rays that round our pathway stray— His guiding lights that to our souls are given, Foretastes that cheer and brighten all our way!
"Of the bright things in earth and air How little can the heart embrace- Soft shades and gleaming lights are there I know it well, but cannot trace!"—KEBLE
Spring comes again, and the freed flowers are springing From the cold, frost-bound earth; And on the budding trees the wild birds singing, Hail Nature's glad new birth!
And hope awakes from many a heart-grave using, Glad gloriously and new; And many souls, in faith and trust, are prizing That promise sweet and true;
Summer and Winter, ever coming, going, Springtime and Harvest days, And falling leaves and opening buds are showing God's ever faithful ways.
That point us to the resurrection morning, And to the gladsome day, When light eternal, the far East adorning, Shall chase these glooms away.
And she shall rise who left our home so early, And left our hearts in gloom, Clad like the flowers, in beauty's bloom all fairly Arising from the tomb.
In that fair Spring and in that Summer shadeless, With her we, too, shall live— There, 'neath His smile whose glory, beaming fadeless, Eternal peace shall give.
And all these ties that Time's rough hand had driven Shall be united there, And every cross a Father's hand had given Be gemmed with jewels fair!
On reading "Lays of Love and Fatherland," by X. Y. Z.
Oh! say not now that Erin's harp Is left untouched by minstrel hand; Oh! say not that no minstrel heart Sings now of "Love and Fatherland." Green Ulster's mountains and her vales Hear once again a patriot's lyre; Ierna's legendary tales Once more are told in patriot fire!
And hearts beat high, as when of old In chieftain's hall or peasant's cot The stories of our land were told In songs whose spell was half forgot Till, touched again, the chords resound That bid our slumbering zeal return, And souls, so long in coldness bound, With old-time fire and fervour burn!
And favoured ones, whom love shall bless In life's bright, sunny morning hours, Shall sing in joy and happiness These songs in Hope's enchanted bowers, For youth hath dreams, and tho' they go like sunset fading from the sky, The cherished songs of "long ago," While memory lives, can never die.
Song's potent powers, like holy things That hover round our path unseen, On airy wings, to fancy brings Old scenes, new-clad in fairy sheen. And like sweet music heard at eve In some cathedral, old and grey, Such songs can cheer the hearts that grieve, And chase all present gloom away.
IF "SOMEONE" LOVES US.
If life's path grows dull and dreary, With grim shadows on it cast; If the tired heart grows weary When all joy seem o'er and past; When e'en Hope hath ceased to cheer us With its warm and sunny ray, And the peace that once was near us From our pathway steals away There's one source where we can borrow Sweetest wealth to keep and claim, If we feel in joy or sorrow Someone loves us all the same!
If fair-faced Pleasure brightly Beam upon our happy home, And our hearts with hope beat lightly Of brighter days to come; If fickle Fortune, smiling, Strew the pleasant path with flowers, And Mirth, with song beguiling, Lead the merry-footed hours— There's a deeper, holier gladness That is ours to keep and claim, If we feel in joy or sadness Someone loves us all the same!
If our thoughts, at evening blending With the dim and shadowy light, Bring us dreams of bliss unending In the Haven, calm and bright— Oh! how sweet the thought—"for ever 'Mong the sinless we shall stand, There united, ne'er to sever, In the bright and better land:" And e'en then, refined and holy, Free from earthly stain and sin, Shall the pure heart, meek and lowly, Wear the crown true love shall win.
NEW YEAR'S SONG.
"Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky. The flying clouds, the frosty light; The year is dying in the night— Ring out, wild bells, and let it die!
"Ring out the Old; ring in the New! Ring, happy bells, across the snow! The year is going; let it go— Ring out the false! ring in the truer!"—TENNYSON.
Oh! welcome! welcome! glad New Year! We hail with joy your birth. Let peace and love reign far and near, And plenty fill the earth!
Old Year, good-bye! a last good-bye To sorrow, woe and sin! Let all of darkness with thee die And all of light begin!
When first we bade you welcome here We hailed you with delight; But ah! how many then were near, So far away to-night!
Ah! well! if thorns were 'mong thy flowers, Or clouds were in thy sky, We owe thee many blissful hours Whose memory ne'er can die!
Farewell, farewell, for aye, Old Year, And as you pass from view, For all those golden hours a tear That pass away with you!
"Le Roi est mort!" "Vive le Roi!" The Old Year, weeping, dies! Ere we can mourn, a joyous chime Peals through the midnight skies.
Oh! welcome! welcome! New-born Year! We join the strains of joy; To everyone our hearts hold dear Be peace without alloy!
May fadeless light their pathway bless; And, for a lasting stay, Oh! may they find that happiness That cannot pass away.
For years may come, and years may go, And earthly joys grow old; But heavenly love no change can know— No time can make it cold.
Oh! welcome! welcome! New-born Year! And, as we hail your birth, May pure and holy thoughts come near And raise our hopes from earth!
OUR NATIVE LAND.
Our Native Land! Our Native Land! Long may old Erin's vales be green; May plenty smile on every hand, Be want and woe unseen! Oh! let us join with heart and hand To raise the song—Our Native Land!
Our Native Land! Our Native Land! May countless blessings on her smile May dove-eyed Peace her lily-wand Wave o'er pure Emerald Isle— Her sons, united brethren, stand, To raise the song—Our Native Land!
Our Native Land! Our Native Land! Let patriot voices join the song, And swell the chorus high and grand, Till every breeze shall bear it on. O'er flowery mead and wave-kissed strand Loud let it ring—Our Native Land!
Our Native Land! Our Native Land! Let Erin's sense the notes prolong, Together joined-a mighty band United by one common song. 'Tis Honour's right-her just command Then let us love Our Native Land!
TO THE SEA.
Oh! rolling waves, while ye sing around me, My poises beat to your fitful tune, And higher thoughts in my breast awaken, But the spell must vanish too soon, too soon. Here while I lie let your echoes linger, And rest awhile on this lute of mine; And though I play with an erring finger, The sounds shall charm if they're caught from thine. And my song shall be rich in melody, Learned from thy singing, oh' tuneful Sea!
Sadly sigh while the clouds loom o'er thee, Dark and grey in yon stormy sky; Foaming billows, your angry wailing Fills my soul like a hopeless cry! Heaving breast with your great heart throbbing Ocean pulses that wildly thrill; Wandering waves in such cadence breaking, Rolling, rolling, and never still. Oh! that my soul, like thine, were free, Eager and restless, oh! beautiful Sea!
The clouds disperse, and like glory breaking In fancy's eyes o'er a poet's dream, Clad in the sunlight the waters glisten, And dazzling bright in the radiance gleam. Far and wide o'er the scene of grandeur My glad eyes wander, my heart beats high; Lost in a maze of light and wonder, I faint in a dream of ecstasy; And the spirit of beauty thou seem'st to me In that flood of glory, oh! changing Sea!
Yet best I love when the mystic gloaming Grows dim, and the crimson sunset dies; For I dream that your mighty tones are changing, And in psalms of praise through the shadows rise. Oh! Nature's organ! Methinks thy numbers Keep time with the songs of Cherubim, While through hidden caves come the echoes swelling Their chorus grand to the ocean hymn; And my soul, adorning, ascends with thee, In deep thanksgiving, oh! wondrous Sea!
A FAREWELL SONG.
Oh! sometimes when our hearts are gay, And Pleasure round us smiles, Too soon the hours may pass away That rosy Mirth beguiles; And we may feel a tinge of pain Amid the festal cheer, And pause to ask, "When, when again, Shall all be gathered here?"
But ah! the future's dusky veil Hides coming years from view; And still our yearning eyes must fail To pierce its darkness through. But Memory can hold the past That we have loved so well; And, like a halo round it cast, Affection's light may dwell.
And thus, my friends, though call'd away To join another scene, My thoughts shall often backward stray To all that once has been. And bygone hours shall come again— The cherished times and dear. And bring the moments in their train When I was with you here.
And as sweet flowers, tho' sere and dead, Can by their fragrance bring Remembrance of the days long fled Again on Memory's wing. So many a kindly smile I'll mourn With deep and fond regret; For though I never may return, I never can forget.
"Solitude delighteth well to feed on many thoughts; There, as thou sittest peaceful, communing with Fancy, The precious poetry of life shall gild its leaden cares" —TUPPER
Come, Solitude! best soother of my mind— The sole companion of my happiest hours; The spell, all potent, of thy gentle powers Here in this lovely spot, I come to find.
Below yon mountains, in the sunset beams, Lough Neagh's glassy waters widely spread; And through the distance, like a shining thread, The "Silver Bann" along the valley gleams.
Lough Neagh! often in the evening light I've watched the golden sunset kiss thy breast, Then, as it died on many a wavelet's crest, Homeward, unwilling, turned, with fond "Goodnight."
The bare trees in the planting moan and sigh; I've watched their leaves from buds, till they had grown To vernal beauty. Withered now and strewn Upon the walks, all sere and dead they lie.
And in the Spring, when the young leaves came first, Here, often in my lone imaginings, What golden dreams I knew of glorious things; Visions my willing mind too fondly nurse.
Visions that, like the leaves, to beauty grew, Gladdening my heart thro' sunny summer hours; Clad in bright garlands, woven from Fancy's bowers Radiant with Hope's fair light of mellow hue.
And are they withered too? All those swept dreams That I had hoped in future years to see Around me bloom, in living, grand reality; No longer far-off things, or misty, meteor gleams.
Some like these leaves, have fallen by the way, Never again in spring to wake to birth; While some are mine e'en now, whose priceless worth Shall bloom and ripen, knowing no decay!
Round me the shadows deepen; and I see My dead dreams in a phantom band draw near. And dim AEolian strains fall on my ear, like some wild mystic requiem's fitful melody!
Oh! Solitude! thou canst alone restore The buried bygone, till the haunted isles Of memory's chambers shine in moonlight smiles Shadows of sunlight from the days of yore.
Oh! Solitude! come often for my guest! Still, when I meet thee in sequestered glade, I feel thy presence lasting peace has made; Of life's sweet things, I hold thee first and best!
WITH A WHITE ROSE.
Long ago, in ages olden, When our world was new; When old Time was young and golden, When men's hearts were true; Fairer flowers than now are growing Blossom'd everywhere— Beauty to the earth bestowing, Sweetness to the air!
Well men loved them, fondly dreaming They were not of earth; In their glorious beauty seeming Of a higher birth. And in those Elysian bowers, In the days of old, Speaking all their thoughts in flowers, Thus their love they told:—
One alone, of purest whiteness, Of them all was queen; Sweeter than their hues of brightness Was its snowy sheen.
If this flower as pledge were given By true hearts in love, Though on earth by sad doubts driven, Yet their life above Would be one in joy unending, Undivided there, Soul with soul in glory blending In that kingdom fair.
This the legend I have told thee Of the flower I send. Oh, may its sweet leaves unfold thee Hope, with such an end!
"THE EXILE'S REVERIE."
It is sweet to dream of the vanished times, in this changing land of ours, When we touch the hidden spring of thought, with the wand of mystic powers, That Remembrance yields to our yearning hearts, that are lonely left, and pine For the loves once ours, till shadowy forms come round us, and flit and shine.
Through the gloom that wraps the earth-tired soul, that drifts on life's sea apart, Missing the clasp of a kindred hand, or thrill of heart to heart. Alone! alone! on the wide, wide world, where hope can console no more; Alone! alone! on the friendless waste, strange, on a stranger shore.
Oft times when the gloaming gathers round, and the night wind moans on the hill Like a ghostly voice from the buried dead, when all around is still, In the midnight darkness and silence, I call through the mist and maze, To the sunny joys of the glad, bright dream, of the golden, bygone days.
Then the poem of the wakened long-ago, to the music of memory flows, Now filled as with bridal gladness, now wailing out dirge- like woes; Through sunshine and summer glories, through brightness and fragrant blooms, Through howling storms, 'neath winter skies, through weeping and murky glooms.
And then, when the weird strain ceases, and the fitful music is done, The pictures I love to gaze on, rise slowly, one by one Through the mist of the past slow coming, they give to our eyes once more, What Death has stolen from me, and Death can alone restore.
Again, as in early childhood, I feel the fond caress Of my mother's lips, or I hear the tones of my father's voice that bless His child in its gleeful gambols; Oh! happy and peaceful hours! Ye come in visions of golden noons, and sunshine, and shady bowers!
And the low-breathed prayer when the sunset glow'd crimson in the West, And the sweet "Good-night," and the tender kiss, ere I sank to tranquil rest; Mother! that prayer still haunts me, adown the dreary years, And the earnest tones of thy gentle voice, can steep my soul in tears.
My brothers! faithful hearted! strong in your love, and true; Oh! breaking heart, do you mock me? Can they have perished too? In their morning time, when they shared my dreams of a Crown and a Life-fight won, Thank God, it was their's so early, when my fight had but begun!
Oh, darling, best-beloved! keen now is the aching smart, As when Death's chill touch on our clasped hands fell, when he breathed the hard word "part," Only for earth's short span, my sweet, for love can never die, And the spirit bond but strengthens, as Time's wild waves sweep bye.
Mine! by the vows soft-whispered, where hand in hand we strayed In twilight hours, through summer lanes, or roamed in the lonely glade; But the dream in its glory perished, and earth's brightest hope was fled, And light from my life was faded, when they laid thee with the dead!
Elsie! my bright-haired sister! tender blossom and pure! You drooped in that last storm's fury, too fragile its might to endure; And then I left the home-nest when my last sweet dove had flown, And sought to forget, amid stranger scenes, the sorrows my soul had known.
It's thus the shadowy phantoms come back from the spirit- shore,
When I cry in my lonely anguish for the joys now mine no more. I thrill with a passion'd yearning for the fuller life to be, When my tired soul faints in wonder, lost in earth's mystery!
CHURCH ISLAND, COUNTY DERRY.
"Oh, search with mother-love the gifts Our land can boast; Fair Erna's isles—Neagh's wooded slopes— Green Antrim's coast."—MACCARTHY.
In peerless beauty, flushing, glowing, O'er broad Lutigh Neagh's breast, The sunset banner hovers, throwing Its glory over the West. And varied banks of glen and wood, That smile round Neagh's smiling flood, In this sweet hour seem fitting theme For Poet's song or artist's dream.
Round the horizon, sternly frowning, The mountains like a barrier rise, The purple range, Slieve Gallion crowning, Towers grimly to the western skies. Northward Losgh Beg's bright waters play Round the Church Isle, where, lone and grey. The ruined pile with ivied walls To present days the past recalls.
On many a grave the sunset gleams, Where calmly rest the sleeping dead— Tired mortals, done with mortal dreams In other life, whetted they have fled. E'en now they live! Oh! if tonight One soul might earthward take its flight, In awful tones methinks t'would say— "Prepare for death, oh child of clay!"
Oh, time-worn walls! full many a word Ye echoed in the Sabbath calm; Love, warning, blessing, oft ye heard, And solemn prayer, and chanted psalm; And funeral dirge, as wild and high' Rose on the gale the caione-cry, Borne far and wide, o'er fern and brake, As passed the cortege o'er the lake.
And legends of the days gone by Tell that if, when a funeral train Passed there, dark clouds swept over the sky, And howled the wind and sobbed the rain, Such storm was still an omen blest, And told the spirit's happy rest. If all were calm—then woe the dead! Sad rose their wailing, weird and dread!
And that before a chieftain's death, On moonless nights, by lightning shown, How oft they saw the water-wraith, And heard the weeping banshee's groan. How many a barque, at midnight toss'd And in the angry waters lost, In the gray dawn-light seemed to glide In phantom-beauty o'er the tide.
But ah! the past and all its lore Is fading from our hearts away, And memories of the times of yore Are all forgotten in to day! And now, 'tis but by peasants old These cherished legends can be told; For Erin's harp is mute and still, Its mystic notes no heart can thrill!
Once minstrel hearts awoke its strain, And swept its chords with master-hand; But who can wake these lays again In songs of love and fatherland? Oh! when again shall such as they Wake passion'd song and warrior's lay? Till Erin's vales once more resound With harp-notes long in silence bound!
At last thou art resting; thy life-work is ended— Thy life-work so nobly and faithfully done; And thy name, with the names of the mightiest blended, Shall be honored and loved as the ages roll on!
Far away in the wilds, as thy life-scene closed slowly, How thy soul must have pined for one home-voice to cheer; But the God, ever kind, of the high and the lowly, With blessings and strength to thy spirit was near!
How sweet to thy tired soul that glorious light breaking In beauty untold o'er the land of the blest, As thou heard'st, in the hour of that wond'rous awaking— "Well done, faithful servant, now enter thy rest!"
Great Britain's Columbus—her son and our glory! Her true hearts with love shall beat high at thy name; Thou shalt stand 'mong the first in our country's proud story, And be graven with fire on the Temple of Fame!
Oh! that some minstrel soul, from the days long departed Would awake, a meet requiem o'er thee to sing— And tell of thy brave deeds—the high, lion-hearted— Till the listening nations their homage would bring!
A DREAM AT SUNRISE.
Sapphire and rosy brightness in the East; Fresh, light-winged zephyrs o'er the hilltops stray And through the valleys roam, through glens and woods Waking the leaves and flowers to morning life, Seeming to tell to all—"The sun is near!" Slow—brightening now, the rose-light deeper grown The sapphire flames in wondrous golden maze, And, all unrivalled, the great King of Day, In dazzling glory, mounts his regal throne!
To me a vision down the sunbeams came, When wrapt in wonder by the beauty-spell, My soul, entranced, afar from earth did soar, Unshackled, free, and drank the grandeur of the hour Brightest and fairest hour of all the day, When new life thrills the veins as when of old The morning stars their high thanksgivings raised, And all the sons of God did shout for joy! Wondering, I cried, "Oh, Earth is very fair! I cannot see the shadow of man's fall On aught around me—sin has left no trace: Oh! for a bower in such a scene as this, Where Love and Beauty, blessed by Peace, might dwell!"
Then round me, on the light wind softly borne, I heard the numbers of an unseen harp, And turning, saw an angel near me stand. He sang of earthly love, and the soft tones Of his sweet harp were like Aeolian strains Far breathing o'er some blissful Eden world! And as I listened, all my holiest dreams Of harmony, ideal, grand, and high, Seem'd discord. Then methought I saw, Upon the morning hills, a bower arise. Bright flowers of wondrous hues around it bloomed, All, all of beauty that the heart could dream Was there; and, lov'lier far than all, A sweet-eyed maiden, twining rose-wreaths fair!
Dark clouds arose and dimmed the glowing sky; The lightnings flashed, and fearful thunder pealed; And, as they shook the bower, I hid mine eyes, Fearing to see the beauteous visions fade.
The fierce storm ceased. I raised mine eyes again, And saw the wreck of what was once so fair; The flowers had perished, and the maiden wept— Then all the picture melted into air!
"This shows," the angel said, "what sin has done; Death and decay must fall on earthly things. See that you read God's mighty Teacher right— The Book of Nature wide before you spread. 'Twas given for man to look on, love, and learn; But men have eyes, and will not read its lore— Ears, and the God-sent teachings will not hear! Earth's glories and her brightness all must fade; Yet, while they linger, still they say, 'Prepare.'"
"LINES ON VISITING EARLY SCENES."
Oh! well-known scenes of childhood's days, Again ye meet my longing eyes; And still, as memory backward strays, A thousand tender visions rise; Of days when youth's all potent powers Could trace in light the coming hours, Of dreams that withered with the flowers That round my pathway sprung!
When fond Belief, unchill'd by Time, Built airy castles, high and grand; When fickle Fancy's dreams sublime Made Earth appear a fairyland! Yon school-house seems the same to day— Each well-remembered turn and way Are there—yet, ah! how far away Are childhood's hours from me!
Still, still the same—the cherished scene, That ever thro' the varying years, Deep-graven on my heart has been, In morns of joy—in nights of tears. And oft in darksome times of pain, When hope seem'd dead, and comfort vain, Ye shone upon life's desert plain A friendly light, and true.
And often when the tide of care Beat strong against my fragile bark— When stormy doubt loom'd everywhere, With nought to light the gloomy dark— The faith I knew in early days, Ere yet I trod the world's hard ways, Led gently through the 'wildering maze, And whispered words of peace!
Sweet peace, amid the din and strife And holy thoughts and calm repose; The promise of a better life— The joy that from believing flows! As when amid these scenes I'd stray, And dream through all the golden day Of coming years, in bright array, Till earth would seem a heaven!
The Hand that led Youth's steps aright, The Love that blessed its careless hours— Shall they not strengthen for the fight, Then wreathe the Victor's brow with flowers? Yes! and ere from these scenes I go, I've learned what all must come to know— Earth's wisdom is but empty show— "The child shall teach the man!"
Idol worship in these later ages, When the light of learning shines so clear, Golden sayings graved on million pages— Wisdom's voices sounding far and near.
Idol worship, subtle and deceiving, Lives mis-spent and talents thrown away; Grim remorse, and after years of grieving— Skeletons that haunt us night and day.
Idols have we manifold in number— Idols worshipped both in age and youth; Visions that beguile life's fitful slumber, Soul-destroying, blinding us to truth.
All unreal dreams that fade and perish, Painted idols, rich in gilded shrines— Airy phantoms that we blindly cherish, Clad in borrowed tints from Fancy's mines.
All the shining, glittering, worthless splendour— All the brilliance of the earthly toy That we deck with careful hands and tender, Is not gold, but dross and foul alloy.
Earth-born idols, lovely but in seeming, Flitting round us in the moonlight hours On Love's holy shrine we place them dreaming, "Though all else may leave us, this is ours!"
Oh! like meteor-flashings gleaming only Through the far-off vapours, dense and dark, Disappearing, leaves, misled and lonely 'Mid the angry waves, the storm-beat bark.
So our earthly idols, vain, deceiving, Come with promise fair for future years; Fill us with false hopes, forsake us, leaving Nought but memory's torture, gloom and tears.
Oh! may we, their many tempting scorning From earth's sceptres lift our yearning sigh To fadeless flowers the heavenly hills adorning That shall be ours when we have gained the high.
Not the joy whose end is gloom and sadness— Withering flowers that deck the earthly sod Patience hath her crown—eternal gladness— By the living "hid with Christ in God."
IN WINTER DAYS.
Spring, and Summer-time, and Autumn Now are flown- Dreamy noontides—mellow sunsets— Balmy twilights—all are gone!
Hope's bright visions, carmine-tinted, Where are they? Dreams that mocked us in the sunlight Now in Winter pass'd away.
Joy shall reign when Spring returning Wakes the flowers That the tender Earth has guarded Safely thro' the Winter hours;
But the sad winds round me sighing Seem to sing She hath treasures in her bosom That she cannot yield in Spring!
And I weep in yearning sadness, Worse than vain, For the vanished joys that Summer Ne'er can bring to me again!
Slow lingering months with swifter pace move on— Let this dark winter of my life be past; This cloud athwart the sky of summer thrown— Whose gloom and darkness on my heart is cast.
Parted—Death's deep, dark river rolls between; Those talks and rambled when the day was done And now among the things that once have been, And I am left in sadness here alone!
Parted! Oh, me, he is for ever gone! How hopeless now the sunset's golden ray; How far off seem those joys we both have known, How cheerless look the paths we used to stray!
Just when the autumn days grew short and chill, When all its sunny hours seemed past and o'er, And moaning winds swept wildly o'er the hill, Like some sere leaf he fell, to rise no more.
The spring shall come, and leaves grow green again, And vernal beauty to the earth return; Sunshine and flowers shall deck the hill and plane, And birds awake with song to greet the morn.
But he has flown far from our wintry sphere, Where fadeless summer glads the spring-bright clime; Not where the tempest clouds spread grief and fear, But safely moored beyond the waves of time!
Mine is the weeping—his the blissful change; Mine is the waiting—his the sighed-for peace; Mine through these dreary, lingering years to range, until I find a land where partings cease.
I'm free from the city's noises now, And the city cares that bound me; I chase their shadows off my brow, 'Mid the rural scenes around me.
And alone in the shadowy evening light, In the deepening gloom and sadness, I roam the paths of past delight Of youth's wild dream of gladness.
I see the panorama vast That to these eyes is giving The joyous scenes of that dead past Still in my bosom living.
I call those thoughts and memories back That stern-faced Toil has banished, And wander o'er the beaten track Of happy days long vanished.
The friends of youth for whom I sigh— The true and tender-hearted; The happiness of days gone by, The pleasures long departed:
I see them all again to-night, They seem to come and linger Like pictures traced in truest light By Memory's artist finger.
Those happy times, to me how dear! Well loved, yet lost for ever; Those forms that I can fancy near, Can they return? Ah, never!
Grim Time's dark shadow of decay Falls on our hopes when brightest; A cloud may dim our sky of May When happy hearts beat lightest.
When golden sunbeams softly fall In light on shrub and flower, E'en then a storm to blight them all May in the distance lour!
But still when evening's shadowy light Steals round in gloom and sadness, I'll feel a thrill of old delight, Of youth's wild dream of gladness!
In concert grand the tuneful waves Break wildly on the foam-girt shore, And through a thousand secret caves The shrill wind-voices loudly roar. Now are the harps of the Ocean waking, 'Mid the howling winds and the billows breaking!
The mermaid leaves her ocean home To sing her love-songs, soft and tender; The moonlight gilds the breaker's foam, And bathes the sea in silvery splendour; And the splashing spray on the White Rocks falling Sounds like lonely voices of Ocean calling.
Oh, lone Dunluce! looking o'er the sea, With tower and keep so grim and hoary, Do the waves' wild revels recall to thee The days of your long-departed glory— When the wan, weird moonlight is round thee streaming, With the stars' pale light on your gray walls beaming?
Oh, stern old relic of bygone ages! Oh, stout old scorner of Time's rude hand! Your name shall live in our history's pages While a poet sings in our native land; And your fame shall be heard in old Erin's story When we tell of the days of her vanished glory.
Ah! many a tale not in history's keeping, Of lordly chieftain and lady fair, in the gloom of Oblivion now are sleeping, And can never be told in the twilight there; Who repose unremembered in graves unknown, Where the storms of past ages have o'er them blown.
I can almost fancy the winds are singing Those stories forgotten by all but thee, And the rolling waves in their turn are bringing Back mem'ries of olden chivalry; Wild minstrels around thee in darkness stealing The scenes of the long ago revealing
I hear in the distance their harp-notes swelling In a dirge-like wail o'er the moaning sea, And I think that their mournful strains are telling A thousand tales of the past to me. The echoing caves to their songs replying, As each fitful sound on the gale is dying.
Wild minstrels of Nature, whose poet-fire Rings out through her solitudes, wild and grand. Let your spirit rest on my feeble lyre, And I'll chain it there with a willing hand. And when Night hangs her myriad star-lamps shine Let me blend her notes with your wondrous chord.
THOUGHTS AT EVENTIDE.
"I hold it true, with one who sings To one clear lute of divers tunes. That men may rise on stepping-stones Of their dead selves to higher things."—TENNYSON
Lo! the sunset fire is burning in the roseate sky of evening Where grand in dying glory sinks the god of day to rest And wide o'er the dewy meadows lie the golden lights and shadows, Like gleams that come to cheer us from the regions the blest! Slow the fiery orb is sinking down below the purple mountains; Still the splendour of his radiance lingers round us for a while; And the peaceful country bowers, and the stately run towers, Are rejoicing in the beauty of the glad, refulgent smiles.
From the trees and from the meadows the bird-song wild and tender, In sweet and mingled chorus, like vesper songs, arise With the evening zephyrs blending, on their airy wings ascending, Like anthems of thanksgiving they are ringing thro' the skies.
The children's happy voices from the village playground stealing, With the cadence of their laughter, come floating through the air; And the face of Nature smiling, every thought of care beguiling, Soothes my restless soul to musing in the twilight calm and fair,—
Keeps my soul in peaceful musing, 'mid the tranquil summer gloaming, When the cares of day are ended, and its labours all are done; When the Dove of Peace is stealing o'er the valleys, bringing healing On her white wings to the weary, with the rest that they have won.
Here let me sit and ponder on life's long and varied story, On the things that are, and have been, and the times that are to be; Of the past and of the present, of the darksome days and pleasant, And the future years, still hidden, that are kept in store for me.
But, the past—should I deplore it? All my longing can't restore it; Still it lies beyond my reaching, to come back to me no more; It is right to keep and cherish, or to let its memory perish, Like a dream to be forgotten, when the hours of sleep are o'er?
Like a dream to be forgotten, like a phantom, a delusion That but lured away our moments with its subtle, witching powers, Till it sinks our souls in sadness with the dreams of gladness, And the thoughts of vanished pleasures that can ne'er again be ours.
Let me cease this idle longing for the days that have departed, It is worse than useless wishing for a light grown dim and dead: For joy so lovely seeming, when we clasp them in our dreaming, And know we must awaken and remember all is fled.
Let past failures be our beacon through the breakers spread around us, To show where danger meets us on life's rough and troubled main— Where earth's joys like billows meeting, on the rock's care are beating, And we see them dashed and shattered where they can not rise again.
Let me wake, and cease repining; let me learn life's sternest lesson— Joys when born of earth are earthy, and must therefore fade and die; Let me feel new knowledge glowing, on my opening eye bestowing The experience that will lead me to a fairer, by-and-by.
'Tis our past has made our present, so our present makes our future, Let us work, and cease of wishing—let us do, not dream through life; Ever mindful, never straying, with our earnest hearts still praying For the guerdon of the worker, and the winner in the strife.
Life is a day. In its morning bright We frolic and scamper, free and light. 'Tis a happy path that we have to run, The way is pleasant when new-begun. The sky of our youth is clear and blue, With no clouds to impede our raptured view; There's a prize to win in its golden hours— Let us work with zeal, and that prize is ours. There's a laurel crown for the victor's brow, And a time to win it—that time is now! Now, when our hearts are young and gay, Ere the light of our morning fades away. It is hard to work 'neath the noon-day sun, But the rest shall be sweet when the work is done; It is hard to struggle and fight alone, But the prize we win shall be all our own.
The noontide fades, and the evening grey Overtakes us soon on our weary way; But our day of working will soon be o'er, And the rest is nearer us than before.
Life is a night, to watch and pray For the coming dawn of a brighter day; But our lamps are trimmed—we have nought to fear, The darkness is fleeting—the dawn is near.
And now we see through a darkened glass The shadowy scenes of the future pass; But then, in a morn of unclouded light, It shall break in glory upon our sight. The Master shall come when the night is o'er, And bid us to work and watch no more; He shall tell His servants their work is done, And bestow the crown they have nobly won!
A SUMMER SONG.
The summer flowers in regal bloom Make field and garden fair, Their fragrance in the dreamy noon Perfumes the balmy air; The river murmurs through the vale Upon its sea-bound way, And o'er the pleasant hill and dale The birds sing blythe and gay,— And river, flowers, and birds to me Are ever bringing thoughts of Thee!
The woods at eve are cool and lone; And when I linger there, There's something in the wind's soft moan That whispers Thou art near. My thoughts by Fancy's chains are bound As by a magic spell, And strange, sweet visions wrap me round While in the lonely dell,— And rustling leaves and murmuring streams To me are bringing sweetest dreams.
The sunset saddens in the West, The stars peep through the skies; The weary day is hush'd to rest By gentlest zephyr sighs; The wavelets break upon the shore. The moon shines o'er the sea, The sandy beech I wander o'er Alone to dream of Thee,— And stars, and sky, and moonlit sea, All, all are bringing thoughts of Thee!
Red shines the sunset in the evening sky, And paints the cloud-ranks in rich crimson glow, Till every varying tint in rival splendour burns, And earth and ocean catch the gleam, and smile In new-born glory for a time, and then, As the enraptured gaze absorbs the scene, It fades, and, growing dim and dimmer, dies. It is a glimpse from worlds unseen—a light from the Invisible, Foreshadowing things the brighter yet to be. A soft wind-whisper wanders thro' the boughs, And wakes a thousand harps in forest lands, That all the sultry day were hushed, till now, When the fair twilight spreads her dreamy spell: They wake to melody so softly sweet that one might think An angel's wing had stirr'd the varied leaves. And swept the woodlands with ethereal song. Now the great sea, with all its restless waves, Seems calmer grown, as forth the stars appear, And smile upon us from the silent skies, Where nightly, looking down the azure depths, Like guardian angels o'er a sinning world, In their grand, silent eloquence, they show The marvels of their great Creator's power. This is the time when dreams will come, and bring Days which have fled, and we would fain recall. A shadow thrown across the moonlit walk— A breeze that, sighing, lifts the woodbine leaves, and strays In through the open lattice, may restore The scenes that long in memory have slept. Ah, me! stern Time can take out youth away— Whiten our hair and mark our brows with age; But Memory, kind Memory, that holds the past, He cannot claim. Remembrance still is ours, And we may grasp her magic wand and touch The secret spring that hides our bygone years. The murmur of a brook that flowing glides Between its violet banks, can call a sigh From that far time when we could roam at eve. To hear the birds that sang the sunset down, With wild, glad vesper-songs by Nature taught. The earnest face and tender eyes, that beamed With a whole world of deep, undying love, Rises again before my tear-dimm'd sight. Then came a time when, with slow steps, and voices low and sad, They laid her down to rest. Then life grew dark, And all that I had left on earth to love Was but a grave, beneath the churchyard trees, Where I could sit for dreary hours and weep. Years fly apace. The wildest grief grows calm— As storm-clouds lowering in the noonday sky, Seem darkest when they hang above our heads— So we most feel the stroke of sorrow when it falls; But Hope draws near, and, pointing to the Future, whispers- "Wait:" Yes, wait awhile; and for a few short years Struggle, and fight, and bear the burden well. The sun that sank below the purple hills, Leaving the earth to darkness and to night, Shall bring new glory to the morning sky. Death's night of gloom shall have its morn of bliss, And we shall find within the golden gates Our flowers that withered, in eternal bloom!
TO "W. C. T."
Oh, sad one, who wails for thy love that is slighted Left lone and forsaken, all joy fled away; Thy day-dream of beauty o'ershadowed and blighted, Thy sky once so rosy now clouded and gray. Thine idol was earthly, and earth-like must perish; The casket was doubtlessly faultless and fair; But 'tis only the soul-gem the poet can cherish, And blend with, his dreamings in gladness or care.
The glory that shone like the East in the morning On the radiant ideal was sweet to behold; But, alas! 'twas thy fancy had wrought its adorning, And without it the real is worthless and cold. And the poet's high soul ever craves for that beauty That must be arrayed in the white robe of Truth; The Love, Heaven-born, that walks hand-clasped with Duty, That thro' life's changing years keeps the heart in its youth.
Then shall Truth at the shrine of the False linger pining No! Nature rebels, and Hope whispers, Arise! There are regions unknown in the glad sunlight shining— In the paths of thy calling where happiness lies! Oh, linger not weeping, in gloom and in sadness, The days that are coming thy healing shall bring; And a love, brighter far, horn of Truth and of Gladness, Shall Phoenix-like up from the dead ashes spring!
There's a sound of woe in the forest lands, A wailing sigh in the wild wind's breath; The woods are waving their naked hands As they mourn fair Summer's death.
Through the leafless groves in the twilight hours Come gusts of music that sink and swell, And I cry, "Come back, with your light and flowers, Fair Queen of the year that I love so well!"
Come back to gladden the earth again, For the woods are grim in their winter woe, There's a dreary look on the lonely plain, And the hills and mountains are crowned with snow.
And I fancy I hear from the distant hills A blast of wind sweeping o'er the lea, From the gray old hawthorns and foam-clad rills, To tell a word of their woe to me.
Oh, Summer so lovely, lost and dead, I miss your sunshine and balmy hours, And blissful calms, when the noontide shed Its dreamy radiance on fields and flowers!
I miss your bird-songs that called me up To welcome the blush of the golden morn, When the dew-pearls gleamed in the harebell's cup, And the lark soared high o'er the fields of corn.
I miss the hush of the quiet eves, When the gloaming stole through the silent wood, And the low-toned zephyrs that stirred the leaves Were like elfin harps in the solitude.
Oh! Spring, return with your tender buds, And thousand splendours to deck the earth; Come back and reign in the grand old woods, And Winter shall fly at your welcome birth.
Come back, and wide o'er the hills and vales, The birds your welcome in glee shall sing; And their songs shall float on the gentle gales Till the earth in gladness and joy shall ring!
Yes, I have treasures—not of gold or silver, Yet they are hoarded with a miser's care; Cherished and loved more tenderly and fondly Than purest gems, or jewels rich and rare.
Only a scrap of paper, old and faded, Only some withered rose-leaves, sere and dry; And one long tress of hair, all bright and golden, Dear relics of the happy days gone by.
Well I remember that long, dreamy summer, With all its sunshine and its cloudless days; The pleasant rambles through the lanes at even, When earth was glowing in the sunset rays.
And when the Autumn, in his mellow splendour, Clothed field and forest in autumnal dyes, 'Twas sweet to wander in the still, weird twilight, And watch the moon ascend the eastern skies.
Oh! blissful hours! ah, vows so softly spoken, Ye held a subtle witchery for me; I dreamed a heart of love and trust unbroken Was mine—and mine alone—through time to be.
Alas! not mine that blossom that I cherished, And hoped would bloom through all the coming years; Death's chill hand fell upon it, and it perished, And left with me but memory and tears!
Oh, woods! though Autumn left you bare and leafless, Spring has returned, and brought you life and mirth; But the dead dream of youth's bright golden morning Of love and beauty, can it wake to birth?
It cannot be; the times that have departed, The days of gladness, can return no more; And I am lonely left and broken-hearted, Like some sad exile on a foreign shore,—
Who, gazing backwards, through the years can picture A time when love and friendship were his own; Then turning to the present, lone and cheerless, Finds all his happiness in life is gone.
So, now, life's evening shadows, grim and dreary, In deepest gloom, are round my pathway shed; The beams of hope are growing dim and weary, And all that once was bright is cold and dead!
Oh, long-lost love! the gloomy years are fleeting, Through life's dark dream they ever hurry fast; Great waves upon the brink of Time they're meeting, And, mingling, rush to form the shadowy Past!
Say, are the gifted born the sons of woe— The favoured ones on whom kind Heaven hath smiled, And dowered so richly with its priceless store; The lords of earth, the monarchs of the soil— Men who are bless'd with minds that angels have: Are these to bear the jibe of vulgar tongues, To feel the taunts fell Envy madly hurls, Or brook the scorn gaunt Jealousy may show? To them such things are but the angry blast That mars the bosom of the placid lake, Which smiles in dimpling ripples at its wrath! They have their "world of flower, and song, and gem," The land of beauty where the poet dwells— His green Parnassus where the muses reign: Not hidden nor unseen; oh! look abroad, And tell me if thine eye no beauty sees. The solemn grandeur of the Autumn woods, Bright-crimsoned with the dying Summer's blood; The mountains in their hoary splendour drest, The valleys with their fields of golden grain, The glens deep hidden, where a thousand flowers In modest beauty shun the noontide glare; The wild-birds' song, the murmur of the streams That through their heathery banks of fragrance glide. All these are theirs—their solace, their delight; Each with its charm of mystic beauty fraught; The gleams that pierce the clouds of common life, And let the light of Heaven's own sunshine in! They have their dreams in twilight's shadowy hour, When they can strike their golden lyre, and feel The holy joy the poet calls his own. And the soft breeze that sings among the boughs In numbers like the famed AEolian harp Seems blending with its tones, till earthly cares Melt, as beneath the syren's spell, and die!
Thus lightly o'er the waves his bark goes on, Hope for a beacon shining bright above. While firmly at the helm stands fair Content To steer him safely till he reach the shore. And then, when Death's grim portals open wide, And he has reached the Land he dreamed and sung, Oh! bliss to wander o'er the streets of gold, His harp-notes mingling with the choirs of Heaven! His hopes all realized, "faith lost in sight"— His life a poem which God Himself hath read!
The gladsome Morning looked across the hills, Clad in his richly tinted robes; the opal dawn, Faint blushing in the East, grew clear and brighter, Till the resplendent sunrise decked the sky. It shone upon the woods—the birds awoke To chant their welcome to the god of day. It shone upon the meadows, and the flowers Ope'd their eyes, where the bright dew-tears glistened As they had wept thro' the long hours of night, Heedless of how the star-beams smiled and played; And the pale, tender moon, with pitying ray, Looked down upon their lowly, drooping heads, Now lifted gladly to the morning light, Till the warm sunshine kissed their tears away. And clouds of fragrance from their beds arose, That amorous zephyrs, as they wandered by, Wafted, like sweetest incense, to the sky! It shone upon the rivers, as they flowed Through fertile meadow-lands, so rich in loveliness; Sweet streams, that, rippling on in restful song, Took up a tone more joyous in that hour; And whispering leaves, and birds that, far and near, From grove and hedgerow, warbling clear and sweet In blending music, trembled in the air— Like matin hymns, that on Creation's wings Were upwards borne to the Creator's Throne!
Another year has well nigh passed, With all its smiles and tears, And joys and sorrows that are cast In Time's great stream, whose waters vast Roll to the ocean of the Past, Bearing our hopes and fears, Where 'neath its waves they mingle fast With all our vanished years.
Another year! a span of Time, That tells of lifework done; A book, some pages dark with crime— Some grand, and holy, and sublime; A trumpet, telling every clime Of battles lost and won: A knell of woe—a joy-bell's chime, Hope dead, and bliss begun!
Another year! In Spring's sweet hours What blissful thoughts we knew! What hopes, that came with opening flowers, What visions, nurse in spring-wreathed bowers, When Fancy lent her magic powers To trace in brilliant hue Castles of air, and dream-built towers Too soon to fade from view!
Another year! and I can trace Footprints o'er Summer's way, But turn to find a vacant place, Where once I met a cherished face, And well-loved form of youth and grace, Now pass'd from earth away— This year the goal of one bright race, The close of one fair day.
Autumn is dead. The year is old, The dull November days are chill; The bare woods dreary to behold; The northern blast blows keen and cold, Far sighing over waste and world, O'er wintry vale and hill; And in its moan are requiems told For true hearts dead and still!
So must it be. Each passing year Still bears some joy away; Some darling treasure, held too dear, In trembling bliss, in hope and fear, Which we would fancy safe and near, Departs, and seems to say— "We have no lasting city here, Earth's life is but a day!"
But Christmas, coming round again, Shall bring his wonted cheer; And Pleasure, in his jovial train, With rosy mirth and glee shall reign, To chase these thoughts of gloom and pain That haunt the dying year; And grief-parched lips the cup shall drain Of "Peace and good-will here!"
WITH A SHAMROCK.
Here, in these triple leaves, oh! read from me, What I, for thee, have dreamed their mystic spell, Faith, Hope and Love, joined hand in hand, I see, And this the message that they seem to tell:—
Love, for the present, and the time to he, Faith, that its might and truth can never die; Hope, that beyond the future clouds and mystery Points to a smiling scene, and cloudless sky.
"WAITING FOR THE MAY,"
"Ah! my heart is weary waiting, waiting for the May!" Old thoughts come back from the old time, Where, at even, the sunset light Gilds wood and world, ere the glory dies, And darkness gathers along the skies And the world is left in night.
Old songs float round in the gloaming, Sweet fragments that come and go; They are echoes, I know, from the olden times, Holy, as music vesper chimes, In the days of "Long Ago!"
And faces shine in the firelight; And laughter rings through the rooms; And memories of bygone springtime eves Come back to my lone heart that aches and grieves In the chill of life's winter glooms,
Then, the May of love that I longed-for Was hid in the future haze; I dreamed it a land of joy unknown, Where bliss and beauty would be my own Through the length of life's fair days.
So in hope for the May I waited As gay as the joyous hours That sped so fast, on their lightsome wings Thro' flowers, and sunlight, and glorious things That lived in youth's fairy bowers;
But the hopes I nursed in that springtime— Ah! me, but those times were bright! Are withered now, and no fruit I see, Though the blossoms were fair on every tree In the glow of their promise-light!
Yet, when by the grave where I buried Those hopes, I stand and weep, I hear Faith say, as the storm-winds blow,— "If in patience, and sorrow, and tears ye sow, The guerdon of joy ye shall reap!"
The glories of fair April's pride Are smiling round on every hand, And springtide beauties, far and wide, As with a garment clothe the land.
In shady nooks, in lonely glades, In forest alleys wild flowers spring, In budding stalls, in twilight shades, In lonely woods the birdies sing.
The violet's bloom on many a bank Is mirror'd in the waters sheen; And 'mong the grasses long and rank The yellow primrose flower is seen.
In yon dim wood the trestle sings 'Mong boughs that clasp hands overhead, And through the air his glad song rings, As in that April long since dead.
The brook has still the same soft flow, Whose murmur filled the evening air In those old days of long ago, Though I may never wander there.
I shut my eyes, and see no more The hurrying throng of city ways And call to life that dream of yore, And feel the thrall of bygone days.
The passion'd yearning for the time, The glorious time that was to be, The restless young heart's dreams sublime, Of all the future held for me.
Ah! fair the blossoms Hope's tree bore! I dreamed of Autumn's golden grain— Oh! fatal blooms! ye brought a store Of deep remorse, of life-long pain!
Oh! dream of youth, I see you now With calmer eyes, and world-taught mind, And know these care-lines on my brow My waking hour has left behind.
All false the glow that round you shone, Though fair as Fancy's dream-land light:— With all your rainbow decking gone I view your naked wreck to-night.
I look and bless the sudden blast That tore my idol from its throne; And bless the keen pain of the past— If pain for error could atone.
False love! bereft of all your wiles Dead dream whose sweetness all is o'er, The memories of your tears or smiles Can touch my wakened heart no more.
I lay you in your grave to-night And seal the stone without a sigh, Rejoicing that your gloom and blight No more can cloud my brightening sky.
Only relics, yet precious and pure Are the dreams of the days of old, Though they tell of wounds that no charm can cure, And of bright hopes, dead and cold. Only visions of forest ways, Only thoughts of happier days, Only the glow of Life's sunrise haze When the morning sun was shining.
Only, it may be, a lock of hair, Or a flower sere and dry; Only a pictured face, how fair In the light of the times gone by! Only a sigh for what may not be, Only a yearning wish to see The light beyond the mystery That for weary souls is shining.
Only thoughts of the gladsome time When the world of youth was bright; Only memories of joys sublime— The gleams of youth's fairy light, Only sweet flashes that come and go, Only the thrall that sets heart aglow, Only the spells we were wont to know When Fancy's rays were shining.
Only voices we hear no more, But the echoes haunt our ears; Only dreams that are past and o'er That we mourn through the lonely years Only to find that the sunny gleam Of earth's love fades like a passing dream, Only to wait for that deathless beam That "beyond the tide" is shining.
Only the clasp of a parting hand On the silent rivers' shore, As the dear one sails for the unseen Land And we see his face no more,— Only to gaze o'er the waters drear, Only to wait till the call we hear, "Come over now, for rest is near Where the true life light is shining."
Only the burden all must bear, Only earth's weight of woe; Only to learn from each dreary care The patience the pure must know. Only this:—but what welcomes wait To hail us home at the pearly gate; Only to toil until night is late And awake where the Morn is shining.
How blessed are they who turn their steps From paths the wicked choose, Who stand not in the sinners ways, And scorners' seats refuse.
Who take their solace and delight In meditation pure— The law of God—its depth and height, Its wisdom, might, and power.
They, like the trees on verdant banks Whereby sweet rivers flow, Shall bring forth fruit, and fadeless leaves, And prosperously grow.
But such is not the sinners' end— Like the light chaff are they, Which when the softest winds arise, Are quickly swept away.
They shall not in the judgment stand, Nor sinners, scorning grace Be in the congregation found Where righteous men find place.
The Lord himself the righteous knows— He marks them from their birth, But godless ways of sinful men Shall perish from the earth.
The purple heather on the brae Was all abloom; by glen and weld The wild birds sang the live-long day, The corn-fields ripened into gold.
The garden blooms were wonderous fair; Red roses blushed in regal glow; Carnations scented all the air, Pure was the lilies' virgin snow.
But fairer than the garden flowers, Or all the summer blooms, wean Was she, whose smiles beguiled the hours— Was she, whose presence charmed the scene.
Oh! pleasant were the sylvian glades, Oh! sweet the hush of summer noon; Roaming 'neath tangled green-wood shades We deemed that twilight came too soon!
Our home-ward way lay through the wood, We lingered by the streamlet's side,— False vows were made what time we stood There, 'neath the elms, that eventide.
I carved her name upon a tree,— A gnarled old ash-tree, gaunt and grey; "The name may stay," she said to me, "When I, perchance, am far away!"
Swiftly the summers come and go, And life grows stern, and love grows cold; Dim are the days of long ago— Their joys a story long since told.
But, sometimes, at the close of day, I dream of that dim wood, and see, A name upon an ash-tree grey— 'Tis all the past has left to me!
"And other days come back to me With recollected music."—BYRON.
How memory's boundless store is fraught With wonders, mystic and sublime! Bright gleams, that oft we set at nought; Sweet messengers from Heaven's own clime. The wind that stirs the boughs at eve— A star that glimmers in the blue Of nights gemm'd crown, oftimes may wreathe A halo, strangely sweet and new. Round hopes and fears we used to know In life's young morning, long ago.
The cadence of the sighing waves That break in song along the shore, The winds that sigh thro', hidden caves Are echoes from the days of yore. The moonlight, stealing o'er the sea, So calm, above the restless tide, Is like the light that used to be In many a by-gone eventide, As memory comes, and paints each scene, Of loves and joys that once have been.
We feel the power, and own the spell, That bid the lonely spirit stray, In thought, to where our lost ones dwell, Now from our paths so far away We say "'tis dreams that Fancy brings," And go our way, forgetting still; But on the winds are angels' wings, And spirit power, our souls that thrill With yearning for that life unseen, Hid far behind this mortal screen.
For Memory still with subtle art Unfolds the bygone to our eyes, And still the lonely, longing heart Would soar beyond earth's mysteries, Till wearied grown of useless tears, And longing for the olden days, We turn to see the future years Lie smiling 'neath hope's rosy haze, And view the past with hopeful love, Made sure our life is "hid above."—
Hid far away from mortal ken,— These wonderous gleams that round us stray, These meteors, 'mong the haunts of men, These holy thoughts, that day by day, Shine in their light of Heavenly hue O'er chequered paths of work and love, Refreshing as the tender dew, Are stray-beams from the light above Men call it Memory, but we know 'Tis Heaven's warm light on earth's cold snow!
Twilight's shades are round me creeping, Nature dons her robe of gray; Through the blue the stars are peeping, Sunset's last, faint streaks decay.
Visions come of bygone hours, Ere these eyes were dimmed by tears, Youth's bright scenes unwreathed with flowers Dimly seen through mist of years.
Softly through the summer gloaming Steals this picture of the past; Through the wood the breeze is roaming Moon beams round their shadows cast.
By the murmuring, flowing river, Sits a maiden waiting there; Graven on my heart forever Is that form of beauty rare!
Vows are plighted, love is given, Trusting love without alloy, And the calm, blue, starry heaven Whispers but of truth and joy!
By the murmuring, flowing river, Where the shore the waters lave, Now the moon beams fall and quiver On a green and lonely grave!
Token sad of fond love slighted, Of a rose cut down in bloom, Of a fair young blossom blighted All too lovely for the tomb.
Softly through the summer gloaming Sighs the breeze a requiem low, And my sad heart, ever moaning Answers to its tones of woe!
TOLD IN THE TWILIGHT.
We left our ink-stained office-desk, Two, young in years, yet old in care; We laid aside our world-face mask, We laid aside our daily task To breathe the country air.
We laid aside our musty books, Grown almost hateful to our eyes; We longed to roam the country nooks, We longed to hear the murmuring brooks, And see the sunny skies.
We longed to hear the birds again, Minstrels that through the woodlands stray; We longed to hear the reaper's strain Sung in the fields of golden grain On the bright harvest day.
Oh! pleasant were the breezy downs! Oh! fair the lanes and fields; Far from the weary noise of towns, We half-forgot grim Care's dark frowns, 'Mong peace such quiet yields.
He said, The busy city's street The path of labour and of woe, The anxious faces, hurrying feet, The things that every day I meet, Are what I hate to know!
Oh! might I bathe in Lethe's stream, Forget the happy days gone by, And know this life a fleeting dream, And look on every passing scene As with a stranger's eye.
To walk along this quiet lane, To feel this evening calm, Ah! how it soothes my tired brain With peace I thought that ne'er again Would bless me with its balm.
'Twas in a lane like this, at even My life's peace came to me; A great, sweet joy to me was given, A pure, true love, whose hope has riven Earth's gloom and mystery.
A maiden, lovely as the glow Of Fancy's soul-land light, Once vowed to me for weal and woe, As calm or storm would come or go, Her love was 'mine by right!'
Twas Spring-time then, ere Autumn's blast Sighed with its dreary moan, To shake the brown leaves falling fast, Her sweet life-tale was told and past, And I was left alone!
'Twas hard to think that she was dead, 'Twas hard to bear such pain; 'Twas hard to feel all brightness fled, 'Twas hard to count bright days swift sped That could not come again!
I sought her grave at eve, alone, And there before me lay Her tomb, a lily carved on stone, Meet emblem of my darling one So early called away.
And, 'neath the lily, words so sweet, In dreams they haunt my rest; Oft at their sound I turn to weep 'He giveth His beloved sleep.' Oh! portion purest, best!
Sleep to the weary body, worn, On earth, with pain and care, To meet the ransomed soul, new-born, On the Great Resurrection Morn, In God-like beauty fair.
There, at her grave, I bade farewell To all my heart loved best; I left our home, I could not dwell "Mong scenes our love had marked so well, I felt Grief's wild unrest."
This is my story told to you— My holiest dream of life; The blest home-love that once I knew When she, so good, so fair, so true, I called my own—my wife!
My sunshine faded when she died, Such joy I might not know; God called her early from my side, And when I lost my gentle bride The world seemed full of woe!