Early Writing in Canada
The Poetical Remains of Peter John Allan, Esq.
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THE
POETICAL REMAINS
OF
PETER JOHN ALLAN, ESQ.,
LATE OF FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK.
WITH A
SHORT BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE
EDITED BY THE
REV. HENRY CHRISTMAS, M.A., F.R.S., F.S.A., F.R.G.S.,
ETC., ETC., ETC.
LONDON:
SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 65, CORNHILL.


MDCCCLIII.
[unnumbered page]

City Press, Long Lane: W. H. Collingridge.
[unnumbered page]

TO
SIR EDMUND HEAD, BART.,
LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR OF NEW BRUNSWICK
BRITISH NORTH-AMERICA,
These Poems
ARE, BY HIS PERMISSIONS, (KINDLY CONCEDED TO THE
Late lamented Author,)
RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY
ON OF HIS SURVIVING BROTHERS.
[unnumbered page]

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INTRODUCTION


THE task of writing an introduction to this volume devolves upon me as much by inclination as by the request of the nearest relatives of the lamented author. We were bound together by a tie as strong as it was peculiar; and, though we were never permitted to meet in this world, I may yet speak of PETER JOHN ALLAN as one well known to me, and most highly esteemed. We both entertained the same feelings of zealous and affectionate friendship for one now no more; and, young as Mr. Allan was when he was himself removed from among us, he had time to prove himself a strong man in heart as well as in mind. His brief—too brief—life has found a fitting chronicler in his brother. His poems must speak for themselves. And it is here that I shall take the opportunity of saying a few words on the form in which they present [unnumbered page] themselves to the world. Had their author lived to revise them, they would undoubtedly have assumed a more finished appearance; indeed, so fragmentary is the character of many among them, that the question not unnaturally arose, Is it doing justice to the memory of the poet to publish them at all?

This question met with a speedy solution on many grounds. On the other side of the Atlantic, where he was personally known and deeply beloved, were many who seemed to have a claim that the poems should not be withholden from them. A considerable number would scarcely have received another finishing touch; and not a few possess so much poetical beauty, that they may safely defy criticism. If I may be permitted to mention the titles of those which, in my judgment, deserve thus to be characterised, I would specify, “THE LAND OF DREAMS,” and “THE CHRISTIAN AND THE MOOR.” Many portions of “THE BATTLE OF CREESY” are extremely spirited; and, had Mr. Allan lived, his matured powers and ripened knowledge would have given him a high rank among those fervid and energetic writers at whose head Professor Aytoun now stands.

On careful consideration, it seemed best to attempt no selection, but to publish all the poems as the author [page vi] had left them, finished and unfinished together. There is evidence of genius, high enough and abundant enough, to delight the poetical mind; and criticism, even if there were fair scope for critical objections, is disarmed by the circumstances of the case.

There remains little more to say. Such dispensations as that by which the colony of New Brunswick was deprived of one likely to be a distinguished ornament to it—and as useful as ornamental—are among the mysteries of Providence. What he was likely to be as a poet, these pages may show; and his memory will long live in the hearts of those who value noble and generous feeling. [page vii]
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BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF THE AUTHOR
BY HIS BROTHER


PETER JOHN ALLAN, as the author of the following pages, was born at York, on the 6th June, 1825. He was the third son of Dr. Colin Allan, a surgeon in the army, who held the appointment of Principal Medical Officer in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which place he quitted on retiring from the service in 1836, and passed the remaining years of his life at Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick. My brother’s poetical tastes displayed themselves early in life; and his love of nature he indulged in long walks, which would frequently detain him from home whole days at a time. I, his junior by two years, was his companion; and the most sadly pleasing reminiscences of my life are those moments when, in the hey-day of youth, we roamed with elastic step mid field or forest, or on the banks of the broad St. John, built our airy castles, and basked in the poetry of existence. He had the true poet’s admiration of all created things; and I possessed sufficient of the future artist to sympathise in his love of this most beautiful world. Our youthful [unnumbered page] days are not necessarily the idlest, or the least religious period of our lives. Often did we rise before the sun, ostensibly to fish or sport, and when we beheld the glorious orb painting the east in indescribable, inimitable colours, we felt fully repaid for the hours which would otherwise have been devoted to rest. At these inexperienced years, when we are pleased with existence, and are true worshippers of nature, when the waving trees, and the verdure of the fields, and the silvery brightness of the water, are delicious to our senses, we know not why—when all the sounds of rural life are welcome, the hum of insects, the song of birds, and the sweet voice of the cottage girl, who mingles with, and is the heroine of our dreams—if our feelings in these days are those of boyhood, defend us from ever growing older!

My brother studied the law, but he had now begun to publish, from time to time, in the weekly journals; and the favourable reception which these efforts met with filled his mind with an inextinguishable desire to obtain literary fame. Had he been able to subdue or control this feeling, there can be no doubt that he would have been successful in the profession he had chosen.; and indeed he gave proof, on more than one occasion, that the study of the law, dry and uncongenial as it must have appeared to one of his poetical temperament, was, when he chose, within the scope of his abilities. More than once has he availed himself of the privilege permitted to students at law to plead [page x] in magistrates’ courts, and advocated successfully to the case of some poor client. His friends, however, soon perceived that his whole thoughts were bent on pursuing the thorny path of literature; and they could not but admit, that all he had hitherto produced gave reason to hope that he was right in wishing to cultivate the talents which the Creator had bestowed on him. Still, with those feelings so natural in friends towards the object of their solicitude, they strove to dissuade him from a pursuit so fraught with disaster and disappointment; and many a severe struggle did his honourable, manly nature undergo, in the contest between the desire to satisfy those who loved him and the inclination to literature, combined with the consciousness of power which spoke within his breast in a voice which would not be stifled. A compromise was effected. He was to bring out a book of poems; and his mind thus lightened, and his brain relived from the pressure of literary lucubrations, would be left free to devote all their energies to the study of his profession. He went on writing, and opened a subscription list, which soon numbered names sufficient, had ready money been advanced, to have covered the necessary expenses of the volume. In the spring of 1864, I left New Brunswick, and resided in Canada for a year and a half. When I returned I found my brother, whose health had been but weak at the time of my departure, greatly improved in every respect. We had parted boys—we now met as men. My brother’s personal appearance was [page xi] eminently prepossessing. In stature he stood six feet three inches, at the least. His features a classical, sufficiently regular, manly, and intelligent; his dark eyes sparkled with wit and good humour; and when he wore his beard and moustaches he might have sat as a cavalier to Vandyk. But he possessed beauty of another kind, far surpassing his physical comeliness. His reading was extensive, though irregular, his mind capacious and original, his conversation singularly fluent and agreeable, and his manners most winning; but it was not by those qualities alone that he had won the esteem of all who knew him, but by a genuine goodness of heart, and a disposition so full of charity, generosity, and compassion, that if any one ever really carried these qualities to excess, he may be said to have done. Want, or misery, or distress of any kind, touched his sensitive, poetical nature to the quick; and if he had no money in his pocket, he would take off his handkerchief and give it to the beggar. Will it be wondered at if, absent as I had been for two years, I loved and admired my noble-hearted, generous brother; that I thought it a privilege to be with him, and share his thoughts, and enjoy his conversation?

A year of happiness intervened, to which I now look back as the pleasantest period of my existence. I had returned to the place which, if I live to be aged, will always be associated with pleasant memories of early happiness. My old associates shook me by the hand well pleased to see me once more, and complimented [page xii] me on my improvement during my absence. My brother and I lived a careless, happy life, revisiting our old haunts, and looked with more matured vision on the scenes which had seemed so lovely to our school-boy gaze. I am convinced that my mind profited much from this intercourse, and that I received much benefit from his superior understanding, and the gentle, charitable nature of his opinions. And it is this conviction which makes me, now that upwards of four years have elapsed, feel as keenly as in the first shock of bereavement. I do not mean to say that it now recals the passionate tears of grief, but now that I am alone I more fully appreciate the excellence of my brother’s character, than I did when he was alive.

Much as we may love of esteem our living friend, I questions whether we ever truly know their worth till death teaches it to us. Upwards of four years’ experience has now taught me something of the true worth and value of what I have lost; and frequently, very frequently, does the wish come into my heart that my true-hearted brother could stand beside me as in days of yore. What interest and delight I could then take in things to which I am now indifferent! With him to turn to for sympathy and advice, I should be an infinitely stronger and a better man. Mixing with the world does not diminish the intensity of these reflections as might be expected; for when I view the noble objects of ambition presented to man, I cannot help regretting that one so well fitted to undertake the [page xiii] task could not be with me, that we might battle through life together, and bring back visions of the world as it once seemed in the days of youth—a fair, desirable, and happy place. Can it be, thou gallant spirit, that friendship was buried with thee? It seemeth so; for unless I could drink of the stream of oblivion, and forget that “such things were, and were most dear to me,” I cannot be to another as I was to thee, and would have been hadst thou been spared.

                                                  “ But thou art fled,
          Like some frail exhalation, which the dawn
          Robes in its golden beams. Ah! Thou hast fled—
          The brave, the gentle, and the beautiful,
          The child of grace and genius. Heartless things
          Are done and said in the world; and many worms,
          And beasts, and men, live on, and mighty earth,
          From sea and mountain, city and wilderness,
          In vesper low or joyous orison,
          Lifts still its solemn voice—but thou art fled;
          Thou canst no longer know or love the shapes
          Of this phantasmal scene, who have to thee
          Been purest ministers, who are, alas!
          Now thou art not.”

My brother seemed, at times, to have a foreboding of early death; and made a request to me once, that, in the event of his dying young, and my surviving him, I would publish a short biographical sketch to refute any aspersions which might emanate from those who can only see the faults and indiscretions of youth, without its virtues. As his name had acquired some publicity, he naturally wished his memory to descend [page xiv] to posterity free from calumny. But the notices of his death, which appeared in the public papers, were sufficient evidence of the general feeling to render such a step on my part superfluous. He died of fever, after a brief illness of two weeks’ duration. No one had suspected his sickness to be unto death, and the shock was proportionally grievous. It is not too much to say, that it penetrated beyond the immediate circle of his family and friends, and that his death was felt by the community generally as a loss. His manuscript had been sent home to England, and he was on the eve of publishing, when he died in the bloom of his strength and manly beauty, and the blossom of his mental energy and vigour. At this moment of hope and anticipation, when his friends looked on and augured favourably of the future, and hen his fellow-citizens had begun to mark him as one who would do something in the world, this fine and promising young man, at the premature age of three-and-twenty, passed away from time into eternity. The world was still bright and beautiful to his eyes; no chilling influence had fallen upon him; neither time nor care had blunted his feelings of reverence and love for nature, or made him cease to regard, otherwise than through a poet’s vision, scenes which to him did seem—

 

“Apparell’d in celestial light, the glory and the freshness of a dream,”

 

and thus in the hour of hope and faith things surely designed by the Creator to inspire such feelings, the [page xv] youthful poet closed his eyes on nature, and death placed the cypress on brows which his weeping friends had hoped to see encircled by the laurel. The harp, which had begun to awaken responsive echoes, no longer vibrated to the touch, the hart at last forgot to throb at the sight of misery and woe, the light of genius and friendship, wont to illumine the eye, was quenched in this world for ever, and the grave received the mortal remains which had enshrined so many admirable qualities.

It only remains for me to add, in bringing this brief memoir to a close, that I have endeavoured to preserve a middle course, between saying too little and too much. It cannot be expected that the public, who can only judge of the man through the author, can take an interest in all that I might write relative to the private character of my late brother; but I had a duty to perform for those who mourned his loss and still survive to peruse these pages. And though, doubtless, some may only see in this a brother’s partiality, yet I feel that, in my task of biographer, it would as unbecoming in me to have said too little as to have said too much. Why, indeed, should I hesitate to say about the author, simply because he was my brother, what I knew to be the truth? And I could not let his poems go forth to the world, without an assurance that any passage inculcating gentleness and humanity, took its origin spontaneously in his own, and was but the utterance of his sincere and genuine [page xvi] thoughts; and it is due, perhaps, as much to justice as affection, that one so excellent should not pass away without this testimony to his worth. Would, then, that I could better have fulfilled my task! at least I feel that there are those on a distant shore who will read approvingly of this tribute,. Even in this world of oblivion, some are found to cherish the recollection of virtues long after our bodies are in dust; and until such hearts cease to beat, the memory of Peter John Allan will bloom even as the grass which grows above him. And still far away, beyond the western wave, where the setting sun throws his latest beams, even as though it loved to linger beside and gladden the poet’s grave, shall steps tread softly, and voices be hushed, and gentle hands scatter flowers upon the spot.

J. MCGRIGOR ALLAN.

26, Dee Street, Aberdeen,

25th May, 1853 [page xvii]

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PREFACE

BY THE AUTHOR


THE love of Poetry is like all love—it requires little or no encouragement to bring it into existence. The how, the when, and the where of its birth are of no importance. Though the Muse may frown upon her votary, and, by her coldness, make him stammer through his addresses with a very bad grace, yet, evincing a perseverance worthy of a better cause, he is not to be affronted or refused.

Some three, four, or five years ago, I began to rhyme, and am now about to print. I shall offer no opinion regarding the merit of my productions. Better judges than myself may do this for me. Perhaps an ominous silence will be the only answer vouchsafed by the public to this appeal. [unnumbered page]

My lot having been cast on the wrong side of the Atlantic, in a colony where the Muse cannot find a resting-place for the sole of her foot—in its very little capital, whose politics would be more private scandal to a European ear, and where society is strangely limited—can it be a matter of surprise that I should have sought relaxation from more severe studies in the amiable foible of verse-making?

When I took up my pen to perpetrate a Preface, I fondly imagined that I had a vast deal of important information to convey to the reader; but what little of it I can now remember seems far too trivial for anything short of autobiography.

I shall leave the other Poems to their fate, and merely remark that my Drama of “Pygmalion” (of which I have only published the First Act) was, of course, never intended for the stage. Few of my characters condescend to speak under forty lines; and, probably, like most great talkers, what they do say is not always to the purpose. Whether the specimen here presented to the reader should chance to please or now, if life and health [page xx] permit, the Play shall be finished, and, at some future period, committed to the press. In the meantime, let criticism do me the justice to believe the anachronisms which will be found in “Pygmalion” are not the offspring of ignorance or thoughtlessness. On the contrary, they are introduced to give an easier flow to the narrative. I call this (as Mr. Bayes might have said) my night-cap and easy-chair style of writing.

In conclusion, I may remark, that the tale is one over which I have loved to dream; and had I but the genius of her who first suggested the subject, it would undoubtedly have assumed a nobler aspect.

 

FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK

November 26, 1847. [page xxi]

 

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CONTENTS


PAGE

Dedication

iii

Introduction

v

Biographical notice of the Author

ix

Preface by the Author

xix

PYGMALION, PRINCE OF CYPRUS:—

     A Dramatic Poem

1

POEMS:—

     Anselmo to Isadora

30

The Tales of the Blest—a Vision

40

Lament of the Indian

49

The Land of Dreams

57

Sappho’s Death

62

A Dream of Destruction

64

Apostrophe to the Memory of Byron

67

BALLADS:—

     The Battle of Cressy

70

     The Christian and the Moor—a Legend of Granada

83

     The Soldier’s Brother

87

MINOR POEMS:—

     A Thought

89

     Love and Fancy

90

     Mercy and Innocence

91

     The Dead Butterfly

92

     A Dirge

93

     The Withered Leaf

94

     The Mother’s Grave

97

     A Rhapsody

99

     On the Death of a Little Girl

100

     A Dirge

102

     The Nun’s Prayer

103

     Lines suggested by a Conversation with Mrs. S.

104

     A Lament

106

     To  *  *  *

107

[unnumbered page]

     Address of the Spirit of Margaret to Faust

108

     The Sons of Song

109

     The Incantation

110

     Ambition

112

     A Fragment

113

     Love’s Incredulity

115

     Reason to Imagination

117

     To Mella

118

     The Indian Warrior

119

     To Laurestine

120

     Stanzas

121

     Lament of the Warrior Spirits

122

     Lines Composed for J. M.

124

     Stanzas

125

     Stanzas

126

     The Maniac’s Song

127

     Trust not to Smiles

128

     Lines on hearing Miss P. sing “He doeth all things well”

129

     March, 1848

130

     Azilie’s Bouquet

131

     To Titania, Queen of Fairyland, St. Valentine’s Day

132

     The Rose and the Poppy—an Eastern Fable

134

     Stanzas

136

     Songs

137—142

     Sonnets

143—160

     The Love-sick Girl and the Nightingale

161

     Anacreontic

163

PARAPHRASES AND TRANSLATIONS:—

     Danae—a Fragment from Simonides

164

     From Anacreon

166

                    “           Ode xi.

167

                    “           Ode xxix.

167

                    “           Ode xxxiii.

168

                    “           Ode xxxviii.

168

     From Horace—Book I.—Ode viii.

169

                    “         Book I.—Ode xxviii.

170

                    “         Book II.—Ode ii.

170

[page xxiv]


 

PYGMALION, PRINCE OF CYPRUS

A DRAMATIC POEM


ACT I.

SCENE I.—A Street in Amathus.

Bathyllus [solus].—My good Bathyllus, let me plainly tell thee,
Plainly—for who would faltter beggary?—
Thou hast deserved to famish, and thy friends,
I warrant thee, are of the same opinion.
Friends! Harpies, with tongues of nightingales.
My curses on them! Now, if all my gold
Were but some hardy ruffian’s reward
For periling his neck, why, hang the rogue,
I then should be an injured honest man,
And fortune bear the blame of the mischance;
But for now, though robb’d indeed (myself the robber),
What fool is there, ‘mong all the fools of Cyprus,
That will not whet his tongue upon my name,
And have his paltry jest, and show his teeth,
And vow he always took me for a fool?
Well, well, I must have patience; ‘tis a virtue
That marks the ass and the philosopher, [unnumbered page]
And ‘tis full time I play’d the latter part;
For when a man is scowled on by the world,
Naked and hungry, kind philosophy
Feeds him with acorns, clothes him in the hide
Of the rough bear, and makes him half a brute.

Enter LAIS

Lais.—My Lord, I have a message from Neara.
Bath.—Haste, let me hear it then.
Lais.—She bids me to tell you
That you are never more to visit her.
She having heard of your debaucheries,
How still in riotous excess you spend
Your days and nights, has taken high offence,
And so is firm in her determination
To see your face no more
Bath.—Go, tell your mistress
Her information has been most exact,
And that, in truth, I am now penniless
Wherefore, as is most fit and natural
In one of her sincere and faithful sex,
She bids me trouble her no more; and I,
Let her be sure, will trouble her no more

[Exit LAIS.

So much for purchased love! I, who have bought
Each practised glance and lying kiss of hers
With diamonds and rubies! This to me!
Consid’rate saint! She spares my feelings, too,
And would not have me made the scoff of slaves; [page 2]
So never must I visit her again.
Her doors are closed against the poor Bathyllus.
Vice is a fault which she could overlook;
Poverty, a most deadly, damning sin.
Her porter, doubtless, is a comely fellow,
And she was fearful lest, when he refused me
Admittance to her house, I should be moved
To break his ribs; and so she’ll send, forsooth,
Her jackall, Lais, to prevent my coming.
There’s fascination in a woman’s eye
As in a serpent’s! When we meet her glance
Of liquid azure, all our cautious fears
Are drowned in a strange and thrilling ecstasy;
And thus we look, and love, and are betrayed.
Yet who taught woman the accursed art
Of falsehood? (an apt scholar though she prove)—
That coward traitor, man; who, when he finds
She has become all the he strove to make her,
In fancied virtue fondly hugs himself,
And points her out to the world’s mockery.
Pity, not anger, should I feel for her,
Who but revenges upon knaves and fools
Her hopeless exit from domestic peace,
And all the joys of happy innocence.

Enter AEGON, unperceived by Bathyllus, who retires up the Stage in deep thought

   AEgon [aside].—Bathyllus here—‘tis awkward! he is ruined. [page 3]
I owe him money—he may ask it of me;
I have it. Though a spendthrift, still at heart
He has a foolish generosity	
Which makes him scorn the selfish and unfeeling;
Though he makes no pretence to it himself,
He thinks, poor dupe, there is such a thing as virtue;
And more—that, spite of all my thousand follies,
I have the spirit of honour strong within me.
I wrought that creed in him; it was my interest.
Now will I, speaking nought but truth for once,
Destroy my character for sentiment,
And so disgust him, that he shall forestall me,
And cast off AEgon. Thus shall busy fame
Forget to brand me with ingratitude,
And throw the blame on him. I will accost him.
[Aloud.] This cannot be Bathyllus! He that was
But yesternight the merriest man in Cyprus,
Musing at mid-day, like some village maid,
Who wonder if she really be in love.
Whose sparkling eyes have made my friend’s so dull?
The woman who could let her eyes say No,
When on her lips the little icy word
Might, with a kiss, be melted into Yes.
Drive her, O Venus, from thy favoured isle,
And take her, Dian, for thy chosen priestess.
Come, smooth your brow, and think no more of her,
A jilt! I once was treated so myself;
But, by the gods, I made her blush for it.
Bathyllus.—How, AEgon, did you that? I understand [page 4]
You held that women blush from policy,
To look more lovely and more loveable,
And not when they deceive.
AEgon.   Why thus it was :—
Long had I woo’d a young and wealthy maiden
(She since is dead, and of a broken heart),
Her fortune was the only thing I cared for,
Although her person, too, was wondrous fair.
Her father was a much-respected man,
Of noble lineage and unsullied name;
But, superstitious in his honesty,
He would not think that any man could lie;
And so he had gone blindfold to the grave,
Loving and trusting all of human kind,
Had I not taught him better.
Bath. [aside].—Can it be
That I have called a man like this my friend?
AEgon.—Well, to be brief, she scorn’d my suit; and why—
A smooth-faced boy she loved, of lowly birth—
A wretched shepherd. Then I feigned indiff’rence,
And even made her trust me with the secret
Of the whole progress of her simple passion.
I fill’d that trembling heart with doubts and fears;
Dissuading her from speaking to her father;
And, in the end, prevailed on them to wed,
Myself the only witness of the rite.
Bath.—What then? What did you then?
AEgon.—Why only this:— [page 5]
One morn, I broke in on the old man’s sleep,
And led him to the room where side by side,
The happy lovers lay. Not he alone;
The very household slaves stood round their bed,
Gazing upon the pure and beautiful,
And thought that guilt lay fondly slumbering there.
The bridegroom waked no more—the old man slew him.
As for the lady—there I stay’d his hand.
‘Twas no hard task—the bloody sword did tremble;
He could not kill the child of his old age.
Ha! Ha! She oped her eyes—one lightning glance,
And all was night—the midnight of despair.
An icy pallor overspread her check,
Save where it blush’d with her beloved’s blood. 
Her lips were press’d to his. Oh, stupid death,
To be unconscious of so sweet a kiss.
Amid his ebon locks her fingers stray’d,
And “Wake,” she cried, “the guests are come, my love;
Rise, bid them welcome to our marriage feast.”
But why proceed—she raved a while, and died.
Her grey-hair’d father sleeps in the same grave
With her and him he slew. I was revenged!
Bath.—Accursed fiend! within whose cruel heart
So black and venomous a sin lies coiled,
May its sharp sting awake to agony
Thine inmost soul! that sleep desert thine eyes,
And busy phantasy still conjure up
‘Twixt the bright sun and the Fates’ hideous frown,
So that the heaven seem changed into hell, [page 6]
And death’s cold stare be ever present to thee!
I go; but hear me when I warn thee, villain,
Henceforth to avoid my path, lest I be tempted
To crush thee as I would a scorpion,
And so defraud the Furies of their prey,
Who shall pursue thee to thy latest hour.

[Exit.

     AEgon [after a pause].—Then he is gone. I tremble when I think
How fierce a scorn there darted from his eyes
When I divulged the story of my vengeance.
Each word he spake did wither up my soul
Like to Jove’s irresistible thunderbolt;
What madness mov’d my tongue to tell him this,
A tale I dare not whisper to myself—
A tale I strive to banish from my dreams!
At first I only meant to show my heart
On trivial matters—things of ev’ry day—
To shock him with a sneer or two at virtue;
But ere I knew, my lips were traitors to me,
And set my prisoned thoughts at liberty—
Ah! who approaches? If it prove Bathyllus—
What do I fear him then? An hour ago,
And AEgon knew now what it was to fear;
And now Bathyllus chides, he dare not answer,
But patiently each bitter word drinks in,
Quails ‘neath his eye, and starts to hear his footstep.
‘Tis only Athos! Now, ye gods, be praised!
The brainless tattler is most welcome here.
I’ll be the first to speak, and lightly too. [page 7]
The fool is still suspicious of the wise;
Therefore will I assume the idle phrase
Of one who knows not how to hide his thoughts.
Have I not played the babbler once to-day?
Where was my boasted prudence then? No more!
Athos must find me in another mood.	
He comes; and now I study to be gay.

Enter ATHOS

Can this be Mercury, Jove’s messenger,
Sent on some honourable embassage,
To give new cause for Juno’s jealousy?
Ho! Athos, whither go you in such haste?
What news, man? Is the temple of our goddess
Burnt to the ground, or hath thy patient father
Grown, on the sudden, economical, 
And art thou hastening to a usurer?
The object of your hurry?
Athos.—Briefly this:
The king is dying—nay, perchance, is dead;
For when I left the palace, it was though
His flickering life, with every labour’d breath,
Would suddenly go out. But stay me not;
For I must seek the prince, and be the first
To tell him of his uncle’s death. Farewell!
AEgon.—Now go, if you will; yet trust me, Sir,
That he is little of a politician
Who jests with kings; and should Pygmalion ask [page 8]
When, how, or where the aged tyrant died,
Will it not puzzle you to answer?
Athos.—True;
But then such welcome tidings! If you came,
And, when I never dreamt of such good news.
Said, “Athos, as your father died last night
Without a will, you are his legal heir,”
Think you that I would put a single question?
No, faith! the joy would prove too vast for words,
And I’d be counting over in my head
The value of my land! Ask questions? No!
Unless, indeed, what sums of ready gold
Were in the old man’s coffers.
AEgon.—You, of course,
Know better than to wish hear recounted
The tedious, common-place details of death.
But this Pygmalion’s of another mood—
A wild enthusiast, who has fled the court
From holy horror of the life we live there;
And, spite of all the hate his uncle bore him,
Or rather bears him (since you say the tyrant
Is only dying, and not dead as yet),
Still trust me he will feel, or feign to feel,
Anxious to learn each trifling circumstance
Of Diomedon’s sudden exit.
Athos.—Well,
I’ll follow your advice, though you may guess
I long to pay my court to Prince Pygmalion.
Doubtless, that prodigy of virtue, Glaucus, [page 9]
Will be chief fav’rite with our new-made sovereign.
AEgon.—Are they so intimate?
Athos.—Close friends, I’m told;
It seems the prince and he are near of kin,
And I can vouch that they’re of kindred taste,
Since Glaucus also wears the shepherd’s garb,
And spends his income, not (as I do mine)
In all the pleasures of a gentleman,
But in relieving beggars. This, you know,
Would be enough to make Pygmalion love him.
And then, they both are servants of the Muse,
And so they’ll sit whole countless hours together
In some lone cavern or thick-tangled grove,
And to the lyre their idle songs attune,
Till all the swains upon Olympus’ side
Forget to celebrate their rural loves;
And of their flocks neglectful, silent stand,
Listening to notes that, as they fondly deem,
Can only flow from Pan’s melodious pipe.
AEgon.—Truly a fit employment for a prince!
Well, Athos, if you wish to rival Glaucus,
I have a slave can easily instruct you
Sweetly to sing and play upon the lyre.
He can write very pretty verses, too,
Which, as their author, you may learn by heart;
Only, when you recite them, have a care
That vehemently you condemn you own, 
And praise Pygmalion’s ditties, heaping still
Such words as tender! beautiful! sublime! [page 10]
Upon the weakest driv’llings of his muse.
The mother loves her puniest infant best;
The bard his dullest work. To criticise
The worthless compositions of a king
Is rank rebellion. But what need of this?
Who knows the world, if Athos know it now?
Prithee proceed! You were, if I mistake not,
Remarking, that the prince (so men report)
Is master of some strange and secret art.
Athos.—Yes, it is whispered he makes men from marble,
In form and feature so like flesh and blood,
That some have scrupled not to say he turns,
Not marble into men, but men to marble.
I put but little faith in that opinion,
Yet there is something wondrous odd in this:
Something I cannot clearly comprehend.
What! Give to stone the figure of a man!
I never could have done it; and, indeed, 
‘Twould be impossible without the aid
Of magic, which me reason bids me use not,
Since those who practise it seem ne’er to prosper.
AEgon.—What Athos will not do, no wise man should;
What Athos cannot do, let none attempt;
As well aspire to rival Phaeton,
And guide the flaming chariot of the sun.
Athos.—In truth you flatter now! yet truly, Sir,
I am aesteemed of quick inventive mind,
And perseverance equal to my thought. [page 11]
Nothing can sway or bend me from my purpose;
I move right on until I reach my port.
Hope cannot lull me with her siren tones,
Nor Fear, with all his fiendish whispers, awe me.
All this is obstinacy; but my friends
Insist on calling it a noble firmness,
And swear there’s something god-like in my humour.
AEgon.—The fool grows eloquent in praise of self.
[Aside]
The wise depreciate none except themselves;
Athos, the courtly Athos, flatters all
With words so sweet they seem not flattery.
All except Athos, whom, forsooth, he chides.
Because the man is modest to a fault.

 

Enter a PAGE

Page to Athos.—My Lord, the king is dead.
Athos.—I must away.
Farewell! to-morrow night I shall expect you.
I give a banquet. Harkee [whispers] I have asked
Bathyllus, and if fortune but befriend us,
And the new dice prove honest, you and I
Will be the richer.
AEgon.—Then you have not heard
That he is ruined?	
Athos.—No! How pray? No matter.
Here boy, run quickly to my Lord Bathyllus,
Tell him—make up some story—anything,
Only he must not come to-morrow night—[page 12]
You understand me. Hence, make no delay;
I will await you at the eastern gate.

[Exit PAGE

That boy has profited by my example,
Hears much, sees much, knows much, yet speaks but little;
He shall describe to me the tyrant’s death.
The rogue is witty, and his tale, I vow, 
Will not be unamusing. Let me think,
I wished to say—I have forgotten now,
No matter—I’ll remember by to-morrow;	
Till then, farewell

[Exit.

     AEgon.—Farewell, half-knave, all fool,
The wise alone can be the perfect villain.
He plans and makes another execute,
Points out the prey, and, like a cunning huntsman,
Waits till his dogs have brought it to the ground;
Then stepping in, lays claim to all the spoil,
And at no cost of danger, all the credit!
This courtier now shall blindly do my will,
And be a very dagger in my hand
To smite my enemies withal. What now!

Re-enter ATHOS

Athos.—Oh prithee, AEgon, let the slave you spoke of
Come to my house to-night.
     AEgon.—He shall attend to you

[Exit ATHOS.

Go, lead this idle dreamer to a throne.
The time shall come thou’lt do as much for me;
But ere that time arrive what deeds of blood [page 13]
Must it be mine to dare! A traitor! yea,
Men’s brows grow dark when they do name that name,
A tyrant! There is something sweet in that,
The sounds bears token of authority;
Then let them call me traitor, so I live
To hear them whisper tyrant with pale lips.
I’ve gone too far in mad ambition’s maze
E’er to retrace my steps. I’ll hie me home,
These dizzy fearful thoughts in solitude
Should have expression. So! my hands are clenched,
My heart beats quick, I totter as I walk;
Yet thought this recreant body, like a reed
Struck by the furious north, is shaken thus,
My spirit trembles not; for it was forged
In flame of Erebus; a thunderbolt
By the right hand of destiny launched forth
To spread destruction in its bright career,
A wonder and a terror unto all.
Woe unto him who dares to cross my path!
None ever did, and lived to boast of it.
Yet there is one who knows my secret soul,
To whom I owe my fortunes. He it is
Who first shall die. My deadly hate demands
This sacrifice; and ye infernal gods,
I imprecate your curses on my head,
Should pity stay my hand one moment’s space,
When raised against Bathyllus; he or I,
Or both must perish. Fate speaks through my lips.

[Exit. [page 14]

SCENE 2.— The Sea-shore; in the background a marble Temple on an overhanging cliff; PYGMALION, GLAUCUS, and ATHOS, in front.

     Pygmalion.—And art thou gone, proud spirit? Did the gods
So often shield thee in the front of war,
When thou hast made the boastful tyrant reel,
That thou shouldst perish thus, no friendly voice
With sweet familiar tones, to lull thy soul
Into the tranquil sleep of death? Alone,
By pale disease, amid a heartless band
Who only deign to honour while they fear!
How bitter, then, the inevitable hour!
Athos [aside].—If I were not a courtier, now i’faith,
I think I should believe he was in earnest.
Pyg.—Dead! nor let fall one little gentle word,
To show he had forgotten idle feuds,
That slander stirred betwixt us! Are you sure
He whispered not forgiveness?
Athos.—Nay, my Lord,
He died, as he had lived, your enemy,
Still imprecating curses on your head;
He played the tyrant with his latest breath
Pyg.—How, Sir, and is it thus you dare to speak
Of one whom, when alive, you did obey
With all the servile arts of flattery?
Now he is dead, you scruple not to call
Your former master, tyrant. Shame upon you! [page 15]
Answer me not. I hate a forked tongue

[Motions ATHOS toward the back of the stage.

He had a noble heart, this Diomedon—
A heart whose natural impulse would have made
This people mighty, who are now despised
By Heaven, methinks that I behold him now,
When the luxurious Cyprians stood aghast,
A scanty band before the countless host
Of Tyrian invaders,—as in scorn,
Pass through their ranks that lengthened far and wide
With threatening steel, and awful as a god,
Deal round him death in each resistless blow;
He freed his people.
Glau.—Only to enslave them,
With worse than links of iron are they bound;
And they have drunken of a deadlier poison
Than is the juice of nightshade. Luxury
Dazzling our souls with cunning sorceries,
Now lures us from our gods—a lovely death,
Leading unwary feet by flowery paths
To stumble in the yawning sepulchre.
‘Tis thine to conquer this accursed fiend,
Armed with the force that truth and virtue give,
And call’d by fate’s resistless mandate forth.
Arouse thee, for the time at length is come
When thou must boldly utter to the world
All thou hast brooded o’er in solitude.
Thought is the nurse of action; solitude,
The cradle of the mind; and man a child [page 16]
Till he has communed with the elements,
And drunk in the wisdom from all mighty things—
The winds, the lightnings, and the leaping waves—
Reading in nature`s eyes her inmost heart,
And profiting alike by frowns and smiles.
Return and mingle with thy fellow-men;
Guide and control their passions, lead them forth
Victorious `gainst the foeman of their freedom,
And makes them good in peace, and brave in war.
The vices that thou fledst from yesterday
Being unarmed, to-day must thou oppose
With vigorous resolution, and o’ercome.
Pyg.—What! wouldst thou have me leave the peaceful vales,
Where still survives true honesty of heart,
The pure and simple worship of the gods,
And sweet content—the only real joy—
To dwell with artful men and be as they?
No! trust me, never, never could I prove
The blood-stained tyrant or the glitt’ring slave,
Whose sceptre, crown, and throne, are but as toys,
To while away the lonely friendless hours
Which make the life of kings a ling’ring death.
Can Glaucus wish his friend no better fate
Than this?
Glau.—I know such fate can ne’er be thine,
Else I would never urge thee to assume
The weight of empire; but examine well
Thy secret heart, if eternal flame [page 17]
Of proud ambition doth not burn within—
The ardent longing—the wild hope of glory—
Which drove thee forth from haunts of common men,
To labour face to face with Jove. Thou madest
The cold and rugged marble ‘neath thy touch
Grow presently instinct with fairest life,
And all the mystic habitants of heaven,
That were but dreams before, thou gav’st to wear
Aspect and form of majesty divine.
Thine empire over the inanimate
Thou hast asserted, and material things
Have worn the semblance of thy loftiest thought.
Wilt thou stop here contented on the marge
Of glory’s boundless ocean? sit thee down,
And listen to imaginary storms,
While fav’ring winds invite thee o’er the wave?
Look round thee, and behold thy wretched people
Without a leader, in the power of traitors,
Bound hand in foot in sloth and ignorance.
Thou only canst release them, thou alone.
What bark did ever reach the promised port,
When once pilot’s hand forsook the helm?
Thy country, thy unhappy country, lies
Amid contending evils all a wreck;
About to sink and be for ever lost.
Thou yet mayst save it.
Pyg.—Ah, my friend,	
Time was when words like thine had nerved my heart
To rival Hercules in mighty deeds, [page 18]
And win me worship among men on earth,
Honour in heaven, and fear in deepest hell.
Now fame has lost its sweetness; ‘twas a flow’r
Which I have plucked and worn, and seen decay.
That hope has vanished. Canst thou raise the dead,
Putting a sceptre in the hand of bone,
To govern living men withal? As soon.
Shalt thou persuade to action one whose heart
Is dead within him, dead to all but woe.
Glau.—Pygmalion, my friend, nay brother let me call thee,
Our sould have still avowed fraternity;
And have we not from infancy till now
Been linked together by the many bonds
Which gen’rous hearts are tied with—comradeship
In wordy combats of philosophy,
And that more earnest stride where foot to foot,
And hand to hand, against the Tyrian force
We fought for life and honour—the soul’s breath?
And I have marked a shade upon thy brow,
As from some inward sadness; oftentimes
Have I been tempted to inquire of thee,
Whence came thy hidden sorrow; but, whene’er
I purposed to do this, you quick perceived,
And foiled each vain attempt with ready jest,
Or peal of wild unnatural merriment.
Yet in those moods of thine, I often think
Thy laughter hath a strange unearthly sound,
As though thine evil genius laughed, not thou. [page 19]
Pyg.—Nay, now you are too serious by far,
To take an idle word I said thoughtlessly,
As evidence to prove me miserable.
‘Tis that I do not wish to be unhappy,
And so would fain escape this proferred sceptre.
I am a dreamer, on whose fevered brow
A crown would be a nightcap, and my throne
An easy chair to doze in. But, do thou,
Whose blood is of the same pure fount as mine—
Do thou, a mind of godlike energies.
And spirit strong in virtue, gird to bear
The falling honours of our ancient race?
Nor shalt thou want my aid; assume the throne,
And by our constant friendship here, I swear,
I presence of Apollo’s golden fire,
And by the everlasting heavens themselves,
In peace and war, in life and death, to stand
Prepared to second thee.
Glau.—And think you not,
That, did I fancy there was that in me
Which might preserve my country from destruction,
I e’er would hesitate to lop away
All meaner feelings from my patriot heart;
And, though the infernal sisters stood opposed
With flaming torch and serpent scourge to turn me,
Would I not force my way? O Liberty!
Thou wedded wife of each immortal heart,
If all my thoughts of him whom more I loved,
Whom more I love than aught on earth beside, [page 20]
Be not as dreams, arise, and in his ears,
Howe’er unwilling, with thy thousand tongues,
Thunder—Awake, and combat in my cause.
The voice of winds, and haughty cataracts,
And the eternal chimings of the sea,
Are echoes of the anthem, clear and loud,
Which Freedom chaunts within her palaces,
Above Olympus, and the Aonian Mount,
In the pure regions of divinity;
Oh, hearken to the converse which she holds
With universal nature. Hill and dale
Answer her with the whispers of their love.
Oh, speak thou also; let it not be said
That we, the breathing children of the soil, 
Can sympathise not with our mother earth;
Can see our native land compelled to groan
Beneath the ploughshares of a foreign race,
And yield her proud enslavers corn and wine,
Nor feel our pulses cry aloud for war.
Perchance you smile to hear my prophecies,
Yet—
Pyg.—Nay, I smiled not, Glaucus
Glau.—I could weep
To the image forth the future.
Pyg.—What have we
To do, save with the present? Let the gods
Dispose of the future. I am sick of thought,
Weary and sick to death. I’ll think no more.
Immortals think, and mortals blindly act. [page 21]
What, Glaucus, do you weep! Ah! pardon me;
Still be my guide as ever. Prithee, now,
Decide for me. I’ll do whate’er thou wilt,
Only forgive me.
Glau.—I would scorn to shed
Tears for myself; but these I now brush off 
Were shed for thee and for my country.
Oh, thou art changed by some heart-gnawing grief
From the Pygmalion whom I knew in youth;
He would not have thus spoken.
His was a soul that spurned ignoble sloth,
And burned with all a patriot’s energies.
Oh, may I think thou art myself again,
But to oppose the will of evil men,
Who, in their fierce ambition, scorn at right,
And thirst to shed the life-blood of the free.
(Shouts without of “Long live our King, the good PYGMALION.”)
Hark! how those honest, simple-minded men,
Those nurslings of the mountains, call on thee
To be the guardian of their liberties,
Have I now known thee, single and unarm’d,
Rescue the lambkin from the famish’d wolf,
And give it to the shepherd’s arms again,
The playmate of his children?
(Pointing to the Shepherds descending the Mountain.) There, my friend,
Behold thy flock, to thee the gods assign them;
The gods, and Nature, mother of the gods, [page 22]
Who, even now, is eloquently pleading
Their cause with thee. And, lo! she will prevail,
For tears are in thine eyes, where gleams again
The dawning of a brighter, holier hope,
The hope of fame through virtue. Kings are made,
Not by the glittering bauble of a crown
Encompassing the knit and throbbing brow,
But by a crown that Jove himself might wear.
Unblushingly—the blessings of the weak
Casting a revered halo around his head.
Such kings bring this dark earth more near to heaven,
And make their aim in life, and boast to be
Sceptred with justice, throned in grateful love.
Such kings soar far above the common herd
Of tyrants, fools, and conquering homicides,
Far as the eagle can outfly the hawk,
Farther than hell from heaven.

(The Shepherds enter, and surround Pygmalion, pressing forward to kiss his hand—
Shepherdesses, strewing flowers, sing in chorus)

SONG OF THE SHEPHERDS

                         Grassy vale, and pine-clad mountain,
                         Silver stream, and sparkling fountain
                         Send your habitants unseen,
                         Crystal wave and covert green!
                         Satyrs, Fauns, and Naiads fair,
                         And the wanderers of the air;
                         Cloud-wing’d winds and zephyrs light, [page 23]
                         Sylphs that love the star-eyed night;
                         Mingle with the song of spring,
                         Welcome ye our shepherd king.

CHORUS

                         So with whispers, kind and sweet,
                         Echo doth the words repeat,
                         “Welcome! welcome!” all around
                         Circles still the passing sound.

Second Voice.

                         Here fresh flowrets do we bring,
                         Tender nurslings of the spring;
                         Some are offerings from the mountain,
                         Others by the silver fountain,
                         On the marge of sparkling stream,
                         First drank in the day-god’s beam.
                         These were breathed on by the wind,
                         And the Fauns and Dryads kind
                         Guided our uncertain feet
                         Where to cull these flowrets sweet.

CHORUS

                         Blushing roses let us strew,
                         Lilies pure as morning dew,
                         Praying that ev’ry future hour
                         May prove as fair and sweet a flower.
     [A Shepherdess, with a garland of flowers, sings.]
                         Wild flowers—a garland for the free,
                         This simple wreath we twin’d for thee; [page 24]
                         A costlier crown thou soon wilt wear
                         Of sparkling gold and jewels rare;
                         But ours is fresh from Nature’s hand,
                         And we are all an artless band,
                         Who hide beneath the ready smile—
                         No slavish fear, no courtier guile;
                         Then deign our humble wreath to take,
                         And wear it for the shepherd’s sake.

CHORUS

                         Oh! may true glory ever shed
                         Her choicest blossoms on thy head;
                         Be never guilty laurel seen.
     [As Pygmalion is crowned with the garland, the Scene closes.]

 


FRAGMENT


     Beautiful shadow, whither wilt thou flee?
Nay, turn thy golden-tressed head and hear.
O kill me not with scorn.
I worship thee with so intense a love,
Its sacred fire hath purified my heart
From ev’ry stain of foul mortality,
And I am, spirit, like thyself divine.
Were I a god, and thou a child of earth, [page 25]
Would I not quench within my airy hall
The lamp whose light celestial scares away 
The vampires Time and Death, and wear a form
Subject to agony and dull decay,
That so thine eyes might weep a tear for me;
Thy fair hands strew bright flow’rets on my bier;
Thy tread wake sweetest echoes round my grave!
Then, spirit of the beautiful (whose glance
Can lend a holier lustre to the sun,
And o’er the desert heart make visions rise
Brighter than flow’rs on earth or stars in heaven),
Look back and smile on me. She glides away,
Fainter and fainter, wan, and yet more wan,
Like dying music, or a summer cloud,
Lost in the mazy wilderness of air;
The elements resume their loveliest work!
Ah! me, I wake to loveliness again.
There is a curse upon me; when a child
The Furies gliding from the silent moon
Came and stood round me; and they laid their hands,
Glist’ning with icy cold, upon my brow
And on my breast; and over heart and brain
There came a darkness as of many clouds;
Clouds which have tongues of thunder and of flame,
And I was stricken into madness! Then
I hated the eternal stare of day,
Whose rolling eyeball was so very bright
That ev’ry day did like a poison shaft
Torture me mis’rable. [page 26]
I longed for night,
The darkly azure night; and, more than all, 
I loved the soft young moon. her tenderness
(For there was tenderness in ev’ry glance)
Soothed the fierce fiend within me, and I dream’d
Of love and joy
My ancestors were kings,
And to my hand the sceptre was bequeathed;
The sceptre by whose magic men are changed
To fawning spaniels! Can it change the heart
Of him who sways it? Can it give content,
Or one sweet draught of the Lethean wave
To still the burning pulses of remorse?
Ah, no! we cannot govern thought, and are
The veriest traitors to ourselves. Alas!
Once I was innocent, if innocence
Be found in suff’ring, and the proud contempt
Of all things evil. Now I am a king.
A fearful voice, that came I know not whence
Was ever in mind. An adder’s hiss
Were not so hateful as that voice, which gave
A tongue to silence and to solitude.
It bayed me forth into the battle-field,
Into the very iron arms of death—
I could not die. Fate’s adamantine shield
Covered my aching heart, and I was nerved
With superhuman force; my falchion gleam’d
Like lightning in the hands of Jupiter.
The Titans would have quail’d beneath my rage; [page 27]
I slew and spared not, until monarchs knelt
And prayed for peace, while all their glittering crowns
Were as a footstool laid before my throne.
Peace, and from me!—
Men hailed me as a god;
And then the demon laughed within my soul,
And cried, “Exert thy new divinity,
Banish me with a word to Tartarus,
That so thou mayst enjoy a little rest.”
“Fiend,” I replied, “coeval with my life,
Thine empire cannot stretch beyond the grave;
While yet a mortal, I defy thy power,
And here on earth will win myself a life
Through all succeeding years. I have been call’d
A god; and like a god, I will create
Forms of transcendent beauty, and exist
In these my creatures when this tortured dust
Has ceased to feel thy presence.” Vain th’ attempt
To smite to death a fiend impalpable
To aught except the feeling of the heart.
But I assailed and wrestled with him long,
And overthrew him; for the will of man,
Invincible by all the sons of hell,
Once roused, must conquer—it is destiny.
Then did the cold and rugged marble grow
Beneath my touch, instinct with fairest life,
And all the lofty habitant of heaven,
That were but dreams before, I gave to wear
Aspect and form of majesty divine, [page 28]
That those who stood to gaze felt ev’ry pulse
Thrill with a sudden awe, and every soul	
Bowed down in worship to the works of mine.

*     *     *     *     *

     Mr. ALLAN never lived to complete the drama of “Pygmalion,” and he attached the following note to the first Act:—

“This Fragment is the original of my Drama of the same name, upon which I am at present busied. I append it to the first Act, it will be seen that several lines in the Play are taken from the Fragment.” [page 29]

 

POEMS


ANSELMO TO ISADORA

TERZA RIMA


WE do not known each other—‘tis the phrase
Of the cold, artful world which I abhor;
But in my heart I hear a voice that says,

I love thee, Isadora! ‘mid the war
Of hopes and fears that make the poet’s mind
Half heaven, half hell—to dread, while longing for

Death’s momentary peace. I can unbind
The bonds of selfishness, and love thee more
Than fame, which is the breath of all mankind.

I first began an angel to adore,
When the deep organ’s awe-inspiring strain
Call’d me to kneel the Maker’s throne before.

But no! my spirit spread her wings in vain!
Too much of heaven was shining from thine eyes;
I hastened back, to bask in them again. [unnumbered page]

What wonder that I loved thee, or with sighs
Confined within my bosom’s inmost cell
The flame which I zealously did prize,

As doth the martyr’s faith inflexible
That bigot-kindle chariot of fire
Which beareth him in Paradise to dwell!

What wonder that I loved! My heart and lyre
Still burn’d to live and breather in passion’s air,
To feel the presence of one pure desire,

To change this bleak world from the lion’s lair
into the nest of dove-like sympathy;
And, as the seaman loves the island fair

That shelters him from shipwreck, loved I thee;
And, with a miser’s care, did I conceal
Love, which I wish’d that thou alone shouldst see,

Nor could my face the secret soul reveal,
Since harsh and sullen ever was my brow.
Nature hath there impressed her sternest seal;

Yet from the darkest mine hath oft, ere now,
Come brightest gems; and in the blackest clouds
The vivid lightning hath its home. And thou,

Fair Isadora, judge not with the crowd,
Who, by the features, feign to know the heart;
And, trust me, that my looks of coldness shroud [page 31]

A soul where thou, mine own beloved, art
Worshipp’d with the most passionate excess
Of an affection that can but depart

With life, which otherwise were valueless.
Many there be whom I have made my foes,
By scorning all the petty meannesses

Which, like the thorns that gird the beauteous rose,
Surround the human heart, that would abjure
Its nobler feelings. There be some of those

Who, of themselves, unable to procure
One leaf from Fame’s most bright but deadly tree,
Have enviously striven to obscure

The little light which God hath given me
Of that pure lamp of radiance supernatural
Which on the altar of eternity

Burns opposite of the throne of the Eternal—
Pure fount, whence Dante drew his inspiration.
Mine is a garland, that is ever vernal!

Although this bosom’s throb of exultation
May shortly cease to animate my dust,
Though here my lot be friendless isolation,

Man may be cruel, God is not unjust;
And if on earth my mem’ry fade away
(As fade, my spirit prophesies, it must), [page 32]

Perchance you heaven shall echo to my lay,
And in the bowers of an eternal spring,
With blossoms bright as is the dawn of day,

Angels may crown this care-worn brow, and bring
The harp beloved, from whose chords may swell
‘Neath touch of mine harmonious offering

To Him whose praise no tongue can fully tell.
Nor there shall Isadora cease to move
The heart in which she must for ever dwell;

But still the angle to his mortal love—
Mortal! how more angelic far than he—
Shall his sincerity immortal proce,

And with a purer passion think of thee.
But of my theme forgetful have I strayed,
Wiled on by Fancy’s siren melody,

Too far from earth and thee, earth’s fairest maid.
Let me this hasty scroll again retrace.
My foes—they smart ‘neath self-contempt—have said.

He hates, but cannot love. Away! weak race
Of sordid unimpassioned souls—away!
When did the gaze of hawks and vultures base

The fire-eyes eagle’s sunward course survey?
Nor can ye, mole-eyed. serpent-hearted sons
Of pride and avarice, comprehend the ray [page 33]

Of seraph genius—heaven’s own favoured ones,
Whose passions are sublimed to song divine,
Spurn judges such as these! My spirit shuns

Communion, man of this low world, with thine,
And pities, though it hates thee now; but learn,
‘Tis not for thee I weave one lay of mine,

And should despise myself couldst thou discern
Aught kindred to thy taste in what I sing.
Nor can thy falsehoods, which might richly earn

The sceptre borne by hell’s malignant king,
Avail to sink a name that shall be great,
Upsoaring still on love’s untiring wing,

Far, far beyond the swiftest darts of hate.
Said I, my memory would fade awat?
I did injustice to my kinder fate;

That name a ceaseless echo yet shall stray,
Wide as the winds and waves in their career
Throughout this mighty globe, and shall repay

Those who defamed its lord while living here—
Or dying, rather—with unending scorn,
When after-times my miseries shall hear.

Oh, my own Isadora! I have borne
Much, nor complained till now. Forgive this song
Of a sad spirit, banished from hope’s morn [page 34]

To dwell in utter midnight. but I wrong
Thee, most celestial presence, who has cast
A sweet enchantment o’er days erst so long,

Making them glide in gentle murmurs past,
Like the blue streams that first inspired my strain
In boyhood’s joyous dream. Oh! thou who hast

Each pulse of feeling that may yet remain
In this o’er-tortured bosom, let me feel
That there is one who will not all disdain

The feeble working of a poet’s zeal—
A poet’s love, the essence of a mind
That scorns self-worship. Let me not appeal

In vain, thou dearest among womankind,
Lest I should even lose my faith in heaven,
When thee still dead to my despair I find.

Against my passion I have vainly striven;
I saw thee—loved, and seeing thee, love on.
Hatred hath been, and love should be, forgiven.

True, I am poor, nor greatness calls me son;
My form and face not cast in beauty’s mould. 
But what are these? Hath not a world been won,

And glory, and the tyrant’s fetter—gold,
By thy bold spirit, Colon? Though thy birth
Was humble yesterday, to-day, behold, [page 35]

Thou’rt kin to all the mighty of the earth!
What was the master-passion of his soul?
The love of fame and life were little worth

Without this spur to action. Ages roll
Kings to oblivion; Time forgets us all,
All save the good and wise, and such control

Nations unborn, eternal kinds, whose thrall
Is o’er the thoughts of men. True empire this
To change to royal robes the funeral pall,

And govern from the grave.* They judge amiss
Who call my studies idleness, and me
Half-fool, half-madman. From the black abyss

Of chaos sprang this lovely world, and we
Its habitants; and so from forth this spirit
Shall burst the light of purest poesy.

Forms that angelic attributes inherit
Shall people my new world; and thou, my life,
Shalt have the homage which thou well dost merit.

* “Those dread but sceptre sov’reigns, who still rule

Our spirits from their urns.”

MANFRED.

     At the time when I composed the above poem, I had not read “Manfred.” It is possible—nay, probable—that I had not seen those two lines as a quotation [page 36]

 

And be the sun of all my song. Too rife 
With lovely fancies hath existence been;
My woe hath still been constant as a wife,

Close clinging to my heart; but now the scene
Shifts like a vision, and my gloomy eyes
Behold but thee in majesty serene,

Making the earth thou tread’st a Paradise,
And cheering with thy smile my loneliness,
Till on my soul new hopes like stars arise,

Banishing all the doubts that so oppress
The fretful mind of genius. Hark! that voice—
‘Tis Isadora’s! and its tones confess

A gentle pity. Let me not rejoice,
Lest, rudely wakened, I should dream no more.
Rather eternal slumber be my choice,

Than live the life I have lived heretofore,
The sport of my own fears. That sound again!
How sweet the voice of her whom we adore!

It blends, with ev’ry old familiar strain,
The simple music of our infancy,
Which must for ever in our hearts remain,

Echoes of that celestial melody
Which tuned our spirits in some higher sphere,
Ere yet our feverish bodies were to be. [page 37]

Thus float those much-loved accents to mine ear;
And thus methought my Isadora said—
“Arise, fond dreamer, from the silent bier

Or mournful solitude; arise, and tread
The path of life, nor fear thy weary feet
May stumble. To thine eyes all earth is spread

As with a green and mould’ring winding-sheet!
The azure skies are taintless. We are flower,
And fade, but with an odour passing sweet—

A fragrancy like that of Eden’s bowers;
Our spirits ascend the Emphyrean. Hark!
What various music fills this earth of ours!

The winds, the waves, the insect, and the lark,
Pour harmonies spontaneous; and shalt thou,
Whose element is faith, in mazes dark,

Of doubt and hell imaginings, linger now,
When light and song their influences blend
To lead thee back, with open hand and brow,

Among mankind, whom, if thou shouldst transcend
In aught, remember that the knowledge given
By the All-wuse thou must not idly spend

In self-communion, but make it ripe for heaven
Thy simpler brethren. Then arise, and shake
Off black misanthropy, and be forgiven, [page 38]

Forgiving others—this do for my sake.”
So Isadora said—that spirit bright
(Whom brighter far thy lovelier form did make),

Sent from the regions of unfading light
To wean me from my darker self, and tear
The veil away that, dimmed by feeble sight

To all save thee, earth holds of good and fair;
And I, obedient to the blessed dream,
Rose up refreshed and strong, the taunts to bear

Of such as know me not, and only deem
Genius the deadly plague-spot of the mind—
The chain which binds to misery supreme

The vulture of Prometheus. They shall find,
Freed from the rosy bond of the ideal,
And by a pure philosophy refined,

This heart shall learn to grapple with the real,
And truth shall guide me through life’s desert wild,
Passing unscathed its sorrowful ordeal,
Innocent, loving, fearless as a child. [page 39]

 

THE ISLES OF THE BLEST

A VISION


I STOOD upon a mountain, lip to lip
With rosy morning, and her breathings came
Refreshingly upon my fever’d brow;
I felt my heart uplifted from the depths
Of this world’s vain desires and idle fears,
And, led by Nature’s hand, approaches the source
From whence my deathless spirit drew its life,
Lost in the presence of that mighty though,
The power, the love, the mercy of my God—
The one Eternal Heart that feels for all.
My soul is wafted to the realm of dreams
Methought, amid the sapphire clouds that lay
strew’d o’er the lucid azure of wide heaven,
I saw the fabled Islands of the Blest
Through the Empyrean floating, beautiful
With flowers, whose magic hues ne’er visited
The eyes of sleep; with perfume-laden trees
Crowned as with emeralds, and echoing
Through shady glen, fair mead, and purple hill,
With harp and song! Lo! as I look’d, there pass’d [unnumbered page]
Betwixt me and the sun, that, rising now,
Shone like the brightest rose in Paradise,
A silvery vapour gliding swiftly on
Towards me; it took shape all suddenly,
And seemed to my astonished gaze as one
Whom I had known on earth—a gentle friend,
Whose modest spirit shrank into itself
Alike from the world’s wintry frown, that throws
its cypress shadow o’er each humbler heart;
And from the fervour of its summer friendships,
Courting the genius that a halo casts
Round the earth and the earthworms that call her mother.
He was a poet, and his ardent soul
Oft soared beyond its cage of mortal clay
Up to the throne of the Invisible,
Eternal God, Creator, Friend of man,
And struck a harp of heaven amid the throng
Of saints and angels, blending worship due,
With strains harmonious.
                                 In the deepest font
Of his great noble heart he treasured up
Each kindness shown him by his brother men
(Alas! how seldom shown!), and with a love
That could not change; their every hope and fear
Henceforth were his, and he would laugh or weep
E’en as they smiled or sighed. A sympathy
Unselfish, pure, and holy, such as fills,
With echoes of one universal hymn,
The halls of Nature’s temples, through our hearts [page 41]
Ran, like the rivers that in Paradise
Robed with sweet fruit and flowers the virgin earth.
When boys together often would we stroll
Apart from all, through solitary fields
And the brown pathways of some lonely grove;
We cull’d fair flow’rets, watch’d the industrious ants,
Or sat us down, and communed with the streams,
The winds, the sun, the moon, and stars, and were
Philosophers in boyhood, studying through
Fair Nature’s book, whose title-page is God.
He was my teacher, for my thoughts to his
Were visions of realities; his mind
Was the true sun and cloudless heaven of soul,
And mine there mere reflection in the stream
Of a tempestuous spirit.
                                          We were borne
Onward together into manhood; I,
Fearing left fools should take me for a fool,
Wandered from Edmund’s side into the bowers
Of misnamed pleasure; in my bounding veins,
My erring fancy, half the error lay,
And reason soon reclaimed me. Once again
I clasped my friend and virtue to my heart,
Nor did again desert them.
                                          He, meanwhile
Met all the sneers of sensual men, whose lives
Were to the snow of his as viper’s blood,
With a proud conscience and unquailing eye.
He knew it was not with his faults the warr’d, [page 42]
But with his virtues; and in mind serene,
Aloof from them he moved, nor turned aside
To cringe for honours, nor to beg for fame.
So lived he for awhile, unmoved by scorn,
False as the men who showed it, and his soul,
Thrown back upon itself, beheld a clam,
Deep solitude of thought, unstirr’d by passion.
But feeble was his frame, and tasked o’ermuch,
With struggles after science. Day by day,
He grew less earthly, and his pensive eyes
Gleamed with a flame, which burning in the heart
Is to the body as a funeral pyre.
I knew that he must die, and gazed on him
Solemnly; for it was as if I looked
Upon some white-robed spirit which had found
Rest with its Maker and eternal bliss.
Throughout his brief existence he had walked
Close in the footsteps of the Son of God—
Lowly in mind and mien, and most humane
In word and deed to all men, and he died
Without one weak regret, all joyousness
Glad as the child, when by his mother led
Forth ‘mid the fields their loveliest flowers to cull.
Once more I saw him. Through that silv’ry vapour
His noble form and countenance shone,
Like Phoebus through a veil of lucid clouds.
His deep blue eyes, and glossy golden hair,
That round his lofty intellectual brow
In curls hung clustering, like the honeysuckle [page 43]
About some marble palace, spotless fair,
He stood in form and features by my side,
The same in all things; but on closer gaze
Methought a change celestial had been wrought.
There was a holier calmness in his eyes—
A blest tranquility, and on his lips
A spiritual smile sat like a dove,
Hallowing each thought. Around his slender form
A robe of sunny whiteness floated free
As foam upon the main. A golden lyre
In his right hand, and in his left two boughs
Of olive and of myrtle intertwined,
The spirit of my friend in gentlest words,
Of purest tenderness, addressed me thus—
“Friend of my soul, who in the fevered trance,
And aspirations high that filled my youth
With visioned glories unenjoyed on earth,
Stood’st by me ever, prompt to praise the skill
With which I weaved the wild flowers of my thought
Into fast-fading wreaths of artless song,
Know that the One who blest Isaiah’s harp
With prophecy, and in lone Patmos shed
The light of revelation upon John,
Gives, though in less degree, all poets still
The inspiration of that muse which bore
Milton, ‘that eagle spirit,’ from the earth
To heaven’s wide temple which unveiled he saw
Illumin’d by the will of the Most High,
With more that mortal power to paint in flame [page 44]
Of glowing and undying thought,
‘Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.’
not those alone who in the sight of men
Have soared to high Parnassus, in the eye
Of the Creator are as poets held.
The pale and silent worshippers in woods,
The lonely gazer from the mountain tops,
The pilgrim thoughtful roaming on the marge
Of the wild wilderness of ocean’s waves,
The melancholy student of the tombs,
They who fall undeplored by proud mankind,
Over whose graves no epitaph is reared,
Save that which nature writes in summer flowers—
These from your sphere are wafted on the wind
To yon blest island, where their spirits pour
Harmonious offering to the God they love.
Nor doom’d to an eternal death are those
Who have expired in heathen lands of old,
Ere yet the star of Bethlehem arose, 
And angels called on man to know his God,
Revealed in human shape, but sinless, pure,
All-wise, and merciful—the God that walk’d
With Moses in the camp of Israel.
Those passionate hearts that flow’d in deathless song,
The masters of the lyre, the sages famed
For self-examination, sons of Greece
And Rome; Historians, Bards, Philosophers,
And Patriots, who, like Leonidas,
Fell for the freedom of their countrymen, [page 45]
Acting with strong right hand, the poesy
That swelled with hate of tyranny their hearts;
All who stood virtuous amid sin, and cast
Aside the fetters of idolatry,
Cherishing hope in the Divinity
Of the one God who is the universe,
Have immortality in those fair isles.
For He who knows the hearts of all mankind
Knew theirs, and has redeemed them through the love
Of crucified Immanuel.
                                          “But to name
The host of these, would be an endless task,
Since many are accepted of the Lord
Whom men have scrupled not to stigmatize
As vile and most abandoned heretics.
The hypocrite whose doubts are granaried
Within a subtle and tenacious heart,
Is reverenced for his piety of mien,
His iciness of manner, when beneath
The solemn sadness of the wrinkled brow,
Avarice sits plotting schemes to cheat the world,
That for a saint can take a Pharisee.
And he whose open spirit scorns to bow
In adoration at an unknown shrine,
Who for himself examines thoroughly
A doctrine ere he puts his faith in it—
He stands convicted of a mind, in vain
Does he protest the innocence of thought,
The worst of crimes to those who will not think. [page 46]
The multitude baptise him Atheist,
And having doom’d him to eternal fire,
Piously strive to make his life a hell.
Oh! that the human race with one consent,
Would in their God behold a Being pure,
Merciful, just, and holy, who disdains
The mockery of one sinner, lost to hope
Save through the love of Christ, inveighing loud
Against his brother’s sins. Oh! vain attempt
To blind the eyes of the Omnipotent,
Who is above, below, around, within us!
Ay, with what rapture do I gaze
On Homer’s lineaments divine, and hear
Those lips that pour’d the dirge o’er Hector slain,
Breather to the Maker’s praise their loftiest hymns.
Guided by inward whisp’rings of the soul,
Upsprang into the bosom of the Son,
Whence manna, like the riches of his thoughts,
Have fed till now the wond’ring race of man. 
By Milton’s side he roams in interchange
Of holiest eloquence; those poets’ harps
Together tuned in honour of their God,
Oft mingle strain that, in their flight sublime,
Ascending, scale the capital of heaven,
Where angels stand around the eternal throne,
In middle of their anthems all struck dumb
With rapture at that solemn song. And there
Is Aeschylus, the sire of tragic muse; [page 47]
There Sophocles, on whom his mantle fell,
Who (wanting the simplicity and strength
Of him who saw Prometheus vulture-torn),
In smoother folds, yet graceful, wore it still,
Attempting to hide with studied art,
Whence far he sank in grandeur of design
Below his great original. And there 
With them is seen the sweet Euripides,
Whose muse judicious culls the flowers of each
To form a garland for her poet’s brow,
Whose lay so pure, so natural, and serene,
Partaking of his brethren’s light and shade,
Is like the tender twilight’s balmy hour.
Among those mighty Shakespeare moves,
Acknowledged monarch over fancy’s realms,
Simple, and wise in his simplicity.
‘ One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.’
But hark! they call me! Ere I bid farewell
To thee and earth—to thee, until we meet
In yonder isles—but unto earth for ever,
Take counsel from my love. Though pride may scoff, 
Be not the dust beneath Time’s chariot wheel,
But build thyself a mem’ry ‘mid mankind;
The lyre and olive-branch thy symbols are;
Improve thy soul for immortality,
Nor tarry till death give thy spirit wings,
But soar through time into eternity,
And heaven preoccupy. Be humble still;
None who wear flesh have reason to be proud. [page 48]
In joyful hope attune thy lyre to sing
All innocent delights of soul and sense,
Wise as the serpent, harmless as the dove;
And when death calls on thee to leave behind
Thy grosser self,—in trustfulness of heart,
Attend the summons; then we meet again
In yonder land of bards. Upon the day
When sounds the trump of judgment, we shall look
Upon the Throne, and Him who sits thereon,
And hearken to the words of boundless love.
He is the Father of the fatherless;
In Him the poor and friendless find a friend;
The Saviour pleads for all, nor pleads in vain.
Farewell! thy thoughts should emulate my wings.”
He said, and sprang into the flood of day,
Now pouring o’er the mountain’s brow afar
Into the lap of every little vale,
Glad’ning the heart of every living thing.
I woke into remembrance of my dream,
And in the solitude of midnight have
Expression to the phantoms of my sleep. [page 49]

LAMENT OF THE INDIAN.


 

THOU ancient pine! beneath whose lofty shade,
     Pensive I watch the sun’s declining ray,
Thy glorious crown no scorching sun can fade,
     Nor all the wrath of winter send away;
     Thou bearest now an undisputed sway;
But monarch of the forest, it may be,
     That thou shalt scarcely, dying of decay,
Wither from earth all lone and silently—
The white man’s hatchet keen may be reserv’d for thee.

The flowers, whose odours breathe sweet prayers for life,
     And grateful praises to the God of light,
Ye cannot with the snow-king wage a strife;
     All perish for a time, but summer bright
     Full soon compels your enemy to flight,
And ye again awake in joyfulness
     And bloom of beauty; different far your plight
When stranger steps this verdant turf shall press,
     The plough shall desecrate your lovely wilderness. [unnumbered page]

Shades of my fathers! ye whose feet were loose
     To follow far, o’er boundless hill and plain,
The timid carraboo or stately moose,
     Rise! give your children back their land again—
     For nought of strength or wisdom we retain,
Though once they both were ours; and to our foes,
     Who treat in us their vices with disdain,
We pay not back the wrongful scorn with blows,
But, crouching ‘neath the leash, we closer hug our woes.

Oh! could my spirit animate the heart
     Of this fast-waning people, they should learn
That, in his blindness for the bow and dart—
     Weak weapons!—the vile pale-face, proud and stern,
     Gave us the gun; and soon, if all would burn
For vengeance as I burn, the craven hound
     Should at our feet be forced to writhe in turn,
And yield us once again our father’s ground,    [found.
Where, in the days of old, our prey we sought and

Yes! had I hearts a hundred, and no more,
     Dauntless, as this of mine, without a fear
I’d face these base invaders of our shore,
     And slaughter them as I would slaughter deer.
     For by what right are these men masters here?
Are they our elder brethren, that they seize
     On our possessions? Red men shed no tear,
They groan not like the whites when ill at ease;
We who can conquer self, can easier conquer these. [page 51]

But no! it is a dream, and I must die
     An exile in my native land; ‘tis well,
For who would live beneath the evil eye
     Of this accursed race, whose tongues can tell
     The honied lie, while in their bosoms swell
Wrath and malignity? Yes! let me die,
     Since I have seen my own, my native glen,
Trampled by stranger feet, and in the sky,
The smoke from white men’s hearths rise curling fast and high.

Old Tosca’s wigwam now is mould’ring low,
     Its ashes fit manure for white man’s field;
Ah, once I had a wife to soothe each woe—
     One whose bright smile could blest contentment yield.
     All her own griefs she carefully concealed,
Smiling when dying, smiling even in death;
     Our wisest said she could never be healed,
And I upbraided them with angry breath,
I swore she could not die, my gentle Agaleth.
  but when I saw my arms held not her soul,
     My heart was bowed within me, and I stood
Silently gazing on her form; the goal
     Of misery had been gained, and in this mood
     Of agony I felt the solitude
Of one who knows there’s none to love him now;
     Sudden I rushed deep, deep into the wood,
And ‘neath a gloomy fir’s low-spreading bough,
I threw myself, and lay with fevered heart and brow. [page 52]

All tearless yet, but presently my grief
     Grew far too mighty for the man to bear;
Tears, bitter tears, a moment brought relief,
     And groans my bosom rent of fierce despair.
     At length, I rose, and as the summer air
Breather gently on my haggard cheeks, I sought
     The dreadful wigwam where that woman fair,
Who had my pining heart wise lessons taught,
Of virtue and content, for ay, lay reft of thought.

There was I met by those vain comforters,
     Who strive with words to balsam sorrow’s smart;
They said what noble qualities were hers.
     That we should meet again and never part;
     It was the truth they spake, but ah! the heart
Once broken, scorns its agony to hide.
     My silent look of anguish said, Depart
Vainly you seek to comfort me—she died—
They went—I was alone, her breathless form beside.

My babes had died in childhood, and now she.
     My best-beloved Agaleth, was gone;
And I was doomed a wandered to be.
     Where she had dwelt, how could I dwell alone?
     Next morn I dug the grave and raised the stone,
For whose rough brow I wove a wreath of flowers,
     And with one bitter tear, one bitter groan,
I hastened forth amid those woodland bow’rs,
Where, until now, have passed my solitary hours. [page 53]

And now the poor remains which I possess,
     Of wisdom, or of strength, I still would use
To drive these robbers from our wilderness.
     Our ancient forests shortly we shall lose,
     Our conquerors means of life will soon refuse;
And if we do not bravely hold our own,
     And rather than be slaves to white men, choose
To battle with our tyrants, all is gone,
And the weak red man is for everymore o’erthrown.

It will be so, and in their hunting ground
     This must I shortly to our fathers say,
That of their dwindled race, cannot be found
     A man to rise and hold these dogs at bay;
     Not one to sally forth in war array,
And sell his life full dearly to his foe;
Not one to strike a haughty pale face low;
All sleep despair’s deep sleep, and dream of endless woe.

My arm is weak to what it was; my hair
     Is silv’ry, and decrepid I am grown;
Yet like the famished wolf when in his lair
     Surprised by hunters, I would stand alone
     Against the pale face, till my life were flown,
And dying, leave behind a deed of fame,
     That might for my weak brethren’s sloth atone,
And make a war-cry of my deathless name,
To free my countrymen, and wipe out all their shame. [page 54]

Vain thought, the serpent’s coils are round us now;
     One struggle and it stings. Oh, hated race,
Whose vile injustice lifts a lofty brow
     unblushing for its sin! oh, four times base!
     When we beheld you with so white a face,
We deemed the soul as spotless, and we gave
     Our tyrants food, and a warm dwelling-place,
And in return did we for nothing crave;
But they who seize our lands, now offer us a grave.

Spirit, whose eye hath mark’d my people’s woe,
     God of the Indian, hear and Indian’s prayer;
     Pity, and with thy lightning’s deadly glare
Smite the invaders of the forest haunts;
     The villains who, for their vile use, would dare
Fell these old woods, and with their noisy vaunts
Of knowledge, on our race fling poverty and taunts.

But, no! the mighty Spirit’s wrath is hot
     Against our fated tribes, and we can be
No more a people, but from ev’ry spot
     Of our possessions driven, must rise and flee,
     ‘Till we are whelmed in that accursed sea
That hither brought out conquerors. No more
     Within my soul the sun of prophecy,
To bright with mid-day brightness—it is o’er,
Our tribes are doom’d indeed, but I see white men’s gore. [page 55]

Yes, the devouring wolves shall turn and rend
     Each other’s throats, and meet the fate they gave;
For stronger, wilier far than they, shall bend
     Hither their way; and many a bloody grave
     Shall scar their fruitful fields, and none shall save
Their houses from the flames, and there shall die
Their houses from the flames, and there shall die
     Their wives and children; methinks I hear them rave
For succour in their fiery tombs. Ah, why
Could not old Tosca view the dear reality?

But no; my days are numbered, and I go
     From this dark world to taste the endless bliss,
The calm forgetfulness of ev’ry woe,
     That in the happy hunting-ground, o’er this
     Sad heart shall breathe a calm content I wis;
That when the mighty Spirit’s voice shall call,
     Tosca will gird this longing soul of his
For the glad journey; and his fun’ral pall
Shall be the forest shade, and joyful will he fall.

Come, Death; dost thy fear thy power I would resist,
     And strive to lengthen out a useless life?
No, oldest of all warriors; when thou list,
     Dismiss me to the dwelling of my wife.
     Now, all remote misery and strife,
She clasps her babes unto her hapless breast.
     Oh, such a meeting were with transport rife!
Hasten thy sluggish steps, O death, thou best
Friend that the Indian has, dismiss me to my rest.

 

THE LAND OF DREAMS


I WAS a wandered in the land of dreams,
     And winged fancies met us by the way,
Fairer than morning’s beams;
With the cool murmuring of mountain streams
     My thirsting heart they led astray,	
And left me, as they vanish’d into air,
Lost in the midnight of despair.

          Mine eyes were upward bent
          Towards the firmament,
     Which was one mighty frown.
          But, sudden through the gloom,
          Like spirit from the tomb,
     Shone forth night’s silver crown;
The star of chastity, all pure and holy,
Like a young nun, so fair, so pale, and melancholy.

          I started to my feet, and by her light,
          Guided aright,
     I trod the path of truth once more,
          And swiftly sped away
          Nor did I stay
     Until I reach’d an unknown ocean shore, [page 56]
          Where harp-like ev’ry wave
          The softest music gave;
And all the winds, with voices low and sweet,
Did hymns of ecstasy repeat.

          Here, as I stood amazed,
          And o’er the billows gazed,
          A magic skiff drew near;
          And there was none to steer,
Or urge it forward with the skilful oar;
          All silently it came,
          Swift as the lightning flame,
And touched the lonely shore.

          I sprang into the bark,
          At once the skies grew dark;
          The tempest left his lair,
And bared his lightning brand,
And with one stroke of his gigantic hand
Smote ocean into fury, wild and fell,               [hell.
As though its raging waves were blent with those of

I stretch me in that narrow bark to die,
     When on my ear there flows
A sweet and gentle sigh;
     Sweet as the incense of the earliest rose,
Which Zephyr on her wing
Conveys a welcome gift unto her mother Spring.
That sigh awoke me from my trance of fear—
I look’d, and lo! the skies were again clear; [page 57]

And the bright dawning light of day
Fell on a beateuous isle that lay
A solitary Eden of the sea,
A realized dream of poesy.

         Upon its margin green
         A radiant form was seen,
     Majestic as the star-illuminated night.
          Her presence seemed to throw
          A spiritual glow,
     Around the meanest things, a regal globe of light.
Her left hand held a lamp of purest flame,
          Unquenchable its light;
          A golden sceptre glittered in her right,
Wherewith man’s stubborn heart she well could tame.

     She beckoned me and smiled. At once my soul
     Resumed its self-control.
     My boat draws near that holy land,
     And now by Virtue’s side I stand.

     No word she spoke, but led the way
          O’er flowery meads, through fragrant groves;
     Which the free birds on every spray
          Proclaimed their paradise and love’s.
     And, oh, what beauty has its birth
          In yonder lonely vale!
     A brighter heaven is opened out on earth,
          To which the sun is pale [page 59]

A palace on whose walls combine
All the varying hues that shine
Along the glittering bow of heaven.
     The golden gates expand—
     Forth bound a joyous band;
     Maidens and youth in bright attire,
     Singing along in gladsome chorus to the lyre,
     Songs passing sweet of faithful love,
     And joys that sinless spirits prove.

     And among these creatures fair,
     One of melancholy air,
Whose soft blue eyes bent down to earth
     With crystal tears, I viewed—
Unconscious she of all their mirth,
     Moved lonely on in pensive mood,
     The virgin bride of solitude.

     Tresses loose, of deepest brown,
     Float her neck and shoulders down,
     In many a wavy, silky twine,
     Like purple clusters of the vine,
     And half obscured her lovely face,
     Where recent tears had left their trace.

     Soon as the happy band espied
     The heavenly being by my side,
          Their voices rose with loftier strain,
     Their harps with wilder music rang.
          But, oh! my mortal lyre in vain
     Would echo what they sang. [page 60]
          Such melody might only rise
          From far beyond those starry skies.

     That weeping maiden, at the sound,
     First threw one ‘wildered glance around;
     Then with a smile—oh not so bright
     On Eden burst day’s primal light,
     As did that sunny smile on me.
     By Virtue’s side, on bended knee,
     She sank, and, with her blushing cheek,
     Hid in the mazes of her hair,
     Loose flowing o’er her forehead hair,
     Like shadows cast by moonlight pale
     Athwart some fairy-haunted vale,
     She strove in vain to speak.
     But Virtue, with benignant smile,
     That fond confusion watch’d awhile,
     And soon, with accents mildly sweet,
     “Arise,” she said, thy bridegroom meet,
     Rescued by me from falsehood’s chain;
     See he be captured not again.”

Could I, from heaven’s melodious choir,
     Select a harp, whose notes should prove,
     The very breath and soul of love,
Soft as dew, and clear as fire,
     The morning’s dew, and crystal fire of day,
The fitly might I hope to sing
The joys from woman’s love that spring. [page 61]

 

SAPPHO’S DEATH.


WHO is she, from whose haggard eyes
The deadly lightning of passion flies?
She stands upon the Leucadian height,
Gazing, entranced, on the starry night.
Her face, all pale and worn with tears,	
Has the look of that age that comes not with years,
But is born of the aching heart within;
Woman’s pure heart, defiled by sin,
And all the hopes of youth lie crushed
Where passion’s lava-tide hath rushed.
She stands alone and silent there;
From her brow of light the loosen’d hair
In wavy gold sweeps far behind,
On the ebon wings of the midnight wind.
Like an eagle, ‘reft of her glorious young,
She stands, the Pythoness of song,
Beneath the caves of ocean thrill
With ominous oracles of ill;
And the mystic orb of Hecate
Smiles strangely on the troubled sea;
She strikes the lyre, whose voice had pow’r
To charm her soul in pleasure’s hour, [unnumbered page]
When smiling eyes and flow’rets bright
Shed o’er her life a magic light;
The dirge of innocence and truth
Its sounds recal the dreams of youth,
And dims her hot and flashing eyes,
And gives her heart relief in sighs.
The fleeting dream of love is past,
Her eyes are o’er the ocean cast;
Its murmurs greet her from beneath,
And seem the sweet low voice of death,
That bids her heart its ‘plaining cease,
And speaks of an eternal peace;
For in the bosom of the grave,
Encircled by the em’rald wave;
Her Phaon’s form seems gliding by
With cold contempt in lip and eye;
His voice is ringing in her ears—
Phaon alone she sees and hears.
To the brink of that fearful precipice
She is drawn by a hand, and that hand is his.
One frantic leap—a moment more,
And Sappho’s woes are o’er. [page 63]

 

A DREAM OF DESTRUCTION.


[The following Poem was suggested by Lord Byron’s “Darkness, a Fragment .” I need scarcely say, that the subject is the only point of resemblance between them.]

 

DEEP in the forest glade I laid me down
And slept; then did this vision come upon me
Sublimely terrible! Methought I saw
The earth a prey to devastating plague,
And all her children writhing on her breast
I’ the death throes. And I saw a lovely girl,
Beautiful as the dying glance of day,
Kneel by her lover—one whose warrior heart
Had never stoop’d to love but once; and now
Disease had wound him in her scaly folds,
And breathed her poisonous breathings into his.
But late to gentle Rosalind he sued
For bliss, which woman’s love alone can give;
And now, fierce o’er his heart had come the flame
Of wild delirium; and he rav’d, and strove
To tear the dry white flesh off his bones, [unnumbered page]
Grinning with clenched teeth, and cursing life,
And her who had been more than life to him—
That patient one, who kissed away the drops
Of anguish from his burning forehead. She
I saw, ere long, like to a propless vine,
Droop in the arms of Death, whose touch was here
But merciful. The man lived yet awhile,
And, stagg’ring to his feet, upreared to heaven
His fiendish eyes and loathsome countenance,
All leopard-like bespotted with the plague,
Fiercely blaspheming, till his swollen tongue
Burst, and he sank in speechlessness to die.
And now I saw a tyrant one, who made
Man’s life a plaything, and I knew him not
So much by his apparel. bright with gold
And purple, like the heart’s blood he had shed,
As by the look of horrible despair
That drew his lips apart, and fill’d his soul
With the intensity of hell. He lay
Upon the threshold of his palace gate,
Whither, with falt’ring footsteps, he had crept
(E’en like an ailing cur) to seek for those
Who erst had pandered to his appetites,
However base, with ready slavery;
They had deserted him in search of gold—
The yellow dross —to purchase which, their king
Had paid the price of peace. Blind fools! they clutch’d
The sparkling metal, merry with the thought [page 65]
Of all the joys which they should taste ere long;
They clutch’d and died. Death was their only heir;
And he, a monarch, lay, like Lazarus,
One living score; and he was trampled down
Beneath the feet of thousands that afar
Rush’d onward, vainly seeking an egress
From a doom’d world, by any other path
Than that of dissolution. Hark! that howl,
Echoing abroad throughout the spacious earth,
Like the voiced misery of ten thousand years.
And lo! a shadowy form comes floating on,
Borne in a moving car of lurid flame,
That sweeps the globe’s whole surface far and wide
Of every living, every growing thing.
Leaving them heaped in ashes. From the heaven
That giant figure gazed full fixedly
Awhile, and then, with one heartburst of woe,
That shattered into gaping ruins earth,
The phantom spake—“Time, all thy offspring dead,
Thou, too, must die!” Then, from his burning throne,
Hurling himself, he seized, with monstrous grasp,
The motionless remains of what was earth,
And vanished. [page 66]

 

APOSTROPHE TO THE MEMORY OF BYRON


I.

THOU glorious painter of the thoughts that dwell
In the hot brain of genius, it was thine
To live in the delusion of a spell,
To delve into the demon-haunted mine
Of a forbidden region, and to twine
The brightest laurels with the cypress-leaves,
Half turned aside from love and hope divine
By the sharp sting of appetite, that weaves        [sheaves
The heartstrings in its pangs, like tares amid the

II.

Byron, whose fame, like ocean, girdles earth—
Byron, unto whose young and passionate eyes
(nor frowning lightning—sunny now mirth),
The heaven and earth open all their mysteries,
Inviting them to answer, and be wise,
Thou hadst a spirit that all boundaries spurned;
Broke, giant-like, from reason’s strongest ties,
And for the sceptre of the Eternal burned,
Or in a dreamless sleep for ay to be inurned.

III.

Thy heart was a volcano, which did cast
Its lava forth continually o’er all
The fruitful themes of memory, till at last,
An awe-struck world beheld the poet fall [unnumbered page]
In ruins, where he stood to disenthrall
The prostrate Greek; but an unwasting tomb
Is thine, O Byron! Honour is thy pall,
A halo fame has shed around thy gloom,
And the most Merciful has fixed thy final doom.

IV.

Men stood aloof from thee, thou matchless man,
As if thou wert a fiend, and thou didst smile
Contemptuously upon the insect clan	
That buzz’d its waspish censures round the isle
Where thou didst rise, but never set. The while
Thou hadst the hearts of those who knew thee best—
Beings who did while with thee reconcile
Thy swelling and indignant soul to rest,	
If not content with man, thy wrath yet unexpress’d.

V.

But thou, from out affection’s fleeting dream,
Arose a dreary being, o’er whose life
Had past experience’s light’ning gleam,
Scathing each hope. The sacred name of wife
Had (sharp as the assassin’s poison’d knife),
Left memory one “immedicable wound,”
Which stung thee forth to wage delirious strife
With all thy race, and dare the vast profound	
Of speculation rash, where doubt’s dread winds abound.

VI.

Thy scornful breathing rolled across the wave,
And echo’d through the world; when thou didst laugh [page 68]
That laugh was like the hollow storms that rave
Amid the mountains, and thy pilgrim’s staff
Was an enchanter’s wand, and thou didst quaff
Thy inspiration from the tempest’s cup,
Looking on men’s opinions as the chaff
Of virtue, truth, and reason, which are garner’d up
In few and lofty minds, as snows on Hecla’s top.

VII.

Yet as thou stoodst beneath the Eternal’s eye,
At eve’s soft hour, when all things are serene,
Save mortals’ sleepless immortality,
That strives to pierce the heaven, its proper scene,
Even as the eagle bends his vision keen
Upon the sun; then, in that silent hour,
Religion must have sealed thy noble mien,
And spoken in thy soul with a voice of power;
Thou didst not fade for ay, so beautiful a flower.

VIII.

Thy heart, if not thy harp, was sanctified,
That captive heart from earthliness redeem’d;
For there was madness in thy spirit’s pride—
Madness, that spake the doubts which it had dream’d.
Ere now, perchance, upon thine eye hath beam’d
Celestial visions, which have made thee see
How false were those on earth who round thee gleam’d.
Man must not judge—so silent let me be;            [thee.
The world was still thy foe; may Heaven be kind to [page 69]

 

BALLADS


THE BATTLE OF CRESSY


[I have kept so closely in the footsteps of Froissart, who while presenting use with the most vivid pictures imaginable, is not very particular as to what part of his story he begins or ends with, that I fear there is a degree of abruptness in the opening, and perhaps in the conclusion, of this Ballad, which the good-natured reader will probably excuse, as I aimed more at a quaint correctness that a mere elegance of expression.]

DRAWN up in three divisions, soon as the English found
That the Frenchmen were advancing, they started from the ground,
Alarm’d, and burning in their hearts to teach that mighty host
How useless, where brave men are met, is every empty boast;
Although four time as numerous is the array of France,
Each yeoman’s eye flash’d sternest joy to see the foe advance. [unnumbered page]

First in the first division, the men-at-arms before,
Sat the bold Black Prince on horseback, with gallants many more,
All longing that the hour would come, to strike one valiant blow
That should lift the Rose of England high, and sweep the Lilies low;
But there were older heads than these, whom there the king had plac’d,
That their cautious wisdom might allay the younger warrior’s haste.

In front of this division, two thousand archers stand
With cloth yard arrows at their back, and long bows in the hand.
Well could those archers urge the shaft, and by their shafts alone
Full many a valiant Frenchman was that day overthrown;
For when in merry England, at the butts they shot each day,
And so i’faith would practise among the deer, men say.
And close upon the prince’s wing, to aid him if need were,
The stout Earls of Northampton and Arundel stand near;
Twelve hundred archers bend the bow beneath their high command; [page 71]

And close behind the archers, eight hundred spearmen stand,
And with the two brave noblemen was many a knight and squire,
The mem’ry of whose gallant deeds ‘tis pity should expire.

Edward the king in person the third division led;
Upon little palfrey, through all the ranks he sped,
And with a bright triumphant smile, he bade them not to fear,
“Those Frenchmen shall remember this day for many a year;
For by my crown and sceptre, and by my sword and fay,
I prophesy, my gallant hearts, we conquer them this day.”

As thus he spoke, in every soul the love of country glow’d,
Each call’d to mind his wife and babes and best belov’d abode;
Each swore that he in Edward’s cause would stand or fall that day,
And “St. George for merry England!” swept through the small array;
The soldiers now with eager glance the thronging foemen scann’d,
And they vow’d to give each Frenchmen six feet of his own land. [page 72]

The host of France sway’d onward, no order they maintain’d,
To marshal them in equal ranks their leaders scarcely deign’d.
“This handful of wild Islanders we’ll quickly crush,” they cried;
And darkly on that field and day they suffered for their pride.
As soon as France’s sovereign came in sight of that bold foe,
His blood began to boil with wrath—he burn’d to strike the blow.

“Call up those tardy Genoese, and now the fight begin,
In God’s name, and St. Denis’s ‘tis time that France should win.”
But here the cowardly Genoese with many words complain,
That, with carrying of their cross-bows, on foot six leagues with pain,
They were so worn and spent with toil that nothing they could do
Against an army who had ta’en their rest the whole night through.

“Now,” cries the Count Alençion, “curse on their craven hearts,
The villains ever fail us, when they most should play their parts.” [page 73]
And, as he spoke, one dense black cloud o’er all the welkin glides—
Loud thunders roar, and an eclipse the sparkling sunbeam hides;
And o’er all those battalions a monstrous flight of crows
Hover awhile, then pass away, and again the sunbeam glows.

The English had it in their backs, the Frenchmen in their faces;
And now the Genoese bowman in the vanguard took their places.
As they approach the Englishmen they raise a mighty cry;
But it troubled not our Islanders, nor made then wink and eye;
Then with a second louder shout they rush a little way,
And then stand still to see, forsooth, the English run away.

But, finding that they did not stir, a louder hoot than all
They raised—so loud, the stoutest hearts, they thought it must appal.
But still those hardy Islanders stood to their arms, I trow,
Looking a calm defiance upon their noisy foe, [page 74]
And even smiles of merriment across their features stole,
To think how little they could know an English yeoman’s soul.

But now the Genoese began their cross-bows tough to bend,
And arrows ‘mid the English host right liberally to send;
But when the Englishmen advanc’d one foot, and drew their bows,
Their arrows seem’d so close, they shot even like to winter’s snows;
And when the Genoese bowmen those deadly arrows knew,
Some cut their bowstrings—others to earth their crossbows threw.

And all, as if with one consent, turning their backs, retreat;
But ‘twas their fate some horsemen of the French array to meet,
Who, when they heard the King of France in sore displeasure say,
“Down with those dogs of Genoese! they stop the army’s way,”
On those whom they had come to aid, turn’d now with might and main,
And many of the Genoese were by the horsemen slain. [page 75]

And still the English archers their arrows shot so well,
That many of the horses were killed, or plunged, and fell,
Dismounting all their riders, who, in their coats of mail,
Full often, in attempting to rise again, would fail;
And then the Welsh and Cornishmen slew many with their knives—
‘Twas a cowardly and a cruel way of taking nobles’ lives.

And, for this act, our gallant king was often sore displeas’d,
But in the wrath of battle, their life-thirst unappeas’d 
By any thoughts of mercy, is many a villain fierce,
Who, for a silken doublet, would its wearer treach’rous pierce.
But surely in the English ranks such men do not abound?
And ‘tis a shame that they should dare to tread on English ground.

And now Bohemia’s aged king, in the winter of his days,
Found on the field a warrior’s grave, and won immortal praise;
His son had left his father’s side, and mingled with the foes,
And now the old blind monarch could hear the clash of blows; [page 76]
And turning to the gallant knights, who round their sovereign press’d,
The valiant greybeard thus proclaim’d the wish within his breast:—

“I charge ye, by the oath ye took before Bohemia’s throne,
The last desire of this old heart to grant ere I am gone;
Lead me so far amid the foes, that with my sword I may
Strike one bold stroke for France’s cause on this unlucky day.”
The knights, with reverence, hear his words, and, tying horse to horse,
In wide array through England’s ranks they run their fatal course.

Not one of all those valiant knights surviv’d that hapless day,
But well and bravely did they keep their enemies at bay;
And ‘mong them beat no stancher heart, no firmer hand was there
Than the old blind monarch’s, with the long and snow-white beard and hair;
And when, at last, the fight was o’er, a bloody group they found—
That old blind monarch stretch’d in death, with all his brave knights around. [page 77]

It chanced that early in the day a mix’d confused crew
Of French, Savoyards, Germans, had managed to break through
The prince’s van of archers, and now had made a stand,
And with the English men-at-arms fought boldly hand to hand;
So num’rous and so fierce were they, the Earl of Warwick gave
One of his knights command to haste and help from Edward crave.

When to King Edward’s side at length the knight had won his way,
Alighting from his steed, he thus his message ‘gan to say—
“My Liege, the Earl of Warwick and others round your son,
Seeing that in this quarter the day is almost won,
Hard press’d by numbers, humbly crave that thou wouldst deign to send
A reinforcement that might yet their piteous plight amend.”

Thus said the king—“Dies, then, my son upon the field lie dead?
Is he unhors’d, or fainting now from blood in battle shed?”
“Nay, God forbid!” the knight replied; “the prince is safe and well.” [page 78]
“Then go to them who seath thee, and this my answer tell—
As long as he has life to fight, expect no aid from me;
Let my boy win his spurs to-day, or perish gloriously.”

When to the Earl of Warwick these words the knight did bring,
He and the lords about him did much applaud the king;
And, gall’d by shame at such reproof, each noble knight and squire
Spurr’d hard their gallant coursers, and, fill’d with fiercest ire,
Rush’d on, like billows of the deep, before the north wind’s breath,
Bearing among their fated foes, defeat, and wounds, and death.

And still amid the battle’s press flam’d high one gory brand,
The talisman of victory in the princely Edward’s hand;
In wild dismay the foemen met that stripling’s eager eye,
And all who dar’d oppose him, oppos’d him but to die;
While through their ranks he fiercely rode, and heap’d his path with slain—
Helmet and hauberk, sword and shield, to stay his course were vain. [page 79]

And now the French throughout the field, are scatter’d wide, or slain;
Around their king (frail body guard) scarce sixty men remain.
Then quoth Sir John of Hainault, a valiant knight and true,
“My Liege, though Heav’n this day declare ‘gainst France and you,
Another time shall o’er the Rose the Lilies flourish high,
But now, my Liege, the field is lost, and certes you must fly.”

So, wheeling his swift charger, the king has left the ground,
Five barons only with him; the next day the rest were found—
Eleven valiant princes, twelve hundred knights lay slain,
With thirty thousand men-at-arms upon that bloody plain.
And for that glorious victory the English all that night
Gave thanks unto the Lord of Hosts, who shielded them in fight.

O ever-glorious Cressy! In England’s merry isle
That name will ever wake the heart’s most bright triumphant smile; [page 80]
And never shall the songs of those who bled on that great day,
Refuse to shed their dearest blood where England points the way;
And though the bow be broken now, and the spear be seen no more,
Yet the same blood is in our veins that ran in theirs of yore. [page 81]

 

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE MOOR.

A LEGEND OF THE GRANADA


[The following ballad is taken from Irving’s “Conquest of Granada.” Would that my verse were half as spirited as his prose!]

 

BEFORE Granada’s fated walls the Christian legions stand,
A numerous and a valiant—but why a sullen band?
The politic, wise Ferdinand’s injunctions they obey—
No battle with the Paynim host to wage on all that day.

And vainly ride the haughty Moors, and dare them to the fight,
With a bitter taunting jest, and mane a jeered`s flight;
The hardy warriors of Castile more dread those mocking glances
Than all the men of Heathendom, and all their sharpest lances,

Thus to be ranged in war`s array, with swords upon their thighs,
Compell’d to keep them in their sheaths—the foe before their eyes; [unnumbered page]
The eager vet’rans chafe and fume, impatient of delay,
Yet will not, e’en for combat’s sake, their sovereign disobey.

And ever on their Arab steeds the Infidels sweep by,
Now, darting on—now, wheeling swift, like swallows in the sky;
They call on many a gallant Don, by title and by name,
To break a single spear with them for love of knightly fame.

Now, sudden from Granada’s gates, there roll’d a ribald crowd,
Around a single horseman huge, with declamations loud;
And as the charger nearer came, its rider well they knew—
‘Twas Tarfe, as brave a Moorish knight as falchion ever drew.

The giant heathen was encased in mail from head to heel
Of sable hue; his scimitar, of true Damascus steel,
Was in a silken baldric hung, his spear was in the rest,
And on before the Spanish lines his steed he dauntless press’d.

A sudden execration flies at once along the van,
A cry of honor and of rage, sent forth from man to man—  [page 83]
For, fastened to his courser’s tail, a crumpled scroll was seen,
Inscribed with holy Mary’s name—haven’s chaste and honoured queen.

Each Christian warrior’s heart is full of deep and deadly ire;
The hand that grasps the dagger’s hilt proclaims the soul’s desire
To grapple with the impious wretch, who dares all Heaven defy—
Revenge that bitter blasphemy, or in the effort die.

The youthful Garcilaso has sought the sovereign’s tent,
And for a boon, before the throne, an humble suppliant bent—
“Grant, Sire,” he said, “thy royal leave, this Tarfe my blade shall feel;
Once, ere he die, before the cross the boastful Moor shall kneel.”

King Ferdinand this answer made, “Go forth, my gallant knight,
And may the holy Mother still protect thee in the fight;
Our fervent prayer shall be put up to Heaven’s throne for thee,         [shield to be.”
Go forth, and may the Lord of hosts vouchsafe thy

And now he mounts his gallant steed, a Flemish buckler rears,         [spears.
And chooses from a shining pile the toughest of the [page 84]
A cross is on his breast-plate, traced in lines of bloody hue,
That sign full well becomes a breast so faithful and so true.

So forth he spurs against the foe, the Moor beholds him nigh,
And couching firm his fatal lance, and shouting loud the cry,
“Allah, il Allah!” on he comes; so sweeps the pois’nous breath
Over the desert’s barren sands, the simoon’s blast of death.

They meet—the spears are splintered both to shivers with the shock,
As waves that burst in froth and foam upon some rugged rock.
At once their glittering blades flash forth like meteors of the night,
And hand to hand with mighty blows they urge the fatal fight.

Stroke upon stroke each stoutly dealt, and blood began to flow;
When Tarfe at Garcilaso aimed a fierce and deadly blow.
He saw, and swiftly shrank aside. The steel descending cleav’d
his courser’s head, and unto earth the horse and rider heav’d. [page 85]

Tarfe saw his Christian foe lie stretch’d, the slaughter’d steed beside;
And now, to give the fatal thrust, he swift dismounting hied.
His arm is raised dire death to deal, when thus he mocking cries,
“Behold, Sir Knight! your holy cross beneath the crescent lies.”

The words recall’d his fleeting breath, and nerv’d his arm anew,
With sudden spring he from his breast the vaunting heathen threw;
His poniard flashes to the skies, and now—how dark its dye,
And Heaven to the Christian knight has given the victory.

The sun-burnt foreheads of Castile with joy exulting glow,
And the dark brows of many a Moor grow darker still with woe.
Alhama mourns her fearless Tarfe, for ever snatch’d away,
While Christendom the victory hails with a loud and joyous lay. [page 86]

 

 

THE SOLDIER’S BROTHER.

A BALLAD.


A WOUNDED warrior knelt apart,
     On the battle-field knelt he;
There was anguish in his iron heart,
     And tears bedimm’d his ee.

And wept he for the blood that flow’d
     In torrents from his side;
Or thought he of death’s dreary road,
     Or of a distant bride?

No selfish fears that warrior felt,
     No blooming bride had he;
Beside a brother’s corpse he knelt,
     And tears bedimm’d his ee.

The dreams of boyhood’s hours awoke,
     That long had silent slept;
Old memories their fetters broke,
     And o’er his spirit swept,
He bowed beneath grim sorrow’s stroke—
     He bowed his head and wept. [unnumbered page]

The tears of youth are like the dews
     That fertilizing fall;
Let hope a single beam diffuse,
     That sunbeam drinks them all.

The tears of manhood, when they flow,
     Flow not like common rain;
Peace, reason, hope, they overthrow,
     A deluge of the brain.

He gazed upon the pallid brow,
     Once smiling pleasure’s throne;
Those eyes how fixed and ghastly now,
     Their joyous spirit flown!

Those ringlets, once a mother’s pride,
     Stained all with dust and gore;
The snow-white neck in purple dyed,
She ne’er shall clasp it more!

“Oh, may I ne’er survive,” he said,
     “My brother’s fate to tell;
Why should I live when he is dead?
     I’ll fall as Edwin fell.” [page 88]

 

MINOR POEMS.


A THOUGHT.


GOD gave the eagle wings to soar
Aloft, and heaven’s high arch explore
     With keen undazzled sight.
God gave to man the winged mind,
Its dwelling-place to seek and find
Beyond the source of light

Confine the monarch of the air
To some dim cage, in fierce despair
     He droops his wing and dies;
While grov’lling man consents to dwell
Immured in vice’s gloomy cell,
     Nor e’er for freedom sighs. [unnumbered page]

 

LOVE AND FANCY.


LOVE caught me (yet a little boy),
And bound me with his chains of joy;
Then with his fillet sealed mine eyes,
To all life’s dark realities,
And left me blind to wander through
The maze of earth, without a clue;
But pitying my forsaken plight,
Kind Fancy left the halls of light—
Love’s sister, who, with gentlest art,
Extracts her cruel brother’s dart,
And heals the lover’s bleeding heart.
She came, and led me by the hand
Throughout Romance’s fairy land,
Up Fame’s rough mountain bade me climb,
And with the eagle mount sublime
The stormy winds, and strike the lyre
Shrined in the lightning’s vivid fire;
There would I echo every hymn
Of the night-watching seraphim;
And as the strings my touch beneath
Rang forth sweet music’s mellow breath, [unnumbered page]
Mine eyes grew founts, whence hotly swept
Tears that ‘twas rapture to have wept.
Oh! had I from that cloud-paved height
Beheld misfortune’s gath’ring night,
The shadow of each coming year,
That crushes hope and fosters fear,
How gladly had my half-freed soul
Flung off mortality’s control,	
And left so dark a world as this,
To dwell for aye in realms of bliss! [page 91]


 

MERCY AND INNOCENCE.


WHEN Mercy, first from Heaven deputed,
(The fact has never been disputed),
Arrived on earth, there with her came
A certain bashful, blue-eyed dame,
Whom Innocence we mortals name;
These two are sisters, and their love
Made them inseparable above;
And Jove, when he sent Mercy hither,
Let gentle Innocence come with her.
Unlike the peevish brood of earth,
They never quarrelled from their birth,
And still together do they dwell,
In the warm heart of Isabel. [page 91]

 

THE DEAD BUTTERFLY.


FAREWELL, poor little winged flower,
     Thy joyous life is o’er;
Thy sisters of the meadow now
     Shall welcome thee no more;
Those pinions that in liquid air
     Like sunbeams shone afar,
Now bruised, and dim, and motionless,
     As leaves in autumn are.	

Hark! summer sends her voice of love
     Through all the gladsome earth,
And bird and insect echo her
     In many a song of mirth;
But thou wilt never hear again
     The zephyr’s balmy sighs,
Nor kiss away the crystal tears
     From drooping violets’ eyes.

Oh! when o’er valley, hill, and grove,
     The moonbeams glisten bright,
And all the fairy train come forth,
     To dance away the night,
Mayst thou, poor little butterfly,
     Among that elfin band,
Sport in the ever-blooming bowers
     Of far-off fairy land. [unnumbered page]

 

A DIRGE.


LIFE is day, and death is night,
          Bringing with it deep,
          Never-ending sleep,
And dreams that soothe the soul, or else affright.

Life is Eden; but the tree
          Of true knowledge blooms
          ‘Mid the desert’s tombs,
—The cypress soon to wave o’er you and me.

Our first parents, in the grove
          Of blest Paradise,
          Life did sacrifice,
Exchanging hatreds for their former loves.

To the desert driven forth,
          There they toiled and wept,
          Till in peace they slept
Beneath the cypress, pillowed on the earth.

We, like them, are driven forth;
          We must toil and weep,
          Till in quiet sleep,
Beneath the cypress shade we sink to earth. [unnumbered page]

 

THE WITHERED LEAF

WRITTEN FOR MY DEAR LITTLE FRIEND, J. M.


     A LEAFLET fair,
     In the summer air,
Had echoed the zephyr’s laugh,
     And smiled full bright,
     In the moon’s clear light,
To see the fairies quaff,
     From their cowslip cup,
     The sweet dews up,
Till they sang in tipsy glee,
     And, hand in hand,
     A merry band,
Danced round the old oak tree.

     But a spirit came forth
     From the angry north,
And breathed its icy breath,
     And every bough
     Is trembling now
‘Neath the trumpet-blast of death; [unnumbered page]

     And the leaflet grew,
     All pale of hue,
And a spot of hectic red
     In its wither’d cheek,
     Did plain bespeak
That its life was almost fled.

     And with the dying leaf,
     With a voice of grief,
Deplored its coming doom,
     As it earthward fell,
     In that lonely dell,
To sleep in that dreamless tomb;
     “I pass away,
     And the music of May
No more shall gladden me,
     And the fairies’ feet
     O’er my winding-sheet,
Will pass in heedless glee.

     “My days are night,
     And time’s swift flight
Shall glide in silence on;
     And the stars, and the flowers,
     And the skies, and the bowers,
Will miss me not when gone.
     I die, I die,
     Receive my sigh, [page 95]
Thou ruthless northern wind.
     Adieu! old shade,
     My home is made,
In Winter’s arms unkind.”

     The nightingale
     Has heard its wail,
Awhile she stayed her song—
     “O silly leaf,
     Why all this grief?
The winter lasts not long:
     The spring will be
     A friend to thee,
And thou again shalt rise
     In lovelier hue,
     A violet blue,
And bright as angel’s eyes.”

     Why, mortals, weep,
     When death’s soft sleep
Brings happy dreams of heaven?
     For this vain strife
     Which men call life,
Eternity is given. [page 96]

 

THE MOTHER’S GRAVE.


I KNEW a little maiden,
     Than falling snows more fair,
Her laughing eye was azure,
     And golden was her hair.

Her voice was sweetest music,
     For all she said was kind.
I met her in the meadows,
     Where flow’rs she went to find.

I ask’d her why she pull’d them—
     She bade me come and see;
She led me to the graveyard,
     And show’d a grave to me.

“My mother’s home is here, Sir,
     And ev’ry morn and night
I come and spread her threshold
     With flow’rets sweet and bright.

And though I never see her,
     I know that she is here,
And, oh! I am so happy,
     When with my mother dear!” [unnumbered page]

I heard the little maiden
     Her simple feelings tell,
And on the narrow tombstone
     The tears of pity fell.

I helped to strew the flow’rets,
     And went upon my way
In mingled joy and sadness,
     Not sorrowful, nor gay.

But oh! my heart grew heavy
     When tidings reach’d my ear,
That she, poor little maiden,
     Had joined her mother dear.

She culled the fairest flow’rets
     To deck her mother’s bed,
And now, the brightest blossom,
     The little maid, is dead.

But in a blissful Paradise,
     ‘Mid ever-blooming bowers,
The mother and the daughter
     Now gather fairer flowers. [page 98]

 

A RHAPSODY.


WHEN from this prison-house of clay
My vexed spirit shall pass away,
To the mighty land of eternity,
Oh, lay me not among mouldering bones,
Where the moon shines cold upon marble stones,
Where for ever some hopeless mourner groans
O’er the dust of them that peaceful lie.

I would not have my dwelling made
By the careless sexton’s rusty spade;
Nor in silver-plated coffin sleep;
No funeral wain shall bear me on
To the final home where all have gone;
Oh no; I would rest in some forest lone,
Or be cradled in the rolling deep.

In some woodland glade where the sunbeams fall
On my flower-sprinkled emerald pall,
In whose shade the tuneful nightingale
Might sing my dirge to the dark blue skies,
Till the tears should drop from their sparkling eyes,
And the sleeping winds awake in sighs,
And wildly join in the artless wail. [unnumbered page]

Or else in the billow’s embrace I’d lie,
Where the cold green spray might o’er me fly
With a soft and pleasant murmuring,
Like the mother’s lullaby above
The sleeping infant of her love;
Where the feet of the tempest alone can move,
There would I rest like an Ocean King.


 

ON THE DEATH OF A LITTLE GIRL


OPEN, ye gates of Paradise,
     Be sheathed, O flaming sword.
She comes, the gentle sinless child,
     To meet her sinless Lord.
Ye angels, greet her by the way,
     Wreathe flowers amid her hair;
Let the voice of song go forth through heaven,
     For a soul releas’d from care.

A guileless heart was hers on earth,
     It look’d through smiling eyes,
And her laugh was like the wild bird’s note
     That floats in summer skies. [page 100]
Stilled is that little loving heart,
     And dim those eyes of blue,
Echo has lost your happy laugh,
     And I, dear infant, you.

But it is better she is gone,
     Ere yet by earth defiled,
No sin, no grief can harass her,
     She is now Jesu’s child.
Be this her mother’s comfort here,
     Her thought by day and night,
She who was once her Isabel,
     Is now an angel bright.

With falling leaves and fading slowers
     That loveliest flower decayed,
As autumn now on field and grove
     His head had rudely laid.
The flowers and leaves will come again,
     But she’ll return, no never;
A blossom on the tree of life,
     Where summer is for ever. [page 101]

 

A DIRGE.


THERE lies a land beyond the wave
     Of time’s tempestuous flood;
Our dreary bark must be the grave,
     And death our pilot good,
If we would reach that wish’d-for land,
And mingle with its happy band.

No envy there, a bloodhound grim,
     Pursues us on our way;
The eye of Avarice is dim;
     There Rapine does not prey.
We leave, in that blessed pilgrimage,
Age, and the woes that wait on age.

Then let me bid this world farewell,
     And hearts I loved the best;
For who on earth would wish to dwell
     When Heaven offers rest?
The gospel shall my compass be;
Now, Death, I dare put forth with thee. [unnumbered page]

 

THE NUN’S PRAYER.


BLUE-EYED saint from heaven low bending,
     Grant, oh, grant a mortal’s prayer,
From her broken heart ascending
     Through the silent midnight air.
Thou, O mild and gentle spirit,
     Felt how cold a world was this,
But, ere long, thou didst inherit
     From thy God eternal bliss.
I alas! have felt its coldness,
     Seen my hopes betrayed and dead,
When I first, in maiden boldness,
     Life’s most flow’ry path would tread.
Like a dove, when highest soaring,
     Smitten by the cruel dart,
And in vain my fate deploring,
     Wish the arrow in my heart.
Then, ah, gentle spirit, hear me
     From among those flowerets sweet,
Whither oft, when thou wert near me,
     Fancy led my willing feet.
In that cell, so drear and lowly,
     I can never pray to thee; [unnumbered page]
In this lovely garden only
     Are my troubled spirits free.
He was in a garden praying,
     E’en as now to thee I pray;
Ere the sinless Lord betraying,
     Judas saw him led away.
Hear my prayer, then, gentle spirit,
     Hear and grant it, if thou may;
Let me his soft rest inherit,
     Fade and softly die away.


LINES

SUGGESTED BY A CONVERSATION WITH MRS. S— —.


THE angels best beloved of Heaven,
     Stand ever nearest to the throne;
To these, and but to these, is given,
     Unveil’d their glorious Lord to own.

And from our fallen human race
     Are singled out a happy few,
Who thus in Nature’s eyes may trace
     His Holy Spirit shining through.

In these Ambition’s self we see,
     A seraph ever pure and bright,
That spreads its wings in haste to flee,
     And breathes in streams of azure light. [page 104]

The lips that breathe a deathless lay,
The harp whose music is most sweet,
The hand that bids us still survey
The form we never more may meet.

Oh! such will still in heaven be ours;
     And when we join its happy band,
To heaven we’ll consecrate the powers
     Of lips, and harp, and skilful hand.

O Painting, Music, Poesy,
     Ye form the soul’s true polar star,*
And guide it o’er life’s stormy sea
     To where heaven opens from afar.

Then, lady, still your noble art,
     May you pursue with fervent love;
God gives to thee a feeling heart,
     And power all feeling hearts to move.

For thee, when in the “gorgeous west,”
     The sun declines his golden head,
What lovely visions o’er thy breast
     That peaceful hour must ever shed!

Those twilight dreams—creations fair—
     Are sure prophetic glimpses given
Of joys that souls like thine will share
     When wafted to the rest of heaven.

*I believe that this is now discovered to be a constellation composed of two or three stars [page 105]


 

A LAMENT.


To what shall we compare the happiness of youth?
When all things are fair unto our eyes, and the blossoms of the tree of life, as yet untouched, are
          bright in rosy bloom.
When eyes of angels seem to smile upon us from the flowers, and the breathing of the winds are
          grateful to our lips as the kisses of the one we love.
When we wander in the cool shadow of the far-spread night, and quaff the streaming lustre of the
          moon and stars, as from a fountain of sparkling wine.
When we view all things by the light of a joyous heart, and hope all things will be as now.

To what shall we compare the happiness of youth?
While the first pain, the earliest throb of disappointment is felt but as a thorn in a bed of roses.
Alas! the serpent pleasure attracts but to sting.
The roses of joy fade and fall away, and the thorns of care are yet upon the branches of life.
Lo! the winter is with us—it will be always winter now. Spring comes not again to the aged. [unnumbered page]

To what shall we compare the happiness of youth?
To a star that dies on the bosom of morning, that sinks in the flood of day.
It is like a violet when the east wind bloweth.
Like a bark that is chased and struck down by Euroclydon, the mighty hunter of ocean.
Like a lofty tower, like a beautiful tower of fine marble in the arms of the earthquake, dashed down for ever.
Such is the happiness of youth.

TO      *   *   *   *.


MILD evening’s dewy azure sleeps softly in your eyes,
     And darkly brown and beautiful thy tresses downward fall,
Like a gushing of bright waters where the forest shadow lies,
     Or the purple vine, deep clustering round some stately marble hall.

And thy soft and speaking lip, dear, is like some coral bower,
     Lying fair away, beneath the translucent Indian wave,
Where a goddess, ocean-born, with a voice of magic power,
     And her lute’s divinest music, lulls the tempest in his cave. [page 107]

 

ADDRESS OF THE SPIRIT OF MARGARET

TO FAUST.


NOT such thy sleep in my embrace reclining,
     Thy lips to mine in guilty kisses prest;
Nor did I slumber thus in prison pining,
     My lifeless babe lay cold upon my breast.
My mother, too, forbade the welcome rest,
     My slaughtered brother stood in wrath beside me;
And when thou cam’st, whom ever I loved best,
     I called upon the deep, deep grave to hide me.
And canst thou sleep, destroyer? Yet, oh, sleep!
No painful vigils would I have thee keep.

‘Tis well thou hast forgotten me—‘tis well;
     Man will forget, but erring woman—never.
The thought of him she lov’d must live and dwell
     Warm in her soul for ever and ever;
Her heart from his no earthly power can sever;
     Ransomed by death, and all its sins forgiven,
To break that link would be a vain endeavour;
     Love, love like mine still haunts the soul in heaven.
Restless I leave the realms of azure air
To sympathise with thee in thy despair. [unnumbered page]

 

THE SONS OF SONG.


WHEN we steal from the selfish world away
To dream of fame through the live-long day,
In the dusky shade of the forest pine,
‘Tis then the heart revels in visions divine.

Let the scornful sons of earth deride—
Oh, what to us is the sneer of pride?
The wings of thought to our souls are given,
And they bear us aloft to highest heaven.

Let the usurer squander his soul for gain—
Let the victor exult o’er his victims slain;
While in nature’s glass we our God behold,
We barter our joys not for conquest or gold.

The winds go forth on the stormy sea,
And the dews descend upon flower and tree;
The sun afar sheds golden light,
And the moon is a crown on the brow of night.

He who sends light, and the dews, and the winds,
He breathes the soft breathings of songs on our minds;
And the lowliest bard that this earth e’er trod,
Has had gleams of joy from the throne of his God.

Then wake we the harp to music sweet,
And lay we our cares at the Saviour’s feet;
For to us, the Sons of Song, ‘tis given
To join the secret choirs of heaven. [unnumbered page]

 

THE INCANTATION


OH! silent lute, when will thy silver chords
Give the light wings of melody to words—
Words sweet as are the lips from whence they flow
In murmurings passionate with joy or woe?
When will the oracle that dwells in thee
Speak forth in melody?

Lady! the faithful friend of bygone hours,
Passed in the coolest green of shady bowers,
Why is that friend in silence doomed to pine,
Whose voice of old could sweetly answer thine?
What mem’ries would the dear familiar sound
Summon from all around?

Or frame is but as yonder lute—our soul
The sweet musician, who can still control [unnumbered page]
And move us to each bright heroic deed,
Upon whose memory music loves to feed;
Make of us warriors, poets, great and wise,
Through heaven-taught symphonies!

Where is the angel who would fold his wings,
Where the gay lark, whose voice through morning rings,
Would leave for this dark earth the fields of air,
Nor freely chant to heaven his thrilling prayer?
Where is the star, would wish to fade and fall
From the deep azure hall?

Where the Enchantress, whose melodious breath
Can give to all our griefs a welcome death?
Whose twitching tones can win the list’ning heart
To laugh or weep, so natural the art
With which along the strings her fingers move,
Inspiring thoughts of love?
Where the Enchantress, who condemns to mute,
Dull, lifeless sleep the magic of her lute,
Nor pours into its soul her ev’ry thought,
Sparkling with genius, deep with rapture fraught?
Who, lady, can this fair Enchantress be
That so resembles thee? [page 111]

 

AMBITION.


WHO says that power is bliss? The glory
     Bought by a million’s blood for one
To reign, to die, yet live in story—
     The greatest murderer ‘neath the sun!
Who envies such a fate? The madness
     That weaves of straw the fancied crown
Is happier in its frantic gladness,
     Than he upon his couch of down,
Ambition’s vulture gnaws not ever.
     The monarch’s soul may sometimes start.
From dreams, whose wizard spell to sever
     Were harder than with life to part.	
What memories must then awaken
     Of justice scorned in guilty pride?
How must the conqueror’s heart be shaken
     In wasting passion’s lava tide!
That swift convulsion of the spirit,
     So brief, so fierce, yet soon forgot,
Ambition’s sons must all inherit.
     ‘Tis Satan’s, and ‘twas Xerxes’ lot. [unnumbered page]

 

A FRAGMENT.


AWAY, o’er the ocean depths, away,
Like a vulture fierce when he scents his prey,
     The pirate ship is gone!
The sable flag its shadow threw
O’er the darkened brows of a blood-stained crew,
     As night’s a churchyard on.

Each eye had seen the life-blood flow,
Each ear had heard the shrieks of woe,
Each hand had struck the fatal blow,
     That godless crew among;
Each had the mark of wicked Cain,
Each had the everlasting stain,
     That unto Judas, the God-slayer, clung.

Ripe for the pangs of hell they stood,
Each viper of that demon brood,
On ocean’s trackless solitude,
     Beneath an outraged Heaven.
Often before as they had sailed,
Now all their courage strangely failed,
     To memory’s dismal vaults their souls were driven. [unnumbered page]

Thought is a hell to sinful men,
A torment far beyond the ken
     Of the earth-shackled mind;
The wicked in a moment dree
The apins of an eternity,
     That would for death be joyfully resigned.

Ha! why with fixed and glazing eye
Doth yonder pirate scan the sky?
     What sees the murderer there?
The dews start thick upon his brow,
He points with trembling finger now,
     And mutters, ‘twixt his close-clenched teeth, “Despair!”

Lo! from a shadowy cloud, a hand
Stretches afar a fiery brand,
     O’er that doom’d bark; and there,
Along its blade in letters seven,
That fill with ghastly light the heaven,
     All horror-shook, they trace the word “Despair!”

On every side the murmuring waves
Ope their black breasts like yawning graves;
     The winds howl drearily;
They can but see that awful word,
Conscience’s deep voice alone is heard,
     O’erta’en they feel, too late, they cannot flee. [page 114]

 

LOVE’S INCREDULITY.


LOVER.

“Tell me not that she is dead,
     Motionless and cold;
Her form was made of summer flowers,
     And not of common mould.”

MESSENGER.

“But summer flowers decay and fall
     Beneath the autumn wind;
Sorrow’s breath will kill like age—
     It kill’d thy Rosalind.”

LOVER.

“What! those eyes of love and light,
     Are they closed for aye?
They were as stars, that o’er the night
     Shed a welcome ray.”

MESSENGER.

“Brightest stars must fade and fall;
     Her eyes are sightless now;
Covered by the funeral pall
     Is her pallid brow.” [unnumbered page]

LOVER.

“Lips that I have press’d to mine
     In the true love kiss,
Have they ceased to whisper low
     Thoughts of former bliss?”

MESSENGER.

“They will never turn away
     From a stranger’s kiss;
They have ceased to whisper low
     Thoughts of former bliss.”

LOVER.

“No! that heart so kind and true,
     Still it beats for me;
Rosalind, thou lov’st me still—
     Can Death my rival be?”

MESSENGER.

“Go, and lay thy hand, poor youth,
     On thy loved one’s breast;
All is still and silent there,
     In the death-bed rest.”

LOVER.

“Ah! thou little know’st my love;
     She was faithful ever;
And her soul is mine is heaven—
      ‘Twill forget me never. [page 116]

 

REASON TO IMAGINATION.


WHERE lingers my love? In what peaceful vale
     Of the land of dreams is she lingering now,
Where the spirit sad of the nightingale
     Is warbling sweet from bough to bough;
And the witching beam of her own bright star
     Is blent with the light of her heavenly eyes;
While fearless and pure, as the angels are,
     She wanders away beneath the cloudless skies?

Return thee, my love! for the breast is cold
     And cheerless and dark, where thou didst repose;
With thy sunny brow, and thy locks of gold,
     And thy cheek, whose blush was the opening rose;
In the lonely night (but when thou wert near,
     How welcome the hours of the night to me!)
When my eyelids droop, they droop with a tear,
     For slumber is field, my beloved, with thee,

Oh! come thou again, ere I sink and die,
     Rememb’ring the joys that are past away;
And the lute you loved shall sweetly reply
     To thy melting voice and mournful lay; [unnumbered page]
Come, come thou again in thy perfect love,
     And never, my life, will I faithless be;
In the earth below, or in heaven above,
     Where’er thou wouldst go, I will go with thee.

 


 

TO MELLA.


I CARE not for the azure eyes,
Which look not on their kindred skies
With all the holy sympathies
     That only song can give—
Who love not stars and star-like flowers,
And people not the silent bowers
With dreamy forms in twilight hours,
     That seem to breathe and live.

Gay trifler! though your smile be bright,
What is it but reflected light?
Within, the soul is dark as night,
     And quenched the generous fire
That sheds a halo o’er the brow—
The wreath by which we genius know,
And see an angel here below,
     In her who makes the lyre. [page 118]

 

THE INDIAN WARRIOR.


[To the best of my recollection, these are my first rhymes.]

 

THE Indian to the stake is tied,
     There is courage in his eye;
And a smile has curled his lip of pride,
     As he speaks thus tauntingly:—

“See you this hand? ‘Twas this that slew
     Your great, your boasted chief!
He fell, as summer’s raindrops do,
     Or like yon withered leaf.

“Behold! his scalp is at my belt;
     ‘Twas as he turn’d to flee,
The deadly blow this hatchet dealt—
     This hatchet swung by me.

“Now torture; for thy greatest skill
     Those red-hot irons ply;
Your coward hearts are nerv’d to kill,
     And mine is nerv’d to die!” [unnumbered page]

 

TO LAURESTINE.


How bright and beautiful art thou,
     Dear little fairy creature,
With moon-like eeyes and sunny brow,
     Hope moulding ev’ry feature!

When through the house, in careless glee,
     Thy full, clear notes are ringing,
‘Tis now the hum of bird or bee,
     Now careless fairies’ singing.

No thought of thine from art is drawn,
     But Nature’s pupil only;
Thou’rt graceful as a little fawn,
     That dwells in forest lonely.

Free and sincere, and young and brave,
     In word, and thought, and notion;
Wild art thou as the wildest wave
     Of all the Indian ocean.

Oh! never may those moon-like eyes
     Weep aught but tears of gladness;
May care, whom childhood now defies,
     Ne’er mark that brow with sadness. [unnumbered page]

May still thy fervent spirit glow
     With thoughts of love and laughter;
And Innocence and Faith bestow
     Their fadeless crown hereafter.

Then will the little Laurestine
     Be what even now she seems—
A being whose angelic mien
     Oft haunts the poet’s dreams.

 


 

STANZAS.


I LOVE the mournful music of the win
     Among the willows on an autumn eve,
Sighing as though some gentle spirit pined,
     Condemn’d the joyous scenes of earth to leave
For those dull slumbers that are said to bind
In death—unhallow’d death—the hapless fairy-kind.

I love the hoarse, far-rolling waves to hear,
     Below their rage along the sterile shore;
I love to mark the heavens frown severe
     With dense black clouds, whence rolls the thunder’s roar;
And the fork’d lightning—God’s avenging spear—
Dart on its fiery track, o’erwhelming all with fear. [page 121]

 

LAMENT OF THE WARRIOR SPIRITS.


WHAT mean the mournful wailings heard ‘mid Scotia’s mountains blue?
What means the grievous groans that pass her twilight valleys through?
The spirits of old heroes rose from forth their ancient graves—
Heroes, who died as free men die—who could not as salves.
The spectral warriors to the winds their bitter sorrows told;
And thus, as rolls the billowy sea, their gloomy chorus roll’d.

“Lift up, O injured land! lift up the voices of thy woe,
And free to Him who made the earth let all thy sorrows flow;
Our feeble hands He nerved with strength to burst a tyrant’s chain,
And in thy cause we fought and fell on Falkirk’s fatal plain;
We died; but by the shining steel, amid the battle’s shock;
He dies—the patriot Wallace lays his head upon the block! [unnumbered page]

“The good, the brave, the chivalrous, whose deeds shall never die,
Such deeds the power of time and all oblivion’s dews defy;
How of the routed Scotland’s foes—how many fields he won—
Shall still descend in tale and song from father unto son,
That he who first of Scotland’s hearts the sleep of freedom broke,
Should fall, as guilty traitors fall, beneath a felon’s stroke!

“And thou, dark, stern, unfeeling man—ambitious Edward—dread
The curses of an injured race—the curses of the dead,
Nor hope the crown that blood has won will long be thine to wear,
Nor think the sceptre can control the workings of despair;
We curse thee! and that curse shall cling about that guilty heart,
Till for the dreadful judgment-seat thy spirit shall depart.”

Such were the words methought I heard the warrior spirits say,
Ere far in misty distance died their wild lament away. [page 123]

 

LINES

COMPOSED FOR MY DEAR LITTLE FRIEND, J.M., WHO

WISHED ME TO WRITE “ABOUT FAIRIES.”


I SING of those bright little creatures
     Not made of terrestrial mould,
Who play hide and seek in the moonbeams,
     On wings all of emerald and gold—
Who pull the red beard of the comet,
     And mimic the stars when they wink—
Or watch the old owl to the fountain,
     And huddle him over the brink.	

But these are the naughty young fairies,
     Who won’t take their parents’ advice—
In summer will bathe in the water,
     In winter will slide on the ice;
So some of them perish by drowning,
     And some break their legs when they slip;
And some are snapt up by the night-hawk,
     And never get out of his grip. [unnumbered page]

 

STANZAS.


AWAY! a man hath worship’d thee—
     Hath knelt thy love to gain;
A bard hath wak’d his harp to thee
     In many a glowing strain;
Yet thou couldst coldly turn away
From lover’s vows and poet’s lay.

Oh! had thy bosom ever known
     That spark of birth divine,
My heart had found an answering tone
     In every pulse of thine;
And when I touch’d the ardent lyre,
Thou wouldst have felt a kindred fire.

But no! too hard that heart of thine
     For passion’s sun to melt;
No child of pride or avarice
     Could feel as I have felt;
I would have given my life for thee,
And thou hadst not a smile for me. [unnumbered page]

Away! thy place is with the vain,
     The world her votary claims;
Broken for aye is fancy’s chain,
     And severed are our names;
Away! deceit is on thy brow;
I would not—could not—love thee now.

 


STANZAS.


HARK! far amid the forest,
     I hear the sharp axe ringing,
To earth the lordly hemlock*
     Or stately pine-tree bringing.

‘Tis thus, O ancient forest,
     Thy giant sons are smitten,
To rise again in glory,
     The battle ships of Britain.

* The Hemlock grows to a great height in America. It is of the fir genus, and resembles the pine. [page 126]


 

THE MANIAC’S SONG.


THERE lay in the shade of a cypress tree,
     A pilgrim dark from a far country;
     His eyes were bright with a subtle flame,
     And his brow seem’s scorch’d with woe and shame;
He lay beneath the cypress tree,
And thus to the cold moon chanted he:—

     “Roll on, thou glitt’ring eye-ball, roll—
     Thou seest the hell of this sinful soul;
     So calm, so gentle, and so bright,
     Was that lady’s brow on her bridal night;
Soon ghastly, dim, and pale its gleam,
As thine shall be at morning’s beam.

“My infants gorged the greedy sea,
Into its waves they were cast by me;
They grey-hair’d ones who call’d me child,
Their ghosts are wand’ring the forest wild,
Where their bones unburied lie all green
With ivy, and blue where decay hath been. [unnumbered page]

      “And the spirits of the dead are here—
     They gaze from the stars, and they hiss in mine ear,
     They bay me, like pitiless bloodhounds, forth,
     To wander, like Cain, the blacken’d earth—
To live accurst, and die, and be
Fit vassal, Beelzebub, for thee.”

     He hath fled from the shade of the cypress tree,
     That pilgrim dark from a far country;
     He wanders through deserts, but not alone—
     The fiend of madness is with him gone;
And Guilt her snakes round his bosom weaves,
Till he longs for the garland of cypress leaves.

 


 

TRUST NOT TO SMILES.


THOUGH smiles may on the brow be shining,
Like ivy round a ruin twining;
     They but portend more sure decay,
And oft, like flow’rets bright that bloom
Above the corpse-concealing tomb,
     They hide a heart to grief a prey.
Trust not to smiles; still brightest fly
The lightnings in a sable sky. [page 128]

 

LINES

ON HEARING MISS P—— SING “HE DOETH ALL

THINGS WELL.”


How sweet the sound of words divine
From lips of innocence like thine!
Fancy, whene’er that strain you sing,
Delights to spread her buoyant wing,
And, borne upon the solemn air,
To join with angels in their prayer.
Earth seems her youth to have renewed,
Where erst in Eden’s solitude
The happy pair together trod—
The children and the friends of God;
For spirits there from heaven descended,
And worship with their worship blended,
Singing their solemn songs divine
As sweetly as thou singest thine.
So lovely, innocent, and young,
Still truth direct your heart and tongue;
For oh! your sex, the first to sin,
Have ever since repentant been—
Have ever since show’d higher powers
Of head, and heart, and soul, than ours,
And taught us there’s a heaven above,
By making earth a heaven with love. [unnumbered page]

MARCH, 1848.


OLD creeping Time, your rusty scythe let fall,
     Perhaps you then may go a little faster;
Now, like a mourner at a funeral,
     You tortoise it along. O earth’s great master,
Do spread your wings, and through heaven’s azure arch,
Take just on flight and put an end to March.
Hark ye, a deep gruff voice exclaims, “You stupid,
D’ye not see I’m no octogenarian Cupid;
And not for you my jog-trot will I alter,
     To bring my dissipated daughter, Spring;
My dancing days are over; I should falter
     Should I attempt to fly with such a wing.”
So saying, he displayed, as stiff as starch,
His pinions bright, with icicles in March.

 


AZILIE’S BOUQUET


1.

WHEN she gave me those violets now fading away,
But dearer that roses bright-blooming to day,
She cried with a smile, for my heart she could see,
“You may drop them, you know, when you’ve parted from me.”

2.

They were press’d to my lips, not a word could I speak,
But I saw a bright blush gently steal o’er her cheek
As she leant on her hand—‘twas the first blush of love—
Ah, no, ‘twas the shade of her rose-coloured glove.

1.

Oh! what a lovely blue,” cried Azilie,
Showing a bunch of violets to me;
“Oh! what a lovely blue,” my heart replies,
For I was fondly gazing on her eyes.

2.

“Who says they are not sweet?” she smiling said,
And held them near her lips of rosy red—
Those pouting lips; I only could repeat
In flattering tones, “Who says they are not sweet?”

1.

Flowers, ye have faded too quickly away,
Still are ye lovely, and loved in decay;
Nor would I give you for all the bright flowers,
Culled by the fairies in subterrene bowers.

2.

For she who gave them more bright is and dear
Than fairies or angels in visions appear;
And looking upon them, I dream that I see
The lips and the eyes of the young Azilie. [page 131]

 

TO TITANIA, QUEEN OF FAIRYLAND.

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY.


THE fairy world is just like ours—
There bloom again our faded flowers;
Transplanted hence by magic spell—
And how, I know—but must not tell.

Whene’er you smile, my little dear,
Whene’er you drop the hasty tear,
The fays unseen that round you play,
The smile and tear far hence convey.

That smile will lend its sunny light
To make the rose’s cheek more bright,
That tear will give its lucid hue
To lilies fair that pant for dew.

And when you laugh, through Faryland
That laugh is breath’d, a zephyr bland;
And when you sigh, in every vale
The fairies hear the nightingale. [unnumbered page]

And when you kiss me all is spring,
And love’s sweet voice is heard to ring
Through ocean, earth, and heav’n above;
The fairy world is sunk in love.

Nay, never frown, for fairy skies
Grow dark or brighten with your eyes;
 And with a frown you may eclipse
The young May morning of your lips.

Whene’er your lovely eyes you close,
The fairies all may seek repose,
And softly slumber night away,
Till you, awaking, bring them day.

So, if you’re wearied with my lay,
Titania, put an end to day;
And, when you’d rather be slumb’ring be,
Pray go to bed and dream of me. [page 133]

 

THE ROSE AND THE POPPY.

AN EASTERN FABLE.


IN the caliph’s garden, known as the Odoriferous, bloomed one day a stately rose;
As the favourite sultana is queen of the harem, so was this rose of queen of the garden;
And she looked down with contempt on all the other flowers, for she alone was beloved of the
     bulbul—
Through the long night reposing on her fragrant bosom, to her ear alone did he address his
     tuneful flatteries.
The praises of the poet are sure to increase the innate vanity of an acknowledged beauty, and
     queen rose accordingly gave herself great airs in the garden;
There was scarcely a flower whom she did not disdain, but she seemed to detest the poppy:—
“You vulgar, gaudy creature, pray what brought you to court?
Your proper home is among rustics, in the corn-field, where you fall a prey to the sickle;
Faugh! your breath is offensive to me, I almost faint beneath it, in spite of all the natural
     perfumes with which it has pleased Allah and his holy Prophet to bless me.” [unnumbered page]
So piously will some people conclude the most uncharitable speeches.
The poppy reddened a little at these words, but only hung her head in silence;
For modest genius despises the taunts of the self-conceited.
Now it chanced that the caliph came forth to walk in the garden, with the beloved of his soul.
And he saw and admired the queen rose, and plucked her, and gave her to his companion.
And the sultana, being confused at the many beautiful compliments that the caliph paid her,
     pulled this haughty queen to pieces, and scattered the leaves here and there in the dust as she
     walked.
And on the same day there came into the garden a sage philosopher, to whom was intrusted the
     care of the caliph’s health;
And he carefully culled the poppy, and prepared from its seeds an excellent drug,
With which he afterwards cured the commander of the faithful of a grievous malady. [page 135]

 

STANZAS.


IF woman’s eyes were sealed in night,
And ne’er again might charm our sight
     With glance divine,
How many a heart now wrung with pain,
That hope, yet knows it hopes in vain,
     Would cease to pine!

How many a folly, many a crime,
Would stain no more the leaves of time,
     And fade away;
But oh! how many a virtue too,
With love, dear love, would bid adieu
     To earth for aye.

Yes! there are spots full many a one
In the clear lustre of the sun;
     Yet who desires
To see “that dread, that awful day,”
When the prevailing soul of day
     Shall lose his fires?

But life and heat were little worth,
Should love be banish’d from the earth;
     And breath can give
No joy, if all the fires it fan
Grow cold within the heart of man;
     Clay cannot live. [unnumbered page]

 

SONGS.


I.

OH, scan not too closely a heart that is thine,
     Whatever its error or frailties may be;
Believe not, my love, that it e’er could resign
     The affection that once it had cherished for thee.

No! fancy may sometimes my reason control—
     The surface be ruffled by passion’s fierce breath,
But trust me, that still in the depths of my soul,
     Love and reason together shall reign until death.

And did I but dream that I ever could prove
     A rebel, my Mary, to honour and thee,
I would welcome my death, though it robb’d me of love,
     And rejoice that thou ne’er couldst be injured by me.

Then scan not too closely a heart that is thine,
     Whatever its errors or frailties may be;
Believe not, my love, that it e’er could resign
     The affection that once it had cherished for thee.

 

SONG.


II.

LONG had my heart desired to prove
The blissful pains of hearts that love,
     And long desired in vain;
Dull reason still would hold its rule—
I had not time to play the fool,
     Or let King Cupid reign.

Long in my heart a civil war—
A thoughtless wretch, I wearied for
     The chains that now I wear;
And envied careworn Juan’s sight,
Whom Isadora’s scornful eyes
     Have doomed to cold despair. [page 138]

 

SONG.


III.

BID me not tell thee how long I have loved,
     Life would be gone ere the tale were half told;
Moments of bliss have such ecstasy proved—
     Striving to paint them we both should grow old.

Oh! by this glance, which I feel must be bright
     With the heart’s glow of affection for thee;
Oh! by the bliss in that sigh which took flight,
     Guess what the sum of my passion must be.

Yet if my lips must convince thee I love,
     Oh, let them breathe the confession to thine;
And that I am prized by thee if thou prove,
     Mingle thy sighs and thy tears, dear, with mine.

Thus, while through like we our pilgrimage take,
     Hope shall spring up and o’erblossom the way;
For love of a desert a garden can make,
     As dreams change the long, lonely night into day. [page 139]

 

SONG.


IV.

FREE as yon snowy cloud,
     That o’er the azure sky
Is wafted gently near
     With ev’ry zephyr’s sigh,
So would I choose to be
     Removed from earth,
And only witnessing
     The lark’s sweet mirth.

For what to me are all
     Life’s joys or woes?
I neither dread the thorn,
     Nor love the rose.
Alas! it is my fate
     To live and feel
Those pangs which death alone
     Can ever heal. [page 140]

 

SONG.


V.

As when the seaman’s sallow cheek
     Relaxes to a smile,
When stormy winds have ceased to wreak
     Their fatal ire awhile,
And from the midst of cloudy skies
     The sun sends a cheerful light,
To glad the ocean-wearied eyes,
     With some green island bright;

Such joy my inmost bosom knows,
     When you have ceased to frown,
And all the fearful lover’s woes
     At once are conjured down.
No more I dread the future day,
     Nor think on sorrows flown,
But bask in love’s returning ray,
     The present all my own. [page 141]

 

SONG.


VI.

LOVE one day to Valour remarked with a smile,
“You do nothing but quarrel and fight all the while;
But, in spite of that buckler and falchion of thine,
Pray, what is your power after all, Sir, to mine?”

“Your power!” cried grim Valour, “why where is it, child?
At those playthings of arrows I often have smiled;
They seem to be fitted the robins to slay—
No harm could they do to game bigger than they.”

“Ha! say you so, bully?” young Cupid replied;
And Valour soon felt a sad stitch in his side;
In his left side it was, and his heart felt so sore,
That he laid down his arms, and could quarrel no more.

How love then exulted, and laughed at his pain;
He laughed, lost his breath, fell a-laughing again,
Till, feeling a little compunction of heart,
He called Father Hymen to draw out the dart. [page 142]

 

SONNETS.


I.

LEAVING his mountain eyrie far behind,
     On mighty pinions swiftly borne away,
     The eagle bathes his plumage in the day—
Such flight is only for the giant’s might.
Content am I some lowlier path to find—
     The sonnet’s simple loveliness for me,
     Whose timid muse from angry Mars would flee,
To dwell at peace with nature and mankind,
     No, rather like the tuneful lark, that springs
          Into the bosom of the opening morn,
Pouring her raptures o’er the verdant earth;
     Still would I breathe of sweet familiar things,
          In strains ‘mid solitude and silence born,
And dying even as they had their birth. [unnumbered page]

 

SONNET.


II.

BEHOLD, on ocean pillowed into rest,
     The weary sun his shining head reposes,
     Reft of his radiant crown, but wreathed with roses,
And smiling faintly o’er the distant west.
Behind him glows like fire each mountain’s crest,
     The mighty pines like springing adders seem;
     All glittering with the emerald’s darkest green,
They threat with arrowy tongues the heaven’s breast.
     What silence reigns! save where the mingled voice
          Of wind and wave are whispering, as in love,
Sweet things to one another. In the deep
     Day sinks—the skies grow dark, and night rejoices;
          Mirth, in her countless eyes, that from above
Look down like dreams into the world of sleep. [page 144]

 

SONNET.

FLOWERS.

III.


DEAR smiling flowers, that over hill and dale,
     Beneath the vernal sun are brightly glowing,
     Like foot-prints where an angel hath been going,
I hear your perfume voices on the gale,
And mark your starry foreheads bright and pale,
     Worship at nature’s throne, from whence are flowing
     The streams of light that tint your early blowing,
And make ye theme of many a poet’s tale.
     Your eyes at mid-day seem to laugh at me,
          Low seated, musing in the rural shade,
Or when at eve meek vesper twinkles in bright,
     And I am moved to tears in sympathy,
          With Philomela’s wail in leafy glade;
Then shine your dewy eyes with softened light. [page 145]

 

SONNET.

IV.


WITH me wouldst thou consent to make thy home?
     I build a palace for thee in my thought;
Though far away thy graceful form may roam,
Still is thy mem’ry with my heart en wrought;
And I behold therein all lovely things,
In all the sweetest breathings of creation.
I hear thee in the bubbling flow of springs,
The lark’s ascending song of exultation,
The zephyr’s sighing through the evening air;
I hear thee—thou art nature unto me;
And every worldly hope or feverish care
Vanishes still before one dream of thee,
Whose love can conquer e’en the fierce despair
Of knowing that thou never mine canst be. [page 146]

 

SONNET.

TO NATURE.

V.


 

DAUGHTER of God! Instructress of this mind,
     A mind that ever turneth unto thee,
Solace in all its’ miseries to find,
     From thy reflections of the Deity,
     Whose spirit animates a world and me,
With chains of love my fickle bosom bind,
     That I thy fellow-worshipper may be;
And kneeling, load with prayer and praise the wind.
     In yonder sun the Maker do I see,
Whose beam sustains the life of frail mankind;
     In earth and ocean, fountain, flower, and tree,
In all that lives, his spirit is enshrined;
     Then to thy arms, O Nature, let me flee,
Nor live to doubt and cold despair resigned. [page 147]

 

SONNET.

THE RAINBOW.

VI.


GOD of creation, breathless let me bow,
     Here, in the stillness of the lonely grove,
And fancy ‘tis thine own majestic brow,
     Radiant with smiles that speak a Father’s love
For all on earth.—I view above me now
     Thine arch in brightness clad. I ne’er behold
Yon shining token of thy gracious vow,
     That my heart flies not swiftly, uncontrolled,
And joyous as a winged bird to meet
     Thy promised mercy. In that mercy bold,
May not the guilty bosom learn to beat
     With hope of thy forgiveness, and unfold
Fresh leaves beneath thy fost’ring light, and bear
Fruits for repentance meet, with penitence and prayer? [page 148]

 

SONNET.

TO S.T., A LOVER OF FLOWERS.

VII.


ANGELS there are who come in silent night
     To close the flow’rets’ eyes with welcome dew,
     And watching them the hours of darkness through,
Wake them with nectar kisses into light;
So when from earth your spirit takes its flight
     (Long may your sister seraphs wait for you!)
     ‘Twill oft return old friendships to renew
With ev’ry little blossom, pale or bright,
That fills your bosom now with pure delight,
     While yet a maiden in our fading bowers,
     Your soft brown hair all garlanded with flowers;
Your modest charms this simply lay invite,
From one who when sweet flowers shall o’er him wave,
Would have thee visit once his lonely grave. [page 149]

 

SONNET.

VIII.


Now Nature slumbers in the embrace of the night,
     Her gentle breathings in my bosom move
     Harmonious sympathy, and dreams of Love,
Sweet thoughts that garish day will put to flight;
Then let me linger o’er them with delight,
     And commune pleasantly as on I rove,
     With ev’ry nightingale in yonder grove.
Or watch the bat’s quick whirl, or owlet’s flight,
     And thou, my Song, the lispings of the heart,
Which, like the infant’s stammered words, are dear,
If not to others, to the parents’ ear,
     Strive to express one little, smallest part
Of that wild spirit which, within me sleeping,
Is all that in my mind makes life worth keeping. [page 150]

 

SONNET.

IX.


OMNISCIENT Father, by whose love divine
     We breather the buoyant air of living hope,
     That Faith which reads its glorious horoscope
In purer skies, whose stars for ever shine,
Oh, let my spirit kindle at the shrine
Of earth, thine altar; and amidst her choir,
Winds, waves, and all that is, let me aspire
To pour to thee, my God, the votive line.
Henceforth celestial rapture may I feel,
Akin to his who sang creation’s doom;
Obedient still to conscience’s appeal,
     In life’s sweet twilight shum the bigot’s gloom,
And, heeding all that Nature’s lips reveal,
     Move with a Christian’s triumph to the tomb. [page 151]

 

SONNET.

X.


MY heart grows weak, and tears are in my eyes,
     When I behold how many a lofty brow
     Before the idol, Interest, deigns to bow
Submissive. Ev’ry thought of high emprise,
Valour, religion, love (the strongest ties
‘Twixt God and man), we tremble avow.
As in the days of old it is not now—
All brotherhood as folly we despise.
A pampered steed, a very dog, we prize
     Beyond our fellow-mortals; nor confess
     Emotions soft of manly tenderness.
Lest the cold world should laugh to hear our sighs,
Break, selfish heart, whene’er our souls shall prove
Deaf to the thrilling voice of pity, virtue, love. [page 152]

 

SONNET.

MEMORY.

XI.


THOU phantom dark of pleasure passed away,
Grim ghost of buried time, fell Memory,
Hie to Ambition’s hall, there seek thy prey;
But leave this spirit from thy fetters free,
I cannot, and I will not, dwell with thee,
Whose glance malign, like deadly lightning scars,
Thou mak’st this beauteous world a dreary sea,
Where man is wrecked by self-created fears
That to a moment give the force of years;
     And, in the whirlpool of black despair,
Engulph his sinking soul Away, weak tears,
     My bark the sails of Faith shall safely bear,
While Hope, with eye and hand, intrepid steers
     To the one land unvisited by care. [page 153]

 

SONNET.

XII.


STAND firm, who in this selfish earth
Hold independence as your best estate,
And by that creed are made more truly great
Than ever tyrant was, whose rule was dearth,
And woe, and desolation. Ye whom fate
Compels to sit in shade of no man’s gate,
And beg for power or peace; ye whose dear hearth
Is hedged around with faces beaming mirth
And beautiful contentment, still, oh! still,
For Freedom’s noble birthright live and die.
In peace the holy offices fulfil
Of charity and love; but when the cry
Of greedy foes to England menace ill,
Arise, and smite their legions hip and thigh. [page 154]

 

SONNET.

CONTENT.

XIII.


WHY art thou sad? The earth, the heaven, the sea,
Though each hath changes like the human heart
(Changes from light to darkness), they to me
The simple lesson of content impart.
Why pluck the olive-branch to form a dart
With which to wound thy spirit? Learn to bear
Patiently ev’ry ill; for with the smart
Ofttimes comes good; then laugh at grim despair.
As the sun tints the cloud in azure air
With silv’ry radiance—as the ocean keeps
A solemn calmness in her lowest deeps,
Let blest content, amid the thorns of care,
Plant roses; and, when weaker nature weeps,
Oh! let the soul her holy influence share. [page 155]

 

SONNET.

DREAMS.

XIV.


DREAMS are the fairies beneath wisdom’s reign,
All banished from the cheerful light of day;
And in the darksome chambers of the brain,
Like moping nuns, are destined to remain.
But oft at midnight’s hour they break away,
When reason, their gruff jailor, nods, and pay
Gossiping visits to their friends around,
In ocean, air, on earth, and underground.
Ofttimes they join Titania’s fairy train,
Where, with winged feeet, in wild sequestered glade,
They circle some vast oak of ancient shade,
Merrily till the morn; when, caught again,
They to their nunnery are once more conveyed. [page 156]

 

SONNET.

XV.

[The two following Sonnets originally appeared as translation from the Italian. The former is supposed to be addressed by a friend to Columbus, then about to depart on his second voyage.]

 

No, Colon; thou, by Nature’s changeless laws,
Wast formed to breather the atmosphere of fame
(I live on love’s thin air). Despair’s fell name
Can never fill with fright thy soul of flame—
A soul that disappointments fail to tame.
On! on! thy fate points onward; thou must reap
Thine immortality upon the deep.
Wide continents their great discovered claim,
But bid me not go with thee. I am one
Whose heart is of a weaker love than thine;
It teaches me the treacherous wave to shun;
Nor all the wealth of Ophir’s richest mine
Could tempt me to desert Italia’s sun,
The land of deathless song, ripe lips, and ruby wine. [page 157]

 

SONNET.

XVI.


“I FEAR long looking on my lady’s eyes,
That rival yonder sun’s refulgent light,
May yet, perchance, destroy the bliss of sight.”
So did I speak, determined to be wise,
And turned my gaze aside, but heaviest sighs
Shook my poor heart, and I had died outright
If once again their glance (alas! how bright)
Had not revived me. All in vain he tries
To ‘scape who carries in himself a foe,
And death is worse than blindness. Should it be
The will of fate that I must cease to see,
My latest look on her I will bestow,
Whom, but to be permitted to behold,
Is worth a Caesar’s fame, a Croesus’ hoarded gold. [page 158]

 

SONNET.

XVII.


AND can I e’er forget thee, though thou art
Far from the arms that fain would clasp thee now?
No, loved one of the fair unclouded brow,
I still embrace thee in a changeless heart,
And never shall the hallowed mem’ry part
From this sad spirit of the hours we spent
Together beneath hope’s blue firmament;
When casting off thy sex’s bashful art,
Thou didst confess I had not loved in vain.
Then were the fountains of my soul unsealed,
I melted into tears, sweet tears that yield
More bliss than smiles enshrine. The summer’s rain
Fostereth the drooping rose, love brighter beams
When on the passion-flower a tear-drop gleams. [page 159]

 

SONNET.

TO AMBITION.

XVIII.


HOW desolate the human heart without
Thee, soul-sustaining passion! Like some hall,
Where long has ceased to peal the merry shout
Of revellers, who now are sleeping all
Within the circle of a churchyard wall;
Or the unworn cuirass, a wreck all red
With rust of long disuse. Thy magic thrall
Strengthens its captive. Thoughts that long seemed dead
Revive like dew-crushed flowers beneath thy ray.
Thou bidst the weary mind spring forth anew,
 (Swift as the steed) upon the thorny way
To power. More miracles thy medicines do
Than erst Siloam’s wave. Oh, never may
My soul be severed from thy healthful sway. [page 160]

 

THE

LOVE-SICK GIRL AND THE NIGHTINGALE.


OH! gentlest nightingale,
Once more thy plaintive tale
Repeat—repeat to me;
It will be passing sweet
My own sad thoughts to greet,
In thy soft melody.

It was but yester morn
Ere I was thus forlorn;
The merry lark I heard,
And then I did thee wrong,
In loving more her song
Than thine, O pensive bird!

For then I was as free,
And blithe and full of glee,
As any larks that sing;
But now a wretch am I,
Nor know for what I sigh,
Nor what a cure may bring. [unnumbered page]

It was but yesternight
That all my joy took flight,
When Henry bade good-bye;
For when he kiss’d my cheek,
Though nothing did he speak,
I think I heaved a sigh.

To speak not was unkind,
But a word I could not find!
My eyes did speak, I fear;
Yet why am I afraid,
If it was only truth they said?
I am sure there was a tear.

I wish I had not sighed!
I wish I had not cried!
I am always such a child;
He will soon again be here,
Why should I shed a tear,
Why could not I have smiled?

There’s the nightingale again!
What a sweet and mournful strain!
The bird must mourn for love;
And the poets say and swear
That love is everywhere—
Around, below, above. [page 162]

O Love! if now thou art
Hidden within my heart,
When my eyes with sleep are dim,
Spread thy wing, and flee away,
And to my Henry say,
“His Ellen dreams of him.” [page 163]


 

ANACREONTIC.


MOTHER of the tuneful Nine,
Nature prompt my ev’ry line;
I would not, had I Homer’s fire,
To Mars and Slaughter strike the lyre;
A dearer theme my bosom fills,
My veins a softer rapture thrills;
Love, I know thy honied sting,
And the flutter of thy wing;
In my heart thou sitt’st supreme,
Making life a lover’s dream.
Full of visions angel bright,
Till awakening in delight,
Tremulous I touch the strings;
‘Tis not I—‘tis Cupid sings. [page 163]

 

PARAPHRASES & TRANSLATIONS.


DANAE.

A FRAGMENT FROM SIMONIDES.


WHEN now, above the fragile bark,
The howling tempest gathered dark,
And wide the foaming billows spread,
Danäe, wild with rising fears,
Her eyes bedew’d with bitter tears,
Round Perseus threw her arms, and said:—

“Thou durst not guess, O babe divine!
The griefs that rend this heart of mine;
Thou sleepest on thy mother’s breast,
Nor knowest how weak a bark is ours,
Nor dread’st the angry ocean’s powers—
The winds but lullaby thy rest. [unnumbered page]

“Wrapt in thy little cloak, my child,
Thou heed’st not the waters wild,
As o’er thy long dark hair they sweep;
My love, my life! if thou couldst see
Thy hapless mother’s misery,
Those slumb’ring eyes would learn to weep.

“Yet sleep, my boy—I charge thee sleep,
And slumber thou, resistless deep,
And sleep ye, too, many woes;
Oh! grant, great Jove, a mother’s prayer
My Perseus in thy mercy spare
(Rash wish!) to punish Danäe’s foes.” [page 165]

 

FROM ANACREON.


YOUNG Cupid, on a day,
‘Mid roses, as he lay,
Was wounded by a bee;
To his mother hurried he;
“O mother,” thus he saud,
“I am slain—I am dead!
A wing’d serpent small,
Which I think a bee they call,
Has stung my finger here,
And I greatly, greatly fear
With the pain I shall expire,
For my hand is hot as fire.”
“O silly Cupid, fie!”
Thus his mother made reply,
“If such weapon as a sting
Of a bee can hurt you so,
Away, child, you should fling
Your arrows and your bow.” [unnumbered page]

 

ODE XI.

WHAT recks it me of Gyges’ lot?
His wealth and power I envy not.

****

My beard with scented oils shall shine,
The rose shall deck this brow of mine;
So smooth shall glide my life away,
The gods have given me to-day;
To whom the morrow?—who shall say?
Then, Cupid, view a slave in me,
And, Bacchus, let me worship thee,
Till Death’s last pangs Anacreon prove,
Then farewell wine, and farewell love.

 


 

ODE XXIX.

THE Muses Cupid bind with flowers,
And Beauty’s arms enfold him;
Vainly a ransom Venus brings—
He loves the bonds that hold him. [page 167]

ODE XXXIII.

NYMPH of the flashing eye and sprightly air,
The rosy cheek, and yellow waving hair,
Arrest thy flying footsteps, and draw near;
Say, why do hoary locks inspire such fear?
E’en in yon garland see how brightly glows
The argent lily with the ruby rose.


 

ODE XXXVIII

ON THE SPRING.

Lo! Spring appears in mantle green,
And flowers are welcoming their queen;
Mark how the duck, in sportive mood,
Dives ‘neath the gently-swelling gloof;
See how the crane pursues his way;
Creation hails the genial day;
Behold! the clouds have ta’en their flight—
What cheerful prospects bless the sight!
How beateously the olives bloom,
Fair tokens of earth’s fruitful womb!
Now cast thine eyes on yonder vine,
Whence, Bacchus, flows thy blood divine
See how, ‘mid leaflet, branch, and shoot,
Clusters the ruby-coloured fruit. [page 168]

 

FROM HORACE.

BOOK I.—ODE VIII.


SPEAK, Lydia, speak, by all the powers above,
Why wilt thou haste to kill with too much love?
Why hates young Sybaris the sunny plain?
Why shuns the youth the once-loved warrior train?
And why neglect the Gallic steed to rein?
Why dreads he now the yellow Tiber’s flood?
The healthy oil, as though ‘twere viper’s blood?
Why not, as heretofore, his arms expose—
His lusty arms, well used to cope with foes?
And once again hear plaudits loud resound,	
At dart or discus hurl’d beyond the bound;
Why, like Achilles doth he lurk conceal’d,
Who shunn’d the manly dress and Trojan field? [unnumbered page]

 

BOOK I.—ODE XXXVIII.


THE idle pomp of Persian state,
All the ceremonious airs I hate;
Your costly wreaths I would not see
Twined with laborious care for me;
Cease, boy, to rob the leafy bow’rs
Of all their few remaining flow’rs;
The simply myrtle branch instead,
With emerald leaves, shall crown my head;
Whilst under the o’erhanging vine,
I drain the cup you fill with wine,
The myrtle suits your brown and mine.

 

BOOK II.—ODE II.


RENOWN’D for lyric and satiric lay,
A two-fold poet, I
Shall on strong wing be upward borne
Above the liquid sky;
No more shall earth my spirit bind—
To heav’n I’ll soar, and envy leave behind. [page 170]

No! my Maecenas, who wast ever just,
A witness to my worth,
By whom I’m counted as a friend,
Despite my humble birth;
I shall not lie forgotten in the grave,
Or pine encircled by the Stygian wave.

Rough grows my skin: anon, my upper half
Is changed into a swan;
Soft down and plumage sprout apace,
My arms and fingers on;
Than Daedalus more swift I soar,
And flap my wings o’er groaning Bosphorous’ shore.

By Scythian stream and Colchian shore,
Where Rhine majestic flows,
Where dwell the Dacians wont to hide
Their fear of Roman foes,
O’er Afric’s sand, and Hyperborean plain,
Shall sweep in cadence soft my touching strain.

For me I ask no funeral chant
When soaring out of sight;
Unfit the mourner’s sighs and tears
To grace my glorious flight;
Let solemn silence rule the general mien,
And no vain pageant crown the closing scene. [page 171]

 

 

 


W.H. Collingridge, City Press, Long Lane

[unnumbered page]

[2 blank pages]

[back cover]

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