Copyrighted according to Act of Parliament. [unnumbered page]
The following Sonnets are the fruits of “half-hour meditations” by the writer on the various themes dwelt upon. They are all subjects worthy of an abler handling than my poor pen can give them, as the spare hours of “a printer” are “like angels’ visits, few and far between.” Should these simple lines however, lead others to enlarge on thoughts thus briefly expressed, my time will not have been mis-spent.
TORONTO, ONT. [unnumbered page]
WHAT IS JOY?
JOY is the constant outflow of a heart Full of its happiness and ecstasy! Pure as a mountain spring; born to impart Its healthy sweetness o’er life’s dusty way! Refreshing hearts o’erfraught with worldly care— Laughing and skipping like a child at play, Wooing the flowers that seem to it most fair— No morrow clouds the brightness of to-day! Joy is the language that the angels know, And teach the infant at its mother’s breast, Whose dimpled cheeks with fun and smiles overflow, While fondled safely in the parent nest! Joy! like the music of the birds in spring, Makes other hearts with joyous rapture sing! [page 1]
FREEDOM is obedience to righteous law Framed for the guidance of a nation great; Made to be kept—not broken by a flaw Known only to the rulers of the State! Justice that treats the rich and poor alike, Defending each from favor or attack; Slow to convict—yet ready aye to strike The fatal blow on all that honor lack! A nation’s strength is measured by her laws; Her safety is the welfare of her sons; Industry and loyalty the power that draws In peace her commerce, and in war her guns! Freedom—our birthright, sell it not for gold, Our fathers bought it with their blood of old! [page 2]
SWEET LIBERTY!— thou birthright of mankind, Yet which some autocrats would fain destroy! How like our God to give!—like man to take What God hath given so freely in his love To make our life on earth more bearable! Though man loves liberty, yet—miser-like— Seeks to withhold it from his fellow-man, And, boasting, pride himself in larceny! Go to! thou false vile traitor to thy race, Thy stony heart is index’d on thy face! While loving Liberty thyself—deny To those within thy power their liberty The soul that seeks to bind his fellow man May soon be measur’d by an infant’s span! [page 3]
TEARS are the outflow of great joy or grief, The speechless language of a swelling heart, Whose fitful solace is a sure relief For joys excessive, or affliction’s smart; The valve-escapement of a pent-up soul, Whose fullness finds expression in a tear; Which, like healing balm, makes the wounded whole: Or dearest friend—when darkest hour is near— Whose hands we clasp in friendship’s sacred hold, And cling to them like ivy round the tree,— Weakness and strength combined in love’s enfold,— Then let the flood-gates open full and free! Our bitter tears but give us strength to bear Affliction sore, or joy’s too sudden glare! [page 4]
WHAT IS LOVE?
LOVE is the grateful offering of a heart In all its fullness to some counterpart; Zeal answering zeal, both striving to excel, Zealous to share the glowing thoughts that dwell In hearts united by Love’s silken bands, Each thread some joy LOVE only understands! Mid stirring echoes of a fond desire Claim kindred feelings and a sister-fire, Joining life’s hopes in one ecstatic song, As sweetest music from an angel-throng; No doubt or fear disturbs Love’s peaceful rest, Nor cares corroding rankle in her breast; Each thought bears fruit in others sweeter still, Till earth seems heav’n, and heav’n seems own’d at will! [page 5]
THE IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY.
ALMIGHTY GOD! in all Thy works display’d, For man in Thine own image Thou hast made; How should we, then, Thine every law respect, And mourn in dust and ashes if neglect Of ours should once but mar that Image bright, And, grieving Thee, turn sunshine into night! Let not our hearts from Thee be turn’d aside, But may Thy Holy Spirit with us ‘bide; Then shall our life be like the flowers in June; Displaying sweetness, and our hearts in tune To the rich melody of gladsome song, Which to the ransom’d hosts of Heav’n belong: Thus, here below, let glorious anthems rise And mingle with the songs of Paradise. [page 6]
FRIENDSHIP! thou holy bond that binds my heart To others that to mine seem counterpart,— Love-giving, yet love-getting all the more, Thus daily adding to our mutual store Of kindly deeds and words, each thought and look As readable and clear as printed book; Enjoyable in life’s gay, golden hour, Yet doubly so when clouds of trial lower; Then closer draw, as lambs do in the fold, To gather heat, and ‘scape the rain and cold; Till warmth and sunshine take the place of rain, Then off they gambol on the hills again! Oh! Friendship! thou art like a golden chain, Each link a friend—each friend a golden gain! [page 7]
“FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY.”
FAITH is the starting-point to higher ground, Each step—sure-footed—on THE ROCK is found; No backward gazing at our former fears, But stronger growing as recede the years! HOPE is the telescope that scans afar,— Each heavenly thought seems like a new-found star! Though for a season bound by earth’s employ, Hope sings on earth sweet heavenly songs of joy! SWEET CHARITY! true bond of love and peace, Thy kindly counsel maketh strife to cease; Thou rulest with a loving, gentle hand, And, smiling, points to us to the better land! FAITH, HOPE, and CHARITY! oh, truth sublime, “These three” shall bridge us o’er the sea of Time! [page 8]
OH! happy eve! that ushers in the day Of all the year the best to young and old! This night our thoughts take wings and soar away To Bethlehem’s plains, where shepherds tend their fold. Angelic strains are borne upon the wind Of “peace on earth, good-will to all mankind;” See! yonder star of promise that doth bring Our eager footsteps to earth’s new-born king, There pay we homage to the Holy Child Born in a manger—‘mid surroundings wild— Where “wise men from the East” pour at His feet Earth’s finest gold—all spices rare and sweet! OH! LET OUR CHRISTMAS OFFERINGS EVER BE A PORTION OF OUR BEST, O LORD, TO THEE! [page 9]
THERE is in man a something that would soar Far from this weary world of toil and pain, Were he not fondly anchor’d to earth’s shore By tender ties he dare not overstrain! Stronger they grow as years roll on apace, Till we would fain make all our Heaven here Until arrested by God’s saving grace, Won by His love, or driven by conscious fear, To own the inward monitor that pleads The birthright of our soul to higher things More suited to immortal wants and needs! Then sing we as the rescued captive sings: Those love their freedom best who once were bound, Earth’s pleasures pall when Heavenly joys are found! [page 10]
THE PEACE OF GOD.
THERE is a peace the world can not bestow Nor take away; and they in joy do go Who but possess it, for its charm is sure, And doth through all the ills of life endure; It makes the soul rejoice, the weak feel strong, The timid heart burst forth in joyous song; Which may be heard above the din of strife,— An antidote for all the cares of life! Oh! peace of God! may I thy power enjoy, Then in Thy praise my life shall find employ; Thou shalt me ‘fend from every evil way, Make all my darkness turn to brightest day, Till, safe within the everlasting arms, My soul shall rest secure from all alarms! [page 11]
WHAT means this shout of joy o’er all the earth?— A nation’s thankfulness! a nation’s praise! From whence the cause that gives such joy its birth, And o’er the world such great commotion raise? For fifty years our noble Queen hath stood The trying ordeal of a nation’s crown! Beloved by all—“Victoria, the good,” On Freedom smiled—gave slavery her frown! All through her lonely years of widowhood She held with dignity a nation’s rein: Was ever Queen so well-belov’d and good? Did ever King such lasting homage gain? Victoria!— as Mother, Queen, or Wife, Thou hast adorn’d thy pathway all through life! [page 12]
‘TIS hope deferred—life’s lamp goes out at night— One flicker more and all is darkness deep, Made all the darker as the hopes were bright; The more of joy we miss the more we weep, As hope departs and leaves but blank despair, Then weeping ceases for the lack of power! The Winter of the soul has come!—and bare Are all the branches of the tree, whose flower Gave promise of such benisons of bliss, That each glad leaf was hailed with new delight By sun and shower, and dew-drop’s hopeful kiss, And all seemed fair each morning, noon, and night! But fruit came not; and leaf by leaf decayed; Then sank my heart and sought Death’s grateful shade! [page 13]
REST is the peaceful calm succeeding toil; Sweet to the labouring man who tills the soil; Likewise most precious to the weary brain. Tired with the dull routine of loss or gain; Or to the authors of our learned books, Who show the trace of study in their looks— All value rest—all need those quiet hours As much as doth the plant those welcome show’rs Which Heaven sends to cool the fever’d earth, And cause glad Nature sing aloud with mirth. When God at first created earth and skies, He “rested” in the shades of Paradise! Likewise shall we, earth’s care and labour o’er, Find Heaven the sweeter for the toils we bore! [page 14]
A PRAYER FOR WISDOM.
OH! let me ever walk in Wisdom’s way, That I may wiser grow, and day by day Prove that her paths are pleasantness and peace; And, therein walking, may the years increase In fruitful days of labour and reward, Of love, and joy, and peace, and sweet concord. Grant me the work which angels most enjoy,— A life well spent in Heaven’s blest employ, In deeds of love, and works of holy zeal, And in that occupation daily feel The kind approval of a God of grace, Who owns His servants with a smiling face; My work accepted, and my sins forgiv’n, Bless’d while on earth, and doubly bless’d in Heaven! [page 15]
SWEET day of rest! most precious of the seven, God’s gracious gift to man, in mercy giv’n That he may cease from toil and worldly care, And for that brighter rest his soul prepare. Blest harbinger of that eternal day, Whose beams shall never fade or pass away. Oh, may we ever watch with jealous eye, And careful guard the hours that swiftly fly, That nought but heav’nly themes our thoughts engage. And with temptation hourly warfare wage; Oft by “the footsteps of the flock” be found, Within the house of God, on praying ground, There may our grateful hearts due homage pay, To Him who rose triumphant on that day! [page 16]
WE shrink and recoil at the touch of Pain, Yet know that escape from his grasp is vain; And our trembling hearts with emotion swell As we sigh and groan at each painful spell; But the dreadful hour of suffering past, And our courage and health restor’d at last, How soon we forget our terror and pain, And mingle once more with the world again; BUT NOT AS BEFORE, for a tender string Hath been set to music, and thus doth sing: I have suffered, and feel for others’ pain A twinge of my own past sorrow again! Ah! Pain, what a useful teacher thou art, Lessons of sympathy thus to impart! [page 17]
THE NAME OF JESUS.
SWEET name! what cadence in the very sound! What heav’nly music in the utterance found, When whisper’d in the ear of dying saint, Tho’ spent with pain, and pulse and heart beat faint; Yet, at the name of “JESUS” doth his eyes Seek ours in love, and peace, and glad surprise, And then forever close in sweet content To open them in Heav’n—a life well spent! Oh, JESUS! Thine the ever-potent power To charm, to heal, to bless, in trial’s hour; Let all the world Thy name with rev’rence hear, And trust Thy pow’r to save; with holy fear Approach the footstool of Thy matchless grace, And find in Thee their soul’s dear resting-place! [page 18]
SEE yonder mother with her sickly child Press’d closely to her heaving, anxious breast, For many days and nights forebodings wild Have fill’d her heart and banished needful rest; Yet, at the faintest cry or wish exprest, She gladly seeks to soothe its every pain, And, if successful, thinks it purest gain Ere to her own great need comes fitful rest! Oh! mother-love! great waters cannot quench Nor flames deter thee from thy patient zeal; Thy love-strong hands grim prison-bars would wrench, There with thy suffering child “at home” to feel; The purest love on earth is mother-love, Full kin to that made manifest above! [page 19]
THE TEACHER’S REWARD.
OH, teacher, faint not! thou art not alone, He who hath called thee will thy labour own; And though, at first, no grateful fruit appear, Think not ‘tis labour lost, but persevere; Yield not the conflict to the Master’s foe, But still “from strength to strength” unwearied go. Plant thou the seeds of heav’nly truth with care, And water oft with fervent, pleading prayer, Then leave the rest to God, whose Spirit’s pow’r Shall cause the seed to grow, the plant to flow’r, Till in due course the ripen’d fruit appears To cheer thy heart, reward thy prayers and tears, And make thee sing for joy,—that peace bestow Which they who serve the Lord alone doth know. [page 20]
SEEKING AFTER KNOWLEDGE.
WISDOM is the true currency of Heaven, From fools withheld, but to the prudent giv’n; In her pursuit let us in earnest be If we would prosper; therefore, let us see That all our energies be so combin’d As best to cultivate the heart and mind. This occupation is the best that can Engage the youth, or occupy the man In leisure hours, which, be they rightly spent, Are of great moment, and by Heaven lent To sweeten toil, and relaxation give To dull and cank’ring cares, which, while we live, Must be our lot; our time, then, let us spend As best becomes us, knowing not our end! [page 21]
CHRISTIAN, awake! thy life is not a dream, You cannot glide for ever with the stream; ‘Tis like the ocean in her changing moods Of great uproar, or calm, deep solitudes; Her varying tides a ceaseless motion keep, And danger ever haunts the mighty deep; Yet o’er her bosom in majestic pride The noble vessel doth in safety ride, Defying all the stormy winds that blow,— Making a highway of a raging foe, Till the bright haven doth appear in view, Which speaks of rest to all the weary crew; Where, sails all furl’d, anchor firm and fast, They rest the sweeter for the dangers past! [page 22]
PATIENCE! thou art a giant in thy strength, A miracle of wonder-working power; By calm endurance success crowns at length As certain as the fruit succeeds the flower! Patience—brave heart! ‘tis step by step we go And reach at last the haven of our hopes! ‘Tis drop by drop—then hidden springs o’erflow And rush in torrents down the mountain slopes! ‘Tis one by one our moments swiftly fly To form the deathless history of the past! Then patiently pursue thy purpose high While genius, hope, and emulation last. Patience is true greatness!—e’en though defeat Seem imminent, yet patience is still sweet! [page 23]
JESUS, MY REFUGE.
OH, grateful shelter from the storms of life, From cares corroding or vain worldly strife; Fain would my panting soul Thy shadow seek, And, shielded safe, in grateful accents speak Of all Thy love to man, whose strength Thou art, Whose refuge sure, the uplifter of the heart Of him who strives to seek Thy safe retreat, And loves with Thee to dwell—there at Thy feet Lay sorrow’s burden down; Thy gracious gift Accepts with thankful heart, nor seeks to lift With sinful hands once more the heavy load That bars the soul’s communion with his God; Ah! there would I in calm repose abide, Safe as THE ROCK near which I seek to hide. [page 24]
TRUTH is that spotless purity of soul Which seeks the light, and loves to bask therein! Not truth in part—then silence, but the whole Unvarnished facts, without one taint of sin! Such is the standard of the living God, Before whom all that dares to lie must fall, Feeling their conscience, like a heated rod, Forever searing and consuming all! Truth stands the test of torture, fire, or sword, And from them all comes forth the more refin’d; When fixed upon God’s everlasting Word,— Truth to all subtlety and art is blind; Though tempted sore, yet utter not a lie, For God and truth brave men have dar’d to die! [page 25]
THE MASTER’S CALL.
GO work to-day! the fields are white to view, The harvest truly great, the labour’rs few; To you the call is giv’n, reapers, obey! Work mightily, while yet ‘tis called to-day! For night approacheth when no man can work, And sin and vice do in the darkness lurk. The fields are many and the world is wide, O’er trackless forests, deserts, stormy tide, Proclaim THAT LOVE which makes all mankind kin, And saves the soul through steep’d in direst sin; Which frees the captive, gladdens the opprest, And leads the erring to the Saviour’s breast, Where pard’ning mercy, love, and joy are giv’n To make this earth a sweet foretaste of Heaven! [page 26]
SLEEP, blessed Sleep! of comforters the best, Thou “sweet restorer” of a wearied frame; In thy embrace we gladly sink to rest, And thus forget earth’s fickle praise or blame! Or, inour dreams, revisit other lands Where first our happy childhood’s years were spent, And join in playful glee our toil-worn hands In youthful happiness and sweet content; Or kneel beside a godly mother’s knee And lisp again our evening prayer sublime, And feel, from all our care and trouble free, The flowery freshness of life’s glad spring-time! Sleep’s but the emblem of our long last rest, If pillow’d safely on our Saviour’s breast! [page 27]
THE LAST ENEMY.
DEATH comes to all, no man can stay his hand; If he but calls, the proudest in the land His summons must obey, and then be led By his cold, icy hand ‘mong silent dead; There to remain till Death himself shall die, And He who conquered Death shall reign on high. Oh, Death! where is thy sting if Jesus save? Where, then, thy victory, O cruel grave? Thou hast no power o’er him whom God defends, For him all things subserve most glorious ends. Death but relieves from earthly pain and woe, A friend, though in the guise of mortal foe. Oh, may the grave to me be but a door. To that bright land where Death shall reign no more! [page 28]
DISAPPOINTMENT is not utter failure, The “striving” is a measure of success; Each wise attempt but makes us stronger grow, Till, oft-repeated, stumbling-blocks seem less, And finally prove stepping-stones to gain The end in view, and our fond hopes attain! As drops of water wear the solid rock, Or sun’s bright ray, in focus, kindle flame, So concentrated effort, wisely spent, Will yet be crowned with success and with fame! If that thy aim be good, then persevere, Though success fail thee, this thy heart may cheer: No man e’er strove with noble end in view, But from the strife came forth more brave and true! [page 29]
CONSCIENCE is the true monitor of God For our approval, or a very rod Of direst chastisement for evil deeds, Or wicked thoughts that grow like noxious weeds Within the garden of the human heart, To mar the buds and flowers which would impart A fragrant solace to the weary soul Of God-made man, thus strengthen and control His better nature in Temptation’s day, And drive the hateful thoughts of sin away, To hide themselves for very shame of sin, And, hence renewed, the better life begin: Thus, Conscience, listen’d to, will safely guide Where perfect peace and happiness abide! [page 30]
GOD said: “Let there be light,” and from the sky Shone forth the “ruler of the day” on high; To rule the darkness of chaotic night He sent the moon forth with her silvery light. Soon countless stars peep’d out as if to see The new creation in its infancy! Then God made man in His own image fair, And gave him Eve his earthly joys to share; But man’s sad fall from purity and grace Brought spiritual darkness o’er the human race. “I AM THE LIGHT,” our blessed Saviour said, And meekly bow’d for us His holy head; A heavenly light He shed o’er life’s dark way, Shining more bright as nears the perfect day! [page 31]
OH! theme of wondrous power!—with God to plead— And speak to Him in our great times of need! With faith’s bright eye peer through earth’s darkest night And read the meaning of the Infinite! Oh! gift of gifts! to erring mortals given— Kneeling on earth, yet, kneeling, soar to Heaven! To lisp and stammer, yet prevail with God To turn aside from us his chastening rod! More liberty with God than angels know Have they who seek His ear in time woe! Claiming the merits of aSaviour’s love To gain a hearing in the courts above! He who doth mark each sparrow’s fall with care Counts all our tears, and answers fervent prayer! [page 32]
|A Prayer for Wisdom||
|Faith, Hope and Charity||
|Image of the Heavenly (The)||
|Jesus, My Refuge||
|Last Enemy (The)||
|Master’s Call (The)||
|Name of Jesus (The)||
|Peace of God (The)||
|Sabbath Day (The)||
|Seeking after Knowledge||
|Teacher’s Reward (The)||
|What is Joy?||
|What is Love?||
IMRIE & GRAHAM, PRINTERS, 28 COLBORNE ST., TORONTO. [unnumbered page]
[unnumbered page; includes illustration]