Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Points on the Compass

Points on the Compass,

Volume A

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Points on the Compass,

Volume A

By

Lavern Churchill

McCELLAND & STEWART, LIMITED

PUBLISHERS   .   .   .   .   .   TORONTO

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COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1922

By McCELLAND & STEWART, LIMITED, TORONTO

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TO

MY MOTHER.

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CONTENTS

PAGE

THE FAIRIES

9

THE PICTURES

10

YEA AND NAY

11

THE MAIDEN FLED

12

YOU

13

LOVE VS. TIME

14

TWO LOVERS

15

MY DREAM

16

AT SUNRISE

17

ACROSS THE WATERS

18

MY ALMA MATER

19

WHEN THE CHILDREN PLAY

20

SHE IS BEAUTY

21

A LETTER

22

A MOMENT

23

LOVE’S PLACE

24

A SPRING SONG

25

DREARLY, DREARLY

27

TO ONE WEEPING FOR HER FALLEN LOVER

28

[page 7]

MY ANSWER

29

AS WAS TOLD ME

30

NORTHERN ONTARIO

31

THE COMING OF AUTUMN

32

QUATRAINS

46

FROM THE FARM

47

THE WAYS

49

NIGHT IN NORTHERN ONTARIO

50

LOVE

51

AN ARBOR SCENE

52

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THE FAIRIES.

The lives of little children?

Ah, sweet indeed!

And I see in each bright enfant,

Something more,

More of what better men are longing for,

A better God.

The souls of little children?

At Heaven’s bar!

And I see God’s house a mansioned home,

A home of many mansions,

Mansioned and star-staired to God’s throne,

The fount of birth.

The company of God’s house?

Their arts applying!

And I see God gathering His little children unto Him;

Each he blesses,

Each little child as Earth’s torch is floating down,

Down from aureoled birth.

Each God blessed!—

And when the sun was sinking low

The little souls frolicked on a long bright ray.

                                                    *            *            *            *

’Tis eve;

And the little fairies are out doing good;

Doing good,

The little souls who came down to-day.

[page 9]

THE PICTURES.

I.

On the Wings of the Wind

  Blown at Morn,

As the Trails of Night unwend—

 A Maid is borne

Across the Face of the West.

II.

To the Port of the East

  Under the Moon,

As the Hosts of Dawning afeast—

   This Maid is soon,

With Speed of the Blast, bursting home.

III.

Home is the Maiden,

Home to her Kin:

With Souls is she laden,

Clodden to Sin!

[page 10]

YEA AND NAY.

(Yea)

The Dweller in the pew will sleep;

   The Youth about the woodland run—

But I between will silence keep,

   And I will winter in the sun.

(Nay)

But, why waken unavailing tears

   And lament our dark decline?—

I, who laughed at your departing years,

   May better laugh at mine. [page 11]

THE MAIDEN FLED.

With the shades of evening falling,

Falling down to me—

Down a ray of sunshine lingering;

Lingering o’er the lea,

A Maiden sped.

And with a lily in her hand,

The lily white and fair—

Fair against the sun-kissed land;

Or the sun-kissed roses there,

The Maiden led.

Till evebeams gleamed among the grass,

Gleaming evebeams seven,

Beaming where the Angels pass—

And passing from sunset into Heaven,

The Maiden fled!

[page 12]

YOU.

If I were down and the world above

   Would you quick plant the poppy-root?—

That roots again on dust bear fruit,

   And bloom to thee a new-born love?

But No! I hear you say: Come that day,

   When men would trample you beneath,

And I, alone, will claw them coffin-deaf!

   And you say you will not pray. [page 13]

LOVE VS TIME.

There’s Love in love when Distance parts,

And dividing Time her mantle holds,

   Unravelling into Space—unto fate.

And so?—For Time, even so! Even so.

The wait if long runs Love in love,

Till Life’s quaking Spirit yawns,

   Sacrificing unto Fate—into space.

And so?—For Love, even so! Even so.

And so for Time—even so!—

   As it is even so alway.

And so for Love—even so!—

   As it is even so to-day. [page 14]

TWO LOVES.

My Friend, you have spoken thus:

‘Love often,

Worship and be happy—

Kiss again,

Caress and fondle.

Press her breasts to thy breast;

Her cheek to thy cheek,

And further—

O, glorious! This is love.

               One Love! . . . . . . .

Love once,

Worship and be happy—

See once,

Touch and no more.

Kneel at the Shrine;

Lo, a smile may be Thine!

O, glorious! This is love.

Another Love!

Which Love? I cannot divine—

(Love is Life’s unaccountable thing)

But—-O, Happy Life!

Both loves will be mine.

[page 15]

MY DREAM.

Hadst Thou my dream last night—

   Thus, I’d ever by questioning you:

What flowers bloom only for your delight;

   What words pain; what actions hurt.  .  .  .

What floats beyond cold Phoebus’ fount;

   What of Lord Jupiter; what of friendly Mars,

On whose last steps we mount—

   And, I’d ever be questioning you! [page 16]

AT SUNRISE.

Those yellow yellow waves of barley rise,

Bedewed with rays of tender morn—

And there the dew-eyed daisies surprise

The workers mid the long-leaf’d corn.

Yon mist-veil clothes the valley,

Luring fright creatures from the heights—

And thru many an arch-glade valley,

Lead deer to lake—–true pastoral sight!

Now the azure skies cast bounteous hue

O’er meadowed lanes, where slowly graze

The expectant herd—-by instinct true,

Awaiting their mistress’ voice thru haze.

See! —There she comes—–elegantine—

Calling far-rippled music sweet—

A crown of promise in yon eyes—-mine?

Two longing hearts in four-depths meet.

See! —The dawning tints her silken tresses,

Flying sun-scented on the gentle breeze—

Around and round garlands deck her dresses;

And these my lingering hands would seize.

O—-see her up-lifting beauty rare!—

My shy-kissed Queen, I plead?—

Ah Love, thy soul-sweetened face beams fair—

O where, where wilt a passion lead! [page 17]

ACROSS THE WATERS.

Once in the Sunset, Dear;

    Moretime in the Twilight.  .  .  .

But oftener in the Night,

    Drifts a Voice across the Waters

And an Image hoves in sight.

Then in the Sunset, Dear;

    Mayhap in the Dusklight . . . .

But softer in the Night,

    Sighs the Voice across the Border

And I am borne out of sight—

Through the Glow of Sunset, Dear;

    Beyond the darkened Space of Aught  .  .  .

Past the Vision-Gates of Thought,

    I am silently sailing on, alone,

Far across the Astral Seas of Naught.

Sometime in the Evening, Dear;

    Often in the dreamy Night  .  .  .

Yet sweeter by the Hearth-Light,

    Shall I whisper back to Thee

And Thou wilt strengthen in the Right.

Intime wilt Thou hear my calling Dear;

    At the Dawning of the Day  .  .  .  .

And if Thou answerst, Thou soonst may

    Come along with me to a rare World,

A fair World o’er the Ethereal Way. [page 18]

MY ALMA MATER.

I came to Western in the morn

    Of a silent afternoon—

 A mist hung chill above the pines;

    A tear-dew on the bloom.

A lonely building all alone,

    She bore War’s perfect grief:

 As waiting Mother, her heart bedight

    A footstep on the leaf.

                *              *

Silver voices in the dawning;

   Silver pranks the little wren:

A rah-rah-rah, and khaki there—

    Her boys are back again! [page 19]

WHERE THE CHILDREN PLAY.

The children ride the thousand stars;

   And a thousand playful in the moonlight,

Playing there with the children are

   As truant flames with feet evebright.

The moonbright singers are undaunted;

   Their—little—feet, like pats of new gold,

Run up and down the ways enchanted

   And play with souls just one day old. [page 20]

SHE IS BEAUTY.

She is Beauty. All men know Thee,

   Eldest daughter in thy mother’s fold.

Ah, wildly breaks her tempest o’er me!—

    Beauty is the eye of the soul.

A thousand thousand eyes in one!—

   And did I ask for all Eternity,

And purpose unavailing years—One—

    ’Twas more her sweet content to me.

She is kind, and on Man’s weeping—

   On his own unbounded grief—sleep—

The crested sun is her’s for keeping;

    And so sheltered, no man weep.

And She her guardian Angels stand,

   Weak gates for better keeping.

O glad She helps with one white hand,

   The best in man—-whoever seeking!

Now, no less in leading Man—

   You may look to a star or again a clod;

She cometh! —-naught stoppeth her van!—

   She hath a charge from God. [page 21]

A LETTER.

Dear Sir:

         Your letter of the 5th. inst. to-hand and re the compound interest due you as mentioned, and your expressed desire, to-wit——a statement of the crop conditions in this province; I beg indulgence of your leave to enclose the following:

Plough—plough—plough and toil,

Ye Western Men!—

Disc—harrow and till the soil,

What Ye can! —

Work—work—work,

Morn’s at three!—

Trudge—trudge—trudge,

Nine’s the eve!—

Count—-count—-and promise,

What the crop is to be!—

Pay—–pay—–and rise—

O Debt’s deepest sea!—

Hoping this will satisfy your furtherst expectations, I remain,

Your most humble and obedient client,

John Westward, Knight.

Wheat Rancher of Prairie Springs,

Saskatchewan,

Canada.

Late of Westward Castle,

                                Wessex,

                                    England.

[page 22]

A MOMENT.

Last as first question where’s the ray—

Nature moves in her self-forgetful way!

            Her hand in thine;

            Thine eyes her eyes,

            You gaze,

            Smile

            And seeing, laughingly draw

            Her to thy bosom.

            She clings like the shaken vine;

            The vine on the storm-shaken elm.

            She trembles,

            Sighs

            And bewildered in the unknown,

            Feeleth joyance in life.

            You kiss her soft, soft lips;

            Soft lips clinging as the wind-blown bee

            To the flower

            Clings—

            And your heart welling up,

            She is a greater part of Thee.

            Shyly, delicate yet surely

            Are thy kisses returning;

            Softly stirring,

            Burning—

            And the fountains of love opening,

            Love rules the will.

Last as first question where’s the ray—

Nature moves in her self-forgetful way! [page 23]

LOVE’S PLACE.

O Love! To-gether they played as play

   Two and seven children more—

And delighted in the golden day;

   Nor cleft the air to that receding shore.

Their’s was a softness in the night,

   And Autumn kindled in a star—

The purple-woven moon upon the right,

   And shadows where the flowers are.

Methink you know the place right well.

   The garden-rose hath paid her honor there:

Nor laughs the forest-fern a quiet spell,

   And a weeping music passes in the air. [page 24]

A SPRING SONG

(An Indian Tale)

Under the Sod, Dear,

       Spring lieth.

Life in the Clod, Dear,

       Winter dieth.

Soon the Bird, Dear,

        Even here

Moss is brown, Dear,

        Brown and sere.

Soon the Waters, Dear,

        Running Waters

Around the Canoe, Dear,

       Our Father’s!

The Grasses green, Dear,

       Bearing hence,

Heralds another Year, Dear,

       A Year since.

’Twas the Fall Dear,

       Autumn lit,

Manitou called, Dear,

       Calling yet.

Father’s coming, Dear.

       Hearken thrice:

The Bee hummeth, Dear,

       Bird and Mice. [page 25]

Yes, He cometh, Dear.

       The Sun beameth,

With the Spring, Dear,

       Father cometh. [page 26]

DREARLY, DREARLY.

   Drearly, Drearly

The slow woodlands nearing—

Batteau veering down to Mattawang;

Flashing and leaping,

O’er the dark dark waters slowly

Floating our barge along!

The mist-blown pearl-grey Heather,

   And a Gleam of yon rifting Blue,

And the swift Paddle ever and ever

   As the Waters break sea-mew.

And the Wind went softly crying,

   Would go by the River-Way

To the Shadows mysteriously sighing

   Beyond the Rim of Day.

O the silver Shore far-dimming

   Knows no Twilight on the River—

And three soft Voices laughter lending,

   Question, and comprehending shiver!

And my eager Fears bore Agony

   On the night-tossed windless River;

Nor e’en slow Hand were there any,

   But a Quietness ever and ever.

   Drearly, Drearly

The slow woodlands nearing—

Batteau veering down to Mattawang;

Flashing and leaping,

O’er the dark dark waters slowly

Floating our barge along! [page 27]

TO ONE WEEPING FOR HER

FALLEN LOVER.

He told me what his loves were

In peace. And the red wild Field

Had its dream. And you were there,

And others—they likewise feel;

Nor silver-sail the amber heights

Serene.

       Yet you gaze apart, and above.

Weeping, you gnash teeth!

                              Call not the night.

Say, ’twas that you loved. [page 28]

MY ANSWER.

1.

But—I wouldst not have Thee die;

   Though dying, living wert thy lot,

Eternal thy day and Heaven nigh.

   A greater joy for Thee to live!—

2.

And—I wouldst not have Thee go;

   Though living rich, though dying richer,

A greater Time—prepare Thee to live.

   He couldst not have Thee so! [page 29]

AS WAS TOLD ME.

‘The day was narrowing to a close,

And the mists of evening spoke of May.

O how sweetless sweet was our repose

From dusk-still eve to breaking day!

           *               *            *

The wide surprise was in her eyes,

And in her breast the pain.

Her cheeks were red as the sunset skies;

She rose form where she had lain!

She rose. And kneeling wept apace.

(I turned away for shame)

She prayed. And praying asked that she might bear

Our sin and shame alone.

My eyes were dim. My breath came hard.

But O full tender is my answer:

Secret was our love, Dear.

O human was our feeling!

The trail is very very long, Dear.

But .  .  .  come, Darling, the silver chapel-bells are pealing!

Non peccavimus.’ [page 30]

NORTHERN ONTARIO.

See those massive rocks stand out,

Above, on the sky-line of the East,

When the sun’s fierce daggers rout

Those hosts of darkness most and least!


See those wild unburdening clouds embrace,

Above yon snow-line—Morning greeting—

Where sits our frigid King, crown and mace,

Scorning his foes of a summer’s bringing!

See there as on some greening spot,

Wide among the boulders making,

Love doth weave her secret plot,

Swift growth to harvest claiming.

There the gentle breezes ease of sadness,

And the calm unknowing sleep,

Whilst red their palls in summer madness

Race ablaze across the deep.

Yon golden day fast flowing tranquilly,

And evening lies along the Sea.

Beauty in pines nodding peacefully,

And Beauty is something to me.

Here the well-spring of our Being rushes

On the welling force of Spring,

And our thoughts in wild wild gushes

Seek in kind an echoing ring. [page 31]

THE COMING OF AUTUMN.

The day, the day, the golden day  .  .  .  .  .  .

Flooded with crimson tints and rare.

A melody of waters ere the night,

And Night softly walking there!

Seest Thou yon silver moon half-clear,

Again the sky with Autumn’s stain?

Against, and beyond the moon, appear

The Pleiades, like street-lamps in the rain.

Seven silver waters running cool—

Seven stars of topaz and of gold,

How splendid anchored in the pool!

And love is awe in the dark pines’ fold.

O Mellow Days, so near, so near!—

Season of tinted joy and still delights!—

Burning through the piled up year

Comes Autumn’s pebbled night:

See, her coming bears no quiver!—

Grown kind on the heart of golden days,

Her silence is twilight on our river

And a burnished purple vaise—

See, the moon behind yon pine-forest rising,

Like a soul ion the Resurrection Day,

Casts aside her crimson robe and flying

Turns the night away—

Autumn! [page 32]

THE VISION.

This lay may not to human liking be

(As all to the question answer nay)

But I write; I write as I did see,

And ask the work to penance give;

By command, reprieve my Soul  .  .  .  .

(Winged with myrtle: days in summer olive)

’Tis my youth’s presumptuous whim.

I have dreamed of happier things—

Youth’s templéd castles glassy cold;

Or gazed as visioned damzols come and go,

Treading the moonbeam’s slanting ray—

Gamboling upon flower-beds erewhile;

And then, unspied, unrobed, amorously

Sink into flower-bosoms sweetly pale.

But here I write of churchyard lights

In far demon-haunted wooded wilds,

Where palsied spirits crawl the air

And groan above the forest aisles  .  .  .  .

Where convulsed worms do smell and browse,

Fatted on the dolorous pith of Man—

(A rebel hord with life toward)

Where ooze-teating devils, afflicted;

Lean (late up from hell) ——–And

Brushed with the wings of a god’s estate,

Langorous tread and teat their fill  .  .  .

Of Love that n’er suffers Death to intervene—

Of Life in Life on Earth full incomplete—

But Enough!—Thou wilt hear my tale anon. [page 33]

Dead Silence falls o’er a distant woodland green,

As kindly Nature mantles many a sad scene  .  .  .

Mother Earth with a tender hand and sad,

And a Mother’s care,

Plastic sheens of countless doth weave;

Her ever-heaving bosom blanketing

The ruin of Man’s brute-infirmate rage.

Here a Nation’s dust is strown. Here

Exiled to a foreign clay, though England

And a nobler part of her, lie that

Cold departure of thousand souls,

Known by no familiar name else one:

A living Soul made whole with Time;

The Sons of England—but divine!

The clouds dip low and canopies throw

O’er Desolation’s bier—–burnt Day

Pavilioning Death’s vain glory—

Alas, Wie leer!  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  ’tis night

Whilst the wild winds murmur,

Whispering tales of vanquished lust—

And sigh unanswered to an alien world!

No winged earth-born creature

O’er the silent grove would soar—

And lone quadrupedéd scavengers

Circled round the spell-wrought dell:

Fromt the hollow trees, hoary with unkind age,

Wept moanings wave the air,

As of wailing spirits imprisoned there. [page 34]

And many iridescent fantasies (as wast)

Expanding into ectoplastic flames,

Or as odorous Visitants from Dante’s mind,

Flare outward from those death-claims,

As from flesh of mortal combat trodden about;

And taking form phantom-waft to astral zones—

Hannibal, Caesar; Nero, Kaiser on a moaning trail!

Now the orient moon shafeth vandal rays,

Yellowed in her orb of proud disguise;

And piercing the upper airs,

Laughs to see the Dead at play!—

And piercing the upper airs,

Laughs to see the Dead at play!

O Wreathing Sadness!—Orpheus’ brow is set.

Amid this sickening stillness, alone

I stand, and dwell the while on Life  .  .  .  .

O is there an end to every road (unknown)

And is God at the end of the road we know?

So doth my soul return, uncertain, at last

As at first, to the foot of the way we tread  .  .  .  .

To-day!—And man is clay!

Ah!—Life is Hope within a setting,

And Satisfaction’s rest  .  .  .  .

Though Man to himself has often more,

When he has accomplished least!

Still; still I think, still

Reluctant Time stokes the avarice-fires

Of Desire, reprobate to our Nation’s will! — [page 35]

To wealth, to glory; to loss or shame!—

A gain, if you would meet;

A loss if unattempted  .  .  .  .

As weary blows the mountain wind

In moments of deep pain;

I see you golden petal slain—

Passing in a sunbeam’s fear!

Glory!—Are these the leafy glades of yore?—

Did gore wallowing in gore flower

And blazon red this charnel-grove of Death!—

Yea, these are Thine, Reaper—

Here is thy accursed rule and—-thy Glory!

Half-fearing Man awaits Thee,

Divining not thy workings  .  .  .  .

                   *               *               *

What?—-Hell of Horrors!

See—-there is a light!—

It moves!  .  .  .  .  .

(By the Lemine of Devils)

It comes!  .  .  .  .  .

(Dear Lord, my Life is Thine

If needst, this night)

Mute-bound I remain,

Though well-nigh mad,

As haltingly draws the glimmer near  .  .  .  .

See!—A Sway!  .  .  .  .  .

What?—

A Rise!—A Rise!—And rising!—

It’s a Soul before mine eyes! [page 36]

There is a form——a form!—

Lo, ’tis shrouded Woman old,

Old beyond her years!  .  .  .  .  .

Her body trembles palsied cold

Mid that bleaching swath of corpses,

Old, unstrung;

And dead!

The flickering humerus-socketed candle;

Her candle lends a ghastly glow!  .  .  .  .  .

Row on row!—-row on row!  .  .  .  .  .

Away!—- too near!—-away!  .  .  .  .  .

Away—

Alas!—-All!—

All is haunted with the guerdon of fear.

All is haunted!  .  .  .  .  .

Death!—-Death!!  .  .  .  .

  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Thrice!—

Thrice wrapped She her mantle round—

Limbs spare with Sorrow’s care!

And at each wrap a moan did give;

Man’s weak Epilogue of Tears.

Thrice wrapped She her tattered weeds about,

Wrapping about a Sorrow and Woe—

Her barrenous, perishable-tattered weeds

Droop a-moist, a-wet lamentable

In the darkling House of Death  .  .  .  .

And She wrapped a Sorrow and a Woe!

(Her light was off the Witche’s gear) [page 37]

Chaste Diana, stricken pale  .  .  .  .

Draws o’er her face a heavier cloud!—

The Winds cease their tender calls

And drop as dead leaves fall!  .  .  .  .

See, the gluttonous worms nor smell,

Nor browse, nor seek their hideous change;

But stare!—-But stare!—-And Stare!

Ah, respectuous, the leany devils (a mess

Of filth within decay) and living!—

Hush a silence-aisle before the Woman,

Worn—-weakly faltering by  .  .  .  .

And I,

Amid this awful scene,

Loose breath and with it fear!

The Earth is smeared with sepulchral waste,

And the odorous ooze fringes all  .  .  .  .  .

Here and there are parts of men;

Pieces great and small!—

Pieces!  .  .  .  .

Shattered fragments of God’s machine

Sent out to mow each other down!  .  .  .  .

And there against a divan of deep red blood;

Harrowed and blotched with patches of red,

Lies the immortal heart of a nameless god,

Dying in the arms of yon comrade dead—

Dead!—-dead!—-dead.

And thrice thee worms in the lip of the corpse,

Spawn of the dead! [page 38]

’Twas here that pillaging hordes by steel

Were met, oft in deadly fray!—

’Twas here that our allied men

Struck the Hunnish dogs

And won again!  .  .  .  .  .winning again! —

The later strove with lance so bold,

For King and Country dear.

The former fought—

Perchance these Dead know why!  .  .  .  .

Our Dead  .  .  .  .

Your Dead  .  .  .  .

So to-day, but God’s to-morrow!  .  .  .  .

The aged One draws nigh;

Stops,

And throws a searching look around.

What can She seek,

Asserting—

This shrouded Person old,

And mid Man’s ruined hold?

Is She a Mother—–a Wife? —

Come to search among these human bones!—

Among this offal and waste of bier,

Who listen,

Listening for the Shepherd’s call?—

Alas, alas that bullet’s shot

Should wreck a mother’s years! — [page 39]

Before her lies a body

(Cold! —Cold! —And cold—

Wreathed round in serpented mould)

And over this She stoops,

And peers,

Peering with vision pale!—

And peers with vision pale!

Diana! —-O Diana,

Look with softer tone!  .  .  .  .

Winds, play a mournful music.

Strike some tune with gently lay

(As of souls with the drift of Years

Upon the confines of Eternity) —

O save us ere we pass away!

I gaze,

Scarce breathing the disease-pregnated air;

As with lean hand and calloused,

She holds the horrid thing!—

She moves  .  .  .  .

It moves!—

(The very gods are bent to listen wonderingly)

She moves!—

It moves!—

And gives a sound

Not unlike the Devil’s moan,

When He doth sorrow make

(And scathed with a Heaven’s fire)

Weeps to see his work o’er done. [page 40]

With trembling hand,

The tattered tunic is undone—

And from an inner pocket damp,

The twisted fingers thrice assay’d;

Again assay, and draw—

Drawing a lichened pictured forth:

Dead!

Dead!—

And cleaning off the wormy smear

On the mouldering jacket-sleeve!—

At this She gazed erewhile,

And low did utter cry—

My Son! —-My Son! She moans,

And straightway kissed the brow—

Gloried in this new disguise!

She prays,

And praying falls limp

Across the body of her son.

Vaguely I see her yet,

As She strives despaired

For life-redeeming tears  .  .  .  .

But even these are denied,

Denied the Mother of this Sacrifice!  .  .  .  .

And only breathings,

Quick and short,

Bear evidence of Life!  .  .  .  .

But who rests with Death,

Rests not alone  .  .  .  . [page 41]

O grieve not, Mother!—

Grieve not  .  .  .  .

He is gone!—

The day is past  .  .  .  .

But the morrow hour

Conceals a silver lining,

Silver in the morning cloud.

He is gone  .  .  .  .

The Day is Past!

O grieve not, Mother!—

(Our Mother now)

Who shall receive not the Lord?—

To-day a thimbleful of dust;

And to-morrow a wild flower!  .  .  .  .

Let the cankerous worm traverse the Word!—

Yet rejoice in the bounty of the Lord!

But Rejoice! —-You are sorrow a-making.

His body sleeps here,

But in nobler land,

His Spirit marches under a new command—

And God rejoiceth in his finding.

Terror-stricken dumb I look on Sorrow’s tragedy,

And lament that I were ever born

To see scorn’d waste as Living loved;

When of a sudden the Garb gives out a cry,

A cry that carries tears  .  .  .  .

And I in anguish

Hide myself upon the moistened ground. [page 42]

As thus I lay,

Intranced apart—

A halo-splendor lit the space around;

And an Angel, aureole clad,

(Captain of the hosts of Heaven)

Descending the moonbeam’s slanting ray,

Set foot upon the ground.

Ah, look!—

All is richly golden

Around that tender foot so frail!—

So frail to earth!  .  .  .  .

And the silence falls around,

Like moments in lengthened years,

Like rain in sunset weather!

She took the Mother’s hand in her’s,

And bade her to arise—

And with blessed lip,

These words did pay

Unto that broken ear:

Mother of a Hero-son, an Angel speaks,

The Herald of God’s House:

With the works of a world’s cleansing,

    Souls are spent not in vain  .  .  .  .

Man, ever with continuity mending,

    The light and the dark Flames sever a-twain. (pointing)

See, amid Angels in Heaven rejoicing,

    Treading depths of ethereal space,

A Spirit upon high is wafting;

    A Soldier in God’s grace. [page 43]

Thus spake the angelic-robed One,

And the two did soar from terra sound  .  .  .  .

Swiftsome, lightsome—

(Silent and still)

Silent as those waning dreams of vernal morn

Borne aloof,

When Day is come and Night is done.

But I,

Soon to wake

As from a trance—

And the Gulf between,

So insufferable to all Living seen,

Did find the Vision,

And the Mother gone!  .  .  .  .

’Tis sad!—

What feel we of grief?—

Votive wreaths;

The spread of kindly hands,

And rugged hearts weeping wilted Memory’s loss!

These are all! —These are all  .  .  .  .

Fond recollections of the distant After-time.

’Tis true!

Life feedeth upon Death.

Through the dazzling,

River Time pierces the hope-orbed Future.

Hark? —-’tis pierced! —-’tis pierced! —

Vanity! —-Full-chested Vanity,

How oft art Thou the Hemlock-cup of Nations! [page 44]

Hear Ye not, O World! —

O Hear Ye not? —

The vain assertions of the covetuous nation,

The self-clogged people;

Venturing words for Humanity’s wrongs?—

    Stars Ye may have in diverse manner,

But the Star of Mons covers a whole banner. [page 45]

QUATRAINS.

I.

The purest form of love

Is writ in an open face;

And grief is not a cloud

In a sunny garden place.

II.

Mary’s a fair gleam of beauty,

Shining in places most dark—

Warming with gentle simplicity

The deep recesses of the heart.

III.

Fate dwells on the hearts of men;

And few would know his coming—

A violet in the haunts of wren,

Love is most when most deceiving.

IV.

Blow, Ye Winds from the far-barren Wilds,

Strewing Death to waste o’er Desolation’s Child!

Run thy wild wild pace, Ye Ghosts of Hell,

And in thy course take a slap at Isabelle. [page 46]

FROM THE FARM.

Ye Men of the landward main,

With figure weary and broken,

          Plod—plod—plod!—

Ye Slaves to the lumbering wain,

With spirit crusty and sodden,

          Rod—rod—rod!—

          Rod, by rod, by rod

Mark yon sky and distant light:

Mark the drear November night.

          Rain, hail and snow!—

          Snow, hail and rain!

The bell in the steeple’s at nine—

Thy legs are weary, weary with time,

          Yard, by yard, by yard!

          Yard—yard—yard,

In weariness, hunger and dirt—

          Plod—plod—plod,

       In scorn, envy and hurt—

When the wind is blister and bone,

And the fields are miles from home,

          Foot—foot—foot!

          Foot, by foot, by foot

Ye languidly add to Sorrow’s mirth,

Being common clay of the common earth!

          Rain, hail and snow!—

          Snow, hail and rain!

Yet on Ye must toil, and toil, and toil;

Sifting the barren and starving soil

          Inch, by inch, by inch!  .  .  .  . [page 47]

          Inch—inch—inch;

You’re nearly home you say?—

          Home—home—home,

Home with twelve hours of the day!—

And ten old cows in the barnyard stall,

Awaiting thy nightly milking call! [page 48]

THE WAYS.

The Ways we tread are Steps to God.

          Night, and sweet day;

          Day and night calm—

How blessed brims the light of grace,

        Touched by Thy Holy Hand!

         Day, and thy guide;

Thy strength with the night—

         How calm may we rest

       In the fold of the right!

The Ways we tread are Steps to God. [page 49]

NIGHT IN NORTHERN ONTARIO.

Night it is. And the Night how shadowy!—

Spreading like Love in his embrace.

Swift to Roam the sun n’er tarried;

The gold and yellow boil of day!—

What else it seemeth than a grace:

Toil is o’er, the world is a dream!

And through yon cloven forest-hand,

Shadows walk in glory on the hills—

And Beauty with high woods are met;

With a curve of the Ocean sleeps  .  .  .  .

Peace  .  .peace  .  .and the dark mountains

Life into the Autumn Night   .  .  .peace  .  .  .

See, yon shapes are skyward driven;

Far across, against the azure Heaven—

Gold and crimson, and crimson-gold;

The idling foam of an autumn night—

All gathering, quivering, streaming

They rush upon Day’s fading roses.

And I will look this night from sleep,

And see the twilight high above me—

Above yon mountain’s curving frown;

Pois’d, like wild geese at eve of day,

Casting her pebbled shadows down—

And wonder what passed while I did sleep. [page 50]

LOVE.

Love  .  .  .  .  .  ’tis a sacred thing.

    An inner feeling blest,

It tints and touches everything

    And never is at rest—

Soaring and soaring the more

    Till my Soul softly dips and meets

The soft-hour’d end of Elvore,

    The Vale of Peaceful Sleep. [page 51]

AN ARBOR SCENE.

SETTING:   A rose-arbor adjoining a large southern University.

TIME:   An evening in Spring.

DESIRO:   A tall, thin, spectacled student in knee-breeches is seen seated on a rustic bench with a large volume of Wordsworth. He closes the book and sighs.

     Just a little home—

     A little house and an acre or two—

     A plum tree and a pear tree,

     And garden-plot with a trimmed hedge round.

(Looking around)

     Just such an evelit arbor

     Undiscovered mid the trailing vines;

     With the weeping moon above the chestnut trees  .  .  .  .

     The over-song of day from yon blendid landscape riching .  .  .  .

     The nightingale’s around  .  .  .  .

     The cricket’s song beneath;

     And the breath of June upon the breeze.

(Languidly)

     Just a little home  .  .  .  .

     A child’s sweet voice  .  .  .  .

     Erasive hours;

     And the child’s Mother, My Love.

     No—-no great wealth—-no great luxury;

     But just sufficient store for all!

(DESIRO ceases—-rises—-sighs and leaves the arbor. A moment later the head Janitor passes, allowing the audience but time to catch one verse of a domestic air) [page 52]

          The cruel Wives are talking,

          Of Love that is mocking

          What should be a home . . . .

          O the Wiles are fast taking,

          All that I am making

          To fashion each Destiny alone!

(The singing dies away—-LOLATO, a tall, handsome Youth, enters; consults his watch and, leaning on an old oak tree, reads from a much worn volume)

     I am ever a-longing for the yearwoods;

     The green, the brown, and the gold—

     Each tinted with the touch of a vanished hand,

     The fairy of old.

     I’d love to wander, and all alone—

     To lie just once again,

     By the age-rough bark of the sea-ribbing oak,

     And watch the white ships sailing the seas overhead.

     O to smell those sticky gum-knots on the pine—

     To see the bees at work—

     The birds at play—

     O just to know that these are mine! [page 53]

     I’d hear the whisper of the leaves—

     And learn the secret of the flowers.

     I’d drink from the broad Basin

     Of the Great-long-way around  .  .  .  .

     From Life, from Nature, from God—

     Ever with those still-desiring heart beats

     Of a nature-loving soul  .  .  .  .away  .  .  .  .

     Alone in the great wide space of the world!—

(LOLATO suddenly stops, repeats ‘alone,’ and throws the volume on the ground—–He stands pensively a moment or two and, picking up the book, places it in his pocket: and sauntering over to the fountain, draws out another volume, looks at his watch and begins to read)

     When Day is lingering on the brink  .  .  .  .

     The Sun falling off this world-wide mark

     And clutching the skirts of the bright eve-tide—

     When rustic shepherds, heedful of the dark,

     Draw a finger-circle in the sky, full wide,

     As betokens a length of fair weather:

                   O Reason adieu,

                   Roses and vine—

                   A bower for two,

                      Love and wine!

     When idling rays on her silken tresses,

     Rippling gayly adown the scented breeze:

     And the great brown eyes with trust embrace me,

     As I take this child-love on my knee: [page 54]

                   O Lust adieu,

                Roses and vine—

                A bower for two,

            But Love without wine!

(He gently closes the book, lays it on the bench and seating himself, begins to write: singing the while)

          Norma of my nightly dreams,

          I sing my song to you—

          And when I sing it seems

          The sky is ever blue.

     I crown Thee with an olive wreath;

     I place the sceptre in thy hand—

     And I see Thee, as I kneel beneath,

     The Queen of all the land.

     Thy sweet form, a stately grace,

     Gives love to all the song I know—

     And I will here a little space,

     With a song that love for Thee to show.

(At this moment a group of freshmen pass on the further side of the fountain: one of them is humming a rhyme. LOLATO listens.)

     O see the glory of the twilight,

     As the sun is sinking low—

     Guiding his chariot of fire

     O’er yon purple distanc’d mountain’s glow! [page 55]

     O the balmy summer breezes

     Wave the tresses of her hair:

     And the crowned sun beyond the mountains,

     Enthroned in his glory there,

     Illuminates her dear features,

     Making fairyland more fair!

     O to stroll along with Hartie,

     In the summer evening’s coolness,

     Is the sweetest hour I know!  .  .  .  .

(The voices dying away in the distance, LOLATO, consulting his watch for the third time, resumes his composition)

          Lark O’ the Morning,

          With music adorning

          O’er the wavelet and lea—

          O Lark O’ the Morning,

          A little love-song for me!—

          Sing of my Loved One—

          With music adorning,

          O Lark O’ the morning  .  .  .  .

          Sing of my Loved One—

          O sing my Fairy to me!—

          Teach her to love me,

          And care with a might;

          By day and by night—

          O Lark O’ the Morning,

          Teach her to love me aright! [page 56]

          Teach me to show her a duty,

          O Lark O’ the Morning!—

          Teach me the duty to Beauty,

          That with music adorning

          O’er wavelet and lea,

          I’ll still have a song

          For Norma and me.

(NORMA enters. LOLATO rises, pulls a red and white rose, seats himself and draws NORMA down beside him)

Just a lily-white rose

(Take it, My Love)

And here’s another that breathes of my passion—

Just two little rose-flowers

(Wear them, My Love)

To symbol our thoughts thus modestly fashioned.

          (affectionately)

                           Soft in the tinted beams,

                              Colors that lie

                       Clothe her with glory gleams,

                             Gold from the sky.

(clasping the flowers)

Just clasp the twin blooms, My Dear,

To thy bosom, so white, so clear and inwardly pure  .  .  .  .

Just think what a beautiful life, My Dear,

Living for Love away from Evil’s base lure!—

(NORMA, placing her arm around LOLATO, reads from his book: LOLATO holding the volume) [page 57]

     Oh—Darling, I am growing old!

     My freshness has the tint of age.

     My passion’s writ on another page—

     Another page! —Another page! —

     O Darling, I am growing old!—

(She ceases as the head Janitor is returning. He passes behind the bushes—and is still domesticated)

          The Furies are all busy,

          And Tongues are nigh dizzy

          As Thou hurriest away—

          O the Fates have been busy,

          And indeed are quite dizzy

          With such news O’ the Day!

 

(He steps behind the bush, takes out a flask, swallows a draught and carefully replaces the bottle—–For a moment he looks suspiciously around, and then resumes.)

O for many a long day around home I did stray,

Ere my sorrow to drain I took to card playing—

Whence to drink was but a move in the gaming.

But I lost with women on the edge of the brink;

And now——I ever have women; ever have drink!

               O the Wiles are fast taking—

                The Furies are still busy—

              And the Fates are a-making

                   Each Destiny alone!

(The song dying away, NORMA, as if not understanding, questioningly turns toward

LOLATO—-who is deep in thought.) [page 58]

What Beauty is? —They say it lasts—

Then, O My Darling, you’ll love me for the past?

(LOLATO, leaving the book on his knee, places his arms around NORMA and sings in a low earnest voice)

          I see Thee by the day, Dear.

          I have Thee with the night.

          When very very lone, Dear,

          Thy image glads the light.

There’s n’er sunshine ray so clear, Dear

There’s n’er blossom what blooms so fair!—

Nay, there’s naught about on Earth, Dear,

But thy beauty ‘gainst would fare!  .  .  .  .

          O I shall live for Thee, Dear:

             And I shall toil anon! . . . .

   Forever and forever as for aye, Dear,

             My love shall be my song.

                                                (Exit: arm-in-arm)

(The head Janitor is again faintly heard)

          O the Wiles are fast taking!—

             The Furies are still busy—

          And the Fates are a-making

              Each Destiny alone!

                                                (Exit)

[page 59]

Warwick Bros. & Rutter, Limited

Printers and Bookbinders, Toronto, Canada

[unnumbered page]

[5 blank pages]

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