Lays from the West
M. A. Nicholl
Part 2 out of 3
Ere yet I trod the world's hard ways,
Led gently through the 'wildering maze,
And whispered words of peace!
Sweet peace, amid the din and strife
And holy thoughts and calm repose;
The promise of a better life--
The joy that from _believing_ flows!
As when amid these scenes I'd stray,
And dream through all the golden day
Of coming years, in bright array,
Till earth would seem a heaven!
The Hand that led Youth's steps aright,
The Love that blessed its careless hours--
Shall they not strengthen for the fight,
Then wreathe the Victor's brow with flowers?
Yes! and ere from these scenes I go,
I've learned what all must come to know--
Earth's wisdom is but empty show--
"The child shall teach the man!"
Idol worship in these later ages,
When the light of learning shines so clear,
Golden sayings graved on million pages--
Wisdom's voices sounding far and near.
Idol worship, subtle and deceiving,
Lives mis-spent and talents thrown away;
Grim remorse, and after years of grieving--
Skeletons that haunt us night and day.
Idols have we manifold in number--
Idols worshipped both in age and youth;
Visions that beguile life's fitful slumber,
Soul-destroying, blinding us to truth.
All unreal dreams that fade and perish,
Painted idols, rich in gilded shrines--
Airy phantoms that we blindly cherish,
Clad in borrowed tints from Fancy's mines.
All the shining, glittering, worthless splendour--
All the brilliance of the earthly toy
That we deck with careful hands and tender,
Is not gold, but dross and foul alloy.
Earth-born idols, lovely but in seeming,
Flitting round us in the moonlight hours
On Love's holy shrine we place them dreaming,
"Though all else may leave us, _this_ is ours!"
Oh! like meteor-flashings gleaming only
Through the far-off vapours, dense and dark,
Disappearing, leaves, misled and lonely
'Mid the angry waves, the storm-beat bark.
So our earthly idols, vain, deceiving,
Come with promise fair for future years;
Fill us with false hopes, forsake us, leaving
Nought but memory's torture, gloom and tears.
Oh! may we, their many tempting scorning
From earth's sceptres lift our yearning sigh
To fadeless flowers the heavenly hills adorning
That shall be ours when we have gained the high.
Not the joy whose end is gloom and sadness--
Withering flowers that deck the earthly sod
Patience hath her crown--eternal gladness--
By the living "hid with Christ in God."
IN WINTER DAYS.
Spring, and Summer-time, and Autumn
Now are flown-
Dreamy noontides--mellow sunsets--
Balmy twilights--all are gone!
Hope's bright visions, carmine-tinted,
Where are they?
Dreams that mocked us in the sunlight
Now in Winter pass'd away.
Joy shall reign when Spring returning
Wakes the flowers
That the tender Earth has guarded
Safely thro' the Winter hours;
But the sad winds round me sighing
Seem to sing
She hath treasures in her bosom
That she cannot yield in Spring!
And I weep in yearning sadness,
Worse than vain,
For the vanished joys that Summer
Ne'er can bring to me again!
Slow lingering months with swifter pace move on--
Let this dark winter of my life be past;
This cloud athwart the sky of summer thrown--
Whose gloom and darkness on my heart is cast.
Parted--Death's deep, dark river rolls between;
Those talks and rambled when the day was done
And now among the things that once have been,
And I am left in sadness here alone!
Parted! Oh, me, he is for ever gone!
How hopeless _now_ the sunset's golden ray;
How far off seem those joys we both have known,
How cheerless look the paths we used to stray!
Just when the autumn days grew short and chill,
When all its sunny hours seemed past and o'er,
And moaning winds swept wildly o'er the hill,
Like some sere leaf he fell, to rise no more.
The spring shall come, and leaves grow green again,
And vernal beauty to the earth return;
Sunshine and flowers shall deck the hill and plane,
And birds awake with song to greet the morn.
But he has flown far from our wintry sphere,
Where fadeless summer glads the spring-bright clime;
Not where the tempest clouds spread grief and fear,
But safely moored beyond the waves of time!
Mine is the weeping--his the blissful change;
Mine is the waiting--his the sighed-for peace;
Mine through these dreary, lingering years to range,
until I find a land where partings cease.
I'm free from the city's noises now,
And the city cares that bound me;
I chase their shadows off my brow,
'Mid the rural scenes around me.
And alone in the shadowy evening light,
In the deepening gloom and sadness,
I roam the paths of past delight
Of youth's wild dream of gladness.
I see the panorama vast
That to these eyes is giving
The joyous scenes of that dead past
Still in my bosom living.
I call those thoughts and memories back
That stern-faced Toil has banished,
And wander o'er the beaten track
Of happy days long vanished.
The friends of youth for whom I sigh--
The true and tender-hearted;
The happiness of days gone by,
The pleasures long departed:
I see them all again to-night,
They seem to come and linger
Like pictures traced in truest light
By Memory's artist finger.
Those happy times, to me how dear!
Well loved, yet lost for ever;
Those forms that I can fancy near,
Can they return? Ah, never!
Grim Time's dark shadow of decay
Falls on our hopes when brightest;
A cloud may dim our sky of May
When happy hearts beat lightest.
When golden sunbeams softly fall
In light on shrub and flower,
E'en then a storm to blight them all
May in the distance lour!
But still when evening's shadowy light
Steals round in gloom and sadness,
I'll feel a thrill of old delight,
Of youth's wild dream of gladness!
In concert grand the tuneful waves
Break wildly on the foam-girt shore,
And through a thousand secret caves
The shrill wind-voices loudly roar.
Now are the harps of the Ocean waking,
'Mid the howling winds and the billows breaking!
The mermaid leaves her ocean home
To sing her love-songs, soft and tender;
The moonlight gilds the breaker's foam,
And bathes the sea in silvery splendour;
And the splashing spray on the White Rocks falling
Sounds like lonely voices of Ocean calling.
Oh, lone Dunluce! looking o'er the sea,
With tower and keep so grim and hoary,
Do the waves' wild revels recall to thee
The days of your long-departed glory--
When the wan, weird moonlight is round thee streaming,
With the stars' pale light on your gray walls beaming?
Oh, stern old relic of bygone ages!
Oh, stout old scorner of Time's rude hand!
Your name shall live in our history's pages
While a poet sings in our native land;
And your fame shall be heard in old Erin's story
When we tell of the days of her vanished glory.
Ah! many a tale not in history's keeping,
Of lordly chieftain and lady fair,
in the gloom of Oblivion now are sleeping,
And can never be told in the twilight there;
Who repose unremembered in graves unknown,
Where the storms of past ages have o'er them blown.
I can almost fancy the winds are singing
Those stories forgotten by all but thee,
And the rolling waves in their turn are bringing
Back mem'ries of olden chivalry;
Wild minstrels around thee in darkness stealing
The scenes of the long ago revealing
I hear in the distance their harp-notes swelling
In a dirge-like wail o'er the moaning sea,
And I think that their mournful strains are telling
A thousand tales of the past to me.
The echoing caves to their songs replying,
As each fitful sound on the gale is dying.
Wild minstrels of Nature, whose poet-fire
Rings out through her solitudes, wild and grand.
Let your spirit rest on my feeble lyre,
And I'll chain it there with a willing hand.
And when Night hangs her myriad star-lamps shine
Let me blend her notes with your wondrous chord.
THOUGHTS AT EVENTIDE.
"I hold it true, with one who sings
To one clear lute of divers tunes.
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things."--TENNYSON
Lo! the sunset fire is burning in the roseate sky of evening
Where grand in dying glory sinks the god of day to rest
And wide o'er the dewy meadows lie the golden lights and
Like gleams that come to cheer us from the regions the
Slow the fiery orb is sinking down below the purple
Still the splendour of his radiance lingers round us for a
And the peaceful country bowers, and the stately run towers,
Are rejoicing in the beauty of the glad, refulgent smiles.
From the trees and from the meadows the bird-song wild and
In sweet and mingled chorus, like vesper songs, arise
With the evening zephyrs blending, on their airy wings
Like anthems of thanksgiving they are ringing thro' the
The children's happy voices from the village playground
With the cadence of their laughter, come floating through
And the face of Nature smiling, every thought of care
Soothes my restless soul to musing in the twilight calm and
Keeps my soul in peaceful musing, 'mid the tranquil summer
When the cares of day are ended, and its labours all are
When the Dove of Peace is stealing o'er the valleys, bringing
On her white wings to the weary, with the rest that they
Here let me sit and ponder on life's long and varied story,
On the things that are, and have been, and the times that
are to be;
Of the past and of the present, of the darksome days and
And the future years, still hidden, that are kept in store
But, the past--should I deplore it? All my longing can't
Still it lies beyond my reaching, to come back to me no
It is right to keep and cherish, or to let its memory perish,
Like a dream to be forgotten, when the hours of sleep are
Like a dream to be forgotten, like a phantom, a delusion
That but lured away our moments with its subtle, witching
Till it sinks our souls in sadness with the dreams of
And the thoughts of vanished pleasures that can ne'er again
Let me cease this idle longing for the days that have
It is worse than useless wishing for a light grown dim and
For joy so lovely seeming, when we clasp them in our
And know we must awaken and remember all is fled.
Let past failures be our beacon through the breakers spread
To show where danger meets us on life's rough and troubled
Where earth's joys like billows meeting, on the rock's care
And we see them dashed and shattered where they can not
Let me wake, and cease repining; let me learn life's sternest
Joys when born of earth are earthy, and must therefore fade
Let me feel new knowledge glowing, on my opening eye
The experience that will lead me to a fairer, by-and-by.
'Tis our past has made our present, so our present makes our
Let us work, and cease of wishing--let us _do_, not
_dream_ through life;
Ever mindful, never straying, with our earnest hearts still
For the guerdon of the worker, and the winner in the
Life is a day. In its morning bright
We frolic and scamper, free and light.
'Tis a happy path that we have to run,
The way is pleasant when new-begun.
The sky of our youth is clear and blue,
With no clouds to impede our raptured view;
There's a prize to win in its golden hours--
Let us work with zeal, and that prize is ours.
There's a laurel crown for the victor's brow,
And a time to win it--that time is now!
Now, when our hearts are young and gay,
Ere the light of our morning fades away.
It is hard to work 'neath the noon-day sun,
But the rest shall be sweet when the work is done;
It is hard to struggle and fight alone,
But the prize we win shall be all our own.
The noontide fades, and the evening grey
Overtakes us soon on our weary way;
But our day of working will soon be o'er,
And the rest is nearer us than before.
Life is a night, to watch and pray
For the coming dawn of a brighter day;
But our lamps are trimmed--we have nought to fear,
The darkness is fleeting--the dawn is near.
And now we see through a darkened glass
The shadowy scenes of the future pass;
But then, in a morn of unclouded light,
It shall break in glory upon our sight.
The Master shall come when the night is o'er,
And bid us to work and watch no more;
He shall tell His servants their work is done,
And bestow the crown they have nobly won!
A SUMMER SONG.
The summer flowers in regal bloom
Make field and garden fair,
Their fragrance in the dreamy noon
Perfumes the balmy air;
The river murmurs through the vale
Upon its sea-bound way,
And o'er the pleasant hill and dale
The birds sing blythe and gay,--
And river, flowers, and birds to me
Are ever bringing thoughts of Thee!
The woods at eve are cool and lone;
And when I linger there,
There's something in the wind's soft moan
That whispers Thou art near.
My thoughts by Fancy's chains are bound
As by a magic spell,
And strange, sweet visions wrap me round
While in the lonely dell,--
And rustling leaves and murmuring streams
To me are bringing sweetest dreams.
The sunset saddens in the West,
The stars peep through the skies;
The weary day is hush'd to rest
By gentlest zephyr sighs;
The wavelets break upon the shore.
The moon shines o'er the sea,
The sandy beech I wander o'er
Alone to dream of Thee,--
And stars, and sky, and moonlit sea,
All, all are bringing thoughts of Thee!
Red shines the sunset in the evening sky,
And paints the cloud-ranks in rich crimson glow,
Till every varying tint in rival splendour burns,
And earth and ocean catch the gleam, and smile
In new-born glory for a time, and then,
As the enraptured gaze absorbs the scene,
It fades, and, growing dim and dimmer, dies.
It is a glimpse from worlds unseen--a light from the
Foreshadowing things the brighter yet to be.
A soft wind-whisper wanders thro' the boughs,
And wakes a thousand harps in forest lands,
That all the sultry day were hushed, till now,
When the fair twilight spreads her dreamy spell:
They wake to melody so softly sweet that one might think
An angel's wing had stirr'd the varied leaves.
And swept the woodlands with ethereal song.
Now the great sea, with all its restless waves,
Seems calmer grown, as forth the stars appear,
And smile upon us from the silent skies,
Where nightly, looking down the azure depths,
Like guardian angels o'er a sinning world,
In their grand, silent eloquence, they show
The marvels of their great Creator's power.
This is the time when dreams will come, and bring
Days which have fled, and we would fain recall.
A shadow thrown across the moonlit walk--
A breeze that, sighing, lifts the woodbine leaves, and strays
In through the open lattice, may restore
The scenes that long in memory have slept.
Ah, me! stern Time can take out youth away--
Whiten our hair and mark our brows with age;
But Memory, kind Memory, that holds the past,
He cannot claim. Remembrance still is ours,
And we may grasp her magic wand and touch
The secret spring that hides our bygone years.
The murmur of a brook that flowing glides
Between its violet banks, can call a sigh
From that far time when we could roam at eve.
To hear the birds that sang the sunset down,
With wild, glad vesper-songs by Nature taught.
The earnest face and tender eyes, that beamed
With a whole world of deep, undying love,
Rises again before my tear-dimm'd sight.
Then came a time when, with slow steps, and voices low and
They laid _her_ down to rest. Then life grew dark,
And all that I had left on earth to love
Was but a grave, beneath the churchyard trees,
Where I could sit for dreary hours and weep.
Years fly apace. The wildest grief grows calm--
As storm-clouds lowering in the noonday sky,
Seem darkest when they hang above our heads--
So we most feel the stroke of sorrow when it falls;
But Hope draws near, and, pointing to the Future, whispers-
Yes, wait awhile; and for a few short years
Struggle, and fight, and bear the burden well.
The sun that sank below the purple hills,
Leaving the earth to darkness and to night,
Shall bring new glory to the morning sky.
Death's night of gloom shall have its morn of bliss,
And we shall find within the golden gates
Our flowers that withered, in eternal bloom!
TO "W. C. T."
Oh, sad one, who wails for thy love that is slighted
Left lone and forsaken, all joy fled away;
Thy day-dream of beauty o'ershadowed and blighted,
Thy sky once so rosy now clouded and gray.
Thine idol was earthly, and earth-like must perish;
The casket was doubtlessly faultless and fair;
But 'tis only the soul-gem the poet can cherish,
And blend with, his dreamings in gladness or care.
The glory that shone like the East in the morning
On the radiant ideal was sweet to behold;
But, alas! 'twas thy fancy had wrought its adorning,
And without it the real is worthless and cold.
And the poet's high soul ever craves for that beauty
That must be arrayed in the white robe of Truth;
The Love, Heaven-born, that walks hand-clasped with Duty,
That thro' life's changing years keeps the heart in its
Then shall Truth at the shrine of the False linger pining
No! Nature rebels, and Hope whispers, Arise!
There are regions unknown in the glad sunlight shining--
In the paths of thy calling where happiness lies!
Oh, linger not weeping, in gloom and in sadness,
The days that are coming thy healing shall bring;
And a love, brighter far, horn of Truth and of Gladness,
Shall Phoenix-like up from the dead ashes spring!
There's a sound of woe in the forest lands,
A wailing sigh in the wild wind's breath;
The woods are waving their naked hands
As they mourn fair Summer's death.
Through the leafless groves in the twilight hours
Come gusts of music that sink and swell,
And I cry, "Come back, with your light and flowers,
Fair Queen of the year that I love so well!"
Come back to gladden the earth again,
For the woods are grim in their winter woe,
There's a dreary look on the lonely plain,
And the hills and mountains are crowned with snow.
And I fancy I hear from the distant hills
A blast of wind sweeping o'er the lea,
From the gray old hawthorns and foam-clad rills,
To tell a word of their woe to me.
Oh, Summer so lovely, lost and dead,
I miss your sunshine and balmy hours,
And blissful calms, when the noontide shed
Its dreamy radiance on fields and flowers!
I miss your bird-songs that called me up
To welcome the blush of the golden morn,
When the dew-pearls gleamed in the harebell's cup,
And the lark soared high o'er the fields of corn.
I miss the hush of the quiet eves,
When the gloaming stole through the silent wood,
And the low-toned zephyrs that stirred the leaves
Were like elfin harps in the solitude.
Oh! Spring, return with your tender buds,
And thousand splendours to deck the earth;
Come back and reign in the grand old woods,
And Winter shall fly at your welcome birth.
Come back, and wide o'er the hills and vales,
The birds your welcome in glee shall sing;
And their songs shall float on the gentle gales
Till the earth in gladness and joy shall ring!
Yes, I have treasures--not of gold or silver,
Yet they are hoarded with a miser's care;
Cherished and loved more tenderly and fondly
Than purest gems, or jewels rich and rare.
Only a scrap of paper, old and faded,
Only some withered rose-leaves, sere and dry;
And one long tress of hair, all bright and golden,
Dear relics of the happy days gone by.
Well I remember that long, dreamy summer,
With all its sunshine and its cloudless days;
The pleasant rambles through the lanes at even,
When earth was glowing in the sunset rays.
And when the Autumn, in his mellow splendour,
Clothed field and forest in autumnal dyes,
'Twas sweet to wander in the still, weird twilight,
And watch the moon ascend the eastern skies.
Oh! blissful hours! ah, vows so softly spoken,
Ye held a subtle witchery for me;
I dreamed a heart of love and trust unbroken
Was mine--and mine alone--through time to be.
Alas! not mine that blossom that I cherished,
And hoped would bloom through all the coming years;
Death's chill hand fell upon it, and it perished,
And left with me but memory and tears!
Oh, woods! though Autumn left you bare and leafless,
Spring has returned, and brought you life and mirth;
But the dead dream of youth's bright golden morning
Of love and beauty, can it wake to birth?
It cannot be; the times that have departed,
The days of gladness, can return no more;
And I am lonely left and broken-hearted,
Like some sad exile on a foreign shore,--
Who, gazing backwards, through the years can picture
A time when love and friendship were his own;
Then turning to the present, lone and cheerless,
Finds all his happiness in life is gone.
So, now, life's evening shadows, grim and dreary,
In deepest gloom, are round my pathway shed;
The beams of hope are growing dim and weary,
And all that once was bright is cold and dead!
Oh, long-lost love! the gloomy years are fleeting,
Through life's dark dream they ever hurry fast;
Great waves upon the brink of Time they're meeting,
And, mingling, rush to form the shadowy Past!
Say, are the gifted born the sons of woe--
The favoured ones on whom kind Heaven hath smiled,
And dowered so richly with its priceless store;
The lords of earth, the monarchs of the soil--
Men who are bless'd with minds that angels have:
Are these to bear the jibe of vulgar tongues,
To feel the taunts fell Envy madly hurls,
Or brook the scorn gaunt Jealousy may show?
To them such things are but the angry blast
That mars the bosom of the placid lake,
Which smiles in dimpling ripples at its wrath!
They _have_ their "world of flower, and song, and gem,"
The land of beauty where the poet dwells--
His green Parnassus where the muses reign:
_Not_ hidden nor unseen; oh! look abroad,
And tell me if thine eye no beauty sees.
The solemn grandeur of the Autumn woods,
Bright-crimsoned with the dying Summer's blood;
The mountains in their hoary splendour drest,
The valleys with their fields of golden grain,
The glens deep hidden, where a thousand flowers
In modest beauty shun the noontide glare;
The wild-birds' song, the murmur of the streams
That through their heathery banks of fragrance glide.
All these are theirs--their solace, their delight;
Each with its charm of mystic beauty fraught;
The gleams that pierce the clouds of common life,
And let the light of Heaven's own sunshine in!
They have their dreams in twilight's shadowy hour,
When they can strike their golden lyre, and feel
The holy joy the poet calls his own.
And the soft breeze that sings among the boughs
In numbers like the famed Ĉolian harp
Seems blending with its tones, till earthly cares
Melt, as beneath the syren's spell, and die!
Thus lightly o'er the waves his bark goes on,
Hope for a beacon shining bright above.
While firmly at the helm stands fair Content
To steer him safely till he reach the shore.
And then, when Death's grim portals open wide,
And he has reached the Land he dreamed and sung,
Oh! bliss to wander o'er the streets of gold,
_His_ harp-notes mingling with the choirs of Heaven!
His hopes all realized, "faith lost in sight"--
His life a poem which God Himself hath read!
The gladsome Morning looked across the hills,
Clad in his richly tinted robes; the opal dawn,
Faint blushing in the East, grew clear and brighter,
Till the resplendent sunrise decked the sky.
It shone upon the woods--the birds awoke
To chant their welcome to the god of day.
It shone upon the meadows, and the flowers
Ope'd their eyes, where the bright dew-tears glistened
As they had wept thro' the long hours of night,
Heedless of how the star-beams smiled and played;
And the pale, tender moon, with pitying ray,
Looked down upon their lowly, drooping heads,
Now lifted gladly to the morning light,
Till the warm sunshine kissed their tears away.
And clouds of fragrance from their beds arose,
That amorous zephyrs, as they wandered by,
Wafted, like sweetest incense, to the sky!
It shone upon the rivers, as they flowed
Through fertile meadow-lands, so rich in loveliness;
Sweet streams, that, rippling on in restful song,
Took up a tone more joyous in that hour;
And whispering leaves, and birds that, far and near,
From grove and hedgerow, warbling clear and sweet
In blending music, trembled in the air--
Like matin hymns, that on Creation's wings
Were upwards borne to the Creator's Throne!
Another year has well nigh passed,
With all its smiles and tears,
And joys and sorrows that are cast
In Time's great stream, whose waters vast
Roll to the ocean of the Past,
Bearing our hopes and fears,
Where 'neath its waves they mingle fast
With all our vanished years.
Another year! a span of Time,
That tells of lifework done;
A book, some pages dark with crime--
Some grand, and holy, and sublime;
A trumpet, telling every clime
Of battles lost and won:
A knell of woe--a joy-bell's chime,
Hope dead, and bliss begun!
Another year! In Spring's sweet hours
What blissful thoughts we knew!
What hopes, that came with opening flowers,
What visions, nurse in spring-wreathed bowers,
When Fancy lent her magic powers
To trace in brilliant hue
Castles of air, and dream-built towers
Too soon to fade from view!
Another year! and I can trace
Footprints o'er Summer's way,
But turn to find a vacant place,
Where once I met a cherished face,
And well-loved form of youth and grace,
Now pass'd from earth away--
This year the goal of one bright race,
The close of one fair day.
Autumn is dead. The year is old,
The dull November days are chill;
The bare woods dreary to behold;
The northern blast blows keen and cold,
Far sighing over waste and world,
O'er wintry vale and hill;
And in its moan are requiems told
For true hearts dead and still!
So must it be. Each passing year
Still bears some joy away;
Some darling treasure, held too dear,
In trembling bliss, in hope and fear,
Which we would fancy safe and near,
Departs, and seems to say--
"We have no lasting city here,
Earth's life is but a day!"
But Christmas, coming round again,
Shall bring his wonted cheer;
And Pleasure, in his jovial train,
With rosy mirth and glee shall reign,
To chase these thoughts of gloom and pain
That haunt the dying year;
And grief-parched lips the cup shall drain
Of "Peace and good-will here!"
WITH A SHAMROCK.
Here, in these triple leaves, oh! read from me,
What I, for _thee_, have dreamed their mystic spell,
Faith, Hope and Love, joined hand in hand, I see,
And this the message that they seem to tell:--
Love, for the present, and the time to he,
Faith, that its might and truth can never die;
Hope, that beyond the future clouds and mystery
Points to a smiling scene, and cloudless sky.
"WAITING FOR THE MAY,"
"Ah! my heart is weary waiting, waiting for the May!"
Old thoughts come back from the old time,
Where, at even, the sunset light
Gilds wood and world, ere the glory dies,
And darkness gathers along the skies
And the world is left in night.
Old songs float round in the gloaming,
Sweet fragments that come and go;
They are echoes, I know, from the olden times,
Holy, as music vesper chimes,
In the days of "Long Ago!"
And faces shine in the firelight;
And laughter rings through the rooms;
And memories of bygone springtime eves
Come back to my lone heart that aches and grieves
In the chill of life's winter glooms,
Then, the May of love that I longed-for
Was hid in the future haze;
I dreamed it a land of joy unknown,
Where bliss and beauty would be my own
Through the length of life's fair days.
So in hope for the May I waited
As gay as the joyous hours
That sped so fast, on their lightsome wings
Thro' flowers, and sunlight, and glorious things
That lived in youth's fairy bowers;
But the hopes I nursed in that springtime--
Ah! me, but those times were bright!
Are withered now, and no fruit I see,
Though the blossoms were fair on every tree
In the glow of their promise-light!
Yet, when by the grave where I buried
Those hopes, I stand and weep,
I hear Faith say, as the storm-winds blow,--
"If in patience, and sorrow, and tears ye sow,
The guerdon of joy ye shall reap!"
The glories of fair April's pride
Are smiling round on every hand,
And springtide beauties, far and wide,
As with a garment clothe the land.
In shady nooks, in lonely glades,
In forest alleys wild flowers spring,
In budding stalls, in twilight shades,
In lonely woods the birdies sing.
The violet's bloom on many a bank
Is mirror'd in the waters sheen;
And 'mong the grasses long and rank
The yellow primrose flower is seen.
In yon dim wood the trestle sings
'Mong boughs that clasp hands overhead,
And through the air his glad song rings,
As in that April long since dead.
The brook has still the same soft flow,
Whose murmur filled the evening air
In those old days of long ago,
Though I may never wander there.
I shut my eyes, and see no more
The hurrying throng of city ways
And call to life that dream of yore,
And feel the thrall of bygone days.
The passion'd yearning for the time,
The glorious time that was to be,
The restless young heart's dreams sublime,
Of all the future held for me.
Ah! fair the blossoms Hope's tree bore!
I dreamed of Autumn's golden grain--
Oh! fatal blooms! ye brought a store
Of deep remorse, of life-long pain!
Oh! dream of youth, I see you now
With calmer eyes, and world-taught mind,
And know these care-lines on my brow
My waking hour has left behind.
All false the glow that round you shone,
Though fair as Fancy's dream-land light:--
With all your rainbow decking gone
I view your naked wreck to-night.
I look and bless the sudden blast
That tore my idol from its throne;
And bless the keen pain of the past--
If pain for error could atone.
False love! bereft of all your wiles
Dead dream whose sweetness all is o'er,
The memories of your tears or smiles
Can touch my wakened heart no more.
I lay you in your grave to-night
And seal the stone without a sigh,
Rejoicing that your gloom and blight
No more can cloud my brightening sky.
Only relics, yet precious and pure
Are the dreams of the days of old,
Though they tell of wounds that no charm can cure,
And of bright hopes, dead and cold.
Only visions of forest ways,
Only thoughts of happier days,
Only the glow of Life's sunrise haze
When the morning sun was shining.
Only, it may be, a lock of hair,
Or a flower sere and dry;
Only a pictured face, how fair
In the light of the times gone by!
Only a sigh for what may not be,
Only a yearning wish to see
The light beyond the mystery
That for weary souls is shining.
Only thoughts of the gladsome time
When the world of youth was bright;
Only memories of joys sublime--
The gleams of youth's fairy light,
Only sweet flashes that come and go,
Only the thrall that sets heart aglow,
Only the spells we were wont to know
When Fancy's rays were shining.
Only voices we hear no more,
But the echoes haunt our ears;
Only dreams that are past and o'er
That we mourn through the lonely years
Only to find that the sunny gleam
Of earth's love fades like a passing dream,
Only to wait for that deathless beam
That "beyond the tide" is shining.
Only the clasp of a parting hand
On the silent rivers' shore,
As the dear one sails for the unseen Land
And we see his face no more,--
Only to gaze o'er the waters drear,
Only to wait till the call we hear,
"Come over now, for rest is near
Where the true life light is shining."
Only the burden all must bear,
Only earth's weight of woe;
Only to learn from each dreary care
The patience the pure must know.
Only this:--but what welcomes wait
To hail us home at the pearly gate;
Only to toil until night is late
And awake where the Morn is shining.
How blessed are they who turn their steps
From paths the wicked choose,
Who stand not in the sinners ways,
And scorners' seats refuse.
Who take their solace and delight
In meditation pure--
The law of God--its depth and height,
Its wisdom, might, and power.
They, like the trees on verdant banks
Whereby sweet rivers flow,
Shall bring forth fruit, and fadeless leaves,
And prosperously grow.
But such is not the sinners' end--
Like the light chaff are they,
Which when the softest winds arise,
Are quickly swept away.
They shall not in the judgment stand,
Nor sinners, scorning grace
Be in the congregation found
Where righteous men find place.
The Lord himself the righteous knows--
He marks them from their birth,
But godless ways of sinful men
Shall perish from the earth.
The purple heather on the brae
Was all abloom; by glen and weld
The wild birds sang the live-long day,
The corn-fields ripened into gold.
The garden blooms were wonderous fair;
Red roses blushed in regal glow;
Carnations scented all the air,
Pure was the lilies' virgin snow.
But fairer than the garden flowers,
Or all the summer blooms, wean
Was she, whose smiles beguiled the hours--
Was she, whose presence charmed the scene.
Oh! pleasant were the sylvian glades,
Oh! sweet the hush of summer noon;
Roaming 'neath tangled green-wood shades
We deemed _that_ twilight came too soon!
Our home-ward way lay through the wood,
We lingered by the streamlet's side,--
False vows were made what time we stood
There, 'neath the elms, that eventide.
I carved her name upon a tree,--
A gnarled old ash-tree, gaunt and grey;
"The name may stay," she said to me,
"When I, perchance, am far away!"
Swiftly the summers come and go,
And life grows stern, and love grows cold;
Dim are the days of long ago--
Their joys a story long since told.
But, sometimes, at the close of day,
I dream of that dim wood, and see,
A name upon an ash-tree grey--
'Tis all the past has left to me!
"And other days come back to me
With recollected music."--BYRON.
How memory's boundless store is fraught
With wonders, mystic and sublime!
Bright gleams, that oft we set at nought;
Sweet messengers from Heaven's own clime.
The wind that stirs the boughs at eve--
A star that glimmers in the blue
Of nights gemm'd crown, oftimes may wreathe
A halo, strangely sweet and new.
Round hopes and fears we used to know
In life's young morning, long ago.
The cadence of the sighing waves
That break in song along the shore,
The winds that sigh thro', hidden caves
Are echoes from the days of yore.
The moonlight, stealing o'er the sea,
So calm, above the restless tide,
Is like the light that used to be
In many a by-gone eventide,
As memory comes, and paints each scene,
Of loves and joys that once have been.
We feel the power, and own the spell,
That bid the lonely spirit stray,
In thought, to where our lost ones dwell,
Now from our paths so far away
We say "'tis dreams that Fancy brings,"
And go our way, forgetting still;
But on the winds are angels' wings,
And spirit power, our souls that thrill
With yearning for that life unseen,
Hid far behind this mortal screen.
For Memory still with subtle art
Unfolds the bygone to our eyes,
And still the lonely, longing heart
Would soar beyond earth's mysteries,
Till wearied grown of useless tears,
And longing for the olden days,
We turn to see the future years
Lie smiling 'neath hope's rosy haze,
And view the past with hopeful love,
Made sure our life is "hid above."--
Hid far away from mortal ken,--
These wonderous gleams that round us stray,
These meteors, 'mong the haunts of men,
These holy thoughts, that day by day,
Shine in their light of Heavenly hue
O'er chequered paths of work and love,
Refreshing as the tender dew,
Are stray-beams from the light above
Men call it Memory, but we know
'Tis Heaven's warm light on earth's cold snow!
Twilight's shades are round me creeping,
Nature dons her robe of gray;
Through the blue the stars are peeping,
Sunset's last, faint streaks decay.
Visions come of bygone hours,
Ere these eyes were dimmed by tears,
Youth's bright scenes unwreathed with flowers
Dimly seen through mist of years.
Softly through the summer gloaming
Steals this picture of the past;
Through the wood the breeze is roaming
Moon beams round their shadows cast.
By the murmuring, flowing river,
Sits a maiden waiting there;
Graven on my heart forever
Is that form of beauty rare!
Vows are plighted, love is given,
Trusting love without alloy,
And the calm, blue, starry heaven
Whispers but of truth and joy!
By the murmuring, flowing river,
Where the shore the waters lave,
Now the moon beams fall and quiver
On a green and lonely grave!
Token sad of fond love slighted,
Of a rose cut down in bloom,
Of a fair young blossom blighted
All too lovely for the tomb.
Softly through the summer gloaming
Sighs the breeze a requiem low,
And my sad heart, ever moaning
Answers to its tones of woe!
TOLD IN THE TWILIGHT.
We left our ink-stained office-desk,
Two, young in years, yet old in care;
We laid aside our world-face mask,
We laid aside our daily task
To breathe the country air.
We laid aside our musty books,
Grown almost hateful to our eyes;
We longed to roam the country nooks,
We longed to hear the murmuring brooks,
And see the sunny skies.
We longed to hear the birds again,
Minstrels that through the woodlands stray;
We longed to hear the reaper's strain
Sung in the fields of golden grain
On the bright harvest day.
Oh! pleasant were the breezy downs!
Oh! fair the lanes and fields;
Far from the weary noise of towns,
We half-forgot grim Care's dark frowns,
'Mong peace such quiet yields.
He said, The busy city's street
The path of labour and of woe,
The anxious faces, hurrying feet,
The things that every day I meet,
Are what I hate to know!
Oh! might I bathe in Lethe's stream,
Forget the happy days gone by,
And know this life a fleeting dream,
And look on every passing scene
As with a stranger's eye.
To walk along this quiet lane,
To feel this evening calm,
Ah! how it soothes my tired brain
With peace I thought that ne'er again
Would bless me with its balm.
'Twas in a lane like this, at even
My life's peace came to me;
A great, sweet joy to me was given,
A pure, true love, whose hope has riven
Earth's gloom and mystery.
A maiden, lovely as the glow
Of Fancy's soul-land light,
Once vowed to me for weal and woe,
As calm or storm would come or go,
Her love was 'mine by right!'
Twas Spring-time then, ere Autumn's blast
Sighed with its dreary moan,
To shake the brown leaves falling fast,
Her sweet life-tale was told and past,
And I was left alone!
'Twas hard to think that _she_ was dead,
'Twas hard to bear such pain;
'Twas hard to feel all brightness fled,
'Twas hard to count bright days swift sped
That could not come again!
I sought her grave at eve, alone,
And there before me lay
Her tomb, a lily carved on stone,
Meet emblem of my darling one
So early called away.
And, 'neath the lily, words so sweet,
In dreams they haunt my rest;
Oft at their sound I turn to weep
'He giveth His beloved sleep.'
Oh! portion purest, best!
Sleep to the weary body, worn,
On earth, with pain and care,
To meet the ransomed soul, new-born,
On the Great Resurrection Morn,
In God-like beauty fair.
There, at her grave, I bade farewell
To all my heart loved best;
I left our home, I could not dwell
"Mong scenes our love had marked so well,
I felt Grief's wild unrest."
This is my story told to you--
My holiest dream of life;
The blest home-love that once I knew
When she, so good, so fair, so true,
I called my own--my wife!
My sunshine faded when she died,
Such joy I might not know;
God called her early from my side,
And when I lost my gentle bride
The world seemed full of woe!
He knew 'twas best--my stubborn heart
Had need of chastening pain;
To bow beneath the rod's keen smart,
To learn, by grief, the better part,
To feel such loss is gain.
And now no earthly idol smiles,
No pleasant passions lure;
No fleeting phantom now beguiles
My soul from heaven with tempting wiles,
My hope is fixed and sure.
She waits for me--the swift year's flight
I count like miser's gold;
I keep the "watches of the night,"
I wait until the morning light
Its glories snail unfold.
A burning flood of glory blazing far along the West,
And clouds on clouds aglowing towering o'er the mountains'
Till the shining, burnished columns and the ranks of crimson
In a living trail of splendour, lighting all the evening sky.
The grand October sunset burns above the mountains' brow,
Whose grey old heads shine redly, light-kissed and ruddy now;
There the sunshine loves to linger in a parting glow of
Ere Day his throne resigneth to the dusky reign of Night.
But low and lower sinking, the sun goes down the West
And the dazzling beams are fading along the Ocean's breast
Till, pale and paler growing, the grandeur dies away,
And the wild waves and the breezes seem wailing for the Day!
For the fair Day, that has vanished--the brightness that is
And for all the sunny hours that are passed away and dead,
The rosy flush of sunrise, the gladsome time of morn,
And bird-songs sweet, that far and near told when the Day was
The tranquil hush of noontide, the mellow evening hours
But ah! the Day's departure left desolate the bowers,
And woodland haunts, and flowery dells, and mountain streams
Are lonely left in deepening gloom, and mystic twilight
But through the Night's grim darkness the star-lamps bright
'Till the lone Earth, cheered and hopeful, shall wait for
And gaze with wistful longing, till the dawn the far East
And the sun in regal beauty smile o'er the grand old hills.
Then life and light and brightness shall be her own again,
And in the new-found gladness she'll forget the night of pain
Forget the hours of darkness when deep in gloom she lay,
And her weeping-time of sadness be "as waters that pass
Thus, this dreary night of sorrow through which we wander
Be only transient darkness the long bright Day is near,
Whose light of peace and glory the ransomed spirit fills,
As it hails the dawn eternal upon the Heavenly Hills!
"CONSIDER THE LILIES."
Not gold nor diamond flash of dazzling brightness,
No costly thing of earth Thou givest for thought;
But these sweet simple flowers, beside whose whiteness
The great king's glory all would seem as nought.
Thou knewest how soon must fade all earth's poor splendour,
Worthless its wealth to Thine all-seeing eye;
The short-lived glimmer of its pomp and grandeur
Fleeting and transient only born to die.
Thou would'st not point our love to earth's frail treasure,
But to these lilies, beautiful and pure;
They toil nor spin not, yet their life's full measure
Thou metest, and their day is kept secure.
Oh, lilies! well I love your snowy pureness!
That once the Master deigned while here to trace,
Pledges of His dear love, whose truth and serene
Are faintly shadowed in your beauty's grace.
Meek teachers! could I learn that lesson given!
If God so clothe the grass with beauty rare,
Shall He not guide us on our way to heaven,
And guard our pathway till we enter there?
Oh give me, Lord, a soul of lily whiteness,
Washed in the blood that Thou hast shed for me,
Thy Spirit's light to pierce earth's gloom with brightness
And show the way thro' mist and cloud to Thee
Give me a heart whose treasure is in heaven,
Not for to-morrow feeling anxious thought;
Even as my day, so shall my strength be given,
And grace sufficient--can I want for aught?
Oh, give me faith, that on Thy love relying,
From doubt's dark thrall I may be ever free;
And clothe me, Lord, that in the hour of dying,
Thy righteousness, blest robe, may cover me!
Thus may I walk, by Thee, my Guide, befriended,
'Joyous with joy that knows no sad decay;
That when earth's sun has set her brief day ended
My morn may break and shine to "perfect day'"
SONGS OF THE SEA.
"My soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a restless pulse through me."--LONGFELLOW
In the grey light of the morning, ere the sun has lit the sky
When the winds rave loud and wildly, to the angry waters
How the mighty, foaming billows thunder forth, in ceaseless
Songs majestic, wild with anguish, woeful waitings evermore.
In the dawn light, in the gloaming, beating, breaking, o'er
Telling out the ocean stories, to the wide, encircling shore;
And I listen, till the legends of the past, a shadowy host,
Seem to gather round, and people storied Antrim's rock-bound
Where the grandeur of the Causeway smiles in scorn at Art's
Seem the wild waves ever singing of the high schemes Nature
When she hurled the giant columns, by some mighty earthquake
Till they stand, huge pillar-wonders, by the paved,
And the dark caves, weird and frowning, echoing the sea's
Seem to hold some spell unearthly, of the ocean's secret
Where th'Atlantic rolls sublimely, lashing round Port
Language cannot paint the grandeur of the waves, in awful
Beating, breaking, wildly seething, whilst in restless,
Deep to far-off deep is calling, answering round from shore
And the spirit of the ocean seems to fill its heaving breast
With ten thousand prison'd longings, wailing out in wild
Softening down to calmer music, round the White Rocks and the
With a tender, nameless pathos, softly sing the curling waves
To the battlements and turrets, and the old towers, grim and
Where the stern Macquillan chieftains reigned in once
There Dunluce, in lonely grandeur, frowns in wild, and
Sentinel of bygone ages, Time-tried warder by the tide.
Grey Dunluce, in concert blending, winds, and waves, and
Seem to sing a dirge of sorrow for the glory fled from thee,
Rolling onward to the Skerries, wailing far in requiem moan
Till they catch the surf's bold thunder round toe rock at
Where the foam-girt shore re-echoes with the burthen of the
And the angry dashing billows wide and far the cry prolong.
When the moonlight, pale and faintly, gleams on Malin Head's
And its silvery pathway shimmers far across the ocean's
When the yeasty breakers glisten softly in the shadowy light,
When the rocks seem mystic castles, looming grimly thro' the
Then the solemn songs of Ocean, fraught with precious, new-
Bring for Fancy unknown treasure, priceless gems for
Thought's great store!
Grand old Ocean! how my spirit longs to catch thy melody
Do thine heart's great pulses quicken with a secret life, oh,
Far adown the blue waves, hidden by the hearings of your
Is there soul to tune your singing, to its ceaseless, wild
Oh! thou dread and wondrous ocean, tell these mystic songs to
For their cadence, grand and changeful, haunts my path with
Silvery moonlight, clear and bright,
Shining down on our earth to-night,
Soft as the touch of an angels' wing,
Tender, beautiful, holy thing!
Seeking the glen where the cool waters flow--
Lighting the bank where the violets grow;
Gilding the crest of the foamy rill;
Falling in silence upon the hill;
Piercing the depths of the forest glade,
Glancing down thro' the leafy shade,
Till the loneliest haunts of the wild wood seem
To rejoice in the light of thy radiant beam!
Glistening out on the trackless deep,
Where the spirits of ocean their revels keep;
Lighting the path over the billows' foam,
As the mermaid glides from her gem-built home,
And the peri's song o'er the heaving sea
Sounds in fitful, plaintive melody!
Pouring down on the mountain pass,
Where, tripping light o'er the dewy grass,
The fairies join in their wild, weird dance,
And the mystic forms thro' the moonbeams glance,
While far and wide on the wind is borne
Through answering echoes, the elfin horn.
Flooding with glory the prairie's breast,
Till, all transformed, in the radiance drest,
The shanty, south of the poplar wood,
Seems a sylvian lodge in the solitude;
And the settler dreams, with a moistened eye,
Of the moonlights and loves of the times gone by.
Gleaming fair on the city towers
Where the clocks, thro' the night, chime the passing hours,
On the city's heart that no longer beats,
With the ebb and flow of its noisy streets,
And their living pulse-throbs that come and go,
To the smile of joy, and the throb of woe!
Smiling down from a cloudless sky,
On the village homes, that all peaceful lie;
Where simple hearts, in a happier life,
Know nought of the city's cares and strife,--
The hardy sons of honest toil,
Pensioners free of their parent soil!
To hopeful hearts in the morn of youth,
The dream-land of Love, and the type of Truth,
Where the future shows 'neath its veil of light
An Eden of blissful, untold delight
In the stern, hard struggle of manhood's days
When tired feet stumble o'er life's rough ways,
And in age's twilight of shadowy gloom,
A dream of the rest that is yet to come.
Shine on, silvery moonlight, shine!
Gladden earth with your beams benign;
On restless ocean, on tranquil lake,
Through forest alleys, by fern and brake;
By quiet village, and crowded town,
By mountain, prairie, and breezy down;
O'er sights of gladness, o'er scenes of woe,
Let the tender light of thy pure beams glow,
And the weary and hopeless shall bless your light.
And the child of joy have more pure delight.
"Until the day break, and the shadows flee away."
Goodnight, beloved! see the sun descending,
Behind the woodlands of the far, bright West,
And in the glory of the daylights ending,
The "light at eventide" brings dreams of rest.
Goodnight, beloved! now the grey-eyed gloaming
Glides through the valleys with an unheard tread,
And haunts the woodlands, where the wild winds moaning
Wails o'er the leaves of Autumn, sere and dead.
Goodnight, beloved! see the pale stars peeping
Through the blue curtain of the shadowy skies;--
The lamps the angels hold, their night-watch keeping,
O'er souls who wait their call to Paradise!
Goodnight, beloved! a faint, lingering glory,
Of dying daylight glows in parting smile;
Its last kiss lighting all the hill-tops hoary,
As though the hour with brightness to beguile.
So now, I dream, a tender love-light lingers
O'er all the bygone, in a charmed glow,--
That hides the marks of Time's relentless fingers
And gilds the cherished dreams of long ago.
How fair it shines! but ah! the West grows dimmer,
The crimson radiance melts to sober grey,
And so earth's dream-light fades in fitful glimmer,
Its meteor brightness swiftly dies away.
Goodnight, beloved! for the shadows darken
In gloom around me, and I cannot see;
Come nearer, nearer still; beloved, hearken;
I hear a far-off voice that calls for me.
Goodnight, beloved! a new light is breaking
As earth's light fades to brighten nevermore;
Goodnight, beloved! till that glad awaking
When morning shines upon the other shore.
The sunset burns on roof and spire,
And streets with busy passers rife;
But ah! it lacks the dream-world fire,
That once 'twas wont to call to life.
That once it kindled in the days
Of woodland haunt and country lane,
Before I knew the city's ways,
Before I learned that life has pain.
Oh! present, with your armed host
Of anxious cares, barbed sharp, and keen
Fade! for the light of pleasures lost
Shines forth from days that once have been.
A fairer sunset charms the West
A mellower radiance fills the air;
A scene with old-time beauty drest,
Lies stretched before me, smiling fair.
A rustic range-wall, gnarled and old,
A wooden bridge that spans a stream;
The glory of the sunset's gold.
The sweetness of my first love-dream!
Two hearts that meet in passion'd thrill,
Whose perfect bliss no words can tell;
But once in life that joy we feel,
And feeling, prize, alas! too well!
Oh! Time and Doubt! ye fill the heart
With sepulchres of Love and Truth;
Our hopes lie dead but memory's part
Must still be played till life shall cease.
Oh! swift years ever drifting fleet
Adown life's current, tempest toss'd,
Roll on! till on Time's brink we meet
And hail the life where nought is lost!
TO ------ ON HIS MARRIAGE.
My friend, on this your wedding-day,
Where Love and Hope unite,
To yield with Hymenal ray
The bridal morning bright.--
When hands are clasped
And cups are quaffed,
When round go wishes true,
This song of mine
For Auld Lang Syne
I send to her and you.
An echo of the bygone times
To mingle with your wedding chimes!
"Good luck," on this your wedding morn,
"God speed" for years to be;
Good wishes, of old friendship born
For days ye both shall see.
When in your bowers,
Ah! ne'er may sorrow's gloom
Bring shadow there,
May sunlight fair
Your hearth and home illume!
All good, all joy, all blessing true,
I wish to your fair bride and you!
May Heaven its choicest riches send
To bless your life's long way;
May Love its lasting beauty lend
That age can't steal away.
Oh! may your sky
As swift years fly
Be cloudless, bright and fair;
May joys' own glow
Dispel all woe,
And chase away grim care!
May every good that God can send
Be yours through all your life, my friend!
We said "good-bye" in a quiet lane,
the gloaming, years ago;
few were our words about "parting pain"--
we were "only friends" you know.
Good friends had we been in the dear, dead hours,
that still in our hearts would live,
At morn we had wandered the wild-wood bowers,
We had roamed through the lanes at eve.
We had gathered the sweets of the summer glades,
The rose, and the violet blue;
We had talked of Love in the twilight shades,
And of hearts that were tried and true.
But of our heart's hopes, or our own love-dreams,
Ah! never a word said we,
For Fate had forbidden our lips such themes,
And "friends" we could only be.
And our farewell came, like a boding gloom,
That darkened life's morning ray,
And joy's glad glow, and Hope's tender bloom
Died out of one heart that day.
How we thought in that hour of the bygone days,
Of the golden summer prime,
Of the mountains wild, and the woodland ways,
And the spell of the gloaming time!
And, it may be, the memory of whispered words
Came o'er us with subtle power,
Awaking, unbidden, our full hearts' chords
In the pain of that parting hour.
For our hands were clasped, and our lips once met,
The first time, and the last;
Ah me! 'twere well could we all forget,
Some scenes in our buried past;--
For the blue outline of the mountains high,
The lake, and the woodland green,
The quiet lane, and the twilight sky,
Too oft in my dreams are seen!
And still, tho' the summers are bright and fair,
And the summer woods are gay,
To me there is something wanting there
That has passed from my life away!
ODE TO SUMMER.
Beauteous Queen! with crown of flowers,
On your tresses sunny sheen;
Welcome! to the "Lone-Land" bowers,
To our prairies, wild and green!
In your path spring flowers to meet you,
Nature's choicest glories greet you,
Fair Enchantress! I entreat you,
Listen to my lay!
Smiling Summer, down the ages,
Still your praises have been sung,
And the poets and the sages,
Who have spoke with gifted tongue,--
In our legends, old and hoary,
Thrilling song, and 'trancing story,
Live to-day in deathless glory,
Thrill our souls anew!
Still their songs our breasts inspire,
Still is theirs undying fame;
Theirs the untaught poet-fire,
That I may not hope to claim;--
Louder than the war-host dashing,
Brighter than their bright spears clashing,
Shine their souls, like lightning flashing
Through their thunder-words!
Radiant Queen! Their songs combining
Yield to thee their highest praise,
Round thy brows of beauty twining,
Fadeless garlands of their lays;--
Lays whose light our gloom has rifted,
And our yearnings heavenward lifted,
As we soar with them, the gifted,
Far from earth away.
Queen of Beauty! Still we sing thee,
Worthy of the poets' song;
Willing homage still we bring thee
As the ages roll along.
Songs of birds, and breath of flowers,
Wind-notes, charming woodland bowers,
Morn's fresh glories, gloaming hours,
Yield their sweets to thee!
Now the prairie-lands are smiling
With the wealth thy reign bestows,
Brightness golden days beguiling,
O'er smooth sands life's river flows.
Through the air glad sounds are ringing,
Nature summer idylls singing,
I, my simple off'ring bringing,
Kneel at Summer's feet!
It seems the same as it used to be, when I watched the sunset
In the days of beauty and gladness, the times of long ago;
Like a light that is dim and far-off, for dark years, full of
Lie, rolled between me and the beautiful past, that never can
Yet Ireland's hills are as verdant now, and the sun, as he
sinks to rest,
As then pours his parting glory, o'er Slieve Gallion's purple
A glory that brightens and lingers, as though it were fain to
Till the twilight shadows darken, and daylight dies away.
On Mullaboy the darkness looms weird on the lonely hill,
The cattle have ceased their lowing, and the song-birds'
notes are still;
And here, in the gloom and silence, 'neath the stars and the
Old memories throng around me, of days long, long gone by.
Two scenes are ever fairest, and first in this heart of mine,
And with clearer light and brighter, 'mong the dimmer
And perfect in light and shadow, in tracing true and grand
Are the pictures as memory paints them, with firm and master-
The first is a cloudless moonlight, in calm and silvery
And the range of the Morne Mountains in the dim background is
Beneath them the sea is rolling, all fair in the gentle
And beauty and peace are blending in the hush of the summer
I gaze, till again in fancy, I hear the waves' soft roar,
As they break in wild sweet music along Rostrevor's shore;
And a voice with their song is blending telling the old sweet
Of a fond, true love, that through life's long years would
never change or fail.
That picture fades before me and the second comes in view--
A walk 'neath o'er-arching beeches, with the sunlight
Leaves that rustle and whisper on branches that wave above,
A silent, tearful parting, the death of a deathless love!
Dead, and yet unforgotten, worn, but never estranged,
The glory and brightness of morning to the darkness of
And life is dull and dreary, and joy from earth is fled,
For the love that was light and beauty, and joy and peace, is
SABBATH ON THE PRAIRIE.
The year's first, blushing roses,
Were decking the prairie's breast;
And the summer garb of beauty
Made fair the wild North-West.
It flashed in the sedgy hollows,
And smiled in the woodland dell;
It whispered in low, soft zephyrs
That breathed o'er the lake and fell.
How it glowed in the mystic star-shine
Of the clear blue Northern sky;
How it crmison'd and flushed in grandeur
In the sunset's sweet good-bye!
And gaudy birds from the South-land
Made brilliant the poplar grove,
And plaintiff calls came sounding,
From the haunts where the plovers rove.
With dream-notes in the gloaming
The wind-lutes swept the boughs,--
Sweet songs of the distant stretches,
Where the moose and bison browse.
And we lay in our camp, and listened,
And thought of the wilds untrod;
Of the misty, lonely future,
And the homes on the stranger sod.
And still o'er the wide, wide ocean,
Our eager thoughts would stray,
To the homes and scenes, to the loves and hopes
Of the youth-time, far away.
Then we slept, to dream of the morrow,
"'Twill be Sunday at home," we said;
"But our church must be the prairie,
With the blue sky overhead."
The Sabbath dawned in beauty,
With a calm whose breath of peace,
Made a solemn grand cathedral
Of the wild vast wilderness.
The woods were the soft-toned organs,
And the winds, thro' their alleys dim,
Now raised some high, glad anthem,
Now chanted some low, sweet hymn.
We came from our tents together,
And stood on the lone hill-side,
To join in the songs of Nature,
That Sabbath morning-tide.
"With one consent let all the earth,"
Swelled on' the sunny air.
And then, how each home-sick, heart went forth
In that strange hour of prayer!
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