Gerald Massey: My Lyrical Life XI.

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THE MOTHER'S IDOL BROKEN.


Tenderly did he usher us within
The holy of holies of a Father's heart,
Where gloomed the first great sorrow still and stern—
The dark, unfeatured Guest—now fading slow
In hallowed, healing light.
                                                        Ah, few there be
But miss some sweetest thing Earth lifted up
In her old arms to take Heaven's blessing—pure
As white foam-spirit flashing to the Moon,
And gone as quickly from our mortal night.



THE MOTHER'S IDOL BROKEN.
 
I.


TWICE the Mother had divèd down
    Into her sea of sorrow;
O my love! O my life! my own sweet Wife!
    God send you a merry good-morrow.
Betide her weal, or betide her woe,
    Her smile it was calm and fearless;
And proud were her eyes as she rose with the
        prize,
    A pearl in her palms! my Peerless!

O found you a little Sea-Syren,
    In some perilous palace left?
Or is it a little Child-Angel,
    Of her high-born kin bereft?
Or came she out of the Elfin-land,
    By earthly love beguiled?
Or hath the sweet Spirit of Beauty
    Taken shape as our starry Child?

Dear, do but look in her love-nest of sweets,
Where she lies in a smiling calm:
Wee armful of fruitage; a sheaf of ripe bliss;
On a bosom breathing balm.
Pure as the drop of dew, pride of the morn,
On leaves of a lily in blossom;
Fresh as the fragrance newly born
In a violet's virgin bosom!

 
II.


GOD'S Butterfly drawn to the flower of our love!
    It seemeth the beautiful thing,
At the first surmise of the heaven she hath left,
    For the Winterless World may wing.
So we fold her about with our love as 'twere
        heaven,
    Around her weave many a wile;
And our hearts up-leap, living fountains of joy,
    In the golden dream of her smile.

 
III.


ON my ripely rounding Rose-tree,
    Dreaming of life are three flowers:
One pusheth up her ruby-rose-cup,
    For the rain of God's quickening showers.
With a magical burst of beauty, one glows
    Dewily-dear in the sheen of love;
And one pretty Softling, our baby-bud-rose,
    Lies tenderly shut in the green of love.

 
IV.


O FAIR befall my dainty flowers,
    Summering on their stem;
Smiling up to the crowning Rose,
    As she smileth down upon them.
Smiling up to their Queen in her beauty,
    That smiles on each bonny breast-gem:
Blossoming, brimming with love for her
    Who leans ruddy with love over them!
O fair befall my dainty flowers,
    Summering on their stem!
And O the armful of rich love,
    My fragrant human posies!
Smile on them all, sweet Heaven,
    And kiss my darling Roses.

 
V.


THERE be three little Maidens; three loving
        Maidens;
    Three bonny Maidens mine;
Three precious jewels are set in Life's crown,
    On prayer-lifted brows to shine.
Six starry eyes, all love-luminous,
    Look out of our heaven so tender;
Since the Honey-moon, glowing and glorious,
    Arose in its ripening splendour.

There's Lilybell, Duchess of Wonderland,
    With dance of life, dimples and curls;
Whose bud of a mouth will burst into flower
    A-smile with the wanton white pearls:
And Sweetcheek, our rosily-goldening peach
    On the sunniest side o' the wall,
But Marian's Mother's darling,
    Marian's Idol of all.

 
VI.


LIKE the merry voice-bird that sings on
        the bough,
    I sing, O my woman Dove,
To a nest I know in the leaves below,
    Full of eyes alive with love.
Two of our little Birds wander on wings,
    One can but flutter and fall;
Sing, Marian Mother's wee darling,
    Marian's Idol of all.

 
VII.


PARENTS of Children three;
Two of them ruddy with glee;
One your White Child, your Pearl!
Do you feel as I feel with my Girl?
For I peer in her tender face,
And I fear that its light of grace
Is too still and too starry a birth
For our noisy, dim dwellings of Earth.
She looks like a Changeling child
Of the heavens—too lustrous, too mild
For us.   Other Roses are blowing
While ours seems upfolding and going,—
Dreamily happy in going.
Yet on it more soft is the thorn
Than the tiniest little snail's horn,
And golden at heart is the Morn
Of a day that will never be born.

Just a spirit of light is my Girl,
Seen through a body of pearl;
A spirit of life that will fleet
Away, more on wings than on feet.
Her cheek is so waxenly thin,
As if deathward 'twere dimpling in,
And the cloud of her flesh, still more white
Were clearing till soul is in sight.
She leans as the wind-flowers stoop;
All their loveliness seen as they droop!
Her eyes have the sweet native hue
Of the heaven they are melting into,
Blue as the Violets above
The grave of some tender babe-love
That back to us wistfully bring
The buried blue eyes with the Spring.
Her large eyes too liquidly glister!
Her mouth is too red.
                                        Have they kissed her—
The Angels that bend down to pull
Our buds of the Beautiful,
And whispered their own little Sister?

O Parents of children three!
Two of them bright of blee;
One, your White Child, your Pearl!
Do you feel as I feel with my Girl?
For I think I could give half her wealth
Of heaven for a little more health:
The halo of Saints for the simple
Blithe graces that dip in a dimple!
Nay, I feel in my heart I could revel
To see but a wee dash of devil;
A touch of the old Adam in her;
A glimpse of his fair fellow-sinner;
Any likeness of earth that would give
Me a promise my Darling should live.
I feel I could pray—"O my Maker,
Take me too, if Thou must take her."

 
VIII.


ALL in our Marriage Garden
Grew, smiling up to God,
A bonnier Flower than ever
Sucked the warmth of sun and sod.
O beautiful unfathomably
Its little life unfurled;
Love's crowning sweetness was
        our wee
White Rose of all the world.

From out a balmy bosom,
Our Bud of Beauty grew;
It fed on smiles for sunshine,
And tears for daintier dew.
Aye nestling warm and tenderly,
Our leaves of love were curled
So close and close about our wee
White Rose of all the world.

Two flowers of glorious crimson
Grew with our Rose of light;
Still kept the sweet heaven-grafted slip
Her whiteness saintly white.
They caught the breeze and danced
        with glee;
They reddened as it whirled;
White, white and wondrous grew
        our wee
White Rose of all the world.

With mystical faint fragrance,
Our House of Life she filled—
Revealed each hour some Fairy Tower,
Where wingèd Hopes might build.
We saw—though none like us might see—
Such precious promise pearled
Upon the petals of our wee
White Rose of all the world.

But evermore the halo
Of Angel-light increased;
Like the mystery of Moonlight,
That folds some fairy feast.
Snow-white, snow-soft, snow-silently,
Our darling bud up-curled,
And dropped i' the Grave-God's lap—
       our wee
White Rose of all the world.

Our Rose was but in blossom;
Our life was but in spring;
When down the solemn midnight
We heard the Spirits sing:
"Another bud of infancy, 
With holy dews impearled
;" 
And in their hands they bore our wee
White Rose of all the world.

You scarce could think so small a thing
Would leave a loss so large;
Her little light such shadow fling,
From Dawn to Sunset's marge.
In other Springs our life may be
In other flowers unfurled;
But never, never match our wee
White Rose of all the world.

 
IX.


THIS is a curl of little Marian's hair!
A ring of sinless gold that weds two worlds!
Our one thing left with her dear life in it.
Poor Misers! o'er it secretly we sum
Our little savings hoarded up above,—
Our rich love-thoughts heart-hid to doat upon,—
And glimpse our lost heaven in a flood of tears.
A magic ring, through which fond Sorrow reads
Of strange heart-histories, and conjures up
A vanished face, with its sweet spirit-smiles,
Babe-wonderings, and little tender ways.
At birth her hair was dark as it were dipped
In the death-shadow; but it rarefied
In radiance as her head rose nigher heaven,
Till she—white Glory!—looked from a golden
        midst.
This is her still face as she lay in death!
Spirit-like face, set in a silver cloud,
It comes to us in silent glooms of night;
The wee wan face that gradually withdrew
And darkened into the great cloud of death.

O ye who say, "We have a Child in heaven;"
And know how far away that heaven may seem;
Who have felt the desolate isolation sharp
Defined in Death's own face; who have stood
        beside
The Silent River, and stretched out pleading hands
For some sweet Babe upon the other bank,
That went forth where no human hand might lead,
And left the shut house with no light, no sound,
No answer, when the Mourners wail without!
What we have known, ye know, ye only know.

She came like April, who with tender grace
Smiles in Earth's face, and sets upon her breast
The bud of all her glory yet to come,
Then bursts in tears, and takes her sorrowful leave.
She brought heaven to us just within the space
Of the dear depths of her large, dream-like eyes,
Then o'er the vista fell the death-veil dark.
She only caught three words of human speech:
One for her Mother, one for me, and one
She crowed with, for the fields, and open air.
That last she sighed with a sharp farewell pathos
A minute ere she left the house of life,
To come for kisses never any more.

Pale Blossom! how she leaned in love to us!
And how we feared a hand might reach from
        heaven
To pluck our sweetest flower, our loftiest flower
Of life, that sprang from lowliest root of love!
Some tender trouble in her eyes complained
Of Life's rude stream, as meek Forget-me-nots
Make sweet appeal when winds and waters fret.
And oft she looked beyond Us with sad eyes,
As for the coming of the Unseen Hand.
We saw, but feared to speak of, her strange beauty,
As some hushed Bird that dares not sing i'the night,
Lest lurking foe should find its secret place,
And seize it through the dark. With twin-love's
        strength
All crowded in the softest nestling-touch,
We fenced her round—exchanging silent looks.
We went about the house with listening hearts,
That kept the watch for Danger's stealthiest step,
Our spirits felt the Shadow ere it fell.

Then the Physician left our door ajar
A moment, and the grim thief Death stole in.
Some Angel passing o'er Life's troubled sea,
Had seen our Jewel shine celestial pure,
And Death must win it for her bosom-pearl.
We stood at Midnight in the Presence dread.
At midnight, when Men die, we strove with Death,
To wrench our jewel from his grasping hand.
Ere the soul loosed from its last ledge of life,
Her little face peered round with anxious eyes,
Then, seeing all the old faces, dropped content.

The mystery dilated in her look,
Which, on the darkening death-ground, faintly
        caught
Some likeness of the Angel shining near.
Her passing soul flashed back a glimpse of bliss.
She was a Child no more, but strong and stern
As a mailed Knight that had been grappling Death.
A crown of conquest bound her baby-brow;
Her little hands could take the heirdom larg;
And all her Childhood's vagrant royalty
Sat staid and calm in some eternal throne.
Love's kiss is sweet, but Death's doth make
        immortal.

The Mornings came, with all their glory on;
Birds, brooks, and bees were singing in the sun,
Earth's blithe heart breathing bloom into her face,
The flowers all crowding up like Memories
Of lovelier life in some forgotten world,
Or dreams of peace and beauty yet to come.
The soft south-breezes rocked the baby-buds
In fondling arms upon a balmy breast;
And all was gay as universal life
Swam down the stream that glads the City of God.

But we lay dark where Death had struck us down
With that stern blow which made us bleed within,
And bow while the Inevitable went by.

And there our little one lay in coffined calm;
Beyond the breakers and the moaning now!
And o'er her flowed the white, eternal peace:
All dim the living lustres motion makes!
No life-dew in the sweet cups of her eyes!
The breathing miracle into silence passed:
Never to stretch wee hands, with her dear smile
As soft as light-fall on unfolding flowers;
Never to wake us crying in the night:
Our little hindering thing for ever gone,
We might toil on in tearful quiet now.

A young Immortal came to us disguised,
And in the joy-dance dropped her mask, and fled.
Nought there of our wee darling save the mask.

The world went lightly by and heeded not
Our death-white windows blinded to the sun;
The hearts that ached within; the measureless loss;
The Idol broken; our first tryst with Death.
O Life, how strange thy face behind the veil!
And stranger yet will thy strange mystery look,
When we awake in death and tell our Dream.
'Tis hard to solve the secret of the Sphinx!
We had a little gold Love garnered up,
To richly robe our Babe: the Mother's half
Was turned to mourning-raiment for her dead:
Mine bought the first land we called ours—Her
        grave.
We were as treasure-seekers in the earth,
When lo, a death's-head on a sudden stares.

Clad all in her babe-beauty forth she went;
Her budding spring of life in tiny leaf;
Her faint dawn whitened in the perfect day.
Our early wede awa' went back to God,
Bearing her life-scroll folded, without stain,
And only three words written on it—two
Our names!   Ah, may they plead for us in heaven!

 
X.


            VERY softly hold the Rose,
            On thy happy breast that blows!
Thus from out my heart there sprang a flower of
                tender pride.
            All too wild my passion burned:
            For the cooling dews it yearned:
In my hot hands drooped my gentle flower and
                died.

            Be thy glory meekly worn:
            Fairest fruit is lowliest borne:
Mine grew high as Life could climb, and arms
                could reach above.
            O, so proudly heaved my breast;
            All the world should see how blest;
And the seeing Heavens took my lifted love.

 
XI.


THERE is her nest where balmily smiled
    Our Babe, as we leaned above;
There she asked with her face for the tenderest
        place
    In all our world of love.
Very silent and empty now! yet we feel
    It rock; and a tiny footfall
Comes over the floor in the thrilling night-hush,
    And our hearts leap up for the call
Of our puir wee lammie dead and gone;
Our bonnie wee lammie dead and gone.

Last night, with hands to cracking clasped
    In the furnace-fire of my heart,
Sitting, I saw the dead world
    All into spirit-life start
At the mystic touch of the white Moonlight.
    My spirit arose likewise,
And wandered away to the Graveyard,
    Where, a jewel in Death's hand, lies
Our puir wee lammie dead and gone;
Our bonnie wee lammie dead and gone.

Slowly, slowly uprose the dead,
    All in their robes of white!
Weirdly, weirdly uprose the dead,
    All in the silent night!
Like lilies for God, from the dark grave-bed,
    They grew in a glory-rain;
And the crownèd Darling of Heaven, at the head
    Of all that glorified train,
Was our puir wee lammie dead and gone;
Our bonnie wee lammie dead and gone.

In my dream I stood at the death-door dark,
    Alone and tremblingly,
Till a Shining One came in a crescent bark,
    Moonlike, o'er a purple sea.
She smiled to say that she knew the way,
    And at some secret sign,
A memory of the old life stirred,
    And I knew that Angel mine!
Our puir wee lammie dead and gone;
Our bonnie wee lammie dead and gone.

 
XII.


WITHIN a mile of Edinburgh Town
We laid our little darling down;
Our first seed in God's acre sown!

So sweet a place! Death looked beguiled
Of half his gloom; or softly smiled
To win our wondrous spirit-child.

God giveth His Beloved sleep
So calm, within its silence deep,
As Angel-guards the watch might keep.

The City looketh solemn and sweet;
It bares a gentle brow, to greet
The Mourners mourning at its feet.

The sea of human life breaks round
This shore o' the dead, with softened sound:
Wild-flowers climb each mossy mound

To place in resting hands their palm,
And breathe their beauty, bloom, and balm;
Folding the dead in fragrant calm.

A lighter shadow Grief might wear;
And old Heartache come gather there
The peace that falleth after prayer.

Poor heart, that danced among the vines
All reeling-ripe with sweet love-wines,
Thou walk'st with Death among the pines!

Lorn Mother, at the dark grave-door,
She kneeleth, pleading o'er and o'er,
But it is shut for evermore.

Blind, blind! She feels, but cannot read
Aright; then leans as she would feed
The dear dead lips that never heed.

The spirit of life may leap above,
But in that grave her prisoned Dove
Lies, cold to th' warm embrace of love,

And dark, though all the world is bright;
And lonely, with a City in sight;
And desolate in the rainy night.

Ah, God! when in the glad life-cup
The face of Death swims darkly up;
The crowning flower is sure to droop!

And so we laid our Darling down,
When Summer's face grew ripely brown,
And still, though grief hath milder grown,

Unto the Stranger's land we cleave,
Like some poor Birds that grieve and grieve,
Round the robbed nest, and cannot leave.

 
XIII.


AH, the sweet Dream, the singing Dream, that
        sang
We knew not what, so sweet the melody!
Made dim woe glimmer golden while we slept;
And when we woke the lulling Dream was gone.

We who had glowed like Angels in the sun,
With life so lighted by her loveliness:
We let her down into the drowning gloom,
Sailing the awful Sea in our World-bark.

God's messenger of death seems blindly stern:
And 'tis so hard to leave a little babe
Within the Grave's cold arms, alone! while Sorrow
Comes Home and chills the nest her sweet life
        warmed.

So little to the world! but what a world
Of difference in our little world of home!
This Stillness where the sweet Bird chirped to us;
This good-night-parting, this morn-greeting loss.

And yet perchance the kind dark-Angel drew
Her in the secret shadow of his cloud,
Out of our warm and golden air, to hide
Her from some fearful Fate far-hurrying up?

 
XIV.


TO-DAY, when winds of Winter blow,
And Nature sits in dream of snow,
With Ugolino-look of woe:

Wife from the window came to me,
Now leaves were fallen she could see
That wee grave in the Cemet'ry.

With wintriness all life did ache
For that dead darling's sainted sake;
And lips might kiss, but hearts would quake.

Ho, ye who pass her narrow house,
By which the dark Leith sea-ward flows;
O clasp your pretty nurslings close;

And if some tender bud of light
Is drooping, as the snowdrop white,
With looks that weird wild heart strings smite

Think of our babe that will not wake,
And fold your own till fond hearts ache,
Sweet souls, for little Marian's sake.

 
XV.


                O HAPPY Tree;
                Green and fragrant Tree;
Spring with budding jewels decked it like a Bride!
                All so fair it bloomed,
                And the summer air perfumed;
Golden autumn fruitage smiled in crowns of pride.

                O human tree;
                Waesome wailing tree;
In the winter wind how it rocks! how it grieves!
                On a little low grave-mound,
                All its bravery lies discrowned:
O'er its fallen fruit it heaps the withered leaves.

 
XVI.


"PRETTY flowers on Baby's head; 
Who'll cry flowers when Baby's dead?

Singing hearts oft questionèd,
In the sweetest Summer fled.
                                                Marian, Marian.

Tearful words, how lightly said!
Mournfully rememberèd,
Now the sweet New Year doth spread
Blossom-life on Baby's bed.
                                                Marian, Marian.

Tender emerald, white and red,
Flowers of her beauty bred:
Breathing all of her that's dead,
Cry, "We crown her Baby-head!"
                                                Marian, Marian.

"Who'll cry flowers when Baby's dead?
Praying looks to heaven are led,
And it smiles as though it said,
"Early her sweet fame hither sped." 
                                                Marian, Marian.

"Faith, look up and firmly tread: 
Poor Bereaved, be comforted;
I will nurse the Child instead;
My Flowers garland Baby's head
.' 
                                                Marian, Marian.

God's unguessed reply is read:
Tears that came not, tears that pled
Crying darkly, here are shed:
Soft rest you, Darling! dead
                                                Marian, Marian.

 
XVII.


OUR leaves are shaken from the Tree,
    Our hopes laid low,
That after our Spring-nurslings, we
    May long to go.

The warm love-nest our little Doves leave
    With helpless moan,
As they for us at heart would grieve
    In heaven—alone!

The tender Shepherd beckoningly
    Our Lambs doth hold,
That we may take our own when He
    Makes up the fold.

 
XVIII.


WITH seeking hearts we still grope on,
    Where dropped 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!

In all our heart-ache we are drawn,
    Unweeting, to your little grave;
There, on your heavenly shores of dawn,
    Breaks gentlier Sorrow's sobbing wave:
    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,—
    Outside the gate we stand in tears.
    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 azure peep 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.
    Our 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.
    Our little Child with radiant eyes!

 
XIX.


COME hither, Friends! Come hither, Friends!
So great the joy our Father sends,
            I want to share with you.
For He hath made the blind receive
New sight! Come, help me to believe
            The miracle is true!

"O what the joy? and whence the beam 
That lights your look as with the gleam 
            Of waters in the waste?

Come kneel by me on bended knee;
Ye must stoop low if ye would see,—
            Lower, if ye would taste!

Sweet Friends, ye know the little grave
To which my heart would crawl and crave,
As 'twere a worm o' the dust?
            I writhed so low, it rose so high,
The mound that shut out all my sky;
            So broken was my trust.

This morn I sought it! hardly one
Of all my unshed tears would run;
            Instead—from out the sod—
A spring had gushed through dust and weeds!
And in the light of God it feeds
            My life, direct from God.

 
XX.


SPRING comes with violet eyes unveiled,
    Her fragrant lips apart!
And Earth smiles up as though she held
    Most honeyed thoughts at heart.
But nevermore will Spring arise
Dancing in sparkles of her eyes.

A gracious wind low-breathing comes
    As from the fields of God;
The old lost Eden newly blooms
    From out the sunny sod.
My buried joy stirs with the earth,
And tries to sun its sweetness forth.

The Trees move in their slumbering,
    Dreaming of one that's near!
Put out their feelers for the Spring,
    To wake, and find her here!
My spirit on the threshold stands,
And stretches out its waiting hands;

Then goeth from me in a stream
    Of yearning; wave on wave
Slides through the stillness of a dream,
    To little Marian's grave:
For all the miracle of Spring
My long lost Child will never bring.

Where blooms the golden crocus-burst,
    And Winter's tenderling,
There lies our little Snowdrop,—first
    Of Flowers in our love's spring!
How all the year's young beauties blow
About her there, I know, I know.

The Blackbird with his warble wet,
    The Thrush with reedy thrill,
Open their hearts to Heav'n, and let
    The influence have its will!
Though all around the Spring hath smiled,
She seems to have kissed where lies my child.

In purple shadow and golden shine
    Old Arthur's Seat is crowned;
Like shapes of Silence crystalline
    The great white clouds sail round!
The Dead at rest the long day through
Lie calm against the pictured blue.

At shut of Eve the stars may peep,
    But still there comes no night;
Only the Day hath fallen asleep,
    And smiles in dreams of light:
As though she felt the heart of Love
Beat on in silent stars above.

O Marian, my maid Marian,
    So strange it seems to me!
That you, the Household's darling one,
    So soon should cease to be.
Ah, was it that our praying breath
Might kindle heavenward fires of faith?

So much forgiven for your sake
    When bitter words were said,
And little arms about the neck
    With blessings bowed the head!
So happy as we might have been,
Our hearts more close with you between.

Dear early Dew-drop! such a gleam
    Of sun from heaven you drew,
We little thought that smiling beam
    Would drink the precious dew!
But back to heaven our dew was kissed,
We saw it pass in mournful mist.

Our lowly home was lofty-crowned
    With three sweet budding girls!
Our Marriage-ring was wreathen round
    With darling wee love-pearls!
One jewel from the ring is gone,
One fills a grave in Warriston.

We bore her beauty in our breast,
    As heaven bears the Dawn,
We brooded over her dear nest,
    Still close and closer drawn.
Hearts thrilled and listened, watched and throbbed,
And strayed not,—yet the nest was robbed.

"Stay yet a little while, Beloved!
    In vain our prayerful breath:
Across heaven's lighted window moved
    The shadow of black Death.
In vain our hands were stretched to save;
There closed the gateways of the Grave!

Could my death-vision have darkened up
    In her sweet face, my child;
I scarce should see the bitter cup
    I could have drunk and smiled:
Blessing her with my last-wrung breath,
Dear Angel in my dream of death.

Her memory is like music we
    Have heard some singer sing,
That thrills life through, and echoingly
    Our hearts forever ring;
We try it o'er and o'er again,
But ne'er recall that wondrous strain.

My proud heart like a river runs,
    Lying awake o' nights;
I see her with the shining Ones
    Upon the shining heights.
And a wee Angel-face will peep
Down starlike through the veil of sleep.

My yearnings try to get them wings
    And float me up afar,
As in the Dawn the Skylark springs
    To reach some distant Star
That all night long swam down to him
In brightness, but at morn grew dim.

She is a spirit of light that leavens
    The darkness where we wait;
And starlike opens in the heavens
    A little golden gate!
O may we wake and find her near
When work and sleep are over here!

No sweetness to this world of ours
    Is without purpose given,
The fragrance that goes up from flowers
    May be their seed in Heaven.
We saw Heaven in her face, may we
Her future face in Heaven see.

In some far spring of brighter bloom,
    More life, and ampler breath,
My bud hath burst the folding gloom,
    A-flower from dusty death!
We wonder will she be much grown?
And how will her new name be known?

I saw her ribboned robe this morn,
    Mine own lost little child;
Wee shoes her tiny feet had worn,
    And then my heart grew wild.
We only trust ourselves to peep
In on them when we want to weep.

But hearts will break or eyes must weep,
    And so we bend above
These treasures of old days that keep
    The fragrance of young love.
The harvest-field though reaped and bare
Still hath two patient gleaners there.

I never think of her sweet eyes
    In dusky death now dim,
But waters of my heart will rise,
    And there they smile and swim,
Forget-me-nots so blue, so dear,
Swim in the waters of a tear.

How often in the days gone by
    She lifted her dear head,
And stretched wee arms for me to lie
    Down in her little bed;
And cradled in my happy breast
Was softly carried into rest.

And now when life is sore oppressed
    And runs with weary wave,
I long to lay me down and rest
    In little Marian's grave:
To smile as peaceful as she smiled—
For I am now the nestling child.

Immortal Love, a spirit of bliss
    And brightness, moves above,
While here forever Sorrow is
    A shadow cast by Love.
But love for her no sorrow will bring
And no more tearful leaves-taking.

No passing sorrows on their march
    Will leave sad foot-prints now,
No troubles strain the tender arch
    Of that white baby brow.
No cares to cloud, no tears that come
To rob the cheek of dainty bloom.

All sweetest shapes that Beauty wears
    Are round about her drawn;
Auroral hues, and vernal airs,
    And blessings of the dawn;
All loveliness that ne'er grows less;
Time cannot touch her tenderness.

The patient calm that comes with years,
    Hath made us cease to fret,
Though sometimes in the sudden tears
    Dumb hearts will quiver yet:
And each one turns the face, and tries
To hide Who looks through parent eyes.

 

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LYRICS OF LOVE. 
_______________


SWEET SPIRIT OF MY LOVE.


                SWEET Spirit of my love!
Through all the world we walk apart:
        Thou mayst not in my bosom lie;
I may not press Thee to my heart
        Nor see the love-thoughts light thine eye:
Yet art Thou with me. All my life
        Orbs out in thy warm beauty's sphere;
My loftiest dreams of Thee are rife,
        And coloured with thy presence dear.

                Sweet Spirit of my love!
I know how beautiful Thou art,
        But never tell the starry thought:
I only whisper to my heart,
        "She lights with heaven thy earthliest spot.
And birds that night and day rejoice,
        And winds and waves give back to me
Their music murmuring of thy voice;
        And warble into songs of Thee.

                Sweet Spirit of my love!
No Spring, or Summer bloom-bedight,
        That garlands earth with rainbow-showers;
No breath of Morn, or eyes that Light
        Doth open in the waking flowers;
No Bee goes honey-laden by,
        No flash of water, sigh of tree;
Never a New Moon mounts the sky
        But draws my heart's love-tide to Thee!

                Sweet Spirit of my love!
When Night's soft silence clothes the earth,
        To wake the passionate bird of love,
And Stars laugh out in lofty mirth,
        And yearning souls divinelier move;
When Stillness hallows every spot,
        And, lapped in feeling's luxury,
The heart's break-full of tender thought;
        Then art Thou with me, still with me.

                Sweet Spirit of my love!
I listen for thy footfall, feel
        Thy look is burning on me, such
As reads my heart; 'twill sometimes reel
        And throb, expectant for thy touch!
For by the voice of birds and brooks,
        And flowers with dews of heaven wet,
And earnest stars with yearning looks,
        I know that we shall mingle yet.

                Sweet Spirit of my love!
Strange places on me smile, as Thou
        Hadst passed, and left thy beauty's tints:
Even the wild flowers seem to know,
        And light and shade flash mystic hints.
Methinks, like olden Gods, Thou'lt come
        In cloud; but mine anointed eyes
Shall see the glory burn through gloom,
        And clasp Thee, Sweet! with large surprise.

 

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NOT I, SWEET SOUL, NOT I.


ALL glorious as the Rainbow's birth,
    She came in Spring-tide's golden hours;
When Heaven went hand-in-hand with Earth,
    And May was crowned with buds and flowers.
The mounting devil at my heart
    Clomb faintlier, as my life did win
The charmèd heaven, she wrought apart,
    To wake its better Angel in.
With radiant mien she trode serene,
    And passed me smiling by!
O! who that looked could help but love?
    Not I, sweet soul, not I.

The dewy eyelids of the Dawn
    Ne'er oped such heaven as hers did show:
It seemed her dear eyes might have shone
    As jewels in some starry brow.
Her face flashed glory like a shrine,
    Or lily-bell with sunburst bright;
Where came and went love-thoughts divine,
    As low winds walk the leaves in light:
She wore her beauty with the grace
    Of Summer's star-clad sky;
O! who that looked could help but love?
    Not I, sweet soul, not I.

Her budding breasts like fragrant fruit
    Of love were ripening to be pressed:
Her voice, that shook my heart's red root,
    Might not have broken a Babe's rest,—
More liquid than the running brooks;
    More vernal than the voice of Spring,
When Nightingales are in their nooks,
    And all the leafy thickets ring.
The love she coyly hid at heart
    Was shyly conscious in her eye;
O! who that looked could help but love?
    Not I, sweet soul, not I.

 

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LOVE ME.


"ALL dear as the feeling when first flowers start, 
    Thou cam'st in thy musical lightness: 
And the cloud wept itself in rich rain on my heart, 
    That had hidden thy beauty and brightness. 
'Twas as Life's topmost window oped suddenly, bright 
    With the glittering face of an Angel, 
The sweet secret out-flashed on thy forehead of light, 
    And thy voice was thy own love's Evangel! 
O how shall I crown thee, Love, on my heart's throne, 
    Thou art so far, far above me?

And aye, as her dear eyes looked love in my own,
    The Maiden answered, "Love me."

"My Belovèd is fair as some beautiful Star 
    That walks in a pleasaunce of glory;
And her large-hearted looks and her lineaments are 
    As some Queen's of the old Greek story! 
There's never night now, since those dear eyes of

                thine 
    Smiled on me with soft sweet splendour, 
And I drank of the wine of thy kisses divine: 
    O what for such love shall I render?

And aye, as I knelt at my true Love's shrine,
    She bent in her beauty above me:
And aye, as her dear eyes looked love into mine,
    The Maiden answered, "Love me."

"O could my heart, mountain-regioned in bliss, 
    Thy life with Love's affluence dower, 
Thou shouldst have heaven in a world e'en like this, 
    And the joy of a life in each hour! 
Thou shouldst go forth like a conquering Queen, 
    Reaping rich heartfuls of treasure, 
Nor strive where the worn of heart wearily glean 
    But handfuls, in harvesting pleasure
." 
And aye, as I knelt at my true Love's shrine,
    She bent in her beauty above me:
And aye, as her dear eyes looked love into mine,
    The Maiden answered, "Love me."

 

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THE PATRIOT TO HIS BRIDE.


CAN you leave the fond bosom of Home, where
    Joy hath been from your earliest waking?
Can you give its endearments to come, where
    Life hath many a hot heart-aching?
Have you counted the cost to stand by me,
    In the battle I fight for Man?
Shall your womanly love deify me,
    Who stand under the world's dark ban?
A daring high soul you will need, dear Love,
    To brave the life-battle with me:
For your true heart may oftentimes bleed, dear Love,
    And your sweet eyes dim tearfully.

Sweet! know you of gallant hearts perishing,—
    The fine spirits that dumbly bow?
For a little of Fortune's cherishing,
    They are breaking in agony now!
And without the sunshine that life needeth,
    Alas! Sweet! for me and for you:
But little the careless world heedeth
    For love like ours, tender and true!
A daring high soul you will need, dear Love,
    To brave the life-battle with me:
For your true heart may oftentimes bleed, dear
            Love,
    And your sweet eyes dim tearfully.

Well, you've sworn, I have sworn, God hath bound
            us,
    And the world shall not tear us apart:
I have flung my love's war-cloak around us,
    And you live in each pulse of my heart!
It may be our name in Earth's story
    Shall endure when we are no more;
For love lives while the Stars burn in glory,
    And the Flowers bud on Earth's green floor.
But a daring high soul you will need, dear
            Love,
    To brave the life-battle with me:
For your true heart may oftentimes bleed, dear
            Love,
    And your sweet eyes dim tearfully.

 

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A POOR MAN'S WIFE.


Her dainty hand nestled in mine, wee and white,
    And timid as trembling dove;
And it twinkled about me, a jewel of light,
    As she garnished our banquet of love:
'Twas the queenliest hand in all lady-land,
    And she but a poor Man's wife!
O! little I dreamed how that dainty white hand
    Could dare in the battle of Life.

Her heart it was lowly as maiden's might be,
    But hath climbed to heroic height,
And burned like a shield in defence of me,
    On the field of sorest fight!
And startling as fire, it hath often flashed up
    In her eyes, the good heart and rare;
As she drank down her half of our bitterest
            cup,
    And taught me how to bear.

Her sweet eyes that seemed, with their smile
            sublime,
    Made to look me and light me to heaven,
They have triumphed through bitter tears many
            a time,
    Since their love to my life was given:
And the maiden-meek voice of the womanly
            Wife
    Still bringeth the heavens nigher;
For it rings like the voice of God over my life,
    Aye bidding me climb up higher.

I hardly dared think it was human, when
    I first looked in that glorified face;
For it shone as the heavens had opened then,
    And clad it with splendour and grace!
But dearer the innermost light of it grew
    In our dark and most desolate day,
As the Rainbow, when heaven hath no break of
            blue,
    Smileth the storm away.

'Twas a shape of the lithest Loveliness,—
    Just an armful of heaven to enfold!
But the form that bends flower-like in love's caress,
    With the Victor's strength may be souled!
In the light of her presence transfigured I stand,
    And the poor Man's English home
She fills with the Beauty of Greece the grand,
    Or the fairest Madonna in Rome.

 

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MY BONNY LADY.


YOU say Eve gave her Daughters to restore
The Eden that their Mother lost of yore;
They lead us through the Angel-guarded door,
And where they smile it blooms for evermore?
Then 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
Supremely, in 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 its wings;

My Bonny Lady.


Lo, how she bows with soft and settled bliss,
Over her babe in breathing tenderness!
Her image my Madonna 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 adoring 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 Angel-Wife!

My Bonny Lady.

 

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HUSBAND AND WIFE.


Proudly I stood in the rare Sunrise,
    As the dawn of your beauty brake;
But I feared for the storm, as I looked at the skies,
    And trembled for your sweet sake!
And O, may the evil days come not, I said,
    As I yearned o'er my tender blossom:
Strong arm of love! shelter the dearest one's head;
    And I nestled you deep in my bosom.
May the tears never dim the love-light of her eye,—
    May her Life be all Spring-weather!—
Was the prayer of my heart, ere you, Love, and I,
    Were Husband and Wife together.

But the suns will shine, and the rains will fall,
    On the loftiest, lowliest spot!
And there's mourning and merriment mingled for
            all
    That inherit the human lot.
So we've suffered and sorrowed and grown more
            strong,
    Heart-to-heart, side-to-side, we have striven,
With the love that is summer-tide all the year
            long,
    And the spirit that makes its own heaven!
We clung the more close as the storm swept by,
    We kept the nest warm in cold weather;
And seldom we've faltered since you, Love, and I,
    Have been Husband and Wife together!

Like the sweet happy flowers of the wilderness,
    You have dwelt life to life with Nature;
And caught the wild beauty and grace of her
            ways,
    And grown to her heavenlier stature!
In prospering calm, and in quickening strife,
    Hath your womanly worth unfolden;
And sunshine and shower have enriched your life,
    And ripened its harvest golden.
There is good in the grimmest cloud o' the sky,
    There are blessings in wintry weather:
Even Grief hath its glory, since you, Love, and I,
    Have been Husband and Wife together.

O, Life is not perfect with Love's first kiss:
    Who winneth the blessing must wrestle;
And the deeper the trouble, the dearer the bliss,
    That may in the core of it nestle!
Our Angels oft greet us in tearful guise,
    Our saviours will come in sorrow:
While the murkiest midnight that frowns from the
            skies,
    Is at heart a radiant Morrow!
We laugh and we cry, we sing and we sigh,
    And Life will have wintry weather!
So we'll hope, and love on, since you, Love, and I,
    Are Husband and Wife together.

 

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WHEN I COME HOME.


AROUND me Life's hell of fierce Ardours burns,
    When I come home, when I come home;
Over me Heav'n starry-heartedly yearns,
    When I come home, when I come home.
For a feast of Gods garnished, the palace of Night
At a thousand star-windows is throbbing with light.
London makes mirth! but I think God hears
The sobs in the dark, and the dropping of tears;
For I feel that He listens down Night's great dome:
When I come home, when I come home;
    Home, home, when I come home,
    Late in the night when I come home.

I walk under Midnight's triumphal arch,
    When I come home, when I come home;
Exulting with life like a Conqueror's march,
    When I come home, when I come home.
I pass by the vast-chambered mansions that shine,
Overflowing with splendour like flagons with wine:
I have fought, I have vanquished the dragon of Toil,
And before me my golden Hesperides smile!
And O but Love's Apples make rich the gloam,
When I come home, when I come home!
    Home, home, when I come home,
    Late in the night when I come home.

O the sweet, merry mouths will up-turn to be kissed,
    When I come home, when I come home!
How the younglings yearn from the hungry nest,
    When I come home, when I come home!
My weary, worn heart into sweetness is stirred,
And it dances and sings like a singing Bird,
On the branch nighest heaven,—a-top of my life:
As She meets me and greets me, my welcoming
            Wife!
And her pale cheek is tinted with tenderest bloom,
When I come home, when I come home;
    Home, home, when I come home,
    Late in the night when I come home.

Clouds furl off the shining face of my life,
    When I come home, when I come home,
And leave heaven bare on her bosom, sweet Wife,
    When I come home, when I come home.
With her brave smiling Energies,—Faith warm
            and bright,—
With love glorified and serenely alight,—
With her womanly beauty and queenliest calm,
She steals to my heart in a blessing of balm;
And O but the wine of Love sparkles with foam,
When I come home, when I come home!
    Home, home, when I come home,
    Late in the night when I come home.


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