Warblin's fro' an Owd Songster (6)

Home Up Biographical Kesmus Singin' Election of M.P. Broadsheets Miscellanea Main Index Site Search
 


 

[Previous Page]


POEMS & SONGS

Not in the Lancashire Dialect.
_____________________

 

Instaff Head, Marsden,
Samuel Laycock's birthplace.

 


MARSDEN: THE AUTHOR'S BIRTHPLACE.


IT was upon thy lovely hills,
Thy running brooks, and murmuring rills
               These eyes first learned to gaze;
And often in thy meadows green,
In youthful sport might I be seen
               The butterfly to chase.

Oh, those were happy hours to me;
Oft have I roamed in childish glee,
               My bosom free from care,
Where the young lambkins joined in play,
And neighbouring children loved to stray,
               Each other's sports to share.

Alas! we ne'er shall meet again;
Some of those children now are men;
               Yes, men with silvery hair.
The old oak tree I loved to climb
Seems altered by the hand of Time,
               Since last I saw it there.

The mountain heights and shady wood
Where, when a child I often stood,
               Come fresh before my mind;
Though forty years have passed away,
Still, I remember well that day
               I left them all behind.

Alas, alas, why should I leave
The things to which I fondly cleave,—
               The heath, the mountain wild;—
Those scenes on which I loved to look,
The trees, the flowers, the babbling brook
               I bathed in when a child.

Good-bye! good-bye, my native hills;
Those running brooks and murmuring rills
               No longer yield me joy.
This heart is not so free from care,
As when I first breathed thy pure air,
               A happy little boy.

 

_______________________________

 
A SEA-SIDE INCIDENT.


GOOD people attend, while I briefly relate,
An incident witnessed at Blackpool of late;
'Tis a picture one's fancy may easily trace,
If he lives, like myself, at some watering place.
'Twas winter, the wind whistled loud through the panes,
Nearly freezing the blood as it coursed through our veins;
The Sun, full of glory, had gone down to rest,
Behind the great ocean, far, far in the west;
The Moon, taking hold of the reins of the night,
Drove steadily on in her chariot of light;
The Stars, her attendants, were twinkling on high,
As if proud of their posts in that wintry sky.
'Twas a bitter cold night for the shelterless poor,
When a rather loud tapping was heard at my door,
Which I hastened to open, when lo! and behold,
A poor ragged urchin stood there in the cold.
He was tattered and shoeless, his poor little feet
I could see were exposed to the cold of the street.
With feelings of sadness I gazed on the lad,
As he stood on my doorstep so scantily clad;
And I thought of my own, with their bright curly heads.
So nicely, so snugly asleep in their beds;
And my feelings, which I could no longer disguise.
Were expressed in the tear-drops that stood in mine eyes.
The Moon, which awhile had been hid from our sight,
Behind a dark cloud, now poured down her light,
And her silvery beams, falling full on the face
Of that child as he stood there, methought I could trace
Some resemblance to one lately ta'en from us here
To bask in a fairer and happier sphere.
With pity and sadness pourtrayed on my brow,
I addressed him, and said, my dear lad, who art thou
That cometh to us in this pitiable plight,
Exposed to the cold of this bleak winter night?
I fear thou art some wild, untractable youth,
Disobeying thy parents; come tell me the truth.
His eyes, which were hitherto hid from my gaze,
Now anxiously, pleadingly, looked in my face,
And his half-covered bosom seemed throbbing with grief;
So I said, "Speak out, child, it may give thee relief."
He spoke, and these words pierced me right to the heart,
"Dun yo want ony mussels, threeaupence a quart?"

 

_______________________________

 
MY GARDEN.


MY home is my Garden, and thousand of hours,
Have I tended and watched o'er my plants and flowers,
And this heart often throbs in my bosom for fear,
Less the Spoiler should rob me of what I hold dear.
'Tis but a few weeks ago, deeming all right,
I retired from my watching to rest for the night,
When the Angel of Death, in the dark midnight hour,
Bore away from my garden a favourite flower.
O what anguish I felt, as I stooped o'er the bed,
And knew that the soul of that dear one had fled!
Let us cherish, and love, these dear flowers while we may,
Since we know not how soon death may take them away.
Let us train the young plants which our Father hath given,
Till His own loving hand shall transplant them to heaven.

 

_______________________________

 
JOHN BRIGHT.
WRITTEN ON THE EVENING OF HIS DEATH.

John Bright
(1811–1889)

Radical and Liberal statesman, John bright was one of the greatest orators of his generation, and a strong critic of British foreign policy.  Attendance at Quaker schools in Lancashire and Yorkshire helped him to develop a passionate commitment to political and religious equality.  In his speeches, he attacked the privileged position of the landed aristocracy and argued that their selfishness was causing the working class a great deal of suffering. When Gladstone became Prime Minister in 1868, Bright had the pleasure of seeing the Liberal government pass measures that he had long advocated, including opening universities to non-conformists, the secret ballot and government-funded education.  He held several ministerial appointments and was M.P. for Birmingham at the time of his death on 27th March, 1889.


SAD news to-night!
    The call has been made,
    And promptly obeyed,
And we miss John Bright!

His race is run!
    We who stood around,
    Saw him clear the ground,
Exclaimed, "Well done!"

The Master calls!
    And the hoary sage
    Steps off the stage,
And the curtain falls!

Escaped from prison—
    The sorrows of earth—
    To a nobler birth
The soul hath risen.

The "Great Tribune"—
    Tho' he struggled long
    In the busy throng—
Has gone too soon.

His sun has set!
    While we stand and gaze
    On the lingering rays
Our eyes are wet!

Our hearts are sore,
    And our tears we blend
    O'er the dear dead friend
We shall see no more!

The sturdy oak
    That defied the blast
    Has fallen at last,
'Neath Death's sure stroke.

And standing there,
    Amidst piles of lore,
    From ceiling to floor,
Is a vacant chair!

Thus ends the fight—
    The battle of life—
    The wearisome strife—
In the cause of Right.

The voyage is o'er,
    The danger is past,
    And the anchor cast
On a deathless shore.

 

_______________________________

 
BLACKPOOL: LIGHT AND SHADE.

Blackpool Tower and Promenade from the North Pier, ca. 1900.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, Blackpool's population numbered less than 500.  Following the arrival of the railway in 1846, Blackpool soon grew into a holiday resort popular particularly with workers from the Northern mill towns.  In 1851 a Board of Health was formed; in 1852 the town acquired gas light and in 1864 piped water.  Meanwhile the Promenade was gradually built along the sea front.  In 1863 the North Pier opened followed in 1868 by the Central Pier.  In 1871 a company was formed to buy Raikes Hall and its grounds and to turn them into gardens, which opened in 1872; the Winter Gardens followed in 1878.  In 1876 Blackpool was given a Mayor and Corporation.  In 1879 electric lights were switched on; this new and exciting event—the predecessor of the famous Blackpool Illuminations—attracted many visitors.  An electric tramway—still in operation—opened in Blackpool in 1885. 1889 saw the first Opera House and the South Pier opened in 1893.  Blackpool remains famous for its 518-foot-tall tower (pictured above), which opened in 1894.  The following is a sober view of Blackpool, for it seemed to Laycock that 'temperance' was not among the town's strong points!


NEAR the ancient town of Poulton,—
Poulton, where the people often
Live to eighty or a hundred—
Is the famous borough, Blackpool.
Would you know what makes it famous?
Why the people go in millions?
Ask the pale-faced factory workers
Ask the toilers in the coal-mines;
These will tell you—gladly tell you—
How the breezes from the ocean
Seem to put new life within them:
How the lame throw down their crutches,
Pallid cheeks turn plump and rosy,
When old Neptune blows upon them.
Say you prejudice may blind me,—
That my interests are at stake here?
Be it so; but ask the thousands
Crowding Blackpool every season,—
Why they leave the towns and hamlets
When the engine ceases working,
And a holiday is given them.
Still, my tongue shall not be silent,
Lest the very stones reprove me.
Shattered nerves and sad bereavements
Forced me from my friends and kindred;
From the graveyards of my fathers;—
Where my children's forms lie mouldering;—
Where I penned my first effusion,
Earned some little fame as author.
Silent! 'midst these grand surroundings!
Silent! not till memory fails me!
Or the brain has ceased its thinking,
Or the hand has lost its cunning!

Would to God my song was ended!
That no shadow crossed my vision;—
That the picture was completed!
But 'tis not so; justice bids me
Tell the truth, however painful.
There's a sadder, darker picture,
That I'm loth to bring before you,
But a sense of public duty,
Mingled with a love of justice,—
Bids me—as a faithful painter,
Bring to view both lights and shadows;
And, God helping me, I'll do this!
Would a just and wise physician
Trifle with his ailing patients,
When a word from him might save them?
Shall the bard,—however humble,—
Feeling he has got a mission—
Falter in the path of duty,
Fearful of the consequences;—
Fearful of the fame of Blackpool?
No! let all the truth be spoken,
Whether for us, or against us,
Hiding faults can never cure them:
Like some unseen, fatal cancer,
Errors hid may prove disastrous.
True it is we've much to boast of,
With our theatres and gardens,
With our Mayor and Corporation,
And our stirring motto, "Progress."
Yes, and we have got our failings:
Vice succeeds where virtue suffers;
Dram-shops thrive while churches languish:
Money is the god we worship;
Brains are at a serious discount;
Wealth, not worth, is what we honour;
Musty creeds are held in reverence;
Facts ignored because they're modern.
Temperance men are christened "Weaklings;"—
Wearing "bits of blue," or badges;
Marching through the streets with banners,
Singing "Glory!   Hallelujah!"

Bring us here the scales of justice;
Weigh these poor men's actions fairly;
Let us test results and motives;
What's the verdict of the jury?
Are these fools, or vain fanatics,
Preaching what they think the gospel,
Heedless of the storm or sunshine;—
Headless of men's blame or praises?
Mr. Foreman, come, what say you,—
Is their teaching good, or harmful?
Do you find the people better
When the bottle is forsaken,
And the temperance pledge is taken?
Have I drawn this picture truly;—
Put in all the lights and shadows?
Let the public give the verdict!

 

_______________________________

 
AN EVENING PRAYER.


ONE night, when all was hushed and still,
    I paced the meadows lightly;
Below me ran the murmuring rill,
    Above, the stars shone brightly.

The moon shed forth her silvery light
    O'er mountain, dale, and ocean:
And all I saw and heard that night
    Inspired me with devotion.

Old Farmer Jones, across the way,
    To rest was just retiring;
And as he bent his knees to pray,
    I could not help admiring:—

His brawny arms were raised on high;
    A smile sat on his features:
His manly voice was heard to cry,—
    "Almighty! hear Thy creatures:—

We thank Thee for Thy tender care,
    Bestowed on these before Thee;
That we are kept from every snare,
    Lord help us to adore Thee.

We thank Thee for the hour of rest;
    How sweet it is to gather
With those we love below the best,
    And pray to Thee our Father.

O help us all to share Thy love,
    Till death these bonds shall sever;
Then grant that we may meet above,
    To worship Thee for ever."

The prayer being done, the old man rose;
    His head with age was hoary;
"Amen!" said I; and here I close
    This brief and simple story.

 

_______________________________

 
TO A SON ON HIS THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY.


YOU are thirty years old to-day, dear son;
    You are thirty years old to-day;
But we cannot enrich you with presents or gold,
    Still we humbly and fervently pray
That God may preserve you in health and in strength,
    For many a long year to come;
That the vine and young branches may circle you round
    In a happy and prosperous home!

Thirty years have passed o'er, and the arms where you lay
    Are neither so nimble or strong
As they were when we first tossed you up in the air,
    And sung you the first little song.
Time hath whitened our hairs; youthful vigour has fled,
    And these foreheads—once handsome and fair
Betoken the strife, the great battle of life,
    And are terribly wrinkled with care.

Still, 'tis pleasing to know, that the efforts put forth
    In your interests have not been in vain;
For the filial affection you've shown to us both,
    Has repaid us again and again.
The lessons instilled in your mind as a child,
    (Though you oft from this punishment ran)
Have been a great help through your childhood and youth,
    And are blessing you now as a man.

And now that we travel the downhill of life,
    It is some consolation to know,
That the seed we have sown has already sprung up,
    And the fruits are beginning to grow.
Yes, the flowers of a good and a virtuous life,
    The flowers of good acts and deeds;
And these are more manly; more God-like too,
    Than blind faiths, professions, and creeds.

'Tis goodness, not greatness, that makes the true man,
    Let this be impressed on your mind.
We pray not for great worldly wealth for our son,
    But a heart that is gentle and kind.
For riches are fleeting, they soon pass away,
    And our efforts to keep them are vain,
While filial affection lives on in the soul,
    And praiseworthy actions remain.

Heaven guard you through all the temptations and snares
    You may meet in your journey through life;
May your pathway be smooth, and the rest of your days
    Be passed without jarring and strife.
And when Death's icy hand shall have severed the hearts
    That were lovingly blended of yore,
May a blessed and lasting re-union take place
    Where the Spoiler can part us no more.

 

_______________________________

 
O GIVE ME A HOME IN SOME QUIET GLEN.


O give me a home in some quiet glen,
With my wife and my children, my books, and my pen;
There surrounded by Nature and all that is fair
I can roam at my leisure, and breathe the pure air.
I long to be free, both in body and mind,
To worship my Maker, and love all mankind;
And would flee from the scenes I detest and abhor,
Impurity, drunkenness, slavery, and war.

I am weary of all the low pleasures of earth,
Of the wrangling and discord, and boisterous mirth;
And this soul of mine struggles and yearns to be free,
To rise from this thraldom, O Maker! to thee.
I would leave this vile world that can yield me no joy,
Where the heartless and thoughtless delight to annoy;
Where poor men are often the slaves of the great,
And ignorance generates envy and hate;
Where the seeds of disorder are thoughtlessly sown,
And love and good feeling are almost unknown.

Let me once more enjoy some of childhood's bright hours,
And roam with the children to gather wild flowers.
Oh! those are sweet seasons I long to review;
I had then youthful friends, honest-hearted and true;
And I basked in the sunshine, amused myself there,
A stranger to sorrow, annoyance, and care;
My conscience as clear as the murmuring rills,
That glided along through my native hills.
But, alas! many changes I've witnessed since then
Which 'twere vain to attempt to describe with my pen;
Suffice it to say, that I do not enjoy
My life half so well as I did when a boy.

 

_______________________________

 
LINES WRITTEN IN MRS. FISHER'S ALBUM.


MRS. FISHER may fish in the river,
And much "grist to the mill" she may bring;
But when she goes "fishing" for poems,
Why, that's quite a different thing.
Fish breed in the river untended,
And may sometimes be caught without pains;
But "songs" are the product of thinking,
And thoughts are the product of "brains."

But I've no wish to tease Mrs. "Fisher,"
So while casting about with her hook,
I will try to oblige her with something,
If that something is only a "fluke,"
I wish her success with her album;
She is welcome to my little mite;
And so long as she "fishes" for poems
I hope she will meet with a "bite."

 

_______________________________

 
JOHN CRITCHLEY PRINCE.


FAREWELL, thou gifted singer! thy sweet songs
Have charmed the ears of thousands in our land:
Now thou art gone, we feel that we have lost
One of the greatest of the gifted band.
Tho' thou art dead, thy honoured name shall live
For ages yet to come: and thy pure lays
Be read and prized by myriads yet unborn,
And in their hearts thy songs shall find a place.
His like again, alas! we may not see:
Few living Bards have sung so well as he!

 

_______________________________

 
LINES ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG
MOTHER.


IT was a cold and dull December day;
The sun's bright rays were hidden from the sight;
The clouds hung heavily above our heads,
When something darker, gloomier still than these
We saw.   Ah! who can picture that sad scene:
A youthful mother on her dying bed;
Around her those she loved—her tender babes;
Her sorrowing husband overwhelmed with grief;
Her mother, brother—those with whom she spent
Her sunniest hours when yet a little child.
Down on his bended knees, the man of God
Poured out his soul, and prayed that heaven would spare
That suffering mother; but it must not be;
In less than one short hour she breathed her last;
Th' immortal spirit winged its flight to God.
Oh, what a picture here of human life!
The day before, she rose as was her wont,
Performed her household duties until noon,
Nor dreamed that death would mark her for his prey.
Ah! who can tell what agony was felt
In those few hours!   How those who loved her wept;
Yes, wept as if their very hearts would break.
Her little children, one by one, were brought,
And as we stood beside that mother's bed,
Watching to see her eyelids gently close,
She gazed upon us sadly, and she cried,—
"Ah, who will care for my poor children now?
I feel that I must leave them—I must die!
O God! O God! have mercy on my soul."
Large sweat drops stood upon those pallid cheeks;
Her quivering lips were turned a deadly pale;
We saw her eyes grow motionless and dim,
She gave a few deep sobs and then she died.
Oh, God! it is a sad and touching sight,—
A mother dying, and with gasping breath
Bidding farewell to husband, children, friends;
The husband with whose fate she linked her own
So short a time before: and those dear babes—
Her own beloved offspring who were wont
To gather round her, and her blessings share,
And on whose bosom they so oft had lain.
The funeral day arrived: the silent train
Of mourners followed, full of inward grief.
The sorrowing neighbours stood there, one and all,
Wiping the tear-drops from their streaming eyes,
And wondering how it was that one so young
And so beloved should thus be called away.
They thought of days gone by, when, strong and hale,
She moved amongst them; how her winning ways
And cheerful temper made her loved of all;
And now that she was gone they mourned and grieved,
As a fond mother for an only child.
The place of graves was reached, the burial rites
Performed in mournful and in tremulous tones;
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust " was said,
And then the meek and pious man of God,
With hands and eyes uplifted to the heavens,
Pronounced "The grace of God be with you all."
Closely we, gathered round that open grave,
And, stooping over, took a last sad look,
Ere the old sexton shovelled in the clay,
Hallowed and moistened with the tears we shed.
We stayed awhile and gazed upon the scene,
Our hearts o'erwhelmed with sorrow at our loss;
Loth to depart and leave the one we loved
So tenderly in the cold, silent grave.

 

_______________________________

 
WHITSUNTIDE HYMNS.
No. I.


SING aloud, ye British children;
    Sweetly sing the joyful lays;
Join in one harmonious concert,
    Rend the air with songs of praise;
                    British children,
    You can boast of happy days.

Sunday schools, and faithful teachers,
    Noble hearted Christian men,
Anxious for your future welfare,
    Working hard with tongue and pen;
                    Sunday scholars,
    Shall they labour on in vain?

Will not some young hopeful saplings,
    Nourish'd 'neath their tender care,
Rise to fill important stations?
    Shine with Christian graces there?
                    Christian teachers,
    This should be your earnest prayer.

Slacken not; your cause is glorious;
    Sunday schools are England's pride;
Teachers, persevere in earnest,
    Spread your influence far and wide;
                    Tell the children,
    Of the Christ who lived and died.

Gird afresh the Gospel armour—
    Helmet, shield, and two-edged sword,
Sin in youthful hearts to battle;
    God will strength to you afford;
                    You shall conquer—
    Win great battles for your Lord.

Yes; and when life's work is over,
    Shall they not to honour rise?
Heavenly, lasting and eternal,
    Sure and firm, beyond the skies?
                    There, for ever,
    Feast, in bliss, their wond'ring eyes?

 

_______________________________

 
WHITSUNTIDE HYMNS.
No. II.


THOUGH home is so endearing,
    Its joys so soft and sweet,
Where friends and dear relations
    In closest friendship meet,
We love the school as truly,
    Where, on the Sabbath day,
Thousands of children gather,
    To read, and praise, and pray.
No place on earth more lovely,
    Though heaven will far excel
In happiness and pleasure,
    The school we love so well.

How happy British children!
    Like lambs safe in the fold,
With faithful shepherds o'er them;
    How changed from days of old!
'Neath our own vine and fig tree,
    In the clear open day,
Not fearing persecution,
    We all can read and pray.
Then come! with songs of praises,
    Let every voice resound;
Praise God that he has placed us
    Where Sunday schools abound.

 

_______________________________

 
WHITSUNTIDE HYMNS.
No. III.


THE birds their songs are singing,
The woods and forests ringing,
    And oh! how sweet the sound,
    How joyful all around.
Come, children, raise your voices,
Since Nature thus rejoices;
    Nor be ungrateful found,
    But let your songs abound;
        Oh! would you sing
        The songs of heaven,
    Come learn to sing them now.

The lark her song is raising,
And, on the mountain grazing,
    The lambkins skip and play:
    O, what more blithe than they?
And shall not children render.
Now, while their hearts are tender,
    To heaven some grateful lay?
    Why not begin to-day?
        Oh! would you sing
        The songs of heaven,
    Come learn to sing them now.

Each Sabbath morn rise early,
E'en while the dew drops pearly,
    Are hanging on the trees;
    Fall down upon your knees,
Send up your adoration,
And fervent supplication,
    To Him who ever sees
    A child upon its knees.
        Oh! would you sing
        The songs of heaven,
    Come learn to sing them now.

Go search the graveyard yonder,
And o'er its lessons ponder;
    You read of tender flowers,
    Blooming a few short hours—
Then borne aloft to glory,
To sing the Saviour's story,
    And bloom in fairer bowers,
    Bedewed with heavenly showers.
        Oh! would you sing
        The songs of heaven,
    Come learn to sing them now.

We learn from God's blest pages,
Angels have sung for ages;
    How perfect, then, that song,
    Chanted in heaven so long!
O, would you join in chorus
With those long gone before us,
    Your harps should now be strung,
    And played while you are young.
        Oh! would you sing
        The songs of heaven,
    Come learn to sing them now.

 

_______________________________

 
WHITSUNTIDE HYMNS.
No. IV.


RIGHTLY the morning sun
    Gilds hill and dale;
Warblers (their songs begun)
    Flood all the vale.
Green fields and verdant bowers,
O'erspread with lovely flowers,
    All these conspire to raise
    Their meed of praise.

Down where the willows grow,
    Shady and cool,
Children are seen to go
    Early to school.
Come, join this happy band,
Bound for a better land,—
    Pure and unfading joys
    Beyond the skies.

Prize not the joys of earth,
    Brief is their stay;
Seek gems of priceless worth
    While yet you may.
Youth is the season fair
While free from worldly care;
    Now, ere the night shall come,
    Seek out a home.

 

_______________________________

 
WHITSUNTIDE HYMNS.
No. V.


NOW that every heart rejoices,
Old and young, weak and strong,
Raise aloud your voices;
Let us banish care and sadness,
And to-day, while we may,
Tune our hearts to gladness.

Tis in vain we sit repining
O'er our woe here below;
See the sun is shining:
Round our feet the flowers are springing,
In the air, free from care,
Birds are sweetly singing.

True, this world is full of sorrow,
Grief and tears, pain and fears,
Care about to-morrow;
Still we need not be despairing;
"God is love," and above
He is for us caring.

If in wisdom he should chide us,
Still we must, in Him trust,
He will keep and guide us.
Gloomy clouds around may gather,—
All appear dark and drear;
God is still our Father.

Though our earthly friends forsake us—
Pass away, day by day.
Christ our Lord will take us
Where fond hearts no more shall sever.
O may all, great and small,
Dwell with him for ever.

 

_______________________________

 
WHITSUNTIDE HYMNS.
No. VI.


COME to the Sunday school,
    And join the youthful throng;
Come to the Sunday school
    And swell the children's song.
Hark how the merry bells
    Peal forth from yonder tower;
And every scholar tells,
    'Tis now the opening hour,
        Come, come, come.

Come, tune your lips to praise;
    Come, bend your knees in prayer;
Ask God to guide your ways,
    And save from every snare.
In youth pursue the way,
    The sainted father's trod;
It leads to endless day,
    To happiness and God,
        Come, come, come.

Come while the pulse of life
    Beats high within your veins;
While love and joy are rife,
    And conscience knows no stains.
Now, while the morning sun
    Shines in the eastern sky,
Be love to God begun,
    Love which shall never die.
        Come, come, come.

Come, ere the hand of Time
    Carves furrows on the brow;
While full of youthful prime,
    The Saviour calls you now.
Life is but short at best,
    Then come without delay;
We long to see you blest,
    And from our hearts would say,
        Come, come, come.

 

_______________________________

 
WHITSUNTIDE HYMNS.
No. VII.


ANOTHER year has passed away,
    A year of joy and sadness;
Once more we hail this festive day
    With mingled grief and gladness.

But, oh! we're bound for fairer ground,
    Where naught these hearts can sever;
For we shall stand on Canaan's land,
    Where pleasures last for ever.

Disease and death disturb our joys,
    And fill our hearts with sorrow;
To-day we grasp our cherished toys,
    Death calls them home to-morrow.
        But, oh! we're bound, &c.,

In vain for friends we look around,
    Imperfect is our chorus;
They've reached the goal to which we're bound,
    And crossed the stream before us.
        But, oh! we're bound, &c.,

Their well-known voices join no more
    As hills and dales are ringing;
Now, landed on heaven's blissful shore,
    In nobler strains they're singing.

But, oh! we're bound for fairer ground,
    Where naught these hearts can sever;
For we shall stand on Canaan's land,
    Where pleasures last for ever.

_______________________________

 
ON THE DEATH OF ERNEST JONES.


OH! cruel Death! could'st thou not lay thine hand,
On some one less beloved in the land?
Was there not one in this vast, teeming world,
Into whose breasts thy arrows could be hurled!

Why in such dreadful haste?   Had'st thou looked round,
But for one moment, Death, thou would'st have found
Those for whom none would breathe, nor sighs, nor groans,
Then why strike down our much-loved Ernest Jones!

Could'st thou not enter at some other door?
Hast thou not heard of what we had in store
For the departed one whose loss we mourn?
Hast then not heard of bitter hardships borne!

O, why not warn us of thy mission here
Ere thou did'st hurl thy darts at one so dear.
Can'st thou not see our hands uplifted now,
To place the laurels on his honoured brow!

But why thus blame thee, Death, or thus repine,
Since faith assures us that this act of thine
Hath snapped the chain, and freed the patriot bard;
His trials o'er, he's gone to his reward.

Heaven,—grown impatient at our long delays,
Of tendering our homage, help, and praise,—
Called him away, from hearts so hard and cold,
To dwell with martyrs, and the brave of old.

 

_______________________________

 
BRIGHT DAYS.


BIGHT days; how soon they seemed to pass,
    How swift the moments flew;
When, arm in arm with her I loved,
    We sat beneath yon yew,
And spoke in accents soft and sweet,
    As lovers always do.

Hope buoyed our youthful spirits then;
    Our prospects oh, how bright!
The future seemed a long, long day,
    We dreamed not of the night;
Nor did we think that Death's cold hand
    Such tender plants could blight.

My darling, she was young and fair,
    And gentle as the dove;
She never learned to scorn or hate,
    But early learned to love;
And often she would speak to me
    Of fairer worlds above.

With the bright stars above our heads,
    The grass beneath our feet,
And all around us hushed and still,
    We thought it right and meet
To leave awhile the busy world,
    And hold communion sweet.

When the sad hour for parting came,—
    I need not mention why,
But neither of us liked to speak
    That parting word good-bye.
Whene'er I grasped my darling's hand,
    This breast would heave a sigh.

I loved that girl with all my heart,
    And she loved me, I know;
For when I asked if she'd be mine,
    She spoke in accents low—
These loving, charming, welcome words,—
    "Yes, if you wish it so."

 

_______________________________

 
TO A LITERARY FRIEND.


MY dear old friend, you kindly state,—
And this you've done at various times,—
That most of my unpublished rhymes,
Are worthy of a better fate.

You may be right, you may be wrong;
While you admire poetic wares,
The man whose eyes are fixed on "shares,"
Would look with coldness on a song.

The race for wealth makes millions blind;
The frantic rush for fame and gold;
The views of life that most men hold,
Must starve the soul, and cramp the mind.

But what a blunder! what a loss!
They pass their time in Nature's bowers;
They choose the thorns, but leave the flowers;
Reject the gold, and choose the dross!

My pen must soon be laid aside;
The lessons I have tried to teach,
The sermons I have tried to preach,
Must either perish or abide.

I cannot hope to win the praise,
So needful to the bard and seer,
Or win the sympathetic cheer
Of those whose friends are in the race.

I toe the mark, and do my best;
Strain all the powers of heart and soul
To gain the prize, and win the goal;
To time and fate I leave the rest.

But, laid aside from human gaze,
No songs from either man or bird
Can vex or please the ear unheard,
Or call forth either blame or praise.

But shall the bard, or bird on wing,
Because, perchance, the unasked for strain
May fall upon the ear in vain,—
Be silent, or refuse to sing?

 

_______________________________

 
A SONG FOR SUMMER.
Tune: "Tramp, tramp, tramp, the Boys are Marching."


    IT is glorious summer time,
    Pretty flowers are in their prime,
Bounteous Nature is rejoicing all around;
    While the hawthorn, now in bloom,
    Spreads around a sweet perfume,
Hills and valleys are with lovely verdure crowned.


CHORUS:


    Shout, shout, shout, my boys for gladness,
    Shout till the balmy air shall ring;
        Oh, let us ne'er forget
        There are pleasures for us yet,
Free to all men, from the peasant to the king.


    Oh, come, let us haste away,
    It is now the time for play,
Nature for us spreads around an ample feast!
    There are daisies on the grass,
    We can pluck them as we pass,
Fruits in clusters, too, refreshing to the taste.
        Chorus: Shout, shout, shout, &c.

    It is sweet to roam about,
    When the sun is peeping out
From his hiding place behind the lofty hills;
    Sweet to watch his shadows play,
    On some calm sequestered bay,
See his antics from the gently flowing rills.
        Chorus : Shout, shout, shout, &c.

    Let us seek the pebbly shore,
    Hear the grand old ocean roar;
Oh, how deep are all the notes, and how sublime!
    Never changing in their sound,
    Just the same the seasons round,
Heard by men of every nation—every clime.
        Chorus: Shout, shout, shout, &c.

    Haste away to wonder wood,
    With its lovely solitude;
Like a sturdy race of giants stand the trees.
    How refreshing to recline
    'Neath the branches of the pine,
While the wearied frame is fanned by the breeze.
        Chorus : Shout, shout, shout, &c.

    Oh, how sweet to watch the sun,
    When his daily work is done,
Like a toiler sinking quietly to rest!
    Oh, 'tis glorious to behold
    How he "tips the hills with gold,"
When retiring to his chamber in the west.
        Chorus: Shout, shout, shout, &c.

 

_______________________________

 
TO MY FRIEND, S. WOLSTENHOLME.


O my old fellow-traveller, and excellent friend,
This rhyming epistle I cheerfully send,
With the hope that yourself, your daughter and wife,
Are enjoying yourselves with the good things of life.

I trust you have found things to suit your best wish;
That the rivers abound with most excellent fish;
That the flowers are as pretty, the skies quite as clear,
As they were when we paid them a visit last year.

If you feel in the mood, when the daylight shall fade,
Go and look at the spot where poor Wilson* is laid;
How my heart aches to think that a star of such worth,
Should so soon be extinguished, and dashed to the earth.

But away with sad thoughts! lift your eyes to the hills;
And your ears—let them list to the murmuring rills,
Till your minds are enlarged, and o'erjoyed with the sight,
And your souls are up-borne with a sense of delight.

Need we wonder that grand noble thoughts had their birth
In Lakeland,—the loveliest spot upon earth!
Why, the poet of Nature would fall on his knees,
And almost go frantic 'mid scenes such as these.

If you find you have got a few minutes to spare,
Let us know how you're getting along over there;
You might say if the fish kindly take to the bait,
Or if they seem calm, and resigned to their fate.

But I must not thus "chaff" you, I must not indeed,
I have written as much as you'll find time to read;
Give my kindest regards to your host, Mr. Wright,
And believe me, as ever, S. Laycock,—good night.

* WM. WILSON, Poet.

 

_______________________________

 
GOD HELP US.


GOD help us amid all the changes of life,
When pleasures surround us, when dangers are rife
O grant that the former may not prove a snare,
Nor the latter the means of producing despair.

O help us in childhood—those bright, sunny hours,
When our pathway before us seems planted with flowers;
May our lives then be pleasant, our young hearts be glad,
Let no evil befall us to make us feel sad.

O guard our young footsteps from treading those ways,
Which, sooner or later, must lead to disgrace;
And, O may we learn in the days of our youth,
To love what is noble, and reverence the truth.

Be with us, O God, in that critical state,
When impulse is strong, and temptation is great;
When the world and its pleasures conspire to allure,
May we shun what is sinful, profane, and impure.

God help us when we unto manhood attain;
O keep us from being conceited and vain;
Make us humble, and childlike, and help us to see
That for all we possess we're indebted to Thee.

God help us, when we shall engage in the strife
Which awaiteth us all in the battle of life;
May we boldly and bravely go forth to the fight,
And, O give us strength to do that which is right.

Give us patience to bear all our crosses and cares;
And wisdom to guard 'gainst temptations and snares;
Let not earth's gaudy toys, which around us we see,
Draw our souls from integrity, virtue, and Thee.

God help us in sickness; God help us in health;
May we smile through our troubles, be humble 'midst wealth;
O give us Thy spirit to comfort our hearts,
When afflictions press heavy, and vigour departs.

Be with us when age comes upon us, good Lord;
Be near us, and sweet consolation afford;
Smooth the pathway we tread, may the last of our days
Be employed in Thy service, in worship and praise.

Be with us in death—in that sad, solemn hour,
When the stern "King of Terrors" comes vested with power;
Kind Parent watch o'er us, and in Thy great love,
Prepare us a place in Thy Kingdom above.

 

_______________________________

 
AN AFFECTIONATE TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY
OF MY MOTHER,

WHO DIED AUGUST 8TH, 1860.   AGED 69 YEARS.


AH! cruel Death! why thus my peace destroy?
Thy victim is my Mother—on whose knee
I sat so often when a little boy;
Deal gently with her, she is all to me.

Those loving eyes watched o'er me, while as yet
A child, unconscious of a Mother's care;
Alas! since then those eyes have oft been wet,
Those lips for me breathed many a fervent prayer.

Oh, Death! awhile hold back that fatal dart,
Methinks I love her more than ever now;
Oh! let me smooth her pillow ere we part,
And wipe the death-damp from her wrinkled brow;—

Speak some kind word, support her dropping head;
What, though these filial actions prove in vain,
We must perform them at her dying bed,
She will not need them at our hands again!

The blow is struck which sets her spirit free,
And now she soars aloft on angel's wings;
Soon those glad eyes her future home will see,
Rich with the splendour of eternal things.

Farewell, farewell to every anxious care,
Sorrow and pain shall rack that breast no more;
To mar her peace no foe can enter there;
O blessed spirits on that blessed shore!

Here, we are toiling up life's rugged steep,
Many our sorrows, few alas! our joys;
These eyes of ours have often cause to weep,
Our sweetest songs are often mixed with sighs.

Fond social ties are round these hearts entwined
Claiming our love, as though they meant to stay;
Vain earthly hopes! how often do we find
The loveliest flowers are first to die away.

Ah, me! ah, me! her frail unworthy son,
Plodding life's path with all its lurking snares;
How shall these youthful feet securely run,
Without her bright example, and her prayers!

My darling boy! 'tis well that thou art young;
O how unconscious of the loss sustained!
Thy heart, like ours, is not with anguish wrung,
Though she is dead, thy bosom is not pained.

Come, nestle closer to thy parents, love;
To us, her dying lips breathed forth a prayer—
That we should train thee for the realms above,
And treat thee, for her sake, with special care.

But how can we, who are but sinful dust,
Direct thy footsteps to that blissful land?
Father Divine! in thee we put our trust;
O guide us all by thine unerring hand.

Support and cheer my Sire—whose hoary head
And furrowed cheeks bespeak a host of cares;
Since one by one his earthly joys have fled,
And sorrows mark his last declining years.

By you, her dear old friends the stroke is felt;
Her company to you has long been dear;
Oft at the throne of grace with her you knelt;
Now she is gone, well may you shed a tear.

Her seat is vacant in the House of Prayer;
That old familiar face we see no more;
Our mutual joys no longer now we share,
Nor hold sweet loving converse as of yore.

But shall we mourn that she is now at rest?
No, God forbid! but rather we rejoice
That she has gained the regions of the blest,
For this she strove, and early made her choice.

Long years ago, ere time had blanched her hairs,
Or life's rude storms swept o'er her youthful head,
She sought the Lord—he heard her humble prayers,
And on her future path rich blessings shed.

Most of her life (near threescore years and ten),
Her willing feet the path of duty trod;
Then left the Church below, without a stain,
At peace with all men, and at peace with God.

Ah! blessed Mother! may thy sorrowing friends
Tread in thy footsteps towards that blissful shore;
That when our journey through this desert ends,
We all may meet in heaven to part no more.

 

_______________________________

 
REST TO-MORROW.


CHRISTIAN life is one great warfare,—
One fierce fight with hell and sin,
Foes without and foes within.
Christian! buckle on thine armour;
Let not aught thy heart dismay;
Quell rebellious thoughts to-day,
                              Rest to-morrow.

Hark! the bugle calls to battle;
Onward, then, thy foes to meet,
Lay them bleeding at thy feet.
Rouse, shake off thy sluggish nature,
Now's the time to act for God,
Rest thyself beneath the sod,
                              Rest to-morrow.

Forward!   Forward!   Christian soldier;
Draw thy sword, make bare thine arm;
Force the battle, brave the storm.
Nerve, oh nerve thyself to action;
Bravely, nobly do thy part;
Labour on with hand and heart—
                              Rest to-morrow.

Indolence hath slain its thousands;
Be not thou to this a slave;
Rise! be vigilant and brave.
Labour while the sun is shining,
Soon will come the shades of night;
Work to-day with all thy might,
                              Rest to-morrow.

Up, and battle hard with error,
Truth the weapon thou must wield;
Go at once and take the field.
Would'st thou win the conqueror's laurels,
Wear the victor's honoured crown;
Lay not yet thy weapons down,
                              Rest to-morrow.

Onward, brother, on to victory
Dread no foe, however strong;
Right must triumph over wrong.
Angel bands are watching o'er thee,
Faint not till the race is run,
Stay not till the goal is won,
                              Rest to-morrow.

Go, and like thy Lord and Master,
When this lower world He trod,
Point some wandering soul to God.
Lo, the fields are white to harvest,
Go, and work with heart and mind;
Grow not weary, thou shalt find
                              Rest to-morrow.

Rest is sweetest to the weary,
Those who toil and struggle hard;
Work, and gain this rich reward.
Scorn to rest while others labour;
Use the powers thy God hath given;
Toil on earth and rest in heaven,
                              Rest to-morrow.

Rest when all thy toils are ended;
Rest when all thy work is done;
Rest when life's short race is run.
Christian soldier, be thou ever
First and foremost in the fray;
Labour, suffer, die to-day,
                              Rest to-morrow.

 

_______________________________

 
SUNSHINE AND SHADE.


WHILE we tread this world below,
Many changes we must know;
Now life greets us bright and fair,
Now we pine with grief and care.
Friends whose presence cheers the heart,
Soon slip from us, soon depart;
Lovely flowers must droop and fade,—
Sometimes sunshine, sometimes shade.

Full of hope are life's first hours;
Childhood's path is strewn with flowers;
Day by day time glides along,—
Hope and sunshine, mirth and song.
Youthful pleasures do not last,
Life's fair morning soon is past;
Hope deserts us, pleasures fade;
Sometimes sunshine, sometimes shade.

Manhood's vigour comes and goes;
Side by side grow thorn and rose;
Pain and pleasure, weal and woe,
Come to all while here below.
Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring,
These their various changes bring.
Here God's wisdom is displayed,—
Days of sunshine, days of shade.

Oft we see the morning sun
Clouded ere the day is done;
So with man, his little day
Opens bright, his heart is gay.
Soon the Spoiler's hand appears;
Eyes once bright are dimm'd with tears;
Useless all the plans he's laid;
Treacherous sunshine! blighting shade!

Still, take heart, immortal soul;
Upwards! this is not thy goal;
Yonder—in thy native skies,
Tears no more shall dim thine eyes.
Keep that goodly land in view,
All thy earthly journey through;
There the flowers shall never fade;—
Welcome sunshine! farewell shade!

 

_______________________________

 
TO A FRIEND ON HIS BIRTHDAY.


DEAR friend, on this thy natal day,
    When those who know and love thee most,
Send in their greetings through the post,
    Accept from me this humble lay.

My Muse is rather lame, I fear;
    And younger men with clearer brains
May pen their thoughts in loftier strains,
    Though not more heart-felt, more sincere.

God bless thee, valued friend! and may
    The clouds now hovering o'er thy head,—
Filling thy soul with fear and dread,
    Soon break, and, harmless, pass away!

May genial sunbeams ever shine,
    And cool, refreshing dews descend
On thee, my best, my dearest friend,—
    Is the fervent prayer of me and mine!

 

_______________________________

 
A THORN GROWS NEAR THE ROSE.


THE sweets of life are mingled up
With cares and bitter woes;
Joy, mixed with sorrow fills our cup;
A thorn growns near the rose.

Give man whate'er his eye can please,
Some adverse wind soon blows
To blast his prospects, mar his peace;
A thorn grows near the rose.

In vain we build on earthly good,
And think to find repose;
Our hopes are nipp'd while in the bud,
A thorn grows near the rose.

Few are the friends that we can boast,
While many are our foes;
The good is in the evil lost,
A thorn grows near the rose.

The Tempter comes, deceives our friends,—
Some seed of discord sows;
And soon, alas! he gains his ends;
A thorn grows near the rose.

Grim Death will come! the cold green sod
O'er these frail limbs must close;
To wean us all from earth to God,
A thorn grows near the rose.

In heaven there is a glorious rest:
"Peace like a river flows;"
No foe can enter to molest,—
No thorn grows near the rose.

 

_______________________________

 
SEASIDE PICTURES.


DASHING and splashing upon the sea shore,
Hear the wild billows, how grandly they roar
Here we find Nature untrammelled and free,
In the restless, excited, majestical sea.
Out in the west is the setting sun,
Looking back on the race he has run;
Silently, cheerfully, doing the will
Of One who is brighter and greater still.

Now he is vanishing out of our sight;
Oh, let us thank him, and bid him good night.
Has he not smiled on this landscape of ours?
Ripened the fruit for us, painted the flowers?
Has he not been to dispel the thick gloom,
And throw a bright ray in the sick man's room!
Oh, what great blessings he hath to impart,
Cheering the sad and the sorrowing heart;—

Leading the downcast to lift up his eyes
To fairer climates, and sunnier skies.
God! thou art kind to Thy children here;
Why should we doubt Thee, or why should we fear!
All things created around and above,
Speak of a Father of goodness and love.
Shall we such mercies ungratefully spurn,
Shall we not thank such a Friend in return?

Twilight sets in, and the stars are in sight,
And are flinging their rays of silvery light
On the heaving breast of the troubled sea,
As it roars like a giant in agony.
And now let us gaze on another spot:
The lamps are lit in the fisherman's cot,
And there are the fisherman's children, see,
Lisping their prayers at their mother's knee.

An old man sits in the chimney nook,
With his tearful eyes on that good old book
That points man's soul to a brighter day,
When the things of earth shall have passed away.
He closes the book, and his tearful eyes
And his brawny hands are raised to the skies;
What mind can conceive of a grander sight?
Thou art very near home, aged Christian—good night!

Out on the ocean a light burns clear,
Warning the sailor that land is near;
In a lonely cot on the distant sands,
A fisherman's widow sits wringing her hands,
Her poor heart bleeding with sorrow and woe,
For the husband she lost but a week ago.
Out on the ocean are stout hearts and brave,
Battling right nobly with wind and with wave.

So with our lives; the big waves often roll,
O'erwhelming the spirit, disturbing the soul;
And thus we go onward from day unto day,
Laughing and weeping the moments away.
Now we are joyous, and now we're dismayed;
Now in the sunshine, and now in the shade.
Thus it must ever be, while on this earth,—
Seasons of sadness, and seasons of mirth.



[Next Page]
 

 


 

[Home] [Up] [Biographical] [Kesmus Singin'] [Election of M.P.] [Broadsheets] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

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