Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




Mantled in snow, my native land,
    I hail thee from the sea;
Cheerless to others looks the strand,
    But oh! how dear to me.

My fellow-voyagers gaze and shrink,
    As blows the breeze from shore,
With raptured pulse the air I drink—
    The Northern breeze once more. [Page 80]

They, thinking of their Southern homes,
    And of the trellised vine;
Wonder from icy shores there comes
    Excited thought like mine.

As landmarks, they, thy headlands view,
    Right glad to pass them by;
To me they’re pictures, stern, but true,
    That charm and cheer the eye.

They cannot see the scenes beyond,
    Of happy household mirth,
The skaters on the glittering pond,
    The children round the hearth.

They cannot hear the merry cheer
    Of coasters on the steep;
They do not know how soundly here,
    The free and happy sleep.

They cannot hear the peasant’s axe
    Sharp ringing through the groves,
Nor see the blazing fire he piles
    To gladden those he loves.

The sleighs go through the crowded street,
    Like swallows on the wing;
Beneath the furs warm fingers meet,
    Hark! how the sleigh-bells ring. [Page 81]

There’s not a sound that cleaves the air
    But music has for me;
Nightly the warm hearts beating there,
    Have blest me on the sea.

The stately piles of old renown
    With reverent thought I’ve trod,
Where noble hearts have laid them down
    With History and with God.

The crowded mart, the busy throng,
    The gay and brilliant halls;
The tramp of steeds, the voice of song,
    The many-pictured walls,

Are all behind; but, all before,
    My native land I view;
A blessing on her sea-girt shore,
    Where toil the good and true.
January 25, 1862. [Page 82]