Gerald Massey: Havelock's March (4)

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NEWS OF CHRISTI.


WE read your Letters; no word lost;
    All, all is remembered;
And sometimes when there is no post,
    Once more are the old ones read.
Of all she did we love to hear;
    And how the days have sped;
But to our listening hearts most dear
    Is something "Christie said."

 

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FOR EVER.


"FAREWELL, Sweet! may you find a nest
        Of home in haven dearer;
And happier rest upon the breast
        Of truer love and nearer;
May favours fall, may blessings flow
        For you may cares come never!
But kiss me, Dear, before you go,
        And then shake hands for ever."

Her very heart within doth melt,
        And gathers, while she lingers,
A weeping warmth, as tho' she felt
        A wee babe's feeling fingers:
The minutes pass; they do not part;
        And vain was all endeavour,
A touch had closed them heart to heart;
        Their hands were claspt for ever.

 

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OUR WHITE DOVE.


A WHITE Dove out of heaven flew,
    White as the whitest shape of Grace
    That nestles in the soft embrace
Of heaven when skies are summer blue;

It came with dew-drop purity,
    On glad wings of the morning light;
    And sank into our life, so white
A VISION! sweetly, secretly!

Silently nestled our WHITE Dove:
    Balmily made our bosoms swim
    With still delight, and overbrim;
The air it breathed was breath of love:

Our Dove had eyes of baby blue,
    Soft as the Speedwell's by the way,
    That looketh up as it would say,
"Who kissed me while I slept, did you?"

God love it! but we took our Bird,
    And loved it well, and merry made;
    We sang and danced around, or prayed
In silence, wherein hearts are heard.

It seemed to come from far green fields
    To meet us over life's rough sea,
    With leaf of promise from the tree
In which a dearer nest it builds.

As fondling Mother birds will pull
    The softest feathers from their breast,
    We gave our best to line the nest,
And make it warm and beautiful!

We held it as the leaves of life
    In hidden silent service fold
    About a Rose's heart of gold,
So jealous of all outer strife!

When holy sleep in soothing palms
    Pillowed the darling little head,
    How lightly moved we round the bed,
And felt the silence fall in balms!

But all we did or tried to do,
    Our flood of joy it never felt;
    Only into our hearts would melt
Still deeper those dove-eyes of blue.

Quick with the spirit of field and wood,
    All other Birds would sing and sing
    Till hearts did ripple and homes did ring:
Our white Dove only cooed and cooed—

With every day some sweetness new,
    And night and day and day and night
    It was the voice of our delight,
That gentle, low, endearing coo!

God! if we were to lose our child!
    O, we must die, poor hearts would cry:
    She lookt on us so hushingly;
So mournfully to herself she smiled.

One day she pined up in our face
    With a low cry we could not still;
    A moaning we could never heal,
For sleep in some more quiet place.

We could not help, and yet must see
    The little head droop wearily,
    The little eyes shine eerily,
My Dove! what have they done to thee?

The look grew pleading in her eyes
    And mournful as the lonesome light
    That in a window burns all night,
Asking for stillness, while one dies.

The hand of Death so coldly clings,
    So strongly draws the weak life-wave
    Into his dark, vast, silent cave;
Our little Dove must use its wings!

And so it sought the dearer nest;
    A little way across the sea
    It kept us wingèd company,
Then sank into its leafier rest;

And left us long ago to feel
    A sadness in the sweetest words;
    A broken heartstring mid the chords;
A tone more tremulous when we kneel.

But, dear my Christie, do not cry,
    Our White Dove left for you and me
    Such blessed promise as must be
Perfected in the heavens high.

The stars that shone in her dear eyes
    May be a little while withdrawn,
    To rise and lead the eternal dawn
For us, up heaven in other skies.

Our Bird of God but soars and sings:
    Oft when life's heaving wave's at rest,
    She makes her mirror in my breast,
I feel a winnowing of wings;

And meekly doth she minister
    Glad thoughts of comfort, thrills of pride;
    She makes me feel that if I died
This moment I should go to her.

Be good! and you shall find her where
    No wind can shake the wee bird's nest;
    No dreams can break the wee bird's rest;
No night, no pain, no parting there!

No echoes of old storms gone by!
    Earth's sorrows slumber peacefully;
    The weary are at rest, for He
Shall wipe the tears from every eye.

 

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CHRISTI'S PORTRAIT.


YOUR tiny picture makes me yearn;
    We are so far apart,
My Darling! I can only turn
    And kiss you in my heart.
A thousand tender thoughts a-wing,
    Swarm in a summer clime,
And hover round it, murmuring,
    Like bees at honey-time.

Upon a little Girl I look
    Whose pureness makes me sad;
I read as in a blessed book
    I grow in secret glad!
It seems my darling comes to me
    With something I have lost,
Over Life's tossed and troubled sea,
    On some celestial coast.

That grave content, and touching grace,
    Bring tears into mine eyes;
She makes my heart a holy place
    Where hymns and incense rise.
Such calm her gentle spirit brings,
    As—smiling overhead—
White statued saints with peaceful wings,
    Shadow the sleeping dead.

Meek as the wood anemone glints
    To see if Heaven be blue,
Is my pale flower with her sweet tints
    Of heaven shining thro'?
She will be poor, and never fret;
    Sleep sound and lowly lie;
Will live her quiet life and let
    The great world-storm go by.

Our Christie is no Rosy Grace,
    With beauty all may see;
But I have never felt a face
    Grow half so dear to me!
No curling hair about her brows,
    Like many merry Girls;
Well; straighter to my heart it goes;
    And round it curls, and curls.

I think of Her when spirit-bowed;
    A glory fills the place;
Like sudden light on swords the proud
    Smile flashes in my face!
And others see in passing by,
    But cannot understand,
The vision shining in mine eye;
    My strength of heart and hand.

Dear love! God keep her in his grasp; 
    Meek Maiden, or brave Wife;
Till His good angels softly clasp
    Her closèd book of Life;
And this fair picture of the Sun,
    With Birthday blessings given,
Shall fade before a glorious one
    Taken of her in heaven.

 

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THE NEST.


I BUILT my Nest by a pleasant stream,
That glided along with a smile in its gleam,
        Bringing me gold that was sumless;
Ah, me! but the floods came drowning one day,
Swept my Nest with its wealth away;
        I in the world was homeless!

I built my Nest in a gay green tree,
And the summer of life went merrily
        With us! we were Birds of a feather!
But the leaves soon fell, and my pretty ones flew,
And thro' my Nest the bitter winds blew;
        'Twas bare in the wildest weather.

I built my Nest under Heaven's high eaves;
No rising of floods, no falling of leaves,
        Can mock my heart's endeavour;
Waters may wash, breezes may blow,
In the bosom of Rest I shall smile, I shall know
        My Nest is safe for ever.

 

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OUR
LITTLE CHILD WITH RADIANT EYES.


WITH seeking hearts we still grope on,
    Where dropt our jewel in the dust;
The looking crowd have long since gone,
    And still we seek with lonely trust;
    O little Child with radiant eyes!

Dark underneath the brightening sod,
    The sweetest life of all our years
Is crowded in ae gift to God.
    We stand outside the gate in tears!
    O little Child with radiant eyes!

In all our heart-ache we are drawn,
    Unweeting, to your little grave;
There, on your heavenly shore of dawn,
    Breaks gentlier Sorrow's sobbing wave;
    O little Child with radiant eyes!

Heart-empty as the acorn-cup
    That only fills with wintry showers,
The breaking cloud but brimmeth up
    With tears this pleading life of ours.
    O little Child with radiant eyes!

We think of you, our Angel kith,
    Till life grows light with starry leaven:
We never forget you Darling with
    The gold hair waving high in heaven!
    Our little Child with radiant eyes!

Your white wings grown you will conquer Death!
    You are coming through our dreams even now,
With two blue peeps of heaven beneath
    The arching glory of your brow,
    Our little Child with radiant eyes!

We cannot pierce the dark, but oft
    You see us with looks of pitying balm;
A hint of heaven—a touch more soft
    Than kisses—all the trouble is calm.
    O little Child with radiant eyes!

Think of us wearied in the strife;
    And when we sit by Sorrow's streams,
Shake down upon our drooping life
    The dew that brings immortal dreams.
    O little Child with radiant eyes!

 

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ROBIN'S SONG.


SING, Robin Redbreast,
    Tho' you fill our hearts with pain;
Sing, bonny Robin,
    Tho' our tears fall like the rain
For a Lamb far from the fold,
In the wet and wintry mould!
For a Bird out in the cold,
        Bird alane! Bird alane!

Sing, Robin Redbreast!
    You are welcome to our door;
Sing, darling Robin,
    Merry Larks no longer soar.
Autumn comes with feel of rain,
Mournful odours, wail of pain!
There's a Bird will come again
        Nevermore! Nevermore!

Sing, Robin Redbreast!
    For we love your song so brave,
Tho' you mind us of a Robin
    Where the willows weep and wave;
To her little grave it clings,
Shakes the rain from its wet wings,
And for all the sadness sings
        By Her grave, by Her grave.

 

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THE TWO ROSES.


Softly stept she over the lawn,
    In vesture light and free:
A floating Angel might have drawn
Her hair from heaven in a glory-dawn,
   And her voice rang silverly.
Then up she rose on her tiny tip-toes;
Her white hand catches, her fingers close;
You are tall and proud my dainty Rose!
    But I have you now, said She.

O so lightly over the lawn,
    Step for step went He!
Thinking how, from his hiding-place,
The war of Roses in her face,
    Dear Love would laugh to see!
Two arms suddenly round her he throws;
Two mouths turning one way close;
You are tall and proud my dainty Rose!
    But I have you now, said He.

 

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POOR MARGARET.


POOR Margaret's window is alight;
    The Widow sits alone;
Though long into the silent night,
    And far, the world is gone.
She lives in shadow till her blood
    Grows bitter and blackened all;
Upon her head a mourning hood;
    Upon her heart a pall.

The stars come nightly out of heaven,
    Old darkness to beguile;
For her there is no healing given
    To their sweet spirit-smile.
That honey-dew of sleep the skies
    In blessed balm let fall,
Comes not on her poor tired eyes,
    Tho' it be sent for all.

At some dead flower, with fragrance faint,
  Her life opes like a book;
Some old sweet music makes its plaint,
  And, from the grave's dim nook,
The buried bud of hopes laid low,
  Flowers in the night full-blown;
And little things of Long-Ago
  Come back to her full-grown.

Her heart is wandering in a whirl,
    And she must seek the tomb
Where lies her long-lost little girl.
    O, well with them for whom
Love's Morning-Star comes round so fair
    As Evening-Star of Faith,
Already up and shining, ere
    The dark of coming death.

But, Margaret cannot reach a hand,
    Beyond the dark of death;
Her spirit swoons in that high land
    Where breathes no human breath;
She cannot look upon the grave
    As one eternal shore;
From which a soul may take the wave,
    For heaven, to sail or soar.

Across that Deep no sail unfurled,
    For her; no wings put forth;
She tries to reach the other world
    By groping down through earth.
'Twas there the child went underground;
    They parted in that place;
And ever since, the Mother found
    The door shut in her face.

Tho' many effacing springs have wrapped
    With green, the dark grave-bed;
'Twas there, the breaking heartstrings snapped
    As she let down her dead:
And there she gropes with wild heart yet,
    For years, and years, and years;
Poor Margaret! there will she let
    Her sorrows loose in tears.

All the young mother in her old voice
    Its waking moan will make!
A young aurora light her eyes
    With radiance gone to wreck!
And then at dawn she will return,
    To her old self again;
Eyes dim and dry; heart grey and dern;
    And querulous in her pain.

"We never loved each other much,
    I and my poor good-man;
But on the Child we lavisht such
    A love as overran
All boundaries, loving her the more
    Because our love was pent;
Striving as two seas try to pour
    Their strength thro' one small rent.

"For children come to still link hands,
    When lives have ebbed apart;
And hide the rift, when either stands
    At distance heart from heart.
So on our little one we'd look;
    Press hands with fonder grasp;
As tho' we closed some holy book,
    Softly, with golden clasp.

"And as the dark earth offers up
    Her little winterling,
The Crocus, pleading with its cup
    Of hoarded gold, to bring
Down all the grey heaven's golden shower
    Of Spring to warm the sod;
So did we lift the winsome flower
    That sprang from our dark clod.

"Our little Golden-heart, her name!
    And all things sweet and calm,
And pure and fragrant round her came
    With gifts of bloom and balm.
And there she grew, my queen of all,
    Golden, and saintly white;
Just as at Summer's smiling call
    The lily stands a-light.

"To knee or nipple, grew the goal
    Of her wee stately walk;
The voice of my own silent soul
    Was her dear baby-talk;
Then darklingly she pined and failed;
    And looking on our dead,
The father wailed awhile and ailed,
    Turned to the wall and said—

"''Tis dark and still, our house of life,
    The fire is burning low;
Our pretty one is gone, and Wife,
    'Tis time for me to go:
Our Golden-heart has gone to sleep;
    She's happed in for the night;
And so to bed I'll quietly creep,
    And sleep till morning light.
'"

Once more poor Margaret arose
    And passed into the night:
Long shadows weird of tree and house
    Made ghosts i'the wan moonlight!
She passed into the churchyard, where
    The many glad life-waves
That leapt of old, have stood still there,
    In green and grassy graves.

"O would my body were at rest
    Beneath this cool grave-sward:
O would my soul were with the Blest,
    That slumber in the Lord!
They sleep so sweetly underground;
    For Death hath shut the door,
And all the world of sorrow and sound
    Can trouble them no more."

A spirit-feel is in the place,
    That makes the poor heart gasp;
Her soul stands white up in her face
    For one warm human clasp!
Tonight she sees the grave astir;
    And as in prayer she kneels,
The mystery opens unto her:
    She for the first time feels

The spirit-world may be as near
    Her moving silent round,
As are the dead that sleep a mere
    Short fathom underground;
And there be eyes that see the sight
    Of lorn ones wandering, vexed
Thro' some long, sad, and shadowy night
    Betwixt this world and next.

Doorways of fear, are eye and ear,
    Thro' which the wonders go;
And thro' the night with glow-worm light,
    The Church is all aglow!
There comes a waft of Sabbath hymn;
    She enters; all the air
With faces fills divine and dim,
    The Blessed Dead are there.

One came and bade poor Margaret sit,
    Seemed to her as it smiled,
A great white Bird of God alit
    From the marble forest wild.
"Look to the Altar!" there a spell
    Fixed her; she saw up-start,
A woman, like a soul in hell,
  ' T was her own Golden-heart.

"It would have been thus, Mother dear,
    And so God took her, from
All trials and temptations here,
    To his eternal home;
And you shall see her in a place
    Where death can never part."
She looked up, and in that Angel's face;
    'T was her own Golden-heart.

The lofty music rose again
    From all those happy souls,
Till all the windows thrilled, as when
    The organ-thunder rolls;
And all her life was like a light
    Weak weed the stream doth sway,
Until it reaches the full-height,
    Breaks, and is borne away.

Her life stood still a-listening to
    The music! then a hand
Took hers, and she was floated through
    A mystic border-land.
'T was Golden-heart! from that eclipse
    She drew her into bliss;
Two spirits closed at dying lips,
    In one immortal kiss.

Next day an early worshipper
    Was kneeling in the Aisle;
A statue of life that did not stir,
    But knelt on with a smile
Upon the face that smiled with light,
    As tho', when left behind,
It smiled on with some glorious sight
    Long after the eyes were blind.

 

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LULLABY.


SOFTLY sink in slumbers golden,
    Warm as nestled Birdlings lie;
Safe in Mother's arms enfolden,
    While I sing thy lullaby.
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby, lullaby,
Sweet one, sleep to my Lullaby.

Tho' the night doth darken, darken,
    Light will Mother's slumbers lie;
Still my heart will harken, harken,
    Lest my wee thing wake and cry.
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby, lullaby,
Sweet one, sleep to my Lullaby.

At thy garden gate of slumber,
    Stands my spirit tiptoe high,
Filled with yearnings without number,
    In thine inner heaven to fly.
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby, lullaby,
Sweet one, sleep to my Lullaby.

In that world of mystic breathing,
    Spirit Sentinels, stand by!
Winnow, winnow, o'er my wee thing,
    Wings of Love that hover nigh.
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby, lullaby,
Sweet one, sleep to my Lullaby.

Sleep! and drink the dew delicious!
    Sleep! till the morrow dawn is high!
Sleep with Mother near her precious,
    Wake! with Mother waiting nigh.
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby, lullaby,
Sweet one, sleep to my Lullaby.

 

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HOW THE FLOWERS CAME FROM EDEN.


THE Seraph faded into air;
    The Snake glode underground;
As on the last step of Heaven's stair,
    Poor exiled Eve lookt round.

Heartless as Death, and blind as Doom,
    The heavens bowed with wrath:
Where God, betwixt the glare and gloom,
    Stood in their backward path.

The memories in each other's eyes,
    They cannot, dare not face;
Forlorn and vast the wide world lies;
    They see no hiding place.

Two mourners following the hearse
    Of joy, go slowly forth;
To see the shadow of their curse
    Fall lengthening over earth.

Then did the Flowers of Eden grieve;
    As tho' a low wind stirred,
They softly prayed to follow Eve;
    And God in Heaven heard.

As when some erring Child may see,
    The Father's face no more;
A Mother's love sends secretly;
    Her heart keeps open door;

So were the Flowers from Paradise,
    For missioned comfort sent;
All heaven in their sweet pitying eyes!
    And where Eve trod they went.

With dear drops of that gladness spilled
    In Eden, they came pearled;
Their cups with colours of Heaven filled,
    To pour thro' all the world.

They kiss her feet; embrace her knees;
    About her dance and play;
They run before and climb the trees,
    To cheer her by the way.

On hills and moorlands golden fires
    Of gorse in beauty burn;
Into red roses break the briars;
    A flower for every thorn.

And ever since, their silent march,
    Goes glowing overground;
And under Ocean's azure arch;
    In an immortal round.

The wee white fairies of the snow,
    May cover them awhile;
But from their hiding-places, lo!
    The fresh young Eden smile!

They come back with their fragrant news,
    By brook, and field, and fell;
They wake, and in a thousand hues,
    Their dream of beauty tell.

They bring the distant dearness of
    That dewy Eden youth,
Into the kindling nearness of
    Warm kisses on the mouth.

Our thoughts are with their fancies freakt,
    And delicately drawn;
With them our gray of life is streakt,
    Divinely as the dawn.

And ailing souls come forth to see,
    How the sweet Flowers reveal
The waving skirts of Deity,
    Which at a touch can heal.

Our dying eyes their balm beseech;
    Our dying fingers fold
Their coolness, when we cannot reach
    The flower; so dank the mould.

Their roots like feeling fingers twine,
    About the lone grave-bed:
Stars of the ground, they kindly shine,
    Thro' that long dark o' the Dead.

Incense, pathetically sweet,
    Their little censers wave—
Standing all night at head and feet
    Of our wee Sydney's grave.

With mournful fragrance to my heart,
    They pierce at times, until
The tears up in mine eyes will start,
    With airs of heaven a-thrill.

Still blooms with all its buried charms,
    That old lost land of ours;
Above its silent war of worms,
    A world laughs out in flowers.

 

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ONE WHO WAS KIND TO CHRISTI.


GOD comfort you, my friend, God comfort you!
How mighty, how immeasurable your loss
I can but dimly know; yet I have learned
That only the most precious die so soon.
I can but stand without, and are not thrust
My hand betwixt the curtain of your grief;
I cannot reach you sitting in the dark
Of that lone desert where the silence stuns,
And sound of sobbing would be kind relief.
But might I speak some word that, without a touch,
Should make your cup of sorrow overbrim
In tears that suck the sting from out the soul!
I too have felt the gloom that brings heaven near,
The love whose kissings are all unreturned,
And longed to lie down with the quiet dead
And share their long sweet rest.   I too have known
This strain and crack of heart-strings—this wild whirl
The wallow of sense in which the soul seems drowned.
You are the husband of an angel; I
Have two sweet babes in bliss.   We are very poor
On earth, my Friend, but very rich in Heaven.

Two years ago you comforted my loss:
One year ago I sang your wedding song,
And now She is not! She who had only lookt
On life thro' coloured windows of her dreams!
All in the softest, sweetest breath of God
The bud of her dear beauty seemed to have blown,
Your one-year darling who but sprang, and died,
And left the fragrance of her memory;
A blessed memory and a blessed hope!
She had the shy grace of a woodland flower;
In her Love veiled his look with timid wings;
And her eyes deepened with a sadness rich,
As tho' the mountain-tops of heaven-toucht thought
Made mirrored shadows in their lakes of light.
Only a brief while did she wear the mask
Of flesh that kept the fond immortal face
Without a stain of earth or soil of time;
And now her Nun-like spirit takes the veil
In Heaven's cloistral calm.

                                                    Look up, my friend,
And bravely bear the mantle of her pain,
Which fell from her for you to wear for her!
Look up, my friend, and may one blessed glimpse
Of all her glory touch your tears with light!
Only in heaven can the dark grow starry,
Only in heaven comes the wished for dawn.
She liveth in the sight of Him that sees
You also; Ye are one still in God's eye
That from his picture of the Universe
Turns on us in whatever worlds we move.

 

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THE MAIDEN MARRIAGE.


SHE sat in her virgin bower
    Half sad with fancies sweet;
And wist not Love drew softly nigh,
    Till she nestled at his feet.
"Arise, arise, thou fair Maiden!
    And adieu, adieu, thou dear;
But meet me, meet me at the Kirk,
    In the May-time of the year."

Up in her face of holy grace
    The startled splendour broke;
Her smile was as a dream of Heaven
    Fulfilled whene'er she spoke.
She felt such bliss in her beauty,
    Such pleasure in her power,
To richly clothe her perfect love
    For a peerless marriage dower.

"Now kiss me, kiss me, Mother dear;
    He calls me, I must go!"
She went to the Kirk at tryste-time,
    In raiment like the snow.
But he who clasped her there was Death;
    And he hath led her where
No voice is heard, there is no breath
    Upon the frosty air.

 

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A POET.


A VAGRANT Wild Flower sown by God,
    Out in the waste was born;
It sprang up as a Corn-flower
    In the golden fields of Corn:
The Corn all strong and stately
    In its bearded bravery grew—
Gathered the gold for harvest—
    Grew ripe, in sun and dew;
And when it bowed the head,—as Wind
    And Shadow ran their race,
As influences from Heaven
    Come to Earth, for playing place,—
It seemed to look down on the Flower
    As in a smiling scorn,
Poor thing! you grow no grain for food.
    Or garner, said the Corn.

The bonny Flower felt lonely;
  Its look grew tearful sad,
Till came a smile of sunshine
  And its beauty grew so glad!
Ah, bonny Flower! it bloomed its best
  Contented with its place;
God's blessing fell upon it
  As it lookt up in his face.
And there they grew together
  Till the Reapers white-wing'd came—
All their Sickles shining!
  All their faces were a-flame;—
The Corn they reapt for earthly use,—
  But an Immortal fell in love
With that Wild Flower, and wore it
  At the Harvest-home above.

 

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LIFE AND DEATH.


THIS butterfly of human breath,
Is followed far and fast by Death;
Some flower of life it settled on
He clasps and crushes; but, 't is gone!

 

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POOR BIDDY.


Poor Biddy was peculiarly proud,
And often passed along the public road
Riding a Stick: she would have been a witch
In the old days, and wierdly filled her niche.

The mocking Bairns would cry, as she would stalk,
"Biddy, you might as well on two legs walk;"
And she would say, says she, the poor daftling!
"I might! but for the grandeur of the thing."

Alas, how many pitiful tricks we play
Like Biddy, in less Natural kind o' way:
And ride our stick, and have our foolish fling,
God help us! for the grandeur of the thing.

 

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WHEN CHRISTI COMES AGAIN.


WHEN the merry spring-tide
    Floods all the land,
Nature hath a Mother's heart—
    Gives with open hand.
Flowers running up the lane
    Tell us May is near;
Christie will be coming then,
    Christie will be here.
O, the merry spring-tide,
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Pure is her meek nature,
    Clear as morning dew;
We can see the Angel
    Almost shining through.
To Earth's sweetest blessing
    She the best from Heaven did bring;
Good Genius of our Love-lamp!
    Fine Spirit of the Ring!
O, the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

All our joys we'll tell her,
    But for her dear sake
Not a word of sorrow,
    Lest her little heart should ache.
She shall dance and swing and sing,
    Do as she likes best;
Only I must have her hand
    In ramble or in rest.
O, the merry spring-tide,
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

We'll romp in jewelled meadows,
    Hunt in dingles, cool with leaves,
Where all night the Nightingale
    Melodiously grieves.
In her cheek so tender
    The shy and dainty rose
Shall gaily come for kisses
    To every wind that blows:
O, the merry spring-tide,
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Hope will lay so many eggs
    In her little nest:
Doesn't your heart run over,
    Christie, in your breast?
Ours will run to meet you,
    Often ere you come;
Thinking how we'll greet you,
    Safe once more at home.
O, the merry spring-tide,
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Oh, the joy in our house,
    Hearts dancing wild;
Christie will be coming soon,
    She's our darling child.
Holy dew of heaven
    In each eyelid starts,
Feeling all her dearness,
    Darling of all hearts.
O, the merry spring-tide,
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Dreary was our winter;
  Come! and all the place
Shall breathe a summer sweetness,
  And wear a happy face.
There will be a sun-smile
  On stern, old Calliby,
Tender as the spring-gold
  On our old Oak-Tree!
O, the merry spring-tide
  We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
  When Christie comes again.

Jack, the Dog, will run before,
    First to reach the rail;
Jack, the Pony, whisk you home,
    With long trotting tail;
We have had our struggles, Dear!,
    But couldn't part with Jack,
We shall all be waiting
    To welcome Christie back.
O, the merry spring-tide,
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Then blow, you winds, and shake up
    The sleeping flower-beds!
Make the violets wake up,
    The Daisies lift their heads;
The Lilacs float in fragrance,
    Dim-purple, saintly-white,
And bring the bonny bairn to us,
    The flower of our delight.
O, the merry spring-tide,
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

 

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DOWN IN THE VILLAGE
________________


A LETTER IN BLACK.


A FLOATING on the fragrant flood
    Of summer,fuller hour by hour,
With all the  sweetness of the bud
    Crowned by the glory of the flower;
My spirits with the season flowed;
    The air was all a breathing balm;
The lake so softly sapphire glowed;
    The mountains lay in royal calm:

Green leaves were lusty; roses blushed
  For pleasure in the golden time;
The birds through all their feathers flushed
  For gladness of their marriage-prime:
Listless among the lilies I threw
  Me down, for coolness, 'mid the sheen:
Heaven, one large smile of brooding blue;
  Earth, one large smile of basking green.

A rich suspended shower of gold
  Laburnum o'er me hung its crown:
You look up heavenward and behold
  It glowing, coming in glory down!
There, as my thoughts of greenness grew
  To fruitage of a leafy dream,—
There, friend, your letter thrilled me through,
  And all the summer lost its gleam.

The world, so pleasant to the sight,
  So full of voices blithe and brave,
And all her lamps of beauty alight
  With life! I had forgot the Grave;
And there it opened at my feet,
  Revealing a familiar face
Upturned, my whitened look to meet,
  And very patient in its place.

My poor bereaven friend! I know
  Not how to word it, but would bring
A little solace for your woe,—
  A little love for comforting:
And yet the best that I can say
  Will only help to sum your loss;
I can but look and long, and pray
  God help my friend to bear his Cross.

I have felt something of your smart,
  And lost the dearest things e'er wound
In love about a human heart:
  I, too, have life-roots underground.
From out my soul hath leaped a cry
  For help! Nor God Himself could save:
And tears yet start that naught will dry
  Save Death's hand with the dust o' the grave.

God knows, and we may one day know,
  These hidden secrets of His love;
But now the stillness stuns us so;
  Darkly, as in a dream, we move.
The glad life-pulses come and go,
  Over our head and at our feet;
Soft airs are sighing something low;
  The flowers are saying something sweet;

And 'tis a merry world. The lark
  Is singing over the green corn;
Only the house and heart are dark,—
  Only the human world forlorn.
There, in the bridal-chamber, lies
  A dear bedfellow all in white;
That purple shadow under the eyes,
  Where star-fire swam in liquid night.

Sweet, slippery silver of her talk;
  The music of her laugh so dear,
Heard in home-ways, and wedded walk,
  For many and many a golden year;
The singing soul and shining face,
  Daisy-like glad by roughest road;
Gone! with a thousand dearnesses
  That hid themselves for us and glowed.

The waiting Angel, patient Wife,
  All through the battle at our side,
That smiled her sweetness on our strife
  For gain, and it was sanctified!
When waves of trouble beat breast-high
  And the heart sank, she poured a balm
That stilled them; and the saddest sky
  Made clear and starry with her calm.

And when the world with harvest ripe
  In all its golden fulness lay;
And God, it seemed, saw fit to wipe,
  Even on earth, all tears away;
The good true heart that bravely won,
  Must smile up in our face and fall;
And all our happy days are done,
  And this the end. And is this all?

The bloom of bliss, the secret glow,
  That clothed without, and inly curled,
All gone. We are left shivering now,
  Naked to the wide open world!
A shrivelled, withered world it is,
  So sad and miserably cold;
Where be its vaunted braveries?
  'Tis gray, and miserably old.

Our joy was all a drunken dream;
  This is the truth at waking! we
Are swept out rootless by the stream
  And current of calamity—
Out on some lone and shoreless sea
  Of solitude so vast and deep,
As 'twere the wrong Eternity,
  Where God is not, or gone to sleep.

It seems as though our darling dead,
  Startled at Death's so sudden call,
With falling hands and dear bowed head
  Had, like a flower-filled lap, let fall
A hoard of treasures we have found
  Too late! so slow doth wisdom come!
We for the first time look around
  Remembering this is not our Home.

My friend, I see you with your cup
  Of tears and trembling—see you sit;
And long to help you drink it up,
  With useless longings infinite!—
Sit rocking the old mournful thought,
  That on the heart's-blood will be nursed,
Unless the blessed tears be brought;
  Unless the cloudy sorrows burst.

The little ones are gone to rest,
  And for a while they will not miss
The Mother-wings above the nest;
  But through their slumber slides her kiss,
And, dreaming she has come, they start,
  And toss wild arms for her caress,
With moanings that must thrill a heart
  In heaven with divine distress.

And Sorrow on your threshold stands,
  The Dark Ladye in glooming pall:
I see her take you by the hands;
  I feel her shadow over all.
Hers is no warm and tender clasp;
  With silence solemn as the Night's,
And veilèd face, and spirit-grasp,
  She leads her Chosen up the heights:

The cloudy crags are cold and gray,
  You cannot scale them without scars:
So many Martyrs by the way,
  Who never reached her tower of stars;
But there her beauty shall be seen,
  Her glittering face so proudly pure;
And all her majesty of mien;
  And all her guerdon shall be sure.

Well. 'Tis not written, God will give
  To His Beloved only rest!
The hard life of the cross they live,
  They strive, and suffer, and are blest.
The feet must bleed to reach their throne,
  The brow must burn before it bear
One of the crowns that may be won,
  By workers for immortal wear.

Dear friend, life beats though buried 'neath
  A vast black vault of night! and see
There trembles through this dark of death,
  Starlight of immortality!
And yet shall dawn the eternal day
  To kiss the eyes of them that sleep;
And He shall wipe all tears away
  From tired eyes of them that weep.

'Tis something for the poor bereaven,
  In such a weary world of care,
To think that we have friends in heaven;
  Who helped us here, may aid us there.
These yearnings for them set our Arc
  Of being widening more and more,
In circling sweep through outer dark
  To day more perfect than before.

So much was left unsaid. The soul
  Must live in other worlds to be;
On earth we cannot grasp the whole,
  For that Love has eternity.
Love deep as death, and rich as rest;
  Love that was love with all Love's might;
Level to needs the lowliest!
  Cannot be less Love at full-height.

Though earthly forms be far apart,
  Spirit to spirit nestles nigher;
The music chords the same at heart,
  Though one voice range an octave higher.
Eyes watch us that we cannot see;
  Lips warn us which we may not kiss;
They wait for us, and starrily,
  Lean toward us from heaven's lattices.

We cannot see them face to face,
  But love is nearness; and they love
Us yet, nor change, with change of place,
  In more than human worlds above,
Where love, once leal, hath never ceased,
  And dear eyes never lose their shine,
And there shall be a marriage feast,
  That turns Earth's water to Heaven's Wine.

 

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FARMER FORREST'S OPINION OF THE
 BROAD-BOTTOMED MINISTRY.

1859.


NOW tell me you who wink, or blink, or think,
What good is a Broad bottom if we sink?

Not Whigs! not Tories! we want English souls
Where-thro' there yet reverberates and rolls
Some echo of old greatness; good stout hands
Must bear our Banner over seas and lands!
Our forms of freedom must not choke the breath,
The outer mail be forged for inner death!
There is a wild hour coming for us, when
We must all weather it as Englishmen.

We cannot leave the land for watch and ward
To those who know not what a gem they guard;
Who bind us helpless for the Bird of Blood
To swoop on; who would have this famous flood
Of English Freedom stagnate till it stink,
While reptiles wriggle in their slimy drink,
And frogs shall reign in darkness; croak all night
And call the Stars false Prophets of the light.

Our good ship may be driving on the rocks:
We want a Compass, and not Weather-Cocks!
We have had leaders who strode forward all
On fire to serve her at their Country's call;
They did not stoop, till blind, for place and pelf,
Their whole life burned a sacrifice of self!
They faced the Spirit of the Storm and Strife,
And with an upward smile laid down their life.

But now our leaders are the coward and cold;
The Gnomes whose daylight is a gleam of gold;
The Dwarfs who sun them in a Tyrant's smile;
The Peacemen who would set our dear green Isle
Spinning their Cotton till the judgment hour,
With Ocean turning round for water-power.
These pander to this Plunderer of the night;
Confused their little sense of Wrong and Right!
And they would bow our England's dear head down
Trustfully in his lap to leave her crown!
See her sit weeping where her brave lie dead;
Blood on her raiment, ashes on her head.

A Palmerston now crawls were Cromwell stood;
A Tyrant's Parasite, that licks the blood
From his red hand, an old eternal stain!
And takes, for Glory's sign, that brand of Cain!
He is an Eve in innocence we know,
But leans and listens to the Serpent so,
We are no safer although well we weet
The fruit of knowledge He will never eat.

In Milton's patriot seat sits little John,
Who to the muzzle loads his monster gun,
And fires in air if it goes off at all,
To find his own lead on his own head fall,
If he have any, for, since he who bled
Upon a Tyrant's block once lost his head,
To keep up the tradition Lord John is
Determined to be always losing his.

And Gladstone aims at nothing, sure to hit,
Or splits fine hairs till he have none to split.
Who rides out from the ranks for challenge, he
May toss the Sword and catch it gracefully,
But must be able, when the onsets come,
To drive with slaying hand his hilt heart-home.
He is a Seer, but so many-eyed,
He sees so many ways, from many a side,
His eyes like horses in the old punishment
Whereby all ways at once the doomed was rent,
Draw to divide him, follow if he dare,
He is to pieces pulled by either pair.

These be our Leaders now. Napoleon's Pal,
Is head of England's power, and crowning all,
To cool the blood, and soothe all sin to rest,
The great castrated Quaker Interest
Stands Eunuch at the Privy Chamber.

                                                                           Wake
My England! these thy sword and shield? they make
A Ministry broad-bottomed without doubt,
For better target when you kick them out.

 

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MY BONNY LADY.


Eve gave us her fair Daughters to restore
The Eden that their Mother lost of yore;
They lead us thro' the Angel-guarded door,
And where they smile it blooms for evermore.
But dearest of Eve's Daughters dear is she
Who makes an Eden in my Home for me;
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

No seeming beauty perilous to know,
Like dream of ripeness on the sour sloe,
But sweet to the true heart as summer fruit,
And sound and strong to love's most secret root;
A soul made human by its kindling life!
A woman ripened to the perfect Wife!
                                                      My Bonny Lady.

She grows in graces as the flowers bloom;
Her robe of beauty woven in Heaven's loom!
She wears her jewels in her lips and eyes:
Diamond sparks! warm rubies! pearls of price!
And see what shapely sweetness may be shown,
Bright budding from a simple morning gown!
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

Upon her dear brow is no band of care
That binds the heavy burden souls must bear;
The dew of childhood's Heaven yet lingering lies
Cool in the shadows of her morning eyes;
So may some spirit in its brightness wait
With welcome at the beautiful heaven gate.
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

Eyelids once lifted with the kiss of Love,
Droop tender after as the brooding dove!
Lips, when the soul of joy is tasted, will
Hush its loud sound of laughter, and be still.
Yet is she happy as the lark that sings,
Winnowing out the music with his wings;
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

Lo, how she bows with soft and settled bliss,
Over her babe in breathless tenderness!
Her image that my Lily bends above,
To mingle One in my heart's sea of Love!
Thus hath she doubled love and Love's caress,
With doubled blessing, doubled power to bless.
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

Her smile the sum of sweetness infinite!
Her neck a throne where many graces sit!
Like music of the soul her motion is,
But none can know the inner sanctities;
Outside they stand in wonder, I alone
Pass in to worship at the spirit-throne.
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

Behold her in religious lustre stand,
Clothed all in white and fit for spirit-land!
Her thankful eyes uplift for angel food;
And you might worship her, so pure, so good;
For all shy beauty, all sweet shadowy grace,
Breaks into brightness through my Lady's face;
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

I think of her, and mine eyes softly close
While all my heart with sweetness overflows;
Each breath it breathes in blessing sets astir
Some gracious balm, and sweet as hidden myrrh.
My Rest while toiling up the hill of life!
A Halfway House to Heaven! my noble Wife!
                                                       My Bonny Lady.

 

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ON A WEDDING DAY.


Thus, hand in hand, and heart in heart,
    Face nestling unto face,
Forgotten things like Spirits start
    From many a hiding-place!
There is no sound of Babe or Bird,
    And all the stillness seems
Sweet as the music only heard
    Adown the land of dreams.

And if, because it is so proud,
    My heart will find a voice,
And in its dear dream love aloud,
    And speak of sweet still joys,
It is no genuine gift of God,
    But only goblin gold,
That withers into dead leaves, should
    The secret tale be told.

Nine years ago you came to me,
    And nestled on my breast,
A soft and wingèd mystery
    That settled here to rest;
And my heart rockt its Babe of bliss,
    And soothed its child of air,
With something 'twixt a song and kiss,
    To keep it nestling there.

At first I thought the fairy form
    Too spirit-soft and good
To fill my poor, low nest with warm
    And wifely womanhood.
But such a cozy peep of home
    Did your dear eyes unfold;
And in their deep and dewy gloom
    What tales of love were told!

In dreamy curves your beauty droopt,
    As tendrils lean to twine,
And very graciously they stoopt
    To bear their fruit, my Vine!
To bear such blessed fruit of love
    As tenderly increased
Among the ripe vine-branches of
    Your balmy-breathing breast.

We cannot boast to have bickered not
    Since you and I were wed;
We have not lived the smoothest lot,
    Nor made the downiest bed!
Time has not passed o'er-head in stars,
    And underfoot in flowers,
With wings that slept on fragrant airs
    Thro' all the happy hours.

It is our way, more fate than fault,
    Love's cloudy fire to clear;
To find some virtue in the salt
    That sparkles in a tear!
Pray God it all come right at last,
    Pray God it so befall,
That when our day of life is past
    The end may crown it all.

Ah, Dear! tho' lives may pull apart
    Down to the roots of love,
One thought will bend us heart to heart,
    Till lips re-wed above!
One thought the knees of pride will bow
    Down to the grave-yard sod;
You are the Mother of Angels now!
    We have two babes with God.

Cling closer, closer, for their loss,
    About our darlings left,
And let their memories grow like moss
    That healeth rent and rift;—
For his dear sake, our Soldier Boy,
    For whom we nightly plead
That he may live for God, and die
   For England in her need;

For her, who like a dancing boat
    Leaps o'er life's solemn waves,
Our little Lightheart who can float
    And frolic over graves;
And Grace, who making music goes,
    As in some shady place
A brooklet, prattling to the boughs,
    Looks up with its bright face.

Cling closer, closer, life to life,
    Cling closer, heart to heart;
The time will come, my own wed Wife,
    When you and I must part!
Let nothing break our band but Death,
    For in the worlds above
'Tis the breaker Death that soldereth
    Our ring of Wedded Love.

 

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MARRIAGE.


Two human Stars in passing are
    Attracted as thro' Heaven they float;
Sometimes they form a double Star,
    Sometimes they put each other out:
And sometimes one and one make three,
Our World's most perfect trinity.

 

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UNDER THE MISLETOE.


'T was on a merry Christmas night,
    A many years ago,
I saw my Love, with dancing sight,
    As she came over the snow.
The Elvish Holly laught above;
    A sweeter red below!
When first I met with my true love,
    Under the Misletoe Bough.

Bright-headed as the merry May Dawn
    She floated down the dance:
I thought some angel must have gone
    Our human way by chance.
I held my hands, and caught my bliss,
    Children, I 'll show you how!
And Earth toucht Heaven in a kiss,
    Under the Misletoe Bough.

Ere leaves were green we built our nest,
    The March winds whistled wild;
But in our love we were so blest
    Old Poverty he smiled.
And Love the heart of Winter warmed;
    Love blossomed 'neath the snow;
All fairyland in blessings swarmed,
    Under the Misletoe Bough.

The storms of years have beat our Bark,
    That rocks at anchor now;
But She was smiling thro' the dark,
    My Angel at the prow.
And brimming tides of love did bear
    Us over the rocks below!
To-night, all safe in harbour here,
    Under the Misletoe Bough.

May you, Boys, win just such a Wife;
    Come drink the toast in wine!
And you, Girls, may you light a life
    As she hath brightened mine.
Dear was the bonny Bride, and yet
    I 'm prouder of her now
Than on the merry, merry night we met,
    Under the Misletoe Bough.

 

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A VILLAGE COURTING.


O SHY and simple Village Girl,
    With daisy-drooping eyes;
Like light asleep within the pearl,
    Love in your young life lies.
A hundred times in meadow and lane
    With careless hearts we walkt;
But we shall never meet again,
    And talk as we have talkt.
All in a moment life was crost,
    In a fairy spell I'm bound;
Yet fear to tell you what I've lost,
    Or know what I have found.

When last I met you, tearful-meek
    The emerald gloaming came;
Some veil fell from you, in your cheek
    The live rose was aflame!
So distant and so dear you grew,
    More near, yet more estranged,
And at your parting touch I knew
    How all the world was changed.
All in a moment life was crost,
    In a fairy spell I'm bound;
Yet fear to tell you what I've lost,
    Or know what I have found.

Your fairness haunts me all night long,
    I walk in a dream by day;
My silent heart breaks into song,
    And the prayerless kneels to pray.
Ten times a day the hot tears start,
    For very pride of you:
Would God you were safe at home in
        my heart,
    To rest the rough world through.
All in a moment life was crost,
      In a fairy spell I'm bound;
Yet fear to tell you what I've lost,
      Or know what I have found.

My heart!   She comes by lane and stile,
    With glances shy and sweet;
Making the sunlight with her smile,
    And music with her feet.
Ah! could I clasp her in mine arm
    Until she named the hour
When life should move from charm to
        charm,
    And love from flower to flower!
All in a moment life was crost,
    In a fairy spell I'm bound;
Yet fear to tell her what I've lost,
    Or know what I have found.

 

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MY LOVE.


MY Love is true and tender,
    Her eyes are rich with rest;
Her hair of dappled splendour,
    The colour I love best;
So sweet, so gay, so odorous warm,
    She nestles here, heart-high;
A bounteous aspect, beauteous form,
    But—just a wee bit sly.

My love is no light Dreamer,
    A-floating with the foam;
But a brave life-sea swimmer,
    With footing found in Home.
My winsome Wife, she's bright without,
    And beautiful within;
But—I would not say quite without
    The least wee touch of sin.

My Love is not an Angel
    In one or two small things;
But just a wifely woman
    With other wants than wings.
You have some little leaven
    Of earth, you darling dear!
If you were fit for Heaven,
    You might not nestle here.

 

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AT EVENTIDE.


I SIT beneath my shadowing Palm,
    All in the green o' the day at rest:
And pictured in a sea of calm,
    The Past arises in my breast.
The winter world takes leafy wing
    In that sweet April tide of ours;
And hidden Love lies listening,
    Where nodding smile the bridal flowers.

I sing, and shut mine eyes and dream
    I hear her singing, my young Bride!
Who on a-sudden from Life's stream
    Rose Swan-like swimming at my side.
God love her! she was very fair,
    And in her eyes, to light my way,
The Love-Star sprang and sparkled where
    The hidden Babe of Blessing lay.

With healing as of summer showers
    That only nestle down to bless:
And silent ministry of flowers,
    That only breathe their tenderness;
She, softly as a starry scheme,
    My charmèd world hath circled round,
Till life doth seem a pleasant dream
    The victor dreameth sitting crowned.

Gone is the sunshine from her hair,
    That made her beauty needless bright,
To tint a many clouds of care,
    And make my tears to smile with light.
But so she lives that when the wind
    Of winter shreds the leaves, dear Wife!
Seed ripe for Heaven Death may find
    On the poor withered stem of life.



THE END.


T. RICHARDS, 37 GREAT QUEEN STREET.

 



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