Annie C. Dalton
Entered according to the Act of the Parliament of Canada in
The year one thousand nine hundred and ten
by W. Dalton
at the Department of Agriculture
Evans & Hastings Printers
THE MARRIAGE OF MUSIC.
Idly piping down a lane, Once I heard a dulcet strain Floating o'er .the thicket high Like some siren's lullaby. Straightway fell my smitten reed— Stricken mute by Pan, indeed— Glancing round with startled eye, Then did I a wicket spy. A hidden wicket, well concealed, “Twixt hanging bush and climbing brake, But, swinging on its stake, Just on the jar to me It hung revealed, And past its tiny port afar Music on Music's shoulders clashed and pealed, Until the very dew-drops shook congealed In crystalline and shimmering melody. Then came a symphony, So sweet and low, As though The flower of harmony Had just begun to blow, And was unfolding all its petals one by one, To lilt of lute or soft melodeon. Rapt in sweet sounds, I, all unconscious wise, Inanimate, Beyond the gate Passed into Paradise. Alas! Words fail and memory's aids are few To tell of all the blest delights I knew— The golden light that sunk in one broad hue, The emerald land, the mountains blue, The rolling streams, the rolling cloud-wracks too, And steeped them all in glory through and through. [page 5] Broad as the light, the glorious music surged, The seas of light and seas of sound converged. And filled the whole of that enchanted world With eddying waves, That leaped and danced, and madly curled, From lowly earth to all celestial things, From choiring stars to dull, resounding caves, So heaven rained light and music, and the earth In answering birth Brought forth its golden springs. Then to that sphere of fluent light A host of words in spotless beauty came, Came showering free and bright, Like golden leaves to spread a sybil's fame, And as a groom to greet his bride, A note of music to the side Of every word in sweetest transport sprang And all his love and joy ecstatic sang; While everywhere, O far and wide! An universal marriage feast began, And note and word in perfect wedded bliss Sealed each their compact in one soul-absorbing kiss— Was ever sweeter vision borne to man? Then, floating on the air, I saw faint shadows hang, The shades of poet-prophets hovering there In intermingled envy and despair, Yet mute approval, while the rapture rang And sang its triumph everywhere. Then said a voice, "O Write! Aye, for astonishment of men indite Some fragment of this wonderful delight." Alas, while yet it spoke The glorious vision broke, And trailing after me a stream of light, I touched a dark and silent earth—and woke. [page 6] Tell me, Music, O shall I In some golden bye and bye, Idly piping down the lane, Find that wicket-gate again?
IS LOVE A DREAM?
Is Love a dream? then let me dream, And may I never more to life awake. Love, clasp me close, let others truth esteem, Thou art my all—I, all for thee forsake. Pain, grief, despair—are they not dream words, too? Shall truth but slay the lovely and the bright— If hate and selfishness, alas, be true, Is Love alone a vision of the night?
I will be strong! then let the billows roll Far o'er my head—they cannot hurt my soul: Deeper the swell, the higher soars the crest— I reach my haven on its bounding breast. I will be strong! but Thou, O Lord, canst say Where weakness lies, in night or summer day: Wilt Thou but hold me—let me not retreat, Then am I strongest in my soul's defeat. I will be good! not Lord through mine own grace, But through the virtue of Thine anguished Face: Make me now pure in every strong intent So shall my journey be one long ascent. I will be loved! if Thou, the Fount of love, Wilt show Thy gentle Presence from above, That, like a mirror, I may shadow Thee, And all men love Thy loveliest form in me. [page 7]
LIFE AND DEATH.
I ask of Life one simple boon; 'Tis this, that she would spare The dainty beauties of my dreams— They grow so very fair. I ask of Death no boon, nor crave Redemption from his schemes; I know his dusky galleons guard The homeland of my dreams. Ah, those reflective moods When soul and mind turn round to gaze with awe And wonder at themselves, and through the mist And glamour of long years arise rebuking eyes Of mute appeal, sad wistfulness, surprise — How sweet they are, how swiftly swept aside! Time's folded curtains fall from Memory's hand, Tears fill the eyes; a numbness clasps the throat; We feel as souls thrust forth from Paradise; And yet we know, it is but peopled With the ghosts of our dead selves.
SUNSET IN THE INLET.
A purple glory flushes on the hills; The sea takes on a deeper, softer blue; The autumn sunset in gay transport fills Each bush and brake in flaming, crimson hue. Their white wings rosy in reflected light. The sea gulls perch upon the drift that floats Where later, dusky pinions of night Will fold around the gaudy Indian boats. [page 8]
A WILD SEPTEMBER DAY.
Oh, the joy of life, when the horses white Ride into the sheltered bay, And the murky mischiefs of the mind Far inland flee away. On the wings of a free and blustering breeze, That shakes all the showers from the glittering trees On a bright, September day. Oh, the joy of life when the surf rolls in, And its frothing bubbles blow On the shimmering sands where the seaweeds lie And the sea-gulls come and go; When the autumn leaves on tiptoe fly With the merry, merry wind, With the straining grass and the straggling sedge Left fettered far behind. Oh, life is gay! Oh, life is bright! And the pulses bound in a blest delight— No care can cloy this fearful joy This wild September day, When the staggering steps beat a wayward path. When the scattering garments stray, When the shrieking wind in its playful wrath Roars many a roundelay; When the live trees bow, And the dead trees plough Through the fields of hissing foam— Each battered wreck At the whirlwind's beck Flung back to its ancient home. Oh, the joy of life when the horses ride In the foaming, tossing bay, And the white-winged couriers do scud O'er the blue hills far away; When the unseen legions race and scour From the deepest den to the loftiest tower, And a lifetime glows in a speedy hour This rare September day. [page 9]
Oh daffodils, ye blow The bugle-call of Spring, Green lance in rest, Ye stand a-breast In glorious marshaling! While golden trumpets blow And dainty pennons fly, Ye flaunt above your ancient foe, And bid old Winter die.
LOVE COMES RIDING.
A rosy streak, and a morning gay, The golden dawn of a golden day, The breath of Spring, and the flowers of May, For Love comes riding along the way. The hum of bees in a breathless noon, The lisp of ripples beyond the dune, The scent of lily, the rose of June, And Love singing low his tenderest rune. The bees hive-sheltered at close of day, The flowers asleep and the ripples away. The silver moon and the nightingale's lay, For Love still tarrieth nor rideth away. No silver streak in the morning grey. The hopeless dawn of a hopeless day. The frosts of Spring, and the mists of May, For Love hath tarried and ridden away. A stolen jewel Love's casket to fill, A broken lily beside a rill, A rose-strewn grave upon a hill. For Love must follow his own sweet will. [page 10]
THE ROMANCE OF VANCOUVER.
Over prairies bare, Over mountain rocks, Wandered Beauty fair, With dishevelled locks, Till, she, wearied, fell asleep Near-by where mountain-lions watch do keep. Long she slumbered there, And her fairy dreams Crowded all the air With enchanted gleams— Wing-wafted seeds they fell abroad, And sprang to life, fair miracles of God. In this Paradise, Ages Beauty slept, And the lions wise Still their vigils kept, They watched the thrones of Beauty grow About their fastnesses of sculptured snow. From the azure tide, Lapping golden shores, Close to Beauty's side Swept swift flashing oars; And commerce from her magic barge Leapt forth and set her darling —Man— at large. Then she, too, did sleep Wrapped in Beauty's arms, And in her slumbers deep Muttered wizard charms, Man, grasping all her wildest themes, Re-fashioned them into his goodliest schemes. But not for long she lay— Leaving Beauty there. She hewed her pregnant way. Through the forest fair, And delving deep for gold and gem She wrought Columbia's richest diadem. [page 11] Beauty slumbers still, Weaving subtle dreams; Commerce speaks her will; Man works out his schemes; And in the bright and dream-filled sky, The radiant angel, Hope, is hovering nigh. O home of all we love! O city, dear and fair! Now by this Hope above. Hear, oh hear us swear. To guard thine honour as our own. And keep thee pure and firm on Beauty’s throne!
In dreams thou lovest me— The love thou givest all, Alone, within the land of dreams, Is mine beyond recall. In dreams thou lovest me— What though when I awake, Thou spurnest me in high disdain. This joy thou canst not take. In dreams thou lovest me— Thy lips are on my brow. The gentle pressure of thy arm— Methinks I feel it now. In dreams thou lovest me— And they have made me glad. Thy sweet, slow smile is still with me To cheer me when I'm sad. In dreams thou lovest me— My head is on thy breast, I would that evermore in dreams My tired soul could rest. [page 12]
These are thy fancies, gentle melancholy; The past's sweet cult revered and kept most holy; Sad, pensive thoughts on love's and life's deception; Songs, still unsung, and sweet beyond conception; Pale, shivering ghosts of baffled, fond desires; The silver ashes of extinguished fires; Frail, withered leaves, once crimson-hearted blooming, Gaunt, naked trees 'gainst stormy starlight looming; White sails that skim Utopian oceans wholly; These are thy fancies, gentle Melancholy!
A HOT AFTERNOON.
It is so still—the earth is like a room, Where children gather in their games, and hush Their joyous voices, lest their mirth should break Into that upper silence, where there lies The tired mother in a dreamless sleep. It is so still—is God asleep? For see, across His quiet heavens are drawn His snowy blinds, and His pale mountains creep Like weary spaniels at His shrouded feet. The faded ocean sleeps, the forest dreams. All desolation broods in blinding glare. Time waits—no flitting life, no throbbing love. Nothing but light—a madness breeding light— That beets and battens everywhere and seems The outcast brilliance from His shaded room. It is the hour of spirit-weariness. It is the hour of deepest loneliness— Does God then tire—is He asleep? [page 13]
We acquiesce in all that is, And wonder with a cold surprise, That life should keep her promises Or death decree things otherwise. The miracles that yesterday Hung far beyond our feeble reach. Descend, as 'midst the boys at play Falls down the over-ripening peach. We acquiesce in all that is, And question with a cold surprise. When life unveils her mysteries, "Shall Death unclose our dreaming eyes?' We hear of divers deeds and doubt The realty that happens thus, Then turn we softly and about— They could not happen unto us! When they do happen, through a mist We see but dimly what is there; The bolt hath fallen—the god hath kissed— And we are almost unaware. We acquiesce in all that is, And wonder with a cold surprise, "Can it be I who suffers this, Or dream I in another's guise?"
True Love is born of Pain, And bringeth forth sweet Pain again. Sweet Love! Sweet Pain! O bitter Love! O bitter, bitter Pain! Alas! 'twere all in vain To part them—Time must prove That Death may vanquish Love And slay her with his dart, Ere Pain and Love do part. [page 14]
Lo, Jehovah takes His pen, And He writes the doom of men, Comes the Lamb, and murmurs then, "Pity, peace and pardon." Law thus driven out by Love, Seeks in vain for power above; Man enthrones the outcast of Pity, peace and pardon. Crying, “Lord forgive my sin. Lamb of God! Thy work begin, Though my brother shall not win Pity, peace and pardon. Law for him, Lord, Love for me—” Cries the Lamb, "It may not be, As thou givest, give I thee. Pity, peace and pardon."
A TENDER TEAR.
A tender tear In swimming eyes of blue, Will strengthen Love anew. And cast out fear. A merry gleam In dusky orbs of brown Defies Love's haughty frown And bids him dream. Sweet eyes of grey— As grey and true as steel, They will from Love's appeal Not turn away. But eyes of green That flash with envy's spite, And glisten in the night Slay Love, I ween. [page 15]
TO A ROBIN.
How cam'st ye here, sweet Robin? What demon of unrest Hath lured so far from England's shores Thy swelling crimson breast? What fairy dreams and airy schemes Came to thy humble nest To send thee from thy gabled eave A-wandering in the West? Had I thy wings, sweet Robin, This moment I would fly From golden sunsets' Western glow To England's colder sky, Where chiming bells their mellow notes Ring out from belfries high. And floating o'er a hoary world Through leafless glades do sigh. But hearts are warm, sweet Robin, Within the dear, old land, They with true, honest impulse give True grip of honest hand. Across the seas dividing gulf Love waves his magic wand, And hearts at home reach hearts that beat Upon this distant strand. Why linger here, sweet Robin? Oh, soon it will be Spring When all the hedge-rows will be gay With blue-bells blossoming. Then primrose, daisy, violet sweet Lurk where the lark doth spring From lowly nest to sunlit skies With dewdrops on his wing. Alas, alas, poor Robin! Perchance thy restless eye Hath never seen those meadows green Where drowsy cattle lie Through summer days when purling streams To whispering winds reply, [page 16] And countless birds and murmuring bees Join in the lullaby. Then fly away, sweet Robin, Thy wings and crimson breast In thought had borne me o'er the seas To seek a moment's rest— To dream again within my home. Alas, a fruitless quest: 'Twere vain to dream—my heart returns— My home is in the West.
Who has not felt, some still, hot afternoon, A wild and maddening impulse to explore Some new sensation, anything, to leave The stifling glare, the fierce monotony behind? The languid air folds like a silken gauze Around the fluttering senses, and holds down Their feeble struggles into transient death, The limbs are lapped, inert, in heavier folds And slacken, listless, till a swift disgust Wakes all the swooning faculties, and stirs The stagnant blood to life. Then comes that wild Rebellion against all that is; the cry Of prisoned life for liberty; the rage For swift, untrammelled motion. Oh, to race, Or, like the ostrich, chase the tireless wind On boundless plains, or, dizzy joy! to scale Laboriously some precipice's brow! The fever passes, and a numbness falls, Like shadows from a cloud that crushes out The diamond sparkle from some shallow stream. So flies the dream, the race remains unrun; The mountain still unscaled; once more we sink Into that narrow groove where we are trained To gently run in harness, or in chains. [page 17]
Through the fringed gates of sleep, the angel Pain Swept on his heavy wing, He brooded over slumbering men, Holding his cross of suffering; Then, harshly, to each one he said, "Awake, here is thy daily cross—the dawn is red— And there is much to be remembered." Thereon I saw each sleeper rose and sighed. And some with peevish gesture, cried, "Another cross for us who are so sorely tried!" Then some cast down the only cross they held, From all, save one, a bitter plaint upwelled— Save one, whose heavy load was laid. Cross upon cross, on shoulders bowed and weighed Unto the very ground; Yet whose bright face Shone with sweet hope and steadfast grace. Him, Pain long scanned, impatient frowned. Then softly, softly to himself he said, "Brave soul, thou needest, if any, to be comforted, And yet, I, pitying, can but choose To cast another cross to bruise Afresh, thy proud, undaunted head."
Bright, buoyant Hope is ever on the wing: She lives, though seeming lost in pathless gloom, She tears the hopeless from the teeth of doom, Within the frozen heart plants flowers of Spring, And fills the halls of death with caroling. So doth she bid our silver days resume The cast off joys of youth's gold pleasuring. [page 18]
If only Love were good and true How sweet this life would be, If you loved me as I love you, Earth would be heaven to me. The angels should their joy impart And sound the trumpet seven— If only earth were heaven, dear heart, If only earth were heaven! If only Love were good and kind, In sorrow as in bliss, To faults and follies loving-blind. In patience nought remiss. Love would be Love's own counterpart. Forgiving as forgiven, And earth would then be heaven, dear heart, And earth would then be heaven. But Love is cold and very proud, In every torture vers'd— He hides his face behind a cloud, And from its thunders burst On gaping wound and shrinking smart The fateful vials seven— If only earth were heaven, dear heart, If only earth were heaven! Oh Love has broken many seals— With thunder, one by one, He, war and plague and Death reveals— All Hell his will hath done, The stars have fallen, the heavens dispart: He breaks the seal of seven, And silent is the earth, dear heart, And silent is the heaven. Oh Love is good and kind and true. Oh, Love is as the sun, And you love me as I love you— Love's victory is won. Now life and death have played their part, And hark—the trumpet seven! For Love is Lord of earth, dear heart, As Love is Lord of Heaven. [page 19]
Hylda! Hylda! Hylda! Oh, how she doth bewilder Me with the turquoise in her dreamy eyes, Then, in the noontide of my sweet surprise, A dancing diamond in the circlet of the blue, With fiery glances dares my heart to woo. O cruel, cruel Hylda! What imp of mischief filled her, While she stood waiting at the gates of life. And angel-questants searched in holy strife For that soul-loveliness whose pure and peerless grace Should match so fair a form, so sweet a face? O fair, O fairest Hylda! Had that sweet soul enthrilled her. She had been stayed, the saintliest saint above, And I had never known the pangs of love; A crown for her, sweet peace for me, yet who would dare To wish so rare a gem were set elsewhere?
MY HAND IN THINE.
My hand in thine—the tender silence stealing From each full heart the sweet unspoken thought, Deeper and truer passion-notes revealing Than harmonies of language ever taught. My life in thine—eternal bonds unbroken Knit soul to soul, as dearest, thine to mine. Love gives no pledge, no troth, no outward token, Yet Love and I, Love's slave, are wholly thine. [page 20]
Sing, oh my heart, this glorious, glorious day; Sing to the music of the wildly dashing spray; Sing to the rhythm of the faintly moving cloud ; The newly wakened spirits of the springtime cry aloud, Rejoice! Rejoice! Riding on bracing winds the loitering spring has come, Her flashing fingers lightly curl the hissing tips of foam, From sea- fringed laughing vales the joyful tidings blow To purple hill-crests marble-veined with streaks of purest snow. Rejoice! Rejoice! Sweet Nature’s freshest colours on her brown palette are seen Gold, white and blue, and tender, living green; Crocus and snow-drop, fair, oh fair thou art, But fairer blossoms, buds of hope, are springing in my heart! Rejoice! Rejoice!
A YORKSHIRE BOY.
Far out across the little, gloomy bay, A spar-set shadow glideth grey and tall. It is the boat that beareth far away My Yorkshire boy, the grandest lad of all. Full sweet and tender were my boy's goodbyes. But bright with visions of the life to be; I would, I would not have it otherwise, But — heavy is the heart in me. My boy, he is a Yorkshire boy, Though he sails upon the sea; He is my heart's own darling, pride and joy, O boy! come back to me. [page 21] Far, far away the swelling Yorkshire moors, And far away the bracing Yorkshire hills, Only in dreams, when day had closed her doors, I heard and saw the gushing Yorkshire rills. But with a Yorkshire lad across the seas There came again the purple heather-bloom; His laughter rippled like a moorland breeze And drove away the gathering clouds of gloom. Oh! none but those who hunger oft in vain For Yorkshire voices and old Yorkshire ways. Can guess the weary void — the aching pain That mingles with the sunny, joyous days. And when the olden laughter and the smile, And all the olden frank and hearty joy Come with a boy to bide with us a while, Oh! then, be sure he is a Yorkshire boy. Low glides the boat beyond the ocean's rim. And low upon the West the shadows fall; God and Our Father now be good to him And us who for Thy loving care do call. So keep him that no tenderness we miss, When, meeting once again, our hearts are glad, For earth has not a fairer sight than this, A noble and a gallant Yorkshire lad. My boy, he is a Yorkshire boy, And he's sailing on the sea, But he has brought and left a lasting joy Within the heart of me. It is a fearful thing To crush another's joy— Its ruby-plumed wing An infant might destroy. Yet hosts of earth and hosts of heaven should strive in vain To speed it on its flight again. [page 22] Sweet as the theme of Adam's bridal song In Eden's blissful grove, The treasured joy whose vocal mem'ries throng Past hours of cloudless love! But ah, the magic of unspoken words, Dim music of the soul, Whose muffled waves, like distant cries of birds Reverberating roll. Far where our hidden memories sleep With long years inter-twined, And life's sunk hope, and stranded wreckage keep The caverns of the mind.
Death came to me, and said, "A compact new I make with you. You shall in nowise dread Me, as all others do, But live instead Your life anew." Then slowly into view Rose ghosts of years long dead: I shuddered, shook my head, To Death right quickly said, "I go with you."
Wind-witches wailing upon the lone sea. Churning the fury that yet is to be, Calling the spirit which slumbers in me. [page 23] Hark to the thunder-artillery roll— Resonance rumbling from pole unto pole. Rending this fathomless silence of soul. Flashes the lightning—where, none may foreknow, Lifting the sunken hill-crests in its glow, Cleaving the heart's hidden chasms of woe. Wild is the spirit which stalks on the sea, Wild the foreboding of that yet to be, And wilder the terror which crouches in me. Outwardly—conventional calm; Inwardly—a life Of never-ceasing strife! O Christ! What healing balm Can human arm Wrest from the soil? What boots the spirit's toil? Canst Thou hear from Thy Throne, The heavy groan Of labouring earth, Racked with incessant birth? Men say Thou wert but man— My heart cries out, "Oh, then, If man could rise To such transcendent skies, All men were gods, all gods were men. We know Thee as Thou wert, We feel Thee as Thou art, ‘Tis to our grievous hurt If we from Thee depart. [page 24]
One said to me, "The poets dwell For aye in heavens blue"— I answered, "Tongue can never tell The storms they struggle through; They sing of grief they know too well, Of joy they never knew. Low as the phospherescent glow Down in the sunless deeps, High as the mountain's virgin snow The poets' pleasure sleeps; Close as a serpent's sinuous flow The poets' sorrow creeps. The sign of suffering's baleful star To them is surely given, The veil that shrouds Shekinah's awe For them is truly riven; And welcome is the suffering for The fleeting glimpse of heaven.
O bridled passion! concentrated joy! That sleeps within these calm and temperate veins ! O life in death! now silently deploy Thy slumbering flood of immemorial rains. Now pseudo-stoic, live thy life misdeemed; Now boldly leap thy frail, conventional dam; Now front me with this problem—"What I seemed Hath surely been the sport of what I am." Mild Peace and Reason, half-distracted, fly Above this swirl of wild, chaotic flood; And Hope, with hand on rock, and sobbing sigh. Crawls fainting from this tumult of the blood. [page 25]
Tis Love, Love, Love, Throbbing through the universe, Lifting lightly. Oh, so lightly, Man's curse. See, he comes with azure wing, And each heart remembering Hours of unconfined bliss, Waits a-tip-toe for his kiss. Brush by softly, gentle Love, Sacred are the thoughts which move At thy fragrant breath. Hasten not, Love, with thy wooing! At thy going, cometh death.
O land of Burns! The tempting cup that cheers, That flows to honour Scotland's bard Is mixed with blood and tears. Burns, loving heart! Thy erring spirit knew The subtle snare which lurked for thee Within that devil's brew. Mary in Heaven Could shed no purer tears. Than those which marked thy manly cheek And mourned thy wasted years. Bitter thy lot. More bitter still the wrong. Which honours with thy name the cup That quenched thy noble song. [page 26]
Be still, dear heart, and rest, The shades of even fall, And from the temple of the west I hear my Father call. He calls — have you not heard? He calls us to His knee; I would not miss one precious word So comforting to me. He speaks as to a child, And I would gladly stay, To listen to such accents mild— And thou wouldst turn away. O still, my heart, that sigh, Let worlds and worldlings wait; The King of Heaven and Earth is nigh, And resting at His gate.
Earth hid her joys; Justice was dead; Life's counterpoise Did seem unhallowed; For truth and light Forsook the right; In pride and wrath I paced the garden-path, And near the mellow ground A simple sermon found. There bloomed a lovely flower, Half broken 'neath a shower Of crystal dew. Unshed, The drops bowed down its head And almost snapped its stem; Yet from each tearful gem The laboring flower so bent Withdrew its nutriment— Through parching hours fed Did blossom comforted. [page 27]
A SICK MAN’S DAY.
The weird medallions on the carven bed Frowned like the gargoyles of a buttress'd church, And long he watched the walls' gay festoons lurch And dance a mazy whirl above his head. The landscape, like a painted picture shone. Lined, as an atlas in the window frame. In form, in character, for aye the same, But many moods writ each its tale thereon. A double streak shot by, half light, half shade, The flash of swallow's flight that swiftly took A sick man's thought, a sick man's longing look, Far from the bed where his straight limbs were laid. At times he sank into a fitful sleep, All honeycombed with dark and fevered dreams. To waken, uttering faint, half-stifled screams. And bathed in sweat, thro' gulfs of thought to creep. Dim echoes travelled from the outside world, Anon, a fierce discordant bolt of sound That made his startled, tortured pulses bound. Till every limb with silent anguish curled. Cool drinks, delicious fruits, the d'oyled tray. The Doctor's call, with increased pain attached, Friends' visits—hours from ravening Lethe snatched— These were th' events that made the sick man's day. And when the shades of ripening even fell, Bright faces gathered round the household board; [page 28] Above, with every costly comfort stored, Oh, God, how dreary then that cloistered cell!
Ye glorious skies and sunsets, Ye crystal creeks and bays, Ye mountain crests where daily The snowy cloudling plays. How fair ye are, but vainly Ye strive to stir my heart; Today in all thy glory I feel to have no part. My mind, distraught, is wandering O'er bleak, empurpled moors. Where sleeting winds and tempests Shake all the farm-house doors. I see the peaty uplands, With many a rugged scarp, And many a low-browed cottage, Where weaves the linsey's warp. I see the tiny churches, Set high upon the hill; The little, modest Bethels, The pews the farmers fill. I see the lazy cattle On lowland pastures roam; The ruddy, shingled gables, That sheltered once my home. Breathe low, oh gentle west wind, I have no thought for thee. For a breeze of purple moorlands Is passing over me. [page 29]
BALLAD OF THE LILLYE-WHITE
"Fayre ladye, in thy latticed bowre, A kindlinesse 1 crave; Nowe, prithee doe give to me some flowre Toe strowe my mother's grave. "My mother dear lyes still and cold — Fearsome and lone is she, And I wold hide the dark, damp mold With blossoms fayre to see. "My mother doth sore moanin' make Downe on her sorrowfulle bed, Nowe for our blessed Ladye's sake Grant she be comforted. "Till soft, greene grasse shall grow in Spring, And daysies white shall peep, And warme benethe her covering My mother falls asleep." Then did the ladye forward lean And, with fayre gentilesse, Looke kindlye on that mayde so mean Benethe her lattices. And sayde, "This flowre thou shouldst have, This lilly-white flowre shouldst take. To laye upon thy mother's grave For our deare Ladye's sake, "But, wel-a-way, the minstrels playe, The roystering guests doe shoute; The lord who celebrates this daye— He gives a merry rout; "And not one flowre bedecks my haire, But one lyes at my breast, The maydens who wold the feast prepare Have gathered in the reste. [page 30] "But when I've tripped the merrye rounde To merrye minstrelsie. If haply this lillye may be founde I'll throwe it, childe, to thee. "And I will strip the comelye halle— Of posies thou shalt have More than thou canst bethink withal Toe strowe thy mother's grave." "Gramercy, ladye, fare ye welle! Nowe by my mother's side I’le sit and sing, and alle night telle What mornynge shall betide." The ladye smiled, and in her haire Did put her lillye-white flowre, And little she recked the lillyes fayre Wold bloome for her no mowre. . . . The moone shone bright, into the night The lillye-white flowres fell— The wearie ladye, richllye dight, Yawned sleepily, '"Tis welle!" The ladye shutte the lattice tight And doffed her fine arraye, And kneeling by her bed soe white To Mary she did praye. For all good church-folks she did praye, Then to her bonnye bed; And as she laye, a moone-white raye Played softly rounde her heade. The moone shone bright and through the nighte, And through the lattice came, Some thing which trailed its garments white And bore a spere of flame. [page 31] It glode up to the quiet bedde. And tossed its arms about— One forme stole in with silent tread, But two wan formes wente out! . . . . When with the dawne, there came the mayde, She heard that household greet, And gathering up the flowres she layde Them at the ladye's feet. And cryde aloude, "O ladye, deare, Wrapt in thy broidered palle! My mother bids me strowe them here For thou dost need them all."
NEW YEAR’S DAY.
The year is dead. I backward scan its track, with fearful eye: Bestrewn with wrecks, dead hopes, lost joys—O God. For once with shuddering sigh, I gladly cry, "The year is dead." The year is dead. False pledge, false vow, blow after blow beat down Each feeble hope I dared to raise: how oft I longed to say 'neath heavy cross and broken crown, "The year is dead." The year is dead. And now. O Lord, I see Thy purpose true; Through chaos, wrong, injustice, tears. Thy Hand Was with me—Faith, Hope, Love still live—the year is new; Despair is dead. [page 32] Oh, kiss but the blossom which grows on the thorn And yieldeth its sweetness to thee— Un kissed tho' my lips—tho' our vows be unsworn, I'll dream that sweet kiss is for me. Oh, press but the lilies which hide in thy breast, And whisper my name as of yore. I'll live with my love and my joy unexpressed Contented to ask for no more. My joy is so sweet and my hope is so low, So lovely and bootless they seem, I fear lest a whisper of mine should o'erflow To shatter my beautiful dream. Neglected the blossom and lilies so pale— The fair one moved, wanton, along; And mournfully lovers repeat the sad tale Of one who died singing this song: "Ah, kiss not the blossom which blows on the thorn. For roses of Sharon I see. And thou on the wings of a seraph upborne— Art calling? art calling? for me!"
LOVE IS ETERNAL.
Love is eternal! Love is immortal! Separation and death shall have no power To stay one moment of that rare, transcendent hour When men and angels raise one mighty shout. And terror's dusky legions, rabble-rout. Fold o'er the gold horizon in one sable wing; And love, all-glorious. Is, all-triumphant, king. [page 33]
It is in vain they pass along the street— Their souls—they touch not, though their hands—they meet, Though in all love and kindliness they greet, It is in vain. They strive to sit and spin with broken thread, But memory loves not languages long dead; And silence falls about each drooping head— It is in vain. In vain among the withered years they grope, The rustling bares no buried leaves of hope, The stars have cast their fateful horoscope— It is in vain. For one, the sun sets on a sullen shore. For one, the dawn peeps from a curtained door, A world divides them, and they meet no more— It is in vain.
THE NINETY AND NINE.
There are ninety and nine— They are warm in the fold, But my heart, it is aching For the lamb in the cold. There are ninety and nine— And the shepherd is nigh. But my heart, it is breaking For the one that must die. There are ninety and nine— I must hasten away, For my heart, me forsaking, Is with one far astray. [page 34]
A LUNATICS WILL DONE INTO
I, Charles Lounbery, Of disposing memory, Being of sound mind, Have myself designed This, my latest Will and Testament. Item. God owns the world— We are heirs of God— Herewith I bequeath My portion . . . I have trod Full softly through this so-called vale of tears And found it good. Now of sound mind, and being full of years, My Will I would Devise, and leave Not gold, nor yet the right to live— I hold these not— But, all good, endearing names That childhood-grace and beauty claims, All little, quaint, pet names of love I give to all good parents for The children who their darlings are, And for the benefit thereof, Sweet praise, encouragement, in trust, And I charge them to be generous, just. Item. Again I leave to children (but Only whilst they, children still, Dance and dance with heedless fool), The harebell on the windy hill, The heather on the sweeping moor, The daisy at the cottage-door, The willows, and the little brooks With shining sands and mossy nooks, The primrose on the steep, green bank, (Oh, warn them of the nettle rank. The thistle and the treacherous thorn), And all the dew-gems of the morn— [page 35] Lowly things that please the poor. Unlimited, the right to play Throughout each golden summer day, To glean the dropping ears of corn, To blow upon the young Moon's horn, And in the long and sweet twilight To crowd the crackling fire bright; To listen to the tales of old Of sleeping ladies, princes bold; Dragons fierce, and treasure trove. Guerdon of the truest love; And the right to sweetly sleep While the angels watch do keep, Lanterns from the milky way Guiding them lest they should stray, And the moonbeams weaving white Counterpanes of soft delight. But I do charge you that the boon Of starlight and the silver moon, Must no lover's rights impugn. Item. Now of sound mind, I do devise All useful fields for exercise, All pleasant waters good to swim To every boy; also, to him The bracing hills, the fishing streams. The meadow where the hawk-moth dreams; The secret woods and all their joys Of squirrels, birds, and living toys, Of echo, shadow, and strange noise; Adventures, and all distant places too, All weird, wild quests, O boy, I give to you. At night The fireside shall have a place For you, and you shall trace All pictures that in burning wood delight; Nor let, nor hindrance, Nor care-encumbrance, Shall you annoy, O happy, happy boy! [page 36] Item. To lovers all I would devise The rapture of the dreaming skies, The red rose 'neath the sheltering wall, The hawthorn snows that softly fall; Sweet strains of gentle music, and All beauteous things their love demand; The tender touch, The thrill, and such Delights the world scorns overmuch; In short, all budding joys that lie up-curled Within their own imaginary world. Item. To young men, jointly, I bequeath The glory of the victor's wreath, The sports of rivalry, and true Disdain of weakness, and a due Confidence in their own strength, Friendships of a life-long length; Companionship and merry songs, Brave choruses, all that belongs To lusty voices; and a life Of healthy joy and strenuous strife. Item. To those who can no longer wage Life's war, nor give a lover's gage; Who tread no more the happy heath With careless footstep, I bequeath All fond memory of the past; The strength of the enthusiast. And sober pleasures that do last And bring the olden days again With freshened joy and chastened pain; And, what many hold more dear. Precious volumes of Shakespeare, Burns, and if it can be told There are others, I with-hold None of them if they but raise The glamour of the by-gone days. [page 37] Item. Lastly, to each loved one, With folded hands and labour done, With snowy wreath And faded eyes, I do bequeath, I do devise, Their children's love and gratitude to keep Till He shall give His own beloved sleep.
THE THREE GRAVES.
The three lone graves shone green. The sky shone blue Beyond the yew; A shadow fell between . . . Sight grew in me . . . 'Twas Misery. A Second Shadow came . . . Open with spade The graves she laid. She came . . . Hate was her name . . To wrest anew Her direful due. She propped with frigid glee, 'Gainst three headstones. Three skeletons. She cursed those three . . . Ah me. Each thing of bone Made piteous moan . . . Seven times she cursed those three . . . The sky still blue Above the yew. . . . . . [page 38]
SING LULLABY, O HEART!
Sing lullaby, O heart, to all thy fears,
The birds and beasts are sleeping,
And thou alone with grief and tears
Art ceaseless vigil keeping,
Sing lullaby, O heart, sing lullaby!
Sing lullaby, O heart, to grief and pain;
Love’s slumbering angels waken,
And in thy dreams shall live again—
Old joys be over-taken.
Sing lullaby, O heart, sing lullaby!
Sing lullaby, O heart, and lay care down;
Of old sweet Beauty bore thee;
Her joyous saints, with palm and crown.
Throw down their harps before thee.
Sing lullaby, O heart, sing lullaby!
Sing lullaby, O heart, grief’s silence win;
Love, Joy and Beauty woo thee,
Their triple spousals do begin.
All plight their troth unto thee.
Sing lullaby, O heart, sing lullaby!
O heart, heart, heart, sing lullaby,
—And oh, those lovely fields of snow
Where none but spirits come and go,
Pale gold, they lie beneath the dawn.
Which steals around the ragged, torn,
And heavy clouds,
That hang like shrouds
Above those golden fields.
Oh lonely, golden fields!
Ye gleam, enchanted slopes,
‘Tween gloom of cloud and gloom of pine
Like human hopes.
Half earthly, half divine. [page 39]
Down to the fading West, To their eternal rest, Day's weary hours are creeping, The evening star hangs low, Within its silver glow, The angels watch are keeping. As darkening even bends, As the spent sun descends, Down the horizon flinging His red and gorgeous car. Now from yon glittering star The angel -bands are winging. Far through the sombre night They stream in golden flight, Their pinions softly beating. To mortals' careless gaze They seem but shooting rays Of starlight, fitful, fleeting. They fly from sunny lands, To shield with gentle hands Our children from night's sorrow; To soothe each fretful plaint, To strengthen bosoms faint With dread of drear to-morrow. They hover round each bed, To cool each fevered head, With dews of Heaven's distilling; They waft with healing wings, Love-laden thought whence springs Dream-sleep with rapture thrilling. They hear the orphan bairn, With heaving bosom, yearn To lie once more beloved Within his mother's arms, From chill and wild alarms By soft embraces covered. [page 40] They soothe his piteous cries, They close his weary eyes, Themselves in pity weeping; They sing with silver tongues His angel-mother's songs Till he is softly sleeping. So through the longest night The angels wing their flight. With love and pity hover; Till from the morning star A message shines afar— Their loving tasks are over. Oh when, with reverent care, We lisped our infant prayer, Eyes shut and hands uplifted, We all believed in truth Our fresh and trusting youth With angel-guards was gifted. Those happy days are gone, Now sadder wisdom's won Our childish faith is sleeping; Oh, could we all believe— Our infant creed retrieve— That angels watch are keeping!
A REBEL IN HEAVEN.
The silver trumpets pealed from Heaven, As through the starry cloud-space sped The seraphim to whom was given The passing of the dead. And as the souls in hushed suspense Rose softly to the judgment-place, Each wore a veil of penitence About its stricken face. [page 41] But one passed on so proudly stern The fore-most shining angel fell Out from the host, and bade her turn Unto the shades of hell. "Thou hast not won the pledge," he said. That brings thee to Thy Father's Throne; This is the Pleading of the Dead For penitents alone." She turned upon him, full and fierce, With splendid passion in her eyes, "What penitence," she cried, "Can pierce The flesh man petrifies?" Then open wide she threw her breast, And showed her heart of polished stone, And round it there was manifest A serpent woven zone. "These playmates sucked my brain," she said, "And trifled with their dainty food; Then, pampered epicures, they fed And battened on my blood. And sloughing here, they too congealed. And rightly shared the common doom, When Death in Life's coarse sexton sealed My soul's granitic tomb. Within this stone lie sepulchred All-glorious Beauty, Love and Truth; They perished, uninterpreted To my misboden youth." She pressed her clenched, white-knuckled hand Upon her riven bosom hard. And from the listening seraph-band One sigh went up to God. Again she bared her breast, and cried, "Let this stone symbol speak for those [page 42] Who lashed my spirit ere it died, And scourged the heart they froze." The angel wept, "At whose commands," He cried, "was wrought this thing to thee?' "Fair women, with soft, gentle hands," She said, "did this to me." "They bought me for a pittance small, I coined for bread my very blood, I gave my life, my soul, my all— They urged the bread was good! I bartered for the right to live, My heritage of joy divine, And for that bare prerogative A life in death was mine! Or life—or death—it mattered not— Each might have equal claims to me, But life in death—O God! ye wot ’Tis bitterest agony!" She spoke no more; her fingers strayed About the serpents on her heart; With one fierce glance to heaven she made As if she would depart. She cast her scathing eye along The souls that stayed in dumb array, And some there were within that throng Who, shivering, shrank away. With scornful laugh, she turned about, As one who shuns a shameful sight; They went their way, and she passed out Into the silent night. The silver trumpets blared from Heaven, And through the starry cloud-space sped The seraphim to whom was given The passing of the dead. [page 43]
BREAK. O HEART!
Break, O heart! on the silent ranges of the Absolute! Nought will avail—the bars of fate are strong. Mourn, mourn no longer this life's mute and shattered lute, Heaven harvests all thy heritage of song. Is it nothing to you, O men! O passersby! The stifled sigh Of those whose grief is proudly mute? Of those who hide f the caves of dark despair, Or, hanging on the trembling wings of hope, Grasp faintest glimpses of the boundless fields of scope. Immeasurable beauties everywhere; Of those, whose sickness is the sickness of the soul, Of those, whose life is but a fragment of the whole? Break, O heart! on the rocky ranges of the Absolute! Freedom soars far beyond heaven's boundless blue. Time, Immortality alone may bring thee balm— Is it nothing to you, O men? Is it nothing to you?
THE RETURN OF LOVE.
Now, thou art gone, and empty is thy throne. And Wisdom cries, "Love comes no more." But oh, my love, I wait thee here, alone, For Wisdom lies. . . .wide is the door. [page 44] Thy throne is set as sumptuous as of old. . . And Wisdom sighs, "It is in vain." But oh, my love, I smooth each purple fold, Wisdom is wise. . . .but love shall reign. Love, thou art there . . . . I feel thy fragrant breath. . . . Ah, Wisdom's eyes would frown thee down, But oh, my love, it is the frown of death . . . . Old Wisdom dies.... here is thy crown! I have no fond desire To treat of blood or fire, To be a connoisseur in pain, Or to arraign All human agonies. Virtue, upon her knees, Vice, vaunting victories, Have little charm for me, For these Have all the brutish taint Of brutish revelries. But oh! that I might paint The beauty of the soul. The grandeur of its goal, And all the strenuous irksomeness of strife That stays its flight from death to life. Its pure desires, Its purifying ires, Then might I fairly show What it is good to know. How much of virtue each man hath, How nobly still he keeps the path Insown with pit and artful snare; For every fall, I, then, might tell How long man struggled ere he fell, With what remorse and bitter pain, [page 45] He rose unto his feet again, And, wrestling bravely with despair, Rose higher still on wings of prayer. What gain to show a man how deep His soul may fall—nay, let him sleep. In sleep his feet may safely skirt Th' abysm's verge and know no hurt, But, pricked with knowledge born of tin, He will look down and fall therein. Oh for inspired power to chant A paean of joy, so jubilant, That all men, listening, might but see Not what they are, but ought to be. Not what foul caves they may explore, But to what heights their souls shall soar; Not what distempers sin may breed, But what pure wholesomeness we need. Sin is a parasite, indign, Having no part in Gods design, Birth, life and death, all are divine.
LOVE AND DUTY.
Love brought sweet flowers, but Duty said, To Life, "These are prohibited." Love flung them down and flounced away- Unravished sweetnesses they lay. Oh, with what passion and despair Life left them vainly withering there. Love took a torch and lit the same With glee at his own altar-flame; Then in a bosom fanned a fire Of innocent and soft desire. But Duty quenched the sacred spark And roundly scolded in the dark. Love sang a song—its echoes clung About an untaught, stammering tongue, Till, all unknowing, through the day It crooned Love's happy roundelay. [page 46] Straightway did heedful Duty come To strike the careless singer dumb. Love tossed into a brooding heart A tiny, but a cunning dart; Midst faded roses there it lies Hoping to hide from Duty's eyes; While sparkless ashes, misered sound Keep watchful silences profound.
A SONG OF OPPORTUNITY.
We sing a golden land where the rose's laden bough Tosses crimson petals by a silver sea, But there grows a grander flower in this sunny land of Now— ’Tis the glorious flower of Opportunity! Chorus— How it grows, how it blows! Never grew a flower so fresh, so free, For time may bring his plough, In this happy land of Now, We grasp the golden flower of liberty. ’Tis the very flower of freedom, for it blossoms free for all, On the lonely mountains, round the loggers camp. On the barren, stony reaches where the glittering minerals fall To the clamour of the miners' crushing stamps. Where the hidden coalfields lurk, where the giant timber towers, Where the torrent through the mighty canyon leaps; Where the jewelled humming bird flits through green Arcadian bowers, And the quarry of the crafty hunter sleeps. [page 47] Floating on the shimmering waters of the blue Pacific seas, Where the mountain and the ocean surges meet; Where the sun-enamelled produce bows the groaning orchard-trees In the busy workshop, store and crowded street. In the settler's thriving patch, in the teeming fields of grain, 'Midst the harbours' dusty din and busy swing, Opportunity still blossoms—to its glory once again— To its everlasting glory let us sing. But a moment let us pause, let us pray that all the fruit May be worthy of our country and our men. That the harvest may be honour, pure and bright beyond dispute, So the flower may not have blossomed once in vain. Be it so! May we grow Fruits of honour, truth, integrity, Let us make a solemn vow In this happy, happy Now, We will win a happier future for the free.
A lie that is half of a lie— How it slips through the dubious gloom. It never was born, and it never can die For it knows not the grave, as the womb. It slithers in slime round the dove— What weapon can crimson a side, Whose length is a festering sliver thereof, And headless and tail-less can glide? [page 48]
THE HAVEN OF THE HEART.
Give me one heart— One heart to love me dearly: Give me two lips— Two lips to kiss sincerely: No more I ask For greater boon By man was never craven, One fond true heart To be his only haven, And two fresh lips By love's sweet kisses laven. So shall my barque Dance on life's troubled ocean, And fear no dark Tempest or rude commotion; But face the blast, Then anchor fast With cords that part No more, until in Heaven True heart to heart Find their eternal haven.
Abel is dead—how hath he died? O silent Death! none may divine. Not as of old, hath this blood cried— It ebbed away and gave no sign. Now as of old, Cain goeth free Into the forest and the mart, Shame on his brow no man may see, The brand is buried in his heart. The world is full of winking eyes, And itching ears, and humming tongue— Hush! Slain by Slander?—the assize Of silence keeps the record strung. [page 49] In unutterable loneliness I sit And quaff the bitter dregs of my own spirit. And none may drink with me, nor share my vigil, But, when my drinking's done, I look into the eyes Of pangless death—he, who forever waits on pain, And from his hand I take the deadly potion, That numbs the agony of grim, returning life, And sends me calm and sobered back to men.
The old world rang with its cries of wrong, And the echoes came to me In this glorious land of the free and strong, And I said to myself, "O Lord, how long Is this suffering yet to be?" In the lonely bay rowed the pilot's man, With his iron thews and his cheek of tan. Oh, a brawny man was he! And he shot along, as he only can Whose life is free, and he began To sing of liberty. In a boat hard by, stood a tiny row Of babies, one, two, three, With a younger still in the heaving bow, And they all four watched their father go On his daily errantry. As I marked each towzled head of tow, My heart did burn, and I longed to know Its tiny history. I asked aloud of the dashing foam, "Their mother—where is she— Why leaves she thus her babes to roam?" And somewhere from heaven's cloudless dome, A voice did answer me:— "Their mother bides in her quiet home, [page 50] She is cradled deep in the good, brown loam Beneath a maple tree. Fair mother of these four, white buds— And a lovely flower was she! She blossomed here in the piny woods Where the wolf and the wild-cat rear their broods In lone security. And a child herself—life scarce begun, She died of misery — Her years were but one score and one When her laborious flight was done With toil and poverty." And she of many is but one— Oh, hardly is thy glory won, Proud land of liberty!
THE VISION AND THE VOICE.
While Earth upon her trembling axis swings, While wisdom hides the stars with rushing wings. Thou tellest of unutterable things, O Vision! and O Voice! Like loops of angels stretching tar io space, Thy beauties hang, a shimmering bridge of grace, Thy echoes guide where Love unveils His face, O Vision! and O Voice! Alone, we grope about this whirling dome. Yet through its clouds and gulfs of blinding foam, Thou wilt at last, we doubt not, call us home, O Vision! and O Voice! [page 51]
O CANADA, GOD BLESS THEE!
O Canada! God bless thee and thy sons, Thy daughters, and thy loving little ones! Steadfast and brave, long may they wave Thy standard borne of old For truth and right, for freedom's might, Pride of our fathers bold! And now we sing, "God save the King; God bless thee, Canada! God bless the King! God bless thee, Canada! God bless the King." O Canada! The haughty Nations frown— Come forth, O Champion of the Cross and Crown, Our swords are, bright, our hearts are light, Our banners are unfurled, The trumpets call—true Britons, all, We boldly front the world. Dear Motherland! At thy right hand Thy loyal sons, we true allegiance bring, For Cross and Crown, for Christ and Britain's King! O Canada! Thy glory we adore, Should sorrow fall we will but love thee more; O proud young race! let no disgrace Her stately beauty bow. In thy just laws make common cause To keep her vestal vow, And proudly sing God bless the King! God save dear Canada! God save the King! God save dear Canada! God save the King! Our Father! God! Now hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will we would acclaim [page 52] In this our dear, beloved land. As it is done in Heaven; And to us and our children, Lord! Our daily bread be given. Forgive all men, O save us when Temptation comes to us and ours again; Thine is the Kingdom and the Power. A-Men! O Canada! We echo with accord, "Thine be the glory and the Kingdom, Lord!" Lest we should thrust aside our trust, And pride should bring her fall; Hold Thou our land in Thy strong hand, O Mighty Lord of all! Once more we sing, "God save the King! God bless dear Canada! God bless the King! God bless dear Canada. God bless the King!"
Thy friendship, like a lovely dream That lit the sombre hours of night, Hath come and gone, and yet I deem Its transience more than lasting light. The passing fragrance of the rose Hath ever more of joy than pain, When Memory’s caskets soft unclose Love's withered roses live again. Thy friendship, like some rosy dream That glowed through all the hours of night. Hath come and gone, and still I seem To dream forever in its light. [page 53]
We do not chide sweet Nature, when her face She hides in yellow mist and dripping leaves; Nor when she roughly grants no more reprieves Unto her children taking heart of grace. But sweeps them swiftly from their well-loved place. No lover true of Nature, murmuring, grieves When Spring and Summer glories, Autumn sheaves, Are tightly locked in Winter's cold embrace. But when we peep out at the cold, grey dawn, Our brows encircled with the cords of pain, Our bodies trembling 'neath protracted strain, Our hearts with bitter anguish bleeding, torn— In calm indifference past all human ken, How cold, how unresponsive seems she then!
ON READING E. A. POE’S SONNET
Nay, tender poet, keep thy golden dreams. Thy beauteous visions dear to all the earth, Thy timid wood-nymphs, naiad-dotted streams. Thy magic groves that give the god-like birth. Keep all thy jewels, all the irised pearls Swift-dropping from the sunset's saffron cloud For thee, whilst countless mermaids' amber curls Weave for the drowsy sea a molten shroud. Science may rob thee not—her ruthless hand Thy treasure, all thy summer-dream restores; Armed, all earth's wisdom at her high command, She may not force thy heaven's enchanted doors. Baffled, she can but own thy shadowy land, Sweet symbol of divine Elysian shores. [page 54]
We nothing know but that we are, and long To be—what we are not. We strive and yearn For the unknown celestial lights that burn For purer souls whose wings are swift and strong. Thoughts, hopes, and fears distract us, but the tongue Is mute; we cannot speak, we cannot learn; Sad, unexpressed, unsatisfied, we turn To life again with bitter sense of wrong. When, lo, comes trilling through the magic sky, Full tale of our ideals, wants and woes. Wondering, we hear a silver voice disclose The treasured joy, the hidden grief, the sigh Suppressed, and see our very souls laid bare By some strange Minstrel's soft, melodious air.
What trembling hope, what speculative joy, Glows in the heart, when seeds by angels shaken From lilied hands, its tenderest cares employ, And, swift to root, to sunny thoughts awaken. Like asphodels, they feed departed souls, And bring again some semblance of emotion, That blown to cold oblivion's frigid poles Retrieves its flight o'er Memory's troubled ocean. Kind thoughts! sweet thoughts! ye bring once more a dream Of steadfast love, of love beyond temptation. Your fragrance breathes this sweet, heart-healing theme, "With Love, true Love, can be no condemnation." Oh, flower-like thoughts, in purposeful succession, Bring fruits of peace, forgiveness, intercession! [page 55]
The gentle rain with shower of crystal drop Brings soothing balm and quickens life again, The tender blades of grass intensely strain Up to the nebulous sky; the sprawling hops Shoot up their tendrils; thirstily tree-tops Do suck, rejoice, and bud and blow. The plain, The hill and valley teem with joy—its soft refrain: Babbling of rills that thread the dreamy copse. Ah love, dear love, e'en as the gentle showers, Thy memory falls across the weary years, Quickening my soul with fresh unbittered tears, And drawing thought up to thy heavenly bowers, So shall my soul when thy sweet cloud appears Make happier growth than e'en in sunnier hours.
MOTHERHOOD IN POVERTY.
They told her, in her darkest hour, of bliss That soon would crown the agony of pain, And patiently she turned her face again, And prayed to God in her wild loneliness. Ages before her yawned a wide abyss, Worlds rocked and rolled: it seemed that she had lain Forever in the clutch of demons, then— They brought her first-born for his mother's kiss. Low hovered in the silent, darkened room, The pall of woman's world-wide, crushing woe, And poverty's lone sufferer, trampled low. Lay wan and trembling in the stifling gloom. Then from her lips out burst a fearful cry, "O God, our doom is endless, let me die." [page 56]
Of old when Master Campion sung, And good Queen Bess did reign, The Minstrel's harp was finer strung To an immortal strain. Now all who love sweet Poesy cry, "The art of song is lost," And they who would with old bards vie, Adventure to their cost. The minstrel in his lightsome mood His sprightliest ditties made, When piping shepherds pranced and wooed Fair Cynthia in the glade. It seemeth that of old the songs With rapture were entwined, That lovers had no lasting wrongs, And maids were ever kind. If my Love's name was Thoralis, And mine was Corydon, Would she be kind, nor take amiss The love I live upon? Led I some gentle sheep with me, And she a snow-white lamb. Would she be swifter then to see How loving-sick I am? Then will I to the market hie, The fond fool for to play, A good fat sheep and pipes to buy, Then to my love—away! And that sweet sheep shall nimbly spring A-down a cowslip glade, And I will pipe and gaily sing Unto mine own dear maid. [page 59] Yet I some minstrel-lay must make With music set therein; Now for dear Thoralis's sake Let Corydon begin.
Cupid once was in a shower— He a jaunt had been Far away from his own bower So I took him in; Kissed his face and dried his wings. Then he sat and told me things; And he showed me how to toy With his tiny bow— ’Tis not meet so young a boy Anything should know— He, to teach me every part, Shot, and clove me to the heart!
I gave my love a lovely flower, A tender pledge of love to be, She crushed it in an idle hour, And flung the petals back to me. Ah me, ah me, to love is but to sorrow. All lovers true, beware or rue. Beware! nor suffering borrow. But bid sweet Love a kind adieu Ere he may cry, "Good-morrow!" I sent my love a faded rose With deadly thorns that pierced and stung. She pressed it to her bosom close. And blessed me with her dying tongue. Ah me, ah me, to love is but to sorrow, All lovers true, etc. [page 60]
The rose that opens all her heart, Spills half her glory on the lawn, I love thee best as now thou art— A mossy rosebud in its dawn. Love, I would not have thee break Thy calyx of reserve and pride, And yet, alas, for sweet Love's sake Ye may not always beauty hide. Oh, now, that beauty breaks half-blown— Ye cannot, dear, that blush recall! I pluck thee for my very own — Now love me, darling, all in all! I wear thee proudly on my breast— Was ever bliss so sweet as this? Was ever lover e'er so blest— Love's gifts transcend his promises! And yet, my joy is incomplete, Although I live alone for thee, I fain would know in truth, my sweet, That thou hast equal need of me. It were enough for me to love— On thee alone Love's loss would fall, Should'st thou ne'er know what 'tis to prove That Love is rapture all in all. Then, love me, love me all in all, Or love me, dearest, not at all!
O Love, could ought more heartless be Than thy whole conduct is to me? Thou spokest me fair—O fie, for shame, ’Twas but to take a surer aim! Nay, even as I soothe this smart, Thou bendest thy bow—alas, poor heart! [page 61]
With hopeless love no longer burning, I see my hope of peace returning: Fa la la! Now will I play at outward scorning, And bear no more Love's inner mourning, Fa la la! Alas, I cannot cease to love her, But, lest she should my plight discover, With seeming hate now will I move her. Fa la la! Since hate like love is but a burning, Perchance ’twould seem a secret yearning— Fa la la! With cold indifference will I ply her. And with a freezing stare defy her, Fa la la! Alas, ’tis said false woman knows Fierce fires burn ’neath mountain snows— I'll love or hate just as I choose— Fa la la!
"O Love, what can Love proffer, What gift may he unfold, For one whose flowing coffer All riches seem to hold?" "One pearl—and as ye love me, Come dear, and prove it true— The loveliest of the lovely, The gift of giving too."
Do I love you— How can I tell? Or do I hate you— And that as well I know not how to answer. [page 62] If self-deceit No wit can move, How were it meet Self to reprove? Love, tell me if you can, Sir!
I welcome blame And fear not shame, Into this world I came That I might love you. My love would wrest no toll, Save leave to weave my soul Into an aureole To shine above you, An 'neath your feet My heart should beat, Content if it might meet One chance caressing, My spirit like a wand, Set in a royal hand, Should wait at your command— So these possessing, Perchance you then Might deem it vain To leave me what is plain An echoing hollow. Could there be such rare bliss, Heaven's choirs might bend, I wis, To hear such grace as this, "Sweet body, follow."
O love, how doubly vain to me— That I should cease from loving thee! How vain to tell me thou art false— I love thee! then, what matters else? The heart, that's all a heart should be, Can never love unworthily. [page 63]
Young Love had been all day a-fooling. And as he lay at eve a-cooling, He chanced to fall asleep. Anon, began the stars to peep Down at the pretty boy, And wanting fair employ, Each shot a silver dart Straight at the urchin's heart! Then Cupid woke up, with a quiver, And to the stars he made his bow, And said, "Poor archers, all, I trow! Such archery doth make me shiver."
Hey, nonny no! Let us to the meadows go. I would the olden days were new When grass was green and skies were blue, And lads' and lasses' loves were true, Hey, nonny no! I would the olden days were young, When Phyllis to her shepherd sung, Hey, nonny no!
Come, let us olden antics feign— You be Phyllis and I, her swain, And we will toss the hay-cocks tall— You, the prettiest maid of all With kirtle tucked trim heels to show, And dimpling elbows all a-glow, While all the rustics mop and mow— Hey, nonny no! Then shall you sit and sweetly sing. And I will sit and be your king, And I will make a pretty posy To set it in your bosom cosy. [page 64] So shall I wish I were a flower To nestle in so sweet a bower, So shall I take it not a-miss To be consoled with a kiss, Then through the silent lanes we'd go. While soft and slow Hey, nonny no! To bed the sun the clouds would strow, Thus, having seen him to his couch, ’Twould be my pleasure to a-vouch We owed the moon the same good-will; So would we wait with patience till She tossed her night-cap o'er the hill, Then, not to shame the modest orb, We would all peeping Tommies curb. And shutting both our eyes, would swear She was the chastest of the fair—
Thereon thy Phyllis would rebel, And cry ye had not spoken well, And eke, to show she had no lack Of modesty, would turn her back, And, flying through the glimmering green No more till sunrise would be seen—
Could Phyllis use her shepherd so?
Hey, nonny no! No, no, no, no, Hey, nonny no!
My love, your name is Thoralis, And I, a song did sing Unto a maiden named Phyllis, Yet 'twas a simple thing. I may have sung of coral lips Of teeth whiter than snow, [page 66] Yet poets have their little slips And troubles, too, you know. They must respect strict emphasis, Strict metre, scansion, time, And thus it happed that 'fair Phyllis' Just fitted to the rhyme.
I may not come a-near— Thou art no flower of mine. Yet much I love thee dear, My daily thought is thine. The peach-bloom on thy cheek, The violet in thine eye, Are such as gods do seek, For such will mortals die. Thy joy, thy sweet presence, Like scent of rose and thyme, Rise o'er thy heart's defence And dare a world to climb. I do not wish to die, But death would surely be A trusty friend if I Should lose my love for thee.
Love yawned and said, "Write me a song!" "No pens, no ink," quoth Prue, "I've seen for long." Love took a dagger bright. And plunged it in her bosom white, And cried, as gushed the warm blood, red and strong, "There is thy pen, thy ink — now write!" [page 66]
Love. I have kept your trust, You have not been betrayed; Yet, loving much, why mutt I suffering have made? Had I but been less true, Your servitor less bold; I had not wounded you, Nor my own pain foretold. In loving thus too much, I have been less your friend; And yet the fault is such, I may in nowise mend. If love were but a sin, It would be clear to me, Why you have ever been My only enemy.
No matter, love, whate'er you do— My love for you but grows the stronger; Tis yours to flout, ’tis mine to woo; No matter, love, whate'er you do, Some day you will this coyness rue And scorn my suit no longer, No matter, love, whate'er you do, My love for you but grows the stronger.
If I the hand of Time could stay To pray for life and love and beauty, One prayer, thy name, would rise alway, If I the hand of Time could stay, One vision, thine, would I portray, One saint should claim my duty. If I the hand of Time could stay To pray for life and love and beauty. [page 67]
Come pride, now break a lance, And lay Love in the dust— So end his merry dance. Now court no vain mischance, But with a mighty thrust, Come pride, now break a lance. With stately curvet prance, And sate your murderous lust, So end his merry dance. O knight of arrogance! Behold, he stands robust— Come pride, now break a lance! He lives by sufferance, Your deadly spear adjust, So end his merry dance. Beware his dying glance— Love yields when yield he must— Come pride, now break a lance! So end his merry dance. [page 68]
INDEX OF FIRST LINES.
|A lie that is half of a lie—
|A purple glory flushes on the hills
|A rosy streak, and a morning gay
|A tender tear
|Abel is dead—how hath he died?
|Ah, those reflective moods
|And oh, those lovely fields of snow
|Be still, dear heart, and rest
|Break, O heart! on the silent ranges of the Absolute!
|Bright, buoyant Hope is ever on the wing
|Come, pride, now break a lance
|Cupid once was in a shower—
|Death came to me, and said
|Do I love you?
|Down to the fading west
|Earth hid her joys
|Far out across the little, gloomy bay
|Fayre ladye, in thy latticed bowie
|Give me one heart
|Hey, nonny no!
|How cam’st ye here, sweet Robin?
|Hylda! Hylda! Hylda!
|I ask of Life one simple boon
|I, Charles Lounbery,
|I gave my love a lovely flower
|I have no fond desire
|I may not come a-near
|I will be strong! then let the billows roll
|I welcome blame
|Idly piping down a lane
|If I the hand of Time could stay
|If only Love were good and true
|In dreams thou lovest me—
|In unutterable loneliness I sit
|Is Love a dream? then let me dream
|It is a fearful thing
|It is in vain they pass along the street
|It is so still—the earth is like a room
|Lo, Jehovah takes His pen
|Love brought sweet flowers, but Duty said
|Love, I have kept your trust
|Love is eternal
Love yawned and said, "Write me a song"
My hand in thine—the tender silence stealing
|My love, your name is Thoralis
|Nay, tender poet, keep thy golden dreams
|No matter, love, whate’er you do—
Now, thou art gone, and empty is thy throne
|O bridled passion! Concentrated joy!
|O Canada! God bless thee and thy sons
|Of old when Master Campion sung
|Oh, daffodils, ye blow
|Oh kiss but the blossom which grows on
|Oh, the joy of life, when the horses white
|O land of Burns!
|O Love, could ought more heartless be
O Love, how doubly vain to me the thorn
|O Love, what can love proffer
|One said to me, “The poets dwell
|Over prairies bare
Sing, oh my heart, this glorious, glorious day
|Sing lullaby. O heart, to all thy fears
|Sweet as the theme of Adam’s bridal song
The gentle rain with showers of crystal drops
|The old world rang with its cries of wrong
|The rose that opens all her heart
|The silver trumpets pealed from Heaven
|The three lone graves showe green
|The weird medallions on the carven bed
|The year is dead
|These are thy fancies, gentle Melancholy
|There are ninety and nine
|They told her, in her darkest hour, of bliss
|Through the fringed gates of sleep, the
|Thy friendship like a lovely dream
|’Tis Love, Love, Love
True love is born of Pain angel Pain
|We acquiesce in all that is
We do not chide sweet Nature, when her face
We nothing know but that we are, and long
We sing a golden land where the rose's laden bough
What trembling hope, what speculative joy
While Earth upon her trembling axis swings
|Who has not felt, some still, hot afternoon
|Wind-witches wailing upon the lone sea
|With hopeless love no longer burning
|Ye glorious skies and sunsets
|Young Love had been all day a-fooling