Robert Burns : A Centenary Song

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PREFATORY NOTE.
_____________


"HONOUR the brave and bold,
 Long may the tale be told,
           Noble Six Hundred."

 

I ALSO was one of the unsuccessful competitors for the prize offered by the Directors of the Crystal Palace Company, for the best Poem on the Centenary of the Birth of Robert Burns.  I suppose that many of us feel a leaning partiality toward our own verses, in spite of their not winning the prize; I am sure I do.  The Adjudicators place my Poem Fourth on the list of those which they recommend for printing.  That is reward sufficient: my ambition is satisfied.  I publish my Poem.  It seems to me, however, that I must have had too large an idea of what was meant by the "best Poem" on the subject of Robert Burns and the Centenary Commemoration.  I certainly did not limit myself to write merely "in honour of the occasion."  Like that actor who used to black himself all over when he played in the character of Othello, in order that he might go thoroughly through his part, did the Minstrel in my case go in for his subject.  He might, perhaps, have been nearer the mark, if he had only blacked his hands and face.

    Respecting the other pieces in my Pamphlet of Poetry, I have only to say, that two of them were written at the time we kicked out the "Conspiracy Bill."

GERALD MASSEY.

February, 1859.

 

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ROBERT BURNS.

A CENTENARY SONG.


A VAGRANT Wild Flow'r, sown of God, out in the waste was
        born;
It sprang up as a Corn-flow'r in the golden fields of Corn:
The Corn all strong and stately in its bearded bravery grew,—
Gathered the gold for harvest-time—grew ripe in sun and dew;
And when it bowed the head—as Wind and Shadow ran their
        race,
Like influences from Heaven come to Earth, for playing place—
It seem'd to look down on the Flower as in a smiling scorn,
Poor thing, you grow no food, no grain for garner! said the Corn.
The lonely Flow'r still bloomed its best, contented with its place,
God's blessing fell upon it as it lookt up in his face!
And there they grew together till the white-winged Reapers
        came—
The Sickles shining, in their hands, their faces were aflame!
The Corn they reapt for earthly use, but an Angel fell in love
With that wild Flow'r, and wore it at the Harvest-home above.
Our world of Money-makers is that fabled field of Corn!
Our Poet is the sweet wild Flow'r that won their smiling scorn.

_____________________________


Burns came not to be richly clothed, and sumptuously fed;
He came to wear the hodden grey, and eat sweat-sweetened bread;
To live what only poor men know, and share their sternest lot;
He came to our tear-watered world, born in a Poor Man's Cot.
There, in the bonny Bairn-time, knelt he at his Mother's knee,
With such a face as might have drawn down saintly souls to see
The rosy Innocent at prayer, just ready to the hand
Of Slumber's guardian Angel for the blessed Silent land!
There young Love came and brought rare balms that do bewitch the
        blood,
And make it dance, while spirits sing, with life in hey-day flood!
And there she found her favourite Child, the robust, ruddy Muse,
Who gathered her brown health afield, and washt in Morning dews;
Aye, there she rockt his infant thought with Visions glorious
That hallow now the Poor Man's Cot for evermore to us.
Angelic playmates in disguise were those still dreams of youth
That drew it to great things, and there we find they live in truth.

Burns knew the sorrows of poor folks, and for their patient pain,
His soul was kind as Mercy's, and his words were soft as rain.
At the presence of Oppression in his face the white fire seethed,
But at the gentlest touch the lion lineament was sheathed.
His eyes, dilated large with heart, and flashing as the levin,
Grew sweet and clear, and calm and grand, as are the eyes of
        Heaven.
On hands and knees in Life's low ways the Poor must often creep
Where Manhood may not walk full height; and this made Robin
        weep.
Heaven-mirroring deep tenderness that big brave heart doth hold,
Meek as the beautiful blue lake which stern high Hills enfold;
And quick as Mother's milk at thrill of her Babe's touch, and strong,
It floods his heart, and fills his eyes, and overflows his song.
But none dare sneer that sees the tear in Burns's honest eye,
It tells you clearly that it comes from where the thunders lie!
Such passionate ardours quiver in the precious pearl of pain,
As lurks the spirit of lightning in the drop of tempest rain.

How Robin loved the noble land that gave such heroes birth,
Its wee blue bit of Heaven, and its dear green nook of Earth!
O'er which God droops a bridal veil of mist for softer grace,
To keep her beauty virginal and make more fair her face.
So stands she meek and reverent in the shadow of God's love,
More loveable than Lands whose brave, bold beauty stares above!
Auld Scotland's Music long had wailed and wailed about this land,
So yearning in her sweetness and so sorrowfully grand;
And many grieved to tears, yet could not tell what she would say,
But Robin wed her with his words, and they were one for aye.
Ah, how some old sweet cradle song the wandering heart still brings
Home, Home again, so strongly drawn in Love's own leading-
        strings!
Of all the Birds the Robin is the darling of the poor,
His nest is sacred, he goes free by window or by door;
His lot is very lowly, and his coat is homely brown,
But in the rainy day he sings when gayer birds have flown;
And hoarded up for us he brings in his breast of bonny red,
A gathered glory of the Springs and Summers long fled!
And so of all the Birds of Song to which the poor Man turns,
The darling of his listening love is gentle Robin Burns.
His summer soul our winter warms, makes glory in our gloom,
His nest is safe for ever in the poor man's home.

His Ministrants of Music run where night is all so mirk,
You scarce can see the Devil in the Darkness at his work,
Or tell the face of friend from foe, but these song-spirits come
And bring some little light of heaven into the meanest home:
Weave flowers of radiant relief in life's grey common woof,
And make the vine of Patience twine about the barest roof!
They set them singing at their work, or where no voice is found,
Out smiles the soft mind-music that is all too fine for sound.
The inner glow enriches life with tints of pictured bloom,
Like firelight warm upon the walls against the outer gloom.
On either side the hearth they glide into the seat of Care,
Make an immortal presence of abiding beauty there.

More welcome than cool sods of earth, cut ere the sun be risen,
To the caged Lark, are Robin's songs in smoky City prison!
The Sailor warms his heart with them, out on the wintry sea,
The Serf stands up ennobled in the knighthood of the Free!
The Soldier sad on Midnight watch, or weary march by day,
Grows cheery at their tidings from the old land far away!
We hug the homestead closer and the fresh love-tendrils twine,
And make our clasp more fond for fear our dear ones we may tine.
When Hesper with his sparkling eye sees lovers face to face,
Where droopt lids shade a burning beauty with their shyer grace,
And husht and holy is the hour and silent is the Night
Lest even the breath of fiery stir that poise so feather-light
In which two hearts are weighed for life, and like a humming hive,
The inner world of happiness with music grows alive,
There, as life aches so heart in heart, and hand in hand so yearns,
Love shakes his wings and soars and sings some song of Robin
        Burns.
Think how that poor worn Lucknow band listened across the strife,**
And held the breath which seem'd their last they had to draw in life,
To hear the music asking in the battle pauses brief,
As Havelock and his mighty men swept on to their relief,
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot? through flaming hell we come
To keep the pledge so often given around the hearth at home!
We'll take a cup of kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne.
Aye, tho' that cup be filled with dear heart's blood instead of wine !
And here's a hand, my trusty friend:
" and lo! the dear old Land
From out that smoke of carnage reacht and claspt them with her
        hand.

Burns had the natural touch that thrills to the deep heart of things,
A rootage down to where Life feeds at the eternal springs.
Clear as this Magic Crystal in its shining Mirror shows
The dappling shadows of the clouds, the Dawnlight's ruddy rose,
The smiling sapphire of the noon, and Sundown's golden close,
The Midnight's burning bush of beauty where God's glory glows,—
Did he reflect the changeful looks that pass o'er Nature's face,
The grandeur and the homeliness, her glory and her grace.
And sweeter is the honey breath of heather on the wold!
And dearer is the bonny broom with its bloom of beamless gold.
The Daisy opes its eye, and straight from Nature's heart so true,
The tear of Burns peeps sparkling, an immortal drop of dew.
And Robin did not bend his soul till blind in search of pelf,
He did not walk worm-eaten with eternal thoughts of self!
In natural kingliness he stood before the Lords of earth,
And set the majesty of Man above the badge of Birth.

A hundred years ago to-day the glorious stranger came,
And men lookt up in wonder at the wild and wandering flame.
The fiercer the life-fire confined, with higher heave it breaks,
And higher will the mountain mind up-thrust its star-ward peaks;
Then often is the kindling flesh with its red lightnings riven,
And Earth holds up a radiant wreck to pray for healing Heaven.
But now we know that he was one of high and shining race;
All gone the mortal mists that dimmed the fair immortal face!
The splendour of a thousand suns follows the tearful rain
That ran adown his human cheeks, and there is no more pain:
All gone the sorrow and sadness! soil and stain away have passed,
High in the heaven of fame he sits quietly crowned at last!
The prowling Ghoul hath left his grave, and praying Pharisee ;
His frailties fade, his virtues live, and work immortally.

Weep tears of exultation that the Peasant's princely son,
Born in an old Clay-Biggin, such a peerless throne hath won,
And such a crown so fair, so brave, thy Child hath wrought for Thee,
Thou gray old nurse of heroes! thou proud Mother Poverty!
Look up! and let the solemn tears be toucht with sparks of pride!
Look up! in his great glory we are also glorified!
Or weep the tears of sorrow that his brightness e'er should dim;
Then 'tis the tear of sorrow brings us nearer unto him:
'Tis here we touch his garment hem, 'tis here the lowliest earns
The right to call him Brother, one of us, our Robin Burns.
In suffering's fire we always forge our dearest bond of love.
Ah, Robin! if God hear our prayer, 'tis all made well above!
And you who comforted His poor in this world, have your home
With those He comforteth, His poor, in all the world to come.

Dear Robin! could'st thou come again, how changed it all would be,
The proudest heart, the poorest home, would open now to thee!
Warm eyes would shine at windows, hands of welcome at the door
Would greet thee where they let thee pass so heedlessly, of yore;
And they would have thee wear the Crown who bade thee bear the
        Cross,
They knew not of their glorious gain without the bitter loss!
How we would comfort thy distress, and wipe thy tears away,
By silent pressure of a hand, tell all the heart could say,
But strive to speak the words that make the measure of great grief—
In tears that suck the sting of soul—run over with relief:
Thy poor heart heaving like a sea that moaneth evermore,
And tries to creep into the caves of Rest, but finds no shore.
Poor heart! come rest thee, would we plead, come rest thee in the
        calm;
And we would bathe thy weary life with love's immortal balm:
The tremulous sweetness round thy mouth should smile as once it
        smiled,
Thou great strong man, with woman soul, and heart of a little
        Child.

We cannot see your face, Robin! nor your free, fearless brow!
We cannot hear your voice, Robin! but you are with us now!
Altho' your mortal face is veiled behind the spirit-wings:
You draw us up as Heaven the Lark when its music in him sings:
You fill our souls with tender awe, you make our faces shine,
You brim our cup with kindness here for sake of Auld lang Syne.
We are all one at heart To-day because you join our hands,
While one electric feeling runs thro' all the English lands.
Each party wall doth fade or fall, and in our world-home we
United stand a Brother band, rooft with Infinity:
But near or far where Britons are the leal and true heart turns
More fond to the dear Fatherland for love of Robin Burns.

 


* Ed.:  in the Prefatory Note (above) to his 'Robert Burns: A Centenary Song', Massey writes as follows:

"HONOUR the brave and bold,
Long may the tale be told,
Noble Six Hundred."

"I ALSO was one of the unsuccessful competitors for the prize offered by the Directors of the Crystal Palace Company," etc.....

Massey adapted this tercet from part of the original ending of Tennyson's 'The Charge of the Light Brigade':

'... Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!'

and part of the amended (1855) version:

'...Honour the brave and bold!
Long shall the tale be told...'

(Kincaid, James R., Tennyson's Major Poems, Yale U.P., 1975, fn.5, 219-20)

With this, he appears to allude to the other 620 entrants for the competition.

The Burns Centenary Competition judges subsequently published the six entries they adjudged runners-up (they were unable to obtain copyright permission to include Miss Isa Craig's winning entry, but it is included here) together with a selection of those unplaced, which included poems by the Glasgow 'Pedlar Poet' James Macfarlan, and the Pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais. 

In speaking of the response to the Competition in the Preface to this volume - 'FIFTY OF THE BEST' - we are told that "The extraordinary number of six hundred and twenty-one poems had been sent in, and it was rumoured that the first writers of the day were among them."  Perhaps in quoting from Tennyson's 'Charge', might Massey have been indicating that a poem by Tennyson was among the pseudonymous entries?

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** Not the Jessie Brown story. But vide the "Lady's Diary of the Siege of Lucknow," page 119. "Suddenly, just at dark, we heard a very sharp fire of musketry, and then a tremendous cheering ; an instant after the sound of bagpipes, then soldiers running up the road."

 

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_______________________


TO A BEREAVED FRIEND.


GOD comfort you, my Friend, God comfort you!
How mighty, how immeasurable your loss
I can but dimly know; yet I have learned
That only the most precious die so soon.
I can but stand without, and dare not thrust
My hand betwixt the curtains of your grief;
I cannot reach you sitting in the dark
Of that lone desert where the silence stuns,
And sound of sobbing is a kind relief.
But I have felt the gloom that brings heaven near,
The love whose kissings are all unreturned,
And longed to lie down with the quiet dead
And share their long sweet rest.   I too have known
This strain and crack of heart-strings, this wild
        whirl
And wallow of sense in which the soul seems
        drowned.
You are the husband of an angel, I
Have two sweet Babes in bliss.   We are very poor
On earth, my Friend, but very rich in Heaven.
Two years ago you comforted my loss;
One year ago I sang your wedding song,
And now She is not!   She who had only lookt
On life thro' coloured windows of her dreams!
All in the softest sweetest breath of God
The bud of her dear beauty seemed to have blown,
Your one-year darling who but sprang, and died,
And left the fragrance of her memory,
A blessed memory and a blessed hope!
She had the shy grace of a woodland flower;
In her Love veiled his eyes with timid wings;
And her eyes deepened with a sadness rich,
As tho' the mountain-tops of heaven-toucht
        thought
Made mirrored shadows in their lakes of light.
Only a brief while did she wear the mask
Of flesh that kept the fond immortal face
Without a stain of earth or soil of time,
And now her Nun-like spirit takes the veil
In Heaven's cloistral calm.   Look up, my friend,
And bravely bear the mantle of her pain,
Which fell from her for you to wear for her!
Look up, my friend, and may one blessed glimpse
Of all her glory touch your tears with light!
Only in heaven can the dark grow starry,
Only in heaven comes the wished-for dawn.
She liveth in the sight of Him that sees.
Us also; Ye are one still in God's eye
That from his picture of the Universe
Turns on us in whatever worlds we move.

 

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THE OLD FLAG.


AN Emperor babbled in his dreams—
    Ne'er sleeps the secret in his soul—
"The Lion is old, and ready he seems
    To draw my Chariot to its goal."
With awful light the Lion's eye
    Began to flame—sublime he stands!
With looks that make the Tyrant try
    To hide his bloody hands.
Thank God, the advancing tide is met!
Thank God, the Old Flag's flying yet.

We love our native land and laws,
    And He would rather we did not!
We are Conspirators because
    We are in our little green grass plot!
But let him follow up his frown,
    Marshal his myriads for the blow;
Those who are doomed to drown must
        drown,
    The rest we'll take in tow!
In Cherbourg's sight their gallows set
Beside the Old Flag flying yet.

Our Ghost of Greatness hath not fled
    At crowing of the Gallic Cock;
A foreign Despot's heel shall tread
    No print upon our English rock.
Here Freedom by the Lion grand
    Sits safe, and Una-like doth hold
Him gently with her gentle hand;
    And long as seas enfold,
High on our topmost height firm-set,
We'll keep her Old Flag flying yet.

To Freedom we must aye be true;
    Our England must be Freedom's home;
For sake of our dead Darlings who
    Went heavenward crowned with
        martyrdom.
'Twas she who made us what we are,
    Throned on our sea-cliffs grey and
        grand;
Great image of majestic care!
    Fair Bride of Fatherland!
We do but pay the filial debt
To keep her Old Flag flying yet.

This little Isle is Freedom's Bark
    That rideth in a perilous path:
Around us one wide sea of dark
    That beats and breaks in stormy wrath.
The Despots drove poor Freedom forth,
    By bloody footprints trackt her road;—
And homeless, homeless, else on earth
    She takes to her sea-abode!
She turns on us her eyes tear-wet;
Ah, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Statesmen have drawn back meek and
        mute,
    Or pardon begged from bullying foes,
Whene'er a Military boot
    Was stampt upon retreating toes.
They shrink to hear Him at our gates,
    This ominous thing of gloom and gore,
Tho' Revolution for him waits
    At Danger's every door.
But little do we heed his threat!
We keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Over the praying peoples rolled
    The dark tide, and we helpt them not.
Yet on our lifted hands, behold,
    We cry, behold no bloody spot!
This famous people's heart is sound,
    It fights for all that bleed and smart;
We—banned above—meet underground,
    Meet in a touch of heart.
We cannot our old fame forget;
We keep the Old Flag flying yet.

We have a true and tender clasp
    For Freedom's friends where'er their
        home,
And for her foes as grim a grasp,
    No matter when or whence they come.
We like that gay light-hearted France
    That into stormy splendour breaks,
When its brave music for the dance
    Of Death the battle makes:
And foot to foot we'd proudly set
To keep the Old Flag flying yet.

But what is France? this cruel Power 
    That builds upon her martyred dead, 
Whose spirits thicken hour by hour 
    The air about its doomed head?
This Death-in-Life throned on the grave, 
    That in the darkness waits its prey? 
Like Coral-workers neath the wave,
    It dies on reaching day.
The Sun of France hath not thus set, 
But, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

France, who hath stood erect and first,
    Will not lie latest in the dust:
Ere long her breath of scorn will burst
    This bubble blown of bloody lust.
Quietly, quietly, turns the tide,
    And when this shore lies black and bare,
There shall be no more sea to hide
    The Wrecker's secrets there.
Our lot is cast, our task is set,
To keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Save him? this Burglar of the night
    Broke into Freedom's sacred shrines!
This Lie uncrowned whene'er the light
    Of merciless next morning shines!
This terror of a land struck dumb,
    Who fed the Furies with brave blood!
We cannot save him when they come
    For his.   Not if we would.
So slippery is the hand blood-wet!
Ah, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

The Tyrant sometimes waxeth strong
    To drag a fate more fearful down:
He veileth Justice who ere long
    Shall see Eternal Justice frown.
The Kings of Crime from near and far
    Shall come to crown him with their
        crown;
Under the shadow of doom his Star
    Will redden, and go down.
And day shall dawn when it hath set,
But, keep the Old Flag flying yet.

Leaves fall, but lo! the young buds peep!
    Flowers die and still their seed shall
        bloom;
From death the quick young life will leap
    When Spring goes by the wintry tomb.
And tho' their graves are husht, in stern
    Heroic dream the dead men lie!
To God their still white faces turn:
    The murdered do not die.
Will God the Martyrs' seed forget?
No.   Keep the Old Flag flying yet.

This triumph of the spoken word
    Is well, my England, but give heed!
The world leans on thee as a Sword
    For Freedom in her battle-need.
Star of a thousand battles red,
    Be thou the Beacon of the Free!
Turn round thy luminous side, and shed
    God's light o'er land and sea.
Thro' floods, or flames, or bloody sweat,
Keep thou the Old Flag flying yet.

The splendid shiver of brave blood
    Is thrilling through our England now!
She who so often hath withstood
    The Tyrants, lifts her brightened brow.
God's precious charge we proudly keep
    In circling arms of victory!
With Freedom we shall live, or sleep
    With our dear dead who are free.
God forget us when we forget
To keep the Old Flag flying yet.

 

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OLD HARLEQUIN PAM.


OUR Greatest of Men is Harlequin Pam,
The "Times" says so, and the "Times" cannot bam!
But I'll prove it true.   In an Age of Sham,
Our greatest of Humbugs is Harlequin Pam.
Humbug in riches it reeks and it rolls,
Humbug in luxury lazily lolls,
Humbug in Senate and Humbug in Shop,
Humbug makes sweet the Assassin's last drop;
And Pam, Pam is the King of all Sham,
So our greatest of Men must be Harlequin Pam.
England, this is the Man for you,
The "Times" says so, and it must be true.

Did the Vessel of State hurry down to the Fall,
No stay from the current, no help for the call!
To the uttermost edge of destruction trackt,
On the crumbling brink of the Cataract,
Pam would go thro' the leap like a Clown
In the Ring, and with grace and applause go
        down!
Tho' the whirl sank the Ship it could scarce keep a
        straw in!
And all one to Pam come éclat or a clawin'!
Pam, Pam, you're a wonderful sham!
And we can't do without you, old Harlequin Pam!
England, this is the Man for you,
The "Times" says so, and it must be true.

That he pulls with the People at first sight is seen;
Look again! they are chained with a post between!
He bullies the weak, to the strong he's a slave,
Best card in the pack when the Despots play
        knave!
How he jauntily trips up the royal back stair,
To quiet the mob in the Public Square!
Look up, what a firework of words red hot!
But lo! in the enemy's camp not a shot!
Pam, Pam, you're a wonderful sham!
And we can't do without you, old Harlequin Pam!
England, this is the Man for you!
The "Times" says so, and it must be true.

To oblige his Emperor friend who, one day,
Won Imperial stakes as he played foul play,
He put the old Lion in blinkers, and held him,
And tried, per French pattern, to carve him and
        gild him.
And ere long another high wind will blow,
Then ho! ho! but the Crowns will go!
And what will they do if this Judas of Freedom
        then
Can't help the Despots who terribly need him
        then?
Pam, Pam, you're a wonderful Sham,
And we can't do without you, old Harlequin Pam!
England, this is the Man for you!
The "Times" says so, and it must be true.

This dazzling shallow will shimmer so,
The blind don't see there's no depth below!
This sparkling Sham for a jewel will pass,
If set in a Crown, tho' 'tis only cut glass!
This political firefly tho' faded no matter,
'Twill gleam out again when it gets in hot water!
This bubble as long as you puff it will float,
And so my song ends with its Cuckoo note.
Pam, Pam, you're a wonderful Sham,
But we can't do without you, old Harlequin Pam!
England, this is the Man for you,
The "Times" says so, and it must be true.

 

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SIR ROBERT'S SAILOR SON.


OUR country hath no need to raise
    The ghosts of glories gone;
Such heroes dying in our days,
    Still toss the live torch on.
Brave blood as bright a crimson
        gleams,
    Still burns as goodly zeal;
The old heroic radiance beams
    In men like William Peel.

With beautiful bravery clothed on,
    And such high moral grace,
The flash of rare soul-armour shone
    Out of his noble face!
So mild in peace, so stern in war,
    He walkt our English way,
Just one of Shakespeare's Warriors for
    A weary working day.

His Sailors loved him so on deck,
    So cheery was his call,
They leapt on land, and in his wake
    Followed him, guns and all.
For, as a battle-brand red-hot,
    His Spirit grew and glowed,
When in his swift war-chariot
    The Avenger rose and rode.

Sleep, Sailor Darling, true and brave,
    With our dead Soldiers sleep!
That so the land you lived to save,
    You shall have died to keep.
You may have wished the dear Sea-blue
    To have folded round your breast,
But God had other work for you,
    And other place of rest.

We tried to reach you with our wreath
    When living; but laid low,
You grow so grand! and after death
    The dearness deepens so!
To have gone so soon, so loved to have
        died,
    So young to wear that crown,
We think.   But with such thrills of pride
    As shake the last tears down.

Our old Norse Fathers speak in you,
    Speak with their strange sea-charm,
That sets our hearts a-beating to
    The music of the storm.
There comes a Spirit from the deep,
    The salt wind waves its wings,
That rouses from its Inland sleep
    The blood of the old Sea Kings.

God rest you, gallant William Peel,
    With those whom England leaves,
Scattered as still she plies her steel,
    But God gleans up in sheaves:
We'll talk of you on land, on board,
    Till Boys shall feel as Men,
And forests of hands clutch at this
        Sword
    Death gives us back again.

 

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THE OLD LAND.


O LEAL high hearts of England,
    The evil days are near;
When ye, with steel in heart and hand,
    Must strike for all that's dear!
And better tread the bloodiest deck,
    And fieriest field of fame,
Than break the heart and bow the neck,
    And sit in the shadow of shame.
Let Despot, Death, or Devil come,
    United here we stand:
We'll safely guard our Island-Home,
    Or die for the dear old Land.

O, Warriors of Old England,
    You'll hurry to the call;
And her good ships shall sail the storm,
    With their merry mariners all.
In words she wasteth not her breath,
    But be the trumpet blown,
And in the Battle's dance of death,
    She'll dance the bravest down.
Let Despot, Death, or Devil come,
    United here we stand:
We'll safely guard our Island-Home,
    Or die for the dear old Land.

Success to our dear England,
    When dark days come again;
And may she rise up glorious
    As the rainbow after rain.
A thousand memories warm us still,
    And, ere the old spirit dies,
The purple of each wold and hill
    From English blood shall rise.
Let Despot, Death, or Devil come,
    United here we stand:
We'll safely guard our Island-Home,
    Or die for the dear old Land.

God strike with our dear England,
    And long may the old land be
The guiding glory of the world,
    The home of the fair and free!
Old Ocean on his silver shield
    Shall lift our little Isle
Unvanquisht still by flood or field,
    While the heavens in blessing smile.
Let Despot, Death, or Devil come,
    United here we stand:
We'll safely guard our Island-Home,
    Or die for the dear old Land.

 

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THE FIGHTING TEMERAIRE
TUGGED TO HER LAST BERTH.


IT is a glorious tale to tell
    When nights are long and mirk;
How well she fought our fight, how
        well
    She did our England's work;
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand old Temeraire.

Bravely over the breezy blue
    They went to do or die;
And nobly on herself she drew
    The Battle's burning eye!
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand old Temeraire.

Round her the Glory fell in flood,
    From Nelson's loving smile,
When, raked with fire, she ran with
        blood
    In England's hour of trial!
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand old Temeraire.

And when our darling of the Sea
    Sank dying on his deck,
With her revenging thunders she
    Struck down his foe—a wreck.
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand old Temeraire.

Her day now draweth to its close
    With solemn sunset crowned;
To death her crested beauty bows,
    The night is folding round.
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand old Temeraire.

No more the big heart in her breast
    Will heave from wave to wave.
Weary and war-worn, ripe for rest,
    She glideth to her grave.
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand old Temeraire.

In her dumb pathos desolate
    As night among the dead!
Yet wearing an exceeding weight
    Of glory on her head.
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand old Temeraire.

Good bye! good bye! Old Temeraire,
    A sad and proud good bye!
The stalwart spirit that did wear
    Your sternness, shall not die.
    Our good Ship Temeraire!
    The fighting Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand Old Temeraire.

Thro' battle blast, and storm of shot,
    Your Banner we shall bear;
And fight for it like those who fought
    Our good Ship Temeraire.
    The fighting Temeraire!
    The conquering Temeraire!
She goeth to her last-long home,
    Our grand Old Temeraire.

 


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A NATIONAL ANTHEM.


GOD bless our native Land,
Glorious, and grave, and grand,
                God bless our Land!
God bless her noble face,
God bless her peerless race,
Great heart, and daring hand,
                God bless our Land.

God love our Saxon Land,
Make her for ever grand,
                God love our Land!
Robe her with righteousness,
Crown her with gifts of grace,
Throne her at Thy right hand,
                God love our Land.

If secret foes should band
To strike our dear old Land,
                God aid our Land!
Be Thou her strength and stay,
God, in the battle day!
Strew them ashore like sand,
                God aid our Land.

Few are we, Sword in hand,
All Sword in soul we stand,
                Around our Land!
And when her blood shall flow,
Green make her glory grow,
Lead her in triumph grand,
                Our leal old Land.

Here pray we hand in hand,
Tears in our eyelids stand,
                God save our Land!
Thy Watch-tower on the Sea,
Venger of Right is she,
Long let old Fear-not stand,
                God save our Land.

 

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HUGH MILLER'S GRAVE.


BEFORE the grim Grave closes, let me drop
My few poor flowers upon his Coffin lid!
I loved the man: his taking roughness too
I liked; it was the Sword-hilt rough with gems.
I loved him living, not with that late love
Which asks for rootage in the dead man's grave,
And must be writ in Marble to endure.
To many he seemed stern, for he could guard
His tongue with his good teeth: to some he
        showed
Rough as the Holly's lower range of leaves,
His prickly humour all alive with spears:
But if you climbed to the serener height,
You found a life in smooth and shining leaf,
And crowned with calm, and lying nearer
        heaven.

Low lies the grandest head in all Scotland.
We'll miss him when there's noble work to do!
We'll miss him coming thro' the crowded street,
Like plaided Shepherd from the Ross-shire Hills,
Stalwart and iron-grey and weather-worn;
His tall head holding up a lonely light
Of stedfast thought still burning in his eyes,
Like some masthead-light lonely thro' the night;
His eyes, that rather dreamed than saw, deep-set
In the brow's shadow, looking forward, fixed,
On something which we saw not, solemn,
        strange!

He was a Hero true as ever stept
In the Forlorn Hope of a warring world:
And from opposing circumstance his palm
Drew loftier stature, and a lustier strength.
From the far dreamland height of youthful years
He flung his gage out mid the trampling strife,
And fought his way to it with spirit that cut
Like a scythed Chariot, and took up his own.
Once more Childe Roland to the dark tower
        came,
Saw bright forms beckon on the battlements.
And stormed thro' fighting foes, true steel to
        steel;
Slow step by step he won his winding way,
And reached the top, and stood up Victor there;
And yet with most brave meekness it was done.

His life-tree fair of leaf, and rich in fruit!
We could not see it mouldering at the heart.
We knew not how in nights of pain he groped,
And groped with bleeding feel down the dark
        Crypts
Of consciousness, to find the buried sense;
When the faint flame of being flickering low,
Made fearful shadows spectral on the walls;
And beckoning terrors muttered in the dark;
Old misery-mongers moaned along the wind;
The lights burned blue as Death were breathing
        near,
And dead hands seemed to reach and drag him
        down.
The powers of Evil often have a hand
With human Lots in the dim urn of Fate.

The awful Dark flung over him a pall
Of pain, hot hands of hell were on his eyes,
And Devils drew him thro' the cold night-wind;
But while they held the helpless body bound,
The spirit broke away.   That rent was death!
The iron will wherewith he cleft his path
From the stone-quarries to the heights of fame,
Still strove for freedom when the leap was death.
But, never doubt God's Children find their home
By dark as well as day.   The life he lived,
And not the death he died, was first in judgment.
And 'tis the writing on the folded scroll
Death sends, and not the seal, that God will
        judge.

I love to think the Spirit of Cowper caught
Hold of his poor weak wandering hands in help,
As at the dark door he in blindness groped.
How it would touch that tender soul to read
The earthly memories written in his face!
Such memories as ope the gates of heaven:
And he who soothed him with last words on
        earth
Might whisper his first welcome in the heavens,
And lead him thro' cool valleys green where
        grow
The leaves of healing by the river of life,
Where tears and travel-stains are wiped away,
All troubled thoughts laid in ambrosial rest,
And there is no more pain.

                                         Then as they bowed
Before His throne who sitteth in the Heavens,
Perchance the pleading Poet prayed that he
Might sit beside him at th' eternal feast.
The fancy flower-like from his coffin grew 
Even while I lookt.   He lay as Death did seem
Only a dream he might have dreamed before;
All peaceful as the face of Sabbath morn:
The meekened witness of another world.
That stern white stillness had a starry touch,
As his last look had caught the first of heaven.
The battle-armour of a soldier soul
Lay battered, but still bright from many blows,
Upon the field; and such as few could wear.

The ghosts of last year leaves, that last night rose
And rustled in their spectral dance of death,
Are laid and silent in a shroud of snow!
The day is dark above the long dark host!
The sad husht heavens seem choked, but cannot
        weep!
Many pale faces, many tristful eyes,
With dumb looks pleading for the kindly rain
That comes not when the heart can only cry
With unshed tears, close round his wintry grave!
The lonely men whose lives are still alight
And shining when the tired toilers sleep,
To whom Night brings the larger thoughts like
        Stars.
I marvel if among them there is one
Who shudders when men speak of such a death
As if they named His—who has longed to pluck
Death's cool hand down upon the burning brain,
But chokes the secret in his heart as though
He crusht a hissing serpent in his hand,
Lest it scream out, and his white face be known!

Ah! come away, for sorrow is a child
That needs no nursing!   And all seems so
        strange.
One last look, and then home to feel and feel
What we have lost; and when from the dark
        earth
A spring-tide dawn of leaf-light glistens green,
And Nature with her dewfall and her rain
Gives to our grief the last calm tender touch,
And makes the Heartsease grow from out his
        grave,
In those sweet days when hearts are tenderest
For those who never come back with the
        flowers,
Upon some balmy Eve so beautiful
We should not wonder if an Angel stood
Suddenly at our side; the silent march
Of all the beauty culminating thus!
Then let us come, dear friend, and spend an
        hour—
While Nature kneeleth in all places lowly,
God's blessing resting on a time so holy—
At the communion table of His tomb.

 

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POOR OLD GRAN.


No green age, beautiful to see,
            Hath Poor Old Gran:
No ripe life mellowed goldenly
Hath Poor Old Gran.
            One by one we have left her fold,
Her lonely hearth is growing cold,
Faint is her smile as the primrose gold,
            Our Poor Old Gran.

Ah! whitened face, and withered form,
            Of Poor Old Gran!
Beaten and blancht in many a storm :
            Poor Old Gran!
She bath wept the bitter tears that sow
The dark grave-violets in the snow
Where once the red young rose did glow,
            Poor Old Gran!

There 's few have lived a harder lot,
            Poor Old Gran!
But she toiled on and murmured not;
            Poor Old Gran!
For us she toiled on starvingly,
And fought the wolf of poverty;
Upon her heart's blood suckled me,
            Our Poor Old Gran!

Her river of life hath roughly rolled;
            Poor Old Gran!
A Wreck lies dark, its tale untold,
            Poor Old Gran!
Yet shall her old heart laugh with ye,
My Birdsnest in the mouldering tree!
And soft in heaven her bed shall be!
            Poor Old Gran!

The grip of Poverty is grim;
            Poor Old Gran!
Lustres of lip and eye soon dim;
            Poor Old Gran!
But thro' the frailty of her face
There gleams a light of tender grace,
Or else I see thro' a tearful haze
            Poor Old Gran!

You came in all our sorrowings,
            Poor Old Gran!
How your weakness hurried on wings,
            Poor Old Gran!
You stood at Bridal, Birth, and Bier:
Our darlings dead and gone seem near
When you are near, and make more dear
            Our Poor Old Gran!

So come to our Cottage up the lane,
            Poor Old Gran!
Follow our fortune's harvest wain,
            Poor Old Gran!
We'll shelter you from wind and rain,
Hunger you shall not know again,
Plenty shall smile away your pain,
            Poor Old Gran!

And little laughing Stars shall rise
            On Poor Old Gran!
In the clear heaven of Childhood's eyes,
            For Poor Old Gran!
Wee fingers, stroking her grey hair,
Shall almost melt the hoarfrost there,
Wee lips shall kiss away the care
            From Poor Old Gran!

So come and sit beside our hearth,
            Poor Old Gran!
Come from the darkness and the dearth,
            Poor Old Gran!
And you shall be our fireside guest,
And weary heart and head shall rest;
And may your last days he your best,
            Our Poor Old Gran.

 

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LOVE FOR ALL.


THE good God giveth love to all,
    The lornest heart to cheer or melt:
Even as his smiles of glory fall
    On hidden flowers unseen but felt.
Then cheer thee, yearning lonely one,
    Keep holy still that love of thine!
Some spirit waiteth long and lone
    For thee, its ministrant divine.

 

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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 wingéd mystery
    That settled here to rest;
And my heart rockt its Babe of bliss,
    And soothed its child of air,
With something twixt a song and kiss,
    To keep it nestling there.

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

In dreamy curves your beauty droopt,
    As tendrils lean to twine,
And very graciously they stoopt
    To bear their fruit, my Vine!
To bear such blessed fruit of love
    As tenderly increased
Among the ripe vine-bunches 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 found the downiest bed!
Time hath not passed o'er-head in Stars,
    And underfoot in flowers,
With wings that slept on fragrant airs
    Thro' all the happy hours.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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OUR LITTLE CHILD WITH
RADIANT EYES.


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

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.
    We stand outside the gate 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 two blue peeps of heaven beneath
    The arching glory of your brow,
    Our little Child with radiant eyes!

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

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

 

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SONG.


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

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

Your fairness haunts me all night long,
    I walk in a dream by day;
My silent heart breaks into song,
    And the prayerless kneels to pray.
Ten times a day the hot tears start,
    For very pride of you:
Would God you were safe at home in
         my heart,
    To rest the rough world through.
All in a moment life was crost,
    In a fairy shell 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 style,
    With glances shy and sweet;
Making the sunlight with her smile,
    And music with her feet.
Ah ! could I clash her in mine arm
    Until she named the hour
When life should move from charm to
         charm,
    And love from flower to flower!
All in a moment life was crost,
    In a fairy spell I 'm bound;
Yet fear to tell her what I've lost,
    Or know what I have found.

 

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SONG.


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

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

 

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LULLABY.


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

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

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

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

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

 

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UNDER THE MISLETOE 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 laught above;
    A sweeter red below!
When first I met with my true love,
    Under the Misletoe bough.

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

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

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

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

 

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THE MAIDEN MARRIAGE.


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

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

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

 

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CHILDLESS.


DARK and still is our House of Life,
    The fire is burning low;
Our pretty ones all are gone, old Wife,
    'Tis time for us to go.
Our pretty ones all are gone to sleep,
    And happed in for the night:
So to our bed we'll quietly creep,
    And rest till morning light.

 

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SONG 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,
    And nodding smile the bridal flowers.

I sing, and shut mine eyes and dream
    I see 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 charmed world doth circle round,
Till life doth seem a pleasant dream
    The victor dreameth sitting crowned.

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

 

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ROBIN'S SONG.


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

Sing, Robin Redbreast!
    We love your song so brave!
You mind us of a Robin
    Where the willows weep and wave.
To Her little grave it clings,
Shakes the raindrops from its wings,
And for all the sadness sings
            By Her Grave.

 

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FORGET-ME-NOTS.


I NEVER think of her sweet eves
But waters of my heart arise;
Forget-me-nots so blue, so dear,
Swim in the water of a tear.

 

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MATRIMONY.


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

 

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ANOTHER VERSION.


A TAIL-TIED Genius of Cathay
    Has learned to make a Jackass quail,
And stifle in silence its horrible bray;
    He does it by tying a weight to its tail.

But Nature long hath brought to pass
    This consummation wise and kind;
She quiets many a hee-hawing Ass
    By tying a Wife to his tail behind.

 

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POOR BIDDY.


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

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

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

 

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LIFE AND DEATH.


THIS butterfly of human breath
Is followed fast and far by Death;
Some flower of life it settled on
He clasps and crushes, but, 'tis gone!

 

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IMPATIENCE.


To see what gems lie hidden where it grows,
    Would'st pluck the tree of life up by the root?
Wait till the unseen into flower blows;
    Wait till the jewels hang in precious fruit.

 

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GOING UNDERGROUND.


THROUGH a Tunnel dark we come to each
    Town-terminus terrestrial;
So thro' the dark of death souls reach
    Their City-home celestial.

 

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EPITAPH- FOR A PAINTER OF
STILL-LIFE.


HE was a poor old drunken bodie,
So Satan took him in cuss'd toddy!
And here he lies as in his ill-life,
Making a picture still of Still-life.

 


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MAZZINI.


PATRIOT, dark in failure's night,
    Thy Jewel is but charcoal!
It is Success whose broad daylight
    Doth make the Diamond sparkle.

 


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PEGASUS IN HARNESS.


You pity Pegasus because
The Matrimonial Car he draws
    Along the ruts of life:
And hot and dusty is the road,
And heavy is the living load
    Of leaning weans and wife.

Poor Pegasus! to turn the Mill,
And grind, and pull the plough,
        until
    The work his withers wrings!
Why not? 'tis he should do it best,
And tread his measure easiest,
    Or where's the use of wings?

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