Gerald Massey: My Lyrical Life XII.

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LOVE'S FAIRY-RING.


WHILE Titans war with social Jove,
        My own sweet Wife and I,
We make Elysium in our love,
        And let the world go by!
O never hearts beat half so light
        With crownèd Queen or King!
O never world was half so bright
        As is our fairy-ring,
                                    Dear love!
        Our hallowed fairy-ring.

Our world of empire is not large,
        But priceless wealth it holds;
A little heaven links marge to marge,
        But what rich realms it folds!
And clasping all from outer strife
        Sits Love with folded wing,
A-brood o'er dearer life-in-life,
        Within our fairy ring,
                                    Dear love!
        Our hallowed fairy-ring.

Thou leanest thy true heart on mine,
        And bravely bearest up!
Aye mingling Love's most precious wine
        In Life's most bitter cup!
And evermore the circling hours
        New gifts of glory bring;
We live and love like happy flowers,
        All in our fairy-ring,
                                    Dear love!
        Our hallowed fairy-ring.

We've known a many sorrows, Sweet!
        We've wept a many tears,
And often trod with trembling feet
        Our pilgrimage of years.
But when our sky grew dark and wild,
        All closelier did we cling:
Clouds broke to beauty as you smiled,
        Peace crowned our fairy-ring,
                                    Dear love!
        Our hallowed fairy-ring.

Away, you foes of heart and home;
        Away, O Hate, and Strife!
Hence, revellers, reeling drunken from
        Your feast of human life!
Heaven shield our little Goshen round,
        From ills that with them spring,
And never be their footprints found
        Within our fairy-ring,
                                    Dear love!
        Our hallowed fairy-ring.

But, come ye who the Truth dare own,
        Or work in Love's dear name;
Come all who wear the Mystic's crown,
        Or Martyr's robe of flame!
Sweet souls a heartless world may doom
        Like Birds made blind to sing!
For such we'll aye make welcome room
        Within our fairy-ring,
                                    Dear love!
        Our hallowed fairy-ring.

 

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TO THE BELOVED ONE.


HEAVEN hath its crown of Stars, the Earth
    Her glory-robe of flowers—
The Sea its pearls—the grand old Woods
    Their songs and greening showers:
The Birds have homes, where leaves and blooms
    In beauty wreathe above;
High yearning hearts, their rainbow-dream—
    And we, Sweet! we have love.

We walk not with the worldly Great,
    Where Love's dear name is sold;
Yet have we wealth we would not give
    For all their mines of gold!
We revel not in Corn and Wine,
    Yet have we from above
Manna divine, and will not pine,
    While we may live and love.

There's sorrow for the toiling poor,
    On Misery's bosom nursed:
Rich robes for ragged souls, and Crowns
    For branded brows Cain-cursed!
But Cherubim, with clasping wings,
    Ever about us be,
And, happiest of God's happy things!
    There's love for you and me.

Thy lips, that kiss till death, have turned
    Life's water into wine;
The sweet life melting through thy looks
    Hath made my life divine.
All Love's dear promise hath been kept,
    Since thou to me wert given;
A ladder for my soul to climb,
    And summer high in heaven.

I know, dear heart! that in our lot
    May mingle tears and sorrow;
But, Love's rich Rainbow's built from tears
    To-day, with smiles To-morrow.
The sunshine from our sky may die,
    The greenness from Life's tree,
But ever, 'mid the warring storm,
    Thy nest shall sheltered be.

I see thee! Ararat of my life,
    Smiling the waves above!
Thou hail'st me Victor in the strife,
    And beacon'st me with love.
The world may never know, dear heart!
    What I have found in thee;
But, though nought to the world, dear heart!
    Thou'rt all the world to me.

 

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MATRIMONY.


Two human Stars in passing are
    Attracted as through 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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THE LOVE-LETTER.


THE Lover felt a warm wave coming
    Before her Written Message came;
The World within and round him blooming
    Burst into a flower of fragrant flame:
As if with mouth to mouth he met her;
    Or, as two Spirits meet above:
"If such a Wave foreran her letter, 
    How deep the ocean of her love
."

 

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LOVE-IN-IDLENESS.


WE sit serenely 'neath the night,
As still as stars with swift delight;
In tears, that show how in Life's deep
The hidden pearls of beauty sleep!
And quiet, as of sleeping trees,
And silence, as of dreaming seas.
The channels of our bliss run filled,
Their faintest happy murmur stilled.

Upon thy forehead rests my palm,
And on my spirit rests thy calm.
I cannot see thy cheek, but know
Its tint of rose-bloom hath a glow
Like ruby light, and richly lies
The dew i' the shadow of thine eyes:
Deep eyes! dear wells of tenderness,
That ask how they may soothliest bless!

Warm incense like the soul o' the South,
Is round us, and thy damask mouth
With the sweet spirit of its breath,
Dissolves me in delicious death.
Musk-roses breathing in the gloom,
Drop fragrance fainting in the room;
Such sensuous sadness fills the air,
Ripe life a bloom of dew doth wear.

The harping hand hath dulled the lyre
Of thrilling heartstrings—by their fire
That droops, the dreamy Passions doze
In large luxuriance of repose.
While we our fields of pleasure reap,
Our Babes lie in the wood of Sleep:
One, first love's dream of beauty wrought!
One the more perfect afterthought.

We sit with silent glory crowned,
And Love's arms wound like heaven round:
Or on rich clouds our spirits swim
The summer twilight cool and dim.
I only see—that thou art near;
I only feel—I have thee dear!
I only hear thy beating heart,
I only know we cannot part.

 

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A BALLAD OF THE OLD TIME.


SWEET Night, drop down from thy starry
            bower
    Thy influence dewily mild;
Softly bend over my love's tender flower,
    As a Mother bends over her child.
Hush the hills in a deep, dark dream;
    To slumber stretch valley and lea;
Fold over all thy purple and pall,
    And bring my Love to me.

You white witching Moon, with your
            beautiful smile;
    You flowers that fondle his feet;
You weird wee Women of fairyland, wile
    Not my Love with your kisses sweet.
For him my bower in the old gray tower
    Is dighted and dainty to see:
All gentle Powers that walk the night-hours,
    Hasten my Love to me.

I count my love's rosary over again,
    With its feelings and fancies and fears;
Till it breaks in my brain with the tension of
            pain,
    And my pearls are but trembling tears!
I sorrow and sing with the thorn at my breast;
    Mine eyes watch unweariedly:
Come crown them, and calm them, and kiss
            them to rest;
    Dear my Love, hasten to me.

The ripe swelling buds that are quickened with
            spring,
    Will peep from their silken fold;
And my broidered belt is too short to cling
    Round my waist with its girdling gold.
But my Love he will bring the plain gold ring;
    Base-born his Babe shall not be!
Leal is his love as the heaven above:
    He never will lightly me.

My Love he hath little of silver or gold;
    Of land he hath never a sod;
But my Love is a gay gallant gentleman—
    He's a king by the grace of God.
He has borne up the battle-tide broadsword in
            hand!
    He is comely as any ladye!
O and were I a King's daughter,
    None other should marry me.

My Love shall not wait at the Castle-gate,
    My Love shall not tirl at the pin;
My Love he will climb to my bower-window;
    Sing O, but my Love shall come in.
The dragon below lieth weary and old,
    Sleeping all under the tree;
While I feast my Love on the apples of gold—
    But soft!   He is coming to me.

 

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IN THE NIGHT.


EARTH like a Lady poor and low
Adores Night's kingly beauty now,
While I, on fire in breast and brow,
            Awake to weep for thee, Love!
The distant glories of the night,
The Moon that walks in soft white light,
These cannot win my charmèd sight,
            Nor lure a thought from thee, Love.

I'm thinking of the short sweet hour
Our fond hearts felt Love's growth of power,
And summered as in Eden's bower
            When I was blest with thee, Love!
There burned no beauty on the trees,
There woke no song of birds or bees,
But Love's cup for us held no lees,
            And I was blest with thee, Love.

Then many-coloured fancies spring
From out my heart on splendid wing,
Like Chrysalis from Life's wintering,
            Burst bright and summeringly, Love!
And as a Chief of battle lost
Counts, and recounts his stricken host,
Stands tearful Memory making most
            Of all that's touched with thee, Love.

Perhaps in Pleasure's brilliant bower
Thy heart may half forget Love's power,
But at this still and starry hour
            Does it not turn to me, Love?
O, by all pangs for thy sweet sake,
In my deep love thy heart-thirst slake,
Or, all-too-full, my heart must break:
            Break! break! with loving thee, Love!

 

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FALLEN.


AS the White Snow crowns the Hills, and the
            arms of Ether fills,
    With the lustre of its loveliness—a presence as
            of light,
And it looks up in Heaven's face with all a
            Virgin's trusting grace:
    So the Maiden walked on Purity's white height.
But the Snow will blush for bliss, at the red
            Dawn's fervent kiss;
And fall from its high throne, and lose the
            brightness from its brow;
And be trodden on the highways, and be trampled
            in the by-ways:
So the Maiden's life is stained and trampled
            now.

 

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DESERTED.


LOVE came to me in a golden cloud,
    With a rosy glory kissed;
And caught me up, and in heaven we rode,
    Till it melted in mournful mist.
Gone! gone! is the light that shone,
    With the dream of my earlier day: 
And the wild winds moan; alone! alone!
    I wander my weary way.

The days come and go, and the seasons roll,—
    In their glory they pass me by;
And the lords of life and the happy in soul
    Walk under a smiling sky.
And the sweet spring-tide comes back to us o'er
    The soothèd winter sea;
But He will return no more, no more,
    Never come back to me.

It were better that I lay sleeping
    With his baby upon my breast,
Where the weary have done with their weeping,
    And the wretched are rocked to their rest.
The world is a desolate, dreary one,
    Full of sad tears at best:
God, take back Thy wandering weary one,
    Like a wounded bird home to its nest.

 

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DROWNED.


'TIS Midnight hour and the Dead have power
    Over the Wronger now!
He is tortured and torn till the coming of morn;
Pierced to the heart with the Crown of thorn
    That he set on the Suicide's brow.

Wind him around in the toil of your charms;
    Nestle him close, young Bride!
At the Midnight hour he is drawn from your arms;
    Through the dark with the Dead he must ride!

Spirit from body is consciously drawn;
    Death comes not to kindly unsheathe;
And the closer you cling the more anguish you
        wring
    From the form you so fondly enwreathe!

The rose of her mouth is red-wet, red-warm,
    She smiles in her haven of calm!
Troubled and tossed and lashed by the Lost,
    Slumber for him hath no balm!

Again that ghostly groping along
    The Corridor of Dreams!
And a dark Desolation luridly lit
    Is his face by Lightning gleams!

Love's cup flushes up for his crowning kiss,
    But, with his lip at the brim,
The Dead uncurtain his bower of bliss,
    Stretching their arms for him!

Wind him around in the toil of your charms;
    Nestle him close, young Bride!
Yet, at Midnight hour he is torn from your arms;
    Through the dark with the Dead he must ride:

And the Dark, ah, the Dark! hath a million Eyes,
All of his secret tell!
And whispering winds pursue him like fiends
That hiss in his ears of Hell!

Warm in her bed the young Bride lies,
    Breathing her peaceful breath:
Dead Mother and Babe with their drownèd eyes
    Stare dim through the watery death.

'Tis Midnight hour and the Dead have power
    Over the Wronger now!
He is tortured and torn till the coming of morn;
Pierced to the heart with the Crown of thorn
    That he set on the Suicide's brow.

 

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JILTED.


WELL! Friend! this arrow hath missed its mark,
    But, Man! you have more in your quiver.
All over no doubt with your Pleasure-bark,
    But swim like a lusty liver!
A-top of some Ararat next the skies
    You shall clap your wings and crow;
Higher and higher your spirits will rise
    While the Deluge is ebbing below.
Thank God some First Loves do miscarry,
Men frequently say when they come to marry.

Very likely she had some love for you!
    Some love till death doth sever:
And some for a Month or a Year or two,
    And some they say for ever.
Your love would have lasted, no doubt, my
        brother,
    That at least was eternal:
We all think so, one time or other,
    While very young and vernal.
But you might not have found your heaven
            within
The pretty blue eyes you so wanted to win.

The Learned will tell you those beautiful eyes
    Of witching, bewildering blue,
Are as drumlie waters, or earth-made skies,
    Or un-rinsed linen in hue!
For want of clearness their charm is given,
    And hearts are whirled away;
Blue is not the Natural colour of heaven
    Where dwelleth the perfect day,—
And the woman you thought you were loving,
            looked through
Far other eyes than you worshipped, at you!

Yes, I know how you stood all a-flame for her,
    Your heart of hearts to fill;
I know how you hardly dared to stir
    Lest your delight should spill;
Then came the clap on the back, my Friend,
    That made the dreamer start,
And, at the awakening whack, my Friend
    Found he had lost his heart.
Pass on, nor loiter with longing eye,
'Tis no use looking, unable to buy.

You say that she gave you kiss for kiss;
    But that is no promise of marriage.
Surely you know in a world like this
    A Lady must ride in her carriage?
Although, like a lane I saw last spring,
    The way of her life should go,—
One side with violets blossoming,
    The other white-wintry with snow.
Of saffron the Greek wedding-robe was of old,
Parents in England prefer it in gold.

The old love wasn't the true love;
    That you have plainly proved.
Be turning your thoughts to a new love,
    Somebody waits to be loved;
Somebody patiently waiting for you,
    And the purified love you can give her,
With a soul full of love as the summer dew
    Is of sun with its kiss all a-quiver.
To keep the ghost from your vacant chair,
Nothing like nestling a warm wife there.

Do not be wasting the rest of your wine
    By pouring it out in the dust.
What of your faith, old comrade of mine,
    Can you take your trial on trust?
The knife is sharp and the flesh must shrink,
    But, as in the mythical day,
God often perfects the Manhood I think
    By cutting the Woman away.
He takes but a Spare-rib and gives you a Wife,
With a heart beating warm in her, life of your life.

 

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LOVE AND THE LADY.


'TWERE vain to ask that one so cold should give
The vital warmth of heart that makes Love live;
But in thy bosom leave a little room
For Love to die in; marble for a Tomb!
To be imparadised he doth but crave
That she who was his death may be his grave:
The monumental mockery of a Wife,
For ever hard and cold and like to life:
Thus, when the winged Divinity hath flown,
We prize the old Greek statue of Love in stone.

 

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ICHABOD.


SEVEN Summers' Suns have set! the world is once
        more sweetly flooded
With fragrance, for the virgin-leaves and violet-
        banks have budded:
Heaven claspeth Earth, as round the heart first
        broodeth Love's rich glow;
A blush of Flowers is mantling where the lush
        green grasses grow!
All things feel summering sunward, golden tides
        stream down the air,
Which burns, as Angel-visitants had left a glory
        there!
But darkness on my aching spirit shrouds the
        merry shine,—
I long to feel a gush of Spring in this poor heart
        of mine.

Morn opes Heaven's secret portal, back the pearly
        gates are drawn,
And all the fields of glory blossom with the crimson
        Dawn:
But never comes thy clasping hand, or carol of thy
        lips,
That made my heart soar like a spirit freed from
        Death's eclipse.
Sweet voice! it came like magic music, healing
        angels make,
When pain sat heavy on my brow, and heart was
        like to break:
Methought such love gave wings to climb some
        starry throne to win;
Thou didst so lift up earth's horizon—letting heaven
        in.

I'm thinking, Darling, of the days when life was
        all divine,
And love was aye the silver cord that bound my
        heart to thine;
When life bloomed at thy coming, as the green
        earth greets the sun,
And, like two dew-drops in a kiss, our twin souls
        wed in one.
Ah! still I feel ye at my heart! and 'mid the stir
        and strife,
Ye sometimes lead my feet to walk the angel-side
        of Life:
The magic music yearns within, as unto thee I
        turn,
And those dear eyes, a-blaze with soul, through all
        my being burn.

Come back,—come back; I long to clasp thee in
        these arms, mine own;
Lavish my heart upon thy lips, and make my love
        the Crown
And Arc of Triumph to thy life. Why tarry?
        Time hath cast
Strange shadows on my spirit since we met and
        mingled last!
Yet there be joys to crown thee with; the sunshine
        and the sweet
Are hived, like honey, in my heart, to share them
        should we meet:
How I have hoarded up my life! how tenderly I
        strove
To make my heart fit home for thee, its nestling
        Bird of love!

God bless thee! once the radiant world thy beauty
        crownlike wore,
But life hath lost the strange sweet feel that
        cometh never more!
The flowers will bud again in spring, and happy
        birds make love,
With melting hearts, a-brooding o'er their passion
        in the grove.
But thou wilt never more come back, to clothe my
        heart with spring;
Dear God! Love's sweetest chord is turned to
        Pain's most jarring string!
The Glory hath departed! and my spirit pants to
        go
Where, 'mid Life's troubled waters, 'twill not see
        the wreck below.

 

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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 walked;
But we shall never meet again,
    And talk as we have talked.
All in a moment life was crossed,
    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
    That all the world was changed.
All in a moment life was crossed,
    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 crossed,
    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 crossed,
    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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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 rocked 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 drooped,
    As tendrils lean to twine,
And very graciously they stooped
    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'erhead in Stars,
    And underfoot in flowers,
With wings that slept on fragrant airs
    Through 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! though 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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A LYRIC OF LOVE.


THE Bird that nestles nearest earth,
    To Heaven's gate nighest sings;
And loving thee, my lowly life
    Doth mount on Lark-like wings!
Thine eyes are starry promises:
    And affluent above
All measure in its blessing, is
    The largess of thy love.

Merry as laughter 'mong the hills,
    Spring dances at my heart!
And at my wooing, Nature's soul
    Into her face will start!
The Queen-moon, in her starry bower,
    Looks happier for our love;
A dewier splendour fills the flower,
    And mellower coos the Dove.

My heart may sometimes blind mine eyes
    With utterance of tears,
But feels no pang for thee, Beloved!
    But all the more endears:
And if life comes with cross and care
    Unknown in years of yore,
Lest thou shouldst half the burthen bear,
    I shall be strong once more.

Ah! now I see my life was shorn,
    That, like the forest-brook
When leaves are shed, my darkling soul
    Up in heaven's face might look!
And blessings on the storm that gave
    Me haven on thy breast,
Where life hath climaxed like a wave
    That breaks in perfect rest.

 

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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 cause the dark 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.

 

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THE MISTLETOE BOUGH.


'TWAS 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 laughed above;
    A sweeter red below!
When first I met with my true Love,
    Under the Mistletoe 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 touched Heaven in a kiss,
    Under the Mistletoe Bough.

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

The storms of years have beat our Bark,
    That rocks at anchor now;
But She was smiling through 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 Mistletoe 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 has 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 Mistletoe Bough.

 

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LIFE AND DEATH.


ALL night the Mother laboured long and sore;
All night the Father lingered at Death's door
And could not pass beyond; could not withdraw
From his fast-fading eyes, until he saw
Their coming little one; the Mother strove
To give him this last pledge of visible love;
But vainly strove to bring her babe to birth:
And, at the last grave-edge of crumbling earth,
Where life and death were locked in one last strain,
His spirit clung with glazing gaze in vain:
For when the Infant came, with smiling dawn,
The waiting, watching, weary soul was gone:
Even in Life's gateway Babe and Parent passed
Each other, with Death's shadow overcast.

 

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WOMAN.


My fellow-men, as yet we have but seen
Wife, Sister, Mother and Daughter, not the Queen
Upon her Throne, with all her jewels crowned!

Unknowing how to seek, we have not found
Our Goddess, waiting her Pygmalion
To woo her into Woman from the stone!

Our Husbandry hath lacked essential power
To fructify the promise of the flower;
We have not known her nature ripe all round.

We have but seen her beauty on one side
That leaned in love to us with blush of bride:
The pure white Lily of all Womanhood
With heart all-golden still is in the bud.

We have but glimpsed a moment in her face
The glory she will give the future race;
The strong heroic spirit knit beyond
All induration of the Diamond.

She is the natural bringer from above;
The Earthly mirror of Immortal Love;
The chosen Mouthpiece for the Mystic Word
Of Life Divine to speak through; and be heard
With human Voice, that makes its Heavenward
        call
Not in one Virgin Motherhood, but all.

Unworthy of the gift how have Men trod
Her pearls of pureness, Swine-like, in the sod!
How often have they offered her the dust
And ashes of the fanned-out fires of lust;
Or, devilishly inflamed with the divine,
Waxed drunken with the Sacramental wine.

How have Men captured her with savage grips,
To stamp the kiss of Conquest on her lips,—
As feather in their crest have worn her grace,
Or brush of fox that crowns the hunter's chase;
Wooed her with Passions that but wed to fire
With Hymen's Torch their own funereal pyre;
Stripped her as Slave and Temptress of Desire;
Embraced the body when her soul was far
Beyond possession as the loftiest star!
Her Whiteness hath been tarnished by their touch;
Her Promise hath been broken in their clutch;
The Woman hath reflected Man too much,—
And made the Bread of Life with earthiest leaven.

Our coming Queen must be the Bride of Heaven;
The Wife who will not wear her bonds with pride
As Adult Doll with fripperies glorified:
The Mother fashioned on a nobler plan
Than Woman who was merely made from Man.

 

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CRIES OF 'FORTY-EIGHT.
________________


CRIES OF 'FORTY-EIGHT.


LET my Songs be cited
    As breakers of the peace,
Till the Wrongs are righted;
    The man-made miseries cease:
Till Earth's Disinherited
Beg no more to earn their bread;
Till the consuming darts of burning Day
Shall fire the midnight Foxes; scare away
From Labour's fruits the parasites of prey.
    Let them die when all is done,
    Now Victoriously begun!

Our Visions have not come to nought,
    Who saw by Lightning in the night;
The deeds we Dreamed are being Wrought
    By those who Work in clearer light;
In other ways our fight is fought,
And other forms fulfil our Thought
    Made visible to all men's sight.

 

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THE PEOPLE'S ADVENT.


'TIS coming up the steep of Time,
And this old world is growing brighter!
We may not see its Dawn sublime,
Yet high hopes make the heart throb lighter!
Our dust may slumber under-ground
When it awakes the world in wonder;
But we have felt it gathering round!—
We have heard its voice of distant thunder!
'Tis Coming! yes, 'tis Coming!

'Tis coming now, that glorious time
Foretold by Seers and sung in story,
For which, when thinking was a crime,
Souls leaped to heaven from scaffolds gory!
They passed. But lo! the work they have
            wrought,
Now the crowned hopes of Centuries blossom!
The lightning of their living thought
Is flashing through us, brain and bosom:
'Tis Coming! yes, 'tis Coming!

Creeds, Empires, Systems, rot with age,
But the great People's ever youthful!
And it shall write the Future's page
To our Humanity more truthful;
The gnarliest heart hath tender chords
To waken at the name of "Brother!"
'Tis coming when these scorpion-words
We shall not speak to sting each other.
'Tis Coming! yes, 'tis Coming!

Out of the light, you Priests, nor fling
Your dark, cold shadows on us longer!
Aside, thou world-wide curse, called King!
The people's step is quicker, stronger!
There's a Divinity within
That makes men great if they but will it;
God works with all who dare to win,
And the time cometh to reveal it.
'Tis Coming! yes, 'tis Coming!

Freedom! the Despots kill thy braves,
Yet in our memories live the sleepers;
And, though doomed millions feed the graves
Dug by death's fierce, red-handed Reapers,
The World will not forever bow
To things that mock God's own endeavour.
'Tis nearer than they wot of now,
When Flowers shall wreathe their Sword for ever!
'Tis Coming! yes, 'tis Coming!

Fraternity! Love's other name!
Dear, heaven-connecting link of being;
Then shall we grasp thy golden dream,
As souls, full-statured, grow far-seeing:
Thou shalt unfold our better part,
And in our life-cup yield more honey;
Light up with joy the Poor Man's heart,
And Love's own world with smiles more sunny!
'Tis Coming! yes, 'tis Coming!

Aye, it must come! The Tyrants throne
Is crumbling, with our hot tears rusted;
The Sword earth's mighty have leant on
Is cankered, with our best blood crusted.
Room for the men of Mind! Make way
You Robber Rulers!—pause no longer!
You cannot stay the opening day!
The world rolls on, the light grows stronger—
The People's Advent's coming!

 

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THE BATTLE-CALL.


YOU Serfs of England rouse ye from this dreaming!
A spirit stirs that never more shall sleep;
Look to the Future, lo! your Dayspring streaming
With a new life that makes the Nations leap.
The eyes of Rich and Poor flash wide with wonder!
The Robbers tremble in their loftiest tower,
Strange words roll o'er the world on wheels of
            thunder,
The leaves from Royalty's tree fall hour by
            hour,—
Earthquakes leap in the Temples, crumbling
            Throne and Power.

Vampires have drained humanity's best blood,
Kings robbed, and Priests have cursed us in
            God's name;
Out in the midnight of the Past we stood,
While these have darkly plied their devilish
            game.
We have been worshipping the deadly Crown
Which drew Heaven's laugh in Lightnings on
            our head;
Chains fettered us who bowed abjectly down;
We deemed our Gods divine; but lo! instead—
They are but gilded clay,—'Tis morn! the
            glamour's fled!

Call ye this "merry England,"—once the place
Of souls self-deified and glory-crowned?
Where smiles made sunshine in the Peasant's face,
And Justice reigned—Her awful eyes 
            closebound?
Where Toil with open brow went on light-hearted,
And twain in love Law never thrust apart?
How is the glory of our life departed
From us, who sit and nurse our bleeding smart;
And slink, afraid to break the laws that break
            the heart!

Hushed be the Herald on the walls of fame,
Vaunting this People as their Country's pride;
Weep rather, with your souls a-fire with shame:
See ye not how the flattering knaves deride
Us flattered fools? how priestcraft, strong and
            stealthy,
Stabbing at freedom through its veil of night,
Beguiles the poor to flush its coffers wealthy?
Hear how the land groans in the grip of Might,
Then quaff your cup of Wrongs, and laud a
            Briton's "Right."

There's not a spot in all this dear green land,
Where Tyranny's cursed brand-mark is not
            seen:
O! were it not for its all-blasting hand,
A very heaven below this might have been!
Has it not hunted forth our workers brave,—
Killed the red rose of health that crowned our
            daughters,
Wedded our living hopes unto the grave,—
Filled happy homes with strife, the world with
            slaughters,
And turned our thoughts to blood—to gall, the
            heart's sweet waters?

Where is the spirit of our stalwart Sires,
Who rose and wrung their Rights from Tyrannies
            olden?
Great Spirits have been here, for Freedom's fires
Live in their ashes, to earth's heart enfolden;
The mighty Dead lie slumbering around,—
Whose names thrill through us as Gods were in
            the air;
Life leaps from where their dust makes holy ground:
Their deeds spring forth in glory,—live all-
            where,—
But we are Traitors to the Trust they bade us
            bear.

Go forth, when Night is hushed, and heaven is
            clothèd
With stars that in God's presence smiling roll;
Feel the stirred spirit leap as 'twere betrothèd
To some eternal bridegroom of the soul;
Feel the hot tears start in the eyes upturning,
The tide of goodness heave its brightest waves,—
Then suddenly crush the grand and God-ward
            yearning
With the sad thought that ye are bounden
            Slaves!
O! how long will ye make your hearts its living
            graves?

Immortal Liberty! we see thee stand
Like Morn just stepped from heaven upon a
            mountain
With beautiful feet, and blessing-laden hand,
And heart that welleth Love's most living
            fountain!
O! when wilt thou draw from the People's lyre
Joy's broken chord? and on the People's brow
Set Empire's crown? light up thy Altar-fire
Within their hearts, with an undying glow;
Nor give us blood for milk, as men are drunk
            with now?

Old Legends tell us of a Golden Age,
When earth was guiltless,—Gods the guests of
            men,
Ere sin had dimmed the heart's illumined page,—
And prophet-voices say 'twill come again.
O! happy age! when Love shall rule the heart,
And time to live shall be the poor man's dower,
When Martyrs bleed no more, nor Exiles smart,—
Mind is the only diadem of power.—
People, it ripens now! awake! and strike the
            hour.

Hearts, high and mighty, gather in our cause;
Bless, bless, O God, and crown their earnest
            labour,
Who dauntless fight to win us Equal Laws,
With mental armour, and with spirit-sabre!
Bless, bless, O God! the proud intelligence,
That now is dawning on the People's forehead,—
Humanity springs from them like incense,
The Future bursts upon them, boundless—
            starried—
They weep repentant tears, that they so long
            have tarried.

 

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THE EARTH FOR ALL.


THUS saith the Lord: You weary me
    With prayers, and waste your own short
        years:
Eternal Truth you cannot see
    Who weep, and shed your sight in tears!
In vain you wait and watch the skies,
    No better fortune thus will fall;
Up from your knees I bid you rise,
    And claim the Earth for All.

They ate up Earth, and promised you
    The Heaven of an empty shell!
'Twas theirs to say; 'twas yours to do,
    On pain of everlasting Hell!
They rob and leave you helplessly
    For help of Heaven to cry and call:
Heaven did not make your misery;
    The Earth was given for All!

Behold in bonds your Mother Earth;
    The rich man's prostitute and slave!
Your Mother Earth, that gave you birth,
    You only own her for a grave!
And will you die like Slaves, and see
    Your Mother left a fettered thrall?
Nay! live like Men and set her free
    As Heritage for All!

 

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THE LORDS OF LAND AND MONEY.


LIFT up your faces from the sod;
    Frown with each furrowed brow;
Gold apes a mightier power than God,
    And wealth is worshipped now!
In all these toil-ennobled lands
    You have no heritage;
They snatch the fruit of Youthful hands,
    The staff from weary Age.
O tell them in their Palaces,
    These Lords of Land and Money—
They shall not kill the Poor like Bees,
    To rob them of Life's honey.

Through long dark years of blood and tears,
    We've toiled like branded Slaves,
Till Wrong's red hand hath made a land
    Of Paupers, Prisons, Graves!
But our long-sufferance endeth now;
    Within the souls of men
The fruitful buds of promise blow,
    And Freedom lives again!
O tell them in their Palaces,
    These Lords of Land and Money!
They shall not kill the Poor like Bees,
    To rob them of Life's honey.

Too long have Labour's Nobles knelt
    Before factitious "Rank";
Within our souls the iron is felt—
    In tune our fetters clank!
A glorious voice goes throbbing forth
    From millions stirring now,
Who yet before these Gods of earth
    Shall stand with lifted brow,
And tell them in their Palaces,
    These Lords of Land and Money!
They shall not kill the Poor like Bees,
    To rob them of Life's honey.

 

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THE AWAKENING.


HOW sweet is the fair face of Nature when May
    With her rainbow earth-born and flower-woven
            hath spanned
Hill and dale; and the music of birds on the spray
    Makes Earth seem a beautiful faëry land!
And dear is our First-love's young spirit-wed
            Bride,
    With her meek eyes just sheathing in tender
            eclipse,
When the sound of our voice calls her heart's ruddy
            tide
    Up in beauty to break on her cheek and her
            lips.
But Earth has no sight half so glorious to see,
As a People up-girding its might to be free.

To see men awake from the slumber of ages,
    Their brows grim from labour, their hands hard
            and tan,
Start up living Heroes, long dreamt-of by Sages!
    And smite with strong arm the Oppressors of
            man:
To see them come dauntless forth 'mid the world's
            warring,
    Slaves of the midnight-mine! Serfs of the sod!
Show how the Eternal within them is stirring,
    And never more bend to a crownèd clod:
Dear God! 'tis a sight for Immortals to see,—
    A People up-girding its might to be free.

Battle on bravely, O sons of Humanity!
    Dash down the Cup from your lips, O ye Toilers!
Too long hath the world bled for Tyrants' insanity—
    Too long our weakness been strength to our
            Spoilers!
The heart that through danger and death will be
            dutiful;
    Soul that with Cranmer in fire would shake
            hands,
And a life like a Palace-home built for the
            beautiful,
    Freedom of all her belovèd demands—
And Earth has no sight half so glorious to see,
    As a People up-girding its might to be free!


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