Carols from the Coal-Fields (5)

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The Golden Bowl.
――♦――

I.

THE BOWL.


JUST let the Owl of Evil howl;
    To mourners of each rank and station, I cry,
Come, troll the Golden Bowl!
    And quaff me with a deep potation.

Each sparkling droplet to the soul
    Will yield o'er Care a bright ovation;
Then seize and troll the Golden Bowl!
    That beams—in my imagination.

 
II.

THE RIGHT THING.


WHEN Day once stirs, her locks of gold,
    Up, seize, ere she is well awaken!
And with her steps thy paces hold,
    Till she from Earth her leave hath taken.

What tho' upon the way she frown,
    Her goal attained, unto thee turning,
With such a gift thy toil she'll crown,
    Thou'lht thank her with a smile next morning!

 
III.

THE TOWER.


MY wee, wee fawn, you see me yawn?
    Well, I'm not much disposed to flattery;
And were I so, you rogue! you know
    You're proof against the fiercest battery.

You have an ear? of stone, my dear;
    A heart? yes, yes, of temper'd iron,
And love of self, the little elf,
    Doth with a Tower of Brass environ!

 
IV.

TOO TRUE.


TRUTH'S words are oft so very true
    And always when my lips he uses,
His foes, which let us hope, are few,
    Declare he but the truth abuses.

Thus when he spake of Ella's tongue,
    She knew he meant the tongue of Fable;
And when of her sweet deeds he sung,
    She kick'd his shins beneath the table.

 
V.

NOT JEALOUS.


"I JEALOUS?   Pooh!—Doth not her eyes
    Pursue his vessel o'er the billows?
No, jealous, no!—From whence those sighs!"
    —'Tis but the wind among the willows!

"Ha, jealous, ha!—Did darling speak?
    What said my chuck?—La, I'm not jealous!"
"—Did Jack say he'd return next week?"
    "What? Wench? Go hang those sailor fellows!"

 
VI.

JACK THE ROVER.


"MY brother Jack the Rover, Sir!"
    "Bless me, I thought he was a cousin?"
"Bound on a voyage to Elsinore!"
    "Most merry damsels have a dozen!"

"That wench you tackled up the street?"
    "My sister Ciss?   My loving sister?"
"Just as I thought—she looked so sweet,—
    And you yet sweeter,—as you kissed her!"

 
VII.

EXTREME KINDNESS.


WHEN I would laugh a little at
    The follies that in Life aboundeth,
What ails the saint I worship, that
    She with a frown my spirit woundeth?

Is laughter sin? ah, then full well
    I see she'd here but curb my laughter,
And steep me in the heart of hell,
    To save me from its lips hereafter.

 
VIII.

STEEDS AND THEIR RIDERS.


DON'T spur us so: you'll ever find,
    When you will ride at giddy paces
There's always something in the wind,
    At which ere long you'll twist your faces.

What, we're but steeds whom no one recks?
    Then spurs us till we're sores all over:
The sooner you have smash'd your necks,
    The sooner we'll have gone to clover!

 
IX.

UNCOUTH THINGS.


"I HATE outlandish things, and own
    I've little liking for the sonnet;
'Tis for a lazy Muse, and one
    Who hath a bumler in her bonnet.

"'Tis a humdrum song, and tho' not long,
    I'd sooner be a kitten, sooner,
And 'Mew!' cry 'Mew!' than listen to
    The ordinary sonnet crooner!

 
X.

WHAT ELSE.


"YOU little like the sonnet?  You?
    But what are you? a creaking wicket;
A cricket in the grass, allow
    Me, slut! to say a very cricket!—

"A chatter-box, or at the best"—
    "'A win-chat,' add, and end the matter!"
"Not so, slut Muse!—You're tongue's a pest,
    And"–"La, what can it do but chatter?"

 
XI.

HAG NIGHT.


LA, what a Night!   The hag has sworn,
    In hue to prove a chimla sweeper;
And did the North not blow his horn,
    No star would dare to show its peeper.

How black her look!—(Just like the rook,
    That on my idol's brow appeareth,
When quite o'ercome with wrath she's dumb,
    And not a blink her booby cheereth!)

 
XII.

JUST THE WAY.


WAS ever wretch in such a plight?
    I scramble on I know not whither!
The witches are abroad to-night;
    Some wicked one has led me hither!

"That's just like you, you'll have your cue,
    And when hood-wink'd you kiss the ditches,
Your hair you tear! your Muse forswear!
    And blame and ban the wicked witches!"

 
XIII.

THE WITCH-GLASS.


A SYREN, with her mirror bright,
    His ear enchants; and while he listens,
His image on his dazzled sight,
    A very jewel gleams and glistens.

Ah, could he peer into yon brook,
    Or into any heart that knows him,
He'd find the thing that met his look,
    Was not the pearl the Witch-Glass
        shows him!

 
XIV.

NOT THE BIRD.


HE'S not the bird I took him for
    I heard him in the distance screaming,
And tho' his voice was harsh, that hour,
    I dream'd of glories, golden, gleaming!

This hour he meets my closer view;
    And tho' he cuts as big a swagger,
I find a little cockatoo,
    And not a peacock, in the bragger!

 
XV.

DAME MALICE.


DAME Malice reigns the Queen of hags;
    With wink and whisper, nod and chatter,
She trots along, and never fags,
    While she has scandal-seeds to scatter.

Then when her seeds are poison-weeds,
    That choke the corn and spoil the labors
Of king or clown, her feats to crown,
    She'll dance a reelet with her neighbors!

 
XVI.

RUMOUR.


ELF Rumour?   Ay, the airy fay,
    That treads the air unseen by any;
From town to town, her bugle's blown,
    And merry are her pranks, and many.

Her news our ears now charm, our fears
    Now stir, as with a clap of thunder,
And while we cry out, What? she'll fly,
    With Laughter at her heels, and Wonder.

 
XVII.

THE CRITICS.


I LIKE the darling critics—like?
    O, how upon their work I linger,
When they their weapons use to strike,
    Not me, but some less happy singer.

The treasure of their venom-bags
    So finely on the bard's expended,
One half-forgets the little wags
    Were from a scorpion-race descended!

 
XVIII.

THE PETITION.


DEAR critics, pray, what have I done
    That thus you frown so? tell me truly?
"You've for your neck a halter spun,
    In blaming of our race unduly!"

Don't hang me, pray!—Just praise my lay,
    And I will swear the Muse but garbled
My sweet intent; and what was meant
    Was not the blame the Gipsy warbled!

 
XIX.

BILLY TAYLOR.


"SWEET Billy Taylor went to sea!"
    Bravo, my metre ballad-monger!
"With silver buckles on his knee!"
    Another stave—a little longer!

"When he comes back he'll marry me!"
    He'll marry you, you empty, airy
Nothing—marry you?   Why, he—
    "'Whoo-hoo!' take that for your vagary!"

 
XX.

JUST SO.


JUST let the Owl of Evil howl!
    To mourners of each rank and station,
I cry, Come troll the Golden Bowl,
    And quaff with me one deep potation!

Each sparkling droplet to the soul
    Will yield o'er care a bright ovation;
Then seize and troll the Golden Bowl,
    That beams—in my imagination!

1886.

 

 
________________________

 
The Posy-Gift.
――◊――


I.


YOU quite mistake the sprite you chase—
    I'm of the under, not the upper,
Order of the fairy race;
    And cannot go with you to supper.

"You silly elf, Titania's self
    Will"—Tut, be there? My mirth she
        quenches—
And her stiff airs kick me down-stairs
    To my dear kitchen cats and wenches.

 
II.


HE giggled at the thought, and had
    He been a dog his tail he'd wriggled,
He was at heart so very glad
    At what the little giggler giggled.

"You giggled?  Why?  Your thought I'd buy—
    The price?"   O'er such we've never higgled;
'Tis but to task yourself to ask
    At what the little giggler giggled.

 
III.


ANOTHER stave I'll never rave
    Against the rich folk and their riches;
The men, you knave! are good and brave!
    The women are the sweetest witches!

"What's up now?"   Pooh! what's that to you?
    One cannot have a little lunar
Fit, but some one cries out "Mum!"
    And puts the pipe out of the crooner.

 
IV.


HA, ha! last night I served you right;
    The kick I gave—but I was sorry
I gave it you—but come and view
    What will allay your wrath and worry.

"That posy gay?   Well, I dare say—
    Who gave it you?   A lady?" Truly!
"What lady, pray?"   That I will say,
    When you have learned your manners duly.

 
V.


THESE jewels left her very hand;
    Were pull'd within her very bowers;
Smell, senseless villain! smell them and
    Say didst thou ever smell such flowers?

"Such flowers?" the fellow seized his hat—
    "Such flowers?" he answer'd in derision;
"Well, I've heard questions strange, but that—
    I'd better run for—a physician!"

 
VI.


COME, pretty flowers, and drink my tears;
    'Tis well my better reason chided,
Or I had box'd the rascal's ears,
    That so the little dears derided!

My ruth, not ire, the wretch demands;
    The magic every cup adorning,
How could he feel?—saw he the hands
    That placed them into mine this morning?

 
VII.


WHAT fancies throng into the mind,
    When one upon this posy gazeth;
The more I look, the more I find
    Some semblance that one's ken amazeth.

"What semblance, man? to what? to whom?"
    Go, lack-a-brain, and sweep the stable;
A wooden head must not presume
    To chatter at the Muse's Table!

 
VIII.


ONE fancy kicks another's heel;
    But let us seize one while it trembles
In act to fly, and make't reveal
    Wherein each bloom her charms resembles.

These violets blue, not filled with dew,
    But with my tears—are not these weepers—
"What would you say? her eyes are grey,
    And never flash'd two merrier peepers!"

 
IX.


ONCE more, sweet Muse, a fancy choose;
    Seize by the heels that winged fellow—
And he'll declare how this her hair—
    "Her hair is brown, that broom is yellow!"

Then that one try, I know he'll cry
    This bean-bloom's like her lips.   "Sweet
        booby!
That runner's quite a scarlet bright,
    Thy lady's lips are very ruby."

 
X.


GO, Musie, go! you like, I know,
    To throw a glamour o'er my vision;
And I but want the truth to chant,
    And Truth shall do it with precision!

He'll not aver this rose-bloom's her,
    This lily-bell, he knows not whether,
But he will tell she's lily-bell
    And red, red rose-bloom, both together!

 
XI.


THESE flowers that so reflect the grace
    Of one who is the Queen of Graces!
I'll pop into my richest vase,
    Where I may watch their pretty faces.

And should a fly approach their lips,
    Then, Mercy, shield the little sinner;
For if I catch him on the hips,
    He'll never need another dinner!

 
XII.


ALL things of beauty seek to draw
    Unto themselves like things of beauty
In homage to an inner law,
    And which to own's their bounden duty.

So deems my nose—this beauteous nose!
    That out of love, not adulation,
So oft, before this wall-flower, bows,—
    Or homage yields to this carnation.

 
XIII.


COME let me smell thee, lily-bell;
    Another smell, my silver lily!
And thou, sweet rose, come to my nose—
    Ah, whence those feelings, soft and silly?

She smell's you so! the lady?   No?
    I know she did; her charming nosy
Drew nectar up from every cup,
    Before she handed me the posy!

 
XIV.


THESE lovely blooms, their rich perfumes,
    And many colours, rich and glorious,
My soul illume, o'er care and gloom
    To move a king—a king victorious!

To me things seem, as in a stream,
    Or on the person of my idol,
To wear a sheen before unseen,
    E'en by the gifted bard of Rydal!

 
XV.


BLIND as the wretch who mock'd my flowers;
    Or rather mock'd their well-won praises,
And swore what came from Eden-bowers,
    Were only buttercups and daisies—

As blind was I till—till—A hare!
    The thought is off, nor can I win it
Back to—well, to—I declare
    This song must end with nothing in it!

 
XVI.


O, DEAR, dear, dear! what shall I do?
    My only thoughts are off, that clearly
Might have express'd the praises due
    To one I prize, and prize so dearly!

The wine has vanished, and the lees
    To serve up these, would leave one,
        undone,
Not of the flock of chick-a-dees,
    That chirrup to the folk of London.

 
XVII.


"HA, ha! at last you're fetter'd fast—
    Was ever such a daft, gigantic
Zany known on earth, or one
    So much the sport of passions frantic?

You kicked me off, with scorn and scoff,
    Then quite ignored the Muse romantic's
Aid, Dame's brow to crown—and now
    You pay the piper for your antics!"

 
XVIII.


"WITH Common Sense one might dispense,
    But from the Muse's Table surely
To drive away the merry fay,
    The Muse herself, is madness purely?

Then when we dine and drink our wine,
    To have served up Truth's pungent salad's
Enough to make one's nerves to shake
    Whenever we'd meet our Bag of Ballads!"

 
XIX.


'TIS quite a treat, as singer knows,
    To have to own one's fairly beaten,
And council's held among the crows
    To learn how soon one may be eaten.

The sparrow-hawks are on the wing—
    The magpies, too, in chorus chatter,
And owlets lend their aid to ring
    The death-bell of—But that's no matter!

 
XX.


MY Song must end; and now I'll send
    It to the critics with this letter:
"Sir, praise this song, and I'm your friend—
    Or if you'd rather—you had better!"

One to my lady fair also
    I'll write, and from the subject borrow
Such fire, that I'll receive, I know,
    Another posy-gift to-morrow.

1886.

 

 
________________________

 
A CRY FOR POLAND.


HOW long shall injustice prevail?
    How long shall the weak rue the strong?
The children of Poland bewail
    The yoke of the Russian?—How long?
Lo! one generation goes by,
    And another succeeds as of old,
Yet no liberation is nigh—
    Yet theirs are afflictions untold.
The hero, whose lustre and worth,
    Might add to his nation's renown,
Still seeks at a far foreign hearth,
    The shelter denied at his own.
No star left her home to illume,
    The mother heart-broken and lorn—
The mother looks round on her gloom,
    And curses the hour she was born.
In sight of the husband, or sire,
    The wife or the daughter's defiled;
And to quench a demoniac ire,
    Both mercy and love are reviled.
The smoke of the blood of the wise,
    The holy, heroic, and good
Ascends from the earth to the skies,
    And still crave the blood-hounds for blood.
How long shall injustice prevail?
    And insult, and murder, and wrong,
Cause high-hearted Poland to wail?
    Thou God of the helpless! how long?

1866.

 

 
________________________

 
A GOLDEN LOT.


IN the coal-pit, or the factory,
    I toil by night or day,
And still to the music of labour
    I lilt my heart-felt lay;

I lilt my heart-felt lay
    And the gloom of the deep, deep
        mine,
Or the din of the factory dieth away,
    And a Golden Lot is mine.

 

 
________________________

 
TO A STARTLED BIRD.


FLY not away, wee birdie, pray!
    No weasels we, no evil-bringers,
Would make thee bear the pangs that tear
    Too oft the hearts of sweetest singers.

Long may thy nest with eggs be blest,
    And prove with these brown four, yet
        fountains
Of tender lays to charm the days
    Of future climbers of the mountains.

 

 
________________________

 
Psychic Poems.
――♦――

I.

THE VITAL SPARK:
AN INNER VOICE.


BEWILDERED by Life's Gordian Knot, long o'er me
    Despair had flung her adamantine chain,
When thro' the abyss of my spirit "Glory!"
    A deep voice cried, and "Glory!" then this strain:—

"A spark eternal from the co-eternal,
    And inner source of light ere time began,
The soul built from the dust its home external,
    And so became what we now know as man.

"The outer temple built, an inner, finer,
    From this and like to this was next ordained,
In which might be attained a life diviner
    Than could within the outer be attained.

"Thus in the image in man's form reflected,
    From out the universal Soul, the soul
Its individuality projected,
    And so became a whole within the whole.

"From root and knot, from knot and leaf to blossom,
    Upsprang by slow degrees the oak to view;
So by degrees as slow from out God's bosom,
    The vital spark to man immortal grew.

"The swaddles, that enswathe the babe, those swaddles
    Are rent asunder as we stronger grow;
And for the prate that pleased us in our cradles
    We're taught a higher, deeper lore to know.

"So by degrees man thus obtains his being,
    So by degrees his mental prime's obtained,
When grown from Man the Blind to Man the Seeing,
    The chains are rent in twain by which he's chained.

"Then from the chaos of the days primeval,
    Into the future far his ken extends—
Then to his ken what error seemed and evil
    Appear but instruments to noble ends.

"The shadow's self, thus seen, becomes a splendour,
    The mystic maze pervaded by a plan;
And laws sublime are seen to rule and render
    Harmonic what but discord seemed to man.

"In matter's seen the means to vanquish matter,
    In many a dismal ban a blessing bright;
In states chaotic, what their gloom might scatter,
    And their domains enshrine in living light.

"The darkest woe the brightest joy enclaspeth,
    In what seems false is seen the true, a power
Which grasped by man as rich a mace he graspeth,
    As ever graced the mythic gods of yore.

"A thinker clear nor less a doer; even
    A more than soul Titanic he, who still
Can make the very death-forged bolts of heaven
    To dance attendance on his potent will.

"The very lightning that the vision dazzles,
    The very tempest that the forest rends,
Are vassals bound unto his will, and vassals
    That help to realize the highest ends.

"Even as he wills empires arise—inventions
    Are seen uniting foreign land to land;
And where but winds and waves held dire contentions
    By sweetest intercourse the deeps are spann'd.

"A victor o'er the elements, a victor
    E'en over self he moves, till lo! appears
Upon the earth he treads the very picture
    Of what can be in the seraphic spheres.

"From higher than the seraph state descended,
    Up to the goal from whence he came he climbs;
And when the days of mortal life are ended,
    Still upward scales he thro' long future times.

"Just as the bee with honey laden flieth,
    To hive the guerdon earned by toil and pang;
So by experience enriched, he hieth
    With power to gift the Power from whom he sprang.

"Yea, ever moves he glory-ward, and ever
    Does glory to the Love Eterne accord!"
Thus rang that voice within my soul, and never
    Shall I forget how sweet the voice thus heard.

 

 
________________________

 
II.

THE DOWNFALL OF MAMMON;
OR, THE POET'S DREAM.


THE baleful era of King Gold has vanished,
    And men disgusted with the part they played,
From out the temple of their hearts are banished
    The idols that debased the souls they swayed.

Man yet hath passions and the cause of passions,
    And so will have in his best future-state;
But he hath reason too, by which he fashions
    Them into servants for a purpose great.

Instead of self-hood and of actions cruel,
    Inspired by Love heroic deeds abound;
And Charity's esteemed a richer jewel
    Than ever yet in Orient mine was found.

Instead of falsehood, Truth his speech inspireth,
    Inspires his thought and permeates the man,
Till lo! the utter'd word a worth acquireth
    Which merely written missives never can.

Instead of Superstition grim and hideous,
    Religion triumphs, and whate'er obtain,
No longer Envy can, with hints invidious,
    Cause man to visit brother man with pain.

Thus in ways manifold, sublime, and glorious,
    The God-sprun tenants of the earth at last,
Arise o'er every mortal ill victorious,
    That made their life a hell-life in the past.

No longer prompted by fell aspirations,
    Doth man send havoc into realms afar
But gains from acts of peace more prized ovations
    Than ever gratified the sons of war.

No longer to his inner part disloyal,
    He learneth, from the still small voice he scorn'd,
How to become a king in act, more royal
    Than ever yet a throne of gold adorn'd.

No longer bound to themes abhorred or hated,
    On highest subjects is the mind employed;
And as by war no Land is desolated,
    From lack of love no heart is left a void.

By cords of sympathy before the altar,
    Not chains of gold are youth and virgin led;
And when the trite "I will" their accents falter,
    From hearts 'tis faltered in affection wed.

No want of union and no fatal duel
    Fought by two hearts in silence grim, if not
In cruel actions or in words as cruel,
    The lot of wedlock makes a bitter lot.

A circle round the hearth-stone, young and olden,
    The family gather, and their feelings blend
And interblend, till in a concord golden
    As one they labour for a noble end.

In time those circles form but inner circles
    To circles greater, till the Nations act
As one vast soul whose sphere with glory sparkles,
    And heaven, the dream on earth, is heaven the fact.

Onward and upward move the Nations, onward
    And ever upward thus the earth-born move,
Till, like the gilded fane that pointeth sunward,
    Their soul-flames touch the flames of those above.

Then, in a way hard to be comprehended,
    As hills are cleft were hills ere time began,
So are the barriers asunder rended
    Which kept apart the Angel and the Man.

Illumed by a light celestial, even
    To them the light beyond the Veil's unfurled
And messages of import sweet are given
    Unto the outer from the inner world.

Not dead are found those whom by death seemed
        captured,
    Not tho' their dust be scattered by the wind—
Not dead but living, and with hearts enraptured,
    Still toiling for the dear ones left behind.

United, soul to loving soul united—
    Blent heaven and earth in one harmonic whole;
Glory to God shout one and all united,
    And halleluiah rings from pole to pole.

The baleful era of King Gold is vanished;
    The idols that debased the soul they chain'd,
From out the temple of the heart are banished;
    And the Millenium's at last obtained.

 

 
________________________

 
III.

THE RIDDLE READ.


I THANK my God I ever lived to see the blessèd day,
    When the spirit's immortality to me is rendered clear
Not by a logic might be made some other tune to play,
    But by a flash of inner light too keen for doubt to bear.

Long, long can death, be death indeed? I asked 'mid
            doubts and fears;
    Long vainly groped in darkness for the jewels I had lost;
Long listened for an answer to the quest expressed in tears,
    And only found what to the heart a bitterer struggle cost.

Oft in the visions of the night, I saw their golden locks;
    I kiss'd their eyes as violets sweet when March with
            boisterous breath,
The lordly oak itself—nay more, the lordly steeple rocks,
    And ever as the morn arose I found them fast in death.

Then said I—if the "be all" and the "end all" of this strife,
    Be but to furnish coronals the temples to adorn
Of Life's imperious Enemy, then, death, and not for life,
    Should be the boon solicited whene'er a babe is born.

Far better man had never been, if in a circle he
    Must travel till the little hour of mortal life is run,
To find when Life's dark riddle's read he then must cease
            to be,
    And the end of all his trouble is the end where he begun.

To labour in a night on which the sun will never rise—
    To sweat and groan without a hope shall end the bitter
            curse,
Save in a dissolution which shall only close our eyes
    On all we love and cherish—all?—what destiny were
            worse?

Nor worse were e'en the lot of those the Danaides of yore,
    Condemn'd the hole-fill'd tanks to fill from which the waters
            gushed
As fast as they the fluid in poured or could the fluid in pour,
    And left them only for their pains a heart by anguish
            crush'd.

Not worse to be like Ixion doom'd on a wheel to spin,
    Transfixed on which the victim sad arrived at every round,
Just where he did the weary, dizzy, dreary round begin,
    Which he—the sore confounded—served the deeper to
            confound.

Not worse to be like Sisyphus, destined up a high hill,
    With many an effort, many a pang, still to uproll a rock,
Which when the goal was all but won, despite an iron will,
    Re-bounded in a way that made his labours vast, a mock.

Not worse to be like these, for these, amid their night of pain,
    Had intervals of hope that would the darkest hour illume;
But what avails to charm the soul who loves and toils—
            and then
    Learns not a vestige of his ME can pass beyond the tomb?

In vain to point the present—what can the present yield,
    Except what proves a mock, and still the heart with
            sorrow fills?
And without the charm a Future Life affords, without a
            shield
    The soul is left to battle with the worst of human ills.

In vain to point the past, in vain, will not its sheen arise
    Upon the mind about to be in death's dark cradle rock'd,
To keener make the thought that when the vital sparklet flies,
    Lock's lies the spirit in the bonds in which the sense is
            lock'd?

To die and be no more is more than we can think, without
    An effort such as rends the heart or petrifies the man;
And when the soul has once began to tread the plain of Doubt,
    The valley of Despair is reached before we halt, or can.

Thus felt I till the truth was found by patient labour sought,
    —By labour and a spirit framed to brook the world's
            harsh scorn;
When gilded by its sheen a soul was mine with rapture
            fraught,
    And may be yours who seek aright the truths I sought
            to learn.

 

 
________________________

 
IV.

THE MISSION.


"I HAVE oped my inner vision,"
    (Spake the Spirit to the Seer,)
"Now I'll show to thee the mission
    Which whatever betides—whate'er—

Thou by heaven's high permission shalt accomplish.—Give ear!


"Thou shalt write and speak, and wholly
    By the gift of speech and song,
Thou shalt make the proud one lowly,
    And the weak in spirit, strong,

And the servitor of folly for the ways of wisdom long.


"Thou shalt teach, he who devises
    Harm for others, harm will meet;
And that he who most despises
    Counsel's—to himself a cheat;

That the wisest of the wise is most devoid of self-conceit.


"Thou shalt speak a word in season
    To the poor in bondage, nor
Forget to say 'tis treason
    Gainst the highest to ignore

The claims of love and reason, and to trample on the poor.


"Thou shalt teach the tyrant master
    How to view his servant's lot;
Not to want the wheels go faster
    Then there's strength to do it—not—

Not to make it a disaster to be cradled in a cot.


"Thou shalt teach the willing toiler,
    Doomed for fee to shape and plan,
He has that which no despoiler
    May divest him of—nor can—

The power to make his scorner feel the dignity of man.


"Thou shalt tell the sordid miser
    Not heaps of guinea gold
Will ever make him wiser—
    For wisdom ne'er was sold,

And lacking which his joys are too meagre to be told.


"Ask what will be his measure,
    When dust to dust's restored;
What shall serve his gold, what pleasure
    Shall gems the soul afford?

And if his worshipped treasure shall be worth one tender word.


"The brighest jewels sparkling
    In the courts above,
Are the deeds encircling
    The heart enshrined in love,

And lacking which we darkling down, ever downward, move.


"All this in words unvarnished,
    Say to the world; and say,
That lives by deeds unvarnished
    Must be deplored—and may

As much as lives crime-tarnished, which other traits display.


"Strike, strike at superstition!
    Bid its slaves with open eyes,
See, in lack of a volition
    For themselves to think, there lies

A more damnable perdition than the bigots can devise.


"Bid each for himself but ponder,
    And e'en though he err, persist;
And the fetters he will sunder,
    That now threaten to resist;

Nay, e'er long he'll come to wonder how so long he lay in mist.


"Risen on the wings of rapture,
    At his freedom, he will soar
Far 'yond the reach of Scripture
    Misconstruers, evermore

To redazzle, to recapture by their guile-engendered lore.


"Leaving churches and their minions,
    Leaving books and bells and beads,
Leaving Craftdom's dark dominions
    To the bigots and their creeds,

He will stamp his bold opinions on the coin of golden deeds.


"Thus thy thought shall like a sabre
    Cut some knot, if not untie,
And some duty to a neighbour
    Do—and yet a nobler—ay,

A higher, holier labour must thy efforts yet employ.


"See, yon desolated woman
    Weeping o'er an infant lost;
Tearing out her hair, consuming
    Life in anguish, till a ghost

She seems and not a woman weeping o'er her baby lost.


"Go, take her hand extended—
    In words of music say,
How the spirit that descended
    Once on Pentecost, yet may

The bosom heal thus rended—say the child's not far away.


"Say, In fact the little jewel
    Not a clod sepulchred lies—
Ah, the cruel creed, the cruel
    Hearts can teach such creed unwise!

That her jewel, yet a jewel will sparkle in her eyes.


"Aloud let it be sounded,
    Whoever were, yet are;
Not lost in space unbounded,
    Not in another star—

That yet around, about us are the friends we deem afar.


"This may sound like a gigantic
    Fiction to the world—'tis true;
And thou be held an antic,
    And bigots not a few

Will with a fury frantic thy lonely steps pursue.


"Slander black, and black detraction,—
    All the poison'd darts of hate,
All the malice of a faction
    Whose wounded pride would sate

Itself on thy distraction, to brook shall be thy fate.


"But thou shalt stand undaunted,
    The arrows at thee hurl'd,
Till on Falsehood's grave implanted
    The flag of Truth's unfurl'd,

And a mighty pæan's chanted by her angels to the world.


"That shall be a day of glory—
    Glory to our God on high—
Glory to the angels o'er ye—
    Glory and exceeding joy—

Glory to the Nations—glory to the seer they'd now destroy.


"Thus I've oped thy inner vision—
    In the language of thy kind
Have shown to thee the mission
    For which thou art designed—

Then go, and with God's blessing do the work to thee assigned."

 
________________________

 
V.

BEHIND THE VEIL.


A PHANTOM to me thou appearest
    But, spite of this seeming, I know,
The magical image thou wearest
    Is real as the lilies in blow—

Is as real and as fair as the fairest of all our fair lilies in blow.


Not alive to the senses external
    Of hearing, the touch, or the sight;
Not aught that would yield to the carnal
    Desire, a delusive delight;

But alive to the spirit art thou and a star to its path day night.


Not alive to the outer, but inner
    Keen sense of the spirit; and when
I'm from the world and its din or
    Low chat of most women and men,

I'm mantled thro' thee in a glory, no pencil could portray, nor pen.


Then lifted on Rapture's bright pinions
    I tread the bright zones of the Blest;
I enter the azure dominions
    Of those who have long been at rest

From turmoil, the strife, the opinions, by which here the Good are
        opprest.


Away o'er the gold-crested mountains,
    I hie, light of foot as the roe;
I drink of the pellucid fountains
    That flow in the valleys below,

And swiftly both valleys and mountains with the deepest
        significance glow.


Then see I expressed in those valleys;
    Then see I enthroned in those hills;
In dew-adorned daffodowndillies,
    And daisies that bloom by the rills—

I see one vast Soul, and that all is but what that inherent Soul wills.


Then see I—But what serves the vision
    Of music-souled bard, seer, or sage,
When Bigotry, Self, Superstition,
    Unite their fell forces to wage

A war upon Truth? Truth divine! and when Learning would fetter
        the age!


What, what would it be to the nations
    Did I give what I'd give for Love's sake?
Would they hark to the blest revelations
    I'd deem it my duty to make?

They'd say I had drank of a potion should doom me to dungeon or
        stake.


Yet freely this much may be spoken,
    That when from her dungeon of clay
—A bird from its fetterlet broken—
    The soul to the spheres wings away,

We find where go not a token of what our learned bigots portray.


There find we in joy or in sorrow
    No day without night, as we're told;
No, no night on which dawneth no morrow;
    But the scrolls of the past are unroll'd,

And we see, as if shown in a mirror, each fact there is there to
        unfold.


On all can be seen by the spirit
    Around us, above, or below;
Nay even the homes we inherit,
    Are graced or defaced, gloom or glow

With merit, our merit, demerit; our joy or shame, glory or woe.


Not in dead pictures merely, but living
    Bright symbols our deed speak and move;
And we see with the gifts we have given,
    In the God-enshrined spirit of love,

The least of our sins, tho' forgiven, can never be cancelled Above.


There see we the unborn Hereafter,
    From out the live Present is born;
That laughers are reft of their laughter,
    The mask from the masker is torn;

The crafty are whipt by their craft and the scorner is met by his
        scorn.


We learn this, but learn too, whatever
    The strength and the hue of our creed,
A good deed's a good deed, and never
    Can other be than a good deed;

That Destiny's self cannot sever nor keep from the worthy their
        meed.


To clear-sighted psychist is granted
    All this and things deeper to know,
That in accents of fire should be chanted
    To creed-ridden mortals below,

Could feelings by which I am haunted, be taught in bright numbers
        to flow.


But of this I despair; and I wander
    With one, once a mortal, to find
The marvels we see, and their grandeur
    Can never be shown to mankind,

Till each for himself's learned to ponder, and feel the sad fact, he
        is blind.

 
________________________

 
VI.

WHAT IS MAN?


WHAT is man?   The question floweth
    From the lips with ease, and yet
He who best could answer knoweth
    Answer true were hard to get:
Not the Sphinx in Egypt olden,
    Did a deeper question ask:
Love to strengthen and embolden
    Be to answer mine the task.

But a feeble mortal merely;
    An immortal now believed:
One too complex to be clearly
    Even by himself conceived:
One both complex and immortal
    Say I inward going—yea;—
Death is but to Life the portal,
    As the poets always say.

From the inner sun a sparklet
    He (Man) glows a star in turn,
From whose life evolving circlet
    Other living powers are born;
This a meteor, that a starlet,
    Burn they while years take wing;
To the cheek the guilt-born scarlet,
    Or the glow of bliss to bring.

Yea, let Empires pass; the granite
    Boulder moulder into clay;
From their pathway star and planet
    And their splendour pass away,
Yet when these have sped, each action,
    And each thought we prize or rue,
To our rapture or distraction
    Shall the soul immortal view.
   
Not our merit or dismerit,
    But to crown or punish—ne'er;
In the regions of the spirit,
    Other ends life's issues bear.
Deeper than the ocean, even,
    Higher than Orion still—
Still to them the power is given,
    On to go for good or ill.

Boundless yet for good and evil;
    Not for good or evil—loth,
Loth were truth to call him devil,
    Man's a god and devil both.
But the devil weakens, stronger
    In his soul the god-head grows,
Till a slave to sin no longer,
    On Life's chequered way he goes.

Up thro' ill the good still rises,
    And the souls thus risen see
What oft hid from dimmer eyes, is
    Without ill no good can be.
Nay, thro' strife with the infernal,
    And the sinful only can,
In the courts of the Eternal,
    Be a high seat won by Man.

From the shattered limbs of Cælus
    Given to the ocean waves,
Venus rose, as legends tell us,
    She whose grace the heart enslaves.
So thro' life with evil shatter'd,
    May we seem a moment, when,
Lo! from out the relics scattered
    Springs what's hailed a God to Men.

What is Man?   You have my answer,
    In a may be less prized song,
Than a tip-toed, tight-rope dance, were
    By yon wonder stricken throng.
Yet however weak it seemeth
    'Tis from one the truth would know,
And for Truth's advantage streameth—
    Would all lauded songs did so.

 
________________________

 
VII.

THE SOUL'S HEREAFTER.


DIES not the soul when dust to dust is given;
    Even as we are in earth-life are we still,
Save from the worn-out garment rent and riven,
    That may have proved a fetter to the will.

Not unto demons void of good converted,
    Not unto angels void of error—no;
But human-spirited, and human-hearted,
    We on our way with pain or pleasure go.

Not reft of feeling—nay, with feelings keener
    To others' woes, more keen to others' joys;
With bosoms purer and with minds serener—
    Though human still, more humane we and wise.

Not more to be despised, nor venerated,
    For aught from change of state acquired or caught.
But at our inner value estimated,
    Shall we be shunned or courted as we ought.

Not to their fabled hell, nor fabled heaven,
    By the good Father's will are we consigned,
But to a sphere of human action—even,
    To one adapted to each frame and mind.

Not one sweet feeling passeth unrewarded
    Not one black deed can go unpunished—not—
Not one swift thought can vanish unrecorded
    And give no colour to our future lot.

Not words but thoughts, and not on faith but actions,
    And on whatever gives our acts their hue,
The heart's allurements, and the mind's distractions—
    Is based the verdict we shall prize or rue.

Yes, such the future that awaits the spirit;
    Then let us pause and think while pause we can,
How best we may the meed eternal merit,
    That shall be to the weal eterne of man.

 
________________________

 
VIII.

THE INNER CONFLICT.


THRICE "Iö Pæan!" let me cry,
    And bless the hour that I was born
And born thro' love in vain to sigh—
    To cheer my longing heart a morn
Has risen in my ebon sky,
    Such as did e'er my sky adorn;
And now with shout triumphant, lo!
A victor on my way I go.

A tenant of some curse-girt sphere
    Long seem'd I—even so—and Pain
Still by a destiny severe,
    Had power my spirit to enchain,
Or to impel his venomed spear
    Up to the hilt in heart and brain;
And this he did—but this once done,
The measure of his power was run—

Yea, having brooked the worst, I felt
    The power within, with steadfast gaze,
To scan the blows upon me dealt,—
    Life's issues to their cause to trace;
And whilst I looked, the fogs did melt
    That swathed my ken—and face to face
I stood with Fate's own self and viewed
The secret of the lash I'd rued.

Illumined by an inner light,
    My past a pictured scroll became,
In which my sorrow, my delight,
    My hope, my fear, my pride, my shame,
Assumed a shape and colour quite
    Beyond the power of speech to name—
A chronicle mysterious, man
Engrossed by self might never scan.

Yet gazing on that mystic scroll,
    Enough of its contents was read,
To teach my desolated soul,
    Not all in vain she'd pined and bled
Beneath the lash, the dire control
    Of passions fierce, by beauty fed;—
Nor yet in vain her longings—if
She read aright this hieroglyph.

This learned I from that scroll, and learned
    The way by which to rend the chain
Had kept my soul in self inurned:
    Unhappy self that would obtain,
Whatever won is ever mourn'd,
    Whose blessings e'er as bans remain—
Ah, would that men would reek this reed,
So would their hearts less often bleed.

With feelings sharpened—eye and ear—
    For others weal I then did learn
To shed the sympathetic tear,
    To wile the frown from temples stern;
To do the thing desired to cheer,
    To speak the word required to warn;
And in return a boon did find,
In all appeals to heart and mind.

Ay, with the All-enwoven—both
    The outer and the inner world
Did I survey—e'en in the froth
    By Life's imperious surges hurled
In its unutterable wroth,
    As worthy only to be furl'd
In limbo's bosom—on Time's sands,
A sheen that seen the soul expands.

That glory in the grass, as sung
    By deep-souled bard, and in the flower
A glamour o'er my spirit flung,
    And strove—nor vainly—to re-dower
Her with that bliss from which we sprung,
    When in creation's natal hour
God said, "Let there be Light!"—and up
She leapt enraptured with Life's cup.

Then "Iö Pæans!" let me cry,
    And bless the hour that I was born,
And born thro' Love to languish—ay,
    To curse that natal hour—a morn
Has risen in my spirit's sky,
    Such as did ne'er that sky adorn
And now with shout triumphant, lo!
A victor on my way I go.

 
________________________

 
IX.

THE THOUGHT TOILER.


A THOUGHT TOILER, faint and o'ercome by his labours,
And the manifold troubles by which he was girt,
Combined with the titters and sneers of his neighbours,
Lost heart, and thus vented the pangs of his heart:—

"I'm a-weary with care, I'm a-weary with care,
Surrounded with woes that no mortal can bear,
Whilst I gaze on the night of my ills and survey,
Not a star to direct my lorn soul on its way.

"I'm shorn of my strength, and the few are my years,
The winter of life on my aspect appears;
Ay, the feeling of death steals apace round my core,
Like the sea-waves around yon lone rock on the shore."

So rang the wild wail, when a voice from the spheres,
Where dwell the good angels, awoke on his ears—
"Refrain from thy tears, from thy sorrows refrain,
The gloom that engirts thee shall vanish again.

"Tho' in shadows the car of thy destiny's driven,
And thy hopes are extinguished, thy bosom-chords riven,
Not, not in one battle for right hast thou striven
Unwitness'd by God and the angels of heaven.

"And could but thy eyes now be open'd as they
Will be opened, and not in a far distant day,
Thou would'st see for thy trials, a guerdon more bright
Than the jewels that garnish the mantle of night.

"For the lava of thought that has sparkled and burned,
In thy innermost soul's to a diadem turned
And every tear thou hast shed is a gem,
That enhances the worth of that rare diadem.

"And every sigh thou hast breathed to a tone
Far sweeter than music on waters has grown;
And that music will flow in thy new-opened ears,
With a might that shall lead thee to bless the past years.

"Ah, then shalt thou see not in vain hast thou wept;
Not in vain hast thou laboured whilst others have slept
Not in vain hast thou sorrowed whilst others entranced
With the pleasures that perish have giggled and danced.

"And every trouble and every burden,
And every pang thou hast felt and endured,
Shalt thou find," cried the voice, "has its own precious
        guerdon!"
And the Toiler at this to his strength was restored.

 
________________________

 
X.

THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.


I'm the spirit Enimalina, thy guardian angel, and
Drawn hither by a subtle law but few can understand—
The golden cord of sympathy, I leave the summer-land,
    Thy aching brows with lilies to entwine.

I've watched thee late and early, I've watched thee on the
        morn;
And when the sun has left the sky, and Luna like a lorn
Dejected maid has brought the hour most prized by hearts,
    I thy aching brows with lilies have entwined.

I've watched thee in the battle with the many ills of Life,
And then when sleep has seized thee, only to renew the
        strife
In dreams, has made, thy woe too rife, appear more keen
        and rife,
    I thy aching brows with lilies have entwined.

I've watched when dark and dreary has been thy horoscope;
And when thou strength has needed most with cark and
        care to cope,
I've nerved thy arm, into thy heart have poured the oil of
         hope—
    I thy aching brows with lilies have entwined.


1878.

 


END OF PSYCHICS POEMS.



Printed by WALTER SCOTT, Felling, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

THE END.

 


 

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