Others
Wayside Flowers
19th Jul 2013Posted in: Others, The Confederation Poets 0

WAYSIDE FLOWERS.
BY
HARRIET ANNIE WILKINS.
WITH A
PREFACE
BY
THE REV. WILLIAM STEPHENSON.
TORONTO:
HUNTER, ROSE & COMPANY.
1876.
[unnumbered page]

[blank page]

Dedication.


 

   To the memory of those who watched my infancy, whose love gladdened my childhood, whose prayers strengthened my better purposes, whose holy example I would emulate, and the precious memories of whom I would not relinquish for aught terrestrial—to the memory of my sainted Parents the following pages are inscribed.

H. A. W. [unnumbered page]

[blank page]

PREFACE.


IT is now eighteen years since I became acquainted with Miss Wilkins. I had already seen a small volume of her poems, with many of which poems I was favourably impressed. When I met her, therefore, I was solicitous to know somewhat of her history and circumstances. I found that she was the daughter of a deceased minister, that her mother was in infirm health, and that the care of two younger members of the family devolved largely upon herself. I also found that, to eke out a precarious subsistence for mother, self and family, she was teaching a small private school, and giving lessons in music. From that time to the present I have felt a deep interest in what she has attempted and achieved. With that sympathy which is always found in company with goodness, she has sought and found many spheres of useful Christian labour, viz., visiting the sick, sucking out “the neglected and the forgotten,” conducting Bible Classes in our gaol, and ministering, by her counsels and [unnumbered page] her prayers, to the encouragement and comfort of many. In the midst of necessary toil, and her unostentatious and unrecorded works of benevolence, she has continued to court the Sacred Nine. Her effusions are, to a great extent, lyrical, and many of them of a very high character. There is a delicacy, a beauty, a tenderness, together with a rich hue of thought, pervading almost all she has written. Her martial strains are whole-souled, and ring out the brave unconquerable spirit with unusual force. “The Soldier of Auvergne,” “The Death of Captain Headley Vicars,” and many others of this class, have seldom been surpassed. Her “Tears,” when shed, almost invariably find responsive drops in other’s eyes. As a poet she is natural, hearty and pure, not straining after effect. She nevertheless accomplishes what many more showy than she cannot attain to. I speak thus touching such of her poetry as has already appeared in print; and I can speak equally definite as to such MSS. as I have examined. I sincerely hope that Miss Wilkins, in this her effort to collect into one volume such pieces as, from their intrinsic merit, ought to live, will be met by a generous public with the patronage she so truly deserves.

WM. STEPHENSON.

“WESLEY CHURCH” PARSONAGE,
     HAMILTON, Nov., 1875. [page vi]

CONTENTS.


PAGE

The Forest Stream

9

A True Story

11

On laying the corner stone of the Masonic Hall, Hamilton, July 1st, 1873

16

Twin Daughters

19

Panthea

21

Legend of Strasbourg Cathedral

25

Wings

28

Marching Song of the XIIIth Battalion

31

The Prairie Flower

32

Death of Gaudentis

34

The Cross on the Carpet

37

A Mournful Journey

39

Lines

41

The burden of Dumah

43

Evelyn’s lover at her deathbed

45

Silent Worship

48

In the corn fields

50

The Prince of Wales at the Tomb of Washington

53

Vincennes

56

A three-fold prayer

60

First funeral in Middle Park Colorado

63

My birthday

65

The Healer

68

A Story of the Past

70

The Evening Message

73

To Minnie

75

Rockbay

77

The Soldier of Auvergne

79

A late Visitor

81

Recollections

83

Flowers for Prince Albert’s Coffin

85

The Officer’s Farewell

88

Love’s Requital

91

King Edwin and the Thane

94

On the death of Rev. Dr. E. Neville

97

The Magdalene

99

The Emigrant Bird

100

Christmas Sonnet

104

Nina in the dungeon of Rienzi

105

A Soldier’s Story

108

On a Picture

111

The old Fisherman

114

On the death of Edward Mason, Esq.

118

The Palais Cardinal

120

On the Mountain Top

124

Alfreda to Seiler

127

The Prayer of David

130

The clouded Star

132

Coronation of Godfrey de Bouillon

133

Hope

136

Prayer for the Absent

138

Our Father’s Grave

140

Beautiful Lilly

142

The Ruins of Copan

144

[unnumbered page]

To Baby Bickle

147

Our Rector’s Christmas greeting

149

On the burial of a Member of the Order of Odd-fellows

152

The Queen’s Prayer

155

“I sometimes think it were best”

158

Answer to “I sometimes think it were best”

159

Requiescat

163

Coleraine

166

On the arrival of the “Etowah”

170

The Catacombs of Rome

173

Midnight

175

Isabella of Valois

177

Only so tired

180

Frozen to death

183

Ten thousand men to the Front

186

O’erwearied

188

In Memoriam

190

Aleine

193

Wandering

196

Twice Asleep

198

Funeral of Captain Malcolmson

201

Rahab

204

An Apostrophe over the grave of Brant

208

A Remembrance

212

On the Desjardin’s Catastrophe

215

Death of Captain Headley Vicars

218

“Far better”

221

Death of King Henry II

223

Under the Snow

228

Festival of St. John the Baptist

230

Festival of St. John the Evangelist

233

The battle of Ridgeway

236

The bridegroom’s reverie

239

Passeth away

242

Employment in Heaven

245

Lake Ontario at sunset

248

Queen Victoria at the nuptials of her Son

250

The Pilgrim’s Song of Confidence

254

[page viii]

 

WAYSIDE FLOWERS.


THE FOREST STREAM.

THERE flows a stream in the forest shade,
Rippling its course through the mossy glade;
Onward it flows to the rushing lake,
Over the pebbles, through fen and brake;
The maple bends o’er its surface mild,
Like a parent fondling a loving child,
And the shady leaves of the mountain ash
Into the face of its mirror dash.

All day long, through the burning hours,
It sprinkles spray on the fainting flowers—
When the fiery sun exhales the mist
From leaves which the dewdrop softly kissed;
It laves the roots of the rocking pines,
It sings a song to the climbing vines,
And the young buds curl themselves to sleep,
Rocked by the music so clear and deep. [unnumbered page]

And onward still does the water pass,
O’er the bloodless veins of the tangled grass:
The quivering lilies feel its touch,
And the wild rose leaf has a richer blush;
And all the long and noiseless night
The stars peer down from their azure height,
Keeping their watch with the stream that flows,
Blessing and loving wherever it goes.

I wonder if we, as our path we take,
On to the waves of Eternity’s lake—
I wonder if we shed as bright a gleam
Around our path as that forest stream.
Heart of Pride! come down to the river,
Look in the depths where the lilies quiver;
Passion, Ambition, your fury lave
In the founts of that softly murmuring wave!

God of the flowers, the trees, the brooks,
Teach us Life’s lesson from Nature’s books!
So may we pass through Immanuel’s ground,
In love’s sweet service for ever found.
Angels of Purity! near us stay,
Angels of Charity! light our way,
While through the forest of Life we roam,
Steadily, patiently, journeying home. [page 10]

 

A TRUE STORY.

          “Ye who believe that human hearts are human;
          That even in savage bosoms there are longings
          For the good they comprehend not;
          That feeble hands and helpless,
          Groping blindly in the darkness,
          Touch God’s right hand in that darkness,
          And are lifted up and strengthened:
          List to this simple story.”—Longfellow.

 

IN THE STORM.

THEY tell me I am going soon. I know it; all night long
I pant for breath, and cough and cry, and think of all my wrong:
And dark wild things before me dance; I can see an open grave,
And I’m sinking—falling lower, and no one near to save.
I had a happy childhood, and a pure and quiet home,
Where the flowers had a dwelling, and singing birds would come;
And kneeling at my mother’s knee, I knew no pain nor fear,
And now—God help me—she’s in heaven, and I am dying here.

Yes, yes, for such as you there’s hope, there’s mercy in the heaven,
But we, in our dark haunts of shame, no hope to us is given. [page 11]
Oh, often on a Sabbath morn, in the lovely summer time,
In my home of sin, I’ve listened to th’ Ascension church bells’ chime,
And I’ve longed so earnestly to go those sacred walls within,
And yet I dared not venture there in all my life of sin.
Must I say the Ten Commandments? for they burn like words of fire,
That every time I think of them flame fierce, hotter, higher.

Say, can I call the lost years back, the long dark years of crime?
Must I suffer on for ever, for the ills I’ve done in time?
Oh, talk, or read, or pray; give me some help, if aid
May come to one who, without hope, is walking in the shade.
Oh yes, there hangs a dreadful cloud about my aching head,
And perhaps before the morning light I may be with the dead.
I want one draught of water, cool, from my father’s mossy well,
And one more look at the old farm house where I was used to dwell.

Once, once again before you go, tell me of her who came 
And washed with tears the feet of Him who bore for her the shame;
I’ve heard such blessed words before, in the days of holier life, [page 12] 
Before the light was smothered up with sin, and pain, and strife.
Yes, I’ll try and think of Him who said, ‘Thy sins are all forgiven!’
Many, but all forgiven—alas! for me there is no heaven.
I will try to think of Christ to-night as He hung upon the tree,
And for your sake I will try to think that He hung there for me.

 

AFTER THE TEMPEST.

Only a few short weeks ago, and I am here, oh strange,
That o’er my dark and dying soul has come so blest a change,
For it is over now, dear friend, all the darkness and the dread.
Last night, ‘twas after midnight, as I lay upon my bed,
I was thinking of the garden, and poor Mary weeping there,
Talking to the Lord of Life, saying, “They’ve laid Him where?”
And then it seemed His blessed voice spoke to me, called my name,
And I, like Mary, said “Rabboni,” and to me He came.

Here are dresses rich and costly, and sparkling jewels rare;
Shall I whisper whose hand places those gems, one evening, in my hair! [page 13] 
Ah! we are sinners, lady, but we’re sinned against as well;
Men keep their rank in social life, while we with outcasts dwell.
Bend down, I want to whisper low a name within your ear,
I love him yet, God pardon me, let no one this name hear;
I want you to remember it, that when I’m in the grave,
If ever this should haunt his soul, you’ll tell him I forgave.

Tell my father God will bless him for that letter which he sent,
And his erring girl will go the way that her loving mother went.
Will you send these curls for me to my little sisters fair,
And this trinket to my brother with his dying sister’s prayer?
Oh, I’ve thought of what you told me, that heaven is quite as nigh
This dying bed, as the dear old home where I so wished to die.
I am very faint to-day, but if I never see you more
You’ll know me when you’ve landed upon the summer shore.

The hours are long that I lie here, often alone all night,
But gloriously last eve there rose the full moon calm and bright,
And one clear ray streamed down, so pure, directly on my face, [page 14] 
It seemed the path that I shall go, to meet the Lord of grace.
Oh! sing to me, once more, about the “Rock of Ages” sweet,
“Nothing in my hand,” that’s me, I lie at Jesus’ feet.
“When I soar”—the moonbeam path—the angels know the road,
Good-bye, we’ll meet again some day, before the throne of God. [page 15]

 

ON LAYING THE CORNER STONE OF THE MASONIC HALL, HAMILTON, JULY 1st, 1873.

MIGHTY Architect, to Thee
Humbly now we make our plea;
Sun and star and boundless space
Cannot veil Thy radiant face;
Thine undimmed, All-seeing Eye,
Can their every work descry,
Who would now, with ancient rite,
Build to honour, truth and might.

As the walls progressive rise
Midway ‘twixt the earth and skies,
Save from harm, and wound, and fear,
All whose handicraft is here:
Give the builders skill to hew
Every stone and timber true—
Let our building, firm and fair,
Grow by level, plumb and square.

When within the walls complete
Moves the tread of Mason’s feet,
Send Thy Spirit here to brood,
Polish every ashlar rude;
Here may plans of love be brought,
Here may deeds of love be wrought—
Give us, ere our labours cease,
Visions of Thy Lodge of Peace. [page 16] 

When the weary traveller turns
Where the fire of friendship burns,
Wheresoe’er his home may be—
Southern sky or northern sea—
Fainting with his journey o’er
Life’s strange tesselated floor,
Here, by love’s sweet influence blest,
Give our weary brother rest.

When, O Father, pure and good,
One of our loved brotherhood,
In some dark and trying hour,
Yieldeth to temptation’s power—
When he mourns here, sin’s sad blot,
(For who lives and sinneth not?)
Draw the poison from his soul—
Make our sin-sick brother whole.

Holy Father, when we meet
Here, to march with mournful feet,
Where a sleeping brother lies,
With pale hands and fast-closed eyes;
When our future hopes are seen,
In the fadeless evergreen,
Stand with us beside the bier,
Blest Unseen, yet ever near.

Give the pilgrims holy light,
Guide them through the darkest night;
Give Thy soldiers power to keep
Watch and ward until they sleep; [page 17] 
Give Thy craftsmen skill to build
Arch and tower with beauty filled,
And in each emergency,
Turn their eyes alone to Thee.

And at length when Time’s scythe falls
Upon us who rear these walls,
May we, through Death’s vale of strife,
Find the road to endless life;
Here, so learn each mystic sign—
Here, so work each rule of Thine,
That the Angel Wardens may
Pass us to Eternal Day.  [page 18]

 

TWIN DAUGHTERS.

A MOTHER’S IDYL.

TWENTY-TWO years this very day,
   My Alice and Rose were born;
Twelve years ago one started away,
   The other went yestermorn.

I’m all alone in my room to-night,
   Yet it seems but one hour ago
That I kissed good night to two pretty babes,
   In their slumber warm and low.

Rose, my darling! her father’s pride,
   She went with the summer leaves;
But she seems mine still; I can hear her voice
   In the breezes about the eaves.

One went out from her mother’s arms,
   Amid sob and wailing low;
The other with music of bridal glee
   And flowers around her brow.

One has only the cemetery damp,
   And dying mosses above;
The other is queen of a stately home,
   And a manly heart of love.

Very grim was the stalwart form
   Who came for my precious Rose, [page 19] 
But he opened the gates of the garden blest,
   Where the bud of Paradise grows.

Alice has gone with her lover true,
   The light of his home and hall;
So my dear dead child with the golden curls
   Is nearest to me after all.

Some day, Alice, our household pride,
   Will fold her delicate hands,
And as day declines she’ll look out afar,
   To her fair young sister’s lands.

Yes, Alice will wait the coming of Rose,
   At the setting of life’s sun,
But Rose, in God’s garden, will never miss
   The love her sister has won. [page 20]

 

PANTHEA.

ENDED at last the battle,
   And the mighty victor King
Turned to his officers and said,
   “My friend and brother bring;”
Then, leaping on his war steed,
   He searched and searched in vain,
Till, on the banks of Pactolus,
   King Cyrus drew his rein.

Then solemnly and fearfully
   He held his softest breath;
He, who had seen his thousands die,
   Looked tearfully on death;
For the beautiful Panthea sat
   Upon the river’s brim,
And in her lap a dead man lay,
   While thus she spake to him:

“Are these the loving, glowing lips that oft to mine were pressed?
Are these still limbs the giant arms that bound me to his breast?
Are these bright eyes for ever closed, that voice for ever still?
Do I see the soldiers make his grave upon that sunny hill?
Oh! Prince; my Prince, my husband, loved; that these poor hands of mine [page 21] 
Should have bound this golden helmet around these brows of thine;
That these very fingers trimmed this robe as for a conqueror meet—
A conqueror’s robe? a victor’s dress? my lover’s winding sheet.
And yet, oh yet, it may be that, far away from here,
Where the mighty Oromas-des reigns in his undarken’d sphere,
The good like mine, the brave, who fall upon their burnished shields
May live with him for ever in his Elysian fields.
Oh! strange and unknown God of light—the God of day and love—
Receive the soul of this clay corpse into Thine halls above;
Oh! not for all his goodness, no; nor yet for all his sin;
But of Thine own immortal love, let this poor wanderer in.”

           And the mighty Cyrus left his steed,
              And, with uncovered brow,
           Beside the dead he bent the knee—
              What was his victory now?
           And precious spice, and glittering gems,
              He laid beside the dead;
           The lady kissed his royal hand,
              And, amid tears, she said:

“Thanks, generous Cyrus; at this hour, let me plead with thy truth;
Forgive thy friend Arapes for that fiery love of youth; [page 22] 
Recall thy banished friend; in him there dwells no cause for shame;
He quelled the passion of his soul, and I was not to blame.
Oh! by the gods that gave this day thy foemen to the breeze,
And by this sacred dust that lies so calmly on my knees,
Oh, set Araspes’ friendship back, as a seal upon thine arm,
For never yet, by word or deed, sought he to work me harm.

“Heaven send us, mighty Cyrus, that in some far-off land
We may, beside a river pure, together loving stand;
For in far Babylon I’ve heard good Beltheshazzar speak
Of one he called Re-deemer, and a shelter to the weak,
For they on whom the fire stayed not, had Him in that bright flame,
And Belteshazzar taught my dead to love that mystic name.
If this be true, oh noble King, may we in that land dwell;
Kind friend, beloved of my Prince, till we meet there, farewell.

“Leave me, my friends, once more alone, only a little while—
You’ve made his grave on yonder hill, where the sweet flowers smile—
Look at the odorous burial gifts his royal friend has brought, [page 23] 
And the glittering ornaments, and rare, his noble vassals wrought.
But wrap me in the self-same robe in which the Prince sleeps still,
And lay my body in his grave, upon the grassy hill:
There’s room for two to slumber there—two that in life were one,
And it may be two may worship there, on the bosom of the Sun.”

           Then turned away the soldiers,
              And the lady’s faithful nurse;
           Their falling tears, their moaning sighs,
              Told of earth’s bitter curse.
           Then back they came—the mourner
              Was sleeping—so they gave
           The faithful wife, the warrior Prince,
              One winding-sheet—one grave. [page 24] 

 

LEGEND OF STRASBOURG CATHEDRAL.

OUT on the quiet midnight air,
   The thrilling summons swells,
As on the eve of loved St. John,
   Peal out the solemn bells;
A city unawakened lies
   Beneath the mournful sound,
Down street and avenue and lane,
   A silence reigns profound.

But up from vault and mouldering crypt
   Arise a silent band,
Once the true builders of that pile,
   The guardians of their land;
And silently each takes his place;
   Masters, well robed, are there—
Craftsmen, Apprentices, and each
   With gavel, compass, square.

Then the old Masons meet again,
   Where once their work was known,
Where in sweet music petrified,
   Stands each well-chiselled stone:
With silent presages of love
   Each doth his brother cheer:
Time-honoured salutations pass
   Among Companions dear. [page 25] 

Then on the weird procession moves,
   Through the dim lighted nave,
Adown the long and columned aisles,
   Where mystic banners wave.
Over the gleaming marble floor,
   Past the old Knights that keep
Their watch and ward with cross and sword,
   The shadowy Masons sweep.

But near the spire, one female form
   Floats, white-robed, pale and cold,
Mallet and chisel, damp with age,
   Her slender fingers hold.
Loved daughter of the Master, she
   Aided each heavy task;
Beside her father, morn and eve,
   No respite did she ask.

Bread for the hungry Craftsmen, she
   Duly prepared and wrought,
And words of Faith, and Hope, and Love
   She to the workmen brought.
Thirsting, she cooled their parching lips;
   Wearied, she heard their sighs;
Fevered, she fanned their throbbing brows;
   Dying, she closed their eyes.

Ghost-like and pale, the once strong men
   Glide over each known spot,
And from the memories of the past,
   Awaken scenes forgot. [page 26] 
No mortal being hath caught the sound,
   Or grasped the palsied hand,
Of they who thus fraternally
   Sweep round each column grand.

Thrice round the olden building, then
   They take their mystic way;
“Happy to meet,” they converse hold,
   Till the first dawn of day.
Then down in each sepulchral bed,
   The Masons take their rest,
Till next St. John’s loud midnight bell,
   Stirs through each phantom breast.

This is the legend; but far down
   A solemn lesson lies
For all who would their work should stand
   Before the Master’s eyes:
A voice from Heaven strews words of hope
   Round grave, and vault, and sea,
“From labours freed, their works remain;
   They did it unto me.” [page 27]

 

WINGS.

   “Then I said, Oh, for wings like a dove, then would I flee away and be at rest.”

—DAVID.

ON a lonely rock I lay with dark billows all around me,
And the furious tide came dashing up from ocean waves that bound me;
Nearer and nearer drew the storm, and on my cheeks and lips
Came the dashing of the salt sea waves; the sun was in eclipse,
Yet, lifting up my eyelids, far away above the shrouds
I saw the golden turrets gleam among the ink-black clouds;
          “Then I said, Oh, for wings!”

I wiled away the summer morn in the far-off forest shade;
There were sweet wild roses in the bush, green moss upon the glade;
The birds chirped in their happy nests, the brook went purling by,
The pine trees met the zephyr’s kiss, beneath the cloudless sky,
When, all too late, I learnt that poisonous flowers lave
Their death-charged roots in the same stream where purest lilies wave;
Helpless and prone upon the grass my swollen limbs I laid, [page 28] 
While bird and brook and whispering wind sweet harmony still made;
          “Then I said, Oh, for wings!”

I tarried in a city—here at least I’ll find my kin—
Here are stately mansions whose wide gates will kindly let me in;
Here are poor and sin-degraded ones whom I can raise to light;
Yes, here I’ll find a calm repose, bright day and peaceful night;
But, ah, the dismal wailing voice of misery and woe,
The pains, the sins, the broken hearts the sons of Adam know.
So, with the wearisome refrain, my soul was bowed,
My heart was filled, like David’s, with the scorning of the proud;
          “Then I said, Oh, for wings!”

Then I stood within my dwelling—here at least I am secure
From the scornful looks of all the proud, from the wailings of the poor;
I’ll cherish pretty flowers, and I’ll feed my gentle doves,
I’ll make my fence of human strength and feed on human loves;
But, while I spoke, the winter frost nipped up my cherished flowers,
And I heard the cooing of my doves in very far-off bowers;
Ah! they had wings, but I had none, and midnight dark drew on— [page 29] 
And voice, and step, and folding arms, and sweet love’s kiss were gone;
          “Then I said, Oh, for wings!”

So broken-hearted as I lay, in the gloom of that dark night,
I heard a voice whose tone I knew, and my soul grew all alight;
“Why ask for wings? It is for me you suffer—work and wait
Only a little while, and you shall pass the mystic gate;
Weave out such robes as angels wear, love is the warp and woof;
Work on; I’ll surely come for you beneath this very roof:
Only, for me be ready; that at whatever hour
I come you be all prepared for the never-fading bower;—
          I promise you the wings.”

So I try to wait in patience now—I shall have the wings, I know;
And covered with fine gold they’ll be—the King has told me so;
And though at times upon the rock I still endure the storm,
And ‘mong the fairest flowers I see the serpent’s form,
And sometimes, in the cold clear draught, the poison stains the cup;
And often, in the lonely hours, sweet voices say “Come up;”
I try to weave my daily task until ‘tis said to me,
“Rise quickly, for the Master comes: He’s waiting now for thee,
          And He has brought you wings.” [page 30]

 

MARCHING SONG OF THE XIIIth  BATTALION.

MARCH boldly on, march side by side, stand or fall,
   With patriot zeal, no room for coward fears;
Together march, we’re loyal-hearted all—
   Hurrah! hurrah! Canadian Volunteers.

With steady aim and loyal heart, each is there
   To guard our homes, and shield the loved of years;
And they who doubt may prove it when they dare—
   Hurrah! hurrah! Canadian Volunteers. [page 31]

 

THE PRAIRIE FLOWER.

(Written on receiving the Indian name of “Kejej-a-you,” or Prairie Flower.”)

 

MY brethren of the forest wild,
Why have ye loved the stranger’s child?
Why do the hands that bend the bow,
Now wreathe, the pale-faced orphan’s brow,
In your own dense and trackless woods,
Beside the gushing torrent floods?
Is there no dark herb nestling there,
Whose name the one ye love may bear?
Take back the loveliest of your bower,
And call me not the “Prairie Flower.”

A thousand lovely tints all blend,
Where its pure offerings ascend;
The warmest sun, the sweetest dews,
Hover to nurse its brilliant hues.
The young winds leave their hiding cave,
This delicate flower’s stems to wave;
Yet smiles it in the dreariest hour,
Then call me not the “Prairie Flower.”

The stranger, worn with changeless scene,
Starts to behold its leaf of green;
And stoops to clasp it to his breast,
The fairest blossom of the West.
Hope’s bright rays to his heart are given;
He gains a bolder trust in Heaven; [page 32] 
His soul hath won a priceless dower,
Then call me not the “Prairie Flower.”

The Indian driven from his way,
Far in the Western wild to stray,
Beholds the pale face near his home,
Where only should the red man roam.
Nought is the same ‘neath those strange skies,
Save his own flower’s smiling eyes;
That beam unchanged by sun or shower,
Then call me not the “Prairie Flower.”

Sons of the ancient Mohawk, wait
Till we have passed Death’s dreary gate;
Until the tesselated floor
By weary pilgrims is passed o’er;
Until we bow before that shrine
Where bends thy father, Chief, and mine;
There call’d to life by Christ’s own power,
Deathless shall rise your “Prairie Flower.”

When our Solomon shall stand,
Glorious among his chosen band,
And speak of all the forest trees,
That bloomed ‘mid Earth’s ungenial breeze,
There may my Indian brothers wait,
Lebanon’s cedars tall and straight;
And ‘neath your shade in some sweet bower,
May you behold your “Prairie Flower.” [page 33]

 

DEATH OF GAUDENTIS.

   The following inscription was found in the Catacombs by Mr. Perret, upon the tomb of the Architect of the Coliseum:—

“Thus thou keepest thy promise, O Vespasian! the rewarding with death him, the crown of thy glory in Rome. Do rejoice, O Gaudentis; the cruel tyrant promised much, but Christ gave thee all, Who prepared thee such a mansion.”—Professor J. De Launay’s Lectures on the Catacombs.

 

BEFORE Vespasian’s regal throne,
   Skilful Gaudentis stood;
“Build me,” the haughty monarch cried,
   “A theatre for blood.
I know thou’rt skilled in mason’s work,
   Thine is the power to frame
Rome’s Coliseum, vast and wide,
    An honour to thy name.

“Over seven acres spread thy work,
   And by the gods of Rome,
Thou shalt hereafter by my side
   Have thy resplendent home.
A citizen of Roman rights.
   Silver and golden store,
These shall be thine; let Christian blood
   But stain the marble floor.”

So rose the Amphitheatre,
   Tower and arch and tier:
There dawned a day when martyrs stood,
   Within that ring of fear. [page 34] 
But strong their quenchless trust in God,
   And strong their human love,
Their eyes of faith, undimmed, were fixed
   On temples far above.

And thousands gazed in brutal joy
   To watch the Christians die,
But one beside Vespasian leaned,
   With a strange light in his eye.
What thoughts welled up within his breast,
   As on that group he gazed—
What gleams of holy light from heaven
   Upon his dark soul blazed!

Had he by password gained access
   To the dark catacomb,
And learnt the hope of Christ’s beloved,
   Beyond the rack, the tomb?
The proud Vespasian o’er him bends—
   “My priceless architect,
To-day I will announce to all
   Thy privilege elect;

A free-made citizen of Rome”—
   Calmly Gaudentis rose,
And folding o’er his breast, his arms,
   Turned to the Saviour’s foes;
And in a strength not all his own,
   With Life and Death in view,
The fearless architect exclaimed,
   “I am a Christian too!” [page 35] 

Only a few brief moments passed,
   And brave Gaudentis lay,
Within the amphitheatre,
   A lifeless mass of clay.
Vespasian promised him the rights
   Of proud Imperial Rome,
But Christ with martyrs crowned him King,
   Beneath Heaven’s cloudless dome. [page 36] 

 

THE CROSS ON THE CARPET.

OPPRESSED with the weight of life’s cares which around me were pressing,
And trying to feel out the right path for my feet in the darkness,
With a heart very sad, and a head wildly throbbing and aching,
I sat down on the footstool and rested my head in my hands;
The room was all darkened, and something within the still chamber
Seemed to the dark misty cloud which lay on my heart to re-echo;
Suddenly as a fresh thought of sorrow arose on my vision,
I raised up my head, and as I sat facing the window, 
There lay in its silvery beauty a brilliant cross on the carpet,
Made by the light shining in through two chinks in the shutters,
Which had gracefully swayed to return the salute of the south wind.
It was but a gleam of a sunbeam’s life-giving glances,
At which thousands of eyes might have looked and seen nothing;
Nothing but light streaming in through two chinks in the shutters;
But I thought of the mount where the sandalled footsteps of Moses [page 37] 
Halted, to see the bright fire flame suddenly up in the branches:
And I thought of the pillar of light which heralded Israel,
Forty long years, day and night, through the wilderness;
And I thought of the sign of our Christian militant warfare,
And I asked myself was I fit to wear the Company’s armour;
And that silvery cross that lay there beaming so still on the carpet,
Seemed like the delicate fringe on the wing of Hope’s angel,
Or the flashing of Faith’s trusty sword thrown back in the distance;
So I learnt a sweet lesson from that brilliant cross on the carpet,	
And no more that day found room in my heart for mistrusting. [page 38]

 

A MOURNFUL JOURNEY.

   “Moreover, I saw in my dream that her children wept, but Mr. Great Heart and Mr. Valiant for Truth played on the cymbal and harp for joy.”—PILGRIM’S PROGRESS.

 

WE have been down to the river;
   We all must track;
Of the company of pilgrims,
One came not back.
The waters were dark and troubled,
   The storm winds blew,
But safely, ‘mid shoal and tempest,
   Our loved passed through.

We have been down to the river,
   And the chilling dash
Of the dark drops cling to us yet,
   With their murky splash;
But the victor knew no trembling—
   Only flashes of light,
From the golden gates reflecting
   On garments white;

Only the earnest glance of faith,
   To see if the cross
Glittered upon the brows she loved,—
   All else was dross.
Only the burning kiss of love,
   That the dying give,—
The life-long idol of our hearts
   Began to live. [page 39]

We have been down to the river;
   When we thought all o’er,
The sails were backed, the ship returned
   Almost to shore;
And Skill and Love were in waiting,
   To steady the bark,
But from well-wrought hands it bounded
   ‘Mid breakers dark.

It only returned to tell us
   Of the city fair,
Of the deathless flowers that circle
   Our lost ones there.
It only returned till whirlwind
   And storm swept past,
So with sail full spread to enter
   In port at last.

We have been down to the river,—
   May God aid us now;
Orphans we stand where the cold earth
   Hides lip and brow,
There came a flashing of glory
   From the golden sands;
And she passed, our gentle mother,
   “Father, into Thy hands.” [page 40]

 

LINES.

   Respectfully dedicated to the St. George’s Society of Hamilton.

 

THERE stood a gathered band,
   Beneath a hallowed dome,
A band of brother aliens,
   Far from their native home.
They sang the solemn chaunt,
   They knelt ‘fore God to pray,
And thus with meet solemnity
   Ushered their festal day.

My brothers, in that church,
   Swept by no floods of thought,
Rushing with force through memory’s fields,
   With tender visions fraught:
Saw ye no olden spot,
   On “Merrie England’s” shore,
Some grassy lawn, some foot worn aisle,
Your feet may press no more?

Sons of St. George, lament—
   Ah! you are far away,
From pealing bells, from daisied fields,
   Where you were wont to stray;
A rolling ocean sweeps
   Betwixt your home and you, [page 41] 
Bow low the head, and drop a tear
   For the old world, in the new.

Sons of St. George, look up!
   What sounds went passing by,
Your native songs are on the air,
   Your colours kiss the sky;
Have you not taught these woods,
   And this young city’s ways,
Our blessed Anglo-Saxon words,
   Of love, and prayer and praise?

Have you not taught the West,
   What Charity imparts?
Did ye not o’er the Atlantic bring
   Your generous English hearts;
And bore you not as well
   O’er river, rock and gorge
The holy cross of victory,
   The banner of St. George?

Ye sons of England’s soil
   Be watchful in your way;
The dragon lurks among us yet,
   Still greedy of its prey;
Your eyes, with loyal pride,
   Turn to the blood-red Cross,
Oh, turn your eyes of Faith to that,
   To which all else is dross. [page 42] 

Sons of St. George, still guide
   The stranger and oppressed;
Still ease the widow’s mournful lot
   And give the orphan rest.
Strong in a heaven-sent strength,
   Trample each dragon down,
And guard our English travellers,
   Our Bible, and our Crown.

 


THE BURDEN OF DUMAH.

“WHAT of the night, Watchman?” “Clouds in the West
Roll, where the moon set long hours ago;
There are strange mutterings of thunder abroad,
Sighs from the pines, from the sea, tones of woe;
Shudder not pilgrim, for, out of the dark,
Groweth the blushing and life-giving morn;
Out of the thunder and lightning and rain,
Fairest creations of Nature are born.
March in the company, slowly progressing;
Keep white your garments, the cross on each breast;
Strangers may brand you as ‘wanderers’ and ‘ghosts,’
They see you not plainly, there’s clouds in the West.” [page 43] 

“What of the night, Watchman?” “Cold in the North,—
Chilly the winds o’er the toiling ones blow
Thousands of strong arms are steadily rearing
Jerusalem’s walls in the valley below.
When, through the darkness, a ray lights the scene—
Lamplight and starlight strange sights oft reveal,—
Soldiers with trestle boards close by their side,
Masons at work under arches of steel.
Toil on, brother Craftsmen, build up in the dark,
Light from the sun will ere long glimmer forth,
Foes will succumb, and your works shall remain,—
But to-night, just to-night, it is cold in the North.”

“What of the night, Watchman?” “Dark in the South,—
The birds are all hushed in each still lonely nest,
The flowers, thy flowers, are all damp with the dew,
Unheeding thy love, on their mother’s cold breast;
Weep not, fair questioner, morn shall arise,—
Songs robed in tropical plumage shall wake;
The flowers, thy flowers, are safe and at peace,
Till light in the East o’er the mountains shall break;
Thy flowers are living,—thou seest them not
Call hope to thine eyes and smiles to thy mouth,
Thy beloved at morn to this garden will come,—
But now it is midnight, all dark in the South.”

“What of the night, Watchman?” “Light in the East,
But only reflected are these early rays; [page 44] 
Be watchful, for dim and uncertain as yet
Are forms which shall shine for the Ancient of Days;
Only as trees walking look living men,
Things that are grim in the desolate night,
Soon shall their beautiful garments put on,
While you are working steady for God and the right.
Pilgrim, there’s rest for thy wearisome pains,
Mason and Templar, your toils shall have ceased.
Mourner, thy love Immortality wins,
Work, Watch and Pray, there is Light in the East.” 

 


 

EVELYN’S LOVER AT HER DEATH-BED.

“I claim you still, delayed it may be,
   Through climes I shall travel not a few;
Much to learn and much to forget
   Ere the time comes for my taking you;
So hush—I give you this leaf to keep,
   I shut it inside this sweet cold hands,
That is our secret, now go to sleep,
   You’ll wake, and remember, and understand.”

 

EVELYN HOPE.

 

HE could not believe that she lay there dead;
   That the thought had vanished from that brow; [page 45] 
She had ever met him with many smiles,
   And ever with gentle words till now.
So many years he had watched in vain
   For one so guileless, so pure and true;
And now in the dawn of his heart’s first love,
   She had glided away like the morning dew.

“Twice her age,” he had often thought,
   When his fingers twined in her curls of gold,
How in the future a widow’s weeds,
   May band them down with its mournful fold.
“Twice her age,” ‘tis no difference now,
   She will have sorrow and tears no more;
“Twice her age,” but that is no matter,
   Where reck’ning by days and years is o’er.

He knew she would waken; the deathless ray
   Of immortal life cheered his breaking heart.
He knew she’d remember; for memory’s might
   Lay safe in the hold of her deathless part;
And at her waking would understand
   Why she left him who was all her own:
Ah! clouds that are dense and ways all dark,
   Glow in the light of the jasper throne.

He felt that life was within him still,
   That his road branched far from that quiet spot,
That many changes awaited him;
   Her work was finished, but his was not. [page 46] 
Trouble may drench him with fearful storms,
   Temptation wild may that strong heart stir,
On and on through Life’s wilderness,
   Ere the time comes for his taking her.

And so he left her, and turned away
   With a steady step and a tearless eye;
But the ice lay heavily on his heart,
   And the sun was quenched in his manhood’s sky.
Ah! little we know of the cares and woes,
   The gnawing worm and the secret blight,
That hold their revels in human breasts,
   Deeply hidden from mortal sight.

Healer of hearts that are broken and worn,
   Gather Thy sheep from all dreary ways,
Where they have scattered and driven been,
   Throughout the cloudy and dismal days.
Fold us, oh fold us, beloved, ere long,
   Safe in the precincts of that bright land
Where others beside sweet Evelyn Hope,
   Shall “Wake, and remember, and understand.” [page 47]

 

SILENT WORSHIP.

(On witnessing the Deaf and Dumb at Prayer.)

‘TIS Sabbath eve, the hour of prayer,
   A waiting congregation bow;
They hear no music in the air,
   They wait no calm responses low,
Repressed is every smile and sigh,
   No words their burning thoughts convey;
The bended knee, the anxious eye,
   They hear not, speak not, yet they pray.

From the dark chambers of each soul,
   Through the bright eyes strong reason looks—
No sound of solemn organ’s roll,
   No hallowed words from well-worn books:
Solemn Te Deum, glorious hymn,
   Kyrie Eleison, humble prayer,
To them are mystic shadows dim,
   But angels listen—God is there.

Oh, ear, that boasts thy magic power,
   Oh, tongue, that prides thyself in speech,
Draw near unto this silent prayer,
   Learn what these worshippers can teach.
Needs our Great Teacher ear or tongue,
   That He may understand our prayer?—
He who hung speechless stars on high,
   And makes the silent flowers His care. [page 48] 

Has He not mystic telegraphs,
   Reaching from earth to heaven above?
May not these silent builders find,
   In His calm temple, rest and love?
And each mysterious untold sign,
   Like Jacob’s ladder based on earth,
Shall with unutter’d glories shine,
   And bring down beings of heavenly birth.

Oh! blessed work of charity,
   To pour into these minds of night
The glory of the perfect day,
   The blessings of the Holy Light;
Oh! sweet reward, to stand at last
   With these around, no longer dumb,
And hear amid the Archangel’s blast,
   The master’s welcome, “Faithful, come!” [page 49]

 

IN THE CORN FIELDS.

I REMEMBER one of the bygone days,
   Passed in Ohio’s sunny fields,
And a kind old farmer instructing me
   In all the blessings the Far West yields;
For, just from England, I never had seen
   The “seven-acre lot” of green Indian corn,
Or the trailing vine of the melon tribe,
   Covered with dew in the summer morn.

Seized with a new, strange impulse to write,
   With a pin I inscribed on the yielding rind
Scraps from Hemans, and Thomson, and White,
   Sweet texts and hymns that arose to my mind.
But all to no purpose; no trace remained,
   And, wondering, I said to my friend, “How’s this?
I can’t read one word of all I have written;
   There’s ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ and a hymn on this.”

“Well, never mind, birdie,” the old man said,
   “You must come here again a few weeks hence.”
Enigmatical comfort it was to me,
   For the future seemed of slight consequence.
Ah! but the summer flew happily by;
   Say, why do such hours come back no more?
Again I was nearing the seven-acre lot,
   And the old man was counting his honest store. [page 50] 

“I’ve the very rarest pumpkins and squash,
   Ready for all Agricultural Shows;
All through the country no melons like mine,
   Market and fair have no fruit like those.”
Changed was the scene ‘mong the loaded corn,
   Golden fruit lay scattered around,
Each bearing some mystic and strange device,
   As it lay ‘mid its leaves on the thirsty ground.

There on a giant pumpkin, flashed out
   A charge to the warrior’s fearless band;
And there was the promise, “God is love,”
   Seemingly carved by an elfin hands.
Some chanted in chorus, “Thy works praise Thee,
   And one large melon, all star-like bright,
Led the forlorn hope of smaller hosts,
   Bearing their standard, “Dare to do right.”

But oh! how I felt when I saw my work,
   All o’er the field ‘neath that autumn sun;
Tears came welling up fast to my eyes,
   As I uttered in horror “What have I done?”
But the workmen smiled, and the old man drew
   Me gently away from the sun’s fierce tide,
And under the shadowy maple trees,
   Seated, he drew me close to his side.

“My birdie,” said he, “this sweet lesson learn—”
   And a tear was gathering in his eye—
“Warm life is yet in its spring with you,
   And you’ve much to do for the Lord on high; [page 51] 
And many a word and many a deed
   May pass unnoticed by human sight,
But carve through life as you carved last spring,
   And in God’s great harvest ‘twill all read right.”

Many a year has swept by since then,
   But often I’ve checked some word or deed,
When I’ve stopped for a moment to ask myself,
   “In ‘God’s great harvest’ how will this read?”
Oh! toiler at work in Life’s busy fields,
   Faithfully learn this lesson in time,
That our every word, and thought, and deed,
   Shall flash in Eternity’s wondrous clime.

Often we seem to have toiled in vain,
   “All night and caught nothing,” our weary cry,
“Going forth weeping” and scattering seed
   Under the rays of a burning sky;
But we’re Christ’s dear children; we are not slaves;
   He giveth us aid if we seek aright;
Let us work with sweet faith, and hope, and love,
   And in “God’s great harvest” ‘twill all read right. [page 52]

 

THE PRINCE OF WALES AT THE TOMB OF WASHINGTON.

A SOUND of music on the air,
   Not the triumphant sounds
That scarce have hushed their martial breath
   On lake and tented grounds.
Who marshals our Prince with tones
   Like Ocean’s moaning surge?
Why moves the proud procession on
   To that low mournful dirge?

Skies for the Prince wore summer dress,
   Flowers were blooming there;
The warm winds of that Southern clime
   Lifted his clustering hair,
On to the sarcophagus borne,
   On to the shadows led,
And Albert Edward treads with awe
   The precincts of the dead.

Humbly and reverently he stands
   Amid the sacred gloom;
The young, the high-born Prince of Wales
   Looked mournful o’er the tomb.
What thoughts passed through the gushing heart
   Of that proud Empire’s son, [page 53] 
As with uncovered brows he graced
   The tomb of Washington?

Came o’er his soul a weight of thought
   That bowed his spirit down?
Seemed they light things in that calm hour,
   The sceptre and the crown?
Prayed he not then that when the earth
   Should take him to her trust,
A nation’s heart should beat for him,
   As for that honoured dust?

And silently the freeborn stood,
   Watching the honour done
The guardian spirit of their shores,
   By Queen Victoria’s son.
Silent, but tears were gushing then
   From eyes unused to weep,
As the proudest of two Christian realms
   Bowed ‘fore that peaceful sleep.

Pass on, pass on; the stricken heart
   Must once again rebound,
To festive calls and glowing love,
   And music’s merry sound;
But who will dare to tell the force
   Of that cementing chain,
Forged round the tomb of Washington,
   To arch the rolling main? [page 54] 

Illustrious dust! thy country’s strength
   Is gathered round thy grave,
And a watchword is thy glorious name
   Whene’er their banners wave.
Illustrious Prince! more honoured now,
   For thou hast taught our lands
To bury every jealous feud
   Deep in the wave-washed sands.

And thou hast proved before the world,
   As only Christians prove,
That the Bible has given forth to thee
   Its holiest password, “Love.”
O worthy Patriot, that did bear
   To death, thy mighty trust;
O worthy Prince, that dared to pay
   Just homage to such dust. [page 55]

 

VINCENNES.

“SING to me, Jamie, sing once more,” the victor, Henry, said,
“Sing Bernard’s strange, mysterious hymn beside my dying bed.
I’ve fought and conquered now, my friends; how slowly comes my breath;
Remember you what I foretold when they played ‘The Dance of Death?’
Oh, tell me, Bedford, what boots now proud Agincourt’s rich gains?
The crown, the ring, the sceptre, pour they life into my veins?
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! it was my father’s cry,
King Edward’s, holy Louis’—how far from it am I?

“Oh, Jamie, Scotland’s captive king, leave me not now, kind heart;
Tell me—I’m dying, Jamie—how have I borne my part?
Forgive me, ‘Lion of the North,’ for we are brothers still,
And I’m going there, Jamie, dear, where none speak word of ill,
There’s neither Scot or English there, nor son of restless France;
The swords are all palms there, Jamie; they draw no dirk nor lance. [page 56] 
But we—what are we doing here, sin’s fearful tide to stem?
Oh, ‘Jesu Christe,’ take me home to Thy Jerusalem.

“The straight way, ah! the straight way to that better land, and good,
It does not lie ‘mid gleaming swords and pools of kindred blood.
My subjects dear, and comrades true, ‘tis a wondrous thing to stand
On that strange patch of ground, ‘twixt the known and unknown land—
To lie, as I am lying now, with the past all full in view,
And only one small gleam of light toward the land I’m going to.
I might have lived a holier life, kept nearer to the cross—
Oh! ‘Agnus Dei,’ of Thy love save me from utter loss.

“Bedford! my babe, my little son, whose face I have not seen,
Oh, it seems hard that I must go and leave my child and queen;
Look to it, John; teach England’s heir what a Christian knight should know,
In the straight way toward Jerusalem set his infant steps to go.
Jamie, when you go back again, as in God’s time you will,
To the lands of bonnie Scotland, king of each vale and hill, [page 57] 
You’ll not draw sword against my boy, when I am in the dust—
You cannot pledge for Scotland, but you’ll keep our troth and trust.

“Boy, are you there? ‘young Malcolm Stuart?’ and at the name up rose
The prince of bonnie Scotland, Gleniskie’s pale white rose;
‘Take warning, boy; of all the ways, the straight road is the best;
There is a true Jerusalem where victor knights find rest.’”
A flood of tears he could not check rolled down the pale Scot’s face,
And tearfully and solemnly he answered, “By God’s grace,
Be it through cloister or through camp, I have the tide to stem,
I’ll meet you, loved King Henry, in far Jerusalem.”

“Poor Catherine!” and at that name the listeners’ hearts beat high,
And scorn untold curled many a lip, and flashed from many an eye;
For well they knew the selfish being who shared their monarch’s throne,
And the love that noble king had given to a woman’s heart of stone.
Why came she not to soothe his pain with gentle word and touch? [page 58] 
Why o’er his brow, now growing cold, poured not affection’s gush?
He who rejoiced when o’er her head the English banner waved—
Oh, God! whose mercy murderers ask, are selfish women saved?

“Only two hours more to live, the life for which I’ve striven;
Has each forgiven me all my wrongs, as I hope to be forgiven?
One more sweet kiss of peace, Jamie, ah, our love is blest;
Malcolm, goodbye; the straight path, boy, to the land of peace and rest.
God bless you, Bedford—now repeat the Penitential Psalms;
I am not meet to stand with those who claim the victor’s palms.
I trust in Him who bowed for me His sacred thorn crowned head;
Into Thy hands, O God!”—and King Henry was dead. [page 59]

 

A THREE-FOLD PRAYER.

I.

   “Christian saw a man come up to the one that sat there to write, saying: ‘Set down my name, Sir.’”—PILGRIM’S PROGRESS.

 

I LOOK, and a wonderful army
   Is passing before my gaze—
Martyrs, Apostles, Confessors,
   All bright in the golden blaze;
Some through the cross are victorious,
   And have laid their armour down;
Some are still deep in the conflict,
   Struggling for palm and crown.

Set down my name as a soldier;
   Put the Red Cross on my shield;
Heavenly Adjutant, teach me
   How I shall war in the field.
Into Thy militant regiment,
   Cross-bearing Leader, receive me,
Unto Thy conquering army,
   Crown-wearing Captain, receive me.

Always and ever Thy soldier,
   Whether on earth or in heaven; [page 60] 
For if I attain to that country,
   Let it to me be given
To win and to work for Thee,
   Through the mediatorial age,
Till thou hast won to Thyself
   The whole of Thine heritage.

 

II.

   “Then came to him a hand with some of the leaves of the tree of life, the which Christian took and was healed therewith.”—PILGRIM’S PROGRESS.

Sick, and wearied, and faint,
   Lying like one half dead,
Strange, weird forms are around me,
   Wildly throbbeth my head;
I’ve been in the tempest before,
   In the blasting, blinding sleet,
Yet ever the ground was firm,
   The Rock was under my feet.

But now I can serve no more;
   Upheaving seems sand and sward;
Holy, loving Physician,
   Come Thou into my ward;
Thou holdest the death of suffering,
   And the antidote of strife,
Oh! Hand with the print of nail,
   Give leaves from the Tree of Life. [page 61] 

Touch me and I shall be healed,
   Pour life along every vein,
And make me strong for Thyself,
   So that through mist and rain
I can discover the wounded
   Left after the robbers’ strife,
And give, through Thy blessed fingers,
   Leaves from the Tree of Life.

 

III.

   “My beloved is gone to feed in His garden and to gather lilies.”—SONG OF SOLOMON.

Oh! Heavenly gleaner of flowers,
   As Thou goest, look upon me!
I am not a sacred palm-branch,
   I am not a cedar tree,
I am not a snowy lily,
   I am not a blushing rose,
But I see in Thy earthly garden
   That many a brown herb grows.

Plant me wherever Thou wilt,
   So I can hear Thy blest feet
When Thou comest to gather lilies,
   Or nuts, and pomegranates sweet:
So I can feel Thy breathing
   Through leaf, and fibre, and root,
And share Thy benedictions,
   When Thou eatest pleasant fruit. [page 62] 

Fill me with healing power,
   So that e’en poisonous worms,
Feeding on me shall look higher,
   And develop lovelier forms;
Make me of use as I wither
   Under autumnal skies,
Then, as soon as Thou pleaseth,
   Transplant me to Paradise.

 


 

FIRST FUNERAL IN MIDDLE PARK, COLORADO.

   “It was a fearful thing—a young man stricken with death after a sickness of a few hours. The burial services were conducted by our clerical friend, the corpse wrapped in blankets (for there was no wood for a coffin), and, followed by a few faithful friends, was driven to its last resting-place.”—Denver Times.

 

BREAK up the sod, but not for the grain
   That shall wave in gold ‘neath autumn’s sun—
Break up the sod on the desolate plain,
   A pilgrim is coming—life’s journey is done.

No warrior passes with arms reversed,
   No banners are waving half-mast high,
No casket is borne in the sombre hearse,
   For one who came but to fade and die. [page 63] 

Soon to sleep, in the blanket’s fold,
   That strange, calm rest that awakes no more,
With the fair young face and unwhitened locks,
   Meeting the blue of Heaven’s star-gilt floor.

So young to die in this wilderness place.
   Where is the home of his boyhood’s hours;
And the old churchyard in the green hill-side
   White with the monuments, bright with the flowers?

But the holy words of a Christian faith
   Hallow the air, as that mournful train
Lay the lone traveller down to rest,
   In the virgin soil of that Western plain.

His lot to fill the first white man’s grave;
   Murmuring winds mourn over the dust;
But we hear not the rustle of angel wings,
   That hold o’er the relics good ward and trust.

No matter; thou waving plumes drooped not,
   And uncoffined the limbs, all stiff and cold,
For the holiest corpse Death shall ever claim
   Lay wrapped alone in the linen’s fold.

Leave him, kind hearts, ‘tis all you can do;
   Plant the sods carefully over his breast:
Desolate graves are in Heaven’s full view,
   May angels protest him! God give him rest! [page 64]

 

MY BIRTHDAY.

“How long shall thy journey be?”

 

   OH, notch in the rock of time,
   Oh, milestone by life’s wayside
Why come I to thee with memories fraught,
   The records of sun and tide?
   My birthday, oh, childhood’s hours,
   Why come ye no more with glee?
My birthday, what scenes at thy name awake,
   How long shall my journey be?

   I am not weary of living,
   Though the Spring has swept far past,
And the Summer glory has long been sheathed,
   And the Autumn day goes fast.
   I know it will soon be night,
   And darkness will take the sky,
But I am not afraid of the darkness,
   For at midnight comes the cry.

   I am not weary of living,
   For precious blossoms of love
Hang round me in drooping clusters,
   Tinted from Heaven above;
   And there’s work enough to do
   In the fields and forests free, [page 65] 
Yet the tired gleaner sometimes asks,
   How long shall the journey be?”

   Looking back, I mark the shades
   Of many a farewell scene,
And ‘mid the landscape gleam dark spots
   Whereon the frost has been;
   But there’s many a green oasis,
   Where the Lord of Glory passed,
And breathed in the fainting pilgrim’s ear,
   “All will be right at last.”

   Not only the milestone white
   Meets the traveller as he goes,
Oft by the wayside a sad sign tells
   Of agony and woes.
Guide posts they stand, that pilgrims
   May go the way He went,
Who hung for them on that mystic sign
   Of pain and conquest blent.

   On looking forward, I see
   The sun gilds each mystic guide,
Till one stands close by a cold dark stream,
   But I see none the other side.
   I know that no crosses there
   Will oppress my darlings free,
The crown and the love is reserved for them—
   “How long shall my journey be?” [page 66] 

   Of that land we’ve much to learn,
   For the soldiers onward march,
Under close sealed orders, until they reach
   The shade of the Golden Arch.
   But if earthly love has been
   Like stars in the sky to me,
What shall the dawn of the rising day
   In that home of rapture be?

   Give patience, oh heavenly King
   Until the last milestone’s come,
For I reckon, upon life’s dial plate,
   That I must be half way home.
   Into those hands, O Christ,
   That were pierced and nailed for me,
I yield my all—need I ask in fear,
   “How long shall my journey be?” [page 67] 

 

THE HEALER.

“As many as touched Him were made whole.”

“NOT to Him, Rizpah; I cannot go to Him,
   So pure, so good and holy:
I need no more reproaches on me thrown,
   For all my deeds unholy.

“Not to Him, Ripzah; for what knoweth He
   Of all these racking pains?
And can He sacrifice for deeds of sin,
   The soul’s far deeper stains?

“He would but tell me that upon thee
   I never more may look—
He’d hurl me from Him as I hurl this stone
   Down in the rushing brook.

“He would but ask me why I keep thee here,
   Ripzah, my dark-eyed dove;
He knows not that a sinner such as I
   Can learn fair things to love.

“He’d point to this dark mark upon my wrist,
   That burns like Cain’s strange brand;
‘Tis where the Roman fetter galled the flesh
   Of this all-conquering hand. [page 68] 

“Has midnight aught to do with noonday sun?
   Or winter with the spring?
And have I aught to do with Him you call
   Judea’s rightful king?

“Not to Him, Ripzah; though thy lover lies
   Dying with fever’s blight;
No, let the lamp of life burn dimly down
   Into the darkest night.”

           “Asaph, thou wilt worship Him,
           Ere the evening groweth dim:
           Not a common Healer, He,
           As thy gladdened eyes shall see;
           Soon beneath the sunset sky,
           Jesus will pass calmly by.

            “I have heard Him, and no scorn
           On His holy lips was borne,
           Only told me all the sin,
           Told me how to enter in
           Through the wide and unbarred gates,
           Where the God of mercy waits.

            “By the well of Sychar, He
           Sat and drank and talked with me,
           Quenched the fires of Jewish strife
           With the streams of deathless life.
           Look upon me, Asaph; I,
           Loving Him, shall never die. [page 69] 

            “What to Him are strifes of tongues?
           Healer of all human wrongs;
           What to Him are rights of lands,
           Foul disease, or felon brands?
           Trust Him—He can read thy soul;
           Touch Him—He will make thee whole.

            “Hark! He comes; unto Him turn,
           And thy new-made soul shall learn,
           Out of midnight groweth morn,
           Out of winter spring is born,
           And from Him to such as we,
           Cometh immortality.”

 


 

A STORY OF THE PAST.

FAIR mourner, whence that troubled sigh?
   Clouds gather round thy little bark;
Yet courage! One above thee rules,
   He is thy light through all the dark.
Sit down beside me, I will tell
   A tale of sorrowing times long fled—
A story not of earth’s gay flowers,
   A tale of watching by the dead. [page 70] 

I loved. I was St. Aubyn’s choice,
   But envy wove a deep-laid snare—
St. Aubyn chose another love,
   And sought a country far and fair.
A warrior by me prayed, and knelt,
   The bugle called him from my side,
With muttered oath upon his lips
   That none but I should be his bride.

And time rolled on; the strife was o’er,
   The warrior’s bark was on the tide,
And the victorious ship of war
   Brought home St. Aubyn and his bride.
How many hours I wept and prayed
   In agony, that I might die
Unseen, unheard by all save One,
   Who keeps the record-rolls on high.

How often in this changeful life,
   The evil dreaded never comes;
He did return one summer night
   With arms reversed, and muffled drums.
The storm had risen on the deep,
   The minute-gun had vainly pealed;
The ship had struck upon a rock,
   And Death a hundred victims sealed.

They bore the lifeless officer
   From the engulphing waves of strife,
And following, in the strangers’ arms
   They brought St. Aubyn’s haughty wife. [page 71]
We watched that night beside the dead,
   St. Aubyn by his jewelled bride,
And I gazed wildly on that form,
   With sword and helmet by his side.

And midnight wearily stole on,
   Heavy clouds o’er the young moon swept
We looked out upon life, and prayed;
   We looked upon the dead, and wept.
That God can work while man looks on,
   That Truth will triumph o’er our dread—
A lesson sometimes hard to learn,
   We learnt, while watching by the dead.

‘Twas not a scene that lovers choose;
   Did any say that we had loved?
The dead were by us, yet we knew
   That we were living and beloved.
Truth’s talisman was on each heart,
   Oh! was there sin in what we said,
The troubles told, the truths confessed,
   That night we watched beside the dead?

Ah! three-score years have passed since then;
   St. Aubyn in his grave lies low,
And I, the idol of his heart,
   Am calmly waiting till I go.
My eyes are dim; from my memory’s page
   Full many a thrilling scene has fled,
But pure, undimmed, shines forth the night,
   That night we watched beside the dead. [page 72]

 

THE EVENING MESSAGE.

   “Leonitus Partricius, Bishop of Cyprus, was one day unreasonably angry with John, the Patriarch of Alexandria. At even the latter sent a servant with this message: ‘Brother, the sun has set.’ Reconciliation followed.”—The Craftsman.

 

OVER earth the eve’s dark mantle
   Is coming slowly on;
Foot of labourer, sound of hammer,
   With the bright day are gone.
Soon the first pale star of evening
   Shall with its friend have met;
My friend, the day is dying slowly—
   “Brother, the sun has set.”

Held I not the lamp of warning
   Amid the tempest’s wrath?
Sought I not, in love fraternal,
   To guide thee in thy path?
Ah! companion, for thee yearning,
   Mine eyes with tears are wet;
I am weary for thee watching—
   “Brother, the sun has set.”

If I have erred unconsciously,
   Forgive me, oh forgive!
By the Lodge where we assemble,
   The life we’re sworn to live; [page 73] 
Where the tyler guards the portal,
   Have we not often met?
We are bound by bonds mysterious—
   “Brother, the sun has set.”

By the God who dwells above us,
   Draw out the rankling thorn;
By the Christ who came to love us,
   Arise in peace next morn!
Let not darkness stamp its signet
   On our spirits yet;
Light within our soul prevaileth—
   “Brother, the sun has set.”

Soon the solemn hour is coming,
   When shield and sword must fall,
And we, dying in the battle,
   Must meet the Lord of all.
Let us live that o’er our memory
   Falls no dark regret;
Let us live as Christ’s dear children—
   “Brother, the sun has set.”

And in years long yet to number,
   It may be, some stray soul
Shall hear of this our charity,
   And he may send a scroll
To some companion grown estranged,
   That scroll with Love’s tears wet;
And the mysterious words shall be—
   “Brother, the sun has set.” [page 74]

 

TO MINNIE.

WE have been friends for many years,
   Though changes we have seen;
A stream unfettered by the frost,
   Our friendship’s course has been.
And time has kindly dealt with thee;
   Lightly o’er thee it floats;
Thy voice is full of melody,
   Like a bird’s happy notes.

When first I knew thee, Minnie dear,
   Childhood was on thy brow;
Fond parents round us kept love’s guard—
   Where are those parents now?
We’ve laid them each in quiet rest,
   Low in the mould’ring sod,
Knowing their sainted spirits dwell
   Before the throne of God.

And now I see thee, Minnie fair,
   Sheltered in love’s strong arms—
A heart that yearns to keep thee safe
   From the world’s wild alarms.
And love has set its signet blest
   Upon thy gentle soul;
Pray God the union may remain
   Long ere Death’s billows roll; [page 75] 

And clust’ring round thy fireside
   Are plants and blooming flowers—
Thy sons to grow to brave, true men.
   Oh! in the coming hours,
May He who knows each human woe,
   Guide them through every strife,
And bring them, more than conquerors,
   To Him, the Light and Life.

And those fair girls—must their young feet
   Tread life’s rough desert path?
“Make idols, and then find them clay,”
   Must they meet storm-clouds’ wrath?
God bless them! woman’s lot is theirs:
   May One of woman born
 Aid them in every dreary hour,
   Shield them from snare and thorn!

May life pass happily with thee!
   May it be thine to view
Thy darlings all thy heart would wish,
   Loved, loving, good and true!
And when thy pilgrimage is done,
   May it be thine to greet
Each loved one in that land of rest,
   Where severed households meet! [page 76]

 

ROCKBAY,

THE RESIDENCE OF P. CAROLL, ESQUIRE.

NOT upon a Southern plain,
Nor ‘mid myrtle bowers of Spain;
Where Ontario’s waters rise,
Underneath Canadian skies—
Where the Indian’s arrow sped,
There thou rear’st thy lofty head;
Where the Indian’s cabin lay,
There thou risest, sweet Rockbay.

Through the forest arch of green
Are thy towering pillars seen;
Sunbeams glitter on the leaves,
Rustling round thy turret eaves,
With the waters at thy feet
Rippling into numbers sweet;
‘Mid their glad and joyous spray,
There thou smilest, calm Rockbay.

Sweet sounds from thee float afar—
Music, song, and light guitar,
Dashings of the boatman’s oar,
Breezes whisp’ring on the shore,
Leaves that rustle through the night;
While amid the moon’s soft light,
Glittering in the star-beam’s ray,
There thou sleepest, calm Rockbay. [page 77] 

Foliage of a thousand shades
Quivers on thy mossy glades—
Flowers of soft hues are seen
Gleaming through thy vistas green
Roses, flakes of crimson snow,
Strew the verdant moss below;
Water lilies lift their heads
From their deep and sinuous beds.

And yet, thou hast dearer things
Than the rose or birdling’s wings—
Precious things that must abide
When thy youngest flower hast died;
Underneath thy shadows fair,
Human forms are dwelling there—
Noble hearts that kindly beat
In their calm Rockbay retreat.

Dove of Peace! unfold thy wings—
Shelter from all harsher things;
Spell of beauty! hover still
Over forest, bay and hill;
Spirit of undying Love!
Breathe thy incense from above,
Till the dawn of deathless day
Is exchanged for sweet Rockbay. [page 78]

 

THE SOLDIER OF AUVERGNE.

‘TWAS midnight, and the soldier took
   His lone and quiet march
The moon’s bright rays fell gloriously
   Upon the forest arch—
And through that forest’s dreary gloom,
   Full twenty leagues away,
The army of the enemy
   Waited the dawn of day.

The watcher listened, for he heard
   The wild wolf’s dismal howl:
A crashing of the underbrush
   Betrayed his wary prowl;
Yet where the branches thickest weave,
   The soldier took his way;
He started—for a band of foes
   Had seized him for their prey.

He was a captive—one strong hand
   Upon his lips did lie,
While in hoarse whispers rung their words,
   “Betray us, and you die.”
Warm love was nestling in his heart,
   Warm life was in his veins;
One dream of love, of life, of home,
   One dream of captive chains. [page 79] 

‘Twas but a moment, and he thought
   Of those who slept around,
Safe and secure, while he kept watch
   Upon the sentry ground.
‘Twas but a moment, and a flush
   Passed o’er his cheek and brow;
His voice rang on the midnight air,
   “Auvergne! Auvergne! the foe!”

The swords that in the moonlight shone
   Upon his bosom rushed,
And from the dauntless soldier’s heart
   Life’s streamlets quickly gushed.
Yet ere his beaming eye was closed,
   He saw his brethren’s lance,
Trampling down bush and brake, he heard
   The cavalry of France.

He felt strong arms around him placed;
   He saw their princely train;
A nation’s thanks were in his ears—
   He had not died in vain.
They laid him, while the host pursued
   The fast retreating foe,
Beneath that glorious flag for which
   He laid himself so low.

O! may it be that when, if e’er,
   So dire a fate we claim, [page 80] 
And through our country loud resounds
   War’s fearful, shuddering name—
Then may our hearths and households yield,
   Then may our foemen learn,
We have such hearts as sleep beneath
   The banner of Auvergne. 

 

A LATE VISITOR.

 

ONE night of late, when the wild storm was raging,
   The city bells had tolled their last night chime,
I, reading by the glow of coal and light of lamp,
Heard, ‘mid the voices of that stormy time,
          A low, faint knocking.

I looked not for a “raven lightly tapping,”
   But at my door there stood a living child;
An “Arab Knight” looked straight into my eyes,
   But muttered only through the tempest wild,
          “I am so hungry.”

And when he left, with brightened eyes, and hope
   Glowing anew through his young, half-starved frame,
‘Twas then I asked myself what should I learn
   From that weird child uttering one faint claim,
          “I am so hungry.” [page 81] 

Oh! Saviour, wearing in our Father’s house
   Eternal glory on a human brow,
Let me unto Thee come, like that poor child,
   For Thou wilt hear the knocking faint and low,
          And “I am hungry.”

All in the coldness of a wicked world,
   All in the darkness of a heart of sin,
I’ve been all day where crime and death are found—
   I know there’s plenty Thy full house within—
          “I am so hungry.”

Thou’lt hear me, for “my father was a Syrian
   Ready to perish” at Thy mercy’s door;
Thou who didst bless the father, bless the child,
   Guide me to him, across life’s chequered floor,
          “I am so hungry.”

Thou hast blest Wisdom for the skilless hand,
   Thou hast strong arms for the unsheltered form,
And purity to give for stains of sin,
   And love, warm love, for the unpitying storm,
          “I am so hungry.”

Oh, Heavenly Father! I must often come,
   And take Thy blessing and go forth again
A pilgrim on the weary march of life,
   Pleading amid the winter storm and rain
          That I am hungry. [page 82] 

Oh, let no fear, no barriers intervene!
   Between my starving soul and Thy full board;
But more than all, prepare me for the feast,
   The marriage supper of Thy Son, my Lord,
         Where none are hungry.

 

RECOLLECTIONS

ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF LEAVING ENGLAND

THE years roll on, the years roll on;
   Back, Memory! call up an eve long fled,
When on the ship that was “outward bound,”
   Sad sighs were heaved and sad tears were shed;
As, bounding high o’er the swelling waves,
   The good ship’s throngers turned to see
One lingering gleam of old England’s shores,
   Of her daisied fields and her streamlets free.

The years roll on, the years roll on,
   But fond recollections each tone recalls,
Of loving parents whose words, ‘mid tears,
   Were trustingly spoken in wooden walls;
How, gathering closely their little ones,
   They whispered of Him who rules the wave, [page 83] 
And the sweet “Fear not” of the Nazarene,
   That lights life’s ocean, gilds life’s dark grave.

The years roll on, and the forms we love
   Are borne away by a stronger than we,
And Time writes lines of sorrow and care
   On brow and spirit once bright and free;
And he lays with the flowers of summers past,
   The hopes and ambitions that soared high;
But he cannot reach to deface or rust
   The coins that are current beyond the sky.

The years roll on—the morning and night,
   Starlight and sunshine, summer and cold,
And hearts that were young on that deck that eve
   Are very wearied and growing old;
While some, in their calm Canadian graves,
   Have reached the river—the other side,
And the anchor chain of undying love,
   From the crystal sea, reaches earth’s rough tide.

The years roll on, while decay and change
   They bring, in their steadily noiseless gloom;
But the precious links of Hope, Faith and Love
   Are uninjured and safe, in the soul’s fresh bloom.
The years roll by, but with all they claim,
   They fail to stamp with Time’s sure decay
The title deeds that poor, weak hands hold,
   To the “City of God,” which lies far away. [page 84] 

The years roll on, the years roll on;
   Well robed in Love, we will try to wait,
For the weary feet and the fainting heart
   Are “merchants’ goods” at the Golden Gate;
We are sailing still, and a stormy sea
   Betwixt us lies and “Immanuel’s Ground;”
But every billow leaves one the less,
   And “The Covenant transport” is “homeward bound.”

 

FLOWERS FOR PRINCE ALBERT’S COFFIN

THEY placed them on his coffin,
   ‘Mid the sombre velvet’s gloss,
The pure camelia’s snowy leaves,
   Sweet violets and green moss;
Upon the quiet limbs,
   The glowing martial dress;
Upon the pulseless, loving heart,
   The glittering crowns they press.

Innocent children wove
   Emblems of faith and hope,
To mingle with the airs of death,
   Down in the vault’s dim slope. [page 85] 
Flowers his hands had trained,
   For his fair girls to wave,
Now lie, like him, shut out from light,
   Asking, alone, a grave.

Any proud king may sleep
   With guards to watch his rest,
With martial glory, starry crown,
   Above his quiet breast;
Velvet and silver gilt
   O’er a false heart may lie,
With arms reversed, and muffled drums,
   And banners half-mast high.

But ‘tis left for England’s Prince
   To bear upon his bier
Signs of the resurrection morn,
   Dewed by affection’s tear.
Yes, woman’s deathless love
   Gives lie to that dark scene;
They’re fading on Prince Albert’s bier,
   Wreathed by his widowed Queen.

And was this all they twined?
   Answer, ye British hearts,
That ever in the hour of need
   Have nobly borne your parts!
With tendril, leaf and flower,
   Those gentle fingers wove
Their glorious nation’s sympathies,
   Their nation’s quenchless love. [page 86] 

You love the form that stands
   At your mighty kingdom’s head—
You love the youthful Royal band,
   You’ve loved the Royal dead;
Deeper and sadder ties
   Ask you to guard, to pray—
From the widow and the fatherless,
   You will not turn away.

Heraldic emblems, mould!
   Tarnish, ye silver plates!
Decay, come down on velvet pile!
   Rust on the iron gates!
We’ve hopes to spring to life
   When these sweet buds are brown;
We shall behold, in glory set,
   Prince Albert’s starry crown.

Rise from the dust, sad hearts;
   Over your head floats high,
The Holy Lion of Palestine,
   Still pointing to the sky;
From whence the Conqueror comes,
   Death at His chariot wheels,
For Judah’s Lion hath prevailed,
   To loose the binding seals. [page 87]

 

THE OFFICER’S FAREWELL.

   “A gallant officer, having pledged his affection to his earliest and only love, left Scotland for the scenes of war. By a well-concerted plan he received news of the death of his affianced bride, and previous to his return home he was induced to marry the sister of his commanding officer. On his return home he discovered the plot to ruin his happiness; he sought one interview with the idol of his heart, and soon after his return to India fell in battle.”—RECORDS OF THE FALLEN.

 

THE moonbeam fell upon the glen and ‘neath the trysting tree—
There were bright eyes flashing fire—there were teardrops falling free;
At length, as the young moon rose up, the solemn silence broke,
And, like music on the quiet air, the gentle maiden spoke:
“Thou art come to say a long farewell—a cloud is on thy brow—
There was hope within our last adieu that is not in it now;
But, oh! may blessings round thee pour; peace nestle at thy side;
Hush! breathe no words of tenderness—you have another bride.

“’Tis hard to feel an iron hand keeping the fond heart down—
Hard for the lion to crouch still, for a title and a crown— [page 88] 
But, Alick, bear up manfully, and leave to heaven the rest;
The Red Cross flutters round thy head—let it nestle on thy breast.
The storm has beat around my head; I bowed before the blast,
And a calm and holy quietude has settled there at last;
Though I know another jewelled hand is clasped between these twain,
And another head is pillowed here, where mine so oft has lain.

“Deal gently with your titled bride—her spirit cannot soar
To heights your eagle pinions beat; the sound of ocean’s roar,
The music of the young fresh winds among the groves of pine,
Hath to her ear no melody, e’en as it hath to thine;
There’s a dreamy languor in her eyes of pure and gentle hue,
But there gleams no light of depths of love behind the veil of blue;
But oh! dear Alick, for the sake of the one now by your side,
Avenge not wrongs she could not aid, upon your youthful bride.

“Our paths are varied now, Alick—we will not meet again— [page 89] 
The noble ship unfurls her sails to waft you o’er the main;
I’ll stay beneath yon cottage roof—you’ll dare the siroc blast—
Our paths are varied now, Alick, but they end in one at last.
There’s mercy in the knowledge that rich blessings for us wait—
That broken hearts are current coins at the eternal gate;
Oh! let us linger patiently, battling the hosts of sin,
Knowing that One we both adore will gladly let us in.

“But let us make one promise more, beneath this rising moon,
That whichsoe’er is earliest called to that unclouded noon,
When its kindred bark shall anchor fast upon the golden sand,
Shall be the first to greet it home into the spirit land,
Your arm has still its iron grasp—there’s a fire in your eye—
And your soldiers do not look on you as one that’s like to die;
But I should not wonder, Alick, if you’re first to slumber low,
For cannon-blast and sabre-point are heedless where they go.

“Hark, Alick! for the bugle’s roll is on the evening air,
And hearts of Scotland’s richest blood are waiting for you there; [page 90] 
Breathe peace and pardon for your foes; farewell! no more we’ll meet,
Until the everlasting hills our tearful eyes shall greet.”
And midnight came as it had come a thousand times before,
And the shadows of the trysting tree were lit with splendour o’er;
And brightly in the morning light the grass shone green and new,
Though broken hearts had pressed it, and tear-drops were its dew.

 

LOVE’S REQUITAL.

   “Sympathy is lacking from the guilty, such as we, even where angels minister. It is a holy thing to thirst for love’s requital.”—TUPPER’S PHILOSOPHY.

          WHO know his brother’s woe?
Who shall go down to the heart’s hidden depths,
And slake the fevered souls with streams of love;
Who quench the fierce volcanic fires that burn,
Hidden from human eyes, but One above
          Their thirst can know? [page 91] 

          What mortal but hath known,
The pang of parting with some fondly loved,
Their kiss and clasp and sweet words ever gone;
We telegraph in vain, no answer comes,
We thirst for love’s requital from the dead—
          The fount is stone.

          Blessed are they who bear
Through this dark wilderness the flags of Love.
I bless Thee, O my God, that around me
The blessed banner hath been always flung,
Though some who hold the cords are safe with Thee
          Till I come there.

          The living, loved and sweet,
Are they not with me, near, and dear, and true?
Does not sweet Friendship head a trusty band,
Friends who have stood by me in stormy hours,
Hospitable doors opened by generous hands
          For my poor feet?

          I bless Thee, that the love
Of innocent children hath been always mine;
They’ve been like flowers in the path I trace,
And sweetly solemn is the thought that some
Have looked their last of earth upon my face,
          Then gone above.

          Oh! Saviour, in the hour
When Thy parched lips were murmuring “I thirst,” [page 92] 
It was not only for the fountain’s flow
That Thou didst crave; for oh! didst not Thou bear
All the deep thirst for Love Thy loved can know,
          While sin has power?

          Oh! Father, if the sun
Finds me some morning on the earth alone,
Unloved by any human living being,
Loving no mortal woman, man, or child,
Let me die then, God the All-Seeing,—
          Call my work done.

          Send me upon the wave,
And amid shipwreck I will seek for life,
Amid the waste of waters I will find a dove,
Amid malignant airs I’ll breathe anew;
But when I cease to be loved and to love,
          Give me my grave.

          Why should these doubts enthral?
For Thou hast loved me; so I may lean back
On Thy immutability, by strong arms nurs’d;
I’ll take my cross, go singing on my way,
Knowing that I shall never die of thirst
          For love’s requital. [page 93] 

 

KING EDWIN AND THE THANE.

A TALE OF THE OLDEN TIME.

THEY met upon the Yorkshire hills,
   King Edwin of the North,
His chiefs, his nobles, serfs and thanes,
   From Tyne, and Esk, and Forth;
“Ah, not to fight my warriors,”
   Spake out the fair-haired king;
“Put down the sharpened battle-axe,
   Loosen the crossbow’s string.

“A stranger from the sunny south,
   With a cross upon his breast,
Is come to tell us of his God,
   And of strange countries blest;
My trusty followers, shall we hear
   The words he hath to say?
Speak out, for I have summoned him
   To wait on us to-day.”

The pagan priests looked frowningly,
   And loudly answered, “No,”
And through the king’s upheaving breast,
   Wild thoughts swayed to and fro,
When suddenly amongst the host,
   A chief rose on the plain;
“Now, hush ye all,” spake out the king,
   “And list my trusty thane.” [page 94]

“Oh king, most wise and well-beloved, we are not here in vain,
It may be that the hand is near, to loose the galling chain
Remember you, oh king! how oft, when winter’s blast blew high,
And heavy storms and darkness swept across the evening sky;
When we were feasting merrily within thy banquet hall,
And the fires were flashing brightly upon the oaken wall;
A little fluttering bird flew in, and basking in the light,
Hovered above thy princely head, then vanished in the night?
We know not whence the flutterer came, we know not whence it went,
Now pause, oh king! have we not those out into darkness sent?
The iron arms that with our own waved battle-axe and sword,
The crimson lips that smiled on us around the hearth and board;
The grey hairs that, with pibroch strain, we chieftains have laid low,
The cherub Prince who left our king but one short month ago.
Where are they gone? Edwin the good, our noble leader brave,
‘Tis said this dark-eyed stranger knows of One who died to save;
Of One who opened gates of gold, for victors brave and fair, [page 95] 
Who owns a country far and blest, and takes our lost ones there.
Edwin the good, at thy command, beside the dusty way,
The sparkling fountains have sprung up to give their cooling spray
To weary foot-worn traveller, to steed with flank of foam,
Edwin the beautiful! unlock the founts of life and home.”

          And the king arose in majesty,
             Beckoning the stranger on,
          And hour after hour passed by,
             The light of day was gone;
          But king and people bowed them low,
             Before the Name unpriced,
          Then rose to cast their altars down,
             And live and die for Christ. [page 96]

 

ON THE DEATH OF REV. DR. E. NEVILLE.

   The writer of the following lines, while desiring to accede to the wishes of the friends of the departed Rev. E. Neville, cannot but feel her inability to add lustre to that which is already bright, “What can he do that cometh after the King?” The authoress has therefore laid before the public the nature of the last conversation she was permitted to hold with the departed servant of Christ.

 

“DYING, my child, I’m dying,
   I shall be home ere long;
Tears and darkness and mortal pain,
   But soon the victor’s song;
And I’ve something, friend, to tell you,
   But slowly comes my breath,
And the tide is surging round my heart—
   The drowning tide of Death.

“We can number it in years,
   Since we stood side by side,
And one you loved was crossing then
   This same dark rolling tide.
The storm that drenched her saintly form
   Is damp upon my brow;
But her feet were firm upon the Rock,
   Where mine are standing now.

“When I’m sleeping still, my child
   It may be they will say, [page 97] 
‘Oh! speak of our friend and brother,
   That slumbers with the clay.’
And now I charge you, dear, dear friend,
   That, when my spirit’s fled,
You will give the world this message,
   As a message from the dead:

“That I told you, when I stood
   Viewing the glorious sheen
Of the golden City of our God,
   With the river bright between,
That I know of no other trust
   Than the One Great Name unpriced;
I throw myself, a sinner saved,
   Into the arms of Christ.

“Oh! it’s a little I have done,
   As my pilgrimage I’ve trod;
I’ve been but a poor weak soldier
   In the service of my God.
Yes, the Cross is on my standard, child;
   A conqueror you say;
Ah! we shall be something more than that
   At no far distant day.

“Thank God for all His mercies—
   For the converse we have had
Of the bright and new Jerusalem,
   And the things which make us glad; [page 98] 
And not the least of His blessings vast
   Are the faithful hearts and true,
That will watch beside my bed of pain
   Till I’ve passed the river through.

“I’m only going home first,
   To rest for a little there;
I shall see the friends that you have lost,
   For the City lies four square.
At twelve wide gates the Wardens bright
   Are watching night and day.
Good-bye, my child, we’ll meet no more
   Till we are e’en as they.”

 

THE MAGDALENE.

“Whoso cometh unto Me hath life.”

HE goes to Olivet to watch to-night,
   Alone, and weary and dejected.
Oh! dare I follow up the path He goes,
   What if I be rejected?

If I should be rejected! I who have brought
   The Captains of the Eagles kneeling—
I who have felt the haughty Herod’s arm
   Around me fondly stealing. [page 99] 

If I should be rejected! I who have danced
   Among these marble halls and fountains—
I who have walked with tetrarch and with priest,
   These olive groves and mountains:

I who have gazed on stern and passionate men,
   Nor felt one rushing pulse beat higher,
Feel when I look on HIM, as if I gazed
   On the sun’s mid-day fire.

He looks upon me with those searching eyes,
   As if He were my elder brother;
Yet wins me to His gentle sermons sweet,
   As if He were my mother.

He says that He must suffer; who are His foes?
   I’ve walked ‘mid pestilence unharmed,
And from the beautiful brows of those I love,
   I have the fever charmed.

When that dark-bearded Roman officer,
   Like a caged eagle, lay in prison,
One word from me at day dawn he went forth,
   Like the free sun just risen.

But this poor Nazarene—it seems I can do nought
   For Him, but weep and hear Him telling
Of purity, and peace, and deathless love,
   In His own Father’s dwelling. [page 100] 

I’ve heard debates of Scribe and Pharisee,
   And dared to answer them with scorning;
I’ve talked with Roman Guardsmen by the hour,
   Of Israel’s victor morning.

But this man, if He only whispered “Mary,”
   I could say nothing but “Rabboni;”
Oh! dare I follow up the path He treads,
   So lonely, rough, and stony.

He goes to Olivet to watch to-night,
   Alone, and weary, and dejected;
I’ll follow Him, and say, “Jesus, have mercy,”—
   What if I be rejected? [page 101]

 

THE EMIGRANT BIRD.

“WHY are thou leaving us,
   Beautiful one?
Why, like a captive,
   Haste to be gone?
Thou hast known no chain;
But thy feathered wing
Hath ever been free
   As the breath of spring.”

“I am one that is bound for the southern sea;
Over the waters my home must be;
I’ve a lay prepared for another land,
And a song to sing on the golden sand.
I’m away to the rush of Marmora’s founts;
I’ve a home on the steep of Plamina’s mounts;
I go to be saved from the blasting air,
I shall rest secure in the branches there;
When the cold wings of winter are chill and lone,
If you love me well, you’ll be glad I’m gone.”

          “But knowest thou not
            There are waves and foam,
         Thou wilt have to brave
            Ere thou seest thy home?
         I taught thee to fly
            In the sunbeam’s track; [page 102] 
         I have loved thee well—
            Songster, come back.”

“Lady, I dread not the curling deep,
A love that is stronger than thine doth keep;
A hand that is firmer than thine doth mark
My pathway wide ‘mid the waters dark;
And shall guide me sage where the mountain flowers,
Their incense breath from the leafy bowers;
I go, to come back when the star-flower waves,
When the grass is green on your household graves;
When the bursting fountains rush to the shore—
In yon lovely grove we’ll meet once more.

“If ye have loved ones who sigh like me,
To burst life’s rough chain, to soar and be free;
If their hearts have been chilled by the breakers dread,
And the hopes they’ve cherished are crushed and dead,—
Hinder them not, the tempest is high;
Call them not back, they’ve a fairer sky;
Like me, they will brave each billowy crest—
Like me, they’ll inherit a lovelier rest—
Like me, they go to escape the blast—
Like me, they’ll come back to your heart at last.” [page 103]

 

CHRISTMAS SONNET.

THE glory floated off, the beautiful, the grand,
Again the waves of Heaven’s blue curtain slept,
Again Judea’s stars peeped from its folds’ bright band,
When the pinions of the heaven-decked host had swept
Back into Heaven. What breathings had been heard
‘Mid the moon’s brightness, on the rock at rest.
No mortal ear e’er listened to those words
With which the circlers of the Throne had blest
The mountain watchers. They told a Son was given;
They marked his couch;—shepherds heard Angels say
The Child slept not ‘mid shades of velvet riven;
Not in a terraced mansion, lit with ruby’s ray;
No crimson pall of Egypt’s art was spread,
But the rude manger was his cradle bed. [page 104]

 

NINA IN THE DUNGEON OF RIENZI.

A TRAMPLING in the prison halls,
   Of guardsmen on the floor;
The page is hurried to the cell;
   They close the captive’s door.
Back flew the mantle from the breast,
   The nodding plumes fell low—
The dark plumes that so well concealed
   That woman’s throbbing brow.

The prisoner gazed in wondering doubt
   Upon his midnight guest;
What did the glancing of those eyes
   Stir in the captive’s breast?
The lips that in the judgment hall
   Seemed turned to molten stone,
Burst in one pæan of fervency—
   “Nina! my loved, my own.”

“Rienzi! is it thus we meet, within a dungeon lone?
Have they dared to cage Rome’s eagle down unto a prison stone?
Look up, beloved; a word of hope thy Nina brings to thee;
To-morrow’s sun will soon arise—Rienzi will be free.
Oh, Cola, thou art deadly pale, thy pulse is fierce and wild, [page 105] 
Thy brow is deeply furrowed, and thy sunny smile exiled;
But in thine eye’s bright glance I read thy country’s cause is thine,
And by the folding of these arms I know thou still art mine.

“Thou ask’st by what chance I came to Avignon’s tall towers,
Chance! my Rienzi; could I stay in Prague’s enticing bowers?
Did I not tell thee, day and night my steps should mark thy track,
And I have vowed to give to Rome her angel guardian back.
Nay, more, the gallant Count of Albornez is here;
Ah! start not so, thou warrior, thou hast no cause to fear;
Gaze on, Rienzi, steadily, into thy Nina’s eyes,
There is no shadow of a cloud upon their summer skies.

“Thou sayest true, this sensual Count, when yielding woman’s woes,
Or woman’s beauty, just redress, takes payment as it goes;
But, Cola, could I come to thee, and meet thy dark eyes’ flame;
Did I not know that death to thee were dearer far than shame.
Yes, Cola, he has knelt to me, his hand in mine hath lain,
And his lips have breathed soft words of love—yes, breathed them all in vain; [page 106] 
And one of these dark curls, Cola, is the young Count’s captured guest,
They say ‘tis cased in richest gold, and worn upon his breast.

“Thou canst not guess his magic power; it is alone through him,
That I have won this boon for thee, to leave this dungeon dim;
But oh! he little dreams that Rienzi’s love is here—
Pride and ambition sway the heart of that triumphant peer.
A hundred stately matrons wait his footsteps in their halls,
And seek to win his courtly smile to grace their banquet walls,
And a hundred of the loveliest girls of Italy’s high-born,
Are scheming how to snare the heart whose love I proudly scorn.

“But oh! Rienzi, dearest one, the time is flitting by,
And I must leave thee once again for the free wind and the sky;
No, no, not now, those words of love, breathe not of thanks to me,
Rome needs thy glorious intellect—her Tribune shall be free.
But when we meet, as meet we must, within our palace home, [page 107] 
When the Cavaliers have marshall’d thee with the gonfalons of Rome,
When this heavy tempest has swept by, then, dearest, let me know
If aught that I have done for thee has eased thy weight of woe.”

         Steps of the coming sentinel,
            The tolling of a bell,
         A warm embrace, a falling tear,
            A hurried, fond farewell;
         And out into the cold night winds,
            The velvet mantle swept—
         Alas! for the sad heart it wrapped,
            The sadder one it left.

A SOLDIER’S STORY.

“YOU ask of my comrade, lady;
   It is a story often told,
Of the heated in the battle
   Growing suddenly cold.
He was as fine a soldier
   As in any ranks you’d meet—
So wise, so good, so fearless,
   Here is his carte de visite.[page 108] 

“Yes, his hair fell just in those waves;
   See how his red lips smile;
Ah! we bivouacked together,
   We wandered many a mile.
Yes, ‘twas a rifle’s fire
   Laid Harry within the tent;
It was hard to catch his accents,
   As over his form I bent.

“I spoke of his home, his loved,
   That were far off—many miles;
I whispered of promotion,
   And his pale lips wreathed with smiles.”
“I’m sure of promotion, Charley,
   And you’ll be promoted, too,
Faithful comrade be ready—
   Meet me at the Grand Review.

“When the Great Commander comes,
   With blood-red banners o’erhead,
There’ll be men and officers plenty
   Reported missing and dead.
Don’t be faint hearted, Charley,
   Though the road lies up the hill—
Though you hav’nt yet tried the armour,
   And don’t yet know your drill.

“I know you’ll enlist yet, Charley;
   The sword will flash on your side; [page 109] 
You’ll bind the cross on your breast,
   And on to victory ride.
The Captain is waiting, Charley,
   In shade of Golgotha’s hill,
And the Heavenly Adjutant, Charley,
   Will see that you’re taught your drill.

“Only a little endurance
   Like that you’ve shown in the strife;
And, Charley, there waits your coming
   Promotion and endless life.
Only a few more watchings,
   ‘Mid the darkness and the damp—
Only a few more pacings
   Round and about the camp.

“And well I know, dear comrade,
   When the last réveillé is blown,
There’ll be men and officers plenty,
   To file round the jasper throne
Only,”——“’Twas all I heard, lady;
   On this arm lay a curly head;
And the officer on guard,
   Reported my Harry dead.

“Many long years have vanished
   Since we fired o’er Harry’s bier;
And I’m hearing the ‘sunset’ call,
   Which he died too young to hear. [page 110] 
But I’ve found the Captain, lady,
   Who is loving my Harry still;
And from the Heavenly Adjutant,
   Slowly, I’m learning my drill.

“I’m only struggling now, lady,
   With the tempest and the strife,
Till the bugler in black armour
   Blows the ‘lights out’ call of life.
And when in the morning wakening,
   I hear the last trumpet blown,
I’ll fall into rank with Harry,
   And the file round the jasper throne.”

 

ON A PICTURE.

IT lies before me, pillar, wall,
The portrait of that ancient hall;
I see the moon and stars on high,
The rays of that All-seeing Eye,
The figures of those glorious three—
Faith, Hope, and Heaven-born Charity;
The tesselated floor, the Square,
The Bible, Compass, each is there. [page 111] 

I know that once there proudly stood
A love-united brotherhood—
That there were kindred hopes and fears,
Softened by kindred love and tears—
That generous heart, and trusty hand,
Waited the Master’s high command,
Where, amid jewels richly set,
The Lodge of “Perfect Friendship” met.

I do not know if in those walls,
The tone of love still gently falls,
Or if beneath the Holy Arch
A band of weary pilgrims march,
Or beaming lamps give out their light
Upon each installation night,
While men, amid their blazonry,
Work out the rules of Masonry.

I know that of that elder band,
Some have attained the better land,
And changed the glories of that shore
For pilgrim garb and chequered floor;
That for the rough, uneven stone,
They see the glowing jasper throne;
And for the Templar’s battling strife,
They rest beneath the “Tree of Life.”

Oh! “Perfect Friendship,” art thou found
On any spot of earthly ground? [page 112] 
Tell me, ye devotees of Love,
If earth below is Heaven above?
Though heavenly flowers round ye twine,
As ye are bending ‘fore that shrine,
Ye breathe upon it as ye bow,
Ye crush the flowers as ye go.

Hope on! the deathless day shall spring,
And builders hail their loving King;
How many a Judas shall be sent
Forth in the captive’s banishment;
How many a gem unnoticed here,
Shall glitter in that starry sphere,
Where, round the Lamb and Elders’ seat,
The Lodge of “Perfect Friendship” meet? [page 113]

 

THE OLD FISHERMAN.

ALONG SHORE.

“YES, Miss, I thank ye a thousand times,
   It is a good book, no doubt;
But there’s lots o’ things too hard for me—
   I cannot make ‘em all out.
But I wasn’t always the man you see:
   When little Bessie was here
I wasn’t the swearing, reckless old salt—
   I’ve a cough, Miss, it wasn’t a tear.

“One night—never mind, I can’t tell it now—
   But out there, under the rock,
The cruel sea holds the whitest lamb
   That ever ran in a flock;
She wished me to go to church, and I went;
   ‘Twas to find her captain, you see;
But oh! dear lady, the church so fine,
   Was no place for the likes o’ me.

“I found the man who could give his gold
   Had never a sinful complaint,
But the poor who gave only in coppers
   Was counted but half a saint.
And I’m grown rather hard o’ hearing
   Since ‘The Pride o’ the Bay’ went down,
And they who sit up near the preacher
   Must wear broadcloth and satin gown. [page 114] 

“One night I went to a cushioned pew,
   The church looked so pretty and bright,
Says I, ‘For certain, the Lord of Heaven
   May be here this very night.’
But the man spoke gruff, ‘This ain’t your seat!
   Go ‘way back,’ says he to me;
‘Beg pardon,’ said I, ‘I thought you sailed
   With the Lord of Galilee.’

“I was never a scholar; but Bessie,
   Says she, just before she died,
‘Father, the Captain’ll call for you, 
   If it’s late at eventide.’
And somehow, of late, it seems, lady, 
   Since you’ve been talking to me,
I hear a voice in the midnight watch
   A-calling over the sea.

“But I don’t quite understand the call;
   It may be a pirate, you know,
Coaxing of me to go sailing with him
   To the dark cold rocks below.
You say there was One who said, when called,
   ‘Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.’
If I knew ‘twas her Captain calling for me,
   I’d say ‘Master, the old boat neareth.’

“For I never go back upon danger, Miss,
   In wreck, or battle, or strife, [page 115] 
And I’d go through breakers, or swords, or surf,
   To land on the shore of life.
So you’re going away, Miss, alack for us!
   Will ye sometimes pray for me?
Pray God, I may see you before I drift
   Away on the unknown sea.”

          *          *          *          *          *

 

DRIFTING OUT.

“Yes, I’m sailing away, my lady;
   Oh, give me that little hand,
It opened the door that showed the light
   Of the far and blessed land;
And that’s the country I’m bound for, Miss;
   The nets, the ropes, the seine,
Are all rolled up, and these withered hands
   Will coil them never again.

“Have I found Him yet? Ah, that I have,
   And to think that all the while,
‘Twas Him a-calling over the sea
   Calling so many a mile;
And I thought how could He step aboard
   Such a hulk of a heart as mine;
But He whispers, ‘I died on the cross for you;
   Says I, ‘Jesus, Master, I’m Thine.’

“So I’m drifting away, away, Miss;
   Oh! but I’m weak and old, [page 116] 
And the waters I’m sailing on now, Miss,
   Are very dark and cold.
But the Captain is somewhere aboard, I know,
   Though I can’t see His precious face;
He told me He never would give me up;
   I can trust His love and grace.

“God bless this hand for the rope it threw
   To the old tar, just going down;
He’ll not forget it upon the shore,
   When he’s a-wearing the crown;
And Bessie and I’ll look out one day,
   To watch till you touch the strand.
Oh! it is dark; Father calls me away;
   Blest Captain, is this the land?” [page 117]

 

ON THE DEATH OF EDWARD MASON, ESQ.

DEDICATED WITH CHRISTIAN SYMPATHY TO THE CHOIR OF THE CENTENARY CHURCH, HAMILTON.

HANG your harps upon the willows,
   Israel’s Temple singers sweet;
You are weeping o’er the stillness
   Of accustomed welcome feet;
Minor strains are in your music,
   Earth to earth and dust to dust;
Cold and gloomy is the chamber
   Where they’ve laid your precious trust.

From the solemn organ’s pealing
   Have the skilful fingers gone;
With you he no more is numbered—
   Hushed the swelling anthem’s tone.
Joyful Alleluias, echoing
   As from Eden’s far-off shore,
Soft refrain and hymns of sorrow
   At his beckoning come no more.

Music’s glorious power shall vibrate,
   But not at his thrilling touch;
Harmony’s sweet numbers echo,
   Not for him their founts shall gush;
Other hands and chords shall waken—
His are under dark mould hid; [page 118] 
Other lips the sweet choir marshal—
His are ‘neath the coffin lid!

Hang your harps upon the willows;
   Generous heart and kindly tone,
Friendship’s dear reciprocations
   Have with your lov’d leader gone.
Will you watch for his soon coming?
   All too quiet is that brow:
Will you wait his cheerful greeting?
   You would weep to see him now.

Music, at whose feeblest whisper
   Our earth-bound souls would faint—
Songs of love we dare not dream of,
   Greet the coming of the saint!
Take your harps down from the willows,
   Israel’s singers, sweet and clear;
Christ hath over all prevailed,
   “Therefore will we never fear.” [page 119] 

God, our Father, hear our pleading;
   May life’s last and broken strain
Melt into the glorious cadence,
   “Worthy is the Lamb once slain!”
So that, ‘neath the deathless branches,
   And beside the river fair,
All the singers in their numbers
   And the players shall meet there.

 

THE PALAIS CARDINAL.

SO very still the shadows lie, and even the birds are mute,
There comes no sound of winding horn, loud trump or mellow flute,
Outside the Palace darkness grows, the moss is damp with dew;
Inside a man lies dying now, terrible Richelieu.
Yonder upon his bed of State is propped the suffering frame,
With agony in every nerve; circled by pomp and fame;
No scalding tear is shed for him, no fond lips kiss adieu,
Oh! dying Cardinal, what comes in the land you are going to? [page 120] 

What wilt thou have to answer back for all thy pride and scorn,
Trampling beneath thy mighty feet proud Gallic’s highest born?
Who soon shall meet thee face to face in those dark hours of gloom—
What murdered man shall greet thee there to hear thine awful doom?
Chivalrous Montmorenci! speak—speak, thou dying priest,
Poetic, loving Chalais, banished from Court and feast.
Ah! Richelieu, another form moves on to meet thee now—
What of the beautiful Cinq Mars, with fair and classic brow?

Seest thou that scaffold raised on high for the victim of thy sin?
Well didst thou bait the gilded snare and lure the fair boy in;
Hear’st thou his last words to his priest, “I should have borne in mind
The Psalm, ‘Put not your trust in princes,’ but the Court lights made me blind;
Dear Father Malavetti, I’m young to die; cut off those golden curls,
And send them to my mother and my sisters, poor young girls; [page 121] 
Please tell them I am innocent of the crimes for which I die,
And God, I trust, who pardons sins, will take my soul on high.”

Who, holy, pious Cardinal, tried each seductive art
To win the love and blight the bloom of Anne’s trusting heart;
Who, failing love’s return, sought long to brand with shame and pain,
The Queen of France, and send her back a trampled flower to Spain?
Do you remember, wily priest, the day Queen Anne stood
In the council-room of Val de Grace, prisoner of Royal blood?
Ah! ah! for once your pale cheeks flushed at a woman’s truthful eyes,
As the “letters bound, with purple” betrayed your sad surprise.

Oh! keeper of men’s consciences, comes to that ear of thine
Sounds of a holy maiden’s voice from the cells of Saint Antoine?
Back from that living tomb strange thoughts around thy soul have met,
Of the soft dark eyes and coral lips of Louise de La Fayette. [page 122] 
“No more my hand in his shall lie, his fond arms me embrace,
I thought to lead him up to heaven—the tomb shall hide my face.
Is there no other way, my lord? At noon must set my sun?
If earthly love be such a sin, I go—God’s will be done.”

Son of the Church, how dar’st thou scorch the flowers that God has sown,
And fling into your cold stone walls a love thou couldst not own?
What sadist thou of the priest who strove the gentle girl to shield?
“For such devotion as Caussin’s, Canada is a field.”
Who turned the feeble Louis, king, spiritless, cowed and weak,
Into a mere machine through whom the Cardinal may speak?
God gave thee power and place to guide the feeble king aright:
Richelieu, how hast filled the charge?—go, learn this very night.

Oh! hypocrite, wilt thou not turn e’en at unseen foes of power;
Dying with emblems on thy lips, the tokens of His death,
Who with a love unparalleled gave up for us His breath. [page 123]
Son of the Church, rend, rend thy garb of scarlet, white and gold,
And wrap thy body and thy soul in the blackest sackcloth’s fold;
Death, Death, the mystic conqueror, hath won thee for his prize,
And the sons of France with strange relief gaze on those close-sealed eyes.

 

ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP.

WHENCE come these pilgrims toiling on?
   Up, upward still they go,
Till half a league at length they reach,
   Above the ocean’s flow.
Upon the granite rock they group,
   Around their altar stand,
As with the signs of Masonry,
   They clasp each other’s hand.

Above, the blue, unfettered sky;
   Two thousand feet below,
The city with its human hearts,
   Chequered with joy and woe. [page 124] 
Above, the glorious light of day,
   The graceful cloudlets roll,
And the glories of that other Light
   Lit up each Mason’s soul.

Out to the rustling summer wind,
   A snow-white flag they throw,
And the peasant heard the brethren cheer
   In the valley far below.
The glittering spires flashed and danced
   Like lightning in the blast,
While rolling as a silver flood,
   The rushing tide swept past.

What gained you by that bold ascent,
   Men of the Mystic Craft?
You learnt that the Grand Architect
   Needs not our beam or shaft.
That borderings of “pure lily work”
   Wreathe where man never trod;
Beauty and strength dwell in His house,
   The Universe of God.

Was your Inner Guard that boulder vast,
   Cradled by thunder shock?
Did you set a Tyler at the door
   Of that unyielding rock?
Missed you the wonted garniture,
   As in that Lodge-room fair,
Three hundred to your Order true,
   Bowed solemnly in prayer? [page 125] 

What gained you by that bold ascent,
   To the eagle’s native clime?
Carved in the everlasting hills,
   Traced you the hand of time?
You looked above in wondering awe,
   At Nature’s treasures rare;
You looked below with warmer pulse,
   For hearts you love beat there.

Did not your spirit soar on high,
   Toward the pure sky above?
Did ye not drink a deeper draught,
   From springs of deathless love?
Did Faith, and Hope, and Charity,
   Speak of their height and breadth,
Swept by no thoughts that bore you past
   The floods of time and death?

The sun sinks in the glowing West,
   As down the mountain slope
The festive bands now take their way,
   With words of cheer and hope.
Each bore a scrap of granite rough,
   A relic of the day
When Nevada sent three hundred sons
   On her mountain top to pray. [page 126]

 

ALFREDA TO SEILER,

ON THE MORNING OF THEIR SEPARATION.

‘TWAS the daughter of a British prince within her island home,
‘Twas the leader of a thousand men from old Imperial rome,
And very mournful were the tones blent with the heaving main,
As the willow branches bent their heads to hear the sad refrain:

         “Love me less; my memory hovers
            Like a shadow in thy way,
         And it intercepts the sunbeams
            Which should gild thy dreary day.
         Oh! from Albion’s rocky islet,
            Take bright visions of the past;
         Bear the cross of suffering meekly,
            And it will grow light at last.

          “Love me less; a spell yet lingers
            In the glances of thine eyes,
         Hovers in those clasping fingers,
            Whispers in those heaving sighs; [page 127] 
         Hush, thy love must be another’s;
            Rise, thy hand and heart are free;
         No, it never was a brother’s
            Tenderness thou had’st for me.

          “Time will pass and bring thee hither,
            Over yonder rolling main,
         And within this olden castle,
            Dearest, we may meet again;
         In that hour I will not shun thee,
            Each accustomed path we’ll trace;
         If another’s heart can claim thee,
            Love me less—give hers the place.

          “’Twas thy dying parent’s blessing,
            Sealed by pledged and fatal vow,
         And that promise still remaineth
            Solemnly, unbroken now.
         From thy brow drive back the spectres,
            From thy heart dispel the mist:
         Rise, there’s work in life’s stern battle—
            Never from thy post be missed.

          “Goodbye, darling; up the mountain
            Lies the country fair and bright,
         We are under marching orders,
            For a city out of sight; [page 128] 
         Love me less; life’s shadow falleth
            Softly o’er the dial plate,
         And ‘twill not be many stages,
            Till we reach the golden gate.

          “Love me less, till at death’s quiver
            Falls to the darkest, latest sin;
         Wait till o’er the raging river,
            Our tossed boats glide safely in—
         Till each quivering bark is anchored
            In the soundings of that shore,
         Then, amid unclouded hours,
            Heart’s fond idol, love me more.”

And so they said farewell—that girl within her island home,
And the leader of a thousand men from old Imperial Rome;
Ah! there are broken hearts on earth ‘neath placid bosoms worn,
There are sweet affections lying hid till the resurrection morn. [page 129]

 

THE PRAYER OF DAVID.

“Oh! spare me, that I may recover strength.”

IT was night upon Jerusalem;
   Through the palace of the king
There came no sound of armed men,
   No songs the minstrels sing;
The incense lamps burnt faintly,
   And the moon’s soft light was laid
Upon the tesselated floor,
   As the suffering monarch prayed.

     “Spare me; the earth is lovely,
For all green things are smiling, and the rose
Sends up its fragrance through my lattice bars;
The streamlet from the distant mountain flows,
Making sweet music to the twinkling stars,
     As night is coming.

     “Oh! spare me; I have suffered—
This form that never sank in weakness down,
For lion, bear, or Philistine, can now
Scarce turn its weary eyes to sword or crown,
Or raise its fingers to its throbbing brow;
     Pity my weakness. [page 130] 

     “Oh! spare me; men of battle
Wait for my voice upon the blood-stained field;
And I have been so strong for Israel’s right,
It cannot be that I have now to yield
Helmet and spear; no, I have yet to fight
     For Thee, Jehovah.

     “Oh! spare me, I am wanting
In the assembly of the choral host;
Asaph has stayed the rapt chords of his lyre,
And Ahiezer’s army halts on Jordan’s coast;
Nathan the prophet weeps; Hiram of Tyre
     Waiteth my coming.

     “Oh! spare me; my sweet children
Traverse the marble halls with noiseless feet;
I once again must twine the golden hair
Of lovely Absalom, and hear the sweet
Full tones of loved Bathsheba’s heir,
     My thoughtful Solomon.

     “Oh! spare me; gentle voices
That have a charm for me, so calm and low,
Have whispered to me loving words to-day;
And I have felt soft lips upon my brow,
That scared the fever’s burning glow away,
     Calming my spirit. [page 131] 

     “Oh! spare me. Well I know
That in thy presence dwells unbroken peace,
And I shall rest by thy right hand at length;
And yet I ask life’s pulse may not yet cease.
Oh! spare me that I may recover strength
     Ere the grave claims me.”

 


THE CLOUDED STAR.

WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF THIRTEEN.

                                                        Pale evening star,
Peeping forth from thy dark cloud-covered
Canopy, like sparkling gem in the deep darkened
Mine. Now thy bright form is hid: now it
Bursteth forth like primrose blossom in the
Early spring. Thou dost light the weary traveller
Ere yet the Queen of Night hath risen on
Her dreary path. Who hath nerved thee to fret the
Broad deep firmament for ages, while those who
Gaze upon thy light are soon encircled in the night
Of death? Who lit thy lamp on high? He who feeds
The raven’s nest; who giveth garments to the lilies,
Petals to the flowers, down to the butterfly, wisdom
Unto kings, and favour to rebellious man. [page 132]

 

CORONATION OF GODFREY DE BOUILLON.

THE conquering army slowly march
Beneath the castle’s lofty arch;
Thousands of trust knights passed on,
Whose swords the Holy Land had won;
Some with the yet unhealed scar
Left by the Turkish scimitar;
Each with the sharpened lance at rest—
Each with a cross upon his breast.

They with the music’s thrilling strain,
Here crossed the brook, the field, the plain,
And chaunted forth their leader’s fame—
Godfrey de Bouillon’s magic name.
Now with the crown and signet ring,
They come to hail their victor king,
And wreath with bay and sparkling gem
The monarch of Jerusalem.

Forth stepped their leader, and a shout
That thrilled his very soul rang out;
Then as on high he raised his hand,
Silence fell o’er the martial band—
A pause in bugle, trump and song,
A stillness o’er the mighty throng, [page 133] 
A single voice the silence broke—
Godfrey de Bouillon gently spoke:

“Oh! knights, companions, dauntless hearts,
   That by my side have stood,
And won the Holy Sepulchre,
   ‘Mid seas of fire and blood—
Here hail me as your brother, friend;
   To your encampment bring
Me as your loved, true, trusty friend,
   But crown me not your King.

“Friends and companions, we have met
   Upon the tented ground;
Honour and love and charity
   Have in your camp been found;
We’ve drank at Sychar’s ancient well,
   we’ve camped on Zion’s hill;
Look, knights, the lion keeps his paw
   Upon the Crescent still.

“But oh, dear knights, forget not, we
   Are followers of One
Who for our sakes bowed down to death,
   As He the victory won.
Honoured am I, His hosts to lead
   To Olivet’s dark shade—[page 134] 
To suffer where He suffered pain,
   To pray where He has prayed.

“Friends and companions, not to me
   Shall be this homage given;
I dare not here be crowned a King,
   Where wept the King of Heaven.
Shall steel and iron weld for Him
   And gold for me entwine?
Shall the Thorn Acacia wreath His brows,
   And the soft laurels mine?

“Adown these streets He wearily,
   Mocked by the soldiers, went;
‘Mongst yonder trees in midnight hours
   In agony He bent;
Upon that Mount He wept in grief,
   By that dark murmuring spring
Walked the cross-bearing Nazarene—
   Oh, crown me not its King.

“Sir knights, within these city gates,
   Solomon’s temple rose,
And strength and beauty still kept guard
   Despite their many foes;
The Crescent we must keep in check,
   But crowns may not entwine [page 135] 
Around our brow, till Christ comes back
   To holy Palestine.

“Oh, by the life which He laid down,
   His agony and pain,
May we be ready to go forth 
   In His triumphant train.
Back to your altars, Christians, knights,
   There, kneeling, humbly pray
Godfrey de Bouillon may be found
  Meet for his crown that day.”

 

HOPE.

   “Death draws us nearer; it will not be long, dear sister. Last evening, after the stormy day, in the holy moonlight, she was with me; she is mine for ever.”—LOST AND WON.

 

A TERRIBLE tempest rode high this morn,
   And the waters roared to the sea-gull’s screech
But now they’re asleep in the arms of night,
   Seaweed and shell has the pebble-strewn beach,
                    And I have you.

A skiff was tossing outside the bar;
   A ship nigh wrecked with the breaker’s spray; [page 136] 
Yet both are at peace and all safe this eve,
   This ship has her harbour, the boat her bay
                    And I have you.

A lamb had wandered so far to-day,
   Lost its way on the darkening wold;
Fearful and trembling, by rain drops chilled;
   But it dreams sweet dreams in its own safe fold.
                    While I have you.

The stars march out to maintain their right
   Of a royal road in the azure sky;
The moon has her path in the fleecy clouds
   That kiss her “good night” as they pass her by,
                    And I have you.

The shimmering leaves hold their concert sweet,
   Led by the breeze from the soft south-west;
And the glowworm has banks of moss and dew;
   The rose has her bower, the bird its nest,
                    And I have you.

It is only in mem’ry thou comest, love?
   Only in fancy beside me thou art?
And yet so real, so loving and fond,
   I surely can feel the beat of thy heart;
                    Yes I have you. [page 137] 

Oh! for the life that shall never be done,
   Oh! for the light that shall darken never!
Soon will the signal to meet be given,
   And on our love is inscribed “For ever;”
                    Yes I have you.

 


 

PRAYER FOR THE ABSENT.

EVENING’S gloom is round me now—
Evening’s breeze is whisp’ring low—
Gentle, murmuring voices wake
From the ripples of the lake;
Maker of the land and sea,
Hear my humble evening plea;
Father! hear me as I pray—
One I love is far away.

Guide the bark that bears him on—
Guide him till the goal is won—
Up the mountain’s towering height,
‘Mid the misty damps of night,
In the city’s swelling throng,
With the wood-dove’s sweetest song, [page 138] 
By the river’s lonely marge,
O’er him gave thy angel’s charge.

In his hours of gladsome mirth
Round some old and welcome hearth—
In the halls of keen debate,
‘Mid the pomp and pride of state,
Cheer his spirit with love’s beams,
Lighten up his midnight dreams;
In his wand’rings, free and wild,
Father, keep him like a child.

From the pestilential blight,
From the sunbeams’ scorching light,
From temptation’s mighty power
In some lone, unguarded hour,
From the dangers that we know,
From the dark, undreamt-of foe,
From the death-splash of the wave.
Saviour, hear, and help, and save.

Hear him, as he bends the knee,
Craving richest gifts for me;
As the hours of darkness roll
Doth our farewell haunt his soul;
Banish pain from that high brow,
Heal his spirit, anguished now,
Safely mark his chequered track,
Safely, Father, bring him back. [page 139]

 

OUR FATHER’S GRAVE.

SLEEP in peace, for dreary years—
Love has drenched thy grave with tears;
Resting in a tomb alone,
In a land almost unknown,
They who once broad lands could trace
Only claim a burying place;
Abraham-like, ‘mid sons of Heth—
Deeds of land are sealed with death;
Willow branches o’er thee wave,
Father, in thy quiet grave.

Far away on England’s shore,
Where the tides of Severn roar,
Towards the firmament’s blue woof
Grows a consecrated roof;
Holy walls our Father built,
With the light of morn are gilt,
And his Son’s name, carved on high,
Meets the traveller passing by,
Though the father and the son
Their earth-wearied race have run.

Never to the Holy Rock,
Truer shepherd led his flock;
Scoffers hushed the impious word
When his pleading voice was heard; [page 140]
And the midnight robber stayed
From his deeds of blood, and prayed;
And they say his name is now
Breathed with tears and blessings low;
For they wept, who could not save
One who fills a pastor’s grave.

Widows dried the falling tear
When they heard his footsteps near;
Orphans in his pathway bent
For his blessing as he went;
For his lamp shed holy light,
Heaven-born love and honour bright,
Strove to rule, with earnest prayer,
Every action by the square;
Holy deeds their incense wave
Round a well-tried Mason’s grave.

Clouds were near the setting sun,
When the ship its race had run;
Ah! affection, wild and free,
Might have been idolatry,
And, in unforgiving woe,
Said, “I will not let thee go;”
Had not love’s attentive ear
Caught the storm-cloud mutt’ring near—
Heard, with thunder in its train,
“Sounds of an abundant rain.” [page 141]

Father! thou in light dost dwell—
They for whom thy last tears fell,
Still the widow’s grief must share,
Still the orphan’s lot must bear;
But One, who appointed thee,
Counsellor and friend to be,
Thine own best beloved will keep
Till, like thee, we fall asleep—
Thine will guard through every blast
Till we meet with thee at last.

 

BEAUTIFUL LILLY.

BEAUTIFUL Lilly wandered in glee,
   With her noble lover close by her side,
And they looked on the blue of the tossing sea,
          And the boats on the tide.

Beautiful Lilly, raise not your eyes
   To that winning smile and that radiant glance:
Look out to the West—for the tempest sweeps,
          And the lightnings dance!

Beautiful Lilly, in your pure soul
   Sweet visions are rising of years to come; [page 142] 
Of earthly skies, where no storm clouds roll 
          O’er a peaceful home.

Beautiful Lilly, down in his heart
   He dreams not of altar or ring of gold:
Gather your mantle up—why do you start?
          Does the wind blow cold?

Beautiful Lilly, you’ll never bear
   The name of the man on whose arm you lean;
Beautiful Lilly, you’ll never wear
          The orange flower, I ween.

Beautiful Lilly, ‘tis better far
   That thy dark eyes shadow to hear his name,
Than to bear to thy grave the branded scar
          Of a maiden’s shame.

“Died of consumption.”—a common death
   For the budding flowers of earth to die;
And all that’s left is the earth scooped out,
          And then heaped up on high.

You sleep on the bank of the marshy pool;
   All we can gleam from the prairie wide,
Is, “she who was teaching the village school
          Grew paler and died.” [page 143]

Sleep in thy far away home, dear girl,—
   For no one knows, so no one can tell,
Of love that lies, like a hidden pearl,
          In the heart’s deep well.

‘Tis only hidden,—some glorious day
   The angels will gather each scattered gem;
You’ll give them your jewel, out of the clay,
          For their diadem.

 

THE RUINS OF COPAN.

WHAT do ye there, ye ruins vast?
   What mighty spirits brood
Among those interlacing boughs,
   In that far solitude?
Have ye no tongues, ye polished shafts?
   Speak, speak, ye sculptured stone—
Who answered back?—the river’s tide,
   The wind’s low mournful tone.

Temple, why there? A mighty skill
   Has unto thee been given;
Why is that pillar crumbling low?
   Why is that altar riven? [page 144] 

Plummet and line have told how true
   Thy architecture stands;
Hammer and chisel worked for thee,
   Held in a master’s hands.

Is there no storied urn to tell
   Who holds the stolen key,
That shall unlock the wondrous tale
   Of this wild masonry?
The traveller stands in solemn maze,
   And asks with anxious breath
If thou hast no known history
   Of life, and love, and death;

No stories of the knights who crossed
   Their swords before thy face;
No record of the bride who knelt
   There in her blushing grace;
No carved names of the first crowned kings;
   No stain of teardrops shed,
Where priests within thy massive pile
   Sang masses for the dead?

Did Mizeriam’s sons in worship bend
   Where yonder idol smiles;
Or the dark-eyed sons of old Castile
   Tread proudly down thy aisles? [page 145] 
Banner and lance, have they not flashed?
   And heads of clustering hair,
Have they not bowed in that lone porch
   And lisped their childhood’s prayer?

Far in the glowing Eastern lands
   Each footstep tells its tale,
Of warrior strife, of woman’s love,
   Of flushing brows grown pale.
Round Greece, and Rome, and Egypt’s shore
   Genius and Art entwine,
And a world has turned in ecstasy
   Toward Holy Palestine.

But thou, a fugitive, a child,
   Lost to thy household band,
A lone bird wandered from its nest,
   Into a foreign land.
But hope, fair ruins, hast thou nought
   More precious than this heap,
Where strength and beauty, though in tears,
   Still their lone watching keep?

Cheer up, sweet stranger, all unknown,
   Surely within thy shade,
The dust which God himself protects,
   Among thy stones is laid; [page 146] 
And on the resurrection morn,
   Deathless redeemed man
Shall rise to immortality,
   ‘Mid ruins of Copan.

 

TO BABY BICKLE.

ANGELS guard thee, gentle flower,
   From the thorns of life’s rough way,
Guide thy feet by fount and bower,
   Shield from trouble’s drenching spray,
Keep thee from the storms of care,
Keep thee from the tempter’s snare.

Mother, to thy care is given,
   This immortal soul to train
For her mansion in the heaven.
   Pray, though love’s tears fall like rain,
Christ, Himself of woman born,
Will not thy soul pleading scorn.

And remember that sometimes,
   From the gardens of the skies, [page 147] 
Down unto these lower climes,
   Comes the Lord of Paradise;
And while walking plucks the rose,
Gathers lilies as He goes.

Infant pilgrim, while we ask,
   Joy’s soft arms may thee enfold;
Yet on each there lies a task
   Who would reach the gates of gold;
Ere we lay the burden down
First the cross and then the crown.

Baby woman’s lot is yours,
   To watch, to love, mid calm or blast.
Who shall keep while life endures?
   Who shall guide thee home at last?
He who Himself was undefiled,
He can keep thee, precious child. [page 148]

 

OUR RECTOR’S CHRISTMAS GREETING.

WRITTEN ON HEARING THE PASTORAL LETTER OF THE REV. J. G. GEDDES, TO HIS PARISHIONERS.

A VOICE came o’er the waters,
   A message o’er the seas,
Sweet as the breath of Spring’s first flowers,
   Refreshing as the breeze;

A message not of hurry
   Charging our fearless hosts,
To arm and hasten forth to guard
   Our free Canadian coasts.

A voice came o’er the waters,
   “My people,” so it is said,
And those words embraced a motley group,
   The life-worn hoary head.

Girls with their waving tresses,
   Children with merry feet,
Our noble British garrison,
   The poor upon the street.

Men in the pride of manhood,
   Upon whose infant brow [page 149] 
That hand had signed the mystic cross,
   Whose voice was speaking now.

“My people,” and our spirits
   Took in the words of cheer,
Read in those hallowed walls the first
   Bright Sabbath of the year.

“My people, as the holy time
Of Christmas feast and church-bell chime
Draws nearer, more and more I feel
Sweet memory’s chains around me steal;
I miss you all, each well-known face,
I long to fill th’ accustomed place;
I feel, though mercies round me pour,
A stranger on a stranger shore.

“My people, two and thirty years,
We’ve mingled hopes and joys and tears;
And as those sacred hours come round,
We’ve trod together holy ground.
We’ve gone unto the manger bed
By angel choirs gently led,
‘Mid festive hours we’ve sought the gem
Cradled in ancient Bethlehem.

“My people, I shall with you be,
In prayer, in hymn and litany; [page 150] 
And as you kneel around the board
In memory of our Blessed Lord,
And take the hallowed bread and wine,
My spirit shall with yours entwine;
We’ll meet, though seas between us roll,
In the communion of the soul.

“Remember me to all, but speak
Kind words for me unto the weak;
Go to the couch of grief and pain
And give my message o’er again;
And tell the poor within each cot,
That by me they are not forgot;
Tell one and all to pray for me,
A wanderer from you o’er the sea.

“My people, through the coming year,
May God’s rich blessing give you cheer;
May His blest presence with you be
A shield, a guard, a canopy;
And like the pillar, lead your way,
Unto the land of endless day;
‘Till at our Glorious Leader’s feet,
The shepherd and his flock shall meet.”

A voice came o’er the waters;
   What shall we answer back, [page 151] 
That telegraph of sympathy
   Across the sea-gull’s track?

That prayers his steps have followed
   By way-side, sea and strange,
That warm hearts wait to greet him,
   Home to his native land!

 

ON THE BURIAL OF A MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF ODD-FELLOWS.

THERE gathered a throng of the bold, the brave;
They stood around a Brother’s open grave;
Such were the words their leader said,
As they sadly bent o’er the sleeping dead:

“Brother! round thy home, thy hearth,
Desolation spreads its death;
When the evening birds rejoice,
They thou lov’st will miss thy voice;
Wife, and sisters, bright eyed sons,
They, the lone, and weeping ones;
They, the loving, and the fair,
Brother, they will miss thee there! [page 152] 

“Brother! when you manly throng
Raise the hymn and swell the song;
When they strike each full-toned string,
To the lay they’re wont to sing;
Will they miss one swelling tone?
Will they think of one that’s gone?
In the hallowed house of prayer,
Brother, they will miss thee there.

“Brother! we have laid this night
Thee beneath the mountain’s height;
We have stood beside thy grave,
We have wept, who could not save.
Shall the world mark us with scorn?
Brother, it is thee we have borne.
Shall the stranger mock the tear?
Brother, we have touched thy bier.

“By the vows that passed the night
Of thy new inaugural rite;
By our own, our hallowed sign,
By that love that still is thine;
By the heart and by the hand,
Of our own beloved band;
By the tears which bright eyes shower,
Brother, we are here this hour. [page 153] 

Shall we wait thy coming feet,
When our noble Lodge shall meet;
Shall we stay to hear them fall;
Shall we wait our Brother’s call?
No! for thou art far away,
From the world, and with the clay;
And may we who still remain,
Stand prepared for Death’s last pain,

“When the sun and moon are fled,
And the graves shall yield their dead;
When the mystic spell is broken,
Of the secret softly spoken;
When the chariots fill the air,
Brother, may we meet thee there!
When the earth’s firm walls are riven,
Brother, may we meet in Heaven!”

And the voice was hushed on the zephyr’s breath,
That band stole away from the vault of Death;
For the clods fell heavily on his breast,
And they left their Brother to take his rest. [page 154]

 

THE QUEEN’S PRAYER.

THE king had girt his armour on,
   His good sword at his side,
His milk-white charger champs the bit,
   And foams in battle pride
But good Queen Anne calmly sought
   The altar’s peaceful shade,
And low before her country’s God
   Her warrior’s cause she laid.

No papal crucifix was there—
   Her slender fingers lay
Upon the pages Wickliffe brought,
   Her fair form knelt to pray;
Yet, as the Abbey bell pealed forth
   The fervid noontide hour,
The maidens saw their Queen arise
   To seek the Warder’s tower.

The Warder from his tower replied,
   “Ladye, ah! far away,
I hear the foemen’s slogan cry,
   ‘Down with the king to-day!’
And faint and dying on the breeze,
   In smothered whispers low,
‘God and St. George!’ my brethren cry,
   In accents that I know. [page 155] 

“The foeman’s chieftains ride and slay—
   England’s are few and worn;
The foemen’s banners kiss the sky—
   England’s are soiled and torn.”
Day wore away, but still the queen
   Was kneeling all alone,
Her long, dark curls fell heedlessly
   Upon the altar stone.

“Yet once again,” my Warder brave;
   “Ladye, the foemen run;
The banners of our lord, the king,
   Wave in the setting sun;
‘God and St. George!’ from rock to rock,
   The coming conquerors cry;
‘God and St. George!’ the founts and hills
   In echoes wild, reply.”

The army neared the castle gates,
   The minstrels’ strains begun,
And as the Warder closed them in,
   Told what the Queen had done.
They sat them down around the board,
   The king, the chief, the serf,
They merrily filled the festal bowl
   To the victory of the turf. [page 156] 

They breathed their “good Queen Anne’s” praise;
   Her name was pledged in wine,
The princess of old Luxenburgh,
   That knelt before her shrine.
King Richard’s brow grew flushed with pride,
   The haughty Leicester frown’d,
To think that Wickliffe’s tenets vile
   Had such an answer found.

What won the battle on that day?
   Asked many a stately knight,
When gazing on his casque and shield,
   And blood-stained armour bright.
What won the battle on that day?
   A union strong and rare—
The King of England’s mighty arms,
   The Queen of England’s prayer. [page 157]

 

“I SOMETIMES THINK IT WERE BEST.”

I.

WELL, how shall I help to right the things that are going wrong?
And what can I do to hurry the promised time of peace?
The day of work is short and the night of sleep is long;
And whether to pray or preach, or whether to sing a song,
To sow in my neighbour’s field, or to seek the golden fleece,
Or to sit with my hands in my lap, and wish that sin would cease.

 

II.

I think, sometimes, it were best just to let the Lord alone;
I think some people forget He was here before they came,
It’s a little for His glory, and a good deal more for their own,
That they peddle their petty schemes, and bleat and babble and groan.
I sometimes think it were best, and I were less to blame,
Should I sit with my hands in my lap—in my face a crimson shame.

The Old Cabinet; Scribner’s for April. [page 158]

ANSWER TO “I SOMETIMES THINK IT WERE BEST.”

MY pilgrim brother in life’s rough way, oh where have you wandered to?
Does the cloud that is veiling the noon-day sun seem an eclipse to you?
You want to help to right a few of the many things that are wrong;
You say that the day of work is short, and the night of rest is long;
You don’t know whether to pray, or preach, or look for a golden fleece,
Or sit all day with your hands in your lap, praying that sin may cease;
It is better to sail ahead, looking out for the bars of sand,
For anchoring out in mid-ocean will never bring us to land.

I do not doubt, my friend, that if Jesus were here again,
Unnoticed, going to His daily task upon Nazareth’s foot-worn plain,
Or we saw Him returning at even to that holy abode of rest,
A wearied, careworn, loving man, on a living mother’s breast,
It is likely many a Christian lip would curl in defiant scorn: [page 159] 
“Is this your Prince of King David’s line—a man in a stable born?”
For many a one who feels prepared the “King in His beauty” to crown,
Would pass the “Son of Mary” by with a supercilious frown.

I know, my brother, it is a truth, and mournful one it is,
That many invest for their own estates under the seal of His,
And they keep the uppermost rooms and the chief seats at the feast,
For they of whom the Master said, let him that is first be the least;
And they do forget, as you justly say, One was here before they came,
But the music of silver and gold is more than the music of His name,
And the foot of pride is echoing still over the temple floor,
Forgetting the Lord has His corner still, watching the treasury’s store.

But rise, dear friend, out of the mist that is setting about your way—
It is His voice, not a dying man’s, that is calling you “work to-day.” [page 160] 
You need not think that it is best, or that you would be less to blame,
To sit all day with your hands in your lap, your face in a crimson shame:
When the King comes into His vineyard grounds, the judgment will be for you,
Not for the man who lives next door, or sits in a neighbouring pew.
Beware of the tempter’s syren voice, nor break up the clods of earth,
To hide from the interest that Heaven secures your talent of sacred birth.

You say you think sometimes it were best to leave the Lord alone,
Because men work for His glory a bit, but a good deal more for their own;
But, friend, if the gleaner beside you keeps talking of all he has done,
Shall you go home without any sheaves at the setting of the sun?
If one at the fountain will make a splash and scatter about the spray,
Will you break your pitcher in deep disgust, and then go thirsty away?
Because within the walls of the church some are building tents of sand,
Shall you go out and make one the less in the true Rock-building band? [page 161] 

“The poor you have always with you,” a legacy left by the King:
Go and bind up the broken hearts, make the captive bird to sing—
Go watch by the beds of the dying, when the lamp of life burns low—
Let the trembling, fainting ones lean on you, as down the dark valley they go.
There was One who received the sinners; lead the lost dove back to its nest,
Toil till the workmen put up their tools, as the sun lies low in the west;
Arouse thee, my pilgrim brother, there is something for you to do,
For be sure, before His triumphant return, the Lord has a need of you. [page 162]

 

REQUIESCAT.

ON THE DEATH OF RICHARD H. MURTON, ESQ.

FROM the couch of mortal sickness,
   From the bed of pain,
A mother in her sorrow
   Weeps sad refrain;
And far across the breakers,
   And the sea-gull’s track,
Soothing strains are answering
   That mother back.

“Far o’er the wide blue ocean,
   Underneath sunny skies,
Far from his home and country
   My darling lies.”

“Yes, but loving hands have press’d
Sods upon that manly breast,
Holy words around his bier,
Solemn rite and heartfelt tear.
We have given the earthly sod,
Precious dust to keep for God—
Buried as he fain would be,
With the rites of Masonry—
          Requiescat.” [page 163] 

“Ah! but there stood no brother,
   Around that dying bed;
No sister, no gentle mother,
   Pillowed that head.”

“No, but faithful hearts and true,
Watched the pilgrim’s journey through,
Gathered round the dying bed,
Pillowed the poor throbbing head,
Cooled the burning lip and brow,
Listened to each whisper low,
Heard the splash of Death’s cold wave,
Wept who found they could not save—
          Requiescat.”

“Oh! but the weary longing
   For one more loved embrace,
Oh! for one look of perfect peace
   From that sweet face.”

“Mother, hast thou not him given
To our Father in the heaven?
Doth He fling such jewels back
On Destruction’s midnight track?
Did’st thou not show thy child’s feet
Where to find the mercy seat?
So that out of darkest night
He would reach the road to Light?—
          Requiescat.” [page 164] 

“Far o’er the wide blue ocean,
   Still kind friends watch o’er him,
Soon, oh Father in the heavens,
   To me restore him.”

“O’er the precious lonely grave,
Stone shall rise and green branch wave;
And though mighty waters rise,
‘Twixt his tomb and native skies,
One who could not love him less
Than with mother’s tenderness,
Thy beloved dust will keep,
Till the morning call from sleep—
          Requiescat.” [page 165]

 

COLERAINE.

‘Twas the evening ere the battle of famous Waterloo,
And two warriors, side by side, looked on the water blue;
The youngest spake, “I summoned you from our comrades’ merry jest—
There’s a heavy weight lies here, brother, a trouble in my breast;
And I’ve must to say to you that must be said to-night,
For God has told me I shall fall to-morrow at the fight;
And I know that you will ever be the soother of each pain—
Are we not both from Erin, and both from dear Coleraine!

“Nay, start not, Bryan; look not sad; I am not dying now,
The breezes yet play freely round my warm and flushing brow;
And my soul is strong and vigorous to bear the soldier’s part,
And the streams of life gush easily throughout my beating heart;
And I’m a Christian, brother, and not afraid of death,
But there are loving ones who’ll weep over my dying breath, [page 166]
Though they will not see me fall among you princely train,
For they are all in Ireland—in distant, fair Coleraine.

“I’ve a gentle wife, dear Bryan, you may remember her,
When we three in happy childhood so oft together were;
When you return in honour convey these to her hand—
Say they are letters come from one in a far and happy land;
There’s a lock of hair, a portrait, they are tokens sad and true,
And she will weep o’er those with tear-drops not a few;
But tell her also how I died—tell her that every vein
Thrilled to the last for Ellen, young Ellen of Coleraine.

“I’ve an infant, Bryan, not a boy—I should not fear for him,
For his would be bright honour’s path till wearying life grew dim,
And the world would call him brave in his daring, bold career;
‘Tis for a gentle daughter, dear brother, that I fear.
With her mother’s winning loveliness, her father’s spirit free,
O! God in mercy guide her bark safe o’er life’s rolling sea.
O! Bryan, she may deeply love one of the warrior train,
And be left as I have left one—one in far-off Coleraine. [page 167] 

“Oh! Bryan, we are brethren by a strong and mystic tie;
Say will you keep and nourish these till you lie down and die?
You have often sighed o’er faithless ones; you know the heart will take
A blemish from the blight of Love, and bear it till it break;
But now you’ll have another charge, a young and joyous thing,
Oh! friend, dear friend, no scalding tear thus from your eye should spring,
You may see me never more, for among the crowded slain
You’ll scarce remember Dermot, poor Dermot of Coleraine.”

He had finished—in the morning the sounding trumpet pealed,
And these true ones fought like brave men on battle’s gory field;
And many hours rolled swiftly by ere pressing foes gave way
Before Britannia’s banners and her troops of mighty sway;
But it ended at the last, and the noble, young and brave,
The coward and the loving, lay in one fearful grave;
And Bryan with one bleeding wound traversed the cover’d plain
To search for gallant Dermot, brave Dermot of Coleraine. [page 168] 

He searched among the living till hope’s bright star had fled,
And a tear was on his cheek when he turned among the dead;
But his sad task was not fruitless; he found his friend at length,
The young and stately warrior struck down in manly strength;
And Bryan wept o’er him, who lay a corpse upon the earth,
Far from his gentle kindred and the clime that gave him birth;
He started—not in loneliness lay the soldier on the plain,
For Ellen was with Dermot, fair Ellen of Coleraine.

Ah! she had journeyed wearily to gain the scene of strife,
And she reached it to behold the soldier’s ebbing life;
And the arrows of Death met her as she knelt upon the sod,
And their faithful souls together reached the city of their God;
And Bryan looked upon them, as they slept together there,
Life’s streams gushed all around them, the gallant and the fair;
And the watcher moved the mantle and saw life among the slain,
‘Twas Dermot’s infant daughter, good Dermot of Coleraine. [page 169] 

They were buried with the honours which crown a soldier’s tomb,
And tear-drops not a few fell for their early doom;
And many an aged warrior sighed and turned away his face,
As Bryan bore the daughter to her parents’ resting place.
And days rolled by; a ship of war bore the victorious home,
And a fair girl with a warrior together crossed the foam;
They reached their native land in peace, from the battle and the main;
But two were left in Waterloo, two wand’rers from Coleraine.

ON THE ARRIVAL OF THE “ETOWAH.”

OVER the waves, over the waves—
   Over Ontario’s breast!
On she moves to her destined port,
   To this land of the West!

From the rocks of the olden clime she comes,
From the light of our cherished early homes;
First from their forests of masts she springs,
Like a young bird pluming her snowy wings: [page 170] 

A peaceful link to our fatherland,
Onward she steers for this new young strand;
First European at anchor lay,
On the loyal heart of Burlington Bay.

         Over the waves, over the waves,
            Rides our fairy guest;
         Welcome the bark of our native shore
            To this land of the West.

Over the ocean’s treacherous tomb,
Over the mermaid’s groves of bloom,
Coming out of the British Ark,
Like the dove who skimmed o’er the billows dark;
The shoals, and the storms and quicksands past,
Calmly she rests amongst us at last;
Furling her snow sails, the creature lies,
Cradled under Canadian skies.

         Over the waves, over the waves,
            Cheer for the bark at rest;
         Sweet peace and prosperity she brings
            To this land of the West.

We know that in Solomon’s reign of old,
The merchantmen came from their lands of gold;
Commerce and trade spread their mighty wings,
Bearing rich stores of all precious things;
And the snow sail flashed, and the white oar beat,
Their wealth to plant at Solomon’s feet; [page 171] 
And the ships of Tyre and Tarnish lay
As “Etowah” lies in our sparkling bay.

         Over the waves, over the waves,
            Cheer for the stranger blest,
         Commerce revives at her smiling face,
            In this land of the West.

No skulking craft to spy out our ports,
Entice our sailors, or mould our forts;
Her trim-built hulk has not learned to make
The serpent’s trail in her sparkling wake;
No “Kearsage” and “Alabama” strife
Where “Etowah” moves like a thing of life;
No trembling slaves crouch beneath the fold
Of false colours stowed in the secret hold.

         Over the waves, over the waves,
            Bearing o’er ocean’s breast
         The dear old Flag that we love so well
            In this land of the West.

What shall she say when she proudly turns
Where the Sun in his early glory burns?
Let her bear words of a goodly land,
Of the loyal heart and the brother’s hand;
Home she shall carry the precious ore,
The woods and the fruits of this prosperous shore;
So bearing back, from her mast to her keel,
The olive leaf of a country’s weal. [page 172] 

         Over the waves, over the waves,
            God speed her to her rest,
         Prosper her course till we meet once more
            In this land of the West.

 

THE CATACOMBS OF ROME.

   “Mile after mile of graves, but not one word or sign of the gloominess of death.”—PROFESSOR DELANNAY.

 

   MILE after mile of graves,
   League after league of tombs,
But not one sign of spectre Death,
   Waving his shadowy plumes.
   Hope, beautiful and bright,
   Spanning the arch above;
Faith, gentle overcoming Faith,
   And Love, God’s best gift, Love.

   For early Christians left
   Their darlings to their rest,
As mothers leave their little ones
   When the sun is in the West.
   No mourning robes of black,
   No crape upon the doors,
For the victorious palm-bearers
   Who tread the golden floors. [page 173] 

   Arrayed in garments white,
   No mournful dirges pealing,
Waving green branches in their hands,
   Around the tomb they’re kneeling.
   This was their marching song:
   “We’re not by Death’s arms holden;”
And this their glorious funeral hymn:
   “Jerusalem the golden.”

   Beautiful girls sleep there,
   Waiting the Bridegroom’s call;
Each lamp is burning brilliantly,
   While the night shadows fall.
   And baby martyrs passed
   Straight to the great “I am,”
While sturdier soldiers carved o’er each,
   “Victor, God’s little lamb.

   Mile after mile of graves,
   League after league of tombs,
The cross upon each conqueror’s breast
   Lights up the catacombs.
   “’Tis in this sign we conquered,”
   Sounds on their blood-stained track;
“’Tis in this sign we’ll conquer,”
   We gladly answer back. [page 174]

 

MIDNIGHT.

MIDNIGHT! strange and solemn hour—
Folded in each household flower;
Not a sound is near me now
Save the breeze’s cadence low,
And the patter of the rain
Tapping on my window pane,
And the dripping of the eaves
Falling upon withered leaves.

Yet the sentry keeps his tramp
Round and round the soldier camp;
Merry dancers move their feet
To the music’s measured beat;
Sailors, far away at sea,
List the waves’ wild melody,
And round many a downy bed
Loved ones weep their newly dead.

Why doest thou forsake me, Sleep?
Closer to my pillow creep;
Thou hast sweet forgetfulness
Of sorrow, pain and fretfulness;
Oh! so very like thou art
(Save the beating of thy heart
And the coming of thy breath),
So like thy twin-brother, Death. [page 175] 

Like thy brother—will he come,
Robed like thee, to take me home?—
Thou art fitful in thy clasp;
He will come with iron grasp;
Thou art gentle, soothing, mild—
I have known thee from a child;
He will come but once to me—
Ah! when will that meeting be?

God of midnight! waft this hour
Angels from thy star-gemmed tower;
While the clouds in sorrow weep,
Give to Thy beloved sleep;
Night by night, Thy wardens send,
Till we ‘mid their numbers blend,
Where, on thy sweet, summer shore,
Darkness cometh nevermore. [page 176]

 

ISABELLA OF VALOIS.

   “King Henry and his son, Prince Henry of Monmouth, tried by every means in their power to shake the constancy of the young Queen to the memory of her affianced husband, King Richard, but in vain.”—LIVES OF ENGLAND’S QUEENS.

 

SHE flung her mantle from her breast,
   Her tresses from her brow;
A child, yet girt with woman’s strength,
   She looks on Henry now;
And the gallant Prince of Monmouth,
   Whose love the lady scorn’d,
Stood gazing on her noble brow
   With jewels unadorn’d.

Knights brought their bannerets to wave
   When the vessel should depart,
But bitter thoughts and poignant grief
   Filled many an English heart;
And she, fair girl, had quelled the storm
   That o’er her spirit broke;
It was no hour for tears; a voice
   Upon the soft air spoke:

“I am leaving, king, for ever,
   The shores of England’s isle;
Blessed be God that I am free
   From all your sin and wile; [page 177] 
One hour, and the kinder surf
   My father’s ship shall buoy—
Another morn, and France shall greet
   The heiress of Valois.

“Keep, keep those gaudy trinkets,
   Nor deeper stain thy soul
With falsehood, perfidy and crime,
   For the value of the whole;
I should have worn those jewels
   With pleasure and with pride,
But Richard sleeps in Westminster
   With An-ne by his side.

“To rob one of her treasures,
   Silver and land and gold—
To heap foul scorn upon a king
   Who in his grave lies cold—
To make the bowers of Havering
   A prison for a dove,
Is the way the Prince of Monmouth
   Sues for a lady’s love.

“Farewell, proud King of Lancaster,
   I’ve not forgot the day,
When, as a slave, you carried me
   From my husband’s side away;
My husband—yes, in heart—though none
   Saw bridal train or ring; [page 178] 
Nor waiting crowd came forth to crown
   The child-bride of their king.

“Farewell, base King of Albion!
   One ruleth yet on high,
And the stately towers of Pontefract
   Are pointing to the sky.
Yes, cast thine eyes upon the ground—
   Again thy story tell,
That ‘Richard was by far too old
   To love sweet Isabel.’

“Look, courtiers, on your monarch now—
   Knights of the sword and lance—
Your hero dare not meet my gaze,
   Poor Isabel of France;
Ah! tell it at the tournament,
   When pride his lip will curl,
That this Henry of good England
   Has quailed before a girl.

“I will not tell you, Englishmen,
   How long I sought with care
To tread the path your An-ne trod,—
   Of love, forgiveness, prayer.
Farewell, ye gen’rous Englishmen;
   Beside my father’s bed,
The memory of your dawning love
   Shall ease my throbbing head.” [page 179] 

She turned her face towards the sea,
   Her feet upon the bark;
The soul of that young maiden Queen
   With sorrow’s cloud was dark.
The mystery of that time must float
   O’er the living and the dead,
Till the Judge His books hath open’d,
   And another book is read.

 

ONLY SO TIRED.

“WHAT is the matter with Minnie?
   I do not think she is ill,
But she will not run and play,
   She longs to be long and still;
Doctor, what ails the darling?—
   I think she is growing tall;
She has no disease I am certain;
   She’s only tired, that’s all.

“She is not like her angel mother;
   You remember how pale and weak
She was, but Minnie’s like me;
   Look at the flush on her cheek; [page 180] 
But her little steps come feebly,
   Through garden, bower and hall;
If I ask her what’s the matter,
   She’s only tired, that’s all.

“I think that she needs a change,
   Shall I take her to the sea?—
The winter has been so long,
   ‘Twould refresh both her and me;
Young creatures long for the spring,
   And the apple blossoms’ fall,
Minnie longs to sleep in the grass,
   She’s only tired, that’s all.”—

“My friend, do you see that wreath
   Of pure and unsullied snow?
It covered a larger space
   Only one hour ago;
Peep through the green-house door,
   At that rosebud sweet and mild,
Tell me what ails wreath and bud,
   I’ll tell you what ails your child.”

“Doctor, I know that the sun
   Is drawing the snow-wreath up,
I see there’s a gnawing worm
   In the rose’s crimson cup;
But Minnie sings her to sleep
   In my arms till the robins call, [page 181] 
She wakes me with softest kisses,
   She’s only tired, that’s all.”

“Ah! rock her gently to sleep,
   Swans sometimes sing a song,
Give her warm kisses and plenty,
   You’ll miss the soft lips ere long;
Yes, hug her closely, don’t grieve,
   You and I must meet such strife,
If we win our crowns, my brother,
   After the battle of life.

“The worm is all of the earth
   That lies in your rosebud’s cup;
‘Tis the Sun of Righteousness, friend,
   That’s drawing your snow-wreath up;
You’ll call her asleep and cold,
   When you see the coffin and pall,
But Minni’ll be wide awake,
   And never be tired, that’s all.” [page 182]

 

FROZEN TO DEATH.

   “It was a sad sight; frozen to death by the wayside lay the beautiful E——, well known last winter among our fashionable circles as the belle of the season.”—EXPRESS.

 

FROZEN to death, in the pitiless air,
Pearls of ice twine in the raven hair,
A mother is sleeping in death’s embrace,
To the moon’s pure light gleams the dead boy’s face;
The holy stars have a halo shed,
On the brows of the lovely unburied dead.
Who is it unclaimed, and unknown by all?
Only last winter, the belle of the ball.

She is no mendicant, bearing for years
The lone lot of poverty, hunger and tears;
No wrinkles are carved in that marble brow,
Which death and dishonour are claiming now;
She was lovely and loving, gentle and vain,
Pleased with the glitter of flattery’s chain;
Known as the star of the radiant hall,
Only last winter the belle of the ball.

They are meeting to-night in the festive room;
The lamps are all lighted, the flowers all bloom;
There’s a strain of rich song in the heated air;
Take up the sleeper and carry here there. [page 183] 
Who would not shrink from the passionless guest,
Yet is one there like her, the fairest of all,
Surely this winter she’s belle of the ball.

One is among them whose cheek may wan
At the sight of that lonely forsaken one:
His lips have breathed vows he would not keep,
His hand mixed the poison that caused this sleep;
Let him gaze on his victim; show every guest,
His ring on her finger, his child on her breast;
Dishonour veils him with its dreary pall;
Not her who last winter was belle of the ball.

Oh! of all the arms that were gently wound
Round that slender waist, could not one be found
To drag her back from the fatal snare,
That they knew too well was still lurking there;
There were fathers and mothers, yet none would speak,
The words that may burn on the maiden’s cheek;
Yet like beacon-fires may have stayed the fall
Of her who last winter was belle of the ball.

Mothers have passed her and left her to die,
With her helpless child, ‘neath the winter sky;
And others have seen her, and turned their eyes,
With the Pharisees’ comfort, up to the skies. [page 184] 
Maidens have shunned her with scornful glance,
Who met her last year in the mazy dance;
Now that she sleeps ‘neath that snowy pall,
Somebody else can be belle of the ball.

Frozen to death, let her sleep on there,
Over the ice falls the unbound hair;
What have pure drapery, jewels of gold,
To do with a form that is cursed and cold?
What has rich music and sparkling wine
To do with the victim at tyranny’s shrine?
What doth the dance with this clod of ice?
Man with his brother, or virtue with vice.

What have they? God knoweth, how here below
The wheat and the tares will together grow;
And with Him who pitied a sinful land,
We leave the crushed flower within His hand.
It may yet be found, when this dream life’s o’er,
Transplanted in love to that better shore;
With a solace given to her wounded breast,
“I have not condemned thee, take thy rest.” [page 185] 

 

TEN THOUSAND MEN TO THE FRONT.

   TO the front, to the front,
Ye dauntless sons of a dauntless race!
   There are foes invading your lands,
   There are chains for your free-born hands,
   There are arms prepared to drag
   From the midway heavens our flag,
Steadily, fearlessly, turn each face,
   To the front, to the front.

   To the front, to the front,
Softly and sternly the whisper came,
   In the hour of midnight dim,
   ‘Mid the merry festal hymn.
   To the side of the dreamer’s bed
   It came with a noiseless tread,
And a host were armed at the morning flame
   For the front, for the front.

   Then sang the unshrinking brave,
   “Oh! lead us on to the fight;
   Shoulder to shoulder, side by side,
   We’ll stand or fall for the right.
Keep back, keep back, the invading foe,
Our banners will conquer wherever we go. [page 186] 

   “Hinder us not, beloved,
   With kisses, and love, and tears;
We shall remember you all when there,—
   Quiet those tremulous fears.
Shoulder to shoulder, we’ll crush the foe,
Our banners will conquer wherever we go.”

Arm, ye flower of the land!
Arm, ye brave and fearless band!
Well may we dismiss our fears,
Guarded by such Volunteers,
Blent with that well-tested host
Far from Britain’s wave-washed coast,
Tread the proud invader down,
O’er you floats the cross, the crown.

Canada will ne’er forget
How her earnest call was met;
How in one night’s quiet life,
Armies were prepared for strife.
Loyal Irish, Britain’s sons,
Canada’s undaunted ones,
Forming three-fold cords to chain,
Wolf-hounds and their skulking train.

Fenced with love and many a prayer,
Given unto Jehovah’s care, [page 187] 
Go; and if a need must be
That you rush to battle’s sea,
When this peaceful land resounds
To the clash of warlike sounds;
Charge! for He will by you stand;
Charge for God and Fatherland!

 

O’ERWEARIED.

OVER tired and weary,
   Hand, and heart, and brain
Seem to pause in their labour,
   Fresh strength to gain;
There’s a land where the weary rest,
   Through hours of conscious bliss;
It matters not if I wake,
   In that land or in this.

I know that the iron chains,
   Will all be loosened there;
No more struggling with billows
   Of woe and care;
No more will the mighty ones,
   O’er the abject ride, [page 188] 
Or the priest and Levite walk,
   On the other side.

I am growing weak, oh! say
   Is not the long march done?
Of this life of tempest and woe,
   Is the battle won?
Oh! Father remove Thy child
   To thy land of bliss;
Let my joyful waking be,
   In that land, not this.

But what am I asking for?
   Have I not heard of One,
The Christ, who suffering said,
   “Thy will be done?”
Oh! Saviour in human form,
   Foot-sore, dust soiled and worn,
Thou didst not turn Thee back
   From the spear, the thorn:

And I know that of all the host
   Upon Thy holy ground,
Only the true who endure,
   Are victors crowned.
Ah! these iron chains of care,
   Glow like molten gold, [page 189] 
And this dreary land becomes
   A sheltering fold.

Over tired and weary,
   Into Thy loving care,
Take me for this long night,
   Grant me this prayer:
To strengthen me for the fight,
   Give me sweet dreams of bliss;
It matters not now if I waken,
   In that land, or this.

 

IN MEMORIAM.

ON THE LATE VERY REVEREND E. GORDON, V. G.

SOLEMNLY with chant and prayer,
   Take the pilgrim to his rest,
Dust beneath the holy pile,
   Soul upon its Saviour’s breast;
Weep not sadly o’er his clay,
   Joy that now the strife is done,
For the ship has crossed the sea,
   And the soldier’s crown is won,
And the battle’s gained at last,
Storm and tempest, all are past. [page 190] 

All the days of weariness,
   Nights of uncomputed pain,
Hours of mortal agony
   He shall never know again.
Joy waits him whose kind heart gave
   Sympathy to all distressed,
Counsel to the wandering,
   To the weary traveller, rest;
Pity for the orphan’s woe,
Tear and prayer for all laid low.

Memory turns back its leaves,
   To the childhood years gone by,
When our quiet sleeper met
   Friends long called above the sky;
And this was their sweet discourse,
   Speaking oft to one another
Of the country of their King,
   And their loving Elder Brother.
Now, once more true friends they meet,
At their blest Redeemer’s feet.

Oh, our yearning hearts would fain
   Trace the ransomed spirits’ flight
To the homes of Paradise;
   Lands that know not storm or night;
But a cloud that region veils,
   Our duty lies in this. [page 191] 
We must chant “Miserere,”
   He the “Gloria in Excelsis;”
Only this our tearful plea,
“Victor, were we there with thee.”

Be it ours still to bear,
   As the soldiers of the cross,
Woe and pain and suffering here,
   Counting all earth’s treasures loss;
For His sake and His alone, 
   Who for us His life laid down;
So that in the time to come,
   We with Him may share the crown;
Yielding all to Jesus’ trust,
E’en as now this precious dust.

Angel guides, of us take charge,
   And through mist and storm lead on
To the regions of the blest,
   Where our holy dead are gone.
Solemnly with chant and prayer,
   Leave the weary to his rest;
Dust, beneath the sacred pile,
   Soul upon the Saviour’s breast.
Pilgrim, one farewell to thee;
When shall our next meeting be? [page 192]

 

ALEINE.

I AM thinking of days long past, Aleine,
   The sunset evenings, the blushing morns,
When we are gathered the sweetest roses, Aleine,
   And you wore the blossoms and I the thorns;
Things that were lovely hovered round you—
   You reached out your hand for every prize—
It seemed that for you the south wind blew,
   For you the sun rode in the azure skies.

When we built our bowers of shells, Aleine,
   You coveted each of the rainbow hue,
And, when you grew tired, trampled them down,
   While my tears fell over their graves like dew;
You felt no pity to see them lie,
   Crushed by the weight of your tiny feet;
Things more precious than buds and shells
   Trace back to you their ruin complete.

What are we women sent for, Aleine?
   To stand half-way down the hill of crime;
Open our arms to the one ensnared,
   And then step aside ourselves in time?
And as the heedless one passes by us,
   Lower to fall in the vale of woe, [page 193] 
Turn virtuous lips toward Heaven, and mourn
   That one so gifted, should fall so low.

Ah! no, Aleine, are we not Heaven sworn,
   As angels’ guard of that fiercer band,
Still praying always and watching well,
   That their honied words and stronger hands, 
In some dark hour when the sentry sleeps,
   From our purer height drag us not down;
But that we may have power to win them up,
   With the bonds of love, to their harp and crown.

It is true as we sow we shall also reap;
   What are your crops in Life’s harvest scene?
What of the tears you have caused to flow?
   What of poor Herbert to-night, Aleine?
You could meet him in summer’s golden days;
   You could smile on him in the dancers’ hall;
But you who led him to darker scenes,
   Would give no heed to his dying call.

I know that you love to go to church,
   With the noiseless roll of your carriage wheels;
You love to bow in your cushioned pew,
   While the full choir chants and the organ peals;
But ‘tis quite another form of prayer,
   That scarcely chimes with your church-going bell,
To plead with the Father of all mankind,
   On the cold stone floor of a convict’s cell. [page 194] 

But for you, soft lips had that forehead pressed,
   And gentle hands bathed that throbbing head;
And Herbert, God willing, had died to-day
   With children’s faces around his bed.
Whose is that ring on your finger, Aleine?
   Why do you shiver? you are not cold;
Your last dark secret is known, Aleine,
   You have your reward—false vows, and gold.

What of the roses and shells, Aleine?
   Some of the fragments are still with me;
They tell me no tale of their beauty marred;
   But sing me sweet hymns of the far blue sea.
And I am not afraid of the thorns, Aleine,
   Nor shudder at them as I used to do;
For my thorns are springing to bloom, Aleine,
   While beautiful roses are dying round you.

There’s a stain on that delicate lace, Aleine,
   And that robe of white is sin-soiled and torn;
There’s blood on your lily-white hands, Aleine—
   Go to your chamber, repent and mourn.
Go to the fountain and wash and be clean;
   Go ere the star of your life has set;
Go, where the purest and vilest go,
   To the foot of the Cross you love not yet. [page 195]

 

WANDERING.

“He goeth after that which is lost till He find it.”

     LOST on the commons wild,
        A hundred went out to play,
When they heard the gentle Shepherd’s flute
        Calling at dawn of day;
        Led to the valleys green,
        Sheltered from sin’s alarms,
Folded often, when weary and faint,
        In the never wearying arms.

     Once for His sheep He fought,
        The lion rent brow and side,
But the drops of the wounded Shepherd’s blood
        Were but a healing tide;
        Like the stream that flowing fell
        From the stricken desert rock, [page 196] 
His blood washed out the mire and stains
        From the fleeces of His flock.

     I know He has missed me, for
        He calleth us each by name,
But never more will He ask for me,
        At the dewy morning’s flame;
         He does not want me now,
        Where the wild red roses twine;
For to wait His early gentle call,
        Has He not ninety and nine?

     Ninety and nine, who feed
        In the freshly springing grass;
Ninety and nine who rise with joy
        When they hear His footsteps pass;
        And they are doing His will,
        Without a doubt or a fear;
They are following down the path He leads,
        And I am dying here.

     The night is coming on,
        The weary desolate night—
I thought I was strong to dare the foe,
        And brave the lion’s might.
        Adown the mountain slope
         I see his fierce eyes flash;
Now through the cold, dark rolling stream
        I hear a sudden splash. [page 197] 

     These are not the lion’s paws
        That round me fondly press;
I should know that voice, those kind strong arms
        That so tenderly caress.
        My Shepherd, come down so low
        To save thy wandering lamb;
Back to thy folds and pastures green,
    Oh! take me “just as I am.”

 

TWICE ASLEEP.

I SAW the mother lay her darling down,
   Drawing the curtains each bright ray to dim,
And with the gentlest accent soothe each sound,
   And hushed the loving lips that sang his hymn.
          “Let him sleep on.”

How often when some household pet has lain
   All day his aching head upon our breast,
We’ve heard some kind physician prophesy,
   “He’ll be all right after a good night’s rest;
          Let him sleep on.”

We’ve seen the overwearied turn aside,
   And we have darkened up the window pane, [page 198] 
And given a sister’s kiss to seal the sleep
   Which shall refresh him, this our hushed refrain,
           “Let him sleep on.”

‘Tis thus we coax them into slumber sweet;
   But when that bed of earth throws back its folds,
And loved ones go, borne out in strangers’ arms,
   Oh! God, how can we say in those damp holds,
           “Let them sleep on?”

With strongest tears and cries we try to wake them;
   Call them by every name of love they’ve known;
Give them our warmest kisses, all in vain;
   Until we say, faith piercing mould and stone,
          “Let them sleep on.”

Yet they are ever going, some covered with the blue
   And seamless covering of the dark deep sea,
Pillowed upon the mermaid’s heaving breast,
   Uncoffined in the sea king’s cemetry—
          Let them sleep on.

Some in the lonely vault ‘neath cold damp stone,
   And many more enjoy a calm repose,
‘Neath patchwork coverlets of brown and green,
   Chequered with wreaths of lily, violet, rose;
          Let them sleep on.

Are they not like the babe recruiting life,
   Sleeping in peace upon our mother’s breast, [page 199] 
Weary with life’s long battle, sick at heart?
   They’ll be all right after a good night’s rest;
           Let them sleep on.

When shall the morning come? Easter has past
   Year after year, with anthems full of hope,
Yet clay cold feet are marching to the grave,
   Multitudes lying on the mountain slope;
          Let them sleep on.

It shall dawn yet; at midnight the cry cometh;
   Soldiers shall grasp their swords, virgins their lamps;
Our angels shall descend down Jacob’s ladder;
   Till then, ‘neath drooping banners in their camps,
          Let them sleep on. [page 200]

 

FUNERAL OF CAPTAIN MALCOLMSON.

WRITTEN BY REQUEST.

   SLOWLY ‘neath the bending boughs
      Pass a train of men,
   And they bear a sleeping form,
      Gone from human ken;
They bring a loved companion to his home—
A brother to his quiet couch has come.

   Oh, yes, it had been their wont
      To meet that pulseless hand,
   Giving friendship’s trusty grasp,
      Loved one of their band;
Now with steps fashioned to a funeral march,
They bring him ‘neath the summer tree’s green arch.

   He had gone forth in health,
      And life in all his veins;
   Brought home, ah! all too still,
      Bound in unbroken chains.
How could death lurk beneath the quiet wave,
And sunlight gild the door way to a grave?

   Oh! hearts sad but resigned,
      Stand round that sacred dust,
   And gives its Maker back
      Their holy, precious trust; [page 201]
The resurrection morning’s rainbow arch
Hangs o’er the shadowy path they sadly march.

   Will not those eyes which weep,
      Miss the warm, gen’rous heart
   That in kind deeds of love
      Hath ever borne its part?
Hark! for a sad refrain floats on the air,
Where saddened mourners breathe a farewell prayer.

          “Brother, thou wert one with us,
          Why then taken from us thus?
          Pilgrim, could thy task be done,
          Why at noon goes down thy sun?
          Ah! we may not question why;
          He who ruleth earth and sky,
          Counts each death-splash of the sea—
          He, the Master, calleth thee.

           “Sleeper, we have met before,
          Where the tyler guards the door;
          We have given the well-known sign
          That hath blent our souls with thine.
          Now, to-night thou giv’st no word
          Back to our souls’ deep stirred;
          For the Angel tylers wait
          At thy Lodge-room’s mystic gate.

           “Brother, thou art taking rest;
          We must still the wild storm breast. [page 202] 
          We build on through storm and might,
          Thou hast seen the quenchless light;
          While we hew the shapeless stone,
          Thou hast bowed before the Throne;
          While we tread the chequered floor,
          Thou hast passed the mystic door.

           “Oh! companion were we there,
          Ended every pleading prayer,
          Ended all the work and toil,
          Gathered all the fruit and spoil,
          Finished all the war and sin,
          At the golden gate passed in—
          Brother, once again with thee,
          What would our first greeting be?

           “Loved companion, we have given,
          To the guardianship of Heaven,
          Our brother’s precious dust;
          And, in memory of the just,
          Be it ours still to guard
          All he loved with watch and ward,
          Till like him, we gain the shore
          Where these sorrows come no more.” [page 203]

 

RAHAB.

THEY were standing beside her, those officers, in their disguise,
Come at their General’s command to spy out the country.
Asaph, the captain of thousands, stern lines in his forehead
Told he had borne the command when men’s hearts were falling;
And led the forlorn hope in many a fearful encounter.
Heber was younger, but not a less valorous soldier;
And now from the roof of the dwelling noiseless coming,
They stood by a window that looked toward the river of Jordan,
Across the far country, where camped lay the Israelite army;
And in a low whisper, lest any should hear, spoke Rahab;

          “Deal kindly with me.
All this good land of vine and olive trees,
These mountains rising up to meet the moon,
These corn fields waving with their harvest load,
This sod with villages and hamlets strewn,
          Shall all become your prey,
          In no far distant day;
Your military bands shall pour victorious songs. [page 204] 

          “I know that I shall hear
The thrilling trumpet and the warrior’s shout,
And these loved haunts be stained with precious blood;
The roses I have twined must pale and die,
For you will conquer in the name of God,
          Where’er your banner waves;
          Foeman fill foemen’s graves;
The lion of the tribe of Judah must prevail.”

“But how know we that thou wilt never let
Parent or friend upon this secret seize,
Perhaps there is one within this city, who
Coming to thee in gentle hours like these,
With armour thrown aside, and words of love
From his dark bearded lips, shall by thee prove
          This our oath and business.”

          “Soldiers, would I have dared,
Calmly to meet our own king’s myrmidons,
And sheltered you through these dark trying hours;
Had glittering jewels, precious gold, or words
Of warm and passionate love, with me had power?
          Think you this heart is fraught
          With one dark treacherous thought 
Towards the army calmly sleeping there?

         “My life shall be for yours,
If I betray to parent, lover, friend,
By word or look, or any mystic sign,
This our strange meeting and the oath you’ve sworn. [page 205] 
But tell me, warrior, how wilt thou keep thine?
         How will your armies know
         I am a friend, no foe?
Can I be safe amid your conquering tribes?”

         “Our lives for thine. If any of our men
Harm thee or thine, we’ll answer for the host.
Yes, this will be ours; and when we come
With thund’ring armies upon Jordan’s coast,
Bind this long thread of scarlet to this frame,
‘Twill be the token of a favoured name—
         The men will know it.”

         “Soldiers, my father!
Grey hairs are gathering on his temple now;
He may not risk the wild crowd’s trampling feet.
My gentle mother! years are on her brow.
You have had mothers, soldiers; I entreat
         For her, and for my fair
         Young sister sleeping there,
And for an only brother’s life I dare to ask.”

“All shall be thine, for we will deal with thee
Kindly and truly, as thou hast with us.
Fear not, the oaths that once we swear, we keep,
And thou wilt keep this symbol safely, thus.
Now fare thee well; our meeting next may be
Amid the clash of swords; through battle’s sea
         This ark rides safely.” [page 206] 

The soldiers fled to the mountains, and Rahab, now lonely,
Knelt weeping before the blest God of the Israelite army,
And praising His name for the courage which He had her granted;
She earnestly prayed for His mighty help for the future.
Ah! little she dreamt, in that hour, how she would become
Princess of Moab. She saw in that red cord no token,
That through a long line one of her glorious descendants
Should give His red blood for creation’s mighty salvation;
Nor could she know that her name, for a lasting memorial,
Should be carved on God’s pillar with prophets, apostles, and martyrs. [page 207]

 

AN APOSTROPHE OVER THE GRAVE OF BRANT.

SUPPOSED TO BE SPOKEN BY SIR A. N. McNAB, P. G. MASTER OF THE FRATERNITY OF FREEMASONS.

ON to the burial, brethren,
   Follow your master’s call,
And to the mausoleum
   Gather ye one and all;
Gird on your emblems, brethren,
   Emblems of truth and might—
Might that will fail us never,
   And truth that knows no night.

On to the burial, brethren,
   A Mason resteth there, 
But not your loudest footsteps
   The lifeless form shall stir;
On with the brave dead, brethren,
   Calmly the ashes rest;
But the spirit is with us, brethren,
   And with the holy blest.
On with the brave dead, brethren,
   Peace! let no sound be heard;
Pause! minute gun and sounding bell,
   Let our farewell be heard. [page 208] 

Brother, our Indian Brother, we’re bending o’er thee low,
But thou can’st not hear our murmurs, not mark our heart’s throb now;
Yet thy spirit may be hov’ring near, for we know our Father sends
His messengers of mercy from the glory which transcends.
But we’re thinking now of what thou wert when thy feet with ours trod,
Ere yet thy time-worn spirit pass’d to presence of its God.

And, Brother, what wert thou in strife when the trumpet peal’d from far,
And the Pale Horse for his legions came who fell in fearful war?
Some false hearts quailed and turned away to bear a coward’s name,
Too timid to abide the storm or share a warrior’s fame;
But some were true—I fought with thee through many a hostile crowd,
Lo! we’ve met again to-day, Brother, but thou art in thy shroud.

And, Brother, what wert thou in peace, ah! let that sounding bell,
That strikes through every brother’s heart is thrilling answer tell;
‘Twas thou who rear’d’st yon hallowed dome, whose voice in prayerful tone [page 209] 
Reached to the high Eternal One, and circled round the throne,
When human eyes beheld thee not, as in earnest accents mild,
Thou wert pleading for thy kindred of the unshorn forest wild.

And, Brother, Brother, what wert thou in the wondrous history
That wraps thee from the world at large in solemn mystery?
Let us who spanned the arch with thee, who at one altar bent,
Who saw the holy light from far to our dark pathway lent,—
Let us repeat thy generous deeds, tell of thy truth and love,
Till we greet thee blest, and perfect, in a better land above.

A change has come upon thy land since we spake together, Chief,
And tall domes rise and firm walls stand where waved the maple leaf?
And the waters of the bay, Chief, where shot thine own canoe,
Are torn with splashing iron wheels and bear rich treasures through;
But the hearts of those who love thee, oh! have they likewise changed, [page 210] 
And from Britain’s glorious banner have they become estranged?
Oh! no, but some have met thee, Brant, though a few yet track life’s sea,
And one must say this requiem o’er thy noble son and thee.

But farewell, Indian Brother, we must bid thee one adieu,
There are yet more woes for us to bear, more sorrow to go through;
But we’ve taught the world to-day, Chief, that the red man of the wild
And the white man of the palace are alike Heaven’s favoured child;
And we’ve taught them that there is a spell which is not broke by death,
A meek yet mighty influence that passes not as breath;
The stars may fail, the moon may die, the sun be veiled above,
But still remains as o’er thee now, Brother, the chain of love.

          Back, back, the crowd retires,
             Hushed is the minute gun,
          And the dead remain in silence,
             The father and the son;
          But Canada will chronicle,
             Among her deeds of right,
          The acts of justice done this day
             Beneath the sun’s pure light; [page 211] 
          And when her loyal spirits faint,
             Some traitor’s plea to grant,
          Then send her sons to kneel beside
             The burial place of Brant.

A REMEMBRANCE.

UNDER the shade of an apple tree,
   Whose blossoms fell, making summer snow,
A group of girls, light-hearted and free,
   Gathered one sunny day, long ago.

Shimmering sun on the waving leaves,
   Shimmering sun on the tossing curls,
As whiling the summer afternoon,
   They talked of their lovers—like other girls.

One heard the murmur of rustling breeze,
   And caught in its whisper an earnest tone;
One, in the cataract’s passionate roll,
   Heard warm love told to her alone;

And one saw a youth with raven hair,
   Proudly treading his country’s halls; [page 212] 
One saw the light of blue truthful eyes,
   Beaming on her ‘neath their cottage walls;

One heard the rush of the wild blue sea,
   And a mariner’s voice borne many a mile;
One saw a martial train sweep by,
   And the dearest sight was their leader’s smile.

Under the shade of the apple tree,
   Blossoms will fall, making summer snow;
But they whose hearts beat high with glee,
   Are changed and missing, since long ago.

Oh! could we gather this afternoon,
   Would the soft cheeks be of the rose’s red?
Called from the mansion, the cot, the sea,
   Called from the prison house of the dead.

Ice-cold lips for the coral glow;
   What a change in a few brief years;
Gray hair stealing ‘mid braid and curl,
   Soft cheeks furrowed by floods of tears.

One grows old in southern home,
   ‘Mid blushing roses and cooing
One hears the holy words of truth,
   Down the aisles, from the lips she loves. [page 213] 

And one—hush! softly her lot be named,
   Dark clouds oft shadow a brilliant star,
The wandering thoughts of the maniac fail
   To hide the God, loving near and far.

And one, the loveliest of our band—
   Draw a veil over the dismal scene;
We all are mortal, we all have sinned,
   And Christ turned not from the Magdalene.

Well, what is the end? That it matters not,
   If we steadily carry God’s lamp of love,
Up hill or down hill, ‘twill all be right,
   When we reach the summer of life above. [page 214]

 

ON THE DESJARDIN’S CATASTROPHE.

MARCH 12TH, 1857.

     TEARS for the dead—sad tears,
For broken hears are lying our way;
Behold the “Princess of the Provinces”
     Weepeth to-day.
Warm hearts were beating high;
Their chosen city was within their sight,
And schemes and hopes, and love’s sweet lamp
     Were burning bright.

     Tears for the dead—sad tears;
One fearful crash, and hark! one woeful scream—
The falling car of Juggernaught had reached
     The ice-wrought stream.
Could nought have stayed thee, foe?
Riches were with thy victims found, O Death;
And who would not have gladly changed with thee.
     Their gold for breath?

     The mother pressed her babe,
And smiled to see it smiling in its sleep—
And gentle sisters side by side went down
     Into the deep.
The man of God, who stood
But one short hour before his solemn change, [page 215] 
And said, “Heaven’s beams should listen mysteries
     That here were strange.”

     The youthful barrister,
Who in his sky beheld no cloudlet dim,
And thought upon his young and loving bride,
     Waiting for him.
Masonry could not save;
Low, brethren of the solemn, mystic tie,
Who kneel and pray, for the Knight Templar’s hands
     In silence lie.

     The lover fond, who thought
Ere summer’s sun to claim his bride,
He with another loved one passed away,
     Went side by side.
The priest has breathed the rite
For him, the words told not his truth, his trust,
How he would cherish: no, his marriage oath
     Was “dust to dust.”

     The sailor brave, who oft
Hath fought with tempest ‘neath a stormy sky,
We saw him pass to-day, with England’s flags
     But half-mast high.
Tears for the dead—sad tears,
For they had not gone forth as warriors go,
The mother had not looked upon her son
     With dread of woe. [page 216] 

     The fire was on the hearth,
The sun was set, the evening meal was spread,
When round the city rung the direful sound,
     “Thy loved are dead.”
Tears for the dead—sad tears,
Yet doth the rainbow glimmer on the cloud,
And hues of Paradise doth brightly beam
     On pall and shroud.

     For oh! no watcher saw
The chariots and the horse of Israel’s host;
None heard the louder song of Cherubim
     On glory’s coast.
The mother met her babes,
And as the crushing timbers rattled down,
The everlasting gates were lifted up,
     Our lost to crown.

     Tears for the dead—sad tears,
Widows and orphans weep heart-broken now;
Why did the storm beat down upon their heads?
     In grief they bow.
Ah! humble be our plea,
His love to ask upon our heart’s ploughed sod,
Our answer to the mystery must be,
     The will of God. [page 217]

 

DEATH OF CAPTAIN HEADLEY VICARS.

THERE were sounds of armies gathering,
   Unto the cannon’s roll;
There were sounds of martial melody,
   Before Sebastopol.

Courage was mantling in the breast,
   Fire in many an eye,
As Britain’s gallant hosts move on,
   To conquer or to die.

There were noble veterans in that train,
   Who boasted many a scar;
There was one who led his gallant band,
   Young in those scenes of war,—
Young, but how loved!—ah! many an eye
   That saw him arming there,
Was raised to bless him as his voice,
   Broke through the misty air—
                                            “This way, 97th!”

“By the flags which o’er us wave,
All that makes the brave heart brave;
By ties of home’s sweet band,
Sheltered on our native land;
By the ashes of our sires,—
By the light of Britain’s fires—
                                             “This way, 97th! [page 218] 

“By the burning vows that rest
Deep within the patriot’s breast;
By the bayonets that gleam
In the young moon’s flickering beam;
Though we stand on danger’s marge,
God will help us,—up and charge—
                                             “This way, 97th!”

“He will arm us for the fight,
On this strange, this fearful night;
Ere we rout the treacherous foe,
Some of us may slumber low;
See that each is ready—then,
Fight and die like Christian men—
                                             “This way, 97th!”

“Forward! victory is ours,
Though we fall beneath yon towers;
England’s glory is our crest,
England’s colours wrap our breast;
Let the trenches witness bear,
That the dauntless brave fell there—
                                             “This way, 97th!”

Fierce was the battle, wild the strife—
   The ground beneath them rang;
Redan and Malakoff that night
   Echoed the musket’s clang.
Two thousand of the treacherous host
   Advanced through that dark sky; [page 219] 
Two hundred of Victoria’s men
   Had met them at the cry—
                                             “This way, 97th!”

They fought and conquered, but the voice
   That led them bravely on,
The tone that cheered their lion-hearts,
   For evermore was gone;
Yet as his life-blood flowed apace,
   He saw the victory won,
And once more shouted as he fell,
   “Comrades, the foemen run”—
                                             “This way, 97th!”

He died, as many have gone down
   Who bear the warrior’s crest,
With a treasured name upon his lips,
   And a locket on his breast.
Oh! would ye learn how brave men fight,
   Go where the bravest lie,
And would ye learn how fond hearts love,
   And how true Christians die—
                                             “This way, 97th!”

Ye who beside him fought and won,
   Still may ye hear the sound
That from the watch, the camp, the war,
   Hath gone to holier ground!
The voice that failed on Russia’s plain
   Awoke to sweeter song; [page 220] 
And still he whispers by your side,
   While beckoning on your throng—
                                             “This way, 97th!”

Oh! ye throughout our lands who gird
   The sword upon your side,
And stand prepared in danger’s hour
   To rush in battle’s tide,
Scorn not to seek the light he sought,
   Scorn not the path he trod,
Through woes to victory on earth,
   Then glory with his God.

 

“FAR BETTER.”

   “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”—ST. PAUL.

            “FAR better!” oh, how sweet
               The glance of morn,
When thousand dew drops lie
               On bush and thorn;
But oh! to ope the eyes upon that shore
Where storm and darkness cometh nevermore,
               Is far, “far better!” [page 221]

            Luscious are fruits that grow
               In sin-cursed mould;
            Bright gleams the purple vine,
               The orange gold;
But oh! to cool our parching lips with fruit
That grows around the Tree of Life’s best root
               Is far, “far better!”

            Soft are the winds that make
               The lilies quiver
            In their fair summer home,
               Down by the river;
But ah! to feel new life within us fanned
By the warm breezes of Emmanuel’s land,
               Is far, “far better!”

            Warm is the cheerful glow
               Of friendship’s fire,
            But arms that fondly clasp
               May fail or tire;
Then, oh! to close the weary eyes and rest
Upon one loving and unchanging breast,
               Is far, “far better!”

            There’s music in the splash
               Of helm and oar—
            There’s music in the waves
               Kissing the shore—
But oh! to hear the harmony whose tone
Hath never whispered “changed” or “lost” or “gone,”
               Is far, “far better!” [page 222] 

            Earth has its homes of love,
               Its hearts’ devotion—
            It has its graves and tears,
               Wars and commotion;
Then to start forth and cross the dreary sea;
Oh! to “depart and with our Christ to be,”
           Is far “far better!”

 

DEATH OF KING HENRY II.

ON the shores of sunny France, the evening winds were sighing;
In the Cathedral of Chilon, Plantagenet was dying;
And England’s beauteous Queen and England’s Princes fair,
Do they watch the fainting monarch? alas, they were not there.
A son but not an heir to the “Island of the Sea”
Now clasped the sufferer to his breast and heard his dying plea.

“Oh, is this death that stays my pulse and dims my glazing eye?
Not yet, I wait to lift again my banners to the sky; [page 223] 
I, who have woke the fainting heart from the torpor of dismay,
Whose name has been a password—must I, too, pass away?
Oh! Geoffrey! son of her who loved thy monarch in his youth,
The fair and gentle Rosamond, who trusted to my truth,
I meet again the form I loved, I see your mother now,
With her long bright wavy tresses across her classic brow.

“Again returns the fearful time, when strong arms bear me back,
When I was left among the dead, upon the battle track,
When with her little trembling hand, and look of calm despair,
She unclasped the iron helmet and put back the flowing hair,
And unlaced the heavy corslet from the quiet blood-stained breast,
Where in past hours of weariness her throbbing head would rest;
I meet again the farewell glance of that too loving eye;
And must it be her son and mine, who waits to see me die?

“Was it for this I planted thorns in holy Louis’ breast?
And robbed him of the choicest flower that decked his regal crest? [page 224] 
‘Twas sin, although his soul woke not, his very heart was cold,
To the glorious songs of Provence and the burning lays of old.
He never could love Ellenore as I did—deep and wild;
I know thou shudderest at the name, I wonder not, my child;
Was it for this I led her troops o’er sea, through rocky gorge,
And blended with our English flag the banners of St. George?

“Dark be the sunshine of that morn, a blight be on the hour
In which the royal castellan entered my warrior tower,
And from the mail-clad army turned and murmured unto me,
“King Henry of Plantagenet, a son is born to thee.”
My firstborn! how he turned away with heart of burning strife,
Yet sought forgiveness from my hand in that last hour of life;
And he, my lovely second born, my generous nation’s pride—
Why did he die with flag in hand, and the sword upon his side? [page 225] 

“Why do my children dead, thus stamp dishonour on their clay,
And the living ones arraign themselves against me in the fray?
Ah! it is true, that as we plant, so we shall also reap,
And evil deeds, like winged birds, come home at night to sleep.
It may be that my rebel son may yet lament for me,
When he looks upon the fast closed eyes he never more may see,
And Cœur de Lion’s tears may fall o’er dreams of childhood joy—
Oh! might my spirit by him stand and bless the reckless boy.

“Here, take this ring, my loving child, thou hast thy mother’s glance,
That I should die upon thy breast, a fugitive in France!
Remember I have said forgiven, to those who sought my life,
And Ellenore of Aquitaine, my lovely erring wife—
Thousands have envied me, my son, envied a broken heart—
Envied the countless thorns and woes that round a sceptre start,
Yet odours will be round me flung, minstrels will sweetly sing, [page 226] 
And they’ll bury me in Fontevraud, with the burial of a king.”

There came a pause, a burst of tears, the cowled monks nearer trod,
And Henry of Plantagenet had passed before his God;
And through the bright stained panes of glass the moon looked gently down
Upon the royal brow grown pale, that yielded up its crown;
And the sleeping dust, the voiceless lips could speak a loud Amen,
To the vainless trust of riches, and the broken hearts of men,
Yet odours rich were round him flung, minstrels did sweetly sing,
And they buried him in Fontevraud, with the burial of a king. [page 227] 

 

UNDER THE SNOW.

Suggested by the receipt of some early Spring Violets, gathered in their full beauty from under the snow.

 

NOT with the hot-house air around them,
   Wove these leaves their purple woof—
Damp and darkness closely bound them,
   Snow and ice their only roof;
Yet they grew, well nursed for duty,
   When tempests blow,
Smiling in their maiden beauty,
   Under the snow.

Yes, their velvet cheeks were pressing
   Close against the sunny fold,
That with its congealed caressing,
   Sheltered them from fiercer cold;
Like some friend, whose kind direction
   Banisheth woe,
From the hearts which seek protection
   Under the snow.

We have looked on nature blighted,
   Sighed for summer days swept past,
Like the mariner benighted
   By the storm and tempest blast; [page 228] 
Passing onward, little knowing
   That as we go,
Prisoners of sweep hope are growing
   Under the snow.

Ah! how oft our woes we number
   Wrongly judging in this world,
Friendship seems in gloom to slumber,
   Truth’s bright banner closely furl’d,
Till some sunbeam’s calm revealing,
   Sheddeth its glow,
On true hearts their love concealing,
   Under the snow. 

Are we not like summer flowers?
   Youth and childhood pass away;
Leaves are falling from the bowers;
   Care and toil make up the day.
Heavy rains and frost-winds teach us
   Trouble to know.
Courage; God’s warm breath can reach us
   Under the snow.

Mourner, hast thou laid no treasures,
   With the mould upon each breast?
While the rough wind takes its pleasures,
   They are in a dreamless rest; [page 229] 
Cease those swoll’n eyes from weeping,
   Buried so low,
God will keep His darling sleeping
   Under the snow.

Farewell Spring’s first violet,
   Thy sweet work of love is o’er;
In the angels’ alphabet,
   Thou hast spoken of that shore
Where the quenchless sun burns stronger,
   Life in its glow;
Flowers bloom, but bloom no longer,
   Under the snow.

 

FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST.

“The fire shall ever be burning; it shall never go out.”—BIBLE.

          THOUSANDS of hearts to-day
Will interchange the grasp of Friendship’s hand,
Will round Love’s altar celebrate their vows,
The Altar whose bright fire ne’er burns out,
The Altar at whose shrine the weary bows,
          And rises nerved for strife,
          In the fierce war of Life.
          Strong for the battle.

          Love’s fire ne’er goes out:
Change and transition round its altar pass;
They breathe upon its gold, its brightness dim,
But vanish as the breath-stain from the glass,
Or dew drops from the rose leaf’s delicate rim;
          Noontide and day and night,
          Burns on the holy light,
          It goes out, never.

          Love’s fire ne’er goes out:
Change and transition round its altar pass;
They breathe upon its gold, its brightness dim,
But vanish as the breath-stain from the glass,
Or dew drops from the rose leaf’s delicate rim;
          Noontide and day and night,
          Burns on the holy light,
          It goes out, never.

          “It never shall go out:”
Time has rejoiced at his spoliations made
O’er classic temple and the sculptured fane,
The lip of beauty and the arm of strength—
Ah! he can triumph o’er his thousands slain;
One shrine he dare not drench;
          One flame he cannot quench;
          It goes out, never.

          “It never shall go out:”
‘Twas shadowed in Creation’s glorious light,
It flashed in the bright cherub’s flaming sword,
It glowed in the red bush on Horeb’s mount,
It gleamed in stately column on the horde
          Of pilgrims hastening on,
          From dreary Egypt gone;
          It goes out, never. [page 231] 

          “It never shall go out:”
Its rays came down in sweet acknowledgement
Of builder’s work, when Hiram, King of Tyre,
Solomon, and the widow’s son, and thousands more,
In the new temple felt the hallowed fire—
          To-day such friends have met,
          Such fire gleams o’er them yet,
          It goes out, never.

          For they are building on;
Level and square and chisel yet are found,
Sharpened and bright for use, while stone by stone
Changed from rough ashler to the polished shaft,
Rises unheard to God and to St. John.
          No sound of hammer falls,
          While through the world’s wide halls
          The house is building.

          Saint John the Baptist, if
In thy bright home of glory, thou dos see
The hosts that breathe to-day thy cherished name,
What will thy message to each votary be?
One thou hast sent before? oh, yes, the same:
          “There cometh very nigh,
          One mightier than I,
          Preferred before me.”

          Saviour we humbly bow,
Trembling because Thou art that One, Alone; [page 232] 
Trusting because Thou art our Brother, Friend;
In faith we ask for that blest fire of Love,
Upon our hearts’ rude altar to descend,
          Till from Heaven’s blazonry
          And faultless masonry,
          We pass out, never.

 

FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST.

                    BELOVED St. John,
     Though brightest star among the chosen twelve,
     Who wandered by thy loved Emmanuel’s side,
With Him where valleys smile and mountains shelve,
          And where bright waters glide;
          With Him in toil and care,
          With him in song and prayer,
             Holy St. John.

                    Favoured St. John,
Well may’st thou know the “voice like many waves”
That spake with thee in Patmos’ lonely isle,
And showed thee lands beyond the line of graves,
          Where trees of verdure smile;
          Thou who didst take thy rest [page 233]
          Upon thy Saviour’s breast,
             Favoured St. John.

                    Thy name, St. John,
Hath been a password unto warrior hands;
Victors have breathed it on their homeward march,
And brave knights stricken down in foreign lands
          Have looked to heaven’s blue arch,
          And told thy name to death,
          Murmuring with dying breath,
             God and St. John.

                    Mystic St. John,
The Templar and the pilgrim are at rest;
And Knights of Malta sleep in plain and sea,
With their red crosses mouldering on their breast;
          Yet far in Galilee,
          Through holy Palestine,
          Is carved on many a shrine—
             God and St. John.

                    Loving St. John,
Shall we forget thee, now thy name floats not
Upon our banners in the day of strife?
No, thy sweet voice shall cheer our lonely lot,
          The star-beam of our life,
          Our light ‘mid cloud and mist,
          Holy Evangelist,
             Loving St. John. [page 234] 

                    God of St. John,
Look on us in Thy mercy while we kneel,
Lone pilgrims from afar, pleading with Thee;
Winds from the chilly north around us steal,
          Tempest is on life’s sea;
          Pour through the sky above,
          Light from the Source of Love,
             God of St. John.

                    God of St. John,
Keep from us if it pleaseth Thee the fire
Of Peter and St. Matthew’s ready pen;
The cloven tongue; the heaven-attuned lyre;
          Saviour of the sinful man,
          Let love to us be given,
          To win us up to heaven—
             Home of St. John. [page 235]

 

THE BATTLE OF RIDGEWAY.

   “And God said, ‘Have not I commanded thee? only be strong and of good courage.’”—BIBLE.

 

   SO God to his soldiers spake
      Upon Jordan’s coast,
The true in heart, the strong in faith,
         An undaunted host.
      So God to His soldiers spake
         Along Erie’s land,
The true in heart, the strong in faith,
   An undaunted band.

   Then came the arming in haste,
      And the farewell borne
From the loving hearts all suffering there
      On that bright June morn.
   On, on, through the weary march
      With a fearless tread;
They went, though they knew before them lay
      The path of the dead.

   When suddenly came the foe,
      The skulking wolf-hound;
From thence the path of the Volunteer
      Became holy ground; [page 236] 
   Bravely they struck the blow;
      Out of their fires burst,
To tell them the Fenian horde our word
      Is “Union Jack first.”

   No veteran soldiers there,
      Nor warriors of merit;
All the glory was left for our
      Brave boys to inherit.
   Never before had they seen
      Their comrades lying—
Stricken down in their manhood’s pride,
      The dead and the dying.

   Never had stood in the storm,
      When war was raging;
Nor felt the bullets like hail
      In battle’s raging;
   Yet calmly and steadily on
      Poured their deadly fire,—
Oh! brave “Queen’s Own,” Oh! gallant “13th,”
      Shall your fame expire?

   There was help almost at hand,—
      Artillery crashing;
Regiments of soldiers, armed to the teeth,
      To combat dashing. [page 237] 
   Almost at hand; oh, the thrills
      Of hope and despair,
That swayed those heroes’ loyal hearts,
      In that hour of care.

   Whoever erred, we know
      That those Christian knights
Went with an army of heaven-sent prayers
      To those deadly fights;
   Given in our churches’ walls
      To the Lord of Hosts,
Given up our hearts’ best sacrifice
      To the foe-trod coasts.

   And God has taught the world,
      In the Ridgeway battle,
That not alone by the ball and sword
      And artillery’s rattle,
   Can He save; but by the might
      Of His own strong power,
That nerved the “Queen’s Own” and the gallant “13th”
      To the victory hour! [page 238]

 

THE BRIDEGROOM’S REVERIE.

I’M very sad to-night, Ellie;
   The memory of the past
Is muttering through my aching heart
   Like murmurs of the blast.
I’m thinking of the years, Ellie,
   The happy years long fled;
But tears are on my cheek, and thou
   Art with the quiet dead.

I’m threescore years to-day, Ellie,
   And there tarries at my side
A beautiful and gentle form—
   A seventeen summers’ bride—
Her golden curls float listlessly
   Around her neck of snow,
And the tones of that impassioned voice
   Are musical and low.

But I turn from that fair child, Ellie,
   To the graveyard’s silent gloom,
And would freely barter life and love
   For the silence of thy tomb;
I miss the hand that, beacon-like,
   Pointed to upper skies; [page 239] 
I miss the soul which earnestly
   Looked forth in thy dark eyes.

There are courtly guests at home, Ellie;
   The lamps shine in the halls,
And the sounds of mirth and melody
   Ring round my stately walls;
And men have praised to-night, Ellie,
   The music’s joyous thrill,
The rich parterre, the sculptor’s art,
   The painter’s cunning skill.

But the sweetest sounds to me are winds
   That through these willows wave,
And the choicest garden I possess
   Are the flowers on thy grave;
And the softest couch I seek, Ellie,
   Is thy green and grassy bed,
And my choicest piece of sculptured art
   Is the marble at thy head.

They filled the festal cup, Ellie,
   And o’er the flashing wine
They praised the lovely girl I won
   To deck the marriage shrine;
Will God forgive me—o’er that child
   No smile of love I shed, [page 240] 
For I drank in solemn silence
   To the memory of the dead.

When I brought my child-bride home, Ellie,
   The home that once was ours,
She praised the decorated rooms,
   The birds, the founts, the flowers;
But one sweet portrait from our walls
   Had vanished by that night,
And she told me, with a fond caress,
   She hid it from my sight.

Ah! did the poor child think, Ellie,
   That you and I could part?
Ah! ‘tis a sinful thing to give
   The hand without the heart.
Good-bye! meet me in my dreams, Ellie—
   Nerve me to bear my lot,
Till I meet thee in that land, Ellie,
   Whose dwellers “marry not.” [page 241] 

 

PASSETH AWAY.

“The fashion of this world passeth away.”

          AWAY! tall trees bend down
             And flowers die,
          Rocks from the mountain fall,
             Stars from the sky;
Footsteps are hushed that trod the mazy dance,
Eyes that were bright with beauty’s sparkling glance,
          Are closed to-day;
For oh, “the fahishion of this world
             Passeth away.”

          Who wears the envied crown
             Of deathless power?
          Hark! they are crashing down,
             Temple and tower;
A tarnish on the soldier’s glittering sheath,
A mould upon the snowy bridal wreath,
          Signs of decay;
For oh, “the fashion of this world
             Passeth away.”

          Yet we dress dust with gold,
             Oh, foolish gilders,—
          And build on heaving sand,
             Oh, reckless builders; [page 242] 
And meteors dance before us, and we try
To catch the starbeam, then exhausted lie,
          And lose the day;
Owning, “the fashion of this world
             Passeth away.”

          What’s this world’s friendship like?
             A poisoned token,
          The flattery of vain lips;
             A goblet broken;
What is there to repay the heart’s fond dream?
Floweth there nowhere an untainted stream?
          Is all decay?
For oh, “the fashion of this world
             Passeth away.”

          Oh! source of every good,
             Father above,
          We bless Thee for Thy gift,
             Undying love;
A tree, that heavy tempest cannot drench;
A flame, that “many waters cannot quench,”
          ‘Tis heaven’s own ray;
For oh, “the fashion of this world
             Passeth away.”

          Music’s sweet sounds are thine,
             Thou better land;
          Here, love and music need
             A guiding hand. [page 243] 
The bee within the sweetest flower will pain,
And the crushed fruit, although so sweet, will stain.
          Father, we pray;
For oh, “the fashion of this world
             Passeth away.”

          Up to Thy dwelling-place,
             Redeemer, take us;
          Where Thy soft tones of love,
             From sleep shall wake us,
Spotless to walk among Thy heavenly gardens;
Sinless to dwell beside Thy angel wardens.
          Why this delay?
For oh, “the fashion of this world
             Passeth away.” [page 244] 

 

EMPLOYMENT IN HEAVEN.

   On being asked “If you can choose your employment in heaven, what would you do?”

 

     A LITTLE while to rest,
     A soft refreshing sleep,
And wake to meet dear loving eyes,
     That never more shall weep;
     To see the sunny smile
     That set in life’s eclipse;
To feel their glowing hands in mine,
     Their breath upon my lips.

     A little while to twine
     Fresh roses, thornless flowers;
To walk without one trembling fear
     Among the shady bowers.
     A little while to view
     My mansion built above;
A little while to learn the joy
     Of never-ending love.

     A little while to walk
     The city saints have trod,
To bow, a being lost, redeemed,
     Before the Throne of God;
     To try the faultless tones,
     My harp’s melodious strain, [page 245] 
Joining the chorus of the blest,
     “Worthy the Lamb once slain.”

     A little while, and then—
If I may, take my crown, 
And harp, and at my Saviour’s feet
     Lay them in safety down;
     Then, by the Warder taught,
     At the ever open gate,
The passwords back to that bright land
     Where broken households wait.

     Leaving those jasper walls,
     Seek regions of Despair,
Down to the haunts of Sin and Death,
     Again to enter there;
     To whisper to the sad
     Soft words of hope and love;
To point the fainting, falling one,
     To rest and light above.

     To stand unseen beside
     The newly-covered bier;
To calm the little orphan’s heart,
     To dry the widow’s tear;
     To check the rising oath,
     On lips that ought to pray;
To check th’ unpraised avenger’s arm,
     And teach “a better way.” [page 246] 

     To go where the dear Lord
     Went ere His task was done;
To “spirits bound in prison fast,”
     Preaching of victory won;
     To lead, if I may lead,
     Through mists and shadows dim,
One poor strayed soul of human form
     Back to the light and Him.

     This I would choose my task,
     Till Sin and Death are dead;
Until the mediatorial work
     Is fully finish-ed.
     Then for th’ eternal years,
     No winter ever chills;
I have no choice, be that whate’er
     My loving Saviour wills. [page 247] 

 

LAKE ONTARIO AT SUNSET.

     THOU art rolling on, Ontario,
        Leaving the pebbly beach;
The fisher’s sail just marks thy waves
        Far as the eye can reach;
     Night veils thy distant waves—
        Sunset is going away—
O, let us watch with thee to-night;
        Leave thee ere dawn of lay.

     Hast thou no song to sing
        Of olden Indian times?
Of Chieftains in their birch canoes
        That listened to thy chimes?
     Hast thou no tales of blood
        That mingled in thy flow?
No memories of the hallowed past
        Within thy caverns low?

     Ah! the white man doth claim
        The land once free as thou;
They’ve bought and sold on either side—
        The woods before them bow;
     They may come down and gaze
        Into thy waters cold;
Thou’lt waft their treasures—give them graves—
        Thou art not bought for gold. [page 248] 

     Thou hast laved the burning bark
        Down in thy treasured hold;
The sailor sleeps within thy arms—
        The child with locks of gold.
     Earth has her signs of death,
        Her graves, her marble stone,
Her crosses by the lone way-side;
        Thou hast how many? None!

     Thou art gentle in thy smiles,
        Like a conqueror at play;
The sportive children venture far
        Into thy rolling spray.
     Thou’rt fearful in thy pride!
        To join thy numbers sweet
Niagara above thee rolls—
        St. Lawrence at thy feet.

     We love to see thee thus,
        Sparkling with sunbeams bright—
So like the loving and the loved
        Meeting at morn and night;
     We love to see thy waves
        Rise as they’re rising now,
To feel thy billows at our feet,
        Thy baptism on our brow.

     We leave thee, heaving lake,
        To thy moonlight and thy sky, [page 249] 
The flute’s soft note, the splash of oars,
        Ere another day goes by.
     O, for those deathless waves,
        O, for that country won,
Where the weary rest, where “moonlight’s power,
      Music and love, are one.”

 

QUEEN VICTORIA AT THE NUPTIALS OF HER SON.

“Who called thee strong as Death, O Love,

Mightier thou wast and art.” —HEMANS.

THERE was pomp and regal beauty,
   The glittering of gems,
The flashing of the jewelled crowns;
   The light of diadems;
Collars of gold and gleaming swords
   Shone amid robes of state,
Where all that head and hands devise
   On Albert Edward wait.

There were Denmark’s royal princes,
   And fair and gentle ones,
There were England’s martial veterans,
   And England’s stalwart sons; [page 250] 
And loyally and proudly
   Beat hearts amid the scene;
But oh! through all the pageantry,
   Where was our English Queen?

The hand that wields the sceptre,
   The form that fills the throne,
Why stays she from the gorgeous throng,
   A woman, and alone?
Why flits the smile so sad and sweet,
   As with a weight oppressed?
Why is the heart so strongly schooled
   Within that widowed breast?

She fears not that the traitor
   Lurks in her loving host;
She knows that strength and faithfulness
   Guard well her rock-bound coast,
She glances on her first-born son,
   She hears their plighted vows;
Where by him Alexandra,
   Child of the sea kings, bows.

What thought the Queen Victoria,
   A silent watcher there;
When the flower of British chivalry
   Paid homage to her heir?
When all this earth calls beautiful
   Passed by with joyous tread, [page 251] 
‘Mid the gathering of her loving ones,
   Her thoughts were on her dead.

Why, ‘mid the burst of anthems,
   When the thrilling music rolls,
Fell tears from those fair princesses?
   What stirs their gentle souls?
Is it not enough for them—
   The beauty of those flowers,
The joyous thrill of melody,
   The homage of those hours?

Yes, yes; but what were jewels,
   What the array that swept
Around them as the memory woke
   Of him who calmly slept?
They heeded not the gazing crowd,
   In that blest hour of pride,
When the music woke anew to life,
   For Albert Edward’s bride.

They thought, those weeping daughters,
   Of the pulseless hand that penned
The festive strains that gloriously
   To vaulted roofs ascend.
They thought that moment of the thorns
   Strewn in life’s wilderness—
Their widowed mother stood alone,
    And they were fatherless. [page 252] 

Knights of the glowing orders,
   Soldiers who watchful wait;
True patriots and star-gemmed peers,
   That nobly prop the State;
Tell us if in the time to come,
   Of England’s hopes and fears,
You will deem her glory sullied
   By woman’s loving tears?

Angels to earth which minister,
   Tell us, with vow and prayer,
Carried ye not the casket back
   Of tear-drops gathered there?
Did ye not find a fadeless flower,
   Grown in the human heart?
“Who called the strong as Death, O Love,
   Mightier thou wast and art.” [page 253] 

 

THE PILGRIM’S SONG OF CONFIDENCE.

“I will trust and not be afraid.”—BIBLE.

MY path is in the wilderness,
   My way is in the desert wild,
And dreary wastes and loneliness
   Mingle with rocks, in terror piled;
Yet One has promised He will guide
   To lands whose treasures have no rust;
I have upon His strength relied—
   Can He sustain me? “I will trust!”

My path is through the waters cold,
   And billows rise on every side;
I hear the noise where breakers rolled—
   I feel their overpowering tide;
A hand is on the flowing mane
   Of ocean’s charger—halt it must—
One holds the breakers’ bridle-rein,
   And can He curb them? “I will trust!”

The noontide sun is high in heaven,
   Its rays are bending o’er my brow;
No streamlet ‘mid this sand is given—
   No green oasis near me now;
Nearer it comes—the siroc storm—
   Scorching and burning is its dust;
Yet I saw One in human form—
   The Good Physician—“I will trust!” [page 254] 

The evening cometh; I would rest,
   And in forgetfulness repose,
But rain-drops stream upon my breast,
   Forbidding my worn eyes to close;
Yet ‘mid the tempest’s hollow moan,
   The lightning’s glare, the whirlwind gust,
I surely heard a soft, low tone—
   I know its whisper—“I will trust!”

As on my weary way I passed,
   A bright star lit my midnight sky;
I prized its beauty—but a blast
   With heavy clouds went sweeping by—
A voice came murmuring from above,
   “Mourner, yield not to sad mistrust;
Again shall gleam that star of love,
   Fond and for ever.” “I will trust!”

Oh! can it be there waits on high
   A mansion now prepared for me?
And can I bear each weary sigh
   Until those golden gates I see?
Can He who loves preserve from harm,
   Re-animate my mould’ring dust,
Fold me within His shelt’ring arms,
   Happy for ever? “I will trust!”

 

THE END.

[page 255]

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