VERSES AND RHYMES BY THE WAY.
BY NORA PEMBROKE.
There are poor Mango's poems, which James Batter and me think excellent, and if any one think otherwise, I wad just thank them to write better at their leisure." —Mansie Wauch
"All beneath the unrivalled rose The lowly daisy sweetly blows, Though large the forest monarch throws His army shade, Yet green the juicy hawthorne grows Adown the glade."
To Mrs. Irving, PEMBROKE.
I dedicate these verses to one whom I hold dear, One who in the dark days drew in Christian kindness near May He who led me all my life do so and more to me If ever I forget the debt of love I owe to thee.
A STORY OF PLANTAGENET
A LEGEND OF BUCKINGHAM VILLAGE
THE LAKE ALLUMETTE
HOW PRINCE ARTHUR WAS WELCOMED TO PEMBROKE
A MOTHER'S LAMENT FOR AN ONLY ONE
ALAS, MY BROTHER!
I WILL NOT RE COMFORTED BECAUSE ONE IS NOT
TO A FATHER'S MEMORY
ORSON'S FAREWELL (Orson Grout)
DEATH OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN
ADDRESSES. To the Hon. Malcolm Cameron
ERIN'S ADDRESS TO THE HON. THOMAS D'ARCY McGEE
NORA TO DAVID HEBBISON
DEATH OF D'ARCY McGEE
LINES TO A SHAMROCK. A Song of Exile
LAMENTATION. (Walter and Freddie)
THE SONG OF THE BEREAVED
COMFORT YE, COMFORT YE MY PEOPLE
MY OWN GREEN LAND
BEREAVEMENT. (Job in. 26)
OUT OF THE DEPTHS
ERIN, MAVOURNEEN. A Prize Poem
WRITTEN FOR THE O'CONNEL CENTENARY
WE LAMENT NOT FOR ONE BUT MANY
LINES FOR THE BRIDAL
BAPTISM IN LAKE ALLUMETTE
GOOD BYE (To Miss E E.)
WEEP WITH THOSE WHO WEEP (Mary Maud)
TO ELIZABETH RAY
FAREWELL TO LORD AND LADY DUFFERIN
DEATH OF NORMAN DEWAR
THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY
IN MEMORY OF JOHN LEACH CRAIG
THE PRINCE OF ANHALT DESSAU
LINES ON ANNEXATION
TO MY FRIEND
CREED AND CONDUCT COMBINED AS CAUSE AND EFFECT
TO THE RAIN
A NEW YEAR'S ADDRESS, 1870
THE FATE OF HENRY HUDSON
WHAT WENT YE OUT FOR TO SEE?
THE IROQUOIS SIDE OF THE STORY
A SATIRE. A Humble Imitation
JUVENILE VERSES On the Birth of Albert Edward Prince of Wales
THE ADIEU TO ELIZA
TO MY VALENTINE
ANSWER TO BURNS' ADDRESS TO THE DE'IL
TO ANNE ON HER BIRTHDAY
TO J W
THE ORPHANS GOOD BYE
TO ANNIE ON HER BIRTHDAY
VERSES AND RHYMES BY THE WAY.
A STORY OF PLANTAGENET.
In the small Village of St Joseph, below the City of Ottawa, still lives or did live very recently, an ancient couple, whole story is told in the following lines.
Lays of fair dames of lofty birth, And golden hair alt richly curled; Of knights that venture life for love, Suit poets of the older world. We wilt not fill our simple rhymes, With diamond flash, or gleaming pearl; In singing of the by-gone times; We simply sing the love and faith, Outliving absence, strong as death, Of one Jow-born Canadian girl.
'Twas long ago the rapid spring Had scarce given place to summer yet, The Ottawa, with swollen flood, Rolled past thy banks, Plantagenet; Thy banks where tall and plumed pines Stood rank on rank, in serried lines. Green islands, each with leafy crest, Lay peaceful on the river's breast, The trees, ere this, had, one by one, Shook out their leaflets to the sun, Forming a rustling, waving screen, While swollen waters rolled between.
The wild deer trooped through woodland path, And sought the river's strand, Slight danger then of flashing death, From roving hunter's hand; For very seldom was there seen A hunter of the doomed red race, Few spots, with miles of bush between, Marked each a settler's dwelling-place. No lumberer's axe, no snorting scream Of fierce, though trained and harnessed steam, No paddle-wheel's revolving sound, No raftsman's cheer, no bay of hound Was heard to break the silent spell That seemed to rest o'er wood and dell, All was so new, so in its prime— An almost perfect solitude, As if had passed but little time Since the All Father called it good. Nature in one thanksgiving psalm, Gathered each sound that broke the calm.
There was a little clearing there— A snow white cot—a garden fair— Where useful plants in order set, With bergamot and mignonette. Glories that round the casement run, And pansies smiling at the sun, And wild-wood blossoms fair and sweet, Showed forth how thrift and beauty meet; There was a space to plant and sow, Fenced by the pines strong hands laid low. By that lonely cottage stood, With eyes fixed on the swollen flood, A slight young girl with raven hair, And face that was both sad and fair.
Oh, fair and lovely are the maids, Nursed in Canadian forest shades; The beauties of the older lands Moulded anew by nature's hands, Fired by the free Canadian soul, Join to produce a matchless whole. The roses of Britannia's Isle, In rosy blush and rosy smile; The light of true and tender eyes, As blue and pure as summer skies; Light-footed maids, as matchless fair As grow by Scotia's heath fringed rills— Sweet as the hawthorn scented air, And true as the eternal hills. We have the arch yet tender grace, The power to charm of Erin's race; The peachy cheek, the rosebud mouth, Imported from the sunny south, With the dark, melting, lustrous eye, Silk lashes curtain languidly.
The charms of many lands had met In Marie of Plantagenet; She had the splendid southern eye She had the northern brow of snow, The blush caught from a northern sky, Dark silky locks of southern flow, Light-footed as the forest roe, As stately as the mountain pine, A smile that lighted up her face, The sunshine of a maiden's grace, And made her beauty half divine. So fair of face, so fair of form Was she the peerless forest born. Nature is kindly to her own, To this Canadian cottage lone, A back-wood settler's lot to bless, She brought this flower of loveliness, Seldom such beauty does she bring To grace the palace of a king.
A chevalier of sunny France, Whom fate ordained to wander here, To trade, to trap, to hunt the deer, To roam with free foot through the wild, He chanced, at husking, in the dance To meet Marie, Le Paige's child,— And vowed that, roaming everywhere, Except the lady fair as day, Who held his troth-plight far away, He ne'er saw face or form so fair; From France's fair and stately queen, To maiden dancing on the green, From lowly bower to lordly hall, This forest maid outshone them all
When old Le Paige would hear this praise, Then would he turn and smiling say To the plump partner of his days, "We who know our Marie well, How true the heart so young and gay, We will not of her beauty tell. Her love is more to thee and me, And yet our child is fair to see."
So many a dashing hunter brave, And many an axeman of the wood, And hardy settler was her slave And thought the bondage very good; But she, so kind to those she met, She smiled on all, but walked apart, Keeping the treasure of her heart, The fair Queen of Plantagenet, No thought of love her bosom stirs Toward her rustic worshippers Until one came and settled near Famed as a hunter of the deer
The firmest hand, the truest eye, The dauntless heart and courage high Where his, and famed beyond his years He stood among his young compeers, He, ere the snow-wreath left the land, Slew two fierce wolves with single hand, Famished they followed on his tracks, He armed with nothing but his axe He knew the river far and near, Beyond the foaming dread Chaudiere, Far far beyond that spot of fear He'd been a hardy voyageur Through the white swells of many assault Had safely steered his bark canoe, Knew how to pass each raging chute, Though boiling like the wild Culbute The wilds of nature were his home, His paddle beat the fleecy foam Of surging rapids' yeasty spray. And bore him often far away Beyond the pinefringed Allumette, He saw the sun in glory set, His boat song roused the lurking fox From den beside the Oiseau rock Upward upon the river's breast, The highway to the wild Nor-west, Past the long lake Temiscamingue, Where wild drakes plume their glossy wing, Oft had he urged his light canoe, Hunting the moose and caribou; He knew each portage on the way To the far posts of Hudson's Bay, And even its frozen waters saw, When roaming courier du bois, In the great Company's employ, Which he had entered when a boy. Comely he was, and blithe, and young, Had a light heart and merry tongue, And bright dark eye, was brave and bold, Skilful to earn, and wise to hold, And so this hunter came our way, And stole our wood nymph's heart away; And it became Belle Marie's lot To love Napoleon Rajotte
Of all the sad despairing swains, Foredoomed to disappointment's pains, None felt the pangs of jealous woe So keenly as Antome Vaiseau. A thrifty settler's only son, Who much of backwoods wealth had won; A steady lad of nature mild, Had been her playmate from a child, And saw a stranger thus come in, And take what he had died to win. He saw him loved the best, the first, Still he his hopeless passion nursed.
At Easter time the Cure came, And after Easter time was gone, The hunter brave, the peerless dame Were blessed and made for ever one
Beside the cottage white she stood, And looked across the swelling flood— Across the wave that rolled between The islets robed in tender green, Watching with eager eyes, she views A fleet of large well-manned canoes, The high curved bow and stern she knew, That marked each "Company canoe," And o'er the wave both strong and clear, Their boat-song floated to her ear She marked their paddles' steady dip, And listened with a quivering lip, Her bridegroom, daring, gay, and young, With the bold heart and winning tongue, Was with them, upward bound, away To the far posts of Hudson's Bay, Gone ere the honeymoon is past, The bright brief moon too sweet to last, Gone for two long and dreary years, And she must wait and watch at home, Bear patiently her woman's fears, And hope and pray until he come, She stands there still although the last Canoe of all the fleet is past. Of paddle's dip, of boat-song gay, The last faint sound has died away, She only said in turning home "I'll wait and pray until he come"
Spring flung abroad her dewy charms, And blushing grew to summer shine, Summer sped on with outstretched arms, To meet brown autumn crowned with vine, The forest glowed in gold and green, The leafy maples flamed in red With the warm, hazy, happy beam Of Indian summer overhead, Bright, fair, and fleet as passing dream. The autumn also hurried on, And, shuddering, dropped her leafy screen; The ice-king from the frozen zone, In fleecy robe of ermine dressed, Came stopping rivers with his hand Binding in chains of ice the land; Bringing, ere early spring he met, To Marie of Plantagenet, A pearly snow-drop for her breast. An infant Marie to her home To brighten it until he come.
Twice had the melting nor-west snow Come down to flood the Ottawa's wave. "The seasons as they come and go Bring back," she said, "the happy day To welcome him from far away; Thy father, child, my hunter brave." That snow-drop baby now could stand, And run to Marie's outstretched hand; Had all the charms that are alone To youthful nursing mothers known.
'Twas summer in the dusty street, 'Twas summer in the busy town, Summer in forests waving green, When, at an inn in old Lachine, And in the room where strangers meet, Sat one, bright-eyed and bold and brown. Soon will he joyful start for home, For home in fair Plantagenet. His wallet filled with two years' pay, Well won at distant Hudson's Bay, And the silk dress that stands alone, For her the darling, dark-eyed one. Parted so long, so soon to meet, His every thought of her is sweet. "My bride, my wife, with what regret, I left her at Plantagenet!" There came no whisper through the air To tell him of his baby fair. But still he sat with absent eye, And thoughts that were all homeward bound, And passed the glass untasted by, While jest, and mirth, and song went round. There sat and jested, drunk and sung, The captain of an Erie boat, With Erin's merry heart and tongue, A skilful captain when afloat— On shore a boon companion gay; The foremost in a tavern brawl, To dance or drink the night away, Or make love in the servants' hall. The merry devil in his eye Could well all passing round him spy. Wanting picked men to man his boat, Eager to be once more afloat, His keen eye knew the man he sought; At once he pitched upon Rajotte. The bright, brown man, so silent there, He judged could both endure and dare; He waited till he caught his eye. Then raising up his glass on high, "Stranger, I drink your health," said he, "You'll sail the 'Emerald Isle,' with me. "A smarter crew, a better boat, "Lake Erie's waves will never float, "I want but one to fill my crew; "I wish no better man than you; "High wage, light work, a jolly life "Is ours—no care, no fret, no strife. "So come before the good chance pass, "And drown our bargain in the glass." "Not so," Rajotte said with a smile, "Let others sail the 'Emerald Isle,' For I have been two years away, A trapper at the Hudson's Bay; Two years is long enough to roam, I'm bound to see my wife and home."
The captain shook his curly head, "Did you not hear the news?" he said, "Last summer came from Hudson's Bay, A courier from York Factory. He brought the news that you were dead— Killed by a wounded grizzly bear When trapping all alone up there— Found you himself the fellow said; And your wife mourned and wept her fill Refusing to be comforted. But grief you know will pass away, She found new love as women will; And married here the other day."
Not doubting aught of what he heard He sat, but neither spoke nor stirred. His heart gave one great throb of pain, And stopped—then bounded on again. His bronze face took an ashen hue, As his great woe came blanching through, And stormy thoughts with stinging pain Swept with wild anguish through his brain; But not a word he spoke. They only saw his lips grow pale, But no word questioned of the tale. You might have thought the captain bold, Had almost wished his tale untold; But careless he of working harm When coveting that brave right arm. At last the silence broke: "He who brought news that I was dead, Is it to him my wife is wed? Was it? I know it must be so. It must have been Antoine Vaiseau." "Yes," said the Captain, "'tis the same, Antoine Vaiseau's the very name."
So ere the morrow's morn had come, Rajotte had turned his back from home, And gone for ever more, Gone off, alone with his despair, While his true wife and baby fair, Watched for him at the door.
The rough crew of the "Emerald Isle," Had one grim man without a smile, So prompt to do, so wild to dare, Reckless and nursing his despair. The merry light had left his glance, His foot refused to join the dance. His heart refused to pray. "Oh to forget!" he oft would cry, Forget this ceaseless agony, To fly from thought away." Woe spun her white threads in his hair, And bitter and unblessed despair Ploughed furrows in his face; Grief her dark shade on all things cast; None dared to question of the past, His sorrow seemed disgrace.
When rumour rose of Indian war; Troops mustering for the west afar, That wanted them a guide; Rajotte said "I'm the man to go." War's din he thought would drown his woe, 'Twas well the world was wide. The Black Hawk war began—went on: (Men dare not tell what men have done— The white's relentless cruelty O'ermastering Indian treachery;) Rajotte, a stern determined man, Sought death, forever in the van On many a fierce-fought battle plain; His life seemed charmed—he sought in vain.
Spring came and went—the years went past; War ended, peace came round at last; But war might go, and peace might come, Rajotte thought not of turning home. Till, failing strength, and fading eye, He turned him homeward just to die. Perhaps although he felt it not, In his fierce wrestling with his lot, There was a drawing influence From the dear home so far away; And faithful prayers had risen from thence, To Him who hears us when we pray, Who watched the lonely waiting heart That nursed its love and faith apart; And, pitying her well borne pain, Ordained it should not be in vain.
Now turn we to Plantagenet: Through all these weary, waiting years, How many hopes and fears have met' How many prayers, how many tears! When the time came that he should come Back to his fair young wife and home, Often and often would she say, "He'll surely come to us to-day." Pet Marie's best robe was put on And the poor mother dressed with care— Glad that she was both young and fair— "To meet thy father, little one" Oft standing on the very spot Where she had parted from Rajotte She stood a patient watcher long, And listened eagerly to hear The voyageurs' returning song Come floating to her ear But still he came not, years went by, Yet she must pray, and hope, and wait, His form would some day meet her eye, His step sound at the river gate Oh! it was hard to hear them say, "He comes not, and he must be dead Cease pining all your life away, 'Twere better far that you should wed And Antoine keeps his first love still, And Antoine is so well to do, You may be happy if you will His pleading eyes ask leave to woo" 'Twas a relief to steal away, And tell her ebon rosary, And to the Virgin Mother pray, Thinking that she in Heaven above, Remembered all of earthly love, And human sympathy, And having suffered human pain— Known what it was to grieve in vain— Might bend to listen to her prayer, And make the absent one her care In pleading with her Son
She waited while the years went on, And would not think that hope was gone, Ever his steps seemed sounding near, His voice came floating to her ear, And longing prayer, and yearning pain Reached out to draw him back again; And love beyond all estimate Strengthened her heart to hope and wait Pet Marie grew up tall and fair, Her girlish love, her merry ways Kept the poor mother from despair Through many weary nights and days.
Spring and high water both had met Once more at fair Plantagenet; Once more the island trees were seen Adorned with leaves of tender green, Aux Lievres's roar was heard afar, Where waters dashed on rocks to spray, Roaring and tumbling in their play, Kept up a boisterous holiday, With tumult loud of mimic war. The wild ducks of Lochaber's Bay Were playing round on wanton wing, Rippling the current with their breasts, Feeling the gladness of the spring, Pairing and building happy nests All sounds of spring were in the air, All sights of spring were fresh and fair Sad Marie of Plantagenet, With silver threads among her hair, And by her side her blooming pet, As she had once been, fresh and fair, Stood on the bank that glorious day Thinking of him so long away Awhile they both in silence stood, Then Marie said, "The Nor-west flood Again another year has come. You see those water-fowl at play Come with the flood from far away. What flood will bring your father home? 'Tis seventeen years ago to-day, Since, parting here, he went away." Just then young Marie, glancing round "Mamma, I hear a paddle's sound, Look there, those maple branches through, Below us, there's a bark canoe, 'Tis stopping at our landing place There's but one man with hair so grey, And a worn weather-beaten face— See, he is coming up this way Mamma, I wonder who is he, Stay here and I will go and see."
Rajotte who thought he did not care— That he had conquered even despair, Could bear to see as well as know That Marie was the Dame Vaiseau, Came to the parting spot, and there, In the bright sunlight's happy beams, Stood the fair image of his dreams As young as on the parting day, As bright as when he went away, As beautiful as when he met Her first in fair Plantagenet, His Marie, living, breathing, warm, Her glorious eyes, her midnight hair Shading the beauty of her face, The same lithe, rounded, perfect form, The look of true and tender grace
Rajotte stood spell-bound, and the past Seemed fading like a horrid dream. "Marie," he said, "I'm home at last, Speak, Marie, are you what you seem? After all these long years of pain, Art thou love given to me again?" The maiden stood with wondering eyes, Silent, because of her surprise, But the wife Marie gave a cry Of joy that rose to agony She rushed the long lost one to meet, And falling, fainted at his feet He held the true wife's pallid charms Slowly reviving in his arms, And then he surely learned to know A little of the grand, true heart That through so many years of woe Waited, and prayed, and watched apart, Keeping love's light while he was gone, Like sacred fire still burning on
While hearts are bargained for and sold, In fashion's fortune-chasing whirl, We simply sing the love and faith Out-living absence strong as death, Of one low-born Canadian girl.
A LEGEND OF BUCKINGHAM VILLAGE.
Away up on the River aux Lievres, That is foaming and surging always, And from rock to rock leaping through rapids, Which are curtained by showers of spray;
That is eddying, whirling and chasing All the white swells that break on the shore; And then dashing and thundering onward, With the sound of a cataract's roar.
And up here is the Buckingham village, Which is built on these waters of strife, It was here that the minister Babin, Stood and preached of the Gospel of Life,
Of the message of love and of mercy, The glad tidings of freedom and peace, Of help for the hopeless and helpless, For all weary ones rest and relief.
Was his message all noise like the rapids? Was it empty and light as the foam? Ah me! what thought the desolate inmate Of the still upper room of his home?
One too many, one sad and unwelcome, That reclined in his invalid's chair, With her pale, busy fingers still knitting Yarn mingled with sorrow and care.
And the brother stood up in the pulpit, Stood up there in the neat village church, And he preached of the pool of Bethesda, Where the poor lame man lay in the porch
Waiting for the invisible mercy, That shall healing and blessedness bring, For those soft waters never were troubled, Until swept by the life angel's wing.
But was that cottage home a Bethesda? Was the porch up the dark narrow stair? Were the thoughts of the lonely sister Brighter made by a fond brother's care?
Ah who knows!—for the chair now is empty, And the impotent girl is away, While the night and the darkness covered Such a deed from the light of the day.
Did she struggle for her dear existence? Did the wild night winds bear off her cry? Ere the pitiless, swift surging waters, Caught and smothered her agony;
And again when the black, whirling eddy, Drew her down to its cold, rocky bed, Who was it that stood so remorseless On the strong ice arched over her head?
Men may join and strike hands to hide it, And agree to say evil is good; Mingled with the loud roar of the waters, Rings the cry of our lost sister's blood.
Mirth and song, and untimely music, May sound up to the starry skies; Nought of earth can stifle the gnawing Of that dread worm that never dies.
Away in a distant city, Is a stranger all unknown; Far, far from the leaping river, That is rushing past his home.
He lay in the stilly silence Of a quiet, darkened room, Feeling that the dread death angel Stands in the gathering gloom.
One foot on shadowy waters, One foot on the earthly shore; He swears to the shrinking mortal, That his time shall be no more.
The spray of the silent river, Is cold beaded on his brow, For Jordan's billowy swellings Are bearing him onward now
He is floating into darkness, Going with the shifting tide, And there is the seat of judgment, Waits him at the further side.
But his eyes are looking backward, In pauses of mortal strife, And he sees the quiet village, Where he preached the word of life.
And he sees the pleasant cottage, To which in the flush of pride, The popular village pastor, Brought home a most haughty bride
But ever there comes another, With a pale and pleading face, So helpless, and so unwelcome, A burden and a disgrace
And the river roars and rushes, Leaping past with fearful din, Its ever foaming caldron Suggesting a deadly sin.
Saying, "I am partially sheeted, In the winter's ice and snow, What's plunged in my dashing waters, No mortal shall ever know"
So ever with nervous fingers, He harnesses up his sleigh; So ever with stealthy movements, He travels the icy way.
And stops where the yawning chasm, Shows the yawning wave beneath, And she knows with sudden horror, That she has been brought to her death
Her weak hands cling to his bosom, His ears are thrilled with her cry; When the last struggling strength went forth In that shriek of agony.
So his most unwilling spirit, Still travels memory's track, Despair staring blindly forward, Remorse ever dragging back.
Again he walks by the waters, While innocent mortals sleep, Asking the pitiless river, The horrible deed to keep.
Spring comes and the ice is breaking, Does it break before its time? Then he knows on God's fair footstool No shelter there is for crime.
For the rushing, tempting waters, Have got an accusing roar; The treacherous sweeping eddy Has brought the crime to his door.
Then he lives over and over, That moment of anguished dread, When the cry arose—awestruck hands Had found and borne oft his dead.
Thus he, conscience-lashed and goaded, Feeling as the murderer feels, Has reached the last, last spot of earth, The Avenger at his heels
Ah me! to plunge in those swellings, Along with that ghastly face, Going out on unknown waters In that clinging dread embrace
So he floated on to judgment, What award may meet him there, Who knows—but his earthly punishment Was greater than he could bear
Hail! to the city sitting as a queen Enthroned a cataract on either hand, The voice of many waters in her ears, And the great river tranquil at her feet, Smoothing his locks and all his foamy mane After his wild leap from the rifted rocks, And while he fawns about her feet, she sits A young Cybele diademed with towers, So young yet on her sandals there is blood, And all the river will not wash it out Spilt at her feet for being true to her, So young, and well she doth become her state, We look, and know her born to be a queen, Before the mother finger o'er the sea Touched her, and made her royal with a touch; For, seated where the thundering waters meet, Spanned by her fingers, she can lay her hand On two fair provinces, and call them hers; Greater than those which swell and pride themselves In long, loud titles in the older world; The whirl and hum of industry are here, And all the fragrance of the enriching pine; And on the river in the wake of boats That snort and prance like Neptune's battle steeds, Pawing the water with impatient steps, Passes our floating wealth that seeks the sea.
THE LAKE ALLUMETTE.
"One is not."
Have you seen the beautiful Allumette, The magnificent pine-fringed lake, In its splendour the sun about to set, Ere the fair lady moon awake.
The waters are tinged with a golden glow, With rose and ruby and purple bars; Heaven's mantle flung on the lake below Till it fades off beneath the stars.
The distant hills, robed in violet mist Of the heavenly hues partake, As they stand, with the sunlight crowned and kissed, On guard round the beautiful lake.
Over the waters ride gay little boats, Diamonds flash from the dipping oars; Laughter and song's mingled melody floats To ripple and die around the shores.
Life is so gay on the Lake Allumette, Ah me! does its sky ever frown On a place unmarked, unheeded, and yet In that place my brother went down.
Sad hearted we sit by Lake Allumette, Who saw him go down in the wave; And question ourselves in anguished regret, Did we make every effort to save?
For those who are left, to some one so dear. We tried feebly warning to set, We have failed, we look with sorrow and fear For woe that must come by Lake Allumette.
HOW PRINCE ARTHUR WAS WELCOMED TO PEMBROKE.
Do you know the town Pembroke so loyal and long And so worthy the praise of a poet in song? Nestled down by the lake shore, that ripples and shines, And hemmed in by the hills with their crowning of pines. Now this town is that town so wondrous and fair, Long thought to be but a chateau in the air, Where the sons are all brave and the daughters all fair.
You may guess what great gladness there rang down the street, Where the wise and the witty so neighbourly meet, To compare their opinions to hear something new, As their friends the Athenians of old used to do, When the news was to all so gracious and good, "There is coming to see us a Prince of the blood." Then all our good people grew loyalty wild To show love for the Queen as they welcomed her child. Straightway counsel was ta'en as to what should be done For to greet as befitted her Majesty's son, In a way to bring credit and praise to the town. "We must have an arch at the bridge, and a crown, And 'Welcome to Arthur,' arranged all so fine With balsam and tamarack, spruce and green pine; But the crown shall be flowers, the fairest that blow, Or are made by deft fingers, from paper you know, And many a fair one who skilfully weaves Wreaths and garlands, shall bring them of ripe maple leaves; And then, as 'Jason Gould' that so snug little boat, The most cosy, most homelike was ever afloat, Will not quicken herself for a Prince or for two, But will at her own pace the Mud Lake paddle through. It will be about midnight, or later than that, And as dark as the crown of your grandfather's hat, When that ponderous boat waddles up to the pier, A tired Prince will his Highness be when he gets here. We'll illumine the town, from mansion to cell, County buildings and cottages, home and hotel, And the arch with its motto, that triumph of skill, Shall be seen in its glory by light from the mill, Which floor upon floor many windowed shall blaze And light up each bud in the crown with its rays. We shall have out that carriage, so costly and grand, Fit to carry the one Royal Prince in this land; And a crowd bearing torches shall light up the way, Till along Supple's lane be as brillant as day And to guard and escort him our brave volunteers With their swords and their bayonets, which ought to be spears, Shall wait at the landing for him, and the band With the noise and the music they have at command, Shall be heard in the distance before they are seen, Rolling out the first greeting in "God save the Queen." Well, the Prince over portages rattled and whirled, Suspected he drew near the end of the world, But right royally welcomed, surprised he lit down In this dazzling, ambitious and long little town. And the night air was rent with full many a cheer For joy that the son of our Sovereign was here And he heard every sound, and he saw every sight, That the people had planned for to give him delight; And he felt he was cared for with loyalty's care, In this wonderful town, so far off, and so fair, In the whole wide Dominion there is not a town So loyal so lovely as this of our own Broad Ottawa washes no happier place, As it lies in sweet Allumette's tender embrace Oh, to see it when autumn and sunset unite To drape earth and sky with one robe of delight, When the banners of heaven in the west are unrolled, And the blue lake is barred off with purple and gold, And the Isle, like the patriarch's favourite son, Its coat many coloured and royal has on Thus fair as a vision, and sweet as a dream, It burst on the gaze of the son of our Queen, In the glory of fair Indian summer all drest, And this was the welcome they felt and expressed
We welcome thee Prince to the land of the pine, For thy mother's sake welcome, as well as for thine, This town highest up in the Ottawa vale, With the voice of pine forests gives cheer, and all hail Our welcome as rude as the mountains may be, But that cheer is the willing voiced shout of the free And though rude be our welcome, you'll find us, I ween, Most lovingly loyal to country and Queen. Come and see our sweet lake, when its waters' at rest Chafe not round the islands that sleep on its breast And our woods many tinted in glory arrayed, Dyed in rainbows and sunsets illumine the shade. Come and see our dark rocks frowning sterile and high, Their brown shoulders bare and upheaved to the sky; Come and see our grand forests, all echoing round With the strokes that are bringing their pride to the ground; Where thousands of workers bold, hardy and free, Carve out wealth for themselves and an empire for thee Our river now placid, now surging to foam, Shall echo kind thoughts that will follow thee home. All good wishes that tender and prayer like arise, And blessings that fall as the dew from the skies, Shall be breathed out for thee our young Prince of the blood, Son of much loved Victoria and Albert the Good. May thy heart be all fearless, thy life without stain, As the saint and the hero are joined in thy name. Forget not the people whose love thou hast seen God bless thee Prince Arthur thou, son of our Queen
A MOTHER'S LAMENT FOR AN ONLY ONE
Seek not to calm my grief, To stay the falling tear; Have pity on me, ye my friends, The hand of God is here.
She was my only one, Oh, then my love how great! Now she is gone, my heart and home Are empty desolate
I thought not, in my love That we were doomed to part, Now I am childless, and my fate Falls heavy on my heart
O Thou who gave the gift, Who took the gift away, Who only can heal up the wound, Give answer while I pray!
Do Thou send comfort down, All goodness as Thou art, Even in Thy last passion, Thou Didst soothe a mother's heart.
I would not take her back, From Thee, from Heaven and bliss, Though yearning for her twining arms, And happy loving kiss
I miss her bounding step, Her voice of bird like glee, Yet thank Thee I had such a child To give her back to Thee
Father, my child! my child, Is laid beneath the sod! and, oh! with quivering lips I try To kiss the chastening rod
Father, Thy will be done Oh make my will the same! And teach me in this trying hour, To glorify Thy name.
They are but servants, say the words of scorning, As though they meant to say, we're finer clay, Yet, all the universe holds solemn warning, Against this pride in creatures of a day
In fashion's last new folly, flaunting slowly, With white plumes tossing on the Sabbath air They pass with scornful words a sister lowly. Do scornful lips know anything of prayer?
Alas! poor human nature's inconsistence, Up to God's house we go, that we be fed; And there, as beggars begging for assistance, Say "Give us, Lord, this day our daily bread."
Without a price, the priceless blessings buying Which are laid up for us, with Christ in God; To Him we come as little children crying, That He may guide us by His staff and rod,
We leave His presence on the Sabbath morning, Feeling forgiven, feeling satisfied; Then pass our lowlier sisters full of scorning Ruffling ourselves as those that dwell in pride.
Yet He to whom we come with wishes fervent, When He came down as bearing our relief, It was His will to come in form a servant, Being despised, being acquaint with grief
Earth's mighty conquerors, it is said, have founded Orders of merit, after fields were won. And victors' brows the laurel wreath surrounded, To tell of daring deeds most bravely done.
Trifles as fading as the classic laurel, Became the guerdon of each mighty deed, Titles and stars rewarded mortal peril, And men for such as these would gladly bleed
But He, our holy, sinless, suffering Saviour, When He sat down upon a conqueror's throne, Ordained the soldiers of the cross that ever They wear the name in which He victory won
Servants to do all things He hath commanded, To bear the service which our Lord has borne, To suffer for His name, with false words branded, To pay with loving service bitter scorn
What was beforetime low, is now the highest, And that is glory that the world calls shame, Those who can say "I serve" to Him are nighest Because the Son hath worn a servant's name
Lift up your heads heed not the words of scorning, From those whose earnest life is not begun, Blessed are they who on the judgment morning Hear from the Master, "Servant, 'tis well done"
ALAS, MY BROTHER!
We waited for him, and the anxious days Melted to years and floated slowly by We spoke of him kind words of lofty praise, Of yearning love and tender sympathy.
We laid by what was his with reverent care— Started in dreams to greet him coming home— But hope deferred left no relief but prayer, And heart-sore longings breathed in one word—Come.
We never dreamed of murderous ambush laid By savage redskins greedy for the prey— Of him, our darling, in the forest laid Alone, alone, ebbing his life away.
He who would not have harmed the meanest thing, Who carried gentleness to such excess That, to the stranger and the suffering, His purse meant help, his touch was a caress.
Ah me! that cruel far off land of gold, That lured him off beyond the ocean foam, To roam a stranger among strangers cold— His blank life only cheered by news from home.
The home that he was never more to see, While yet his heart was planning his return, Short, sharp and swift the message came, and he Passed to his long home o'er the mystic bourne.
And while we watched for him the grass was green Upon his grave, swept by the summer air; There grow strange flowers—passes the hunter keen, The stately caribou and grizly bear.
But never more his mother's eyes he'll bless, Or with a fond embrace his sisters meet; No brother's hand will he in welcome press, Nor his hound's bay tell of his coming feet.
To us remains the mourner's never more, And aching hearts and eyes with sorrow dim; Thou who at Bethany their sorrow bore, Draw nigh us also while we weep for him.
I WILL NOT BE COMFORTED BECAUSE ONE IS NOT
There is a gladness over all the earth, For summer is abroad in breezy mirth, Nature rejoices and the heavens are glad, And I alone am desolate and sad, For I sit mourning by an empty cot, Refusing comfort because one is not.
And I will mourn because I am bereaved, Others have suffered others too have grieved Over hopes broken even as mine are broke, By a swift unexpected bitter stroke, And I must weep as weeping Jacob prest, To grieving lips his last ones princely vest
You tell me cease weeping, to resign Unto the Father's a will this will of mine, You say my lamb is on the Shepherd s breast, My flower blooms in gardens of the blest, I know it all I say, Thy will be done Yet I must mourn for him—my son! my son!
TO A FATHERS MEMORY
(J. M. D.)
I thank Thee Father that I feel Thee near, That it is hand of Thine that s raised to smite, Oh, make Thy loving kindness to appear, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right!
Poor woe-worn watchers! he is going home; No skill can save him, and no love can keep; He served his generation—he is gone, And gathered to his fathers, falls asleep.
We've bitter cups to drain—but his is dry; Burdens of care—but care has left his breast; Tears—but they never more shall dim his eye; Labour,—but he has entered into rest.
Oh, to be with him, toil and care all past, Sleeping, dear mother earth, within thy breast, I, too, could lay my hand in thine, O death, And gladly enter where the weary rest.
One of the victims of the Southern Prisons.
Sit by me comrade, thou and I have stood Shoulder to shoulder on the battle-field, And bore us there like men of British blood, But comrade this is death, and I must yield.
You have been leal, my friend, and true and tried In battle, in captivity of me; Since we went up to worship side by side O'er the green hills I never more shall see.
From this dread prison pen, thou shalt go forth; But I, I know it, never more shall rise, Nor see my home in the cool pleasant North, Nor see again my wife's dark mournful eyes.
Nor see my children, every shining head And merry eye, for what know they of grief; 'Twill still their play to know that I am dead; But childhood's woe, thank God, is always brief.
Try to cheer Annie in her widowed woe; Let her hear words of comfort at thy mouth; But, friend, I charge thee, do not let her know Aught of the tender mercies of the South.
Tell her that I have never been alone, One like the Son of Man was by my side; The Everlasting arms were round me thrown Of my dear Lord who for our freedom died.
I don't regret, that though of British birth, I have been true to the cause unto death; 'Tis not alone the Union, or the North, It is the people's cause o'er all the earth.
And it shall prosper, and this slaughter pen Shall be a monument of Southern chivalry Before the world;—thus proving to all men Slave power begets and sanctions cruelty.
From here went up for years the bondman's cry; In the same glaring sun and rotting dew, The white war-prisoners' cry of agony To the great God of Battles rises too.
And He, who was by suffering perfected, Watches the nation's life, the captive's pain; And from the strife, beside her martyred dead, With shield blood-cleansed from slavery's broad stain,
Columbia shall arise renewed, and wear Her coronet of stars, and round her fold Her robe of stripes, by righteousness made fair, Which still exalts the nations as of old.
But I shall rest upon the other side, Rest in that place of which no tongue can tell, And thitherward my wife and babes He'll guide; Friend, life's for thee, and death for me, Farewell'
DEATH OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
In the Capitol is mourning, Mourning and woe this day, For a nation's heart is throbbing— A great man has passed away
It was yester'even only Rejoicing wild and high, Waving flags and shouting people Proclaimed a victory
For our God had led our armies, In the cause of truth and right, It was, therefore, the brave Southren Had bowed to Northern might.
Then flashed o'er the land the tidings, The flush of joy to quell, Fallen is the people's hero, As William the Silent fell.
The stealthy step of the panther, The tiger's cruel eye; A flash—and the wail of a nation Rang in that terrified cry.
Shame falls on the daring Southren, Woe on the Southren land, The stars and bars are quartered With the murderer's bloody hand
Well—he stood to his duty firmly, Rebellion's waves rolled high, He dared to be true and simple To battle a gilded lie
And the life has died out of treason, Died with oppression and wrong, The shame is wiped from the nation Worn as a jewel so long
But he, in the hour of triumph Who wise and firmly stood Planning for them large mercies, Lies weltering in his blood.
For a cause so vile meet ending, To set with a murder stain, The "sum of human villainy" Should die with the brand of Cain
Lay him down with a nation's weeping, Lay him down with the heart's deep prayer That the mantle of the martyr Fall on the vacant chair
TO HON. MALCOM CAMERON.
By many a bard the Cameron clan is sung, Their march, their charge, their war cry, their array; Their laurels that from bloody fields have sprung, Where they have kept the sternest foes at bay.
The flowing tartan and the eagle plume, The gathering, and the glories of the clan, Let others sing, we will not so presume, We bring our humble tribute to the man.
The man with heart benevolent and kind, The man with earnest and persuasive tongue; Would there were many like him heart and mind To combat with this fashionable wrong;
Who longs to remedy these human ills, Feeling God made of one blood all the earth; Whose sympathies have passed his native hills, And spread beyond the clan that gave him birth.
Is it not sad when in high places so No sense of honour or of shame remains; Men who make laws while reeling to and fro, Statesmen with swaying step and muddled brains!
For scenes disgrace our new-built palace walls, And Canada on some reformer waits; Shall vice within the Legislative Halls Be rampant as the lions on the gates?
Oh for a man of action and of prayer, Who feels this sin a national disgrace; A man who has the strength to do and dare The pluck and courage of the Celtic race.
If thou art he, thou'rt welcome to the van, To battle for the right in time of need; To win fresh laurels for the Cameron clan, And thousands bid thee heartily God speed.
TO THE HON. THOMAS D'ARCY McGEE.
O thou son of the dark locks and eloquent tongue, With the brain of a statesman sagacious, and strong, And the heart of a poet, half love, and half fire, Thou hast many to love thee and more to admire; But I bore thee, and nursed thee, and joyed at the fame Which the sons of the stranger have spread round thy I am Erin, green Erin, the "Gem of the sea." [name. Listen, then, to thy mother's voice, D'Arcy McGee.
Since the crown from my head, and the sceptre are gone To the hand of the stranger, who held what he won, I have borne much of sorrow, of wrong and of shame, I've been spoken against with scorning and blame; But still have my daughters been spotless and fair, And my sons have been dauntless to do and to dare; For as great as thou art and most precious to me, Still thou art not my only one, D'Arcy McGee.
At the bar, in the senate, in cassock or gown, Our foes being judges, they've got them renown; On the red field of battle, of glory, of death, They've been true to their colours and true to their faith; And where bright swords were clashing and carnage ran high, They have taught the stern Saxon they know how to die. Well, no wit, poet, statesman or hero can be More dear to my heart than thou, D'Arcy McGee.
Wild heads may plan glories for Erin their mother, Weak plans and wicked plans chasing each other; To me worse than the loss of a sceptre and crown Is a spot that might tarnish my children's renown, 'Tis the laurels they win are the jewels I prize, They're the core of my heart and the light of my eyes; For my children are gems and crown jewels to me, And art thou not one of them, D'Arcy McGee!
I had one son, and, oh, need I mention his name! He who well knew where lay both our weakness and shame; His true, tender heart sought to measure and know This thing, most accursed, formed of babbling and woe; And his life did he dedicate freely, to slay The monster that made my bright children his prey; In the place where the wine cup flows deadly and free, The bane of the gifted, oh D'Arcy McGee.
For so well hath the father of lies tried to fling A false glory around it, so hiding the sting, Saying wit gets its flash, and high genius its fire, From the fiend that drags genius and wit through the mire Ah 'it biteth, it stingeth, it eateth away, And our best and our brightest it takes for its prey, 'Tis the bowl of the helot, no cup for the free, As thou very well knowest, my D'Arcy McGee.
Hast thou risen my loved one and cast from thy name All the shadows that darken thy life with their shame; Thou hast raised thyself up, against wind, against tide, Thou art high, thou art honoured, my joy and my pride; Now the song of the drunkard is chased from thy place, And my pride is relieved from this touch of disgrace. Thou wilt help to make Erin "great, glorious and free," And I bless thee my silver-tongued D'Arcy McGee.
NORA TO DAVID HERBISON.
There's a place in the North where the bonnie broom grows, Where winding through green meadows the silver Maine flows, Every lark as it soars and sings that sweet spot knows; For the mate for whom it sings, Till the clear blue heaven rings, Is brooding on its nest mid the daisies in the grass; And that psalmist sweet, the thrush, And the linnet in the bush, Tell the children all their secrets in song as they pass.
Oh brightly shines the sun there where wee birdies sing, A glamour's o'er the buds in the green lap of spring, In happy, happy laughter children's voices ring! Like some fair enchanted ground, In memory it is found, Where my childhood's golden hours of happiness were spent; There within a leafy nook, I have pored upon a book Till romance and fairy lore with every thought were blent.
I mind how fair the world was one bright summer day, Sitting in a shady place better seemed than play; Childhood's golden memories never fade away; My child friend most sweet and fair, My bright Lily she was there; We read and mused in silence and spoke our thoughts by turns; Lily, with her lofty look, Turned oftenest to her book, The book that lay between us was the peasant poet Burns.
The heaven-gifted man with winsome witching art, Who touches at his will the kindly human heart, 'Till it throbs with joy like pain and tears begin to start; He so tenderly touched ours With his melting magic powers, Made feelings which he felt within our bosoms spring, Where he wished for Scotia's sake, Some plan or book to make, Or to write the bonnie songs his country loves to sing.
Fancies wild were ours on that day so long ago, Stirred by Burns's genius, for we had learned to know The beauty of sweet Erin and something of her woe; And in song we longed to tell Of the land we loved so well, Singing words of hope and cheer, wailing each sad mishap, Like the daisies on the sod, With their faces turned to God, Clung we to the island green that nursed us on her lap.
I said to Lily, fair, my hand among her curls, If we were Red Branch Knights, or high and noble Earls, Or poets grand like Burns, instead of simple girls, We might do some noble deed, Or touch some tuneful reed, Something for the land we love to bring her high renown, The land where we were born; Is spoken of with scorn, Her children's songs should praise her, her children's deeds should crown.
My fair and stately Lily how thy hand sought mine Clasped it warm and tender with sympathy in thine, As I wished that we could make our 'streams and burmes shine' There's many a ruin old, There's many a castle bold, There's Sleive mis with his head in mist, here's the silver Maine, But who of them will sing Till the whole world shall ring, With the melody, and ask to hear it once again?
If one of her own children standing boldly forth, With eyes to see her beauty, a heart to know her worth, Would fling the charm of song o'er the green robe of the North Lily said, sweet friend there's one, And his name is Herbison, Who sings of Northern Erin in sunlight and in storm, Of the legend and the tale, Of the banshees awful wail, Of Dunluce upon the sea, of the castle of Galgorm
Of the gallant deeds of the all but vanished race, The high O'Neils who kept with princely state their place Of their white armed daughters in beauty's woeful race In that joyful youthful time All my pulses beat to rhyme, I thought what you were doing that I would also do, I would praise the bonnie North, And draw its legends forth From cottage and from castle the pleasant country through
I'd make the land I loved in poesy to shine, The Maine should flow along in "many a tuneful line," Songs praising hills and streams full sweetly should be mine, And the legends I would sing, From lip to lip should ring, My native land should ask for, and hear my humble name; When like her tuneful son, Green laurels I had won, I'd think her love for me was better far than fame.
Blessed be the green recess by the sweet Maine water where I a little child with my child friend sweet and fair Built with golden fancies this castle in the air! My child friend is at rest, Erin's shamrock's on her breast, I her little minstrel am all unknown to fame, For the songs are all unsung, And not a northern tongue Has spoken once in praise my very unknown name
But I know heroic souls beyond my feeble praise, I know of calm endurance like the great of other days, High deeds for battle song, worth a poet's noblest lays, Of the pathos of the strife In the lowly walks of life, Of many an unknown hero that has won the victor's crown And the lovely, lovely land, Landscape fair, and castle grand, Worthy the coming bard who will sing of their renown.
I love thee well, sweet Erin, though fate led another way; I'll call thee still, mavourneen, when head and heart are grey; Another one will say and sing what I have failed to say; But this very day to me, There has come across the sea Some pleasant verses bearing a well remembered name; That has done for Erin's land What I only thought and planned, And won a place in Erin's heart that I can never claim.
So unknown beside a pine-fringed lake away beyond the sea, Half in gladness of remembrance, half in wakened childish glee I stretch my hand in homage and kindredship to thee, I greet thee this bright day From three thousand miles away, And to thy well earned laurels I'd add a sprig of bay Glad to know thou'rt rhyming yet, For thy readers can't forget Erin's genial loving son, Poet of the steadfast North kindly David Herbison
DEATH OF D'ARCY McGEE
He stood up in the house to speak, With calm unruffled brow, And never were his burning words More eloquent than now
Fresh from the greatest victory That mortal man can win The triumph against fearful odds. Over besetting sin
'Twas this gave to his eloquence That thrilling trumpet tone Moving all hearts with those bright thoughts Vibrating through his own
Thoughts strong, and wise, and statesmanlike, Warm with the love of Right That gave his wit its keenest edge, His words their greatest might
He little thought his last speech closed, That his career was o'er, That those who hung upon his words Should hear his voice no more.
He walked home tranquilly and slow, Secure, and unaware, That there was murder in the hush Of the still midnight air.
"Tis morning," said he, knowing not That he had done with time; That a bloody hand would our country stain With another useless crime.
He stood before a portal closed To him for evermore, Behind him with uncreaking hinge Oped the eternal door.
And ere the east grew red again, His life blood's purple flow Had made that pavement holy ground, And filled the land with woe.
My country! Oh my country! What is to thee the gain? Wilt nourish trees of liberty In blood so foully slain?
LINES TO A SHAMROCK
A SONG OF EXILE
A withered shamrock, yet to me 'tis fair As the sweet rose to other eyes might be, Because its leaves spread in my native air, And the same land gave birth to it and me.
They were as plentiful as drops of dew In our green meadows sprinkled everywhere, Heedless I wandered o'er them life was new, Now as a friend I greet thee shamrock fair
Because I dwelt with my own people then, Erin's bright eyes, and kindly hearts and true, That from my cradle loved me, and again We'll never meet—spoken our last adieu
I am a stranger here, I have not seen One friendly face of all that I have known, And my heart mourns for thee my island green, Because I am a stranger and alone
So thou art welcome as a friend to me, Tell me where lay the sod that brought thee forth, Idly I wonder as I look at thee If thou hast come, as I did, from the North?
From the green glens that he beside the sea From cloud capt Sleive mis of the shamrock vest? From near old castles, where the dread banshee Waits for the native lords when laid to rest?
Or did the tartaned stranger call thee where Mount Cashel's Lord rules o'er a fair domain? Or grass grown ruin all that's left to bear Of a lost race the all but fading name?
The lovely Maine lingers in flowing through The peaceful place that was my childhood's home, Myriads of shamrocks on its margin grew, Was it from these thy sisters thou hast come?
Such fair broad meadows by Maine water lay, Erin her mantle green for carpet spread, In merry childhood there we met to play, Dashing the dew from many a shamrock's head.
Where sleep the village dead there is a spot That's dearer far than all the rest to me; It's interwoven with full many a thought, And with my young heart's childish history.
She was most fair that sleeps that sod beneath; The fair form shrined a soul akin to mine, And the sharp pain of heart ties cut by death, Has softened been but left unhealed by time
And Erin spread her skirt across her grave, And there were shamrocks nestling on the breast, And blue bells and all flowers that softly wave, Making more beautiful her place of rest.
If 'twas from there the stranger gathered thee I would forgive the sacrilege, and thou A precious relic to my breast would be, Nor prized the less because thou'rt withered now.
Ah me! I know thou canst not answer me, Yet sight of thee must all these thoughts awake; Enough, from mine own land thou comest, thou'lt be Welcome to Erin's child alone for Erin's sake.
(WALTER AND FREDDIE.)
From morn to eve, from evening unto morning, I mourn and cannot rest; So mourns the mother bird when home returning She finds an empty nest.
I mourn the little children of my dwelling, That are forever gone, Sorrows that mothers feel my heart is swelling, And so I make my moan.
One little blossom on my bosom faded, And passed from me away, But near my door the drooping willows shaded My little boys at play
My boys that came with flying feet to meet me, And questions wondrous wise, And bits of news which they had brought to greet me, And see my glad surprise
Bitter for sweet no human hand can alter Nor bid one sorrow pass, With sudden stroke our darling little Walter Was laid beneath the grass
Ah then it was to me an added sorrow, To hear his brother moan, Where's little Walter, will he come to morrow I cannot play alone?
The summons for the child had come already Which said I must resign The best beloved, the precious little Freddie, To other arms than mine
How still and lone are the familiar places Where little pattering feet Made music for me, and I saw bright faces Dimple with laughter sweet
My arms are empty that woold fain be folding My lost ones to my breast, But well I know, the Father's face beholding, They are forever blest.
From Christ's dear words my bleeding heart would gather At length submissive grace,— He says that in the kingdom of His Father, They still behold His face.
In the bright garden of the Lord they're staying, Amid the angels fair; And heavenly whispers to my heart are saying— Look up, your treasure's there.
THE SONG OF THE BEREAVED.
(I have borrowed thy pattern, dear Hood, to cut out our mourning garments.)
With garments for sorrow torn, With eyelids heavy and red, A woman sat by a new-made grave, Bewailing her slaughtered dead— Weep! weep! weep! Tears of remorseful pain; The sorrow that sorrows without a hope, Is poured forth above the slain.
Drink! drink! drink! It slayeth on every side, Till the blue-eyed baby is fatherless, And a desolate widow the bride. O for a gleam of light On the home, on the friendly hand, That pours in kindness the burning draught That maketh a desolate land.
Drink! drink! drink! The horse-leech ever craves, There are empty chairs in the desolate home, And the earth swells with new-made graves. Cellar, saloon, and bar, Bar, cellar, saloon, And a wasted life, and a hopeless death, Is the tempted victim's doom
O men with the friendly treat! O women with New Year's wine! It is not liquor you're pouring out, But your child's blood and mine, Drink! drink! drink! In joyous youthful prime, Drink that marks out the downward road To want and disease and crime
Drink in the lordly hall, Pour out the blood-red wine,— And grey hairs sorrow over the grave, That is dug before its time Drink for the darling son, Till the softened brain goes mad, And darkness falls on the father's life Which is bound in the life of the lad.
Every unwilling slave Standeth on the bedroom's brink, But what will free the body and soul That is enslaved by drink? Bar, cellar, saloon, Cellar, saloon and bar Alas, that the demon of drink slays more By far than the demon of war
Drink! drink! drink! Till manhood and pride are gone, Drink over the grave of self-respect, And then in despair drink on. Drink! drink! drink! Drink at the fearful cost Of knowing that though still cursed with life, Yet hope is forever lost.
Our brightest go down to death, We cannot our dearest save; And we dare not think of the judgment seat That lieth beyond the grave. Drink! drink! drink! So many are licensed to sell, Drink; you will surely find the house, Whose guests find the way to hell.
Oh for the plighted band Of those who are bound to save Their fellow men from the fearful doom That extends beyond the grave! Alas! they are trying hard To do, what they cannot do, To wage a war to the uttermost, And only hurt a few.
Bar, cellar, saloon, Cellar, saloon and bar Are swiftly, surely, doing their work As those who in earnest are; And the moderate drinker stands, Kind, at the head of the way, And opens the gate, with friendly hands, Of the road that leads astray.
Of the road that leads astray, And never will stop to think That the shroud is sewed, and the grave is dug, For the lost by moderate drink; And the banded are loath to strike, They have friends on the other side, And therefore "Hell hath enlarged herself" And opened her mouth so wide
The strong and the brave are lost, Do we keep the tender and fair? Does the demon who strikes down fathers and sons, All the daughters and sisters spare? Bar cellar saloon Cellar, saloon and bar,— Oh! who will preach a new crusade, Or join in this holy war?
With garments for sorrow torn,— With eyelids heavy and red, A woman sat by a new made grave, Bewailing over the dead Weep! weep! weep! How many will weep in vain? How many will rise in a holy cause, That the slayer may be slain?
COMFORT YE, COMFORT YE MY PEOPLE
By the sad fellowship of human suffering, By the bereavements that are thine and mine, I venture—oh, forgive me!—with this offering, I would it were to thee God's oil and wine
I too have suffered—is it then surprising If to thy sacred grief I enter in? My spirit draws near thine all sympathising, Sorrow, like love, "makes aliens near of kin."
Thou'rt weeping for thy gathered blossoms, mother, The Lord had need of him, and called him soon, In morning freshness ere the dews of heaven Were chased before the burning rays of noon.
Thy darling child, like to God's summer blossom, Was very fair and pleasant to the sight, The sunny head that rested on thy bosom, The loving eyes that were thy heart's delight,
Made passers by look on him with a blessing, Saying, "His mother is not all alone; Her widowed sorrow, in that sweet caressing, Will find some comfort for the lost and gone."
I miss him from the doorway, blythely playing, Where he has turned on me his winsome face; O lovely child! I said, "by lone hearth staying, Thou'lt make the widow's home a pleasant place."
The little one, thy comfort in affliction, With the sweet face earnest and innocent; That was to thee like Heaven's benediction, Such children for a little while are lent.
Pilgrims and strangers are we in our praying, But birds of passage to a brighter shore; Yet build our nests as if for ever staying, We and our treasures, here for evermore
But when our nestlings by the Master taken Up in God's Paradise to safely sing; And by the empty nest we wail forsaken, In the great loneliness of suffering.
We lift our tearful eyes in sorrow's blindness, And cry to him for very helplessness, Then He reveals to us His loving kindness, Even in bereavements 'tis His will to bless
He says "Look up," that we may cease our crying, Seeing our treasures in glad safety there, And there our hearts will be—for upward flying In longing love, they cast off earthly care
Thy home is silent all the rippling laughter, The sound of racing feet at play, is fled, But he, thy darling led up by the Master, Is with the living—not among the dead
Thy little ones within the jasper portals, There by the crystal sea he learns to sing The new song only known to the immortals, Promoted to the presence of the King
The child is safe within the Father's mansion Safe on the hills of God in light to range, And heart ties stretched unto their utmost tension, Will, by God's touch, to golden harp strings change
On which the Master will soft music render, Soothing with heaven's airs thy pathway dim, On which love's messages all sweet and tender Shall run between thee and thy angel kin
And they will draw thee upward growing stronger, When flesh and heart will one day faint and fail, And thou wilt care for earthly things no longer, For all thy treasures are within the veil
So friend of mine 'tis thy birthday morn, And friends with fair gifts around thee come, Outside the circle I stand forlorn, My hands are empty my lips are dumb.
O Thou who seest in secret still, Who reads the heart when no word is said, The wishes that rise in prayer fulfil In royal blessings to crown his head.
Entering the portals of manhood now, The boy we loved from our knowledge slips, With fresh consecration seal his brow, With thy altar fire retouch his lips.
He girds himself for the strife anew, And love foresees what the dangers are; But thou, O Captain, art tried and true, 'Tis at thy charge he goes forth to war!
My empty hands to thy throne I lift, While parting sorrow my spirit swells, Lord, thou wilt give him a birthday gift Out of the place where Thy fulness dwells.
He's called and chosen to dare and do, To uphold Thy banner on battle field; Be Thou to him strength and wisdom too, In the day of strife, his sword and shield.
More than I ask Thou wilt give, O King! What is my friendship or care to Thine! To the banquet house Thy hand will bring And refresh his lips with the kingdom's wine.
MY OWN GREEN LAND
It was in the early morning Of life, and of hope to me, I sat on a grassy hillside Of the Isle beyond the sea, Erin's skies of changeful beauty Were bending over me.
The landscape, emerald tinted, Lying smiling in the sun, The grass with daisies sprinkled, And with shamrocks over run, The Maine water flashed and dimpled, Still flowing softly on.
The lark in the blue above me, A tiny speck in the sky, Rained down from its bosom's fulness A shower of melody, Dropping through the golden sunlight, And sweetly rippling by
Afar in the sunny distance, O'er the river's further brim, Like a stern old Norman warder, Stood the castle tall and grim, And, nearer a grassy ruin, Where an old name grew dim
I knew that the balmy gladness Was brooding from sea to sea, But I felt a note of sadness That sobered my youthful glee, The love of my mother Erin Stirred all my heart in me
Oh Erin! my mother Erin, Thou land of the tearful smile, Hearts that feel, and hands of helping Are thy children's blessed Isle' The stranger is so no longer That rests on thy breasts awhile
Be he Saxon, Dane or Norman, That steps on thy kindly shore, Who sets his foot on thy daisies Is kinder for evermore, For thy cead mille failtha Thrills warm to his bosom's care.
But Erin, never contented Struggles again and again, As all proud and free born captives Must strive with the conqueror's chain. That, if ever snapped asunder, Is riveted firm again
The words of an Hebrew exile, Like to some sweet song's refrain, That sweetly goeth and cometh And echoes through heart and brain, "Be sure that the day is coming "When Erin shall rise again
"She only of all the nations, "Since in dust our temple lies, "Has not our blood on our garments "Has brought no tears to our eyes, "He says, they prosper who love us "Thy Erin at last shall rise."
I waited, watched for the blessing Promised, oh so long ago, I looked for the brilliant future The end of the long drawn woe, My hopes, with my years, Time the reaper, Hath laughingly laid them low.
Oh Erin! my mother Erin! Will "to be" repeat what has been? Will your sons ever "shoulder to shoulder" Be strong and united seen? Will ever the foreign lilies Blend with the nation's green?
For in other lands the peoples, Quite forgetting ancient wrong, Have blended and fused, becoming Because of their union strong, Leaving all old feuds and battles, As themes for romance and song
From party's Promethean vulture, When wilt thou get release? When will the strife of races, The strife of religions cease? And the hearts of thy loving children Mingle and be at peace?
(Job iii. 26)
It was not that I lived a life of ease, Quiet, secure, apart from every care; For on the darkest of my anxious days I thought my burden more than I could bear. The shadow of a coming trouble fell Across my pathway, drawing very near; I walked within it awestruck, felt the spell Trembled, not knowing what I had to fear. The hand that held events I might not stay, But creeping to His footstool I could pray.
With sad forebodings I kept watch and ward Against the dreaded evil that must come; Of small avail, door locked or window barred, To keep the pestilence from hearth and home. The dreadful pestilence that walks by night, Stepping o'er barriers, an unwelcome guest, Came, and with scorching touch to sear and blight, Drew my fair child into her loathsome breast; Nothing had ever parted us till then, O child! when shall I hold thee once again?
As if the plague's red cross upon my door, With "Lord have mercy!" scared the passers by, So friends of mine that I had had before, Fled from the face of my calamity. Shut in, and yet shut out, my days went on, Shut in with woe, shut out from human kind Within my boundaries, watching sad and lone, Hope with despair kept struggling in my mind. It is not always human hearts can say To Him who smites, "I trust Thee though Thou slay."
They're taught of God who say "Thy will be done," When in the presence of the thing they fear, Both flesh and spirit fail when hope is gone, And what we dread the most is drawing near; I said, "an end comes to the darkest day, And the bright, sunshine follows after rain, This fearful pestilence will pass away, And I can comfort those she holds in pain; I'll take them to my heart, nor will I care, That her touch marred the faces I thought fair"
I clung to hope I would not let it go— And praying thoughts went up with every breath, For when the sickness came I did not know That with her came the angel they call Death. My child will be restored to me I said, Death took her hand-and almost unawares, She slipped away from me and joined the dead Back on my heart fell my unanswered prayers, Stunned I took up my child that was so sweet And wrapped her poor form in the winding-sheet
All desolate I bore her to her bier With unaccustomed hands I laid her down, With grief too hard and deep to shed a tear We stood beneath the heavens gathering frown, And then the storm burst on us in its might, The loosened winds rushed round to moan and rave, 'Twas fittest so—they bore her from my sight, Through the wild ram and laid her in her grave, Then conscious only of a dreadful loss, I sat with sorrow underneath my cross
The little ones whose mother's with the dead Came with their many wants around my knee And added, needless burden some one said, But ah! they were God's messengers to me, For here were duties that my hands must do, Although my wound might only bleed and smart, And so there came some solace to me through The helpless hands that touched my aching heart Ah! little children bringing everywhere God's blessed comfort mingled in with care
And so I do my task, my daily task, Working the work that's given me to do, Getting the daily strength for which I ask, The needed courage still to help me through; And my great sorrow passes out of sight, I have not time to sit and make my moan; But in the solemn stillness of the night, My woe comes back to me with heavy groan. And yet our Father weaves His golden thread Into the warp of duty's homespun web.
OUT OF THE DEPTHS.
Thou art, and, therefore, Thou art near, oh God! Thick darkness covers me, I cannot see; Is this the Shepherd's crook, or the correcting rod, And by Thy hand, O Father, laid on me?
I cry to Thee, and shall I cry in vain? My soul looks up as if through prison bars, Up through the silent Heaven, ah, turn again Thy face to me, hide not behind the stars.
Thy presence hath been with me in the past, Where "heaps of witness" mark out all the way; Thy years change not, Thy love is still as vast, I look to Thee, I trust Thee though Thou slay.
My friends walk on the hills the sun hath kissed, Flowers at their feet, their sky is blue and fair; I'm prisoned in this vale of tearful mist, Shut in with sorrow, darkened by despair.
I, too, once walked with footsteps glad and free, Light round my head, and in my mouth a song; Manna fell round my dwelling-place for me. For me the living waters flowed along.
Thy hand had set my feet upon a rock, That Rock stands fast, why then this loss and harm? I cannot find the footsteps of the flock, I cannot feel the Well-Beloved's arm.
They hold me in derision, for they say, Where is the God in whom you seemed to trust! Righteous art Thou O Lord! and if I may But find Thee I will lay me in the dust.
Saying, awake, arise my God, to me Turn in Thy love the mercy of Thy face; Then shall the day break, and the shadows flee, And I will sing of Thy sufficient grace.
A Prize Poem.
I know Canada is fair to see, and pleasant; it is well On the banks of its broad river 'neath the maple trees to dwell; But the heart is very wilful, and in sorrow or in mirth, Mine will turn with sore love-longing to the land that gave me birth; And I wish that, oh but once again! my longing eyes might see The green island that lies smiling on the bosom of the sea; That is fed with heaven's dew and the fatness of the earth, Fanned by wild Atlantic breezes that sweep over it in mirth.
Its green robe is starred with daisies; it is brilliant fresh and fair, With a verdure that no other spot of earth affords to wear. It has banks of pale primroses that like bits of moonlight glow; There are hawthorn hedges blossomed out like drifts of perfumed snow, Bluebells swinging on their slender stems and cowslips on the lea. I was better for the lessons they in childhood taught to me; And still sweet is every memory, and blessed each regret That twines round that dear island home, which our hearts cannot forget.
From where Antrim's giant columns at the north are piled on high, The sentinels of centuries tow'ring up against the sky, From mountain top and purple heath, from valleys fair to see, Where streams of flashing crystal bright are flowing merrily, To Kerry's lakes of loveliness that dimple in the sun. 'Tis fair as any spot of earth that heaven's light shines upon. O Erin, my mother Erin, dear land more kind than wise, I think of thee till loving tears come thronging to my eyes.
Thou hast nourished on thy bosom many sons of deathless fame; Who, while the world will last, shall shed a lustre on thy name. While Foyle's proud swelling waters roll past Derry to the sea; While yet a single vestige of old Limerick's walls there be; Shall those who love thee well, fair land, lament that feuds divide The sons of those who for each cause stood fast on either side. From every ruined castle grey, well may the banshee cry O'er bitter waters once let loose that have not yet run dry
O would the blessed time might come when, party feeling done, The noble deeds of both sides will be gathered into one! On the battle-fields of Europe thy sons quit themselves like men, Till those who made them exiles longed for their good swords again, Wherever fields were fought and won, in thickest of the fray, Where steel bit steel, thy sons have fought and laurels bore away And thou hast bards in deathless song thy heroes' praise to sing, Or make hearts throb responsive when for love they touch the string
Thou hast lovely, white-armed daughters so tender and so true, As modest as the daisies, and as spotless as the dew, With flashes of sweet merriment, and virtue still and strong They fire the patriot's heart and charm the poet into song Thou hast nourished those right eloquent to plead with tongue and pen, For those eternal rights which men so oft deny to men, And land of saints in song like mine, but little can be said Of those who stand for God between the living and the dead
Thou'rt not without His witnesses for children of thy sod, In lofty and in lowly life, are found who walk with God Land of the hearty welcome! who travels thy valleys o'er Knows more of human kindness than he ever knew before. While some are kind to friends alone, thy sons whate'er befal More like the blessed sun and rain have kindliness for all. O Erin, my mother Erin! much my love would say of thee, Were my lips but half so eloquent as my heart would have them be.
As Moses longed for Lebanon, so I long that once again My feet might press the shamrocks in the meadows by the Maine. Oh to see the wee brown larks again, once more to hear them sing, As up to heaven's blessed gates they soar on tireless wing! I'd watch them till I'd half forget the burden of my years, And tender thoughts of childhood would well up in happy tears. I may never see thee more, mo run, but with each breath I draw Thou art still to me mavourneen, so an slainte leat gu bragh.
WRITTEN FOR THE O'CONNEL CENTENARY.
Sons of the bright, green island, Gathered by the pine-fringed lake, In honour of his memory, Who battled for your sake, Listen, we too pay our tribute To a fame that well endures; He, who ventured much for liberty, Is ours as well as yours.
Men fought in vain for freedom, And lay down in felon graves; "Your noblest then were exiles, Your proudest then were slaves" When the people, blind and furious, Maddened by oppression's scorn, Struggled, seethed in wild upheaval, Was the Liberator born.
Who took the sword fell by the sword, This man was born to show, How thoughts would win where steel had failed One hundred years ago By force the patriot tried in vain To stem oppression's might, This man arose and won the cause, By pleading for the right.
He stood to plead for liberty On Dunedin's Calton-hill; No man had ever greater power To move men's hearts at will Erin, without name, senate, flag, This, her advocate and son, Pleaded for those who tried and lost, With those who tried and won
He stood to ask for justice, For ruth and mercy's grace, For a people of another faith, And of another race He stood on ground made holy By resistance unto wrong, And Scotia's freemen gathered round, Full twenty thousand strong
And rock and distant city, The broad Forth gliding clear, Yea, every heath-clad hill-top Had hushed itself to hear, From the shades of hero martyrs Of patriotic fame, From the land they thought worth fighting for, High inspiration came
He won the cause he strove for, With bold undaunted brow, And his name and fame roll brightening on Along the years till now, All honour to his memory, May his words, where'er they fall, Bring forth the love of liberty, And equal rights to all
WE LAMENT NOT FOR ONE BUT MANY
'At last he is dead' So the wondering, horror-struck neighbours said, A skilful touch of his knife Has cut the thread of a wasted life He has reached the end of the downward road, And rushed unbidden to meet his God, Over every duty past every tie, Unwarned, unhindered, he rushed along, Through the wild license of sin. and wrong, And into the silent eternity
Relax thy anguished watch, O wife And fold thy hands—and yet—and yet, After all the tears which thou hast wept, Through nights when happier mortals slept, Thou only wilt weep with fond regret, Over the corpse of the hopeless dead For the cause accursed, of drink he has bled, For that cause he lived and suffered and died Many deaths in one horrible life,— The death of his honour, the death of his pride, On that altar he sacrificed child and wife Hope, liberty, purity, more than life Lifes life, God's image, he crushed and killed, Tore and defaced, wasted and spoiled, Uncurbed in passion, iron willed, For this long years he has laboured and toiled, Devoted his talents, his time his breath, And at the last his blood he has shed Truly the wages of sin is death
He was once a babe on a mother s breast, Tenderly nourished, cared for, caressed Watched with a mother's love and pride Dreams of the future warm and bright, High hopes ambitions in rainbow light Clustered around him a fairy swarm Of tender fancies sweet and warm, As she hung over his cradle bed, In all this world there's none so bright, So clever as mother's heart s delight My child of promise," she proudly said
Oh would to God that he then had died Died when the anguish of heartstrings torn, The sudden stilling of childish laughter, The awful vacance that fills the place Of the soft, warm touch, of the dear, dear face, Of the sweet dead child that the heart gropes after For God's own voice to the mourner saith, "Be still, I am God, there is hope in his death'
Alas! for the woe that under the sun Can find no comfort! this child lived on. What must be his mother's sorrow and sin, If she held the glass to his infant lips Taught him the taste of sweetened gin, As a cure for every childish pain, To be tried and tampered with once and again If she taught him to worship at fashion's shrine, In its magic circle to look on wine. To pour it sparkling in ruby light, The adder's sting the serpent's bite, Came to him at last among evil men, But he once was a boy, A mother's joy, Clever and gifted with tongue and pen, The cup of temptation Was inspiration, Oh would to God he had died even then The mother's tears shed over the slain, Had then had hope in their bitter pain
O mothers, stronger than life is love And your love is most like God's above, And power likest God's to you is given, With the greatest trust that is under heaven He gives to your hands to have and to hold More precious than rubies, better than gold God's little children to teach and to train, And to lead them upward to Him again God keep you and save you from earning the curse That shadows the life with hopeless remorse He once was a lover an innocent maid Into his keeping gave up her life, Into his hand her own she laid For better, for worse As a blessing, a curse, Took on her the sacred name of wife, And stood at her post through all these years Of sorrow and sin, of anguish and tears There have been martyrs for God and right, Passed through blood and fire into endless light Count all the martyrs to right that died Since Abel's blood to Jehovah cried There are but few in that shining throng Compared to the martyrs of sin and wrong Count not that woman's life by years, Count by the dropping of heart-wrung tears To the common lot of toil and care, That dims the eye and the heart strings wring, He added, of woe that none could share, Whole ages of sorrow and suffering
She bore her torture for duty's sake, Firm as saint in the tower and at the stake, Bore want and woe, and his evil name, For him who for years was dead to shame She saw his brood about her knee Into an evil lot they were born To bear for his sin the cruel scorn Of the world unthinking, hard and cold Prematurely saddened, early old, They never knew home as a place of rest, Except when their home was the mother's breast, And worse than all she had to see Them taught the secrets of sin and woe, Which happier children never know Alas! that such a thing should be Her darlings were made to pass through the fire To the Moloch of vice and sinful desire, The father's example of life and tongue Brought the knowledge of evil to them while young, And in sorrow and shame, That none may name, In strife and sin all tempest-tost The innocence God gives to babes was lost All is over, nought's left but dishonoured clay, But the evil men do lives longer than they. Of a truth the saddest for tongue or pen Are these words o'er a ruin—"He might have been," And sadder the words in jest set free "This is; but alas! it should not be." He has passed into darkness who lived in vain; But what shall their future portion be, Who, passing by on the other side, Themselves from the curse secure and free, No plan of relief or rescue tried? Or worse, made profit out of his pain, And lured him on to his death for gain?