Hours with the Muses (3)
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TO THE FALL OF THE SWALLOW,
NORTH WALES.

 

FALL of the Swallow, whose impetuous stream
    Sends its astounding voice adown the glen,
    A wandering truant from the haunts of men
Comes to behold thy glory, and to dream
An hour within thy presence.  Noon's bright beam
    In broken splendour sparkles on thy breast,
    As if to charm thee from thy wild unrest,
And soothe thee into quiet.  Thou dost seem
    A mighty prophet in the wilderness,
    Placed here to awe, to dazzle, and to bless
With high and holy mysteries.  I deem
Thou art a priest within this lonely bower,
Teaching the love of God, his wisdom, and his power!

 

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THE PROFLIGATE AWAKENED.

 

AWAY from my heart and my haunts,
    Dissipation!—Away, for thy smiles are less sweet than
            before;
Thou temptest in vain, for thy guilty libation
    Bewilders my soul and my senses no more!

Oh! cursed was the hour when thy cup stood before me,
    All sparkling with light, and allured me to taste;
For thy spirit of folly and frenzy came o'er me,
    And the feelings of virtue were running to waste.

Since then I have lived with thy Syren called Pleasure—
    (Can Vice be allied with so gentle a name!)
My footsteps have trod each iniquitous measure,
    Through mazes of ruin, disorder, and shame.

I have shared all the Drunkard's revolting excesses,
    The fiend and the brute gleaming fierce in my eyes;
I have smiled at the Harlot's dissembling caresses,
    And fed on her loathsome and treacherous sighs.

I have sported with Woman's confiding affection,—
    Exulted and triumphed o'er purity's fall;
And the pangs that awake in that one recollection,
    Imbue every thought—every feeling—with gall.

Shall the Wife who despite of my injuries loves me,
    Receive undeserving reproaches and pain?
Shall the Wife who in sorrow and kindness reproves me,
    Appeal to my heart and my judgment in vain?

Ah, no! to the dictates of truth and of reason,
    Again, even now, let my ear be inclined;
Some Angel of Pity may bring back the season
    Of long-banished virtue and peace to my mind.

Away with the soul-sinking draught that enslaved me—
    A slumberless monitor bids me beware;
One drop from the Fountain of Mercy hath saved me
    A life of transgressions—a death of despair!

Henceforth let the dear ones of home come around me,
    With words of affection, and smiles of delight;
Let me cherish those ties by which Nature hath bound me,
    The Sober Man's pleasures are boundless and bright.

 

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TO LILLA, WEEPING.

 

YES, thou hast cause to weep, lone maiden!
Those dark and drooping lids are laden
          With sorrow's bitterest tears;
Thine eye hath lost its wonted brightness—
Thy cheek its glow—thy step its lightness,—
          No smile thine aspect cheers.

Think not of him whose arts bereaved thee
Of peace and joy—whose words deceived thee
          In passion's witching tone;
Although thy kindred turn and shun thee,
And cast their cruel scorn upon thee,
          For errors scarce thine own.

I, too, have wept o'er many a token
Of hope, and love, and friendship broken,
          Which wrung me to the core:—
Fain would I charm thy soul from sadness,
And bring the light of guiltless gladness
          Around thee, as before.

One heart hath never yet dissembled,
But with that hopeless feeling trembled,
          Which pride could not subdue;
And now, when ready tongues upbraid thee,—
When all abandon and degrade thee,
          That heart can still be true.

Come, let us leave the world behind us,
And where its malice may not find us,
          Seek out a home of rest;
There shall my own untired devotion
Calm down each memory-stirred emotion,
          That lingers in thy breast.

 

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THERE IS BEAUTY.

 

THERE is beauty o'er all this delectable world,
Which wakes at the first golden touch of the light;
There is beauty when Morn bath her banner unfurled,
Or when stars twinkle out from the depths of the Night;
There is beauty on Ocean's vast, verdureless plains,
Though lashed into fury, or lulled into calm;
There is beauty on Land, and its countless domains—
Its corn-fields of plenty—its meadows of balm:—
Oh, God of Creation! these sights are of Thee!
Thou surely hast made them for none but the free!

There is music when Summer is with us on earth,
Sent forth from the valley, the mountain, the sky.
There is music where fountains and rivers have birth,
Or leaves whisper soft as the wind passeth by;
There is music in voices that gladden our homes,
In the lay of the mother—the laugh of the child;
There is music wherever the wanderer roan-is,
In city or solitude, garden, or wild:
Oh, God of Creation! these sounds are of Thee!
Thou surely hast made them for none but the free!

 

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STANZAS,

ADDRESSED TO THE CHILD OF MY POET-FRIEND,
J. B. ROGERSON.

 

YOUNG Ariel of the Poet's home,
    Thou fair and frolic boy,
May every blessing round thee come,
    Unmingled with alloy!
And wheresoe'er thy footsteps stray,
Along the world's uncertain way,
    May love, and hope, and joy,
Their choicest flowers around thee fling,
Without a blight, without a sting!

A spirit looketh from thine eyes,
    So softly, darkly clear;
Thy thoughts gush forth without disguise,
    Unchecked by shame or fear:
There is a music in thy words,
Sweet as the sound of brooks and birds,
    When summer hours are near;
And every gesture, look, and tone,
Make the beholder's heart thine own.

Thou sportest round thy father's hearth
    With ever-changing glee,
And all who listen to thy mirth
    Grow young again with thee:
Thy fitful song, thy joyful shout,
Thy merry gambols round about,
    Thy laughter fresh and free;
All combine to make us bless
Thy form of life and loveliness.

Thou art a fair and tranquil thing,
    When wearied into rest,
Like a young lark with folded wing,
    Within its grassy nest;
But when the night hath passed, thy lay
Hails the first blush of kindling day,
    And from thy mother's breast
Thou leapest forth with gladsome bound,
To walk in Pleasure's daily round.

Oh, what a place of silent gloom
    Thy father's house would seem,
If thou wert summoned to the tomb,
    In childhood's early dream;
With every beauty in thy form,
With all thy first affections warm,
    And in thy mind a beam
Of rare and intellectual fire,
Such as hath raised thy gifted sire!

I had a child—and such a child,
    O God!—can I forget!
So fair, so fond, so undefiled—
    I see his image yet;
With breaking heart, but tearless eye,
I watched my spring-flower fade and die,
    My load-star wane and set;
And still I wrestle with my grief,
For time hath brought me no relief.

I mingle with the thoughtless throng,
    But even there I feel;
I breathe some sorrow in my song,
    But may not all reveal;
I know that nought of worldly ill
Can agonize my lost one, still
    My wounds I cannot heal,
But wander musing, mourning on,
As though my every hope were gone.

Away with this unquiet strain,—
    This echo of despair;
Why should I speak to thee of pain,
    Or slow-consuming care?
Much have I seen of human strife,
Along the shadowy path of life,—
    Much have I had to bear;
But ah! 'tis yet too soon, my boy,
To break thy transient dream of joy!

Child of delight! had I the power
    Thy destiny to weave,
Thou shouldst not know one single hour
    To make thy spirit grieve:
But earth should meet thy radiant eyes
Like the first look of Paradise
    To love-enraptured Eve,
And heaven at last shall take thee in,
Without one stain of mortal sin.

 

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SONNET.

WRITTEN IN THE CASTLE OF CARNARVON.

 

How glorious is thy fall, rich summer's day!
    How deeply tender is thy dying hour!
    Lonely I linger on this crumbling tower,
And watch with silent joy thy sweet decay.
Upon the blushing bosom of the bay
    Thy last kiss trembles, and the clouds that lie
    In beautiful disorder round the sky
Absorb the latest vestige of thy ray.
But now the chill of twilight doth betray
    The coming of the night,—yon mountain range
    Hath put the garb of darkness on;—a change
Creeps o'er the deepening waters.  Who may say
How many griefs, or hopes, or dreams sublime
Awake the human soul in this mysterious time!

 

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SPRING.

 

I PAUSE and listen, for the Cuckoo's voice
    Floats from the vernal depths of yonder vale,
        Whose aspect brightens at the gaze of morn.
Green woods, free winds, and sparkling waves rejoice—
    Sweet sounds, sweet odours freight the wanton gale,
        And April's parting tear-drops gem the thorn.
Through field and glade the truant school-boy sings,
And where in quiet nooks the primrose springs,
        Sits down to weave a coronet of flowers;
From hill to hill a cheering spirit flies,
Talks in the streamlet—laughs along the skies,
        And breathes glad music through the forest bowers:—
God of Creation! on this mountain shrine,
I praise, I worship thee, through this fair world of thine!—

 

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A FAREWELL TO POESY.

 

ANOTHER weary day was past,—
Another night was come at last,
        Its 'welcome calm diffusing:
Without a light, without a book,
I sat beside my chimney nook,
        In painful silence musing.

The cricket chirped within the gloom,
The kitten gambolled round the room
        In wild and wanton gladness:
While I, a thing of nobler birth,
A reasoning denizen of earth,
        Gave up my soul to sadness.

My children were resigned to sleep;
My wife had turned aside to weep
        In unavailing sorrow;
She mourned for one lost, lost for aye,—
Pined o'er the trouble of to-day,
        And feared the coming morrow.

I turned the glance of memory back,
Along the rude and chequered track
        Which manhood set before me;
Then forward as I cast my eye,
Seeing no gleam of comfort nigh,
        Despairing dreams came o'er me:—

I thought of all my labours vain—
The watchful nights, the days of pain,
        Which I had more than tasted;
Of all my false and foolish pride,
My humble talents misapplied,
        And hours of leisure wasted:

I thought how I had wandered far,
Allured by some malignant star,
        In other lands a stranger!
How often I had gone unfed,
Without a home, without a bed,
        And lain me down in danger.

Thus, after twenty years of life
Made up of wretchedness and strife,
        Tired hope, and vain endeavour,
I smote my brow in bitter mood,
My mind a peopled solitude,
        Remote from peace as ever.

"Hence!" I exclaimed, "ye dazzling dreams
Nor tempt me with your idle themes,
        Soft song, and tuneful story:
I'll break my harp, I'll burn my lays,
I'll sigh no more for empty praise,
        And unsubstantial glory.

"'Tis true, I've sat on Fancy's throne,
King of a region called my own,
        In fairy worlds ideal;
But, ah! the charms that fancy wrought,
Were apt to make me set at nought
        The tangible and real.

"I've loved, 'not wisely but too well,'
The mixed and soul-dissolving spell
        Of poetry and passion:
I've suffered strangely for their sake,—
Henceforth I'll follow in the wake
        Of feelings more in fashion.

"Farewell to Shakespear's matchless name,
Farewell to Milton's hallowed fame,
        And Goldsmith's milder measures;
Farewell to Byron's thrilling powers,
Farewell to Moore's resplendent flowers,
        And Campbell's polished 'Pleasures.'

"Farewell, sweet Poet of the Plough,
Who wandered with a thoughtful brow
        By Coila's hills and fountains;
Farewell to thee, too, Shepherd Bard,
Whose strain was wild, whose lot was hard,
        On Ettric's barren mountains.

"Farewell, young Keats, whose luscious lore
With beauty's sweet excess runs o'er,
        And all that genius giveth;
Farewell to Shelly, with a sigh,
Whose strengthening fame can never die
        While Truth or Freedom liveth.

"Farewell to all the needy throng,
Who waste their energies in song,
        And bright illusions cherish:
Here I renounce the Muse divine,—
Why should I worship at her shrine,
        To please the world—and perish?"

 

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VERSES,

SUGGESTED BY THE RHAIDR MAWR; OR, THE GREAT
WATERFALL IN THE VALE OF CONWAY.

 

THOU splendid thing of beauty and of power,
Fed by the mountain rill—the fitful shower,
    From spring to winter, and from day to day;
Fain would I build me a domestic bower,
Where I might share love, solitude, and thee,
From toilsome cities and their vices free,
                    And far away!

Thy voice came to me as I mused below,
Where silvery Conway's billows tranquil flow
    Through the rich windings of his fair domain;
And I have laboured up the hill to know
Thine awful features, and to rest awhile,
My world-afflicted spirit to beguile
                    From care and pain.

I see thee, hear thee, feel thee, but thy face
Hath more of rugged grandeur than of grace,
    Which fills the soul and fascinates the eye;
And as I linger in thy "pride of place"
'Tis sweet to watch thee in thy motions stern
Sprinkle with constant baptism the green fern
                    That trembles by.

At first, soft, warbling like a summer bird,
Gushing from verdant darkness, thou art heard,
    Falling like strings of pearl from many a steep;
But soon thy tall and tearful trees are stirred
By the rough chidings of thy waters hoarse,
Which, waxing wilder in their downward course,
                    Flash, writhe, and leap.

And now I see thee boiling, bounding under
Umbrageous arches, and I hear thy thunder,
    As fierce thou fallest from thy rock of pride!
Anon, escaping from thy home of wonder
By channels branching down the mountain's breast:
Thou findest, after all thy troubles, rest
                    In Conway's tide.

So have I travelled o'er the waste of life
A weary journey, with afflictions rife,
    Which stung and tortured me along the way;
But after waging this unequal strife,
May I go down in quietude, like thee,
And find, in regions which I cannot see,
                    A calmer day!

Yet thou art beautiful, in spite of all
Which waits to hold thee in unwelcome thrall,
    Or break the even course of thy career:
The mixed complainings of thy frequent fall,
Thy stern impatience of the rifted rock,
And thine impetuous plunge and startling shock,
                    Have brought me here.

Even so it seemeth with the child of song,
His very fretfulness doth make him strong—
    Awaking fancies which he must reveal;
And as he strives with wretchedness and wrong,
Enduring agony without a choice,
He gains a power, a grandeur, and a voice
                    Which myriads feel!

 

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THE CARRIER TO HIS PONY.

 

FAREWELL to thee, Bobby! since fate has decreed,
Though my feelings at parting are painful indeed:
The hand of the stranger may lead thee away
To stables more costly, and pastures more gay;
But fond recollection will still wander back
To thy once happy stall, and thy well-supplied rack;
To the friend who bestrode thee with pleasure's sweet
            throb—
Adieu, my companion! farewell to thee, Bob!

Farewell to thee, Bobby! thy hoof never pressed
The long sunny tracts of Arabia the Blessed,
But Cambria's hills, of all spots upon earth,
Lay claim to thy parentage, breeding, and birth:
Thy coat, though unpolished, was dear unto me;
Thy limbs, too, though slender, were faithful and free;
Thou wert willing to toil, whatsoe'er was the job—
Adieu, my companion! farewell to thee, Bob!

Farewell to thee, Bobby! how oft hast thou sped
Long miles to procure thy old master his bread
How I felt and acknowledged thy efforts to keep
A cautious, firm foot on the dangerous steep;
How cheerful I've seen thee thy journey pursue,
Till home, that sweet resting-place, rose into view
With pleasures unknown to the world's giddy mob—
Adieu, my companion! farewell to thee, Bob!

Farewell to thee, Bobby! I ne'er can forget
Thy artless attachment, my Cambrian pet;
For man and his fellowship offer no charms,
And Nature hath shut me from Woman's fond arms;
Thou wert all that I loved—but 'tis done, thou art sold,
My friend and my peace I have bartered for gold;
I shall sigh as I look on the dross in my fob—
Adieu, my companion! farewell to thee, Bob!

Farewell to thee, Bobby! but ere thou art gone,
Take one measure more of the corn thou hast won:
Indulge once again in a long cooling draught,
From the pool which for years thou hast heartily quaffed
Thou goest—thine owner who hears me complain,
Hath mounted thy saddle and taken thy rein!
And I see thee depart with a tear and a sob—
Adieu, my companion! farewell to thee, Bob!

 

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TO THE POLES, AFTER THEIR
SUBJUGATION.

 

DEVOTED people! are ye fallen at last,
    Spite of the widow's prayer, the orphan's wail!
    What could a thousand patriot swords avail
Where host on host poured merciless and fast?
Your strength—your hope—your freedom, too, is past!
    Crushed by the ruler of a savage land,
    In vain ye cried for some supporting hand,
While faithless nations meanly stood aghast;
Shame be their portion! could they hear the blast
    Sent forth by harrassed liberty, nor save
    Her noblest martyrs, the defeated brave,
Around whose limbs despotic chains are cast!
Could England stand the foremost of the free,
And turn unheeded from thy wrongs and thee?

 

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AN APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE
UNEDUCATED.

 

"It is not good that man be without knowledge."

PROVERBS.


WELL may the pure Philanthropist complain
Of Barbarism's rude, protracted reign;
Well may he yearn to curb its savage sway,
When insult galls him on the public way;
When every human haunt, in every hour,
Can furnish proofs of a degrading power,
Where lewd deportment and unpolished jeer
Offend the eye and jar upon the ear,
And beings, fashioned by a power benign,
Seem to forget their Maker's hand divine.
    Turn to the city, and let Truth declare
How much of what we mourn is centred there;
At every step how many evils greet
The wandering eye, and catch unwary feet—
The thousands who neglect each worthy aim,
For brutalizing sport and vulgar game;
The stately tavern, with unholy light,
Glaring athwart the shadows of the night;
The sickening scene of drunkenness and din,
Where song and music minister to sin;
The ribald language, and the shameless face,
The guilty passion, and the lewd embrace;
The crafty mendicant, the felon vile,
The ruffian's menace, and the harlot's wile;
The artful gesture, the lascivious leer,
The lip of falsehood, and the specious tear;
The gambler broken upon Fortune's wheel,
The deep despair which pride can not conceal;
And, closing all, the dungeon's awful gloom,
Where ripe transgression finds an early doom.
    Such is this moral wilderness; and so
Profuse and rank its thousand evils grow;
And though 'tis true that worthier plants are found,
Struggling for life in uncongenial ground,—
Their buds of promise wither as they spring,
Fanned by Adversity's malignant wing;
Or far too few a just regard to share,
They waste their "sweetness on the desert air;"
While sordid ignorance and sorrowing ruth,
Usurp the place of happiness and truth.
    Not to the town are vicious things confined,
But fly abroad, unfettered as the wind;
O'er human feelings sway with stern control,
And sit in shadow on the human soul.
    Behold the wretch, besotted and beguiled,
Whose hours are wasted, and whose thoughts defiled,
Within those dens of drunkenness, that stand
Breathing a moral poison o'er the land;
Say, can ye view his lineaments, and trace
Aught of intelligence and manly grace?
Where is the soul's serene effulgence—where?
Worse than Cimmerian darkness broodeth there.
Pent in a narrow and a noisome room,
Where sound is discord, and where light is gloom—
He drinks, talks loudly, and with many a curse,
Rails at his lot yet blindly makes it worse,
Of freedom and oppression learns to rave,
Himself at once the enslaver and the slave;—
Slave to a thousand vices that destroy
His public honour, and his private joy;
Surround him with an atmosphere of strife,
And take all sweetness from his cup of life.
But hark! at once forgetful of his theme,
"A change comes o'er the spirit of his dream;"
Renewed potations put all cares to flight,
And mirth becomes the watch-word of the night.
The ribald tale, loose jest, and song obscene,
Provoke the draught, and fill the pause between;
And as the cup of frenzy circles round,
The last remains of decency are drowned;
Through every vein the subtle demon flies,
Distorts the visage and inflames the eyes;
Brings out the hidden rancour of the breast,
In selfish thoughts malignantly expressed:
From every tongue a loud defiance falls,
Till general uproar echoes round the walls.
    Seek ye the drunkard at his sober toil,
Tending the loom, or sweating o'er the soil,—
An unenlightened slave your glance shall greet,
Scarce wiser than the clod beneath his feet.
Then turn ye to his household; who can tell
The daily feuds of that domestic hell?
Where the harsh husband and the fretful wife
Live in a bitter element of strife;
Where sons grown wild, no gentle force can tame,
Heirs to the father's vices and his shame;
Where daughters from the path of duty stray,
And cast the charm of modesty away:
Without one sweet remembrance of the past,
They wed themselves to misery at last.
    Though sad the subject of my feeble strain,
'Tis no creation of the poet's brain;
Though rude and dark the picture I have traced,
Its painful truth has yet to be effaced.
All are not equally in heart depraved,—
All are not equally in soul enslaved;
Yet even those who curb some few desires,
And walk with prudence as the world requires,—
They cannot feel the pure delight that springs
From constant converse with all nobler things;
Bound to a beaten track, they cannot know,
How many flowers along its margin grow;
They reap no joy from wit or wisdom's lore,
But toil, eat, drink, and sleep—and nothing more.
And must this ever be? must man's sad doom
Be still to walk in fetters and in gloom;—
An unimproving savage from his birth—
A mere machine of animated earth?
Must he still live in mind and limb a slave,
Groping his weary passage to the grave?
If so, then he was born to wear a chain,
And God endowed him with a soul in vain!
    Ye wealthy magnates of my native land,
Stretch forth, in pity, an assisting hand;
Give back a portion of your ample store,
To purchase wholesome knowledge for the poor;
Knowledge to search the universe, and find
Exhaustless food and rapture for the mind;
Knowledge to nurse those feelings of the breast
Which yield them peace, and banish all the rest;
Knowledge to know the wrong and choose the right,
Increasing still in intellectual might,
Till falsehood, error, thraldom, crime, and ruth,
Melt in the splendour of immortal truth.
Priests of Religion, if to you be given
A delegated love and power from heaven,
Forget the jar of interests and creeds,
And cherish virtue less in words than deeds.
Give us a proof of your high mission here,—
Be zealous, gentle, upright and sincere;
Use the pure doctrines of the Sacred Page,
To rouse and rectify the selfish age;
Speak to the millions with a father's voice,
Till every child of darkness shall rejoice;
Reject the formal prayer, the flowery speech—
Your best and noblest province is to teach;
Nor need ye spend your energies for nought,
While one sad soul is willing to be taught.
    Oh! glorious task! and be that task your own,
To wake new feelings in the heart of stone,
To free the mind from each unworthy thrall,
And bring the boon of liberty to all.
    Go to the sons of Labour and inspire
Their sluggish souls with intellectual fire:
Teach them to think, and, thinking, to explore
A glorious realm unknown to them before;
Give them the eyes of Knowledge to behold
The wondrous things which Science can unfold;
Teach them to feel the beauty and the grace
Which breathe unceasingly from Nature's face;
The purity of Spring's delicious morn,
When pleasant sounds and mingled sweets are born;
The silent splendour of a Summer's noon,
When earth is sleeping in the lap of June:
The gorgeous hues of Autumn's evening hour,—
Corn in the fields, and fruitage in the bower;
The night of Winter whose vast flag unfurled,
Is gemmed with stars, and every star a world;
From these the mind shall wing its way above,
To Him the soul of harmony and love.
    Oh, teach them this,—and more than this, impart
A humanizing sympathy of heart;
That God-like feeling of the gentle breast,
For ever blessing and for ever blest;
That charitable link, which ought to bind
The highest and the humblest of mankind!
Would they be free,—Oh, teach them to despise
The heart of hatred and the lip of lies,
Of those who seek to lead them from the way
Of peace and truth, to dazzle and betray;
Tell them that freedom never yet was won
By the rash deeds that anarchy hath done;
Tell them that mental and that moral power,
Which grows and strengthens with each passing hour,
Shall break the tyrant's rod, the bondsman's chain,
Without the bleeding of one human vein.
    Would they be blest,—Oh, teach them to become
The source of blessings in their tranquil home;
To break the stubborn spirit of the child,
With firm example and with precept mild;
To pour into the ear of growing youth,
All the pure things of knowledge and of truth;
To help the gentle and enduring wife,
To banish care, and poverty, and strife;
In every word, in every deed, to blend
The sage, the sire, the husband, and the friend.
    Ye sacred Preachers, who profess to show
The shortest path to happiness below,—
Ye sons of Science, who have brought to birth
Ten thousand hidden wonders of the earth,—
Ye mighty Poets, who have sung so well
The beauties of the world wherein ye dwell,—
Ye true Philanthropists, who yearn to chase
The sins and sorrows of the human race,—
Your love, your power, your intellect unite,
And bring mankind from darkness into light!
    They come, a feeling and a faithful band,
To teach the lowly of my native land;
Knowledge is waving her exulting wings,
And truth is bursting from a thousand springs;
A few brief years, this present hour shall seem
The dim remembrance of a painful dream.
    Blest be your efforts, ye enlightened few,
Followers of knowledge, and of virtue too;
Ye who are toiling with a generous zeal,
Your end and hope the poor man's mental weal:
Blest be your liberal, well-directed plan,
To cheer, instruct, and elevate the man,—
Yield him a solace to subdue his cares,
And make him worthy of the form he wears!

 

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WRITTEN IN AFFLICTION.

 

SOFTLY careering on the wintry breeze,
    Comes the faint music of yon distant bells,
As sad I sit beneath these naked trees,
    Whose mournful sobbings sound like Joy's farewells,
    Touched by their melody, my full heart swells—
The cloudy future, and the happy past,
    Around me come, till retrospection dwells
With vain regret on days which could not last.

Behold me on the sea of Manhood cast,
    Without a chart to guide, or helm to steer;
The constant sport of every adverse blast—
    No breeze of hope, no port of shelter near;
But time shall speed me o'er the dangerous wave—
There is no peaceful haven but the grave!

 

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AN EVENING SONG.

 

'TIS wearing late, 'tis wearing late, I hear the vesper bell,
And o'er yon misty hill the sun hath looked a bright
            farewell;
The bee is in its honey home, the bird is in its nest,
And every living being yearns for solace and for rest;
The household gathers round the hearth, and loving souls
            draw near,—
Young mothers rock, young mothers rock, oh, rock your
            children dear!

It is the hour, the happy hour, when I was wont to be
Hushed to a calm and blessed sleep upon my mother's
            knee,
While she would sing with voice subdued, and ever-tuneful
            tongue,
Some well-remembered melody, some old and simple song,
And sometimes on my cheek would fall affection's holy
            tear,—
Young mothers rock, young mothers rock, oh, rock your
            children dear!

It is the heart-awakening time when breezes rock the rose,
Which drooping folds its vermeil leaves in Nature's soft
            repose,
And silvery-winged butterflies, in field or garden fair,
Are swinging in their dewy beds by every passing air;
And birds are rocked in cradles green, till morning's hues
            appear,
Young mothers rock, young mothers rock, oh, rock your
            children dear!

The star-engirdled moon looks down, and sees her welcome
            beam
Rocked on the undulating breast of ocean, lake, and stream;
And mariners, who love her light, are rocked by wave and
            wind,
Pining for home and all its joys which they have left behind,
Till Hope's sweet sunshine comes again their sickening souls
            to cheer,—
Young mothers rock, young mothers rock, oh, rock your
            children dear!

Oh! it would be a pleasant thing, had we the will and power
To change the present for the past, and fly to childhood's hour,
To seek old haunts, to hear old tales, resume our former play,
To live in joyous innocence but one, one little day—
Oh! that would be a precious pause on life's unknown
            career—
Young mothers rock, young mothers rock, oh, rock your
            children dear!

 

_________________________

 
THE CHILD OF SONG.

 

                                                      "What is he?
The worshipped and the poor—
A CHILD OF SONG!"

ELIZA COOK.


A CHILD of Song!   Oh, sadly pleasing name,
    Which steals like music o'er my gladdened heart,
And, uttered by the myriad lips of fame,
    Becomes a spell whose power will ne'er depart.

Oh! Child of Song, the voice of memory brings
    Strange recollections of thy life and lyre;
The pride that burns, the poverty that stings,
    The brief hopes born to dazzle and expire.

I think of him, the mighty one of old—
    Time-honoured Homer, agèd, poor, and blind;
Who suffered much, as history hath told,
    Yet filled the world with his immortal mind.

I think of Ovid, by the lonely main,
    Mourning his exile from imperial Rome;
Of Tasso, writhing in his dungeon chain,
    Removed from love, from liberty, and home.

I think of Milton—Christian, bard, and sage,
    Who sang Man's primal purity and sin,
Who strove for freedom in a stormy age,
    Bereft of light, save that which burned within.

Musing on Chatterton, my eyes grow dim
    With heart-felt tears, which will not be denied;
Well may a kindred spirit feel for him,
    "The sleepless boy who perished in his pride."

Nor less for Burns, that splendour of the north,
    That bright, brief meteor in the heaven of song;
Though frail, his heart could sympathise with worth,
    Though poor, his soul could spurn the Oppressor's
            wrong.

And where lies gentle Keats, to whom was given
    The rarest gift that moves the heart of men?
Beneath the blue of an Italian heaven,
    Slain by the poison of the critic's pen.

These and a thousand more have wrestled hard,
    Beneath Misfortune's unrelenting ban;
The selfish world withheld the due reward,—
    Worshipped the poet, but o'erlooked the man.

Such is the Minstrel's lot; yet do not deem
    That all things unto him are sad and cold;
For he hath joy amid the realms of dream,
    And mental treasures which can not be told.

His is the universe,—around, above,
    Beauty is ever present to his eye;
He breathes the elements of hope and love,
    And shrines his thoughts in words that ne'er will die.

When ills oppress, he grasps the soothing lyre,
    And throws his cunning hand athwart the strings,
Feels in his soul the pure etherial fire,
    And links his language with eternal things.

Beneath the grandeur of the palace dome
    The living music of his song is heard;
Beneath the roof-tree of the humble home,
    The strongest soul, the coldest heart is stirred.

Then who would change the Poet's dark career
    For all that power can grant, that wealth can give?
Man's common lot may be his portion here,
    But when he dies, he does not cease to live!

 

_________________________

 
MY COUNTRY AND MY QUEEN.

 

REJOICE, rejoice, ye loyal band,
    In social mirth and glee,
And yield the Sovereign of your land
    The homage of the free;
Let no rude tongue your pleasures mar,
    Nor discord come between;
Be this the spell of harmony—
    Your Country and your Queen.

Let friendship fill the festal cup,
    Dispensing joy to all;
Let the rich forget that they are great,
    The poor forget their thrall;
Let generous feelings spring to life,
    Where enmity hath been,
And faction hear the Patriot cry—
    "My Country and my Queen!"

The Briton's fame o'er all the earth
    Is scattered far and wide;
They own his power on every shore,
    He's lord on Ocean's tide;
Oh! he hath played a fearless part
    In many a glorious scene,
And still his manly breast shall guard
    His Country and his Queen.

Why should I sing of blood and strife?—
    Let War's red flag be furled,
And never meet the breeze again,
    To rouse a peaceful world;
Let nations turn to Freedom's car,
    And Truth's unclouded sheen;
Let Britain's sons have cause to bless
    Their Country and their Queen.

Then, hail, Victoria! hail to thee!
    Our hearts shall be thine own;
We pray that Heaven may lend thee light
    To dignify the throne:
Thou rulest o'er as fair a realm
    As e'er the sun hath seen;
Long may thy people's watchword be,—
    "Our Country and our Queen!"

 

_________________________

 
TO JULIUS.

 

OH, Julius! friend of the forsaken poor,
    Champion of all who feel the Oppressor's wrong—
Teacher of doctrines destined to endure;
    Thou fightest for the weak against the strong,—
    Thy name is breathed by many a grateful throng:
A few may slander thee, but thousands raise
Their loud and fearless voices in thy praise,
    Speaking of virtues which to thee belong.
Keep on and swerve not in thy high career,—
    Be what thou hast been, do as thou hast done;
And if thy heart be, as we think, sincere,
    Then heaven will prosper what thou hast begun
That God who set the sons of Israel free,
Shall shield, shall animate, and strengthen thee;

 

_________________________

 
THERE'S FALSEHOOD.

 

THERE'S Falsehood in those eyes of light,
    In every glance, in every ray;
Too like those meteors of the night
    Which sparkle, lure us, and betray:—
Oh, turn those fatal eyes from me,
For mine have ceased to weep for thee.

There's Falsehood on thy lip, alas!
    Severer far than its disdain;
Oh, that its broken vows could pass,
    Lost in oblivion, back again!
That lip hath breathed no truth to me,
And mine shall cease to speak of thee.

There's Falsehood in thy heart of guile,—
    Couched in the centre, there it lies;
Thy ready tear, and dazzling smile,
    Fling o'er the fiend a sweet disguise:—
Away, frail maid! thy heart is free,
And mine hath ceased to throb for thee!

 

_________________________

 
LINES

WRITTEN ON THE BLANK LEAF OF A SELECTION OF POEMS,
ENTITLED "THE TOKEN OF AFFECTION."

 

BEHOLD Affection's garden, whose sweet flowers—
    A blending of all odours, forms, and lines,—
    Were nursed by Fancy and the gentle Muse,
In heaven-born Poesy's delightful bowers.
Ye who appreciate the Poet's powers,
    And love the bright creations of his mind,
    Come, linger here awhile, and ye shall find,
A noble solace in your milder hours:
Here Byron's genius like an eagle towers
    In dread sublimity, while Rogers' lute,
    Moore's native harp, and Campbell's classic flute,
Mingle in harmony, as beams with showers,
Can their high strains of inspiration roll,
Nor soothe the heart, nor elevate the soul?

 

_________________________

 
THE ROSE AND THE NIGHTINGALE

RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO HYPATIA.

 

THE sun was away in the golden west,
And the lark had returned to his lowly nest;
And a hush and a feeling o'er earth was cast,
Which told that the glory of day was past;
As I lingered to muse in a valley fair,
Where the Wild Rose blushed in the scented air,
And sighed as she drooped on her trembling tree—
"My own loved Nightingale, come to me!"

The sun went down, but the summer moon
Rose up from her eastern harem soon,
And flung on the path of approaching Night
Soft gleams from her bosom of pearly light.
Pale Evening paused as she turned and wept
On the folded flowers as they sweetly slept;
But the Rose still sighed on her trembling tree—
"My own loved Nightingale, come to me!"

At length night came—a mysterious hour,
When silence and gloom have a wondrous power;
And the sky hung o'er my uplifted head,
Like a gem-strewn floor where the angels tread:
The glow-worm shone, and the vesper-star
Looked out from its deep blue home afar,
And the Nightingale sang from his shadowy tree,—
"My own loved Rose, I am come to thee!"

The minstrel of solitude sang so well,
That my soul soon caught the melodious spell;
And my fond heart felt what my ear had heard,—
A lesson of love from that lonely bird:
I flew to the maid of my youthful choice,
With a bounding step and an earnest voice,
And cried, as I bent my adoring knee—
"Bright Rose of Truth, I'm come to thee!"

 

_________________________

 
SONG.

 

I HAVE rarely sung of Love—
    Cherished being of my soul!
Yet that blessing from above
    Holds me in its sweet control.
How can I give a fitting voice
    To a passion so divine?
'Tis enough that I rejoice
    That thou art mine—thou art mine.

I have worshipped Beauty's form,
    I have wooed as others woo,
Perchance with words less wild and warm,
    But with feelings quite as true;
How often have I lingered, dear,
    With my fond heart pressed to thine,
And whispered in thy willing ear—
    Thou art mine—thou art mine.

Then our divided lot became
    Mingled in a world of care,
We had one wish, one life, one name—
    Of joy and grief an equal share;
And after sorrow, deep and long,
    Our love hath never known decline,
For I can say in truthful song,
    "Thou art mine—thou art mine."

 

_________________________

 
TEMPERANCE SONG.

 

OH! tempt me no more to the wine-brimming bowl,
    Nor say 'twill arouse me to gladness;
I have felt how it breaks the repose of the soul,
    And fires every frailty to madness;
But fill me a cup where the bright waters flow,
    From that health and freshness I'll borrow;
'Tis the purest of nectars that sparkle below,
    Since it brings neither sickness nor sorrow.

Oh! look not for me where the drunkard is found,
    A stranger to virtue and quiet;
Where the voice of affection and conscience is drowned,
    In fierce Bacchanalian riot;
On the hearth of my home, a more tranquil retreat,
    My enjoyments are guiltless and cheering,
Where the smile of my wife becomes daily more sweet,
    And the kiss of my child more endearing.

Oh! turn thee, deluded one, turn and forsake
    Those haunts whose excitements enslave thee;
Be firm in thy manhood, let reason awake,
    While Pity is yearning to save thee.
With me all unholy allurements are past—
    May I swerve from my rectitude never!
No, rather than sink to perdition at last,
    One and all, I abjure them for ever!

 

_________________________

 
EXTEMPORE APOLOGY TO A FEW FRIENDS.

 

FRIENDS of my soul, ye must excuse
A luckless follower of the Muse,
Whose evil stars, as usual, shed
Their wonted influence on his head:
In truth and grief I have to say
I cannot shake your hands to-day;
I grieve I cannot take my seat
Where mirth, and wit, and friendship meet.
    If Poetry, you want look round,
There is a treasure to be found—
A splendid and exhaustless store,
In Byron, Campbell, Scott, and Moore:
A strong, and deep, and thrilling page,
Is gloomy Harold's Pilgrimage;
For oriental beauty, look
In the rich tale of Lalla Rookh;
For polished and melodious measures,
Regale on Hope's delicious "Pleasures;"
For chivalry in ages gone,
Peruse the Lay of Marmion;
And seek the glorious truths that throng
In Shelly's sweet, etherial song;
Nor pass the crowd of "nectared sweets"
That strew the page of martyred Keats.
Compared with these, my feeble strain
Is harsh, and rugged, vile and vain;
With scarce one bright redeeming line,
To show that Poesy is mine;
With scarce a shining thought to claim
The slightest smile of fickle Fame.
    Friends of my heart, some other day
I'll try to weave some worthier lay:
My Muse is tame, I know not why,
Her wings are faint she cannot fly;
But when the Spring hath brought her flowers,
And hung her buds upon the bowers,—
When larks are soaring to the cloud,
And the throstle's voice is loud,—
When music fills the charmed air,
And Beauty's hues are everywhere,—
When all is poetry around,
In every odour, shape, and sound,
I cannot surely fail to bring,
A more expressive offering.

 

_________________________

 
A SICK MAN'S FANCIES.

 

IN the blessèd time of the vernal spring,
A joyless, hopeless, feeble thing—
I lay on a sleepless bed of pain,
While fever burned in my heart and brain;
My eyes were sunk in my throbbing head;
My cheeks with a livid hue were spread;
My thin, withered hands, were dry and pale,
As the leaves that float in the autumn gale;
My cries of distress were loud and long,
For a fiery thirst was upon my tongue.
The thoughts that awoke in my wandering mind
Were tossed like trees in a stormy wind;
My ears were stunned with incessant sound,
From a legion of shadows that hemmed me round,
While my fancy flashed into fitful gleams,
And hurried me off to a land of dreams.
    Methought I stood at meridian day
In a desolate region far away,
Where the wild Arab roams with a lawless band,
And the desert ship sails o'er a sea of sand;
Where the ostrich flies with a wondrous speed,
As fleet and as far as the tameless steed;
Where earth puts forth not a spot of bloom,
And feels not a plough but the dread simoom;
Where the sun looks down with oppressive glare,
And the heart grows faint with the sultry air;
Where the wanderer thinks of his home in vain,
And finds a lone grave on that wide, wide plain,
'Twas there I stood, and with languid eye
Looked abroad on the dreary earth and sky;
Not a blade of green verdure smiled in my view,—
Not a gleaming of water the sad waste through,—
Not the breath of a breeze, not the scent of a flower,
To cheer my lorn soul in that perilous hour.
Thirsting and weary I wandered on,
But my hopes of relief and rest were gone;
Till at length I beheld what seemed to be
The broad bright face of an inland sea,—
A mass of mute water of silvery sheen,
Where the prow of a vessel had never been.
Oh! how I panted to reach its brink,
And refresh my soul with delicious drink!
Oh! how I yearned to be there, and lave
My feverish limbs in its lucid wave!
I flew o'er the waste with a madman's flight,—
But a vision of beauty had mocked my sight;
For scarce a short league had my bare feet sped,
Than my last hope vanished—the waters fled!
And as I looked back with despairing mind,
On the sandy space I had left behind,
I marvelled to see on the farthest plain
The false fair wave I had followed in vain!
My fancy changed, and methought that I
Lay naked and faint 'neath a tropic sky;
A mariner wrecked, and compelled to float
In a mastless, sailless, rudderless boat;
Above me a cloudless welkin wide,
Below me a green and waveless tide,
Where never a breath o'er its surface blew,—
Where languid and slow the sea-bird flew.
In thought I lay many nightless days,
While the terrible sun's unconquered blaze
Blistered and scorched my shrivelled skin,
Till the fountains of blood felt dry within.
The raging of hunger aroused me first,
But that soon passed, and remorseless thirst
Burned in my threat with increased desire,
Till my breath was flame, and my tongue was fire;
And the bitter wave as I stooped to sip,
Was turned to salt on my baffled lip.
    For months and years—for ages of pain,
I lay without hope on the stagnant main,
Consumed and destroyed by slow degrees,
On the pitiless breast of those lonely seas.
I gnawed my flesh with a frantic yell,
And greedily drank of the drops that fell;
Till, strong in my agony, up I sprang—
While the startled air with my curses rang—
And plunged in the sunny and silent deep,
To find in its caverns a long, long sleep.
Still in my dream's unwelcome thrall,
I passed by the ancient Memphian wall,
And wandered beneath warm Summer's smile,
On the fertile banks of the mighty Nile.
The thirst within me seemed to be
Increased to a dread intensity;
So great, indeed, I was fain to throw
My weary form in the waters below:
But scarce had I stooped to taste of the flood,
Than its whole bright surface was turned to blood,
And crocodiles came from their slimy lair,
Sent by the fiends to devour me there;
And lest from their jaws I should hope to spring,
They hemmed me round with a terrible ring.
With an effort for life, I strove to cry,
But my soundless throat was husk and dry.
I writhed in my agony, gasped for breath,
And would have rejoiced at a gentler death;
But I could not keep my dire foes at bay—
They gathered around their hopeless prey;
They breathed on my pale and despairing face,
And smothered me soon in their horrid embrace.
    I dreamed again, and I stood once more
On giant Columbia's boundless shore;
The land of broad lakes and impetuous floods,—
The land of dark and eternal woods;
Where the Red Man walks in his wild attire,
Compelled to escape from the White Man's ire
The land of mountains that rise, and rise,
As if they aspired to reach the skies;
Lifting their vast and fantastic forms
Beyond the dark region of clouds and storms;—
The land of rich prairies, unploughed and green,
Where the foot of the pilgrim hath rarely been.
It was here I roamed with my demon—Thirst,
Shut out from my race like one accursed;
Till I rested at last on St. Lawrence's side,
And wistfully gazed on its roaring tide,
Where Niagara falls from his crescent rock,
And startles the woods with his thunder shock.
Weary of being, unquenched within,
Unscared by the cataract's awful din,
I leaped in the torrent both strong and deep,
And shot like a dart o'er the fearful steep:
Down for many a fathom I fell,
Tossed about in the watery hell.
Stunned with a spirit-appalling sound,
In the eddying gulph whirled round and round;
I looked to the sky, which seemed to me,
Through the billowy spray, like a troubled sea;
And the mass of rude waters, as down it came,
Went hissing through all my burning frame.
Till my thoughts were lost in the peril and pain,
And madness took hold of my dizzy brain.
My knowledge of danger had waned away,
And my pulse had almost ceased to play;
The scene of my horror was dark and still,
I felt at my heart a death-like chill;
Unconscious of all that passed before,
I struggled a moment, and felt no more.
My vision was changed; and I took my stand,
Once more on the breast of my own green land;
And, Oh! I was glad I had ceased to roam,
And drew so near to my native home.
How fain I beheld, and how well I knew,
Each object that met my delighted view!
It was joy to my soul as I paused to mark
The quivering wing of the soaring lark,
And hear from the boughs of some far-off tree,
The cuckoo that called o'er the "pleasant lea."
And then there were odours from field and bowers,
Breathed by the lips of the wilding flowers;
Roses that blushed on the briery thorn,
And wild blue bells by the rivulet born;
Violets that deep in the dingle hide,
And woodbines hung an the hedge-row side;—
All seemed to welcome the wanderer back
From the desolate main and the desert's track.
And though I was thirsting and fevered still,
Unquenched by the waters of river or rill,
I felt it were sweeter to linger and die
Beneath the calm smile of my own blue sky.
Such were my thoughts, when my loitering feet
Bore me away to a green retreat,—
A beautiful, quiet, and sheltered dell,
Where first I listened to Fancy's spell,
And learned from her mild and mysterious tongue
The power of beauty, the pleasure of song;
Indeed, 'twas a lovely and peaceful spot,
Which seen but once could be never forgot;
'Twas a natural theatre, circled by trees,
Which whispered like harps to the fairy breeze.
Its daisy-paved floor was level and soft,
And the sky, like a canopy, hung aloft;
In its centre uprose a limpid spring,
Like a diamond set in an emerald ring.
Oh! with what rapture I paused to drink,
And knelt me down on its grassy brink;
But scarce had I dimpled its glassy face,
Than its waters shrunk and left no trace,
But a slimy bottom, that swarmed with life,
With a host of reptiles rank and rife,—
A legion of lizards, and bloated toads,
That crept in crowds from their dark abodes!
There was the scorpion's loathsome form,
The twisted adder and crawling worm,
And a thousand other unnatural things,
With monstrous legs and preposterous wings.
I started back with a fearful scream,
Which broke the spell of that horrible dream;
And, lo! by the side of my humble bed,
With her arm beneath my distracted head,
My wife bent o'er me with anxious eye,
Alarmed by the sound of my helpless cry.
She held to my lips the cooling draught,
And, Oh! how sweetly, how deeply I quaffed!
It ran through my veins like a blessed balm,
Till my heart grew glad, and my brain grew calm.
    The bine at my window hung bright in bloom,
And sent its breath in my lonely room;
The evening breeze blew mild and meek,
And fanned my hair and kissed my cheek.
The golden sun, as he sunk to rest,
In the purple lap of the gorgeous west,
Poured on my face his rosy light,
To cheer me with hope through the shadowy night.
In the glorious smile of the waning day,
I heard my darling boy at play,
Whose voice beguiled me of pleasing tears,
And carried my memory back for years,
To the time when I myself was free
From sickness, and sorrow, and care, as he;
And then I called upon Heaven above
To bless that child of my hope and love.
The soothing scent of the woodbine flower—
The freshening breeze of the evening hour—
The beautiful blush of the setting sun—
The boy at his sport ere day was done
Were tokens of mercy and peace, which brought
A rapture of feeling and thankful thought;—
I prayed to Him who is strong to save,
And He snatched me back from the yawning grave!

 

_________________________

 
THE BANKS OF CONWAY.

 

I LAY me down to rest awhile
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!
While summer evening's golden smile
    Sleeps on thy waves, sweet Conway!
I lay me down beside thy stream,
To revel in the realms of dream,
Or mourn o'er many a ruined scheme,
    Far from thy banks, sweet Conway!

The lark still lingers in the sky,
    Above thy banks, sweet Conway!
And drops his image from on high,
    Upon thy breast, sweet Conway!
The thrush still singeth from the shade,
The cuckoo answers from the glade,
And every bird for music made
    Is on thy banks, sweet Conway!

Yon castle's clustered turrets frown
    Beside thy brink, sweet Conway!
And send their feudal shadows down
    Upon thy face, sweet Conway!
Their ancient reign of strength is o'er,
Their regal splendours are no more,
But thou hast yet the charms of yore—
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!

I've seen the Thames' vast waters flow,—
    They're not like thine, sweet Conway!
I've seen the Seine meandering go,
    Yet not like thee, sweet Conway!
And, save the blue and storied Rhine,
No waters may compare with thine,
For Nature's beauties all combine—
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!

There are vast mountains, stern and drear,
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!
And broken fountains, grand and clear,
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!
And there are wild woods rich and green,
And broad lands, sunny and serene,
And many a happy home between—
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!

Lo! yonder is thy "mother Sea,"
    Whose arms embrace thee, Conway!
And glorious must that mother be
    Whose arms embrace thee, Conway!
The clouds will take thee up in rain,
And pour thee on the earth again,
To wander through each vale and plain
    That blooms around thee, Conway!

Oh! for a pure and tranquil life
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!
Afar from towns of sin and strife,
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!
With one unchanged Companion nigh,
To watch me with affection's eye,
How calmly could I live and die
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!

Oh! that the world might hear my name,
    Beyond thy banks, sweet Conway!
And the enchanting voice of fame
    Float o'er thy waters, Conway!
Oh! that the great, the good, the brave
Might come to muse beside thy wave,
And bend above my simple grave
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!

The sun is down, the birds are still
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!
The mist is creeping up the hill,
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!
The waning of another day
Will see me musing far away,
No more in happy thought to stray
    Upon thy banks, sweet Conway!

 

_________________________

 
TO A BROTHER POET.

 

SUCCESSFUL suitor at the Muse's feet,
    Accept the tribute of a wight whose name
    Ne'er found a place upon the scroll of Fame,
Nor gathered from her lips one sentence sweet;
Who never mingled with the crowds that meet
    At learning's shrine, intent to catch the lore
    Of soul-exacting Science, and explore
Paths that betray Philosophy's retreat:
Yet Hope hath taught—that ever-welcome cheat—
    His intellectual feelings to aspire,
    Though Poverty would quench the wakening fire,
And fix Despair on Hope's unsteady seat.
He who doth breathe this unassuming strain,
Would gladly link with thee in Friendship's honoured
            chain.

 

_________________________

 
TO THE CRICKET.

 

THOU merry minstrel of my cottage hearth,
    Again I hear thy shrill and silvery lays,
    Where hast thou been these many, many days,
Mysterious thing of music and of mirth?
Thou shouldst not leave thy brother Bard so long—
    Sadly without thee pass my evening hours.
    Hast thou been roaming in the fields and bowers,
To shame the grasshopper's loud summer song?
When poring o'er some wild, romantic book,
    In the hush'd reign of thought-awakening night,
    I love to have thee near me, winged sprite.
To cheer the silence of my chimney nook;
For I have faith that thy prophetic voice
Foretelleth things which come to make my heart rejoice.

 

_________________________

 
SONG.

 

YOUTHFUL Widow! lovely widow!
    With thy fair and thoughtful face;
With thy weeds of sorrow floating
    Round thy form of quiet grace;—
Wheresoe'er thy footsteps lead thee,
    Magic reigns upon the spot;
I have watched thy mien and motion,—
    Could I gaze, and love thee not?

Gentle widow! pleasing widow!
    Music lingers on thy tongue,—
Sweet when social converse floweth,—
    Sweeter in the words of song.
When to thee men turn and listen,
    Other things are all forget;—
I have heard thee, lovely mourner!—
    Could I hear, and love thee not?

Pensive widow! faithful widow!
    Truth and feeling warm thy heart;
Virtue flings her light around thee,—
    May that glory ne'er depart!
None have dared, in wanton malice,
    Thine unsullied fame to blot;—
I have known thy worth and beauty,—
    Could I know, and love thee not?

 

_________________________

 
TO MY FRIEND, JOHN DICKINSON.

 

TRUE-HEARTED Dickinson! can I forget
    Thy warm, impetuous friendship, and how prone
Thou wert to solace me, when first we met,
    And I was coinless, hopeless, and unknown?
    No! for the generous feeling thou hast shown
To me, an humble minstrel, in my need,
    My harp, with feeble but with faithful tone,
Shall tell thee that I cherish every deed.
Let me bear witness that thou hast, withal,
    Though rudely earnest, an enquiring mind,—
Pity for human suffering and thrall,
    And love for things exalted and refined.
May heaven afford thee, to thy latest hour,
The joy of doing good, and ne'er deny the power!

 

_________________________

 
TO G. R.

 

OH, George! it is a cheering thing to know
    That as we travel through the waste of life,
    'Mid much of sorrow, weariness, and strife,
There are some spots of beauty as we go:
Yes, there are hours apart from care and woe,
    Which we may pleasantly and wisely spend
    With wife or child, with lover or with friend,
And feel our lot not all unkind below.
Then let us meet as heretofore, and so
    Expand the soul and ease the burdened breast:
    The song, the temperate cup, the harmless jest
Shall gild the fleeting moments as they flow,
And teach us, by our sympathies, to find
The "lights and shadows" of each other's mind.

 

_________________________

 
STANZAS

SUGGESTED AT THE GRAVE OF SHAKESPEAR.

 

ONCE mortal here, but now Immortal One,
    Thou great and glorious favourite of Fame,
Thoughtful I stand upon thy grave alone,
    Tranced by the mighty magic of thy name;
    Filled with a slender portion of thy flame,
Hither, a pilgrim, I have proudly sped,
    To linger for a brief but happy space
    About the genius-hallowed resting place
            Of England's honoured Dead.

King of the poet's fair, ideal land!
    Thou of my country's stars the brightest, best!
I scarce believe me that I walking stand
    Where thy far worshipped relics calmly rest;
    But yet this stone, these graven words, attest
That he whose voice hath charmed me, slumbers near;
    And truly I rejoice that I am come,
    A lonely wanderer from my northern home,
            To pay my homage here.

When I was yet a simple-hearted boy,
    I heard men whisper of thy wondrous powers;
And it became with me a cherished joy
    To ponder o'er thy page in after hours,—
    To bathe my spirit in the genial showers
Of splendour shaken from thy meteor pen;
    To fly with thee on Fancy's vagrant wings,
    Beyond the reach, the stain of earthly things,
            And earthly minded men.

I've laughed and mused, I've talked and wept with thee,
    Drunk with the kindling essence of thy lore,
Until my inmost heart hath seemed to be
    With every happier feeling gushing o'er;
    And thoughts which slumbered in my soul before
Have sprung to blessèd being fast and bright;
    And visions wild, tumultuous, and strange,
    With constant beauty and with constant change,
            Have thrilled me with delight.

Thy worldly wisdom hath great lessons taught;
    Thy playful wit hath cleared the brow of care;
Thy stormy grief hath many a wonder wrought;
    Thy joy hath conquered e'en the fiend Despair;
    Thy power hath laid the hidden secrets bare
Of every human passion, good or ill,
    And mingled thousands in thy presence placed,
    Who feel by thy gigantic arm embraced,
            Are creatures of thy will.

Some look for glory in the fields of strife,
    The fools and followers of unholy war,
And some get foremost in the march of life,
    Because self-chained to Mammon's golden car;
    But thou art higher, greater, nobler far
Than all who seek such false and vain renown;
    Thy name shall brighten on from age to age,
    But theirs shall keep no place on Memory's page,
            For Time will tread them down.

Thou shouldst be sleeping on that lonely isle
    Where banished Prospero was wizard king;
Where sweet Miranda gently did beguile
    Her father's sorrows like some holy thing;
    There, through the sunny hours should Ariel sing
Melodious requiems above thy tomb;
    And troops of midnight fays should gather round,
    To brush the dews from off the moonlit ground,
            And scatter buds of bloom.

No gaudy temple, reared by mortal might,
    Should rise around that sacred dust of thine;
No arch, save that which God hath filled with light,
    With suns that burn, and stars that coldly shine.
    The simple sod should be thine only shrine;
And proud green trees which whisper as they wave—
    But argosies from every land should sweep
    Athwart the silvery bosom of the deep,
            With pilgrims to thy grave.

I leave thee to thy slumbers; I must go
    Back to the struggles of my adverse lot,
To feel the nameless agonies that flow
    From a cold world which understands me not.
    Greater than I may linger on this spot,
Of many a language and of many a shore;
    Some other bard of loftier mind may raise
    A song more sweet, more lasting, in thy praise,—
            But none can love thee more!

 

_________________________

 
A WINTER'S EVENING.

 

HIGH o'er the woody crest of yonder hill,
    The clear, cold moon through clouds serenely sails,
    And glances meekly down; December's gales,
Locked in their secret caves, lie hushed and still:
Now the soft Evening, beautiful but chill,
    Its shadowy vesture o'er the welkin weaves;
    While from yon moss-grown oak, unblest with leaves,
Is heard the Robin's melancholy trill.
In this lone spot of solitude, the rill
    Leaps, musically gushing, and the star
    Of dewy vesper, twinkling from afar,
Soothes down each thought of sublunary ill.
A blessed influence in this scene I find,
Which like a dove, broods o'er my heart and mind.

 

_________________________

 
HYMN TO SPRING.

 

THOU comest, once more, fairest child of the Sun!
    With all that is lovely to gladden our eyes;
While the ocean that heaves, and the rivers that run,
    Flash back the etherial light of thy skies.
Flowers follow thy footsteps, and blossoms and buds
    Are scattered abroad from thy redolent wing:
There is health on the mountains, and joy in the woods;—
    Hail! hail to thee! beautiful Spring!

Thou comest once more, from the arms of the South,
    Who pursues thee afar with his glances of fire;
And the breath that exhales from thy odorous mouth.
    Fans the feelings of youth into bashful desire,
To walk with the maid of our passionate love,
    'Mid the sweets and the sounds which thy spirit may
            bring,
Is a draught from the chalice of pleasure above:—
    Hail! hail to thee! beautiful Spring!

Then comest once more, and thy voices awake
    In snatches of melody every where,
Glad choristers call from the forest and brake,
    To the lark who makes vocal the tremulous air;
The tinkle of waters is heard in the bowers,
    And sighs like the tones of the zephyr-harp's string;
The bee murmurs low to the amorous flowers:—
    Hail! hail to thee! beautiful Spring!

Sunny Summer hath charms in the freshness of morn,
    In the glory and pomp of voluptuous noon;
And Autumn, who comes with his fruitage and corn,
    Rejoiceth my heart with his bountiful boon:
Even Winter is welcome, the wild and the free,
    Who walks o'er the earth like a conquering king;
But thy presence hath always a blessing for me:—
    Hail! hail to thee! beautiful Spring!

 

_________________________

 
WHAT IS GLORY? WHAT IS FAME?

 

IN the full strength of youthful prime,
        My very soul in flame,
Without a stain of care or crime
        Upon my heart or name,—
Impatient of each dull delay,
I yearned to tread the rugged way
        To glory and to fame;
And as each kindling thought awoke,
Thus the sweet voice of fancy spoke:—

"The warrior grasps the battle brand,
        And seeks the field of fight,
And madly lifts his daring hand
        Against all human right.
He goeth with unholy wrath,
To scatter death along his path,
        While nations mourn his might;
And though he win the world's acclaim,
This is not glory—is not fame.

"The roll of the arousing drum,
        The bugle's startling bray;
The thunder of the bursting bomb,
        The tumult of the fray;
The oft-recurring hour of strife,
The blight of hope, the waste of life,
        The proud victorious day:—
This, this may be a splendid game,
But 'tis not glory—'tis not fame.

"Can we subdue the orphan's cries,
        The widow's plaintive wail;
Or turn from mute, upbraiding eyes—
        From faces sad and pale?
Can we restore the mind gone dim,
The broken heart, the shattered limb,
        By war's exulting tale?
This is ambition, guilt, and shame,
But 'tis not glory—'tis not fame.

"When some aspiring spirit turns
        To seize the helm of state,
And with a selfish ardour burns
        To make his title great;
Honour and power, and wealth and pride,
May gather round on every side,
        And at his bidding wait;
But curs'd be each oppressive aim
This is not glory—is not fame.

"The Rebel, too, who rears aloft
        The banner of his cause,
And calls upon the people oft
        To spurn their country's laws;
The Rebel, whose destructive hand
Would bring disorder in the land,
        Ere Reason think or pause;—
He hath a loud, notorious name,
But 'tis not glory—'tis not fame.

"The Patriot, who hath seen too long
        His own loved land oppressed,
While all Man's nobler feelings throng
        Within his generous breast;—
He who can wield the sword so well,
Like Washington, or Bruce, or Tell,
        The bravest and the best—
He lives unknown to fear or blame:
This is glory—this is fame.

"There are who pour the light of truth
    Upon the glowing page,
To purify the soul of youth,
    To cheer the heart of age:
There are whom God hath sent to show
The wonders of his power below—
    Such is the gifted sage;
And these have learned our love to claim:—
This is glory—this is fame.

"There are, like Howard, who employ
    Their healthiest, happiest hours
In shedding peace, and hope, and joy
    Around this world of ours;
Who free the captive, feed the poor,
And enter every humble door
    Where sin or sorrow lowers,
'Till nations breathe and bless their name:—
This is glory—this is fame.

"The Poet, whose aspiring Muse
    Waves her ecstatic wing,
Clothes thought and language with the hues
    Of every holy thing,—
Of beauty in its thousand forms,
Of all that cheers, refines, and warms,
    He loves to dream and sing,
And myriads feel his song of flame:—
This is glory—this is fame.

"Then go, proud Youth! go even now,
    Nor heed Misfortune's frown,
And win for thine undaunted brow
    A well-deservèd crown.
Look not for false and fleeting state;
But if thou wouldst be loved and great,
    Keep pride and passion down;
Let constant virtue be thy aim,
For that is glory—that is fame."




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