COLD AND QUIET.
dear,—cold and quiet.
In their cups on yonder lea,
Cowslips fold the brown bee's diet;
So the moss enfoldeth thee.
"Plant me, plant me, O love, a lily flower—
Plant at my head, I pray you, a green tree;
And when our children sleep," she sighed, "at the dusk
And when the lily blossoms, O come out to me!"
Lost, my dear? Lost! nay, deepest
Love is that which loseth least;
Through the night-time while thou sleepest,
Still I watch the shrouded east.
Near thee, near thee, my wife that aye liveth,
"Lost" is no word for such a love as mine;
Love from her past to me a present giveth,
And love itself doth comfort, making pain divine.
Rest, my dear, rest. Fair showeth
That which was, and not in vain
Sacred have I kept, God knoweth,
Love's last words atween us twain.
"Hold by our past, my only love, my lover;
Fall not, but rise, O love, by loss of me!"
Boughs from our garden, white with bloom hang over.
Love, now the children slumber, I come out to thee.
A SNOW MOUNTAIN.
CAN I make white
enough my thought for thee,
Or wash my words in light? Thou hast no mate
To sit aloft in the silence silently
And twin those matchless heights undesecrate.
Reverend as Lear, when, lorn of shelter, he
Stood, with his old white head, surprised at fate;
Alone as Galileo, when, set free,
Before the stars he mused disconsolate.
Ay, and remote, as the dead lords of song,
Great masters who have made us what we are,
For thou and they have taught us how to long
And feel a sacred want of the fair and far:
Reign, and keep life in this our deep desire—
Our only greatness is that we aspire.
(A WOMAN SPEAKS.)
O SLEEP, we are
beholden to thee, sleep,
Thou bearest angels to us in the night,
Saints out of heaven with palms. Seen by thy
Sorrow is some old tale that goeth not deep;
Love is a pouting child. Once I did sweep
Through space with thee, and lo, a dazzling sight
Stars! They came on, I felt their drawing and
And some had dark companions. Once (I weep
When I remember that) we sailed the tide,
And found fair isles, where no isles used to bide,
And met there my lost love, who said to me,
That 'twas a long mistake: he had not died.
Sleep, in the world to come how strange 'twill be
Never to want, never to wish for thee !
(A MAN SPEAKS.)
ONCE, a new
world, the sunswart marinere,
Columbus, promised, and was sore withstood,
Ungraced, unhelped, unheard for many a year;
But let at last to make his promise good.
Promised and promising I go, most clear,
To better my dull heart with love's sweet feud,
My life with its most reverent hope and fear,
And my religion, with fair gratitude.
O we must part; the stars for me contend,
And all the winds that blow on all the seas.
Through wonderful waste places I must wend,
And with a promise my sad soul appease.
Promise then, promise much of far-off bliss;
But—ah, for present joy, give me
WHO veileth love
should first have vanquished fate.
She folded up the dream in her deep heart,
Her fair full lips were silent on that smart,
Thick fringèd eyes did on the
What good? one eloquent blush, but one, and straight
The meaning of a life was known; for art
Is often foiled in playing nature's part,
And time holds nothing long inviolate.
Earth's buried seed springs up—slowly,
The ring came home, that one in ages past
Flung to the keeping of unfathomed seas:
And golden apples on the mystic trees
Were sought and found, and borne away at last,
Though watched of the divine Hesperides.
|Witten on the deaths of Three
Lovely Children who were
taken from their Parents within a month of one another.
AGED EIGHT YEARS.
how fast they flutter—woodland
Where the wan October sunbeams scantly in the mid
While the dim gray clouds are drifting, and in saddened
All without and all within!
All within! but winds of autumn, little Henry, round
Did not load your father's spirit with those deep and
Only echoed thoughts of sadness, in your mother's bosom
Fast as tears that dim her eyes.
Life is fraught with many changes, checked with sorrow
But no grief it ever lightened such a truth before to
I behold them—father, mother—as
they seemed to
Only three short weeks ago!
Saddened for the morrow's parting up the stairs at
As with cautious foot we glided past the children's
"Come in here," they said, the lamplight dimpled forms
"Kiss them in their sleep once more."
You were sleeping, little Henry, with your eyelids
Two sweet faces near together, with their rounded
And the rose-bud lips were moving, as if stirred in their
By the movements of the mind!
And your mother smoothed the pillow, and her sleeping
Whispering fondly—"He is
And your father stooped to kiss you, happy dreamer, as
With his hand upon your head!
Did he know the true deep meaning of his blessing?
No! he never
Heard afar the summons uttered—"Come
How the awful Angel faces kept his sleeping boy for
And for ever in their view.
Awful Faces, unimpassioned, silent Presences were by
beings—hidden by this
Such as we have called on, saying, "Praise the Lord,
Azarias and Misael!"
But we saw not, and who knoweth, what the missioned
To that one small bed drawn nearer, when we left him
While he slumbered, who can answer for what dreams
they may have
When at midnight all was still ?
Father! Mother! must you leave him on his bed, but not
Are the small hands meekly folded on his breast, but
not to pray?
When you count your children over, must you tell a
Since that happier yesterday?
Father! Mother! weep if need be, since this is a "time"
Comfort comes not for the calling, grief is never argued
Coldly sounds the admonition, "Why lament? in better
Rests the child than in your own."
"Truth indeed! but, oh! compassion! Have you sought
to scan my
(Mother, you shall meekly ponder, list'ning to that
"Does your heart repeat its echo, or by fellow-feeling
Even a tone that might avail?
"Might avail to steal it from me, by its deep heart-warm
Might perceive by strength of loving how the fond
Surely no! I will be silent, in your soul is no reflection
Of the care that burdens mine!"
When the winter twilight gathers, Father, and your
Sitting lonely you shall blend him with your listless
Half forgetful what division holds the form whereon you
From its place upon your knees—
With a start of recollection, with a half-reproachful
Of itself the heart shall question, "Art Thou then no
Is it so, my little Henry? Are we set so far asunder
Who were wont to be so near?"
While the fire-light dimly flickers, and the lengthened
To itself the heart shall answer, "He shall come to
me no more:
I shall never hear his footsteps nor the child's sweet
For admission at my door."
But upon your fair, fair forehead, no regrets nor griefs
Neither sorrow nor disquiet do the peaceful features
Nor that look, whose wistful beauty seemed their sad
hearts to be
"Daylight breaketh, let me go!"
Daylight breaketh, little Henry; in its beams your soul
What though night should close around us, dim and
dreary to the
Though our souls should walk in darkness, far away that
Into endless day for you!
AGED NINE YEARS.
THEY have left
you, little Henry, but they have not left
Brothers' hearts so knit together could not, might not
Fain to seek you in the mansions far away—One
To bid those behind farewell!
Gentle Boy!—His childlike nature in
most guileless form
And it may be that his spirit woke in glory unaware,
Since so calmly he resigned it, with his hands still
Having said his evening prayer.
Or—if conscious of that summons
"Speak, O Lord,
As one said, whose name they gave him, might his
"Here am I"—like him replying—"At
Thy gates my
For behold Thou calledst me!"
A deep silence—utter silence, on
his earthly home
Reading, playing, sleeping, waking he is gone, and
"O the loss!"—they utter, weeping—every
"O the loss!"—But, O the gain!
On that tranquil shore his spirit was vouchsafed an early
Lest the toils of crime should stain it, or the thrall of
Lest that "wickedness should alter the yet simple under
Or deceit beguile his soul!"
"Lay not up on earth thy treasure"—they
Moth and rust shall fret thy riches—earthly
"Even so," each heart replieth—"As
for me, my riches
Make them wings and flee away!"
"O my riches!—O my children!—dearest
part of life
Treasures looked to for the solace of this life's declining
Were our voices cold to hearing or our faces cold to
That ye left us to our tears?"
"We inherit conscious silence, ceasing of some merry
And the hush of two sweet voices—(healing
Of the tread of joyous footsteps in the pathway following
Of two names no longer used!"
Question for them, little Sister, in your sweet and childish
Search and seek them, Baby Brother, with your calm
Dimpled lips that fail to utter fond appeal or sad com-
Mild regret or dim surprise!
There are two tall trees above you, by the high east
Underneath them, slumber sweetly, lapt in silence
Save, when pealing in the distance, organ notes towards
Echo—with a pause between!
And that pause?—a voice shall fill
it—tones that blessed
Well beloved, but not sufficing, Sleepers, to awake
Though so near he stand, that shadows from your trees
On his book and on his brow!
Sleep then ever! Neither singing of sweet birds shall
Neither fall of dew, nor sunshine, dance of leaves, nor
Charm those dropt lids more to open, nor the tranquil
With one care for things below!
It is something, the assurance, that you ne'er shall feel
Weep no past and dread no future know not sighing,
feel not pain—
Nor a day that looketh forward to a mournfuller to-
"Clouds returning after rain!"
No, far off, the daylight breaketh, in its beams each soul
"What though clouds," they sigh, "be gathered dark
and stormy to
Though the light our eyes forsaketh, fresh and sweet
Into endless day for you!"
KATIE, AGED FIVE YEARS.
(ASLEEP IN THE DAYTIME.)
ALL rough winds
are hushed and silent, golden light the
And the last October roses daily wax more pale and
They have laid a gathered blossom on the breast of one
With a sunbeam on her hair.
Calm, and draped in snowy raiment she lies still, as one
And a grave sweet smile hath parted dimpled lips that
Slanting down that narrow sunbeam like a ray of glory
On the sainted brow and cheek.
There is silence! They who watch her, speak no word
of grief or
In a strange unwonted calmness they gaze on and can
Though the pulse of life beat faintly, thought shrink
hope be failing,
They, like Aaron, "hold their peace."
While they gaze on her, the deep bell with its long slow
Long they hearken—father—mother—love
more to say:
Beating time to feet of Angels leading her where love
Tolls the heavy bell this day.
Still in silence to its tolling they count over all her
To lie near their hearts and soothe them in all sorrows
Her short life lies spread before them, but they cannot tell
Easily as tell her years.
Only daughter—Ah! how fondly
Thought around that
Oft when lone your mother sitteth, she shall weep and
She shall mourn her baby-sempstress, with those imita-
Drawing out her aimless thread.
In your father's Future cometh many a sad uncheered
But in sleep shall three fair faces heavenly-calm to-
Like a threefold cord shall draw him through the weari-
Nearer to the things unseen.
With the closing of your eyelids close the dreams of
And so ends the fairest chapter in the records of their
Therefore—O thou God most holy—God
of rest and
Be Thou near to them this day!
Be Thou near, when they shall nightly, by the bed of
Hear their soft and gentle breathing, and shall bless
them on their
And shall think how coldly falleth the white moonlight
In their bed beneath the trees.
Be Thou near, when they, they only, bear those faces in
And the number of their children strangers ask them
with a smile;
And when other childlike faces touch them by the strong
To those turned to them erewhile.
Be Thou near, each chastened Spirit for its course and
Let Thy voice say, "Father—mother—lo!
Now be strong, be strong, no longer cumbered over
At the shrine of human love."
Let them sleep! In course of ages e'en the Holy House
And the broad and stately steeple one day bend to its
And high arches, ancient arches bowed and decked
Creeping moss shall round them twine.
Ancient arches, old and hoary, sunny beams shall glim-
And invest them with a beauty we would fain they
And the moonlight slanting down them, the white moon
With a sadness dim and fair.
Then the soft green moss shall wrap you, and the world
Life, and stir, and toil, and tumult unawares shall pass
Generations come and vanish: but it shall not grieve nor
That they sin, or that they sigh.
And the world, grown old in sinning, shall deny her first
And think scorn of words which whisper how that all
Time's arrest and intermission shall account a vain
And a dream, the reckoning day!
Till His blast, a blast of terror, shall awake in shame
Faithless millions to a vision of the failing earth and
And more sweet than song of Angels, in their shout of
Call the dead in Christ to rise!
Then, by One Man's intercession, standing clear from
shall meet them fairer than
And have joy with the Redeemèd, joy
ear hath not
Ay for ever—evermore!