CUTHBERT DE HOGHTON AND
(February 12th, 1917.)
Dear Shrine of Saint Mary in Thomas More's Chelsea,
To-day Thomas Hoghton in spirit looks on
While the Church gives her blessing to pure love's caressing,
And Cuthbert and Helen for life are made one!
Dear Thomas who left the fair Tower of old Hoghton—
Left England, and those whom his true heart loved well
For the Faith that was nearer—a thousand times dearer!
Than Earth's fairest gifts on which blind worldlings dwell!
A false-hearted Queen then took Richard of Hoghton
From those he had loved as an innocent child,
And taught him to hate what his Uncle had cherished,
The Faith of his Fathers—the Faith undefiled!
King James came to Hoghton and made him Sir Richard
The first Baronet of his time-honoured line!—
But what earthly pleasure compares with the treasure
Which two Tudor monarchs had flung to the swine?
My Grandsire oft said, in my own early boyhood,
"The Hoghtons ne'er threw that great treasure away,
"They were robbed of it vilely, in young Richard's person,
And surely they'll find it again one glad day!"
O joy to the souls of the ancient Macdonalds—
The loyal Macdonalds of bonnie Glencoe!
Fair Helen, their daughter, brave Cuthbert hath sought her,
And vows to be faithful in weal or in woe.
O Mary, Maid-Mother!—our Earth hath no other—
Look down on this union with heavenly smile;
May Jesus and Thee, as in fair Galilee,
Be present to grace this blithe wedding awhile:
And not for awhile—Heaven's Queen!—but for ever,
O Purest of Creatures!—for ever and aye
Keep pure in their hearts, and the hearts of their children,
The Faith that sweet Helen brings Hoghton to-day!
THE "MONTH'S MIND" OF FATHER THOMAS
Where Mary's pictured form looks down
On children of the Ancient Fold,
Who beg God's blessings on the town
Where her dear name was loved of old,—
Within Saint Mary's later fane,
Which Father Richard nobly planned
When faith had come to flower again
And brighten this, our Lady's land,—
The stricken people kneel to-day
Before the beauteous Altar-Throne,
With grief, and yet with hope, to pray
For him who made their cause his own:
For him, with kindly-smiling face
And wise head crowned with silvery hair,—
Whose sweet voice filled that sacred place
With music, as he knelt in prayer:
For him, the pure and ardent-souled,
Who loved the Faithful Dead so well;
Who, prophet-like, last year foretold
That he, this month, might with them dwell:
For him the solemn Requiem sounds,
For him the Sacred Host is raised,
Who fell while on his priestly rounds
Of duty,—calm and unamazed:
Who hoped to preach the Word Divine
Next morning—on the Sabbath day—
But ere the sun lit Mary's shrine
His Lord had called his soul away.
O soldier of the King of Kings!
Struck down on duty's honoured field;
Defender of those heavenly things
Which man's sole lasting comfort yield!
May thine example be to all
A beacon through life's darkest night;
The memory of thy sudden call
A power to arm us for the fight.
That love which after death survives
Is with us while for thee we pray;
O may it cheer our future lives,
And help us on the heavenward way.
And when thy soul from every stain
Is cleansed, and wings its flight above,
May thy clear voice be raised again
For us, before the Throne of Love.
Thus shall we win our way to thee,
And to the hosts around that Throne,
Where Christ is King eternally
And all His faithful meet their own!
(December 23rd, 1910.)
My stream of song runs low to-day,
Yet I would chant a stave for thee,
Whose toilsome life was known to me
In my young boyhood's morning gay.
For thou didst raise that Temple fair
In which together, man and boy—
Thou, 'midst thy cares, I in my joy
We raised to Heaven the selfsame prayer.
It is a noble fane, my friend,
By that first Pastor bravely planned.
And built by thy strong master-hand—
Thy pride until a long life's end:—
Perchance thy crown through heavenly days,
Since honest work, so nobly done,
Wins now, as it has ever won,
The Master's own unstinted praise.
Thy heart was with the Faith of Old—
The faith for which our fathers bled;
Its truths to teach, its fame to spread
Were dearer far to thee than gold.
Yet not to that dear Cause alone
Thy loyal soul clung through the years;
The little children's smiles and tears,
By sympathy were made thine own.
To aid the sick, the poor, the lame;
Thy toiling brethren to unite
In strong defence of Labour's right,
Was ever thy unselfish aim.
Farewell! Exemplar of my Youth;
May God's eternal peace be thine:
Though feeble be this verse of mine,
It fits thee well,—for it is Truth!
JAMES WATSON LONSDALE, M.D.
O friend of long ago,
True friend to me and mine,
I would that thou couldst know
My grief for thee and thine:
For thee, 'mid all thy pain,
So long, so bravely borne;
For thine, who here remain,
With hearts by anguish torn:
For one, most true and tried,
Whose love could cast out fear,
Unwearied at thy side
When death's worst darts were near.
The world, that strives to wean
Men's hearts from things divine,
Could never make less keen
That fervent faith of thine.
To Heaven and duty true,
Thou didst not seek for fame;
Yet well thy townsmen knew
Thy worth, thy stainless name.
The poor who thou didst tend,
With only thanks for fee,
Will mourn their constant friend
And breathe a prayer with me
That He, who blest the cup
Of water to them given,
Will swiftly call thee up
To endless bliss in Heaven.
(January 3rd, 1916.)
For those who knew him in his early prime,
And hailed him as true man upon the day
When first he crossed the threshold of our school
To take us all beneath his loyal rule
And lead us on through learning's wondrous way,
I, least among them, speak in this poor rhyme.
He strove to mould true men. That was his aim
With us, as with our sons, for forty years.
Firm was the man; firm was that written hand
Of his we strove to imitate; and grand
The example of his courage, scattering fears,
And kindling young Ambition's purest flame.
Disciplinarian stern, yet just and fair,
He loved us more—far more—than we could know
While we were thoughtless boys; but when we grew
To man's estate, scarce one of us but knew
How his keen eyes with joy and pride would glow,
By his own hearth, to welcome "old boys" there.
He suffered long; but when the gentle wife,
Who was his hope and stay, had swiftly passed,
We knew that his release was very near.
And lo! upon the first morn of the year
His eager soul its earthly covering cast,
And fled, like hers, to seek Eternal Life!
(January 23rd, 1916.)
He loved his fellow-men, and most among them
The suffering poor; he loved dumb creatures too;
He saw each Season's beauties, and has sung them
In strains that seem to bring fresh breezes through
The busy town where he had fixed his dwelling
When toil had made him exile from the fields.
And happy were his songs when he was telling
The joys that to the poet Nature yields.
He loved his native land, and all her singers,
From Shakespeare to the lowliest child of song;
And while he touched the lyre with modest fingers,
He strove for right, condemning scorn and wrong.
He sleeps in peace. May earth rest light above him,
And Burns's own dear daisies o'er him wave;
While Faith displays, to those true hearts that love him,
His ardent soul triumphant o'er the grave.
(January 3rd, 1917.)
And, doubtless, unto thee is given
A life that bears immortal fruit
In those great offices that suit
The full-grown energies of Heaven.—TENNYSON.
My heart is sore for thee,
Oswald, my friend;
I hoped to walk with thee
To this life's end.
Yet thou art gone from us—
Swift springs the tear!—
Gone in the early morn
Of this New Year.
Oft has thy kindly smile
Cheered me, when sorrow,
Mingled with sickness, made
Dark each fair morrow.
I felt ashamed to grieve,
Thou wert so cheery;
Courage came back to me,
Life grew less dreary.
Others, besides me, knew
Thy loyal heart,
Young Prince of Courtesy!—
Bearing thy part
Ever with chivalry,
Ever with cheer;
Blithe Angels welcome thee,
Oswald, my dear!
(February 20th, 1917.)
Never more in the streets of dear Blackburn I'll meet thee,
Be cheered by thy straight glance of hearty goodwill,
Or by the blithe board of a friend gladly greet thee—
Thou hast gone to thy rest near the church by the hill.
The sons of our Blackburn are blunt and outspoken,
Kind-hearted—yet scornful of meanness and wrong,
With souls by Adversity ever unbroken,
Their art and their labour cheered often by song.
The true Blackburn lad hates all tricks that are shady,
The true Blackburn lass is as brave as she's pure;
You can make him a gentleman—her a true lady,
And, when they're school-polished, their sheen doth endure.
The rough Blackburn lad needs a true man to rule him,
He will not be driven—though led like a child;
Well-fitted wert thou, Henry Neville, to school him,
And to make his young heart to life's tasks reconciled.
O oft, when despondent, dear Henry, I've sought thee,
To hear thee converse, by the hearth of a friend;
Still grieved if I missed thee—right glad if I caught thee,
With ear ever willing thy voice to attend.
Thy grave is at Tockholes, where crystal brooks rindle,
And I feel thou hast earned The Great Master's "Well done!"
I will rest, if He wills, not far from thee—at Brindle,
And I'll meet thee, I trust, with my own victory won!
THE HEROES OF THE HEART.
O the world knows who the heroes are
That o'er each
March fearlessly on through the woes of war,
And know not how to
Whose love for the land that gave them birth
Breaks every baser tie,
And turns their thoughts from the sordid earth
To the cause for which
And the world knows who the heroes are
That glorify their land
When the voice of Peace hath silenced War
And industries expand:
They are found in the forge, the mine, the mill,
And the nation's senate
And they give their lives for their brethren still
When the voice of Duty
These bravely scatter a light whose rays
Illumine every shore,
And the nation's songs right nobly praise
Their names for evermore.
'Tis well that a grateful land should show
How these have borne
But the heroes earth will never know
Are the heroes of the
They live their lives to the world unknown,
Their woes ne'er find a
And yet to the last great trumpet's tone
Their praises will be
They've spread pure love in the place of sin
Wherever their feet have
And the bloodless vict'ries which they win
Are only known to God.
One suffers the loss of a lifelong friend,
Another, a priceless
And death, that brings one troth to an end,
But faster binds their
Like a quenchless stream that onward flows
Though an earthquake move
Their love through a human desert goes
And a thousand hearts are
One weeps for a parent passed away,
And one for an
One mourns for the hopes of youth's bright day
Destroyed by tempests
Wide, wide apart are the things they've lost,
But the heroes are as
For they look not back to count the cost
Till the battle of life
They mount with the wings of human love
To the heights of love
They turn men's thoughts to the land above
Where angel faces shine:
For, though deep sorrow has racked with pain
Their spirits pure and
They rise to the work of life again
With a strength no song
To the God who gave they render back
Each boon, with souls
And walk henceforth in the thorny track
Of the service of
Their words are the wayside flowers of life,
Their noble deeds take
And bear, for the wanderer faint with strife,
Full many a strengthening
O the world is all too blind to know
How the heroes live and
But the story of their silent woe
Is told in the Courts on
And when at the feet of the judge we stand,
And the light and
We shall see them shine at his own right hand—
The heroes of the heart!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
Hark! the bells are gaily ringing,
While the sounds of gleeful singing
Tell of Him who came at Christmas
Many centuries ago;
Who was cradled in a manger,
And of Herod seemed in danger;
Who redeemed the world and taught us
How to conquer sin and woe.
Friends, long parted, are united,
And fond hopes that have been
Rise once more, by love rekindled,
Round the homely cheerful fire;
And the rosy children's voices
Tell how each young heart rejoices
As the mirthful Christmas Carol
Riseth from that stainless Choir.
Brother clasps the hand of brother,
Daughter lends new charms to mother,
While the father looks with pride
Upon the dear long-absent son;
Many a tender, holy feeling
Springs in every heart, revealing
Gleams of what the Child of Nazareth
For a sinful world hath done.
May bright Christmas still continue
By such joys as these to win you—
Gentle souls!—from every sorrow
As each year it comes again;
And to you may grace be given
By the Lord of earth and heaven,
To fulfil with joy the tidings—
"Peace on earth, goodwill to men."
THE OLD YEAR AND THE NEW.
He rests upon his bed,
Low lies his snowy head—
The poor Old Year! he soon must pass away,
Yet not without a tear,
He leaves this earthly sphere,
For we have sported with him many a day.
We loved him when he came,
When "New Year" was his name,
And he was full of youth's exulting pride;
And now that he is old,
Our love has grown tenfold,
And anxiously we watch by his bedside.
For he to us hath been
A kindly year, I ween;
And though he could not always make us smile,
As time wore on he brought
Fresh joys—till then unsought—
Our hearts away from sorrow to beguile.
But see! the midnight hour
Hath shorn him of his power,—
One long and deep-drawn sigh, and he is gone!
While through the open door,
Just when the strife is o'er,
Old Time brings in a smiling little one.
This is the New-born Year;
And though we shed a tear,
And think how soon the good Old Year has flown,
We'll through the night prolong,
Our sounds of hopeful song,
And gladly make the fair New Year our own.
Then welcome, New Year bright!
May every heart be light
That hails thy coming ere the merry morn;
May each one—young and old—
Taste gladness yet untold,
And bless the happy day when thou wert born.
THE SMILE OF A FRIEND.
When cares or afflictions our short lives have clouded,
And sighing we almost look forth to life's end,
When round us, unnumbered, dark sorrows are crowded,
How sweet to the heart comes the smile of a friend!
It breaks through the clouds that are hovering o'er us,
Like sunshine it drives every sorrow away,
Dispels the dark visions that floated before us,
And bids us look forth to a happier day.
'Tis sunshine indeed, and though few words be spoken,
It speaks for itself, and its story is true;
Of brotherly love 'tis a beautiful token,
And many a good thought does its shining renew.
It brings back the days of our youth to our vision,
And mem'ries of schooldays steal round us once more.
It bids us look up to that Country Elysian
Where true friends will meet when life's journey is o'er.
Come, lads! we'll be blithesome and drive away sorrow,
When friends are despondent we'll give them a hand,
And many a kind word will repay us to-morrow
For bringing them safe, in Love's vessel, to land.
How light beat the hearts that can thank Him who made us—
Who bade lovely Friendship our footsteps attend—
And, when foes of peace and contentment invade us,
Can conquer them all, through the smile of a friend!
TO A LARK.
What ails my little warbler?
He singeth not to-day,
From his cage beside the window here,
His carol sweet and gay.
He is longing for the freedom
He used to know and love,
When his home was in the lealands wide,
His cage the sky above.
Ah, well! my tiny minstrel,
I sympathise with thee;
I, too, am weak and weary now,
And long so to be free.
Far from the giant buildings
That half shut out the sun,
Where men like slaves must labour on,
And toil is never done.
I long to greet the meadows
Wherein a child I played;
To quench my thirst at the silver well,
To wander through the glade;
To hear the bells at evening
Ring out so sweet and low;
To sit beside the stream, and hear
The music of its flow.
But ah! my little singer,
My hopes, like thine, are vain;
I toil for men with book and pen,
Bound down by labour's chain.
I see no sight to cheer me
In dusty rooms like these;
I have no solace but to hear
Thy tinkling melodies.
Then deem me not too selfish
If I feed and keep thee here—
The only thing that bids me cling
To a sweeter atmosphere!
DUTY AND DELIGHT.
What tender sweetness fills thy joyful strain,
High-soaring lark that gladdeneth all the field;
Whose care it is to guard thy mate, and shield
Thy first-born brood from hunger and from pain.
Thine eyes enraptured show a heart full fain,
My gallant boy, when eager budding youth
Brings thy first journey through the realms of truth,
To view God's works, by learning's light made plain.
Thou hidest thy thrice-happy looks in vain,
Shy, new-made bride, when first thy household cares
Are mingled with thy gentle hopes and prayers
For him whose kisses on thy rose-lips rain.
O, joy fills all things when the wondrous light
Of youth is thrown upon life's rugged ways!
And evermore those are the dearest days
When Love and Youth crown Duty with Delight.
THE FOUNTAIN OF LOVE.
"There is but one true love," a poet saith,
"All other loves are vain,
And if that first true love go down to death,
It comes not back again.
"All other loves are but the shadows frail
Of this most glorious one,—
Mere shadows, which, compared, seem poor and
Like moonbeams to the sun."
But, O my poet! I would live my life
Of sorrow o'er again
To teach one lesson of its lingering strife
To weary-hearted men.
I too have felt the first love's early glow,
Its peace so true and mild,
Aye, even in the golden long-ago,
When I was but a child.
One face for ever lighted all my dreams;
One heart to mine beat true;
One smile to-day before my vision beams,
As then 'twas wont to do.
One gentle hand, for ever in my own,
Those dreams still bring to me;
And when I wake, to find myself alone,
My tears fall fast and free.
One dark brown tress amid my treasures now
Like some saint's relic lies,—
It used to rest upon that placid brow
'Neath which beamed her sweet eyes.
One woman thus I loved in youth,—and yet
Am loyal to another,—
For her on whom my deepest love was set—
Thank heaven!—was my mother.
From her sweet self my earliest vision springs
Of woman pure and high,
To her first love my spirit ever clings,
Let grief, or joy, be nigh.
Stranger or friend—whichever thou may'st be,
Whose eyes glance o'er my page—
Accept this one consoling truth from me,
'Twill live in youth or age.
Our God "fulfils Himself in many ways,"
And though He take, in pain,
From thy poor soul the joys of early days,
He can give back again.
He bids thee only keep thy own heart true
To one divine ideal,
And then the purest love thy childhood knew
Shall make all others real!
SEA AND RIVER.
Man! thou art like the ever-restless sea,
Too often madly striving to be free
From those strong bounds which God hath set apart
To guide and guard thy wild and wandering heart.
A sweet, brief calm thou knowest when a boy,
The world before thee opens, full of joy;
But, all too soon, thy heart, with passion warm,
Nears manhood's noon, and feels the inward storm
Which either gives thee energy at length,
And makes thy soul majestic in its strength,
Or dashes thee about, until at last
Thy hopes, affections, virtues—all, are cast
Upon the hard, cold rocks that round thee lie,
In shame or dark obscurity to die!
It is not so with woman—she doth seem
To move along more like a quiet stream.
She springeth, pure and beauteous, from God's hand,
And passeth, in her childhood, through the land,
For ever making music as she goes,
And shedding light upon the darkest woes.
The young who strive, the old who sigh and think
O'er bygone days, love from her soul to drink
The clear refreshment innocence supplies,
And, having drunk, to nobler actions rise.
But O, when childhood's journey is passed o'er,
How beautiful she seems, as by the shore
Of Youth she passes! who hath tongue to tell
The power, O man! that holds thee with its spell,
The glory that her purity reveals
When, like the crystal stream, her love first steals
Into the storm-tossed ocean of thy soul—
The billows of thy sorrow cease to roll,
The storm abates, the world's loud thunders cease,
And all its bitter strife is lost in wondrous peace.
THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR.
When the busy day had fled,
By my lonely hearth I read
How a land of might and glory,
Famous in the world's great story,
Once endured, 'mid crime and tears,
War's grim rule for seven years.
How through every darkened day
He maintained relentless sway;
How the brave, the strong, the cherished,
At his bidding fought and perished;
Father, husband, lover, son,
Swept away with spear and gun.
How the night would often seem
Like some wild and ghastly dream,
When the thought of dead and dying
In the mellow moonlight lying
Filled with anguish dark and deep
Hearts that longed for rest and sleep.
While I wondered more and more
How the weary nations bore
That long reign of grief and terror,
Born of earthly crime and error,
Glimpses of another fight
Came from out the fitful light.
From those glimpses grew the thought
Of the good and evil wrought
By the mighty war which rages,
All unknown to history's pages,
When the foes of heavenly truth
Storm the fiery soul of youth.
Seven years of youthful strife
Shape the course of human life;
What men are in this endeavour
They will oft remain for ever—
Base or noble, chained or free,
All, great Youth, depends on thee!
Anxious angels watch this war
From celestial thrones afar—
See the good and ill contending
For the mastery never ending;
See the world's great powers allied
With the dark and evil side.
Men are blind, but angels know
What a dreadful weight of woe
Waits for those who strive to follow
Earthly phantoms vain and hollow,
And upon youth's battlefield
For their sake like cowards yield.
Angel-songs alone can say
All the joys that light his way
Who, with soul by grace made glorious,
From each fight comes forth victorious,
And because he perseveres,
Wins the war of seven years!
Life and death to him shall be
Truly noble, truly free;
Duty, Love, and Peace shall guide him
Through the years, and kneel beside him
When life's slowly sinking sun
Tells him all his toil is done!
When life is dark, and all seems drear,
And none are near to comfort me,
A voice from Heaven I seem to hear,
A vision bright I see.
Descending from the Better Land,
I see my mother's radiant form;
I kiss her cheek, I hold her hand,
And silenced is the storm.
No matter what my sorrows are,
No matter though a world of wrong
Be with my better self at war,
I always hear her song.
It sounds above the worldly din,
And charms my heart with holy love;
It turns my thoughts from care and sin,
And bids me look above.
It bids me work with ardour great,
Submissive to The Master's will;
Accept with joy my earthly state,
And well my task fulfil.
It shows me how my humble lyre,
If used fair Virtue's worth to own,
May one day sound amongst the choir
Beside our Saviour's throne.
And, when the clouds disperse once more,
She leaves me, with her angel smile,
My heart made glad, my sorrows o'er,—
And bids me wait awhile.
Then cheerfully I go my way;
And singing pass I through the
And thank my God, and beg one day
In heaven to hear her song.
AT THE GOLDEN GATE.
I am sinking, sister, sinking—
Dying ere my youth is fled;
I can see your form but dimly,
As you kneel beside my bed.
For mine eyes are glassy growing,
And my feet are stiff and cold,
While my frame is racked with fever,
And a pain words leave untold.
When the winds of Spring were sighing,
I was light of heart and strong;
Now the Summer leaves lie dying,
And I hear the angels' song.
When the primrose pale was springing,
All my thoughts were of this earth,—
Now, each shortening day is bringing
Dreams of my eternal birth.
I have sighed for love and pleasure,
In the days now passed away;
But the joys of earth seem hollow,
As I think of them to-day.
And methinks, if I were given
Strength to live my life again,
I would train myself for heaven,
Far from all the haunts of men!
Yet, my sister, let God guide you;
For I may not rashly deem
That the world of love and labour
Is a false and fruitless dream.
In the home, as in the cloister,
Burns the fire of love divine,
Both count saints among their children,
Both are part of His design.
And the life of calm seclusion,
That is filled with grace for one,
May be aimless to another,
With the world's keen race to run.
I will only pray, my sister,
That when you are left behind,
You may win your crown of glory,
In the life for you designed.
Walking onward meekly, purely,
Like a pilgrim through the land;
Gathering flowers of holy fragrance,
To be placed in God's own hand!
I am weary now,—so weary,
I can speak but little more;
Pray, O pray! for me dear sister,
Till this last long strife is o'er!
Raise my aching head a little,—
Let me gaze with these poor eyes
On the white-robed band descending
From yon strangely shining skies.
See them now! they come to meet me!
Hear the wondrous music swell,
Kiss me once again, sweet sister;
Kiss me once, and now farewell!
Life is sweet, but death is sweeter
When it leads to life divine,—
Angels, pray for me and guard me;
King of Angels, make me Thine!
THE WHITE-HAIRED SINGER.
Again comes round the day
On which he passed away,
My poet!—my true Master of the Lyre;
And though that lyre be still,
Its strains remain to thrill
And lift our hearts and aspirations higher.
How gloriously he sang,
And how the Nations rang,
For many a year, with echoes of his song,
Remember we full well,—
And own the magic spell
Which charms and elevates the toiling throng.
But now, alas! no more
From brave Columbia's shore
Comes, borne o'er the Atlantic wide, his lay:
The White-Haired Singer sleeps,
And still our England weeps
With her great Daughter o'er the watery way.
Yet, while mine eyes grow dim
Whene'er I think of him,
I gather consolation,—for I know
His name will always stand
Revered in many a land
His priceless songs will lessen human woe.
True Poets never die,
But dwell with God on High,—
Beneath His smile, whose lessons they have
And looking down on Earth
At every morning's birth,
See many a good deed through their teaching
I speak of those whose song
Has never championed Wrong,
Or marred the holy melody of Love,—
And surely he was one,
For pure and bright he shone
With Virtue's radiance, mirrored from Above!
If all men knew the power
With which, in silent hour,
His tender strains can solace weary hearts
The world would nobler grow,
And in each heart would glow
The peace which gentle sympathy imparts.
Already millions know,
And time will surely show
That, through the days to come, Longfellow's
Enshrined with grateful care,
Will shine—a jewel rare!—
Upon the kingly coronal of Fame.
Full many a Poet's lays
Will swell with joyous praise
Of God, who gave this minstrel to our age;
And Nations yet unborn
Shall see his name adorn,
With hallowed glory, History's pregnant page.
Long will that name be blest,
While sweetly he doth rest,
From Earth, and all its sorrows, far away;
And men of every clime,
Touched by his lays sublime,
Bless him who died upon this fateful day!
THE KING'S VISIT.
In a city old and splendid,
Mirth and music reign supreme,
In a radiant glory blended,
Fair as some enchanted dream.
Joyous hearts find sweetest voices
On this gladsome day to sing,
Every loyal soul rejoices
At the coming of the King.
See, he comes! men bend before him,
Each one with most humble mien;
Till emotions strange come o'er him
As those lowly heads are seen.
For he thinks how vain and fleeting
Are their homage and his fame;
And he hears not half their greeting,
As they shout and sing his name.
He is thinking of his childhood,
Ere he trod his earthly throne;
Of that chapel in the wildwood,
Where he used to kneel alone.
There, he knows, a King far greater
Reigns in silence day by day;
There, he knows, the world's Creator
Blesses all who come to pray.
There, he knows, His voice is pleading
Evermore, men's hearts to win;
Yet they pass Him all unheeding,
Sell His choicest gifts for sin.
There, the birds alone are singing,
There, the banners are the trees
While one little bell is ringing
Faintly in the morning breeze.
Hail your king, ye joyous people!
Soon your merry day is o'er;
Clash, ye bells! in tower and steeple—
Ye shall hail the King no more!
He hath trod your streets the last time,
He hath passed beyond your town;
Wearied out with worldly pastime,
He hath laid aside his crown.
In that chapel in the wildwood
He is kneeling as of yore,
While the peace that crowned his childhood
Fills his heart and brain once more.
He hath joined the cloistered brothers,
He will live for God alone—
Toil and pray amongst the others,
Unregarded and unknown!
Greater kings have lived and flourished,
Greater rulers held their sway;
Yet their majesty hath perished,
They were children of a day.
But to this wise monarch's story
Still my fancy closely clings,
For he gave up earth's best glory
To the King above all kings!
AN ANGEL'S NAME
You turned away your radiant face,
Then looked at me with blame,
When I to your angelic grace
Once gave an angel-name.
You thought of those who reign Above,
And said it was not meet
That I should call my earthly Love
"My Guardian-Angel sweet."
Ah, well! be sure I never meant
To slight what God had given,—
I ne'er forgot the Spirit sent
To guide my soul to Heaven.
But, looking back upon my life,
You ever seemed to be
A second Angel, 'mid the strife
'Twixt care and sin and me.
I cannot think of boyhood's days
Without recalling too
The gentle smile that met my gaze
When first you crossed my view.
That smile of yours ne'er lost its power,—
It followed me afar,
And shone through many a sunless hour
As shone the Eastern Star.
'Tis true I followed not its light;
'Tis true I did not tread
At first within the pathway bright
To which that smile had led.
I gazed on other faces, Love,
And all but yours grew cold;
I journeyed through fresh places, Love,
But none were like the old.
Through all my wanderings, evermore,
Your early smile came back
To guide me o'er a treacherous shore
To manhood's firmer track.
As Guardian-Angels guide mankind
Across this Vale of Tears,
You guided me—a wanderer blind—
Through youth's uncertain years.
And since I gained your hand and heart,
My life is made for me
A land, from all the world apart,
Besides a sunlit sea:
A glorious land, where all is blest,
Where love and virtue meet;
Where cheerful toil and peaceful rest
Each blissful day complete.
Then wonder not that I should steal
A heavenly word to tell
The peace which you have made me feel,—
The praise you earn so well.
And cloud no more your radiant face
To look at me with blame,—
For you who fill an angel's place
Deserve an angel's name!
LOVE AND ANGER.
O breathe no more that angry word!
For grief will reign if such be said;
But know, when Anger's voice is heard
The Spirit of true Love hath fled.
I know he may return again
With 'witching smile and wondrous power
Yet he may fail to conquer pain
Created in a careless hour.
When years have passed, if Death lay low
The gentle one to thee so dear,
Thy own hot words will swell thy woe
While lonely weeping o'er the bier.
Or, if God call thee first away,
Thy memory will not flourish more
If words like those thy lips would say
Have often pierced that leal heart's core.
Our life hath more of night than day,
Its days have more of shower than sun,
But kindness is a lamp whose ray
Will beam when days of joy are done.
Then let thy kindness brighter shine
To-day, when skies are dark above,
And light with peace the face benign,
Of one who lives for home and love.
Thus, trampling down all selfish pride,
A noble victory thou wilt win,
Gladden the dear one by thy side,
And hear a voice say from within,—
"Well done! Thy kind and manly word
True blessings on thy life hath shed;
For know, when Love's true voice is heard,
God's angel, Peace, thy way doth tread!"
Peace walked with me along the ways
Of my beloved early years;
Peace mingled sweetness with my tears,
And filled with beauty all my days.
Time passed with swiftness, and ere long
The battle of my life began;
I felt myself at length a man,
And took my place among the throng.
I took my place with youthful pride;
I fought an earthly fight and won;
But, when the deadly fray was done,
Peace stood no longer by my side.
I sought her long, but all in vain,
The years went by; she came no more;
While I grew rich in golden store,
But felt within a ceaseless pain:
For well I knew that I had fought
For nothing but the world's renown;
And, in my haste to win its crown,
A thousand evil deeds had wrought.
I left the city's strife and din,
And to my childhood's home returned—
That home for which I had not yearned
Through all my selfish years of sin.
I knelt before the altar-throne
Where in my nobler days I prayed;
The birds around sweet music made,
While I wept on for hours alone.
I rose at length—a new life planned
In mind and heart—when by my side
Lo! Peace stood smiling, glorified,
And led me gently by the hand.
And now she walks with me the ways
Of glorious manhood's ripened years,
And mingles sweetness with my tears,
And fills with beauty all my days.
Brother! choose the path of duty,
Keep that path and have no fear;
Life will show thee all its beauty
If thou wilt but persevere.
When dark clouds are hanging o'er thee
And thy way seems dim and drear,
Think of Heaven that lies before thee,
Strive for that, and persevere.
Grieve not, though thy lot be lowly
And thou toilest year by year;
Christ's own toil made labour holy,
Do thy best and persevere.
Be thou Statesman, Artist, Poet,
Hold thy own vocation dear;
Thou hast genius! Toil will show it,
Help thy brethren, persevere.
God has given all His creatures
Duties, loving, true, and clear;
Every state has noble features,
Choose thy own, and persevere.
Make each day in life a witness,
Spreading tidings far and near
Of the glory and the fitness
Of the watchword—Persevere.
Against a stately forest tree,
That long through storms had held its own,
When but a child, I flung a stone
Which, bounding backwards, wounded me.
The tree bore not the slightest trace
Of injury upon its bark,
Yet I for months retained the mark
Left by that wound upon my face.
Long afterwards, a foolish dream
Had half destroyed my sense of right
And, dazzled by its visions bright,
I rowed against Fate's mighty stream!
I had a friend most fond and true
Who gently showed me where I erred;
But, all by pride and anger stirred,
At him a word of scorn I threw.
He stood serenely, like the oak,
Surrounded by the golden light
Of conscious truth and sterling right,
And braved, unscathed, the maddening stroke.
But I—though years have passed away,
And Friendship binds our souls again—
Still feel the self-inflicted pain
Shoot through my weary heart to-day.
And often, when I hear him speak
Words noble, manly, sweet, and wise,
With goodness beaming from his eyes,
There comes a blush upon my cheek:
While Conscience crushes all my frame,
As when that cruel word of scorn
Drove through my heart the double thorn
Of keen remorse and lowering shame!
THE BALLAD OF LILY-MARY.
God sent me Lily-Mary
In Youth's most wayward day,
To comfort me and guide me
Along the narrow way.
Her voice was thrilling music,
Her love was half divine,
And in her eyes so tender
The light of truth did shine.
She came to help and cheer me
When all was dark around,
And in the home she made me
My youth's first peace was found.
We toiled and loved together
For two unclouded years,
And then my woeful heart returned
To loneliness and tears.
An angel-child had wandered
To earth from realms above,—
Had come to crown with glory
Our new and wondrous love.
Alas for Lily-Mary!
Her babe scarce saw the day
Before the gentle mother
By death was borne away.
Upon the mount of gladness
In Summer's golden noon,
The sudden storm had found me,
And raged around me soon.
With memory's flashing lightning
Came thunders of despair,
And with them both I battled
In deep'ning darkness there.
I saw a silvery lining
Within the clouds so black—
The baby-smile so radiant,
To earth had called me back:
The mother's eyes looked on me
From that sweet infant face;
I still had one to live for,
Through life's uncertain race.
O fleeting, vain illusion!
O hope that soon betrayed!
'Twas only for a moment
The angry storm delayed:
The little face grew thinner,
And shorter came the breath,
Until my child—my only hope—
Was yielded up to death.
Then Madness hovered near me,
Unseen by those around;
Far deeper ran my sorrow-stream
Because it gave no sound.
I prayed that Death the reaper
Would strike the fatal blow,
And let me share with those I loved
The grave so sweet and low.
My thoughts were strange and wayward;
But still the fight I won,
For on one prayer I stumbled,
"God's holy will be done."
It rang, through night and morning,
In my bewildered ears,
Until it melted all my heart
In sweet resigned tears.
It purified my sorrow,
It made my pathway plain,
For God and for my neighbour
I rose to life again.
I cast mere earthly schemes away,—
A nobler life begun
When from my heart I learnt to say,
"God's holy will be done!"
I begged at first to labour
In His own vineyard sweet,
Where my dead mother once had longed
To plant my childish feet.
But slowly came the answer
To my imperfect prayer,
"Not thine to choose the pathway,
Thy steps would falter there."
"Yet shalt thou teach what Sorrow
Hath now revealed to thee,
Go back into the sinful world,
And strike thy harp for Me.
By song the Angels praise Me,
By song may souls be won,—
Go forth, and let thy message be—
'God's holy will be done.'"
The chosen ones of Heaven
Have heavenly work to do,
And my two earth-born-angels
To their own task were true:
For when my heart was breaking
With wild, unspoken pain,
Their memory forced my broken voice
To music once again.
And now sweet Lily-Mary
Looks down and pleads for me,
The babe that never spoke my name
Through God my heart can see.—
I serve no more the fleeting world,
His will and theirs are one,
They know I only live to sing
God's holy will be done!
MY FRIEND ACROSS THE MAIN.
(HENRY W. LONGFELLOW:
Died March 24th, 1882.)
I've scanned the page of many a Bard whose strain melodious rings,
From Shakespeare to the lowliest one that in our own day sings.
I love their lore, yet love far more than all who o'er men reign
The prince of great Columbia's choir, my friend across the main.
He was the first whose note I heard in boyhood's early days,
When earth seemed still a Paradise to my unclouded gaze.
I traced with beating heart each step of sweet Evangeline.
Then learned to prize and longed to meet the friend I'd never seen.
The "Voices of the Night" to me were music wondrous sweet,
I heard the Village Blacksmith's song ring down the quiet street.
I watched the royal slave expire "the ungathered rice" beside,
And saw the mild-eyed angel sent to tame King Robert's pride.
To me the "wild sweet" belfry's chimes brought dreams of days of old,
For I had heard the story of the Flemish warriors told.
I saw the flower of Flanders meet on Courtrai's honoured field,—
A nation's pride, with Right allied, to bid the French King yield.
And not alone on olden days my poet shed his light,—
A hundred songs of homely ways flit through my mind to-night.
"The Seaside and the Fireside" blend their charms my brain within,
And youth's first music lingers yet about the Wayside Inn.
The love of little children, too, made holy his old age;
The strength of "White Simplicity" shone ever on his page.
In cultured use of simple words he never seemed to fail,
Yet brought some new and subtile charm to every song or tale.
But most of all I love my friend for sorrow bravely borne,—
Because he laboured to the end when heart from heart was torn.
"Footsteps of Angels" strengthen me, as oft they strengthened him
Who heard them, as I hear them now, amid the twilight dim.
O wondrous is the power of song! Like faith itself it seems;
He sang to me across the sea and mirrored all my dreams.
By sympathy of soul I dare to claim him as my friend
Whose comradeship I shall not share until The Journey's end.
"Look not," my soul, "upon the past; it comes not back again";
"Wisely improve the present"; toil to raise thy fellowmen.
"Go forth to meet the future with a fearless manly heart";
And let thy "footprints on the sands" attest thy noble part.
These, and a hundred lessons more, flowed from the singer's lips
Who more than brother seemed to me 'mid sorrow's first eclipse.
The noblest, tenderest, bravest Bard in all the tuneful train
Was he who thrilled my youthful soul,—my friend across the main!
THE EVENING STAR.
When daylight hath faded
And toiling is done;
While stars from the darkness
Peep out one by one;
As homeward I journey,
I look from afar
For the clear-shining light
Of my own Evening Star.
'Tis not the bright planet
That beams from above,—
I look not so high for
The star that I love,—
'Tis the lamp at the window
My Mary sits by,
And it gains a new light
From each bonny blue eye.
Yes! the lamp at the window
Is dearest by far;
For it shines with love's brightness—
My own Evening Star!
I know that around it
Are waiting for me
The three fairest children
I ever shall see;
By the side of their mother,—
The dearest and best
That ever made home
A sweet haven of rest.
Then here's to the pleasures
Of Love's chosen home,
And a fig for Bohemians
Who aimlessly roam!
My joys are far nobler
Than ever they'll know,
And my star will shine on
Through the dark night of woe!
Yes! the lamp at the window
Is dearest by far;
For it shines with love's brightness—
My own Evening Star!