Autumn Leaves (2)
Home Up Biography Hours with the Muses Dreams and Realities Poetic Rosary Miscellaneous Poems Unpublished Poems Miscellanea Main Index Site Search


 

[Previous Page]


HARVEST HYMN.

 

THE nations heave with throes of strife,
    And men look on with wondering eyes,
Mourn the dread waste of human life,
    Yet raise their angry battle-cries.
While poets cheer the valiant throng
    With chants of hope or victory,
Be mine a pure thanksgiving song,—
    Lord of the harvest, praise to Thee!

Thy tented fields how different they,
    How lovely, soothing, and serene!
Where the ripe sheaves, in long array,
    Smile in the soft autumnal sheen;
And where no ruder sounds are heard
    Than the blithe reaper's voice of glee,
Or vagrant breeze, or gladsome bird,—
    Lord of the harvest, praise to Thee!

Whoever fails, Thou dost not fail;
    Whoever sleeps, Thou dost not sleep;
With fattening shower, and fostering gale,
    Thy mercy brings the time to reap:
Man marks each season and its sign,
    And sows the seed and plants the tree,
But form, growth, fulness, all are Thine,—
    Lord of the harvest, praise to Thee!

O God! it is a pleasant thing
    To see the precious grain expand,
And the broad hands of Plenty fling
    Her golden largess o'er the land;
To see the fruitage swell and glow,
    And bow with wealth the parent tree;
To see the purple vintage flow,—
    Lord of abundance, praise to Thee!

Praise for the glorious harvest days,
    And all the blessings that we share;
For the unbounded sunlight praise,
    And for the free and vital air;
Praise for the faith that looks above;
    The hope of immortality;
For life, health, virtue, truth and love,
    Maker and Giver, praise to Thee!

 

___________________________________

 
THE ARAB'S SONG.

 

IN Caypha's hallowed garden-grounds,
    All shadowy, green and cool,
Where leaps the living fountain-jet,
    Where sleeps the glassy pool,—
Swathed in an atmosphere of joy,
    There dwells a virgin flower,
Whose breath and beauty seem to fill
    Its consecrated bower.

The bulbul seems to love it, too,
    And pours its pensive tune
Through the soft lapse and slumbrous light
    Of the admiring moon;
And when the morning kindleth up,
    The sun's enamoured beams
Look in to bless with fostering glow
    This flower of all my dreams.

The acacia drops its silver dew,
    The palm its tender gloom,
To cherish this "consummate flower,"
    And share its full perfume;
And Syria's ardent sky looks down
    On its expanding form,
But seldom there hangs lowering cloud,
    Or wakes the voice of storm.

Its eyes (oh, wild, yet winning eyes!),
    Which shame the proud gazelle,
Shine like twin trembling gems that lie
    In ocean's rosy shell.
Now they repose in quiet trance
    Beneath thought's holy sway;
Anon, they burn with haughty fire,
    To scare my hopes away.

So sweet its fragrance, and so far
    It floats on breeze and blast,
The pilgrim halts within its reach,
    And deems the desert passed;
The chief who flies on foaming steed
    Before unequal foes,
Checks for a space his fearful flight
    To breathe it as he goes.

The simoom's fleet and fiery wing
    Abhors all grateful smells,
And enters with its baneful power
    Where aught of freshness dwells;
But this one odour, closely sealed
    Within my faithful heart,
Outlives the weary, wasting wind,
    And will not thence depart.

In the soft air of pastoral life,
    Away from griefs and glooms,
Untouched by sorrow, sin, or strife,
    This garden glory blooms.
Maiden, that blush of modest thought
    Reveals some hidden power,
Think of thy own dear, gentle name,
    And thou wilt know the flower.

Oh, 'twere a blessing lent of Heaven
    Through long enraptured years,
To watch and shed around thee, too,
    Pure love's ecstatic tears!
My desert home, my tribe, my steed,
    My sword, my roving will,
I'd yield them all with thee, sweet flower,
    To dwell on Carmel's hill!

 

___________________________________

 
HAPPY OLD AGE.

 

I FEEL that age has overta'en
    My steps on Life's descending way,
But Time has left no lingering pain,
    No shadow of an evil day;
And you, my children, gather near
    To smooth and solace my decline,
And I have hope that your career
    Will be as blest as mine.

Not all exempt has been my sky
    From threatening storm and lowering cloud,
But sunbursts shed from source on high
    Have cheered my spirit when it bowed;
Not all without the shard and thorn
    Has been my path, from first to last,
But springs and flowers, of Mercy born,
    Have soothed me as I passed.

I have not lived all free from sin,
    For what imperfect nature can?
But I have no remorse within
    For scorn of my poor fellow-man;
Kin to the humblest of my race,
    And 'bove all worldly sects and creeds,
I never turned disdainful face
    Against a brother's needs.

And now my mind, all clear and cool,
    (As I serenely talk or muse),
Is tranquil as yon glassy pool,
    Reflecting Autumn's sunset hues;
Time has not dulled my moral sense,
    Nor has it dimmed my mental sight;
No passions weaken my defence,
    No doubts and cares affright.

But Retrospection, even yet,
    Will lead me through past trodden ways,
And I remember—why forget?
    The magic of my early days;
All Nature so divinely wrought,
    The unravelled mystery of things,
Awoke me to exalted thought,
    And lent my spirit wings.

And I remember how I grew
    Up to the sunny noon of youth;
From youth to manhood, till I knew
    That love was near akin to truth.
My trials, bravely overcome,
    My triumphs, not of purpose vain,
All these, with vague but pleasant hum
    Still murmur through my brain.

My children, offspring of a tree
    Whose top is hoary with decay,
Whose trunk is shaken as may be
    Before it falls and fades away—
Receive what faithful men unfold;
    Revere what truthful men proclaim;
And before Heaven and man uphold
    The honour of my name.

For me, I have no mortal fear,
    No tremblings as I hurry down,
My way is clear, the end is near,
    The goal, the glory, and the crown.
Then shed no bitter tears for me
    As ye consign me to the dust,
Rather rejoice that I shall be
    With God, my strength and trust.

 

___________________________________

 
MAY.

 

MAY, May! song-honoured May!
Whom the youthful poet has loved alway,
What has become of thy genial air,
Thy voices of music everywhere;—
The blessed blue of thy kindly skies,
Thy blooms that greet us with sweet surprise,
Thy hedgerows covered with odorous snow,
Thy waters that laugh with joy as they go?
Why art thou sullen and sad to-day,
              Song-honoured May?

May, May! ever-welcome May!
How strangely thou lookest on earth to-day,
Cloudy and tearful, cold and wild,
Like a petulant woman, or wayward child!
Has winter been striving to keep thee back?
Have his bullying gales waylaid thy track?
Or is there a change 'mid the stars sublime?
Or a fitful pause in the flight of time?
Thy name is here, but thy presence away,
              Ever-welcome May!

May, May! salubrious May!
We were wont to make merry thy natal day,
But custom, and feeling, are altered now,
And the people are changed even more than thou:
But we used to wander, in days of old,
Through fields of floral silver and gold,
Catching the apple-tree's breath and bloom,
And the ancient hawthorn's heavy perfume,
While our glad hearts beat with a healthful play,
              Salubrious May!

But nothing goes wrong in the hands of God,
For His bounty lives in the quiet sod,
Whether clothed in the garb of frost or flower,
Or the liberal harvest's golden dower.
With a thoughtless spirit we oft complain,
But the doings of Nature are ne'er in vain,
For Wisdom governs the humblest things,
And Love o'ershadows with guardian wings:
In God's just power there is no delay,
              O glorious May!

 

___________________________________

 
A SOUL IN SHADOW.

 

LO, a Soul in Shadow! shaken
    By the stormy winds of sin,
        By the draught of deadly fire!
By the wiser world forsaken,
    To the lowest herds akin,
        He has but one fierce desire.

One desire, to quench in madness
    Recollections dark and keen,
        Memories of the wasted past.
How can he feel touch of gladness
    Brooding over what has been,
        While his conscience starts aghast?

Vain remorse!   Behold his weakness
    'Mid the revel and the rout,
        Where dissolves his better will!
Where the host, with cunning sleekness,
    Hands the treacherous wine about,
        Or a draught more deadly still.

Now with mingled curse and clamour
    Drink's poor victims rouse the brawl,
        With wild brain and tainted breath;
Sing, blaspheme, and reel and stammer,
    Reckless, ruthless, shameless all,
        'Mid the blazonry of death.

But the darkling Soul!   Oh, sorrow!
    How he struggles through the night
        Of a phantom-haunted sleep!
Till the sweet dawn of the morrow
    Shows his helplessness and blight!—
        Angels, ye have cause to weep!

Home has no regards and graces
    For this waif on Ruin's wild,
        And he seeks no solace there.
Wasted forms and gloomy faces
    Cannot make him reconciled
        To that dwelling of despair.

Yet, that Soul was once unclouded,
    Quick with intellectual fire,
        Dignified with moral power;
Till the dread Temptation shrouded
    Hope, and peace, and pure desire,
        Which grew weaker every hour.

Exorcise him! drive the Demon
    Out from his remorseful soul,
        Out from his unquiet heart!
Lift him up, a grateful freeman,
    With the means of self-control,
        And ye do a noble part!

Exorcise him! not with preaching,
    Not with language harsh and cold,
        Not with looks of virtuous pride;
But with Charity's mild teaching,
    With forgiveness manifold,
        Till his soul is purified.

England, old heroic nation!
    What avail thy lofty lore,
        Moral precepts, mighty words?
Cleanse thee from this degradation,
    Which within thy sea-girt shore
        Slayeth more than all thy swords!

 

___________________________________

 
THE WASTE OF WAR.

 

GIVE me the gold that War has cost,
    In countless shocks of feud and fray,
The wasted skill, the labour lost,
    The mental treasure thrown away,—
And I will buy each rood of soil
    In every yet discovered land,
Where hunters roam, where peasants toil,
    Where many-peopled cities stand.

I'll clothe each ragged wretch on earth
    In needful, yea, in brave attire,
Vesture befitting banquet mirth,
    Which kings might envy and admire.
In every vale, on every plain,
    A school shall glad the gazer's sight,
Where every poor man's child may gain
    Pure knowledge, free as air and light.

I'll build asylums for the poor,
    By age or ailment made forlorn;
And none shall thrust them from the door,
    Or sting with looks and words of scorn.
I'll link each alien hemisphere;
    Help honest men to conquer wrong;
Art, Science, Labour, nerve and cheer;
    Reward the poet for his song.

In every crowded town shall rise
    Halls academic, amply graced,
Where ignorance may soon be wise,
    And coarseness learn both art and taste.
To every province shall belong
    Collegiate structures, and not few,
Filled with a truth-exploring throng,
    With teachers of the good and true.

In every free and peopled clime
    A vast Walhalla hall shall stand,
A marble edifice sublime
    For the illustrious of the land;
A pantheon for the truly great,
    The wise, benevolent, and just!
A place of wide and lofty state
    To honour or to hold their dust.

A temple to attract and teach
    Shall lift its spire on every hill,
Where pious men shall feel and preach
    Peace, mercy, tolerance, good-will.
Music of bells on Sabbath days
    Round the whole earth shall gladly rise,
And one great Christian song of praise
    Stream sweetly upward to the skies.

 

___________________________________

 
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL.

(WRITTEN FOR JUVENILES.)

 

THE people of our Christian land
Have cause to bless the men who planned
That place of gentle power and rule,
The noble British Sunday School;
For there the poor man's child may come,
As to a consecrated home,
And in its hallowed precincts find
Knowledge and comfort for the mind.

The man of toil has many a care,
And little, haply, can he spare,
To teach and elevate his child,
And keep its nature undefiled;
But here, whate'er his creed, or none,
His offspring will be looked upon
With kindly eyes, and shown the way
That opens into joyful day.

Some men of toil, though husbands, sires,
May cherish selfish, low desires,
And waste the means which, wisely spent,
Would bring their household calm content.
Or they may be—how sad the case!—
In language rude, of manners base,
And by a false and fierce control
Corrupt the young untutored soul.

Then more the need that there should be
This refuge of humanity,
Where one day, richest of the seven,
The child may learn of love and Heaven.
But if the mother does not feel
For moral and religious weal;
If all her better instincts sleep,
Well may the pitying angels weep!

'Tis pleasant on a Sabbath morn,
When music on the air is borne,
To see young children, trim and neat,
Come forth from many a crowded street,
From mountain side, and vale and lea,
Where'er their dwelling-place may be,
To seek the Sunday School again,
Their own unbought and free domain.

And is it not a joy, I ask,
To hear them at the holy task,
Like bees assiduous in the hive,
Hoarding the sweets on which they thrive?
Seeking to know, and know aright,
The sacred Word, the Gospel light,
The glorious Gospel, which has power
To cheer the Christian's darkest hour.

'Tis grand on some great holiday
To see their orderly array,
Marshalled by zealous men, whose pride
Is to be with them, side by side.
They go to spend a day of joy
Unmingled with the world's alloy,
In Nature's presence to adore,
And learn from God one lesson more.

They seek the woodland's slumbrous shade
Which the fierce sun can scarce invade,
Where, banquet done, and prayer preferred,
The foliage of the trees is stirred
With a thanksgiving hymn of power,
That sanctifies that sylvan bower,
Whilst angels, listening with glad eyes,
Call the song upward to the skies.

This day will serve them through the year
With thoughts of pleasantness and cheer,
Enhance their love of harmless things,
And quicken young Devotion's wings.
Ye careful parents, when ye find
Good seed sown in the youthful mind,
Foster its growth with all your power,
And bring it into beauteous flower.

O Sunday Schools!   O Christian land!
Long may your institutions stand,
The wonder of the farthest zone,
The strength and glory of your own!
Be this the Sabbath teacher's prayer,
For those beneath his watchful care,
"Father, thy countless flock behold,
And bring them safely to Thy fold."

 

___________________________________

 
MY FRIENDS OF CHORLEY.

 

    THE earth lay entranced in the glories of June,
The flowers were in splendour, the birds were in tune,
When I, a poor wayfarer, plodded along,
Surrounded by beauty, and fragrance, and song;
But weary and hungry, in quest of employ,
My soul could not mingle with Nature's great joy;
Till at length I encountered a friend by the way,—
A friend I had known in a happier day—
And he without coldness, or question, or guile,
Gave the bread and the cup, with a kind word and smile;
And more, for he stirred other hearts to my need,
And their aid and their sympathy cheered me indeed.

    I shall ever remember that sociable night,
When my friends gathered round me to help and delight;
Honest men and hard-workers, a right pleasant throng,
Who could feel for the bard, while they honoured his song.
How quickly and cheerfully passed the brief time,
With the bountiful mixture of reason and rhyme,
With the good-natured banter, which gave no offence,
With the laugh of good humour, the speech of good sense,
With song, recitation, and other good things,
Which sped the brief hours on delectable wings:
And more than all this, there was mixed with the whole,
A feeling which touched and exalted the soul.

    And who shall presume to discourage with scorn
The brave son of toil, with his duties o'erworn,
Who seeks to enjoy, in a rational way,
The small leisure left him throughout the long day?
Not I; for dear freedom, in action and mind,
When used with right reason, and justly defined,
Is the claim of all men, yea, their claim and their need,
And the stark son of labour deserves it indeed.

    Dear friends, newly found, I will try to retain
Your hearty good-will till I meet you again,
And may our next meeting come gladly and soon,
And may fickle Fortune just grant me a boon,
That I may reward you, with feelings of glee,
For the delicate aid that you rendered to me.

    Let us give when we can, for to give is to gain,
As the earth gets her own exhalations in rain;
Each free gift of charity goes to increase,
And returns to us sweetly to bless us with peace;
Let us foster kind feeling in this world of ours,
For such is the "odour of heavenly flowers."

    Fellow-workers, 'twere vain my rude verse to prolong,
For I cannot tell all my emotions in song,
But I'll cherish your memory, happen what may,
Whate'er be my fortune, for many a day;
May your blessings be many, your sorrows be few,
May health, peace, and virtue befriend you!   Adieu!

 

___________________________________

 
A PRAYER FOR PEACE.

 

        PEACE for the nations, God,
            For the harassed earth complains
        That her sons are defiling the fertile sod
            With the blood of each other's veins;
And sounds of rage and regret are rife;
And men grow mad 'mid the waste of life;
Labour's broad brow grows furrowed and pale,
And homes are disturbed with the voice of wail,
And fast coming griefs, bewildering fears,
From countless hearts wring curses and tears;
While the spirit of Progress back recoils
At the far-borne bruit of unhallowed broils,
And Freedom shudders with strange dismay,
As she veils her face from the light of day!
Restore to us Peace, a transcendent dower,
If such be the will of Thy holy power.

        Peace for the household, Lord!
            Let each unto each so cling,
        That all may appear in a bright accord,
            Like pearls on a golden string.
Let love be the sweet and presiding grace
To charm into beauty the dwelling-place;
To soften the language of firm command,
And lighten the cares of the household band;
To mould the heart with a delicate stress,
And wake its emotions of tenderness;
To train the mind to exalted things,
And lift the soul upon skyward wings;
Peace for the hearth, and the purest air,
That thought may burst into constant prayer,
Into silent worship, serenely rife
'Mid the duties and pains of mortal life,
That earth may grow on her changeful sod
Immortal blooms for Thy gardens, God!

 

___________________________________

 
WHITTLE SPRINGS.

(A REMINISCENCE.)

RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO THOMAS HOWARD, ESQ., OF
HYDE, OWNER OF THE ESTATE.

 

IT was a Summer's gorgeous eventide,
    Softly and sweetly silent, warm and bright,
And all the breadth of glorious landscape wide
    Was swathed in vesture of serenest light;
When with a friend I took my pleasant way
To an old shadowy, sylvan nook, that lay
A league apart from any street and town,
In a romantic valley, hushed and brown.
Our winding pathway led through lonely lanes,
Now busy with the fragrant harvest wains,
Where banks of plume-like fern grew thick and green,
Where groups of foxglove stood with stately mien
On grassy slopes, and in the fragrant breeze
Shook all their wealth of crimson chalices.
From shadowy brake and wavering bough was heard
The frequent voice of some unsettled bird;
The limber honeysuckle seemed to sigh
Unto the clustering wild-rose lovingly,
And both sent through the calm and verdant gloom
The mingled breathings of their rich perfume.

    We entered by a low and Gothic gate
Into a sweet retreat of fairy state,—
A lone and lovely spot, that smiled at rest
On the green valley's ever-quiet breast;
A refuge quaint of chequered light and shade,
All cunningly and beautifully made
By art and nature's harmonising power
Into an intricate and magic bower;
Embroidered everywhere with richest dyes,
And curtained o'er with soft and cloudless skies;
Encircled with a zone of beauteous things,
A place of pleasure,—welcome Whittle Springs!

    With loitering feet we traced the cultured grounds,
And calmly listened to the various sounds
Of childish gladsomeness and youthful glee,
And ballad strains of ancient melody.
We watched the athletic bowlers on the green,
As a great billiard-table smooth and clean;
Stopped to regard a troop of merry boys,
Holding their pastime with obstreperous noise;
Wound through the verdant mazes of the brake
All richly redolent with rarest flowers,
Bright forms of full perfume, that sweetly spake
Of southern climates and their gorgeous bowers.

    We paused awhile beside the tranquil pool,
Ample in breadth, pellucid, bright, and cool,
Scarce ruffled by the graceful moving pair
Of snowy swans that idly floated there;
And then, with honour to the place, we quaffed
A doubly copious and refreshing draught
From the twin Springs, whose ever-healthful powers
Bring cheerful thousands to their pleasant bowers.

    But now the sinking Sun-god paused to rest
On the bright borders of the purpling west,
While hill and vale, and distant copse and glade
Began to gather into deeper shade,
And we withdrew within, intent to spend
A pleasant hour with stranger and with friend
In sweet and social converse, such as binds
In peaceful union true hearts and minds.
Within the lofty and antique saloon,
With many-coloured windows gaily dight,
We sat and watched the now ascending moon
Pour in the sweetness of her mellow light;
And we beheld with mute but glad surprise
Things which enchant the silent gazer's eyes,
A hundred shapes and hues of pictured grace,
The healthful bloom of many a lovely face,
And sculptured forms, majestical and fair,
Which give the whole a chaste and classic air;
Beauties that make us half forget that we
Are near the murky realm of noisy trade,
And make us glad that we can quickly be
Where its rude sounds cannot our ears invade.
O Whittle Springs! thou art a pleasant spot,
Where human sorrow may be half forgot;
A tranquil refuge of serene delight
To those made weary in the world's rude fight;
A place of quiet or of stirring joy,
Where harassed minds may find some sweet employ!
The thoughtful penman leaves his books and care
To find some calm and cheerful solace there;
The weary worker coming from the town;
The wayward painter puts his pencil down,
And cometh here in quest of newer themes;
The poet cometh to refresh his dreams;
For song, and dance, and temperate feast and wine,
And forms of beauty which seem half divine,
And pleasant smiles, and laughter-beaming eyes,
Make thee at times a social paradise;
And still my fond and faithful memory clings
To thy serene delights, famed Whittle Springs!*

 

* This secluded spot of resort and harmless recreation is becoming daily more popular.  In addition to its medicinal springs, it possesses charms of a varied character.  Art has combined with nature in rendering it a place pleasant to visit and remember.  The proprietor of the grounds has spared no pains and expense in providing for the pleasure and comfort of his visitors.  To the people of Blackburn, Preston, Chorley, and neighbourhoods, there are cheap facilities of reaching it.  Altogether, Whittle Springs is worthy the patronage of any class, and a most attractive and desirable place of resort for the toiling community of Lancashire.  May it meet with that support it so highly deserves.   J. C. P.


Ed.—See also William Billington's "Pendle Hill."

 

___________________________________

 
HUMAN BROTHERHOOD.

 

THE king who is swathed in the splendours of state,
    Whose power and possessions are wide,
Is akin to the beggar who whines at his gate,
    Howe'er it may torture his pride;
He is subject to ailments, and dangers, and woes,
    As the wretch who encounters the blast,
And despite of his grandeur, his bones must repose
    In the same grave of nature at last.

The beauty, surrounded by homage and wealth,
    Whose glance of command is supreme,
Who walks in the grace of rich raiment and health,
    Whose life seems a musical dream,—
Is sister to her who, old, haggard and worn,
    Receives a chance crust by the way;
The proud one may treat her with silence and scorn,
    But their kinship no truth can gainsay.

The scholar who glories in gifts of the mind,
    Who ransacks the treasures of Time,
Who scatters his thoughts on the breath of the wind,
    And makes his own being sublime,—
Even he is a brother to him at the plough,
    Whose feet crush the flowers in their bloom;
And to him who toils on with a care-furrowed brow
    In chambers of clangour and gloom.

Chance, circumstance, intellect, change us in life,
    Repulse us and keep us apart,
But would we had less of injustice and strife,
    And more of right reason and heart.
One great human family, born of one Power,
    Each claiming humanity's thought,
We should let our best sympathies flow like a dower,
    And give and receive as we ought.

 

___________________________________

 
BROAD CAST THY SEED.

 

    BROAD cast thy seed;
If thou hast ought of wealth to lend
Beyond what reason bids thee spend,
Seek out the haunts of want and woe,
And let thy bounty wisely flow;
Lift modest merit from the dust,
And fill his heart with joy and trust;
Take struggling genius by the hand,
And bid his striving soul expand;
Where virtuous men together cling,
To vanquish some unhallowed thing,
Join the just league, and not withhold
Thy heart, thy counsel, and thy gold;
Thus to achieve some noble deed,
    Broad cast thy seed.

    Broad cast thy seed;
If thou hast mind, thou hast to spare,
And giving may increase thy share;
Pour forth thy thought with friendly zeal,
And make some stubborn spirit feel
The grace, the glory, the delight,
That spring from knowledge used aright;
The improving wealth, which none can take,
Though fortune fly, and friends forsake;
The mental vision, more and more,
Expanding as he dares to soar.
Virtue and knowledge, glorious twain!
The more they give the more they gain!
Wouldst have thy humbler brother freed?
    Broad cast thy seed.

    Broad cast thy seed;
Although some portion may be found
To fall on uncongenial ground,
Where sand, or shard, or stone may stay
Its coming into light of day,
Or when it comes, some pestilent air
May make it droop and wither there,
Be not discouraged; some may find
Congenial soil, and gentle wind,
Refreshing dew and ripening shower,
To bring it into beauteous flower,
From flower to fruit, to glad thy eyes,
And fill thy soul with sweet surprise.
Do good, and God will bless thy deed;
    Broad cast thy seed!

 

___________________________________

 
THE "NEW YEAR."

 

THE poet sings of many things
    In lands, and seas, and skies,
As Fancy's many-coloured wings
    Flutter before his eyes;
But I, who love the tuneful throng,
    And hold the Muses dear,
Offer an unpretending song
    To hail the Glad New Year.

Again has come the festive time,
    Which holds us in control,
Morn of a mystery sublime
    Linked with the human soul;
We serve with hospitable care
    Our daintiest Christmas cheer,
Grow free and friendly, and prepare
    To hail the Glad New Year.

Now is the season to forgive
    The wayward and unkind,
Let the heart's best emotions live
    To purify the mind;
To let the memory retrace
    Our fitful past career,
To look the future in the face,
    And hail the Glad New Year.

Sorrows and losses we have borne,
    Been baffled and dismayed,
And felt the prick of many a thorn
    By our own follies made;
But hope and effort may improve
    What now seems most severe,
If we begin with earnest love,
    And hail the Glad New Year.

Let us be thankful that God's power
    Has spared us yet awhile,
Strive to enjoy the present hour,
    And make the future smile;
Let us with charity and peace
    Make life more calm and clear,
Pray that discordant things may cease,
    As dawns the Glad New Year.

The sad old year is waning fast,
    And we are fading too,
But let our minds not stand aghast
    At what remains to do;
Good will to all! may joy prevail
    In homes both far and near,
And hope inspire us as we hail
    The gracious, Glad New Year.

 

___________________________________

 
HOPE AND PERSEVERANCE.

 

STRIVE on, brave souls, and win your way
    By energy and care,
Waste not one portion of the day
    In languor or despair;
A constant drop will wear the stone,
    A constant effort clear
Your way, however wild and lone—
    Hope on and persevere.

Strive on, and if a shadow fall
    To dim your forward view,
Think that the sun is over all,
    And will shine out anew;
Disdain the obstacles ye meet,
    And to one course adhere,
Advance with quick but cautious feet—
    Hope on and persevere.

Rough places may deform the path
    That ye desire to tread,
And clouds of mingled gloom and wrath
    May threaten overhead,
Voices of menace and alarm
    May startle ye with fear,
But faith has a prevailing charm—
    Believe and persevere.


1865.

Ed.—see also ('T') Gerald Massey's early poem,

         "Hope On!  Hope Ever!"

 

___________________________________

 
FORGIVENESS.

 

MY heart was galled with bitter wrong,
    Revengeful feelings fired my blood;
I cherished hate with passion strong,
    While round my couch dark demons stood.
Kind slumber wooed my eyes in vain,
    My burning brain conceived a plan—
"Revenge!" I cried in frantic strain;
    But Conscience whispered, "Be a man!"

"Forgive," a gentle spirit cried;
    I yielded to my nobler part,
Uprose, and to my foeman hied,
    And then forgave him from my heart.
The big tears from their fountains rose,
    He melted—vowed my friend to be;
That night I sank in sweet repose,
    And dreamed that angels smiled on me.

 

___________________________________

 
RANDOM RHYMES.

 

LET stand-still souls bemoan the dreary past,
With all its errors numberless and vast;
Its waste in warfare, torture-tools, and fires,
Its false ambitions and its fierce desires,
Its clouded intellects and fettered tongues,
Its rank intolerance and its lawless wrongs,
Its savage serfdom and its sordid power,
Its horrors fearful as delirium's hour,
Its cruel codes and desolating crimes,
Unlike the triumphs of our later times.
These peaceful unions of the great and small,
That crowd and dignify this spacious hall;
These proofs of progress, these inspiring sights,
That give us hope of loftier delights;
These signs and promises of things that throng
The prophet's vision, and the poet's song—
Shadows that seem, but shadows that shall grow
To bright and blest realities below.
    Onward, still onward, with assiduous speed,
And be your efforts equal to your need;
Linger not, languish not, in march nor mind,
Nor stay to look upon the plain behind;
One footstep lost, another gains the race,
And leaves you toiling in a backward place.
Onward, still onward, with unshrinking soul,
Your children follow and shall win the goal,
Shall win the guerdon of your toils, and stray
Within the opening dawn of Freedom's perfect day.
    Workers that weary in the mill and mine,
Come to the banquet, which is half divine;
Craftsmen that labour at the bench and stall,
The door is open and the cost is small;
Shopmen who sicken with the cares of trade,
Seek the Lyceum for your solace made;
Magnates who struggle with unwieldy wealth,
Fly to our refuge for your spirits' health.
All, all are welcome, be they high or low,
We've food for laughter, we have balm for woe.
Go on rejoicing, steadfast in the right,
Increasing still in intellectual might,
And I, a unit in the worldly throng,
Will wake my lowly harp, and cheer your way
            with song.

 

___________________________________

 
AT MY WIFE'S GRAVE SIDE.

 

Six years have passed, my loved lost wife,
    Since thou wast taken from my breast,
    And cradled in thy final rest,
Leaving me lone with grief and strife.

And now I stand upon the sward
    That vails thy simple burial-place;
    And with a pale and drooping face,
Survey it with a sad regard.

And as I gaze sweep through my brain
    Things of the past on wings of gloom,
    So that the mosses on thy tomb
Are watered by my tears of pain.

I see thee in the strength of youth,
    With beauty in thy face and form,
    With all thy feelings pure and warm,
Thy language sweet with artless truth.

Again I see thee sorely tried
    Beneath an overwhelming cloud—
    Thy freshness gone, thy spirit bowed
By poverty's dark ills allied.

I see thee in that troublous hour
    When death smote down our darling child,
    Made thee disconsolate and wild,
And me o'erawed by his dread power.

'Mid all I found thee wholly true
    Unto thy offspring and to me.
    May God, who set thy spirit free,
Console and strengthen me anew.

 

___________________________________

 
THE POSTMAN.

 

THE Postman is the people's man,
    Ready of foot and eye and hand,
Who bears a blessing or a ban
    To many in the land.
But whether he bring hope or dread,
    Tending to make me rich or poor,
As he so bravely earns his bread,
    He's welcome at my door.

With muttered word and smothered sigh
    We look and listen for his feet,
And watch him with a wary eye
    As he comes down the street.
But if I dwell in field or town,
    Upon a mud or marble floor,
Whether my fortune smile or frown,
    He's welcome at my door.

The statesman bent on lofty schemes,
    Good for the people or the throne;
The poet weaving pleasant dreams,
    Alike the Postman own.
He lends the lover's mind new wings,
    In crowded mart, on lonely moor;
And though he brings me few good things.
    He's welcome at my door.

He braves the time, whate'er it be,
    The stormy wind, the hail, the shower,
And leaves his words of grief or glee
    At the appointed hour.
He bears his missives morn and eve
    Alike unto the rich and poor,
But if he make me glad or grieve,
    He's welcome at my door.

He scatters wide the printed page,
    Filled with the various thoughts of men,
For much does our inquiring age
    Owe to the press and pen.
He brings the book to teach and please
    The ever-toiling, patient poor;
And while he offers things like these,
    He's welcome at my door.

When comes the Christmas holiday
    Let's not forget this herald true,
But strive to help his scanty pay
    By some free gift that's due.
He wakes strange feelings in the breast
    Of proud patrician, squire, or boor;
And whether he make or mar my rest,
    He's welcome at my door.

 

___________________________________

 
THE WORKMAN TO HIS WIFE.

 

DEAR wife, we struggle in a time
    Saddened by many a shade,
For warfare in another clime
    Has paralysed my trade;
And 'mong the thousands of our class,
    So meanly clothed and fed,
We've had our share of grief, alas!
    Pining for needful bread.

But let us not relax, and fret
    As if all hope were gone;
Let us not murmur and forget
    The all-sustaining One.
His is the justice, His the power
    To chasten and subdue;
But even in the gloomiest hour
    His mercy shineth through.

Together let us strive to bear,
    With resolute calm will,
The burden of our daily care,
    Hoping and trusting still.
As we are human, we must feel
    Our portion of distress;
But working with a righteous zeal
    Should make our trouble less.

Being but human, we must show
    Some frailties and some fears,
Blindly creating needless woe,
    And shedding needless tears.
But, O my wife! let thee and me
    Refrain from foolish strife,
And so behave that we may be
    Heirs to a holier life.

Of sorrow we must bear our part
    While in this lower sphere,
But let us keep a loving heart,
    And hold each other dear.
Though poverty may keep us down,
    Making us sad the while,
Let us not dare God's awful frown,
    But pray to gain His smile.

 

___________________________________

 
THE RETURN OF SPRING.

 

HOW calm and how beneficent is God
    To all His creatures in this world of ours!
    Spring is returned with renovating powers,
To clear the sky, and fertilise the sod,
To make the expanded landscape greenly bright,
And fill the genial air with music and delight.

I, like a weather-beaten plant, have grown
    Seedy and frail, the sport of every wind;
    Yet in my daily watchfulness I find,
That in my weakness I am not alone—
Not an exception in the general plan,
But a still hopeful, striving, sinful, sorrowing man.

I long to wander where the old hills stand,
    And where the woods will soon grow newly
            green—
    To mark the silent changes of the scene,
Made by the hallowed touch of God's own hand—
To see the resurrection and the life
Of countless earthly things with strength and beauty
            rife.

I long to see the blithe lark soaring high,
    And the sweet thrush on his accustomed tree—
    To hear the loosened waters flowing free
Through places pleasant to the poet's eye—
To hear the murmur of the odorous breeze,
And the responsive sigh of congregated trees—

To hear the sportive children here and there
    In lonely hamlets nestled in the vales—
    To hear the agèd people telling tales
Of their own youth when everything was fair—
To hear the voices of great nature raise
A simultaneous hymn of thankfulness and praise.

What sinless pleasure to explore again
    The fields bestarr'd with daisies far and wide—
    The slender king-cup in its graceful pride
Holding its golden chalice for the rain—
The cowslip's bell, the dandelion's shield,
Lending their mingled hues to beautify the field.

What peaceful joy to find in woodland shades
    The modest violet besprent with dews,
    The fragrant primrose with its dainty hues,
And other floral sisters of the glades;
Birds, leaves, and flowers, colours and perfumes,
And all the rich array of spring's ambrosial blooms.

Lord and Creator of these wondrous things,
    Oh! grant me health, that I may feel once more
    Thy love and wisdom, as I felt of yore,
When I had many thoughts without their stings.
Oh! spare and strengthen me a little time,
That I may worship Thee, and read thy works
            sublime.

 

___________________________________

 
THE SONGS OF THE PEOPLE.

 

OH! the Songs of the People are voices of power
    That echo in many a land;
They lighten the heart in the sorrowful hour,
    And quicken the labour of hand;
They gladden the shepherd on mountain and plain,
    And the mariner tossed on the sea:
The poets have given us many a strain,
    But the Songs of the People for me.

The artisan, wending full early to toil,
    Sings a snatch of old song by the way;
The ploughman, who sturdily furrows the soil,
    Cheers the morn with the words of his lay;
The man at the stithy, the maid at the wheel,
    The mother with babe on her knee,
Chant simple old rhymes, which they tenderly feel;—
    Oh! the Songs of the People for me.

An anthem of triumph, a ditty of love,
    A carol 'gainst sorrow and care,
A hymn of the household that rises above,
    In the music of hope or despair;
A strain patriotic that wakens the soul
    To all that is noble and free;
These lyrics o'er men have a stirring control;—
    Oh! the Songs of the People for me.

 



[Home] [Up] [Biography] [Hours with the Muses] [Dreams and Realities] [Poetic Rosary] [Miscellaneous Poems] [Unpublished Poems] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk