Carols from the Coal-Fields (3)

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ROBIN REDBREAST.


'TIS little Robin Redbreast
    Was piping on the spray,
"And pray, mamma, what shall we do
    To bring him up this way?"
Mamma into the pantry goes,
    And out again she comes,
And up flies the piper sweet,
    To pick up the crumbs.

I laughed to see the birdie pick,
    And clapt my hands in mirth,
When pussy up her ears did prick,
    Was lying on the hearth:
The nasty puss from out the house,
    Now at the piper springs;
But off unhurt darts Robin
    Upon his little wings.

"You cruel Tab, what would you do?—
    Mamma, reach me the cane,
And I will teach her Queenship how
    To play such pranks again:"
Around the room I pussy ran,
    And vainly ran her long,
The while away upon the spray
    Sweet Robin piped his song.

 

 
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ARACHNE.


I READ in an old book the myth
Of the Hellenian damsel with
The magic needle, when there fell
On me a power—a mystic spell—
I could not well to others tell,
But all at once my soul was swept
Into a sphere where sorrow kept
Her vigils sad.   There on my ear
Awoke in accents deep, yet clear:

"The guerdon of my heavy sin
Forever thus I toil and spin
The fatal cord, the lash accursed,
By which my heavy woe is nursed."

"From whence this wail?" I inly asked,
When thro' the gloom I saw unmasked
One, from whose thin wan face and look,
I for the needle-worker took;
And lifting up my voice I said:
"And art thou she of whom I've read—
Arachne's self?"   No answer made
The image pale, nor turned, nor fled
Nor into air, thin air dissolved:
But while within my thoughts revolved,
A something on my vision loom'd,
Tho' what it was might be presumed
Not clearly seen, at least by one
Still bound to earth by flesh and bone;
But whatsoe'er it was or meant,
Anon thereon her gaze was bent,
And this way that, her white hands went,
Whilst to their motion keeping time,
Re-woke upon my ear the chime:

"The guerdon of my ebon sin,
Forever thus I toil and spin,
The fatal cord, the lash accursed,
By which my heavy woe is nursed.

"The sun and moon, they come and go,
The ocean's waters ebb and flow;
My baleful star must even burn,
My swollen tide know no return.

"Woe, woe the day, woe, woe the day
I first did feel that piercing ray,
Beneath whose magic touch, behold,
The rock's converted into gold.

"Ah, from that hour did earth become
To me a glad, a jewell'd home;
Where-e'er I turned enrapt I viewed,
A living fact the fair and good.

"Where-e'er I turned enrapt I viewed,
A living fact the fair and good,
Which to my spirit's chambers sped,
And with the inner beauty wed.

"As casquets in which gems are shrined,
So from the lustre of my mind,
My body borrowed splendour, till
My presence stood a living will.

"Entranced I took the web and wrought
A vision so with beauty fraught,
The gazer held his breath and crept
Into himself, and smiled and wept.

"Delusive tears, delusive smiles,
What were you but the serpent's toils?—
The nectar sparkling in yon cup,
To writhe the lips that quaff it up?

"Flushed with success, I then did cast
A scornful glance upon the past,
And from that moment I began
A course which ended in this ban.

"The very God within me burns;
My soul a mortal triumph spurns;
Not mortals, o'er immortals must
I stride, or perish in the dust.

"Thus frantically cried I, when
Was flashed upon my inner ken
Minerva's might and sheen, and I,—
What was there left me but to die?

"A meteor in the night, her might,
And sheen is flashed upon my sight;
But as the night by meteor cleft,
My soul again in gloom is left,

"I view the den in which I crawl,
I view what doth my soul appal;
But ah, ere I my plight can mend,
All hope to me hath found an end.

"And now instead of sylvan ground,
Where grief was lost, where joy was found
My path is such each step I take,
Awakes the hissing of the snake.

"My night is still by horrors throng'd,
My day is but that night prolong'd
The sun may set, the sun may rise,
No soothing slumber seals my eyes.

"Around, beneath, and over-head,
The finger of the Living Dread
Has fix'd a curse which see—What's this
Would thus o'er-brim my heart with bliss?

"Yes, yes my hand that vision traced,
Mine ivory brow with wreaths are graced;
Aloud my pean's sung, aloud,
And she my rival's head down bowed.

"No, never since the world begun,
Was ever such a triumph won
By mortal or immortal—sped
My dream? or dream I now instead?

"The sun and moon they come and go,
The ocean's waters ebb and flow,
My baleful star must ever burn,
My swollen tide know no return.

"And, such the guerdon of my sin
Thus, thus to toil, and thus to spin
The fatal cord, the lash accursed,
By which my heavy woe is nursed."

Thus mourned the damsel; while she
        mourned
Back into sense my soul return'd;
At which receded from my sight
The needle-worker's image.   Light
Was breaking in the orient, yet,
Not till again the sun had set,
Could I forget her wail—nor then,
Nay, even till this hour, the strain —
"The guerdon of my heavy sin
Forever this I toil and spin,"
Will break upon my inner ear,
And down my cheek will steal a tear,
For one whom Fame in days of old
Crowned with her brightest wreath, and
        bold,
And brave, and wise, alike proclaimed
The glory of that gift which framed
What their own triumphs shamed.

 

 
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THE THEFT.


PERFIDIOUS damsel, with thy dazzling eyes,
Those skill'd enchanters of a sunnier clime,
Thou, thou hast charmed the dragon Reason, couched
Before my soul's Hesperides, and filched
Her fruit of burnished ore—the source itself
From which her splendour sprung —her will, and left—
Yea, naked left her to the winds of woe
And now, while she laments her jewels lost,
With scorn dost hie to mock, to drive afar,
The veriest promise of a summer, would
Again enable her to smile, and with
Her golden apples set the world agape.

 

 
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LOST AT THE FAIR.


LAST night at the Fair did I lose thee, my honey—
    I hunted thee south and I hunted thee north;
I'd rather than lost thee have lost all the money
    That all the great lords in the kingdom are worth.

    Chorus.—Heart-sorry in worry in flurry did hurry
                          Poor I, like a wild thing alost, here and there,
                      When Rosy the cosy, sweet Rosy the posy
                          And pride of her Robin, was miss'd at
                                        the Fair.

Resolved to discover the fleet-footed rover,
    My way thro' the stalls, shows, and people I wound;
But there 'mid ways many, the rarest of any,
    No image like Rose's sweet image was found.

        Chorus.—Heart-sorry in worry and flurry, etc.

With glee the Inns sounded, with joyance unbounded
    Danced maiden and callant; I into them glanced;
But who was who barely I saw, tho' saw fairly
    That no one like Rose with the dancers a-danced.

        Chorus.—Heart-sorry in worry and flurry, etc.

In search of my honey I spent all my money,
    Then took to the road in a spirit of gloom,
When lo, with my Rosy I met, and the posy
    I kiss'd her and cuddled her all the way home.

    Chorus.—Heart-sorry in worry in flurry did hurry
                          Poor I, like a wild thing alost, here and there;
                      Till lo, with my Rosy I met, and the posy
                          I kiss's, sung, and linked with her home from
                                        the Fair.

 

 
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"GET UP!"


"GET UP!" the caller calls, "Get up!"
    And in the dead of night,
To win the bairns their bite and sup,
    I rise a weary wight.

My flannel dudden donn'd, thrice o'er
    My birds are kiss'd, and then
I with a whistle shut the door
    I may not ope again.

 

 
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THE BRIDAL GIFT.


LAST night at the fair I met light-footed Polly,
    And Nanny from Earsdon and bothersome Nell,
And yellow-hair'd Bessy and hazel-eyed Dolly;
    But Rosy for sweetness did bear off the bell.

    Chorus.—Not Polly, nor Dolly, nor coy little Bell;
                     Not Nanny nor Fanny, nor sly little Nell;
                     Not Bessy, nor Jessy, is loved half so well
                         As Rosy the posy—la, no!


A bridal gift to her—a rich snowy feather,
    To put in her bonnet—a locket I bought;
A handbag beside of the best foreign leather;
    A pair of fine gloves and with figures enwrought.

    Chorus.—Not Polly, nor Dolly, etc.

A silken scarf gave I with silver lace laced, and
    A rarely cut comb for her tresses so dear;
A rich broider'd girdle to girdle her waist, and
    A Guinea gold droplet to hang at each ear.

    Chorus.—Not Polly, nor Dolly, etc.

A bonny bit brooch did I buy for her bosom;
    A mantle of scarlet, a bonny white gown;
The garland I'd promised of sweet orange blossom,
    The ring that shall make her forever my own.

    Chorus.—Not Polly, nor Dolly, etc.

Some gifts to my honey I bought, and had money
    Been mine I to these had link'd castles and lands,
And Nan, Nell, and Polly, and Fan, Bell, and Dolly,
    Had danced in her train and obeyed her commands.

    Chorus.—Not Polly, nor Dolly, nor coy little Bell;
                      Not Nanny nor Fanny, nor sly little Nell;
                      Not Bessy, nor Jessy, is loved half so well
                          As Rosy the posy—la, no!

 

 
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THE MYSTIC LYRE.


HEAVEN-GIFTED was the mortal, thrice-illum'ed by heaven's own fire,
    A bard the chords of whose great soul to love and truth were strung,
Who deemed the mighty universe itself a seven-stringed lyre
    From which at the Creator's touch the anthem, Life, is wrung.

An instrument it is by which a gamut vast is spann'd,
    Whose every tone's in unison with every other tone;
And which alone is given to the heart to understand
    Who to pity gives an ear of soul—to self an ear of stone.

To such a one the accents of that magic lyre expound
    The kinship of all beings great and small, and how the sweet
Yet mighty octave to the key struck in yon planet's found
    Within the little dew-drop that sparkles at our feet.

In the seeming great the little, in the seeming small the great,
    Are rendered by that music to the pure in spirit, plain;
And the thistle's and the lily's and the mourn'd and envied state
    Are but altos and contraltos in one bright harmonic strain.

In the seeming ill the good is, in the seeming good the ill;
    But in Life's complex measure what the ill deplored appears,
Is often but a needful step into a varied trill
    That terminates with rapture what began mid doubts and fears.

All height and depth of moral being are compass'd in one chant,
    And thro' vast scales descending in the lowest soul is heard
True echoes, true, tho' faint, of what the highest soul can vaunt,
    Whilst to the lowest full as oft the highest yields a chord.

The measure of the man with all his destiny so vast,
    When the key-note of the living known is stricken may be shown;
And the burden of the future and the burden of the past,
    Are but coloured octaves to the note from out the present thrown.

The measure of the angel in the measure of the man,
    Yea, he the highest seraph in the lowest serf's concealed;
And the diapason struck on earth compriseth in its span,
    An echo of the heaven itself in angel-states reveal'd.

Not that which was, is that which is, as sang the Hebrew sage,
    But a duller to a brighter chord; and that which is, in turn,
Is but a stage in life's great march prophetic of a stage
    That awaits the soul's arrival when we leap death's dreaded burn.

The mighty universe itself is but a mighty lyre,
    From which at the Creator's touch the anthem, Life, is flung;
And could we heed its music, up would leap our souls on fire,
    And up a hymn to Love Eterne would leap from every tongue!

 

 
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THE DEWDROP.


An, be not vain.   In yon flower-bell,
    As rare a pearl, did I appear,
As ever grew in ocean shell,
    To dangle at a Helen's ear.

So was I till a cruel blast
    Arose and swept me to the ground,
When, in the jewel of the past,
    Earth but a drop of water found.

 

 
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AWAY TO THE FAIR.

(The chorus is old.)


AWAY to the Fair, my lad did repair
    Ere day had the welkin adorned;
Now day's glidden by and night's in the sky,
    And he, he has never returned:
Now day's glidden by, coal-black is the sky,
    And, tho' a dead calm's in the air,
O'er mountain and plain, a storm brews amain
    And Willie comes not from the Fair.

        Chorus—O dear, what can the matter be?
                        O dear, what can the matter be?
                        Dear, dear, what can the matter be
                            Willie comes not from the Fair?


Came Tam cap a-gley with Robin, and he
    But nodded to Bell o'er the way;
And Robin did call on Tib at the Hall,
    But naught of his neighbour did say:
And Allie went by, a laugh in his eye
    For Meg of the Colliree Square;
But never a word of Willie was heard
    And Willie comes not from the Fair.

        Chorus—O, dear, etc.

I ended my wark while lilted the lark
    "Tere-lere" to his grass-hidden mate;
And drest in my best, a rose in my breast,
    I've waited his coming—and wait:
The door set ajar, the fire I stir,
    And, often a-combing my hair,
I hark for the beat of two merry feet—
    But Willie comes not from the Fair.

        Chorus—O dear, etc.

"What ails the jewel?" my mother, she cries
    "Ye're white as the cap on your head;"
"An imp's in the lass," my father replies;
    "Let, let her be off to her bed."
Atween hearth and door, I wander the floor,
    A-deaf to their bidding and prayer;
And halt but to keek in the storm-rock'd night—
    But Willie comes not from the Fair.

        Chorus—O dear, etc.

Now fear fills the house—some shriek from affright
    The dog howls aloud by the hearth;
For runnels of fire do flash thro' the night,
    And deep thunder growls shake the earth:
On high, at each growl, "Tu-whit," cries the owl
    "Tu-whoo!" while the windows declare,
In terrific screams, how the fierce rain teems—
    And Willie's not come from the Fair.

        Chorus—O dear, etc.

Away dies the storm, and up peers the moon
    To brighten a cloud black as death;
While a clear cock-crow succeeds to the tune,
    The storm piped the while he had breath:
Now sleeps the whole house—save cricket and
        mouse,
    I oft to the window repair,
And start at each sound: but the hours go round—
    And Willie comes not from the Fair.

        Chorus—O dear, etc.

The night weareth old, to bed I must go,
    But neither to slumber nor rest;
The thought of my lad the weary night, so
    Will pierce like a thorn in my breast:
But up with the lark, to granny's I'll down,
    For if he's arrived he'll be there;
And if he is not, I'll off to the town
    And seek for him all thro' the Fair.

        Chorus—O dear, what can the matter be?
                        O dear, what can the matter be?
                        Dear, dear, what can the matter be
                       
    Willie comes not from the Fair?

 
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MUSIC.


I LISTEN to the accents of the silver corded harp
    And tho' aweary of the darts at me by malice hurl'd
Aflying goes life's shuttle and aflying woof and warp—
    A renovated soul I seek to renovate the world.

As spring is to the brooklet bound in winter's icy chain,
    As showers are to the blossoms parched by summer's
            hottest breath;
As sleep is to the body bow'd by toil and rack'd by pain,
    So is music to this heart to whom the jars of life are death.

The bonds in which I'm bound are broken by its magic power,
    And pent up founts of feeling flow in looks and acts that
           please
And refreshened as the lily is refreshened by the shower,
    The soul from trouble freed in turn the frame from trouble
            frees.

Nay, not freed alone from trouble, not alone by pleasure
            fill'd—
    Not alone to strength of body and to peace of mind restored;
I'm thrill'd and by a feeling that the ancients may have thrill'd
    When they sang the golden truths and taught what later
            times ignored.

Taught by the glamour under which I labour, bright and clear
    Become to me the darkest legends of an elder day;
And so-called myths thus said or sung by bards illumined,
        wear
    The colours which the True itself and not the False array.

'Tis said that to the Amphionic song, sun-like, up-rose
    The Hundred-Gated City, and howe'er this be I know
At music's touch a tower-girt citadel my spirit glows,
    Thro' whose illumined corridors no hydra-doubt may go.

Not mine to under-go what under-went Arion, yet,
    From out a darker sea, the waters of affliction caught,
And on a brighter than a Tenarian shore I'm set
    To marvel at the miracle a melody has wrought.

Not mine Orpheus-like the gift to strike the lyre and chant
    What from another Pluto had another captive charmed;
But mine to know a lesser gift has made despair to grant
    What Pluto's gruesome regions had a place of pleasure
            form'd.

Nay, not a feeler merely, but an actor keen am I,
    Empower'd to seize the harp of life and from its cords to bring
An anthem such as had compelled Apollo's self to sigh,
    And wrung from him the palm Marsyas tried in vain to wring.

Away into the regions of delight and, what is more,
    Away into the regions of the inner life I'm borne
To learn how Nature at one birth both light and music
            bore,
    And how the planets danced and sung upon Creation's morn.

At this the giddy world may laugh; their jibes are spent in
            vain;—
    I stand above and far above the arrows at me flung:—
So chant I music fired—and whatever worth my strain,
    For men of brain, not stocks and stones, and men of soul
            'tis sung.

 
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THE BUTTERFLY.


THE butterfly from flower to flower
    The urchin chased; and, when at last,
He caught it in my lady's bower,
    He cried, "Ha, ha!" and held it fast.

Awhile he laugh'd, but soon he wept,
    When looking at the prize he'd caught
He found he had to ruin swept
    The very glory he had sought.

 
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SLIGHTED.


AH me! my heart is like to break,
The envied rose upon my cheek,
The blood red rose is cold and bleak
    Now Robin slighteth me.

Alas! a shadow lone and pale
I all unheard my lot bewail;
He listens to another's tale,
    He hath no ear for me.

Could he but look upon my grief
Would he not try to bring relief?
I feel my days below are brief,
    So deep the wound I dree.

I trail about I know not how;
I like a thief slink down the row,
For well behind my back I know
    The rest all laugh at me.

The rest to one the other wink
Whenever down the row I slink;
Their hearts are filled with glee to think
    How he my bane should be.

The very bairns have caught their words,
As notes are caught by mocking birds,
By jibes are rent my bosom chords,
    And grief is killing me.

I feel my days on earth are brief;
Ah! could he look upon my grief
Would he not try to bring relief?
    Would he not kinder be?

I dreamed last night to me he came;
A blush was on his cheek for shame;
He took my hand, he breathed my name;
    He gave such looks to me—

Such looks?   No sun will rise to set
When I forget those looks, forget
Those star-bright eyes, those eyes of jet
    That wiled my heart from me.

The vision fled, and I was left
To mourn a lot of hope bereft—
To mourn what won my heart, and cleft,
    And oh, the agony!

Dear Robin—Dear?   Without a peer,
And yet to me so dear, so dear!
Ah, fare-thee-well! and may'st thou ne'er
    Be doomed to sigh like me!

 
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THE MODEST MAID.


O, COULD I a garland braid,
That would never, never fade,
I would crown the modest maid
    Queen of earth's joy-giving band!
Poor or wealthy, dark or fair,
Lo, that happy one's an heir
To a dowery as rare
    As e'er fell from fortune's hand!

Not the look which once to spy,
Would the stoic's pride destroy,
Could to my astonished eye,
    Her endearing looks eclipse;
Not the music which to hear,
Would dispel the cynic's sneer,
Could to my astonished ear
    Spoil the music of her lips!

Let the haughty beauty frown;
Let the wretch her rigour own;
Once her mid-day splendour flown,
    Banished is her boasted power:
Whereas she that's modest wears
Dearer with the march of years;
Yea, like yonder sun appears
    Grandest in her setting hour!

 
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THE OUTCAST FLOWER.


YOU turn up your nose at me?
            I suppose, I'm noisome and base?
Before on my head you cruelly tread,
            Give ear to my case.

A lily-bell rare, my charms were laid bare,
            And lo! at the sight,
In a mantle of gold, a delight to behold,
            Love danced in delight.

To him I was dear—ah me! it was clear
            That nothing above,
Below, or around, by Love could be found,
            So precious to love.

That little white flower which gildeth the hour
            When March winds rave,
The snowdrop, as clear from stain might appear,
            But look's too grave.

The crocus a-drest in her sun-given vest,
            On Spring's live mould,
To her heart's delight, might sparkle as bright,
            But look's too bold.

No zephyr did woo a hyacinth blue,
            With bearing so fine;
No daffodil e'er did view in the mere
            A face so divine.

The tulip so gay a cheek might display
            In deeper hues dyed;
But where the sweet smell?—could any one tell—
            The dancer enjoyed?

The pink had a bloom as rich in perfume,
            To make the heart glad;
But where was the grace to rivet the gaze
            The lily-bell had?

Not even the rose, the richest that blows,
            Could Love then prefer;
And the pansy, so sweet, bowed down at her feet,
            In homage to her.

This swore Love, and, sworn, away I was torn,
            His pleasure to be;
But ere a day past away I was cast—
            He cared not for me.

Unheeded I pined, my sweets did the wind
            No longer perfume;
To vile turned the pure—the sweet turned a sour—
            Ah, such was my doom.

You turn up your nose! just think of my woes,
            Though base to behold,
Just think ere you tread—ere you crush my poor
                    head—
            Just think what I've told.

 
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THE MOTH.


TO-NIGHT a gilded moth took wing,
    And round-a-round yon wax-light flew;
And, while his flight did her enring,
    He nearer to the dazzler drew.

"So fair art thou," he cried, "to view,
    I'd die upon thy lips to feed;"
And so must snatch a kiss and rue—
    Ah, he was murder'd for the deed.

 
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THE TOAST.


I'm as loyal a subject as Britain can boast;
    Our Queen she is gracious, and gentle, and wise;
But another this moment demandeth my toast,—
    'Tis Annie, the lass with the two hazel eyes.

The hair of my idol's a stream of delight,
    The lustre thereof with the aerolite vies;
Her dimpled cheeks apples, the pure red and white;
    But these are outshone by her two hazel eyes.

Her breasts are two hillocks of new-driven snow,
    Between them a dell of enchantment lies,
Where love lurks, the elf ! with his death-darts, but no—
    These cannot be named with her two hazel eyes.

The golden-eyed lily but faintly displays
    The grace of her form, her demeanour, and guise;
A jewel is she in heart, language, and ways;
    But nothing can equal her two hazel eyes.

I'm as loyal a subject as Britain can boast;
    Victoria's gentle, gracious, and wise;
But another this moment demanded my toast,—
    I drink to the lass with the two hazel eyes.

 
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TWO HAZEL EYES.


WAS ever a bard in such pitiful plight?
    Was ever such seen by yon stars in the skies?
A-pit or a-bed—by day and by night,
    I'm plagued by the magic of two hazel eyes.

A leaf in a whirlwind, I'm sent to and fro,
    And peace, panic-stricken, my bosom still flies;
For rest I implore, but my portion below
    Is the rest-killing magic of two hazel eyes.

The world it goes up, and the world it goes down,
    And the lofty descend, and the lowly arise;
But fortune, the filter, may smile or may frown,
    I feel but the magic of two hazel eyes.

Once blithe as a linnet I lilted my lay,
    And won the applause of both foolish and wise—
Now deaf, dumb, derided, I go on my way,
    Bewitched by the magic of two hazel eyes.

O Annie, wouldst thou but look down on my plight,
    And pity my case, and no longer despise,
I'd dance in delight, I'd sing day and night,
    And the theme of my lays be thy two hazel eyes!

 
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OMEGA.


WRAPT in fancy by a river,
That flows onward ever, ever,
Down I sat me while the moon
In her fairest vesture shone—
All was still as death, when lo!
Down the solemn tide did flow
Fay's that once with pleasure thrill'd me,—
Fiends that once with horror chill'd me—
Social Glee and sullen Care,
Lofty Courage, crouching Fear,
And—ah! who with dire Despair?
She on whom my heart has hung,
She who oft my heart has strung,
While the heavy-footed years,
Sought to bury her in cares!
"One by one, and two by two,
They the graceful, they the true,
Went my idols long ago,
And must thou desert me now?"
    Thus I frantically cried,
When a look was cast behind,
Clung—shall cling unto my mind,
    And a hollow voice replied;—
"All things go the way we're going,
From thy quest refrain—
All, all that be—the Earth, the Sea,
Yon Moon above, the Stars that move
In concord o'er yon crystal plain;
Yea, all to one vast gulph are flowing,
    And thy cry's in vain?"

Heard I aright, what is my cry
A cry in vain? what means reply
So dark as this?   Can earth and sky—
Can all my hope, my pride, my joy,
With earth and sky take wing and fly?

Can that for which I've daily borne
With insult, empty scoff and scorn,
For which I've labour'd still to earn,
'Till Life itself's a burden grown—
Can that one day from me be flown?

Can that for which I've inly bled,
And tears of blood, not water shed;
For which I've lain on thorny bed,
Who else had lain on bed of down—
Can that one day from me be flown?

Can that for which I've wooed disgrace—
Look'd Persecution in the face;
For which I've barter'd pelf and place,
And donn'd instead the martyr's crown—
Can that one day from me be flown?

What can the all my soul held dear,
The soul itself and all whate'er
    Comprised in this Great Universe
Take wing and never more return?
    Can Life itself thus prove a curse,
And mock the mighty souls who yearn
Even to obtain the life superne—
    Sung in prophetic verse?

Forbid it Truth!—"It is forbid!"
Rang in my soul as voice e'er did,
A voice whose tone the quester chid;—
"It is forbid.   On facts alone
From battle with externals won,
The common understanding may
Persist another thing to say;
But whose looks Life's surface under
The Veil of Isis seeks to sunder,
And on internals cares to ponder,
Even such a one will find whate'er
Has been will be, tho' Earth's rude sphere
To outer sense should disappear—
Tho' to that sense, above, below,
All things appear to come and go,
Yet to the inner living still
With dread to chill, with bliss to thrill—
To warn, encourage, pain or charm,
To lead to blessedness, or harm;
To whip or bless us for the act
Another's heart has soothed or racked;
Yea, all things and all deeds whatever
    Shall to the inner sense remain—
Shall constitute a fountain ever
Of what should nerve for high endeavour—
    Of what, once drank, should heart and brain,
So fire that Man, would rue ab, never!
    That he was born tho' born to pain—
        Thy cry is not in vain."

 
________________________

 
THE ORACLE.


THE vision will vanish for ever,
    That gildeth this moment thy track;
And in vain were the noblest endeavour
    To call the enchantment back.

Yet pine not; a balm—an ovation
    Is thine in the thought, that the day
Will come when thy bleak desolation
    Will pass like thy vision away.

 
________________________

 
ALL IS VANITY.


FROM all that I have seen or heard
    This world, is but an empty show,
And only can the heart afford
    What tends to bitter strife and woe;
Nay in its clutch, do what we will,
    Upon our erring steps attend
Annoyance and vexation still,
    To cross and wrack us to the end.

That bubble frail, in sheen unmatched,
    Attracted by its radiance rare,
Do we stretch out our hand to snatch't?
    The jewel melts into the air:
So will the golden wish we prize
    Seem all but in our fingers locked,
And then evanish from our eyes,
    And leave us tantalized and mocked.

Does glory captivate the soul?
    Do we for bay or laurel crave?
And do we seek the distant goal
    Assured the prize is for the brave?
Years roll away and life is past
    And in the end what at the most,
For sleepless nights and labours vast,
    What have we but a blank to boast?

To drink we fly in woe, and drunk
    Is thus what makes us fools—in fact
Down to a lower level sunk,—
    The brute, in brutal acts, to act;
Again becoming self-possess'd,
    What rankles in his bosom—ay
What but a ten times direr pest
    Than that from which we strove to fly?

By beauty's dazzling spells beset,
    The strong, the weak, the grave, the gay,
On locks of gold, on eyes of jet,
    May dream the transient hours away;
May dream to wake, and what? to learn
    Those locks are worse than serpents fell;
Those eyes but fires of hate and scorn,
    Ordained to make our life a hell.

The supple knee we yield to gold,
    And seek for happiness in pelf;
And what's our gain but cares untold?
    And what's our loss but manhood's self?
We lose what gold has never bought,
    We gain but what degrades the man,
And for the happiness thus sought
    We yet may find it—when we can.

Deluded still are we! and should
    We grasp at last the boon esteemed,
The victim of a ban then would
    We deem it other than we deemed;
Then let thy vain endeavour end,
    Its promised blessings let them go,
Unto thy spirit's weal attend—
    This world is but an empty show!"

 
________________________

 
THE PARTIES.


Now Gladstone's party bears the bell,
    And now Disraeli's—now
The people really cannot tell,
    For whom their hands to show.

Now this way, la, now that inclined,
    A giddy vane they go,
The victim of each puff of wind
    The party bugles blow.

1868.

 
________________________

 
THE SOCIAL GLASS.

AIR—"Rossen the Beau."


COME fill up the glass, and tho' never
    We tasted of gladness before,
The thought of this moment for ever
    Shall gladden the heart to its core:
An isle as we sail o'er life's ocean
    An isle shall this moment remain,
On which we'll look back with emotion,
    And long to salute it again!

        Chorus—Come fill up the glass, etc.

Let the miser exult in his treasure;
    The king in his sceptre and crown;
The lover be loved without measure;
    The warrior blest with renown;
We envied no mortal his blisses,
    When anguish our bosom hath torn;
And tasting such treasure as this is,
    We laugh every other to scorn.

        Chorus—Come fill up the glass, etc.

Since the life-giving goblet is given,
    Man may be oppressed by the day,
But the links of oppression are riven
    When night brings its spell into play:
That spell so excelling's united
    All other fair spells in its train,
To enjoy which, ho! ho! you're invited
    To pass round the goblet again.

        Chorus—Come fill up the glass, etc.

 
________________________

 
A WORD OF GOOD CHEER.


WHY thus mourn o'er star-hopes faded?
    They are only from thy ken,
By a passing vapour shaded,
    And will soon appear again:
Up and guard thee like a warrior,
    Up and make the present thine;
Trust me every doubt's a barrier
    To Life's heritage divine.

See, yon kingly soul attended
    By the dulcet tones of love—
An immortal here descended
    But to lift our eyes above;
Dark as be thy lot and cruel,
    He has known as dire a woe;
Bright as be his prize, a jewel
    Brighter still for thee may glow.

Not the Cytherean—truly
    Vain its pursuit and unwise,
But the joy Uranian, duly
    Seek we that, and rich the prize;
But for that be our endeavour,
    And afar our doubt and fear,
We shall then be losers never,
    Tho' but losers we appear.

Lose we may the husk and perish
    What the outer senses prize,
But no real joy we cherish
    Ever from us fades or flies;
Hid it may be from the spirit,
    Only for awhile 'tis hid,
And one day will meed our merit,
    With a joy to sense forbid.

From our bosom the infernal—
    All that's mean, and low, and base,
Every wish and longing carnal
    Chase we then, or seek to chase;
Clearer to us then and clearer
    Would Life's complex riddle seem,
And our Edens fled prove nearer,
    Than at present we may deem.

He the lord of his own passions,
    Peers the monarch ne'er so bold—
For his loins a girdle fashions
    Richer than a girth of gold:
Not a thorn can pierce his bosom
    But—before the pang has flown—
But becometh a bright blossom
    His right royal head to crown.

"Valour's born from self-denial,
    Wisdom from each stern rebuke,
Power from every pain and trial
    That the human soul may brook;"
Sagest heroes, heroic sages,
    So have taught since Time began;
Up, then, earn a hero's wages,
    Up, then up, and be a man.

Up! and lo! to hail thee victor
    Smiles will leap from every brook;
Beauty will herself impicture
    On whatever thou mayst look.
Stars—the blessed stars, my brother,
    Will attend thee in the night;
And Creation's self be other
    Than it seems to common sight.

 
________________________

 
MY LITTLE BOY.


MY little boy, thy laughter
    Goes to my bosom core,
And sends me yearning after
    The days that are no more.

Adown my cheek is stealing
    A briny tear, and I—
But let no selfish feeling
    Thy infant mirth destroy.

Fill not with looks so earnest,
    Those pretty eyes of thine;
A lot were thine the sternest,
    Couldst thou my thought divine.

There's time enough for sorrow,
    When Life's pale eve draws near;
The lark lilts thee Good Morrow
    Ring out thy laughter clear!

 
________________________

 
THE STAINED LILY.


WHEN first the maiden fair I eyed,
    —This world is a world of grief alone
A lily she held and a rose beside
    But I was doomed her lot to moan.

The rose was gain's and the lily was stain'd,
    —This world is a world of grief alone
And from that hour her beauty waned,
    And I was left her lot to moan.

The lily was stain'd when the rose was gain'd,
    —This world is a world of grief alone
And from that hour her life star waned,
    And I was left her lot to moan.

Ah, never more in my sight she'll stand
    —This world is a world of grief alone
With a lily bright in her lily-white hand,
    And I am doomed her lot to moan.

 
________________________

 
THE VIOLET AND THE ROSE.


THE Violet invited my kiss,—
    I kiss'd it and called it my bride;
"Was ever one slighted like this?"
    Sighed the Rose as it stood by my side.

My heart ever open to grief,
    To comfort the fair one I turned;
"Of fickle ones thou art the chief!"
    Frown'd the Violet, and pouted and
            mourned.

Then to end all disputes, I entwined,
    The love-striken blossoms in one;
But that instant their beauty declined,
    And I wept for the deed I had done!

 
________________________

 
THE RESOLVE.


IN trumpet-toned accents I heard
    A voice in a vision to cry;—
"By threat of no tyrant deterred,
    We rear up our banner on high.

"No longer, tho' feeble and poor,
    We'll wear out our days in the dust,
Our freedom we're sworn to procure,
    And have it or perish we must.

"Far better we rush to the grave,
    The bed of each mortal at last,
Than eat the vile bread of the slave—
    Than pine as we've pined in the past.

"The life of the hero's a boon,
    A blossom the meanest must prize;
The life of the faint-hearted loon,
    A weed that the noble despise.

"Then up," cried the voice, and I thought,
    While loud the deep accents yet rang,
A turbann'd oppressor was brought,
    To think of his deeds with a pang.

1878.

 
________________________

 
GOD AND THE RIGHT.

(1878.)


LET England beware ere war she declare,
    She earn not the mark of the beast
By marching her power the State to secure
    Of blood-imbued wolf of the East;
The Bulgarian, he, and Servian dree
    Such wrongs, from their foeman, as might
Cause stones, could they speak, to cry "for the
            weak
    Be thou—and for God and the Right!"

Such horrific crimes belong to past times;
    The coldest and hardest heart bleeds—
A blush for our race be-crimsons each face,
    When named are the Turk and his deeds;
Too awful are they to utter, nor may
    Men know them and know a respite
From heart-ache till they have armed for the fray,
    And battle for God and the Right!

An unbounded thirst for lucre accurst,
    The helpless must sate—even so—
In this should they fail they're fated to wail
    The blood-bringing lash of the foe;
In glee will the Turk his victim so work,
    Such anguish inflict, at the sight,
The veriest serf grasps his sabre, resolved
    To battle for God and the Right.

See! dearer than life, the daughter and wife,
    A prey to the torturer's lust;
The Rayah heart-torn, yet ridiculed, mourn
    His losses 'mid ashes and dust;
His dear home despoiled, his dear ones defiled,
    A wreck what was once his delight—
What wonder if he, in delirium, flee
    To battle for God and the Right:

The temple is burned, the altar's o'erturned,—
    With blood the street runnelets run;
The prey bird and beast hie swiftly to feast
    On corpses that rot in the sun;
The ban-dog's harsh tones, while crashing the
            bones,
    Are heard by the brave in the night;
But heard with a cry, death to hear, and they fly
    To battle for God and the Right:

For God and the Right the Rebel States fight;
    And whate'er the sequel—oh, oh:
If thou too must fight, for God and the Right,
    Fight thou, in the vanguard, fight thou:
The gold-kings may howl and threaten and scowl,
    Yet hold to thy purpose and smite,
Smite thou the proud Turk till he finds 'tis bad
            work
    To war against God and the Right.

 
________________________

 
THE BROOKLET.


A LITTLE brooklet trilled a song
As merry as the day was long,
At which a music-hater stung
To frenzy said: "I'll bind thy tongue,
And quell thy merriment:"   That night,
A dam check'd babbler's song and flight;
But blind are ever hate and spite!
And so it fell, the brook did swell—
Ah, truth to say, ere dawn of day,
Had grown a sea, unquelled would be,
And soon with ruin, down the dell,
Dashed with a fierce triumphant yell;
And cried, "Ha, ha! ho, ho! oh, la!
Where now thy skill, my voice to still?—
Ah, dost thou find that he who'd bind
The tongue e'en of a rillet, may
Be doomed to hear instead, one day,
What shall with terror seize, control,
And wring with agony his soul?—
In very deed then, reek the rede!"
Thus yell'd the flood and onward swept;
And music-hater heard and wept:
And so weep all who'd try, or long,
To render dumb the child of song.

 
________________________

 
UNCLE BOB.


OLD Uncle Bob lay on the settle,
    At eventide, while on the hob,
"Roe-tee-riti-too" sang the kettle,
    And charmed the dear heart of old Bob.

"Ree-tee-riti-too" on his ears, long
    The ear-chaining melody played,
Till back on his mind rushed the years,
        long,
    Entombed, and he more than half said:

'Twas just such an even as this is,
    When down by the oak in the dell,
The bliss was made mine of all blisses,
    In glances I won from my Nell.

An August sun hung in the heaven,
    Or slowly went down o'er the hill,
When lilting her song to the even,
    The darling skipt over the rill.

From moss'd stone to moss'd stone she
        skipt, and
    Then up like a roe the hillside,
Anon pass'd the willow-tree tript, and
    Then, then what had Ellen espied?

Had sight of my face the maid flurried?
    "Not flurried," I murmur'd—"Nay, nay!"
As plucking a harebell she hurried
    Again with her prize up the way.

The harebell consigned to her bosom,
    Her eyes seem'd to rivet; she viewed,
And still with a smile viewed the blossom,
    Till near to the spot where I stood;

Then raising her head and a golden
    Lock twisting, a word left her tongue,
Recall'd to my fancy an olden
    Time dearer than bard ever sung.

That time now of times—ah, an olden
    Time dearer than bard ever sung;
And oh, for the glamour so golden,
    The moment that word left her tongue.

"Dear Robin," she said, and so sweetly
    She linked the word "dear " with my name,
My senses forsook me completely,
    And fierce delight shook my whole frame.

"Dear Nelly," said I, and the sweetest
    Of hands in my hands I then prest;
And the hour that ensued was the fleetest,
    That ever a mortal man blest,

Nay, while yet the words she had spoken
    Like silver bells rang in my ears,
I felt that a barrier was broken
    Had kept us asunder for years.

Then lived we the olden time over
    Again—ah, the sweetest of hours!
Ere years aid the mind to discover
    What cankers may lurk in life's flowers.

When at the eve-song of the ousel,
    Our hearts with a rapture would glow,
Would mock what his fiercest carousal
    Can on the mad Bacchant bestow.

Then, hand in hand skimmed we the
        meadow,
    Or up the deep valley would run
And find in the willow's cool shadow,
    A shield from the heat of the sun.

There sat we full often and prattled
    Of all we had done or would do,
And still from our little tongues rattled
    Whatever we fancied or knew.

Aground its old stem oft we sported;
    And charmed with their colour or smell,
As oft 'neath its shade we assorted
    The blooms we had pluck'd in the dell.

That time of times dearest, that olden
    Time dearer than bard ever sung,
The meanest of flowers yet a golden
    Flower seem'd to this bosom when young.

The daisy we'd prize, coy and cosy,
    Its white cup, blood-rimm'd, and the gold
Of its eye made it worthy the posy
    Our mothers should smile to behold.

We'd there too the blue-bell which loveth
    To play with the breeze in the shade,
As eastward in spring-tide he moveth
    To heal the wounds winter hath made.

The cowslip was ours who with maiden
    Like modesty looks at the ground,
While winds with her riches are laden,
    And earth with her beauty is crown'd.

The woodbine we loved, and as truly
    The poppy that flared in the sun,
Whose cup black and crimson we duly
    Were taught by our mothers to shun.

To later born bloom as to early
    Our little hearts opened, or clung,
To darnel as primrose and rarely
    Oft while each we gathered, we sung.

And echo oft woke at our singing,
    Or laughed back our laughter aloud,
While down thro' the clear air came ringing
    A trill from the lark in the cloud.

That time of times dearest, that olden
    Time dearer than bard ever sung!
Thus fleeted so radiant and golden
    The hours when this bosom was young.

Thus fleeted the spring and the summer;
    Thus richer hued autumn went pass'd;
And welcome awaited the comer,
    When winter came on with a blast.

Then oft we with puft cheeks have striven
    To mock—the wind's bugles—and mocked
While oaks in his anger were driven
    And houses like cradles were rock'd.

Then loved we to see the snow falling
    In large feathery flakes to the ground;
And oft in each other snow-balling,
    An hour of pure rapture was found.

Then loved we the skater to view as
    He flew here and there in a trice;
And up for a clap our hands flew as
    He wrote out his name on the ice.

Then, then, when the brisk day had ended
    Then, then for the night that came down;
The hour I to Nelly then wended:—
    The welcome my errand would crown:

The father would hand me a cracket;
    The mother would smoothen my hair;
The sister would rax down my jacket,
    Or with me some dainty would share.

Then while round the table would story
    On story the elder folk tell,
Wee Robin was left in his glory
    To prate in the nook with wee Nell.

And so pass's the time—time—that olden
    Time dearer than bard ever sung!
Then oh, for the dreams bright and golden
    That nightly their spells o'er us flung.

That time of times dearest, that olden
    Time dearer than bard ever sung!
Of this so we talk'd till the golden
    Sun sank and the Moon o'er us hung.

Then look's up a moment the maiden
    And gazed on the planet above,
And I saw in her eyes a soul laden
    And sparkling with rapture and love.

Then gushed from those wells of pure beauty
    Such spells had my heart been a stone,
I'd felt as I felt then my duty,
    My love, and my all were her own.

Then tho' failed my speech crabb'd and broken,
    To speak what I'd do for her sake,
More golden words never were spoken
    Than seemed to her ear what I spake.

Then claspt I her tight to my bosom;
    And, ere that great moment had pass'd,
I kist and was kist by the blossom
    And—oh—that first kiss was our last.

I kiss'd and was kiss'd—love controlled in,
    That moment my arms round her cast,
We kiss'd and our feelings so golden!
    But oh that first kiss was our last.

Beneath a dark alder a devil
    In man's shape had lurked, and that hour
A tale of black import and evil
    Had enter'd her fond father's door

And from that loved door I was chidden
    Till raving and dying she lay—
Then to her bed-side I was bidden,
    But what could I then do or say?

She perish'd the victim of slander;
    And I from that time was oft eyed,
Alone in the night-tide to wander,
    And pace for long hours the burnside.

And this would I do till from sorrow
    And manifold labour and prayer
My soul did an angel's strength borrow
    To break the strong bonds of despair.

"Then peace, peace was mine."   On the settle
    Unc turned here and saw at the hob
A little Nell using the kettle,
    And "Tea tea," she said, "Uncle Bob."



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