Gerald Massey: Poems and Ballads (2)

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THE SINGER.


UP out of the Corn the Lark caroll'd in light,
Like a new splendour sprung from the dark husk of Night,
Green light shimmer'd laughing o'er forest and sod;
The rich sky was full of the presence of God,
As with brave careless rapture he lavisht around
Rare violet fancies and rose-leaves of sound:
All thro' the Morn's sun-city sea-like his psalm
With melodious waves dasht the bright world of calm:
BUT  HEAVILY  HUNG  THE  DROOPT  EARS  OF  THE  CORN:
THEY  WERE  GATHERING  GOLD  IN  THE  DEWY  MORN.

And he sang, as on heaven's fire-grains he had fed,
Till his heart's merry wine had made drunken his head.
How he sang! as his honey in Life's cells ne'er dwindled,
And bon-fires of Joy on all Life's hills were kindled:
O! he sang, as he felt that to singing was given
The magic to build rainbow-stairways to heaven!
And he could not have sung with more lusty cheer,
Had all the world listened a-tiptoe to hear!
ALL  THE  WHILE  HEAVILY  HUNG  THE  CORN,
AND  ITS  DROWSY  EARS  HEARD  NOT  THE  SWEETHEART  OF
       MORN.


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ICHABOD.

SEVEN Summers' Suns have set! and earth 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 flood
        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 opal portal, back the golden 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 sing like a God, when bursting
        Death's eclipse.
Sweet voice! it came like saintly music, quiring angels
        make,
When pain sat heavy on my brow, and heart was like to
        break:
Methought such love gave wings to climb some starry
        thorne to win;
Thou didst so lift my life's horizon—letting heaven in.

I'm thinking, darling, of the days when life was all divine,
And love was aye the silver chord that bound my heart
        to thine;
When life bloom'd 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 brave eyes, a-blaze with soul, thro' 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 when
        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 crown-
        like wore,
But life hath lost a tender grace 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 turn'd 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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NOT LOST, BUT GONE BEFORE.


ONE of God's own Darlings was my bosom's nestling
        Dove,
With her looks of love and sunshine, and her voice so rich
        and low:
How it trembled thro' my life, like an Immortal's kiss of
        love!
How its music yearns thro' all my memory now!

O! her beauty rainbows round me, and her sweet smile,
        silverly
As a song, fills all the silence of the Midnight's charmèd
        hours:
And I know from out her grave she'll send her love in
        death to me,
By the Spring, in smiling utterance of Flowers.

O! my Love, too good for Earth, has gone into the world
        of light;
It was hard, she said, to leave me, but the Lord had need
        of her;
And she walks the heaven in glory, like a Star i' the
        crown of Night,
With the Beautiful and Blessed mingling there.

Gone before me, to be clothéd on with bridal robe of
        white,
Where Love's blossom flowers to fruit of knowledge,—
        Suffering's glorified!
And my love shall make me meet and worthy of her pre-
        sence bright,
That in heaven I may claim her as my Bride.


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THE CHIVALRY OF LABOUR.


UPROUSE ye now, brave brother-band,
With honest heart, and working hand
We are but few, toil-tried, and true,
Yet hearts beat high to dare and do;
And who would not a champion be
In Labour's-lordlier Chivalry?

We fight! but bear no bloody brand,
We fight to free our Fatherland:
We fight that smiles of love may glow
On lips where curses quiver now!
Hurrah! hurrah! true Knights are we
In Labour's lordlier Chivalry.

O! there be hearts that ache to see
The day-dawn of our victory;
Eyes full of heart-break with us plead,
And Watchers weep and Martyrs bleed:
O! who would not a Champion be
In Labour's lordlier Chivalry?

Work, Brothers mine; work, hand and brain;
We'll win the Golden Age again:
And Love's Millennial morn shall rise
In happy hearts, and blessed eyes.
Hurrah! hurrah! true Knights are we
In Labour's lordlier Chivalry.


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THE CHIVALRY OF LABOUR EXHORTED TO
THE WORSHIP OF BEAUTY.


OUR world oft turns in gloom, and Life hath many a perilous
        way,
Yet there's no path so desolate and thorny, cold and
        gray,
But Beauty like a Beacon burns above the dark of strife,
And like an Alchemist aye turns all things to golden life.
On human hearts her presence droppeth precious manna
        down,
On human brows her glory gathers like a coming crown:
Her smile lights up Life's troubled stream, and Love, the
        swimmer! lives;
And O 'tis brave to battle for the guerdon that she gives!
Then let us worship Beauty with the knightly faith of old,
O Chivalry of Labour toiling for the Age of Gold!

The first-fruits of the Past at Beauty's shrine are offer'd up,
From which a vintage meet for Gods she crusheth in her
        cup:
And from the living Present doth she press the rare new
        wine,
To glad the hearts of all her lovers with a draught divine.
Earth's crowning miracle! she comes! with blessing lips,
        that part
Like mid-May's rose flusht open with the fragrance of her
        heart:
And life turns to her colour—kindles with her light—like
        flowers
That garner up the golden fire, and suck the mellow
        showers.
Come let us worship Beauty with the knightly faith of old,
O Chivalry of Labour toiling for the Age of Gold!

Come-let us worship Beauty where the budding Spring
        doth flower,
And lush green leaves and grasses flush out sweeter every
        hour;
Or Summer's tide of splendour floods the lap o' the World
        once more,
With riches like a sea that surges jewels on its shore.
Come feel her ripening influence when Morning feasts our
        eyes —
Thro' open gates of glory—with a glimpse of Paradise:
Or queenly Night sits crowned, smiling down the purple
        gloom,
And Stars, like Heaven's fruitage, melt i' the glory of their
        bloom.
Come let us worship Beauty with the knightly faith of old,
O Chivalry of Labour toiling for the Age of Gold!

Come from the den of darkness and the city's soil of sin,
Put on your radiant Manhood, and the Angel's blessing
        win!
Where wealthier sunlight comes from Heaven, like welcome-
        smiles of God,
And Earth's blind yearnings leap to life in flowers, from
        out the sod:
Come worship Beauty in the forest-temple, dim and hush,
Where stands Magnificence dreaming! and God burneth
        in the bush:
Or where the old hills worship with their silence for a
        psalm,
Or ocean's weary heart doth keep the sabbath of its calm.
Come let us worship Beauty with the knightly faith of old,
O Chivalry of Labour toiling for the Age of Gold!

Come let us worship Beauty: she hath subtle power to start
Heroic word and deed out-flashing from the humblest
        heart:
Great feelings will gush unawares, and freshly as the first
Rich Rainbow that up startled Heaven in tearful splendour
        burst.
O blessed are her lineaments, and wondrous are her ways
To repicture God's worn likeness in the suffering human
        face!
Our bliss shall richly overbrim like sunset in the west,
And we shall dream immortal dreams and banquet with
        the Blest.
Then let us worship Beauty with the knightly faith of old,
O Chivalry of Labour toiling for the Age of Gold!


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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 Heaven with her starry heart yearns,
        When I come home, when I come home.
For the feast of Gods garnisht, the palace of light
At a thousand star-windows is throbbing with light.
London makes mirth! but I know God hears
The sobs i' 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,
        Far i' the night when I come home.

I walk under Night's triumphal arch,
        When I come home, when I come home,
Exalting with life like a Conqueror's march,
        When I come home, when I come home.
I pass by the rich-chamber'd mansions that shine,
Overflowing with splendour like goblets with wine:
I have fought, I have vanquisht, the dragon of Toil,
And before me my golden Hesperides smil !
And O but Love's flowers make rich the gloom,
When I come home, when I come home!
        Home, home, when I come home,
        Far i' the night when I come home.

O the sweet, merry mouths up-turn'd to be kist,
        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 stirr'd,
And it dances and sings like a singing Bird,
On the branch nighest heaven,—a-top of my life:
As I clasp thee, my winsome, wooing Wife!
And thy pale cheek with rich, tender passion doth bloom
When I come home, when I come home,
        Home, home, when I come home,
        Far i' 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 thy bosom, sweet Wife!
        When I come home, when I come home.
With her smiling Energies, —Faith warm and bright,—
With Love glory-crown'd and serenely alight —
With her womanly beauty and queenly calm,
She steals to my heart with her 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!
        Far i' the night when I come home.


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THE THREE SPIRITS.


THEY were three Spirits fresh from God's own hand,
And beautifuller ne'er took mortal mould,
They had worn vestures of the undefiled,
At spirit-spousals sang the nuptial song,
Sat down with Gods and Heroes, held high converse
With Milton and the mighty men of old,
Divine old Socrates and deathless sages,
The martyr'd Prophets and the warrior-saints,
Who fought as we do now, and wrestled down
Doubt's grim despairs, with pangs and quenchless faith,
Glory tiara'd their immortal brows,
Their lips were yet alive with seraph-fire,
And locks bedropt rich dews of Paradise:
They lookt a fore-taste and fore-feel of heaven
Christ-like they came to wear old Earth's life-harness,
And yoke their fiery sun-steeds in her furrows.
They came to battle, toil in tears, and pray,
"Our Father," with the family of Men.
'Twas midnight in the husht and moonlit land,
The heavens had on their silver robe of stars,
And earth had on her silver robe of dew,
When they first lookt like smiles of God, through eyes
Where struggling heaven-light shone half-drown'd in
        tears,
As rainy sunbeams strike a watery world.
They grew sweet babes, where fond hearts set Love's
        throne,
Heaven breathed about them, Angels sang to them,
And joy was with them in their innocence.
Their dawn of being broaden'd into day,
And they had sprung to Manhood unawares. 
The lusty blood ran brave fire in their veins,
Life's surging waves, with them, were at mad-plunge,
And plough'd the passionate heart with tempest-beat.
Then high thoughts burst like battle on their souls,
Rousing and stern as in the noon of night
The clarion's clangour smites a sleeping host!
And gorgeous Visions, glory-clad, swept by.
Sinew and thew were strung to win at least
The table-land that girds the mount of Fame.
And one went down to moil in Mammon's mine,
For love of Gold; thenceforth in his warpt heart,
The Devil at death-grips set himself to God,
And day by day worm'd out some trace divine!
Day unto day, Gold rotted out the soul.
Still he toil'd on for Gold, sweet! damning Gold!
The poor man's sweat, and tears, and blood, congeal'd
And he waxt wealthy! all around him rose
The hoarded heaps, like trophies after battle,
Or tribute-treasure flung at Monarchs' feet.
He turn'd to what he fed on, dust to dust;
The angel-plumes once moulted, grew no more !
The God dwarft in him, and his heart was hoary
Before Time's silver mark had blancht his brow.
And one up-reared a fame which stood apart
In the world's gaze, as 'mid old Tadmor's ruins
Some column loometh in the eye of sunset.
He crown'd with a beacon-fire the reef which wreckt
The mighty of all time.    His marvellous name
Moved men's tongues regally as Euroclydon,
The storm-wind! wakes the voices of old ocean.
Leviathan of blood! what crimson seas
He spilt to revel in; his path to empire
Was wasted hearts and desolated lands.
The other trode the world's face poor as Christ,
Drank gall and wormwood; lived Gethsemane,
In many a midnight solitude of heart!
Loved, hoped, and nurst large faith in human-kind,
Wept glorious tears that telescope the soul,
And bring heaven nearer to the eyes of Faith!
The hounds of hell bay'd at him, hoary Evil
Breathed blighting influence on his heart,
To turn it to a Upas-tree, and kill
All nestling birds of love.    With tears and travail
He walkt the furnace, trode Earth's stony ways,
And beat his rugged path with bleeding feet.
Yet nought bore down his heart, or blencht his faith,
And many a cloud-rift radiantly rent,
Dropt blessing dear as parted lips of love.
From suffering he won strength to throw the world;
And when the fight ran sorest, his roused spirit
Went forth a Conquererer! wrapt in robes of victory.
Amid the mirk and mire, he kept his heart
A temple for the Beautiful! all warm
And bright, with blessed light of Love, that window
Of our dim life, which ever opes on God!
He trimmed Love's lamp in poor men's hearts and
        homes,
And in the world's waste places his life blossom'd.
So each built up a life.    Time's scaffolding
Fell from them, and they stood in God's eye bare!
Into the silent land, they pass'd the Grave,
Which Spring had made a beautiful gate of flowers;
On wings of wonder won the starry threshold
Of God, where like to like is gauged and garnered.
They stood where Paradise uprear'd its portals,
And shook down splendours, palpitated bliss—
Like a town full of triumph—heart of love.
O in that hour how shook the rich man's soul!
He stood there beggar'd, poorest of the poor!
Gold would not purchase heaven; and if it might,
Eternity ran 'twixt him and his riches:
And he went wailing with his world of woe.
The other had gambled for a life, and lost,
Let slip his chance for an eternity!
For fame, had barter'd an immortal birthright;
For name on Earth had sold Heaven's heritage;
And there the gates of glory on him closed.
The poor man came, and his meek tearful eyes
Grew luminous, as lit with sudden sun.
Divinity leapt up full-statured, when
His life burst its worn manacle of clay,
And wore God's splendour round it like a raiment.
Throbbing with glory like a midnight star,
All heaven was husht to hear the Lord's "Well done."
Then shining hosts and quiring orbs sang "Welcome,"
And angels crown'd him in their Capitol.
For in his heart he kept God's imange bright.
Love was his life-blood. Thro' the long work-day—
The dark and terrible night-time—aye, to death,
He nurst his love: and God himself is love.
And there be none of all the poorest poor
That walk the world, worn heart-bare, none so poor
But they may bring a little human love
To mend the world.    And God himself is love.


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TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW.


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

Our birds of song are silent now,
    There are no flowers blooming;
Yet life beats in the frozen bough,
    And Freedom's Spring is coming!
And Freedom's tide comes up alway,
    Tho' we may stand in sorrow:
And our good Bark, a-ground To-day,
    Shall float again To-morrow.

Thro' all the long, dark night of years
    The People's cry ascendeth,
And Earth is wet with blood and tears:
    But our meek sufferance endeth!
The Few shall not for ever sway,
    The Many moil in sorrow:
The Powers of Hell are strong To-day,
    But Christ shall rise To-morrow.

Tho' hearts brood o'er the Past, our eyes
    With smiling Futures glisten!
For, lo I our clay bursts up the skies:
    Lean out your souls and listen!
The world rolls Freedom's radiant way,
    And ripens with her sorrow:
Keep heart! who bear the Cross To-day,
    Shall wear the Crown To-morrow.

O Youth! flame-earnest, still aspire,
    With energies immortal!
To many a heaven of Desire,
    Our yearning opes a portal!
And tho' Age wearies by the way,
    And hearts break in the furrow,
We'll sow the golden grain To-day,—
    The Harvest comes To-morrow.

Build up heroic lives, and all
    Be like a sheathen sabre,
Ready to flash out at God's call,
    O Chivalry of Labour!
Triumph and Toil are twins: and aye
    Joy suns the cloud of Sorrow ;
And 'tis the martyrdom To-day,


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HUSBAND AND WIFE.


O PROUDLY I stood in the rare Sunrise,
        As the dawn of your beauty brake;
But I fear'd for the storm, as I lookt at the skies,
        And trembled for your sweet sake!
And O, may the evil days come not, I said,
        As I yearn'd o'er my tender blossom!
Strong arm of love! shelter the dear one's head:
        And I nestled you 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 suffer'd and sorrow'd and grown more strong,
        Heart-to-heart, side-by-side, we have striven,
With the love that makes summer-tide all the year long,
        And the heart that is its own heaven!
We clung the more close as the storm swept by,
       And kept the nest warm in cold weather:
And seldom we've falter'd since you, Love, and I,
        Have been Husband and Wife together!

Like the sweet wild 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 golden calm, and in quickening strife,
        Hath your womanly worth unfolden:
And sunshine and show'r have enricht your life,
        And ripen'd 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 would win the blessing must wrestle;
And the deeper the sorrow, the dearer the bliss,
        That in its rich core may nestle!
Our Angels oft greet us in tearful guise,
        And our saviours 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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NO JEWELLED BEAUTY IS MY LOVE.


No jewelled Beauty is my Love,
    Yet in her earnest face
There's such a world of tenderness,
    She needs no other grace.
Her smiles, and voice, around my life
    In light and music twine,
And dear, O very dear to me.
    Is this sweet Love of mine.

O joy! to know there's one fond heart,
    Beats ever true to me:
It sets mine leaping like a lyre,
    In sweetest melody:
My soul up-springs, a Deity!
    To hear her voice divine,
And dear, O very dear to me,
    Is this sweet Love of mine.

If ever I have sigh'd for wealth,
    'Twas all for her, I trow;
And if I win Fame's victor-wreath,
    I'll twine it on her brow.
There may be forms more beautiful,
    And souls of sunnier shine,
But none, O none, so dear to me,
    As this sweet Love of mine.


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THE KINGLIEST KINGS.


    Ho! ye who in a noble work
        Win scorn, as flames draw air,
And in the way where Lions lurk,
        God's image bravely bear;
Tho' trouble-tried, and torture-torn,
The kingliest Kings are crown'd with thorn.

    Life's glory, like the bow in heaven,
        Still springeth from the cloud;
    And soul ne'er soar'd the starry Seven,
        But Pain's fire-chariot rode.
They've battled best who've boldliest borne,
The kingliest Kings are crown'd with thorn.

    The Martyr's fire-crown on the brow
        Doth into glory burn:
    And tears that from Love's torn heart flow,
        To pearls of spirit turn.
Our dearest hopes in pangs are born,
The kingliest Kings are crown'd with thorn.

    As beauty in Death's cerement shrouds,
        And Stars bejewel Night,
    God-splendours live in dim heart-clouds,
        And suffering worketh might,
The mirkiest hour is mother o' Morn,
The kingliest Kings are crown'd with thorn.


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MARTYRS FOR HUNGARY AND ROME.
1850.

        
        THEY are gone!
When on earthquake-edge they slumbered,
        Who have man accurst ;
And Hope's blossoms, many-numbered,
        Into flower burst;
When our hearts, like throbbing drums,
Beat for Freedom ; sang, She comes!
God! they stumbled among tombs.

        They are gone!
Freedom's strong ones, young and hoary,
        Beautiful in faith!
And her first dawn-blush of glory
        Gilds their camp of death!
There they lie in shrouds of blood;
Murder'd where for Right they stood —
Murder'd, Christ-like, doing good.

        They are gone!
And 'tis good to die up-giving
        Valour's vengeful breath,
To make Heroes of the living, —
        Thus divine is death.
One by one, dear hearts! they've left us,
Yet Hope hath not all bereft us
Still we man the breach they cleft us.

        They are here!
Here, where life ran ruddy rain,
        When power from God seem'd wrencht:
Here, where tears fall—molten brain!
        And hands are agony-clencht!
Look, Love lifts the veil ; ah! now
There's glory, where the glow
Of Pain's fire-crown seam'd each brow.

       They are here!
In the Etna of each heart,
       Where Vengeance laughs hell-mirth,
In the silent tears that start
        O'er their glorious worth!
Tears? ay, tears of fire, proud Weepers!
For these soul-sepultured sleepers:
Fire! to smite Death's blood-seed reapers.

        They are here!
With us in the march of time,
        Beating at our side!
Let us live their lives sublime,
        Die as they have died!
Wait : these Martyrs yet shall come,
Myriad-fold, from their heart-tomb!
In the Tyrant's day of doom.


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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-flasht on thy forehead of light,
        And I knew thee, my own love-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 lookt love in mine own,
        The Maiden answered, "Love me."

"My Beloved is fair as some beautiful star
        That walks in an air 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 their 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 sweet eyes lookt love into mine,
        The Maiden answered, "Love me."

"O could my heart, mountain-region'd in bliss,
        Thy life with Love's affluence dower,
Thou should'st have heaven in a world e'en like this,
        And the joy of a life in each hour!
Thou should'st 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 sweet eyes lookt love into mine,
        The Maiden answered, "Love me."


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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 folden 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, grim Lords of Murderdom
        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 Martyr's crown —
        The Mystic's robe of flame!
Sweet souls, a Christless world doth doom
        Like birds smote, 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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NEW YEAR'S EVE IN EXILE.


WARRIORS of Freedom who for heritage
Wear on their brows a mark as curst as Cain's,
The flower and chivalry of many lands
Betrothed to Martyrdom as to a Bride,—
Had met together, a strange companie!
But brothers, battling in one sacred cause.
They were heroic souls who had lain life's all
On Freedom's hungry Altar, and gone forth
Clad in the spirit of self-sacrifice,
To roam a thankless world with homeless hearts,—
Men who had tost on Danger's wildest waves,
For whom a radiant Victory ever shone:
Like Hero on her watch-tower with her torch,
Lighting her lover through the shadow of death,—
Men who had broken Battle's burning lines,
Dealing life with their looks, death with their hands,
And strode like Salamanders through War's flame;
And in the last stern charge of desperate valour,
On Death's scythe dasht with force that turn'd its edge.
Some were but youths, yet with such manhood flusht,
By eager leaps to catch at lordlier life,
They had attained the old heroic stature.
Some had grown grey with battle, some with years,
And there were ancient Sorrows grand as kings,
Of an old peerless line.   Such silent Griefs
And Sufferings crown'd for immortality.
Earnest as fire they sate, and reverent
As though a God were present in their midst;
Stern, but serene and hopeful, prayerful, brave,
As Cromwell's Ironsides on an eve of battle;
Each individual life as clencht and knit,
As though beneath their robes their fingers clutcht
The weapon sworn to strike a Tyrant down.
Such proud Belief did lift their kindling brows,
Such glowing purpose hunger'd in their eyes,
With fire enough to set a world in flames.
No servile souls, that at your fixèd look,
Like meek worms, writhe into their darkening holes.
And One up-rose to word the Thought than run
Hot to their hearts and glittering to their brows;
An old man, with the mournfull'st, thin, grey hair;
The lines of suffering in his face seem'd drawn
Tight with the mortal tug of Agony;
But with sad majesty he smiled, and splendour
Broke sweetly from the furrows of his face,
As wrinkles on the waters laugh with light.
Dilating as a Prophet's wings of flame
Flutter'd within him—all his aspect burn'd
With an unearthly fire.   He was caught up
The mount Transfiguration, with eyes fixt
On air, as though he talkt with one beyond.
He stood there looking down the unseen time,
Like some hoar Hill that lifts its solemn peak
To catch the unrisen Morn, while all the plains
Are drowsed and darkling.   He already sunn'd
Him in the glory of the coming Day;
And his words swept their yielding, springing hearts,
As strong winds take a field of billowing corn.
"The merry Bells are jubilant To-night
Through all the land of Exile; blithe wine laughs
Its bubbling laughter,—winking gem-like eyes,
And leaps up in the beaker like red lips
Whose kisses storm the inner gates of bliss.
But not with mirth, and song, and dainty feast,
We meet to hold our solemn festival.
We wait the wine of Freedom ; when it runs
We shall wax merry, too,—perchance grow drunken—
They keep it ripening to such mellow age!
And we shall banquet like Immortals fed
By Hebe's hand at the Ambrosial feasts.
The New Year flashes on us sadly grand,
Leaps in our midst with ringing armour on,
Strikes a mail'd hand in ours, and bids us arm
Ere the first trumpet sound the hour of onset.
Dense darkness lies on Europe's winter-world.
Stealthy and grim the Bear comes creeping on,
Out of the North, and all the Peoples sleep
By Freedom's smouldering watch-fire : there is none
To snatch the brand, and dash it in his face.
Old England sleeps, and still the Bear creeps on.
Ah! she forgetteth how, in the old years,
The great hearts of her glorious Commonwealth
Sent thunder-throbbings through the lands, and gave
        them
Such a new pulse of nobler life : and when
Their sumless Venture wreckt, and o'er them roll'd
The wormwood waters of defeat and death,
How in their pleading hands they held the Babe
And Orphan Liberty, and bade her rear it
For love of them, and for its own sweet sake.
And England slinks behind the nations now.
Dim is her Beacon Despots paled to see
Burn on them through the dark, like God's stern eye.
Her battle-armour rusteth in her halls,
And the old mighty arm that struck such blows
For Right and Freedom, hangeth listless now.
A dry-rot eats her life: her God is Mammon!
God Mars no longer leaps into her heart,
As in a chariot driving down to battle.
Her ancient fame and valour have become
A tale that's told us of forgotten times—
Some fabled Kraken slumbering in its sea!
O! for the voice of Milton once again,
To make the lion-eyes lighten, and her heart
As tremblingly alive as is a Star,
Till in her naked strength majestical
She walkt the sun-road of her glorious way.
But England sleeps-the Ruin still rolls on.
Earth crouches 'neath the shuddering wings of Fear.
Silent, and very calm, Freedom lies husht,
And listens like a panting thing pursued,
Hearkening, heart-stifled, for the stealthiest tread
Of One that hunts like Tarquin for Lucrece.
'Tis midnight now, and all the creeping things,
And Birds of Darkness, ply their ghastly work.
Life gropes and stumbles among gaping graves,
And Freedom's worshippers fall headless, while
They bend to give their hearts up at her shrine!
But God's in heaven, and yet the Day shall dawn—
Break from the dark upon her golden wings,
Her quick, ripe splendours rend and burn the gloom,
Her living tides of glory burst, and foam,
And hurry along the darken'd streets of night.
Cloud after cloud shall light a rainbow-roof,
And build a Triumph-Arch for conquering Day
To flash her beauty-trail her grandeurs through,
And take the World in her white arms of light.
And earth shall fling aside her mask of gloom,
And lift her tearful face.   O there will be
Blood on it thick as dews!   The Children's blood
Splasht in the Mother's face!   And there must be
A red sunrise of retribution yet!
A mighty future is about to break
The hush o' the world—the waiting gloom in heaven.
The New Year cometh with a magic key,
To ope some radiant chamber in Time's palace.
Our Martyrs have not sworn such seed in vain!
Beneath old Winter's snows a world of hope
Lies ripening, and shall richly run to flowers,
When Spring comes dancing like a jubilant Psaltress,
And free earth kindles as a countenance
Alive with love, and all the soul alight!
O come, thou Spring of God, and at thy voice
The balmy blood shall beat in bud and leaf!
And come, thou mellow rain, fall on it warm,
And fondle it with kisses, drop rich tears;
And blow, thou sweet Spring-wind, and set it stirring
With secret rapture-budding tenderly,
With all the glory of its folded bloom,
And all its fragrance striving for the light.
God, what a Spring and Harvest yet shall crown
The dark, dern Deluge of Calamity!
Then come, thou grand New Year, in silence come
Across the white snows, and the winter-land.
Come, great Deliverer, call the peoples up,—
Up from the Egypt of their slavery!
Ring out the death-knell of old Tyranny—
'Tis rotten ripe, and the heart of half the world
Doth beat and burst to hurry it into hell.
Stride o'er the Present, grand as some huge wave
Should rush across Panama at a leap,
And make two Seas one perfect world of waters.
So link our great Past to a nobler Future,
And set our new world singing on its way,
With sunshine freighted, like a heart of bliss,
Her Life's rich tide at Glory's high flood-mark.
A little while, and we shall yet return
Each to the Fatherland, like kings to conquest.
Light breaks there! in the East: it grows, and soon
Shall Freedom's sun roll up the Heaven of Life.
We may not see God's face, yet at our side
He combats for, us, with his vizor down.
But no words —like weeds they sap the soul
Of richness that should fill the fruit of deeds.
Henceforth let lips be dumb, as Bravery—
Her parley done—had shut her gates, to ope not
Save for the shouts that chariot Victory forth.
We are all ready!    We have waited long!
God strike the hour, Ho! let the trumpets ring!"
He ceased.   One shout ran thro' the night, and struck
Heaven's boss of stars, and like a ship went down
In the lone sea of silence flowing round.
In touching majesty the Stars lookt down,
As tho' they yearn'd to them with answering pulse,
And with invisible speed the world roll'd on.


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SONG.


LIKE leaves from Autumn's bough, Old Friend,
        Our ripest hopes depart;
And there's little left us now, Old Friend,
        To cheer the Patriot's heart.
The Altars where we knelt, Old Friend,
        Grow desolate and cold,
And faint is the faith we felt, Old Friend,
        I' the valiant days of old.

In bloody shrouds they sleep, Old Friend,
        Who could not live as slaves:
And the living only weep, Old Friend,
        Above their Martyrs' graves!
Freedom hath many a wound, Old Friend,
        And, ring'd by hounds of hell,
She wraps her purple round, Old Friend,
        To fall as Caesar fell.

The men of blood prevail, Old Friend,
        And, stricken in the night,
The people's weeping wail, Old Friend,
        Goes praying for the light.
And yet their day shall come, Old Friend,
        Though we may never hear
The shouts of Harvest-home, Old Friend,
        Nor see the golden year.


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O THE WHITE SNOW CROWNS THE HILLS


O THE white Snow crowns the Hills, and the arms of Ether
            fills,
    In the glory 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 walkt 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
            byways:
    So the Maiden's life is stain'd and trampled now.


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EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY-EIGHT.


PEOPLE of England, rouse ye from your dreaming!
    Sinew your souls for Freedom's glorious leap:
Look to the Future, where our day-spring's gleaming :
    Lo! a pulse stirs that never more shall sleep
In the world's heart.   Men's eyes flash wide with wonder!
    The Robbers tremble in their mightiest tower,
Strange words roll o'er their souls with wheels of thunder,
    The leaves from Royalty's tree fall hour by hour,—
    Earthquakes leap in our Temples, crumbling Throne and
                Power.

Vampyres have drain'd the human heart's best blood,
    Kings robb'd, and Priests have curst us in God's name:
Out in the midnight of the Past we've stood—
    While fiends of darkness plied their hellish game.
We have been worshipping a gilded crown,
    Which drew heaven's lightning-laughter on our head ;
Chains fell on us as we were bowing down;
    We deem'd our Gods divine, but lo! instead —
    They are but painted clay,—with morn the charm has
            fled!

And this is merry England, —cradling-place
    Of souls self-deified and glory-crown'd!
Where smiles made splendour in the Peasant's face,
    And Justice reign'd —her awful eyes close-bound!
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!

Husht be the Herald on the walls of fame,
    Trumping this People as their Country's pride;
Weep rather, with your souls on fire with shame:
    See ye not how the palaced knaves deride
Us flatter'd fools? how priestcraft, strong and stealthy,
    Stabs at our freedom through its veil of night,
And grinds 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 flowery land,
    Where Tyranny's cursed brand-mark has not been:
O! were it not for its all-blasting hand,
    Dear Christ, what a sweet heaven this might have been!
Has it not hunted forth our spirits brave, —
    Kill'd the red rose of health which crown'd our
            daughters,
Wedded our living hopes unto the grave,
    Filled happy homes with strife, the world with
            slaughters,
    And turn'd our thoughts to blood-to gall, the heart's
                sweet waters?

Where is the spirit of our ancient Sires?
    Who, bleeding, wrung their Rights from tyrannies
              olden.
God-spirits have been here, for Freedom fires
    From out their ashes, to earth's heart enfolden;
The mighty dead lie slumbering around, —
    Whose names thrill thro' 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 husht, and heaven is clothed
    With smiling stars that in God's presence roll,
Feel the stirr'd spirit leap to them betrothed,
    As Angel-wings were fanning in the soul;
Feel the hot tears flood in the eyes upturning,
    The tide of goodness heave its brightest waves,—
Then suddenly crush the grand and God-ward yearning
   With the mad 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 stept 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 string on the People's lyre
    Joy's broken chord!   And on the People's brow
Set Empire's crown?   Light up thy beacon-fire
    Within their hearts, with an undying glow;
    Nor give us blood for milk, as men are drunk with now?

Curst, curst be war, the World's most fatal glory!
    Ye wakening nations, burst its guilty thrall!
Time waits with out-stretcht hand to shroud the gory
    Grim glaive of strife behind Oblivion's pall.
The Tyrant laughs at swords, the cannon's rattle
    Thunders no terror on his murderous soul.
Thought, Mind, must conquer Might, and in this battle
    The Warrior's cuirass, or the Sophist's stole,
    Shall blunt no lance of light, no onset backward roll.

Old Poets tell us of a golden age,
    When earth was guiltless, —Gods the guests of men,
Ere sin had dimm'd the heart's illumined page, —
    And Sinai-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 like a sun dawns on the People's forehead,—
Humanity springs from them like incense,
    The Future burst upon them, boundless—starried,—
    They weep repentant tears, that they so long have
               tarried.


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THE PATRIOT.


AY, Tyrants, build your Babels! forge your fetters! link
        your chains!
As brims your guilt-cup fuller, ours of grief ebbs to the
        drains:
Still, as on Christ's brow, crowns of thorn for Freedom's
        Martyrs twine;
Still batten on live hearts, and madden, o'er the hot blood-
        wine.
Murder men sleeping, or awake,—torture them dumb
        with pain,
And tear, with hands all bloody red, Mind's jewels from
        the brain!
Your feet are on us, Tyrants—strike! and hush Earth's
        wail of sorrow:
Your sword of power, so red to-day, shall kiss the dust
        to-morrow.
O! but 'twill be a merry day, the world shall set apart,
When Strife's last brand is broken in the last crown'd
        Tyrant's heart!
And it shall come,—despite of Rifle, Rope, and Rack,
        and Scaffold,
Once more we lift the earnest brow, and battle on un-
       baffled.

Our hopes ran mountains high, we sang at heart, wept
        tears of gladness,
When France, the bravely beautiful, dasht down her
        sceptred madness;
And Hungary her one-hearted race of mighty heroes
        hurl'd
In the death-grip of the nations, as a bulwark for the
        world.
O Hungary! gallant Hungary! grand and glorious thou
        wert,
The World's soul feeling, like a river, gushing from God's
        heart:
And Rome,—who, while her Heroes bled, felt her old
        breast heave higher,
How her eyes redden'd with the flash of all their Roman
        fire!
Mothers of children, who shall live the Gods of future
        story!
Your blood shall blossom from the dust, and crown the
        world with glory.
Ye'll tread them down yet ! curse and crown, Czar,
        Kaiser, King and slave,
And Freedom shall be sovran in the courts of fool and
        knave.

Wail for the hopes that have gone down! the young life
        vainly spilt!
Th' Eternal Murder still sits crown'd, and throned in
        damning guilt.
Still in God's golden sun the Tyrants' bloody banners
        burn,
And Priests,—Hell's midnight Thugs!—to their
        soul-strangling work return!
See how the oppressors of the poor with serpents hunt our
        blood;
Hear, from the dark, the groan and curse go maddening
        up to God.
They kill and: trample us poor worms, till earth is dead
        men's dust;
Death's red tooth daily drains our hearts, but end, ay,
        end it must.
The herald of our coming Christ leaps in the womb of
        Time;
The poor's grand army treads the Age's march with step
        sublime.
Ours is the mighty future! and what marvel, brother men,
If the devoured of ages should turn devourers then?

O! brothers of the bounding heart, I look thro' tears and
        smile,
Our land is rife with sounds of fetters snapping 'neath the
        file;
I lay my hand on England's heart, and in each life-throb
        mark,
The pealing thought of freedom ring its Tocsin in the
        dark.
I see the Toiler hath become a glorious Christ-like preacher,
And, as he wins a crust, stands proudly forth, the great
        world-teacher;
He still toils on, but, Tyrants, 'tis a mighty thing when
        slaves,
Who delve their lives into their work, know that they
        delve your graves.
Anarchs! your doom comes swiftly I brave and eagle
        spirits climb,
To ring Oppression's death-knell from the old watch-towers
        of time;
A spirit of Cromwellian might is stirring at this hour,
And thought is burning in men's eyes with more than
        speechful power.

Old England, cease the mummer's part ! wake, Starveling,
        Serf, and Slave !
Rouse in the majesty of wrong, great kindred of the brave!
Speak, and the world shall answer, with her voices
        myriad fold,
And men, like Gods, shall grapple with the giant-wrongs
        of old.
Now, Mothers of the people, give your babes heroic milk;
Sires, soul your sons to daring deeds, no more soft words
        of silk;
Great spirits of the mighty dead take shape, and walk our
        mind,
Their glory smites our upward look, we seem no longer
        blind;
They tell us how they broke their bonds, and whisper, "So
        may ye,"
One sharp, stern struggle, and the slaves of centuries are
        free!
The people's heart, with pulse like cannon, panteth for the
        fray,
And, brothers, gallant brothers, we'll be with you in that
        day.


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