[3 blank pages]
THE MUSSON BOOK CO., LMITED
TORONTO, CANADA LONDON, ENGLAND
SONGS OF THE DAY
SONGS OF THE NIGHT
|THE SPIRTS OF THE NIGHT||
|LOVE AND I||
|THE POPPY FIELD||
|THE CITY OF SILENCE||
|I MISS YOU||
|THE PORTAL OF DEATH||
|A SPIRIT VOICE||
|THE SPIRIT HOST||
|TO ONE ABOVE||
|THE OLD TRYSTING-PLACE||
|MY BIRD OF HOPE||
|THE FOUNTAIN OF TEARS||
|THE SOUL OF THE MURDERER||
|MY SAILOR BOY||
|THE BROKEN LUTE||
|THE SPIRITS OF THE YEARS||
|THE RIVER OF SLEEP||
|THE PALACE OF TEARS||
|THE TOLL OF THE SEA||
SONGS OF THE DAY
HER country stretches wide and free, Beloved of all the world; On city street and hill and dale Her banner is unfurled; The light of heaven streams on her, From pole to coral reef; And no man dare her wrath incur, Her flag the Maple Leaf. Intelligence dwells in her land, Sweet Industry ne’er tires, Integrity rings golden bells From out her thousand spires The strangers flock within her gates And gladly par her fief, The blessed land of Canada, Her flag the Maple Leaf. Silver and gold are in her hold, Her coffers never lack; Her sons are valiant to defend, Whene’er her foes attack; [page 3] And far and wide on every side There waves the golden sheaf; God bless the land of Canada, Her flag the Maple Leaf!
THROUGH forests primeval Where swift torrents rush, Babbling loudly, their voices Dispersing the hush Of silence that drapes Agèd trees, like the pall Of oblivion which hangs O’er deserted old hall; Through wild trackless waters Where lurketh the night; O’er silver-starred pathway Where reigneth the light; Where wild doves are nesting, Where butterflies flock; Where the strong winds of heaven The little leaves rock; [page 4] Where sunbeams are bending To kiss opening flowers; Where gold is descending From the hands of the hours; Where silver-tongued rivers Lead golden-voiced birds; Late afternoon shadows Soothe fleecy white herds; Where zephyrs are calling To whispering sheaves; Where sweet rain is falling On crimson-clad leaves; Where cloth-of-gold lieth In state on the hills; Where moonbeams meander On quivering rills; Where heavenly ermine All glittering shines; Where jewelled crowns encircle The brows of the pines; Through fire’s scorching cavern, Through solitude’s gloom; Past the glories of life And the mists of the tomb; [page 5] Through the curtain of darkness, In beauty divine,— They follow their leader, The wonderful nine.
The God of Colour
THE summer days were nearly o’er, The world was growing duller, When through the woods there roamed by chance One night the god of colour. He set a glowing palette full, And seized some reeds for brushes, And soon beneath his skilful touch The fading maple blushes. Old trees look young and fresh again In brown tints soft and mellow; The oak discards her dust-worn gown To don a garb of yellow. He scatters colours on the grass, The world grows gay and gladder; He paints the flowers with amethyst, The evening sky with madder. [page 6] The summer days were nearly o’er, The world was growing duller; He’s filled it with a fresh delight, This little god of colour.
THE constellations of the heavens knew Him, Stars heralded His birth ; To meet His needs, the grain, the grape, the olive Sprang upward from the earth. Fish from the sea rose at their Maker’s bidding To float into the net; The waters made a pathway for His footsteps Whose Hand their boundary set. The dewdrops hastened from the sky to bathe Him, The soft winds brushed His hair, The wild trees sheltered Him in tribulation And listened to His prayer. The round world trembled at His cry of anguish, The daylight faded dim, The darkness shrouded Him as with a curtain, The sun went blind for Him. [page 7]
The Call of the River
LOUDER than whirr of factory Above the city’s hum, I hear the river calling me With rippling voice to come. It bids me leave the haunt of man, The squalor, dust, and din, The cry of pain, the lust of gain, The misery and sin. Through shine or gloom, above the loom, It calls for evermore, And lures me like a siren sweet With music to its shore.
SHE sits spinning, spinning, spinning, With her distaff in her hand, Offering skeins of golden treasure To all those who near her stand. She finds her own material, She knows not any law; She spins minutes into fortunes, And pure gold out of straw. [page 8] She’s keen of sight and very wise, Swift-footed as the wind; She wears a hood upon her head And never looks behind. She’s clad in sombre garments, But her arms with gems are twined; She is shod with velvet slippers, And is sometimes hard to find. The whole long day she sits and spins Her lovely golden strands, And holds them out to every one, With little jewelled hands. For ever fresh and beautiful, Her charms all men entice; She never will repeat her gifts Nor spin a pattern twice.
O MIGHTY stream! O beauteous Fall! Thy shivering, quivering spray Reflects the rainbows on the sea Of azure far away. [page 9] The spirits of a thousand years Encamp within thy caves, While on and o’er for evermore Unending pour thy waves. A magic breath, a dirge of death, Thy mystic vapours fling A funeral pall, O mighty Fall! O glittering, regal thing! Zephyrs caress with tenderness, Thy silver drapery twist, Where emeralds twine and opals shine, Diamond and amethyst.
The Irish Emigrant
I’M lonesome for ye, Norah darling, On Canada’s fair shore; I’ve hung my harp upon the willow, I play on it no more. It is a bonnie country, Norah, Where man’s a chance to rise, Where skies are blue, my own sweet darling, The color of your eyes. [page 10] I’ve built a cottage for ye, Norah, With roses at the door, A fireplace and a china-cupboard, A garden plot before. I’ve hung my harp upon the willow, I will not need it more Until I see you, Norah darling, A-standing at the door. The ocean rolls so wide between us, Dear Ireland is so far; Oh come to me quick, Norah darling! For home is where you are.
FOUR-AND-TWENTY heralds go Across the fields of light; Twelve are in black with sable plumes, And twelve in flowing white. Twelve mount on steeds of ebony In towns where no man stirs; Twelve of them snow-white palfreys ride And wear their golden spurs. [page 11] Twelve of them run from East to West, And twelve from West to East, To bid the earth’s inhabitants To mourning, rest, or feast. No swords clang as they swiftly ride, Their largess wide they fling— They carry gifts to every one, These heralds of a King.
SHE is full of grace, She is clothed with light, She steals to me From the arms of night. Her glittering robe Outshines the stars; She locks up darkness, The light unbars. She has hair of gold, With amber eyes; A wealth of love In her sweet face lies. [page 12] She dances about In her yellow shoes, And laughs with glee As her gifts diffuse. She has gathered store From dim vaults of old; Her hands are full, Dripping full of gold. She hastens away When her work is done By a golden staircase To the sun.
The Spirit of the Ocean
SHE dwells afar where the waters lave The coral walls of some ocean cave, Where the sea-nymphs dance on a deep green wave; Where for evermore the billows roar In majesty at her rockbound door, Or in fury break on her sanded floor. She stealeth out in the dead of night, Her tresses flowing and robed in light, To walk out on the wild waves, foaming white. [page 13] She rocks the ships, as a weary child Is rocked by its mother to slumber mild, Crooning her lullabies weird and wild. She patrols the ocean a watch to keep, Sings a funeral dirge over all who sleep, And laps them to rest in her graveyard deep. She dwells with her mermaids fair and brave, In some cloistered spot where the waters lave The coral walls of an ocean cave.
The Heart of the Woods
IN the heart of the woods there is rest and peace— No noise, nor toil, nor strife; Just the soothing touch of a Hand divine, Afar from the marts of life; Where washed from the dust of care, and clothed In the mood of the forest trees, We sing with nature a glad refrain, To the tune of the summer breeze. In the heart of the woods we lay aside Our burdens of life awhile, To gather up flowers of joy, and learn Or childhood’s mind, to smile; [page 14] There every tree has its gilead balm For woes, or doubts, or moods, And the heart of man feels the heart of God In the spirit of the woods.
HER eyes are full of laughter, Her hair is spun of gold, And all men follow after As they have done of old. Where’er her footstep tarries The sweetest songs are born, And everywhere she carries New joys to the forlorn. The hearts of all she knoweth Throughout her favoured land, And wheresoe’er she goeth Her harp is in her hand. Her heart is full of laughter, Her hair is spun of gold, And all men follow after As they have done of old. [page 15]
STATELY, in velvet and silk, Furs and priceless old lace, With skin as soft as milk And a pure Madonna face; Beautiful, tender, good, Full of a latent power In her maidenhood’s fresh young bloom, Like some rare, sweet, opening flower; Through the curtained door a girl, Whose fair plaits crowned her head, Came shyly in and paused; “My model,” the artist said. Surprised, I saw her stand Without velvet or silk or fur; But I knew that the artist’s soul Had painted the soul of her.
THE country of a thousand isles, Of zephyrs sweet and cool; Where mirrors daily show God’s smiles, There’s many a fern-girt pool; [page 16] Where there are miles of vast seashore Where the wild waves sing their prayers, And houses built with open doors To all who climb their stairs; Where health and wealth and hope abound, Where gold waves in the breeze; Where rivers hasten with sweet sound To join the inland seas; A land where thundering waters speak, Where shoals and shallows play; Where rainbows dance at hide-and-seek In showers of glittering spray; Where mountains tower toward the skies To circle her with love; Where lofty pine cathedrals rise Whose spires point above; Where freedom’s banner is unfurled, Riches from sea to sea,— The grandest land of all the world Is Canada the free. [page 17]
THROUGH a dense wood they lure me ever onward, They beckon unto me; I cannot tell if there be few or many All clothed in mystery; For ever they go dancing on before me, Still beckoning unto me. Sylph-like and sweet, with airy fairy graces Seen only as in dreams, Like silent sirens dancing with veiled faces Where firelight gleams; On through the wood they lead, o’er fragrant blossoms, By silver streams.
THEY are dancing in the sunshine, They are dancing in the wind, With their red and yellow dresses Gaily flying out behind. They are twirling in the sunshine, The whole air with joy is rife; They are dancing, gaily dancing, From the very love of life. [page 18] They are waltzing to the music Of Euterpe with her lute; They are dancing to the wild strains Pan is playing on his flute. They are dancing in the sunshine, They are dancing in the wind, With their red and yellow dresses Gaily trailing out behind.
WE are marching down the ages in the glory of the Lord, His Cross shall be our banner, and His Holy Word our Sword With honour in our vanguard, all fear behind us cast, To the glory of the future; in the memory of the past. Chorus: We are marching down the ages in the glory of the Lord His Cross shall be our banner, and His Holy Word our sword, As we go marching on. [page 19] We are marching down the ages in the glory of the Lord, Prosperity and unity our aim and our reward; The rights which we have fought for we never more will yield, The truth shall be our buckler and righteousness our shield. In the glory of our fathers who were born across the sea, We are marching to the music of the bells of liberty; Secure in peace and plenty or led on by martial drum, We are marching down the ages to the better days to come.
The Spirit of the Pines
A CHARM pervades her dwelling Like blessing from on high; She soothes her weary children With an ancient lullaby. There’s healing in her presence, Her voice like music peals, From her soft shadowy garments A faint sweet fragrance steals. [page 20] Her dark hair like a halo Surrounds a face divine; From her dreamy eyes of splendour Maternal welcomes shine. She unbinds care’s clothes that cumber, Bathes in the stream of peace, Brings forth the robe of slumber, The pillows of release. Kind and comely she sits watching, With the lovelight in her eyes, A-rocking of the cradle And crooning lullabies.
SHE spins so patiently her silver web From tree to tree, As fair Arachne wove her coloured strands, So cunningly. Methinks the daring soul and pride, The power and skill Of that famed ancestor of hers Bide in her still. [page 21] She dreams of lands and days of old When men were kings, And women goddesses With crowns and wings; Of glitter, royal pomp, And clanging swords, When tapestries were woven For the gods. And as the eons flow in space, The seasons ebb, She spins and hangs on common things Her silver web.
The Old House
THE old lawn, the old trees, That years have left behind, The garden all abloom with flowers, I often see in mind. The jessamine and columbine Their graceful tendrils flung Around the old verandah post, Where the robins raised their young. [page 22] The old house in tottering age, Grown grey with family cares, Ghosts gather round thy hearth at night, Walk up and down the stairs. Time unlocks treasure-vaults to those Whose right it is to come; But to the curious stranger The dear old walls stand dumb. And down the empty fireplaces The east wind makes its moan: Come out and softly close the door, Leave the old house alone.
The Gold God
AN autocratic, cruel, cold god, Before him thousands bow; His courtiers, a glittering throng, To him allegiance vow. His brood of ill-begotten sons, Pride, Plunder, Vice and Shame, Crime, Sickness, Misery, Poverty, Are fighting for his fame. [page 23] His banner floateth everywhere, All creeds his mandates feel, Crowds hasten with oblations sweet, In servile worship kneel. And on his stately altar, Earth Her daily tribute flings; He tramples ruthlessly upon Her tender helpless things. His sceptre reaches o’er the world, His heralds run afar; He crushes out the souls of men ’Neath his triumphal car.
THE wind is tolling dolefully A funeral knell Through the dim belfry of the trees, Like some weird bell. The bushes bare, bowed down with grief, Look gaunt and old; The fields that throbbed with golden life Lie still and cold. [page 24] Wrapped in white fleecy shroud they lie, So chill and numb; Birds sing no, and the rippling rills Are stricken dumb. The wind rings on, the song of death It pours aloud; The fields lie buried, and the skies Have made their shroud.
The Death of Yesterday
WAN and chill, without cry or warning, Her spirit fled, like a passing cloud, To another world, at the dawn of morning, And she lies wrapped in her misty shroud. But e’er she went where no time they measure, To be laid in the grave of the past away, She gave to the children of men a treasure In the birth of her infant child, To-day.
DROPS of blood by summer shed As her life strength ebbed away; And with crown-beshriven head, Numbered with the dead, she lay. [page 25] Corals from some ocean isle Sea-nymphs here have brought to deck Autumn, just to see her smile As she hangs them on her neck.
IN the dust of the crowded city, O’er the squalor and loud-voiced words, He lingers in infinite pity, Recalling the songs of the birds. And e’en through the noise of the traffic He catches the sweet mystic trill Of the silvery speech of the river As it ripples along toward the mill. In spite of the rough tones about him, Above all the din of the loom, He lists to the lowing of cattle And gathers the violets abloom. His dreams are of wealth of sweet roses, As he treads on the narrow street; Or of searching for nuts or posies, Or wandering ‘mid golden wheat. [page 26] An alien who’s bartered his birthright For the city smoke and gloom; But his spirit dwells in the homeland, Though his hands may toil at the loom.
He Went into the Fields
MY Master went into the fields To ease Him of His pain; My Master went into the fields, The golden fields of grain, To pray awhile in solitude, E’er came His load again. My Master went into the fields To cast aside His care, Among the lilies of the fields The wild birds of the air; My Master went into the fields To meet His Father there.
‘NEATH the wind’s breath they quiver, My lilies of delight Fresh from the sparkling river, Dear maidens robed in white, [page 27] All fealty demanding Like virgins pure and fair, With fragrance in the handling And gold glints in their hair. They float upon the waters While light glows in the skies; At eventide, sweet daughters, They close their night-kissed eyes. ‘Neath the wind’s touch they quiver, Those lilies of delight My Love brought from the river And gave to me last night.
A Fleeting Vision
IN spite of trailing gown and stately coiffure, Silk, chiffon, tinkling things, Laughter, small talk and gauzy fan and perfume, Bracelets and finger-rings, Film of art, with dressmaker’s deception, And all convention’s lies — I saw your soul for one brief fleeting moment Through your uncurtained eyes. [page 28] I saw, and know beyond all controversy, That is pure and free As a white daisy blooming in the sunshine, A gull upon the sea. As sometimes in a streamlet in the valley We see the sky-clouds roll, Across a stately flower-decked dining-table I saw a human soul.
Life and Death
I SAW through an open door in a house most fair; Youth, love, warmth, happiness, friendship and hope dwell there. The rooms were fragrant, hung with trappings rich and old, Of art and intellect, silver and gems and gold: And when each guest arose, his hour of sojourn o’er, A sable-clad attendant oped for him the far, closed door. Then through this open door (‘twas quickly closed again, For in the narrow hall there was not space for twain), [page 29] I saw rooms fairer still, more spacious:glories gleamed Brighter than I had seen, grander than I had dreamed. So now I grieve no more whatever may betide; When one door shuts at last, the other opens wide.
(From Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” )
FOR ever and for ever onward driven, No port in sight; but yet She drifts across the trackless seething ocean With blood-red sails all set. No rest from the eternal restless water, Nor harbour at any dock, Imperishable derelict, immortal, Though torn on many a rock. No helm and no steersman and no cargo, Nor gleaming starboard light; Her crew of phantom sailors weird and silent, All other ships affright. [page 30] Year after year, with never-ceasing motion, She wanders on her way, Tossed on the bosom of the surging ocean The livelong night and day. The lurid lightning flashes through the heavens, The billows roar and fret; The ghostly vessel travels ever onward Her blood-red sails all set. No death awaits her in the waves’ embraces, Nor tempest from above; No resting-place, no hope, and no deliverance, Save in redeeming love.
WITH the refulgence from Olympic altars Their faces shine; On air they float in trailing vestal garments, The mystic nine. O’er silver-flowered fields and pearly mountains They wend their way; On Helicon they drink of starry fountains By night and day. [page 31] Sweet fragrance issues from their flowing raiment; The deepest gloom Flees like a phantom at the sun’s appearing To its dark tomb. With harps and songs, hands laden with treasure, With joy for night, With jewel-crowned brow, light feet that dance a measure Of keen delight; With mirth and feasting, love and life and laughter, Sweet dreamy eyes— To touch their garments all men follow after To make them wise. Goddesses in white mantles, evanescent, With fire divine, Apollo’s spirit-choir, immortal maidens, The mystic nine.
WE lean upon the high rail fence Through which we may not stray, And cast our longing eyes across The field of yesterday. [page 32] The long grass seemed not half so sweet When we through it went plodding; We did not see the blue cornflowers, Daisies, and poppies nodding. The birds’ song trilled upon the air, Rich perfume to us floated; But all the beauty of that field We felt we never noted. Love sauntered through the turnstile too, To bear us company; On bread of life and wine of joy We feasted there care-free. The distant fields before us lie, Our path winds on its way; But evermore we stand and sigh For the field of yesterday.
FREE!—free as the air! From his hot prison bars Thrust out ‘neath the light Of the glittering stars; [page 33] When the faint silver beams Of the moon had scarce gone From the field where the sun In his chariot shone. Free from whence Law Its anathemas hurled Down on the Life and the Light Of the World. Robber and murderer Sentenced to death, Loosed from his shackles To draw freedom’s breath; Once more to roam With companions to tryst, Free in the stead Of the crucified Christ. Free from whence Law Its atrocities hurled— Felt he a thrill From that Heart of the World ? [page 34]
The Meed of Love
MY heart is glad—not of wide lands and houses, Of grand ancestral name, Vast wealth and all the gifts which pride arouses, Great learning or earned fame; My heart is glad—not of earth’s fleeting pleasure That every hour allures, The rain and shine, the flowers and fruit and treasure,— But just because I’m yours. Perchance the meed of love may still be sorrow, And I may wake to weep; I would not give to-day for one to-morrow, My virgin heart to keep. Grief always comes united to a blessing, And losses follow gain; Whatever in this world is worth possessing Is also worth the pain.
The Soul Market
NOTE the glitter and the glamour, Hark how gold and silver rolls, Where the Devil’s emissary’s Buying souls—human souls. [page 35] Satyrs grimly dance behind him, Gay sirens call aloud; The wrapper of each purchase Is a shroud—is a shroud. Mark the rushing and the crushing Of the poor misguided fools, Heeding not the whirring, stirring, Of the bats and lurking ghouls Who are waiting in the belfry Till their hour the great bell tolls, Swooping down to take possession Of the souls—the lost souls.
The City of the Sea
THERE is a city where the wild waves swirl Tempestuously, ceaselessly, against the pearl And coral houses, where the mermaids rest Nestled in the shelter of the ocean’s breast. There, in that city of the sanded street Which echoes to the music of light tripping feet, Rise wondrous palaces and crystal bowers, Wide rocky gardens all ablaze with flowers, [page 36] Where the sea-nymphs sing to emerald lyres And the hours chime out from sapphire spires, While the soft white clouds of fleecy foam Float in the azure above their home. They live and love, they toil and sleep Cradled in the strong arms of the great blue deep; And when they die the seaweeds wave Fair, feathery plumes o’er their rock-hewn grave.
THE oldest of all gravediggers, He merrily sings and delves; Some bodies he tucks in a blanket of dust, And some on his cold vault-shelves. Come young or aged, he buries them deep, He hides them all away; He digs by light and he digs by night, But he buries them all some day. The years will send them their thousand dead As the years have done of old; And he drops his dead in a narrow bed And lays them away to mould. [page 37] He laughs at other sextons Whom Death has bound to toil As he covers his graves, and plants his flowers On the rich and fertile soil. The oldest of all gravediggers, Always at work and gay, For well he knows, whoever goes Must surely come his way.
If we could see beyond the cares oppressing, We’d find the very gifts we daily crave; The heaven-sent cross oft brings an earthly blessing Sweet joys arise to bloom on sorrow’s grave. Beneath our bitter anguish lies the treasure We’ve long years sought, in many ways, in vain; Our pain is oft the harbinger of pleasure, Our losses sometimes prove our truest gain. [page 38] Then perish doubt, and hushed be sad complaining; For mortal faith is frail and sight is dim; There’s One who rules our lives with love constraining; Be still and murmur not, but trust in Him.
ALONE, despised, forsaken by His brethren, Misunderstood, Rejected by His people and His city, He went into the wood. The strong trees stretched their arms to give Him shelter And soothe His troubled mood; Their great hearts yielded Him their fragrant presence Alone within the wood. Alone, in agony forsworn, forsaken, Despised, misunderstood, He left the haunts of man and man’s creation, To go into the wood. [page 39]
Isaiah xxxvi. 16
“Drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern.”
WHY should I travel in the same quiet road That men journey on day after day? There is nothing new for us unless we will seek To tread on an untrodden way. Why should I dig deep where my brother has delved, And chop where he has chopped in the wood? Reap the fruit of his labour and drink from his well, When there’s many another as good? Each should plant his own vineyard, and drink his own wine And gather to garner or sell, Dig deep his own cistern and quench his life-thirst With clear water from out his own well.
HE had no home at whose command the earth Sprang from the womb of chaos into birth. He treasures hid in deep dark vaults of old, But had no gems, no silver and no gold. [page 40] He made the fruits, the seed of yellow wheat, Toiled as a craftsman for the food to eat. He planted trees in forests vast and dim; The doors made of their woods were closed to Him. He painted flowers to sweeten earth’s fair morns; Men gathered blossoms, offered Him the thorns. All, all His gifts from hill to sun-kissed moss; The only thing men gave Him was a Cross.
SO dearly do I love thee, dear, That were my soul from earth set free, This warm clay lying still and drear, Would swift arise at word from thee. Nor grave so deep, nor death so cold, Could separate us long, I ween, Thine image in mine heart would hold Mine eyes from heaven’s glorious sheen. [page 41] Yea, even in that land of bliss, Empty would seem its joy and fame, Until I felt again thy kiss, And heard the angels call thy name.
The Ghost of Poverty
WITH white wan visage, cold red hands, With vision blurred and failing, A long procession in his wake Of little children wailing; Mothers with heavy-lidded eyes Withheld by tears from sleeping, Women with toil gowns old and worn, And pretty damsels weeping. His garments soiled and tattered hang Upon his gaunt frame shrunken; Bent back, bowed head, down at the heel, He staggers like one drunken. His gifts are penury and crime, Unsought-for, bitter leisure Thirst, hunger, weariness and cold In full and pressed-down measure. [page 42]
My First Love
I LEFT my first love, Innocence, To seek the home of Shame, The filth of her foul dwelling-place Besmirched my once fair fame. I felt her yoke grow heavier, Her pleasures daily pall; Her presence satiated me, Her sweetmeats turned to gall. I rose and sought my manhood’s garb, I left her board and bed, To seek my first love, Innocence, But found that she was dead.
The Sea Shepherd
I LIE upon the golden sands and watch The shepherd of the seas Tending his flock upon the azure field Under the grey cloud trees. Hither and thither, gambolling all the day In search of pastures new, His crook a trident, still he leads them forth Across the field of blue. [page 43] The hours haste on, a soft sweet mist descends, Young zephyrs call and scold; But as he took them to the shining fields He brings them to the fold.
ONTARIO, Ontario, Thy water rolls as blue As when thou tossed upon thy breast The Indian’s birch canoe. Heathen orgies and the war-whoop Echo round thy shores no more, Yet thy waves roll on untiring Majestic as of yore. Cities thrive where once the forest Was the home of wolf and bear; On the site of Indian wigwam Culture’s built creations fair. Where in primal days the wavelets Kissed in solitude thy beach Where the lonely maples whispered, Arts and sciences now reach. [page 44] Ontario, Ontario Thy water rolls as blue As in the days thy bosom bore The Indian’s birch canoe. Roll on through future centuries As in the past, thy fame; We heirs of the Dominion Love thy beauty and thy name.
I SOUGHT a lovely figure, young and fair, I scarce had seen her, she went by so fast, Now I bemoaned my carelessness and wept, She’d vanished like a phantom, gone—my Past; The while I strewed flowers sadly on my dead, Another form drew near and softly said: “ Weep not for what is gone, my friend, but turn To the rich blessing that awaits you now, Your Past is dead, but I, your Present, live To comfort you, with laurels crown your brow; Be up and grasp me, never idly yearn For visions that to dust and ashes turn.” [page 45] As she thus spoke, her fingers pointed on To where a shadow issued from the wood, Clad in a garb of mist and glamour, with Arms full of flowers, down dropping as she stood; The Future beckoned me with outstretched hand To step into a new enchanted land.
WHERE did she lose it? Down in the meadow— Down in the meadow raking hay? She was a gay child yester-morning In the little meadow beside the bay. Her eyes are blue as the bluest cornflower Her laughter ripples out glad and gay, Her hair is gold in the summer sunshine, She’s frolicsome as a lamb at play Where did she lose it? Down in the meadow— Down in the meadow raking hay? She was a gay child yester-morning She is a woman grown to-day. [page 46]
THY birth was in some star above within God’s golden portal, Thy mother was Eternity, thy life and youth immortal, Thy cradle was the crescent moon, the angels smoothed thy pillow, Thou playedst upon the rainbow bridge and danced upon the billow. The stars sang in the universe before thee at thy going. And wheresoe’er thy footstep touched, rich flowers and fruits sprang growing; Thou broughtest earth sweet gifts of love with throbs of bitter anguish, But many waters cannot drown nor mighty warriors vanquish. Thy sceptre reaches everywhere from earth to heaven’s shore, Thou wast before the world began, thou wilt be evermore; Thy voice of melody prevails above the burial hymn, Thou livest as long as God Himself or holy seraphim. [page 47]
WHEN I want to find a princess For my castle in the air, I will not go to seek for her Among the rich and fair. I want her kind and beautiful, I know she must be brave, For only those are conquerors Who early learn to slave. I want a clean-swept, garnished heart, A tender, skilful hand; And only those who can obey Are fit to bear command. So when I want to find her For my castle in the air, I will not go to look for her Where none aspire or dare— Among the giddy-pated, The idlers of the earth; But I’ll find my Cinderella In the ashes of some hearth. [page 48]
VENICE, city of my heart, Venice, queen of southern skies, Lofty palaces of art In eternal grandeur rise; Wrapped in ancient majesty, Silent city of the sea. Placid, glittering highways wind All around thy stately halls, Din and dust-clouds left behind, O’er each age thy spell enthralls; Peaceful in antiquity, Silent city of the sea. Bathed in glowing, glimmering lights, With a glory all thine own, Beauteous in thy days and nights, Dwelling like a queen alone; Dreaming on in majesty, Silent city of the sea.
I FOUND on the pathway by which I must travel Erected a cross; I could only avoid it or journey around it With infinite loss. [page 49] But as I became to its presence accustomed Through many dark hours, I learned that, though stony, it often was fragrant And covered with flowers. There, under the blossoms, were footholds deep chiselled, And after a time I found it was only a God-given ladder By which I could climb.
CREATURE of wing and wind, Of ocean-laden breeze, A spirit of the deep, A playmate of the seas, Sweet messenger of wind, Of foam and froth, Beating against the light, Brief ecstasy or wrath: Creature of wing and wind Thy wild free life is gone; Across the trackless seas The light shines on. [page 50] Weak creature of the land, Wasting thy strength in wrath, As gull at lighthouse lamp, Or in the candle moth: Creature of soul and mind, Thy pulsing life is gone; But o’er earth’s trackless fields The light shines on.
The Lonely Pine
HE dwells not with his kindred in the forest; In heaven’s light divine In solitude he lives upon the hillside, A lonely pine. Like some great soul predestined for a leader, Forlorn, misunderstood, He came out solitary from his brethren Who frolic in the wood. Erect and vigorous, like some mighty giant, Magnificent and fair, His graceful arms, strong, beautiful, and pliant, Flung on the air. [page 51] His rugged splendour, kissed by straying sunbeams, Bathed in the rain; The listening zephyrs hear him gently murmuring His litany of pain. The moon smiles on him in the midnight watches, The four winds bring him wine, In solitude he lives upon the hillside, A lonely pine.
To a Mummy in Canada
GAUNT, weird, and old, Distant from land and kin, Once a casket, fair perchance, A beautiful jewel within. Long years, dim years ago, Did you wander by the Nile? Was Egypt queen below? Did you sun beneath her smile? Did you wear a diadem With stately Eastern grace? Some glittering regal gem Vie in beauty with your face? [page 52] Did some ardent lover’s kiss Find your tender lips all sweet? Did you dance a minuet With your little fairy feet? Where are you living now? With your laughter or your tears, You lie before me dumb In the swaddling bands of years. Egypt’s queens are gone All earthly rulers change; Yet you are lying here In a country unknown, strange. In the days when you were born, When Egypt reigned a queen, The world was in its morn, And ages rolled between.
I RISE at the hour of gloaming, When the day’s work is done, And tread the golden pathway Which leadeth to the sun. [page 53] I flee me from my prison Of labour-welded bars; I cross the azure ocean On stepping-stones of stars. Beneath the bridge of rainbow I find a long-sought boon; I climb the silver stairway That reaches to the moon. I fly on snowy pinions Above the salt sea’s foam, I roam in coral mansions Where mermaids build their home. I travel fast and care-free, No money in my purse, No baggage to impede me, Around the universe.
The Most of Life
HE makes the most of life Who rises with the day To noble, kindly deeds That help men on their way; [page 54] Who humbly fills the place Appointed him by God, The common, daily round Men centuries have trod; Who tastes the joy of love, Of living and of gain; Who strives for some high goal With heart and hand and brain; Who gathers all earth’s sweets, Brushing aside the stings; Who grasps the blessings sent Ere they have taken wings; Who finds the discipline Of chosen toil his school, And carves his epitaph With brush or pen or tool.
The Old School
THE old school, the dear school, Methinks I see it now, With welcome smiling from its face, The sunlight on its brow. [page 55] The worn seats, the old desks, Where each one carved a name, Some buried in oblivion now, Some laurel-wreathed with fame. We played there, we learned there, Beside the rippling rill, The old school, the dear school, The schoolhouse on the hill.
BUILDING their castles on the shifting sand, The happy children toil in merry play, With phantoms people them, and never dream To-morrow’s waves will wash them all away. ‘Tis so men build them castles on the earth, And heap up gold as children gather sand, Unmindful that the tide of Time may turn, And scatter their possessions and their land. But as tired children at a parent’s call, Leaving their treasures, faces homeward turn, So e’en, while grasping fleeting earthly joys, For greater, richer, lasting things men yearn, [page 56] And lay aside their treasures here when called The Father in the Fatherland to see; They have but lived their childhood’s sunny hours Upon the seashore of Eternity.
THE hand that moves with ceaseless toil On the cold marble’s shapeless block Is forming art for years to come With chisel’s cut or hammer’s knock; ‘Tis not alone for name or fame, Or palace gallery to adorn, Nor e’en for gold, but for the eyes Of generations yet unborn. When artist fingers grasp the brush, And on the canvas rude and bare Trace glowing scenes of earth or sea, Enduring visions wondrous fair, Though few may praise, and his poor name Unlettered and forgotten be, Those picture yet shall live to bless; We paint for all eternity. [page 57] The pen that writes the poem sweet, Or tells of history, science, war, Records heart tales of life and love, Speaks to the future evermore, When pen lies rusted, hand is still, The echoes ring from sea to sea, Down the dim corridors of time; We write for all eternity.
MY lady come tripping adown the mountains, Across the meadows the sweet winds blow, The sun peeps out of the clouds to see her, Wherever she passes, the violets grow. She unbinds her tresses, and zephyrs whisper; She kisses, and sorrows are left behind; She bringeth gifts unto ever creature, Worshipped and welcomed by all mankind. My lady is fair and tall and stately, Full of laughter and joy and song; The child or Winter, the bride of Summer, Holding court with an eager throng. [page 58] My lady come tripping across the meadow; My lady, to meet her I must go; The sun peeps out of the clouds to see her, Wherever she passes the violets grow.
THE waves roll in under the sunlit skies Upon the golden beach, Leaving their trophies at my feet Or just beyond my reach. Anon they come and go at no man’s beck, Bearing to me The salvage from some other human wreck Far out at sea. The waves roll in for ever with their spoil, Bringing to me The gladness or the sadness and the toil— My destiny.
ONE who will rock-like stand, abiding, constant Through good repute or ill, ‘Neath favour of the world or tribulation, Spring’s glow or winter’s chill; [page 59] The same in joy and grief, in youth or old age, Penury or ill-health. Unchanged in turmoil, pain or degradation, Prosperity or wealth. One who will rightly estimate thy virtues, Cherish the herb of grace, One who of evil impulse, failure, sinning, Dare tell thee to thy face; Who, though all else on earth should spurn, forsake thee, Will yet with love attend, Go with thee to the Valley of the Shadow, Stay close until life’s end.
ONE was tall and gaunt and dark Hair the hue of the raven’s coat; The other was dainty, petite and fair, With ever a song in her full, round throat. One was clad in a garb of black, The other wore gowns of the rainbow’s hues; One was merry, the other sad; Yet each exacted from men her dues. [page 60] One caused laughter, the other tears, Like the sun and showers of an April day; And people knew, when they met the one, That the other was never far away. Each one brought in her hand a gift— Which the most precious gift few could prove; Men christened the sisters Sorrow and Joy, But they both were born from the womb of Love.
The Spirits of Music
THEY come and go harmoniously Upon the violin’s strings, The seraphim of melody With amber-coloured wings. They float down through the perfumed skies, With healing from the skies, With all the rainbow-coloured chords, Like glorious butterflies. They carry music in their souls To cheer the sons of earth From territory unexplored, From whence they had their birth. [page 61]
Hope’s Golden Sea
I’VE trimmed my sails and glided off Where some fair islands be, Where great and noble deeds are done, Across the golden sea. Faith’s hand upon the helm guides My vessel through the gales, Prayers, like sweet-laden zephyrs, blow Upon the white-winged sails. Rare spices from those islands waft Their perfumed breath to me, As my ship hastens on her way Across Hope’s golden sea.
My Lady’s Glove
MY lady dropped her dainty glove At show or feast, That man might haste to prove his love Wrestling with beast. My dainty lady dropped her glove Down in the mud; ‘Twas handed back on dripping sword Sheathed in man’s blood. [page 62] My lady drops her dainty glove At dance or feast; I do not rise and hasten forth To slay some beast; I tuck the dainty perfumed thing Into my vest, And feel her heart is beating there Against my breast.
GIRDLED with mountains In a cool green glen, Guarded by forests Seldom trod of men; A little mirror In a lonely place; I gazed in it and Straightaway saw God’s Face.
POLLY went, with airs and graces, Tripping through the grass; Morning glories raised their faces Just to see her pass. [page 63] Dainty blossoms, pink and pearly, Reached up for her hand, And night’s curtain rolled quite early From o’er all the land. The red sun arose to kiss her On a shining tress, Zephyrs came, lest they should miss her, Whispering a caress. Heaven dropped down diamonds gleaming, For her, fair and cool, All the lilies woke from dreaming On the quiet pool. The wild birds a-started singing At her laughter sweet; Her soft garments set a-ringing Blue-bells at her feet. Morning glories raised their faces, Just to see her pass, As she went, with airs and graces, Tripping through the grass.
VOICELESS with agony, men beat In vain upon the past’s barred gate; From our own deeds there’s no retreat, Repentance always comes too late. [page 64] The ghosts of days gone by will bear Old skeletons among the new Fair days—you many regret—but ne’er A life’s repentance can undo.
TO the beauty of sky and field, And many a lovely spot, Nature and Nature’s God, Who having eyes see not. To the higher things of life, The richest gifts of earth, True wealth and happiness, Blind—blind from birth. To good in other men Who strive to reach their goals, To the needs of human hearts, To the worth of human souls, Who scan the fair white page And only note the blot, Who walk through every age And having eyes see not. [page 65]
THEY tell me tales of wars of old In the dim days of Indian braves, When wigwams were man’s dwelling-place And birch canoes rocked on the waves. They sing me fragrant songs of love, Heroic deeds when might was right; Like spires they heavenward point alway And offer incense in the night. They murmur songs of constancy, The sweetness of enduring grace; Grim storms descend, the floods arise, Faithful, unmoved, they stand in place. Their perfumed breath soothes like a balm The sores won in commercial wild; They whisper low, sweet lullabies, As a mother to her child. A stately choir they chant to me, A God-built church, grand, free, and wide, Matins are offered with the sun, And vespers sung at eventide.
What Does It Matter?
WHAT does it matter if rain be falling? If clouds are hanging before the blue? Out of the clouds are angels calling. And life is glorious, love is true. [page 66] What does it matter if days be dreary? If nights be curtained about with care? We grope awhile, and are sometimes weary? The sun and the stars are always there. Why should we fret at pain or sorrow? Or pine when the joys and blossoms fall? They will flower again in some bright to-morrow, For the Father above us loves us all. So, what does it matter if rain be falling? If skies be cloudy instead of fair? Behind the clouds are angels calling, And God and Heaven are always there.
WITH youth’s vague hope I’d sigh for admiration And often stand To criticise myself in men’s creation A mirror made by hand. But one day, all unconscious and unwitting, I came on a surprise, I saw a vision of myself reflected; The mirrors were your eyes. Two magic mirrors always satisfying, Whence beauty never dies, Nor touch of care, nor hand of time defaces; My mirrors are your eyes. [page 67]
Since I Know You Love Me
BRIGHTER shines the glowing sun In the sky above me, Richer coloured bloom the flowers, Since I know you love me. Hope has touched with rosy wand Whatsoe’er betide me; For I fear no desert path If you are beside me. Fickle fortune cannot harm, Even though she miss me; I am rich with countless wealth If you’re here to kiss me. Though possessions spread their wings It will never grieve me If I still can hold your hand And you never leave me. Brighter shine the moon and stars In the sky above me, Fairer is the whole round world Since I know you love me. [page 68]
The Best Thing
TAKE the world, but give me love; Without love the world would die, Love’s the chrysalis in which All earth’s blessings folded lie. Take the world, its pomp and gains, Sordid stirring after pelf; Leave me love, its bliss and pains; Love is all, Love’s God Himself.
To My Love
THE rustling of the leaves, love, High in the poplar trees, Is but the whisper of your voice Borne on the summer breeze; The sky is very clear, love, A mirror hung in space, For I can always see in it The image of your face. The lapping of the wavelets On stones upon the shore Is but to me your knock, love, On my heart’s open door; [page 69] The rushes by the mere-side A-sighing in the wind Speak sweetly unto me, love; I hear your voice behind. I always feel you near, love Though for a little while I do not see your dear face, Nor sun beneath your smile; But everywhere I go, love, All things my heart rejoice, For close behind them all, love, I list and hear your voice.
I AM sitting alone in my castle, Sitting alone to spin, While To-morrow stands on the threshold Waiting to come in; For ever spinning, spinning, Gloomy or glad, or gay, But always the strands I handle Are the golden threads of To-day. [page 70]
The Church of the Trees
MY church is grand and beautiful And very good, Built strongly, inwrought with the sweet Resinous wood. Lofty, far o’er my head, Blue vaulted dome, Doors open always—there All may feel at home. Incense arises daily, fragrant And divine, To the high altar, where God’s candles shine. There sin departs and grace Descends on me; To every humble worshipper That church is free. Spires point to heaven ; a rich Golden light Flows through great windows; Silver lamps by night Illume each dim aisle And solemn feast Where God’s the Preacher, Architect, and Priest. [page 71]
The Legions of the Skies
THE traffic of the world Is dinning in our ears, Our gaze is fixed below, Eyes dim, perchance, with tears. Open our ears to hear, Open our eyes to see The legions of the skies, Angels of ministry. From heaven’s open door They hover on the air, Unknown, unseen of men, Yet they are often there. The spirit’s host’s the same To comfort and uphold, As in hours of need, Thy chosen saints of old. Open our eyes and ears, Lord make our spirits wise To know Thy messengers, The legions of the skies. [page 72]
SONGS OF THE NIGHT
CLAD in grey gown with softly flowing draperies, I saw the form of Night Come forth equipped for carnival of beauty, Across the hall of light. Upon her brow she wore a silver crescent Glowing like monarch’s crown, While regal sparkling gems in rich profusion Were scattered on her gown. She was so lovely in her still, cold beauty That all who saw were dumb; She trod so gently in grey velvet slippers That no man heard her come. Forth through the portal of the golden palace She went with royal grace. She carried in her hands a box of treasures, A smile was on her face. [page 75] And many rose to greet her at her coming With fragrant, virgin breath; Attendants went before and followed after— Angels of life and death.
THE evening mist is falling Upon the fertile loam; The boys are loudly calling The straying cattle home. The rosy light is paling On fallow land and lea; The golden moon is sailing Across the azure sea. The evening mist is falling Upon the ocean foam; The boys go loudly calling The straying cattle home. The western wind is singing An anthem on the heights; While angels’ hands are bringing Forth heaven’s harbour lights. [page 76] The evening mist is falling On land and ocean foam; Night’s voice is gently calling Her wandering children home.
The Spirits of the Night
WHEN Luna lights her silver lamp And draws her window-blind, The spirits of the night come forth And ride upon the wind, In robes of grey with dusky hair A-floating out behind. They scatter perfume as they go Scouring the hills and dales, Wrapped in soft veils of mystery High mounted on the gales, Leaping the branches of the trees, Flapping the seaships’ sails. Chasing each other through the air, Grim phantoms hard to find, In trailing gowns with dusky locks A-floating far behind, The spirits of the night go forth To ride upon the wind. [page 77]
I KNOW not the hour, but they come when the shadows Are drifting over the world, When grey mists envelop the hills and the valleys And the lilies’ white banners are furled. When the sun steppeth down from his throne of pure glory, On his couch seeketh sleep, Night lights the lamps of his palace with splendour, Clouds creep o’er the deep. When birds fold their feathers on nests and are silent, Peace broods o’er all things; Then out of the cavern the Past’s hand has chiselled, The ghosts come out on wings. They come with their burdens of love and rejoicing Of pain or of woe— The young ones, the old ones, the ones I’d forgotten; But each one I know [page 78] And there in the shadows they stand still and show me Dead things from the grave; But when the morn lightens they carry their treasures Again to their cave.
OH, love, dear love, come back to me Across the gulf of years, And fold me in your arms again And wipe away my tears. I stand upon the shore that bounds The great blue restless sea, Whose waters lave the sunlit shores Of some eternity. With aching heart and weary eyes And empty outstretched hands, I watch and wait from day to day Upon the burning sands. I wait in utter loneliness, The sea before me lies, No sail on the horizon comes To glad my longing eyes. [page 79] The country lieth fair behind, Tropical glories smile; To me, dear love, where you are not Is but a desert isle. With yearning heart and weeping eyes And empty outstretched hands I stand and wait from day to day Upon the burning sands. The ocean stretches far and wide, The wingèd zephyrs blow; Across the sea where you have gone, I too am fain to go. Some day, dear love, a sail will come, A ship appear for me, And bear me to that foreign land Where you now wait for me.
AN alien, alone o’er the wide world I roam; Thine arms were my shelter, thy heart was my home, Thine eyes were my lodestar whatever betide, Thy smile was my guerdon, thy love was my pride. [page 80] Where’er thou art now, I would be with thee there, Feel thy kiss on my lips and thy hand on my hair, Hear thee speak, let thee wipe away all the sad tears, Lean my head on thy bosom as in bygone years. Yea, I would be with thee wherever thou art, Thy presence my glory, my refuge thy heart; For heaven without thee no heaven would be, And hell would be heaven if thou wert with me.
THE lowly dwelling where you lived In regal state Is overhung with webs of time, Empty and desolate. The moss-green mould of years has grown Upon the thatch, The rust hinges creak, and stiff The well-worn latch. Rooms echo your dear voice, your step Sounds on the stairs ; And everywhere I feel your arms, Your love, your prayers. [page 81] The fragrance of your presence fills The silent space; In every mirror on the walls I see your face. And there I mourn in widowhood Alone, bereft; No other foot shall ever cross The door you left.
THE rustle of her garments Sweeps through the deserted hall; The creaking stairs re-echo The sound of her light footfall. Her gowns hang limp in the wardrobe With a hint of her nameless grace; Her image smiles from the mirror So wont to reflect her face. The little empty slippers Beside the old fireplace, The jewels that shone on her fingers, The dainty, filmy lace. [page 82] The bit of work in her basket, The books on the table seem Such proof of her living presence That her absence appears a dream. Behind the curtain of silence Her voice lurks yet in the room, Her spirit lingers among us, Though her body lies in the tomb.
Love and I
WE travelled a long road together, Love and I; But ’twas pleasant every weather, Rough or dry. For he always kept beside me, Held my hand, Up and down the hills and valleys Of the land. Now the way is very lonely; In a dream, One day he went before me O’er a stream. [page 83] But I know that he still loves me, And I think He is waiting for me somewhere Near the brink.
The Poppy Field
WHAT matter though I be here And my love in a foreign land? At night we meet in the poppy field And sit hand in hand. I rest my head on his shoulder, For the parting will come soon; The poppies are nodding around us In the light of the silver moon. We whisper in perfumed stillness And hear the dewdrops fall, Till down through the garden of silence The voices of sunbeams call.
WHEN night’s grey banner overhead was floating, Embroidered with new moon and stars for crest, You glided up the stairway of the darkness From the dim quiet country where you rest. [page 84] You came to know if he who swore he loved you Had found another bride, For even in the grave it caused you anguish To miss him from your side. He comes no more to heap his violets on you, Where the soft south winds stir, You are the bride of Death ; he bears his roses And bridal flowers to her.
MY love may in the cold earth lie, I sleep in some deep pond; Unto his bosom I will fly When Death redeems his bond. Though continents between us roll And seas be piled on seas, My soul would seek and find his soul Through countless centuries.
The City of Silence
A CITY lieth four-square, walled around, Low houses built of earth and emerald sod, Green banners wave down the long, quiet streets Illumined by the silver lamps of God. [page 85] They toil not in that city, neither spin; No whir of wheels nor smoking factories come; They clamour not for bread nor slave for gold; Rich, poor, high, lowly, mingle there, all dumb.
LAST evening, when the moon was rising Among the silver stars, You rose and trod the unknown pathway Behind the future’s bars You took your leave so gently, dear heart, Silently as the snow; We who watched with love beside you Never heard you go. Did your earthborn footsteps falter? Felt you any fear? Was there some one waiting for you? Is God’s heaven near?
EVENING in trailing purple gown Entered the golden house of day, Let down the curtain of the night, Laid out a dream-embroidered gown, Put toys away. [page 86]
DID we not drink at some celestial fountain In some perennial distant fields of youth? Climbed we not easily the purple mountain, Lofty and sun-clad, of eternal truth? Did we not robe ourselves in golden vesture And soar unhindered through the fields of day? Had we not wings and angel face and gesture In some dim other country far away? Are not our memories ever striving after Those things above the path on which we’re set? Do we not hear through daily words and laughter Some faint strains of the music we forget? Is not the love that renders earth immortal A pledge of life that was, of life to be? Shall we not meet beyond death’s rainbow portal And wander hand in hand eternally?
I Miss You
I MISS you, O my darling, when the shadows Fall on the golden wheat; And when the eager crowds pass in the city I listen for your feet, [page 87] The sun in rosy splendour rises daily, But brings me no delight; The fairest gifts of all the world allure not: I mourn for you at night. The sweetest voice that thrills gives me no comfort, For thought the songs I miss, The music of your voice, my own beloved, Heaven’s and earth’s best bliss.
The Portal of Death
DOWN to the door Of a loathsome cave, Where the sun enters not, Where the cypress trees wave, The multitude comes Rich, poor, young, old, With hearts aflame, With their bags of gold, With the pride of life With the lust of greed, With their broken toys, With an earthworn creed. [page 88] The valorous soul Who honour craves Meets the baby’s smile Where the cypress waves. With weighted feet, With bated breath They haste them down To the portal of death.
A Spirit Voice
I AM near you, O beloved, in the watches of the night, I am standing by your pillow, all clothed in spotless white; I may not pull aside the veil which hides me from your eyes But I am watching o’er you with the wisdom of the skies. ’Tis but a little journey, love, from earth’s last fleeting breath To where I am so glad and free beyond the bourne of death, Beyond the sorrow and the sin, the bonds of time and space; But often I come to help you, love, and gaze upon your face. [page 89] Let not your heart grow faint, dear love, for I am near you yet, The cycles of the years move on, but I will not forget; And when your work is finished too, and voice and pen are dumb, To guide you to God’s home above, dear love, I’ll surely come.
WHEN the dark Form who guards the door mystery Opes it for me, Shall I go forth on spirit wings of beauty At liberty To soar through sweet, illimitable spaces, To see again dear friends with angel faces, And visit God’s celestial secret places, Where treasures be? Shall I, from planet unto planet flying, Rest for awhile Where golden rings and sunshine never dying Disclose no guile? [page 90] Swift as the wingèd winds onward aspire From cloud to cloud, from world to world mount higher Until at last I hear the heavenly choir And see God’s smile?
The Spirit Host
HARK! the whir of rolling chariots Driving on the roaring wind, Earth’s unfettered host ascending, Some celestial land to find. Or some lonely spirit wending Its untrammelled flight, to see Its belovèd mortal soul-mate In a lower destiny. Empty hand we reach out, yearning Mutely o’er the gulf of death; And our hearts grow sick with longing As we list with bated breath. Bitter days we grope in anguish, For our eyes are dim of sight; But the spirit host encampeth Round about us in the night. [page 91] They are near us, faith can doubt not; They are here, but we are blind; Lo, we hear their chariots driving O’er the pathway of the wind.
SHE is waiting for her lover, Who will never come again From the low bed where he lieth in the deep; Where the corals and the pearls Are encrusted in his curls, And the wave have lullabied him sound asleep. She is waiting for her love, Who will never come again, She is waiting for his kisses on her face, She is watching at the door, But he cometh nevermore From the siren who fast holds him in embrace. She is waiting for her lover, She is waiting year by year, She is listening for the sound of wedding bell; He’s the bridegroom of the sea, No divorce can set him free, For the Ocean’s hand has rung his marriage knell. [page 92] She is waiting for her husband, Who will never come to her, For the bridal ring and newly furnished room; But some vaulted ocean cave At whose door the waters rave Is the house of her who lured him to his doom.
TELL me not my love has left me, that I’ll see his face no more, The sweet music of his footstep will not ring upon the floor, That I will not see the glory of his coming at the door. Tell me not that he forgets me in some heaven far away, That my image is not with him every hour of every day, That he waits not for the moments when I too shall come to stay. When Death strikes off my shackles, gives me pinions like a dove, I shall find him, I shall see him, I shall clasp him up above In the land of life immortal, in the home of perfect love. [page 93]
I LAID her to rest among the lilies, Among the lilies, my love so fair, Were the soft winds whisper a sweet song daily, And violets nestle about her hair; Where showers of the snowy bridal blossoms Are casting their fragrance on the air. I laid her to rest by purple mountain, Beneath the shelter of God’s blue dome; Wrapped in sunshine I laid her sleeping Where the bells chime over her peaceful home; And when I am sad, alone or weary, To her lily-clad, low, green house I come.
To One Above
MY ears list to the sound of words and laughter Dimly as in a maze; My spirit hears your voice in the hereafter Through endless golden days. My lonely footsteps on earth’s pathway falter In weariness and sin; Mu spirit walks with you—love cannot alter— The city gates within. [page 94] My body here abides in doubt and danger, Sweet hopes my spirit bear Where I no longer fell I am a stranger, For you are living there.
I DO not know, dear love, the hour I’ll meet again with thee, So over all the hills of life I’m climbing wearily. I keep my eyes upon the stars And hope that thou canst see, For some day on some Pisgah height I’ll meet again with thee.
WHY did you leave me, Love? Why did you leave me? While you were at my side Nothing could grieve me. Did you far away? Love, will you never Come where I watch and wait For you for ever? [page 95] Ah yes, I know you would Come to me, rather Than into glory go Farther and farther. Empty the world to me Since we were riven; And you want me, I know, Even in heaven.
The Old Trysting-Place
THEY say that he is dead; I know— I’ve kissed his cold lips in death, And seen him laid where roses blow Upon him with their fragrant breath. But still at the old trysting-place Where the stream murmurs to the flowers, He comes from some celestial space At the same old familiar hours. Out of unnumbered souls set free, My soul would know and answer him; I talk to him—I cannot see Him, just because my sight is dim. [page 96] To the old trysting-place I go, Oppressed with loneliness or care; I cannot touch him, but I know My sweetheart surely meets me there.
I WANDERED one night at cockcrow Through a graveyard weird and still, Reading the names on the tombstones In the moonlight clear and chill. A white slab graven “Marah” Marked the burial place of youth; Her shroud was spun of golden threads, A web of faith and truth. A marvellous mausoleum All carved stood up at the head Of the spot where sweet aspirations And denied desires lay dead. There were trodden, unnamed, low mounds Grown green with the mould of years, Where worldly hopes and ambitions Were buried with sighs and tears. [page 97] There were graves of many a talent That starving neglect had slain, And fair plots covered with lilies That had sprung from the graves of pain. There were tombs of friend, and sorrows A-blossom with Time’s fresh flowers, And graves of many to-morrows Watched o’er by the ghosts of hours.
AN uninvited visitor, Unseen of mortal sight, He rides in sable garments dressed, Upon the wings of night. He comes, as an unwelcome guest, To house or banquet place; He bears a sickle in his hand, A mask upon his face. He creeps with sombre silence in, He’s no respect of kings; Bats and mould are in his train, And worms and creeping things. [page 98] He asks and no man may deny, To slay in his delight; He rides in sable raiment clad Upon the wings of night.
My Bird of Hope
MY palace is turned to a prison In which I pine alone, For my bird of radiant plumage Has out of the window flown. Was the palace always a prison? So fair it seemed to be When my bird perched by the hearthstone And sang sweet songs to me. But now I feel dreary, weary, Despairful and alone, For my bird of beautiful plumage Has out of the window flown.
The Fountain of Tears
A WELL-WORN path o’er the mountain leads To a spring in the vale of tears, The stones grown smooth from the pilgrims’ feet Who have trodden thereon for years. [page 99] To that well they come from the north and south They gather from west and east; With empty pitchers they come to draw For funeral or wedding feast. The rich, the learned, the poor, the weak, The weary, bereft of joy; Sweet maid and matron and lone old age Meet the child with his broken toy. They come and they go, a countless throng, As the eons of time roll by ; Their vessels they lower that they may drink, For that fountain is never dry.
The Soul of the Murderer
LAST night I met a skeleton Travelling from coast to coast, With haggard mien, sad, glaring eyes, A weird and wandering ghost. And form his garments there dripped down A glowing crimson trail, As on the roaring hurricane He poured his dismal wail. [page 100] “Where is my peace of mind?” he cried, “I search from Pole to Pole, But there is none may shrive again My God-forsaken soul. “I seek to bathe me in the streams, I writhe me in the mud; I throw my garments to the wind, Yet I am clothed with blood. “I linger ’neath the tropic heat, I plunge me in the snow; But lo! I leave a bloody trail Where’er my footsteps go. “I know no rest by day nor night, I run from Pole to Pole; But no man ever can remove The bloodstains from my soul. “All through the blackness of the night Across the driven snow I wander, wander everywhere, With blood-marks as I go. [page 101] “I seek to wash me in the sea Or drown me in the flood; I throw my garments to the wind, Yet I am clothed with blood. “What matters wealth, what matters fame, What matters prospects fair, When up and down the universe My spirit wanders bare? “Save for the vestment dyed in blood I cannot fling away, I cannot live, I cannot die I cannot hope nor pray.”
THEY wandered into the poppy field At the close of the day; They wandered into the poppy field, Tired out with play; My little children whom I love Went from my side to roam; Three wandered into the poppy field, But only two came home. [page 102]
CLAD in silver Gossamer veil, Beautiful, stately, Cold and pale. Nightly, lightly, Over the globe, Trailing her star-decked Silver robe. Queen of the night, Queen of the sea, Regal, silver robed, Astarte.
THE shadows of night are falling Over the dark blue sea And the voices are calling, calling Out of the depths of to me; Voices of those who languish, Dying in sore despair, Echoes of fear and anguish, Whispers of song and prayer. [page 103] Meanings of those who perish With coffin and shroud of waves, Far from the homes they cherish, Sinking to nameless graves. Voices are calling, calling Out of the depths to me, While shadows of night are falling Over the deep blue sea.
I DO not know, dear heart, if I may ever Come down the shining road Which wanders on the green banks of the river In God’s divine abode. I do not know if I can climb cloud mountains, Or leave the city fair, The gates of pearl, gold streets, and rippling fountains, To tread upon the air. I do not know what duties will betide me In that life strange and new; But if God lets me, with my love to guide me, I will be near to you. [page 104]
My Sailor Boy
THEY say my sailor boy is dead, My son so strong and glad; But through the wild wind’s moans at night I hear my firstborn lad. I hear my darling call aloud, “Oh mother come to me Where I am lying still and cold Beneath the deep blue sea.” My sailor boy, my bonnie lad, With blue eyes full of glee, Who left me for his only love— The love of the blue sea. The sweet, round limbs of baby days I used to wash with care Are laved by waters cool, and laid To rest without a prayer. The green waves toss the golden locks With fingers cold and cruel, That my hand loved to smooth, curl, kiss, Before he went to school. [page 105] White foam-crests kiss his pallid brow, My sailor boy so proud; A hard rock is his pillow now, The seaweed forms his shroud. In the dead silence of the night I hear him call to me, And hasten to his empty cot, My darling, in the sea.
The Broken Lute
THE singer’s lute was mute, for God Sent down and broke the strings; All night he writhed upon the sod Weeping unuttered things. God sent the angel Israfel To earth on music’s wings; He took the lute God had made mute And mended all the strings. When the enraptured singer’s hand Swept the loved chords once more, He found the wailing melody Was sweeter than of yore. [page 106]
The Spirits of the Years
DOWN in the glowing embers, Like fire in a wizard’s cave Ghosts weird and lean come trooping Out of the Past’s deep grave. Spirits of grief and pleasure, Of love, hope, and desire, They come and go like vapours In the midst of the glowing fire. Beckoning or upbraiding, Mocking, alluring, dumb, Gaily in fantasy dancing With the ghosts of the years to come. Naked and sad or smiling, Bedecked with flowers and tears, They glide around in the firelight, The spirits of the years.
The River of Sleep
THERE is a river, a beautiful river, Bright fairies its banks have trod, Myriads of poppies a-glowing and blowing Are springing from emerald sod. [page 107] Luna’s lamp and her million night-lights Illuminate the scene, As onward plodding, through poppies nodding, The river rolls between. Castles and gardens and wonderful visions Upon its borders grow; Glad bells ringing, sweet voices singing, Are heard when soft winds blow. Serenely sweeping, safe in its keeping, Enchanted vessels glide, Onward plodding through poppies nodding “Good night” on either side.
OH little Love, oh little Love, When in my arms you lay, A gift divine I claimed as mine, I thought you came to stay; Oh, little Love, do you miss me, So very far away? Oh little Love, oh little Love, Where have you gone to smile? Oh, who will fold you in fond arms, And all your wants beguile? Will angels hover o’er your cot, To rock you for a while? [page 108] Oh little Love, oh little Love, Why have you gone from me? A-sailing in a golden boat On the high, azure sea, Through rainbows, pas the sun and stars, Away, away from me?
The Palace of Tears
OF iris-hued marble A great palace rears Its may domed towers O’er the vale of the years; Its beauty to many Beholders endears. A palace enchanted, Façaded with fears, Guarded by dragons With ominous leers; Silent, deserted, Haunted by years. Spirits walk through it In long trailing white, Searching dim corridors, Holding for light Great blazing torches At dead of the night. [page 109] For in that palace, That palace so old, Treasure is buried, Uncounted, untold, That no man wots of— A fortune of gold. Down in the garden Lie children asleep, Little ones sit on the doorstep And weep, Longing the rainbows Above them to keep. Whence squalor debases, Prosperity sears, Where labour ennobles, From fètes and from biers; Come old and come young To the Palace of Tears.
WHEN we wander through the halls of the hereafter, Will memory find The life which, when we went to earth from dreamland, We left behind? [page 110] Is not the music of surpassing beauty Floating across life’s sea An echo of the golden harps we fingered In some Eternity? Are the sweet thoughts like white doves downward drifting Born in some land above? Whence, but from God, can come a gift so Godlike As an immortal love? Did we not live long ere this fleshly garment Our spirit shrouds? Did we not trail through starry fields of glory O’er fleecy clouds?
The Toll of the Sea
DEAD ships that breast no more The crested gales, But low at anchor ride White folded sails. Of passengers, a silent Spectral crowd; Cabins their sepulchre, The foam their shroud. [page 111] The young life and the old From countries wide, The captain with his crew, The groom and bride. Untrimmed cargo, cordage, Rusted tools, Fine linen, purple, silk, Gold, silver, jewels. Rudderless boats, their pride By cruel wave pricked; The wizard of the sea, The ghostly derelict. Lone houses on the shore, Poor broken lives, Babies fatherless, Husbandless wives. Hours laden, tear-dimmed vision, Vacant rooms, Women sore wailing Over empty tombs. [page 112]
They are hovering o’er us, those spirits immortal, Beings from an infinite space; They fly to us swiftly from Heaven’s high portal On errands of grace. Legions and legions are soaring around us And bidding us rise, Shake off the shackles of sin which have bound us, To aim for the skies. Luring us homeward to all those who love us, If we will but list, The towers o the City are looming above us Enveloped in mist. Rich colours, all glowing from jewelled foundation, A calm eventide, Stream down on each God-seeking soul in each nation Through gates open wide. Muffled the music to ears that are earthborn; But listening, anon We catch a refrain of the singing at day-dawn Alluring us on. [page 113] Godward and homeward, the angels are stiffing To seek lasting things; When the wind bloweth, we hear the soft whirring Of their snowy wings.
Printed by Hasell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury, England. [unnumbered page]
[5 blank pages]