Charles F. P. Conybeare
Lyrics from the West

[handwritten: from Conybeare, Charles F.P]

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LYRICS FROM THE WEST

[illustration]

By C. F. P. CONYBEARE

Toronto:

WILLIAM BRIGGS

1907

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Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the

year one thousand nine hundred and seven, by

WILLIAM BRIGGS,

at the Department of Agriculture.

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CONTENTS

——

 

PAGE

Canada

5

The Legend of Lyonesse

7

Forward

16

A Song of Wide Spaces

22

Triumphant, Yet Unknown

25

Gazing Seaward

26

Diana

27

Hope

28

The Dance of Death

29

Veniens Veneris

31

The River of Time

33

The South-West Wind

34

Ave Imperatrix

35

Indian Sunset

37

Where, then, is Rest?

43

In Memory’s Garden

45

The Voyageur

47

Love and Hope

49

To My Wife

51

Couplets from Hafiz

52

The Cry of the Uitlander

54

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PAGE

Life for the Maple Leaf

59

Canada’s Flag

60

Britons All To-day

61

Mafeking

63

Belshazzar’s Feast

67

September 1st, 1905

70

A Study

72

Song

74

Sic Transit Gloria

75

Ambition

77

[page iv]

Lyrics from the West


CANADA.

Reck not though strangers call thee,

   “Our Lady of the Snows”;

If no more ill befall thee,

   Blest art thou in thy woes.

For lips of men that love thee,

   And hearts of men that know,

In worthiness approve thee,

   And warmer words bestow.

What know the giddy swallows

   Who skim the ocean waves

Of the treasures in the hollows

   Of the hidden ocean caves?

Can they on steam-buoyed pinion,

   Who [illegible word] across the land,

Grasp all thy great Dominion,

   Its glories understand? [unnumbered page]

The wealth the woodlands render,

   The treasures of the mine,

The prairie’s sunny splendor—

   Its fertile fields are thine;

The countless cattle grazing

   Untended on the plain,

And spreading meadows blazing

   With dazzling golden grain.

Among the many fountains

   Of gold thy shores command,

The orchards and the mountains

   That spread across the land;

But chief of all thy glory—

   The crown that decks thy head—

The men who make thy story,

   The sons thy soil hath bred.

Nor chill nor cold thy breast is,

   But warm and full of joy;

A pillow soft, where rest is

   For those whom cares annoy!

Hearts seared with old world sadness

   Thereon may find repose,

Our Lady of Great Gladness,

   “The Comforter of woes.” [page 6]

THE LEGEND OF LYONESSE.

When in my boat I sit and dream

   At noontide on the placid sea,

Beside the sun-kissed rocks that gleam

   With sea-weed and anemone,

Amber and crimson, rose and white,

Or rich maroons and purples bright,

Whose dainty frondage holds the sight

   But sets the fancy free.

In fairy gardens, round whose base

The shining water streams,—

With tides whose tiny ripples race

   Across the golden beams.

The subtle beauty stirs my heart,—

As though entranced by magic art,

I wander from the world apart,

   And tread a land of dreams.

.       .       .       .       .       .       .       .

I.

Swiftly down the narrow street

Urith speeds with flying feet,

Heart and voice are softly singing

Of the joys that love is bringing,

    Joys to last forevermore.

From the castle, old and gray,

Kingborn Hamel wends his way,

Urged by love whose strenuous yearning,

In his bosom fiercely burning,

    Strove to melt the chains it wore. [page 7]

He, King Gaynol’s eldest son,

Heir to lands so dearly won,

Can he raise a simple maiden,

All unknown, with power unladen,

    To the throne of Lyonesse?

Light he holds the calls of state,

Loving hearts can conquer fate;

Love he deems a richer dower

Than the strong, embattled tower,

    Simple truth than proud noblesse.

Just beyond the city gates

Urith for her lover waits,

’Till his strong, impassioned greeting

Sets her heart with rapture beating,

    And her eyes more brightly glow.

Now they wander hand in hand

Slowly o’er the tawny sand,

To the verge of ocean treading,

Where the stone-built sea-walls spreading,

    Stay the waves’ impetuous flow.

Walls his grandsires caused to be

Raised to check the encroaching sea,

Lest the eager billows racing

To the shore, its bounds effacing,

    Should their well-loved land destroy.

Once again beside the sea

Hamel vows her spouse to be;

Once again, to love replying,

Love that lists to no denying,

    Urith plights her troth in joy. [page 8]

II.

He hath whispered in her ear

Words that none but the heir should hear;

He hath murmured soft and low

Things that none but a prince should know.

    Woe!  Oh woe!  to Lyonesse.

Yet wherefore should he seek to hide

Such secrets from his destined bride?

Kingdoms may rise and kingdoms fall,

Still love he deems is lord of all.

    Woe!  Oh woe!  to Lyonesse.

But listen!   From the sleeping town

A mournful murmur floateth down;

So sounds the death-bell when it rings

The solemn knell for passing kings.

    Woe!  Oh woe!  to Lyonesse.

Echoing from the rock-bound caves,

Now the tolling stirs the waves;

Borne upon the sighing breeze,

Gaynol’s soul seeks unstemmed seas—

    Hamel reigns in Lyonesse.

III.

For a twelve month and a day

Lyonesse in mourning lay;

Hushed the song throughout the land,

Tourney field and tiltyard stand

    Bare and desolate.

For a twelve month and a day

In his halls did Hamel stay [page 9]

Learning as a king to feel

Zealous for his kingdom’s weal,

    Wrapt in cares of state.

For a twelvemonth and a day

Lonely Urith pines away;

Long and weary seem the hours,

While she lingers in her bowers,

    Grieving at her fate.

For a twelvemonth and a day

All in vain she strives to pray;

Will he never seek her side,

Come to claim his promised bride?

    Hard it is to wait.

IV.

Winter months give way to spring,

Once again the joy bells ring;

Yet they peal a merrier tune,

When the rosebuds burst in June,

    Sweeter still their song.

Urith in her chamber lying,

Worn with waiting, grieving, sighing,

Hears the merry bells ring out,

Mingling with the exultant shout

    Of the joyous throng.

From the crowded street below

Sounds of mirth and gladness flow;

Happy day for Lyonesse,

Day that hails a fair princess

    Come in Hamel’s halls to dwell. [page 10]

Now no more the land shall know

Evil from its ancient foe;

Cherished feuds are cast aside,

Peace attends the blushing bride,

    Fair Ettayne from Tintagel.

V.

To the tiltyard gaily streaming,

Throng the knights in armor gleaming,

Running courses, breaking lances,

Every joust the fame enhances

    Of the fair Ettayne.

In the palace all was gladness,

Brimming beakers banished sadness;

’Mid the feasting lord and vassal

Shouting oft amid the wassail

    Health to fair Ettayne.

In her chamber, all amazed,

Urith lingers sad and dazed,

Near the open casement lying

Listening to the people crying

    Joy to fair Ettayne.

Scarcely yet may she believe

All the cause she hath to grieve;

Can he who hath her lover been

Forget the past and seek a queen

    In the fair Ettayne.

VI.

The long protracted feast is o’er,

The palace walls are still once more; [page 11]

No sounds the silent streets annoy,

And weary, sated with their joy,

    Both town and people rest.

Around the halls where Hamel dwells

Ill watch keep drowsy sentinels;

But sleep hath laid a heavy hand

On those who at the gateways stand

    Beside the sea-washed west.

Urith in her home apart

Feels a weight upon her heart,

And, stirred by impulse, longs to be

In commune with the restless sea,

    From human life away.

She rises up; she travels down

Swiftly through the silent town.

None mark her as she passes by,

The guardless gates wide open lie,

    No challenge bids her stay.

Down beside the ocean’s shore

She hears the sullen surf-waves roar,

And round the dim grey headlands teeming,

Startled sea birds shrilly screaming,

    Heralding the storm.

Sombre clouds o’erspread the skies,

Higher yet the breakers rise,

Billow after billow crashing,

O’er the sea-walls fiercely dashing,

    Hurls its mighty form.

Soon the storm-cloud bursts and pours

Its watery deluge on the shores; [page 12]

The reverberating thunder shakes

The land, whose rock-bound margin quakes

    Anew at every peal.

Urith, with dishevelled hair

Streaming in the lightning’s glare,

Feels fresh joy her bosom swelling,

That the tempest, all-compelling,

    Bids her heart reveal.

She marks the furious billows fall

Vainly on the stubborn wall;

Since earth disdains her, surely she

Should aid its foe, the opposing sea,

    Oppressors to oppress.

She leaves her place, she steps aside

Yet closer to the raging tide,

Where the massive flood-gates stand,

Guardians of the rescued land,

    The stay of Lyonesse.

VII.

She hath pressed the secret spring

That bids the massive barriers swing;

She hath loosed the hidden lock,

The brazen sluice-gates freely rock.

    Mourn for Lyonesse!

With gurgling sound and swishing din

The conquering sea flows freely in;

Wave after wave in rapid tide

Surmounts the walls on either side.

    Mourn for Lyonesse! [page 13]

Then spreading o’er the lower lands,

The ocean to the town expands,

The foam-crests on the gateways break,

Where sentinels at length awake.

    Mourn for Lyonesse!

The tocsin sounds, the bells ring loud,

And rouse from sleep a bustling crowd;

No time have they, who strive to save

Their children from the greedy wave,

    To mourn for Lyonesse.

VIII.

But Urith—where, alas! is she?

She watched the inroad of the sea;

Then something in her heart awoke,

With dawning consciousness, that spoke

    In thoughts of bitterness.

This threatened land was Hamel’s; all

Its pleasant fields, the embattled wall,

The furious waters strove to drown,

Were gems that decked the kingly crown

    Of royal Lyonesse.

And he—oh! how shall he escape

Those ravening jaws that open gape?

What madness caused her hands to do

A deed she must forever rue,

    If aught the king befalls?

’Tis hers to warn, if not to save,

The monarch from the advancing wave.

Fearing for him, she eager flies

Towards the stately keep where lies

    The loved one in his halls. [page 14]

Oh! sorrowing Urith, all in vain

Thine efforts then,—the waters gain!

Futile thy speed, the storm-urged main

    Pursued with curling crest;

Closer the rolling surges crept,

The overtaking billows leapt

Around thy form and seaward swept

    Thee to the shoreless West.

.       .       .       .      .       .       .       .       .       .

Round the rocks of Scilly creeping,

When the wintry winds are sweeping,

Still there comes a sound of weeping:

Urith’s soul for aye unsleeping,

   Mourns the fate of Lyonesse.

When the stormy gales, prevailing,

Fill the air with plaintive wailing,

Storm-tossed seamen, homeward sailing,

Hear those strains that, never failing,

   Sound the dirge of Lyonesse. [page 15]

FORWARD.

“Forward rang the voices then, and of the many mine was one;

Let us hush this cry of forward till ten thousand years have gone.”

                                                                                                                                   —Tennyson.

Gaze upon the lofty mountains, down whose bases, old and grey,

Dash a thousand shining streamlets, tossing up their silver spray;

Waters, frozen, bound in glaciers since the old primeval days,

Till the Sun of Freedom touched them with his warm and golden rays;

Leaping, dancing, pushing onward through their rifted watercourses;

Forward, forward, till they meet and other streamlets swell their forces.

Forward, till the plains that lie below the rock-encircled passes,

Touched with vivifying moisture, crown themselves with flowers and grasses.

Forward still, as mighty rivers, half a continent they span,

With their currents ever bearing love to earth, good-will to man; [page 16]

Singing ever to the nations, “Forward, forward, strong and free,

Till you lose yourselves forever in the vast and shoreless sea.”

Forward, forward! Shall we, pausing, hearken to the voice of one

Crying, “Hush the cry in silence till ten thousand years have gone”?

Shall we bid the Sun of Freedom cease to melt the ice and snow,

Leave the hearts of all men frozen centuries in chill and woe?

Shall the clinging mists of error gather round us all our days?

Rather let the light of knowledge change them to a golden haze.

Till when fainter grown the mist, and strong [illegible word] the piercing light,

Noonday sun in all its glory rend the veil that dims our sight.

Though the long-pent streams at seasons, swollen from unwonted sources,

Burst the dams and flood the banks that should confine them in their courses;

In tempestuous torrents pouring o’er the land their untutored tide,

Sweeping, with destructive force, the villages on every side;— [page 17]

Yet shall we, for such an evil, bid the stream no longer flow,

And for one misguided outburst, all its benefits forego?

Rather widen out its channels till its constant flowing brings

Channels, worn by usage, fitted to the newer state of things.

Whose the voice that bids us hush the cry that gives to all men hope?

Able yet to free the limbs long bound by mediæval rope?

Is it his whose songs impassioned, to a listening nation sung

In the time when life was May and inspiration yet was young,

Knew the thoughts of men were widened as the days increased in number,

Felt that wars should cease and earth in universal law should slumber?

Shall we bid the stream of progress’ world-enriching flowing pause,

Frightened by the devastation its misguided floodings cause?

Rather heed his earlier teachings, rather let our thoughts approve

Dreams of freedom, education, tutored by fraternal love.

Yea, if sophistries befog us, mist-like Demos cloud the dawn,

Onward, onward! till all shadows vanish in the golden morn. [page 18]

Shall we, worn with toiling, bid the sun stand still on Gibeon,

While we bear the yoke of chaos “till ten thousand years have gone”?

Forward, forward! brighter days will see the tangled skein unravelled,

Mark the tombs of buried errors lining paths where Truth hath travelled.

Would he have the bygone days, when might was right, a king’s command

Made men serfs, and their belongings ravished by a mightier hand?

All too late; through persecution, battle, prison, toil and tears,

Man hath trod the path of progress now for many fruitful years.

Though Love slumber in the present, nothing can recall the past;

Onward, in the distant future, “Love will conquer at the last.”

.       .       .       .      .       .       .       .       .       .

When night brooded on the waters, void and formless was the earth;

Through the darkness pierced the light, and Chaos gave to Order birth.

So I see, as in a vision, in the chaos of our days,

But the germs of future order, lit by Love’s benignant rays. [page 19]

Yea, though “peasants maim the horse,” impassioned with some wild desire,

Is it not the smouldering remnant of the old volcanic fire?

Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, revenge, the old Mosaic creed,

But with the Christ forgiveness came, to love our enemies, nobler deed.

Hard to bless our persecutors, lover our foes,—since Adam’s fall

Vengeance, with its serpent trail of slimy hate, hath marked us all.

In the Mediæval Ages sons of Spain, with red flame shod,

Through the New World poured like demons, sinning in the name of God.

Nation warred with nation, warring only for the sake of war,

And religions burned their rivals; cruel ages now no more.

Man now aims at nobler conquests; men no longer men enslave,

Striving now to make their servants latent powers of earth and wave.

Waging in the realms of science peaceful, studious strife, until

From the earth, like living magnets, man shall draw fresh power at will. [page 20]

Far away, perhaps, but yet the day is dawning when a boy,

Weaponless, the fleets and armies of a nation may destroy;

When the power of man’s destruction bids itself destruction cease,

And all nations draw together in one universal peace.

Trading freely with each other, on a basis as of old

Ere the wealth of man was measured by his store of minted gold;

When the powers of wealth and labor throng the temples hand in hand

Reared by Industry to Progress in the heart of every land.

Then shall demagogues be silent, Truth arise and Envy fall,

While the power of Love, triumphant o’er all nations, crowns them all! [page 21]

A SONG OF WIDE SPACES.

CAN I linger in the City, where the drizzle and the sleet,

      Making foul the crowded street,

Vex the soul and veil the mind, that enfettered and confined,

Stays the blood and clogs the motion of the throng-impeded feet.

I have roamed upon the ocean, where the arch of Heaven spread

      Like a curtain overhead,

In the beauty of the night with a myriad stars bedight,

Till on the far horizon line the sea and sky were wed.

I have watched the billows curling in their fury far away,

      While the snowy spume and spray

In the splendor of the sun seemed a veil of glory spun

In the realms where fancy wanders and the feet of fairies stray.

I have camped upon the mountains and beheld the morning rise

      Over peaks that pierced the skies;

When the glory of its glow touched the scintillating snow,

While the whirling mists were rising in the canyons down below; [page 22]

And the steely stars were waning in the brightness of the sun,

      Till they vanished one by one;

And the groves of stately pines showed against the steep inclines

In the majesty of morning, when the sands of night had run.

I have trailed across the desert when the noontide’s fervid heat

      Over face and forehead beat,

And the hills that clove the sky seemed as brittle things and dry,

That would crumble into ashes at the touch of hands or feet.

Oh! the weirdness and the wildness of that never-ending day,

      As we tracked our weary way,

With the skyline all around belting brown and baked-up ground,

Interspersed with straggling patches of the sage brush hard and gray.

But the sunset touched the hillsides, and their faces softer grew,

      Till their contours, peering through

Gauze-like mists that glimmered bright with a many-colored light,

In glory glowed and melted in a mass of purple hue.

And the stars came out in clusters, and upon each mountain crest

      Seemed a magic spell to rest; [page 23]

While the dews from earth exhaling and the winds through pine groves wailing

Soothed our souls and fanned our faces, and our weary forms knew rest.

On the ocean or the prairie is there any other place

      That human foot can trace

Where the introspective gaze is unchecked in narrow ways,

And man and soul may commune with the Maker face to face.

In the realm of boundless spaces, where the heart beats true and strong,

      And the sunlight lingers long,

Where the rising and the fall of the day our souls enthrall,

Our minds are filled with melody, our spirits stirred by song.

A thirsting for the ocean, and a hunger for the trail,

      And the glamor of the gale,

In a strong and stirring blast, blowing fresh from regions vast,

Fill my bosom nigh to bursting and my restless thoughts assail.

Must I linger in the narrows, with the sails of fancy furled,

      Who have watched the billows hurled

By the fury of the breeze o’er the spreading waste of seas,

And beheld the flush of dawning tinge the face of half a world. [page 24]

TRIUMPHANT, YET UNKNOWN.

OH! England, mother England! the halo round thee shed

Is but the light that rises from the tombs of heroes dead;

Who, blazing through the timber of toiling on the sea,

Have opened paths for Empire, and spent their lives for thee.

Oh! England, mother England! though the jewels in thy crown

Are lustrous with the living light of thy great sons’ renown;

The radiant robe of splendor around thy shoulders flung,

Is woven from the lives of men unhonoured and unsung.

Oh! England, mother England! the sceptre in thy hand,

The sign of thine Imperial rule, the emblem of command,

Was hammered from the golden hearts of sons who crossed the main.

Forged in the furnace of their love and tempered in their pain.

Then England, mother England! give honor to thy dead,

Who through uncharted regions the march of Empire led;

In East and West, in North and South, they toiled and died unknown,

But reared themselves a monument—thy great Imperial throne. [page 25]

GAZING SEAWARD.

THE shades of night are falling

    Upon the waters blue,

And from the grey rocks calling,

    I hear the shrill sea-mew.

The glittering starlight seems to rest

Upon the waters’ breast.

    Sleep, sleep on, my little one!

Sleep on!   Thy bark is drifting

    O’er moonlit summer seas;

Its silken sails are shifting,

    Fanned by a favoring breeze.

Thy mother holds the helm, to guide

Thy course upon life’s tide.

    Sleep, sleep on, my little one!

Sleep on!   The day is dawning

    When thou perchance shalt be

Tossed in thy manhood’s morning

    On life’s tempestuous sea,

And must thyself, through storm and shoal,

Thy destiny control.

    Sleep, sleep on, my little one! [page 26]

DIANA.

DIANA, the huntress!

    Goddess divine!

Throned midst the heavens,

    Through darkness to shine.

As Phœbus in daytime,

    So thou in the night,

Drivest thy chariot,

    Resplendent in light.

Urgest thy steeds,

    High-stepping and proud,

Through star-dotted heavens,

    Celestial crowd

Of bright constellations,

    Where gods are abiding,

Serene in thy chariot,

    Thy fleet coursers guiding. [page 27]

HOPE.

AS the sunbursts that arise,

    Shooting o’er the waters blue,

Gilding with their light the skies,

    Making all things fair to view;

As the darkness flees away,

    Vanishing before the light,

When the joy of dawning day

    Ends the sorrow of the night;

As the cloud that sailing by,

    Dark and dismal though it be,

Rifts a little so that I

    May the silver lining see;

So doth Hope within me rise,

    Like the morning sun ascend,

Gilding Grief’s o’erclouded skies,

    Bidding dark despondence end. [page 28]

THE DANCE OF DEATH.

MINGLED are her golden tresses

    With the sombre hue of his;

On her breast his hand he presses,

    On her brow he plants a kiss;

While the silver moonbeams, streaming

    Through the casement old and grey,

With a mystic radiance gleaning,

    Lit the chamber where she lay.

She with cheeks whose radiant whiteness,

    With a healthy flush o’erspread,

Seemed to mock the morning’s brightness,

    Tinged with dawning’s glowing red;

He with features pale and bloodless,

    Like a shrivelled scroll his skin,

Where the very veins seemed floodless,

    Stirred by no warm tide within.

She with eyes that seemed elated,

    With the glow of youthful pride;

He with looks so enervated,

    Brow so wan and hollow-eyed.

He her young life thus surprising,

    Blasted by his blighting breath,

Bending o’er her, bids her, rising,

    Join him in the dance of death. [page 29]

Strike the music!   At his calling

    Strains so weird and wild arose,

Blent with dissonance appalling,

    Shrieks of men in dying throes;

Tortured men, blaspheming, swearing,

    Seeking mercy, finding none,

Mingled with the wild despairing

    Of the starving orphan’s moan.

Through the mystic mazes bounding

    Of the waltz’s merry whirl,

He with arms her form surrounding,

    Feebly leans upon the girl.

Faster, faster; she no longer

    Can unmoved support the strain;

He each moment growing stronger,

    She more conscious of the pain.

Faster, faster, swells the measure;

    See, the lustre leaves her eyes;

Wearied by the deadly pressure,

    From her cheeks the color flies,

Whilst his vigor seems increasing

    Till, the maiden’s strength outworn

By the rapid whirl unceasing,

    All her weight by him is borne.

See, the light of life has vanished

    From her pallid cheeks away;

Now his scathing touch has banished

    Motion from the lifeless clay.

Hold! enough!   His minions hearing,

    Stay their strains—the dance is o’er;

And the monarch, disappearing,

    Hurls a corpse upon the floor. [page 30]

VENIENS VENERIS.

SCARCE a ripple stirred the ocean,

    Scarce a cloud was in the sky,

And our galleys knew no motion,

    Save the oars that bade them fly;

But our rowers heard the singing

Of the sea nymphs sweetly ringing

    In their ears when passing by.

What was that?   A flash of lightning

    Playing on the waters’ breast?

Then we saw the heavens bright’ning,

    Saw an eagle from the West

O’er the ocean floating, flying,

And our oarsmen ceased their plying,

    Wondering laid their oars to rest.

Then the ocean’s waves dividing,

    From its depths a passage gave,

And we saw a goddess riding

    On the summit of a wave,

Whilst the rippling billows, pressing

Softly round her with caressing

    Touch, her feet and ankles lave.

On her parted lips a brightness

    Such as roses never knew; [page 31]

Fair her form, of Parian whiteness,

    With the blue veins showing through;

To her ankles golden tresses

Form a veil that half suppresses,

    Half conceals it from our view.

From the depths of ocean starting,

All the Tritons round her throng;

Cried the Nereids, “Is this parting?

    Canst thou thus Poseidon wrong?”

Roared, old Ocean, “Do not leave us;

Tethys’ daughter, do not grieve us;

    Queen of Beauty, linger long!”

Unregarding and unheeding,

    Shaking from her hair the spray

Swiftly to the seashore speeding,

    Goes the goddess on her way.

Then the Zephyrs, softly wailing,

Filled our canvas as we, sailing,

    Left the Cytherean bay. [page 32]

THE RIVER OF TIME.

“OF what are thy thoughts?” the fairy cried;

    “With what do thy fancies teem?”

The dwarf replied, “I muse on the tide

    Of a dark and shoreless stream.

“I see a river, its waters deep,

    With black and dismal waves;

On either margin mortals weep;

    Its banks are lined with graves.

“Oh, none can pierce through its waters’ gloom;

    Oh, none can tell its source;

Far up in the clouds doth that river loom,

And calm is its torpid course.

“It rolleth on forevermore,

    In silence it runs for aye;

And town and tower upon its shore

    It slowly washeth away.

“Through valleys green may that river be seen;

    It runs through a sunny clime;

To mortal things decay it brings—

    The name of that river is Time.” [page 33]

THE SOUTH-WEST WIND.

SHE comes, she comes, the gentle wind that Englishmen love best;

The clouds proclaim her coming, to the southward and the west;

Square in the yards! She cometh, to bear us swiftly home,

To those whom most we cherish, o’er the ocean’s snowy foam.

Blow fiercer yet, thou friendly gale, our ship is running free,

And not a tongue that wags aboard but utters praise to thee;

Blow fiercer, faster, stronger still; stir up the glistening foam;

We reck not of discomfort if it bring us nearer home.

Sweep o’er the seas, long-wished-for breeze, swell out the bellying sail;

Sure, never yet did seamen good so gladly greet the gale.

Sweep on, sweep on, nor leave us on this wat’ry wilderness,

Until our signals rouse the men who watch at Dungeness,

White horses race with rapid pace across the seething sea;

They go before to England’s shore, as messengers from thee,

To tell our sweethearts thou wilt pass o’er Dover’s straits again,

And bring with thee their lover’s ships as captives in thy train. [page 34]

AVE IMPERATRIX.

STRETCH out thine hands across the seas, O mother,

                  To clasp us still;

Our stay art thou, and we shall seek none other,

                  If such thy will.

Oh! let thy glances traverse the dim distance

                  That lies between;

What to Love’s searchlight can oppose resistance,

                  What intervene?

Peer through the night across the waste of waters

                  That gird thee round;

Gaze on the sinews of thy giant daughters,

                  Free and unbound.

Queens are we all, each of a mighty nation,

                  Yet unto thee,

Mother so dear, in love and veneration,

                  We bend the knee.

But tinged with sadness is the love we offer,—

                  With brow unfleckt

Wilt thou refuse the gifts we fondly proffer,

                  Our prayers reject?

Cast off thy veil—thy radiant face uncover!

                  With eyes ablaze

Pierce through the mists that round the present hover;

                  With forward gaze

Look to the days when the who now entreat thee,

                  Still stronger grown,

Greater than thou, with other words may greet thee,

                  Thy claims disown.

Stretch out thine hands across the seas, O mother,

                  To hold us fast;

Lest we should fall from thee, and with some other

                  Our lot be cast.

Oh! that our love might pierce thy present blindness,

                  So, as of yore

Linked we might stand in ties of blood and kindness

                  For evermore. [page 36]

INDIAN SUNSET.

BEAR me gently, oh, my children, for my life is nearly run;

Place me where I can unhindered look upon the setting sun.

Let me with my glazing eyeballs gaze upon its gleaming crest,

As it slowly sinks in glory o’er the mountains of the West.

It has run its course as I have—ended is its glorious day;

Now to regions hidden from us it, like I, must pass away.

I have loved my lifetime’s day through cloud and sunshine; still, I know,

Every day must have its ending; mine has come and I must go,

Like the sun, behind Death’s mountains, snow-capped heights where none may tread,

Saving only those who, dying, learn the mysteries of the dead.

Yet the sun, as white men tell us, though it fadeth from our eyes,

Shine forever; when we lose it, other regions see it rise.

And the blackrobes say the Indian’s spirit is eternal, too;

Setting on this earth it riseth in the realms of Manitou. [page 37]

This is hard for understanding, but I trust that I may go

Where I may, on mystic prairies, chase departed buffalo;

Or, perchance, with heart elated, when the Blackfoot warwhoop sounds,

Hostile Crees rejoice in driving from the happy hunting grounds.

Nay, lament not, oh, my children, though I roam the plains no more;

It is time to seek the teepee when the joyous hunt is o’er.

Joyous hunting, gone forever; vanished, too, the roving life;

Silent at the white Queen’s whisper, sinks in peace the Indian’s strife.

With the warriors of my boyhood have I hunted o’er the plains,

But of all our shaggy quarry now, alas, no head remains.

None remain to throng the hills and valleys where the Old Man plays;

And across the spreading prairie now the white man’s cattle graze.

All is changed, the old times vanished. Why, then, lingers one who clings

To the dreams of bygone ages, to a bygone state of things?

Right is that he should vanish from the scene, and so make way

To a younger race adapted to the new and calmer day.

I have joyed to hear the warwhoop of my people sounding forth,

When the thieving Crees had ventured from the woodlands of the north; [page 38]

And my age-chilled blood grows warmer at the thought, as I recall

Visions of our last great battle, that most glorious fight of all.

All day long our warriors chased them; all day long the battle raged;

All day long our war cries sounded as the strife was fiercely waged.

From St. Mary’s mouth we drove them, till the Belly’s stream was red,

And the Belly’s banks were cumbered with the corpses of the dead.

Joyous was the home returning, glad the feasting that we made,

With the scalplocks of our foemen proudly from our belts displayed.

But no more may conquering Blackfeet show their spoils with smiling brow;

Gone the scalp dance, gone the sun dance, gone are all our glories now,

And the warriors of my boyhood one by one have left my side,

One by one their spirits wandered calmly o’er the Great Divide;

Some in sickness, some in battle, swiftly passing one by one,

All have vanished from the prairies, and I linger here alone.

Now no more the noble Blackfeet may as masters ride the plains,

Now the white man rules the prairies and a newer order reigns.

Changes, changes, ceaseless changes, in our very camps I view; [page 39]

Yea, our very lives are altered from the lives our fathers knew.

True, they tell us, as our fathers’ creeds and customs pass away

With their errors, future Indians will enjoy a brighter day,

And the children of the prairie, clinging to the white man’s God,

Shall abjure our ancient totems and abhor the paths we trod.

Cree and Blackfoot, joined together, shall in peace harmonious live;

Of their battles no more boasting, seeking only to forgive;

Knowing when the white man’s order shall the western plains imbue,

Less of hardship, less privation, less, perchance, of freedom, too.

But my heart is fondly clinging to the light of vanished days,

And my frame grows weak and weary,—who shall teach me newer ways?

Best that I should join my fathers, ere the change more bitter grow;

Life and I no more are suited; I am weary, let me go.

When Death’s hand withdraws the curtain lightly shall my spirit soar

O’er the mountains, freely mingling with the great ones gone before;

Clasp the hands of vanished warriors, kinship with my fathers claim,

Proudly meet them as a chieftain worthy of the Blackfoot name. [page 40]

Foremost have I ever ridden midst the perils of the chase,

Never has my foot receded from the hostile foemen’s face.

Is there any that can murmur that I faltered in a trust?

Never with intention was I to a friend or foe unjust.

To my women and my children was I ever aught but kind?

If I have in aught offended, never was offence designed.

All my lifetime have I striven so to live that I may meet

Gladly in the unknown regions those who walk with silent feet.

Listen, listen, oh, my children, for the day is nearly done,

And I feel my torpid life-blood every moment colder run;

Fainter grow the pulsing heartbeats, while the mistlike wreaths that rise

O’er the gloomy Hills of Silence hang like veils before my eyes.

Listen, for my voice is failing, weaker grows the ebbing breath,

And I feel my spirit standing calmly face to face with death.

Brief the time I have for speaking, time is precious, short the span,

Ere before you, still and silent, lies the form that once was man.

When my spirit from the body shall have sped with joyous flight,

Let my mortal frame, I pray ye, rest upon some snow-capped height. [page 41]

Hide me not in earth, but lay me on some peak in yonder chain,

So my spirit may forever gaze upon the spreading plain,

Covering my abandoned body with a robe of loose strewn stones,

Lest the wolf or fierce coyoté in their greed disturb my bones.

Then, perchance, the body sleeping in its silent home of snow,

May, rejoicing, hear the murmurs from the peopled plain below;

Hear the songs of Blackfeet children in that happier, brighter day,

When they live as lives the white man underneath the white Queen’s sway,

O’er the dwellings of my nation keeping watch forevermore,

Until all things have their ending and the plains shall be no more. [page 42]

WHERE, THEN, IS REST?

ONCE, at the eventide, down by the riverside, musing I lay,

With my unwearied brain calling to mind again scenes of the day,

When my astonished ear seemed all at once to hear strains of a song.

“’Tis but the stream,” I said, “over its stony bed rushing along,”

Therefore I turned my ear so as to better hear if ’twere the stream.

Yes, ’twas the ripples’ song, as it flowed swift along,—this was their theme:

“Far every day we go, through many lands we flow, rippling in glee;

Down in the sunny south nestles our silver mouth, kissing the sea,

While from the chilly north daily we, bursting forth, rush from our source,

Onward with rapid pace over the pebbles race, long is our course.

Through plain and valley green have we not surely seen how earth is blest,

Yet, as we gazed around, one thing we never found,—where, then, is rest? [page 43]

“Vainly the question we ask of the surging sea; no rest she knows.

Over the harbor stones swiftly with mournful moans restless she flows,

Or, with strong, sullen shocks, beating against the rocks, tide after tide,

Seeking with angry roar on the resisting shore that peace denied.

Nor can the winds that sweep over the swelling deep, how can they say,

Speeding their onward race through the broad vaults of space, by night and day.

Yea, when our eyes we raise and on the heavens gaze, stars, moon and sun,

In stately circles, too, through the abysmal blue, ceaselessly run.

Through mountain, vale and plain daily we seek in vain something that knows;

In earth or sky or sea can aught created be wrapped in repose?

Long as our course has been, though we have surely seen how earth is blest,

Yet, as we gazed around, this thing we never found,—where, then, is rest?” [page 44]

IN MEMORY’S GARDEN

I PLUCKED the leaves of a rose in Maytime;

    Scattered about on the path they lay,

Till, wafted abroad by the winds in playtime,

    Over the garden they went their way.

Why did I shudder?   Why spell-bound stand,

    When no chill blast on the air was brought?

Did anything move in that still, lone land?

    Only the thrill of a waken’d thought!

Had I not once in the land of mortals,

    Wandered with her in the month of May—

Hope, expanding its gleaming portals,

    Showing for love and my heart a way—

Plucking the leaves that a rose extended,

    Watching them till by the winged winds caught?

What is there left of a love long ended?

    Only the thrill of a waken’d thought!

What was that sound?   Did some lark, late winging,

    Utter those silvery strains I heard?

How could it be, though I heard the singing?

    Lives there in Memory’s land a bird?

What was it, then? cried my heart, rebounding;

    Was it an echo my ears had caught?

What woke that echo so softly sounding?

    Only the thrill of a waken’d thought! [page 45]

What is there left of my youth’s bright Maytime?

    Memories only, with sadness fraught,

Hovering ever ’mid Life’s dim greytime,

    Marred with the ravages Time has wrought.

Tell me, my heart, if thy store retaineth

    Aught of those pleasures so dearly bought.

Nothing, alas! of those joys remaineth,

    Only the thrill of a waken’d thought.

Was there no hope, like a bright star, beaming,

    Beckoning onward to heights afar?

Or didst thou wander, mistaken, deeming

    Some glimmering Will-o’-the-Wisp a star?

Urged by Ambition, still onward pressing,

    What hast thou gained from the goal thus sought?

What is there left thee, thy life’s wane blessing?

    Only the thrill of a waken’d thought! [page 46]

THE VOYAGEUR.

KEEWAYDIN! Keewaydin! my beautiful home.

    Afar have I travelled o’er prairie and sea,

But in the night watches, wherever I roam,

    Thy rivers and pine woods are ever with me;

And the islands, like gems on the breast of thy lakes,

All gleaming with glory when morning awakes.

For vainly I seek ’mid the beauties of earth

Aught fair as Keewaydin, the land of my birth.

Keewaydin! Keewaydin! as swiftly we pass,

    Through the vales of the East, though the rivers have charms,

And greener than ours the velvety grass,

    With hedge-rows dividing diminutive farms;

Yet the air lacks its freshness and grey is the sky,

A slumberous haze o’er the land seems to lie.

I long for the sunlight that shines on the bay,

Where the children are watching the white fishes play.

Keewaydin! Keewaydin! when hot to the tread

    The sands of the desert all sun-smitten lie,

And far in the distance the tombs of the dead

    Are studding the banks where the Nile rushes by; [page 47]

When our eyes in a mirage the cloud cities mock,

Or our travel is stayed by the deadly Siroc,

My heart calls aloud for the sough of the breeze

As it sweeps from the lake through the tamarac trees.

Keewaydin! Keewaydin! though lovely the view

    When the morning is breaking on fair Windermere,

I long, how I long, from my birch bark canoe,

    O’er the Lake of the Woods to see dawning appear.

Though golden the corn-field and sweet the birds’ song,

My soul craves for scenes more majestic and strong;

Oh! give me the screaming of eagles that soar,

O’er the fringe of dark pines on the Clearwater’s shore. [page 48]

LOVE AND HOPE.

SWEET Love is dead—he had not spent his prime,

    But late I laughed to see his buds unfold;

Scarce had he felt the blighting breath of Time;

    Bright were his leaves of green unflecked with gold—

Doomed to abide with me so brief a span,

    Who from my heart had banished all its fears;

Time turned his glass, and from its mouth there ran

    Not sand, but water, and that water tears.

Sweet Love is dead—and but a withered leaf,

    Hid in the darkest corner of my heart,

Stays to remind me of the biting grief

    That filled his place with pain and angry smart.

Peace and repose were driven from my breast,

    Where Anguish fiercely strove, resolved to keep

The entrance barred against the powers of Rest,

    Till, worn with struggling, he succumbed to sleep.

Then, while my spirit, soothed with soft repose,

    Recked not of grief or sorrow’s bitter sting,

Bright Hope, the pitying witness of my woes,

    From the arched heavens flew on silver wing,

Whose shimmering glory made the moonbeams wane.

    And to my bed of sorrows drawing near,

She banished from my presence Grief and Pain,

    Then whispered words of comfort in my ear: [page 49]

Though Love be dead, yet Love may come again;

    The withered leaf and germs within thy breast

May at some future season sprout again,

    And Love once more uprear a verdant crest;

Yet, if he come not, do not deem it vain

    That thou hast lived to love, to live love lost;

Deep in thy heart memory will remain,

    A memory worthy of so great a cost.

“Pleasure and grief commingling in our lives

    Give each to each the zest that they require;

Joy in the pampered bosom vainly strives,

    Sated and cloyed with its fulfilled desire.

Joy would soon weary had we known not pain;

    Grief would be deadly had we never known

Joy to engender hope for joy again,

    When the first bitterness of grief has flown.” [page 50]

TO MY WIFE.

THERE are glimpses of gold in the summer skies

    No painter’s skill may show;

There is wealth that abides in the mountains’ sides,

    Behind their veils of snow,

Barred from our grasp,—like thoughts that rise

    To baffle the struggling tongue,

For only the heart the strains may know

    Of the songs that can never be sung.

Lo! who can number the stars the gleam

    On the breast of the River of Night?

What art assail the countless tale

    Of the myriad orbs of light?

What tongue can sing of the golden dream

    That makes the old heart young,

Though the spirit be stirred with fierce delight

    In the songs that can never be sung?

The fire that glows in a love divine

    A man but dimly feels;

What scale can measure the wealth of treasure

    A woman’s heart conceals?

But with thy dear hand clasping mine

    Or round my shoulders flung,

My heart-string throb with a joy that reveals

    The songs that can never be sung. [page 51]

COUPLETS FROM HAFIZ.

HASTEN Saki bring the goblets!  Pass around the brimming bowl;

Love which once I deemed so pleasant now brings sorrow to my soul.

Like the shipwrecked seaman struggling hopeless on a storm-lashed sea,

Shall my life outlast the darkness?   Is there any dawn for me?

Waves are wild and whirlpools dreadful, o’er the waste the waters roar,

Can my sorrows wake compassion in the joyous hearts on shore.

.       .       .       .      .       .       .       .       .       .

Basking in thy love’s bright sunshine, bowers of Eden brighter bloom;

In thine absence veiled in darkness deeper far than Hades’ gloom.

When at night the radiant river threads the gardens of the skies,

Dimly shines the starlight glory vanquished by thy lustrous eyes.

.       .       .       .      .       .       .       .       .       .

[page 52]

He who seeks thy form resplendent, finding haven on thy breast,

All emparadised shall know there happiness and perfect rest.

And the aim, the one ambition that hath stirred my soul for years,

Once attained, thy glorious splendor soon would dry my blood-tinged tears.

.       .       .       .      .       .       .       .       .       .

When the rose in love’s sweet garden shall on me her perfume shower,

Then my heart, in joy expanding, as a bud shall burst in flower. [page 53]

THE CRY OF THE UITLANDER.

FROM a distant land where the Southern Cross looks down from a starlit sky,

Over the dim of the roaring surge there comes a stalwart cry

That has passed the edge of the rolling veldt from many throats raised high.

“Patient and strong we have borne the yoke till our hearts have weary grown;

Justice we asked and equal rights—justice and that alone—

But their ears are deaf and they will not hear, and our prayers are of no avail,

So we call on the men of our race and tongue for succour and help to prevail.

“We ask but the right to breathe the air as freemen born to be free,

To have right in the law and an equal voice in the laws that are yet to be;

For equal rights such as the Liberty grants in all lands where our tongue has spread,

To live, not as crouching serfs, but to walk as men with a manlike tread.

“And first to thee, Great Mother, enthroned afar in the azure sea,

Whose arm has ever been first to sever the shackles and set men free. [page 54]

Turn thou thy heart and thine eyes to thy sons who stagger beneath the wrong,

That we suffer from men of stubborn race, for our claims on thee are strong.

We left the sea-girt shores we loved to dwell in an alien land,

Trusting in treaties framed by thee, secure in thy guiding hand.

“Next to our sisters of Saxon mould, though scattered afar and apart,

Yet their pulses keep time and their blood responds to the throb of a Saxon heart.

If our voice resound o’er the Rockies’ peaks and over the Southern main,

To Austral shores or Atlantic isles, we shall not have called in vain,

For we know that the kindred of blood is strong and stout each heart that awaits

For the rallying cry of the Empire’s sons to ring through the Empire’s gates.

“And the last, not least, to the cousins who stand in Freedom’s youngest bowers,

The eaglets who broke from the mother’s nest for a grievance less than ours.

Like these we cry for an equal voice in the framing of measures that bring

Leave to enjoy our possessions and share in the rights to which free men cling.

To their eyrie, then, let our cry ring out—shall we call for help in vain

From the hands that rescued the isles enthralled in the withering bonds of Spain?

        The Macedonian cry fills every shore,

        “Come over, help us, that we sink no more.” [page 55]

THE ANSWER.

And the Ocean bears the answer, “We are coming; lo, we come.”

Round the stirring zone of empire rolls the reverberating drum.

Peaceful protestations failed us; now the war-flag is unfurled,

And the Empire’s sons are thronging from the corners of the world.

From their wave-kissed Emerald Island see the sons of Erin pour,

To rally round the colors which of old their fathers bore,

When at Waterloo and Alma they faced the Empire’s foes,

And twined their Shamrock closer round the Thistle and the Rose.

From England’s harbors spring the sons of those who swept the main,

And round the British coastline chased the galleons of Spain.

From Tamar to the banks of Tweed the cry rings clear and strong,

Rousing a nation’s might to arms to right a kinsman’s wrong.

It ripples through the heather; in the mountains of the north,

O’er island, loch and river, the sound is pealing forth;

The pibroch fills the valleys, the stag starts in the glen,

Stirred from his sylvan shelter by the tramp of marching men. [page 56]

While Cambria’s pleasant valleys, in the regions of the West,

Have heard the summons sounding from Plinlimmon’s lofty crest;

From every spot along the banks of wooded, winding Wye

Stout voices join in chorus strong to swell the swift reply.

From Halifax to Esquimalt the murmur loudly rose;

It swept across the continent, o’er mountains white with snows,

Whose echoes sent the message o’er two oceans far away,

“We hear, we come, beneath the flag we bore at Chateauguay.”

Atlanta’s sugar islands wake responsive to the cry;

The streams of Western Africa in resonance reply;

Away to fair Guiana and on many a distant shore

Stout hearts have heard and answered to the summons that it bore.

Then farther, farther, southward yet, ’tis borne upon the breeze,

Ringing as strong and clearly out through Polynesian seas;

From Hobart to Port Darwin proudly answer one and all,

“Our star-decked flags are waving; we attend the Empire’s call.”

Cried the eaglets from their eyrie, “Though as yet we may not move

To remedy your quarrel, ye have sympathy and love; [page 57]

Should other foes retard the hands that strive to right the wrong,

Our guns shall swell the chorus of the Saxon battlesong.”

And the rolling ocean’s billows bore the news to Afric’s strands,

“They are coming, they are coming, pouring forth from many lands;

For my waves unite the Empire,—what is distance unto these

Who, true in love and kindred, link their hands across the seas?”

From utmost corners of the earth resounds the busy hum,

As side by side in serried ranks Britannia’s children come. [page 58]

LIFE FOR THE MAPLE LEAF.

A SOLDIER on the torrid veldt

                                  Lay dying;

The comrades who around him knelt

                                  Were sighing,

But as he bade his friends good-bye,

No tear bedimmed his glazing eye,

And jubilant his latest cry,

        “The Maple Leaf is flying.”

CHORUS.

    Carry the words across the sea,

        Dying we know no grief,

    If from our death on the field there be

        Life for the Maple Leaf.

His leaf-badged helmet at his feet

                                 Was lying,

His dripping blood the emblem sweet

                                 Was dyeing;

He touched it as the crimson tide

Rushed swiftly from his wounded side,

And then with ringing voice he cried,

        “The Maple Leaf is flying.”

“Though hostile hands life’s fragile net

                                 May sever,

Our country mourns and will forget

                                 Us never;

The life I love I gladly give,

And dying thus, can death forgive,

’Twill help the Maple Leaf to live

        In Britain’s heart forever.” [page 59]

CANADA’S FLAG.

WHAT pennon is this on the light breezes dancing,

    Aloft on the summit of yon gloomy crag?

The sun on a thousand bright bayonets is glancing

    That gather around it—’tis Canada’s flag.

CHORUS.

    ’Tis Canada’s flag; from the east to the west

    The emblem we honor, the sign we love best;

    The star that can guide us o’er mountain and crag,

    And light us to triumph is Canada’s flag.

What spell from the storm-lashed Atlantic extending

    To where the Pacific its blue waters rolls;

Each province in concord and unity blending,

    Can wake for each other such love in their souls?

When in arms for the Empire the rifles’ loud rattle

    Is heard the first time by our brave volunteers,

What makes them like veterans rush to the battle,

    Awaking their courage, allaying their fears?

We’ll drink to our mother afar o’er the ocean;

    The flag that our ancestors taught us to love,

We’ll cherish that, too, but our deepest devotion

    No banner like Canada’s banner can move. [page 60]

BRITONS ALL TO-DAY.

UNFURL the Union banner,—let it wave across the seas;

In the golden glow of sunshine let it float upon the breeze.

High aloft, that all may see it, and the Empire’s sons may say,

“Hail to the flag that binds us; we’er Britons all to-day.”

CHORUS.

    Britons all to-day—lined across the sea,

    Pealing out with joyous shout the chorus of the free.

    Britons all to-day; who shall come between,

    Whilst Britons stand by sea and land for Empire, flag and Queen?

From the bonnie hills of Scotland and the peaceful English vales,

The sparkling lakes of Erin and the wooded streams of Wales,

From the joyous Riverina and the shores of Hobson Bay,

The ocean bears the chorus, “We’re Briton’s all to-day.”

From many a coral island southern voices swell the song,

And Aden sends it echoing to the harbor of Hong Kong; [page 61]

From the banks of sacred Ganges to the towers of far Bombay,

A myriad tongues are shouting, “We’re Britons all to-day.”

From young Vancouver keeping ward across the waters blue,

And those historic walls where once the Bourbon banner flew;

From the isles of the Atlantic and the hills of Table Bay,

The cry rings out from pole to pole, “We’re Britons all to-day.” [page 62]

MAFEKING.

           THRONED on the African plain,

               Crowned amidst the thunder and flame,

               Blazoned in glory the name,

           Long in our hearts shall remain,

                              Mafeking.

           Though thy title till now scarcely heard,

               When the present is lost in the past,

               The tales of thy prowess shall last,

           And the heart of the future be stirred,

                              Echoing.

           For not to thee was given

               The glamor and joy of strife,

           The shock of war-clouds riven

               Where warm blood leaps to life;

           But thine to cling as the bulldog clings,

               At the throat of his master’s foe,

           And, sternly silent, bear the stings

               Begot of the strong man’s blow.

Calm were the brave defenders on that bright October day

When Cronje round the barriers spread his men in long array,

    But Powell’s heart beat high and a smile was in his eye,

For the flag of Britain floated where her children stood at bay. [page 63]

Then presently a messenger was sent from Cronje’s van

With a summons to surrender, but the laughing answer ran,

    “From above a British town haul the British banner down!

That is work for Britain’s foemen,—let them do it if they can!

“The task that lies before us—the work we have to do

To keep it proudly flying forth for friend and foe to view.

    Foot to foot and horse to horse, we can answer force with force,

And the men who would displace it shall their bold adventure rue.”

Then the Creusot shouted, the Maxims hissed, and the shrill-voiced Mausers sang,

But forth from the walls in a line of flame the fiery answer rang,

And the noisy sound of the cannon’s din was hushed by the roaring cheer

That burst from the throats of exulting men who marked the Boers draw near.

Within the zone of the British fire the stern Commando swayed,

Riven and rent by the deadly hail, its fierce advance was stayed,

And those whose hearts with a passionate lust for the close encounter burned,

Wept as the foe from the puny range of their rifles safe returned.

The leaguer was formed, and the wily Boer in trenches laid him down,

Safe in his tents beyond the range of the helpless, cannonless town. [page 64]

The sons of the veldt who dared to seek the lioness in her den

Far distant pause, for they fear the claws of Powell’s gallant men.

But the Creusot shouts from the hostile lines, the great guns roar and ring,

And ever on roof, tree, spire and wall their huge projectiles fling;

Yet the banner waved defiant o’er the walls of Mafeking.

Day after day, month after month, men watch the northern sky,

Where flashing lights at intervals proclaim brave Plumer nigh,

Striving to pierce the leaguering lines that round the city lie.

December’s burning sun brings in the holy Christmas-tide,

And many a weeping mother clasps her children to her side,

In longing for her peaceful home beyond the waters wide.

This in secret—for their husbands only cheering smiles and song;

They must vex not hearts courageous, though the weary siege be long.

Men must keep that banner flying—theirs to suffer and be strong.

Yet at times a common sorrow upon wife and husband lay, [page 65]

When sickness and privation swept their little ones away,

Till the roaring cannon roused them—he must keep the foe at bay.

For Mafeking’s defenders in the Saxon mould were cast,

Men who heed the call of duty and will hold their honor fast,

Men who in the post of danger will maintain it to the last.

Day after day, month after month, the burden greater grew,

Still Britain’s sons defied her foes like loyal men and true,

And kept her banner flying forth for friend and foe to view.

But at length a strange emotion in those gallant bosoms stirred,

For again and yet again, shouting loudly o’er the plain,

    The guns from distant Canada were heard.

Then the tramp of English troopers—dashing Mahon at their head,—

With horsemen in the wattle scrubs of Australasia bred,

And Plumer’s stout Rhodesians marching gaily in the throng,

Who, jubilant and joyful, make the tawny veldt land ring,

With cheering loud and strong, for the men who suffered long,

With that spirit sternly silent whence Britannia’s glories spring.

For the Empire’s heart was sore for the ills her children bore,

And the Empire’s sons had answered to the call from Mafeking. [page 66]

BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST.

’TIS night, and King Belshazzar dines

    Within his own imperial halls;

His princes, lords and concubines

    Recline around the royal walls;

The banquet done, they bring in wines;

    Loudly then the monarch calls,

        “Fill the cups with sparkling wine,

        Till ye deem yourselves divine.

“Fill the goblets to the brim—

    From Jerusalem they came;

Lo, inscribed upon each brim,

    See the God of Israel’s name.

Trophies long detained from Him,

    Yet He durst not urge His claim;

        Fill the cups with sparkling wine,

        Who can boast a power like mine?”

Then the king, his eyes upraising,

    Sees his lords and princes all,

Terror-struck, with wonder gazing

At the prodigy amazing

    Of a hand upon the wall,

Whose fingers o’er the monarch’s place,

Words of mystic meaning trace.

But a hand, a hand alone!

Arm or body was there none. [page 67]

As they gazed the writing shone

Brightly, but the hand was gone.

Then in terror cried the king,

“Hither all my sages bring;

Let them see this mystic scrawl,

In fiery letters on the wall,

So their wisdom may declare

The meaning that these symbols bear,

And whose the hand that traced them there.”

At his word the royal pages

    Swift the monarch’s summons bore

To the great Chaldean sages,

    Deeply skilled in magic lore;

Seers kept by royal wages

    On the starry books to pore.

               Lo, the band

               Quickly stand

By the wall, but none amongst them can the writing understand.

Then the Queen approaching said,

    “Monarch, may I speak and live?”

Bowing towards the ground her head

    Till the King permission give.

Cried Belshazzar, “She I wed

    Need not ask me to forgive

When she speaketh, if she bring

Consolation to her King.

Who like thee the heart can cheer,

That such portents fill with fear.

        Fill the cups with sparkling wine;

        Pledge ye all this wife of mine.”

Thus spake the Queen, “Know, sire, it seems

There is a man well skilled in dreams, [page 68]

Who can such myst’ries understand

As baffle your Chaldean band.

Seek him; when he these words hath seen,

He will interpret what they mean.

Men call him Daniel, Judah’s son.”

The King replied, “It shall be done.

Come hither, page; let him be sought,

And straightway to our presence brought.”

Obedient to the King’s commands

Soon Daniel in the presence stands.

Thus spake the monarch, “Sage, this golden chain

And scarlet robe are thine, and thou shalt gain

The third place in the kingdom after me

If thou canst read these words of mystery;

The reason of their presence, too, declare,

And whose the wondrous hand that traced them there.”

Then Daniel spake, “O King, I may not heed

Your promised honors; no reward I need,

For what the God of Israel hath decreed,

I, as his servant, must in duty read.

Lo, ‘Mene, mene,’ thus the letters go;

‘Tekel, upharsin,’ since God bids me show

The meaning of these words; in ‘Mene’ see

Both land and kingdom pass away from thee.

‘Tekel,’ thou hast been in the balance tried,

And found unworthy of the power supplied

To thee by Him who takes it now away;

‘Peres,’ thy sceptre shall another sway;

Omnipotent Jehovah hath decreed

Thy kingdom to the Persian and the Mede.”

The prophet ceased.   Although he had defied

The power of God, that night Belshazzar died,

And King Darius, ere the year was flown,

Lord of the Medes and Persians, filled his throne. [page 69]

SEPTEMBER 1st, 1905.

(When the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were proclaimed.)

PRIDE of the new Hesperides, fair bud from Britain’s ancient rose,

We mark thee in thy majesty two petals more unclose;

As thou in days of sorrow’s reign didst share the Empire’s gloom and pain,

We mingle in thy gladness now and glory in thy gain.

Dispelled by heat of youthful day the haze of infant dawning wanes,

The sun of progress leaves the vale to shine above the plains,

And in the light that lines the way where travels that triumphing ray,

A nation’s heart beats jubilant in Canada to-day.

Nor pent in narrow regions now, nor nurtured in a single clime,

Thy giant branches stretch themselves through summer suns and rime

To slopes where purple vineyards blaze, floes where the Arctic sealer strays,

Or plains where through the tempered year unstabled cattle graze.

Not on those Heights of Abraham, whose cherished name our hearts enshrine,

For there we wooed and won Quebec, and linked our fates with thine; [page 70]

Not on the fields of Chateauguay, or Queenston, where Brock’s heroes lay,

Though dear to every British heart, lives Canada to-day.

Her roots have claimed a wider field, her branches stray from shore to shore,

Stirred by the calm Pacific’s song and wild Atlanta’s roar,

O’er snow-capped peaks that rend the sky, o’er prairies where the wheat lands lie,

And lakes across whose mighty breasts the grain-filled whalebacks ply.

Oh! noble slip from noble stem transplanted to a fertile land,

In vigor and prosperity thy swelling buds expand;

The mother islands far away with tender pride thy growth survey,

And flash a loving greeting forth to Canada to-day. [page 71]

A STUDY.

WHY these alarms? though a world in arms assails a mighty nation,

Seated alone on her sea-girt throne in splendid isolation,

Serene she smiles from her native isles, on guard but not defiant,—

Well may she mock the tempest’s shock who rests, on her sons, reliant.

Secure she stands in the dear homelands whilst jealous rivals bluster;

Their idle jeers she scarcely hears, nor dreads their hostile muster.

Cossack and Gaul will cease their bawl and foes, malignant, tremble,

When over the world her flag is unfurled and the Empire’s host assemble.

Then sudden the stir; as the welcome whirr when the wild Chinook comes leaping

From its home in the West, by the weird Crow’s Nest, o’er snowsprent prairies sweeping,

And swift as a dream, or the lightning’s gleam, the frost king’s hosts are banished,

As she kisses again the golden plain, whence winter’s veil has vanished.

And the foeman knows each wind that blows, the orb of earth engirding, [page 72]

Each ripple that sweeps o’er the storm-stirred deeps hath echoed the magic wording:

“Lo, foes assail as an angry gale on British headlands breaking,

Their clamorous cries disturb the skies, the slumbering Valkyrs waking.”

On wave and wold all lands behold the red-cross banner gleaming,

O’er ocean straits, through the Empire’s gates, Britannia’s children streaming;

From pole to pole the drum-beats roll, to summon the scattered legions;

Their throbs resound to the aftermost bound that limits these earthly regions.

As an avalanche rolls down the mountain side to burst at its base in thunder,

The might that pours from the Empire’s shores shall scatter her foes asunder.

What force can vex, what foe perplex, or chance of war confound her,

Whose whispered word, o’er the waters heard, can summon her sons around her? [page 73]

SONG.

A SONG of the breezes in spring:

    If I in their breathing had share,

I would blow to the home of my loved one and cling

    In the folds of her delicate hair,—

Had I part in the breezes of spring.

A song of the birds in their nest:

    Could my heart on light pinions roam,

Its flight would be straight to her beautiful breast,

    To find there a haven and home:

As a bird in its shelter to nest.

A song of the roses in flower:

    Could my heart in her sunshine unfold,

Its blossom bedecked by love’s mystical power,

    Would revel in crimson and gold,

That her soul might delight in its flower. [page 74]

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA.

THE twilight pall enfolds the dying day,

    And sombre clouds above the mountains lie;

So fades the glory of this world away,

    Whilst night-winds through the passes sob and sigh

In strains subdued, that bid my heart survey

    The record of that light about to die.

How long, O Lord, since first the central sun

    Scattered its splendor through the vast abyme;

How long, O Lord, since first our fates were spun

    In wefts unerring from the loom of time;

How long, O Lord?—and yet so little done,

    To banish darkness from this mortal clime.

When shall the thunder of the war-drums cease,

    And storms of discord leave our bosoms still;

That earth at last may know the angel’s peace,

    And man with man be linked in glad good-will,

Whilst mortal tongues the cherub choir increase,

    And chords of harmony creation fill?

How long, O Lord, shall want and sorrow prey

    On hearts that, sighing, hear the seraph’s song,

Yet sighing, turn to Faith’s enfeebled ray,

    Seeking some solace, some relief from wrong; [page 75]

When shall triumphing love their griefs allay,

    And quell the greedy ghouls that round them throng?

How long, O Lord, shall selfishness and pride

    Hover like mists o’er this terrestrial ball?

Scatter them with thy glorious breath aside,

    And let thy splendor on our spirits fall.

Oh! Sun divine! in glory glorified,

    Dissolve these chains that now our souls enthrall. [page 76]

AMBITION.

AS we stand with our feet on the shingle

    And sands of the seashore of time,

Should earthly desires ne’er mingle

    With longings for something sublime?

Is it meet that our sated desire

    In slothful content should remain,

When striving and climbing up higher,

    Still more could we gain?

How poor are we, wanting Ambition,

    The light that illumines the soul,

The effort to change our condition,

    To stretch out our hands to the goal.

Let us strive in the light of past ages

    To find a new pathway to tread,

Till we march o’er the footprints of sages

    Still further ahead.

Let each soul with Ambition’s strong pinions,

    With the will and the courage to rise,

Strive each day to extend its dominions;

    The troubles attending despise.

Ascending and ever ascending,

    As an eagle that soars to the sun,

With a craving for rising unending,

    A goal to be won. [page 77]

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