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Home Up Biography Dreams and Realities Poetic Rosary Autumn Leaves Miscellaneous Poems Unpublished Poems Miscellanea Main Index Site Search


 

[Previous Page]


TO AN EARLY PRIMROSE

RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO THE COMPANION OF MY
WALK, J. HILL, ESQ.

 

YOUNG herald of the spring, pale primrose flower,
    Peering so sweetly from the frozen earth,
Why art then blooming in this sunless hour,
When not a daisy in the field or bower
                          Hath sprung to birth;—
When Nature sleepeth in her wintry thrall,
Leafless, and verdureless, and silent all?

Thy stainless sister, snowdrop, is not here,
    Though called the earliest of thy fragrant race;
Upon the stormy threshold of the year
None of thy kindred venture to appear
                          With new-born grace,
Lest the keen frost-wind, with remorseless breath,
Should blow into their hearts the seeds of death.

No lark is chanting o'er the lonely hill,
    No thrush is piping in the sheltered vale;
The streams are voiceless, and the silvery rill,
Which seems to quiver, stands subdued and still
                          Beneath the gale;
There is no motion in the tenderest trees,
And the frail bulrush bends not to the breeze.

The buds are yet in embryo; the light
    Hath brought no vernal promise to the thorn;
The fields are shrouded in resplendent white,
And in this solemn time—half day, half night—
                          Follows the morn;
A cold, grey sky bends o'er the barren plain,
And the blind sun looks from his throne in vain.

Welcome thou art, though like a poor man's child,
    Brought without joy into a home of gloom;
'Mid mournful sounds and tearful tempests wild,
Thou comest forth, fresh, fair, and undefiled,
                          From Nature's womb,
Baring thy breast to the inclement sky,
To brave its storms, or prematurely die.

Gazing on thee, association brings
    A thousand golden intervals of time,
A thousand pleasant, unforgotten things,
Which Memory colours with her magic wings,
                          Bright and sublime;—
Old loves and friendships, happy hearts and faces,
Old songs and tales, and old romantic places.

I feel thy breath, and fancy leads the way
    To many a solitude of youthful choice,
Where the glad lark, his tribute hymn to pay,
Hails the aurora of returning day
                          With merry voice,
When the faint starlight of the night-time yields
To the sweet floral starlight of the fields.

Green forest haunts come back to me, where I
    Feasted my soul with man's immortal words;
And winding lanes, where dewy roses sigh
Their odours out to breezes passing by,—
                          Where happy birds
Sing to the sparkling waters, as they creep,
Brightly and blithely, onward to the deep.

I hear the voice of children at their play,
    Gathering sweet garlands from the hedge-row
            side;
I hear the talk of lovers as they stray,
Absorbed in joy, along some bowery way
                          Or valley wide,
Earnest but soft, with frequent pause they speak,
While blushes mantle on the maiden's cheek.

Fair, fragrant promiser of brighter hours,
    Like hope thou smilest on my weary eye;—
Fairer, because the firstling of the flowers,—
Dearer, because a shade of sadness lowers
                          Along the sky,—
Richer, because thou teachest from the sod,
A lore which lifts my musings unto God!

 

_________________________

 
THE MAID OF A MOUNTAIN LAND.

 

I MET with a joyous few last night,
Gathered around the taper's light.
Warm hearts were glad and bright eyes shone,
Kind words were spoken in friendship's tone;
Calm truth fell pure from every tongue,
And voices awoke in the spell of song;
And one was there of that social band—
The dark-eyed Maid of a Mountain Land.

A smile of delight from all went round,
As she turned to the casket of sleeping sound;
On the tremulous keys her fingers fell,
As rain-drops fall in a crystal well;
Till full on the ear the witchery stole,
And melody melted the captive soul:
She touched the chords with a skilful hand,—
The dark-eyed Maid of a Mountain Land.

She sang of the bards of her native plains,
But BURNS was the soul of her breathing strains;
She sang of bold Wallace of Elderslie,
Who died with a spirit unstained and free;
She sang of the deeds of Bruce the brave,
Who fought for the crown his country gave;
She spoke of her home mid scenes so grand,—
That dark-eyed Maid of a Mountain Land.

I have been with the buoyant dames of France,
In the pensive hour, in the mirthful dance;
I have looked in the gay Italian's eyes,
Sunny and warm as her own blue skies;
I have talked with the Spaniard, proud and fair,
With her stately step and her haughty air;
But I turn from all of a foreign strand,
And bow to the Maid of a Mountain Land.

 

_________________________

 
TO FRANCE.

 

WHEN shall I tread thy fertile shores again,
        Land of the warlike Gaul, salubrious France!—
        Land of the wine-cup, festal song, and dance,—
Sweet lips, bright eyes, and hearts unknown to pain?
My visions are as strong—perchance as vain—
        As those which haunt the captive in his cell,
        When fancy conjures up his native dell,
With thoughts that make him half forget his chain.
Treasured in memory thy charms have lain,
        Since last I saw thee in the summer glow,
        And wandered where Garonne's blue waters flow,
Through scenes where Bacchus holds his joyous reign:
I would in England that my grave should be,
But let my vigorous years, oh, France! be passed with thee!

 

_________________________

 
THOU ART WOOED AND WON.

 

THOU art wooed—thou art won—thou art wed,
    Thou hast taken the vows of a bride;
May virtue keep watch o'er thy head,
    And happiness walk by thy side!
May the man thou hast chosen for life
    Prove all that I wish him to be;
May he find every joy in his wife:
    Success to thy husband and thee!

Thou art bound for a land far away,—
    Thy bark spreads her wings on the main,
And the bard thou hast praised for his lay
    May never behold thee again.
No matter, he will not despair,
    But when thou art gone o'er the sea,
Thy name shall be breathed in his prayer:—
    Farewell to thy husband and thee!

 

_________________________

 
THE CONTRAST.

 

"Look on this picture, and on that."

SHAKSPEARE.


'TWAS evening's holy season, when the sun,
Robed in a garment of resplendent dyes,
Was going down in glory to his rest;—
Not like a warrior on a bloody field,
Begirt with all the horrors of his trade;
But like a good man at his final hour,
When weeping eyes are gazing on his face;
When pale but fervent lips stir the hush'd air
With blessings on his head: when kindred hearts
Throb with unuttered feelings for his loss;
And—oh, triumphant hour for him!—when all
The recollections of a well-spent life,
Rich with the hues of charity and love,
Crowd back to gild his passage to the tomb!
    At that sweet hour of poetry and peace,
Musing on all the miseries of men,
I wandered far beyond my accustomed walk,
And passed a lowly dwelling on my way,
Whose abject air, and shattered window, told
Where sin-born wretchedness had found a home.
I paused to scan it closely, when a sound
Of hoarse, deep curses smote my startled ear,
Mixed with the breathings of a softer voice
In lowly supplication; and anon,
The sullen echo of repeated blows
Resounded from within; then wildly rang
A thrilling shriek of female agony,
And, flying to escape, the frantic wife,
All bruised and bleeding from her husband's hand,
Rushed from beneath his roof,—a famished race
Of terror-stricken offsprings clinging round her,
Whose cries and tears responded to her own.
Then came the drunkard to his cabin door,
His odious visage smeared with filth, and flushed
With loathsome drunkenness and baffled rage.
There stood the squalid victim of the dram,
A reeling nuisance in the eye of day,—
A living blotch on fair creation's face;
There stood he, flinging to the summer breeze
A host of imprecations, strangely mixed
With songs of lewdness and obscenity;
Till, yielding to the overpowering draught,
Whose deadly influence crept through every limb,
The human brute rolled senseless in the dust.
    Departing thence, disgusted and amazed,
The sounds of sin still ringing in my ears,
Another homestead met my wandering eye:
This bore a lovelier aspect than the last,
For order's hand had not been wanting here:
The glossy ivy mantled o'er its walls;
Round its bright lattices, the rose of June
Held sweet communion with the woodbine flower;
And, circled with an atmosphere of peace,
It seemed the resting place of holy joy.
I could not choose but linger at its gate,
In contemplation of its varied charms:
Before its humble threshhold sat a father,
Earnestly reading to his darling boy
Instructive precepts from some moral page:
There sat a mother too, mild as the morn,
Plying the needle with a thrifty art,
In whose mild glance shone forth a mind serene:
Stretched on the greensward lay a lovely girl,
With sunny ringlets on a brow of snow—
Like Alpine summits tinged with dying light—
A healthful, innocent, and happy child.
    Oh, 'twas a scene to wonder at, and love!
For social error had so filled our land
With dens of infamy and homes of strife,
That 'twas a pleasing rarity indeed
To steal upon a spot so sweet as this.
Wrapt in a vision of delight, I stood
Till darkness deepened round, and one by one
The stars came out upon the silent sky,
Like angel eyes that watch o'er fallen man;
Then, with reluctant steps and slow, I left
The sober man's serene and blest abode.
    Ye sons and daughters of my native isle,
Who labour at the wheel, the forge, the loom,—
Who wear—yet sigh to break—the oppressor's chain,
Look on the simple pictures I have drawn!
And if one spark of slumbering virtue live
Within your hearts, let zealous truth be heard,
And reason guide you to the better choice!

 

_________________________

 
TO POESY.

 

Thou simple lyre! thy music wild
    Hath served to charm the weary hour,
And many a lonely night hath guiled;
When even pain hath owned (and smiled)
    Its fascinating power!—H. K. W
HITE.


BEST solace of my lonely hours!
    Whose tones can never tire,
Oh, how I thrill beneath thy powers,—
    Sweet Spirit of the Lyre!
On streamlet's marge, or mountain's steep,
In wild, umbrageous forests deep,
    Or by my midnight fire,—
Where'er my vagrant footsteps be,
My soul can find a spell in thee!

Thy home is in the human mind,
    And in the human breast,
With thoughts unfettered as the wind,
    And feelings unexpressed;
With joys and griefs, with hopes and fears,
With pleasure's smiles, with sorrow's tears,
    Thou art a constant guest:
And oh, how many feel thy flame,
Without a knowledge of thy name!

Beauty and grandeur give thee birth,
    And echo in thy strain—
The stars of heaven, the flowers of earth,
    The wild and wondrous main:
With nature then art always found
In every shape, in every sound,
    Calm, tempest, sun, and rain;—
Yes! thou hast ever been to me
An intellectual ecstacy!

When Poverty's dark pennons wave
    Exulting o'er my head,—
When Hope's best efforts fail to save
    My soul from inward dread,—
When woman's soothing voice no more
Can charm, with fondness that before
    Such joyous comfort shed;
Thy smile can mitigate my doom
And fling a ray athwart the gloom.

When sickness bends my spirit low,
    And dims my sunken eye,
And, wrestling with my subtle foe,
    I breathe the bitter sigh;—
Again I seek thee—once again,
To weave a meek, imploring strain
    To Mercy's source on high:
And—oh, the magic of thy tone!—
I feel as though my pangs were gone!

When light on expectation's wing
    My joyous thoughts arise,
Elate with thee I soar, and sing
    And seem to sweep the skies:
Though disappointment's voice of fear
Sternly arrests my wild career,
    And expectation dies;
Yet thou, unchanged, art with me still,
Wreathing with flowers the thorns of ill.

Misfortune's blighting breath may kill
    Hope's blossoms on the tree;
Mild sorceress! it cannot chill
    My cherished love for thee!
When Death put forth his withering hand,
And snatched, of my domestic band,
    The darling from my knee,
Thou didst not fail to breathe a lay
Of sorrow o'er its sinless clay.

I loved thee when a very child—
    For every song was dear;—
In youth, when Shakespear's "wood-notes wild"
    First charmed my ravish'd ear;
In manhood, too, when Byron's hand
Swept the deep chords, and every land
    Enraptured turned to hear;
And oh, when age hath touched my brow,
Still may I cling to thee, as now!

The lonely swan's expiring breath
    In mournful music flows;
He sings his requiem of death,
    Though racked with painful throes;
Sweet Poesy! let such be mine,—
The calm, harmonious decline
    To earth's serene repose!
May thy last murmurs still be there,
And tremble through my dying prayer!

 

_________________________

 
HOPE.

 

VEILED by the shadows of obscurest night,
    All Dian's host are shining unrevealed,
    Save one fair star on heaven's unbounded field,
All lonely, lovely, fascinating, bright,
How clearly tremulous it hails the sight!
    As if 'twould smile away the clouds that lie
    Athwart its glorious sisters of the sky,
Prohibiting our earth their holy light:
So, as I stumble on the path of life,
    Without one voice to cheer, one heart to love—
    When all is darkness round me, and above,
And every bitter feeling is at strife—
The star of Hope my spirit can illume,
And draw fresh lustre from surrounding gloom.

 

_________________________

 
A FATHER'S LAMENT.

 

My child of love!  I look for thee
    When night hath chased the day!
Thy sister seeks her father's knee,
    But thou—thou art away!

J. B. ROGERSON.


A DREAMY stillness in the calm air slept;
The moon was cloudless, and serenely wept
Her tears of radiance in my lonely room,
Giving a silvery softness to the gloom;
When Death—that mighty and mysterious shade—
Beneath my roof his first dread visit paid,—
His shadowy banner o'er my hearth unfurled,
And broke the spell that bound me to the world.
    Oh, mournful task! at that subduing hour
I watched the withering of a cherished flower;
I bent in silence o'er a dying child,
And felt that grief which cannot be beguiled;
Held on my trembling knee his wasted frame,
As the last shadow o'er his features came;
Saw the dull film that veiled his lovely eyes,—
Received upon my lips his latest sighs;
And as the spirit calmly, softly passed,
I knew that I was desolate at last!
    A few brief hours and he was borne away,
And laid, soft sleeping, on his couch of clay.
Fond hearts that loved, and lips that blessed, were
            there,
That swelled with grief, and breathed the parting
            prayer.
The pastor gave his treasure unto God;—
I only heard the booming of the clod
That closed for ever on my darling son,
And told that love's last obsequies were done;
Then looking, lingering still—I turned again
To quell my grief amid the haunts of men.
    Yes, thou art gone, my beautiful—my boy!
Thy father's solace and thy mother's joy;
Gone to a far, far world, where sin and strife
Can never stain thy purity of life;
A young, bright worshipper at Mercy's throne,
While I am prisoned here, unblessed and lone,—
Lone as a shattered bark upon the deep,
When unrelenting storms around her sweep;
Lone as a tree beneath an angry heaven,
Its foliage scattered, and its branches riven:
Lone as a broken harp, whose wonted strain
Can never wake to melody again!
Thus I have felt for thee, child, since we parted,
Weary and sad, and all but broken-hearted.
I mourn in secret; for thy mother now,
With settled sorrow gathered on her brow,
Looks unto me for comfort in her tears,
While the soul's anguish in her face appears.
We sit together by our evening fire,
And talk of thee with tongues that cannot tire;
Recall thy buoyant form—thy winning ways,—
Thy healthful cheek that promised many days,—
Each pleasant word, each gentle look and tone
That touched the heart, and made it all thine own:
Gaze on the treasures which pertained to thee,
The constant sources of thy boyish glee—
Things which are kept with more than miser care—
The empty garment and the vacant chair;
Till, having eased the burden of the breast,
A tranquil sadness soothes us into rest.
    'Twas sweet to kiss thy sleeping eyes at morn,
And press thy lips that welcomed my return;
'Twas sweet to hear thy cheerful voice at play,
And watch thy steps the live-long Sabbath day;
'Twas sweet to take thee on my knee, and hear
Thine artless narrative of joy or fear,—
To catch the dawning of inquiring thought,
And every change that time and teaching wrought.
This was my wish,—to guard thee as a child,
And keep thy stainless spirit undefiled:
To guide thy progress upward unto youth,
And store my mind with every precious truth:
Send thee to mingle with the world's rude throng,
In moral worth and manly virtue strong,
With such rare energies as well might claim
The patriot's glory, and the poet's fame;
To go down gently to the verge of death,
And bless thee with a father's parting breath,
Assured that thou wouldst duly come to lave,
With filial tears, a parent's humble grave.
    Such was my wish, but Providence hath shown
How little wisdom man can call his own!
Such was my wish, but God hath been more just,
And brought my humble spirit to the dust!
I should not murmur that thou couldst not live—
Thou hast a brighter lot than earth can give;
Then let me turn to thy fair sisters here,
And hold them, for thy precious sake, more dear;
Restore them to a place upon my knee,
And yield that love which I reserved for thee.
One hope remains—and one that never dies—
That I may taste thy rapture in the skies;
Here let me bow my stricken soul in prayer,
Till God shall summon me to meet thee there!

 

_________________________

 
A CALL TO THE PEOPLE.

 

AWAKE! (the patriot poet cries)—
        Awake, each sire and son;
From long degrading sleep arise
        Ere ruin is begun!
The very echo of your name—
The very shadow of your fame—
        Hath many a battle won;
And can ye stoop to what ye are—
Chained followers of oppression's car?

Have ye not lavished health and life,
        At mad ambition's call!
Have ye not borne the brunt of strife,
        Unbroken as a wall!
Have ye not bled for worthless things,—
Priests, placemen, concubines, and kings;—
        Have ye not toiled for all!
And can ye, in this startling hour,
Still slumber in the grasp of power?

Awake! but not to spend your breath
        In unavailing ire;
Awake! but not to deal in death,
        Crime, carnage, blood, and fire;
Awake! but not to hurl the brand
Of desolation round the land,
        Till all your hopes expire;
Lest vengeance rise amid the gloom,
To push ye to a deeper doom.

In pity to yourselves, beware
        Of battle-breathing knaves,
Who raise their voices in the air
        To congregated slaves;—
Those men who Judas-like betray,
Or lead through anarchy the way
        To dungeons and to graves:—
Strong arms can work no great reform,
Mind—mind alone—must quell the storm!

Awake in moral manhood strong,
        Endowed with mental might,
With warm persuasion on your tongue,
        To plead the cause of right;
Let reason, centre of the soul,
Your wild and wandering thoughts control,
        And give them life and light!
Then may ye hope at length to gain
That freedom ye have sought in vain.

O God! the future yet shall see,
        On this fair world of thine,
The myriads wise, and good, and free,
        Fulfil thy blest design,
The dawn of Truth, long overcast,
Shall kindle into day at last,
        Bright, boundless, and divine;
And man shall walk the fruitful sod,
A being worthy of his God!

 

_________________________

 
ON QUITTING NORTH WALES.

 

FAREWELL, proud region, where the living God
    Hath built a temple for the human heart
To worship in, sincerely: I have trod—
    From cloudy towns and fretful men apart—
    Thine aisles of majesty: in truth thou art
A vast cathedral, where devotion springs
    In feelings, not in words.  Thou dost impart
Sublimest doctrines by sublimest things:
    The mountains are thy priesthood,—Snowdon flings
A silent language from his awful face;
    Prayer goeth up from streams—the cataract sings
Incessant anthems to the Throne of Grace;
And I have lingered in thy fane to feel
The Eternal's presence o'er my spirit steal!

 

_________________________

 
TO J. B. ROGERSON.

 

THOU who hast roamed with reverie and song,
    And won a wreath from Poesy divine,
    I would not change thy pleasant dreams and mine,
For all the splendours that to wealth belong.
Why should we mingle with the sordid throng,
    Who strive and struggle in the walks of gain,—
    Who sell their souls to purchase care and pain,
And speak of knowledge with a foolish tongue?
Have we not treasures which can not be bought;—
    Perception of the lovely and sublime,—
    The social converse, and the soothing rhyme,—
The quiet rapture of aspiring thought?
And let us hope that we may learn to claim
Some little portion of unsullied fame.

 

_________________________

 
CLIFTON GROVE.

OCCASIONED BY A VISIT TO THE SCENE OF H. K. WHITE'S
POEM OF THAT NAME.

 

How rich is the season, how soothing the time!
For summer looks forth in its fullness and prime—
As through thy recesses, blest Clifton, I stray,
Where solitude slumbers in varied array:
How lovely these valleys that round me expand,—
The sylvan and soft, with the gloomy and grand,
Where rocks, woods, and waters harmoniously blent
Gives bounty and peace to the banks of the Trent.

Meek Evening broods o'er the landscape, and flings
A spell of repose from its dew-dropping wings;
No sound from the city disturbs the pure calm,
And the sigh of the zephyr comes mingled with balm
No vestige remains of the sunset, that gave
A tremulous glow to the breast of the wave;
With the tears of the twilight the woodbine is bent,
As I tread with devotion the banks of the Trent.

How warmly, yet vainly, I yearn for the fire
That lit up the soul of that child of the lyre—
The student of science, of wisdom and song,
Who fled to your shades from the snares of the young!
Aloof from the heartless, the selfish and proud,
From the mirth of the million, unmeaning and loud,
With the fervour of feeling which nature hath lent,
He sought your enchantments, sweet banks of the Trent.

Steal on, placid river, thy freshness diffuse
Through scenes rendered fair by the tints of the Muse;
Where tradition hath cast a mysterious glance,
And fancy created the forms of romance.
Oh, would that my hand with success could assume
The harp of your minstrel who sleeps in the tomb!
A share of my life and my skill should be spent
In singing your beauties, sweet banks of the Trent!

 

_________________________

 
THE BLIND ENTHUSIAST.

 

HE loved and worshipped all that's fair,
In wondrous ocean, earth, and air;
The grand, the lovely, and the rare
    To him were sacred ever;
The thousand hues that summer brings,
The gorgeous glow that sunset flings—
The source whence every beauty springs—
    Can art restore?  Oh, never!

He loved the music of the bowers—
He loved the freshness of the showers—
He loved the odours of the flowers,
    With passion deep and holy;
All that the poet's song hath stored—
All that the minstrel's strains afford,
Found in his soul a kindred chord
    Of mirth and melancholy.

He walks in hopeless darkness now,
With faltering foot and lifted brow,
If aught may human patience bow,
    'Twere loss of noon-day splendour:
Hill, wood, and stream, with sunshine blent—
Bright stars that gem the firmament—
All lovely things that God hath sent,
    How painful to surrender!

'Tis true, he wanders forth in gloom,
Dense and unchanging as the tomb,
Yet breathes no murmur at his doom—
    No sound of fretful feeling;
For though from outward vision gone,
The things he loved to look upon,
He still beholds them, one by one,
    O'er memory's mirror stealing.

He seeks the haunts he sought of yore—
He sings the songs he sang before—
He listens yet to your sweet lore,
    Philosophy and fiction:
And, happy in a cloudless mind,
A fancy pure and unconfined,
To heaven's own will he bows resigned,
    And smiles beneath affliction.

 

_________________________

 
A SUMMER'S DAY.

 

SACRED at the aspect of advancing day,
    Stern night puts on his starry robe, and flies;
The joyous lark pours forth his earliest lay,
    And bathes his pinions in the dewy skies.
    Behold the graceful smoke-wreath warmly rise
From quiet hamlets scattered far and near,
    While from his sheltered home the woodman hies,
To win his bread where yonder woods appear
Look down upon this laughing valley here,
    Where stream and pool are kindled into gold,
And on the summer vesture of the year,
    Flowers of all hues their balmy eyes unfold.
Escaped from slumber's enervating arms,
I bound at Nature's voice, and own her purer charms.

Lo! reared sublime on his meridian seat,
    The eternal Sun pours down o'erwhelming rays;
    How shall we bear the splendour of his gaze,
His fierce intensity of light and heat?
Nature grows faint where'er his fervours beat;
    Shrunk are the flowers in Summer's vestment wore,
    Mute is the music of the sky and grove,
And not a zephyr comes, the brow to greet:
Fit time to seek the woodland's dark retreat,
    Where scarce a sunbeam trembles through the shade,
    And, on the rivulet's fresh margin laid,
Pass noontide's hour in meditation sweet,
Far from all earthly sights and sounds, save those
Which soothe the harassed mind to solitude's repose.

Like the warm hectic-flush on beauty's cheek,
    The hues of sunset linger in the sky;
But lo! as treacherous, they but brightly speak
    The hastening close of day's expiring eye.
    All richly now yon western glories die,
Quenched in the shadows of approaching night;
    The quiet moon hath hung her lamp on high,
And Hesper's star breaks sweetly on the sight;
The flowers are closed, yet Zephyr in his flight
    Bears living fragrance on his wanton wings;
Meanwhile a pure uncertainty of light
    Steals calm and soft athwart the face of things;—
Enchanting eve! mild promiser of rest!
How dear thy presence to the mourner's breast!

Sweet is the smile of dewy-footed morn—
    Sweet the bright ardour of the lusty noon—
    Sweet are the sighs of evening, when the tune
Of flute-toned voices on the air is borne;—
But sweeter still, when living gems adorn
    His awful brow, in philosophic night:
    Then contemplation takes a boundless flight,
Through realms untainted by this world of scorn.
What peace to sit beneath this shadowy thorn,
    Where the lone wave steals by with gentle sound—
    The wan moon's soft effulgence slumbering round—
And drink from Fancy's everflowing horn!
What joy, when forth the unshackled spirit springs,
To hold high converse with all nobler things!

 

_________________________

 
DOMESTIC MELODY.

 

THOUGH my lot hath been dark for these many long years,
And the cold world hath brought me its trials and tears;
Though the sweet star of hope scarcely looks through the
            gloom,
And the best of my joys have been quenched in the tomb;
Yet why should I murmur at Heaven's decree,
While the wife of my home is a solace to me?

Though I toil through the day for precarious food,
With my body worn down and my spirit subdued:
Though the good things of life seldom enter my door,
And my safety and shelter are far from secure;—
Still, still I am rich as a poet may be,
For the wife of my heart is a treasure to me!

Let the libertine sneer, and the cold one complain,
And turn all the purest of pleasures to pain;
There is nothing on earth that can e'er go beyond
A heart that is faithful, and feeling, and fond:
There is but one joy of the highest degree,
And the wife of my soul is that blessing to me!

 

_________________________

 
LAND AND SEA.

 

THE seaman may sing of his own vast sea,
    And the swain of his own sweet land;
But it boots not where the wanderer be,
    With a chainless heart and hand;
In storm the sea hath a fearful power—
    A beauty in repose;
And the land is rich in fruit and flower,
    Or bleak in winter's snows.

How free to bound o'er the waters wide,
    Swift as the rushing gale!
How sweet to look from the mountain's side
    On the calm and sequestered vale!
There's a charm in the greenwood's summer sigh—
    There's a spell in ocean's roar;
I have loved, I have sought them both, as fly
    Spring birds from shore to shore.

I was born on the verge of the ocean deep,
    I have played with his locks of foam,
And watched his weltering billows leap
    From the door of my cottage home:
I would die on the breast of some lonely isle,
    Where no rude footsteps sound—
Where a southern heaven on my grave may smile,
    And the wild waves boom around.

 

_________________________

 
STANZAS,

WRITTEN AFTER A WINTER'S WALK IN THE COUNTRY.

 

ONCE more, old trees, I seek your solemn shades,
    And pensive trample on your fallen leaves:
But, as I pierce your patriarchal glades,
    My thoughts are chastened and remembrance grieves,—
Grieves for the precious but departed hours
Which I have spent away from your embracing bowers.

Sadness is sitting on your boughs, old trees,
    Tossed by the blast, and beaten by the rain;
But summer sunlight and the summer breeze
    Shall bring your sylvan majesty again;—
So may the renovating hand of time
Give to my broken mind its former strength and prime!

Bright waters of the solitude, I come
    To catch your silvery voices as they flow;
But frost hath walked upon ye,—ye are dumb,
    Sleeping beneath a coverlet of snow;
Your flowers are withered, and your waves at rest,
Your springs of gladness closed, like those within my breast.

But southern airs shall melt your icy sleep,
    And send ye singing on your devious way,
And bright, fresh verdure to your sides shall creep,
    And flowers bend listening to your liquid lay;
May my lorn soul throw off its pall of gloom,
And rise, renewed in power, from care's oppressive tomb!

All shapes of Nature! ye are wondrous fair,
    And ever soothing to my aching mind,
Although I see you cold, unsunned, and bare,
    Shorn of your glories by the boreal wind;
Your very silence is a voice, a tone
Of purity and peace, which comes from God alone.

In the dark labyrinths of yonder town,
    I feel, alas! that I have stayed too long,
Bringing my soul's proud aspirations down,
    By unsubstantial revelry and song;
But now, kind Nature! like a wayward child,
Weary I turn to thee for pleasures undefiled.

What is the voice of Flattery to me,
    If it withdraw me from exalted things?
Would we admire the lark's melodious glee,
    Yet dispossess him of his skyward wings?
Alas! we pluck the wild flower with a smile,
Inhale its fragrant breath, but stain its leaves the while!

Let me resume my long-neglected lyre,
    The purest solace of my earlier days;
And, if my soul retain that spark of fire
    Which gave me poesy and won me praise,
Let me improve the "faculty divine,"
And snatch a wreath from Fame's imperishable shrine.

 

_________________________

 
EPISTLE TO A BROTHER POET.

 

BY some means or other I've gathered a hint
That you sport with the muses and show it in print;
So, being a somewhat presumptuous elf,
And touched with the mania of scribbling myself
I have ventured to write, with the hope, in the end,
To make your acquaintance, and call you my friend;
For nought yields me pleasure more pure, than to find,
In my rambles through life, men of merit and mind.
That you lend me your friendship, is what I request,—
Refuse it or grant it, just as you like best;
But before you do either, pray, hold, if you please—
I will draw you my portrait, and set you at ease:—
    I'm a very strange wight, with a very strange name,
Unaided by Fortune, unfavoured by Fame:
I am homely in person, and awkward in speech,
Yet am willing to learn, though unable to teach.
Sometimes I am sunny, and buoyant, and gay,
As the breezes and bowers in the bright month of May;
Sometimes, like December, I'm rugged and rough,
And heavy, and gloomy, and peevish enough;
But feelings like these are engendered in life,
By poverty, toil, disappointment, and strife;
But away with reflection, and care, and the rest on't,
I live for to-day, and I'll just make the best on't.
    I've a passion for woman, and music, and joyance,
And from children I gain more delight than annoyance—
(As for woman herself, in the season of need,
Without her this world were a desert indeed!)
In my evenings of leisure I fly to my books,
With their quiet, unchanging, intelligent looks;
Whene'er I am with them, sweet visions come o'er me,
And as to my choice, why I read all before me;
Be it wisdom or wit, it can ne'er come amiss—
I have learning from that page, and laughter from this;
So between one and t'other, I manage to sweep
O'er a great deal of surface—but never go deep.
    In man I love all that is noble and great,
But war, and oppression, and falsehood, I hate;
And oft has my spirit burst forth into song
Against every species of riot and wrong.
I'm a pleader for freedom in every form;
For my country I feel patriotic and warm,
Yet still I've no wish to disorder the land
With the flame of the torch and the flash of the brand;
I'm for measures more gentle, more certain, in sooth,—
The movement of morals, the triumph of truth;
And my hopes are that men who are toiling and grieving,
Will make this fair Earth like the Heaven they believe in.
    My religion is Love,—'tis the noblest and purest;
And my temple the Universe—widest and surest;
I worship my God through his works, which are fair,
And the joy of my thoughts is perpetual prayer.
    I awake to new life with the coming of Spring,
When the lark is aloft with a fetterless wing;
When the thorn and the woodbine are bursting with buds,
And the throstle is heard in the depth of the woods;
When the verdure grows bright where the rivulets run,
And the primrose and daisy look up at the sun;
When the iris of April expands o'er the plain,
And a blessing comes down in the drops of the rain;
When the skies are as pure, and the breezes as mild,
As the smile of my wife, and the kiss of my child.
    When the summer in fulness of beauty is born,
I love to be out with the first blush of morn;
And to pause in the field where the mower is blithe,
Keeping time with a song to the sweep of the scythe.
At meridian I love to revisit the bowers,
'Mid the murmur of bees and the breathing of flowers;
And there in some sylvan and shadowy nook,
To lay myself down on the brink of the brook;
Where the coo of the ring-dove sounds soothingly near,
And the light laugh of childhood comes sweet to my ear.
I love, too, at evening, to rest in the dell,
Where the tall fern is drooping above the green well;
When the vesper-star burns—when the zephyr-wind blows,
When the lay of the nightingale ruffles the rose;
When silence is round me, below and above
And my heart is imbued with the spirit of love;
When the things that I gaze on grow fairer, and seem
Like the fancy-wrought shapes of some young poet's dream.
    In the calm reign of Autumn I'm happy to roam,
When the peasant exults in a full harvest-home;
When the boughs of the orchard with fruitage incline,
And the clusters are ripe on the stem of the vine;
When Nature puts on the last smiles of the year,
And the leaves of the forest are scattered and sere;
When the lark quits the sky, and the linnet the spray,
And all things are clad in the garb of decay.
    Even Winter to me hath a thousand delights,
With its short gloomy days, and its long starry nights:
And I love to go forth e'er the dawn, to inhale
The health-breathing freshness that floats in the gale;
When the sun riseth red o'er the crest of the hill,
And the trees of the woodland are hoary and still:
When the motion and sound of the streamlet are lost:
In the icy embrace of mysterious frost;
When the hunter is out on the shelterless moor,
And the robin looks in at the cottager's door;
When the Spirit of Nature hath folded his wings,
To nourish the seeds of all glorious things;
Till the herb, and the leaf, and the fruit, and the flower
Shall awake in the fullness of beauty and power.
    There's a harvest of knowledge in all that I see,
For a stone or a leaf is a treasure to me;
There's the magic of music in every sound,
And the aspect of beauty encircles me round;
Whilst the fast-gushing joy that I fancy and feel,
Is more than the language of song can reveal.
    Did God set his fountains of light in the skies,
That man should look up with the tears in his eyes?
Did God make this earth so abundant and fair,
That Man should look down with a groan of despair?
Did God fill the world with harmonious life,
That Man should go forth with destruction and strife?
Did God scatter freedom o'er mountain and wave,
That Man should exist as a tyrant and slave?
Away with so hopeless—so joyless a creed,
For the soul that believes it is darkened indeed!

    Thus I've told you, without an intent to deceive,
Of the things that I love, and the things I believe;
If I've glossed o'er my failings, you need not abhor me—
What I've now left untold, other tongues may tell for me.

 

_________________________

 
A SONG OF FREEDOM.

 

OH, beautiful world! thou art fertile and fair,
But filled with oppression, and strife, and despair;
Hard, hard is the lot which thy children endure—
The thousands are wealthy, the myriads are poor;
These lavish their blood, and their sweat and their tears,—
Those revel in splendour, yet shudder with fears;
But love shall come down to the nations, and bring
Peace, plenty, and joy in the folds of his wing!

Rejoice! oh, ye Sons of Industry! rejoice!
List, list to the sound of a glorious voice!
'Tis the sweet hymn of Freedom that gladdens the gale.
From hamlet and city, from mountain and vale;
Soon, soon shall we gaze on the light of her face—
Soon, soon shall we share her impartial embrace;
Prepare we to meet her wherever she roams,
And welcome her back to our hearts and our homes!

Oh, Isle of my Fathers! fair Queen of the Sea!
Men call thee the land of the fearless and free;
They say thou art first on the records of fame,
They speak of thy glory—but not of thy shame!
Despair not, my country! for Truth is revealed,—
Her hands have the fountains of knowledge unsealed!
Thy children shall gather new life from the stream,
Till the pains of the past are forgot as a dream!

 

_________________________

 
ON RECEIVING FROM A FRIEND THE POEMS
OF KEATS.

 

THANKS for the Song of Keats—as rich a boon
          As ever poet unto poet sent;
          Oh! thou hast pleased me to my heart's content,
And set my jarring feelings all in tune,
'Twere sweet to lie upon the lap of June,
          Half hidden in a galaxy of flowers,
          Beneath the shadow of impending bowers,
And pore upon his page from morn till noon.
'Twere sweet to slumber by some calm lagoon,
          And dream of young Endymion, the boy
          Who nightly snatched a more than mortal joy,
From the bright cheek of the enamoured moon.
Thanks for the Song of Keats, whose luscious lay
Hath half dissolved my earthly thoughts away.

 

_________________________

 
LINDA.

A BALLAD.

 

ALONG the moorland, bleak and bare,
    The blast of winter blew;
O'er midnight's dark and dreary face
    The snow tempestuous flew;
When Linda, poor forsaken maid,
    With none her griefs to share,
Kept on her rude and lonely path,
    In silent, sad despair.

A babe clung to her aching breast,
    Whose wild and feeble wail
Filled up the pauses of the storm,
    And rose upon the gale;
And, ah! that helpless infant's cry
    Smote heavy on her heart,
While visions pressed upon her brain
    Too dreadful to depart.

She kissed its cheek adoringly—
    At length it sweetly slept;
She raised to Heaven her streaming eyes,
    And thus she prayed and wept:—
"Oh! THOU who seest my contrite tears,
    Assist me in this hour,
And show the spoiler of my peace
    Thy mercy and thy power!

"He found me in my quiet home,
    While yet my cares were light,—
Ere sin had tinged my inmost thoughts,
    Or sorrow breathed its blight;
His sighs of passion fanned my cheek,
    But withered all its bloom;
He drew me down from innocence,
    And left me to my doom.

"My father drove me from his door,
    With curses stern and deep;
My mother watched me as I went,
    But only dared to weep;
My comrades in that pleasant vale
    Where I was reared and born,—
They strove to shim me as I passed,
    Or followed me with scorn.

"And thou, my last, sole solace now,
    Reposing calmly still,
Sweet fruit of all my guilty joys,
    Whose lips are blanched and chill;
Thy sire's away from thee and me,
    Where all are fair and kind,
Regardless of the ruined hopes
    That he hath left behind.

"But, ah! what fearful sign is this!
    I feel no more thy breath!
Thy lips are cold—thy pulse is still!—
    Thy slumber, then, is death!
O God! let not thy wakened wrath
    My shrinking soul pursue,
But since my child is gone to thee,
    Oh! take his mother too!"

With shattered frame and mind subdued,
    Expiring Linda fell;
But let us hope that Heaven forgave,
    And mercy whispered well!
Nor love's, nor friendship's voice was there,
    To breathe a soothing tone:
She died upon that desert heath,
    Heart-broken and alone!

Roused early to his daily toil,
    A peasant bent his way
Where, stretched in lifeless loveliness,
    Seduction's victim lay;
Her bones lie mouldering where she died,
    Beneath the barren sod,
Crowned with a record of her fate,
    Appealing unto God!

Young hearts grow sad, and youthful eyes
    Grow tearful, at her name,
And trembling lips repeat her tale
    Of misery and shame;
And gentle hands bring early flowers
    To strew above her breast;
And kindred knees imprint the turf
    Around her place of rest.

But where is HE—the cause of all,—
    Lost Linda's only foe;
Who triumphed in that selfish joy
    Which made another's woe?
Then of the false and cruel heart,
    Repent thee of the past!
This deed may stand in dark array,
    To startle thee at last!

 

_________________________

 
TO HYPATIA.

IN REPLY TO SOME BEAUTIFUL VERSES ADDRESSED TO THE
AUTHOR.

 

I KNOW thee not yet, gentle child of the lyre,
    Then of the kind and compassionate heart;
But sympathy's song cannot fail to inspire
    A wish to behold thee ere life shall depart.

My heart speaks to thine with as trembling a tone
    As ever awoke from its feeble strings yet;
But though 'tis unfit to respond to thine own,
    It tells that thy bounty I cannot forget.

If a maiden thou art, in the hey-day of life,
    With thy feelings and form in the pride of their spring,
May the hours that fly o'er thee with rapture be rife,
    And the purest that fall from old Time's rapid wing!

But if thou art wedded to one of thy choice,
    And duty hath called thee to mix with the world,
May thy heart, in its fondness, have cause to rejoice,
    And the banner of love o'er thy head be unfurled!

If the sweet, sacred name of a mother be thine,
    And beautiful offspring encircle thy knee;
Long, long may those blessings around thee entwine,
    Like tendrils that add to the grace of the tree!

The Muse hath been with thee, that spirit of light,
    Which flies not, though friendship and fortune decay;
That star through the darkest and loneliest night,
    That rainbow of peace through the stormiest day.

Yes, Poesy, sent from some bright source above,
    Like a vestal flame burns in the depths of the mind;
'Tis an echo of music, and beauty, and love,
    Awaking and melting the hearts of mankind.

The Poet hath piety, changeless and strong,
    Which turns to the wisdom and wonders of God;
For every thing claims his glad worship of song,
    From a world in the sky to a weed on the sod.

Abandon not, lady, that glorious dower,
    That treasure of thought which thy Maker hath given;
That fervour of feeling,—that language of power,
    Those wings of the soul which exalt us to heaven!

Farewell to thee, Lady; wherever I be,
    Whether shadow or sunshine descend on my brow,
Remembrance shall turn to thy kindness and thee,
    And pray for thy peace as sincerely as now.

And when, after many but brightening years,
    The rich flowers of summer above thee shall wave,
May the pilgrim of Poesy come with his tears,
    And touch his sad harp as he weeps o'er thy grave!

 

_________________________

 
LINES ON SEEING A PICTURE.

 

                               I SAW two sisters,
The semblance of two lovely human fays,
Which the bold hand of Genius had thrown
Upon the canvass in a happy hour.
On one ten springs had shed their light and bloom,
And seven had waked the other into joy.
Like tendrils on one parent stem, they twined
Their snowy arms around each other's neck
In gentle dalliance, while their silken locks,
Like waves of amber, on their shoulders fell
In beautiful luxuriance.  Some strange thing
Had made them glad, for they were laughing both.
Both faces had a merry look, but each
In mirth's expression differed from the other:
The elder sister's joy seem'd uncontrolled,—
For her wild soul sent out its silvery laugh,
Like a full fountain bubbling o'er in music:
The younger elf with arch and sidelong glance,
And dimpled cheek, was laughing to herself;
Her gladness was not boisterous, but spoke
Mutely but mirthfully in her bright eye,—
Her lifted finger, and her cherry lip,
Like some clear well which sounds not though it shine.
    I saw the father of these little dames
Stand with his arms enfolded on his breast,
Gazing on these his blessèd ones, and long,
With earnest scrutiny and inward pride—
(A holy pride which fathers only feel!)—
Scan every single feature, while his soul
Seemed to absorb their every line and hue.
After a time I saw his restless lip
Tremble with deep emotion, and a tear
Drop as a witness of the painter's power.
That tear—that one most sweet and eloquent tear—
Reminded me of home and home's affections,—
Of lips which sent their blessings for my weal,
Though far away,—of eyes which looked and wept,—
Of hearts which sighed, and ached for my return;
And as I thought, I melted like a child!

 

_________________________

 
A SKETCH AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.

 

DARK Kinder! standing on thy whin-clad side,
    Where Storm, and Solitude, and Silence dwell,
        And stern Sublimity hath set his throne,—
I look upon a region wild and wide,
    A realm of mountain, forest haunt, and fell,
        And fertile valleys, beautifully lone,

Where fresh and far romantic waters roam,
Singing a song of peace by many a cottage home.


I leave the sickly haunts of sordid men,—
    The toil that fetters and the care that kills
        The purest feelings of the human breast,—
To gaze on Nature's lineaments again,—
    To find amid these congregated hills,
        Some fleeting hours of quiet thought and rest;

Tread with elastic step the fragrant sod,
Drink the inspiring breeze, and feel myself with God!


Like heaven-invading Titans, girt with gloom,
    The mountains crowd around me, while the skies
        Stoop to enfold them in their azure sheen;
The air is rich with music and perfume,
    And beauty, like a varying mantle lies
        On barren steep, bright wave, and pasture green,—

On ancient hamlets nestling far below,
And many a wild wood walk, where childhood's
            footsteps go.


It is the Sabbath morn,—a blessèd hour
    To those who have to struggle with a lot
        Which clouds the mind, and chains the languid limb:
From yon low temple, bosomed in the bower,
    Which prayer and praise have made a hallowed spot,
        Soars in the air the peasant's earliest hymn;

And as the sounds come sweetly to my ear,
They say, or seem to say, that happy hearts are near.


Pray heaven they are so! for this restless earth
    Holds much of human misery and crime,—
        Much to awake our sympathies indeed;
And though eternal blessings spring to birth
    Beneath the footsteps of advancing time,
        Myriads of mortal hearts in silence bleed;

Vain is the hungry mourner's suppliant cry:
Oh, Justice! how is this?  Let Pride and Power reply.


Away, away with these reflections now!
    The natural colours of a pensive mind
        Yearning for liberty, and truth, and love!
For, standing upon Kinder's awful brow,
    Breathing the healthy, spirit of the wind,
        Green lands below, and glorious skies above,—

I deem that God, whose hand is ever sure,
Will break the rankling chain that binds the suffering
            poor.


I look before me, lo! how wild a change
    Hath come upon the scene! yon mountain wall
        Wears a vast diadem of fiery gloom;
A lurid darkness, terrible and strange,
    Spreads o'er the face of heaven its sultry pall,
        As though earth trembled on the verge of doom;

A fearful calm foretels a coming fight,
For Tempest is prepared to revel in its might!


It comes at length, for the awakening breeze
    Whirls with a sudden gust each fragile thing
        That lay this moment in unwonted rest;
The storm's first drops fall tinkling on the trees,
    Heavy, but few, as though 'twere hard to wring
        Such painful tears from out its burning breast;

And now a deep, reverberated groan
Is heard amid the span of Heaven's unbounded zone.


The lightning leapeth from the riven cloud,
    Vivid and broad upon the startled eye,
        Wrapping the mountains in a robe of fire;
The voice of thunder follows, long and loud,—
    Hot rain is shaken from the troubled sky,—
        The winds rush past me with redoubled ire;

And yon proud vine which stood the wintry shock,
Bows its majestic head, and quits its native rock!


Flash hurries after flash with widening sweep,
    And peal meets peal, resounding near and far,
        As though some veil of mystery were rent;
The headlong torrent boundeth from the steep
    Where I enjoy the elemental jar,
        Nor fear its rage, nor wish its passion spent.

But now God curbs the lightning—stills the roar,
And earth smiles through her tears more lovely
            than before.


How sternly fair! how beautifully wild,
    To the sad spirit, is the war of storms,
        When thought and feeling mingle with the strife!
Nature, I loved thee when a very child,
    In all thy moods, in all thy hues and forms,
        Because I found thee with enchantment rife;

And even yet, in spite of every ill,
I feel within my soul that thou art glorious still!


I leave the hoary mountains for the vale,
    Which wears the milder features of a scene
        Too rarely brought before my longing sight;
And where the streamlet tells its summer tale
    To bright flowers bending on its margin green,
        I walk with softened and subdued delight,

Breathing the words of some remembered lay,
Or talking with the things that smile around my way.


Oh! is it not religion, to admire,
    O God! what thou hast made in field and bower,
        And solitudes from man and strife apart!—
To feel within the soul the wakening fire
    Of pure and chastened pleasure, and the power
        Of natural beauty on the tranquil heart,—

And then to think that our terrestrial home
Is but a shadow still of that which is to come!


This is the fitting temple of high thought
    And glorious emotion,—the true place
        Of adoration, silent and sincere;
For all that the Eternal Hand hath wrought,
    Having the form of grandeur and of grace,
        Reminds us of a happier, holier sphere,—

Fills us with wonder, strengthens hope and love,
While the rapt soul aspires to brighter things above.


Farewell each Alpine haunt, each quiet glen,
    Farewell each fragrant offspring of the wild,
        Each twilight forest and secluded vale!
I go to mingle with my fellow-men,
    Bearing within me, pure and undefiled,
        A store of beauty which can never fail:

In memory's keeping ye shall linger long,
And wake my lowly harp to many a future song!

 

_________________________

 
TO QUINTUS HORTENSIUS.

 

QUINTUS, my earliest intellectual friend,—
    The first who listened to my artless lay;
The first who had the courage to commend,
    And teach me to expect a brighter day;
    This humble tribute to thy worth I pay;
Though brief and rude, it springeth from the heart,
    Thy warmth of soul may lessen and decay,
But my first feelings cannot all depart.
Let us not break from Friendship's holy thrall;—
    Canst thou forget thine ancient cordial greeting;—
    Canst thou forget that joyous Sabbath meeting,
When poesy and music gladdened all?
Then did the light of mind adorn each brow,
And thou wert kind and true, as I would have thee now.

 

_________________________

 
THE CAPTIVE'S DREAM.

 

He had a dream, ere midnight,
    Of a green and sunny dell,
And trees, and streams, and shadowy haunts,
    Which is remembered well.

J. B. ROGERSON.


DEEP in a loathsome dungeon's twilight gloom,
Which scarce received a dubious gleam of day,
Where many a wretch had found a living tomb—
Pining for home, a prisoned patriot lay.
As the rich hues of sunset waned away,
And land and sea with rosy radiance shone,
Through the barred lattice came the evening ray,
Beaming in beauty on the wall of stone,—

And lingered, loth to leave the Captive sad and lone.


That brief reflection of the summer skies,
Sent from the happier region of the spheres,
Caught the poor mourner's dim and drooping eyes,
And stirred the slumbering fountains of his tears;
For all the rapture of his boyish years,
And all his ardent youth's romantic spell,—
All that fair freedom—all that love endears,
Came like the sad tones of a vesper bell,

While thus the Captive woke the echoes of his cell:—


"Blest was my boyhood! when I wandered free,
Fearless and far, o'er mountain, moor, and vale;
When every season brought its share of glee,—
Life in the sun and gladness in the gale;
When the young moon, that rose serenely pale,
Looked like a fairy bark through cloud-waves driven,
And the rich music of the nightingale
Sang like a spirit's voice which God had given

To teach the listening soul the melody of heaven!


"Lured by the genial freshness of the hour,
With buoyant step I bounded forth at morn,
And hied away to some familiar bower
To pluck the wild rose from the dewy thorn;
Or roved through fields of undulating corn—
Or watched the winding of some wizard stream—
Or lay beneath some beetling rock forlorn,
Wrapt in the quiet ecstacy of dream,

Till Phœbus flushed the west with his departing beam.


"Around the precincts of my tranquil home.
I knew each barren spot, each cultured nook—
The pathless wild, the wood's umbrageous dome—
The tumbling torrent, and the dimpling brook;
And ever and anon my way I took
Through scenes, alas! which I shall view no more;
For Nature was my ever-open book,
Whose peaceful, pleasant, and exhaustless lore,

Gave to my craving soul the choicest of its store.


"When time, at length, had knit my growing form,
And shaped my spirit in a manlier mould,
I loved to share the grandeur of the storm,
As its vast billows o'er the welkin rolled:
Oft have I borne the midnight gloom and cold,
In contemplation of those worlds on high
Which men call stars—those drops of heavenly gold
Which burn and brighten o'er the slumbering sky,

Like gems which cannot fade—like flowers which cannot die!


"All that is lovely, tender, and serene,—
All that is wild, and wonderful, and strong,—
All that is free as it hath ever been,
Spoke to my spirit with a trumpet's tongue:
The rush of winds—the roar of waves—the long
Reverberated thunder—the far boom
Of ever-restless Ocean—the glad song
Of birds and bees in sylvan haunts—the bloom

That sleeps in buds and blossoms, cradled in perfume;—


"The opening splendour that Aurora yields,
Deep Noon, rich Eve, and philosophic Night;
The harvest waving on the peaceful fields—
The billowy forest on the mountain's height;
The rainbow's arch, prismatically bright—
The Summer music in the air that rings—
The sweeping cloud—the eagle's sunward flight—
The joyous flutter of a thousand wings,

And all the boundless range of universal things!


"Oh! I was calm and happy, though, as yet,
In all my gladness I had been alone;
But heaven was round my footsteps when I met
One gentle soul congenial with my own:
Like chords that thrill in harmony of tone,
Our thoughts, words, looks, and feelings were the same,
And o'er my heart so sweet a spell was thrown,
That e'en the poet's glowing words were tame,

To paint the gush of joy that o'er my being came!


"And I was blest, if man be blest below,—
The favoured father of as fond a child
As e'er brought gladness in a world of woe;
My household sprite, fair, frolicsome, and wild—
The Ariel of my home, whose voice beguiled
My darkest hours—my peace-preserving dove,
Whose young affections, fresh and undefiled,
Gushed from his heart in syllables of love,

And winged my prayers for him unceasingly above.


"Alas, for all my joys! in evil hour
I yearned to mingle with my fellow-men;
Left the calm pleasures of my cottage-bower,
Never to taste tranquillity again:
I found the city a tumultuous den,
Where crime, oppression, ignorance, and strife,
Made up one mass of misery—a fen
Where every vicious weed grew rank and rife,

And flung a withering taint on all the flowers of life.


"But why was this? the earth was passing fair,
Flinging rich gifts from her prolific breast;
The ocean, with its mighty bosom bare,
Wildly magnificent in storm or rest;
The heavens with wondrous beauty were impressed,
Whether in summer's noon or winter's night!
Lovely their varying splendours of the west—
Sublime their wilderness of starry light—

Hours when the soul had wings to take unbounded flight.


"A God of wisdom, harmony, and love,
Was seen and felt in all things, from the round
Of burning worlds that wheel their course above,
To the mute glow-worm on the dewy-ground:
Where'er I roved, my eager spirit found
Things which reflected Hope's inspiring beam;
Some shape of beauty—some melodious sound,
Which touched my heart with joy; and could I deem

That Man was made to mar Creation's perfect scheme?


"I raised my voice imploringly aloud,
And wicked men were startled into fear!—
Nor vain my cry, for soon a gathering crowd,
Haggard and worn with misery, drew near;
Some came to scoff, and some to lend an ear,
With wondering eyes and faces sadly pale;
My heart waxed warmer, and my voice more clear,
Till soft persuasive Reason did prevail,

To make the thousands feel my true yet fearful tale.


"Fired with the earnest eloquence of Truth,
My words warmed every listener to the core;
Inspired old Age, and in the soul of youth
Aroused those energies which slept before:
I strove to teach them; from the sickening lore
Of Europe's annals—dark with many a stain—
How much of human tears and human gore
Had fallen unheeded as the summer rain,

That selfish man might reap unprofitable gain.


"I bade them scan the universe and see
What God had done for man; I bade them seek
That virtuous knowledge which adorns the free,
Softens the strong and dignifies the weak;
I bade them deeply think, and calmly speak,
And promptly act at love or duty's call;
I urged them to be patient, mild, and meek,
But fearless, firm, and watchful, and withal,

To keep heart, mind, and limb, secure from slavish thrall.


"I bade them leave those haunts of vice and gloom,
Where they profaned the Sabbath's holy hours;
To go abroad and revel in the bloom
That blushed in beauty on a thousand flowers!
To scale the mountains, thread the tangled bowers,
And by the brinks of brawling brooks repair;
To catch the freshness of the summer showers,
And breathe the life of unpolluted air;

Till the wrapt soul was filled with all of pure and fair.


"I prayed that they would strengthen and employ
Each wiser, nobler faculty of mind;
Gather the gems of Science, and enjoy
Those flowers of thought which Genius had entwined;
I bade them walk with Charity, and bind
The stricken heart by sin or sorrow riven;
Succour and serve the feeblest of their kind,
Moved by those sympathies which Love hath given

To soothe the ills of Earth, and win the joys of Heaven.


"Had I been swayed by selfishness, and built
My hopes of glory on a rebel's name,
I could have led my followers into guilt,
And blown the sparks of Discord into flame:
But no; I had a higher, holier aim—
And well my hallowed mission was begun—
To rouse my country from her slavish shame,—
To do what human effort could have done,

To make her free and blest;—and lo! what I have won!


"A felon's fare, and worse than felon's doom,
With fetters rusting on my fleshless bones:
This narrow prison of perpetual gloom—
This cold damp pillow of unyielding stones!
Far from Affection's gentle looks and tones,
My wife's fond smile—my child's rich voice of glee,
With none to silence or to soothe my groans.—
Father of Mercy! let me turn to thee,

I feel thy spirit here and bow to thy decree!"—


The manly victim of Oppression's law,
Faint with the nightly vigils he had kept,
Sunk down supine upon his couch of straw,
And, lapped in brief forgetfulness, he slept.
Enchanting visions through his memory swept,
Flushed his pale cheek, and heaved his weary breast;
Fair forms and faces round his pillow crept,
Which he in early youth had loved and blest;

And voices such as these stole through his troubled rest:—

 

_________________________

 
THE VOICE OF SPRING

 

"Come, captive, come, let us joyfully roam
    O'er the green and reviving earth;
While the skies are fair, and the vocal air
    Resounds with the voice of mirth:
The dew-drop lies in the violet's eyes,
    And the primrose gems the grass;
On verdurous brinks, the cowslip drinks
    Of the brooklets as they pass:—
But summer is near, and I may not stay,—
    Come away, man of grief—come away, come away!

"The lark sings loud in the silvery cloud,
    And the thrush in the emerald bowers;
The rainbow expands o'er the smiling lands,
    And glows through the twinkling showers;
The breeze, like a thief, from the bud and the leaf
    Steals odours newly born,
And wantonly flings, from its viewless wings,
    The breath of the blooming thorn:—
But Summer is near, and I may not stay,—
    Come away, man of grief—come away, come away!

"There is freedom on the hill, there is freshness in the rill—
    There is health in the cheering gale;
And the stream runs bright, like a path of light,
    Through the maze of the folding vale;
The wildest glen hath a charm again,
    And the moor hath a look less stern;
The cool, clear well, in the woodland dell,
    Is fringed with the feathery fern:—
But Summer is near, and I may not stay,—
    Come away, man of grief—come away, come away!

"Glad Childhood strays through tangled ways,
    In solitudes green and lone,
And youth frolics free, with unwonted glee,
    To music's inspiring tone
Old age with his staff, and a merry, merry laugh,
    Goes forth in my bright domain:
Man, maiden, and boy, feel the spirit of joy,
    That comes with my gladsome reign:—
But Summer is near, and I may not stay,—
    Come away, man of grief—come away, come away!"

 

_________________________

 
THE VOICE OF SUMMER.

 

"Come away from the gloom of thy dungeon forlorn
    And escape from the thraldom of sorrow and sleep:
Come, and catch the first hues on the cheek of the morn,
    From the pine-covered mountain's precipitous steep:
For the lark hath his matin hymn newly begun,
    And the last star that lingered hath melted away;
Every shadow falls back from the face of the sun,
    And the world is awake in the fulness of day.

"Come away in the pride of my glorious noon,
    And retire to some old haunted forest with me,
While the skies are unrobed, and the air is in tune
    With the call of the cuckoo—the boom of the bee:
Where the brook o'er its pebbles runs drowsily by,
    And green waving branches bend gracefully o'er,
In a trance of sweet thought thou shalt quietly lie,
    And dream all the poet hath told thee before.

"Come away in the silence and softness of eve,
    When dimly the last tints of sunset appear;
When daylight and darkness commingle, and weave
    A mantle of beauty o'er mountain and mere
When the breath of the woodbine floats richly about,
    And the glow-worm begins its pale lamp to relume:
When a star here and there looketh fitfully out,
    And a spirit of tenderness steals through the gloom.

"Come away while the shadowy pinions of night
    Brood over the earth, like a bird in its nest;
When the mind seeks to soar to those planets of light,
    Which fancy hath made the abodes of the blest.
What heart can resist the deep spell of that hour,
    When the moon goeth forth on her journey above,
And the nightingale, hid in the depths of her bower,
    Pours abroad her full soul in the music of love!"

 

_________________________

 
THE VOICE OF AUTUMN.

 

"Thou lonely man of grief and pain,
    By lawless power oppressed,
Burst from thy prison—rend thy chain,
    I come to make thee blest;
I have no springtide buds and flowers,
I have no summer bees and bowers;
But oh! I have some pleasant hours,
    To soothe thy soul to rest.

"Plenty o'er all the quiet land
    Her varied vesture weaves,
And flings her gifts with liberal hand
    To glad the heart that grieves:
Along the southern mountain steeps,
The vine its purple nectar weeps,
While the bold peasant proudly reaps
    The wealth of golden sheaves.

"Forth with the earliest march of morn,
    He bounds with footstep free:
He plucks the fruit—he binds the corn,
    'Till night steals o'er the lea;
Beneath the broad, ascending moon,
He carries home the welcome boon,
And sings some old-remembered tune,
    With loud and careless glee.

"Then come, before my reign is past,
    Ere darker hours prevail,—
Before the forest leaves are cast,
    And wildly strew the gale:
There's splendour in the day-spring yet—
There's glory when the sun is set—
There's beauty when the stars are met
    Around heaven's pilgrim pale.

"The lark at length hath left the skies
    The throstle sings alone;
And far the vagrant cuckoo flies,
    To seek a kinder zone;
But other music still is here,
Though fields are bare and woods are sere—
Where the lone robin warbles clear
    His soft and plaintive tone.

"While heaven is blue, and earth is green—
    Come at my earnest call,
Ere winter sadden all the scene
    Beneath his snowy pall;
The fitful wailing of the woods—
The solemn roar of deepening floods,
Sent forth from nature's solitudes,
    Proclaim my coming fall."

 

_________________________

 
THE VOICE OF WINTER.

 

"Lone victim of Tyranny's doom,
    Bowed down to his pitiless will,
I come o'er the earth with my grandeur and gloom,
And though I have nothing of freshness and bloom,
    I know that thou lovest me still.

"With a spirit unwearied and warm,
    Thou hast sported with me from a child;
Thou hast watched my career on the wings of the storm,—
Thou hast fearlessly followed my shadowy form
    Over mountain, and valley, and wild.

"In the depths of some desolate vale,
    Thou hast given thy breast to the blast,
As I built up my snow-drift, and scattered my hail;
Thou didst hear my stern voice in the sweep of the gale,
    And shouted with joy as I passed.

"Young Spring may be tender and bland,
    With her flowers like the stars of the sky;
Bright Summer may breathe his warm soul o'er the land,
And Autumn may open a bountiful hand;—
    But none are so mighty as I.

"Through the silent dominions of night
    I go to my wonderful play;
While the tremulous pole-star burns piercingly bright,
I cover the earth with a mantle of light,
    To dazzle the dawning of day.

"There's a silvery crisp on the grass,
    And a cluster of gems on the thorn;
The boughs of the forest grow still as I pass,—
The reeds stand erect in the frozen morass,
    Unstirred by the breath of the morn.

"On the uttermost verge of the year,
    As I sit on my crystalline throne,
I send out my frost spirit, cloudless and clear,
And the rivers are stayed in their onward career—
    The cataracts stiffen to stone.

"But when my vast power hath begun
    To lessen the comforts of men,
I withdraw my dim veil from the face of the sun,
And the floods, and the streams, and the rivulets run,
    On—on to the ocean again.

"But though I am savage and strong,
    And though I am sullen and cold,
I have hearth-stones encircled by many a throng,
Who awaken the jest, and the dance, and the song,
    As if they would never grow old.

"Sad Captive, awake from thy thrall,—
    Come back to the home of thy birth!
Festivity ringeth in cottage and hall,
Where the holly and mistletoe garland the wall,
    And shake to the music of mirth.

"Fair forms which thou canst not forget—
    Fond hearts with affection that burn—
The true and the tender are cheerfully met,
Where the wine-cup is filled, and the banquet is set
    To welcome thy happy return.

"The face of thy father is bright—
    Thy child is awake on his knee—
The wife of thy bosom is mad with delight,
Oh! fly to her faithful embraces to-night,
    For liberty waiteth for thee!"

 

Such were the visions that his grief beguiled;
And as the last voice to his fancy spoke,
He sprang to clasp the mother of his child,—
And in the frenzy of his joy—awoke;
Brief was that joy! for on his senses broke
The dread, dark, cold reality of pain;
He heard the midnight bell's discordant stroke—
He heard the clank of his unbroken chain,

And knew that he had dreamed of liberty in vain!


He spoke not, for his feelings kept him dumb;
He did not weep, for sorrow's fount was dry;
He could not move, so faint had he become,—
He only felt how gladly he could die!
Calm was his aspect, though his languid eye
Had something of a wild imploring look;
Without a word, a struggle, or a sigh—
Stretched in the darkness of his dungeon nook,

He lay till his pure soul her tenement forsook.


Day dawned in splendour, and the summer heaven
Shone with a blue serenity of light;
To the rich bosom of the earth was given
All that is blooming, bountiful, and bright;
Birds hailed the morn, and breezes in their flight
Swept fragrance from the flowers; rejoicing waves
Sang to the ear, and sparkled to the sight;
The world, too lovely for a race of slaves,

Seemed at that pleasant hour as though it held no graves.


But Death had been his latest, kindest friend,
And snatched the Captive from his earthly thrall;
Though brief his course, and desolate his end,
Freedom was strengthened by her martyr's fall.
Ten thousand souls have answered to his call,
And sown the seeds of truth, which soon shall grow
To fair and full maturity for all;
And man that hour of happiness shall know,

When universal love shall blend all hearts below!

 

_________________________

 
TO SYLVAN.

 

BARD of the woods, thy tributary lay,
    Though brief and simple, is a welcome boon;
    Thus may our souls in sympathy commune,
Through the rude song of many a future day.
Thou walkest forth with Nature, whose sweet way
    Is ever open, lovely, and serene;
    Thy harp is strung to Liberty—the queen
Whose voice all hearts instinctively obey.
The Muse hath moved thee with a gentle sway,
    And plucked thee flowers of fancy here and there;
    Long may she soothe thee in the time of care,
When things less pure might lead thy soul astray;
May all of good which thou hast wished of me,
Fall back with seven-fold bounty upon thee!



[Next Page]

 



[Home] [Up] [Biography] [Dreams and Realities] [Poetic Rosary] [Autumn Leaves] [Miscellaneous Poems] [Unpublished Poems] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

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