Homely Rhymes and Poems (2)
Home Up Biographical Autobiography Walks Tim Bobbin Glossary Literary Reviews etc. Main Index Site Search
 


 

THE WILD RIDER.(6)

A LEGENDARY TALE.

 PART FIRST.


NOW, unto fair Alkrington tidings there came,
And the gallant young knight he soon heard of the 
            same,
That a gentle fair damsel had passed that morn,
And was gone up a-hunting with hound and with horn;
"And oh!" said Sir Ashton, "if that be the case, 
Methinks I would fain join the maid in the chase, 
And so, bid my groom-boy, withouten delay,
Bring forth my white hunter,—I'll ride him to-day." 

And soon his white hunter was led to the gate, 
Where, neighing and pacing, he scarcely would wait; 
He champ'd the steel bits, and he flung his head high, 
As if he would fain snuff the air of the sky,
And wist not to breathe the low wind of the plain, 
Which spread, like a white cloud, his tail and his mane: 
"And oh!" thought the knight, as he view'd him 
            with pride,
"The game shall be love when my Arab I ride!"

The knight he rode west, over Blakeley's high land, 
But tidings he heard not of maid or her band; 
The knight he rode east, t'wards the uprising sun, 
But the broad heaths of Moston lay silent and dun; 
And then he sped north, but she did not appear; 
The cry of the hunter came not to his ear,
Till o'er lonely Syddall awoke a fair strain,
And he rode till he join'd the fair maid and her train. 

And who was the maiden, that, plumed so gay, 
Went forth with the hounds and good hunters that day?
And why did the damsel make slight of all heed,
Or whither she went with her hound and her steed? 
And why reck'd she little of all that gay band,
But still cast her long-looking gaze o'er the land? 
And smil'd not, though often she turned and sigh'd, 
Till a snowy white courser afar she espied?

Sweet Mary, twin rose of the Assheton line, 
Was she who came forth like a Dian divine; 
And often the knight and the damsel, of late, 
Had met at the hunting, through love or through fate; 
And now she bade welcome, with maidenly pride
The knight wav'd his hand, and rode on by her side; 
But ere the old woodlands of Bowlee were cross'd, 
Both knight and fair maid to the hunters were lost. 

For there, whilst the chase hurries on like the wind, 
The twain of young lovers have tarried behind;
And leaving their steeds, the deep woodlands they pace, 
His arm round the maid, and his looks on her face;
He whispers sweet words from his heart's inmost core, 
He would love her through life, and through death,— 
            could he more?
And fondly, in tears, she emplighteth her vow, 
"In life and in death, I'll be faithful as thou!"


PART SECOND.


NOW, unto fair Alkrington tidings there came, 
And soon was the knight made aware of the same, 
That Mary, his loved one, was held in deep thrall, 
Close bolted and barr'd, down at Middleton hall; 
And that her old father had sworn by his life, 
His daughter should ne'er to Sir Ashton be wife; 
And that one Sir Morden,* a knight from south-land, 
Had come down to claim Lady Mary's fair hand.

Oh! woe unto true-love, when kindred severe 
Would stifle affection, and chill its warm tear! 
And woe unto true-love, when trials come fast, 
And friendship is found but a shadow at last! 
And woe to the heart that is reft of its own, 
And bidden to languish in sorrow alone!
But woe beyond weeping is that when we prove, 
That one we lov'd dearly hath ceased to love!

Thus mournful the fate of the maid did appear;
Her sire, though he lov'd her, was stern and austere, 
And friends who came round her, when bright was
            her day,
Were silent, or doubtful, or kept quite away.
But Hope, like an angel, bright visions still drew, 
And pictured her knight ever constant and true, 
Till one came and told her he'd ta'en him a bride;— 
Her young heart then wither'd, her tears were all dried. 

How sweet is the music of wedding-day bells,
On sunny-bright uplands, and down the green dells; 
All gaily melodious it comes in the air,
As if undying pleasure were carolling there;
Like golden-wing'd seraphs all broken astray,
And playing on cymbals for bright holiday!
Fen such was the music one gay morning time,
Which bells of Saint Leonard's did merrily chime.

And why rang Saint Leonard's that merry-mad tune? 
And why was the church path with flowers bestrewn? 
And who was that marble-pale beauty that mov'd 
As nothing she hop'd for, and nothing she lov'd
Who gave her white hand, but 'twas clammy and cold, 
Who sigh'd when she look'd on her ring of bright gold? 
Oh Mary! lost Mary! where now is thy vow,
"In life and in death, I'll be faithful as thou?"


PART THIRD.


IN a ruinous cottage at Cambeshire barn, 
An old wither'd crone sat unravelling yarn; 
A few heaped embers lay dusty and white, 
A lamp, green and fetid, cast ominous light; 
A cat strangely barked as it hutch'd by the bob; 
A broody hen crow'd from her perch on a cob; 
The lamp it burn'd pale, and the lamp it burn'd blue, 
And fearfully ghast was the light which it threw. 

"And who cometh here?" said the mumbling old 
            crone,
"And why comes a gentleman riding alone? 
And why doth he wander areawt** such a night, 
When the moon is gone down, and the stars not alight; 
When those are abroad would stab a lost child,
And the wind comes up muttering fearful and wild, 
And the hen 'gins to crow, and the dog 'gins to mew, 
And my grave-fatted lamp glimmers dimly and blue?"

When the dog 'gins to mew, and the cat 'gins to bark, 
And yon musty old skull snaps its teeth in the dark, 
And the toad and the urchin crawl in from the moor, 
And the frightful black adder creeps under the door, 
And the hapless self-murder'd that died in her sin,
Comes haunting the house with her dolorous din,
And stands in the nook like an image of clay,
With the sad look she wore when her life pass'd away. 

A knocking was heard at the old hovel door,
And forth stepp'd a dark muffled man on the floor; 
He threw back his mantle of many a fold,
And crossed the wan palm of the sybil with gold. 
"Now, Sir Knight of Alkrington, what wouldst thou 
            know,
That, seeking my home, then entreatest me so?
The world-sweeping mower thy heart-wound must 
            cure;
But she who lies mourning hath more to endure; 

"But, warning I give thee, a sign from afar—
There's a cloud on thy sun, there's a spot on thy star. 
Go, climb the wild mountain, or toil on the plain, 
Or be outcast on land, or be wrecked on the main; 
Or seek the red battle and dare the death wound, 
Or mine after treasure a mile under ground;
But sleeping or waking, on ocean or strand,
Thy life is prolong'd, if than hold thine own hand.

"What further was said 'twixt the knight and the crone 
Was never repeated, and never was known;
But when he came forth, to remount him again,
One, fearful and dark, held his stirrup and rein—
His horse terror-shaking, stood covered with foam, 
It ran with him miles ere he turn'd it t'wards home; 
The grey morning broke, and the battle cock crew, 
Ere the lorn hearted knight to his chamber withdrew.


PART FOURTH.


And who hath not heard how the knight from that 
            day,
Was altered in look, and unwont in his way; 
And how he sought wonders of every form, 
And things of all lands, from a gem to a worm; 
And how he divided his father's domain,
And sold many parts to the purchaser's gain; 
And how his poor neighbours with pity were sad; 
And said, good Sir Ashton, through love, was gone 
            mad?

But, strangest of all, on that woe-wedding night,
A black horse was stabled where erst stood the white; 
The grooms, when they found him, in terror quick fled, 
His breath was hot smoke, and his eyes burning red; 
He beat down a strong wall of mortar and crag,
He tore his oak stall as a dog would a rag,
And no one durst put forth a hand near that steed 
Till a priest had read ave, and pater, and creed. 

And then he came forth, the strange beautiful thing, 
With speed that could lead a wild eagle on wing; 
And raven had never spread plume on the air 
Whose lustreful darkness with his might compare.
He bore the young Ashton—none else could him
            ride—
O'er flood and o'er fell, and o'er quarry-pit wide;
The housewife, she blessed her, and held fast her child, 
And the men swore both horse and his rider were wild! 

And then, when the knight to the hunting field came, 
He rode as he sought rather death than his game;
He halloo'd through woods where he'd wander'd of 
            yore,
But the lost Lady Mary he never saw more! 
And no one durst ride in the track where he led, 
So fearful his leaps, and so madly he sped;
And in his wild phrensy he gallop'd one day
Down the church steps at Rochdale, and up the same
            way.

*   This is a misnomer, as the monument of the last of
     the Asshetons in Middleton church testifies. The
     name should be Harbord.

** Areawt- out of doors-abroad.

 


_______________________


THE WANDERER'S SONG ON MACCLES-

FIELD FOREST, 1828.


WHERE is now my home, my home? 
    Where is now my home?
'Tis nowhere, and 'tis everywhere, 
    As o'er the world I roam.
'Tis on the cold and cloudy hill
    'Tis in the noiseless dell;
A reckless wight for once may sleep 
    In either place full well.

I care not who's my company, 
    Or be they high or low;
If they be rough, why I am rough, 
    If they be smooth, I'm so.
I take my bed where'er 'tis spread, 
    In country or in town;
Though I love to be at the hostelrie, 
    When night comes stealing down.

 


_______________________


THE LANDOWNER.

TUNE--" There was a Jolly Miller Man."


THERE was a famous landowner
    In Inglondshire, d'ye see,
He was a "graidly gentleman," 
    A jolly old buck was he;
And thus he sang where'er he sung, 
    And sing full oft would he; 
I care for nobody, no not I, 
    Though many have care for me. 

My cattle roam a thousand hills, 
    For miles of land are mine;
My valleys, with their teeming rills, 
    Yield butter, corn, and wine;
The fish, the game, I also claim; 
    I'll have them too, by G.
I care for nobody, no not I, 
    Though many have care for me. 

I made a law, withouten flaw, 
    My farmers to protect;
For I had been a fool I ween, 
    My rentage to neglect;
So all was right, and snug; and tight,
    As my affairs should be;
I care for nobody, no not I, 
    Though many have care for me. 

One son commands a regiment,
    Another hath a See;
My daughter to the palace went, 
    A pension soon had she;
To leave behind good things we find,
    Is sin of high degree;
I'll sin for nobody, no not I,
    Whoever may sin for me.

'Tis thus, the army's on my side, 
    The church's prayers are mine; 
With one I drink, at tother wink, 
    When pottle deep in wine;
And whilst we sing God save the King, 
    Or Queen, when Queen there be,
I care for nobody, no not I, 
    Though many have care for me.

 


_______________________


TIM BOBBIN' GRAVE.(7)

[Glossary of Lancashire dialect]


I stoode beside Tim Bobbin' grave 
    'At looks o'er Ratchda' teawn;
An' th' owd lad 'woke within his yerth, 
    An' sed, "Wheer arto' beawn?"

"Awm gooin' into th' Packer-street, 
    As far as th' Gowden Bell;
To taste o' Daniel's Kesmus ale." 
    TIM.—"I cud like o saup mysel'." 

"An' by this hont o' my reet arm, 
    If fro' that hole theaw'll reawk, 
Theaw'st have o saup o'th' best breawn ale 
    'At ever lips did seawk."

The greawnd it sturr'd beneath my feet, 
    An' then I yerd o groan;
He shook the dust fro' off his skull, 
    An' rowlt away the stone.

I brought him op o deep breawn jug, 
    'At o gallon did contain;
An' he took it at one blessed draught, 
    An' laid him deawn again!

 


_______________________


THE WEAVER BOY.


"OH stay, oh stay, thou lady gay! 
    And deign to lend an ear; 
Fair lady, seekest thou thy love? 
    Thy truest love is here."
"And how dost thou presume to love," 
    The lady gay replied,
"A maid so much thy rank above, 
    Both rich and dignified?
Hence, simple boy, and learn to know 
    That ladies do not look so low."

"Oh stay, oh stay, thou lady gay!" 
    With tears the youth did cry;
And the gentle maid once more hath stay'd 
    Before the pleading boy.
"My station thou art far above, 
    That truth too well I know, 
Since thou hast bought my work of love, 
    And yet contemn'st me so."
And how is that, the maid did say,
    "Speak, for I can no longer stay?"

"Fair lady, as at work I sat,
    And wrought that garment fine,
A winged child, who lisp'd and smil'd, 
    Foretold it should be thine;
He took a fibre from my heart,
    And trac'd that pattern dear,
And dy'd it with my love-warm blood,
    And wash'd it with my tear!"
With melting eye the maid did say,
    "Take comfort till another day."

 


_______________________


LAMENT FOR MY DAUGHTER.


MY angel child! my angel child! 
Gentle, affectionate, and mild;
Her arms around my neck she coil'd, 
And look'd, and wept, my angel child! 

She wept that we so soon must part; 
She knew that death was near her heart.
We were but three, O, God above! 
Couldst Thou not spare that group of love? 

Oh, mournful hour! oh, anguish deep! 
She, weeping, bade me not to weep;
And meekly in her tears she smil'd, 
Like sunbeam cast on ruin wild.

Sweet flowers unto her grave I bring, 
To bloom, to die, in early spring; 
All pure, and beautiful, and mild, 
Like my lost dove, my angel child!

 


_______________________


HER EPITAPH.


To the gentle and blest, 
Who hath come to her rest,
        An offering meet 
        In season appears; 
All beautiful and sweet 
Flowers, nursed in tears.

 


_______________________


LINES


OCCASIONED BY THE DEATH OF LORD BYRON, AND BY
SOME CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED THEREWITH.


I SAW the sun go down—
    And in that dark'ning time, 
From earth to sky uprose the cry 
    Of many a tongue and clime. 
By Valtos, where Botzaris fell,
The mailed freeman stood and cried 
Until his fount of tears was dried: 
    And Britain, too, could tell

How she had gloried in that day, 
How mourned when it pass'd away! 
And, as I looked again, behold
    A fearful sight advance!
For up there came the cold, cold moon, 
That dream'd not of a night so soon. 
    I mark'd her placid glance; 
Serenely still she kept her sky,
Her head unbowed, her tearless eye 
Betray'd a mien that might not move 
At death, or agony, or love—
And curl'd around her crested horn, 
    I saw a snake of fire,
Which utter'd words of bitter scorn; 
    Interminable ire
Dwelt on the tongue of that strange thing, 
That round and round the moon did cling!
    Of broken vows, of pride that bled, 
The scorching reptile ever spoke;
    Anon, it toss'd its scaly head,
That flash'd as if the lightning broke! 
When cruel words and passions woke
It nurs'd the flame, and kept it burning; 
To love, to duty, no returning
Was ever known; —no sigh, no tear, 
Hath stray'd from that unmelting sphere! 

The present race of men shall die,
    Before another sun
Arise so bright, or soar so high, 
    As, lost one, thou hast done!
The priest is laughing 'neath his robe, 
    The tyrant on his throne;
In hollow phrase they dole forth praise 
    Far better let alone.
The press, which "should as air be free," 
Doth speak in guarded words of thee; 
Whilst bigotry and power do stand
In dark conjunction o'er the land!

 


_______________________


SONG OF THE POLISH ARMY ON ITS

RETREAT FROM WARSAW.


WE meet at the home of our fathers no more, 
But leave it all red with the Muscovites' gore! 
They came like the hunger-press'd wolf to his prey, 
Who cannot, who will not, be turned away.
They came like the waves of the deluging main, 
Their living surmounting their masses of slain; 
And onward, and onward, they bore to the strife, 
To the gushing of blood, to the gasping of life; 
Till ramparts were pil'd of the thousands we slew, 
And blood cometh o'er us in rain and in dew, 
And corses are feeding the fowls of the air,
At the banquet of death, on the field of despair!
Oh, home of our fathers! the noble and brave 
Can never lie down in the lair of the slave; 
And thou art defiled by a barbarous horde
Who know not a will save the will of their lord; 
Who rise at his bidding the lands to oppress, 
Who come at his calling the bless'd to unbless; 
Who, howling and wild from their deserts afar, 
Bring famine and pestilence unto the war—
Gaunt famine subduing the soul and the breath, 
Wan pestilence bending our heroes to death! 
Who dar'd and endur'd, without murmur or sigh, 
Though nations stood silent and motionless by! 

Lost home of our fathers! we bid thee adieu—
To freedom and glory our hearts being true; 
Nor yet we abandon the land we adore—
A battle is lost, but the war is not o'er.
When myriads surround and approach to devour, 
Our combat we hurl from the fortress and tower; 
And there from a thousand loud cannons we cry, 
"Come die at the feet of the free, come and die! 
Come on with your phalanx, wild horseman and spear, 
The sons of Sarmatia are rallying here;
Your parley we scorn, and your wrath we defy, 
Come die with the free and the brave, come and die!"

 


_______________________


THE POET'S CONSOLEMENT OF HIS WIFE 

IN ADVERSITY.


NOW to the wilderness away! 
    Beloved, come with me;
Since yon base lord hath ta'en our
        home, 
    And we are bare and free:
For I have found a little nest 
    To shelter thee and me; 
Love, I have found a place of rest, 
    And let us thither flee.

What, though our bed be not of down—
    Though moss and fern it be,
Shorn by the steep of Tandle side, 
    Where the wind blows sweet and free; 
The rest of peace, and healthful sleep, 
    Shall comfort thee and me:
Then stay not love, to gaze and weep, 
    But come and happy be.

What, though our pillow be not down—
    Though heather flowers it be,
Shorn by the steep of Gerrard's side, 
    Where the rill glents bonnilie;
Thy dreams by night shall be as bright 
    As good wife dame doth see:
Love, take thy rest upon my breast, 
    Which beats so true for thee.

I'll bring thee sweet milk from the cow, 
    And butter from the churn,
And fuel from the dingle shaw, 
    And water from the burn; 
And thou shalt be so happy there, 
    Thou never wilt return:
Love, thou shalt be so happy there, 
    Thou wilt forget to mourn.

We've seen the world, we've known the
        world, 
    Its frown, its promise fair—
Its vanities of vanity,
    Its pleasure and its care;
The strife for life, the death-woe rife, 
    The hope against despair,
The loss, the gain; oh! why remain? 
    Our lost one is not there!

Then come, my wife, my only love, 
    Bright hours are yet unflown; 
Come home unto the solitudes, 
    Afar from tower and town.
Like birds we have been wandering, 
    Where storms have rudely blown; 
Now let us rest our weary wing,
    Before the sun goes down.

 


_______________________


PENARFON.

TUNE.--"Y Cadless;" "The Camp of the Palace;"

or,  "Of what a Noble Race was Shenkin!"


AWAKE the voice of Arfon's praise—
Penarfon, son of ancient days! 
Descending from the depth of Time, 
Behold Penarfon's race sublime!
    Proclaim their deeds;—they come!
        they come! 
In glory o'er the clouded tomb;
For though in death their ashes lie, 
The fame of heroes cannot die. 

Awake the voice of Arfon's praise, 
And give his fame to other days! 
When strangers came our land to spoil, 
Penarfon, where was he the while?
Oh! where was he?—where should he be? 
Amid his dying foes was he!
Penarfon's scythe the field did sweep, 
Penarfon's sword the ground did keep. 

Awake the voice of Arfon's praise, 
And let his wisdom have our lays! 
When the rude spoilers he had spoil'd, 
Penarfon as a dove was mild;
And where he dwelt was safety felt, 
And even justice forth he dealt. 
Shall happy days like Arfon's reign, 
To Cymru e'er return again? 

Awake the voice of Arfon's praise, 
And let his bounty have our lays! 
To feast within his banquet hall,
His bards and warriors he would call; 
And there they drank the honey wine, 
And there was sung the lay divine. 
But song of bard, and freedom's host, 
Oh, Cymru!* are thy glories lost?

* Pronounced Kumry.

 


_______________________


AUTUMN AND WINTER.


    AUTUMN blithe is come again, 
    With her brown and merry train;
I caught a sweet glance of her face—
    With a sickle in her hand,
    She came o'er the gowden land, 
And reapers came shearing apace. 

    Low they bend as they step, 
    And they hook and they grip, 
Cut and carry with hook and with hand; 
    Merry gleaners sing behind, 
    Sweet as viol of the wind, 
For the poor still have joy in the land. 

    "Blessed one is he who leaves
    By his furrows and his sheaves, 
A handful to comfort the poor; 
    Winter thorough shall he rest, 
    With his harvest hous'd and bless'd, 
Not a wail shall be heard at his door." 

    Now the cherry-lipped maid
    Unto orchard bower hath stray'd, 
Where the plums are all dropping adown 
    And the apple, bright as gold,
    On the soft green sward hath roll'd, 
And the sweet pear so melting and brown. 

    Bonny Bess and rosy Kate
    Are gone down through the gate, 
Twain fairer are seldom afield; 
    And with each a handy fork, 
    They set cheerfully to work
At the drills which the potatoes yield. 

    There's Red-farmer, dusty sweep, 
    (That's a famous sort to keep),
And Pink Eye, and rough-coated Rad,
    Food for ladyship or Queen,
    Bacon slice, or beef between,
And a jack of good ale let them add.

    Now the carrots should be dug, 
    Up with turnips by the lug, 
And earth them withouten delay; 
    Whate'er weather then betide, 
    We can shelter or abide,
And let Winter come on as he may. 

    Hark! the old ruffian's shout, 
    Leading storm and wassail rout, —
Maiden Frost stepping crisply before, 
    Strewing hoar on fallen leaves, 
    Painting windows under eaves, 
Warning Autumn to linger no more. 

    Fuel stack is huge and round, 
    Cottage roof is thatch'd and bound; 
There are brown ale and bread on the board. 
    Winter! bring thy wassail band,
    Clog on foot, and glove on hand, 
Hearty welcome art thou as a lord!

 


_______________________


MORISA.


Ah me! that Morisa I never had seen,
The fairest of mortals, of beauty the queen! 
I'd then remain'd free as the bird in the air, 
But now I am held in the bonds of despair; 
And the chains of her thraldom I cannot resign, 
Though I know that Morisa must never be mine.

The eye of Morisa doth pierce like a dart;
I caught but a glance and it wounded my heart; 
The throb of my bosom is bleeding away;
My morning is darken'd before it be clay;
Would she look on her victim with mercy benign,
I could die for Morisa and never repine!

Morisa the beauty, I saw her sweet smile; 
That look might an angel from heaven beguile; 
A radiant loveliness beam'd in her face, 
Expressive of dignity, goodness, and grace;
I then became captive and did not repine, 
Though I knew that Morisa must never be mine! 

Morisa the lovely, I once beard her sigh;
There was thought on her brow, and a tear in her eye; 
The spirit of sadness a shadow had thrown
Where the sun-light of beauty so lately had shone; 
But the sigh of her soul had a fragrance divine; 
It was meant for another—it could not be mine! 

She is fair as the snow that on Alphian lies;
She is pure as the ether of heaven's own skies; 
She is modest as innocent beauty can be,
And chaste as the white-bosom'd maid of the sea, 
To bow and adore her I could not decline, 
Though I knew that Morisa must never be mine!

 


_______________________


BRANDRETH'S SOLILOQUY IN PRISON.(8)


I MUST die—but not like a slave
    To his tyrant in penitence bending; 
I shall die like an Englishman brave,
    I have liv'd so, and so be my ending!

I must die—and my doom is my pride; 
    The death that awaits me is welcome; 
The daemon's last pang is defied,
    But a day of deep vengeance there shall
        come. 

How shall my blood-shedders repent,
    When the nation's hot wrath is out poured! 
The freed world will hail the event,
    And the pride of its despots be lowered. 

They shall howl like the yell of the storm; 
    They shall flee like the deer-herd affrighted; 
They shall, weeping, lie down with the worm:
    They shall pray, and their prayers shall be
        slighted:

Whilst vengeance, and guilt, and dismay,
    Their blood-scented footsteps pursuing, 
Shall chase ev'ery comfort away,
    And leave but affliction and ruin!

Their children shall then be like mine, 
    No father's fond arm to protect them; 
Their ladies in sorrow may pine,
    For none will be found to respect them. 

What wealth would they freely give then, 
    For the sleep that I soon shall be sleeping! 
To never feel sorrow again—
    To know not its watching and weeping! 

What wealth would they freely give then
    For the grave that poor Brandreth will cover; 
To hide from the hatred of men,
    From the terrors which fearfully hover! 

And what is the gem they would give
    For that conscience this firm heart supporting; 
That when they no longer could live,
    They might die with a Brandreth's comporting! 

But conscience can never be bought,
    Courage can never be sold: 
The villain will die as he ought; 
    The good man may always be bold!

 


_______________________


LINES,

WRITTEN OCT. 15, 1836, BEING THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY
DAUGHTER'S DECEASE, AND TWO YEARS AFTER
THAT EVENT.


                        DARK is the day,
Dun twilight only wakes upon the hill; 
                        Pale is the ray
Of sunbeam slanting through the wind-gust chill; 
                        Dim comes the morn,
Cloud-bound and gloomy hangs the brow of noon; 
                        Evening, down-borne,
Brings o'er us darkness vast,—no star, no moon! 

                        Hark! to yon sound
By gleam-lit clough, shorn slope, and dusky plain; 
                        The winds unbound,
Like unseen hunters, hurry past again. 
                        Hark! to their moan, 
Like note of deep-mouth'd hound, afar away; 
                        Now wilder tone
Is heard,—shrill cry, and wailing of dismay! 
                        
                        Cold is the air—
The burden'd clouds are bow'd with chilly rain;
                        Hedges are bare,
And cheerless birds from notes of joy refrain.
                        The giant stems,
Storm-swept, are waving in the wintry sky; 
                        Their summer gems
Lie strewn and perishing where mine doth lie. 

                        The dearest gem
That e'er was treasur'd near a parent's heart; 
                        Too pure a gem
For human life, to heaven she must depart! 
                        Oh! child of love,
Let us behold thee, earth-ward if thou stray! 
                        Come from above
On radiant wing, come in thy bright array! 
                        
                        Oh! blessed one,
Could we behold thee even as thou wert, 
                        Call thee our own,
And press our angel unto mortal heart! 
                        Then would these tears 
Which oft have flowed since thy dying hour, 
                        Dark months and years,
Be stay'd,—thou still would'st have that soothing pow'r!

 


_______________________


HOURS IN THE BOWERS.


HOURS more dear than drops of gold
Come when the tender buds unfold; 
Then do I wander to field and glen, 
Far as I may for the gentlemen. 
Over the blade of em'rald sheen. 
Over the herb that creeps between; 
Odours inhaling that sweetly smell, 
As I gather the cresses beside the well. 

Spring moves on as glad I gaze,
Calling the flowers wherever she strays: 
"Come from the earth, ye dwellers there, 
To the blessed light and the living air;
For the snowdrop hath warned the drift away, 
And the crocus awaiteth your company,
And the bud of the thorn is beginning to swell, 
And the waters have broken their bonds in the dell. 
And are not the hazle and slender bine
Blending their boughs where the sun doth shine? 
And the willow is bringing its downy palm, 
Garland for days that are bright and calm;
And the lady-flow'r waves on its slender stem, 
And the primrose peeps like a starry gem?"

In sunny nook, where the grass is dry, 
Reading I sit, or I musing lie.
Then he(9) who was lost in the ocean main, 
Returneth perhaps to my thoughts again; 
Or the twain who fell(10) for that "right divine," 
Which hath fully been prov'd in the battle-line; 
Or the noble bard too soon who died,
Too late for wounded love and pride; 
Or Burns, who only ask'd for bread, 
And hath gotten a marble tomb instead! 
Or, casting a thought towards sorrows past, 
I hope the last pang may remain the last;
Or counting the good which hath fall'n to my share, 
I thank the Great Being who plac'd it there! 

Hark! from the heavens yon trill of joy!
Child of the sward, art thou up so high?
"I can sing on the wing," the warbler cries,
"There is life in the gale—I arise, I arise! 
Up as I soar it is deep and clear;
Whilst the earth brings forth, and the germs appear, 
Plenty I gather and freely fly—
How happy am I, how happy am I!" 

By bending dales where groves are seen, 
By waters clear, and margins green,
In dim-shed light or open glade, 
I wander—or in sunless shade. 
Through hoary woods where moss abounds, 
By springs and wells with silver sounds,
To pastures where the shamrock grows, 
And bowers which none beside me knows. 
And often as I lonely walk
I hear the mighty Spirit talk,
From cloud above, from earth below, 
Where winds do roll, where waters flow; 
From topmost wave of wildest sea,
To stillest land and inmost lea.
It bids me live, and life to spare; 
It bids me love, and wrath forbear; 
It tells me, justice is not blind; 
It shews me mercy, oh how kind! 
It says, if I would happy be, 
Virtue must point the way for me!

 


_______________________


THE VOICE OF GLENDOUR.


"COME to glory, come with Glendour, 
Freedom sheds immortal splendour! 
Owain's battle-flag is flying,
Maids and wives are wildly crying, 
Warriors' souls are cheering o'er us, 
Shame behind, and death before us—
Shame, if basely we surrender,
Die or conquer then with Glendour!

Ye of ancient race, and purest, 
Freedom is your guardian surest; 
Could ye bear to live degraded, 
Scorn'd as cowards and upbraided?
Have ye love, and would ye lose it,
If the lordly Saxon chose it?
Count your treasures worth defending, 
All are on your arms depending.

As the sullen thunder breaketh, 
Now the roar of war awaketh; 
From unclouded hills and vallies, 
All the pride of Cymru rallies.(11) 
See her mailed army shining 
Like a scaly serpent twining; 
Gripe the pard within thy folding,(12) 
Till his death unlocks thine holding!" 

 


_______________________


THE DYING POET TO HIS DOG.


MY old companion, Rover! 
More true than human lover, 
Our cares are nearly over—
    My tried friend!
'I'hy life with mine is wasting, 
And welcome death is hasting; 
Our poverty and fasting
    Are at an end!

I have sung of Britain's glory, 
Of battles fierce and gory,
Of lovely lady's story 
    In bow'r so gay! 
But the soldier's gone a-fighting, 
The lady is delighting,
The poet coldly slighting—
    Ah, well a day!

My wife away hath wander'd, 
My children, they are squander'd, 
My reputation slander'd,
    Oh, woo to me!
My bloom of life is blighted, 
My days, how soon benighted! 
My love, my friendship slighted 
    By all but thee!

When plenty round me shower'd, 
And blessings on me pour'd, 
Ere grim misfortune lour'd;
    Ah, happy day!
Thou ever wert contented, 
And more thou never wanted; 
Intrusion thou prevented
    With watchful bay!

And when stern ruin rushing, 
My airy castles crushing,
Each tone of pleasure hushing, 
    Bore me down;
Thou never seemedst coyer, 
Thou never playedst shyer, 
Thy tail was held no higher, 
    My bonny brown!

And when my heart was breaking, 
When faithless friends, forsaking, 
Were evil of me speaking,
    Where wert thou?
I found thee still beside me;
Though poor, thou could'st abide me; 
And death shall not divide me
    From thee now!

And when disease o'ertook me, 
When pains and palsies shook me, 
Thou never once forsook me,
    Oh, my friend!
Thou never didst neglect me, 
Thou always wouldst protect me;
And shall not I respect thee,
    Fen to the end?

The poet's eye was closing, 
His dog beside him dozing, 
And heaven, interposing, 
    Clos'd the scene!
The primrose groweth over 
The bard and his Rover, 
Beneath a fragrant cover 
    Of broom so green!

 


_______________________


GOD HELP THE POOR.


GOD help the poor, who on this wintry morn 
Come forth of alleys dim, and courts obscure!
God help yon poor pale girl, who droops forlorn, 
And meekly her affliction doth endure!
God help the outcast lamb! she trembling stands, 
All wan her lips, and frozen rod her hands;
Her mournful eyes are modestly down cast,
Her night-black hair streams on the fitful blast; 
Her bosom, passing fair, is half reveal'd,
And, oh! so cold, the snow lies there congeal'd; 
Her feet benumb'd, her shoes all rent and worn: 
God help thee, outcast lamb, who stand'st forlorn! 
                                                        God help the poor! 

God help the poor!    An infant's feeble wail 
Comes from you narrow gate-way! and behold, 
A female crouching there, so deathly pale, 
Huddling her child, to screen it from the cold! 
Her vesture scant, her bonnet crush'd and torn; 
A thin shawl doth her baby dear enfold:
And there she bides the ruthless gale of morn, 
Which almost to her heart hath sent its cold! 
And now she sudden darts a ravening look,
As one with new hot bread comes past the nook;
And, as the tempting load is onward borne,
She weeps.    God help thee, hapless one forlorn! 
                                                        God help the poor!

God help the poor!    Behold yon famish'd lad; 
No shoes, nor hose, his wounded feet protect; 
With limping gait, and looks so dreamy-sad, 
He wanders onward, stopping to inspect
Each window stor'd with articles of food. 
He yearns but to enjoy one cheering meal; 
Oh! to his hungry palate, viands rude 
Would yield a zest, the famish'd only feel! 
He now devours a crust of mouldy bread; 
With teeth and hands the precious boon is torn, 
Unmindful of the storm which round his head 
Impetuous sweeps.    God help thee, child forlorn! 
                                                            God help the poor!

God help the poor!    Another have I found, 
A bow'd and venerable man is he;
His slouched hat with faded crape is bound; 
His coat is grey, and thread-bare too, I see, 
"The rude winds" seem to "mock his hoary hair;" 
His shirtless bosom to the blast is bare.
Anon he turns, and casts a wistful eye,
And with scant napkin wipes the blinding spray; 
And looks again, as if he fain would spy 
Friends he hath feasted in his better day:
Ah! some are dead, and some have long forborne 
To know the poor; and he is left forlorn!
                                                            God help the poor

God help the poor, who in lone vallies dwell, 
Or by far hills, where whin and heather grow! 
Theirs is a story sad indeed to tell;
Yet little cares the world, nor seeks to know 
The toil and want poor weavers undergo.
The irksome loom must have them up at morn; 
They work till worn-out nature will have sleep; 
They taste, but are not fed.    Cold snow drifts deep 
Around the fireless cot, and blocks the door;
The night-storm howls a dirge o'er moss and moor. 
And shall they perish thus, oppress'd and lorn? 
Shall toil and famine hopeless, still be borne? 
No!   GOD will yet arise and HELP THE POOR!

 


_______________________


A VOICE FROM SPAIN.

WRITTEN PREVIOUSLY TO THE INVASION OF THAT COUNTRY, BY THE
FRENCH ARMY UNDER THE DUKE OF ANGOULEME, FOR THE 
PURPOSE OF RESTORING THE "LEGITIMATE POWER"
OF THE ATROCIOUS FERDINAND.


BENEATH the mighty span of heaven,
    And o'er the pathless water,
A voice was heard, a warning given 
    Of outrage and of slaughter!
To Britain's sons it call'd aloud, 
    "Arise! for none are braver; 
Whilst Freedom die, will you stand by, 
    And not attempt to save her?
    
Yon crownθd foes of human kind * 
    Have been in consultation,
How they might forge a chain, to bind 
    The noble Spanish nation.
And now the tyrant of the Gaul 
    Proclaims the battle gory; 
And shall the conflict pass away, 
    And you not share the glory?


* The Holy Alliance.

 


_______________________


SONG OF HEROES.

TO THE NOBLE AND HEROIC WARRIORS OF THE CAVALRY CHARGE AT
BALACLAVA, THIS SONG IS, WITH PROFOUND ADMIRATION,
INSCRIBED.


WHAT gain is life, unless it be 
    For noble actions noted? 
What loss is death that ends a life 
    So worthily devoted?
It takes away the mortal clay; 
    But glory waking o'er us, 
High feats doth blazon where they dwell 
    Eternally before us.

And hath not Britain's noble isle 
    Its myriads all undaunted, 
Who, hateful of oppression vile,
    Would fight when they were wanted? 
Come on, ye brave!—come an, ye brave! 
    The time is now or never;
If right unto the wrong be slave, 
    The wrong may reign for ever! 

Oh! leave the sordid ones behind 
    To tremble o'er their treasure; 
The faint of heart, the lightsome mind, 
    To seek a life of pleasure:
For heroes true have more in view—
    A higher hope they cherish;
To rest, amid a splendid fame, 
    Till fame and glory perish."

 


_______________________


LINES,

ADDRESSED TO MY WIFE FROM THE KING'S BENCH
PRISON, MAY I5, 1820.


I NEVER will forget thee, love!
    Though in a prison far I be; 
I never will forget thee, love! 
    And thou wilt still remember me!

I never will forget thee, love!
    When wakes on me the morning light; 
And thou shalt ever present be,
    When cometh down the cloud of night! 

I never will forget thee, love!
    When summer sheds her golden ray; 
And thou shall be my comforter
    Amid the winter's cheerless day! 

Oh! they may bind but cannot break, 
    This heart, so full of thine and thee; 
Which liveth only for YOUR sake,
    And the high cause of LIBERTY!

 


_______________________


A SCENE IN THE SAME PRISON,
ON THE NIGHT OF THE 16TH OF MAY, 1820.


"GOOD night," the brave man said, 
        As to the door we passed; 
        And then he took my hand
        And held it very fast,
And he look'd on me with a steadfast eye;
And there was neither tear nor sigh,

        "Good night, sir," I replied, 
        And did his hand detain;
        "Good night, but, Oh, my friend, 
        When shall we meet again?" 
And then I felt a tear would stray, 
And so I turned and came away. 

        They took him on the morn, 
        Unto a prison sure;
        Where the arch enemy 
        Might hold her prey secure: 
But the Patriot's God is with him gone, 
And he will not be left alone!

 


_______________________


THE DAY STORM OF THUNDER.


THE black clouds hover;
Frowning masses crowd 
Before the sullen wind; 
Darkness spreads around! 
A flash doth sever
That impending shroud,
And light gleams forth behind!

The loud, long, thunder sound
Booms o'er the world with crash and dread rebound!


Now, where yon clouds are blending,
Like rolling mists descending,
    The winds awake!
The rain in torrents poureth, 
The frozen hail down show'reth, 
    The lightnings break.
The pine, which waved to heaven, 
Is smitten down and riven;
    The firm earth shakes;
Whilst darkening and bright'ning, 
Now roaring, and now light'ning, 
    The thunder speaks!

What saith that shout of thunder, 
In words of awe and wonder?
    It saith, "I come! 
From God's eternal throne. 
Who doth the kingdoms own 
Of earth and heaven ample,
    I come, I come!
His chariots are unbound;
Ten thousand thousand trample 
    The starry dome
Of creation around. 
The wind and rain, 
    The fire and snow, 
Move ill JEHOVAH'S train, 
    And with his armies go!"

 


_______________________


BRIGHT EYES.


BRIGHT eyes! ye fatal ones, 
    Turn ye away;
Have ye not slain enow 
    Before to-day?
He of the pallid brow, 
    So much admired; 
He with the gowden hair, 
    Saw and expir'd!
He of the gentle mien; 
    One free and bold; 
Twain in their downy youth,
    Twain grey and old:
Still you another would 
    Take for your prize; 
Turn away, lady, those
    Fatal bright eyes! 
Sweet lips! ye tempting ones, 
    What would you say? 
Have ye not spoken guile 
    Oft ere to-day?
Have ye not whisper'd love, 
    Meaning bright gold? 
Suffer'd delusive hope, 
    Heart being cold?
Set forth your winning smiles 
    But to allure;
Wounded, and left the wound 
    Never to cure?
Still you another do
    Seek to decoy; 
Take, then, your victim,—
    I'll Kiss you and die!

 


_______________________


HYMN TO HOPE.


WRITTEN IN LINCOLN CASTLE.
TUNE—"The God of Abraham praise."
—Hebrew Melody.


WHEN Freedom bade adieu,
And for a while withdrew,

There was a light of heavenly hope that kept in view;

Afar it faintly shone,
As might some star alone,

That rode amid the storm when all the rest were gone.


And as I gaz'd, its light
Grew brighter and more bright,

Until it seemed to triumph o'er the shades of night;

And then 'twas like a day 
Arising far away,

And bringing back the golden hours of liberty.


No dark'ning cloud was there, 
But all was bright and fair:

E'en brighter seem'd chains which hung around my lair.

Ah! though the great combine
The lowly to confine,

They cannot darken out the ray of hope divine!


And though unfeeling might
Affections dear may blight,

And though beneath the arm of pow'r doth bend the right,

This cannot always be,—
The millions will be free,

Oh! they will rise to vindicate humanity,


To God my thanks ascend, 
Who doth my steps attend,

For he hath ever been to me a mighty friend;

His wing hath been my shield,
His hand hath been my stay,

As through a dark and stormy world I sought my way!

 


_______________________


WINTER.


HOW fearful, yet how mournful is the tone
Of Winter, howling in his stormy zone! 
O'erwhelming pow'r, from night-bound realms afar, 
Who lead'st the wrathful elements to war;
Whose voice is heard when storms in chorus sing;
Whose breath doth icy desolation bring;
Who piles the clouds, or rends them as he goes,
Melts into floods, or freezes into snows;
O'er wither'd regions doth the Giant stride, 
Lifts his dark hand, and turns the sun aside!

 


_______________________


LINES,


ADDRESSED TO MV WIFE DURING HER RECOVERY FROM
A LONG ILLNESS.


THE youthful bard doth chant his lay 
    To nymph or goddess fair;
The thirsty bard doth Bacchus pray 
    For wine to drown his care; 
And some have sung of olden time, 
    And feats of chivalric;
And shall not I address a rhyme, 
    My own dear wife, to thee?

Full thirty years have o'er us pass'd 
    Since thou and I were wed,
And Time hath dealt us many a blast, 
    And somewhat bow'd thine head, 
And torn thy hair, thy bright brown hair, 
    That stream'd so wild and free;
But oh! thy tresses still are fair 
    And beautiful to me!

Yes, Time hath ta'en thy lily hand, 
    And chill'd thy stream of life; 
And scor'd some channels with his wand,
    As envying thee, my wife:
But let not sorrow make thee sigh, 
    Nor care thy heart distress; 
Though health do fail, and charms do fly,
    Thy husband will thee bless!

Aye, bless thy cheek, all worn and wan
    With beauty once beset;
The red rose leaves, my love, are gone; 
    The pale ones linger yet;
And bless thy care be-clouded brow, 
    And bless thy dimnθd sight; 
Can I forget the time when thou 
    Wert my young morning-light? 

Oh, morning light!—Oh, early love! 
    Oh, hours that swiftly flew!
Oh, love! the sun was far above 
    Before we miss'd the dew.
We rang'd the bow'rs, we cull'd the flow'rs, 
    All heedless of the day;
And, love-beguil'd, to wood and wild, 
    We wander'd far away.

We rang'd the bow'rs, we cull'd the flow'rs, 
    By upland and by dell;
And many a night, by hale moonlight, 
    We sought the lonely well.
And many a night, when all above 
    Shone not one star-lit ray; 
And was not I thy Wizard, love? 
    And wert not thou my Fay?

One arm was o'er thy shoulder cast; 
    One hand was held in thine;
Whilst thy dear arm, my youthful waist 
    Did trustfully entwine:
And through the night, all still and stark,
    No other footsteps near,
We stray'd, and, love, it was not dark,—
    My light of life was there!

Oh, light of love!—Oh, early born! 
    Love-born, and lost too soon!
Oh, love! we often thought it morn, 
    When it was early noon!
And, love! we thought it still was noon, 
    When eve came o'er the land;
And, love! we deem'd it wondrous soon 
    When midnight was at hand.

And when at length we needs must part, 
    And could no longer stay;
Still hand in hand, and heart by heart, 
    We homewards took our way:
The wild flowers lav'd our ling'ring feet, 
    The woodbine shed its dew;
And o'er the meads and pastures sweet, 
    The night-wind freely blew.

The rubies from thy lips may fade, 
    Thy cheek be pale and cold;
But thou wert mine, a youthful maid, 
    And I'll be thine when old!
I see those tears that grateful start, 
    Oh! turn them not aside;
But, dear one! come unto my heart, 
    As when thou wert my bride. 

 


_______________________


OCTOBER.


NOW the dull and lazy hours
Steal away, through clouds and showers, 
Sol, another path has found,
By the south he wheels around; 
And the vapours that arise
Float betwixt the earth and skies, 
And the withered leaves are strown 
Where the sullen wind hath blown,
And the beast stands on the lea 
Lowing for the eve of day,
For the fields are cold and bare,
And fragrance breathes no longer there.

    Or if southern gales attend, 
Dripping rains no more descend,
Then the robin sings his lay 
Fraught with pensive melody; 
Last of all the feathered race, 
He the waning year doth grace, 
Like a true and tender friend 
Still consoling to the end.

    Chilling winds, from ocean's strand, 
Breathe across the mourning land, 
Bringing tidings, as they fly,
That the herbs and flowers shall die. 
Winter comes behind to spoil 
Those that linger yet awhile
In the nook, where sunny rays 
Longest dwell on shining days; 
Where the waving fern doth grow, 
Where the air blows soft and low, 
Where the pendant 'bines descend 
By rills whose murmurs never end.

    O'er the moorlands, wide and lone, 
Comes a deep and boding tone, 
Reynard coil'd, within his den, 
Hears afar the cry of men,
And the poor beleagured hare 
Pants within her wildered lair, 
And the bird, with broken wing, 
Dies in unknown suffering,
All to sport the lord who reigns 
O'er the waters and the plains, 
As if it, indeed, were joy
Thus to torture and destroy.
Oh, would man but deign to know 
Mercy's mild and noble glow, 
Surely he would not distress 
Beings he doth never bless.
Let the eagle tear its prey, 
Leave the dog and fox at bay; 
And uplift thine eye of pride 
Where thine own oppressors bide.

 


_______________________


FAREWELL TO MY COTTAGE.


FAREWELL to my cottage, that stands on the hill, 
To valleys and fields where I wander'd at will, 
And met early spring with her buskin of dew, 
As o'er the wild heather a joyance she threw; 
'Mid fitful sun beamings, with bosom snow-fair, 
And showers in the gleamings, and wind-beaten hair,
She smil'd on my cottage, and buddings of green 
On elder and hawthorn and woodbine were seen—
The crocus came forth with its lilac and gold,
And fair maiden snowdrop stood pale in the cold—
The primrose peep'd coyly from under the thorn, 
And blithe look'd my cottage on that happy morn. 
But spring pass'd away, and the pleasure was o'er, 
And I left my cottage to claim it no more. 
Farewell to my cottage—afar must I roam,
No longer a cottage, no longer a home.

For broad must be earned, though my Cob I resign; 
Since what I enjoy shall with honour be mine;
So up to the great city I must depart,
With boding of mind and a pang at my heart. 
Here all seemeth strange, as if foreign the land, 
A place and a people I don't understand;
And as from the latter I turn me away,
I think of old neighbours now lost, well-a-day, 
I think of my cottage full many a time,
A nest among flowers at midsummer prime;
With sweet pink, and white rock, and bonny rose
            bower,
And honeybine garland o'er window and door; 
As prim as a bride ere the revels begin,
And white as a lily without and within. 
Could I but have tarried, contented I'd been, 
Nor envied the palace of lady the queen.
And oft at my gate happy children would play, 
Or sent on an errand well pleased were they;
A pitcher of water to fetch from the spring,
Or wind-broken wood from my garden to bring; 
On any commission they'd hasten with glee, 
Delighted when serving clear Ima or me—
For I was their "uncle," and "gronny" was she. 
And then as a recompense sure if not soon, 
They'd get a sweet posy on Sunday forenoon,
Or handful of fruit would their willing hearts cheer; 
I miss the dear children—none like them are here, 
Though offspring as lovely as mother e'er bore
At eve in the park I can count by the score.
But these are not ours—of a stranger they're shy, 
So I can but bless them as passing them by; 
When ceasing their play my emotion to scan,
I dare say they wonder "what moves the old man." 

Of ours, some have gone in their white coffin shroud, 
And some have been lost in the world and its crowd; 
One only remains, the last bird in the nest,
Our own little grandchild, the dearest and best. 
But vain to regret, though we cannot subdue 
The feelings to nature and sympathy true, 
Endurance with patience must bear the strong part—
Sustain when they cannot give peace to the heart; 
Till life with its yearnings and struggles is o'er,
And I shall remember my cottage no more.


_______________________


[Next page]

 



[Home] [Up] [Biographical] [Autobiography] [Walks] [Tim Bobbin] [Glossary] [Literary Reviews etc.] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk