Massey's early poems: 1847-51 (1)

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AT EVENTIDE THERE SHALL BE LIGHT.


Come and listen, sons of sorrow!
Penury's nurselings! born in tears;
Born to pick the scanty morsel
And to bear pride's wanton sneers:
Come and listen, while a brother
Sings his earnest, simple lay;
Listen, while a brother tells you
Of a brighter, happier, day.
He is but a low born peasant—
One who thinks that Love is gain,
And, with tender-hearted bosom,
Feels your hardships, shares your pain.
We are crush'd and trodden under
By imps of power, who long have torn
The fair rose of toilwon pleasure,
Flinging us the piercing thorn.
God in Heaven! they've robb'd the widow!
And, to glut their hellish lust,
By oppression, and by torture, 
Trod our, blood into the dust.
                                But wait awhile:
Kind Heaven looks down upon us!
Soon life shall wear a golden smile—
It shall not be all killing toil,
Nor age sink cheerless on us—
Merit shall rule, and mind be might:
"At eventide there shall be light."

Our forefathers plodded weary,
O'er life's sands, in simple faith
That learning was but for the highborn;
And thus they dropp'd asleep in death.
They are gone, peace to their slumbers!
But from them are springing forth
Men that arm to vanquish error;
Men of might and men of worth.
"And a change is coming o'er us—
Myriad souls for knowledge thirst—
Men must be no longer trampled,
Nor the poor be deemed accurst
Time shall come, when poverty
Shall not be accounted crime.
And its pale and withering offspring
Then shall taste of manhood's prime.
Oh, full many a tender blossom,
Denied in sun and air to bloom—
Children, steep'd in tears of fondness—
Hasten to the silent tomb.
Torn from mother's arms to labour,
Fragile limbs in childhood's day—
Soon the cherub lines of beauty
From their pallid cheeks decay;
And the cankerworm of death
Makes young hearts its early prey.
                                But wait awhile:
Kind Heaven looks down upon us!
Soon life shall wear a golden smile—
It shall not be all killing toil,
Nor age sink cheerless on us—
Merit shall rule, and mind be might:
"At eventide there shall be light."

Time is hastening, slow but surely,
When the hearths now desolate
Shall be the scenes of sweet contentment—
Love shall melt the heart of fate;
Homes shall form a shining circle,
Scatter'd friends one glorious whole,
And the tendrils of affection
Twine and bless the poor man's soul.
Then the laughing face of nature,
And its sun-lit, dew-fed flow'rs,
And the blossom-crown'd boughs waving,
And the birds in summer bow'rs—
These shall sing and make sweet music.
Long unseen, unheard, they've flourished;
But, when ignorance's chains are loosen'd,
Better feelings will be nourish'd.
But, while weighty spirits, phalanxa'd,
Strive for liberty and right,
Stand not apathetic, gazing;
Join and wage the bloodless fight!
Spurn the demon of intemperance,
Steel your hearts 'gainst tremulous fear;
Be ready, firm, united:
Wondrous change is drawing near.
                                Wait awhile:
Kind Heaven looks down upon us!
Soon life shall wears, golden smile—
It shall not be all killing toil,
Not age sink cheerless on us—
Merit shall rule, and mind be might:
"At eventide there shall be light."

A TRING PEASANT BOY.

 

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STANZAS TO AMY.


'Tis midnight; hush'd in slumber low,
How beautiful is Nature now!
While I, with feverish heart and brow,
        Awake, to weep for thee, Amy.
The spangled glories of the night;
The earth, like Love, array'd in light;
These cannot charm my trancéd sight,
        Or lure a thought from thee, Amy.

I ponder o'er that short sweet time
When my heart drank a summer's prime,
And bloom'd, as in a warmer clime,
        When I was blest with thee, Amy.
There hung no blossoms on the trees
There woke no song of birds or bees;
But, for us, Love's Cup had no lees,
        And I was blest with thee, Amy.

Then all these golden fancies start,
That ever linger near my heart,
And cling, till they become a part
        Of life, of love and thee, Amy
And memory counts her tear-wash'd
            treasure;
Each soft word, kind look, melting
            measure,
Sheds on my soul a pensive pleasure,
        And wakes the tear for thee, Amy. 

I know, in pleasure's shining bow'r,
Thy heart may half forget love's pow'r;
But, at this lone and silent hour,
        Does it not turn to me, Amy?
Does fond regret not dim thine eye?
Heaves thy young heart on trembling
            sigh?
Flits there no recollection by
        To wake a thought of me, Amy?

When flow'rs peep forth, 'neath smiling
            skies,
And blushing pant delicious sighs, 
While sweet pearls tremble in their eyes,
        On thine all tenderly, Amy;
In jewell'd mead and flow'r-crown'd
            brake—
Or on thy midnight couch awake—
By all my pangs, for thy sweet sake,
        Oh sometimes think of me, Amy.

A TRING PEASANT BOY.

 

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ODE TO A VERY LOVELY LITTLE CHILD,

Daughter of Mr. T. W——n, Tring.*


Beautiful flow'r of Paradise!
    What dost thou in this vale of time?
The tender radiance of those eyes
    Bespeak thee of a summer clime.
Earth's loveliest blossoms are most frail,
And bow beneath each passing gale.
Love's sweetest flow'rs are wither'd soon;
Bud, bloom, and die long ere 'tis noon.
Young rose-bud, blushing on thy stem,
    Where vernal flowers around thee cling,
Long may thy parents, beauteous gem,
    Hail thee the loveliest flow'r of spring.
Oh, thou should'st be a living spring
    Of rapture, in man's earth-cold bosom,
Like tears from Heaven, warm-mellowing
    The chilled heart of an icy blossom;
Telling of all that's fair and bright,
    In yonder starry-circled world,
Where soul ne'er mourned in sorrow's night,
    Nor love wept with his pinion furl'd.
How fair thou art! divinely fair;
    I gaze upon thy cherub beauty;
And deem to adore thee, Child of Air,
    A sacred, heaven-inspired duty.
I know not whence this mystery,
Nor why these drops start to mine eye;
Yet tranquil are the tears I weep,
As spring-flow'rs, shed in evening sleep;
Thy presence hath a strange control
To wake soft music in my soul,
All pleasant as the dew that drips
In summer-roses' burning lips.
My spirit aches, and still I seem
Steep'd in some dear, enchanting dream.
I deem'd that nought upon this earth
Could give once more such feelings birth.
How pure that heart is beating now,
How calm the heaven of thy fair brow—
Like moonlight through a silvery cloud
Thy soul-light melts its lucid shroud,
Yet time will come when love shall start
Its maddening impulse in thy heart,
When every smile or tender sigh
Shall thrill a soul or dim an eye.
Oh, what all extacy of pain
And bliss to drink their honey'd strain,
When those rose-lips melodious move,
And wake delicious words of love.
Sweet child! Heaven shield thy budding years,
    Why rosy paths thy footsteps press,
Smiles light thine eyes, nor anguish's tears.
    Dim their serene luxuriousness;
May no heart-worm nor tempest rude
    Nip childhood's blossoms on their tree,
But may thou burst in womanhood
    Like some rich swell of melody.
While thou art in this maze of life,
Kind angels guard thee 'mid the strife,
And watch thy blooming charms expand,
Then waft thee to their own bright land.
Farewell; and, when I'm far away,
Oft 'shall I turn to bless this day;
Sigh for these thrills of pleasure rare,
And breathe for thee a silent prayer. 

A TRING PEASANT BOY.

* At the time of the 1851 Census (four years after
 this poem was published), the most likely candidate
 for 'Mr. T. W——n, Tring' was Thomas Wilson (34),
a baker, who lived at West End with his wife Elizabeth
(31), daughters Emma (12) and Elizabeth (8), and son
Gideon (10) — Ed.

 

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SPRING IS COMING.


Spring is coming; lovely Spring!
    Soon her liquid silvery voice
Will through waving woods be ringing,
In her bow'r of roses singing,
    Where the limpid streams rejoice.

Spring is coming; blooming Spring!
    Soft to wake the sleeping flow'rs,
And call forth earth's slumb'ring sweet-
        ness;
While the bees, on wings of fleetness,
    Hum, and suck the honey'd show'rs.

Spring is coming; golden Spring!
    And beneath her azure skies,
Violets, o'er rich with fragrance,
And the silken, soft, primroses,
    Will ope their melting pearl-dewed
        eyes.

In the green, rich-spangled meadows,
    Golden cowslips will peep forth,
Crimson-spotted, and the starry
Daisies flush each solitary
    Nook, with looks of smiling mirth.

By the margins of sweet waters,
    Flow'rs will bud to music's gush;
Blossoms crown the shades embow'ring,
And the leafless thorn-bush flow'ring,
    With a sun lit, maiden, blush.

The cuckoo's voice melodious
    To our hearts recals youth's time;
The heaven-wing'd lark now warbles
        o'er us,
And woodland minstrels join the chorus,
    Welcoming earth's delicious prime.

And while fields, in emerald beauty,
    Laugh in morning's crimson beam,
And each flow'ret's heart rejoices;
Playful winds will wake their voices,
    Like beauty murmuring in her dream.

But another spring is coming— 
    Spring-tide of the human mind;
Though its light be faint as star-light,
"Strong it burns, that coming far light!"
    Softly lisps each passing wind.

By the blood of ancient martyrs—
    Wrung and spilt as water free;
By poor Poland's patriots hoary,
By her young ones, soil'd and gory—
    Chain'd 'neath hell-born tyranny.

By the groans of tax-crush'd starvelings,
    Earth shall see a radiant spring;
Nature's mental pulse is stirring,
Heard ye not the joyful whirring
    Of fair freedom's brooding wing?

Not in vain have madden'd millions
    Fed the fiery jaws of war,
Or turn'd murderers resign'dly;
Not in vain have myriads blindly
    Bled 'neath wrong's gore-spatter'd car.

To the golden spring of Freedom
    These an impulse strong have given;
Where blood gush'd, flow'rs will be
        springing—
Where men groan'd, their children
        singing,
    Singing hymns of land to Heaven.

'Twill not be a passing season,
    Fading light and withering bloom,
While the blushing rosy cluster,
On earth's bosom, rich in lustre,
    Bud and ripen for the tomb—

Still, in gathering strength and glory,
    Mighty o'er the world 'twill run:
And all hearts 'twill warm and lighten,
And all dark shades gild and brighten,
    Like yon glad, immortal, Sun!

A TRING PEASANT BOY.

 

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HOPE ON! HOPE EVER!


Hope on, hope ever, tho' to-day be dark,
Joy's sweet sunburst may smile on thee to-
        morrow;
Tho' thou art lonely, there's an eye will mask
Thy loneliness, and yet repay thy sorrow!
Tho' thou may'st toil 'mong cold and sordid men,
With few to hear thy voice, and less to love thee,
Cheer up, fond hearts, thou dos't not live in vain,
For God is over all, and Heaven above thee.
        Hope on! hope ever!

The iron may enter in and pierce thy soul,
But cannot hush the love that's in thee burning;
The tears of misery, thy birthright's dole,
Can never quench thy heart's seraphic yearning
For better things; nor kill thy ardent trust
That error from the world shall be uproo'ed;
That truths shall dawn, as flow'rs spring from the
        crust,
And love be cherish'd where crime was imbruted.
        Hope on! hope ever!

I know 'tis hard to bear the bitter taunt,
With the heart's pride, at midnight have to wrestle,
To feel the rich man's scorn, the stings of want,
While others in their stolen luxury nestle!
For I have felt it; yet, from the cold real,
My soul looks out on coming things, and cheer-
        fully,
Playeth the sunshine round its dear Ideal,
And still it whispers to the worn and fearful,
        Hope on! hope ever!

Hope on! hope ever! after dreary night
Comes full of life and love, the rosy morning.
Hope on! hope ever! as spring-time flushed with
        light,
And rose-flushed spring, with wreath of living
        light,
Crowneth the winter with her rich adorning.
Hope on! hope ever! yet a tide shall come,
When man to man shall be a friend and brother,
And earth shall be a happy, happy, home,
And all earth's family shall love each other.

T. MASSEY.

 

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YET WE ARE BROTHERS STILL.


There's sorrow in the poor man's tears;
    Soul-crush'd, he turns to mourn apart;
He labours on through weary years
    That bring no summer to his heart.
The rich in robes of pride adorn—
    At pleasure's banquet drink their fill—
Nor think how many poor ones mourn
    Yet we are brothers still.

Sweet, heaven! how have we earn'd their
        scorn;
    What, tho' we boast no pride of birth,
Bright spirits, from amongst us born,
    With glory crown'd, have walk'd the
        earth.
They've spurn'd us long as things of
        naught—
    Eager and swift our blood to spill—
And kindness seldom waked the thought
    That we are brothers still.

The poor man's home is desolate;
    His children learn not love's sweet
        wiles—
No happy faces smiling wait
    To glad his coming with their smile:
For wealth's wide-worshipp'd owners
        keep
    His weary bones to work their will:
Yet, tho' some laugh while others weep,
    We all are brothers still!

The peer who drinks of bounty's bowl—
    Which ever filleth to the brim—
What careth he how many a soul
    In sorrow languisheth for him?
And Royalty, whate'er its mien—
    At best a gilded bitter pill!—
'Tis but a PASSING MIST between:
    We all are brothers still.

I know the time is growing ripe
    When tyrants on their thrones shall
        quake;
Strong Godlike spirits burn to wipe
    Our wrongs away, our bonds to break.
'Twill come, oh God! be with us when
    Long-maddened vengeance pants to
        kill;
And teach us to remember, then,
    That we are brothers still!

T. MASSEY.

 

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I LOVE ENGLAND.


I love England! and I smile
    As I dwell on all her glory;
And Hope quickens at my heart
    As I trace her chequer'd story;
For I know she's struggling onward
    Tho' earth's tyrants work her ill;
And I cannot help but love her:
    She's my home! my country! still,

I love England! but I hate
    That prostration, that mean cringing
To the proud self-titled Great,
    On wealth, or blood, their greatness
        hinging.
I hate that slavish bowing down
    To golden gods, which some revere;
Why, the form that wears the crown
    Is but flesh and blood, as we are!

I love England! but I hate
    Those who rouse War's bloody fever,
That she, in her own heart, may make
    The wound which bleedeth long and
        ever.
I love England! but I hate
    Those vampires preying on the poor,
Heart and sinew, strength and spirit—
    Crushing ever, evermore!

I love England! but I hate
    Those who forge the link and fetter,
Chaining down the human mind,
    To keep the world from growing
        better—
Chaining down the human mind,
    Which ever soareth to be free—
Those who keep the yearning mass
    From mental light and liberty.

I love England! and I weep
    As I see her outward show—
See the smiles play o'er her features,
    While her heart is torn with woe.
There, her offspring tear her vitals;
    There, her famish'd miseries prey;
Power and wrong like blood-stain'd
        vultures,
    Drink her life drops day by day!

I love England! and I long
    For the time when she shall twine
All the nations of the earth
    In a brotherhood divine.
For the heaven-illumin'd future
    She is shaping mind and will,
And I cannot help but love her
    She's my home! my country! still.

T. MASSEY.

 

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NOW OR NEVER.

AIR"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled."


Now or never is the hour,
We must curb war's scourging
    pow'r,
Or the gory pest will low'r 
        O'er our land again!
Now or never we must stand,
True as ever Spartan band,
Heart in heart, and hand in hand—
        Brothers, we are men!

Shall we make a feud for years,
Steep our land in blood and tears,
Since a murderous despot fears
        The great people's will?
War, tho' garb'd in tinsel form,
Howe'er patriotism warms,
Is murder, set to music's charms!
        Murder! murder! still.

Heed not what the tyrant saith—
Poison lurks in his rank breath;
He who loves the game of death
        Is our enemy.
He would battle to enslave
Hearts the bravest of the brave,
And sing poeans o'er the grave
        Of sweet Liberty!

Shall we fight for those who grind,
Crush, and torture human-kind!
Shall we fling the world behind,
        Many a year hard won?
We have fought that they might feast—
They th' oppressors, we th' oppress'd—
But our dearest blood and best
        Must no longer run!

We have rush'd to slaughter long,
At the bidding of the strong;
Now we'll wrestle with the wrong—
        Horrid war must cease!
Now or never, we must stand
Heart in heart, and hand in hand;
And our cry shall fill the land—
        Peace! for ever peace!

T. MASSEY, a Peasant

 

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UP AND BE STIRRING.


Men of thought! men of mind! up and be stirring now;
    Cling close together, there's much to be done.
Love and dark hate, truth and error, are warring now—
    In the world's mighty heart battles are won!

Dreams of the torture at times will come creeping
    Over the soul full of beauty and bloom;
But that bright burning gush, from the sanguine heart
        leaping
    Is not felt by all, for the time is not yet come.

Still sits the despot enthron'd in his glory,
    While millions in fearfulness crouch at his feet;
Still superstition and priestcraft all hoary
    Labour to make it a duty that's meet!

Still do men bow, like the Thug to Bowhanie,
    To altar and throne; and, believing them true,
Victimize, spurn, goad to madness the many,
    And offer their blood up to fatten the few.

The hell-hound, Oppression, still tramples God's
        creatures,
    And the gashes are red on the back of the slave;
Life is bereft of its beautiful features
    To many who sigh for the peace of the grave.

Still is the tyrant a Godhead amongst us, 
    Lording it still o'er the spiritless throng;
God! why do we nurture the pow'rs that have stung
        us;
    Oh, why do we garland the dark brow of wrong?

Men of thought! men of mind! up and be stirring now;
    Cling close together, there's much to be done.
Love and dark hate, truth and error, are warring now;
    In the world's mighty heart battles are won.

Up and be stirring; or the clang and the rattle,
    Of cannon and sword may awaken again;
From the tomb of the past the grim spectre battle
    May stalk forth blood-tress'd 'mid the dwellings of
        men.

With a bridle of gold, still is justice chained—
    Blood is nobility, riches are might—
And the groans of the people, in bondage long
        chained,
    Crow louder and louder for freedom and right.

Let not the golden hours pass by in hoping.
    Men of thought, men of mind, work while ye may;
Labour for those who in darkness are groping,
    Yearning for knowledge, and feeling for day.

Men of thought! men of mind! up and be stirring now;
    Cling close together, there's much to be done.
Hatred and love, truth and error, are warring now—
    Souls must be tried, and a battle be won.

T. MASSEY, a Peasant

 

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THIS WORLD IS- FULL OF BEAUTY.


There is a voice within me,
And 'tis so sweet a voice,
That its low lispings win me,
Till my soul fills mine eyes.
Deep from my heart it springeth,
Like hidden melody;
And evermore it singeth
This song of songs to me—
"This world is full of beauty,
As other worlds above;
And it men did their duty,
It might be full of love."

If faith and loving-kindness
Passed coin 'twixt heart and heart,
Bigotry 's darkest blindness
And malice would depart.
If men were more forgiving—
Were kind words oft'ner spoken,
Instead of scorn—so grieving!
There would be few heart-broken.
When plenty's round us smiling,
Why wakes this cry for bread?
Why are crushed millions toiling,
Gaunt—clothed in rags—unfed?
The sunny, hills and vallies
Blush ripe with corn and grain;
But the lordling in the palace
Still robs his fellow-men!
Yet, this world is full of beauty,
As other worlds above;
And if men did their duty,
It might be full of love!

Let the law of bloodshed perish—
Sword, gore, and glory splendour;
And men will learn to cherish
Feelings more kind and tender!
Were we true to each other,
We'd vanquish hate and crime;
And grasp the hand of a brother
In any land or clime!
If gold were not an idol—
Were mind and merit worth—
Oh, there would be a bridal
Betwixt high heaven and earth!
Were truth our utter'd language,
Angels might talk with men;
And God-illumin'd earth should see
The golden age again!
For, the leaf-tongues of the forest,
The flow'r-lips of the sod,
The birds that hymn their raptures
Into the ear of God!

And the sweet wind that bringeth
The music of the sea,
All have a voice that singeth
This song of songs to me,—
"This world is full of beauty,
As other worlds above;
If men did their duty,
It might be full of love!"

THOMAS MASSEY.

 

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TRADITION AND PROGRESS!

[In 1848, Benjamin Disraeli became Leader of the Tory
opposition in Parliament.]


You're a wise man, do doubt, Dizzy!
    Brimful of lore sublime!
But we think you're all behind, Dizzy!
    Far behind the time.

Go read the People's thoughts, and look
    Into the People's eyes,
And see how they begin to scorn
    Tradition's heavy lies.

By wealth's pretences, blood, and birth,
    We have been too long blinded,
And we ask for leaders larger-souled,
    And rulers higher-minded.

Cowled priestcraft hath done hireling
        work
    To keep us darken'd still,
And when we've groan'd in agony,
    Cried "Hush, it is His will!"

We've seen from blood-cemented
        thrones
    The gilding torn away,
And learn'd to look on lords and kings
    As lumps of common clay.

We look back on the dreary past,
    Blood-stained and horror-fraught,
Till we shudder at the fearful things
    And hellish deeds they've wrought.

We see how oft they've scatter'd hate,
    And sharpen'd the red brand—
Sending war forth, with burning breath,
    To blacken this fair land.

How they have ground and robbed the
        poor—
    Of their birthright's dower bereft them—
Then tax'd them with ingratitude,
    For the little they have left them.

Oh! we have much to thank them for;
    But for the feuds they've fann'd,
The whole world might be brothers now,
    United heart and hand.

We think that kingcraft is a curse,
    And royalty a lie!
That it were better far to teach
    Men how to live, than die.

That a nation's greatness is not in
    Aristocratic show,
Nor king, nor crown—we thought so
        once—
    Thank God! we're wiser now.

That a kingdom's welfare does not sit
    In bayonet-guarded laws.
But in leal hearts, together knit
    By love in freedom's cause.

We think an honest man may boast
    A title proud and good
As any starr'd or garter'd lord,
    Who vaunts his Norman blood.

We think we have a right to claim
    Our heritage, though small,
For we know there's plenty on the earth,
    And light and room for all.

Wist! Dizzy, wist! progression' s tide
    You cannot backward roll,
Nor stay the onward march of mind,
    Nor quench the light of soul.

You may stand up in your pride of
        place,
    And weave your sophistry;
But you'll labour long 'ere you make
        right wrong,
    Or truth into a lie.

They may fetter the limbs with bands of
        iron,
    But will not find the heart shrinking;
They may gag our speech and stop our
        tongue,
    But still men will be thinking;

Aye, they are thinking, they have thought,
    Till weary ones who toil,
With horny palms, have brains as broad
    As the lordlings of the soul.

The blackest cloud in heaven may give
    Life with its falling shower;
The roughest spot on earth may hold
    The germ of some sweet flower.

There's light within the heart of all,
    And cultur'd weeds make flowers;
Then let us tend and humanize
    These wilder plants of ours.

Thousands of mighty spirits live,
    Whose wing'd thoughts fill the earth;
But millions wait the moment grand
    Of their celestial birth.

The world is not "used up," 'tis full
    Of talent good and mind,
And men who wait developement
    To glorify their kind.

There be gods of stone in the mountains'
        bowels,
    And gods in the mine lie fetter'd,
And that within the heart of man
    Which tongue hath never utter'd.

We must move on, tho' flesh may faint;
    Impulse within cries "Forward!"
The star-voiced midnight tells it man,
    And man repeats it starward.

From the thunder 'mid the peaks of
        ages—
    From the rushing of 'Time's river—
'Tis caught and echoed round the world,
    For ever and for ever!

France heard! and in the freedom-fight
    She's foremost in the van;
And shall we hate her! No! we'll love
    And aid her all we can.

Italia heard and waken'd from
    Priestcraft's torpedo-stroke;
And England yet shall leap for joy,
    And find her fetters broke.

The time must come—the people's day—
    When they who stand apart
Shall mingle with their fellows, free
    As the blood flows to the heart.

Monopoly may read its doom,
    The hand is on the wall;
And every portal must be oped
    To let in good far all.

We light on a truth, an error dies,
    Thus, step by step we win:
God speed the right, and send the bright 
    Long-hoped-for future in!

THOS. MASSEY.

 

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SWEET SPIRIT OF MY LOVE.


        Sweet spirit of my love,
We wander through this world apart,
Thou may'st not in my bosom lie,
I may not press thee to my heart,
Nor see love-thoughts bud in thine eye,
Yet do I live with thee in soul;
I know thou'rt with me oft in sleep,
Such music in my brain hath stole,
That I, too blest, have wak'd to weep.

        Sweet spirit of my love!
The blessed smiling of the sky—
The silver May bells of the lea—
The summer leaves, the delicious sight,
Are links of love 'twixt thou and me.
The soul of love that fills thine eyes,
Flushes the thoughts that in me glow,
And deep in thy heart's heaven lies
The impulse thrilling through me now.

        Sweet spirit of my love!
I know how beautiful thou art,
But never tell the cherish'd thought;
I only whisper to my heart
"Sunbright she makes thy darkest spot."
I see thee! miraged to mine eyes,
Like a May morning budding fair;
I hear thee in the melodies
That warble through the golden air.

        Sweet spirit of my love!
When eve's soft silence falls on earth
And unseen spirits whispering pass,
To kiss the flowers and bead the grass,
And stars look forth in golden mirth,
When God's breath hallows o'er the spot,
And lapp'd in feeling's luxury,
The heart grows full of tender thoughts,
Then art thou with me, still with me.

        Sweet spirit of my love;
I cannot hear thy step! but feel
Thy look is on me, and 'tis such
That reads my heart and makes it reel,
And throb expectant for thy touch,
For by the voices of deep woods,
The flow'rs with virgin fragrance wet.
And by Heav'ns starry solitudes
I know that we shall mingle yet.

        Sweet spirit of my love!
I may not call thee mine!   I'm poor, 
A pilgrim wed to penury; 
I would not have thee to endure
The gibe, the look of scorn for me.
No! others on thy lip may hang—
Drink thy food smile—and call thee dear,
I would not cause thy heart a pang,
Nor thy dear eyes one burning tear.

        Sweet spirit of my love!
We wander through the world apart;
Thou may'st not in my bosom lie;
I may not press thee to my heart,
Nor see love-thoughts bud in thine eye.
But like two streams that wander wide,
Yet meet and mingle in the sea,
Thus shall we meet my spirit-bride,
And mingle in eternity!

T. MASSEY.

 

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THINGS WILL GO BETTER YET!


Kings once proclaim'd their right divine,
    And many a deed of blood was done
Which no one dared to question then,
    If screen'd by altar or by throne,
Then men were slaves to men who wore
    A crown or coronet;
But now, thank God, the world's moving,
    And will go better yet!

Time was when learning's hidden lore
    Was open to the rich alone,
And the many in their darkness toil'd,
    With souls unfledg'd, and minds
            ungrown.
Crime ripen'd then; sword, axe, and
            scourge
    With blood the soil made wet;
But now, thank God, we are moving,
    Things will go better yet!

Our rulers slept; but while they
            slumbered,
    The people's twig hath grown a tree;
And it must flourish unremembered,
    For virtue dwells but with the "free."
Thronecraft may grow reproving!
    Priests nobles, gibe or threat;
But now, thank God, we are moving,
    Things will go better yet!

I know that earth has clouds and thorns,
    And man has miseries still; yet flowers
Make sunshine by the dark way-side,
    And tint with heaven this world of ours.
And there be hearts all loving;
    And love shall love beget;
For now, thank God, we are moving,
    Things will go better yet!

We have been duped by knaves, and
            mock'd
    By "lords," who clamour'd for "Reform;"
But they shall bow their recreant heads
    Humbly before the coming morn;
For the people, leagued and loving,
    Shall break their tyrant's net;
And now, thank God, we are moving,
    Things will go better yet!

T. G. MASSEY.

 

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TO THOSE WHO MEET SORROW HALF-WAY.


Away with repining!
    Shall hope in us die?
If the sun be not shining
    'Tis still in the sky!
And the darkest hour of the night
Is that ere morning, bright,
Wakes a glad world in light,
    Yet we are perplex'd,
And when one trouble's over
    We look for the next!
When joy may be coming we sit
            down forlorn,
When flowers spring around us
            we look for the thorn!

We envy a brother,
    And deem he possesses 
The gem that lies hid
    In our own heart's recesses;
Too many things sadden us;
Trifles half madden us,
Yet there's much to gladden us,—
    Some sunshine for all!
Life hath its honey
    As well as its gall!
Only too often we sit down to
            mourn,
When flowers spring around us we
            look for the thorn.

Weary hearts, fainting souls,
    Never despair;
But cherish the spirits
    That wrestle with care!
Faith, with her heaven-lit eye!
Hope, pointing to the sky!
Love, that sits smilingly
    With throbbing wings,
Brooding God-warmth
    On the soul's kindness springs!
When joy may be coming, why sit
            down forlorn?
When flowers spring around you, why
            look ye forlorn?

Tho' winter be dreary
    Its gloom will depart,
And the voices of summer
    Come sweet to the heart;
Its blue skies will flush again,
Wild flow'rs will blush again!
Yet tho' the crush of pain
    Hem thy heart round,
The true and the beautiful
    Still may be found,
In the depths of thy soul,
    Like a well underground!
Then think it no longer a duty to
            mourn,
When flowers spring around you, look
            not for the thorn!

T.G. MASSEY.

 

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REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD.


Days of my childhood, how sweetly ye glided,
    Like fragrance from flowers on the light wind borne;
The world lies between you and me long-divided,
    And oft my soul chafes on a pillow of thorn.

Dreams of my childhood, all glory and cheerfulness,
    Beautiful visions! ah, where have ye flown?
Come ye not when the tired heart in its tearfulness
    Yearneth with desolate feelings alone.

Hopes of my childhood, how have ye perished?
    As blighted leaves fall, one by one, from the bough.
Like sunbeams ye sprang from my soul, and were
            cherished,
    Dearly and long, but are vanished now,

Tears of my childhood, when my heart's aching,
    Oh! how I wish ye would gush forth again;
Its fever-thirst slaking, its greeness re-waking,
    With summer-tide rain dropping heaven on my
            brain.

Friends of my childhood! where shall l find ye?
    How would my heart leap-to welcome ye home?
Ah me! many, dear ones that once loved me kindly
    Now send me their sweet love in flow'rs from the
            tomb.

Home of my childhood, where happy I've nestled,
    Within thy old walls strange voices are heard.
Dear home! oft when with the cold winds I have
            wrestled,
    Toward thee I have yearn'd like the wounded bird.

Yet why should I mourn over things long departed?
    Life's sunbursts will come, and its rains must fall.
Sorrow hath made me more loving-hearted,
    And my trust in the future is worth them all.

T. G. MASSEY.

 

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TRUTH, LOVE, AND BEAUTY.


How many summer suns have shed
    Their glory on the world and sunk?
How many summer birds are dead
    That made the woods with music drunk?
How many flowers, children of light, 
    In the warm dew and moonshine born,
Have shut their tender eyes at night
    And never woke again with morn?
Yet they're but caught up for awhile
    To quicken the world's heart again.
Still music breathes, flowers, sunbeams
            smile,
    And beauty glads the heart of men,
For there's a link 'twixt earth and heaven
    Age cannot rust, time cannot sever; 
Error and evil shall die out,
    Truth, Love, and Beauty live for ever.

Spirits of good men have been hurled
    From gaping wounds, and headless
            trunk;
But goodness hath not left the world,
    It germs e'en when the warm blood sunk.
Infernal tortures; dungeons, mirk,
    Stake, sword, and flame, and rack,
            accursed,
On men—God's noblest wonder-work,—
    Have spent their terrors, wreaked their
            worst;
Yet high in worlds where angels shine
    Like suns on sapphire thrones, above us,
They plead our cause, with lips divine,
    See through the stars, and seeing, love us.
'Twixt man and God—'twixt earth and
            heaven,
    They form the link time cannot sever.
Error and evil shall die out,
    Truth, Love, and Beauty live for ever.

Let canting bigots—holy knaves—
    Wail our "depravity" and its cause;
'Tis to our own selves we are the slaves,
    'Tis in our own, not nature's laws.
The spring is pure, the bud is fair
    As when they first had birth below;
But the flower's fed on poisoned air,
    The stream polluted in its flow.
Passions have torn, with hoofs of fire,
    Humanity's soul-lighted face,
Bent earthward minds born to aspire,
    And crime hath wrought its darkening
            trace;
Yet will I ne'er despair if men
    For earth hath many true love-evangels.
I'll never doubt the good within,
    For God made men, and men make
            angels!
And by that link 'twixt earth and heaven
    Age cannot rust, time cannot sever,
I know that evil shall die out,
    Truth, Love, and Beauty live for ever.

T. G. MASSEY.

 

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STANZAS TO A BELOVED ONE.


HEAVEN hath its crown of stars; the
            earth
    Her glory robe of flowers;
The grand old woods have music,
    Green leaves, and silver showers;
The birds have homes, where honey-
            blooms
    In beauty smile above,—
High yearning hearts their rainbow-
            dreams,—
    And we, Sweet! we have love!

There's suffering for the toiling poor,
    On misery's bosom nursed;
Rich robes for ragged souls, and
            crowns
    For branded brows, Cain cursed!
But cherubim, with clasping wings,
    Ever about us be;
And, happiest of God's happy thing!
    There's love for you and me!

We walk not with the jewelled great,
    Where love's dear name is sold;
But we have wealth we would not give
    For all their world of gold.
We revel not in corn and wine;
    Yet have we from above
Manna divine—then we'll not pine:—
    Do we not live and love?

Thou dear, true heart! within our lot
    May mingle tears and sorrow!
But love his rainbow builds from tears
    To-day, with smiles to-morrow.
The sunshine from our sky may die,—
    The greenness from life's tree;
But ever 'mid the warring storm,
    Thy nest shell sheltered be.

I see thee, Ararat of my life!
    Smiling the waves above;
Thou hail'st me victor in the strife,
    And I love thee for thy love!
The world may never know, dear,
    Half what I've found in thee;
But though nothing to the world,
            dear,
    Thou'rt all the world to me!

T. G. MASSEY.

 

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THERE'S NO DEARTH OF KINDNESS.


There's no dearth of kindness
    In this world of ours,
Only in our blindness
    We gather thorns for flowers.
Outward we are springing—
    Trampling one another—
While we're inly yearning
    With the name of "Brother."

There's no dearth of kindness
    Or love among mankind;
But we know each other not;
    World's wealth makes us blind.
Full of kindness tingling
    Soul is shut from soul,
When they might be mingling
    In one kindness whole.

There's no dearth of kindness,
    Though it be unspoken—
From each heart it buildeth up
    Rainbow smiles.   Sweet token
That there is none so lowly
    But have some angel-touch;
Yet nursing loves unholy,
    We live for self too much!

There's s no dearth of kindness
    In this world of ours—
Only in our blindness
    We gather thorns for flowers,
And if men will hanker 
    Ever for golden dust—
Nature's needs must canker,
    Spirits need will rust.

Kindness freely floweth
    In the heart for ever—
As the wild rose bloweth,
    As runs the happy river!
Cherish it!   God's best giving,
    Falling from above!
For this life were not worth living,
    Were it not for love!

T. G. MASSEY.

 

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WE'LL WIN OUR FREEDOM YET!


What shall I sing, ye brothers mine, to stir and bid ye rise,
With the God-wake in your hearts, and the sunrise in your
        eyes?
To call ye forth, with step sublime, from valley, hill, and glen
And terror's torturing rack, to walk in God's dear light as
        men!
To cut the killing canker from the willing sight-sered slave,
The worm that murders the poor heart, where it hath dug its
        grave!
Oh! this shall be my song, boys! do ye but truly set
A brave, free heart to mine, boys! We'll win our Freedom
        yet!

My heart weeps bloody so sweat to see the wrong that's
        daily done.
Oh! brothers, knit your hearts! and put the spirit's mail-sark
        on,
To combat for the hopeless, who give all life's glory up
That wolves may eat their hearts, and brim with blood 
        wrong's revel-cup!
Up! if ye will be free! to golden calves no longer bow!
The nations yearn for liberty! the world is earnest now!
By Christ our brother, God, our sire, do ye but truly set
A brave, free, heart to mine, boys We'll win our Freedom
        yet!

The palace-paupers look, from lattice high and mock our
        prayer!
The champions of the Lord cry "Fast!" the golden bit they
        wear
Oh, but to see ye bend no more to these crime-cursed things!
Ye are God's oracles! stand forth! be nature's priests and
        kings!
The BENT KNEE IS HALF-WAY TO DEATH! up Serviles, from the
        dust!
The harvest of the free red ripens for our sickle-thrust;
And, by Christ, our brother, God, our sire, do ye but truly set
A brave, free, heart to mine, boys,  We'll win this Freedom
         yet!

The flow'rs will soon be springing o'er our last year martyr's
        mould
Like dreams from out their wreck'd hearts, telling, what they
        left untold,
Of all our rain-bow'd future, and what this earth shall be,
When we have barter'd blows and bonds for life and liberty;
And what a face of glory shall this weary world put on,
When right is might and love shall sit, God, in its true heart-
        throne!
Oh, by these martyrs! these flower-dreams! do ye but set
A brave, free, heart to mine, boys!  We'll win this Freedom
        yet!

Freedom! that mothers, sires, may smile who worn heart-
        bare do bow!
Ere the long, grey, eternal morn, breaks o'er each blanching
        brow,
Freedom! that love may be no more death's kiss to those we
        love!
That pride, not shame, may blush the cheek of our heart-
        nestling dove!
Freedom! that earth's good gifts may be as bountiful as rain,
And life lie lightly on each heart and merry on the brain!
By Christ, our brother, God, our sire, do ye but truly set
A brave, free, heart to mine boys!  We'll win this Freedom
        yet!

Tring, Sunday.                                                              G. T. MASSEY.

 

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TODAY AND TOMORROW.


Our hopes that burn'd like stars sublime,
    Go down i' the heavens of Freedom!
And true hearts perish in the time
    When bitterly we need 'em:
But, never sit we down and say
    There's nothing left but sorrow;
We walk the Wilderness To-day,
    The Promised Land Tomorrow.

Through all the long night of years
    The people's cry ascendeth;
And Earth is wet with blood and tears,
    But now our sufferance endeth!
The Few shall not for ever sway
    The Many toil in sorrow—
Their Might is uppermost To-day,
    Our Right goes up Tomorrow.

Tho' hearts brood on the dark Past, eyes
    With smiling futures glisten!
Look up!   Our day bursts up the skies,
    Lean out pour souls and listen
The World rolls Freedom's radiant way,
    And ripens with her sorrow!
Keep heart, Who hears the Cross Today
    Shall wear the Crown Tomorrow.

O Youth flame-earnest—still aspire—
    With energies immortal!
To many a heaven of Desire
    Brave Yearning opes a portal.
And tho' Age wearies by the way
    And hearts break in the furrow—
Sow Freedom's golden grain Today,
    Her Harvest comes Tomorrow.

Build up heroic lives: and all
    Be like a sheathen Sabre,
Ready to flash out at God's call—
    O Chivalry of labour!
Trial and Tail are Twins.   And aye
    Joy's suns i' the cloud of Sorrow:
And 'tis the Martyrdom of Today
    Brings Victory Tomorrow.

GERALD MASSEY.

 

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ONE OF GOD'S TREASURES FOR THE POOR.


I'll paint you Lady Marion:
She walks this world, a shining one!
A woman with an angel's face,
Sweet gravity and tender grace;
And where she treads this earth of ours,
Heaven blossoms into smiling flowers.
            This is the Lady Marian.

One of the spirits that walk in white!
Many dumb hearts that sit in night
Her presence know, just as the birds
Know morning, murmuring cheerful words.
Where life is darkest, she doth move
With influence as of visible love.
            This is the Lady Marian.

One of God's treasures for the poor!
She keepeth open heart and door.
That heart a holy well of wealth,
Brimming life-waters, quick with health;
That door an opening your look through,
To find God our side of Heaven's blue.
            This is the Lady Marian.

Her coming all your being fills
With a balm-breath from Heaven's hills:
And in her face the light is mild
As though the heart within her smiled,
And in her heart doth sit and sing
Some spirit of immortal spring.
            This is the Lady Marian.

"We shall not mend the world; we try,
And lo, our work is vain!" they cry.
With her pathetic look, she bears;
You see the wounded soul bleed tears;
But toward the dark she sets her face,
And calmly keeps her onward pace.
            This is the Lady Marian.

True picture of the Master of old!
Touches of likeness manifold!
The human sweetness in His face;
Large love that would a world embrace;
His Heavenly pity in her eyes,
And all the soul of sacrifice.
            This is the Lady Marian.                       

—Gerald Massey, in "Good Words."

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