Others
The Acacia
23rd Jul 2013Posted in: Others, The Confederation Poets 0

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THE ACACIA.
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The Acacia.


BY HARRIET ANNIE.


HAMILTON:
PRINTED AT THE “SPECTATOR” OFFICE, COURT HOUSE SQUARE.


1860
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THE ACACIA.


THE BROTHER’S REMEMBRACE.


In a church, in Canada West, stands a marble slab containing the following inscription:

“To the most affectionate of brothers, * * * * who departed this life from the effects of a cold, taken while defending his country. This humble monument is placed here by his only brother.”

It stands—a simple tribute there,
   Within that hallowed fane;
The token of a quenchless love
   That ever must remain.
It tells of years of tenderness
   When two fond hearts were one;
And friendship’s flower that fadeth not
   When life’s short race is run. [unnumbered page]

Cannot the feeling heart portray
   Affection breathing there;
And speaking higher, holier things
   Than wreaths of laurel rare?
It tolls the throb of agony
   Which wrung that manly breast,
When first the sound fell on his ear
   “Thy brother is at rest.”

“Brother! brother, thou art gone,
I must journey lonely on;
I shall miss thee in the strife;
In the sunshine of my life.
While I look around I see
Warrior troops which wait for me.
Shall I lead again that band
While one warm and trust hand
Lies now helpless with its clay—
Only brother passed away.

“Ah! they tell me I have won
With the hostile sword, and gun, [page 4]
Battles for the loyal free.
What is fame or spoil to me?
For they seek to make me bear
Honors which thou may’st not share.
Back I’d throw my all on earth—
Were we once more round our hearth;
But thy spirit would not stay—
Only brother passed away.

“And I shall not win thee back
From the grave’s benighted track.
Music from the forest trees,
Whispers of the sighing breeze,
Fain would bid my soul rejoice;
But—I wait another voice.
“Yet the angel’s harp and string,
Answer with their quivering,
To the tones I miss this day—
Only brother passed away.

“Yonder rolls the splashing bay;
Yonder heaves the lake’s white spray; [page 5]
Yonder doth the mountain frown;
We have stamped them with a crown.
Ah! a fearful price I’ve paid
For the honors on them laid.
I shall see our banners wave,
Whilst thou fill’st thy early grave;
For a star hath veiled its ray—
Only brother passed away.

“Oh! it had been better far
Had we fallen both in war,
And Britannia’s banner proud
Wrapped us in one fearful shroud.
Oh! beside my bed of pain
To have heard thy voice again,
Ere my soul from earth had burst,
God, our God, had called thee first:
Where immortal spirits stay—
Only brother called away.”

Long years are numbered with the gone
   Since this requiem was said; [page 6]
And earth yet claims one living son,
   The grave retains her dead.
Still when that living brother bows
   To worship still and low,
Doth not that snowy marble speak
   Of one he loveth now?

Warrior! the voice of fame may teach
   Thy noble deeds of yore;
And lofty pillars yet may speak,
   A nation’s thanks to pour.
Brother! this hallowed marble stands
   A link to Heaven above;
Warrior! those tell thy dauntless heart—
   Brother! this speaks of love. [page 7]

 

“COME QUICKLY!”


Surely, I come quickly—even so come, Lord Jesus.

     Oh, hasten, Prince!
Thy marble temple is with scoffers thronged,
Thy beauteous garden by deceivers trod,
Thy orphan children are oppressed and wronged
     Upon thy sod—        
   And we have toiled all day,
   Now faint at night we pray—
     “Come, quickly!”

     We rose at dawn,
And beside all the waters sowed the seed;
We saw fair “lilies among thorns,” we stood
To rest beneath an apple tree, and “feed
     Sweet in the wood;”
   Still on the leaves fell tears
   Of hope, and joy, and fears.
     “Come, quickly!” [page 8]

     When noon was high,
We turned us to the footsteps of the flock,
And fed “the kids beside the shepherd’s tent.”
Toward the shadow of the holy rock
     Our feet we bent;
   We felt soft breezes blow,
   But yet it was not thou.
     “Come, quickly!”

     When evening came,
We walked within thy garden, and we heard
Thy music voice, and we were not afraid;
We heard its tone in every leaf that stirred;
     We knelt and prayed
   That we may meet thee there,
   But Patience hushed our prayer.
     “Come, quickly!”

     The time is long,
And we are watching by the crumbling wall,
Waiting a herald’s warning from thy camp;
Our garments with the heavy dews that fall
     Are very damp. [page 9]
   Oh! weary is the night—
   Centre of Love and Light.
     “Come, quickly!”

     Within are sounds          
Of revelry, and mirth, and maddened tongues;
The flowers are dying in the festal hall,
Tones inharmonious mark voluptuous songs;
     Their pleasures pall,
   ‘Mid song, and dance, and shout;
   Their lamps are going out.
     “Come, quickly!”

     Ah! we would sleep—
But not till we can slumber on thy breast,
And feel the hand that opened up the fountain
Soon let us see thy fiery charger’s crest
     Over the mountain;
   The moon and stars grow pale,
   And human strength will fail.
     “Come, quickly!” [page 10]

 

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 as their prey. [page 11] 

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 at his heart,
   Warm life was in his veins,
One dream of love, of life, of home,
   One dream of captive chains.

‘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. [page 12]
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,
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. [page 13]

 

THE PRAYER OF DAVID.


“O, spare me, that I may recover strength before I go hence.”

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 burned 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. [page 14] 

     “O spare me,” I have suffered:
This form that never sank in weakness down,
‘Fore lion, bear, or Philistine, can now
Scarce turn its weary eyes to sword or crown,
Or raise its fingers to this throbbing brow—
     Pity my weakness.

     “O spare me!” Men of battle,
Wait for my voice upon the bloody field,
And I have been so strong for Israel’s right,
It cannot be that I have yet to yield
Helmet and spear; no, I have yet to fight,
     For thee, Jehovah.

     “O 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. [page 15]

     “O 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.

     “O spare me.” Gentle voices,
That have a charm for me, so calm and low,
Have whispered to me cheering words to-day,
And I have felt soft lips upon my brow,
That scared the fever’s burning glow away—
     Calming my spirit.

     “O 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 would life’s pulse may not now cease.
“O spare me,” that I may recover strength
     Ere the grave claims me. [page 16]

 

LITTLE FLORA.


     A little bark afloat
        On life’s rough ocean—
     A little flower that blooms
     ‘Mid earth’s commotion;
Long be that fair and time-unwritten brow
As free from lines of mournfulness as now,
        And those blue eyes,
Untarnished by the tear, like stars that shine
        In summer skies.

     We would no blight may pass
        Over the blossom;
     We would no storm may rise
        O’er ocean’s bosom;
We would—but swelling breakers will be cold,
And sweetest flowers have rootlets in the mould;
        The storm, the clay,
Still mingle with the sunshine and the gold
        Upon our way. [page 17]
     Mother! whose heart of love
        Thy child is blessing—
     Father! who, with delight,
        Meets her caressing—
O keep the precious flower from dangers free,
And point the voyage to that calm sea
        Where storms come not;
Ah! on the precious treasure given to ye
        Lies Woman’s lot.

     Her lot, to watch untired
        By beds of anguish;
     Her lot, to cheer the heart,
        When Hope’s beams languish;
To cheer, and yet to yearn for some kind tone,
That from the board or from the hearth is gone—
        To keep love’s lamp
Still burning, beautiful and clear,
        ‘Mid mist and damp.

     Parents! in earnest prayer,
        For this your daughter, [page 18]
     That safe through Life’s cold blast,
        And Death’s deep water,
A strength o’er which the foe prevaileth not;
A love, that change and time assaileth not—
        May win and keep,
Till in the Everlasting Arms,
        She falls asleep. [page 19]

 

BURIED WITH MUSIC.


They buried him with music,
      And should it not be so?
That the holy dead of earth should rest,
      With a solemn cadence low.
   Yes, music for the hearth,
      And for the cradle-bed,
For festive halls, for warrior bands,
      And, music for the dead.

   The mother lulls her babe
      Calmly upon her breast,
With the deep notes from her heart of love,
      To soothe it to its rest;
   And the sailor on the sea
      Sinks peacefully to sleep,
With the wild chords of the ocean’s harp,
      Stirred by its pulses deep. [page 20]

   They buried him with music—
      When Autumn’s dying moan
Scattered the dead leaves on the grave,
      Harmony whispered, “Gone!”
   When th’ Autumn’s cloud-veiled sun
      Gleamed through the sky above,
Music responded unto light,
      And the soft tone was “Love!”

   A breeze like breath of Spring
      Passed down the gentle slope;
The hand to fuller chords awoke,
      And gave the password, “Hope!”
   They buried him with music,
      And angel harp and string,
Although unheard, yet answered back,
      Earth’s faint strains quivering.

   They buried him with music—
      Masonic music—dear
Once to the heart of him who lay
      Upon a Mason’s bier— [page 21]
   Music that softly breathed
      Sad tales of Death’s damp sod;
Warm strains that told of cold decay,
      Rising to live with God.

   O Father! hear our plea;
      Give mercy from thy store,
Unto the bands whose weary feet
      Still tread the chequered floor;
   Give wisdom to the lips,
      To form the pleading prayer,
And guide the trembling hand to rule
      Each action by the square;

   That so by light and love,
      They, won to heaven and thee,
May close their eyes to wake and hear
      A new-born melody;—
   That when around their graves
      Earth’s voices murmur “Gone!”
The harpers of the Eternal Lodge
      May echo, “Won, won, won!” [page 22]

 

THE LADY TO HER EGYPTIAN LUPIN.


Why failest thou there,
   My beautiful flower?
Art thou pining now
   For thy chosen bower?
Thou exile of Egypt,
   It cannot be,
The grief of the lonely
   Is felt by thee.

Lady, when daylight is past and fled,
And earth and her children with sleep are dead,
My dreams are broke by the solemn chant
Of voices that come from each kindred plant
Which grows by the rivers of Halfai,
Or the ruined temples of Dendera;
But not those visions of voice or hue
Make me so lonely the long day through. [page 23]

What ailest thou then?
   Thy green leaf turns,
Where the brilliant sun
   On the warm earth burns.
Where would’st thou tarry?
   Thou would’st not be
With my garden flowers,
   All strange to thee.

Ah! hast thou not learnt that a mystery
Upon every flower and tree doth lie?
And a union of spirit that may be felt,
And a light of love that no sun can melt?
Look! the wreathing branches of trees are there,
Like friends whom an absence makes more dear,
While the bending boughs in yon distant grove
Still whisper the word which we worship, “Love!” [page 24]

I know that the sun will unfold his beams,
And the fainting flowers will sigh for streams,
But night’s bright dews will the soft leaves wet,
Of the rose and lilly and mignonette.
While joy, deep joy, fills each rose-hung bower,
They’ll remember still your Egyptian flower;
For the blossom and bud may not forget
That they are the angels’ alphabet.

Thou hast sheltered me, when by cold winds chilled,
My bloodless veins at thy warm touch thrilled;
And I know that still I shall hear thy feet
Come through the paths of the garden sweet,
When eve descends from the dark blue skies
Like an angel of mercy from Paradise.
We’ll guard thy steps to the grave’s dark gloom,
And leave thee where flowers immortal bloom. [page 25]

 

THE EXILE TO HIS DAUGHTER.


          To-night, to-night,
Let me record the tide of this day’s care;
   Waves have their rocks to notch, winds have their clear
Unmeasured numbers to pour every where;
   What if I pour mine in a daughter’s ear?
          Is there a shrine more pure?
             Doth not my heart grow light?
          All sorrows to endure,
             To-night, to-night!

          To-night, to-night,
The world doth heed thee not, my gentle one,
   And thy own thoughts are sad within thy breast; [page 26] 
Sad tears have fallen for bright hopes all gone,
   Sounds of another voice have marred thy rest.
          Weep not, weep not, my daughter,
             Passed over is that blight;
          Sink it in Lethe’s water,
             To-night, to-night!

          To-night, to-night,
Sing me the strains I love to hear the best,
   If the cold-hearted stranger stays and sips
A pleasure from thy melody—I rest
   In those sweet numbers flowing from thy lips.
          The hours fleetly, darling,
             Pass with the light;
          Sing to me sweetly, darling,
             To-night, to-night!

          To-night, to-night,
The father gathers to his breast his child;
   But other days will come of hope and fear—
Another’s glance will meet thy fond eyes mild;
   Another’s hand—not, not thy father’s, dear,
          Will rest upon thy brow,
             Praying for blessings bright,
          Even as I do now,
             To-night, to-night;

          To-night, to-night—
The morn will come with busy care and toil,
   With gathering voices, and the noisy din
Around the crowded mart, eager for spoil,
   But God is curtaining his children in;
          The hours for prayer and love,
             For labor’s flight,
          Are falling from above,
             To-night, to-night! [page 28] 

          To-night, to-night,
Ere thine eyes close in still, unbroken sleep,
   I bid thee nestle closely to my side;
Thy love, my child, doth one calm vigil keep,
   Pure and deeper than the fountain’s tide;
          No holier thing can be,
             The heart can crave—no light,
          Clearer than shines on me
             To-night, to-night! [page 29]

 

EVENING PRAYERS DURING LENT.


The flowers may wait at evening for earth’s tears,
   The lion of the mighty forest may go forth,
The timid dove in sleep may hush its fears,
   And the stars take their courses south and north;
May not earth’s pilgrims tarry on their way,
Despise not this, our worship,—Come and pray.

The table of the money-changers leave,
   Ye who have toiled all day for glittering gold;
Bend lowly for heaven’s benizens this eve,
   Ye who in merchandize have bought or sold;
Ye who have heard the engine’s mighty sway,
The wheels have ceased their moving—Come and pray. [page 30]

Ye who have stood beside the bed of pain
   With the physician’s skill, now pause and rest;
Ye who have sat in judgment—ye who train
   The strong for battle and the warrior’s crest,
Drink of the brook that murmurs in your way,
Night is the time for worship—Come and pray.

Ye who through flitting hours have held the pen,
   And woke the thrills which only poets know;
Ye who ford depths once passed by learned men,
   Where the broad streams of science freely flow,
Knowledge like a bright spell upon thee lay,
Rest volume, pen and paper—Come and pray. [page 31]

Pastor! since morning broke upon thy brow,
   Hath not the sufferer heard thy words of faith?
Hast thou not heard the orphan wailing low,
   And told the mourner what the Healer saith?
The gentle Shepherd, on life’s dreary way,
Gladly we wait thy summons, “Come and pray.”

Mother! thou throughout all the day hast moved
   In woman’s quiet, blest and holy sphere,
Still being the loving and the most beloved;
   Home’s light and blessing; wherefore art thou here?
Thou seekest aid to guide thee in thy way—
Thy household flowers are sleeping—Come and pray.

Stranger! thou wilt bend with us also now,
   Though night has ushered in the foreign skies; [page 32]
And when thy prayer is done, up to thy brow
   Will come no glance of fond and loving eyes.
Thy heart is where thy fair-haired children play—
Thy memory with the absent—Come and pray.

All who throughout the hours that are fled,
   Have watched or toiled, have loved, or joyed, or wept,
Kneel now; is there no word ye should have said,
   And spoke it not—none said that should have slept?
Have ye not stains of sin to wash away?
Need ye not help to-morrow?—Come and pray. [page 33]

 

THE INDIAN CHIEF.


During the war, a party of Indians attacked a village in the far West. One inhabitant alone escaped—a beautiful child, the daughter of a recent settler. The Chief arrived on the ground just in time to view the dying agonies of her murdered father. A few words passed between them, but they were sufficient to secure to the orphan of the pale face a happy home with the red men of the forest.—[Anecdotes of the Indians.

 

The following lines are supposed to be uttered by the Chief while conveying his adopted child to her forest home:

 

     I track the forest free;
Thy tears have ceased, sleep bears thee far away;
     My arms have folded thee,
And claimed thee as my portion of the prey.

     Tears with the pale face dwell,
But I’m a noble Chieftain’s only son,
     And thy meek features tell
That thou wilt learn to bless thy guardian one. [page 34] 

     Why do I save thee now?
What knits thee closely to my inmost heart?
     Why do I shade thy brow?
What binds me to thee never more to part?

     Is it the loving fold
Of thy young, gentle arms around my form?
     Sleep on—the brave, the bold
Shields thee, the only wreck of that fierce storm.

     Is it thy music voice?
Like streams that murmur in the forest wild,
     Where the red men rejoice,
And the Great Spirit guards the forest child.

     I hold thee safe, fair one;
The ruthless war-cry it has startled thee—
     Thy kindred all are gone—
But thou, bright Sunny-eye, art safe with me. [page 35] 

     Hast thou a pleasant dream?
Sleep on, thou tired one, and take thy rest;
     And let thy long hair stream
In wavy folds across the red man’s breast.

     I have a home—‘tis far—
And my brave children sport around the door;
     Thou, thou shalt be its star;
Thy white skin shall be decked with jewels o’er.

     Woe to the red man be,
If, in the hunt, he rescue not the dove;
     No longer brave and free,
If he forget the magic chain of love.

     Smile, pale face, in thy sleep;
I do not, may not weep for thy lost home;
     An Indian cannot weep,
And there are bright years for thee yet to come. [page 36]

     For thee I’ll search the air,
And many a gorgeous plume I’ll homeward bring
     To deck thy curling hair;
Start not—‘twas but the sounding rifle’s spring.

     And when the Father calls
Me to my brethren in the Spirit land;
     And when our own tribe falls,
To take the arrows from his mighty hand;

     When we two there have met,
Thou to be with me wheresoe’er I am;
     I know he’ll not forget
How the War Eagle bent to save a lamb. [page 37]

 

OUR COTTAGE WALLS.


We are aliens from a distant land,
   A land of love and flowers;
And none are here in whose warm veins
   Thrills kindred blood with ours;
And they whose sires once proudly trod
   Through Britain’s royal halls,
Now dwell in lands the stranger owns,
   Within the cottage walls.

We have no stores of shining gold—
   We own not beauty’s power;
We move not in the giddy dance,
   We live not for one hour;
Yet we have treasures many a king
   Seeks vainly till life falls;
Science, and peace, and love, we find,
   Can enter cottage walls. [page 38]

Keep back who enter pleasure’s paths,
    The thoughtless and the gay;
We have no room for treacherous hearts,
   No room for pride’s poor sway.
Enter, ye kind and loving ones,
   Ye whom our Father calls;
We’ve room for many such as ye,
   Within our cottage walls.

We have the gathered love of years,
   We’ve gentle ones to cheer,
We’ve sportive children’s guileless hearts,
   Amid our pathway drear;
And oft the stranger’s kindest tone
   Upon the lone ear falls;
For some have not disliked the band
   Within our cottage walls.

We converse with the mighty dead—
   We’ve poetry’s thrilling power—
We’ve music sweet, and hallowed charm,
   To while the evening hour; [page 39]
Nor strive to please the listener’s ear
   With power which but appals;
We only sing the songs we love
   Within our cottage walls.

We have an altar raised on high
   To the worship of our God;
We tread the glorious paths of old,
   Which holier ones have trod;
We’ve hymns of praise and words of prayer
   Breathed softly, when night falls,
And angels, hovering, fold their wings
   Around our cottage walls.

We know an everlasting arm
   Is still about us cast;
We know we have a glorious rest
   When Time’s dark waves are past.
Angelic masons now prepare
   A house which never falls,
For us, eternal in the heavens,
   Though now in cottage walls. [page 40]

 

THE INTERMENT OF FLORIZEL.


 

There were lights in the chapel’s old dim aisle,
And hymns sung low ‘neath an ancient pile;
There were flowers fresh culled by a maiden’s hand;
There was gathered a bold and a fearless band;

And wreaths of blossoms were clustering there;
The rose leaves slept on the marble fair;
And the lamps from the roof gave out their light
As the brilliant stars on a summer night;

And the winds of Heaven that crept gladly through,
A soft, strange life on the flowers threw; [page 41]
And their light stems thrilled in that marble grove,
As the soul will thrill to a strain we love.

But hushed was the organ’s peal—and near
A long train drew with a warrior’s bier;
And calmed was the flashing of many an eye,
To love’s pure tribute and grief’s sad sigh.

   “Halt now, and bury him here!
      Where should the loving rest,
   But in a hallowed spot,
      Beneath the earth’s warm breast,
And near the rushing of our own bright river,
The murmurs of the chainless Guadalquiver?

   “See, there are flowers here;
      What should the gentle seek,
   But those mysterious links
      From earth to heaven that speak?
But these are not the stranger’s own sweet flowers
That come to deck him in his burial hours. [page 42]

   “Music has murmured low
      Her dirges for the slain;
   Glad that the stranger sleeps
      Beneath the soil of Spain.
Unloved! ye may be broken-hearted here;
Unwept! pour o’er the noble dead the tear.

   “And must he sleep alone?
      He who hath loved too well;
   Who found a broken reed
      Pierce his heart’s inmost cell;
And so he turned to battle’s furious tide—
He’s ‘fore the altar now—‘the sword his bride.’

   “For us he dared the foe;
      The Christian knight has bled;
   And Andalusia’s mould
      Yearns for her coming dead.
Rest thee, thou Red Cross Knight—our sons shall tell
In years long yet to come—of Florizel. [page 43]

   “Tomorrow, and the lamps
      Will lose their glorious hue,
   And the flowers will give up
      Their life and beauty too;
But the memory of the sleeper will remain
Untarnished and undimmed on hearts of Spain.” [page 44]

 

THE MISSIONARY VALEDICTORY.


      Land of my fathers brave,
      I leave each mount and cave;
Yes—I no more shall feel my pulses bound
    Like a free streamlet, as the spot I trace,
Where, from my infancy, I’ve heard the sound
   Of the same waters in the same green place;
      Yet I weep not to leave thy dome,
      My father’s home.

Scene of my boyhood free,
      Yes, I must go from thee;
The islands of the sea wait for me there,
   And men are calling from the idol’s stone;
I shall see the dwellings, rich and rare,
   And wreaths of roses to the soft winds thrown; [page 45] 
      Yet oft my thoughts to thee shall roam,
      My boyhood home.

      Lot of my infant hours,
      I must go from thy bowers;
A voice is echoing thro’ the myrtle band
   Like a soft viol-lo, it calleth me;
A murmur loud is on the ruby strand,
   A sound is sweeping o’er the rolling sea;
      With joy I seek the gushing foam,
      And leave my home.

      God of my boyhood free,
      I cannot go from thee;
‘Mid dawnings of the sun in vine-clad bowers,
   Or his last gush of love on mountains drear,
Or in the lone watch of the midnight hours,
   Thou wilt be with me and forever near;
      Thou wilt never from me roam,
      God of my home. [page 46]

      Land of my purest love,
      My better rest above,
I know I shall be gathered to thee soon,
   When I shall pass away from foe and storm,
And from thy climate where no burning noon
   Or withering frost shall pass across my form;
      No foe shall call me from thy dome,
      My angel home. [page 47]

 

THE SAXON’S DAUGHTER.


   The pine torch blazed on high—
      Voices were murmuring low,
As on through brake and wood and steep
      The hardy Saxons go;
   And rapid is their march,
      Yet each has bowed his head;
Undaunted, ‘fore the Danes they stood—
      Their tears fall o’er the dead.

   It is not Edred’s form
      They bear among them now—
The Chieftain’s daughter slumbers there,
      Death’s seal upon her brow;
   On through the forest dark,
      They reached the old stone pile,
And through the broken gate-way passed,
      They tread the foot-worn aisle. [page 48] 

“My daughter,” spake the Chieftain, “now I kneel
   Beside thy burying-place—thou who of late
On deeds of mercy bent, met the dark steel
   Of our fierce Norsemen; ah! a cruel fate
      For one the loved of all,
      The light of hearth and hall.

“I thought I should again have seen thee come,
   Living and loving, as thou wert before,
To cheer my spirit and to light my home;
   Ah! a bright lamp is quenched to shine no more
      Upon this world of ours,
      But in a land of flowers.

“Thou wert among us like a thing of light,
   With power to wake the spirit of the free; [page 49] 
A ministering angel in affliction’s night;
   But, O! beloved, what wert thou to me?
      My link to heaven above,
      Centre of earthly love.

“Methought I should have felt the answering touch
   Of thy quick pulse to mine, and felt thy hand
Once more upon my brow, and heard the gush
   Of tenderness from thy own voice; I stand
      Alone in all my grief,
      Seared and without a leaf.

“Put back from that high brow the curling hair;
   The rose has left the cheek and lip, the ray
Of bright eyes hath grown dim—the brow too fair;
   Those tresses keep their freshness—let them stray—
      Yet one bright lock for me,
      And one for him, the free. [page 50]

“For there is one who should have been here now—
   My noble, dark-eyed Briton, far away—
Wrestling with furious Norsemen, Arthur, thou
   Wilt see thy sun sink in its noontide ray,
      And seek in battle’s tide
      Thy fair affianced bride.

“Back to the battle, Saxons! I must pause,
   And linger yet awhile by Edith’s tomb;
Fight for your homes, your lands, your loved, your laws,
   But not for her who sleeps amid this gloom.
      Leave me alone to prayer;
      Shrink not—I’ll meet ye there.”

   They’ve left their Chieftain now;
      They’ve left him with his slain,
And there the high-born Saxon mourns
      The trophy of the Dane. [page 51] 
   His only and his loved
      Unmoved lay at his side;
There, where the warriors saw him kneel,
      Edred, heart-broken, died.

 


[page 52]

 

ON THE ECLIPSE OF THE SUN, MAY, 1854.


Now slowly o’er the sun’s broad disc
   A dull, dim shade appears;
Oh! hath the king of day now learnt
   The power of human fears;
For slowly, as if Time had thought
   His wearying race was done,
Gently, as sleep steals o’er the babe,
   The shades of night come on.

The lowing herds move listlessly
   Home to their place of rest;
The sea bird seeks the tapering mast
   Far out on ocean’s breast;
The squirrel seeks the bending branch
   That in the water dips,
For nature, wondering, cannot tell
   What means the sun’s eclipse. [page 53] 

Hush! heard ye not a distant roll,
   As of a world passed by,
As mystic wheels harmoniously
   Went rolling through the sky?
Did they not give us some sweet sign,
   As of a brother band,
Like ship hails ship upon the deep
   With words of some sweet land?

Did ye not hear one mighty strain,
   As of a conqueror’s song,
While our majestic queen of night
   Rode peacefully along?
No! silence is their password now;
   Silence—through all the sky;
Silence—on many a ruby lip
   And many a gazing eye.

How shall it be when we shall mark
   The sun’s bright cheek grow pale?
When God shall bid the orbs stand still
   That through the blue arch sail? [page 54] 
When sun and moon and star, as now,
   Are passing through the sky,
Till suddenly the Judge’s voice
   Shall summon them to die?

Oh, Thou! whose power alone can keep
   The reins of nature’s steed,
Who delicately pencillest
   The flower and bush and reed;
Thou who dost keep a thousand worlds
   Rolling and still at rest,
And hear’st the sparrows when they cry
   From their lone pine tree nest;

O, teach us by thy Spirit blest,
   How once the earth was veiled,
When cruel hands, O glorious Christ,
   Thee to the rough cross nailed.
O, teach us what, at that eclipse,
   By thee for us was done,
So we shall calmly bear at last
   The dying of the sun. [page 55]

 

LAKE ONTARIO AT SUNSET.


     Thou art rolling on, Ontario,
        Laving 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 day.

     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? [page 56] 

     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.

     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. [page 57] 
     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,
        Speaking to 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,
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.” [page 58]

 

THE POET’S EVENING PRAYER.


     The moon is on the sea,
And the night winds are rustling in the pines,
   Low echoing to the soft notes of the dove;
The humming-bird is nestling in the vines,
   And I am come, Father in heaven above,
      To plead with thee.

     Thou, O my God, hast given
Into my hands a delicate harp, well strung,
   Trembling, I touch its wires, lest I should mar
Its sweet, reproofless numbers, sweetly hung
   By Him who gave us melody from far,
      E’en from thy heaven. [page 59] 

     When the world’s rolling tide
Is cold around me, and I pass along,
   Unheeded and unloved—a stranger here—
This sweet, pure gift of thine, waking to song,
   Cheers my lone spirit, and I feel thee near,
      Close by my side.

      O, give me grace and light,
So to return thy lyre at the last
   That thou’lt confess the off’ring, though time tost,
And soiled with fingers of an earthly cast,
   Owning, I have not in the deep earth lost
      Thy treasure bright.

      If I one thought have stirred
Which should have slumbered in oblivion dark,
   Where I have sinned by word, by smile, or frown,
O, be thou merciful my sins to mark—
   Send thy mild angel of forgiveness down
      With love’s sweet word. [page 60]

      If I have stayed the feet
Which hurried onward to the haunts of crime;
   If I have bid one angry passion cease—
If I have woke one memory of past time,
   One dream of innocence, of home, of peace,
      Of childhood sweet;

      If, from the grave-yard’s sod,
The gentle words of comfort have passed by,
   And blunted the sharp edges of affliction’s spears;
If I have set a rainbow in the sky;
   If eyes have set in smiles which rose in tears,
      I bless thee, God.

      Darkness is drawing round me—
I am drawing nearer unto thee—for here,
   Weary and faint, I fain would slumber long,
Trembling lest unseen danger should be near,
   Trusting, because I know thine arm is strong,
      Thy love hath bound me. [page 61] 

      And now I go to sleep—
O, let me calmly dream upon my pillow;
   Let me rest, sweetly leaning on thy breast,
Until the rosy light touches the billow;
   Let thy bright angels guard my place of rest
      While night dews weep.

      At last—so let it be,
When I have sung the poet’s dying song,
   And my hands chill with Death’s o’erwhelming wave,
Grant me to gladly pass from earth’s full throng,
   Knowing thy love will wake me from the grave
      To be with thee. [page 62] 

 

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; [page 63]
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;
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 value of the whole;
I should have worn those jewels
   With pleasure and with pride,
But Richard sleeps in Westminster
   With Anne by his side. [page 64]

“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;
Nor waiting crown 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. [page 65] 
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 monarch 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 Anne 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 66]

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.” [page 67]

 

“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!”

     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!” [page 68] 

     Soft are the winds that make
        The lillies quiver
     In their fair summer home,
        Down by the river;
But ah! to feel new life within us fann’d
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 69] 

     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!” [page 70]

 

THE DYING STRANGER.


“Brothers, I am dying now—
Lay your hands upon my brow;
It is damp with dews of death,
Slowly comes my feeble breath.
See the sun in yonder sky,
Sailing in its glory by;
When that sun is in the West,
Brothers, I shall be at rest.”

And kind men drew to the dying couch,
   And knelt by the stranger’s bed;
And cool hands moistened the fevered palms,
   And pillowed the throbbing head.

“Those I love had passed the gloom
Of the coffin and the tomb;
Where a bending willow waves,
Some rest in their quiet graves; [page 71] 
One, the soldier’s pall doth fold;
One, the deep blue sea doth hold;
Their angelic feet have trod
In the city of our God.”

And they joyed that the flowers were safely housed,
   Yet the watchers paused and wept;
They sighed for the lands where so far away
   The loved of the sufferer slept.

“Brothers, we have never met
In an earthly lodge-room yet;
In a distant, sunny land,
Gathers now my own dear band.
Ah! those absent—yours and mine—
By each word and mystic sign;
Yours, who at this mournful time,
Love one of a foreign clime.”

And the listeners blessed the mystic knot
   That held their souls in one, [page 72] 
The magic chain of an ancient craft
   That hath Time and Death outdone.

“Brothers, you will lay me down;
I shall rise to claim a crown;
You will move with solemn tread
Round my low, my earthy bed;
Let the evergreen appear,
Emblem of my bright hope here,
For I fain would buried be
With the rites of Masonry.”

So they buried him there, in a Mason’s grave,
   With words that a Mason knows,
And Faith and Hope, and a deathless love,
   Are wardens of his repose. [page 73]

 

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!” [page 74] 

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!”

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— [page 75] 
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!” [page 76]

 

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 arrival 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 Indian 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 tear-drops falling free;
At length, as the young moon rose up, the solemn silence broke,
And like music on the quiet air a 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; [page 77] 
But oh! may blessings round thee pour; peace nestle at thy side;
Hush! breath 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—
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. [page 78]

“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—
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—[page 79] 
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: [page 80]
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;
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 press’d it and tear-drops were its dew. [page 81] 

 

THE QUEEN’S PICTURE.


 On seeing a picture representing Queen Victoria taking the oath to maintain the Protestant faith.

 

She stands, the Queen of Britain’s isle,
   Within the hallowed shade;
Her little hand is on the page
   Of inspiration laid;
Her robes, her jewels—aye, the crown
   Circling her forehead fair,
Is nought to her—a mightier one
   Than Solomon is there.

‘Twas no light thing, that sacred rite;
   A nation’s wondering gaze
Is fixed upon the gentle girl
   That on their throne they raise;
One guardian form is near her now—
   Wellington views the scene,
The veteran chief of three-score years—
   And she—but just eighteen. [page 82] 

A light is glancing on the floor
   Her little feet have trod—
A light is beaming in her eyes,
   Pure from the throne of God;
Yes, holy faith with trembling joined,
   Within that maiden’s breast,
A prayer to keep her father’s faith,
   And leave to heaven the rest.

Young Queen, what visions throng thy soul;
   Thou could’st not tell what strife
Should gather round thy nation’s hearth
   In coming after-life;
Thou could’st not tell the fearful force
   Of congregated powers,
Of deep laid schemes, well wrought within,
   Rome and her seven-hilled towers;

Of what has been, of convent walls,
   Rising on Albion’s shore;
Of persecution’s hidden sword
   Piercing thy country o’er; [page 83] 
Of Jesuitism, deep and dark,
   Widening its dreadful search,
To poison streams which flow around
   The hearth, the home, the Church;

Of what may be—the veiled to come!
   May grace be given to thee,
To give untarnished back to God
   That oath of Liberty.
Yes, stand undaunted ‘mid the strife
   Of danger’s darkest scene,
True to the vow upon thy lips,
   Protestant England’s Queen.

Oh! ye free-born, ‘neath Britain’s flag,
   A vow upon ye lies,
The Bible and the Crown to guard
   With warmest sympathies.
Surely there is some mystic spell
   Upon our native sod;
It cannot fail, it cannot die,
   That prayer—that oath to God! [page 84] 

 

A MOTHER’S SABBATH PRAYER BY THE SICK BED OF HER CHILD.


 

      Hear me! hear me!
Father of all! beside her bed I kneel,
   Watching the fiery course of this strange blight;
In this sad hour thou knowest all I feel—
   Thou knowest human love; o’er the grave’s night
      Thy tears fell free;
      Hear me! Hear me!

      Hear me! hear me!
Thou once on earth did’st visit one like mine,
   Lingering with fever; and her father, too, [page 85] 
Was ruler in the synagogue; that voice of thine
   Spake but the word and back life’s streamlets flew;
      May I this see;
      Hear me! hear me!

      Hear me! hear me!
I may not in the temple courts be found,
   Nor list to-day our solemn Litany;
Yet when the prayer shall rise for all thus bound,
   And some think of this stricken one and me,
      Father of heaven,
      Hear them! hear them!

      Hear me! hear me!
I fain would see my darling back ere long,
   To fill her place once more round home and hearth;
Again would hear her voice in prayer and song;
   Again would hear her joyous shout of mirth,
      Of health and glee;
      Hear me! hear me! [page 86] 

      Hear me! hear me!
Thou who didst strengthen thy loved Son to bear
   The cross of suff’ring, hear my pleading breath,
If it be possible let the cup pass on;
   Yet thy will, Father, be it life or death;
      My trust is thee;
      Hear me! hear me! [page 87]

 

DEATH OF CAPTAIN VICARS.


 

There were sound 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! [page 88]

“By the flags that o’er us wave,
All that makes the brave heart brave;
By the 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!

“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! [page 89] 

“Forward! victory is ours,
Though we fall beneath yon towers;
England’s glory is our crest—
England’s colors 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 treach’rous host
   Advanced ‘neath that dark sky;
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 ever more was gone. [page 90] 
Yet as the life blood flowed apace,
   He saw his victory won,
And once more shouted as he fell,
   “Brethren, 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 91] 
And still he whispers by your side,
   While beckoning on your throng,
                    “This way, 97th!”

Oh! ye throughout our land, 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 of earth,
   Then glory with his God. [page 92]

 

ROCKBAY.


 

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. [page 93]

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-beams’ ray,
There thou sleepest, calm Rockbay.

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 has died; [page 94] 
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 95]

 

WAITING FOR THE BELL TO RING.


 

On the artisan is toiling,
   Blackened by the dust and smoke;
On the labourer is delving
   Since the light of morning broke,
Weak and weary, but a vision
   Of sweet home a charm doth bring,
And with strength renewed they labour,
   Waiting for the bell to ring.

Oh! through earth’s immense plantation
   Do no weary spirits roam,
Crowned heads who sigh for even,
   Statesmen longing to go home,
Gentle hearts the heat has blighted,
   Captive birds who sadly sing,
Slaves, who work in golden fetters,
   Waiting for the bell to ring. [page 96]

Some, have done their task—are resting
   On the hill-side in the sea—
Lance at rest, the troops are waiting
   Underneath the willow tree;
Maidens, with their silent tresses,
   Infants, rosebuds, nipped in Spring,
Matrons, with their worn arms folded,
   Waiting for the bell to ring.

Let us toil on, patiently,
   Faint and weary, worn and tired,
Up, onward still, “Excelsior!”
   With an inward zeal we’re fired;
Not for ever must we labour
   ‘Mid rough iron’s ceaseless ding,
Hope is nestling in our bosoms,
   Waiting for the bell to ring.

Fellow-craftsmen, in the mountain,
   Toiling at the unhewn stone,
Firmer grasp the square and chisel,
   Till the ashler is our own; [page 97]
Balance truly line and plummet—
   Build the temple to our King;
Courage! we are all expectants,
   Waiting for the bell to ring.

Soon shall come the Lord of labour
   Into vineyard, garden, field;
Soon shall sound his glorious accents,
   “Ye are with my promise sealed;
Come into my glorious chambers—
   Angels bright your victories sing—
Ye were ready at my coming,
   Waiting for the bell to ring.” [page 98]

 

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; [page 99] 
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,
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; [page 100]
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 round 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.”

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; [page 101] 
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.

 


[page 102]

 

THE QUEEN’S PRAYER.


 

The king had girt his armor 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. [page 103] 

The Warder from his tower replied,
   “Ladye, ah! far away,
I hear the foeman’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.

“The foeman’s chieftains ride and slay—
   England’s are few and worn;
The foeman’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; [page 104] 
‘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 minstrel’s 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.

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 flush’d with pride,
   The haughty Leicester frown’d,
To think that Wickliffe’s tenets vile
   Had such an answer found. [page 105] 

What won the battle on that day?
  Asked many a stately knight,
When gazing on his casque and shield,
   And blood-stained armor 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 106]

 

DEATH OF AN ENNISKILLEN OFFICER IN THE CRIMEA.


It was sunset on the Euxine sea;
   Upon its war-girt shore
A son of Enniskillen bent
   His dying leader o’er.

“Yes, it is true I’m dying; far away
   My comrades bear their banners, and tonight
The foe must tremble at their dread array;
   God grant them vict’ry in the fearful fight.
Ah! I may lead no more my gallant band,
   And yet I die contented, if my life
Purchase one inch of hostile Russian land—
   If I have been a victor in the strife—
               ‘Tis well!” [page 107]

A tear dropped down from eyes that gazed;
   A sound of war went past;
There was music to the young moon raised,
   Cymbals and trumpet’s blast.

“Sebastopol is in the distance; hark!
   The heavy charges on its battlements resound;
And they must take it, though I may not mark
   The Northern Bear fall stricken to the ground;
For Gaul has linked her arms with Albion’s brave,
   And my own isle has heard the war-cry spoken;
High o’er her stalwart sons proud banners wave;
   And lo! a three-fold cord is never broken Easily.”

There came a pause in the thrilling strain
   That the passing army played; [page 108]
There came a sweet, refreshing breeze,
   Where th’ wounded man was laid.

“Blow on, sweet breeze, for thou hast words for me,
   Of things that I have done with flowers and trees—
Of the low murmuring of the sunny sea—
   Of fields and woodland—aye, and more than these—
Of home and my fond mother’s gentle eyes—
   Of distant Ireland, and my father’s call—
Of noble brothers and their farewell sighs,
   And one sweet sister, fairest of them all,
               There weeping.

“Aye—and another vision rises at this hour,
   Blotting all others by its burning beam;
A fair girl’s love had won me by its power,
   And life shone then one golden, sunny dream;
A stranger came; his brow more fair then mine—
   Without a heart, his love was but a name; [page 109]
Ere long her fingers through his curls would twine—
   Her cheek flush at his coming—I became 
               A soldier.

“Should you, my brother, stand this game of strife,
   Will you remember me when going home,
And tell those loved ones, dearer than my life,
   That heaven will keep me till my darlings come;
And if, my faithful comrade, you should mark
   The one I spoke of, tell her how I sighed,
And for her wept; that long the clouds hung dark,
   But cleared away at sunset, and I died,
               Forgiving.”

The shades of night drew on apace;
   Chieftains their armies led;
One brave man wept within his tent—
   His Officer lay dead. [page 110]

 

DEATH’S PRIZE.


“Died at sea, on board the Aroga, Annie——aged 19.”

Morning upon the vessel’s deck—
   Morning so fresh and free—
The good ship Aroga had sailed
   Upon the tossing sea;
Ploughing her way, she bears her freight
   Through the Atlantic wave,
Her freight of merchandise and gold,
   The lovely and the brave.

And one trod on that noble deck,
   The loveliest of the throng,
Her step was glee, her glance was love,
   Her voice was sweetest song.
Fair Annie was the loved of all,
   The light of every scene,
So wise, so good, so beautiful,
   And only just nineteen. [page 111] 

And one was on a distant shore,
   The shore that vessel sought;
His eyes each swelling billow marked,
   And every storm-cloud caught;
For the time passed that queenly ship
   Should have attained her rest,
And many a heart beat painfully
   Within the anxious breast.

But he who loved as few men love,
   Rested not night or day,
But where the tall masts heave in sight,
   He daily took his way;
And all night long he paced the shore,
   “Annie! my loved,” he cried,
And then he thought the moaning surf,
   “Annie! thy lost,” he replied.

At length, ah! joy, the minute gun
   Sounded at break of day,
And soon the good ship Aroga
   Was anchored in the bay. [page 112] 
Warm hearts were clasped to hearts that long
   Had dreamt of woe and wreck,
“Annie! my loved,” the watcher cried,
   And bounded on the deck.

So two days passed, and upon the third,
The sound of a gathering band was heard,
And the tread of the comers was heavy and slow,
And their words to the bridegroom few and low;
While slowly moved each invited guest,
Who answered the call to the marriage feast.

And as the procession journeyed along,
They uttered no greeting, they sang no song,
And they fancied the winds in the branches lone
Murmured one cadence, “Gone, aye gone,”
And every shadow of every tree,
Wove the transparency “Died at sea.” [page 113] 

And the throng who watched till the bride went past,
To see the loved come to her home at last,
Started and gazed in a maze of fears;
Men trembled who were not used to tears;
For the merry sound of the marriage bell,
Had a dull deep tone like a funeral knell.

They stood round the altar, that wedding crowd,
Who spoke of one in her pall and shroud;
For the bride was the loveliest creature there,
The flowers were twin’d in the long dark hair,
Yet the nuptial veil in its graceful fold,
Circled a brow that was pale and cold.

And men shrank back from the bridal dress
Of a bride, so pure, so passionless;
Ah! it was a wedding! may there be few
Such bridals for lovers, tender and true;
They left their beloved the foe beside,
For Death was the bridegroom, and Annie his bride. [page 114]

 

MIDNIGHT.


Midnight! strange and solemn hour—
Folded is 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. [page 115] 

Why dost 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.

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; [page 116] 
Night by night, thy wardens send,
Till we ‘mid their numbers blend,
Where, on thy sweet, summer shore,
Darkness cometh nevermore.

[page 117]

 

THE ENSIGN MARTYR.


An incident in the late Indian war.

There were sounds of fearful mutiny
   ‘Neath Allahabad’s walls,
And, ‘mid the darkness of the night,
   Murder to murder calls;
But one, with youth upon his cheek,
   And colors in his hand,
Found shelter in the dark ravine
   From that blood-thirsty band.

Four times the burning sun arose
   Upon his hiding place,
And on the fifth he starting, woke,
   To meet the Sepoy’s face;
They dragged him to their leader’s feet;
   The Ensign martyr found
An aged missionary there,
   For Christ’s religion bound. [page 118] 

Tortured and weak, the pastor’s heart
   Was yielding to his foes,
But one he knew not came to cheer
   The sufferer in his woes.
A few short years the patriot boy
   A helpless child had been—
Too good to live, too young to die—
   Our victor of sixteen.

“Brother, brother, do not fear
Blazing flame or darting spear;
Look upon the mighty cross—
Count it well to suffer loss;
Christ will succour they who try him—
Brother, do not dare deny Him.

“Brother, thorny is the road,
But it wendeth up to God;
Doth it matter if we lie
Bleaching ‘neath an Indian sky;
Can we not as calmly rest
As on England’s grassy breast? [page 119] 

“Brother, suffer torture, die,
Ere thou darest to deny;
Hark! among these lime trees’ breath
Sounds the voice that conquered Death;
Rest and peace and glory cometh
Unto Him who overcometh.”

Courage! ye brave, for Britain’s flags
   Are waving in the sky.
Knights of the Cross! there comes a sound
   Of armies passing by;
A hundred dauntless hearts are near—
   A hundred bayonets gleam—
Steps of the gallant Fusileers
   Are splashing through the stream.

They fly! they fly! the Catechist
   Felt his rough chain unclasp,
And turned with faltering steps away
   From the kind soldier’s grasp.
“Where is the brave boy-officer
   Who bore the soldier’s part, [page 120] 
With England’s glory on his breast
   And Christ’s upon his heart?

“Oh! find him, save him, bring him here!”
   The cry rose wild and vain;
No more the stripling hero’s voice
   Shall echo o’er the plain;
The blood-stained wreath of martyrdom
   Circled the pure, pale brows,
But Gabriel, with the martyr’s crown,
   Parted the orange boughs.

Boast, Britain, of thy island home,
   Boast of thy glorious lands,
Thy  works of art, thy mines of gold,
   Thy dauntless soldier bands;
But oh! be this thy glory wreath,
   That thou, from land and seas,
Can give untarnished to thy God
   Such martyr souls as these. [page 121]

 

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—
Guard 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,
By the river’s lonely marge,
O’er him give thy angels charge. [page 122]

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; [page 123]
Banish him from that high brow,
Heal his spirit, anguished now,
Safely mark his chequered track,
Safely, Father, bring him back.

[page 124]

 

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. [page 125] 

But I turn from that fair child, Ellie,
   To the grave-yard’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;
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; [page 126] 
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,
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. [page 127] 

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 dreams, Ellie—
   Nerve me to bear my lot,
Till I meet thee in that land, Ellie,
   Whose dwellers “marry not.”

[page 128]

 

CONTENTS.


 

A Mother’s Sabbath Prayer, &c.

85

Buried with Music,

20

Come Quickly,

8

Death of Captain Vicars,

88

Death of an Enniskillen Officer, &c.

107

Death’s Prize,

111

Evening Prayers during Lent,

30

“Far Better,”

68

Isabella of Valois

63

Lake Ontario at Sunset,

56

Little Flora,

17

Midnight,

115

Our Cottage Walls,

38

On the Eclipse of the Sun,

53

Our Father’s Grave,

99

[unnumbered page]

Prayer for the Absent,

122

Rockbay,

93

The Brother’s Remembrance,

3

The Bridegroom’s Reverie,

125

The Dying Stranger,

71

The Exile to his Daughter,

26

The Ensign Martyr,

118

The Indian Chief,

32

The Interment of Florizel,

41

The Lady to her Egyptian Lupin,

23

The Missionary’s Valedictory,

45

The Officer’s Farewell,

77

The Poet’s Evening Prayer,

59

The Pilgrim’s Song of Confidence,

74

The Prayer of David,

14

The Saxon’s Daughter,

48

The Soldier of Auvergne,

11

The Queen’s Prayer,

103

The Queen’s Picture,

82

Waiting for the Bell to Ring,

96

[page ii]

[blank page]

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