Miscellanea (2)
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 A Ballade Of "Churchwardens."


Why, hang it all, let life go by,
    It is but bubbles we pursue;
They burst at last, and then we sigh
    And pay what folly claims as due.
We have our time to smile and sigh,
    Who knows the false from all the true?
Let us enjoy before we die,
    Churchwardens and a friend or two.

For these are things that will not fly
    Nor fade, as other pleasures do;
Nay, trust me, for I would not lie—
    At least I would not lie to you.
There is a time when earth and sky
    Unite—when lovers bill and coo -
A happy time; but let us try
    Churchwardens and a friend or two.

Alas! what grief when you descry
    White strangers—just a very few—
Among your hair.   A friendly eye
    Detects them, though you never knew.
Well, let them come, nor look awry,
    But trust the gods to pull you through;
They'll do it if they but supply
    Churchwardens and a friend or two.

Envoi

Prince should your royal eyes espy
    A white hair—this is entre nous
Remember you are very nigh
    Churchwardens and a friend or two.

 
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A Ballade Of Tobacco Smoke.


WHAT fretting loads we mortals bear
    Through life, whose fading rainbows mock
And Time, who drives a splendid pair
    Of steeds he never will unyoke,
Sweeps his lean fingers through our hair,
    He scarcely leaves a decent lock,
Yet chide him not, if still he spare
    The dreams seen through tobacco smoke.

We each must have our little care
    To add by contrast to our joke,
A laugh that spreads in vain its snare
    To catch the lips of solemn folk.
Well, let us walk through all the fair,
    And watch the crowds that sway and shock;
They follow what we see elsewhere—
    The dreams seen through tobacco smoke.

Dreamers of dreams in ships of air,
    Whose keels have never entered dock,
I wish you may have sounder ware
    Than did Alnaschar when he woke!
Statesmen, when strife is high, forswear
    For half an hour the wordy stroke,
I fain would hint of better fare—
    The dreams seen through tobacco smoke!

Envoi

Prince, when you weary of the chair
    From which you govern realms and folk,
Your faithful bard would have you share
    The dreams seen through tobacco smoke.

 
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The Blackbird's Nest.


SHE sits upon her nest all day,
    Secure amid the toiling din
Of serpent belts that coil and play,
    And, moaning, ever twist and spin.

What cares she for the noise and whirr
    Of clanking hammers sounding near?
A mother's heart has lifted her
    Beyond a single touch of fear.

Beneath her, throbbing anvils shout,
    And lift their voice with ringing peal,
While engines groan and toss about
    Their tentacles of gleaming steel.

Around her, plates of metal, smote
    And beat upon by clutch and strain,
Take shape beneath the grasp of thought—
    The mute Napoleon of the brain.

She careth in nowise for this,
    But, as an anxious mother should,
Dreams of a certain coming bliss—
    The rearing of her callow brood.

Thou little rebel, thus to fly
    The summer shadows of the trees,
The sunlight of the gracious sky,
    The tender toying of the breeze.

What made thee leave thy leafy home,
    The deep hid shelter of the tree,
The sounds of wind and stream, and come
    To where all sounds are strange to thee?

Thou wilt not answer anything;
    Thy thoughts from these are far away;
Five little globes beneath thy wing,
    Are all thou thinkest on to-day.

 
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Blind Matthew.


BLIND MATTHEW, coming down the village street
    With slow, sure footsteps, pauses for a while,
And in the sunlight falling soft and sweet
    His features brighten to a kindly smile.

Upon his ear the sounds of toil and gain,
    Clanking from wood-girt shop and smithy, steal,
And soft he whispers, "O my fellow-men,
    I cannot see you, but I hear and feel."

Then smiling still he slowly steps along,
    And every kindly word and friendly tone,
Like the old fragment of an early song,
    Wakes thoughts that make the past again his own.

The children see him, and in merry band
    Come shouting from their glad and healthy play,
"Here is blind Matthew, let us take his hand,
    And see if he can guess our names to-day."

Then all around him throng, and run, and press,
    And lead him to his seat beneath the tree,
Each striving to be first, for his caress,
    Or gain the favour'd seat upon his knee.

And Matthew, happy in their artless prate,
    Cries, as he slips into their guileless plan,
"Now she who holds my right hand is sweet Kate,
    And she who holds my left is little Anne."

Then all the children leap with joyful cries,
    Till one fair prattler nestling on his breast
Whispers, "Blind Matthew, tell us when your eyes
    Shall have their light, and open like the rest?"

Then closer still he draws the little one,
    Laying his hand upon her golden head;
Then speaks with low, soft, sweet and solemn tone,
    While all the rest range round with quiet tread.

He tells how Christ, in ages long ago,
    Came down to earth in human shape and name,
Walking his pilgrimage, begirt with woe,
    And laying healing hands on blind and lame.

Then of blind Bartimeus, the beggar, he
    Who by the wayside sat, and cried in awe,
"Jesus, thou Son of David, look on me;"
    And Jesus look'd and touch'd him, and he saw.

"But not on earth these eyes of mine shall fill
    With light," thus Matthew ends, "for in this night
I must grope on with Christ to guide me still,
    And He will lead me through the grave to light.

"So when you miss old Matthew from the street,
    And in the quiet of the churchyard lies
A new-made grave, to draw your timid feet,
    Then will you know that Christ has touch'd my eyes."

 
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The Bowgie Man.


DID ye see the Bowgie man
    Stan'in' at the door?
Ae big pock flung owre his back,
    Anither doon afore.
Did ye hear him cryin' oot,
    As he geid a knock—
"Mithers fash'd wi' steerin' weans,
    Pit them in my pock?"

Gudeness, what has brocht him here,
    Giein' fowk a fricht,
Speerin' after weans, an' look—
    Eicht o'clock at nicht.
Hae I ony in the house?
    Here's ane on my knee,
Winna let his claes come aff,
    Or steek an e'e for me.

Bowgie, stan'in' at the door,
    Where is't that ye keep
Souple rogues that row aboot,
    An' never think on sleep?
Hear him turn the han'le roun',
    Then anither knock,
"In anaith the big mill wheel,
    Tied up in my pock."

Bowgie, if a bairn we ken
    Says he'll cuddle doon,
Wull ye leave oor door, an' gang
    Farrer up the toon?
Hear him cryin' oot again,
    As he snowks aboot—
"If he's happit owre the heid
    I daurna pu' him oot."

Bowgie, tak' some ither door,
    Here ye'll come nae speed;
Mammy's bairn has cuddled doon,
    Happit owre the heid.
If ye come anither nicht,
    What a fricht ye'll get!
Gar his faither cut your pocks,
    An' chase ye through the yett.

Mony a bowgie man atweel
    We hae cause to fear,
Comes an' knocks, and axes things
    We dinna want to hear.
Like the bairns, when ilka knock
    Brings some ill-dune deed,
We gang about an' never min',
    If happit owre the heid.

 
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A Castle Old And Grey.


I never see a castle
    That is gaunt and grey and grim,
But my thoughts at once go backward
    To the past so misty and dim.

To the time when tower and turret,
    Kept watch far over the vale;
And along the sounding draw-bridge
    Rode knights in their suits of mail.

I see the sunshine glancing
    On helmet, pennon, and spear;
And hear from the depth of the forest,
    A bugle calling clear.

I fill the hall with visions
    Of ladies rich in their bloom;
And stately knights in armour,
    And waving with feather and plume.

If I climb the broken stairway,
    Where the stone is smooth and fine,
I hear a rustle and whisper,
    And footsteps in front of mine.

Whisper of youth and maiden,
    As they met in the long ago;
His deep and strong and manly,
    Hers tender and sweet and low.

But maiden and youth have vanished,
    Away from the scene and the light;
Gone, too, the high-born lady,
    And the plumed and armoured knight.

Only the grey old castle,
    Of crumbling stone and lime,
Still stands to speak of the ages,
    And the iron footsteps of Time.

 
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Cuddle Doon.


THE bairnies cuddle doon at nicht,
    Wi' muckle faucht an' din.
"O, try and sleep, ye waukrife rogues,
    Your faither's comin' in."
They never heed a word I speak;
    I try to gi'e a froon,
But aye I hap them up, an' cry,
    "O, bairnies, cuddle doon."

Wee Jamie wi' the curly heid,
    He aye sleeps next the wa'
Bangs up an' cries, "I want a piece!"
    The rascal starts them a'.
I rin an' fetch them pieces, drinks,
    They stop awee the soun',
Then draw the blankets up an' cry,
    "Noo, weanies, cuddle doon."

But ere five minutes gang, wee Rab
    Cries oot, frae 'neath the claes,
"Mither, mak' Tam gi'e owre at ance,
    He's kittlin' wi' his taes."
The mischief's in that Tam for tricks,
    He'd bother half the toon;
But aye I hap them up an' cry,
    "O, bairnies, cuddle doon!"

At length they hear their faither's fit,
    An', as he steeks the door,
They turn their faces to the wa',
    While Tam pretends to snore.
"Ha'e a' the weans been gude?" he asks,
    As he pits aff his shoon.
"The bairnies, John, are in their beds,
    An' lang since cuddled doon!"

An' just afore we bed oorsel's,
    We look at oor wee lambs;
Tam has his airm roun' wee Rab's neck,
    An' Rab his airm roun' Tam's.
I lift wee Jamie up the bed,
    An', as I straik each croon,
I whisper, till my heart fills up,
    "O, bairnies, cuddle doon!"

The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht
    Wi' mirth that's dear to me;
But sune the big warl's cark an' care
    Will quaten doon their glee.
Yet, come what will to ilka ane,
    May He who rules aboon
Aye whisper, though their pows be bald,
    "O, bairnies, cuddle doon!"

 
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The Dead Child.
 

"All its innocent thoughts,
 Like rose leaves scattered."—

Wilson


THERE is an angel sleeping in this room,
A little angel, with the quietest bloom
Of white, all downy-like, upon the cheek
And round the brow; and yet it will not speak,
Though the small lips retain the hues from which
We fondly wish the eloquence of speech;
But in its silence seeming still a form
Cut by some sculptor when his mind was warm
With highest beauty.   Look! I pull away
The little curtain, and you look on clay,
Yet clay so wrought to love's own rest that you
But weep to share the calm that meets your view,
Then worship, and with fingers fondly touch
The little brow that wakens not at such;
Put back the delicate wealth of silken hair,
And wonder why it keeps so fresh and fair;
Kiss the faint curvèd lips, and you the while,
A dupe to fancy, think they sweetly smile;
Press the shut eyelids, that, all white and even,
Like tiny clouds that hide blue spots of heaven,
Droop o'er those eyes, whose light has fled away,
To leave this human blossom to decay,
Like the few flowers that yet seem dewy fair
Within the little hands.   We placed them there,
As if to see how well their hues would keep,
A perfect type of its most innocent sleep.
But these will wither, and the grave will hide
Within its dull, dank, clasp our household pride,
And little feet will touch no more the hearth,
And little lips will laugh no more their mirth,
But silence, ever deeper when we miss
A cherub presence for its nightly kiss.
Yet in our hearts' most sacred spot shall be
A little angel type of this we see—
Fair, pure, and heavenly, through the changing years,
And kept all golden with our sweetest tears,
Until the little form, not lost, but hid
Far in our bosom like a golden thread,
Shall twine itself around our life till we
Bear lighter weight of sin and earth, and see
Before us all our paths shaped out by love,
And brighten'd with a shadow from above,
Beneath whose balm and Hope's eternal tone
The days but seem as links to guide us on.
Till, when we reach our pilgrimage of clay,
And all we had of earth is pass'd away,
We find at last beyond the stars' abode
Our little wither'd bud full blown in God.

 
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The Deil's in that Bit Bairn.


The deil's bairn o' mine, for every noo and than
He gies me siccan frichts, that whiles for fear I scarce can stan
What pits sic mischief in his heid 'twad puzzle me to tell,
Unless to gar me start an' rin, that he may lauch himsel'.

Just noo in comin' frae the well, I heard a clash an' rair,
An' here he's wi' his heid richt through the ban's o' his wee chair;
I didna ken richt where I stood until I had him free,
An' kissin' a' his rumpled pow as he sat on my knee.

But 'tweel since ever he could crawl, an' hirstle roun' an' roun',
He aye made for that chair o' his, nod-noddin' wi' his croon;
An' through the ban's he'd pit his heid, then start to craw an' sing,
As if he wanted me to ken he'd dune some michty thing.

He had some notion o' his ain' I pit nae doot in that,
Some queer dim thocht that, though a wean, he wanted to be at
But what he mean'd by't, than or noo, 'twad tak' the seven wise men
Wha flourished braid langsyne in greece, to rise and let us ken.

But aye as up the laddie grew, his heid was growin' tae,
An' aye the chair ban's stood the same as ony ban's should dae;
Until at last when he boo'd dae his muckle-thocht-o' trick,
His heid stuck fast, an' there he'd lie, tae spurl an' greet an' kick.

Gude kens what fash I've had since than, an' a' to little en',
For though I free his heid for him, it winna mak' him men';
I wuss when he grows up an' tries his ain han' shift to mak',
He maunna pit his heid through things that winna let it back.

I ken but little o' this life, it's unco ill to learn,
Yet what I hae o't gars me think the mair o' my bit bairn;
For mony a muckle man see, if I but turn aboot,
Wha has his heid atween the ban's, an' canna get it oot.


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Drew the Wrong Lever!


THIS was what the pointsman said,
With both hands at his throbbing head:—

"I drew the wrong lever standing here
And the danger signals stood at clear;

"But before I could draw it back again
On came the fast express, and then—

"There came a roar and a crash that shook
This cabin-floor, but I could not look

"At the wreck, for I knew the dead would peer
With strange dull eyes at their murderer here."

"Drew the wrong lever?"   "Yes, I say!
Go, tell my wife, and—take me away!"

That was what the pointsman said,
With both hands at his throbbing head.

O ye of this nineteenth century time,
Who hold low dividends as a crime,

Listen.   So long as a twelve-hours' strain
Rests like a load of lead on the brain,

With its ringing of bells and rolling of wheels,
Drawing of levers until one feels

The hands grow numb with a nerveless touch,
And the handles shake and slip in the clutch,

So long will ye have pointsmen to say—
"Drew the wrong lever! take me away!"

 
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The Hills In The Hielands.


THE hills in the Hielands are bonnie,
    Wi' the licht an' the shadow at play;
An' the winds that mak' redder the heather
    Far up on the cliff an' the brae.
The white clouds are floatin' abune them,
    Like snawdrifts that never can fa',
The hills in the Hielands are bonnie,
    The hills in the Hielands are braw!

The streets o' the city grow weary
    For want o' the glint an' the sheen;
An' the wast wind has never a murmur
    O' woods that are wavin' wi' green:
But O, for the bound o' the red deer,
    An' the curlew that bugles to a';
The hills in the Hielands are bonnie,
    The hills in the Hielands are braw.

I sigh for the roar o' the river
    Far down in the depths o' the glen,
The rush an' the whirr o' the blackcock
    As he springs frae the side o' the ben;
For the sweep o' the sky-cleavin' eagle,
    Whose wings are the bounds o' his law—
The hills in the Hielands are bonnie,
    The hills in the Hielands are braw.

Then, O, to be up in the Hielands,
    Where the winds draw not bridle nor stay;
Where the forests are tossing their banners,
    An' the breckans are thick on the brae.
Where the loch lies in shadow or sunshine,
    Or leaps to the winds as they blaw;
The hills in the Hielands are bonnie,
    The hills in the Hielands are braw.

 
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The Marble Faun of Praxiteles.

(Rome)


THOU link between the gods that move apart
    From all the ways of men, and youth that reels
    With the wild fulness of its life, that feels
Each throb and quiver of the bounding heart.
There is no care or shadow on that brow,
    Nor long slow-breathing year with dull sure tooth ;
Thou still remainest to us even as now
    The perfect type of ever-joyous youth.
Are we the fools of that which still deceives
    Idolators of open-lidded dreams?
I know not.   But we gaze until we hear
    Pipings on reeds, and shady sounds of streams,
Laughter as if of gods asleep, and clear
Soft sympathetic symphonies of leaves.

 
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One Daisy and two Violets.

Sent from the grave of Keats, Rome, 1880


ONE daisy and two violets
    Mix and mingle their faint sweets,
For they grew like soft regrets
    On the grave of English Keats,
In that Rome in which the past
Folds dusky wings and sleeps at last.

Two violets and one daisy here
    Meet me with their tender look,
And my lost youth grows all clear,
    Like a pool in summer brook.
When the sunshine manifold
Turns all the pebbles into gold.

In that time a spirit bright
    Came and took me by the hand,
In his eyes was all the light
    Of that wondrous pagan land
Where the gods still dwell, but we
Are cold at heart and cannot see.

One light finger touch'd my heart,
    And as fairy clouds arise
When the wind's most cunning art
    Rears them up against the skies,
So within me dreams rise up,
Like angels holding each a cup.

And I drank, and straightway came
    Shapes of beauty, and their feet
Made rare music, just the same
    As those melodies so sweet
Which this spirit sang, for he
Was one great throb of song to me.

There were forms of half-seen things,
    Shadows that the dim woods keep;
Shapes of tender fashionings,
    Such as those love who will reap
Dim fields of the past, but leave
Behind them aught that tends to grieve.

Glimpses into high abodes
    Where the winds have never sound,
Profiles of the idle gods
    Lying half asleep, and crown'd
With a wreath of vine which they
Felt with their fingers all the day.

Naiads by the streams I saw
    Hamadryads by the trees;
Heard their voices in mute awe
    Join together like soft seas,
When the winds aweary lie
For rest in hollows of the sky.

All the old life—ever young
    To young hearts—was mine.   I lay
Lapp'd in songs this 'spirit sung;
    I had nought to do with day,
And the night was lit with beams
And splendours from his golden dreams.

Strange these simple flowers should bring
    Back that lost time unto me;
Touch my dull day with the spring
    Of what was, as when a tree,
Wither'd stands in summer air,
With one leaf growing here and there.

So the thoughts of those far years
    Come into my heart, and look
For a moment in their fears,
    Then shrink back as at rebuke,
Whispering, as they pass away,
"Here all is changed; we cannot stay."

And I sigh, but sigh in vain,
    For the past goes on and on,
Will not turn to lend again
    To this staider life one tone
Of that music which was ours
When day and night had bloom like flowers.

One sweet daisy faint of dye,
    Violets that keep their sweets,
See, I place them, with a sigh,
    In this book of English Keats,
Where he sings with murmurous breath
That cannot feel the touch of death.

They will wither and become
    Things we may not touch but view,
Though they speak of that grand Rome
    And the grave whereon they grew,
Fading 'neath a gentle wrong
Between rich leaves of fadeless song.

 
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The Paidlin' Wean.


COME in the hoose this moment, paidlin' oot there in the rain,
    An', losh me! but ae buitie on, ye limmer o' a wean;
Come in an' tell me, if ye can, what great delicht ye tak'
    In paidlin' in the siver till your face is perfect black?

I canna turn my back, atweel, to airn your faither's sark,
    But if the door be left agee, ye slip oot to your wark,
An' stamp in a' the puddles, lauchin' as they jaup an' jow,
    While a' the time the careless rain pelts doon upon your pow.

See what an awfu' mess ye've made o' a' your bonnie claes,
    The peenie, tae, that I pat on this mornin' when ye raise;
'Twas white then as the new-fa'en sna', but noo as black's the lum,
    An' what wi' treacly pieces, stickin' here an' there like gum.

An' noo ye maun be wash'd, nae doot, but hoo will I begin?
    I think I'll get the muckle tub, an' dook ye tae the chin;
Dook ye ow'r the heid, ye rogue, an' skelp your hurdies tae,
    An' see if that'll mak ye ony better for the day.

Noo, dinna shake your curly heid, an' shape your mooth for no,
    An' row yoursel' within my goon, an' lisp oot "keeky bo;"
For sic a steerin' plague ye've turn'd, an' grown sae fierce an' croose,
    That I maun try some ither plan to keep ye in the hoose.

But, losh me! even as I speak, my anger's quaten'd doon,
    An' so I kiss the rosy mou' that peeps oot frae my goon;
Straik an' clap the curly heid, an' a' to fairly prove
    That the anger o' a mither's just anither name for love.

 
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Rab Comes Hame.


WAS that a knock?   Wha can it be?
    I hirple to the door;
A buirdly chiel' is stan'in' there,
    I never saw afore.
He tak's a lang, lang look at me,
    An' in his kindly een
A something lies I canna name,
    That somewhere I ha'e seen.

I bid him ben; he tak's a chair,
    My heart loups up wi' fricht,
For he sits doon as John wad do
    When he cam' hame at nicht.
He spreads baith han's upon his knees,
    But no' ae word he speaks;
Yet I can see the big, roun' tears
    Come happin' doon his cheeks.

Then a' at ance his big, strong airms
    Are streekit out to me—
"Mither, I'm Rab, come hame at last,
    An' can ye welcome me?"
"O, Rab!"—my airms are roun' his neck—
    "The Lord is kind indeed;"
Then hunker doon, an' on his knees
    I lay my auld grey heid.

"Hoo could ye bide sae lang frae me,
    Thae weary, weary years,
An' no' ae word—but I maun greet,
    My heart is fu' o' tears;
It does an' auld, frail body guid,
    An' oh! it's unco sweet.
To see ye there, though through my tears,
    Sae I maun ha'e my greet.

"Your faither's lang since in his grave
    Within the auld kirkyaird,
Jamie an' Tam they lie by him—
    They werena to be spared;
An' I was left to sit my lane
    To think on what had been,
An' wussin' only for the time
    To come an' close my een.

"But noo ye're back, I ken fu' weel
    That no' a fremit han'
Will lay me, when my time comes roun',
    Beside my ain gudeman."
Noo, wad it be a sin to ask
    O' Him that rules aboon,
To gi'e me yet a year or twa
    Afore I cuddle doon?

 
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The Singers.


GOD said, "I will reach my hand down to earth,
That man may have in him a purer birth;

For the melody hidden within his breast,
For want of a singer, is dead to the rest.

But he whom I touch shall at once have power
To open his lips with a singing dower;

And, spreading his melody far and free,
Men shall turn and listen and think of me."

Then He reach'd His hand to the earth, and lo!
Like woodland buds when the spring winds blow;

So the hearts He touch'd rose up and grew strong
With an unseen strength, which took shape in song!

They sung in the city, where the long street
Was one great echo of human feet;

They sung in lanes where the shadows lay still;
They sung in glen and on breezy hill;

And the hearts of the angels were strangely stirr'd,
When the melodies of the earth were heard.

For within them there ran a sweet undertone
Of the music that God set apart as their own.

Then they question'd their Master, and said, "We hear
Stray notes of our melody floating near;

But far above them swell other sounds,
That burst their own and celestial bounds.

Why is it that one with the same full breast
Can sing till his song overshadows the rest?"

Then God said, "He of the lowly band
Who sings, I have touch'd him with my hand;

But he whose song to thine own is wed
Sings with my hand laid upon his head."

 
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The Spirit of Love.


The Spirit of Love came down upon the earth,
    He came full-breath'd and strong,
And ever as he went a glorious birth
    Grew forth in flowers and song.

The trees burst into buds, and in all love
    Shook forth their morning hymn,
While the white clouds kept silent watch above,
    Like veilèd cherubim.

The populous birds from out their leafy bound
    Made music everywhere,
And shook with thrills of modulated sound
    The rich and balmy air.

The brooklet, silent for a weary time,
    Broke into gush and flow,
And sang, as poets sing their first sweet rhyme,
    Its pæan soft and low.

The flowers came forth and spread, in meek surprise,
    Their hues of varied tone,
And gave, full-hearted, to the happy skies
    An incense all their own.

A murmur like a fairy's song went through
    The earth's life-heaving breast;
Then sank away, as all such murmurs do,
    In ecstasies of rest.

So where that Spirit stood, in holy mirth—
    By wood, or hill, or stream—
A smile, as if the sky had fallen to earth,
    Woke up with angel beam.

And in that smile the leaves and flowers took part,
    To make earth sweet and fair.
O Spirit of Love! come thou into my heart
    And make all blossom there.

 
_____________________
 

The Time of the Rose is Over.


Love, turn thy gentle feet away,
    How can I be thy lover?
The years pass onward to decay
    And the bloom of the rose is over.

The sweet light fails from out the sky,
    The weary wind is wailing,
The rain, like tears, is falling nigh
    From the grey cloud o'er us sailing.

O rare, glad time when youth was sweet
    With all its pulses beating,
When music led thy gentle feet,
    And a rainbow was o'er our meeting.

The rose was bright, but brighter still,
    The eyes that shone like heaven;
O Love, come back again and thrill
    Our souls like a soul forgiven.

When heart to heart spoke soft and low,
    As lovers' words are spoken.
When truth was truth and youth was youth,
    And never a vow was broken.

Love, turn thy gentle feet away,
    How can I be thy lover?
A low wind grieves among the leaves,
    And the time of the rose is over.

 
_____________________
 

The Voices of the Flowers.


IF you lie with your ear to the soft green
            earth,
    When the rain and the sunshine fall,
You can hear the flowers, in their gay glad
            mirth,
    To each other whisper and call.

For hush'd, like an infant in sleep, they lie
    In their moist cool cells below,
Aweary of hearing the wind's bleak sigh,
    And the falling of the snow.

But when spring comes down to the earth,
            and her feet
    Send a thrill through woodland and plain,
And the clouds weep tears that are soft and
            sweet,
    But which we miscall the rain,

Then they waken up with a light in their look,
    And in low sweet whispers they cry--
"Sisters, a murmur is heard in the brook,
    And sunshine is seen in the sky.

"It is time we should burst through the young
            green earth,
    As the stars through the heavens by night.
That the young and the old may rejoice in our
            birth,
    And we in the calm, sweet light."

Then one said, "Sisters, where shalt we grow?
    I shall grow by the side of the stream,
And all day long I will blossom and blow,
    Till the dews fold me up in a dream."

"And I," said another, "will bloom by the way
    Where the children go in a band;
They will stop for a moment their gladsome
            play,
    And touch my lips with their hand."

"I will peep from the long rich grass," said one,
    "When the meadows bow to the wind,
And will catch like dewdrops the fairy tone
    Of the music it leaves behind."

"And I," said one, "in some garden rare,
    Where my fairer sisters abide;
And it may be that I may be twined in the hair
    Of the maid as she blooms into bride."

Then a sweeter voice held the rest in thrall--
    "O Sisters, what things ye have said!
I shall grow in the sweetest spot of all--
    On the graves of the calm pure dead.

"They will know that I blossom above their dust,
    And will yearn, in their silent abode,
For the grand resurrection to crown their trust
    In the love and the promise of God."

Thus the flowers whisper, and if you lie
    When the rain and the sunshine fall,
You will hear them question and make reply,
    If your heart is at one with all.

 
_____________________
 

Wauken Up.


WULL I hae tae speak again
Tae thae weans o' mine,
Echt o'clock an' weel I ken
The Schule gangs in at nine.
Little hauds me but tae gang
An' fetch the muckle whup,
Oh, ye sleepy-heidit rogues
Wull ye wauken up?

Never mither had sic a faught,
No' a meenit's ease;
Clean Tam as ye like at nicht
His breeks are through his knees.
Thread is nae for him at a'
It niver hauds the grup;
Maun I speak again, ye rogues
Wull ye wauken up?

Tam, the very last to bed,
He winna rise ava',
Last tae get his books an' sklate
Last tae rin awa'.
Sic a loon for tricks an' fun
Heeds na' what I say
Rab an' Jamie-but they plagues,
Wull they sleep a' day?

Here they come, the three at aince,
Lookin' gleg an' fell,
Hoo they ken their bits o' claes
Beats me fair tae tell.
Wash your wee bit faces clean
An' here's your bite an' sup,
Never wis mair wise-like bairns,
Noo they're wauken up.

There the three are aff at last,
I watch them frae the door;
That Tam he's at his tricks again
I count them by the score.
He put his foot afore wee Rab
An' coupit Jamie doon—
Could I but lay my haun's on him,
I'd mak' him claw his croon.

Noo tae get my work on haun'
I'll hae a busy day
But losh!   The hoose is unco quate
Since they are a' away.
A dizen times I'll look the clock
Whan it comes roon till three,
For cuddlin' doon or waukenin' up
They're dear, dear bairns tae me.

 



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