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"'Let some one sing to us, lightlier move The minutes fledged with music'."
Lyrics of the Affections and Nature
Collected and Illustrated by Edmund H Garrett with an Introduction by Edmund Gosse
Little Brown and Company Boston 1895
Copyright, 1895. BY EDMUND H. GARRETT.
University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A.
Some printings of the book have a two-page Editor's Note before the Contents, acknowledging the "publishers and authors who have given permission for the use of many of the songs included in this volume". It has been omitted from this e-text.]
Where are the songs I used to know?
AIDE, HAMILTON (1830). Page Remember or Forget 3 Oh, Let Me Dream 6 Love, the Pilgrim 7
ALLINGHAM, WILLIAM (1824-1889). Lovely Mary Donnelly 9 Song 13 Serenade 14 Across the Sea 16
ARNOLD, SIR EDWIN (1832). Serenade 18 A Love Song of Henri Quatre 20
ASHE, THOMAS (1836-1889). No and Yes 22 At Altenahr 23 Marit 24
AUSTIN, ALFRED (1835). A Night in June 26
BEDDOES, THOMAS LOVELL (1803-1849). Dream-Pedlary 30 Song from the Ship 33 Song 34 Song 35 Song, by Two Voices 36 Song 38
BENNETT, WILLIAM COX (1820). Cradle Song 39 My Roses blossom the Whole Year Round 41 Cradle Song 42
BOURDILLON, F. W. (1852). Love's Meinie 43 The Night has a Thousand Eyes 44 A Lost Voice 45
BUCHANAN, ROBERT (1841). Serenade 46 Song 48
COLLINS, MORTIMER (1827-1876). To F. C. 49 A Game of Chess 50 Multum in Parvo 52 Violets at Home 53 My Thrush 54
CRAIK, DINAH MARIA MULOCK (1826-1887). Too Late 56 A Silly Song 58
DARLEY, GEORGE (1795-1846). May Day 60 I 've been Roaming 62 Sylvia's Song 63 Serenade 64
DE TABLEY, LORD (1835). A Winter Sketch 66 The Second Madrigal 69
DE VERE, AUBREY (1788-1846). Song 70 Song 72 Song 74
DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-1870). The Ivy Green 75
DOBSON, AUSTIN (1840). The Ladies of St. James's 77 The Milkmaid 81
DOMETT, ALFRED (1811-1887). A Glee for Winter 84 A Kiss 86
DUFFERIN, LADY (1807-1867). Song 88 Lament of the Irish Emigrant 90
FIELD, MICHAEL. Winds To-day are Large and Free 94 Let us Wreathe the Mighty Cup 96 Where Winds abound 97
GALE, NORMAN (1862). A Song 98 Song 99
GOSSE, EDMUND (1849). Song for the Lute 101
HOOD, THOMAS (1798-1845). Ballad 102 Song 104 I Remember, I Remember 106 Ballad 108 Song 110
HOUGHTON, LORD (RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES) (1809-1885). The Brookside 111 The Venetian Serenade 113 From Love and Nature 115
INGELOW, JEAN (1830). The Long White Seam 116 Love 118 Sweet is Childhood 120
KINGSLEY, CHARLES (1819-1875). Airly Beacon 121 The Sands of Dee 122 Three Fishers went Sailing 124 A Farewell 126
LANDOR, WALTER SAVAGE (1775-1864). Rose Aylmer 127 Rubies 128 The Fault is not Mine 129 Under the Lindens 130 Sixteen 131 Ianthe 132 One Lovely Name 133 Forsaken 133
LOCKER-LAMPSON, FREDERICK (1821-1895). A Garden Lyric 134 The Cuckoo 137 Gertrude's Necklace 139
LOVER, SAMUEL (1797-1868). The Angel's Whisper 141 What will you do, Love? 143
MACKAY, CHARLES (1814-1889). I Love my Love 145 O Ye Tears! 147
MAHONEY, FRANCIS (1805-1866). The Bells of Shandon 149
MASSEY, GERALD (1828). Song 153
O'SHAUGHNESSY, ARTHUR (1844-1881). A Love Symphony 156 I made Another Garden 158
PROCTER, ADELAIDE ANNE (1825-1864). The Lost Chord 160 Sent to Heaven 162
PROCTER, B. W. (BARRY CORNWALL) (1787-1874). The Poet's Song to his Wife 165 A Petition to Time 167 A Bacchanalian Song 168 She was not Fair nor Full of Grace 170 The Sea-King 172 A Serenade 174 King Death 176 Sit Down, Sad Soul 178 A Drinking Song 180 Peace! What do Tears Avail? 182 The Sea 184
ROSSETTI, CHRISTINA G. (1830-1895). Song 186 Song 188 Song 189 Three Seasons 190
ROSSETTI, DANTE GABRIEL (1828-1882). A Little While 191 Sudden Light 193 Three Shadows 194
SCOTT, WILLIAM BELL (1812-1890). Parting and Meeting Again 196
SKIPSEY, JOSEPH (1832). A Merry Bee 198 The Songstress 199 The Violet and the Rose 200
STERRY, J. ASHBY. Regrets 201 Daisy's Dimples 203 A Lover's Lullaby 204
SWINBURNE, ALGERNON CHARLES (1837). A Match 205 Rondel 208 Song 209
TENNYSON, ALFRED (1809-1892). The Bugle Song 210 Break, Break, Break 212 Tears, Idle Tears 213 Sweet and Low 215 Turn, Fortune, Turn thy Wheel 216 Vivien's Song 217
THACKERAY, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE (1811-1863). At the Church Gate 218 The Mahogany Tree 220
THORNBURY, GEORGE WALTER (1828-1876). Dayrise and Sunset 223 The Three Troopers 225 The Cuckoo 228
AN INDEX TO FIRST LINES
Listen—Songs thou 'lt hear Through the wide world ringing.
A baby was sleeping Samuel Lover 141 "A cup for hope!" she said Christina G. Rossetti 190 A golden bee a-cometh Joseph Skipsey 198 A little shadow makes the sunrise sad Mortimer Collins 52 A little while a little love Dante Gabriel Rossetti 191 A thousand voices fill my ears F. W. Bourdillon 45 Across the grass I see her pass Austin Dobson 81 Ah, what avails the sceptered race! Walter Savage Landor 127 Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon Charles Kingsley 121 All glorious as the Rainbow's birth Gerald Massey 153 All through the sultry hours of June Mortimer Collins 54 Along the garden ways just now Arthur O'Shaughnessy 156 Although I enter not William Makepeace Thackeray 218 As Gertrude skipt from babe to girl Frederick Locker-Lampson 139 As I came round the harbor buoy Jean Ingelow 116 Awake!—The starry midnight Hour B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 174 Awake thee, my Lady-love! George Darley 64 Back flies my soul to other years Joseph Skipsey 199 Break, break, break Alfred Tennyson 212
Came, on a Sabbath noon, my sweet Thomas Ashe 23 Christmas is here William Makepeace Thackeray 220 Come, rosy Day! Sir Edwin Arnold 20 Come sing, Come sing, of the great Sea-King B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 172 Could ye come back to me, Douglas, Douglas Dinah Maria Mulock Craik 56
Drink, and fill the night with mirth! B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 180
Every day a Pilgrim, blindfold Hamilton Aide 7
Fast falls the snow, O lady mine Mortimer Collins 49 First the fine, faint, dreamy motion Norman Gale 98
Hence, rude Winter! crabbed old fellow Alfred Domett 84 How many Summers, love B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 165 How many times do I love thee, dear? Thomas Lovell Beddoes 38
I bring a garland for your head Edmund Gosse 101 I had a Message to send her Adelaide Anne Procter 162 I have been here before Dante Gabriel Rossetti 193 I leaned out of window, I smelt the white clover Jean Ingelow 118 I looked and saw your eyes Dante Gabriel Rossetti 194 I made another garden, yea Arthur O'Shaughnessy 158 I remember, I remember Thomas Hood 106 I sat beside the streamlet Hamilton Aide 3 I wandered by the brook-side Lord Houghton 111 I walked in the lonesome evening William Allingham 16 If I could choose my paradise Thomas Ashe 22 If love were what the rose is Algernon Charles Swinburne 205 If there were dreams to sell Thomas Lovell Beddoes 30 I 'm sitting on the stile, Mary Lady Dufferin 90 In Clementina's artless mien Walter Savage Landor 131 In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours Alfred Tennyson 217 Into the Devil tavern George Walter Thornbury 225 It was not in the winter Thomas Hood 102 I 've been roaming! I 've been roaming! George Darley 62
King Death was a rare old fellow! B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 176 Kissing her hair I sat against her feet. Algernon Charles Swinburne 208
Lady! in this night of June Alfred Austin 26 Last time I parted from my Dear William Bell Scott 196 Let us wreathe the mighty cup Michael Field 96 Little dimples so sweet and soft J. Ashby Sterry 203 Lullaby! O lullaby! William Cox Bennett 42 Lute! breathe thy lowest in my Lady's ear Sir Edwin Arnold 18
Mirror your sweet eyes in mine, love J. Ashby Sterry 204 Mother, I can not mind my wheel Walter Savage Landor 133 My fairest child, I have no song to give you Charles Kingsley 126 My goblet's golden lips are dry Thomas Lovell Beddoes 34 My love, on a fair May morning Thomas Ashe 24 My roses blossom the whole year round William Cox Bennett 41
O for the look of those pure gray eyes J. Ashby Sterry 201 O happy buds of violet! Mortimer Collins 53 "O Heart, my heart!" she said, and heard Dinah Maria Mulock Craik 58 O lady, leave thy silken thread Thomas Hood 104 O lips that mine have grown into Algernon Charles Swinburne 209 O Love is like the roses Robert Buchanan 48 O May, thou art a merry time George Darley 60 O roses for the flush of youth Christina G. Rossetti 188 O spirit of the Summertime! William Allingham 13 O ye tears! O ye tears! that have long refused to flow Charles Mackay 147 Often I have heard it said Walter Savage Landor 128 Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green Charles Dickens 75 Oh, hearing sleep, and sleeping hear William Allingham 14 Oh! let me dream of happy days gone by Hamilton Aide 6 Oh, lovely Mary Donnelly, my joy, my only best! William Allingham 9 "Oh, Mary, go and call the cattle home" Charles Kingsley 122 One lovely name adorns my song Walter Savage Landor 133
Peace! what can tears avail? B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 182
Seated one day at the Organ Adelaide Anne Procter 160 Seek not the tree of silkiest bark Aubrey de Vere 72 She was not fair, nor full of grace B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 170 She 's up and gone, the graceless Girl Thomas Hood 108 Sing!—Who sings B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 168 Sit down, sad soul, and count B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 178 Sleep sweet, beloved one, sleep sweet! Robert Buchanan 46 Sleep! the bird is in its nest William Cox Bennett 39 Softly, O midnight Hours! Audrey de Vere 70 Strew not earth with empty stars Thomas Lovell Beddoes 35 Sweet and low, sweet and low Alfred Tennyson 215 Sweet is childhood—childhood 's over Jean Ingelow 120 Sweet mouth! O let me take Alfred Domett 86
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean Alfred Tennyson 213 Terrace and lawn are white with frost Mortimer Collins 50 Thank Heaven, Ianthe, once again Walter Savage Landor 132 The fault is not mine if I love you too much Walter Savage Landor 129 The ladies of St. James's Austin Dobson 77 The night has a thousand eyes F. W. Bourdillon 44 The Sea! the Sea! the open Sea! B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 184 The splendour falls on castle walls Alfred Tennyson 210 The stars are with the voyager Thomas Hood 110 The streams that wind amid the hills George Darley 63 The Sun came through the frosty mist Lord Houghton 115 The Violet invited my kiss Joseph Skipsey 200 There is no summer ere the swallows come. F. W. Bourdillon 43 Three fishers went sailing away to the West Charles Kingsley 124 To sea, to sea! the calm is o'er Thomas Lovell Beddoes 33 Touch us gently, Time! B. W. Procter (Barry Cornwall) 167 Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel and lower the proud! Alfred Tennyson 216 Two doves upon the selfsame branch Christina G. Rossetti 189
Under the lindens lately sat Walter Savage Landor 130
Wait but a little while Norman Gale 99 We have loiter'd and laugh'd in the flowery croft Frederick Locker-Lampson 134 We heard it calling, clear and low Frederick Locker-Lampson 137 What is the meaning of the song Charles Mackay 145 "What will you do, love, when I am going" Samuel Lover 143 When a warm and scented steam George Walter Thornbury 228 When along the light ripple the far serenade Lord Houghton 113 When another's voice thou hearest Lady Dufferin 88 When I am dead, my dearest Christina G. Rossetti 186 When I was young, I said to Sorrow Aubrey de Vere 74 When Spring casts all her swallows forth George Walter Thornbury 223 When the snow begins to feather Lord de Tabley 66 Where winds abound Michael Field 97 Who is the baby, that doth lie Thomas Lovell Beddoes 36 Winds to-day are large and free Michael Field 94 With deep affection Francis Mahoney 149 Woo thy lass while May is here Lord de Tabley 69
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Their songs wake singing echoes in my land.
Sweet and low, sweet and low Frontispiece "Oh! let me dream of happy days gone by" 6 Across the Sea 16 "My love on a fair May morning" 24 Song in the Garden 38 The night has a thousand eyes 44 A Game of Chess 50 "I 've been roaming, I 've been roaming" 62 "A maid I know,—and March winds blow" 82 "That bright May morning long ago" 90 "I remember, I remember" 106 I wandered by the brook-side 112 "Three fishers went sailing away to the West" 124 Ianthe 132 Gertrude's Necklace 140 "She turned back at the last to wait" 158 King Death 176 "I looked and saw your eyes" 194 Break, Break, Break 212 "When Spring casts all her swallows forth" 224
The writer of prose, by intelligence taught, Says the thing that will please, in the way that he ought.
No species of poetry is more ancient than the lyrical, and yet none shows so little sign of having outlived the requirements of human passion. The world may grow tired of epics and of tragedies, but each generation, as it sees the hawthorns blossom and the freshness of girlhood expand, is seized with a pang which nothing but the spasm of verse will relieve. Each youth imagines that spring-tide and love are wonders which he is the first of human beings to appreciate, and he burns to alleviate his emotion in rhyme. Historians exaggerate, perhaps, the function of music in awakening and guiding the exercise of lyrical poetry. The lyric exists, they tell us, as an accompaniment to the lyre; and without the mechanical harmony the spoken song is an artifice. Quite as plausibly might it be avowed that music was but added to verse to concentrate and emphasize its rapture, to add poignancy and volume to its expression. But the truth is that these two arts, though sometimes happily allied, are, and always have been, independent. When verse has been innocent enough to lean on music, we may be likely to find that music also has been of the simplest order, and that the pair of them, like two delicious children, have tottered and swayed together down the flowery meadows of experience. When either poetry or music is adult, the presence of each is a distraction to the other, and each prefers, in the elaborate ages, to stand alone, since the mystery of the one confounds the complexity of the other. Most poets hate music; few musicians comprehend the nature of poetry; and the combination of these arts has probably, in all ages, been contrived, not for the satisfaction of artists, but for the convenience of their public.
This divorce between poetry and music has been more frankly accepted in the present century than ever before, and is nowadays scarcely opposed in serious criticism. If music were a necessary ornament of lyrical verse, the latter would nowadays scarcely exist; but we hear less and less of the poets devotion (save in a purely conventional sense) to the lute and the pipe. What we call the Victorian lyric is absolutely independent of any such aid. It may be that certain songs of Tennyson and Christina Rossetti have been with great popularity "set," as it is called, "to music." So far as the latter is in itself successful, it stultifies the former; and we admit at last that the idea of one art aiding another in this combination is absolutely fictitious. The beauty—even the beauty of sound—conveyed by the ear in such lyrics as "Break, break, break," or "When I am dead, my dearest," is obscured, is exchanged for another and a rival species of beauty, by the most exquisite musical setting that a composer can invent.
The age which has been the first to accept this condition, then, should be rich in frankly lyrical poetry; and this we find to be the case with the Victorian period. At no time has a greater mass of this species of verse been produced, not even in the combined Elizabethan and Jacobean age. But when we come to consider the quality of this later harvest of song, we observe in it a far less homogeneous character. We can take a piece of verse, and decide at sight that it must be Elizabethan, or of the age of the Pleiade in France, or of a particular period in Italy. Even an ode of our own eighteenth century is hardly to be confounded with a fragment from any other school. The great Georgian age introduced a wide variety into English poetry; and yet we have but to examine the selected jewels strung into so exquisite a carcanet by Mr. Palgrave in his "Golden Treasury" to notice with surprise how close a family likeness exists between the contributions of Shelley, Wordsworth, Keats, and Byron. The distinctions of style, of course, are very great; but the general character of the diction, the imagery, even of the rhythm, is more or less identical. The stamp of the same age is upon them,—they are hall-marked 1820.
It is perhaps too early to decide that this will never be the case with the Victorian lyrics. While we live in an age we see the distinction of its parts, rather than their co-relation. It is said that the Japanese Government once sent over a Commission to report upon the art of Europe; and that, having visited the exhibitions of London, Paris, Florence, and Berlin, the Commissioners confessed that the works of the European painters all looked so exactly alike that it was difficult to distinguish one from another. The Japanese eye, trained in absolutely opposed conventions, could not tell the difference between a Watts and a Fortuny, a Theodore Rousseau and a Henry Moore. So it is quite possible, it is even probable, that future critics may see a close similarity where we see nothing but divergence between the various productions of the Victorian age. Yet we can judge but what we discern; and certainly to the critical eye to-day it is the absence of a central tendency, the chaotic cultivation of all contrivable varieties of style, which most strikingly seems to distinguish the times we live in.
We use the word "Victorian" in literature to distinguish what was written after the decline of that age of which Walter Scott, Coleridge, and Wordsworth were the survivors. It is well to recollect, however, that Tennyson, who is the Victorian writer par excellence, had published the most individual and characteristic of his lyrics long before the Queen ascended the throne, and that Elizabeth Barrett, Henry Taylor, William Barnes, and others were by this date of mature age. It is difficult to remind ourselves, who have lived in the radiance of that august figure, that some of the most beautiful of Tennyson's lyrics, such as "Mariana" and "The Dying Swan" are now separated from us by as long a period of years as divided them from Dr. Johnson and the author of "Night Thoughts." The reflection is of value only as warning us of the extraordinary length of the epoch we still call "Victorian." It covers, not a mere generation, but much more than half a century. During this length of time a complete revolution in literary taste might have been expected to take place. This has not occurred, and the cause may very well be the extreme license permitted to the poets to adopt whatever style they pleased. Where all the doors stand wide open, there is no object in escaping; where there is but one door, and that one barred, it is human nature to fret for some violent means of evasion. How divine have been the methods of the Victorian lyrists may easily be exemplified:—
"Quoth tongue of neither maid nor wife To heart of neither wife nor maid, Lead we not here a jolly life Betwixt the shine and shade?
"Quoth heart of neither maid nor wife To tongue of neither wife nor maid, Thou wagg'st, but I am worn with strife, And feel like flowers that fade."
That is a masterpiece, but so is this:—
"Nay, but you who do not love her, Is she not pure gold, my mistress? Holds earth aught—speak truth—above her? Aught like this tress, see, and this tress, And this last fairest tress of all, —So fair, see, ere I let it fall?
"Because, you spend your lives in praisings, To praise, you search the wide world over: Then why not witness, calmly gazing, If earth holds aught—speak truth—above her? Above this tress, and this I touch, But cannot praise, I love so much!"
And so is this:—
"Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will.
"This be the verse yon grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill."
But who would believe that the writers of these were contemporaries?
If we examine more closely the forms which lyric poetry has taken since 1830, we shall find that certain influences at work in the minds of our leading writers have led to the widest divergence in the character of lyrical verse. It will be well, perhaps, to consider in turn the leading classes of that work. It was not to be expected that in an age of such complexity and self-consciousness as ours, the pure song, the simple trill of bird-like melody, should often or prominently be heard. As civilization spreads, it ceases to be possible, or at least it becomes less and less usual, that simple emotion should express itself with absolute naivete. Perhaps Burns was the latest poet in these islands whose passion warbled forth in perfectly artless strains; and he had the advantage of using a dialect still unsubdued and unvulgarized. Artlessness nowadays must be the result of the most exquisitely finished art; if not, it is apt to be insipid, if not positively squalid and fusty. The obvious uses of simple words have been exhausted; we cannot, save by infinite pains and the exercise of a happy genius, recover the old spontaneous air, the effect of an inevitable arrangement of the only possible words.
This beautiful direct simplicity, however, was not infrequently secured by Tennyson, and scarcely less often by Christina Rossetti, both of whom have left behind them jets of pure emotional melody which compare to advantage with the most perfect specimens of Greek and Elizabethan song. Tennyson did not very often essay this class of writing, but when he did, he rarely failed; his songs combine, with extreme naturalness and something of a familiar sweetness, a felicity of workmanship hardly to be excelled. In her best songs, Miss Rossetti is scarcely, if at all, his inferior; but her judgment was far less sure, and she was more ready to look with complacency on her failures. The songs of Mr. Aubrey de Vere are not well enough known; they are sometimes singularly charming. Other poets have once or twice succeeded in catching this clear natural treble,—the living linnet once captured in the elm, as Tusitala puts it; but this has not been a gift largely enjoyed by our Victorian poets.
The richer and more elaborate forms of lyric, on the contrary, have exactly suited this curious and learned age of ours. The species of verse which, originally Italian or French, have now so abundantly and so admirably been practised in England that we can no longer think of them as exotic, having found so many exponents in the Victorian period that they are pre-eminently characteristic of it. "Scorn not the Sonnet," said Wordsworth to his contemporaries; but the lesson has not been needed in the second half of the century. The sonnet is the most solid and unsingable of the sections of lyrical poetry; it is difficult to think of it as chanted to a musical accompaniment. It is used with great distinction by writers to whom skill in the lighter divisions of poetry has been denied, and there are poets, such as Bowles and Charles Tennyson-Turner, who live by their sonnets alone. The practice of the sonnet has been so extended that all sense of monotony has been lost. A sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning differs from one by D. G. Rossetti or by Matthew Arnold to such excess as to make it difficult for us to realize that the form in each case is absolutely identical.
With the sonnet might be mentioned the lighter forms of elaborate exotic verse; but to these a word shall be given later on. More closely allied to the sonnet are those rich and somewhat fantastic stanza-measures in which Rossetti delighted. Those in which Keats and the Italians have each their part have been greatly used by the Victorian poets. They lend themselves to a melancholy magnificence, to pomp of movement and gorgeousness of color; the very sight of them gives the page the look of an ancient blazoned window. Poems of this class are "The Stream's Secret" and the choruses in "Love is enough." They satisfy the appetite of our time for subtle and vague analysis of emotion, for what appeals to the spirit through the senses; but here, again, in different hands, the "thing," the metrical instrument, takes wholly diverse characters, and we seek in vain for a formula that can include Robert Browning and Gabriel Rossetti, William Barnes and Arthur Hugh Clough.
From this highly elaborated and extended species of lyric the transition is easy to the Ode. In the Victorian age, the ode, in its full Pindaric sense, has not been very frequently used. We have specimens by Mr. Swinburne in which the Dorian laws are closely adhered to. But the ode, in a more or less irregular form, whether paean or threnody, has been the instrument of several of our leading lyrists. The genius of Mr. Swinburne, even to a greater degree than that of Shelley, is essentially dithyrambic, and is never happier than when it spreads its wings as wide as those of the wild swan, and soars upon the very breast of tempest. In these flights Mr. Swinburne attains to a volume of sonorous melody such as no other poet, perhaps, of the world has reached, and we may say to him, as he has shouted to the Mater Triumphalis:—
"Darkness to daylight shall lift up thy paean, Hill to hill thunder, vale cry back to vale, With wind-notes as of eagles AEschylean, And Sappho singing in the nightingale."
Nothing could mark more picturesquely the wide diversity permitted in Victorian lyric than to turn from the sonorous and tumultuous odes of Mr. Swinburne to those of Mr. Patmore, in which stateliness of contemplation and a peculiar austerity of tenderness find their expression in odes of iambic cadence, the melody of which depends, not in their headlong torrent of sound, but in the cunning variation of catalectic pause. A similar form has been adopted by Lord De Tabley for many of his gorgeous studies of antique myth, and by Tennyson for his "Death of the Duke of Wellington." It is an error to call these iambic odes "irregular," although they do not follow the classic rules with strophe, antistrophe, and epode. The enchanting "I have led her home," in "Maud," is an example of this kind of lyric at its highest point of perfection.
A branch of lyrical poetry which has been very widely cultivated in the Victorian age is the philosophical, or gnomic, in which a serious chain of thought, often illustrated by complex and various imagery, is held in a casket of melodious verse, elaborately rhymed. Matthew Arnold was a master of this kind of poetry, which takes its form, through Wordsworth, from the solemn and so-called "metaphysical" writers of the seventeenth century. We class this interesting and abundant section of verse with the lyrical, because we know not by what other name to describe it; yet it has obviously as little as possible of the singing ecstasy about it. It neither pours its heart out in a rapture, nor wails forth its despair. It has as little of the nightingale's rich melancholy as of the lark's delirium. It hardly sings, but, with infinite decorum and sobriety, speaks its melodious message to mankind. This sort of philosophical poetry is really critical; its function is to analyze and describe; and it approaches, save for the enchantment of its form, nearer to prose than do the other sections of the art. It is, however, just this species of poetry which has particularly appealed to the age in which we live; and how naturally it does so may be seen in the welcome extended to the polished and serene compositions of Mr. William Watson.
Almost a creation, or at least a complete conquest, of the Victorian age is the humorous lyric in its more delicate developments. If the past can point to Prior and to Praed, we can boast, in their various departments, of Calverly, of Locker-Lampson, of Mr. Andrew Lang, of Mr. W. S. Gilbert. The comic muse, indeed, has marvellously extended her blandishments during the last two generations, and has discovered methods of trivial elegance which were quite unknown to our forefathers. Here must certainly be said a word in favor of those French forms of verse, all essentially lyrical, such as the ballad, the rondel, the triolet, which have been used so abundantly as to become quite a feature in our lighter literature. These are not, or are but rarely, fitted to bear the burden of high emotion; but their precision, and the deftness which their use demands fit them exceedingly well for the more distinguished kind of persiflage. No one has kept these delicate butterflies in flight with the agile movement of his fan so admirably as Mr. Austin Dobson, that neatest of magicians.
Those who write hastily of Victorian lyrical poetry are apt to find fault with its lack of spontaneity. It is true that we cannot pretend to discover on a greensward so often crossed and re-crossed as the poetic language of England many morning dewdrops still glistening on the grasses. We have to pay the penalty of our experience in a certain lack of innocence. The artless graces of a child seem mincing affectations in a grown-up woman. But the poetry of this age has amply made up for any lack of innocence by its sumptuous fulness, its variety, its magnificent accomplishment, its felicitous response to a multitude of moods and apprehensions. It has struck out no new field for itself; it still remains where the romantic revolution of 1798 placed it; its aims are not other than were those of Coleridge and of Keats. But within that defined sphere it has developed a surprising activity. It has occupied the attention and become the facile instrument of men of the greatest genius, writers of whom any age and any language might be proud. It has been tender and fiery, severe and voluminous, gorgeous and marmoreal, in turns. It has translated into words feelings so subtle, so transitory, moods so fragile and intangible, that the rough hand of prose would but have crushed them. And this, surely, indicates the great gift of Victorian lyrical poetry to the race. During a time of extreme mental and moral restlessness, a time of speculation and evolution, when all illusions are tested, all conventions overthrown, when the harder elements of life have been brought violently to the front, and where there is a temptation for the emancipated mind roughly to reject what is not material and obvious, this art has preserved intact the lovelier delusions of the spirit, all that is vague and incorporeal and illusory. So that for Victorian Lyric generally no better final definition can be given than is supplied by Mr. Robert Bridges in a little poem of incomparable beauty, which may fitly bring this essay to a close:—
"I have loved flowers that fade, Within whose magic tents Rich hues have marriage made With sweet immemorial scents: A joy of love at sight,— A honeymoon delight, That ages in an hour:— My song be like a flower.
"I have loved airs that die Before their charm is writ Upon the liquid sky Trembling to welcome it. Notes that with pulse of fire Proclaim the spirit's desire, Then die, and are nowhere:— My song be like an air."
"Short swallow-flights of song"
REMEMBER OR FORGET.
I sat beside the streamlet, I watched the water flow, As we together watched it One little year ago; The soft rain pattered on the leaves, The April grass was wet, Ah! folly to remember;— 'T is wiser to forget.
The nightingales made vocal June's palace paved with gold; I watched the rose you gave me Its warm red heart unfold; But breath of rose and bird's song Were fraught with wild regret. 'T is madness to remember; 'T were wisdom to forget.
I stood among the gold corn, Alas! no more, I knew, To gather gleaner's measure Of the love that fell from you. For me, no gracious harvest— Would God we ne'er had met! 'T is hard, Love, to remember, but 'T is harder to forget.
The streamlet now is frozen, The nightingales are fled, The cornfields are deserted, And every rose is dead. I sit beside my lonely fire, And pray for wisdom yet— For calmness to remember Or courage to forget.
OH, LET ME DREAM.
FROM "A NINE DAYS' WONDER."
Oh! let me dream of happy days gone by, Forgetting sorrows that have come between, As sunlight gilds some distant summit high, And leaves the valleys dark that intervene. The phantoms of remorse that haunt The soul, are laid beneath that spell; As, in the music of a chaunt Is lost the tolling of a bell. Oh! let me dream of happy days gone by, etc.
In youth, we plucked full many a flower that died, Dropped on the pathway, as we danced along; And now, we cherish each poor leaflet dried In pages which to that dear past belong. With sad crushed hearts they yet retain Some semblance of their glories fled; Like us, whose lineaments remain, When all the fires of life are dead. Oh! let me dream, etc.
LOVE, THE PILGRIM.
SUGGESTED BY A SKETCH BY E. BURNE-JONES.
Every day a Pilgrim, blindfold, When the night and morning meet, Entereth the slumbering city, Stealeth down the silent street; Lingereth round some battered doorway, Leaves unblest some portal grand, And the walls, where sleep the children, Toucheth, with his warm young hand. Love is passing! Love is passing!— Passing while ye lie asleep: In your blessed dreams, O children, Give him all your hearts to keep!
Blindfold is this Pilgrim, Maiden. Though to-day he touched thy door, He may pass it by to-morrow— —Pass it—to return no more. Let us then with prayers entreat him,— Youth! her heart, whose coldness grieves, May one morn by Love be softened; Prize the treasure that he leaves. Love is passing! Love is passing! All, with hearts to hope and pray, Bid this pilgrim touch the lintels Of your doorways every day.
LOVELY MARY DONNELLY.
Oh, lovely Mary Donnelly, my joy, my only best! If fifty girls were round you, I 'd hardly see the rest; Be what it may the time o' day, the place be where it will, Sweet looks o' Mary Donnelly, they bloom before me still.
Her eyes like mountain water that 's flowing on a rock, How clear they are, how dark they are! they give me many a shock; Red rowans warm in sunshine and wetted with a show'r, Could ne'er express the charming lip that has me in its pow'r.
Her nose is straight and handsome, her eyebrows lifted up, Her chin is very neat and pert, and smooth like a china cup, Her hair 's the brag of Ireland, so weighty and so fine; It 's rolling down upon her neck, and gathered in a twine.
The dance o' last Whit-Monday night exceeded all before, No pretty girl for miles about was missing from the floor; But Mary kept the belt o' love, and O but she was gay! She danced a jig, she sung a song, that took my heart away.
When she stood up for dancing, her steps were so complete The music nearly kill'd itself to listen to her feet; The fiddler moaned his blindness, he heard her so much praised, But bless'd his luck to not be deaf when once her voice she raised.
And evermore I 'm whistling or lilting what you sung, Your smile is always in my heart, your name beside my tongue; But you 've as many sweethearts as you 'd count on both your hands, And for myself there 's not a thumb or little finger stands.
'T is you 're the flower o' womankind in country or in town; The higher I exalt you, the lower I 'm cast down. If some great lord should come this way, and see your beauty bright, And you to be his lady, I 'd own it was but right.
O might we live together in a lofty palace hall, Where joyful music rises, and where scarlet curtains fall! O might we live together in a cottage mean and small, With sods o' grass the only roof, and mud the only wall!
O lovely Mary Donnelly, your beauty 's my distress. It 's far too beauteous to be mine, but I 'll never wish it less. The proudest place would fit your face, and I am poor and low; But blessings be about you, dear, wherever you may go!
O spirit of the Summertime! Bring back the roses to the dells; The swallow from her distant clime, The honey-bee from drowsy cells.
Bring back the friendship of the sun; The gilded evenings, calm and late, When merry children homeward run, And peeping stars bid lovers wait.
Bring back the singing; and the scent Of meadowlands at dewy prime;— Oh, bring again my heart's content, Thou Spirit of the Summertime!
Oh, hearing sleep, and sleeping hear, The while we dare to call thee dear, So may thy dreams be good, altho' The loving power thou dost not know. As music parts the silence,—lo! Through heaven the stars begin to peep, To comfort us that darkling pine Because those fairer lights of thine Have set into the Sea of Sleep. Yet closed still thine eyelids keep; And may our voices through the sphere Of Dreamland all as softly rise As through these shadowy rural dells, Where bashful Echo somewhere dwells, And touch thy spirit to as soft replies. May peace from gentle guardian skies, Till watches of the dark are worn, Surround thy bed, and joyous morn Makes all the chamber rosy bright! Good-night!—From far-off fields is borne The drowsy Echo's faint 'Good-night,'— Good-night! Good-night!
ACROSS THE SEA.
I walked in the lonesome evening, And who so sad as I, When I saw the young men and maidens Merrily passing by. To thee, my Love, to thee— So fain would I come to thee! While the ripples fold upon sands of gold, And I look across the sea.
I stretch out my hands; who will clasp them? I call,—thou repliest no word. Oh, why should heart-longing be weaker Than the waving wings of a bird! To thee, my Love, to thee— So fain would I come to thee! For the tide 's at rest from east to west, And I look across the sea.
There 's joy in the hopeful morning, There 's peace in the parting day, There 's sorrow with every lover Whose true love is far away. To thee, my Love, to thee— So fain would I come to thee! And the water 's bright in a still moonlight, As I look across the sea.
SIR EDWIN ARNOLD.
Lute! breathe thy lowest in my Lady's ear, Sing while she sleeps, "Ah! belle dame, aimez-vous?" Till, dreaming still, she dream that I am here, And wake to find it, as my love is, true; Then, when she listens in her warm white nest, Say in slow music,—softer, tenderer yet, That lute-strings quiver when their tone 's at rest, And my heart trembles when my lips are set.
Stars! if my sweet love still a-dreaming lies, Shine through the roses for a lover's sake And send your silver to her lidded eyes, Kissing them very gently till she wake; Then while she wonders at the lay and light, Tell her, though morning endeth star and song, That ye live still, when no star glitters bright, And my love lasteth, though it finds no tongue.
A LOVE SONG OF HENRI QUATRE.
Come, rosy Day! Come quick—I pray— I am so glad when I thee see! Because my Fair, Who is so dear, Is rosy-red and white like thee.
She lives, I think, On heavenly drink Dawn-dew, which Hebe pours for her; Else—when I sip At her soft lip How smells it of ambrosia?
She is so fair None can compare; And, oh, her slender waist divine! Her sparkling eyes Set in the skies The morning stars would far outshine!
Only to hear Her voice so clear The village gathers in the street; And Tityrus, Grown one of us, Leaves piping on his flute so sweet.
The Graces three, Where'er she be, Call all the Loves to flutter nigh; And what she 'll say,— Speak when she may,— Is full of sense and majesty!
NO AND YES.
If I could choose my paradise, And please myself with choice of bliss, Then I would have your soft blue eyes And rosy little mouth to kiss! Your lips, as smooth and tender, child, As rose-leaves in a coppice wild.
If fate bade choose some sweet unrest, To weave my troubled life a snare, Then I would say "her maiden breast And golden ripple of her hair;" And weep amid those tresses, child, Contented to be thus beguiled.
Meet we no angels, Pansie?
Came, on a Sabbath noon, my sweet, In white, to find her lover; The grass grew proud beneath her feet, The green elm-leaves above her:— Meet we no angels, Pansie?
She said, "We meet no angels now;" And soft lights streamed upon her; And with white hand she touched a bough; She did it that great honour:— What! meet no angels, Pansie?
O sweet brown hat, brown hair, brown eyes Down-dropped brown eyes so tender! Then what said I?—Gallant replies Seem flattery, and offend her:— But,—meet no angels, Pansie?
C'est un songe que d'y penser.
My love, on a fair May morning, Would weave a garland of May: The dew hung frore, as her foot tripped o'er The grass at dawn of the day; On leaf and stalk, in each green wood-walk, Till the sun should charm it away.
Green as a leaf her kirtle, Her bodice red as a rose: Her white bare feet went softly and sweet By roots where the violet grows; Where speedwells azure as heaven, Their sleepy eyes half close.
O'er arms as fair as the lilies No sleeve my love drew on: She found a bower of the wildrose flower, And for her breast culled one: And I laugh and know her breasts will grow Or ever a year be gone.
O sweet dream, wrought of a dear fore-thought, Of a golden time to fall! She seemed to sing, in her wandering, Till doves in the elm-tops tall Grew mute to hear; as her song rang clear How love is the lord of all.
A NIGHT IN JUNE.
Lady! in this night of June, Fair like thee and holy, Art thou gazing at the moon That is rising slowly? I am gazing on her now: Something tells me, so art thou.
Night hath been when thou and I Side by side were sitting, Watching o'er the moonlit sky Fleecy cloudlets flitting. Close our hands were linked then; When will they be linked again?
What to me the starlight still, Or the moonbeams' splendour, If I do not feel the thrill Of thy fingers slender? Summer nights in vain are clear, If thy footstep be not near.
Roses slumbering in their sheaths O'er my threshold clamber, And the honeysuckle wreathes Its translucent amber Round the gables of my home: How is it thou dost not come?
If thou camest, rose on rose From its sleep would waken; From each flower and leaf that blows Spices would be shaken; Floating down from star and tree, Dreamy perfumes welcome thee.
I would lead thee where the leaves In the moon-rays glisten; And, where shadows fall in sheaves, We would lean and listen For the song of that sweet bird That in April nights is heard.
And when weary lids would close, And thy head was drooping, Then, like dew that steeps the rose, O'er thy languor stooping, I would, till I woke a sigh, Kiss thy sweet lips silently.
I would give thee all I own, All thou hast would borrow, I from thee would keep alone Fear and doubt and sorrow. All of tender that is mine Should most tenderly be thine.
Moonlight! into other skies, I beseech thee wander. Cruel thus to mock mine eyes, Idle, thus to squander Love's own light on this dark spot;— For my lady cometh not!
THOMAS LOVELL BEDDOES.
If there were dreams to sell, What would you buy? Some cost a passing bell; Some a light sigh, That shakes from Life's fresh crown Only a rose-leaf down. If there were dreams to sell, Merry and sad to tell, And the crier rung the bell, What would you buy?
A cottage lone and still, With bowers nigh, Shadowy, my woes to still, Until I die. Such pearl from Life's fresh crown Fain would I shake me down. Were dreams to have at will, This would best heal my ill, This would I buy.
But there were dreams to sell Ill didst thou buy; Life is a dream, they tell, Waking, to die. Dreaming a dream to prize, Is wishing ghosts to rise; And, if I had the spell To call the buried well, Which one would I?
If there are ghosts to raise, What shall I call, Out of hell's murky haze, Heaven's blue pall? Raise my loved long-lost boy To lead me to his joy.— There are no ghosts to raise; Out of death lead no ways; Vain is the call.
Know'st thou not ghosts to sue No love thou hast. Else lie, as I will do, And breathe thy last. So out of Life's fresh crown Fall like a rose-leaf down. Thus are the ghosts to woo; Thus are all dreams made true, Ever to last!
SONG FROM THE SHIP.
FROM "DEATH'S JEST-BOOK."
To sea, to sea! the calm is o'er; The wanton water leaps in sport, And rattles down the pebbly shore; The dolphin wheels, the sea-cows snort, And unseen Mermaids' pearly song Comes bubbling up, the weeds among. Fling broad the sail, dip deep the oar: To sea, to sea! the calm is o'er.
To sea, to sea! Our wide-winged bark Shall billowy cleave its sunny way, And with its shadow, fleet and dark, Break the caved Tritons' azure day, Like mighty eagle soaring light O'er antelopes on Alpine height. The anchor heaves, the ship swings free, The sails swell full. To sea, to sea!
My goblet's golden lips are dry, And, as the rose doth pine For dew, so doth for wine My goblet's cup; Rain, O! rain, or it will die; Rain, fill it up!
Arise, and get thee wings to-night, AEtna! and let run o'er Thy wines, a hill no more, But darkly frown A cloud, where eagles dare not soar, Dropping rain down.
FROM "THE SECOND BROTHER."
Strew not earth with empty stars, Strew it not with roses, Nor feathers from the crest of Mars, Nor summer's idle posies. 'T is not the primrose-sandalled moon, Nor cold and silent morn, Nor he that climbs the dusty noon, Nor mower war with scythe that drops, Stuck with helmed and turbaned tops Of enemies new shorn. Ye cups, ye lyres, ye trumpets know, Pour your music, let it flow, 'T is Bacchus' son who walks below.
SONG, BY TWO VOICES.
FROM "THE BRIDES' TRAGEDY."
Who is the baby, that doth lie Beneath the silken canopy Of thy blue eye?
It is young Sorrow, laid asleep In the crystal deep.
Let us sing his lullaby, Heigho! a sob and a sigh.
What sound is that, so soft, so clear, Harmonious as a bubbled tear Bursting, we hear?
It is young Sorrow, slumber breaking, Suddenly awaking.
Let us sing his lullaby, Heigho! a sob and a sigh.
How many times do I love thee, dear? Tell me how many thoughts there be In the atmosphere Of a new-fall'n year, Whose white and sable hours appear The latest flake of Eternity:— So many times do I love thee, dear.
How many times do I love again? Tell me how many beads there are In a silver chain Of evening rain, Unravelled from the tumbling main, And threading the eye of a yellow star:— So many times do I love again.
WILLIAM COX BENNETT.
Sleep! the bird is in its nest; Sleep! the bee is hushed in rest; Sleep! rocked on thy mother's breast! Lullaby! To thy mother's fond heart pressed, Lullaby!
Sleep! the waning daylight dies; Sleep! the stars dream in the skies; Daisies long have closed their eyes; Lullaby! Calm, how calm on all things lies! Lullaby!
Sleep then, sleep! my heart's delight! Sleep! and through the darksome night Round thy bed God's angels bright Lullaby! Guard thee till I come with light! Lullaby!
MY ROSES BLOSSOM THE WHOLE YEAR ROUND.
My roses blossom the whole year round; For, O they grow on enchanted ground; Divine is the earth Where they spring to birth; On dimpling cheeks with love and mirth, They 're found They 're ever found.
My lilies no change of seasons heed; Nor shelter from storms or frosts they need; For, O they grow On a neck of snow, Nor all the wintry blasts that blow They heed, They ever heed.
Lullaby! O lullaby! Baby, hush that little cry! Light is dying, Bats are flying, Bees to-day with work have done; So, till comes the morrow's sun, Let sleep kiss those bright eyes dry! Lullaby! O lullaby!
Lullaby! O lullaby! Hushed are all things far and nigh; Flowers are closing, Birds reposing, All sweet things with life have done; Sweet, till dawns the morning sun, Sleep then kiss those blue eyes dry! Lullaby! O lullaby!
F. W. BOURDILLON.
There is no summer ere the swallows come, Nor Love appears, Till Hope, Love's light-winged herald, lifts the gloom Of years.
There is no summer left when swallows fly, And Love at last, When hopes which filled its heaven droop and die, Is past.
THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES.
The night has a thousand eyes, And the day but one; Yet the light of the bright world dies With the dying sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes, And the heart but one; Yet the light of a whole life dies When love is done.
A LOST VOICE.
A thousand voices fill my ears All day until the light grows pale; But silence falls when night-time nears, And where art thou, sweet nightingale?
Was that thine echo, faint and far? Nay, all is hushed as heaven above; In earth no voice, in heaven no star, And in my heart no dream of love.
Sleep sweet, beloved one, sleep sweet! Without here night is growing, The dead leaf falls, the dark boughs meet, And a chill wind is blowing. Strange shapes are stirring in the night, To the deep breezes wailing, And slow, with wistful gleams of light, The storm-tost moon is sailing.
Sleep sweet, beloved one, sleep sweet! Fold thy white hands, my blossom! Thy warm limbs in thy lily sheet, Thy hands upon thy bosom. Though evil thoughts may walk the dark, Not one shall near thy chamber; But shapes divine shall pause to mark, Singing to lutes of amber.
Sleep sweet, beloved one, sleep sweet! Though, on thy bosom creeping, Strange hands are laid, to feel the beat Of thy soft heart in sleeping. The brother angels, Sleep and Death, Stop by thy couch and eye thee; And Sleep stoops down to drink thy breath, While Death goes softly by thee!
FROM "LOVE IN WINTER."
"O Love is like the roses, And every rose shall fall, For sure as summer closes They perish one and all. Then love, while leaves are on the tree, And birds sing in the bowers: When winter comes, too late 't will be To pluck the happy flowers."
"O Love is like the roses, Love comes, and Love must flee! Before the summer closes Love's rapture and Love's glee!"
TO F. C.
20th February 1875.
Fast falls the snow, O lady mine, Sprinkling the lawn with crystals fine, But by the gods we won't repine While we 're together, We 'll chat and rhyme and kiss and dine, Defying weather.
So stir the fire and pour the wine, And let those sea-green eyes divine Pour their love-madness into mine: I don't care whether 'T is snow or sun or rain or shine If we 're together.
A GAME OF CHESS.
Terrace and lawn are white with frost, Whose fretwork flowers upon the panes— A mocking dream of summer, lost 'Mid winter's icy chains.
White-hot, indoors, the great logs gleam, Veiled by a flickering flame of blue: I see my love as in a dream— Her eyes are azure, too.
She puts her hair behind her ears (Each little ear so like a shell), Touches her ivory Queen, and fears She is not playing well.
For me, I think of nothing less: I think how those pure pearls become her— And which is sweetest, winter chess Or garden strolls in summer.
O linger, frost, upon the pane! O faint blue flame, still softly rise! O, dear one, thus with me remain, That I may watch thine eyes!
MULTUM IN PARVO.
A little shadow makes the sunrise sad, A little trouble checks the race of joy, A little agony may drive men mad, A little madness may the soul destroy: Such is the world's annoy.
Ay, and the rose is but a little flower Which the red Queen of all the garden is: And Love, which lasteth but a little hour, A moment's rapture and a moment's kiss, Is what no man would miss.
VIOLETS AT HOME.
O happy buds of violet! I give thee to my sweet, and she Puts them where something sweeter yet Must always be.
White violets find whiter rest: For fairest flowers how fair a fate! For me remain, O fragrant breast! Inviolate.
All through the sultry hours of June, From morning blithe to golden noon, And till the star of evening climbs The gray-blue East, a world too soon, There sings a Thrush amid the limes.
God's poet, hid in foliage green, Sings endless songs, himself unseen; Right seldom come his silent times. Linger, ye summer hours serene! Sing on, dear Thrush, amid the limes.
. . . . . . .
May I not dream God sends thee there, Thou mellow angel of the air, Even to rebuke my earthlier rhymes With music's soul, all praise and prayer? Is that thy lesson in the limes?
Closer to God art thou than I: His minstrel thou, whose brown wings fly Through silent aether's sunnier climes. Ah, never may thy music die! Sing on, dear Thrush, amid the limes!
DINAH MARIA MULOCK CRAIK.
"Dowglas, Dowglas, tendir and treu."
Could ye come back to me, Douglas, Douglas, In the old likeness that I knew, I would be so faithful, so loving, Douglas, Douglas, Douglas, tender and true.
Never a scornful word should grieve ye, I 'd smile on ye sweet as the angels do;— Sweet as your smile on me shone ever, Douglas, Douglas, tender and true.
O to call back the days that are not! My eyes were blinded, your words were few: Do you know the truth now up in heaven, Douglas, Douglas, tender and true?
I never was worthy of you, Douglas; Not half worthy the like of you: Now all men beside seem to me like shadows— I love you, Douglas, tender and true.
Stretch out your hand to me, Douglas, Douglas, Drop forgiveness from heaven like dew; As I lay my heart on your dead heart, Douglas, Douglas, Douglas, tender and true.
A SILLY SONG.
"O heart, my heart!" she said, and heard His mate the blackbird calling, While through the sheen of the garden green May rain was softly falling,— Aye softly, softly falling.
The buttercups across the field Made sunshine rifts of splendour: The round snow-bud of the thorn in the wood Peeped through its leafage tender, As the rain came softly falling.
"O heart, my heart!" she said and smiled, "There 's not a tree of the valley, Or a leaf I wis which the rain's soft kiss Freshens in yonder alley, Where the drops keep ever falling,—
"There 's not a foolish flower i' the grass, Or bird through the woodland calling, So glad again of the coming rain As I of these tears now falling,— These happy tears down falling."
FROM "SYLVIA": Act III. Scene ii.
O may, thou art a merry time, Sing hi! the hawthorn pink and pale! When hedge-pipes they begin to chime, And summer-flowers to sow the dale.
When lasses and their lovers meet Beneath the early village-thorn, And to the sound of tabor sweet Bid welcome to the Maying-morn!
O May, thou art a merry time, Sing hi! the hawthorn pink and pale! When hedge-pipes they begin to chime, And summer-flowers to sow the dale.
When grey-beards and their gossips come With crutch in hand our sports to see, And both go tottering, tattling home, Topful of wine as well as glee!
O May, thou art a merry time, Sing hi! the hawthorn pink and pale! When hedge-pipes they begin to chime, And summer-flowers to sow the dale.
But Youth was aye the time for bliss, So taste it, Shepherds! while ye may: For who can tell that joy like this Will come another holiday?
O May, thou art a merry time, Sing hi! the hawthorn pink and pale! When hedge-pipes they begin to chime, And summer-flowers to sow the dale.
I'VE BEEN ROAMING.
FROM "LILIAN OF THE VALE."
I 've been roaming! I 've been roaming! Where the meadow dew is sweet, And like a queen I 'm coming With its pearls upon my feet.
I 've been roaming! I 've been roaming! O'er red rose and lily fair, And like a sylph I 'm coming With their blossoms in my hair.
I 've been roaming! I 've been roaming! Where the honeysuckle creeps, And like a bee I 'm coming With its kisses on my lips.
I 've been roaming! I 've been roaming! Over hill and over plain, And like a bird I 'm coming To my bower back again!
The streams that wind amid the hills And lost in pleasure slowly roam, While their deep joy the valley fills,— Even these will leave their mountain home; So may it, Love! with others be, But I will never wend from thee.
The leaf forsakes the parent spray, The blossom quits the stem as fast; The rose-enamour'd bird will stray And leave his eglantine at last: So may it, Love! with others be, But I will never wend from thee.
FROM "SYLVIA": Act IV. Scene I.
Awake thee, my Lady-love! Wake thee, and rise! The sun through the bower peeps Into thine eyes!
Behold how the early lark Springs from the corn! Hark, hark how the flower-bird Winds her wee horn!
The swallow's glad shriek is heard All through the air! The stock-dove is murmuring Loud as she dare!
Apollo's winged bugleman Cannot contain, But peals his loud trumpet-call Once and again!
Then wake thee, my Lady-love, Bird of my bower! The sweetest and sleepiest Bird at this hour!
LORD DE TABLEY.
A WINTER SKETCH.
When the snow begins to feather, And the woods begin to roar Clashing angry boughs together, As the breakers grind the shore Nature then a bankrupt goes, Full of wreck and full of woes.
When the swan for warmer forelands Leaves the sea-firth's icebound edge, When the gray geese from the morelands Cleave the clouds in noisy wedge, Woodlands stand in frozen chains, Hung with ropes of solid rains.
Shepherds creep to byre and haven, Sheep in drifts are nipped and numb; Some belated rook or raven Rocks upon a sign-post dumb; Mere-waves, solid as a clod, Roar with skaters, thunder-shod.
All the roofs and chimneys rumble; Roads are ridged with slush and sleet; Down the orchard apples tumble; Ploughboys stamp their frosty feet; Millers, jolted down the lanes, Hardly feel for cold their reins.
Snipes are calling from the trenches, Frozen half and half at flow; In the porches servant wenches Work with shovels at the snow; Rusty blackbirds, weak of wing, Clean forget they once could sing.
Dogs and boys fetch down the cattle, Deep in mire and powdered pale; Spinning-wheels commence to rattle; Landlords spice the smoking ale. Hail, white winter, lady fine, In a cup of elder wine!
THE SECOND MADRIGAL.
Woo thy lass while May is here; Winter vows are colder. Have thy kiss when lips are near; To-morrow you are older.
Think, if clear the throstle sing, A month his note will thicken; A throat of gold in a golden spring At the edge of the snow will sicken.
Take thy cup and take thy girl, While they come for asking; In thy heyday melt the pearl At the love-ray basking.
Ale is good for careless bards, Wine for wayworn sinners. They who hold the strongest cards Rise from life as winners.
AUBREY DE VERE.
Softly, O midnight Hours! Move softly o'er the bowers Where lies in happy sleep a girl so fair! For ye have power, men say, Our hearts in sleep to sway, And cage cold fancies in a moonlight snare. Round ivory neck and arm Enclasp a separate charm: Hang o'er her poised; but breathe nor sigh nor prayer: Silently ye may smile, But hold your breath the while, And let the wind sweep back your cloudy hair!
Bend down your glittering urns Ere yet the dawn returns, And star with dew the lawn her feet shall tread; Upon the air rain balm; Bid all the woods be calm; Ambrosial dreams with healthful slumbers wed. That so the Maiden may With smiles your care repay When from her couch she lifts her golden head; Waking with earliest birds, Ere yet the misty herds Leave warm 'mid the grey grass their dusky bed.
Seek not the tree of silkiest bark And balmiest bud, To carve her name—while yet 't is dark— Upon the wood! The world is full of noble tasks And wreaths hard-won: Each work demands strong hearts, strong hands, Till day is done.
Sing not that violet-veined skin, That cheek's pale roses; The lily of that form wherein Her soul reposes! Forth to the fight, true man, true knight! The clash of arms Shall more prevail than whispered tale To win her charms.
The warrior for the True, the Right, Fights in Love's name: The love that lures thee from that fight Lures thee to shame. That love which lifts the heart, yet leaves The spirit free,— That love, or none, is fit for one, Man-shaped like thee.
When I was young, I said to Sorrow, "Come, and I will play with thee:"— He is near me now all day; And at night returns to say, "I will come again to-morrow, I will come and stay with thee."
Through the woods we walk together; His soft footsteps rustle nigh me; To shield an unregarded head, He hath built a winter shed; And all night in rainy weather, I hear his gentle breathings by me.
THE IVY GREEN.
Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green, That creepeth o'er ruins old! Of right choice food are his meals I ween, In his cell so lone and cold. The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed, To pleasure his dainty whim: And the mouldering dust that years have made Is a merry meal for him. Creeping where no life is seen, A rare old plant is the Ivy green.
Fast he stealeth on, though he wears no wings, And a staunch old heart has he. How closely he twineth, how tight he clings, To his friend, the huge Oak tree! And slily he traileth along the ground, And his leaves he gently waves, As he joyously hugs and crawleth round The rich mould of dead men's graves. Creeping where grim death has been, A rare old plant is the Ivy green.
Whole ages have fled, and their works decayed, And nations have scattered been; But the stout old Ivy shall never fade From its hale and hearty green. The brave old plant in its lonely days Shall fatten upon the past: For the stateliest building man can raise Is the Ivy's food at last. Creeping on, where time has been, A rare old plant is the Ivy green.
THE LADIES OF ST. JAMES'S.
A PROPER NEW BALLAD OF THE COUNTRY AND THE TOWN.
The ladies of St. James's Go swinging to the play; Their footmen run before them, With a "Stand by! Clear the way!" But Phyllida, my Phyllida! She takes her buckled shoon, When we go out a-courting Beneath the harvest moon.
The ladies of St. James's Wear satin on their backs; They sit all night at Ombre, With candles all of wax: But Phyllida, my Phyllida! She dons her russet gown, And runs to gather May dew Before the world is down.
The ladies of St. James's They are so fine and fair, You 'd think a box of essences Was broken in the air: But Phyllida, my Phyllida! The breath of heath and furze, When breezes blow at morning, Is scarce so fresh as hers.
The ladies of St. James's They 're painted to the eyes; Their white it stays forever, Their red it never dies: But Phyllida, my Phyllida! Her color comes and goes; It trembles to a lily, It wavers to a rose.
The ladies of St. James's, With "Mercy!" and with "Lud!" They season all their speeches (They come of noble blood): But Phyllida, my Phyllida! Her shy and simple words Are sweet as, after rain-drops, The music of the birds.
The ladies of St. James's, They have their fits and freaks; They smile on you—for seconds, They frown on you—for weeks: But Phyllida, my Phyllida! Come either storm or shine, From Shrovetide unto Shrovetide Is always true—and mine.
My Phyllida, my Phyllida! I care not though they heap The hearts of all St. James's, And give me all to keep; I care not whose the beauties Of all the world may be, For Phyllida—for Phyllida Is all the world to me!
A NEW SONG TO AN OLD TUNE.
Across the grass I see her pass; She comes with tripping pace,— A maid I know,—and March winds blow Her hair across her face;— With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly! Dolly shall be mine, Before the spray is white with May, Or blooms the eglantine.
The March winds blow. I watch her go: Her eye is brown and clear; Her cheek is brown and soft as down (To those who see it near!)— With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly! Dolly shall be mine, Before the spray is white with May, Or blooms the eglantine.
What has she not that they have got,— The dames that walk in silk! If she undo her 'kerchief blue, Her neck is white as milk. With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly! Dolly shall be mine, Before the spray is white with May, Or blooms the eglantine.
Let those who will be proud and chill! For me, from June to June, My Dolly's words are sweet as curds,— Her laugh is like a tune;— With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly! Dolly shall be mine, Before the spray is white with May, Or blooms the eglantine.
Break, break to hear, O crocus-spear! O tall Lent-lilies, flame! There 'll be a bride at Easter-tide, And Dolly is her name.
With a hey, Dolly! ho, Dolly! Dolly shall be mine, Before the spray is white with May, Or blooms the eglantine.
A GLEE FOR WINTER.
Hence, rude Winter! crabbed old fellow, Never merry, never mellow! Well-a-day! in rain and snow What will keep one's heart aglow? Groups of kinsmen, old and young, Oldest they old friends among! Groups of friends, so old and true, That they seem our kinsmen too! These all merry all together, Charm away chill Winter weather!
What will kill this dull old fellow? Ale that 's bright, and wine that 's mellow! Dear old songs for ever new; Some true love, and laughter too; Pleasant wit, and harmless fun, And a dance when day is done! Music—friends so true and tried— Whispered love by warm fireside— Mirth at all times all together— Make sweet May of Winter weather!
SAPPHO TO PHAON.
Sweet mouth! O let me take One draught from that delicious cup! The hot Sahara-thirst to slake That burns me up!
Sweet breath!—all flowers that are, Within that darling frame must bloom; My heart revives so at the rare Divine perfume!
—Nay, 't is a dear deceit, A drunkard's cup that mouth of thine; Sure poison-flowers are breathing, sweet, That fragrance fine!
I drank—the drink betrayed me Into a madder, fiercer fever; The scent of those love-blossoms made me More faint than ever!
Yet though quick death it were That rich heart-vintage I must drain, And quaff that hidden garden's air, Again—again!
April 30, 1833.
When another's voice thou hearest, With a sad and gentle tone, Let its sound but waken, dearest, Memory of my love alone! When in stranger lands thou meetest Warm, true hearts, which welcome thee, Let each friendly look thou greetest Seem a message, Love, from me!
When night's quiet sky is o'er thee, When the pale stars dimly burn, Dream that one is watching for thee, Who but lives for thy return! Wheresoe'er thy steps are roving, Night or day, by land or sea, Think of her, whose life of loving Is but one long thought of thee!
[Footnote A: These lines were written to the author's husband, then at sea, in 1833, and set to music by herself.]
LAMENT OF THE IRISH EMIGRANT.
I 'm sitting on the stile, Mary, Where we sat, side by side, That bright May morning long ago When first you were my bride. The corn was springing fresh and green, The lark sang loud and high, The red was on your lip, Mary, The love-light in your eye.
The place is little changed, Mary, The day is bright as then, The lark's loud song is in my ear, The corn is green again; But I miss the soft clasp of your hand, Your breath warm on my cheek, And I still keep list'ning for the words You never more may speak.
'T is but a step down yonder lane, The little Church stands near— The Church where we were wed, Mary,— I see the spire from here; But the graveyard lies between, Mary,— My step might break your rest,— Where you, my darling, lie asleep With your baby on your breast.
I 'm very lonely now, Mary,— The poor make no new friends;— But, oh! they love the better still The few our Father sends. And you were all I had, Mary, My blessing and my pride; There 's nothing left to care for now Since my poor Mary died.
Yours was the good brave heart, Mary, That still kept hoping on, When trust in God had left my soul, And half my strength was gone. There was comfort ever on your lip, And the kind look on your brow. I bless you, Mary, for that same, Though you can't hear me now.
I thank you for the patient smile When your heart was fit to break; When the hunger pain was gnawing there You hid it for my sake. I bless you for the pleasant word When your heart was sad and sore. Oh! I 'm thankful you are gone, Mary, Where grief can't reach you more!
I 'm bidding you a long farewell, My Mary—kind and true! But I 'll not forget you, darling, In the land I 'm going to. They say there 's bread and work for all, And the sun shines always there; But I 'll not forget old Ireland, Were it fifty times as fair.
And when amid those grand old woods I sit and shut my eyes, My heart will travel back again To where my Mary lies; I 'll think I see the little stile Where we sat, side by side,— And the springing corn and bright May morn, When first you were my bride.
WINDS TO-DAY ARE LARGE AND FREE.
Winds to-day are large and free, Winds to-day are westerly; From the land they seem to blow Whence the sap begins to flow And the dimpled light to spread, From the country of the dead.
Ah, it is a wild, sweet land Where the coming May is planned, Where such influences throb As our frosts can never rob Of their triumph, when they bound Through the tree and from the ground.
Great within me is my soul, Great to journey to its goal, To the country of the dead; For the cornel-tips are red, And a passion rich in strife Drives me toward the home of life.
Oh, to keep the spring with them Who have flushed the cornel-stem, Who imagine at its source All the year's delicious course, Then express by wind and light Something of their rapture's height!
LET US WREATHE THE MIGHTY CUP.
Let us wreathe the mighty cup, Then with song we 'll lift it up, And, before we drain the glow Of the juice that foams below Flowers and cool leaves round the brim, Let us swell the praise of him Who is tyrant of the heart, Cupid with his flaming dart!
Pride before his face is bowed, Strength and heedless beauty cowed; Underneath his fatal wings Bend discrowned the heads of kings; Maidens blanch beneath his eye And its laughing mastery; Through each land his arrows sound, By his fetters all are bound.
WHERE WINDS ABOUND.
Where winds abound, And fields are hilly, Shy daffadilly Looks down on the ground.
Rose cones of larch Are just beginning; Though oaks are spinning No oak-leaves in March.
Spring 's at the core, The boughs are sappy: Good to be happy So long, long before!
First the fine, faint, dreamy motion Of the tender blood Circling in the veins of children— This is Life, the bud.
Next the fresh, advancing beauty Growing from the gloom, Waking eyes and fuller bosom— This is Life, the bloom.
Then the pain that follows after, Grievous to be borne, Pricking, steeped in subtle poison— This is Love, the thorn.
Wait but a little while— The bird will bring A heart in tune for melodies Unto the spring, Till he who 's in the cedar there Is moved to trill a song so rare, And pipe her fair.
Wait but a little while— The bud will break; The inner rose will ope and glow For summer's sake; Fond bees will lodge within her breast Till she herself is plucked and prest Where I would rest.
Wait but a little while— The maid will grow Gracious with lips and hands to thee, With breast of snow. To-day Love 's mute, but time hath sown A soul in her to match thine own, Though yet ungrown.
SONG FOR THE LUTE.
I bring a garland for your head Of blossoms fresh and fair; My own hands wound their white and red To ring about your hair: Here is a lily, here a rose, A warm narcissus that scarce blows, And fairer blossoms no man knows.
So crowned and chapleted with flowers, I pray you be not proud; For after brief and summer hours Comes autumn with a shroud;— Though fragrant as a flower you lie, You and your garland, bye and bye, Will fade and wither up and die.
It was not in the winter Our loving lot was cast; It was the time of roses,— We plucked them as we passed;
That churlish season never frowned On early lovers yet:— Oh, no—the world was newly crowned With flowers when first we met!
'T was twilight, and I bade you go, But still you held me fast; It was the time of roses,— We plucked them as we passed.—
O Lady, leave thy silken thread And flowery tapestrie: There 's living roses on the bush, And blossoms on the tree; Stoop where thou wilt, thy careless hand Some random bud will meet; Thou canst not tread, but thou wilt find The daisy at thy feet.
'T is like the birthday of the world, When earth was born in bloom; The light is made of many dyes, The air is all perfume; There 's crimson buds, and white and blue— The very rainbow showers Have turned to blossoms where they fell, And sown the earth with flowers.
There 's fairy tulips in the east, The garden of the sun; The very streams reflect the hues, And blossom as they run: While Morn opes like a crimson rose, Still wet with pearly showers; Then, Lady, leave the silken thread Thou twinest into flowers!
I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER.
I remember, I remember, The house where I was born, The little window where the sun Came peeping in at morn; He never came a wink too soon, Nor brought too long a day, But now, I often wish the night Had borne my breath away!
I remember, I remember, The roses, red and white, The vi'lets, and the lily-cups, Those flowers made of light! The lilacs where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday,— The tree is living yet!
I remember, I remember Where I was used to swing, And thought the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then, That is so heavy now, And summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow!
I remember, I remember The fir trees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance, But now 't is little joy To know I 'm farther off from heav'n Than when I was a boy.
She 's up and gone, the graceless Girl! And robbed my failing years; My blood before was thin and cold But now 't is turned to tears;— My shadow falls upon my grave, So near the brink I stand, She might have stayed a little yet, And led me by the hand!
Ay, call her on the barren moor, And call her on the hill, 'T is nothing but the heron's cry, And plover's answer shrill; My child is flown on wilder wings, Than they have ever spread, And I may even walk a waste That widened when she fled.
Full many a thankless child has been, But never one like mine; Her meat was served on plates of gold, Her drink was rosy wine; But now she 'll share the robin's food, And sup the common rill, Before her feet will turn again To meet her father's will!
The stars are with the voyager Wherever he may sail; The moon is constant to her time; The sun will never fail; But follow, follow round the world, The green earth and the sea; So love is with the lover's heart, Wherever he may be.
Wherever he may be, the stars Must daily lose their light; The moon will veil her in the shade; The sun will set at night. The sun may set, but constant love Will shine when he 's away; So that dull night is never night, And day is brighter day.
RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES (LORD HOUGHTON).
I wandered by the brook-side, I wandered by the mill,— I could not hear the brook flow, The noisy wheel was still; There was no burr of grasshopper, No chirp of any bird, But the beating of my own heart Was all the sound I heard.
I sat beside the elm-tree, I watched the long, long, shade, And as it grew still longer, I did not feel afraid; For I listened for a footfall, I listened for a word,— But the beating of my own heart Was all the sound I heard.
He came not,—no, he came not,— The night came on alone,— The little stars sat one by one, Each on his golden throne; The evening air passed by my cheek, The leaves above were stirred,— But the beating of my own heart Was all the sound I heard.
Fast silent tears were flowing, When something stood behind,— A hand was on my shoulder, I knew its touch was kind: It drew me nearer—nearer,— We did not speak one word, For the beating of our own hearts Was all the sound we heard.
THE VENETIAN SERENADE.
When along the light ripple the far serenade Has accosted the ear of each passionate maid, She may open the window that looks on the stream,— She may smile on her pillow and blend it in dream; Half in words, half in music, it pierces the gloom, "I am coming—Stali[B]—but you know not for whom! Stali—not for whom!"
Now the tones become clearer,—you hear more and more How the water divided returns on the oar,— Does the prow of the Gondola strike on the stair? Do the voices and instruments pause and prepare? Oh! they faint on the ear as the lamp on the view, "I am passing—Premi—but I stay not for you! Premi—not for you!"
Then return to your couch, you who stifle a tear, Then awake not, fair sleeper—believe he is here; For the young and the loving no sorrow endures, If to-day be another's,—to-morrow is yours; May, the next time you listen, your fancy be true, "I am coming—Sciar—and for you and to you! Sciar—and to you!"
[Footnote B: The words here used are the calls of the gondoliers, indicating the direction they are rowing. "Sciar" is to stop the boat.]
FROM LOVE AND NATURE.
The Sun came through the frosty mist Most like a dead-white moon; Thy soothing tones I seemed to list, As voices in a swoon.
Still as an island stood our ship, The waters gave no sound, But when I touched thy quivering lip I felt the world go round.
We seemed the only sentient things Upon that silent sea: Our hearts the only living springs Of all that yet could be!
THE LONG WHITE SEAM.
As I came round the harbor buoy, The lights began to gleam, No wave the land-locked water stirred, The crags were white as cream; And I marked my love by candle-light Sewing her long white seam. It 's aye sewing ashore, my dear, Watch and steer at sea, It 's reef and furl, and haul the line, Set sail and think of thee.
I climbed to reach her cottage door; O sweetly my love sings! Like a shaft of light her voice breaks forth, My soul to meet it springs As the shining water leaped of old, When stirred by angel wings. Aye longing to list anew, Awake and in my dream, But never a song she sang like this, Sewing her long white seam.
Fair fall the lights, the harbor lights, That brought me in to thee, And peace drop down on that low roof For the sight that I did see, And the voice, my dear, that rang so clear All for the love of me. For O, for O, with brows bent low By the candle's flickering gleam, Her wedding gown it was she wrought, Sewing the long white seam.
FROM "SONGS OF SEVEN."
I leaned out of window, I smelt the white clover, Dark, dark was the garden, I saw not the gate; "Now, if there be footsteps, he comes, my one lover— Hush, nightingale, hush! O, sweet nightingale, wait Till I listen and hear If a step draweth near, For my love he is late!
"The skies in the darkness stoop nearer and nearer, A cluster of stars hangs like fruit in the tree, The fall of the water comes sweeter, comes clearer: To what art thou listening, and what dost thou see? Let the star-clusters grow, Let the sweet waters flow, And cross quickly to me.
"You night moths that hover where honey brims over From sycamore blossoms, or settle or sleep; You glowworms, shine out, and the pathway discover To him that comes darkling along the rough steep. Ah, my sailor, make haste, For the time runs to waste, And my love lieth deep—
"Too deep for swift telling; and yet, my one lover, I 've conned thee an answer, it waits thee to-night." By the sycamore passed he, and through the white clover, Then all the sweet speech I had fashioned took flight; But I 'll love him more, more Than e'er wife loved before, Be the days dark or bright.
SWEET IS CHILDHOOD.
Sweet is childhood—childhood 's over, Kiss and part. Sweet is youth; but youth 's a rover— So 's my heart. Sweet is rest; but by all showing Toil is nigh. We must go. Alas! the going, Say "good-bye."
Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; Oh the pleasant sight to see Shires and towns from Airly Beacon, While my love climbed up to me!
Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; Oh the happy hours we lay Deep in fern on Airly Beacon, Courting through the summer's day!
Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; Oh the weary haunt for me, All alone on Airly Beacon, With his baby on my knee!
THE SANDS OF DEE.
"Oh, Mary, go and call the cattle home, And call the cattle home, And call the cattle home Across the sands of Dee;" The western wind was wild and dark with foam, And all alone went she.
The western tide crept up along the sand, And o'er and o'er the sand, And round and round the sand, As far as eye could see. The rolling mist came down and hid the land: And never home came she.
"Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair— A tress of golden hair, A drowned maiden's hair Above the nets at sea?" Was never salmon yet that shone so fair Among the stakes on Dee.
They rowed her in across the rolling foam, The cruel crawling foam, The cruel hungry foam, To her grave beside the sea: But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home Across the sands of Dee.
THREE FISHERS WENT SAILING.
Three fishers went sailing away to the West, Away to the West as the sun went down; Each thought on the woman who loved him the best, And the children stood watching them out of the town; For men must work, and women must weep, And there 's little to earn, and many to keep, Though the harbor bar be moaning.
Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower, And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down; They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower, And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown. But men must work, and women must weep, Though storms be sudden, and waters deep, And the harbor bar be moaning.
Three corpses lay out on the shining sands In the morning gleam as the tide went down, And the women are weeping and wringing their hands For those who will never come home to the town; For men must work, and women must weep, And the sooner it 's over, the sooner to sleep; And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.
To C. E. G.—1856.
My fairest child, I have no song to give you; No lark could pipe in skies so dull and gray; Yet, if you will, one quiet hint I 'll leave you, For every day.
I 'll tell you how to sing a clearer carol Than lark who hails the dawn of breezy down; To earn yourself a purer poet's laurel Than Shakespeare's crown.
Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever; Do lovely things, not dream them, all day long; And so make Life, and Death, and that For Ever, One grand sweet song.
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.
Ah, what avails the sceptered race! Ah, what the form divine! What every virtue, every grace! Rose Aylmer, all were thine. Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes May weep, but never see, A night of memories and of sighs I consecrate to thee.
Often I have heard it said That her lips are ruby-red. Little heed I what they say, I have seen as red as they. Ere she smiled on other men, Real rubies were they then.
When she kissed me once in play, Rubies were less bright than they, And less bright were those which shone In the palace of the Sun. Will they be as bright again? Not if kissed by other men.
THE FAULT IS NOT MINE.
The fault is not mine if I love you too much, I loved you too little too long, Such ever your graces, your tenderness such, And the music the heart gave the tongue.
A time is now coming when Love must be gone, Tho' he never abandoned me yet. Acknowledge our friendship, our passion disown, Our follies (ah can you?) forget.
UNDER THE LINDENS.
Under the lindens lately sat A couple, and no more, in chat; I wondered what they would be at Under the lindens.
I saw four eyes and four lips meet, I heard the words, "How sweet! how sweet!" Had then the Faeries given a treat Under the lindens?
I pondered long and could not tell What dainty pleased them both so well: Bees! bees! was it your hydromel Under the lindens?
In Clementina's artless mien Lucilla asks me what I see,— And are the roses of sixteen Enough for me?
Lucilla asks, if that be all, Have I not culled as sweet before? Ah yes, Lucilla! and their fall I still deplore.
I now behold another scene, Where Pleasure beams with heaven's own light,— More pure, more constant, more serene, And not less bright:
Faith, on whose breast the Loves repose, Whose chain of flowers no force can sever, And Modesty, who, when she goes, Is gone forever!
Thank Heaven, Ianthe, once again Our hands and ardent lips shall meet, And Pleasure, to assert his reign, Scatter ten thousand kisses sweet: Then cease repeating while you mourn, "I wonder when he will return."
Ah wherefore should you so admire The flowing words that fill my song, Why call them artless, yet require "Some promise from that tuneful tongue?" I doubt if heaven itself could part A tuneful tongue and tender heart.