Hannah. S. Battersby
Part 1 out of 3
Produced by David Garcia, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks,
and the Online Distributed Proofreaders Team
A Book of Poems.
H. S. BATTERSBY.
* * * * *
This second volume of HOME LYRICS has been published since the death of
the authoress, and in fulfilment of her last wishes, by her children,
and is by them dedicated to the memory of the dearest of mothers, whose
whole life was consecrated to their happiness and welfare and who fully
reciprocated her self-denial, devotion and love.
* * * * *
To the Memory of a Beloved Son who passed from Earth April 3rd, 1887
Birdies. For a Little Five Year Old
The Angel on War
A Binghampton Home
Mrs. Langtry as Miss Hardcastle in "She Stoops to Conquer"
The Shaker Girl
The Fable of the Sphynx
Up, Sisters, Morn is Breaking
Oh! I Love the Free Air of the Grand Mountain Height
To the Empress Eugenie on the Death of Her Son
A Victim to Modern Inventions
It is but an Autumn Leaflet
Written on board the S. S. "Egypt," September 5th, 1884
Roberval. A Legend of Old France
The Brooklyn Catastrophe
The Naini Tal Catastrophe
To Our Polar Explorers
To the Inconstant
"Peace with Honour"
The New Year
It is but a Faded Rosebud
A Voice from St. George's Hall
To the Museum Committee, on opening Museums on Sundays
Only a Few Links Wanting
A Painful History
To a Faithful Dog
A Welcome from Liverpool to the Queen
In Response to a Kind Gift of Flowers
To a Faithful Dog
The Centenary of a Hero
Recollections of Fontainebleau
The Tunbridge Wells Flower Show
TO THE MEMORY OF A BELOVED SON WHO PASSED FROM EARTH, APRIL 3rd, 1887.
I would gaze down the vista of past years,
In fancy see to-night,
A loved one passed from sight,
But whose blest memory my spirit cheers.
Shrined in the sacred temple of my soul,
He seems again to live,
And fond affection give,
His mother's heart comfort and console.
Perception of the beautiful and bright,
In nature and in art,
Evolved from his true heart
Perpetual beams like sunshine's cheering light.
A simple unsophisticated life,
With faith in action strong,
And perseverance long,
Made all he did with vigorous purpose rife.
Responsive to sweet sympathy's kind claim,
His quick impulsive heart
Loved to take active part
In mirthful joy or sorrowing grief and pain.
His manly face would glow with honest glee.
As with parental pride,
Which he ne'er sought to hide,
He fondly gazed on his loved family.
For them he crowned with industry his days;
Ever they were to him
The sweetest, holiest hymn
Of his heart's jubilant, exultant praise.
And Oh, the tender pity of his eye.
The gentle touch and word,
When his fond heart was stirred
To practical display of sympathy.
His true affection, manners gently gay,
The kiss that seems e'en now
Warm on my lips and brow,
Are memories that ne'er can pass away.
Naught can e'er lessen the fond hope that we
May, one day, meet above
With all we dearly love,
To live again in blissful unity.
* * * * *
BIRDIES. FOR A LITTLE FIVE YEAR OLD.
A tender birdie mother sat
In her soft nest one day,
Teaching her little fledglings, three,
To gambol, sing, and play.
Dear little brood, the mother said,
'Tis time for you to fly
From branch to branch, from tree to tree,
And see the bright blue sky.
Chirrup, the eldest, quick replied,
O yes, sweet mother mine,
We'll be so glad to hop about,
And see the bright sunshine.
Twitter and Downy also said,
We, too, shall happy be,
To bask within the sun's warm rays,
And swing on branch and tree.
Well, then, the mother said, you shall,
And straight the birdies all,
Perched on the edge of the high nest,
Beside the chestnuts tall.
Remember, said the mother bird,
You must not go beyond
That row of trees that skirt the edge
Of the transparent pond.
For if you do you might get lost,
Or drowned, and die in pain,
And never to our dear home nest
Return in joy again.
Well mind your orders, mother dear,
And will not disagree,
But do just what you tell us now,
Said all the birdies three.
They hopped off on delighted wing,
To the next chestnut tree,
O'erjoyed and panting with delight,
The great, grand world to see.
Oh! what a bright, glad scene, they cried,
And what a wond'rous sky!
What joy 'twould be to kiss the Sun,
And be with him on high.
And I, said Downy, I should like
To sail on yonder sea,
And with that pretty milk-white bird,
Skim o'er the waters free.
Said Twitter, you talk very large,
And do not seem to know
Our little wings have not yet power
Beyond these trees to go.
Besides, said Chirrup, mother said
We must not go beyond,
But only hop and fly about
The trees that skirt the pond.
But mother's gone to get us food,
And she will never know,
Said Downy, so upon the pond
I am resolved to go.
O fie! exclaimed the birdies both,
To think of such a thing,
You might get harm, and on us all
Sorrow and trouble bring.
Oh, I am not a bit afraid,
I feel so strong and free,
And will not homeward go until
I float on yonder sea.
Ah, well, said both the other two,
We will not go with you,
Good-bye, we will not disobey
Our mother kind and true.
Off went the two obedient birds,
And safely reached their nest,
The little birdies' happy home
Of sweet delight and rest.
Meanwhile, poor naughty Downy flew
From off the chestnut tree,
Away towards the milk-white bird
That skimmed the waters free.
But ah! his wings were much too weak
To bear him all the way,
And Downy fell imploring aid
From loved ones far away.
But no help came. The mother bird
Was far off gathering food,
From perfumed clover meadows round,
For her beloved brood.
And when she reached her nest and found
But two birds there alone,
And heard that Downy to the pond
So wilfully had flown,
Her heart, so lately full of joy,
Was rent with grief and pain,
For fear lest she should never see
Her darling bird again.
Calling upon his name she flew,
In terror, far and near,
From tree to pond, from pond to tree,
Seeking her birdie dear.
She called; alas, no answer came
To that poor mother's cry,
She searched among the sweet, wild flowers,
And chestnut branches high.
At length she spied a tiny speck
Beside the waters clear,
It was, alas, the lifeless form
Of her lost Downy dear.
She drew him on the soft green grass,
And chafed his lifeless form,
Opened his glassy eyes and mouth,
And tried his limbs to warm.
But all in vain, her darling bird
Was dead, and nevermore
Would he into that mother's ear,
His pretty warblings pour.
Then in despair she buried him
Beside the chestnut tree,
And covered him with twigs and leaves,
While weeping bitterly.
And then, with torn and sorrowing heart,
She flew back to her home,
Where Twit and Chirrup trembling staid,
Disconsolate and lone.
My little birdie dears, she said,
In bitterness and pain,
Our darling Downy to his nest
Will never come again.
His wilful disobedience
To my direct commands,
Has brought its own dire punishment,
Such as all sin demands.
I thought I could have trusted him,
For he, as you well know,
Promised me very faithfully
Not from these trees to go.
I want you both, my birdies dear,
To learn from this to see
How lying disobedience
Will ever punished be.
So take a lesson from it, dears,
And be resolved that you
Will never disobey or lie,
Whatever else you do.
O yes, we'll try our very best,
Your orders to obey,
And always strive to tell the truth,
Whether at work or play.
Dear children who may hear this tale,
You, too, should also try
To do whatever you are told,
And never tell a lie.
* * * * *
THE ANGEL ON WAR.
An angel spirit winging
Through aerial space her flight,
O'er peaceful, sleep-bound nature
Thus sang one autumn night:
What are those hosts advancing
In legions o'er the plain,
Through orchards heavy laden
And fields of full-eared grain?
Eastward and westward come they
Shining like gems of light,
Beneath soft, silvery moonbeams
Of peaceful, silent night.
Surely assembled nations
Are gathering for a fete
Of tournament, sham fight or joist,
In pride of strength elate.
Or, may be, some grand meeting
On field of cloth of gold,
Attracts those swarming legions
A peaceful tryst to hold;
For see, the steeds caparisoned
In trappings rich and bright,
With noble, high-bred men astride,
In transports of delight!
The flower of German fatherland,
In manhood's strength and pride,
Press on in measured marching,
By grey-haired veterans' side,
And westward press the youth of France,
Whose ardour none can stay,
Thirsting for laurels in the tilts
And contests of the day.
Emperors, with marshals, generals,
And stalwart men, are there;
Flushed with excitement swift they come
The splendid sports to share,
Doubtless each wears the colours
Of some loved lady fair
Whom they predict shall one day
Their heart and fortunes share.
Now sable night droops kindly
Into the arms of morn,
Who comes to herald in the day
And nature's face adorn?
Heaven's soft grey eastern portals
For her wide open fly,
As the grand sun's golden chariot
Wheels proudly through the sky.
Night's gentle Queen and star gems
Withdraw their gracious sway,
As the sun in rose-hued splendour
Kisses to life the day.
Waters like polished silver
Dotting the plain like shields,
Babble their morning greeting
From golden, grain-crowned fields.
Then the glad light of morning
Trips joyful o'er the plain,
As the angel horror stricken
Takes up her strain again,
Alas! those hosts advancing
In hot haste from afar,
But yesternight so joyous,
Now close in bloody war.
And, as ferocious tigers,
On tasting human blood,
Revel in greedy madness
Amid the crimson flood,
So these fierce hostile warriors,
Now stained with human gore,
Grow unrestrained and reckless,
And fiercer than before.
The valley late so peaceful
Steams with the rage of strife,
Fast down the gloated furrows
Flows the red stream of life.
Maddened to rage and fury,
Th' opposing hosts contend,
And murder, ruin, carnage, death,
Through the gorged plains extend.
What can be, cried the angel,
The meaning of such strife,
And how dare man thus rashly
Trifle with human life?
Can all the so-called glory,
That man to man can pay,
Outweigh the dire inheritance
Of this unhallowed fray?
Are hearts thus drunk with life blood,
And hands thus steeped in gore,
Not calculated to become
More brutal than before?
And do not youth and manhood
Deserve a better fate,
Than to be rashly sacrificed
To jealous greed and hate?
Thousands of glittering lances
Cut through the startled air,
As valiant chiefs and mighty men
The blood-red carnage share.
Flashes, like sunlight splendour,
Gleam forth from brazen shields,
And burnished arms dart back the light,
O'er the blood-gorged fields.
List! said the angel, sighing,
From many a ghastly mound
Deep groans of torture mingle
With the battle din around.
What piteous cries of anguish
Are those, who dying moan,
That they may never more behold
Their dearly loved at home!
Some of earth's best and brightest,
'Mid prospects glad and gay,
Others to loved ones plighted
Slaughtered and bleeding lay!
Some, sons of widowed mothers
Who had none else to cheer,
Some, guardians of fond sisters,
Many to wives most dear!
Ah! who can tell the sorrow
Intailed by war's foul breath,
Or gauge the dire inheritance
Of all this murderous death!
The sinew of their country,
The hope of years to come,
Cut down in prime of manhood,
Buried in stranger tomb!
O sages, statesmen, rulers,
Bestir yourselves and teach
The nation's misled millions
A higher goal to reach;
Exchange for greed and murder,
A reign of peace divine;
Thus, elevate earth's children
To brotherhood sublime!
Thus spake the gentle angel
As, gathering each fond prayer,
She wreathed them into garlands,
Of flowerets rich and rare
For Sardanapolis to plant,
Where they shall ever bloom,
In the eternal gardens
Beyond the silent tomb.
* * * * *
CHARLES OLIVES BAYLIS, M.D., M.R.C.S.,
_Late Medical Officer of Health for West Kent, and formerly of
DIED DECEMBER 12TH, 1884.
Broken the silver cord! the harp unstrung!
And kindred hearts with grief and anguish wrung,
For a beloved one from the earth hath flown
Leaving his dear ones desolate and lone.
Cheerless, deserted now each empty place,
So lately filled by him with radiant grace;
Sad memories in each lone corner dwell,
Vocal of him our torn hearts loved so well.
To feelings sympathetic and refined,
He joined a well-stored, richly cultured mind,
Where holy reason held her peerless sway,
Dictating all he had to do and say.
Self-discipline in action, thought and deed,
Was his uncompromising, glorious creed;
To do to others as he would that they
Should do to him, his crystal rule each day.
Dark superstition never gained his ear,
Or led to slavish and debasing fear;
A hater of hypocrisy in all
The varied forms by which it doth enthrall.
His logical and comprehensive mind,
Was marvellously gentle, loving, kind,
Which gave him with his patients wonderous power,
And served them well in many a trying hour.
A man of penetration, forethought, tact,
Loving to solve, elucidate each fact;
He firmly held to truth with friend and foe,
And ne'er was known to act from greed or show.
A safe and trusted counsellor was he,
And helpful, sweet companion as could be,
Of such calm, chastened thought, that all he said
Was fraught with wisdom, and by justice led.
His sense of duty formed the crucial test
By which to rule his actions, work and rest.
And his well-regulated heart and mind
Were full of charity towards all mankind.
A zealous public worker in the cause
Of sanitation, based on nature's laws;
For fifteen years in Birkenhead and Kent,
To this great end he his rare knowledge lent.
He loved his work and duties, as some love
Their pleasures, and with earnest purpose strove,
To prove that each right action surely brought
Its blessing, as all evil misery wrought.
Entheal concord, where 'twas possible,
And truth and justice made it feasible,
The armour his peace-loving spirit wore,
The love-crowned banner which aloft he bore.
The beautiful in nature and in art,
Charmed and delighted his devoted heart,
A gorgeous sunset, and a moonlit sky,
Ne'er failed to captivate both mind and eye.
As circlets made by weights flung in the deep,
Clear multiplying forms concentric keep,
Obedient to the heavenly law sublime,
Each circle forming others through all time.
So our beloved one leaves his track behind,
Of multiplying circles to his kind,
In the rich lessons of his well-spent life,
With holy God-like teachings ever rife.
No storied marble setting forth his praise,
A more enduring monument could raise,
Than the productive seed which he has sown,
Which chants his requiem in undying tone.
A priceless heritage he leaves behind,
In the example of his well-trained mind,
A blessed Aftermath! God grant that we
May tune our hearts to its sweet melody.
For though the jewel casket be no more
Amongst us, as in happier days of yore,
The radiance of the gem it held will still
Remain our lonely home and hearts to fill.
Let us then try courageously to tread,
The footprints where his noble teachings led,
With self-denying zeal right onward go,
Striving to vanquish every inward foe.
And thus we'll hope to meet again once more
Unitedly with loved ones gone before,
In the divine hereafter-home above,
Safe in each other's and the Father's love.
* * * * *
HENRY LEWIS PROWSE,
_Died at Longueuil August 2nd, 1884_.
AGED 6 YEARS AND 7 MONTHS.
A fair child of promise, just nipped in the bud,
To plant on heavenly shore,
To bloom and expand in its love-light and peace
Not dead, only gone there before!
Just six years he lived in his loved earthly home,
His fond parents' joy and delight,
Where his bright little spirit shed gladness around,
And filled it with radiant light.
His fond little heart with affection o'erflowed,
To all his beloved ones at home;
Oh, think not these heavenly cords will be riven,
In the spiritual land where he's gone!
Grieve not, then, fond parents, your darling is safe,
In the happier realms of the blest,
There waiting to welcome and join you again,
In the time the _Great Father_ finds best.
* * * * *
The rink, the rink, th' entrancing rink!
Come there to prove the sweet
Delicious joys of exercise,
In rhythmic glide of feet.
'Tis pleasure pure that all should taste
For it makes the spirit gay,
In graceful sylph-like movements free,
O'er the smooth floor to sway.
It stirs life's pulses to a glad.
Refreshing, genial flow;
It paints the cheeks with roses bright,
And lovely, healthful glow.
Come, then, and in enjoyment pure,
With loved ones at your side,
To sweet melodious music's strain,
Like fairies graceful glide.
* * * * *
A BINGHAMPTON HOME.
A lovely, happy, peaceful home,
Within the fond embrace
Of circling mountains and a stream
Of calm meandering grace.
The Susquehanna's limpid flow,
With the Chunango strove,
And at their mild contention formed
The lovely sylvan grove.
Nature smiled sweetly all around
This homestead glad and bright,
Which seemed peculiarly endowed
With heaven's blent rainbow light.
So danced its colours through that home,
As if they sought to prove
Their harmony with the glad hearts
That formed this shrine of love.
A tender wife refined and pure,
A husband brave and true
Ruled o'er this shrine of happiness,
And darling children two.
Blossy, a dark-eyed, happy girl,
Whom fourteen years have seen,
Blooming in gentle maidenhood,
As fair as e'er was seen.
And then a darling child of four,
Like a fair beam of light,
The household flower, who filled the home
With perfume and delight.
Nice Annie, a fair, dimpled girl,
Who with untiring care
Strove in the home's machinery
To take her loving share.
Mary, the maid, with active zeal
And ever thoughtful heart.
With conscientious care fulfilled
Her well-directed part.
Well skilled in culinary lore,
Her "graham gems" kept time
With all the other household gems
Which in rare grace combine.
Accept these simple words of love,
Dear friends, as we now part,
And guard kind thoughts of me, I pray,
Within the household heart.
* * * * *
MRS. LANGTRY AS MISS HARDCASTLE IN "SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER."
Like a radiant gleam of sunshine
She glanced upon the sight,
A being rare and lovely,
With wit and beauty bright.
Moulded and fashioned finely,
With tall, lithe, rounded form,
And graceful mien and manner,
Her beauty to adorn.
Without one graceless effort,
And perfected by art,
She gave a faithful rendering
Of her adopted part.
Her every turn and movement
Was poetry and grace,
Which lent a sweet enchantment
To her expressive face.
Supported splendidly by all
The other artists there,
Who well deserve with her, their star,
The public praise to share.
Would that we had more artists
As natural as she,
Then might the stage a mirror
Of true life prove to be.
* * * * *
THE SHAKER GIRL
I met a pleasant, thoughtful girl,
Fresh from a homely band
Of Shaker brethren who fare well
In this far Western land.
I talked to her of earthly love,
She answered with a sigh;
I sought to know the hidden truth,
And asked the reason why
She would prefer a Shaker's life,
Pleasant though it might be,
To working in the free, grand world,
Consistently and free,
With household duties wooing her,
And babies on her knee?
She blushed a trifle, and looked shy,
Confessed the truth was plain,
That if "some one" should ever come
And seek her love again,
She would, with all her loving heart,
Accept his profferred hand,
And leave her Shaker friends with him,
For any clime or land;
But that she doubted that the love
He once professed was o'er,
And that she feared that it for her
Was quenched for evermore;
And so she guessed she'd best return
To her calm Shaker home,
And curb the feelings of her heart,
And never seek to roam.
O Shaker maiden, pause, I pray,
Take further earnest thought,
Nor stay the longings of your heart,
With heaven-born nature fraught
Duties there are on every side,
Awaiting willing hands,
All unrestricted, unconfined
By any creeds or lands.
Sweet ties of home are holier far,
Spontaneous acts more true,
Than any Shaker work ordained
For man to struggle through.
* * * * *
O palace of marvellous beauty and light,
Like a shrine of enchantment thou art to the sight,
As sparkling with pride 'neath the sun's fond caress,
Thou blushest with love's conscious joyful excess.
Ten thousand bright jewels, from Neptune's realm won,
Compose thy weird structure, where daily the sun
And nightly the Moon in turn sparklingly play
Through each lunar ripple and bright solar ray.
Like some ancient temple upreared to the sun,
As chaste as a bride--and as pure as a nun,
Result of stern winter's imperious commands,
Fitting tribute to it in these northern lands.
Thy empire, O ice king, is stern and severe,
But it has rare pleasures which all hold most dear.
We, our winter pastimes to greet thee convoke,
And the goddess of health with thee daily invoke.
In gleeful assemblage we now celebrate
Thy reign, through tobogganing, snow-shoes, and skate,
In sliding along to the sleigh-bells' blithe sound,
O'er rivers, and meadows, and snow-mantled ground.
Then hurrah for the Palace, the ice king, the snow;
Around them let mirth and hilarity flow,
Hurrah for our Governor, country, and main,
And God bless our loved Queen, and long may she reign.
* * * * *
THE FABLE OF THE SPHYNX
_Facts gathered from a lecture by George Chainey, of Boston, U.S._
Oh! the image and the fable of the Sphynx!
What lessons do they teach,
What sermons do they preach
Of the riddle and the mystery of life!
'Tis a union of brute force and love sublime.
A female face and head
To a lioness form are wed,
Embodying strength and purity divine.
The lioness, a symbol of wild might;
The peerless head and face,
And bust of female grace,
Are types of pure affection and delight.
In each one lies this dual element:
That well might master be,
If not o'er-ruled by strict fidelity.
And the all-powerful conquering light of love,
Which, blessing those who give
No less than who receive,
Makes bliss on earth, as God's laws clearly prove.
In crowning thus the Sphynx with love's sweet worth,
We have for us the old,
Sweet gospel ever told
That love in peerless might should rule the world.
Shall then our path o'er life's uncertain way
Be led by a true heart,
Acting pure love's kind part,
Or by fierce guidance of a beast of prey?
To what heroic heights mortals may climb,
Humanity to serve,
With loving heart and nerve,
Are seen in Buddha, and in Florence Nightingale.
And to what depths of leonine lust and crime
A cruel man may go,
Scattering fear, ruin, woe,
Witness fierce Nero and Caligula!
In each these possible heights and depths betide,
All, then, may freely choose,
None can the choice refuse,
Between the higher and the lower guide.
Where selfishness and unchecked passions stray
As ruling motives sole,
To reach a tinselled goal,
There crouches the ferocious beast of prey.
Shall life to us be crowned with blessings sure,
As noblest woman's life,
Harmonious 'mid all strife,
Or blurred with bestial appetites impure?
Surely the answer should be prompt and plain,
That we, at any cost,
Will not be so far lost
As to permit the beast o'er love to reign.
The purport of the dual female form,
Shrines the grand truth, that Might
Should bravely nourish Right,
Life's checkered pathway sweetly to adorn.
'Tis said the Sphynx in ancient Afric' stood
Upon the great highway,
Beckoning all to stay,
Who passed, to guess life's riddle if they could,
Which if they failed in, she devoured them there,
As she believed that they
Who would not learn life's way,
Were not entitled its best joys to share.
But Oedipus, a wiser man than most
Passing, the riddle guessed,
That gave the Sphynx sweet rest,
And forthwith she descended from her post.
Knowing her secret, once devined, would be
Learned by all thinkers, then
Proclaimed by them to men,
Her mission o'er, she vanished 'neath the sea.
The axiom of "Man, know thyself" is worth
The pains it costs to learn,
E'en through long labours stern,
Since 'tis the key that opes rich joys on earth.
Pure knowledge entereth through struggles fierce,
And only to the few
Who sternly seek the true,
Is given to solve the mystery of the Sphynx.
* * * * *
UP, SISTERS, MORN IS BREAKING.
Up, sisters! morn is breaking
Over the mountains grey,
As, borne on silvered pinions,
She ushers in the day.
She comes, and at her bidding
The empress of the night,
And starry hosts of heaven,
Veil their supernal light.
Scarce has their empire ended,
O'er the awakening earth,
When morning, fresh and joyous,
With dewdrops clad comes forth.
And now the great sun's chariot,
Led by the rosy hours,
Sweeps through the heavens proudly,
And o'er fond nature towers.
The grand, majestic sun-god,
Pavilioned is on high,
And throned in golden splendour
He reigns o'er earth and sky.
Dispersing gloom and sadness,
Giving to all new birth,
Dispensing light and gladness,
O'er the rejoicing earth.
Up, then, fair sisters, early
His call from sleep obey,
His first sweet healthful teachings
Will sanctify the day.
Inhale his breath delicious,
Its freshness health bestows;
It tints the cheeks with colours
Of Persia's lovely rose.
Up, then, at nature's bidding,
Over the hills away,
With freshened pulses glowing,
To hail the King of Day.
* * * * *
OH! I LOVE THE FREE AIR OF THE GRAND MOUNTAIN HEIGHT.
Oh! I love the free air of the grand mountain height,
In its freshness new vigour I find,
It makes life's warm pulses throb high with delight,
And stimulates body and mind.
Its freedom inspires happy thought and desire,
And the heart cannot fail to rejoice,
As it makes the glad spirit receptive and quick
To translate nature's eloquent voice.
The sun-illumed firmament royally decked
In pearly-tinged cloudlets of grey,
Framed in exquisite clearness of deep tender blue,
Fit throne for the Monarch of day!
The city below lies in tranquil repose,
Betraying no symptom of life,
Ah! who could suppose at this distance that it
Could be moved by dissension and strife!
For it lies like an innocent, slumbering babe
In the fold of a fond mother's breast,
Between the fair river that kisses its feet,
And the mountain in well-guarded rest.
Then o'er the St. Lawrence and spanning its flow,
Is Stephenson's triumph of skill,
The grand bridge that laughs at a kingdom of ice,
Which essays its stern ramparts to kill.
And there like an emerald shrined in mid stream,
Is St. Helen's bright islet of grace,
Whose trees on the river's soft waters, delight
To mirror their beautiful face.
Then hurrah! for the mountain, the islet and bridge,
And fair Montreal in their midst,
With her clear sun-lit skies, that bring blessing and health,
For few pleasanter cities exist.
* * * * *
Behold a miracle! the eastern sky
Is whispering of a new creation nigh,
As the fair dawn, with love-born joy and pride,
Is gently opening day's grand portals wide.
And see her rosy sisters tripping o'er
Land, sea and mountain, lake and pebbly shore,
Spreading th' entrancing tidings, near and far,
Of the sun's advent in his golden car.
And now through lustrous, glad, effulgent sheen,
God's presence manifest to man is seen,
As the majestic herald of his love
Enthrones himself in matchless pomp above.
And see, each rippling streamlet, mount and sod
Obeys the mandate sent to it from God,
To do the work to each by Heaven assigned,
And in its due performance joy to find.
With joy extatic all creation springs
To glad new life each his anthem sings
To the sun-god's Creator and upraise
Their thrilling melodies of morning praise.
Have ye e'er heard it echoed through the woods
By birds and insects, mountain, streams and floods?
Then, say, do man's best efforts match the song
Of that harmonious, grateful, fervent throng?
Renewed and glad the denizens of earth
Obey the will of Him who calls them forth:
Obedience makes all labour doubly sweet,
And victory crowns the race with willing feet.
The great sun never wavers from his line
Of duty, in his gracious work sublime,
His grand example perfect is, as when
The Everlasting first created men.
Symbol he is of the Great Father's power,
Discoursing of it every passing hour,
As calling to new life each germ and seed,
He teaches earth to bring forth what men need.
Streams, plants and insects, animals and earth
Fulfil the role assigned to them at birth;
Soft, gentle showers in cooling streams descend
O'er verdant nature freshened joy to lend.
Planets and stars obey the law divine,
And in the pre-concerted plan combine.
To do this bidding who in ether placed
Their glorious orbs, and their grand circles traced.
And think ye mortals that a God so great
Could be unmindful of our mortal state?
Ah, no, His grand unchanging laws apply
To every living creature equally.
There's not a denizen of earth, sky, sod,
But bears some message to us from our God;
The changeless laws of earth and firmament
Are with deep truths and glorious lessons blent.
The Great Eternal, ruler of the earth,
Formed laws immutable for it at birth;
Charging the realm of nature to befriend,
The race for whom he formed it, to life's end.
Grand proofs of His great love through it are found,
By those who seek them, and rich joys abound
For all who learn themselves, and the blest will
Of the Creator lovingly fulfil.
* * * * *
Immortal love! what power is thine,
To quicken and inspire!
Fabled Prometheus well might dare
To steal from heaven such fire.
For 'tis a beacon light to guide
To rapturous joy and peace,
In this our present earthly home,
And where all sorrows cease.
Thy subtle fire electrical,
In word, look, touch or kiss,
Thrills through our being to invoke
Responsive mutual bliss.
Once moved by this Herculean power,
What cannot mortals dare?
Dangers else insurmountable,
They with impressment share.
Nothing on earth e'er nerved the arm
Of knight or warrior bold,
Like love of country, home, and heaven,
In the brave days of old.
No matter what man's form of words,
Uttered or written down,
If thy incisive, quickening spell,
Does not their labour crown.
And still thou reign'st supremely fair,
In homes and battle fields,
And his the arm victorious,
Who thy grand armour wields.
For they who with untiring zeal,
Thy heart-fires ceaseless feed,
Know their supernal warmth alone,
Can meet man's highest need.
But hearts e'en at the altar pledged
Oft seek for love in vain,
And hungering souls are doomed to starve,
In freezing, cold disdain.
Ah, why should mortals thus refuse
To wield that grace divine,
The chief of the blest three that heaven
Gives to make life sublime.
Some make a grave mistake, and seek
Pity beyond their home;
No friend or relative on earth
Should counsel thus to roam.
Others have cultivated minds,
Are leaders in high art,
Whilst in the little things of life,
They take no kindly part.
And yet if we investigate,
It is these little things,
Which make up human happiness,
And lasting pleasure brings.
And tastes objectionable oft,
May on life's harp-strings jar,
And much domestic war.
The little word in the right place,
The gentle touches, tones,
The watchful loving sympathy,
Which for so much atones,
Are potent means which moral force
Finds it the best to wield,
For 'neath their mystic influence,
Most hearts are bound to yield.
Oh! for this love that conquers self,
That binds us to our kind,
That raises us to heaven and God,
And purifies the mind!
Ecstatic, sweet, rekindling power,
Bright altar-fire sublime,
Most precious gift to mortals given,
That will outlive all time.
The Rubicon is past when wed,
And there is no retreat,
Brave hearts should then accept the lot,
Which none but they can meet.
'Tis always wise and safe to choose
The heaven directed course
Of ruling by all-conquering love,
Than by the rod of force.
Let home be made a sacred shrine,
The best, most cherished spot,
All others then will surely be
Deserted and forgot.
Each should uphold the other self,
Before the world's keen sight;
In thus upholding, each will keep
His honour doubly bright.
Like Graecian vestals who of yore
Believed no duty higher
Than tending night and day the flame
Of the celestial fire,
So let the broad world's denizens
Foster this heart-fire bright,
Which can their pilgrimage on earth
Illume with glorious light.
Domestic bliss, how beautiful!
No idol is so fair.
Set in the royalty of love,
What can with it compare?
Models of virtue are the homes
Where this blest power holds sway,
Where parents' words suffice to move
Their offspring to obey.
I know of such a happy home,
Where love-signs rarely cease,
And 'tis in very truth a throne
Of harmony and peace.
Nature's grand law of order there,
Reigns with exactness sure
The wheels of time glide smoothly through
An atmosphere so pure.
A group of healthy children six
Their happy parents meet,
For breakfast where food, simple, pure,
Their hungry senses greet.
Those budding blossoms of the home
With joy-lit life appear,
A daily morning glory they,
So neat, clean, trim and dear.
No wonder if the father's soul,
Worships his darling bride,
No wonder if his manly heart,
Swells with delighted pride:
For does she not make home a shrine,
Where love and duty vie
To honour, through her peerless love,
Their holy marriage tie?
He daily leaves his happy home,
Next heaven the holiest place,
Strengthened by her sweet words and kiss,
For action in life's race.
And she through all her daily rounds,
Thinks foremost of the one,
Who no less now than years ago,
Her steadfast love has won.
God bless them in their happy home!
God bless their children nine!
And may they through a peaceful life,
Ever in love combine,
To aid and cheer each other here,
And when this life is past,
Be reunited in that life
Which will for ever last.
Such homes of cheerful industry,
Of order, thrift and care,
Sweetly reflect on those whose minds,
Their thrice blest precincts share.
And since 'tis in the reach of most
To make a home like this.
What pity that e'en one refuse
To win such priceless bliss.
People there are who ceaseless moan,
Their hard and cruel fate,
Yet never see their course is wrong,
Until alas! too late;
To such the axiom I'd repeat,
That 'tis God's righteous will,
To help all those who help themselves,
Life's duties to fulfil.
'Tis written upon every life
With which we mingle here,
And throughout nature's wide domain
It also doth appear,
That all unchanging are God's laws,
Their consequences sure;
That as we choose to sow we reap,
Fruit holy or impure.
Trace the effects of idleness,
Extravagance and play,
Of self-indulgence, vice and pride,
And then reflecting say,
It was not stern Nemesis' part,
To punish each, as cause
Of retribution to himself
For breaking nature's laws.
Let all, then, bravely conquer self,
And use the means which heaven
Has placed within the reach of each,
Life's sorriest state to leaven.
Industry, perseverance, thrift,
Love, honesty and skill,
Will aid the weakest in their work,
Life's duties to fulfil.
All-conquering, grand, unselfish love!
Nought can withstand the power
Of thy divine, o'ermastering force,
To man heaven's richest dower.
All know who own thy sovereign sway,
No wealth can equal thine,
Inspiring and constraining each,
To sacrifice sublime!
* * * * *
TO THE EMPRESS EUGENIE ON THE DEATH OF HER SON.
If sympathy can soften a mourner's poignant woe,
And stay the bitter tear drops that from her sad eyes flow,
Then take it, honoured Empress, from the land of thy retreat,
Where hearts in bitter anguish with thine now sorrowing beat.
Alas, we cannot fathom the mysteries of doom,
Which set its mark upon a life brilliant in youthful bloom,
Full of undaunted ardour, and eager for that strife
That robbed the sorrowing mother of his most precious life.
Ah, who can help recalling, and who the fervour tell,
Of his bright words on parting in that sad but brave farewell,
With bounding heart hope-laden and holy ardour fraught,
Scorning all fear and danger, as by thy wisdom taught.
Think, mourner, of thy darling as safe within heaven's fold,
Crowned with a victor's chaplet within the gates of gold,
His young, bright, earnest spirit happy on yonder shore,
Where you will be in God's own time united evermore.
A crown of earthly splendour might have enwreathed his brow,
But could that weigh 'gainst glory with which 'tis radiant now?
Would'st thou exchange the latter for all earth's gaud and glare?
No, sad one, thou would'st rather in God's time join him there.
Far from all warring tumult, in peaceful joy above,
Safe in the tender keeping of everlasting love;
Think of him thus for ever in the dear Father's care,
And say would'st thou recall him, earth's proudest throne to share?
Only a few swift time-strokes to make up life's brief day,
Only some few more pulse-beats till we, too, pass away;
There in the bright hereafter with great exceeding joy,
There, never to be parted, thou wilt rejoin thy boy.
* * * * *
Science! thou mirror of celestial type
Wherein e'en mortals may discerning see,
If they with steady perseverance seek,
The will and purpose of Deity.
By the effulgence of Thy affluent light
Men learn the hidden mysteries of earth,
Unlock the secrets of the starry heavens
And solve the problem of each dewdrop's birth.
Thou art the magic key that opens wide
Sources of knowledge, beauty, wealth and grace,
Which teach man how to help his brother man,
And benefit and elevate the race.
Beneath thy guidance men have found the stone
Philosophers long sought but rarely found,
Whose lesson is that the Great God helps those
Who feel to help themselves and others bound.
What blest results are following in thy train,
To physical as well as mental wealth,
Through sanitation, in its myriad forms,
By which it now promotes the nation's health.
Well regulated physical as mental work
Opens rich sources of enjoyment sweet;
And mind and body strengthened, thus delight
New difficulties to withstand and greet.
Few know how strengthening is resisting power,
In mind and body as in physics too,
And what accumulating force it lends
To man his life work daily to renew.
The richest happiness comes from within,
From duties well accomplished blessings flow,
And precious fruits of action, thought and deed
That will not give rude switch grass place to grow.
Thou teachest that a form to be a square
Must have its lines of length, breadth, depth, exact,
Without the least divergence right or left,
And with its due proportions clear, compact.
What helpful lessons might not this form teach,
If testing thus the lines of motives, thought,
Which make the sum of action square or false,
Each would discern the application taught.
When truth as the soul's standard is set up,
Making the inner life exact and square,
With love to God producing love, to all,
What will not man for man and duty dare?
True brotherhood consists in making each,
As far as may be, just another self;
The priceless sequence of such action would
Exceed the greatest riches men call wealth.
Then might the blest commandment, do to all
As to ourselves we would that they should do,
Flow as a natural sequence, and such act
Would bring its own reward and comfort, too.
For truest happiness is known to those
Who learn to know themselves through struggles brave.
Such conquerors steer serenely o'er the calm,
Clear sea of life, as o'er its troubled wave.
Knowing that the Great Father wills that man
Should, through much strife and suffering win that prize,
Whose precious fruits of knowledge wait for all
Who use full well each moment as it flies.
Then let us strive to form each thought, word, deed,
On the exact, undeviating square,
Seeking to learn and discipline ourselves,
And win rewards which all who will may share.
* * * * *
Dear, happy Christmas! once again
We joy to welcome thee,
With all thy glad surroundings, grouped
For world-wide jubilee.
We'll crown thy peace-illumined brow
With holly burnished bright,
Entwined with glowing crimson buds,
And mystic berries white.
Then the sly bough of mistletoe
We must not, cannot miss,
For, privileged beneath its shade,
We hope for many a kiss.
Kisses of joy from those we love,
Kisses of pardon, too,
That chase all anger from the heart,
And feelings seared renew.
E'en as the song of peace on earth
Flows lovingly from heaven,
Should men forgive their foes, as they
Expect to be forgiven--
Burying all painful bygones deep,
Far out of thought and sight,
Sweet peace possessing, reconciled,
In new love-bonds unite.
And round the merry Christmas board
Pledges of good-will give,
That they can, once a year, at least,
Old grudges quite forgive.
And let the poor, the blind, the maimed
Be kindly feted, too;
In blessing others all are bathed
In blessings rich and new.
Thus, peace-proclaiming, loving friend,
Time-honoured Christmas dear,
Thou wilt, indeed, have well fulfilled
Thy love-fraught mission here.
* * * * *
A VICTIM TO MODERN INVENTIONS.
(_Founded on a tale which appeared in Chambers' Journal, 4th series,
No. 630, Saturday, January 22nd, 1876, page 69_.)
Since quite a boy Hal Gradient had been
Noted for ingenuity--between
The hours when not on active duty he
Immersed in some new scheme was sure to be;
So, by the age of twenty-five he grew
Absorbed in plans, constructive, rare and new.
We both in engineering works were then,
On contract work engaged in France, when
He the gratifying news received,
That some unknown rich relative had died,
Leaving him sole executor and heir
To an estate both lucrative and fair.
Prior to leaving for his native land,
He said to me, Now, Mark, my friend, you understand,
I shall expect to see you at my home
As soon as your engagement here is done;
And such a home, my boy, as you shall see,
You cannot well conceive what it may be,
For I intend to exercise my skill,
Its precincts with inventions new to fill,
And have things so arranged that work and time
Shall reap rich harvests in their course sublime.
Time passed; my contract done, I hastened home,
Unwilling longer from its joys to roam,
When Harry, hearing that I had returned,
To have me by him with impatience burned;
So, to his pressing lines that I should pay
A visit to his country home next day,
I cordially assented, for I, too,
Was anxious our prized friendship to renew.
Descending at the station I espied
The dear old boy, with dog-cart at his side,
Waiting to welcome me with heart and hand,
To all we prize most in our native land;
For howsoe'er or wheresoe'er we roam,
We find no joys like those of home, sweet home!
We bowled along the pleasant country lanes,
By wooded heights and blossom-covered plains.
See! said he, there's my house among the trees,
Sheltered, yet open to the southern breeze.
In that beyond, with other two, you see,
Whose grounds close round my own so pleasantly,
Live valued friends of whom I never tire;
With each abode a telegraphic wire
Communicates, so, when we feel inclined
For whist or billiards, after we have dined
We telegraph to fix the time and place,
And oft arrange a meet for hunt and chase,
Which is convenient, as you soon will see,
And makes us like one social family.
Just then arriving at the gate hard by,
I will descend and open it, said I;
Sit still, said Harry, when without a word,
The gate seemed opened of its own accord.
Hallo, that's "open, Sesame," I said,
How is it done? to which Hal answer made:
Why, don't you see; I've placed across the path
A narrow gutter like a shallow bath,
And when we stop the wheels press on it, so
It slightly sinks, and forces cranks to go,
These then force back the gate until we've passed,
Whilst others set it free and close it fast.
Well, now that is convenient, I cried,
Yes, and saves lodge and keeper, he replied.
Arriving at the house, the groom we found
And waitress at the door, for the clear sound
From two electric wires pressed by the cart
In passing through the gate, had sent a dart
Of electricity that rang a bell,
To man and maid of our approach to tell.
Hal's sister met us in the entrance hall,
A lady of a certain age, erect and tall,
Whose bearing was, to say the least, severe,
One not just suited hearts to win and cheer;
She eyed me in a curious sort of way,
And then, with haughty mien, she went away.
I noticed as I hung up coat and hat,
A sort of cage, and said to Hal, what's that?
'Tis my automaton machine, he said,
For brushing thoroughly from heels to head;
I will explain: a platform there below
On which you step, makes wheels and levers go,
In fact, your weight the motive power supplies,
On which the action of the whole relies,
Those arms with brushes then revolving wheel,
And from your clothes the dust adroitly steal,
Whilst overhead another like machine
Is also placed your hat to smooth and clean;
Observe it, like a hat box cleft in twain,
With bristled, lever-working jaws that claim
Your hat within their grasp, so for the nonce
You've trowsers, coat and hat all brushed at once.
A very curious contrivance; how
I'd like to see it set in action now.
That you shall do, said he, and stepping in
Upon the little platform neat and trim,
The numerous brushes vigorously spun
Some fifteen times, and then their work was done.
There, shouted Harry, what d'ye think of that?
Jump in and try, but don't forget your hat,
For if you do you'll bitterly repent,
And have good reason, too, for discontent.
No, not just now, some other day, said I,
Feeling a bit too nervous then to try.
Excuse me, then, a moment while I seek
My sister, for to her I wish to speak.
Hal had no sooner left, than as I stood
Before the strange machine, I thought I would
Venture to test it then when none were by
To chaff if I should chance to bolt or cry,
So, stepping boldly in, the brushes ran,
And their appointed active work began,
And that they did it well there is no doubt,
But having rashly bent one elbow out,
Its funny bone was rapped, which made me shout,
Then, horrors! the hat brushes wheeled about,
I had forgot my hat, so they instead
Most unceremoniously seized my head!
The horrid thing whirled round at frightful pace,
Stripping, it seemed, all skin off nose and face.
I tried to stoop, escape from it to find,
But only got distracting blows behind,
Soothing the part affected not the less;
I felt abused, insulted, I confess.
The hateful thing, however, stopped at last,
And springing to the floor I cast
Bewildered and distrustful glances round
When, like an added insult, there I found
Harry convulsed with laughter at my side,
Which nettled my already wounded pride.
My anger was extreme on rushing out
With one loved whisker curled my ear about,
The other brushed across my face; my hair
All twisted in a vortex of despair;
I felt unable to express my rage
At his so vaunted but abusive cage.
'Tis an infernal, demon-formed machine,
Shrieked I to Hal, as ever yet was seen,
He only roared with laughter as he sat,
Saying, 'twas so because you had no hat,
You know I charged you to remember that.
I tried to laugh but 'twas of little use
After such diabolical abuse,
But calming down at last I cheerful rose,
Wishful, in private, to survey my nose,
To see if any skin were left there now,
And what the state of my disordered brow.
So, hastening to my room with Hal, I found
All there so cosily arranged around,
That in my admiration I forgot
The consequences of my ill-starred lot
Why, what a jolly room, to him I said
Yes, and you see that second little bed.
If you are nervous, or should like me to,
As when in France, I'll sleep in it by you.
O no, in England I can have no fear,
As in the old times when you were not near.
All right, old boy, but stay, before I go
I'll light the gas, and I must let you know
'Tis done by electricity, through aid
Of batteries in the basement; I've wires laid
All through the house--now see this knob I touch
Causes two wires in contact swift to rush,
Then an electro magnet turns the stop,
At the same moment sparks from out them hop,
The gas is thus ignited--'tis not all,
You see along the ceiling, down that wall,
On either side the gas jet placed, a bar.
Each of a different metal, one has far
More power than has the other to expand
When hot, which makes it bend, you understand,
In doing so it acts upon a rod
And lever, under whose constraining nod
A catch which holds the shutters is set free,
And with a spring they close to instantly.
The metal, as he touched it, heated grew,
And, as by magic, shutters were closed to.
'Tis very cleverly arranged, I say,
But here's a knob marked with the letter A;
What is its use? This A stands for alarm,
When pressed in case of fire or threatened harm,
A large alarum placed above the roof,
Soon to the neighbours gives convincing proof;
We won't try that just now as its sound, would
Undoubtedly alarm the neighbourhood.
But see, in this recess with curtained way
Is a self-acting shower-bath that you may
Try in the morning if you're so inclined.
There's just one more contrivance yet I find
That I must show you; by your bed side stands
A nest of speaking tubes; this one commands
My bedroom, number two, my sister's, and
The third, Jane's room; this last, you understand,
Might be convenient should you e'er require,
If ill, an early cup of tea, or fire.
Is Jane the pretty housemaid? I reply,
She is, you sly boy, but she's coy and shy.
Harry, I thought you'd known me better to----
All right, old boy, I was but joking you.
Harry now left. When dressed for dinner I
Resolved tube numbered one at once to try,
I blew the whistle, from the other end
Hallo, was quickly answered by my friend.
I'm waiting to go down, will you be long?
I'm ready now, came mellowly along,
And so we met upon the landing soon,
And joined the ladies in the drawing-room.
A charming little dinner o'er, and then
The ladies left and we were chatting when
A bell was rung; Hallo, that's Pool, Hal cried;
What does he want, I wonder, quick replied
His friend by numerous clicks. He wants to know
If we will sup with him. Mark, will you go?
I've no objection; click, click, click soon sent
The answer to his friend, and off we went.
On our return Hal showed me many more
Of his inventions, of which he'd a store,
Till my bewildered and distracted head
Was fairly dazed, so I escaped to bed,
But not, alas, to sleep; th' exciting day
Had been too much for my poor nerves; I lay
Tossing and restless, could not sleep at all,
So thought I'd summon Harry to my call,
As he'd suggested, and we had agreed
That I should do in case of urgent need.
I seized the tube, blew through it lustily.
Well, soon was answered through it sleepily.
I cannot get to sleep, I wish you'd come
To me, or have me with you in your room;
I'd rather of the two that you'd come here,
As you proposed, in case of need or fear.
As I proposed! you base, abandoned wretch,
Repeat those words and I'll my brother fetch.
Horror of horrors! the wrong tube I'd grasped,
And to Miss Gradient had been talking fast.
What should I do? I tried, but all in vain,
Th' unlucky error meekly to explain.
Dear madame, I assure you on my word,
'Twas a mistake, but no response was heard;
'Twas clear she'd hear no more I had to say,
However I might for forgiveness pray,
So, putting in the whistle, on the bed
I once more settled my distracted head.
The bare idea of my speaking so
To that old lady was an awful blow;
How could I meet her at the breakfast? how
Sustain the anger of that rigid brow?
At last I made a desperate resolve
To wake up Hal, the mystery to solve,
So, quickly seizing the next tube o'erhead,
Oh! I have made a great mistake, I said,
I wanted you to come and sleep by me,
But, seizing the wrong tube, unluckily
I asked Miss Gradient to come instead
Of you; pray come to me at once, I said,
Or I shall try to find you, quickly too;
I'm dying something to explain to you.
The answer almost drove me wild with pain,
'Twas in a quick, sharp, female voice again,
But not Miss Gradient's evidently now,
'Twas Jane's, the pretty housemaid's: how--
How dare you, Sir! I'd have you know, young man,
That I'm an honest girl, and scorn your plan,
And if you dare to come you can't get in,
For cook has double locked the door within.
My dear girl, I assure you, I commenced--
I ain't your dear girl, then said Jane, incensed,
'Tis no use talking any more to-night,
With curl papers I'll stop the plug up tight,
And in the morning, to your cost, you'll see
I will expose your conduct thoroughly.
Another awful error--what a scrape
I found myself within, and how escape?
I threw myself once more upon the bed,
Great drops of perspiration on my head,
Feeling bewildered, destitute of hope,
With such a series of mishaps to cope.
If those fast bolted shutters had not been
So firmly closed, I might have had a gleam
Of the blest early dawn, but I _will_ try,
Thought I, to open them; then by and bye
I'll dress and go to Harry to explain,
Before he meets his sister or sees Jane.
I felt my way then cautiously along,
Quite nervous, lest I should again go wrong.
The window was a bow one--on I passed,
Still groping onward, till I cried at last,
Ah! here it is, this is the curtain slide;
I passed within, when--how shall I describe
My woeful plight? I screamed and yelled with pain,
My feelings to describe, alas! 'twere vain,
In the self-acting shower bath I had stepped.
And in a torrent its freed waters leapt
On my distracted form, with deafening sound,
Which sent me stunned and spinning to the ground
In painful and undignified surprise;
The curtains having deadened the wild cries,
Wrung from me under such enforced surprise,
No one had been aware of my sad plight.
As dripping, shivering with the sudden fright,
I drew my wet clothes off and felt my way
For dry ones, longing for the light of day,
As longs some sun-struck traveller, from whose sight
A momentary shock obscures the light.
The darkness so oppressive and intense
Seemed round me an impenetrable fence,
As well to physical as mental view,
Deadening the intellect and reason too.
I could not long the awful state endure,
So making a great effort to secure
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