LAYS OF ANCIENT VIRGINIA, AND OTHER POEMS:
JAMES AVIS BARTLEY, OF ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA.
RICHMOND: J.W. RANDOLPH, PUBLISHER 1855
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855,
BY J.A. BARTLEY,
In the Clerk's Office of the Eastern District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Virginia.
G.S. ALLEN & CO., PRINTERS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.
TO MY FATHER, THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED BY HIS SON,
PREFATORY LETTER TO THE PUBLIC.
These Poems were written with pleasure; if they be read with pleasure, I shall be requited amply. How often the Guardian Angel of the Father of Virginia in surpassing loveliness rose before my imagining eyes! Like the spirit of a dream, she glided through the foliage, verdant and shadowy. Enchanted myself, the desire to enchant others seized me. The "Poet's Enchanted Life" is a gallery of poetic pictures of nature. Most of the minor and miscellaneous pieces, breathe the spirit of virtuous affection. If critics censure me unjustly or intemperately, I will fight them—but I hope to find them, as well as you, dear Public, very kind friends of a loving Author.
Where yonder moss-grown ruin[A] lonely stands, Which from the James, the Pilgrim may survey, Stretch alway forth its old, forsaken hands As if to beg some friend its fall to stay, And now the wild vine flaunts in greenness gay; Erst rose a Castle, known to deathless fame, Though now the mournful rampart falls away, Hither Virginia's hero-father came, To found a glorious state, and give these regions name.
For, then, both far and near the forest wide, Stretched from the main unto the setting sun, And Bears and Panthers walked in fiercest pride, And slept at ease when their red feast was done, But here of white men there had ne'er walked one, But a fierce race of wild and savage hue, Their simple life from chase and angling won, And oft, when wrath arose, each other slew, In bloody wars which dyed their soil with crimson dew.
I ween it was a novel sight to see The white man landing in the vasty wild, Which each familiar creature seemed to flee, Where not a christian dwelling ever smiled, Nor e'er a well-known sound the ear beguiled, But all was wild and hideous—and the heart, Mayhap, of stout man, trembled as a child, —And oft the exile's tear would, gushing, start, That ever he was lured from Albion's coast to part.
But there was one, the chieftain, of that band, Whose soul no dread, however great, could chill, His was the towering mind, the mighty hand, On which, his feeble followers resting, still Would fear no peril from approaching ill. With him the strangers built their rugged home, And turned the soil, and eat, and drank their fill; Glad that to this fair Eden they had come, And reconciled became to their adopted home.
Thus pass'd away in peaceful happiness, A little space by yonder river's side, But now arose the wail of keen distress, Gaunt Famine, with his murderous eye, they spied, Stalk round the walls of those who wept and sighed, And when their venturous chieftain wandered forth, Ill hap betrayed him to the savage pride, The death-club rose, his head upon the earth, To perish there and thus, that man of kingly worth.
Not yet! before that last sad deed be done, An Indian maiden springs beneath the blow, And says her virgin blood shall freely run, For him, extended on the ground below, See! how, her face upturned, her tears do flow, See Love and anguish painted in her eyes, That, like a Seraph's, in their pity, glow, And surely Angels, looking from the skies Claimed this poor savage girl a sister in disguise.
Those eyes, those tears prevent the falling stroke, For Powhatan could not withstand her tears, His favorite child, who, charmed, beneath the oak, His savage spirit from her dawning years, The wondering white man now he kindly rears, And bids his menials haste the Indian's fare For him whom now his daughter's love endears, And lo! within the Lion's horrid lair, The Dove has brought her mate, and sees him unhurt there.
Oh Love! how powerful o'er all thou art, In dusky breasts or breasts of whiter hue, To thy delicious touch the human heart Throbs with respondent transport ever true. On Love's swift wings, this Indian virgin flew, To snatch from hateful death the lovely chief, Love drew her tears, like showers of pearly dew, Love filled her passionate breast with tender grief And love still drinks her soul, and naught can give relief.
She decks her long, black hair with gayest flowers And tries each girlish art to warm his breast, And, straying oft, among the leafy bowers, Whilst Luna's silvery smiles upon them rest, And Earth sleeps deeply, in that beauty drest, The lonely Muckawiss[B], with doleful strain, Pities her fate—alas, she is not blest, But hopes and doubts, and dares to hope again, That Smith may love, and ne'er is free from love's soft pain.
And fair was she, the dim wood's lustrous child, Though born amid a race of uncouth men, And gentle as the fawn, which, through the wild, Trembled with timorous haste, and fled, and when She stood within the rude and silent glen, Of deepest forests, she appear'd more bright, Than other nymphs who roamed these regions then, And now—for o'er her form and sylph-like waist, A native modesty entranced the most fastidious taste.
He whom she loved to all these charms was cold, Though well he saw her bosom's gentle fire, Stern is the soul that worships fame or gold, To all that softer ecstacies inspire. A stony heart these tyrants e'er require, Brave Smith ne'er thought of Pocahontas' love, But only that his name would glitter higher In coming centuries, others' names above, Whose soon contented souls an humbler distance rove.
To cheat her pining soul of this dear dream, They told a dreary tale that he had died, While to her father's hut, like some fair gleam Of sunlight, with some heavenly thought, she hied, And now both day and night, how sorely sighed, And inly groaned the poor bereaved maid, Nor could restrain strong nature's gushing tide, That in the dark, cold grave, her love was laid;— Disconsolate, she moved along the leafy glade.
Pausing beside her Smith's imagined tomb, Weeping, by moonlight pale, she strewed fair flowers, To wither o'er him, emblems of his bloom So soon departed from these lovely bowers. Once plucked, these buds will never bless the showers, Sweet charities, by wearing wonted charms, But lose for aye their balm for summer hours; So all her showery grief him no more charms, To spring and rest a joy in her exulting arms.
She deems he sleeps within the envious ground, Which stole him early from her young, warm breast, No more her brow with wild flower wreaths is bound, And all her ornaments, neglected, rest; Since fled is now the dreamy hope which blest Her artless soul, she loathes her glance to fling On corals, braids, and flowers, and royal vest, And slowly wanders like some moon-struck thing, Through gloomy cypress groves, and by yon haunted spring.
But time must soothe the most exquisite smart Of love, when wounded by the dart of death; For life would flee, should not such woe depart, Too deeply weighing on the heart beneath. Fair Pocahontas breathes the wonted breath Of tranquil life, a creature darkly bright, Decking her hair again with many a wreath, Walking amid the high wood's gentle night, Charming her wild, old Father's heart with strange delight.
Yet nought could make her cease to view with love, The tender memory of the mournful past; And once when warring clouds grew black above, The shrieking Earth with awful night o'ercast, And long foiled Hatred hoped to glut his fast With English gore, with irksome steps she stole, O'er deep morass, through tangled brake, and cast The boon of life to each devoted soul, Who slept within that Castle's frail and weak control.
Oh! we might marvel that her savage heart, Would show such love to her loved father's foes; But love like this, will act no selfish part; Over drear earth, diffusing joy, it goes, Its breath the fragrance of the earliest rose, Its voice the sound of an unearthly thing, Its form an Angel's, and as pure as those, Who come to gladdened man on shining wing, Which scatters round the sweets of an immortal spring.
Now when the dogwood gemmed with blossoms white, The gorgeous grove where oak and stately pine, Upthrew their gnarled arms of massy might, And thus a leafy canopy did twine, This dusky Dryad would with grace recline, Along the mossy bank of crystal stream, In whose smooth glass her angel beauties shine, Beside brave Rolfe, a man of pallid gleam, Who sighed his soul to her, and taught her love's true dream.
Beneath the silver moon, resplendent queen, With simple rites, these mingling souls were wed; The happy stars looked down, with brighter sheen, To view love's wretched fears for ever fled; The wild flowers trembled in their dewy bed, And up a most enchanting fragrance sent; The blissful Hours, unnoticed, onward sped; And, with their gentle music sweetly blent, The breathing winds and waters murmured their content.
Ah me! what deep, celestial transports thrill'd These beating bosoms, in so sweet a scene: What tears of tender joy their visions filled, Scanning each other's soul-absorbing mien And, in that bower of paradisal green, Happy, they sighed, in accents fond and warm, That thus enclosed Earth's primal pair had been, Where oft they spied bright Seraph's glorious form, And rose on high afar the grove's eternal charm.
There oft the mocking bird, a songster gay, Would soothe their souls, with multifarious song, Singing his farewell-hymns to dying Day, As fade his smiles the darkening glades along; And when the frowns of night more thickly throng, The amorous firefly led them at that hour, O'er wooded hills, and marshes deep and long, To their sweet rest, which sank, with grateful power, Along their wearied nerves, in their wild, oaken bower.
As flows the stream, with calm, unruffled wave, O'er shining sands, to kiss the glassy main, So flowed the life their gracious Maker gave, Nor felt the obstructive power of obvious pain; So deep o'er them was Passion's rapturous reign, That mid their bower's delicious solitude, They dreamed their hearts might never sigh again; By love their gentle spirits were subdued, To the deep rapture of a heavenly seeming mood.
Alas! the race of Pocahontas flow, As waves, away, which can return no more; No more o'er plain and peak they bear the bow, Or shove the skiff from yonder curving shore; Their reign, their histories, their names are o'er; The plow insults their sires' indignant bones; The very land disowns its look of yore; Vast cities rise, and hark! I hear the tones Of many mingling Tongues; and boundless labour groans.
And paler nymphs are sweetly wooed and won, Upon this soil, and they are happy too, But of these fairer English damsels, none Have shown devotion more divinely true, Than thou, untutor'd maid of dusky hue; Nor shall thy tribes from memory vanish quite, While beauteous deeds as angels ofttimes do, Still sway the generous mind with heavenly might, For thine would snatch even worse from Time's oblivious night.
The tallest fir, that decks the blooming grove, Decays the first, the most abounding rose, By worms is first consumed; the pearl we love Is stolen first, the star that brightest glows To gild the gloom, is first that sets, and those Whose lovely lives on earth we prized the most, And most assuaged the pangs of thronging woes, Which—oh how oft! our fated paths have cross'd, By all are ever mourned, "the loved and early lost."
So Rolfe's dear spouse was early snatched away,— But left one pledge of her undying love— (Perchance her happy spirit oft would stray Round their dear footsteps wheresoe'er they rove) And Europe's turf grow green her heart above. No more could grief or joy disturb her breast. Soft by her tomb let musing Fancy move! Let not a sound of thoughtlessness molest The melancholy spot of her eternal rest!
Her fair form sank low in the gloomy earth— Her spirit soared and found a brighter home, Where now with sun-bright smiles, she wanders forth, Beneath the glories of a heavenly dome; Where Seraphs o'er bright fields forever roam, And flowers aloft Life's never dying tree, Whither no evil thing can ever come; Where now she blends her heart and harp to sing A ceaseless song of praise to her Eternal King.
But oft the eye which scans yon ruin old, Where Jamestown erst in simple grandeur rose, Shall fill with tears—as there it doth behold— For it will speak to him of heroes' woes, Felt erewhile whence this river gently flows,— And sprang this famous, Hero-bearing State;— And while with pride his patriot bosom glows, His heart her gentle history will relate, And warmly laud her deeds, and mourn her early fate.
[Footnote A: Jamestown.]
[Footnote B: Whip-poor-will.]
Amid the tempest, wild and dark, Upon Life's troubled sea; One only star illumes the scene, With heavenly brilliancy.
Oh! sweetly o'er the howling deeps, Its venturing beam shines out; And bright, relieves my weeping eye, And calms my soul from doubt.
That star is pure Religion's light. A pole star, calm but blest, It guides my lost and trembling bark, To Heaven's sweet port of rest.
Sweet Frankie lives in Elfindale; Where all the flowers are fair, and frail (Like her fair self,) a slender fairy, And like a zephyr, playsome, airy, But lovelier far, than buxom Mary. Now, since I saw her full, bright eyes, And heard her tongue's rich melodies, Solace the evening air, Sweet Elfindale, e'er loved of yore, Has grown more fair, beloved more, A part of some fay-walked shore, A haunt of beauties rare. The gay dawn smells more fragrant there, (When youthful May, new, fresh and fair, Comes, bird-like through the laughing air,) Than it was even of old; And Evening throws a richer dress, (O'er Elfindale's mild loveliness,) Of fading pink and gold. The moonlight nights are lovelier now, On silent Elfindale; More pure the beams, more soft the glow, That sleeps upon the vale: So much of beauty God hath given To sweetest Frankie—gracious Heaven! She spares so much to beautify, Fair Elfindale to my charm'd eye,— And yet she loses none at all Of that which holds my soul in thrall. Now, if my harp shall echo well, The story of her life, and tell, In worthy feet, her beauty's power That flourished as a springtime flower, I shall be richer, happier far Than one should own a round, bright star. And what if the fair maid should smile, To hear my warbled strain? Ah! that would all my grief beguile, Undo the life of Pain. I one time saw a laughing mirth Leap in the maiden's eyes, And thought the too aspiring earth Had robbed the jewelled skies, Of one bright angel, even her: She made my very being stir.
I ne'er saw sweet Frankie's mother, What I had glowed to see, Yet think no mortal earth's another, Bore child so fair as she. I ween that mother was a queen In royal qualities, And in her lofty eyes and mien, Lurked lovely majesties. I ne'er saw sweet Frankie's mother, What I had glowed to see; But cannot, long-lost mother! smother The love that swells for thee.
When Frankie came into this world, In lovely Elfindale, The winds were lulled, and waves lay curled, Beneath the moonlight pale: The cold stars twinkled far above, And danced, with their bright eyes of love; The gleaming waters did rejoice, And breathed a soft, enamored voice; The sleeping zephyr on his flowers, Awaked to bless the gliding hours Which gave this tiny being, birth, A bliss, a Blessing to the earth. She was, in truth, a beauteous child: At three years old her eyes were wild With something of a playfulness; And then she had the softest tress Of auburn tint, that fell and flew About her neck of damask hue. To watch throughout the Summer day, The butterfly's capricious play, Or humming bird's bright, rainbow wings, And all gay, joyous, natural things. To hear the poets of the grove, Sing forth their little lays of love; Or to survey the stars come forth, Or dancing rainbows hug the earth: These were the pastime and the play, That whiled her infant hours away. And blest was sylvan Elfindale, With child so fair within its pale.
That was a bland and holy morn, Like one, on very purpose, born, A gray godmother stood, Before the chancel's sacred place, With Frankie's sweet and artless grace, And heard the preacher good. And as the bright baptism fell, Upon her fallen tresses well, And o'er her bosom's chastened swell, The beauteous maiden smiled: She looked a wingless cherub then— My inmost spirit fluttered, when I said, O wondrous child! I thought a troop of angels stood Amid that lofty fane, And (I in that ecstatic mood) They sped to bliss again. That, whole bright day, I wandered wide, O'er sunny hill and vale, And thought no day of brighter pride E'er lay on Elfindale; I thought, that day dear Frankie love, Had been new-linked with those above; And henceforth angels would attend The maiden, to her journey's end.
Fair Frankie grew in attributes That harmonized like golden flutes, Or harps of silver strain: She loved the Lovely—growing so, With every year's advancing flow;— She was the Death of Pain! The dwellers in green Elfindale, Were happier all for her, The very flowers she loved to trail, With pleasure's thrill, would stir. She loved both man and brute that dwelt Within that vale of Good; And they, as bettered beings, felt New virtue—as they should. And thus a shining, golden chain, Of many links of love, Knit Frankie to the peopled plain, And to the good above. Affection's wreathed rings of beauty, Bound round a globe of gold; It is my verse's pleasing duty, To say to all, behold, Sweet Frank that central globe of worth; That gems, with pride, this spot of earth, This flower-engirdled, blissful vale, This heart-delighting Elfindale.
And now when lovely Frankie stood, In the dear pride of womanhood, The queen of Elfindale; One sought her for her loveliness— A joy—a heaven of happiness— An earth-born angel meant to bless My throbbing soul with rich excess Of joys that never fail. She sat hid in a garden bower, Watching the first, sweet star, That crowns the lovely twilight hour, And glows to earth from far. A sad sweet dream oppressed her thought, And tinged her calm, white face; Her eyes fixed fast, their radiance fraught, With melancholy grace. I stole unto her close retreat, As winds creep on a vale; And, standing, gazed upon the sweet, Sweet queen of Elfindale. She turned her head, she faintly smiled, She bent her gaze on me; It made my very spirit wild, With thrilling ecstacy. I caught and clasped, her to my heart, Yet never spoke a word;— But the twin-vow that could not part, By Love in Heaven was heard.
Again unto the lofty fane, Sweet Frankie lightly went; With smiling joy and same of pair Upon her features blent. Again, as on that sunny morn, When white-winged angels stood, To see her, of bright water, born, Before the preacher good. Again within the chancel's gloom, She sweetly, gently stands; With marriage hymn, with rich perfume, With Hymen's happy bands; With wild-rose wreaths, with gayest bloom, And wreathed maiden's hands. But, now she stands with me even there, With sweetly downcast eyes, So purely white, so passing fair, Like one of Paradise. The preacher speaks the solemn words, Yet fraught with deepest bliss; We twain in one are bound by chords, With sob—with clasp—with kiss. Returning from that sacred place, All earth and sky rejoiced, And all the winds and waters' race Their compliments then voiced. The birds sang sweetly on the spray, As they ne'er sang before; And love lay o'er the world away, A robe of golden ore.
And now, we live in Elfindale, Dear Frank and I together; And there is light on this sweet dale, In calm, or stormy weather. A fairy daughter leaps between Our nightly moving paces; Upon whose soft and marble brow, Gleam many artless graces. We dwell, we dwell, in Elfindale— I—child—and happy mother; And, if earth holds a sweeter vale, We cannot wish another. Life has been arched with bluer skies, By curved rainbows brighter; And nature—ah! what wondrous dyes, Now lavishly bedight her. Love has become a glorious robe, With thickest gold o'erladen; And now we dwell upon a globe Which is, indeed, an Aidenn. I dwell with fixed eyes upon My wife and cherub maiden, I feel the light of that fire-sun, That broadly shines on Aidenn,— And all our days that brightly run, Are heavily joy-laden— And now we know our grief is done, And that we dwell in Aidenn.
OF A SKYLARK.
At dawn I rose from silent sleep, And heard a sky-lark singing, Amid the azure far and deep, Till all the arch was ringing.
And now, as deeper, deeper still His form sank into heaven, Me-seemed his heart's concentered thrill, To his loved Lord was given.
If I possessed such wondrous wings, I would soar and sing to heaven, Till my freed soul from sordid things, Should thus be widely riven.
THE PRINCESS OF PERU.
RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO MISS MARY T. ROBERTSON OF ABINGDON, VA.
Far to the wilds of rich Peru, Gonzalo came—of pallid hue, Strange in these Western lands of night, Where nought, save woman's eyes, are bright. But these have all that outward beam, Reflected from their glances' gleam Of light and fire, that kindle bliss; Or sink to gloom in Death's abyss. Gonzalo came, a son of Spain, That land which gleams beyond the main, And sent its children to these lands, To gather gold with reckless hands. And, he, Gonzalo, stood a tower, In sturdy grace, and manly power; No Indian's weapon was to him, More than a sea-reed, slight and slim; And yet to brown Iola's eye, He seemed the lord of lady's sigh. Gonzalo seen, her thought, her dream, With fancy's love-fraught visions teem. She deemed that orb of glorious fire, To which her country's souls aspire, That crimson god whose glowing face Illumines all the mortal race: She deemed his glory, only, vied With brave Gonzalo's matchless pride. And down along the green, fresh earth, Where sin not yet had known its birth; She knelt, and cast her hands and eyes, To the bright God of those bright skies; And worshipped him whose blessed beams, Had given Gonzalo to her dreams. Iola, princess of Peru, Most fair (though of a dusky hue,) Like this new, unpolluted clime, Unknown to hate, unknown to crime, Where all that dwell know but to love, (The gentleness which marks the dove.) And like that rich, unguarded shore, She knew to be, and seem no more; And like that land so rich in bloom, Its branches wrought at noon a gloom; Her form was bright with beauty's hues, Which each propitious year renews; And, as within its bosom lay, Treasures which mocked the sun's bright ray; In her rich soul shone wealth to shame, That tropic sun's meridian flame. She stood a lovely being fraught, With that most dear to human thought, The power to love, to force the bliss Of heaven, to such a world as this. Iola, dearest maiden, threw A wondrous charm o'er all who knew Her loveliness; her menial train Adored her even to anxious pain. And to her father's rapturous eyes, She shone a rainbow—whose bright dyes Illumed his aged spirit's night; A thing of loveliness and light. And in and out the Inca's hall She went, returned to his known call. She seemed a sunbeam sent from heaven, To make his troubled spirit even; For, if his soul, oppressed with grief, In aught of earthly, sought relief; Iola's image quickly seen, His soul grew peaceful and serene. In his tried spirits' darkest mood, She was an omen still of good. Such was the maid with hue of night, But soul and eyes like midday light, Whose beauty shed a sparkling spell, O'er Peru's plain and shadowy dell;— Who mid the rugged Andes stood, The charm of polished womanhood, And many a stranger wondered where, She caught that grace and beauty's air.
"Iola!" said Gonzalo, "far Where shines yon lovely evening star, Sings many a gay and loving maid, Beneath the cooling olive shade. Their brows are whiter, too, than thine, But yet none to me are so divine, As thine, fair maid of dark Peru, With heart like its Volcanoes too. E'er since I landed on those shores, Of endless spring, and brightest ores, I have not thought of ought but thee, Ne'er can my bosom now be free. List! sweet Iola! am I vain? I deem thou lovest we well again; For, when I sought thy downcast eyes, They met mine with a glad surprise; And when I spake to thee full low, Thy voice was like a fountain's flow, So softly sweet, so lulling, too, It bathed my soul in rapture's dew. Iola! sure I love thee well, And if thou wilt thy father tell, I deem he will not eye me ill, Whose love is with his daughter still." Iola raised her glance to heaven, Then to Gonzalo, darting, even Her soul, into his own, and said; "This soil with blood was never red; And, sure, my father would not slay, Those men for whom his child will pray. But why thinkest thou of blood? the thought, With wretched fear is ever fraught. Think, think of love, and gentle peace, Gonzalo! let these bodings cease. Think, think of love—here on my heart, Repose, and even Death's stern dart, By Love conjured, will turn away, Some unloved thing of earth to slay." "Angel of good!" Gonzalo cried, "A thousand joys are at thy side, Thou comest to light my dangerous way, With calm, and pure, and heavenly ray. I feel thou art a spirit sent, From heaven's snow-white battlement, To lead me through these stranger wilds, With voice and actions like a child's, So guiltless in thy love—so dear, I bless thy goodness with a tear. Oh! like thy climate's deathless spring, Succeeding days and years shall bring, Living affection to my heart, Till we no more on earth can part." "Then, dear Gonzalo! let us meet, As oft as evening airs are sweet, In yonder bower—my own—my dove, And I will be thy gentle love. That bower my Inca-father reared, For good such thing to him appeared, Where his Iola might be lone, To dream of fancies all her own. Yes! oft as evening shades came down, On giant Andes' glittering crown Of endless snow, that shines afar Next to the radiant zenith star; Then throw their dark and sombre lines, Upon the mountain's lower pines: Come, then, to me, and we will speak, Sweet thrilling words, and on my cheek, Thy lip shall feed till we expire, In glowing love's consuming fire." "Yes, I will come, maid of Peru! Though Fate, yon soaring Andes threw, Between my wish and thee my love, That lofty barrier I'd remove; And press to thee with Condor's flight, To thee, to love, to life's delight. N'er since these eyes beheld the day, Have they seen aught, whose potent sway, Could bend my will, as thou, dear maid! Sweet star, amid my spirit's shade. Not all the wealth that gleams around Within thy country's magic bound, And fills my world with loudest fame, Of this new world's most wondrous name, Sways more with me than idle dream, Or transient bubbles on a stream, Compared, Iola! with thy power;— And I will come to thy sweet bower."
* * * * *
"Iola! art thou in thy bower, At this most dear, appointed hour? On fleetest pinions I have come, To meet thee mid this richest bloom, Thy Inca father's garden flowers, Whose odors fall like balmy showers; But, of them all, thou art the flower Who hast the most delightful power, And of the wondrous birds that sing Amid this garden's blooming spring; Thou art the loveliest; and thy voice Most meet to bid my soul rejoice." Iola spoke not in reply; But gazed on him with vacant eye: Still was she silent as the grave, O'er those we love but could not save; And she seemed calm as tropic sea, When its hushed waves from winds are free. Gonzalo wondered; why no word, Came from that lip that mocked the bird Of her own land, in melody, When warbling from his cocoa tree. But why, O gem of rich Peru, Thy silence strange, thy aspect new? What envious power has bound thy voice, Which erst could bid my soul rejoice. Oh! surely some malignant sprite From realms of most infernal night, Has taken thy angel voice away;— But speak, Iola, speak, I pray! Her tears gushed forth like tropic rain, That widely floods the blooming plain; And thus began, "Gonzalo! thou Deceived'st me—but I know thee now. Ask me not how I know it sooth; Enough, I know the bitter truth. I felt forebodings of this hour; It did my happiest thoughts o'er power, With a dark weight; but then I thought, 'Twas by my foolish fancy wrought. 'Twas like the omen which precedes The earthquake when the summer reeds Are strangely still, until the shock The central earth shall wildly rock. Thou dost not love me, child of Spain! Thy heart can love no thing but gain; The paltry dust I tread above, To thee, is more than woman's love. My love is vain, and life is less Since lost my hope of happiness Look from this garden;—far below Yon Andes' sides with verdure glow, But far on high, the icy chill Of winter glitters, glitters still: I am that lonely verdure—thou That mountain's cold, unchanging brow. I'll ne'er upbraid thee—no—oh no! For love is kind, in deepest woe, I love thee still, and will till Death, Shall win my love with living breath. This even, farewell—yes, yes, adieu! No years our meeting can renew. Would that when round these royal bowers, I played in childhood's happy hours, The Condor bird had borne me high, On his huge pinions through the sky, Upon yon mountain's snowy crest, To hush his high and hungry nest. Farewell, Gonzalo! fly with speed, Leave shade and silence to my need."
* * * * *
There was a cry of terror in the hall Of Peru's monarch, and a startling call; But no reply—Iola sure was gone; Yet none knew why or whither she had flown. Her Inca-father put his crown aside, And filled the temple with loud prayer—a tide Of lamentation rolled along the fair And blooming realm; heaven wore a dim despair. She ne'er was found; but how or when she died None knew; by her own hand; or if she cried, Vainly, in wild beasts' clutch;—but ne'er before Din wail so wild resound along the shore Of fair Peru; her father lived not long, After this chord was snapped in his life's song.
THE HOLY LADY.
Oh, Heaven hath given to earth some souls, Of rarest loveliness, Whose being's constant current rolls, The wretched still to bless.
Well wishing Heaven hath given to earth, Some hearts of purest fire, To renovate our sinful birth, And raise our low desire.
The Holy Lady did not go Afar, by sea or land, But ministered to sighing wo, And suffering near at hand.
'Twas sweet to see the Lady fair, Each blessed sabbath morn, Wear such a sweetly solemn air, Of bright devotion, born.
'Twas sweet to see her bow at eve, On lowly bended knee, To pray, and sadly, sweetly grieve, For man's perversity.
But sure were we that city fine, Wherein this Lady dwelt, Was bettered by a power divine, And heavenly prompting felt.
When she was old, her heart not cold, A youthful beauty lay, A light most wondrous to behold! Upon her tresses gray.
The charm of goodness does not fade, Like natural beauty's flower, But blooms in glory undecayed, And death-defying power.
TIME AND ETERNITY.
The darkness falls on wood and field, On lofty peak, on silent sea, The infant Moon and Planets yield A faint and feeble brilliancy.
Cans't thou behold the look and shape Of mount and main, of wold and wood? The morrow's sun, o'er sea and cape, Will show them out, both plain and good.
Time darkens all to mortal eyes Save what faint reason's stars illume: But when Eternity shall rise, All shall their shapes and hues assume.
My soul has been wandering in Yemen, The land of the aloe and myrrh; Where the breezes that blow from the ocean, Brought feelings of heaven to her.
In the joy-giving vallies of Yemen, On its mountains that blush with their bloom; My soul has been wandering but lately, To hide from the weight of her gloom.
My Soul, like the fleet horse of Yemen, Flew chainless o'er mountain and plain, Till she paused by the flower-scented ocean, Then returned on her pinions, again.
In that beautiful world, in that Yemen, My Soul lately wandered in bliss; Till she found there a glorious maiden, She vainly had sighed for, in this.
Then my Soul walked far with this maiden— In this beautiful region of gold, And died on the love-burdened accents, From the fount of her bosom that rolled.
Oh Yemen! whose name is the Happy, Whose mountains are fragrant with bloom— My Soul met her Consort there lately— And now she says nothing of gloom.
LILLY: A POEM.
The May sun sheds an amber beam, Upon the river's liquid plain, But never to that glorious gleam, Her eyes will ope again: Sweet Lilly, come again, Sweet Lilly, come again.
We look across the landscape wide, Where spring bemocks the thought of pain, And scatters charms with lavish pride;— The vernal joy is all in vain: Sweet Lilly, come again, Sweet Lilly, come again.
The summer breezes lightly lift The clustered flowers oppressed with rain, Which fleecy cloud-sieves downward sift,— It falls on Lilly's form in vain: Sweet Lilly, come again, Sweet Lilly, come again.
Oh! can the glory of the year, The Spring that decks the widening plain, Thus strive to make the maid appear, But yield the hopeless task in vain: Sweet Lilly, come again; Sweet Lilly, come again.
Silence!—where brighter May suns beam, On greener hills and vales, Bright Lilly walks, as in a dream, Fann'd by celestial gales:— Now, Lill! come not again! Now, Lill! come not again.
ADIEU TO EMORY.
Adieu to thee, Emory! adieu to thee now! There is grief in my spirit, there's gloom on my brow, I have left the sweet scenes where I knelt at thy shrine, O Learning! thy wreath with my name to entwine.
Adieu to the scenes where, when study was o'er, And the toil of the mind was remembered no more; I roamed o'er the mountains, forgetful, afar, 'Neath the light of the beautiful Evening Star.
Like the light of that star—like a splendor on high— Like a Heavenly Dream that was born in the sky— Bright Poesy burst on my pathway even there, And a rainbow of Beauty encircled the air.
Ah! she shone with a brilliance more dazzling and strong, Than e'er to a child of the earth could belong; And her pinions that waved through the rose-scented air, Had a tint that was brighter than thought can declare.
Yet adieu to thee, Emory,—thy scenes I regret; In a far distant scene, I may think of them yet; Fond Fancy may roam o'er thy mountains again, And love them as freshly and warmly as then.
Yet, the tears gush unbidden, when breathing adieu,— With the change of our years, our hearts are changed too! And, haply, the world, with its coldness, will chill My feelings at length, as bleak winter the rill.
Adieu to thy scenes, adieu to thee now! There is grief in my spirit—there is gloom on my brow— Though Fancy may paint all thy beauty once more, The days that have flitted, she cannot restore.
Thy soil, Virginia! is all hallowed ground, Made such by steps of patriots; thy high fame, Alway unto our ears, a glorious sound, Kindles, in all high hearts, heroic flame.
I walk beneath thy forests, high and lone, I hear a voice that sinks into my heart, The voice of fetterless Liberty; the tone Which bids the flame of patriotism start.
Greece was the land of heroes, and her soil Is sacred with the deathless memory Of martyred virtue, which on Death could smile, At Marathon and proud Thermopylae:
Gray Rome shall never lose the magic charm, That valor's fire can pour along a land; That charm shall bid the hearts of mankind warm, Long after her last stone hath ceased to stand:
Yet, thou, Virginia! art a prouder land, For when thy hills become red shrines to Right; Thy plains become the spots, where, smiling, stand, The angels, gentle Peace and true Delight.
And now, how fair thy homes! on every hand, Thy cities and thy country domes arise, From mountains vast, to ocean's shelly strand, And bring a pride into our gazing eyes!
How brave thy polished sons! their hearts how free! How far above the plotting of the mean! How they contemn all base chicanery, And proudly move, as men, through every scene!
And when thy daughters, an angelic train, Roam mid thy flowery walks, how sweet their love! And when they speak—the sound seems like a strain, That wander'd from a blissful clime above!
Immortal land! my soul is proud, to think I yet can walk upon thy mother soil, And, willing that her mouldering frame may sink, Back to thy breast, after its lifetime toil.
Oh, think not that the polished breast, Only, can feel the fire of love, Pure as the flames that brightly rest In bosoms of the realms above. Yes! often in the rudest form, A heart may be, more clear and bright Than ever lent the loveliest charm To goddess of the Festal light. Come, hear a story of the time, When this wide land was one green bower, The roving Red man's Eden-chine, Where bloomed the wildest flower. The great ships brought a wondrous race, One evening o'er the ocean beach; Strange was the pallor of their face, Strange was the softness of their speech. 'Twas evening, and the sunset threw A gorgeous brilliance o'er the scene, Deep crimson stained the heaven's sweet blue, But ocean rivalled all its sheen. The painted red men came to view, With marvel, what the winds had brought,— For, surely, those proud vessels flew, As if their force from Heaven they caught. But who is yonder slender youth, With smoothest brow and smoother cheek, And eyes so full of boyhood's truth, And mouth, which closed, yet seems to speak? "Ah, sure, that lovely youth's from Heaven!" A dark-eyed maiden of the wood Sighed out upon the breath of even, As in the mellowed light she stood. And, ever from that fatal hour, This white youth's image, slight and pale, Would haunt the maiden's leafy bower, And wake her spirit's wail. In that high heart that fiercely hates, Love is as fierce and wild; And so the love is wild, that waits To mount its height in this poor child: This poor, frail child who born beneath A roof of leaves, is made to dream, That she may wear a bridal wreath For youth of snowy gleam. Watoga! sure some demon lied, To thee, when wrapt amid thy sleep, To make thee his forlornest bride, Beneath the moaning deep. That youth who floats an Angel through, Thy night, thy daily dream— He loves a maid whose eyes are blue, And cheek like yon full moon's white beam. The simple ornaments which thou Hast taken thy form to deck, The wild flower wreath that binds thy brow, The shells that gem thy neck; Each ornament shall deck a bride To wed the Demon Death, Beneath the ocean's sluggish tide, A thousand feet beneath! The fair youth who hath warped thy mind, He loves a snow-white maid! Then know'st it!—now not long confined, Thou'lt fly the greenwood shade. 'Tis night on lone Atlantic's deep, And summer o'er that placid sea, The stars watch Earth's scarce-breathing sleep— Oh! she sleeps deeply—tenderly. What figure o'er yon bluff that scowls, Upon the smiling water? Ah! whose that wild and freezing howl? It is the forest's daughter. One moment,—and the hollow moan Of billows sings her funeral song;— In sooth, it was a dreadful tone, And it will haunt us long. This is the brief and mournful tale Of one who loved in vain;— She slept not in the flowery vale, But in the deep, deep main, They tell she was a demon's bride, But now a wondrous wail, Each night swells o'er the peaceful tide, And through the loudest gale. Watoga was her Indian name, The white men called her yellow-flower;— And evil fire, a poisonous flame, Blasted her heart's sweet bower. Failing to be the youth's dear bride, Adorned in colors gay, She went to a Demon's pride, Under the Sea, they say. And I have grieved to think of her, And, if in these degenerate years, There's feeling, her most mad despair, Would melt a stone to tears.
If ye will walk amid the ancient wood, Ye will perceive the lordly oak o'erspread The slender shrubs, and shield them from the storm. If ye will look upon a thrifty hive Of honey-loving bees, ye will remark A Sovereign rules this small but populous State; And, if she live, they live, and fill with life The sunny air around—but if she die, They quickly die, and then their precious sweet, Becomes a dainty dish for vilest worms. If ye will scan the custom of those birds, That seek the boreal lakes, when spring unfolds— Soaring far up amid the azure heaven, Ye will note one who leads them in their flight, As Chief his army to the embattled fight, And, oft he shouts far back to them to cheer Their fainting hearts, and flagging pinions on, To trace the long, long course to far off lands. If ye will note the noblest of a flock, Ye will observe the weaker follow him. And thus if ye will wisely look on men, Ye will perceive the wisest lead them on To every work; for this is nature's law, And whoso breaks it, breaks it to his hurt. Fair France once drooped beneath the feeble rule, A blighting reign, of many a Bourbon fool, Until Napoleon rose, her natural king, And crushed the Bourbon, as an abscess thing. Great Heaven decrees, that Greater still must reign, Or else the weaker must exist in vain. Fair France seemed conscious of this grand design, And hailed Napoleon as a man divine— Bedecked his path for many a flowery mile, And claimed her monarch with a beaming smile. Thus came Napoleon—and, on every hand, Fair Joys prepared to hover o'er the land. Then, France! thy glorious age was nigh begun, When rose upon thee such a glorious sun; Soon had thy bliss and praises been complete, And Earth had, falling, worshipped at thy feet. Beneath this monarch's rule—who loved the best— Thy meanest subject had been very blest. And thou had'st antidated our high claim Of rescuing man from civil slavery's shame. But, ever, Envy views, with murderous eye, Those souls who strive to make their station high. When France was weak, her sister realms were kind— When France grew strong, in hellish league combined, They sought to crush her to the sordid earth— Lest she should grow—and they should pine in dearth.
Go beat the spaniel, if he rouse thine ire, His servile nature may no more aspire— But leave the lion in his lordly lair, Or he thine entrails in his rage will tear. Go, rob the linnet's unprotected nest, And rend her offspring, from her little breast; But leave the Eagle in his eyrie high, Or thy torn flesh shall hush his eaglet's cry. Fair France's lion was Napoleon! he Roamed o'er the land, a monarch proud and free: And when the Nations, in their pigmy might, Provoked the Lion to engage in fight, With gory jaw, he rent their legions strong, And left them bleaching the wide earth along. Fair France's Eagle was Napoleon! he Soared thro' her sky, a monarch proud and free: And when the boy-like kingdoms thought to bring The glorious soarer down with bleeding wing, With swift, fierce swoop, he darted from on high, And the rent pigmies, shrieked with mighty cry.
Vain were their wishes, all their envy vain, They could not bring the soarer to the plain;— Till Fate's fell arrow—surer than the rest— Winged the far flight, and pierced his glorious breast. Then fell Napoleon, Eagle of his clime, By Fate's fell shaft, from yon proud heaven sublime: And when he fell, France knew no keener woe, Then the deep piercing of that mortal blow. The sweet land drooped, and sickened in her grief— That hope so happy, had given truth so brief— That Fate's fell shaft her glorious Bird had slain, No more o'er conquered earth to soar again.
But not at once Napoleon breathes his last— More woes must come—if now the worst be past. Napoleon's star, declining on his eye, Tells France shall yield him not a place to die. That he must hie him to an alien shore, And see his France, and blue-eyed boy no more. The noble Lion must be chained at length, By Fate's strong force, though not by man's weak strength. But, harmless now, that meaner things shall prey On whom they fled from, in his Glory's day. Oh! when the Chieftain turned to wave adieu To lovely France, across the waters blue, The iron man who never quailed in war, Where Death's conspiring darts flew fast and far— If peering Envy marked no gushing tear— Wept, wept to leave the land that was so dear— And if that woe was mute—it was more deep, As deepest floods, in silent caverns sleep.
But who are they to whose exalted name, He turns for friendship in his fall's deep shame? What flattered enemy may gladly prove, A fallen Hater yet may know her love? Britannia! in this latest deep distress, Napoleon's fate thou now mayest surely bless, Attest thy greatness to a fallen foe, And make thy fame sublime o'er all below.
Lo! on yon dreary isle, yon desolate rock, That quails beneath old ocean's ceaseless shock— Where flaming suns and sudden ruins combine, Fo waste and wreck the human form divine— Where man cut off from all most dear to man, Makes hopeless exile, happy if he can:— Then say; Britannia! that thy nobleness Deigns thy asylum to thy foe's distress? Say, this the Glory which thou lov'st to boast, O'er meaner dwellers of each neighboring coast?
Contracted nation! thy contracted home, A sterile rock round which the billows foam! How well consorts it with thy dwarfish soul, That owns no noble feeling's high control.
What glorious record holds the past of thee, What single page from foul disgrace is free; Bend, weeping Mary, Scotland's lovely Queen, With noblest grace, and sad, yet royal mien, Bend from yon dome of pure, celestial blue, Say, when a fugitive from sorrow flew, To Britain's bosom, did she live—or die— Unheard—uncared for, her last lingering sigh?
On yon bleak isle, behold the Eagle razed, Who lately soaring, down on Europe gazed. See now a jackal move about his gate, Gloat o'er his grief, and mock his fallen State— Howl round his nobler prisoner every hour, How brave! to mock him now, deprived of power!
Behold, on yon lone rock the Lion bound, Who once o'er prostrate Europe looked around; See now, a Spaniel, yelping at the gate Of his strong dungeon, mock his altered State.
Methinks, when dying on that lonely isle, The sad abode of his most sad exile; If, haply, he had touched the mournful lyre, It breathed this "Farewell"—ere he did expire.
"I die not on this hideous rock, As common men would die; The world will weep above my grave, Despite a dismal lie.
I well endure the fiercest pangs That myriads give to one,— But oh! my lovely France! I grieve, To leave thee so undone.
My towering aim, to see thy fame O'er all beneath the sky— So much—at last—is now achieved, And, half content, I die.
The woes my foes decree me here, Ne'er wake my faintest sigh— But when I view my country's woes, Not yet I wish to die.
But lo! the Future opens now, Before my glazing eyes, And shapes of new and coming things, Before my vision rise.
I see the Bourbon hurled at last, From France's tottering throne, A proud Napoleon reigning there, France, smiling, points her own!'
Earth yet adores my mighty name— And, late, laments my doom, Nor longer wrongs the gliding ghost That loathes its island tomb.
Long—long through age succeeding age, Napoleon doth awake A fearful throb in injured breasts, To make vile despots quake—
And teach the world this truthful lore, That Greater still must reign, Or Weaker must exist on earth And pass to dust in vain!"
Hark! how the wintry tempest raves, Along the frozen plain— Dark, dark the lowering clouds above, And fast descends the rain.
But, lady! now a deeper gloom Surrounds thy lover's soul, And wilder floods of grief and woe, Around his spirit roll.
SCENE I.—A WOODED MOUNTAIN IN BLOOM—TIME SUNRISE—ENTER LOVER SOLUS.
This is my fair resort, the Summer Sun Is rising there, the ocean gleams like gold, On which his rolling chariot burns like fire. Ten thousand birds are up in branch and air, To hail this coronation, every day Repeated from the first to last of time. It is a glorious sight, and worthy all That has been said or sung of it in verse. But yet 'tis dim to me, Odora's eyes Have cast that glory in a dull eclipse, Oh! sweet Odora! I am mad with love Of thy sweet eyes. Would they might rain their rays Upon me, as yon orb, rains rays on earth. Oh, sweetest eyes of love! they set on fire My tinder heart. Odora! come to me! Upon this mountain's green and glittering brow, Where now I stand and gaze down earth and main, O'er which that God's all gladdening glory soars. Come, sweet Odora! thine eyes outshine that God. Thy speech's music so transcends these birds, They'll pine for grief and die. Oh sweet, come, come.
ENTER ODORA IN THE DRESS OF A WOODNYMPH.
Transcendant vision! Even now I thought of thee, My mind, o'erheated, called—and thou art here. What blissful fate hath brought thee? Dost thou roam The scented hills at morn, to gather flowers; To gaze into the fountain's glassy mirror, Or list the sweet birds sigh on every bough, Thou art a woodnymph, speaks thy fair attire. Sweet fancy of a sweeter maidenhood, That thou dost walk at dawn a woodnymph wild. Here will I seal upon thy foam-white brow My flame again, which burns like yonder orb. Odora! speak to me! thy voice is sweet, As sounds of rescue to a ship-wrecked soul.
SCENE II.—LOVER IN A GORGEOUS SALOON IN A GREAT CITY—EVENING—ENTER ODORA—LOVER SPEAKS.
Again I meet my love. 'Tis wondrous bliss, That such a Moon shines on my spirit's night. Like yonder moon, at times, she disappears;— But still the virtue of her visit stays, Till she returns, with moon-like certainty. Come, my Odora come! sing,
When winds are cold, and winter strips, The Oak and ghostly Pine; And fastens every streamlet's lips, And cold icicles shine: Still fair amid the scene so bleak, The daisy flower is seen; So truest love will comfort speak, And make life's winter green.
That strain would charm an adder even to tears, So sweet a song, from mouth so full of grace. Before I saw thee, my Odora! ne'er I thought this world could ever grow so fair To me. Love throws a rosy, sparkling tissue On mountain, hill, lake, tree, shrub, leaf and flower, Love sweetens every note of nature seven fold. But sing again. Thy voice is like a harp.
When winds are bleak, and snows are deep, And waters frozen dumb; And voiceless insects snugly sleep, Where beam can never come: The daisy blooms beneath some tree, That screens her form from harm;— So, love! I nestle near to thee, And live beneath thy arm.
Oh! angel! thou dost sing a meaning lay, And teachest wisdom, in sweet poetry. But whence, my fair philosopher, thy lore, Hath God bestowed such deep laid knowledge on A light and playsome girl, whose pranks and wiles Have quite bewitched my would-be firmer soul. Methinks thou singest well to-night; adieu, And may pure angels bring thee radiant dreams.
SCENE III. AN EVENING IN SUMMER. A GARDEN.—LOVER ALONE, AND READING A BOOK.
A tale of happy love! 'Tis like my fate. Two youthful beings, yearning each for love, Met by a haunted stream, with ivied banks, Beneath the evening star—the star of love. Their souls fled to each other suddenly: So that they felt they were ordained of old, To twain be one, one flesh, one bone, one soul. They loved, and dwelt among the grassy hills, By lakes that mirrored all their trees and flowers. A happy life, and curly-headed boys Were round their steps, their walks, their cottage door, Filling the air with laughter, silvery sweet. Gay spring, bright summer, autumn, winter passed, And found and left them happy, So time flew, Till both were old, their hearts yet light and gay. Then, they slept sweetly, side by side, near by A favorite stream they oft had gazed upon, Meek christians said they hoped that love so rare Had full fruition found, in brighter worlds. It is a happy story, and my eyes, Have poured their pearl upon these pages here, That tell so dear a tale. Oh! God be praised, If such a fate befall my love and me. I will go seek Odora, and return To talk with her amid this fragrant bower, Of what a book has charmed my sighing soul. I found it here. Perchance she read it first. How that one thought which doth fill up the mind, Will color outward objects, circumstance, And accident, with tincture of itself.
He goes—then Odora and he re-enter the garden.
LOVER SPEAKS.—I here have found, Odora, love, this book, Which tells a strange, sweet tale of happy love, How two young beings found a heaven on earth, Cans't tell me, whence it came, if fact or dream?
ODORA SPEAKS.—It is a happy story. In my father's room Of precious volumes late I fell on this; And read it in this garden; sweet romance, It brought the love-beats to my heart, drops to mine eyes.
SCENE IV.—ODORA AND LOVER IN A FIELD UNDER A PERFECT RAINBOW. (LOVER SPEAKS.)
Above this field that shines an Eden, lo! That wondrous arch of many married hues: A gorgeous belt, round Nature's lovely waist! Sure, earth now seems no place of graves. A wide Gay, blooming Paradise! With moistened face, She smiles, like God, upon this joyous world. A new, wild burst of various harmony, Salutes that Bow of charm—that orb of Glory. Thou art the sun and rainbow to my heart, And, as they fade from sight—but do not die— But come to-morrow with their wonted charms, Thou shalt not die—but gleam o'er me in heaven, With none of all thy beauty, lost or less. Can'st thou not sing a song, love, ere it fades?
The Sun gave birth to yonder bow That trembles in the sky That life-bestowing sun art thou— That trembling bow am I. When he withdraws his beaming face, The rainbow disappears; And, if those frown on me but once, I melt away in tears.
I thank thee for that song. Oh! thou art, sure, The wealthiest empire ruled by mortal man. Thy thoughts fall down on me, like drops of gold.
SCENE V. THE BANKS OF A ROMANTIC RIVER, FLOWING AMONG MOUNTAINS, AND VIEWED BY MOONLIGHT.
How wild this scene, among the mountains lit By moonbeams. Ivied bluff and cedared bank, And river rippling o'er its gravelly floor. The cool and silence, and the holy night, Remember me of fairies, those strange forms, That ever revelled underneath green trees, And danced upon the velvet, verdant sward. Here will I sit upon this grassy knoll, And hear the song of this sweet water's flow, And gaze upon yon moon, who nears her noon. How beautiful to me, are moonlight shores. Here will I sing of loved Odora's charms, What time she lies locked in sleep's rosy arm. No bird was ever fairer in its nest. No bud e'er sweeter in its unoped cup; No jewel brighter in the chrystal sea; No diamond richer in the caves of earth.
The God of love, made beauteous things, To give His Man delight— He made the sun—the bird's gay wings— The constellated night. He made the mountains of the earth, The ocean, beautiful; He gave all harmonies their birth, Man's troubled soul to lull. The charm of charms—the Joy of Joys, That crowned the perfect whole; Was, Woman's form, and Woman's voice, And Woman's tender soul.
THE ANGELS OF EARTH.
Angels of Earth! they soothe and bless The troubled soul of man, Bestow the most of happiness, They can.
Angels of Earth—they are but few, Sustained by Heavenly grace, To raise again, and to renew, Our race.
Predestined thus they do retain That image earliest given, To Adam, yet unknowing pain, From heaven.
They move before our wondering eyes, A vision passing strange, And sure we feel from yonder skies, They range.
But oft, as brightest flowers and bows, The earliest fade and die; This glorious vision soonest goes On high.
Our verdant vale once knew a maid, Who dwelt in such a light, Her presence made the spirit's shade, Look bright.
Harmonia was her name. Her voice Was tremulously low; To hear it made the heart rejoice And glow.
Could I compare that voice divine, To bird's most joyous lay, When hailing from his lofty pine, Young day?
Or, to the thrush's full, rich song That gushes from her breast, And hushes all wild Passion's throng To rest?
Could I compare the sight of her, To glorious angel spring— To whose sweet breath—all lands—seas—stir, And sing.
Oh fair Harmonia! God is love, Who gave thee to our earth, To renovate and lift above Our birth.
Harmonia dwelt within a vale Of wildest loveliness, Where sweetest odors fill'd the gale To bless.
And so they called it "vale of Spring," This dear Harmonia's home; Where Beauty shed, with spendthrift wing, Her bloom.
The pine-crowned mountains stood around, To screen the lovely dale, From tempest's stroke, and lightning's wound, Fierce gale.
Harmonia grew to woman's pride, And blent her life with one; Like rivers bright, now side by side, They run.
The tale of grief, the sinner's tear, Come not to them in vain; The sad, remorseful wretch they cheer, Again.
Oh ne'er thought we, a vale of earth, With morn, and noon, and even, Could seem to own the very worth Of heaven.
Such is the valley of the spring, Our sweet Harmonia's home, Where beauty sheds, with liberal wing, Her bloom.
Meek Eva is another soul, Ordained to soothe and bless, And charm to joy, with soft control, Distress.
Meek Eva hath great, gleaming eyes, Full-orbed with radiant light, Which bring the beauty of the skies, To sight.
No word of anger ever falls, From her sweet mouth of grace; No sinful passion ever palls Her face.
Sweet Eva lives to do but good, In all her gentle life: With her good fame, the neighborhood, Is rife.
Angels of good, they shed abroad The spirit of the dove; For He who gave them, is a God Of love.
Angels of light—they make a heaven Of such a world as this— They make the rugged pathway even, To Bliss.
Angels of Earth—but we shall see These angels yet again; Where angels, robed in purity, E'er reign.
AUSTRALIA; OR, THE NEW GOLDEN AGE.
In ancient days, in old, immortal Rome, Where virtues, surnamed Roman, had their home; When Virtue triumphed over Vice, and threw Across their annals, a more lovely hue; When every citizen was proud to be The state's fast friend, and venal bribes would flee; When manhood wrote upon each lofty brow That glorious seal which makes the meaner bow; When Industry, Art, Science, Learning cast That light o'er Rome which gilds her to the last; The Roman minstrel caught the sacred flame, And made that age the chosen child of fame: The Golden Age recalled the happy hour, When man walked sinless in the first, sweet bower. Such was the glorious golden Age of yore,— That golden Age of virtue is no more. The modern, brighter, happier Age of Gold;— Oh! dost thou mean that Vice lies dead and cold In her detested grave, where none will shed, Not even her slaves, a tear above her, dead— That Virtue lives—the rainbow child of heaven, And holds the balance in these centuries even?
The Golden Age! the words are still the same,— The meaning once man's glory—now his shame. Hail thou new Golden Age! O heavenly Age! Mankind sustains thee with a noble rage: All, all unite to gild thee with some rays Of gathered light—themselves with shining praise. See! how they rush, and leave sweet childhood's home, The serf his hut, the lordly man his dome, Forsakes, with callous heart, each hallow'd scene, The oft frequented tree, the shady green; Swift, swift they fly to see the realms of gold, And think to reap the joy their raving fancies told. Ye, isles of Britain! see them quickly leave Your rocky coasts, and never deign to grieve. Ye, sunny shores of France! behold them start Nor shed one teardrop, as your ships depart. Ye love-charmed bowers of Spain! your Houris' eyes Are rayless now—for brighter lustre vies! Ye, boundless plains, and giant hills, that rise In craggy pride, and prop Columbia's skies, Ye view your maddened sons, with guilty haste, Roll from your shores and tempt the watery waste— Forgotten every claim that Virtue knows, Despised the scenes, where early childhood rose, Swift to the land of gold, they, joyful, flee, Nor care the sacred joys of home again to see. Lo! where they rush, and leave the drooping land— Unseen the parting tear, the loved one's waving hand. Thus they depart—if those who walk the main, But few shall view their native scenes again.
Oh God! how vile thy creatures there become! Thy pleadings powerless—all thy threatenings dumb: On far Australia's plains, by California's streams, Life's crimson flowing current often gleams: For Cain has found in gold another power To make him slay, as Envy at the hour, When Thou dost set the ever-during mark On him a Wanderer, where all earth was dark. And how uncertain is the hold on life, In those sad lands of gold and constant strife. Fiends strike by day; by night they ever lurk, By wood or cottage, swift to do Death's work; Till even when none are near to deal the blow, Imagination sees a hidden foe, Behind each tree, and by the little cot, Till gloomy Apprehension shades each spot.
Lo! in yon bower of honeysuckle where A thousand bees intone the summer air; And humming birds, a fairy birth of springs, Hover to suck the sweet on quivering wings; There, at the morning's sweet and balmy prime, A clasping couple blame the swift-wing'd Time. Each morn, each eve, they seek this lonely bower, And deeply bless its fair and fragrant flower, Which shadows o'er so much of wildest bliss— The burning glance—the long and honied kiss— The broken sigh—the murmured, tender word, Whose thrilling tone the inmost heart hath stirred— The matchless joy which makes us hold as nought, All pangs that Fate may bring, or ever brought. The lover hears that far amid the West, Gold gleams within each river's crystal breast— That, wide and far, the gorgeous vision smiles, And laps the spirit in delicious wiles. He quits—he flies—he will behold the strand, Where Wealth lies gasping for his tardy hand. He will return—an edifice shall rise In stately grandeur to the curving skies; In their own land, his lovely bride and he, Will move a lord and lady of degree. She springs—she flings her fair, etherial form Upon his breast, which once, with love, was warm— But now curst love of gold has surely chilled, The heart that once her love so wildly thrilled. Her long, fair locks, distracted, stream below, Her gushing tears like wintry torrents, flow: Her Herbert steels his heart against their power,— The ship that wafts him sails, ere morning's hour.
At length he hails the longed for, distant shore; The perils of the deep, at least, are o'er, No fell disease has struck, with vengeful power, His form to earth, to this protracted hour. He sees the land—before his gaze unfold The mighty, gorgeous realms of guilt and gold. How swells his bursting heart with evil pride! Cursed pride, for which so many souls have died. Accursed pride of Lucre—loathsome Dame Of every sin on earth that hath a name. In fancy now he sees his palace soar A fairy work! upon his childhood's shore; In fancy sees his smiling, loving bride, A queen amid her menial train preside; And quite forgets that she his wiser wife, Would love some cot, wherein to pass their life:— Till Fate, vindictive, lays her lover low Far from the hand which might relieve his woe. At last, he dies—his spirit's latest groan By her unheard—his latest wish unknown. Thus Heaven hath punished him whose love of gold Hath made him slight what he should dearest hold.
Beside yon haw-crowned hill, a widowed dame, Dwelt with her son, by whom her living came. Enticed by gorgeous dreams that haunt his sleep, Her age's pillar wanders o'er the deep— Deserts his aged, widowed, trembling dame— Ah thus will gain destroy the sense of shame! There on those barren hills and burning plains, His insane fancy gloats on glittering gains. Until, at last, avenging fever lays, His form on earth, through dark, delirious days, Without a mother's soothing care to ease His dying throes, beyond those distant seas. Yet, when, in that brief space which comes before, The spirit flies, to visit earth no more, A transient light breads on his wildest brain, His bosom speaks in this lamenting strain! "Ah! damning love of gold, which sees me here, And made me leave an aged mother dear. Now Heaven, how just! repays my guilty deed! No mother soothes me in my sorest need. Yet if kind Heaven will prize that mother's prayer, Which, incense-like, now rises through the air; I build my faith—that my last breath will ope The gate of bliss to my believing hope."
Far mid yon vastest woods, behold a swain. If small his joy, small is his spirit's pain. He tills the soil, for him the wild flowers bloom, And lovely daisies shed their meek perfume. His happy wife, relieves his every care, And bliss is double when enjoyed with her. His flocks supply his little household dear, With decent garments, and salubrious fare. Glad he beholds the smiling god of day, Walk from the East upon his radiant way, Gild all the fields—the lengthy plains—the peaks Of giant mountains, with vermillion streaks— While all his farm spreads out beneath his eyes, His heart's sweet home—his little paradise. How better far this humble, noiseless life— Afar from guilty gold and bloody strife. How glad he views his prosperous projects smile, What guiltless joys his long, long life beguile. With joy he sees his offspring rise around, His body's scions, with sweet virtue crowned. And, when, at last, his form succumbs to time, He sees that offspring strangers yet to crime; And, inly joys to think his drooping age They will sustain, and all his pains assuage, Till, like an apple mellowed, ripe, and sound, He falls, and slumbers in his own good ground.
THE PROPHECY OF COLUMBIA.
The sun descends along the glowing west, His bright rays quivering o'er Potomac's breast— And still he flashes, with his parting smile, And gilds the top of yonder mighty pile[C]— Which Heroes children bade arise to heaven— In this new paradise (though later given.) He sets! that glorious orb! and now is gone— And night's dark wings are slowly moving on;— But see! the moon, full-orbed, ascends the sky, And walks that dark-blue path so calm on high— Pours her soft light—a sea of silvery beams, On that proud pile—as on the sleeping streams; As if indignant that the Night would hide, With her black wing, a nation's central pride— That towering dome, beheld from o'er the sea, To crown the clime of all who now are free. As there I wandered, when the day was o'er— Near that proud pile—along the silent shore— And, fondly lingering o'er the magic scene, Marked each blest spot, where Freedom's feet had been,— The Present fled—the Future rose to light— Columbia's Genius stood revealed to sight. Her Phantom form uprose and touched the sky— Her mighty realm lay stretched beneath her eye. An awful light—yet gentle—yet serene— Shone from those eyes, and from her god-like mien; At first, cold fear ran through my shivering frame, And dread forebodings o'er my spirit came. But soon she spoke—though not in warlike tone, But mild as zephyr when his breath hath blown. A smile of kind, parental love confest Her glowing son whom now she thus addrest.
"O son! well-pleased, I mark thy patriot fire, Nor wholly scorn thy yet unpracticed lyre. Behold yon structure whose lone, silent height Meek Luna gilds with her celestial light. See how it soars! and leaves the darker plain— So high—that none will soar, as that again— Until the Monument that God will rear On sin's dark grave—as Tyranny's is here. Yes! view that Capitol;—its lofty dome O'erlooks the clime thou lovest to call thy home. Just, just the joy thou feelest—it o'er views, The happiest land that quaffs the sun's bright hues. But think thou not that, this, my chosen land Has reached its borders—they shall yet expand— Until yon heap, on which the moonbeams play, O'erlooks a hemisphere that owns my sway. There boundless tracts of evershining snow, There—flowery isles that in the tropics glow— There sea-like pampas, waving to the main, There—thousand cities dotting o'er the plain— There—noble James—there Hudson's fairy tide— There—Susquehanna—e'er with Song allied— Here—broad Potomac, too,—shall here arise The hum of wide industry to the skies. There—mighty Oregon—amid the West— Rolls wealth uncounted o'er his watery breast. There—mightier Amazon—the King of Floods, Sweeps grandly down from nevertraversed woods, There—Lakes—supplied by endless hills of snow— There—Mexico—the gulf of placid flow— There—wide Atlantic—blue as Beauty's eyes— There—far Pacific—vast as are the skies— Each whitened by quick-passing, shifting sails, Conspire to make me rich—till Carthage fails To show a record of more wealth and power, Even where the farthest isles became her dower. And yon dusk hill[D], amid the moon's pale light, In nation's eyes, shall soar a prouder height— Till from each shore where man has learned to dwell— The eyes shall strain, and feel the mighty spell— For there repose the bones of Washington— Upon that hill—earth's noblest, earthly one.
But this Columbia's fairest praise shall be, Her Sons shall kneel beneath their chosen tree— At prayer—as fades the daylight into even— And, lift—unblamed—their hearts to smiling Heaven.
Here Learning, too, shall rear unnumbered domes, Here Shakspeares—Tassos—find more happy homes, Here Homer's fire, and Virgil's polished grace, A sacred charm shall give to many a place. Each shady hill shall be a Muse's haunt— By each pure spring aerial nymphs shall chant— Chant the sweet song to heavenly Liberty— While thundering cataracts peal it to the sea!" She spake no more;—or I too much opprest By wondrous visions, needed welcome rest. And when I waked, the day had now unfurled His rosy banners o'er the laughing world, And while the glorious prospect charmed my view, I felt Columbia's prophecy was true.
[Footnote C: The National Capital at Washington.]
[Footnote D: The Tomb of Washington, at Mount Vernon.]
Of woman was I born, and man I am. I come to teach the greatest, yet the most meek Of all true lessons which man e'er can learn— God's man was made to love, and nought to hate, Except the Ill which God and angels hate. Oh! this grand lore hath fallen on my heart Like smiling sunlight on a gloomy ocean. Oft have I heard and felt great throbs of love Vibrating through the universe of worlds, Through every grain of matter, through the hearts That live and swarm beneath the eye of God. Oft standing mid the holy calm of night, The surf of love came rolling on my soul From off the farthest verge of God's great realms, As rolls the surf of ocean on a beach, For ever and for ever, and for ever. Love was the Cause of all things, and the End; For God is Love and ever will be Love: And those who feel most love are most like God— As seraphs, cherubs, saints and righteous men; And those who feel least love, are least like God, As Satan, Moloch, Belial, and bad men.
Once man, and all that live and move on earth, In sea, and sky, were bound by links of love To God and angels, in one perfect chain— And God and angels came and talked with man Full often, in the shade of Eden's trees, While lions and all lambs lay down together, All in the happy shade of Eden's trees. Oft have I watched the myriad lovely flowers, In spring and summer, in the woods and meads, And thought they clasped their tiny hands in love, Then all bowed low their painted heads in love, To the great lord of light who smiled on them. Oft have I watched the myriad forest leaves, Trembling as if with some sweet thought of love, Till love's sweet incense went up from all these, To the bright orb who smiled bright love on them: And then a thousand birds began to sing One song of love to that bright God above. Oft I have heard that larks, in England's realm, Fly from the earth, at morning's golden blush, And fill the whole bright arch with golden songs? And I have reasoned they sung only love, Which teaches them that strangest melody, Which they soar nearest heaven to warble out. Oft have I seen the beams that leave the sun, Embrace within the clouds, with shining arms— And form a splendid arch in earth and heaven, Which shines eternal covenant of Love— Toward which our hearts forever mount and sing, As skylarks mount and sing to morning's flash. Oft have I seen the sparkling water-drops, Cohere in love, and make a crystal lake— A gulf—a sea—an ocean's mighty mirror. Oft have I thought that all the system worlds, A few of which we watch, at holy night, Far up amid those deep, blue fields of night— Are hung by Love, and wheel forever round The Central Point, in circles swift but true; And in their orbits flying thus for ever, Sing forth a choral song of burning love, To that Creator who loves them again. Oft have I thought, the law which Newton named The Law of Gravitation, is the Law Of Love, which God had called the Law of Love. And if a world could ever hate the rest, 'Twould rush forever to the abysm of gloom, And dreariest part of chaos. I infer God's man was made to love and nought to hate Only the Ill which God and Angels hate.
Ah! happy spirits were they all in heaven, And all loved God, and one another loved— And all moved round the Triune God enthroned— In blissful circles—nearing him for aye, Yet not approaching ever—till that Foul And Hateful One fell off from love and then Fell down into his dark, eternal den, Where love's sweet beam can never, never reach.
Two lovers in the strength of life, Had built a beauteous home, Where tall, ancestral oaks uprose, O'ershadowing their high dome.
He was a tall and manly form, With ringlets dark like night; But she was like the lily's stem, With eyes of moon-like light.
Six happy years they chronicled Within their nest of bliss; To taste each day some sweetest joy, They could not go amiss.
Three little images of them, Two boys and one a maid, Beneath those high, ancestral oaks, With silver laughter, played.
The thunder-blast of war came o'er The lover's startled soul; The wife bowed low her head and heart, To sorrow's strong control.
The lady drooped—as droops a flower Without the sun or rain; And now at twilight's hectic flush, She sang a wild, low strain:
"He's gone, I cannot smile as when I saw him at my side! Ah me! the memory of that hour When I was his new bride.
"Our two young hearts were joined in love, As two bright lamps of flame, Cut off from him, life is to me A mockery and a name.
"God help my helpless little ones, And keep them for his own. My heart is breaking—husband! long Thou shalt not be alone."
When faded all the autumn flowers The lady surely died— Broken the bands that bound her life To him—his wife and bride.
Love was the Cause of all things, and the End, For God is Love, and ever will be Love. God's grey-beard prophets sang a future time, When all would be restored in love to God, And the first Eden be rebuilt on earth; That lions and all lambs should play together, On the long grass of Eden's greenest lawns. That man should yet behold that happy scene, When one loud jubilate of worship—love— Should climb the heavens from each lone shore of earth.
Oh! Love's the sweetest joy of earth, Love's keenest pang is bliss, And, like a wild, delirious bee, We hang upon a kiss:
With lip to lip and heart and heart, We live in that sweet death, And feel the breeze of paradise, Upon a loved one's breath.
We lean upon a beating breast, As on a throne of gold; And, like a monarch, thence, look out, On love-hued sea and wold.
We dwell upon a loved one's song, As on a strain of heaven, And think it charms the throbbing stars That throng the halls of Even.
Oh! Love is like a river-flood, That rolls and pauses never— An ocean-tide that bears us on Forever and forever.
This is the lore I come to teach the world— That Love formed all of matter, all of spirit; That Love keeps all things, lest they fall to chaos; That Love's pulse vibrates throughout all God's works, Whose beat is harmony like angels' songs— And man is most like God and least like Devil, When he most loves all things which God hath made.
HOURS WITH NATURE.
When smiling spring, an angel fair! Walks o'er the verdant plain, And breathes a soft and balmy air, From isles beyond the main: When robins sing, and waters play, And lambs skip o'er the mead, And forest birds, with music gay, Their callow offspring feed: When May-flowers shine by every stream, And fragrants showers come down, While sun-rays o'er the mountains gleam, And form a dazzling crown:— Oh! then 'tis sweet to be with thee, Dear Nature ever fair, To roam thy walks of song and glee, Thy realms, sky, earth and air. Bright angel spring, thou seem'st divine, With ever smiling brow: No sin-created gloom is thine, Nought dims thy beauty now. Wide earth, stream, river, lake and sea, Shine forth an angel land, Where spirits, robed in purity, Roam, love-linked, hand in hand. Now June, like full-blown womanhood, Succeeds the maiden spring, And broods upon the solitude, With broad and bird-like wing. The air re-echoes forth a song Of full and perfect bliss, Where happy lovers roam along, And melt into a kiss. But Summer bursts upon the world, With views of waving grain, Beneath the sweating sickle hurled, Upon the fragrant plain. The warm, long day calls forth at length, The storm's electric fire, That shatters the oak's imperial strength, And bids the shrubs expire. The cloud rolls off—and see! what pride! A many colored bow, Hangs on the cloud's retreating side, And o'er the fields below. Then, glorious summer flies away, From upland, slope and plain; And Autumn, crowned with shocks of hay, Appears in joy again. Old, jolly Autumn! happy man! Wild tumbling on the meads; We'll love thee, Autumn, as we can, Thy glory is our needs. Thou heapest our barns with plenty—thou Art, sure our faithful friend; And, in the aspect of thy brow, Lovely and useful blend. Thy golden hues recede at length, And seem to sigh decay, Till, thou, despoiled of life and strength, Art borne, a corpse, away. Wild, bleak, and blustering Winter wild, Assumes the icy throne; Deep snows upon the earth are piled, And hushed is every tone. The trees stand bare, bleak skeletons, Of bodies once so fair, And dirges, dirges, woeful ones, Resound amid the air. Bleak, winter wild! thy dreary scenes, Have yet one modest flower; The daisy finds some little greens, Whereby she builds her bower. The daisy is a preacher wise, Whom heavenly robes array; Each winter lives, and sweetly tries, A loving word to say. "Oh! man, amid thy darkest woe, Some humble bliss remains;— Then, let thy murmurings cease to flow, And hush thy doleful strains." It is the dawn. Faint crimson streaks The dewy, orient sky, Like virtue's blush, on maiden cheeks, Ah! sweet and peerless dye. At last—the sun, an Eastern king, Comes forth in rested pride; And soars, with bright and burning wing, Above the hill and tide. Above yon Blue Ridge, towering piles, Uptorn by Nature's throe— He speeds, he speeds, through myriad miles, To his meridian glow. The birds sink down, amid the copse, And sing a feeble song; At last, each sound, on sudden, stops, And Silence holds the throng. But Evening, comes, a sober maid, With one bright, starry eye; And throws her mantle—star-inlaid— Upon the silent sky. It is night's noon. How dark, how vast, Yon boundless vault appears; A shadow o'er the earth is cast, That wakes the spirit's fears How death-like hushed! all life seems dead, Does Nature live at all? Ah, truest symbol! it has said, "The hush—the gloom—the Pall!" Day is the varying life of Man,— Some sunshine—clouds again— Night is his death—which erst began When Sin began to reign. Dark, spectral Night! I sing of thee; For, thou art lovely, too— And Death will wake the melody Of him whose life was true. To walk upon the azure sea, It is a thing of bliss; When skies are bright, and sails are free And smiling wavelets kiss. How grandly leans the ship, a queen, Above the sparkling tide— With joy she walks the watery scene, A thing of fear and pride. To scale the crown of vast Blue Ridge, And eye the world below— Farm—river—ravine—wiry bridge— And soaring crane and crow— And misty woods—and fields afar— Neat villages and towns— Blest herds and flocks no beast can mar, That nibble sunny downs. Oh! that is, sure, a pleasant thing, And bathes the soul in joy; And many a grief-worn man 'twould bring, To be once more a boy. 'Tis sweet to rove, at twilight dim, Beside an aldered stream, To list thy lady's evening hymn, 'Neath starlight's trembling gleam. 'Tis sweet to sit within a bower, Inwrought with flower and vine, What time along yon mountain tower, The shades of eve decline. 'Tis sweet to hear the nightingale, O'erflow the forest shade, With harmony which might avail, To win a Dis-stole maid. 'Twere sweet to cleave the snowy foam, With ship and spirit free, Where tropic spices ever roam, The Caribbean sea. 'Twere sweet to sail by Yemen's shore, And touch that golden strand, Where Indus' river wanders o'er, Its glittering, golden sand. Oh! Nature! thou art far above, The painter's, Poet's pride— Thou art the glorious Child of Love— Adorned a heavenly bride.
Here met three nations, panoplied for fight, Moving before the vision gorgeously; Then shamed with Battle's gloom the paling Night, Upon the land and sea.
Earth quailed beneath the cannon's burrowing roar, Beneath three Armies' slow and ominous tread; And Ocean who the portioned conflict bore, Shuddered with pain and dread.
But when the morning rolled the double shroud Of Night and Battle from the land and sea, The Sun looked forth through no obstructing cloud, And saw a Nation FREE.
POET'S ENCHANTED LIFE.
A fairy land of grass and flowers, And of the greenest trees A land of singing brooks and springs, A land of singing breeze. A land of bright but mellowed hues, Beneath the western skies, The lady bore a beauteous child, In this sweet paradise. An auburn head—an olive face— An eye of azure light— A perfect beauty seemed the child, To my enchanted sight. I loved him for his loveliness, This budding, beauteous child, The mother's heart within would leap When e'er the infant smiled, And when upon her warming breast, She watched his closing eyes, His lips would smile, as if he saw The angels in the skies. And truth to say, she ofttimes thought, The angels were near by, So strange a gleam was on his hair, So bright his cherub eye. He was so meek and gentle-souled, So free from evil stain, Ah! well I knew, 'twere toil to find So lovely child again. It was a antique, white-walled cot, Beneath the western skies, This lady dwelt with this sweet child, In this sweet paradise. The mother loved her beauteous child; Oft gazing on his sleep, The joy that smoothed her matron brow, Was beautiful and deep. The summer flower hath hasty growth— The sweet child grew apace, And lo! a brighter loveliness, Was born upon his face. So fair—so fair—and oh! so dear! Alas! a mother's love May be too strong to please her God— The child went up above. And now alone the mother was In all this world so wide, For ere the child had lisped his name Her stricken husband died. Alone in all this world so wide, Alone the mother was; If this were true—God wot 'twas false, Our hearts should sigh alas. The child—the child—transformed! come down, On rainbow-colored wings, Whose flashing, o'er the mother's path, A mystic glory flings. He set gay flowers of heavenly pride Amid this cursed clime— Ah! brilliant flowers—ah! brighter flowers, Than bloomed in Eden's prime. He softly led her on the way, And sang to her charm'd soul, A sweet, low strain that men heard not, And fiends could not control. At last the mother went with him To dwell on Heaven's wide plain, Where father, mother, cherub now, Sing forth a glorious strain.
The Summer's sunset throws a tender spell, Along the hills, o'er ocean's softened swell; The God of day goes flaming down the sky, And zephyr floats on perfumed pinions by. Oh! who can gaze upon this gorgeous sight, Nor feel his bosom chain'd by deep delight, This hour when beauty wears her richest dye, And love o'erflows charmed ocean, earth and sky; Till fancy, dreaming in her lovely bower, Hears far off strains of deep, o'erwhelming power, And, lifting up her pensive orbs above, Spies Angels winging through yon vault of love, And says that "they are wafting souls forgiven On their bright pinions, to yon nameless Heaven." On such an eve, so peaceful and so bright, Two loved ones flee beyond yon failing light, No more to droop within this gloomy world, Their angel pinions next God's throne were furled; There now—for aye forgot this earthly night— They lave those bright wings in eternal light.
Now fir'd imagination soars on high, and shows Magnific scenes. The first—a summer's dawn— A sky of purest blue—a golden sea Beneath—earth bright with lovely hues like Heaven. Yon orb of fire suspended o'er that sea Of molten gold, burns like a throne in Heaven. His foaming, flashing radiance, floods earth—sky— And throbbing sea, till each lies bathed in glory, Which seems the break of a celestial morn. That scene has passed. Another charms The gaze. The mighty orb of blazing flame, Has run a curve of brightness o'er the sky, And presently will cut the Western main, With its bright rim. We stand upon an isle, One of the Hesperian, in the unknown seas, Toward the setting sun. The waves which gush, And softly splash against the rocky shores, Are dyed by richest, ever varying tints, Like those, we fancy, tinge that sea that flows, Around the throne of God, and, in whose billows, The seraphs, as wing'd birds, embathe their breasts— Whilst heaven becomes another sea like that— And all is bright waves dashing o'er our hearts, And making music sweeter than the songs Of those we loved in youth, ere hatred grew. That scene has pass'd. Imagination sleeps To husband strength for more ambitious flight. But, soon restored, with native, heavenly might, She soars beyond the sun high thron'd at noon— And, with her hand that flows with gold and gems, Flings wide Heaven's gates that flame with living beams. And lo! the scene of Heaven! Oh! brighter far, Than aught earth shows of beautiful or fair, Is that bright heaven of our hopes and dreams. Yet even imagination's piercing eye Receives into its scope but humble part Of all the glory that o'erflows that heaven. A boundless sea of love—all hued like love, Gleams round the throne of Triune God, which seems To rise from out that placid depth, built of Its water, crystallized to gold and pearl, Wherein joy's beauteous light forever plays. Over that sea rings set beyond vast rings Of burning seraph, saint, and cherub, stand With starry crowns; and, with unceasing songs, Struck from their lyres that burn as morning suns, And born in hearts that burn in joys of heaven— Louder than twelvefold thunder, yet more sweet Than all the sweetest strains e'er heard on earth, Fill Heaven with light and song ineffable, Along the bright flow of eternity. Then swift in flight as saint and seraph there, She passes back through those vast gates of fire, And slowly drops upon some flowery peak, Or ocean isle, upon this mundane sphere; Then sleeps soft in the folds of some fair flower, Or, in the crystal bosom of a dewdrop.
A fairy thing was Milly when She blest my wondering sight; I ne'er shall meet her match again— A maid so gaily bright.
Her ringlets flowed about her neck— A neck that mocked the snow! A sunny robe her bosom decked, That proudly heaved below.
Sometimes she roamed the leas at morn, And sang like a sweet bird— Until a melody was born On each outgushing word.
Sometimes amid her cottage home, She touched the breathing lyre, And then her quivering lips were dumb, Her soaring soul on fire.
She was a very fairy maid; And then we sinned to crave That she with us might be delayed, And never reach the grave.
One twilight when a star came forth, She clapped her hands and smil'd, And said that star within the North Would take an earthly child.
Did some near, viewless angel speak That word unto the maid, That thus with sweet, unblanched cheek, That awful word she said?
But thus it was; when autumn told The yellow leaves to fall, The maid no more could we behold, No more she knew our call.
And now I watch that cold, high star, Amid the leaden North, And think she looks on me afar, Forlorn upon this earth.
THE WINTRY DAYS.
The wintry days have come once more, The birds are still, the sweet flowers dead, And faint winds sigh a wailing song O'er leaves heaped high within their bed.
The neighboring stream that lately leapt, And laughed, and played adown the glen, Is now as hushed and mute as though It ne'er would leap and smile again.
A mournful silence fills the sky, And falls upon the gazer's soul, And down the sympathizing cheek, The watery teardrops silent roll.
The beauty of the peaks and plains, The loveliness of earth and sky, Have passed away, and, passing, said, "Ye mortals frail! ye too must die."
So has the beauty of my hopes Withered beneath woe's wintry touch,— My heart has yielded to despair, Though lingering long and weeping much.
But oh! bright Hope, mid bleak Despair, Sprang, cheerly speaking to my heart, Sweet, smiling spring shall yet return, And joyless winter must depart.
And Mercy throned beyond the sun, Whose breath thy living soul hath given, Will lead thee to a deathless spring Within the glorious gates of heaven.
Ah! deeply do I bless that word! It drives my gloomy fears away;— I kneel upon the dreary snow, And bid my God be praised for aye.
Now, Mary fair, the Spring has come, Back to our fairyland, And buds begin to breathe perfume, The breeze blows sweet and bland; The gay, green groves are ringing clear, The crystal waters shine; Now, Mary sweet, the scene is dear, The moments are divine.
And, Mary, hearken how the birds Are courting in the grove, Oh! listen how their music words Speak tender things of love. Let us be happy, Mary fair, We waste these heavenly hours, Let's rove where fragrance fills the air, Among the opening flowers.