Lays from the West
M. A. Nicholl
Part 1 out of 3
This eBook was produced by Sergio Cangiano, Juliet Sutherland,
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LAYS FROM THE WEST
Then the spirit reached her fingers,
Taper things of rosy snow,
Took my songs, and as she took them,
"Tiny germs," she whispered "go!
Root among the coming hours,
Seeds are ye of many flowers,
Which from out the winds will grow!"
* * * * *
WITH MUCH GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION
_MRS. T. SPOTISWOOD ASH,_
THE MANOR HOUSE,
* * * * *
IN THE NORTHWEST.
"I'll not forget Old Ireland, were it fifty times as fair."
In myriads o'er the prairie
Bright flowers bloom strangely fair,
There's beauty in the clear blue sky,
There's sweetness in the air;
And loveliness, with lavish hand,
Decks dell and dingle gay;
Yet still I love my native land--
The Green Isle, far away.
The poplar quivers in the breeze,
And by the blue lake's side.
The regal iris, tall and fair,
Blooms in her native pride;
But I dream of the broad beeches' shade
In glens beside Lough Neagh
And my longing thoughts go back to thee,
O, Green Isle, far away!
Strange birds, in painted plumage gay,
In hundreds haunt the grove;
O'er marsh and moor, the loon and heron,
The coot and plover rove;
But I miss the lark's glad matin song,
And the thrush and blackbird's lay,
The summer songsters, sweet and wild,
In the Green Isle, far away.
Along the blue horizon line
The "bluffs" rise 'gainst the sky,
But in dreams I see Old Erin's coast--
Her mountains wild and high
Slieve Gallon, with his hoary head
Gold-crowned at close of day,
When sunset lights the grand old hills
In the Green Isle, far away.
There's beauty in the woodland wilds
With their varied foliage fair,
But, cowering from the light of day,
The grim wolf shelters there.
Ah! dear old woods, where I have roamed
At eve of summer day,
No hidden dangers haunt your glades,
In the Green Isle, far away.
The clear Assiniboine winds free
Through many a fertile vale;
The antlered deer and graceful hind
Bound o'er the wooded dale;
But I miss the quiet rural scenes--
The farm-house, thatched and grey,
That memory fondly pictures now
Of the Green Isle, far away.
The Sabbath morn its holy calm
Breathes o'er the prairie lands,
And the answering heart hears Nature's psalm
And the wild woods clap their hands.
But I long to hear the church bell's sound
Tell to these wilds that day,
When thousands meet to praise and pray
In the Green Isle far away.
Here life lays hold of brighter things
For the fair years to be,
But the deathless Past and all her dreams,
Old land, belong to thee!
The buried love, the buried hope
Of youth's glad summer day,
That blend with unforgotten scenes
Of the Green Isle, far away.
And while we love this pleasant land
And own it good and fair,
Our hearts' first love goes backward
And fondly lingers there--
Back to the dear home country,
Then forward to that day
When all shall meet together,
From the Green Isle pass'd away.
"In the gloaming Oh, my darling."
Oh! green-bosomed Isle, as the summer day's gloaming,
Lies dreamy and dun on the prairie's wild breast
There my worn, wayward heart o'er the wild waves is roaming
Far, far to the scenes that are dearest and best.
As by bluff and by woodland, by swamp and by meadow,
The gloom gathers round in its dim, mystic pall,
Then my fancies come forth, spirit-children of shadow,
Slow gliding from haunts where the lone night-birds call.
When the wind, ardent lover, in songful caressing,
Speaks low to the grasses that bend to his breath,
And the dew woos the rose with the balm of its blessing
And steals it with love from the shadow of death.
Then I seek the wild glen, when the new moon is beaming
All weirdly and wan, through a cloud's fleecy haze,
'Till I stand, young and free, in the land of my dreaming,
Clasping hands with the phantoms of happier days.
And then, oh! mavourneen, in grey distance flying
The present, the real, grows dimmer, and dies,
See but the moonbeams, but hear the winds sighing,
And bask, fancy bound, in the light of your eyes.
My own! though the years in the gloom of their sadness
Stand, frowning, 'tween me and the light of my star,
And memory can feel the wild might of loves madness,
Or scoff as rude Time its first sweetness would mar.
Again, by the banks where Moyola is flowing
We stray as the moonbeams smile sweet through the dell
Unheeded the moments, unmarked in their going,
Nor dreamed we of woe in the sound of "farewell."
Is it lost--all the light of the fair morning vision?
Is spirit to spirit unanswering, cold?
No, it never shall die, while in memory's Elysian
It lingers in beauty and brightness untold.
Love is love, and though Fate blasts our hope vines may sever
From the stay which their tendrils in fondness entwine
Yet the past of our joy we must cherish forever
And spirit meet spirit at memory's shrine.
"Indulgent Memory wakes, and, lo! they live!"
Deathless, while the years are flying,
And all lesser hopes are dying.
To my widowed heart near lying
By a life-time's love embalmed,
Is a memory, dear and tender,
And in dreams its bygone splendour
Sweetest, holiest, balm can render
To my grief, by Time uncalmed.
In life's morning, young and early
Glistening fair through dew-drops pearly,
Burst a bud that promised fairly
Through the length of future days.
Ah! it charmed my passion'd dreaming,
Bathed in beauty's brightness, beaming
Fadeless still, and deathless seeming
In fond Hope's delusive haze.
And, as when in wild December,
June's calm twilights we remember,
So this dream in shadowy splendour
Ever haunts my lonely way;
And I see in fond delusion,
Glowing as in light Elysian,
The entrancing, old-time vision
Doom'd so early to decay.
Days when Hope, how false! still flaunted
Through my dreamings, love enchanted,
Framed by busy Fancy, haunted
By glad visions of delight,--
Morns of light, and sunsets golden,
Dreams of legends, grand and olden,
Hopes for future years, withholden
From our youthful, yearning sight.
Past and gone! Ah! vain my sighing,--
Hope's dead leaves are round me lying,
But their fragrances, undying,
Like a hallowed incense rise;
And I feel, with joy unspoken,
That the spirit love unbroken
Leaves this Memory for a token
Of its truth, that never dies.
In that land whose beauty vernal
Through tried ages blooms eternal
Thou, in bliss undreamed, supernal
Baskest in the glory-light
Where celestial joys inspire
All heaven's vast, unnumbered choir
With sweet songs that never tire,
Through the fadeless summer bright.
Here, how sad this dreary roaming,
Through the shadows of earth's gloaming,
Waiting for the longed-for coming
Of the lingering Morning Star;
But swift time is onward fleeting--
Backward is the past retreating,
Nearer, nearer draws our meeting
In the future, dim and far.
AFTER LIFE'S FEVER.
_Obiit, June, 1882_.
--"And then, a flood of light, a seraph's hymn,
And God's own smile, forever, and forever."
Oh! pale, calm face; eyes by the Death-kiss sealed,
Cold hands, upon the silent bosom folden;
Oh! soul, set free--of all sin's sickness healed,
Basking in light, from mortal eyes withholden,
_In cúlo quies_.
Still heart, that ached and throbb'd with human passion,
Locks, white with snow of many a winter past,
Tired body, weary after earth's poor fashion,
Sleep calmly till the waking trumpet blast--
_In cúlo quies_.
All over now--the heart-ache and the burning
Of thoughts, so trammelled by this "mortal coil;"
The soul has cast behind its moans and yearning,
The hands are resting from the long life's toil,--
_In cúlo quies_.
I, mournful gazer, watching by the portal
Whence thou, from death to life, hast entered in,
Would fain catch one stray gleam of light immortal,
To tell me, ever drowning earth's wild din,
_In cúlo quies_.
I might not hear the angel welcome ringing,
Nor see the pearly portals open wide,
Wherein the ransomed band, the new song singing,
In white robes wander by life's river side,
_In cúlo quies_.
"_In cúlo quies_," while the storms are beating
Along earth's desert moorlands, wild and wide;
While skies shall lower, and angry waves are meeting
Thy bark is moored--thou art beyond the tide,
_In cúlo quies_.
"_In cúlo quies_"--Rest, pure, deep, eternal,
Peace, in a perfect, blissful, endless calm;
Charmed by the beatific joys supernal,
Lull'd by the melody of seraph's psalm,
_In cúlo quies_.
Here, we but dream it all--the rest--the glory,
Here we but yearn for it in sob and pain;
Till knees wax weary and till locks grow hoary,
Still "westward journeying," at length to gain,
_In cúlo quies_.
But _thou_ mayest sleep; thy toilsome warfare ended,
The long, rough life-path has been nobly trod,
And with our lost ones, thou sweet songs hast blended,
To hail them found, beside the throne of God?
_In cúlo quies_.
LIGHT AT EVENTIDE.
Round us in the stillness spreading,
Comes the night.
Mortal ears can't hear the treading
Of her footsteps, soft and light.
Dusky veil that shades the valleys,
Shadowy glooms in greenwood alleys.
Twilight dreamings, sweet and blest.
All the day-time cares are ended,
Now by unseen bands attended,
Far, in fancy, we are led.
Misty forms of mystic seeming
Memory's myriad tapers gleaming
Light old scenes and make them clear--
Morn's vain hopes, and noon's stern sorrows,
Tears and cares;
Days of toiling, and to-morrow's
Bringing less of wheat than tares.
And the chequered, varied pages
Of life's book
Seem a sea whose calms and rages
Now the tired heart cannot brook.
Evening calm! ah, best and purest
Time of peace;
Soothing balm, when hope is surest,
To bid all vain doubting cease.
Pointing on, when near the pleasant,
When we leave this weary present
And have gained the pearly gates.
And as evening shadows, creeping,
Dim eyes, worn so weak with weeping,
Learn to smile as peace is found.
In the hope so full of cheering
Home, sweet home! our rest we're nearing!
Evening time shall bring us light.
Light of heaven! Earth's gloom adorning
With thy smile,
Earnest of the eternal morning
After this brief "little while."
Ruddy bright the dying embers
In the glooming, glow and burn,
Scenes of olden-time Decembers,
Ashes now in Times' great urn,
That the heart so well remembers
At this haunted hour reborn:--
All the fairy scenes Elysian
Born again in recollection,
Seen with mirror-like reflection,
Throng upon the wondering vision.
Once again I hear the river
In the darkness rush and roar,
See the pine-boughs wave and quiver,
Hear the oak trees, blasted, hoar,
Muttering, as their gaunt arms shiver,
"Come again, oh! days of yore!"
Come, oh times of hope and longing,
When the beauteous, pure ideal,
Seemed tangible and real--
"Love the light of Truth's belonging."
And the woodland walks, enchanted,
By the moonlight's mystic sheen,
Seen as near as when Hope flaunted
In the distance, dimly seen,
That the witched hour seems haunted
By the joys that once have been.
Dear old days! they seem returning.
Though their radiance long has vanished,
Though their rays stern fate has banished,
Fancy still can see them burning.
See their magic, nameless graces,
Through the shadows flit and gleam,
See again beloved faces
Shine around as in a dream,
And the well-remembered places
Of the bygone, nearer seem,
Till all present melancholy,
Fades away, and sweet and tender,
Visions of life's spring-time splendour,
Gleam among the bay and holly.
Hark! the Christmas bells are ringing
From the grey church-steeple near,
And the choir are sweetly singing,
"Nowel! Hail Messiah here!
Nowel! for He cometh, bringing
Unto all mankind good cheer."
Through the night the music stealing
Bringeth soothing sweet and pleasant,
Sheds a peace upon the present,
Future days in light revealing.
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever"
HEBREWS xiii. 8.
In life's young morning blue-eyed promise smiled
O'er a fair future of enchanting grace,
And sweet toned love the golden hours beguiled,
And Fortune's radiant smile illumed the place.
But change, dread vulture, swooped upon her prey.
And seized my treasures as Time's car sped on,
Then traitor love took wings, and fled away.
And long ere noon I wept a setting sun.
Then Phoenix-like, beside the smoldering pile,
Kind friendship rose with open, outstretched hands,
But, ere I grasped them, death with icy smile
Had rudely snapp'd in twain the three-fold bands.
E'en while I mourned, I heard a thrilling voice
That said in stirring accents, "Up! arise!
Work, that in harvest time thou mayest rejoice!"
And Fame stood pointing to the brightening skies.
Then dreams, false phantoms, filled the gloaming air
And lured me, spell-bound, by a labyrinth maze,
But morning beams awakened new despair--
The meteor glories passed in mist and haze.
Through shady groves I strayed, and on before
Walked high-browed Knowledge, calm-eyed and severe
Unwearied still, I trod his footprints o'er,
But fainting fell, the longed-for prize anear.
Hard-smitten then, I wept; all woe-all gloom!
The heart-void still unfilled, ached keen and sore,
When through the inky darkness shot a gleam
Of new-born glory, unrevealed before.
Dear Lord! How frail these bauble-toys of Time
When Thy "forever" dawns upon the heart;
Thy perfect fullness, Saviour, how divine,
E'en while we taste its blessedness in part!
Still yesterday, to-day, while ages roll
In grand, eternal vastness, still the same,
Oh! potent Healer! every whit made whole,
I sing glad Hallelujah to Thy name!
THE OLD TRYSTING PLACE.
"Die erste Liebe ist die beste."
Through the green boughs the golden sunshine falling
Glints on the glades and lonely woodland bowers;
Bird answers bird, through the wide woodlands calling,
In the deep hush of the calm summer hours.
The limpid river winding through the meadows,
Laughing and sparkling in the sunny noon,
Takes peaceful tones here, 'neath the beeches' shadows,
And sings sweet idylls in low, fitful tune.
Songs of the olden days, of hopes and pleasures,
Songs of the love of youth's glad morning times,
That sigh around our path like dream-world treasures,
Soothing as music of the vesper chimes.
The rustic bridge, the leaves' soft shadows playing
Down in the water-depths, and from away
'Mong the blue hills, come mingled echoes straying,
The pleasant sounds that fill the summer day.
Aburnum's gold, and quivering beech-leaves blending,
Sway, dancing in the breezes, to and fro;
Wild hyacinths, their blue heads lowly bending,
Listen the secrets of the winds to know.
Oh! quaint old trysting-place! oh! lights and shadows,
And sounds that haunt the dreams of Life's glad May!
Dreams withered like the May-flowers in the meadows
Or roses of the Junes long passed away.
Here, oft in dreams, I see my own true maiden,
The pure flower-face, the rippling golden hair;
Ah! many years have roll'd past, sorrow-laden,
Since blue-eyed Edmee waited for me there!
Ah! murmuring brook, with waving willow fringes,
Ah! woodland picture, all your charmed glow
Is touched and changed by Truth's own sober tinges,
Tints that youth's eager eyes see not, nor know.
Fraught with these gleams of old-time faith and feeling,
Fraught with the memory of "what might have been,"
A still, small voice says all is God's wise dealing,
Behind the clouds is brightness yet unseen.
Young love and hope in all their matchless glory,
Smile on our morning-time, then fade away;
Teaching unwilling hearts the sad, true story,
No lasting joy is here, all knows decay.
"Die erste Liebe ist die beste," leaving
A holy radiance round the scenes we knew;
A potent power to point lone spirits, grieving,
To deathless Love whose charms are ever new.
It ever shows, "in part," in sweet tuition,
What we shall know when we have gained the light,
When all our highest hopes fade in fruition,
Where the Eternal Summer beameth bright.
THY WORD IS A LIGHT UNTO MY FEET.
Oh! Light of Lights! dark, dark is earth's long way,
Cloud upon cloud looms o'er the path I stray;
Far-off and dim the heavenly Land appears,
Through the thick mist of weak distrust--and fears.
Helpless, I seek Thy Word, and hear Thy voice,
That bids me always in the Lord rejoice;
Pointing from doubts within, and this world's wile
To peace and victory, in "a little while."
Oh! Saviour, Friend, how dark is life's rough path.
What gloom and sorrow haunts this Vale of Death;
Subtle the way, beset with many a snare
And hidden evils lurking everywhere.
But in this Light that shows my love, I see,
This path Thou'st trod, and borne these griefs, for me,
"Fear not!" I hear in tones of tenderest love
"'Tis in thy weakness that my strength I prove."
The world's temptations rage on life's wild sea,
Drifting the fragile bark I steer to Thee,
But safe I pass the rocks and angry waves,
Helped by Thy mighty arm that shields and saves.
And still above the wind's and water's roar
A calm voice hails me from the distant shore,
"Cast all your care undoubtingly on Me,
Fully and freely, for I care for thee."
When twilight shades fall round me, dim and grey,
All those I love the most are far away,
I look to Thee, and dry my willful tears--
With love like Thine, I dread no lonely years.
If 'tis Thy will, let bitter partings come,
Sweet shall the meetings be in yonder Home;
While here I have Thy love that cannot die,
And could I feel alone when Thou art nigh?
Weary with waiting for Thy promised rest,
Dismayed with doubts, with sinfulness distressed;
"Oh! let Thy kingdom come!" I pray "that I
May join the glad new song they sing on high;"
Then thy sweet words bring patience, "I prepare
For thee an heavenly mansion, bright and fair,
That where I am Thou mayest with Me abide,
And taste full joy for ever by My side."
I bless thee, Saviour, for this word of life,
This light to guide me safe through every strife,
This lantern o'er my pathway shining clear
To show the dangers, and the Helper near.
I love to see it beaming, day by day,
Thine own bright smile, that lights the darksome way;
"Led by Thy counsel," oh! what joy to be
"Received in glory," Lord, at last by Thee.
"In der Weit, weit,
Aus der Einsamkeit,
Wollen sie Dich locken."--FAUST.
When the glad, bright days of our youth's fresh prime,
Shall have pass'd, as a dream that at morning dies;
When the long blank stretch of the coming time
Like a desolate desert before us lies,
Dreary and cheerless, 'neath sunless skies.
When young, sweet love, with her luring smile,
The mystic charm-light of halcyon hours,
Shall no more with her witch'ry our souls beguile,
As the leaves grow seer on Life's fading bowers,
And the blushes are pale on its withering flowers.
When the strains we loved in the days of yore
No more with their sweetness our heart's-chords thrill,
When Hope's roseate meteors glow no more,
Like the summer sunrise o'er vale and hill,
That our dreamings with radiance were wont to fill.
When these are gone, shall the lone heart know
No solace the solitude's gloom to cheer?
Shall no stray beams lighten the spirit's woe
As it moans "alone!" e'en when crowds are near?
Must _all_ be lost that was once so dear?
Ah, no! Though Time is a thief, I ween,
Stealing youth's best wealth as the swift years go,
Still the memories of pleasures which once have been--
The dreams of the beautiful "Long ago,"
Are our own to keep, and shall aye be so!
"THE KING IS DEAD."
Hush! There's a solemn pause,
And looks of fear!
You ask--Whence comes the cause?
Grim Death is here!
Oh! well thou answerest, well--
'Tis fairly said;
Our hearts thrill to the knell,
"The King is dead!"
Dead! And the bell swings, swings
On in its deep, sad tone;
We own the King of Kings
Is King alone!
We crown our Kings, we place
Bay leaves on victors' brow,
But all our mortal race
Can boast is _now._
The body lay in state,
All fair to mortal eye;
The soul's eternal fate--
Oh! Death, thy mystery!
TO "X. Y. Z.,"
On receiving a paper from him.
"Old places have a charm for me
The new can ne'er attain;
Old faces--how I long to see
Their kindly looks again!"--Anon.
"X. Y. Z.," your paper was
A welcome thing, indeed, to me;
It brought the memories of old days,
Like fragrance wafted o'er the sea.
It spake about familiar nooks,
The dear old paths I know so well;
I almost thought I heard the brooks,
Or roamed again my favourite dell.
The happy hours, the rustic glades,
The gloaming time, the twilight stroll,
Ah, me! these April evening shades
With old-time dreams can haunt one's soul.
The heart feels young again and free,
And no such word is known as care;
Sweet rays of light that used to be
Seem hovering in the twilight air!
The hedges and the fields of green,
The lanes, the flowers, the wild bird's trill,
The trees, seen down the water's sheen.
The cattle lowing o'er the hill!
Your well-drawn school-life picture, too,
My school-time morn recalls again;
'Tis like an old tune, sweet and true,
That mingles pleasing notes with pain.
The fields, the schools, the village way,
The quaint, old-fashioned, country rhyme,
All come, like mystic glows that stray
Across the yellowing fields of Time.
The English lanes have lovely flowers,
And moss, and ferns, and birds that sing,
But Erin--green Erin--still is ours.
And to her name our fond hearts cling.
Each land we visit claims some grace--
Some special charm it calls its own;
Yet patriot souls must love the place
Which childhood's happy memories crown.
When first from Eden's blissful bowers,
Man roamed o'er earth in exile driven,
Kind Heaven, to cheer his lonely hours,
A source of joy to him hath given.
'Tis Love, that lights our darkest days,
'Tis Love, that cheers our keenest woe,
'Tis Love, whose soul inspiring rays,
Gilds all our lives with heaven-lent glow.
Ambition leads us for a while
To follow many a meteor light--
Whose flickering beams our souls beguile,
And lure us on to hopeless night.
And Fame may sound her clarion voice--
Wealth bring his hoards from every clime,
But Age shall come, and earth's frail joys
Must own the sway of sovereign Time.
But Love, as flying years go past,
Shall glow with holier, tenderer beam,
And shine, our guiding star at last
Till our dull hearts shall catch a gleam.
And when our life on earth is o'er
And we from all our toil shall rest,
The beams of Love will light that shore
Where Love has ransomed all the Blest!
A BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY.
"Tis sweet, when year by year we lose
Friends out of sight, in faith to muse
How grows in Paradise our store!"--KEBLE.
His Birthday! but to-night there is no gladness,
As in the bright old days forever flown;
And in my heart one aching thought of sadness
Seems ever whispering, Alone! Alone!
The darkness gathers round, and, wan and olden,
The worn day paler grows, and dies away,
And all life's light and brightness now seem folden
Beneath the twilight's dusky mantle gray.
The old church tower, amid the shadows looming,
Stands grim and sombre in the dying light;
The trees with leafless branches shiver, moaning,
As the sad winds sigh softly through the night.
Weird looks the ruined church, where ivy creeping
Decks the old walls fast mouldering in decay;
And peace rests o'er the graves in whose calm keeping,
In quiet safety, sleeps the treasured clay.
Here in this corner, where his grave is lying,
The fir trees throw deep shade, and soft and low,
When summer eve or winter day is dying,
The winds seem ever sighing songs of woe!
Oh! cherished spot! beloved beyond all measure,
Your holy peace that brings a balm so blest!
When turning from the world, in grief or pleasure,
I seek your calm, and hunger for your rest!
How feeble, then, seem all the ties that bound me
To this world's ways, that held such charms for me
And heaven-born dreams and holy thoughts surround me
Until from earth's vain things my soul is free!
Then do I feel this wound of Mercy's giving
Draws all my hopes from earth to holier love.
An e'en while here, sin-stained and lonely living,
My heart is with my treasure fixed above!
Still, looking upward to the Heavenly Mansion,
Where he abides--where we shall meet him there--
Where soul with soul shall blend in the expansion
Of that world's higher life, immortal, fair!
That land of beauty, where the Lamb in glory
Gathers His own to perfect bliss and peace,
Where all the ransomed sing Redemption's story
In joys celestial that can never cease.
Thrice happy lot was thine, oh, blessed spirit!
So early called from this dark vale of woe--
From chequered scenes of warfare--to inherit
That perfect love that God's own favoured know.
Then could we wish thee back to dwell with mortals
And bear those storms that toss Time's troubled sea?
No! from that home beyond the pearly portals
Thou canst not come, but we will go to thee!
R. A. WILSON, ESQ.,
EDITOR OF THE BELFAST MORNING NEWS.
Fair vales of Ulster! in the noontide smiling,
Blue Northern mountains, frowning to the sky;
Rivers that flow along, with song beguiling
The summer day _your_ beauties, too, must die!
Know ye no _requiem_? Ah! streamlets borrow
Your tones from tearful voices! Mountains blue,
O'er your high heads let heavy clouds of sorrow
Tell that ye mourn the death of Patriot true.
Erin! green Erin! let your great heart feel it!
Bid all your sons and daughters, fair and brave,
By dropping tears and mourning faces tell it,
As they place laurels on a new-made grave!
Lowly he lies to day? Death's deep, calm slumber
Has claimed another of our cherished ones;
As he, the talented, ranks with the number
Of Erin's lost, best-loved--her gifted sons!
"Barney Maglone" is dead! Let the winds sighing
On their fleet wings, bear far the wail of woe
To every land. Let them in wild, sad crying
Tell out to all the sorrow that we know.
_Our_ Poet, and not all Westminster's glory
Could ever give him half so loved a grave
As this green mound, with simple cross, whose story
Shall live 'mong annals of our gifted brave!
Methinks that far among old Ireland's mountains
I hear the breezes sing a sad dirge, low,
Wild, and yet soft, with tears from many fountains
And murmuring riven wailing in their flow.
The grand old woods, with leafy branches waving,
Mingle their many harps in one refrain,
Blent with the waves, whose foam our coast is laving,
Rolling afar, weeping aloud the strain--
Waters and wondrous deep,
Mountains and valleys;
Woodlands and heathery steep,
Lone greenwood alleys,
Sound the long wail of woe,
Tell the news, sad and low,
Let all the wide world know
Of the loved, lost one!
Waves of deep, boundless sea,
Boiling for ever free,
Tell through the time to be
Of the bright, lost one!
Erin, whose bosom green,
His own, his loved shrine has been,
Feel the woe thou hast seen
For the true, lost one!
His land, in weal or woe,
In dark gloom or sunny glow,
Do all Ireland's great ones know
Such zeal as this lost one?
Bright dreams! ah, how fleeting
Was his life's fair story!
Swift, swift was the meeting
Of Death, with earth's glory!
Unrivalled in splendour
His sky was at morning,
Still brightening, its grandeur
His noonday adorning.
But a dark cloud rose glooming,
Ah, me! 'twas Death's shadow!
It chilled the heat blooming
Of hillside or meadow!
Oh, waters and wondrous deep,
Mountains and valleys,
Woodlands and heathery steep,
Lone greenwood alleys--
Sound the weird wail of woe,
Tell the news sad and low,
Let all the wide world knew
Of Erin's best lost one!
WELCOME TO SPRING.
Oh, Spring! sweet Spring! with your golden hours,
Thrice welcome back to our vales and bowers!
I have sighed for you through the Winter's gloom,
And counted the months, till again you come.
Then, welcome, sweetest! I hail you here,
Fairest child of the smiling year!
I have watched for your advent with longing eyes,
As you lingered 'neath sunnier southern skies;
I have wafted songs o'er the winds to thee
The sighs of a lover's fond constancy.
Then, welcome, darling! to glen and grove,
Child of gladness, and nope, and love!
I see your footprints along the woods,
And your magic touch on the opening buds,
Bursting to birth on hedge and tree,
In promise of vernal life to be.
Then, welcome, Spring! to our land again,
Bringing beauty and me in your happy train!
I have marked where you paused by the streamlet's side,
There smiled the primrose, in early pride,
All golden fair 'mid her leaves of green.
Dropped from your garland, oh, beauteous queen!
Then, welcome! to brighten our long-left bower
Fair child of sunshine, and joy, and flowers!
I have paused entranced in the early morn,
When the birds awoke as the day was born,
Pealing welcomes wild in their native glee.
And my heart went out in their songs to thee,
On the fresh winds borne o'er the hills along,
Child of music, and mirth, and song!
Oh, Spring! sweet Spring! 'neath your gentle reign.
Life, light, and beauty are born again;
And sad hearts, hopeless in Winter days,
Break forth to singing glad songs of praise--
For that promise renewed in your yearly birth
Of a fadeless Spring and a ransomed Earth!
ONLY "A LITTLE WHILE."
I saw the sun arise in light at morning;
My being drank the beauty, like some dream
That comes when all is dark, the gloom adorning
With gilding mystic--bright--a soul-world gleam
I saw the noontide flush on grove and meadow,
I heard the coo of birds that seem'd at rest;
And the fair radiance, all undimm'd by shadow,
Was like a foretaste of the bright and blest.
I saw, when evening's mellow sunlight glinted,
Far and anear, gleaming on wood and gold;
Mountain and valley shone all carmine-tinted,
Old Ocean's burnished breast seem'd heaving gold.
Only "a little while" since morn rose brightly,
Followed by noontide calm: a little while
Since sunset glory lit all Nature, lightly
Blessing the earth with one sweet parting smile.
Only "a little while" a meet type, showing
How brief is earth's short day--how soon 'tis o'er;
Morn, noon, and night, still onward, onward going,
So soon to land us on the eternal shore.
Only "a little while," poor child of sadness!
The shadows must come first, the clouds and gloom;
Then, the full glow of Heaven, the new born gladness,
When Christ, thy risen Lord, prepares thee room.
In that fair Home, where He has passed before us,
And in "a little while," shall call us in;
Here, with His love's own glory shining o'er us,
Strong in His strength, we run that goal to win!
Only "a little while," gay child of pleasure!
The night is spent so far--the morn is near;
Then think! oh, think! where hast thou hid thy treasure?
In these frail, dying toys that charm thee here.
Oh! in "a little while," their borrowed radiance
Shall fade, as starlight fades when dawn is nigh;
And all earth's glittering show, her smiles and fragrance,
In the fierce fire of wrath shall melt and die!
Only "a little while!" would we but ponder
These three brief words, their length and breadth and
A solemn sign to each, a ray of wonder
From the Unseen, to light the spirit's night.
"A little while"--past, present, future blending
Shall be a tale soon told, and pass'd for aye;
Then the eternal life, that cannot die--unending,
Undying woe, or Heaven's own dazzling day.
We walk among labyrinths of wonder, but tread the mazes with
We sail in chartless seas, but behold! the Pole-star is above
Life is a pathway, stretched from morn till eve,
O'er which, through shade and sunshine, we must go
And, whether bright or dark this life we live,
Its end must bring us unto joy or woe;
Joy, that no mortal's holiest dreams can know,
Or dread, unending; fearful depths of woe!
This path is fair at morning, wondrous fair;
With verdant windings, hiding from the view
The far-off journey, and what may be there,
Hid by the Future hilltops, high and blue;
And morn's glad sunlight smiles from dazzling skies,
Gilding the path we tread with heaven-lent dyes.
Oh! youth is sweet! for tender hands are near,
And eyes aglow with Love's own magic ray,
Heart meeting heart, each to the other dear--
Through hours that, ere we count them, glide away;
For none can turn to seek a cherished place--
One only life, whose path we can't retrace!
And soon they pass, these meteor joys of earth,
That flash and gleam along the troubled way;
Till wondering wanderers question if their birth
Dawns from a Land that knows no sad decay;
Some sinless region, from whose portals bright
These fleeting rays descent in heavenly light.
Such glorious hues, in golden glory glowing,
When sunrise splendour glads the morning sky;
That bloom awhile, and as they bloom bestowing
Beauty and light, so soon to melt and die,
Leaving a yearning in the darkened heart
To know more closely what we see in part.
The noonday calm, the sunny Summer hours,
The wild-birds' warbled songs, the balmy air;
Life's early pathway strewn with earth's sweet flowers--
Can these be dying things--so bright, so fair?
Or lights to lead us o'er a chequered road,
And cheer the shadows to a blest abode?
Oh! spell-bound Fancy fain would wander far,
If we might only break this mortal thrall;
And roam, unshackled, o'er Time's broken bar,
Trace these gleams whose glory lights on all!
Then would we see in all below, above,
The Great Creator's perfect power and love.
Yet in this path that stretched before us lies
We may, as oft with weary feet we tread
Through chequered ways of change, see through the mysteries
The living promise from their gleamings shed,
That far from mortal things, and sin, and care,
There is a glorious world, unchanging, fair.
Oh! may we trace in all that lives and grows
The shadows of a perfect life, unseen;
As when some star that in the twilight glows
In mirrored dimly in the water's sheen,
And we can see, in the calm lake's cool breast,
The far-off glow that lingers in the West.
Thus, as we onward go, may thoughts be ours
Whose holy pureness in our souls may raise
An anthem of thanksgiving, till life's hours,
Ending, shall find our hearts' attuned to praise
That Love which cheered us on earth's chequered way,
O'er the long path that led to Cloudless Day!
CLOUDS IN MAY.
"May is here, sweet 'Mois de Marie,' but my sky is
The hush of twilight, fair and still
Great cloud-ranks, bright with gorgeous dyes
That linger in the Western skies,
Ere Night's deep gloom steals o'er the hill.
The wind sighs softly round the eaves,
The May's fresh sweetness fills the air,
And Peace seems hovering everywhere.
Oh, restless heart, that aches and grieves!--
Grieves when the earth is bright and green,
And Summer's balmy breeze and flowers
Are brightening, charming all the hours
That span the long, long "bridge between"
Dear hopes and their fruition, laid
In many a way, by human plan.
But ah! these dream-world thoughts of man
Soon, soon can droop, and blight and fade!
We know 'tis best. Then wherefore try
To ask whence come the darksome clouds?
We know 'tis God's own hand that shroud
Our coming days in mysteries.
"A little while," and there is room
In that bright, blessed land above,
To see, and feel, and taste the love
That sends us now the clouds and gloom.
Why come the clouds? God only knows
Why human hearts need pain and woe;
But Faith's glad gleams still come and go,
Like sunbeams flashing on the snows
Of earth's dark winter-time, and He
Shall smile at last, and frosts shall melt,
And heavenly sunshine shall be felt
When Time fades in Eternity
"My spirit beats her mortal bars
As down dark tides the glory glides,
Then, star-like, mingles with the stars."--TENNYSON.
Oh, restful peace of night! The balmy air
Laden with myriad sounds of things so fair,
The waving branches, and the leaves' low whispering
The wondrous songs the winding river sings,
That through the meadow-lands and forest ways,
By flowery nooks, and glades, and valleys strays.
Oh! shadowy time of dreams, and mysteries,
And longing hopes! Far in the dark blue skies
The star-worlds glimmer brightly through the night;
The flowers are sleeping that at close of day
Wept dew-tears, as the sun's last fading light
From glen and moor land slowly passed away,
When amorous zephyrs wooed them softly sighing
In odorous breaths, as eve's last glow was dying.
Oh! stars, that through the darkness smile and gleam,
Like glory-rays that gild the dreary gloom,
Or like some soul-world glance or mystic dream
That from the mind's vast store of summer bloom
We feel at times--your influence comes to raise
Our hearts above earth's night of doubts and haze
For all these holy thoughts of peace, that spring
From hearts at rest from daytime cares and pains,
Are messengers of love, sent from the King
That in the blessed country lives and reigns.
And from its gates, above the starry heaven,
Come mystic rays that round our pathway stray--
His guiding lights that to our souls are given,
Foretastes that cheer and brighten all our way!
"Of the bright things in earth and air
How little can the heart embrace-
Soft shades and gleaming lights are there
I know it well, but cannot trace!"--KEBLE
Spring comes again, and the freed flowers are springing
From the cold, frost-bound earth;
And on the budding trees the wild birds singing,
Hail Nature's glad new birth!
And hope awakes from many a heart-grave using,
Glad gloriously and new;
And many souls, in faith and trust, are prizing
That promise sweet and true;
Summer and Winter, ever coming, going,
Springtime and Harvest days,
And falling leaves and opening buds are showing
God's ever faithful ways.
That point us to the resurrection morning,
And to the gladsome day,
When light eternal, the far East adorning,
Shall chase these glooms away.
And she shall rise who left our home so early,
And left our hearts in gloom,
Clad like the flowers, in beauty's bloom all fairly
Arising from the tomb.
In that fair Spring and in that Summer shadeless,
With her we, too, shall live--
There, 'neath His smile whose glory, beaming fadeless,
Eternal peace shall give.
And all these ties that Time's rough hand had driven
Shall be united there,
And every cross a Father's hand had given
Be gemmed with jewels fair!
On reading "Lays of Love and Fatherland," by X. Y. Z.
Oh! say not now that Erin's harp
Is left untouched by minstrel hand;
Oh! say not that no minstrel heart
Sings now of "Love and Fatherland."
Green Ulster's mountains and her vales
Hear once again a patriot's lyre;
Ierna's legendary tales
Once more are told in patriot fire!
And hearts beat high, as when of old
In chieftain's hall or peasant's cot
The stories of our land were told
In songs whose spell was half forgot
Till, touched again, the chords resound
That bid our slumbering zeal return,
And souls, so long in coldness bound,
With old-time fire and fervour burn!
And favoured ones, whom love shall bless
In life's bright, sunny morning hours,
Shall sing in joy and happiness
These songs in Hope's enchanted bowers,
For youth hath dreams, and tho' they go
like sunset fading from the sky,
The cherished songs of "long ago,"
While memory lives, can never die.
Song's potent powers, like holy things
That hover round our path unseen,
On airy wings, to fancy brings
Old scenes, new-clad in fairy sheen.
And like sweet music heard at eve
In some cathedral, old and grey,
Such songs can cheer the hearts that grieve,
And chase all present gloom away.
IF "SOMEONE" LOVES US.
If life's path grows dull and dreary,
With grim shadows on it cast;
If the tired heart grows weary
When all joy seem o'er and past;
When e'en Hope hath ceased to cheer us
With its warm and sunny ray,
And the peace that once was near us
From our pathway steals away
There's one source where we can borrow
Sweetest wealth to keep and claim,
If we feel in joy or sorrow
_Someone_ loves us all the same!
If fair-faced Pleasure brightly
Beam upon our happy home,
And our hearts with hope beat lightly
Of brighter days to come;
If fickle Fortune, smiling,
Strew the pleasant path with flowers,
And Mirth, with song beguiling,
Lead the merry-footed hours--
There's a deeper, holier gladness
That is ours to keep and claim,
If we feel in joy or sadness
_Someone_ loves us all the same!
If our thoughts, at evening blending
With the dim and shadowy light,
Bring us dreams of bliss unending
In the Haven, calm and bright--
Oh! how sweet the thought--"for ever
'Mong the sinless _we_ shall stand,
There united, ne'er to sever,
In the bright and better land:"
And e'en then, refined and holy,
Free from earthly stain and sin,
Shall the pure heart, meek and lowly,
Wear the crown true love shall win.
NEW YEAR'S SONG.
"Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky.
The flying clouds, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night--
Ring out, wild bells, and let it die!
"Ring out the Old; ring in the New!
Ring, happy bells, across the snow!
The year is going; let it go--
Ring out the false! ring in the truer!"--TENNYSON.
Oh! welcome! welcome! glad New Year!
We hail with joy your birth.
Let peace and love reign far and near,
And plenty fill the earth!
Old Year, good-bye! a last good-bye
To sorrow, woe and sin!
Let all of darkness with thee die
And all of light begin!
When first we bade you welcome here
We hailed you with delight;
But ah! how many then were near,
So far away to-night!
Ah! well! if thorns were 'mong thy flowers,
Or clouds were in thy sky,
We owe thee many blissful hours
Whose memory ne'er can die!
Farewell, farewell, for aye, Old Year,
And as you pass from view,
For all those golden hours a tear
That pass away with you!
"Le Roi est mort!" "Vive le Roi!"
The Old Year, weeping, dies!
Ere we can mourn, a joyous chime
Peals through the midnight skies.
Oh! welcome! welcome! New-born Year!
We join the strains of joy;
To everyone our hearts hold dear
Be peace without alloy!
May fadeless light their pathway bless;
And, for a lasting stay,
Oh! may they find that happiness
That cannot pass away.
For years may come, and years may go,
And earthly joys grow old;
But heavenly love no change can know--
No time can make it cold.
Oh! welcome! welcome! New-born Year!
And, as we hail your birth,
May pure and holy thoughts come near
And raise our hopes from earth!
OUR NATIVE LAND.
Our Native Land! Our Native Land!
Long may old Erin's vales be green;
May plenty smile on every hand,
Be want and woe unseen!
Oh! let us join with heart and hand
To raise the song--Our Native Land!
Our Native Land! Our Native Land!
May countless blessings on her smile
May dove-eyed Peace her lily-wand
Wave o'er pure Emerald Isle--
Her sons, united brethren, stand,
To raise the song--Our Native Land!
Our Native Land! Our Native Land!
Let patriot voices join the song,
And swell the chorus high and grand,
Till every breeze shall bear it on.
O'er flowery mead and wave-kissed strand
Loud let it ring--Our Native Land!
Our Native Land! Our Native Land!
Let Erin's sense the notes prolong,
Together joined-a mighty band
United by one common song.
'Tis Honour's right-her just command
Then let us love Our Native Land!
TO THE SEA.
Oh! rolling waves, while ye sing around me,
My poises beat to your fitful tune,
And higher thoughts in my breast awaken,
But the spell must vanish too soon, too soon.
Here while I lie let your echoes linger,
And rest awhile on this lute of mine;
And though I play with an erring finger,
The sounds shall charm if they're caught from thine.
And my song shall be rich in melody,
Learned from thy singing, oh' tuneful Sea!
Sadly sigh while the clouds loom o'er thee,
Dark and grey in yon stormy sky;
Foaming billows, your angry wailing
Fills my soul like a hopeless cry!
Heaving breast with your great heart throbbing
Ocean pulses that wildly thrill;
Wandering waves in such cadence breaking,
Rolling, rolling, and never still.
Oh! that my soul, like thine, were free,
Eager and restless, oh! beautiful Sea!
The clouds disperse, and like glory breaking
In fancy's eyes o'er a poet's dream,
Clad in the sunlight the waters glisten,
And dazzling bright in the radiance gleam.
Far and wide o'er the scene of grandeur
My glad eyes wander, my heart beats high;
Lost in a maze of light and wonder,
I faint in a dream of ecstasy;
And the spirit of beauty thou seem'st to me
In that flood of glory, oh! changing Sea!
Yet best I love when the mystic gloaming
Grows dim, and the crimson sunset dies;
For I dream that your mighty tones are changing,
And in psalms of praise through the shadows rise.
Oh! Nature's organ! Methinks thy numbers
Keep time with the songs of Cherubim,
While through hidden caves come the echoes swelling
Their chorus grand to the ocean hymn;
And my soul, adorning, ascends with thee,
In deep thanksgiving, oh! wondrous Sea!
A FAREWELL SONG.
Oh! sometimes when our hearts are gay,
And Pleasure round us smiles,
Too soon the hours may pass away
That rosy Mirth beguiles;
And we may feel a tinge of pain
Amid the festal cheer,
And pause to ask, "When, when again,
Shall all be gathered here?"
But ah! the future's dusky veil
Hides coming years from view;
And still our yearning eyes must fail
To pierce its darkness through.
But Memory can hold the past
That we have loved so well;
And, like a halo round it cast,
Affection's light may dwell.
And thus, my friends, though call'd away
To join another scene,
My thoughts shall often backward stray
To all that once has been.
And bygone hours shall come again--
The cherished times and dear.
And bring the moments in their train
When I was with you here.
And as sweet flowers, tho' sere and dead,
Can by their fragrance bring
Remembrance of the days long fled
Again on Memory's wing.
So many a kindly smile I'll mourn
With deep and fond regret;
For though I never may return,
I never can forget.
"Solitude delighteth well to feed on many thoughts;
There, as thou sittest peaceful, communing with Fancy,
The precious poetry of life shall gild its leaden cares"
Come, Solitude! best soother of my mind--
The sole companion of my happiest hours;
The spell, all potent, of thy gentle powers
Here in this lovely spot, I come to find.
Below yon mountains, in the sunset beams,
Lough Neagh's glassy waters widely spread;
And through the distance, like a shining thread,
The "Silver Bann" along the valley gleams.
Lough Neagh! often in the evening light
I've watched the golden sunset kiss thy breast,
Then, as it died on many a wavelet's crest,
Homeward, unwilling, turned, with fond "Goodnight."
The bare trees in the planting moan and sigh;
I've watched their leaves from buds, till they had grown
To vernal beauty. Withered now and strewn
Upon the walks, all sere and dead they lie.
And in the Spring, when the young leaves came first,
Here, often in my lone imaginings,
What golden dreams I knew of glorious things;
Visions my willing mind too fondly nurse.
Visions that, like the leaves, to beauty grew,
Gladdening my heart thro' sunny summer hours;
Clad in bright garlands, woven from Fancy's bowers
Radiant with Hope's fair light of mellow hue.
And are they withered too? All those swept dreams
That I had hoped in future years to see
Around me bloom, in living, grand reality;
No longer far-off things, or misty, meteor gleams.
Some like these leaves, have fallen by the way,
Never again in spring to wake to birth;
While some are mine e'en now, whose priceless worth
Shall bloom and ripen, knowing no decay!
Round me the shadows deepen; and I see
My dead dreams in a phantom band draw near.
And dim ∆olian strains fall on my ear,
like some wild mystic requiem's fitful melody!
Oh! Solitude! thou canst alone restore
The buried bygone, till the haunted isles
Of memory's chambers shine in moonlight smiles
Shadows of sunlight from the days of yore.
Oh! Solitude! come often for my guest!
Still, when I meet thee in sequestered glade,
I feel thy presence lasting peace has made;
Of life's sweet things, I hold thee first and best!
WITH A WHITE ROSE.
Long ago, in ages olden,
When our world was new;
When old Time was young and golden,
When men's hearts were true;
Fairer flowers than now are growing
Beauty to the earth bestowing,
Sweetness to the air!
Well men loved them, fondly dreaming
They were not of earth;
In their glorious beauty seeming
Of a higher birth.
And in those Elysian bowers,
In the days of old,
Speaking all their thoughts in flowers,
Thus their love they told:--
One alone, of purest whiteness,
Of them all was queen;
Sweeter than their hues of brightness
Was its snowy sheen.
If this flower as pledge were given
By true hearts in love,
Though on earth by sad doubts driven,
Yet their life above
Would be one in joy unending,
Soul with soul in glory blending
In that kingdom fair.
This the legend I have told thee
Of the flower I send.
Oh, may its sweet leaves unfold thee
Hope, with such an end!
"THE EXILE'S REVERIE."
It is sweet to dream of the vanished times, in this changing
land of ours,
When we touch the hidden spring of thought, with the wand of
That Remembrance yields to our yearning hearts, that are
lonely left, and pine
For the loves once ours, till shadowy forms come round us,
and flit and shine.
Through the gloom that wraps the earth-tired soul, that
drifts on life's sea apart,
Missing the clasp of a kindred hand, or thrill of heart to
Alone! alone! on the wide, wide world, where hope can console
Alone! alone! on the friendless waste, strange, on a stranger
Oft times when the gloaming gathers round, and the night wind
moans on the hill
Like a ghostly voice from the buried dead, when all around is
In the midnight darkness and silence, I call through the mist
To the sunny joys of the glad, bright dream, of the golden,
Then the poem of the wakened long-ago, to the music of memory
Now filled as with bridal gladness, now wailing out dirge-
Through sunshine and summer glories, through brightness and
Through howling storms, 'neath winter skies, through weeping
and murky glooms.
And then, when the weird strain ceases, and the fitful music
The pictures I love to gaze on, rise slowly, one by one
Through the mist of the past slow coming, they give to our
eyes once more,
What Death has stolen from me, and Death can alone restore.
Again, as in early childhood, I feel the fond caress
Of my mother's lips, or I hear the tones of my father's voice
His child in its gleeful gambols; Oh! happy and peaceful
Ye come in visions of golden noons, and sunshine, and shady
And the low-breathed prayer when the sunset glow'd crimson in
And the sweet "Good-night," and the tender kiss, ere I sank
to tranquil rest;
Mother! that prayer still haunts me, adown the dreary years,
And the earnest tones of thy gentle voice, can steep my soul
My brothers! faithful hearted! strong in your love, and true;
Oh! breaking heart, do you mock me? Can _they_ have
In their morning time, when they shared my dreams of a Crown
and a Life-fight won,
Thank God, it was their's so early, when my fight had but
Oh, darling, best-beloved! keen now is the aching smart,
As when Death's chill touch on our clasped hands fell, when
he breathed the hard word "part,"
Only for earth's short span, my sweet, for love can never
And the spirit bond but strengthens, as Time's wild waves
Mine! by the vows soft-whispered, where hand in hand we
In twilight hours, through summer lanes, or roamed in the
But the dream in its glory perished, and earth's brightest
hope was fled,
And light from my life was faded, when they laid thee with
Elsie! my bright-haired sister! tender blossom and pure!
You drooped in that last storm's fury, too fragile its might
And then I left the home-nest when my last sweet dove had
And sought to forget, amid stranger scenes, the sorrows my
soul had known.
It's thus the shadowy phantoms come back from the spirit-
When I cry in my lonely anguish for the joys now mine no
I thrill with a passion'd yearning for the fuller life to be,
When my tired soul faints in wonder, lost in earth's
CHURCH ISLAND, COUNTY DERRY.
"Oh, search with mother-love the gifts
Our land can boast;
Fair Erna's isles--Neagh's wooded slopes--
Green Antrim's coast."--MACCARTHY.
In peerless beauty, flushing, glowing,
O'er broad Lutigh Neagh's breast,
The sunset banner hovers, throwing
Its glory over the West.
And varied banks of glen and wood,
That smile round Neagh's smiling flood,
In this sweet hour seem fitting theme
For Poet's song or artist's dream.
Round the horizon, sternly frowning,
The mountains like a barrier rise,
The purple range, Slieve Gallion crowning,
Towers grimly to the western skies.
Northward Losgh Beg's bright waters play
Round the Church Isle, where, lone and grey.
The ruined pile with ivied walls
To present days the past recalls.
On many a grave the sunset gleams,
Where calmly rest the sleeping dead--
Tired mortals, done with mortal dreams
In other life, whetted they have fled.
E'en now they live! Oh! if tonight
One soul might earthward take its flight,
In awful tones methinks t'would say--
"Prepare for death, oh child of clay!"
Oh, time-worn walls! full many a word
Ye echoed in the Sabbath calm;
Love, warning, blessing, oft ye heard,
And solemn prayer, and chanted psalm;
And funeral dirge, as wild and high'
Rose on the gale the _caione_-cry,
Borne far and wide, o'er fern and brake,
As passed the cortege o'er the lake.
And legends of the days gone by
Tell that if, when a funeral train
Passed there, dark clouds swept over the sky,
And howled the wind and sobbed the rain,
Such storm was still an omen blest,
And told the spirit's happy rest.
If all were calm--then woe the dead!
Sad rose their wailing, weird and dread!
And that before a chieftain's death,
On moonless nights, by lightning shown,
How oft they saw the water-wraith,
And heard the weeping banshee's groan.
How many a barque, at midnight toss'd
And in the angry waters lost,
In the gray dawn-light seemed to glide
In phantom-beauty o'er the tide.
But ah! the past and all its lore
Is fading from our hearts away,
And memories of the times of yore
Are all forgotten in to day!
And now, 'tis but by peasants old
These cherished legends can be told;
For Erin's harp is mute and still,
Its mystic notes no heart can thrill!
Once minstrel hearts awoke its strain,
And swept its chords with master-hand;
But who can wake these lays again
In songs of love and fatherland?
Oh! when again shall such as they
Wake passion'd song and warrior's lay?
Till Erin's vales once more resound
With harp-notes long in silence bound!
At last thou art resting; thy life-work is ended--
Thy life-work so nobly and faithfully done;
And thy name, with the names of the mightiest blended,
Shall be honored and loved as the ages roll on!
Far away in the wilds, as thy life-scene closed slowly,
How thy soul must have pined for one home-voice to cheer;
But the God, ever kind, of the high and the lowly,
With blessings and strength to thy spirit was near!
How sweet to thy tired soul that glorious light breaking
In beauty untold o'er the land of the blest,
As thou heard'st, in the hour of that wond'rous awaking--
"Well done, faithful servant, now enter thy rest!"
Great Britain's Columbus--her son and our glory!
Her true hearts with love shall beat high at thy name;
Thou shalt stand 'mong the first in our country's proud
And be graven with fire on the Temple of Fame!
Oh! that some minstrel soul, from the days long departed
Would awake, a meet requiem o'er thee to sing--
And tell of thy brave deeds--the high, lion-hearted--
Till the listening nations their homage would bring!
A DREAM AT SUNRISE.
Sapphire and rosy brightness in the East;
Fresh, light-winged zephyrs o'er the hilltops stray
And through the valleys roam, through glens and woods
Waking the leaves and flowers to morning life,
Seeming to tell to all--"The sun is near!"
Slow--brightening now, the rose-light deeper grown
The sapphire flames in wondrous golden maze,
And, all unrivalled, the great King of Day,
In dazzling glory, mounts his regal throne!
To me a vision down the sunbeams came,
When wrapt in wonder by the beauty-spell,
My soul, entranced, afar from earth did soar,
Unshackled, free, and drank the grandeur of the hour
Brightest and fairest hour of all the day,
When new life thrills the veins as when of old
The morning stars their high thanksgivings raised,
And all the sons of God did shout for joy!
Wondering, I cried, "Oh, Earth is very fair!
I cannot see the shadow of man's fall
On aught around me--sin has left no trace:
Oh! for a bower in such a scene as this,
Where Love and Beauty, blessed by Peace, might dwell!"
Then round me, on the light wind softly borne,
I heard the numbers of an unseen harp,
And turning, saw an angel near me stand.
He sang of earthly love, and the soft tones
Of his sweet harp were like Aeolian strains
Far breathing o'er some blissful Eden world!
And as I listened, all my holiest dreams
Of harmony, ideal, grand, and high,
Seem'd discord. Then methought I saw,
Upon the morning hills, a bower arise.
Bright flowers of wondrous hues around it bloomed,
All, all of beauty that the heart could dream
Was there; and, lov'lier far than all,
A sweet-eyed maiden, twining rose-wreaths fair!
Dark clouds arose and dimmed the glowing sky;
The lightnings flashed, and fearful thunder pealed;
And, as they shook the bower, I hid mine eyes,
Fearing to see the beauteous visions fade.
The fierce storm ceased. I raised mine eyes again,
And saw the wreck of what was once so fair;
The flowers had perished, and the maiden wept--
Then all the picture melted into air!
"This shows," the angel said, "what sin has done;
Death and decay must fall on earthly things.
See that you read God's mighty Teacher right--
The Book of Nature wide before you spread.
'Twas given for man to look on, love, and learn;
But men have eyes, and will not read its lore--
Ears, and the God-sent teachings will not hear!
Earth's glories and her brightness all must fade;
Yet, while they linger, still they say, 'Prepare.'"
"LINES ON VISITING EARLY SCENES."
Oh! well-known scenes of childhood's days,
Again ye meet my longing eyes;
And still, as memory backward strays,
A thousand tender visions rise;
Of days when youth's all potent powers
Could trace in light the coming hours,
Of dreams that withered with the flowers
That round my pathway sprung!
When fond Belief, unchill'd by Time,
Built airy castles, high and grand;
When fickle Fancy's dreams sublime
Made Earth appear a fairyland!
Yon school-house seems the same to day--
Each well-remembered turn and way
Are there--yet, ah! how far away
Are childhood's hours from me!
Still, still the same--the cherished scene,
That ever thro' the varying years,
Deep-graven on my heart has been,
In morns of joy--in nights of tears.
And oft in darksome times of pain,
When hope seem'd dead, and comfort vain,
Ye shone upon life's desert plain
A friendly light, and true.
And often when the tide of care
Beat strong against my fragile bark--
When stormy doubt loom'd everywhere,
With nought to light the gloomy dark--
The faith I knew in early days,
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