Hannah. S. Battersby
Part 2 out of 3
A calmer mood, by sad experience taught,
Why, what a fool I've been, at length I thought,
To have forgotten like an arrant dunce
I've but to press the knob to have at once
The gas jet lit; so groping bit by bit,
I reached it, pushed the knob, but no gas lit;
Terrific noise above I heard instead,
I'd set th' alarum crashing overhead!
What should I do? the neighbourhood would be
Aroused, and perhaps as terrified as me.
I'd no idea how to stop the thing
Which now distractingly began to ring.
I'd rush to Harry; ah, he'd heard the crash,
And to my room now rushed with hurried dash;
Why, what on earth's the matter, quickly tell?
Nothing but that abominable bell.
I wished to light the gas, the wrong knob pushed;
There, Harry said, I've stopped it, and off rushed
To satisfy the neighbours who were now
Ringing t' inquire th' occasion of the row.
He soon returned, saying he'd telegraphed
To tell of the mistake, and then he laughed,
Lighted my gas, and quickly went to bed,
As he, like me, was chilled from heels to head.
Alas! my friend was gone ere I'd the power
T' explain the _contretemps_ of that sad hour.
To get away was now my only thought,
But then this all-important step was fraught
With seen and unseen dangers everywhere,
Suppose I met Miss Gradient on the stair,
Or Jane--for this I candidly confess
I did not the required aplomb possess.
Besides I dreaded now to rouse the house;
No, I would dress, then wait, still as a mouse,
For early dawn, a note to Harry write,
Which would my wronged position soon make right.
Yes, I would go before the servants were,
Or any of the family, astir.
Consulting Bradshaw, then, I found a train
Arranged to leave at six--could I but gain
The station by that hour, how happy I
Should be. I soon resolved to try.
I dressed at once, my letter with sad heart
Placed on the table, and prepared to start.
Opening the door I crept out cautiously,
With boots in hand down stairs quite noiselessly;
Arriving in the hall I put them on,
But found the front door locked and the key gone!
Confound it! what on earth was I to do?
I'd try the kitchen entrance to get through;
Steering in that direction, on I went,
To find some egress resolutely bent;
Coming to baize-clad folding doors at length,
I turned the handle, pushed with all my strength.
Then, Murder! Thieves! and Fire! I shouted loud,
For tightly clasped in writhing pain I bowed
Within the thief trap, where I had been caught,
Which Harry had explained, but I'd forgot;
The sharp, excruciating agony,
From the electric current, cruelly
Vibrated through me from my head to feet,
Urging the goaded blood to fever heat.
At last the cruel knocks and shaking ceased,
And from the horrid thing I got released;
I dropped bewildered on a chair hard by,
With tortured body and despairing cry,
And then spied Harry shivering at my side,
Asking how I came there, when I replied,
Why, I was going off, I gasping said,
I've been most miserable since I went to bed,
This is the climax, I have suffered so
That I am quite determined now to go.
Nonsense, said Harry, come upstairs again,
I'm sorry you've been put to so much pain,
But I will soon make all things right, you'll see.
No, in this house I'll never happy be;
I'm much obliged for all your kind intent,
But am on leaving resolutely bent,
For what with handles, tubes, bells, wires and such,
With pipes, coils, batteries, and knobs to push,
I've almost lost my head, am racked with pain,
And long my own snug lodgings to regain.
Well, wait at least until the men arrive,
When we can to the station quickly drive,
And meanwhile Jane your breakfast shall prepare.
No, no, I cannot wait for Jane, I then declare,
Pray let me go, or I shall miss the train;
Good-bye, in town we'll shortly meet again,
I've left a note to tell the reason why
I felt obliged to go; again, good-bye.
I'd not gone far along the path before
I ventured to look back again once more.
Then walking at a less excited rate
I just remembered that within the gate
Electric wires were laid, so, turning round.
And seeing Harry still upon the ground,
Cried, is there any danger at the gate?
Danger, what do you mean? at any rate
You're sure there're no more wires or such like thing,
No coils or batteries, no more bells to ring?
Oh, nothing of the kind, you need not fear,
But, Frank, said Hal, come back and reason hear.
I shook my head and resolutely cried,
No, thank you, for that moment I espied
Jane opening shutters, so I quickly pushed
Aside the gate, and out exulting rushed.
I breathed more freely when once fairly through,
And o'er the highway to the station flew.
I caught the early train and reached my home,
Almost determined nevermore to roam,
For what I'd suffered on that single night,
Was quite enough to make me die of fright;
And as I sank upon my chair I said,
Thank goodness, I've no wires above my head,
For as to lighting gas I'd rather stir
And light it with the humble lucifer;
Encounter burglar with my own strong arm,
In place of man traps to create alarm;
Pull at the shower bath in a Christian way,
And face to face with friends my visits pay,
Than have electric wires take my commands,
And do the honest work of willing hands.
* * * * *
IT IS BUT AN AUTUMN LEAFLET.
It is but a bright autumn leaflet,
Blown adrift from the fond parent stem,
To wither and perish in silence,
Like many a flowering gem;
But I gathered the flame-tinted treasure,
As it fluttering fell at my feet,
To send to my own absent darling,
Her radiant glances to greet.
It grew in the grand air of freedom,
From the heart of the mountain sod,
Fulfilling its destiny gladly,
In cheerful obedience to God.
It struggled through life well and bravely,
'Gainst wind, cruel night, frost and storm,
Which gained it that bright sheen of glory,
Its fond dying face to adorn.
'Tis said that the song of the bulbul,
Floating sweetly through calm moonlit skies,
As he sings to his dearly loved partner,
Is the sweetest just ere he dies;
So it seemed that the leaflet whilst dying,
Was discoursing of love from its core,
Which gave it a beauty and glory
It had never appeared in before.
It spoke of a life in the future,
Transcending the glory of this,
Where hearts in harmonious concert,
Would form an existence of bliss.
So I gathered the love-freighted leaflet,
Which brought such sweet message to me,
In hopes that its heavenly language,
Might be eloquent also to thee.
For I knew that the beautiful message,
Came from fond nature's glorious king,
So I linked it in rhythmical measure,
For you, my own darling, to sing.
And as your clear voice gives it utterance,
Think of her who has sent it to thee,
As a love-laden token and blessing,
From her fond heart far over the sea.
* * * * *
WRITTEN ON BOARD THE S.S. "EGYPT," SEPTEMBER 5th, 1884.
Kind friends and passengers, we near
Our destined port, in England dear,
But ere we land, our thanks are due,
To our skilled captain and brave crew,
For having brought us safely o'er,
Broad ocean from its further shore,
With uniform consummate care,
Beyond expression or compare.
Then, Captain Sumner and your crew,
Accept our loyal thanks, most true,
For steering the good ship _Egypt_ o'er,
In safety to her destined shore.
Then, as is customary here,
Let these thanks find expression clear,
Towards sailors' orphans, who have claim
On all who safely cross the main.
Then pass the broadest plate around,
Let great bright coins on it resound.
The claim ungrudgingly fulfil,
With generous heart and right good will.
Then, ere we part, let each one try
To sing "Good-bye, sweetheart, good-bye,"
With hopes, some day, again to meet
And each the other kindly greet.
* * * * *
A LEGEND OF OLD FRANCE.
Never did rosy morning
Sweep o'er the skirts of night,
Calm nature's face adorning,
With more intense delight;
Never did earth exultant
Summon her offspring all,
To life-work, love and duty
With more inspiring call,
Than in the young spring season,
Three centuries ago,
When Roberval set sail from France
To skim broad ocean's flow.
Nobles, rich, young and restless,
Statesmen and soldiers too,
Women of birth, and sailors,
Composed the adventurous crew.
Leaving St. Malo's harbour.
They steered in Cartier's wake,
For that New France which Francis hoped
A source of wealth to make.
For of it wondrous stories
Were floating in the air,
A very Paradise it seemed
Of joy beyond compare.
A vast, mysterious country,
Studded with gems and gold,
Where virgin soil and forests grand
Were girt by headlands bold.
A land of beauty, where 'twas said
Celestial fountains played,
Whose waters made the aged young,
And Time's dread havoc stayed.
Such were the thrilling stories
Of ancient Florida.
And of that favoured part of it
Now known as Canada.
France, prompted by ambition,
Was on its conquest bent,
Though Rome to Spain had given
The whole vast continent.
To subjugate a people
In wildest freedom bred,
Whose trade was armed barter,
To utmost hardship wed,
To potent savage nations,
To teach the white man's creed;
This was the hardy project
That France's king decreed.
Among the group of women
Was Marguerite, the fair
Niece of the Viceroy, Roberval,
Young, lovely, debonnaire,
Like gleams of summer sunshine
That glorify the sea,
Among the ship's companions,
Her presence seemed to be.
There, too, was a young noble,
Who with her left his home,
Content all honours to renounce,
With her he loved to roam;
Together had they plighted
Their vows before high heaven,
To the new faith together
Their pledged adhesion given.
Before their loving pastor,
And Marguerite's maid, with prayer,
These Huguenots in secret,
To sign the contract dare,
In the still hour of midnight,
Whilst all were thought to be,
Bound in the gyves of slumber,
In that ship far out at sea.
Alas! a listening traitor,
Ere waned the morning star,
Prompted by hate and malice,
Had spread the secret far;
And Roberval rose furious,
In wild ungoverned rage,
Against the hated heretics,
A deadly war to wage.
Fast bind the men in irons,
The women thrust, he said,
Into a boat with fire-arms,
Some powder, meat and bread,
For see! the Isle of Demons
Lies close athwart our lee,
And they the fit companions
Of its horned fiends shall be.
The wild, infernal orgies
Of these winged imps of night
Yet fill the air with horror,
And thrill it with affright;
To these I now consign them,
Quick, thrust them out to sea,
And through a life of torture
May they repentant be.
Thus Roberval, the Viceroy,
Thundered his fierce commands,
As Leon, Marguerite's husband
Burst from his iron bands,
Plunged headlong in the wild flood
And toward the threatening shore,
Swam boldly forth'--defiant
Of him and ocean's roar.
The swimmer and the boat's crew
Long fought for life and breath,
And all appeared together
Entering the jaws of death,
As Roberval steered from them,
Outbreathing curses loud,
And imprecations furious
That stout hearts chilled and cowed.
The ship receded--vanished,
Leaving the wave-tossed three
All valiantly contending
With the belated sea.
The swimmer battled fiercely,
With ocean's maddening strife,
As the frail women bravely
Contended for dear life.
Till haply, thanks to heaven,
They're saved, for see, they stand
Linked heart and hand together,
The three once more on land.
'Tis said infernal demons,
Beset them day and night,
And with their shrieks satanic
Chilled them with dire affright.
But a strong hand celestial
Was ever interposed,
And round about them ever
A viewless barrier closed.
Th' infernal brood of hell,
Howling in baffled fury,
Around them powerless fell.
In course of time kind heaven
Gave them a baby boy,
Who filled their hearts with rapture,
And thrilled them to new joy,
But death soon stole their treasure,
Then Leon made his own
The Norman nurse then summoned,
And Marguerite was alone!
Alone on that dread island,
In whose accursed soil
Her loved ones found unhallowed rest
From harrowing care and toil.
Still courage never failed her,
Though fettered to the sod
Where hideous fiends assailed her,
To try her faith in God.
Though foes came gathering round her,
Appalling to the view,
From upper as from nether worlds,
And nearer lurking drew,
Of these, grim bears were foremost,
Who boldly round her close,
But with her gun brave Marguerite
Slew three of these fierce foes.
Thus, though most gently nurtured,
This maiden rose to be
A heroine undaunted
On the lone isle of the sea,
And Leon was a hero,
Who risked fame, fortune, life,
To be the sworn defender
Of helpless maid and wife.
Two dreary years of warfare
Had passed o'er Marguerite's head,
Crowded with deeds heroic,
Since she with Leon wed,
When, far at sea some whalers
Observed a curling smoke
Rise from the haunted island,
Which fear and wonder woke.
Was it the trick of demons
To lure them to the shore,
And lead them on to ruin,
As many had been before?
They thought it was, and kept aloof,
Then vague surmises made.
That some unhappy mortal
Might need their timely aid.
So, triumphing o'er terror,
They warily drew nigh,
Descried a female figure
Waving her signals high;
Clothed in the skins of white bears,
So lovely she appeared,
That the brave-hearted sailors
Most gladly toward her steered.
Thus Marguerite was rescued,
Through a heaven-directed chance,
Restored to home and country
In her beloved France.
'Tis said the baffled demons
At her departure fled,
And never to the island
Again their legions led.
Firm in her new faith, Marguerite
Was a brave pioneer,
Of those devoted Hugenots,
To true hearts justly dear,
Who, half a century after,
Composed that sturdy flock,
Who from the good ship _May Flower_
Landed on Plymouth rock.
And who shall say how many
This noble woman led,
To break their bonds asunder,
Who were to priestcraft wed?
And as I close this ballad,
Learn, reader, that its heroes
Toiled not in vain for you.
* * * * *
NOTE--Isles of Demons: one of two islands north-east of Newfoundland
supposed to have been given over to the fiends, from whom they derive
their name, variously called by Thevet Isle de Fische, Isle de Roberval,
and Isle of Demons. The Isle Fichet of Sanson and the Fishot Island of
some modern maps.
* * * * *
THE BROOKLYN CATASTROPHE OF DECEMBER 5TH, 1876.
Twas eve in Brooklyn, and the bracing air
Of northern regions fanned the city fair,
Urging life's currents to a generous flow
And quick'ning nerve and pulse to joyful glow.
A touching tragedy had been installed
Within the theatre, "The Orphans" called,
One of the most successful dramas sage,
America has placed upon the stage.
To it for peaceful recreation strayed
Scores of the citizens, _en fete_ arrayed,
Some with beloved ones whom they hoped one day,
Might be their partners through life's checkered way.
Others formed parties from the family group,
Maidens and children in the joy of youth,
Glad schoolboys taken for reward or treat,
And worthless idlers sauntering from the street.
Many a fond and loving pair were there
Who in each other's joys and griefs had share;
Grave statesmen, merchants, all in that brief hour,
Sat spell-bound by the dramatist's rare power.
When in an instant the appalling cry
Of fire! fire!! fire!!! was heard resounding high;
The terror-stricken crowd in blank dismay
Rushed frantically towards each narrow way.
No ears had they for the brave girl who sought
To counsel in that hour with horror fraught,
Who cried "We are between you and the fire,
Be calm, for God's sake, in this danger dire."
[Footnote: On the first alarm of fire and whilst others were escaping,
Miss Kate Claxton with three other actors came bravely forward to the
footlights uttering these words of passionate entreaty.]
Those nearest haply reached the narrow way,
And thanking God, emerged from the affray,
Whilst others stumbled, dazed with terror wild
And soon in tangled heaps lay powerless piled.
In wildest proxysms of fear and pain,
Each sought his giddy footing to retain,
Whilst piercing cries of agonized despair,
Rose through the gloomy smoke-charged stifling air.
Then suffocation, oft more merciful
Than fire, its victims claimed to lull,
Scared victims, gasping for that precious air,
Which fire and smoke alike refused them there.
Fast hurried on the greedy tongues of fire,
To make of those dread mounds a funeral pyre,
As raging onward o'er their victims broke,
The fearful conflict of the fire and smoke.
Dread was the scene o'er which the Fire King laughed
As he his bowl of frantic pleasure quaffed,
Whilst the doomed structure tottered in the girth
Of his wild, bellowing, satanic mirth.
Strong men and feeble women, young and old,
Statesmen, financiers, and warriors bold,
Who were a short hour since elate with pride.
Now charred and calcined, slumber side by side.
The fierce insatiate fire-fiend raging flew
In wild demoniac rage the structure through,
Tearing down rafters, hurling to the ground,
Props, pillars roof-beams with appalling sound.
Oh! what a scene of strife raged wildly there,
'Mid cries for help and struggles of despair;
All human efforts powerless to assuage,
The greedy fire-fiend's devastating rage.
The fiery monster dashed away all trace,
Of that late mimic world of beauteous grace,
Swallowing in a fleet, wrathful breath of rage,
All the vain baubles of the tinseled stage.
All the wild tumult has subsided now,
Hushed is the pleading prayer and woe strung vow,
Breathed by fond parents, brothers, husbands, wives
Of near three hundred late exultant lives!
Then, as the demon's rage was well nigh spent,
He o'er the drenched and trampled corses bent,
Effacing as he best could, every trace
Of recognition from each ghastly face.
Drunken and gorged the sated fire-fiend spread
His gloomy sable shroud about the dead,
And left the fort he could not longer hold
Conquered by man's heroic efforts bold.
Too painful 'twould be to prolong the tale,
Of that which followed, or the piteous wail
Of friends bereaved, who sought with harrowing dread,
To single out their loved ones from the dead.
Close we, by urging those in power to do
What well becomes all rulers wise and true,
To make new laws, enforced by vigorous means,
To spare all repetition of such scenes.
Oft will Columbia sing to future time,
Of her centennial union sublime
But ever with the memorable year,
Will mingle memories of this history drear.
* * * * *
THE NAINI TAL CATASTROPHE OF THE 18TH SEPTEMBER, 1880.
The morning broke with streams of welcome rain,
Such as the two preceding ones had brought.
Rain, that in tropic climes means life and joy
To man and beast as to the thirsty soil
And though the sky hung like a sable pall
Over the fair oasis, nestling calm
Beneath the trusted shelter of the hills,
And o'er the broad lake-outlet of the floods,
What cause had they to fear? 'Twas often thus,
And the long wished-for rains would bring forth joy
So reasoned they who, peaceful, viewed unmoved
Th' outpouring of that sullen ocean cloud,
When suddenly, they who had calmly felt
So safe one little span of time before,
Discovered in dismay the swollen floods
Meant danger--that the safety of their homes.
Was menaced, walls were tottering, waters rose,
Sapping foundations, threatening precious life.
Security was lost in maddening fear,
And, panic-stricken in disordered haste
And direst plight, they quit their homes, and fly
To seek a refuge from the merciless,
Relentless flood. On, on, they wildly rush,
No matter where, so they preserve the lives
Of those they dearly, passionately love.
Some o'er fierce rolling streams are helped by men
In mercy sent to render priceless aid,
And happy they, the rescued, who escape,
For scarcely had they timely refuge found,
Than a huge limb of the great mountain fell,
Sweeping the fair hill-side of house and land,
And burying dozens of their fellow men
In one uncompromising, living tomb!
Brave men with tender hearts and stalwart arms,
Regardless of their lives flew quickly there.
Seeking to save their fellows; but, alas!
The task is useless, they are past all aid;
The cold earth sepulchres their mortal frames--
Still, hope's star-beacon lures the toilers on,
And with stout hearts and mercy sinewed arms,
They, toiling, dig, if haply they may save
But one poor soul from out the piteous heap.
But as they worked, their honest hearts elate
With love-inspiring toil, Oh, sad to tell!
Another mass, far larger than the last,
Fell from the dark flood-loosened mountain side,
Burying those noble men beneath the deep
Dank heap, like those they fondly hoped to save.
O noble band! thy Christ-like heroism
Shall be enshrined in deathless memories
Outliving time; for rolling ages love
To chronicle the history of brave deeds,
That spur by their example other minds
To acts of heroism such as thine!
Oh! fearful was that avalanche of earth,
That in its fury, e'en with lightning speed,
Swept to eternity such precious freight!
Strong men in the proud glory of life's prime,
Women in joyful trustfulness of love
With little children in full bloom of life;
All in the twinkling of an eye cut down,
In that rude harvest of the tyrant Death!
Now the late lovely valley, Naini Tal
Stands as a witness of the frailty
Of human strength 'gainst the o'erwhelming might
Of forces, which the All Mighty only guides;
Proving, that great as oftimes is man's force,
It is as nothing, when the elements
Proclaim Him monarch of all power and might,
In language for the world to comprehend.
* * * * *
TO OUR POLAR EXPLORERS.
Now, welcome home, ye valiant band,
By science lured to roam,
Thrice welcome to your native land,
To Britain's hearth and home;
For ye have conquered many a foe,
And vanquished many a fear,
Since in your country's name ye sailed
So bravely forth last year.
Then many a fervent "Good speed ye"
Was wafted from the land,
That blent with blessings from the ships,
For those left on the strand.
Hope streaming through each hot tear formed
Rainbows of promise sweet,
To comfort each lone sundered heart,
Till blest again to meet.
But eighteen months have passed away
Since those farewells were breathed,
And ye've accomplished what was wished
Without a sword unsheathed.
And with her royal chaplets light
Of honour and renown,
Your brows of manly fortitude
Britain delights to crown.
Ye've had the courage, nerve, and skill,
To do, and bravely dare,
That which none other save yourselves
Have had the joy to share.
In penetrating furthest yet,
Into that region lone,
Where grim uncompromising ice
Girdles the Polar Zone.
"The sea of ancient ice," henceforth
Inscribed on the world's chart,
Though never of that world to be
A sympathetic part;
Since mighty floating fortresses,
With adamantine towers,
Form everlasting barriers grim,
That mock man's feebler powers.
Heroic Nares! Commander bold
Of the well-ordered band,
Accept with thy intrepid crews,
Thanks from thy native land,
For having with determined zeal,
Reached a much longed-for goal,
And solved the mystery that veiled
The regions of the Pole.
Thus proving inacessible
The ice-ribbed polar sea,
Ye've earned your laurels valiantly,
Still it is well that we
Join ye in rendering fervent thanks,
To the Supreme above,
For safe return in joyous health,
To country, home and love.
* * * * *
TO THE INCONSTANT.
Oh! what a change since last we met, when thou wert all my own,
And love dictated every word, and sweetened every tone.
Cold and repelling was the gaze that rested on the one
Whose heart's devotion, true as steel, thy treachery had won.
Who could have thought that vows exchanged before the God of heaven,
And pledged so solemnly, could be so soon, so rudely riven?
But, false one, I fling back to thee thy hollow, withering gaze,
And spurn thee in the bitterest tones my scorn-strung voice can raise.
* * * * *
Arise, ye valiant warrior hosts, arise!
Now, in the flush of victory, pierce the skies
With grateful outbursts of exultant praise.
Such as victorious hosts alone can raise,
To the great God of nations, Lord of lords,
Who in your pride of conquests sheathes your swords,
And claims your rapturous homage from afar,
For all the brilliant exploits of the war.
Let the majestic paeans heavenward sent,
Be with united voice of Britain blent;
Like measured thunders the grand anthem swell,
A nation's fervent gratitude to tell.
And yet another strain of prayer outpour
For the lamented victims of the war.
And for our Queen, who now delights to crown
Her brave commanders with deserved renown.
God bless these mighty men of mind and power,
Who led the well-trained hosts in war's dread hour,
Crushing rebellion, bidding rapine cease;
Then, with heroic valour, courting peace.
And as each soul is heavenward winged to raise
To the Creator this grand psalm of praise,
Forget not the crest-fallen hosts, but bear
Their country's troubles to the throne of prayer.
Sons are we all of the same Father wise.
Who rules in sovereign pomp the earth and skies,
Who bids all live in brotherhood divine,
Without distinction of race, creed or clime.
God speed the day when cruel wars shall cease,
And all the wrestling earth shall be at peace,
When liberty's proud flag shall be unfurled,
And justice, not the sword, shall rule the world.
* * * * *
"PEACE, WITH HONOUR."
"Peace with honour," glorious, joy-lit words!
Britons, lay down your arms, re-sheath your swords,
For the red demon War lies foiled and chained,
And Britain's prestige is anew proclaimed.
With re-united Europe, grateful raise
To Heaven glad paeans of exultant praise;
For see, crest-fallen strife, abashed, retreats,
As Berlin's congress her design defeats.
While Justice, Peace and Hope effulgent stand,
Aiding the Council of the patriot band.
Grand conclave of the wise, 'twas well ye bade
Such Heaven-born guests lend to your council aid,
Well for the good and welfare of the world
That ye your Heaven-blest flag of peace unfurled!
Great Emperor Peacemaker! well hast, thou done,
To link to thy long list of victories won,
This bloodless one, where all alike contend,
With cultured courtesy, as friend with friend,
To help the fallen, bid rude passions cease,
Through moral suasion, and re-throne blest peace.
And thou, Disraeli, pillar of the State,
With the proud flush of triumph now elate,
Well hast thou earned thy laurels, nobly won
Thy Queen's and country's verdict of "well done,"
For with far-seeing mind, unflinching skill,
Rare tact and talent, calm, consummate skill,
Thou hast, with thy brave colleagues, fought our fight,
And made stern right triumphant over might.
Since to the foremost and most honoured place
A subject could aspire to, or could grace,
Thou hast ascended by the nation's will,
Let "Peace with Honour" be thy motto still.
Thus shall our civilizing mission be
To future ages a reality,
That where the flag of Britain is unfurled,
Peace and good-will may flow to all the world,
Till throughout every nation wars shall cease,
And honour reign triumphantly with peace.
* * * * *
THE NEW YEAR.
The long day of the year is nearly done,
The atoms through its sand-glass almost run,
Another bridge is well-nigh swung--by Time
O'er the grand current of life's course sublime.
For see! through floods of eastern glory high
The morn's fair chariot swoops athwart the sky,
And from its circling rose-lit atmosphere
Steps, beaming with young hope, the infant year!
Knowing no bygones, he points gaily on
To battles to be waged and victories won,
Struggles with self, o'ercomings that will crown
The combatants with honour and renown.
Battles which make the men of mark on earth.
Men who feel culture of all God's gifts worth,
A thorough abnegation of self-will,
To fit them life's work rightly to fulfil.
Then let each with the glad New Year begin
To act so they may fadeless victories win,
Since heaven's choice gifts and deathless wreaths of fame
Wait for the good, and great, their joys to claim.
* * * * *
Home! magic name of sweetest sound,
That thrills us like a spell;
That consecrates the humblest cot
Where loved ones kindly dwell.
How much that simple name recalls
Of happy childhood's days,
When the old homestead was illumed
By love's inspiring rays.
Visions of beauty unsurpassed,
Are conjured by that word
That thrills a Briton's heart where'er
The English tongue is heard.
And when in exile wandering,
On fairer, brighter plains;
How the melodious name of home
Our best affection claims.
The roof-tree may be stricken down,
And loved ones be no more;
But the sweet memories of our home
Live on for evermore.
Wealth may attract and pleasure lure
When far away we roam;
But ah! how joyful we return
To the pure shrine of home.
There we find sweet repose and peace,
There too our holiest love;
And there we gain a foretaste pure
Of coming joys above.
Then "Home, sweet home," shall be our song
On earth, and when on high
'Twill still be home, dear, happy home,
In the glad "by-and-by."
* * * * *
IT IS BUT A FADED ROSEBUD.
It is but a lone faded rosebud
That a dearly loved one gave to me,
In years now long past but remembered
And shrined for the years yet to be.
It opens the floodgates of memory,
Discoursing of dear days gone by,
Dead and buried except to rememb'rance
Which never can slumber or die.
For hearts that have once truly mingled,
In sympathy, love and esteem,
Can never be really sundered
Though oceans and seas roll between.
And still I will cherish my rosebud,
Though it never may bloom to a flower,
As a symbol of love that was strangled
In life's saddest yet happiest hour.
* * * * *
(_Erected on the Thames Embankment, 1878_).
Thou reverend relic from a far-off clime,
Of ancient days, triumphant over Time.
Thou ocean traveller, brought with peril o'er,
To rise again on London's busy shore.
Superb exponent of Egyptian art,
What wondrous secrets load thy granite heart
Since thou wert fashioned from the ribs of earth
To show the great sun's golden glory forth!
Thou with six noble compeers hast surveyed
The birth and death of empires undismayed.
Some of them saw at On the guiding light
Shed o'er the Holy Family in their flight.
The oldest still ennobles Goshen's brow,
Almost the sole surviving relic now
Of her foundation, and upon whose sod,
When years had rolled their courses, Jesus trod.
And one in Turkey, yet one more in Rome,
Captives and aliens from their childhood's home,
Tower in lone majesty, recording still
The grandest era of Egyptian skill.
A fifth in Alexandria calmly rears
Its stately form, and o'er it kindly peers
A noble landmark, like an angel guide
To wanderers o'er Egypt's sand plains wide.
Ask of the ages where the sixth has gone,
For naught of that stone mountain now is known.
Thus perish all things, save the spirit free,
Inheritor of immortality!
Past ages fondly raised to Ra and Tum
(Whose morn and evening glory robed the sun),
These sacred fanes, to grace the sun shrine high,
Full in the golden splendour of the sky.
Where now is Heliopolis? ah, where
Her sun-shrine, raised in classic beauty rare?
Crumbled, and lost in rainless Egypt's dust,
Save what these columns guard in sacred trust.
And shall we fondly consecrate and raise
Vast monuments to sing of mortal praise,
And then presume to criticise and scorn
Fanes raised the sun-god's temple to adorn?
Ah no, but let us rather consecrate
Anew this worship-sign of ancient date,
Than join in scoff by sneering cynic thrown
On faith and on religion not his own.
Upon the generous donor's aged brow
Let Britain place her graceful chaplet now,
Since unto him is due that she doth hold
This precious relic of the faith of old.
And let us not forget what thanks are due
To skilful Dixon and his gallant crew,
And as is just, be honour also paid.
To useful Dmetri for his timely aid.
Then plant the precious fane on Britain's shore.
In solemn tribute of the faith of yore,
That coming ages may revere the sod
That shrines this tribute to the living God.
* * * * *
A VOICE FROM ST. GEORGE'S HALL, LIVERPOOL.
Inhabitants of Liverpool,
List to the urgent call,
Which summons you in crowds to-day,
Within St. George's Hall.
There earnest Women are convened,
In purpose strong to seek,
Through your kind help and influence,
To aid the Faint and Weak.
The Convalescent Hospital
Stands burdened with a debt,
Which we resolve (if you permit)
Shall now be promptly met.
To this intent, a Grand Bazaar
Is held by us to-day;
And fifteen hundred pounds the sum
We fondly hope to pay.
The cause is good; then quickly prove
Your gratitude for health,
By giving with a willing heart
Of your abundant wealth.
Or if not quite disposed to give,
Then freely buy, I pray,
Of the rich stores of wondrous art
Displayed for you to-day.
Work marvellously wrought, and rare
As beautiful you'll find;
With good plain, homely garments, too,
Of varied form and kind.
And lovely flowers, in sweet perfume,
Breathing delight and love;
Discoursing, in mute eloquence,
Of fadeless ones above.
Groups, too, of artificial flowers,
To serve when others die;
Like photos of dear absent friends,
Delighting heart and eye.
Presents there are for Boys and Girls,
And darling Pets at home,
And souvenir for Grandmamma,
If too infirm to come.
And, mingling with the festive scene,
Is music's witching voice,
Swelling, in harmony divine,
Man's spirit to rejoice.
Beneath the master hand of "Best"
The organ springs to life,
Like some roused monster in his lair,
Goaded to deadly strife.
Attuned to Angel sweetness, then,
And tremblings of delight,
It fills the dreamy marble Hall
With visions pure and bright.
Then merchant Princes, Tradesmen, too,
Dry business leave awhile;
And with your dear ones by your side,
With us an hour beguile.
* * * * *
TO THE MUSEUM COMMITTEE.
O ye in power, thus placed to minister
To every pressing local, social claim,
Of those who gave you this authority,
Trusting you to act wisely in their name,
See that the precious heirloom of our race,
For which our fathers suffered, toiled and bled,
Our glorious Constitution, Britain's pride,
Be to the people's rights in justice wed.
Withhold not from them what in trust ye guard,
For calm enjoyment on the day of rest,
By opening parks, museums, libraries,
That their closed treasures be enjoyed with zest.
Why should our city's priceless treasures not
Be freely open on the day of rest,
That the inspiring thoughts of noble minds
Be to the people thus divinely blest?
And if the masses do not agitate,
For free admission to these works of art,
This fact adds reason more why cultured men,
Should lead them in these joys to share a part.
This day was made for man, not he for it,
And should he to him of all days the best,
For moral, physical and mental life,
Since calm exertion may be actual rest.
Surely the study of the Father's laws,
And survey of His wondrous works and power,
Seen through all nature's grand and wondrous realm,
Is fit enployment for a Sunday hour;
Think ye the public house a fitter place,
In which to spend that blessed afternoon?
I fear that many of you must do so,
Or you would grant what has been claimed right soon.
Sweet object lessons from the King of Kings
Are found in animal and insect life,
And birds and fishes, beauteous flowers and trees,
Are with such lessons eloquently rife;
So are the gracious, light-dispensing heavens,
Grand ocean's depths and mountain heights sublime,
Day's regent King, night's lovely gentle Queen,
Each one discoursing of the Power Divine.
I've lived in Paris and in wonder seen,
A mighty host of people wend their way
In thousands, to the lovely sylvan park
Of Versailles, to spend part of that blest day,
In families of husband, children, wife,
With basket of refreshments, simple, pure,
Which, seated on some verdant bank, they shared,
In peaceful happiness, serene and sure.
I've watched them closely, willing to detect,
In those past days of prejudice and pride,
Some flaw of conduct, wantonness, excess,
Which I could criticise, rebuke or chide,
But I was staggered not to find save one
Excess of drunkenness in that vast throng,
And that one was a foreigner, which proved
That all my foregone censure had been wrong.
And further careful observation proved
Tha wisdom of thus opening freely all
Art treasures, which refine and cultivate,
Whilst giving joy alike to great and small,
For families, who, parted all the week,
On this one day could mingle happily,
And bodily, as well as mental health,
Be thus promoted most agreeably.
The crowd passed pleasantly and peacefully
Through the rich treasures in the palace spread,
And to his credit, be it here remarked,
The priest full oft these happy parties led;
They passed the forenoon of the day at church
In prayer and praise to the great Lord of all,
And now in calm enjoyment praised _Him_ here,
Who hears when and where'er his children call.
Then ye who rule this city, pause I pray,
Give to this subject your attention best,
And make the Sunday to the poor as rich,
A day of liberty, a day of rest.
Let each be free to exercise his choice;
For to keep Britain really great and free,
We should not fetter consciences, or yet
Deprive its people of true liberty.
* * * * *
ONLY A FEW LINKS WANTING.
Only a few links wanting,
Earth's toilers oft exclaim,
Only a few charmed linklets,
To make life's perfect chain;
Philosophers and statesmen,
Poets and courtiers gay,
And cunning craftsmen, at life's forge
Echo the same each day.
The students of life's mysteries
Toil hard, with stern resolve,
The secrets of the universe
To penetrate and solve;
For most minds have some purpose,
Some goal they fain would gain,
Which they believe the linklet
Wanting in life's grand chain.
The warrior risks dear life-blood,
Others toil hard for fame;
The Sage works on through midnight
To earn an honoured name.
The Lover pleads untiring,
At the beloved one's feet,
Each seeking the missed linklet
That may life's chain complete.
Some seek the link in pleasure,
In rioting and sin.
Others, in forced retirement
Of self, in cloisters dim.
Some make the world's applauses
Their sole reward and aim,
Some torture gold to fashion
The missed links of life's chain.
Strive on, ye band of workers,
In faith and courage strong,
Knowledge by labour entereth,
Through perseverance long;
No prize is half so precious
As that obtained through pain,
No means like self-denial,
For perfecting life's chain.
Ever a something wanting,
Ever, just one link more;
Such is the hope-lit watchword
Of pilgrims to heaven's shore,
Nor till on that shore landed,
Will missed links of life's chain
Be found, and firmly welded,
To sunder ne'er again.
* * * * *
A PAINFUL HISTORY.
Three youths in the heyday of life's hopeful spring,
On a bright April morn gaily hied,
With three little skiffs, each one made by himself,
To skim o'er the silvery tide.
In the joy that awaits on all well-performed work,
Engaged in by youth, child, or man,
Whilst employing the powers which to him God has given,
And labouring as well as he can,
They pushed from the shore, their young spirits elate.
In a trance of enjoyment and pride;
For were they not reaping the cherished reward
Which to labour is never denied?
Far happier than kings, as light-hearted as birds
Who warbled spring carols on high,
Each guided his skiff o'er the freshening wave,
'Neath a cloudless, sun-glorified sky.
They had chatted together while making their boats,
Half in serious mood, half in fun,
Of parting their hair in the middle to aid
Fair balance in the risk they might run.
And thus, in increasing and joyful delight,
They paddled a full hour and more,
And were gaily returning triumphantly, when,
Within about ten yards from shore,
Young Ithill, the eldest, a youth of sixteen,
His seat unaccountably lost,
And out of the frail skiff, the promising boy,
In a twinkling was ruthlessly tost.
His nearest companion, young Whittaker, sprang,
His canoe prompt assistance to lend,
But the noble young Ithill refused to lay hold,
For fear of endangering his friend.
Young Girling was some distance off, but at once
To the rescue most gallantly sprang,
As meantime the cry of "a boy drowning," loud
Through the air supplicatingly rang.
And the mother of Girling, who heard that wild cry,
Flew like lightning across to the strand,
Plunged fearlessly into the tide, where her son
Was struggling with stout heart and hand
To reach his poor friend, and the brave mother sought
To encourage his efforts to save,
While she, who, like him, could not swim, struggled hard,
Kept afloat by her clothes on the wave.
But vain were their efforts, the telegraph boy
Had sunk 'neath the pitiless wave,
And his poor lifeless body, so late full of life,
Now lies in its calm ocean grave.
In response to shrill cries for assistance, some men
Put off in a boat, all too late!
Instead of at once plunging in to the boy,
Thus heartlessly left to his fate,
'Tis said one of three or four beings called men,
Calmly standing close by on the land,
Threw stones to direct where the poor boy had sunk,
In reply to the woman's demand.
I've been told, but 'tis almost too hard to believe,
That one of these beings could swim,
But was too great a coward and poltroon to risk
The endangering of life or of limb.
But enough of such sickening allusions as these;
Those who might have saved life, lost what none
Who never ennoble their lives by good deeds,
Could imagine of happiness won
By hearts braced with courage, regardless of self,
Such as John Girling's mother displayed,
Who, like a true hero, sublimely risked life
In those efforts, alas! vainly made.
Is there not on this isle some society formed
To reward such brave deeds as this one?
For surely humanity could not withhold
Recompense for such gratitude won!
Let us hope that this sad, painful history may lead
Every one to determine to try,
The fine art of swimming to master forthwith,
Ere the now opening season pass by.
For doubtless the poor boy might yet have been spared,
Had he known how to swim or to float,
As very few strokes might have brought him to shore,
When he slipped from his slight fragile boat.
'Tis sweet to record the good conduct and life
Of this well-beloved, motherless boy,
In the hope that it may to his absent sire's heart
Convey some consolation and joy.
* * * * *
Teacher sublime, great, grand and free!
My spirit loves and honours thee,
Who taught that all religion ran,
In love to God, and love to man.
Grand, comprehensive standard this,
To lead mankind to peace and bliss,
Inspiring them, when well unfurled,
To link in brotherhood the world.
Could any sect or doctrine claim
A higher, nobler, holier aim?
And should not all religion tend,
To this all-glorious god-like end?
The greatest teacher ever known,
This simple rule of life has shown
Should be the standard for all time,
Of all the sons of every clime.
If then Christ's soul-inspiring plan,
Makes love to God and love to man,
Embrace all duties, and insure
Virtue and happiness most pure.
Why vex the world with differing creeds,
Which meet not universal needs,
Which sore perplex and lead the mind
To separate, not link mankind?
For would not self-denial spring
From such rich soil, and blessings bring,
Which would provoke each one to be
His brother's helper ceaselessly?
If each love God with heart and mind,
And treat as brethren all mankind,
All other virtues must perforce,
Outflow from such inspiring source.
Such life divine inspired within,
Would form stern barriers to all sin,
And be the motive power to lead,
To all that man could wish or need.
Blest reason, long dethroned, might then
Become the guide of erring men,
Blind superstition meet its doom,
Within an unregretted tomb.
Let all with one accord then bend,
Their powers to further this grand end,
Love then would herald the new birth,
Of peace and good will through the earth.
* * * * *
TO A FAITHFUL DOG.
Poor Tyne! no verse of mine has ever sung
The praise of one more faithful than thou wert,
For warm affection formed a major part
Of thy canine existence, now, alas!
Cut short by sad and cruel accident.
We cannot choose but mourn thee, good old dog,
Who for a period of thirteen years
Guarded the family hearth and claimed a share
Of warm affection in its daily life,
Watching through tender, melancholy eyes,
Each loved one forming its component parts.
Ready to follow, sport, caress or play,
If but a kind word led the cue or way,
_Parisien emigre_ of sixty-seven,
Reserved for kinder, more congenial fate
Than thy unhappy brethren of the siege;
Perchance with instinct keen thou did'st rejoice
To leave thy native land, o'ercharged with strife,
And on a foreign shore tell out thy life.
Thy soft, thick, creamy coat, expressive tail,
Deep, lustrous, loving eyes, short bark and wail;
Thy wild delight at prospect of a walk,
Glad boundings over green sward fresh and free,
Thy look of conscious guilt when wrong was done,
And patient waiting at thy master's side,
For well-selected morsel of each meal;
Thy pleadings, far more eloquent than words
Of mine could ever chronicle, thy sweet
Low whinings of inquiry or desire,
All will be long remembered, watcher true,
Good, old, affectionate, responsive Tyne!
* * * * *
Is there a heart so sere as not to feel
Pleasures innumerable o'er it stead,
In sweet surroundings of earth's lovely flowers,
Which cheer and elevate man's saddest hours.
Sweet messages from heaven they convey,
Through perfumed breath they sing their God-taught-lay,
Root firmly bedded in the active sod,
And eye turned upward to their Father God.
Pure gems of earth are beauteous to behold,
Set in the royalty of burnished gold;
But what is their dead beauty, to the glow
Of living, loving glory which flowers show?
Kind angel messengers to earth they seem,
Suggestive of hopes radiant, evergreen,
And of a future blossoming above,
In an eternal home of blissful love.
Types of what earthly love is meant to be,
Struggling through labours to existence free.
Then putting on a fragant outgrowth, rife
With joy for others, through true flowering life.
Sweet influences borne on angel wing,
These odorous blossoms to the sad heart sing,
Diffusing added zest to joyful mirth,
And spreading ripening gladness through the earth.
The perfume of a flower, a touch, a tone,
Oft waken memories of dear days gone,
Wherein an atmosphere of earthly bliss,
A plighted love was sealed with thrilling kiss.
Who has not treasured some poor faded flower?
In token of a radiant, love lit hour,
When life was one delicious joyful dream,
Ere we had learnt "things are not what they seem."
Sweet rose! in sunlit robes of beauty rare,
Which loads with fragrance the enraptured air,
Reposing gracefully on verdant stem,
Thou art of all earth's flowers the choicest gem!
Well has our country done in making thee
An emblem of her nationality;
Thy beauteous form, sweet breath and sunset sheen,
Make thee of all earth's loveliest flowers the Queen!
Who says that Scotland's thistle is not fair?
Of sturdy growth and free determined air,
Type of a race, in mental vigour strong,
Of perseverance and endurance long.
The shamrock with its triple verdant smile,
Fit emblem of our emerald sister isle!
Whose people's pleasant humour laughs down care,
As they good fellowship delight to share.
May thistle, shamrock, rose, for aye intwine
In union and brotherhood sublime;
And every Briton heavenward waft the prayer,
That each the other's weal or woe still share.
Narcissus, sacred to proud Juno once,
Was afterwards the flower of cultured France,
Then the dynastic emblem of Savoy,
Now, the red Indian's magic herb and joy.
The violets of classic Athens too,
Of modest bearing and enchanting hue,
In the accomplishment of time became,
Napoleon's violets of world-wide fame.
Nabrassor's Queen, tired of the level plains
Which her adopted Babylonia claims,
Sighed for her Midian gardens and sweet flowers,
To cheer her in her few retiring hours.
She sighed not long or vainly, for her lord
Called art to rival nature; at his word
Bewitching gardens with rare flowers were
Formed and suspended in mid-air for her.
Let all be grateful to these flower friends,
Who to life's pleasure such rich fragrance lends,
And strive, like them through perfumed actions clear,
Others to gladden, elevate and cheer.
Then will they not have toiled and smiled in vain,
For man a fuller, freer life to gain,
In bright incentives to enjoyments sure,
Through sympathetic nature's teachings pure.
* * * * *
A WELCOME FROM LIVERPOOL.
_To Her Majesty the Queen, May 11th, 1886_
Beloved Queen of Britain's sea-girt Isles,
And lands o'er which the grand Sun ever smiles,
Accept from Liverpool, we humbly pray,
The heartiest welcome loyal hearts can pay.
Thrice welcome to this enteprising Port,
Whose ships to Earth's remotest point resort,
Making our City a commercial throne,
For merchant princes of deserved renown.
The loyal shouts which will beset thy way,
And hearty cheers which thrill thy heart to-day,
Are but expressions impotent to tell,
Our fealty to the Queen we love so well.
We welcome also Connaught's Prince with pride,
And the Prince Henry and his royal bride,
And pray they may in wedded bliss long live,
With every blessing heaven and earth can give.
Our Exhibition, we would fondly hope,
May prove with former splendid shows to cope;
But chief its maritime displays we deem,
May gain the approbation of our Queen.
Peoples of other and far distant lands,
Have toiled with active brains and willing hands,
Working with competition's keen excess,
To make the shipperies a grand success.
In its arrangements may a lion's share
Of grateful thanks be given to our mayor,
To whose untiring enterprise is due,
The grand result which we now proudly view.
What rich displays of scientific art,
Applied to manufactures, form a part
Of its instruction, and what mines of wealth
Have they not sprung to minister to health.
What triumphs of constructive power are here,
What force in those huge engines doth appear,
Which leagued with steam are conquering time and space
And quickening intellect to giant's pace.
And see, yon granite structure towering high,
As if earth's wildest tempest to defy,
Lighthouse of Eddystone, reared at Land's End,
To storm-tossed mariners an angel friend!
And fitting offspring of this noble tower,
To shipwrecked mariners a priceless dower,
Are those blest life-boats merciful to save
Full many a sufferer from a watery grave.
Yonder the graceful trophy, typical
Of our fair City's commerce, trade and skill,
A not unworthy tribute to form part
Of the world's storehouse of constructive art.
Magnificent displays from every clime!
Columbia, Afric', Asia, all combine
With Europe, in this peaceful contest won
From every nation known beneath the Sun!
Science, with her fair sister Art, unite
With nature, to form parterres rare and bright,
Preside at buffets of refreshment pure,
To make enjoyment in the whole more sure.
All industries have freely lent their aid.
And to our city's fete grand tribute made,
Too numerous the products, rich and rare,
In this too brief description to have share,
Suffice it that the whole is richly worth
A pilgrimage from any part of earth,
Besides the lustre shed by thee, dear Queen,
Over the practical, inspiring scene.
Well do we, who are acting out life's part
In its last scene, remember with sad heart,
How nearly five and thirty years ago,
Thou came'st here, with thy loved one, in life's glow!
Albert the Good! long shall his honoured name
Deep love and reverence from all people claim;
Cultured and intellectual, virtuous, kind.
His manly heart was generous and refined.
Noble by birth, yet nobler far by deed,
In philanthrophic work he took the lead,
With thy ennobling union strengthened, graced,
His name on Fame's grand scroll is firmly traced.
Accept, beloved Queen, ere thou depart,
The fervent prayer of every loyal heart,
That the Great Father bless and guard thee long,
Thy gracious reign to prosper and prolong.
* * * * *
IN RESPONSE TO A KIND GIFT OF FLOWERS.
Your beauteous gift of lovely brilliant flowers,
My dear young friend, has cheered my suffering hours,
With loved charged telegrams from nature's king,
Such as these messengers to mortals bring.
In gorgeous hues of scarlet, pink and white,
Caught from the glorious sun's electric light.
And sheened by lovely fronds of maiden hair,
With which no emerald jewels could compare.
How merciful the ways of providence!
Our daily life with such sweet joys to fence,
And linking with them such divine discourse,
To point the way to heavenly intercourse!
What pure benevolence has called them forth,
Calm, blooming offspring of rejoicing earth,
Never to sadden, ever to make gay,
And chase the clouds of gloom and care away.
Responding with delight to human care,
Loading with fragrance the enraptured air,
Proving that culture and refinement can,
Increase the happiness of plants and man.
While the divine suggestions which they impart,
Are elevating both to mind and heart;
Calm and refresh the spirit, and incite
To seek through nature's laws "The kindly light."
For nature is God's revelation sure,
Which ever was and ever shall endure,
A daily new creation, to inspire
To simple pleasures and devine desire.
Then let us question nature more and more,
Her glorious realm more ardently explore,
Since she has joys unbounded to extend,
To all who truly seek to be her friend.
* * * * *
Of all the blessings which kind heaven bestows,
From infancy to life's most lengthened close,
The one, far greater than all earthly wealth,
Is the inestimable gift of health;
But as this precious gift of heaven is placed
Greatly within our power to use or waste,
Should not its scientific study claim
Our grave attention and our best care gain?
Without it, the bright jewel of the mind
Is apt to get distorted, weak and blind,
And if not previously well schooled and trained,
Becomes to fears unjustified enchained.
This chiefest blessing of all bounteous heaven,
Is to His children by the Father given
As a productive talent, to be used
For universal good, and not abused.
It thus becomes a solemn charge, that each
Who understands it thus, should others teach,
By individual efforts, and means paid,
For missionary service widely laid,
And as strong healthy minds so much depend,
On healthy bodies; to this righteous end.
Should not all education be then based
On this foundation and with it enlaced?
Let children even, learn that kindly heaven,
To them this priceless heritage has given,
Which they must learn to use with constant care,
And of its dangerous abuse beware.
Why should they not be early taught to know
The dire effects from alcohol that flow,
As well as the right use of generous food.
And well-timed exercise to cleanse the blood.
To trace th' effects that flow from every cause:
With ventilation's most important laws,
Of cleanliness of mind and person too,
And strict exactitude in all they do,
And to breathe through their nostrils, meant to be
Their ever ready respirator free:
To masticate, not bolt their food, and try
To learn themselves, and know the reason why.
Thus being early taught, in after life
They might be better armoured for the strife
Of fierce temptations, which, when conquered, can
Strengthen and elevate the inner man,
For soon or later each is bound to learn,
That every talent must make fair return,
To Him who mercifully gave its use,
For joyful happiness, and not abuse.
There are three sanitary agents given
To mankind, by the gracious God of heaven,
Freely and without stint, for all who choose
These blessed ministers of His to use.
These agents blest are, water, light and air,
Abundantly provided everywhere,
Flowing so freely o'er the outstretched earth,
That man has scarcely yet discerned their worth.
The wind is earth's great ventilating force,
Water the cleansing, purifying course,
Light the awakening, stimulating power,
To nature as to man Heaven's priceless dower.
Important lessons they each hourly teach,
Which every creature has within his reach,
For the same laws that nature's rule apply
To every member of God's family,
Bringing stern punishment for every cause
Involved in disobeying His great laws.
All honour to the band of pioneers,
Who nobly fought 'midst opposition sneers
T' establish sanitary laws, through all
Our towns and cities, for the great and small,
So that preventable disease might be
Assaulted, and stamped out effectually,
And that diseases which perforce remain
Might fuller scientific treatment claim;
And, thanks to Heaven, the fight was not in vain,
For their wise teaching was so simple, plain,
That thousands were induced to join th' affray
And aid the righteous scheme to win the day,
So that a large share of the nation's wealth
Was gained to minister to public health:
And now, no longer are our towns disgraced
By filthy sewage and foul noxious waste,
And every corporation through the land
Is bound on this wise scheme to take its stand.
Medical science tells us that the skin
Is pierced by perspiratory tubes within,
In countless thousands, used for drainage pores;
Vessels secreting oil are found in stores,
Whilst more provide for growth, and others still
Carry off parts decayed with matchless skill,
Each needing daily cleansing with due care,
If we would health and mental vigour share.
Providing other strict conditions willed
By nature, be unswervingly fulfilled.
Thus it should be our first concern to learn,
The laws on which such vital interests turn.
The ambulance and cookery classes each,
In pleasant style much useful wisdom teach,
But are not patronized to the extent
They merit, in their practical intent.
The winter course of science lectures free
A spur to much research has proved to be,
Where representatives from every class,
The most delightful hours together pass.
And what a joy it is to sit at ease,
Listening to words that educate and please,
From master minds who know their subject well,
And on its salient points delighted dwell.
These with free libraries and concerts tend
Much happiness with useful work to blend;
And our fair city may be proud to know,
Th' uplifting forces which from them outflow.
The despotism of custom in our day
To much benignant progress bars the way,
While superstition, ignorance and sloth
Oppose all national and mental growth.
But under education's brightening ray,
And blessed reason's intellectual sway,
These barriers are bound to disappear,
And leave the path to progress free and clear.
The dogmatism of fashion too is crime,
When injuring the human form sublime,
By its stern mandates, which attract the weak,
Causing them nature's holiest laws to break,
By lacing tightly, to a model form,
Which fashion sternly says should then be worn;
This tightening in the vital organs so,
Prevents the circulation's healthy flow,
And thus the lungs and pliant ribs and heart,
Incapable of acting out the part
Assigned to them by nature, prove a prey
To premature diseases and decay.
We talk with pious horror and regret,
Of the unwise Chinese, who will not let
The feet of their poor female children grow,
Entailing thus unutterable woe;
But when unprejudiced the reason acts,
And we together scan th' appalling facts,
Resulting from tight lacing, and tight shoes,
We cannot conscientiously refuse,
To say that of the two vile customs, ours
Is certainly more culpable than theirs,
While we too are not guiltless or discreet,
Respecting our behaviour to our feet,
Making them hobble on high heels, with toes
Not half the width that should their forms enclose;
So we should be more modest when we seek
To satirize them and their customs-weak,
Remembering that we too are much to blame,
And like them merit censure and much shame.
How wisely Israel's poet songster said,
That cleanliness to godliness is wed,
For filthiness of body must conduct,
Impurities which mental life obstruct.
How well are engineers on the alert,
To keep their engines free from dust and dirt,
Knowing that without such great care from them,
They could not do the work required by men;
So neither can we hope our bodies will
Their heaven directed work aright fulfil,
If their machinery is not kept free,
From foul obstruction and impurity.
Science and nature then should be our guide,
Instructive lessons they for all provide,
Teaching us how the pleasant winds insure
That atmospheric air is sweet and pure;
God's antidote they are, invisible,
To poisonous vapours else unbearable,
Which steam from all decaying substances,
Throughout the earth's wide-spread dependences.
But as men civilized do not exist
Always in open air, these guides insist,
That as God uses circulating air,
To purify and sweeten everywhere,
That we should also, through our dwellings wide
An ever circulating air provide,
As we, like other animals outpour,
Foul, poisonous vapours too from every pore.
How well bees understand effects and cause,
Of breaking ventilation's righteous laws,
For see, their crowded hive with straw inlaid,
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