Modernist Canadian Poets
29th Jun 2016Posted in: Modernist Canadian Poets 0
Little White Boats

Signed copy
[Handwritten: Ted
Wishing him
Happy Days
Margaret Bossance Boreham]

[inside front cover]

[blank page]



[unnumbered page]


Little White Boats 5
New Songs 6
The Road to Yesterday 7
Young Spring 9
The Ringing of the Garden Bells 10
April 11
Gypsy Girl’s Song 12
Slumber Song 13
A Prayer 14
An Autumn Day 15
He Will Return 16
The Progress of Transportation 17
Carol: The Shepherds 18
The Dying Year 19
The Coming of the Little New Year 20
The Perfect Hour 21
Westing 22
Purple Lilac 23
Returns 25
English Pictures 26
My Lane 28
In the Still Hour 29
Devon 30
The Mermaid of Zennor 32
Rhododendrons at Kew 33
An Almond Tree (In Kew Gardens) 35
Little Brown Sails 36
Retrospection 37
Mylor 39
[unnumbered page]
Recollections 40
The Cottage by the Sea Shore 41
Just A-Rollin’ Along 42
As I Pass 43
Love the Immortal 44
Awakening 45
Te Deum Laudamus 46
Where do the Leaves Go? 47
Love and Life 48
The Valley of Silence 49
Rejected Thoughts 50
Life’s Orchard 51
Dewdrop and Tear 54
Dandelions 55
To-day 56
The Calling of the Sea 57
Our Thoughts 58
Song of the Wheat 59
Pot Pourri 60
My Garden 61
Love Evanescent to Love Immortal 62
Bear Thou My Song 63
Friendship 64
Let Me Go Out 65
The Passing 66
Heart of the Woods 67
The Hills of Acadie 68
Canada’s Gardens 69
Autumn Rain 70
The Strange Road 71
At End of Day 72
[unnumbered page]


Speed my little white boats!
Take with you the work of my brain
Abroad on this world’s wide sea,
Mixed cargo of pleasure and pain.
    O speed my little white boats!

Speed my little white boats!
You carry dear children of dreams,
Sweet fancies of stardust and night,
And radiant morn’s dew gleams.
   O speed my little white boats!

Speed my little white boats!
Should your voyage be made in vain,
Bring back my dream children to me
To rest in my heart again.
    O speed my little white boats! [page 5]


There are no songs to sing—
   I’ve sung them all,
The songs of Joy or Pain ;
   And I would fain
A new song to you bring.

   A blackbird’s call,
     A thrush’s cheery trill,
   The babbling rill—
The carillons that from tall towers ring—
Would I could weave and blend them in a song, 
   And to you bring.

   The perfumed rose,
     A sunset o’er the sea,
   The melody
Of Summer moon and starshine, everything
That speaks to me of God, and Love, and you—
   Of these I’d sing. [page 6]


The winding road to Yesterday leads through the Vale of Tears,
And o’er the hill where stands a cairn to hops of all the years;
And yet, could we out steps retrace, a longing we would do,
We’d find the gates to Fairyland, and might perchance slip through. 

The gates of gold and ivory that ope to fingertips,
Or whispered word that’s spoken by all tiny childish lips;
And O to be a child again ! And O to see them swing
Wide open on their hinges gold, and show the fairy ring!

To watch them in the pale moonlight, a-dancing on the green,
To hear their little tinkling laughs, and see come on the scene
Our old, old friends of yesterday, Titania the Queen, 
And Puck, and Cinderella with her Fairy Prince in tow,
And Jack the Giant Killer, killing giants in a row,
And all the little fays and elves we loved so long ago. [page 7]

Mayhap we’d get a fairy gift to carry us along,
A little bit of happiness, or long forgotten song;
Or, this we hardly dare to think for fear our wish is vain,
That from the cairn a hope will rise to point the way again. 

For nothing is impossible to little fairy hands,
We’ve but to wish, and lo ! at once to our commands;
And all the things we’ve wished for, and all the dreams most fair, 
Will come to us, and stay with us, if only we reach there. [page 8]


Last night young Spring passed through the town,
And tripped it lightly up and down;
And everywhere upon the sod
Where e’er her dancing feet had trod,
Are all her fairy footprints, rimmed
With gold and white ; and purple trimmed
Are crocus cups, with nectar brimmed,
   To mark her way. 

Alas ! for heavy storms of Spring, 
And blinding snow wreaths billowing! 
Young Spring passed through the town last night;
But with her first faint shafts of light,
When Morning rent the veil of night
   For the new day—
   She fled away. [page 9]


Ding a ling a ling a ling,
   Up and back again,
All the Canterbury Bells
    Ringing in the rain.

Spires of Foxglove bending down
   To blue Delphinium’s grace;
There a Birch, it’s wet green gown
   Shakes, and bows apace.

Fairy flowers of Columbine
   Joining in refrain,
Up and down and back again,
   Ringing in the rain. 

Full of mystic murmurings
   All the flowers croon,
While the rhythmic garden swings
   With the bells attune. 

Ding a ling a ling a ling,
   Up and back again;
All the lovely garden bells
   Ringing in the rain. [page 10]


Young April, passing through the door
Of Morning, paused upon the shore
Of Time, and listened eagerly
For sounds across the azure sea.
And to here there came presently
The beating of a myriad wings,
And with excited flutterings
Her birds flew to her, making frame
Surrounding her, and so she came;
And all the air was filled with song
As royal cortège swept along. 

Young April, shod in satin green,
Whose eyes are bits from out the sky;
Whose golden hair was formed, I ween,
From shafts of sunlight streaming by. 

And O her smile was good to see!
And where she trod so daintily, 
The grass sprang to caress her feet;
And where she bent down tenderly,
The Daffodils and Tulips sweet
Pushed through the ground to kiss her face,
And murmured of her lovely grace;
And when she wept, young Scillas blue
As her own eyes, reached further through
To comfort her, and whispered low,
That grief or laughter, smiles or woe,
Whate’er she did, they loved her so.  [page 11]


When he is away
The stars are hid, are hidden from me, 
The Moon hath veiled her silver light,
     The Sun, the Sun is grey.

When he is a way
The love of life is taken from me
Sleepless I lie throughout the night,
     And watch, and wait for day.

Now he is here ! He is here!—
The flowers lift their heads to greet my dear—
The heart in my breast leaps from its nest
And flies for him for rest.—
The Sun, the Sun is golden clear,
     Because my love is here. [page 12]


Hush-a-bye, my baby, with your head upon my breast,
   Hush-a-bye, my pretty one, sweetly sleep and rest;
Little stars are brightly peeping at you where you lie,
   Mother watched o’er your sleeping, hush, my baby, bye.

Little stars are flowers in the garden of God’s love.
   Sleep, and dream that baby fingers plucked them up above;
But when morning light is gleaming over land and sea, 
   Waken from your blissful dreaming—come, love, back to me.

Hush-a-bye, my baby, with your head upon my breast,
    Hush-a-bye, my pretty one, sweetly sleep and rest;
Wind among the roses  blowing, breathes a lullaby, 
   Dreamland’s path with petals strowing, hush, baby, bye. [page 13]


Out of the great Immensity,
The abysmal stillness that is Thee,
Give me, O God ; that I may see
The turbulence that now is me
Sink to a holy calm in Thee—
Give me, that I may live and be.

Give me, O God, Thy Blessed peace, 
That so may sorrows have surcease;
The burdens of my soul release
That I may praise and never cease,
May praise throughout Eternity,
And live, and move, and be in Thee. [page 14]


A grey and darksome day, the wind is chill;
In sullenness dead leaves blow up the hill,
And lie all strewn against the curbing’s ledge;
And in secluded nooks, by fences’ edge, 
Small heaps are whirled and eddied, there to rest,
As if some living agency had made a nest. 
The Sun peeps out between the snowclouds grey, 
And through the yellow Maple ‘cross the way
A burst of glory fills our saddened eyes, 
Just for a moment—then it fades and dies. [page 15]


He will return
   From wanderings on strange paths of delight, 
   From revellings, and tastes of jaded night,
   And wearied following after pleasure slight. 
                                                    He will return. 

He will return
   To high ideals of youth and yesteryear,
   To simpleness of life and homely cheer,
   And all the good and lovely things held dear. 
                                                   He will return. 

He will return,
   E’en if the silver whitens on his brow,
   And vital youth to dim old age must bow;
   Still God is good—I know, sometime, somehow
                                                    He will return. [page 16]


Since the days of old, when the ox-cart crawled
   O’er the roads in our great land;
And the lumbering camel caravan
   Strode forth o’er the desert sand;
And the prairie schooner rocked and swayed
   To our wide and unknown West;
And the Indian’s frail birch-bark canoes 
    Rode the great St. Lawrence breast 

Transportation has with a  leap and bound
    Attained to dizzy ways;
Long trains now roar from East to West 
    In a few luxurious days;
And over the roads the motors go
   With a speed unknown before;
While racing the clouds above our heads
   The great planes sweep and soar. 

And over the heaving, restless sea
   The waves, as they roll, reflect
The smoke of a thousand stately ships,
    That our commerce kings direct. 
And cities rise, where the prairies wide
    Once covered our western land.
O Spirit fine ! To you the praise!
    You have waved your magic hand.
There is no earth place but your servants reach
   With their wealth of civilization.
All hail ! to you who have conquered all,
    Great Spirit of Transportation! [page 17]


While shepherds were watching the moving Star, 
Along came a young lad from fields afar ;
And with them he went to the manager bare,
To see baby Jesus, who was lying there. 

     Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
     Jesus was born in Bethlehem. 

The shepherds knelt down for to worship Him,
And one gave a bell form his pouch so slim, 
And one gave his cap ; but the strange young lad,
He gave his heart—for it was all he had. 
     Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, 
     Hail to the King of Israel! [page 18]


A little pain and a little moping,
    (I bury the last with the year);
A little gain and a little groping,
   A smile, o’erwhelmed in a tear.

A little wheeping, a heart that’s breaking
   With sorrow at daylight’s close;
A little sleeping, and with the waking
    The dew wet scent of the rose.

The scent of the rose of life a-blowing, 
   And the sound of the young year’s song;
The heart is strong, the warm blood’s flowing,
   And the new year stretches long. [page 19]


The little New Year in the window peeped
   (He was cold and lone and wee),
And wistful smiled, “Is there here no child 
    To frolic about with me? 

“The ice and snow in this world below
   Are bitterly cold,” said he, 
“And no one to play with me all day
    In this new and strange country. 

For some reason queer they’ve send me here,
   And I’m sad and lonesome too,
Though there’s ringing of bells (they are called joy bells)
   To herald my passing through;
I wonder why—I’m sure I’ll cry
    If left down here with you. 

“Yet a whole long year I must stay, I hear,
   Until I am aged quite;
If I had my way, it would be one day—
   I’d joyfully die to-night.” [page 20]


When Time lets slip one little perfect hour,
   One priceless gem from out Eternity,
Do not refuse this gift of offered dower—
   O take it ! lest it pass away from thee. 

Perchance through all thy days, this jewel rare, 
   May only once within thine orbit dart;
Thine hand stretch forth and grasp the gift so fair—
    O keep it ! Hide it safely in thy heart! [page 21]


There’s a golden road a-leading on towards the setting Sun;
   There are shadows dark’ning its bright surface. Watching them, I see
That a million feet are treading it, with all Earth’s troubles done;
   They are pressing, hurrying to the West, and to Eternity.

There are sounds of feet a-marching in that mighty, mighty host;
   There are fresh young voices chanting, they have laid aside all fears;
And I hear the bugles sounding, softly sounding the “Last Post,”
   And I wonder will the triumph of “Reveille” reach their ears. 

I hear bands of little children laughing blithely as they go;
   I watch white-robed maidens hastening, see their eyes with wonder bright;
And the worn and tired aged, with their voices weak and low.
   While I watch, grow strong and vigorous as they travel towards the light. [page 22]

They are leaving night behind them, they go westing with the Sun,
   Its glory now enfolds them with revivifying light;
Till they reach the great “Forever” where the sands of Time are run, 
    Where the morn of gladness breaks in bliss—and there is no more night. [page 23]


Down by the purple Lilac
I hear a robin singing
   To his mate in the Thorn tree swaying—
   ‘Tis the nesting time of year;
And the white clouds sweeping, lifting,
And the Lilac’s perfume drifting, 
   Bring back a night long vanished,
   And another’s voice I hear. 

Again I walk in the garden, 
And the years that the locust has eaten 
   Are here, and I see her standing 
   By the purple Lilac tree;
Ah ! the young May moon is beaming,
And her face, in its silver gleaming,
    Shines in a white, still beauty, 
    Radiant, with love of me. [page 24]


Give forth to the world your best,
   And the best will come back to you;
Be yours the return magnificent
   In friendship loyal and true.

Give love, and love will be yours,
   To uphold in your time of need;
Give faith, and lo ! from a score of hearts
   Come faith in your word and deed. [page 25]


If one’s wish come true, then I’d be 
Far across the stormy, wide sea,
   In a quiet English lane, beneath the banks, 
Where the meadows larks are singing, 
And the breezes soft are bringing
   Sweet breath of fragrant Violets from their ranks. 

“Neath the hedge I see the lark’s nest,
O’er its edge a tiny brown breast,
   For it’s nesting time in England over sea;
Down the lane, so quaint and rambling, 
Comes a cart (with pony ambling),
   Filled with sweet and rosy children full of glee.

Overhead, the tall trees are meeting,
Nod, and give each other greeting,
   Whisper what they’ve seen, and heard by breezes blown—
Lovers loitering in the twilight,
Youth and more youth in the shylight, 
   Tales of Love, and Life, and Sorrow they have known.

Down the lane comes Age and Childhood,
Briton, Saxon, Norman manhood,
   While the centuries have slowly passed o’erhead; 
Can’t you see the vast procession,
Hear the young love’s sweet confession, 
   Hear the passing bell—a-tolling for the dead? [page 26]

Just the same way birds were singing,
Laugh of happy children ringing, 
   Lingering beams of sunlight shining thwart the banks,
In the old, old days long vanished,
When the fairies we have banished
   Were believed to come at dusk and play their pranks.

Ah ! to-night the spell is on me,
Laid its magic touch upon me,
   And I long for that small country o’er the sea;
With its gardens with box edges,
And its stately trees and hedges
    Where the many happy birds are carolling free.

In the dear old lanes of England—
Picture sweet of happy Springland—
   May there nothing e’er disturb your peaceful rest.
From the outer world’s commotion,
O’er the heaving of the ocean, 
   Send I greeting to you, dear and fragrant nest. [page 27]


I know a lane, a Cornish lane, 
In whose sweet confines I’d remain.
Where bluebells, painted Heaven’s own blue,
And ragged robin’s rosy hue,
Mingled on banks where stitchwork flung
Its dainty starflowers all among
The grasses and the ivy wreath;
And in the hollows underneath,
And nestling everywhere between,
Are primroses and violents seen;
A carpet royal for the feet
Of my dear love—whose presence sweet
Made it a heaven on earth to me. 
Ah, love ! if I could there with thee
A-down that dear lane stroll again,
The weariness and bitter pain
Of these dark years would fall from me,
And evermore my soul would be
Filled with exceeding gladness, dear,
To feel thee once more mine, and near.

I ask, and must it be in vain?
For you, my sweet, and that dear lane. [page 28]


In the still hour,
   When longing thoughts are flying,
Always they waft me
   Where wide oceans flow;
High the sea flower
   In masses pink is lying,
Watching in beauty
   Booming waves below. 

Come, then, with me
   Where silver seas are breaking,
Where the white seagull
   Wheels above the wave;
There we are free—
   Our souls form sleep awaking, 
Find in the wind’s lull
   Peace, and God who gave. [page 29]


O the green fields of Devon
   With the red cliffs marching by,
The cattle in the lushness,
   And the grey of Winter sky!

These are Daisies in the meadows,
   There are Violets in the hedge, 
And the Primrose of the Springtime
   Smiles up yonder on the ledge.

Can one realize the season? 
   Why ! it’s just at Christmas time,
When the icicles should glisten,
   And the field be white with rime. 

Lo ! the grass is like emerald, 
   Yet the Holly berry’s red, 
Here a flower has stopped its blooming,
   There a tree its foliage shed. 

But in lovely, glorious Devon
   Seasons come and seasons go,
And the flowers bloom forever,
   As all those who love her know. 

And the pictures that she gives us—
   With her red cliffs by the sea,
And the purple of the Heather
   On her moorlands wild and free. [page 30]

O the moorlands of Devon!
   Where the great Tors rise,
And purling brooks go tumbling
   Beneath cerulean skies.

The blood red of the Fuchsia
   Growing by the cottage door,
And the riot of Wistaria
   Drooping blue Hydrangeas o’er.

‘Tis not wise to say in Devon
   “This sweet flower grows in June,”
Or “that other in September”;
   For to maddest, merriest tune

Of the seasons, dance the flowers;
   All the year round dance they on,
Blooming there in dear profusion,
   Reckoning not their time has gone.

O the Rose wreaths of Devon
   That hang on cloister walls,
And in riotous confusion
   Over old ancestral halls.

Sweet, beauteous, lovely Devon,
   May I once again find place
In thy borders ; in the meantime
   My heart mirrors thy dear face. [page 31]


Are you learned, are you learned in Pixie lore?
Do you know all the tales were told of yore?
   How they frolicked in the night—
   And folk all heard their laughter light,
As they flirted with the mermaids on the shore.

And how once a mermaid fair, cunning strove
For the love of a man—her spells she wove,
   And her songs were to hum sung, 
   As she sported waves among, 
Till she lured him to a quiet sandy cove.

Then her white arms were twined about him fast,
And she kissed him till he quite forgot the past,
   And he noticed not the sea
   Creeping, creeping stealthily,
Till it covered his head and all at last. 

And he sank with his mermaid in the seas:
Nevermore for him the sunlight on the leas, 
   He had vanished in the night—
   But the coastwatch, pale with fright, 
Heard strange, unearthly laughter on the breeze. 

And to show that the story’s true, they say,
In a church on a headland, to this day, 
   May be seen a mermaid fair, 
   Carved on end of pew-seat there,
As a warning to those who go to pray. [page 32]


Come down to Kew in Maytime, 
In Maytime, in gaytime, 
  To see the Rhododoendrons put on their Spring gowns new;
Come down and see the riot
(On the Walk when all is quiet)
   Of Love’s own colours, palest pink to deepest crimson hue. 

And the purple of deep passion
Mingles with them in sweet fashion,
   Lovely in harmonious and glorious colour scheme;
Down the path you idly saunter,
Till your careless laugh and banter
   Ceases, as your eyes behold and recognize the theme. 

There’s a song that in your ear rings, 
There’s a twanging of your heart strings, 
   As the glory and the wonder of Love’s own epitome
Bursts upon your outward vision;
And you feel a quick transition,
   And a longing indescribable for what you cannot see. [page 33]

If your heart were only cleaner,
If your vision were but keener, 
   To see what you can only feel is hovering in the trees;
Would the flame of Love’s true spirit
Blast your puny soul, and fling it
   Fourth from out your feeble body, where it smugly lies at ease? 

All the colour of devotion,
All the gamut of emotion,
   Lies within the confines of those Rhododendron trees;
And your spirit hears song voices,
And in ecstasy rejoices,
   At the sweeping of the harmony and wondrous melodies.

Come down to Kew in Maytime,
In Maytime, in gaytime,
   Come down and see Love manifest in Rhododendron trees;
For the glory, heart impressing, 
Leaves within your soul a blessing, 
And your ears shall hear forever strains of spirit harmonies. [page 34]

(In Kew Gardens).

There’s a picture that’s enchanting,
A remembrance sweet that’s haunting, 
   Of an Almond tree, ablooming in the Spring;
And how carefully it’s tended,
In its garden great and splendid,
   A garden long since planted for a king.

In a fairy ring of Hyacinth, 
On carpet of blue Hyacinth,
   My Almond tree stands, decked with blossoms sweet;
Blossoms pink as Wild Rose on it,
With the blue of Heaven above it, 
   And the blue of Heaven lying at its feet.

All around the grass growing, 
All around the trees are blowing, 
   Not another flower near to mar its grace;
Wrapped in robe of heavenly blue, 
With its Wild Rose blossom hue—
   Have you seen it, blooming in its royal place? [page 35]

Somewhere in an old land, where all the men are fishers, a young husband has gone out for the night fishing. Hearing the wind rising, his bride becomes uneasy; she speaks to the boat which holds her all. The storm bursts, and she is given a vision of what is occurring.


Little brown sails, where are you sailing,
   Far out on the wide, wide sea?
Little brown sails, the wind is wailing,
   You’d better come back to me;
For a wailing wind means a storm they say,
So little brown sails come home, and stay. 

Little brown sails, the storm-cloud’s broken,
   The sea’s lashed up into foam!
Little brown sails, the wind god’s spoken,
   Never shall you see home!
With fiendish glee he roars to the sky—
O, little brown sails—Good-bye, good-bye! [page 36]

Old towing path along the Thames, from Kingston to Hampton Court.


Let’s jog along the tow road,
The winding road, the low road;
   Tramp along through green ways that slip by river banks;
And see the punts with lovers
Glide under willow covers, 
   And the masses of the flowers on the house-boats’ serried ranks. 

Down to the river’s edges
Come gardens with green hedges,
   And lawns like verdant velvet, all gay with rainbow shades;
Backwaters, smooth and quiet, 
Where free from noise aid riot, 
  One can dream the lazy day away in shady willows glades. 

But we, along the tow road
Go jogging still; the green road
   Stretches all along the banks, goes winding past the locks, 
Till we come to an old Palace,
Within the emerald chalice
   Of its peaceful trees and gardens where birds congregate in flocks. [page 37]

Shall we while away the hours
In its mystic, magic bowers?
   Dream awhile of rustling silks, and gallants walking there?
Now a subtle perfume sheds—
Is it from the garden beds?
   Or wafted from a presence that passes, young and fair?

We are walking by the wall,
Where a King and Cardinal
   Walked and talked together in the ancient garden close.
Which the greater on? we ponder.
Both are gone, and now we wander, 
   Read their emblems on the gateway, kingly mitre, royal rose. 

Then jog along the tow road, 
The winding road, the low road; 
   Royalties and Cardinals, gallants and ladies fair
Have trod the road before us;
And their shades seem hovering o’er us,
   As we dream in those old gardens ‘neath the Yew trees there. [page 38]


Leaden sky and dull green sea,
Fresh young leaves on every tree,
Cattle browsing on the lea, 
   On the way to Mylor.

Ancient church among the trees,
Rest, and peace, and sweet heart’s-ease
Breathe from thee, and sorrow flees, 
   When we come to Mylor. 

Peaceful spirit, hov’ring where 
Tree-tops whisper, green and fair;
Fain I’d rest my body there, 
   By the church at Mylor.

Freed from care and trouble’s stress,
Freed from sorrow’s bitterness,
Leave me to the soft caress
    Of the breeze at Mylor. 

Weary of the chastening rod, 
I would leave my soul to God, 
Lay me down below the sod
   ‘Neath the Yew at Mylor. [page 39]


O! the beauties of sea and shore,
How I’m longing to see them once more,
   The pink buds on the May,
   And the blue of the bay, 
With the little brown sails scudding o’er.

And the golden Sun shining on high
Smiles at small fleecy clouds drifting by,
   For the warmth of his kiss
   Wakes the flowers to bliss,
And the blue of the bay is the sky—
Yes, the blue of the bay is the sky. [page 40]


There’s a spot where my thoughts are always turning, 
   Within sound of the whispering sea;
For its peace and contentment I am yearning,
   And its happy tranquility;
And at eve in spirit I go roaming,
   Where the white birches, gleaming in the gloaming, 
Stand guard o’er at the cottage by the seashore,
   Where my heart ever longs to be.

Of the sound of the waves I’m ever dreaming, 
   And the murmur of happy bees,
And the perfume of flowers, and the gleaming
   Of those sentinel white birch trees.
Someday there’ll be an end of roaming, 
   And my spirit, returning in the gloaming,
Will abide in that cottage by the seashore,
   Where my heart ever longs to be. [page 41]


Just a-rollin’ along,
Just a-rolling’ along, 
Just a-doin’ what your hand finds,
And doin’ it strong;
Just a-trustin’ in the Promises
When things go wrong;
Just a-helpin’ up a brother
Who’s down, the road along,
And a-rollin’ along in the morning.

And when the feet are weary
And strength is gone, 
And the road seems long and dreary
As night comes on;
Just a-liftin’ up a glad head
And a-steppin’ strong,
And a’leanin’ on a Strong Hand
A’leadin’ you along,
Just go rollin’ along in the morning. [page 42]


O the little bluebells ring
  As I pass,
And the jonquils in the grass
Lift their heads in sunny wonder
At the echoing of thunder
In my footsteps, treading softly
   As I pass.

And the bees in shining clover
   As they sip,
Murmur, murmur, from the lip
Of a honey cup they’re rifling, 
“Who is this with time for trifling?”
And they hum, “Come, gather honey,”
   As I pass. [page 43]


Love is a rose in a garden,
   Love is a breeze from the South, 
Wafting the perfumes of Araby,
Kissing the rose on the mouth.
Love is the gold of the sunlight,
   Love is the shade of the tree—
Passes, the day of golden hours,
   Love lives, for you and me.

Love is a flame consuming,
   Love is a tempest and rain,
Washing the doss of our hearts away,
   Giving them freshness again.
Love is the silver of moonlight,
Love is the strength of the free—
Passes, the night of silver light,
   Love lives, for you and me. [page 44]


The pale snowdrops from their long Winter sleep,
   Their sweet faces smile to the sky;
While the wind takes the scent by the Hyacinths lent
   And wafts it like incense on high.

There’s a song in the morn from a tree of white thorn, 
   Of a robin, calling its mate;
And to-day when a-roam, I spied, coming home, 
   A nest in the hedge by the gate.

There’s a leap in the blood, and the river’s in flood,
   It rushes to meet the sea;
E’en my heart is a-chime with the wine of Spring-time,
   And a passionate longing for thee. [page 45]


All the flower bells are ringing,
All the birds in tree-tops singing,
   “Come and praise.”
Short and sweet the Summer’s winging,
From her swift hands glories flinging
   All the days. 

Come and join then, with their singing.
Blend your voice, let it go winging
   Through the sky;
Praise, and prayer, and anthems ringing,
To the Lord of beauty bringing,
   Passing by. [page 46]


Where do the leaves go? Where the loveliness
   Of all the trees when stripped of Summer’s dress?
Are they perhaps a-flutter, fresh and green,
   On statelier trees than on this earth are seen?

And do these trees spread over velvet sod,
   Above young Daffodils, just fresh from God?
And does a little rill go idling by,
   Reflecting lovingly an azure sky;

And clumps of Myosotis, standing near,
   Watch their own beauty in the water clear, 
And like Narcissus, love the imaged face,
   And pine away because of its sweet grace?

Ah me! I can but speak with earthly tongue,
   And but describe the beauties Earth has sung,
When soft upon some Summer midnight clear,
   She turned her lyre to chant her love songs here.

My lips can only tell, my mind conceive,
   What earthly eyes have seen—yet I believe
That fairer trees are waving in some land,
   And fairer flowers bloom on every hand,
And that someday, somewhere, my tongue shall sing
   With surer knowledge of eternal Spring. [page 47]


Love, passing, chanced upon Life’s harp,
   And smote with careless hands its springs;
And straightway, in a woman’s heart
   A song of answering sweetness rings, 
Reverberating through the harp
   Till all its strings a-quiv’ring are
With full and mighty chords, that set
   The trembling framework all a-jar.

Then sudden twang—the music stops—
   The strings are hanging loose and torn;
And through the silence sounds a cry
   As through from out the music born.
Love gazes on the ruin wrought,
   And shivering, affrighted, flies;
Nor sees, where lovely Singing Heart,
   Beat stilled, and cold, in muteness lies. [page 48]


We loved—and the golden sunshine laughed with us all the day,
Nights were white with passion, and shimmer of Moon’s soft ray,
Trusting, I rested on your heart—waking, I found you away.

Between us a silent valley stretches, dark and profound.
Trembling, I wait on the hillside, listen and long for a sound.
But down, deep down in the valley, Love lies dead on the ground. [page 49]


I brought them to you in the Springtime,
Heavy with spikes of Grape Hyacinth, 
And perfume of purple Lilac;
Brimming with wine of Life, with joy of Youth,
And distilled sunshine of Daffodils.
You said, “We do not know you;
There is no room.”

In slumberness Summer I brought them,
Laden with hum of bees,
And flight of butterflies,
And iridescence of humming birds,
The song of stars at midnight,
The effulgent glory of golden Moon.
You said, “We do not know you;
There is no room.”

Coldly blow the Autumn winds;
The dead brown leaves of the Oak
That broods o’er my cottage,
Flutter along the ground
With a dry rustling.
What are these among the dead leaves?
They are my thoughts,
Dry and withered hopes, derided desires.
You said, “We do not know you.”
A gust of Autumn wind, a faint cry.
Alas ! they are gone. [page 50]


Dame on palfrey with Knight and Squire,
Mendicant, Monk and Holy Friar;
Soldiers, returning with knapsack load,
Linger to speak to maids on the road,
Draw aside for a moment of bliss,
A whispered word, or a stolen kiss.

   For “Love is fire and Youth is tow,”
   So a poet said in the long ago;
   And just the same applies to-day,
   To the same old theme, in the same old way,
   When caught in the whirl of Love’s desire,
   Then Youth is tow, and Love is fire.

Vagabonds with their all on their backs,
Yet cheerily whistling happy Jacks;
Here a lover, a-lingering shy
Till the maid of his heart comes tripping by,
Hoping to help her over the stile,
And win a longed-for, coveted smile. 

While she, refuses his company,
For the vagabond, who goes carefree,
The vagabond’s young, and brown and gay,
Makes love in a most attractive way,
And the maiden’s heart o’errules her head,
She travels the road with him instead. [page 51]

   Under the trees,
   With bread and cheese—
   So it will be till the Summer’s gone.
   What does it matter when love is young?

   Laughter and song
   All the day long,
   When darkness falls and the day is done,
   And brown curls mingle the gold among.

   Then, “O my love is a rose, a rose!”
   And, “Ah, my lover’s a king!”
   And happiness comes to those, to those
   Who sing the song of the Spring.

For sap runs high in the Spring of the year,
And love is strange and perverse and queer,
And often comes to the maid and man
Who suit not each other, not ever can.

But yo ! heigh ho! So the world goes,
The butterfly comes to the garden rose;
Always and ever ‘twill be the same,
Whether country maid or city dame,
When love’s sweet madness will come one day,
Then worldly wisdom will fly away.

As ever onwards we sweep along,
Laughter and pain, sorrow and song,
A little day and our race is run,
We pass in procession and life is done. [page 52]

“Sad,” do you say? Ah well ! perhaps.
And yet, with all life’s strange mishaps,
We’ve lived! And whether for good or ill,
The memory still can cause a thrill,
As down life’s highroad we near the end.
We’ve taken what the Fates chose to send,
We’ve fought the fight, and we’ve felt the pain,
And sometimes wondered if ‘twas in vain.

But whether the whole’s been wrong or right,
The end of the highroad’s now in sight;
We’ve worked with zest, and we’ve played the game:
What shall be written against each name?

Wearily, wearily, under the stars,
Sleep for a while, my friend;
The fight was long, and the foe was strong,
But presently comes the end.
At the close of the fight, the morning’s light
Will surely the victory send. 

   Wake! Wake!
   The morn doth break!
   The crimson dawn at the Eastern gate
   Points rosy fingers across the sky
   To show you the way your path doth lie.
   Break! Break!
   The fetters break
   That on the highroad linked you to Fate.
   You are free! Are free! And so will be
   (For Time is done) through Eternity. [page 53]


There’s a drop of dew in the heart of a rose,
   There’s a tear in the heart of me;
And a vision appears when my eyes I close
   Of the face that I long to see.

At the last great day when all hearts unclose,
   And revealed is their destiny,
That face will be mirrored in dew in the rose,
   And in tear in the heart of me. [page 54]


Little suns in the grass,
Do you hear what the Earth is saying,
As she wakens from drowsy sleep
In the young, fresh dawn?
Do you hear as they pass,
The feet of the fairies straying?
And the sigh of the west wind’s sweep
As it hurries on?

Little suns in the grass,
There are fairy joy-bells ringing
In the air to-day, low and sweet,
Set by you a-swing;
Even I, as I pass,
Hear their music, and murmur of singing,
And my heart feels the flutter and beat
Of a bluebird’s wing. [page 55]


You love me to-day!
   And my heart, chaning paeans of delight,
Whiles the glad hours away.
   I shall not sleep to-night—
     You love me to-day!

You love me to-day!
   Though the rose of your love on the morn
Shall be withered and grey,
   And pale sorrow be born—
     You love me to-day!

You love me to-day!
   And the bliss of your kiss fills again
With sweet rapture my way.
   Is all the rest pain—
    You love me to-day! [page 56]


I hear the sea a-calling,
The sparkling sea a-calling.
   O! would I had a ship afar to roam;
With a steady rising, falling,
In monotony enthralling,
   And a thousand rainbows flashing in the foam.

I hear the sea a-calling,
The cold grey sea a-calling,
   And the whistling of the wind among the shrouds;
And strong timbers all a-creaking,
And the hungry gulls a-shrieking,
   As they gather, swooping, swirling down in clouds.

I hear the sea a-calling,
The siren sea a-calling,
   And its wooing, urgent voice is drawing me.
Ah ! some day we’ll be together,
Be it fair or storm weather,
   For my heart has felt its spell and mystery. [page 57]


Our thoughts, that go seeking so blindly
   For the ultimate worthwhile and good,
Shall flow like the river, which kindly
   Makes verdant the hills, vales and wood.

Perchance a long journey and winding,
   Which in youth ripples blithely along, 
As the brook, in haste to be finding, 
   Awakens the earth with its song. 

But wider and still wider growing, 
   Blue hills and green valleys all past,
Shall, ever more quietly flowing, 
   Arrive at the ocean at last. 

To the great sea of Love and Hope, bringing
   Our searchings, our joys and our fears,
To mingle with Love in a singing, 
   That echoes in waves through the years. 

So the life of the world is nourished
   With the seeker’s thoughts that have past,
That, though to us seemingly perished,
   Form drops in Love’s ocean so vast. [page 58]


Hear the song of the wheat, the golden wheat,
Hear the song of the wheat—“Come, men, and reap
My tassels are full, they hang heavy;
My tassels are full—come and reap.

Hear the cry of the hungry, the poor and hungry,
Hear the cry of the hungry, “Give us bread!”
They needy have stretched out their hands, 
They cry to the sky, “Gives us bread!”

Brothers, we will arise and come and reap,
We will garner the wheat, the golden wheat;
Our barns shall be full, a golden store,
And the cry of the poor shall be no more. [page 59]


Rose-leaves and Lavender, Vervain and Rosemary, 
Mingle together in my jar of pot-pourri.
   Rosemary remembrance brings, soft breezes fleet, 
   Perfumes of yesterday, memories sweet.
   Where are the hands that brought Roses to me?
   Gone like the Rose-leaves dropped. Ah, memory!
   Verdue of Vervain, bitter of Rue, 
   Brought with the Roses fair, left me by you,
   Mingling together there with Roses’ scent, 
   Vervain the sweeter grows, Rue redolent. 
Rose-leaves and Lavender, Vervain and Rosemary,
Rue lost in perfume in my jar of pot-pourri. [page 60]


The Lord God gave me a garden;
   And working among the flowers,
Peace descended upon me,
   And solace for lonely hours. 

And I know that into my garden,
   When the world is hushed and still,
When the peace of starlight’s brooding,
   And the night wind breathes its fill.

A Presence comes, walking softly,
   And the flower heads droop low, 
And the Lord God walks in my garden, 
   And blesses them as they grow. [page 61]


Love, thou art all enveloping;
   And my love to thee
Is like a dancing bubble spray
   On thy life’s sea. 

Or like the south wind whispering
   On warm Summer day,
That thrills one for an instant’s space,
   Is off and away.

For thou art all Eternity;
   And earth love to thee,
A momentary blossoming,
   A haunting melody. [page 62]


Formed from blank verse in the book of Patience Worth. 
Bird skimming to the South,
   Bear thou my song;
Sand slipping in wave’s embrace,
   Bear it along.

Unto thy varied paths,
   Take thou, O tide,
The voicing of my soul,
   And bear it wide.

I’d build an endless chant
   To sing of Him,
A never-tiring song, 
   A mighty hymn.

That week to follow week,
   And day each day,
Would be but builded chord
   Of this, my lay. [page 63]


Friendship, what is it?  A delicate thing,
As sweet as the breath of the flowers in Spring,
When fugitive, precious, it hovers in air;
The very quintessence of love, but more rare.
As strong as the Ivy that twines round the tree,
It twines round the heartstrings, yet leaves us still free,
Unfettered from jealousy love often brings;
Incites us to do and to be noble things;
Laughs with us when merry, and happy and gay,
In sorrow, outstretches a strong hand to stay
And solace the sad heart. If you’d possess
The rickets and best gift for life happiness,
Then ask, in sincerity, that Fate may send
And give to you—just the true heart of a friend. [page 64]


Let me go out to the great wide spaces;
   Flowers that beckon, and birds that call,
Lure me forth to the wind-swept places,
   Out where my soul may be free from thrall.

Let me go out with the bees and clover,
   Down in a meadow where Flags, unfurled,
Watch the fleece of the sky roll over,
   Softly over the edge of the world.

Let me go out when the mists of dawning,
   Pearly and ghost-like, fade away,
Leaving the diamond dew-decked morning
   Mirroring, flashing the Sun’s first ray.

Then, my soul, art thou lifted, lightened,
   Freshened by sunshine, cleansed by rain;
Drink, drink deep of the wind-swept gladness,
   And take up the burden of life again. [page 65]


Through the soft haze of a September day, 
Up towards the Sun a great soul went his way,
Till to the gates of Paradise he came—
Then knocked, and to a question, gave his name.
The gates were guarded close, a flaming sword
Held by an Angel hand, kept watch and ward.
The Angel questioned, “Hast thou done on Earth
Aught of great merit?” “Nay, of little worth,”
In great humility the answer ran,
“But write me down,” ‘He was a friend of a man.’”
The Angel smiled, and lo ! the gates swung wide.
Soft music met him as he passed inside,
And voices sweetly chanted welcoming word,
“Come, then, O friend of man, and meet thy Lord.” [page 66]


Dreaming of days on the river, rapids, and rainbow foam,
Camp, and the firelight’s quiver, nights in our woodland home,
Fugitive perfumes of Pine knots, Sweet Fern and Fir in the air.
Heart of the woods! Hearts of the woods! Calling me, calling me there. 

O for the song and the story in the enchanted lands,
Crimson of Maple’s glory, gold of the river sands,
Rustle of leaves in the copse near, bird’s bright wings on the bough—
Heart of the woods! Heart of the woods! Calling me, calling me now.

Drum of the partridge ringing, chatter of chipmunk small,
Sound of the South Wind singing low to the Pine trees tall,
Till drowsy eyelids are drooping, and floating on Dreamland’s sea.
Heart of the woods! Heart of the woods! Calling, still calling to me.

Gone, those days of pure gladness, camping and paddling o’er,
Now, with a heart full of sadness, haul the canoe on shore;
Longing for trails once trodden, carrying rod or gun—
Heart of the woods is calling me, calling till life is done. [page 67]


When I was a little child,
   And of the fairies dreamed,
Always in some distant land,
   Far away they seemed;
Now I am older grown,
   Fairies call to me,
“Why, we’re here in Acadie,
  Down by the sea.”

When I was a little child,
   How I longed to roam,
Seek adventure o’er the world,
   Nevermore come home;
Now I am older grown
   I only long to be
On the hills of Acadie,
   Down by the sea. [page 68]


You who have known them, help me to sing of them.
   Nowhere are lovelier flowers seen,
Than blossoms that bloom in Canada’s gardens,
   From English seed (half a world between).

Lupin, Delphinium, waving so airly,
   Hyacinth, Violet, Daffodil, 
Blue of the Flax flower, fashioned so fairly, 
   Blooming till frost works its desolate will.

Tulips, Carnations, and Pinks of the bordering, 
   Poppies, Verbenas, and Zinnias bold,
Heather of Scotland, Bluebells of England,
   Gay Orange Lillies, and Marigold.

Roses are climbing o’er the houses and arbours;
   Crocus and Snowdrop and Scillas blue
Greet us in Springtime. In lavish abundance
   Beauty is with us of every hue
In Canada’s gardens; and pungent with perfume
   Are Lavender, Rosemary, Lillies and Rue. 

“Land of the snow,” as a poet has sung for us—
   Summerland laughs at the title, I ween—
Bathing in beauty its valleys and hillsides,
   Painting its prairies in colourful scene.

Dear are our gardens, so let us sing of them—
   Riotous beauty, regardless of snows;
And proudly o’er all waves our loveliest emblem,
  Radiant Maples, as red as a Rose. [page 69]


Rain, rain,
   Running down the pane,
   Splashing in the puddles,
   Widening in the lane,
   Dripping from the branches,
   Shaking from each leaf, 
   Sobbing, sighing softly,
   Tears and silent grief.

   Tears that Autumn’s coming,
   Summer’s nearly o’er;
   Sodden earth cannot rejoice, 
   Sunshine is no more;
   Fears the time approaching,
   Saddest of the year, 
   All the flowers leaving
   Before frosts appear.

   Herald not the coming
   Of the Winter’s chill!
   Lovely golden Summer
   We’d keep with us still;
   Harbinger of evil,
   Messenger of evil,
   Sobbing forth the saga
   Of the summer lost. [page 70]


The strange road, the long road, the road we all take,
The dark road, the stark road, our hearts a-quake;
Tread we this long trail with our last breath,
And waiting to guide us is one called Death.

Dark is his mantle; but when we draw near,
Luminous, lovely, his robs appear.
Ah, look! Look! See his face above,
Shining in beauty—‘tis Love! ‘tis Love! [page 71]


May we, when race of life is run,
And wanderings ended, find, each one,
Not darkness at the set of Sun,
   But living light. 

And lift glad eyes His face to see,
With radiance crowned; then joyfully
To smile into Eternity,
   And so—“Good-night.” [page 72]

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