By Charles Sangster



          Oh! solitary heart!
Companionless as the unresting sea;
          And yet, how skilled thou art
In Love’s impenetrable mystery!

          Like a coy maid,


Whose love and virtue are her only dower,
          Thou seemest half afraid
Of thy exhaustless and well-governed power.

          Thy love is too serene,
Exalted, and immortal, to be felt,


          Even by thy chosen queen,
In whose cold arms thou couldst have ever dwelt,

          Like a warm pearl
Imprisoned in the granite’s rayless breast.
          Oh! heart, thou art no churl!


But in Love’s Golden Palace formed to rest.

          Yes, love for love,
Love like thine own, ’t is all thou’st ever sought,
          But vainly hast thou strove,
Like flushed youth after fame, and found it not.


          Love watcheth evermore
Within thee, from his cruel prison bars,
          Like Eleanor in her tower,
Night-blooming Cereus longing for the stars. [Page 66]

          I knew a noble youth,


He was as timid as a Bengalee,
          But in his heart sat Truth,
And Love sat at her feet, all modestly,

          As blooms the violet,
Beneath the perfume of the queenly rose;


          His being’s tide was set
Love-ward, like a flushed summer sunset’s close.

          And there was one he deemed
All worthy of the worship of his soul;
          One, who, in all things, seemed


Born but to guide him to his vision’s goal.

          Hemmed in with Love,
Like a fair island with a coral reef,
          His spirit soared above
The world, like Joy exalted above Grief.


          Love was his atmosphere,
He breathed it as men breathe the southern balm;
          His young mind, year by year,
Grew upright as a Coromandel palm.

          Her presence was his shield,


Like the white plume of Henry of Navarre
          Upon the battle field,
Where’er he look’d, there loomed his guiding star.

          She was as fair
And beautiful as the anemone, [Page 67]


          Pure as the morning air
Fresh from the mountain summits or the sea.

          They loved their rural homes,
And while she helped the aged cottage dame,
          He labored at huge tomes,


And on his fane of love built spires of fame.

          His were great visions now,
Hers, the sweet joy to elevate his dreams;
          Thought sat upon his brow,
Upon her face a glory, such as beams


          Upon an angel’s face
When a ripe Truth falls from some human brain,
     And wins the usurped place
Where Error long had held its iron reign.

          There came a gallant youth,


All scent, and curls, and foppery and pride,
          Who knew no more of Truth
Than the young infant of the year that died.

          And he, too, spake of love,
He spake of gold, and rank, of power and place,


          Of courts, where she might move,
Like Love’s fair Queen, amongst a Royal race.

          Her simple ear was gained,
Loud Flattery triumphed over modest Worth,
          And one great heart was pained


To know that Perfidy still walked the Earth. [Page 68]

          But ’t is the Poet’s doom,
To nurse, unknowingly, some ripening pain,
          An as he paced his room,
Lonely as Tycho on its herbless plain,


          He did not curse the hand
That plucked the lily from his mountain crags,
          Cursed not the human brand
Flung loose to scourge him like Pandora’s Plagues.

          But in his mind still burned


The embers of his love’s funereal pyre;
          The lesson he had learned,
Bequeathed he to the world in words of fire:


“Well I knew a stately Maiden, flushed with Health’s divinest glow,
With a hand as warm as sunlight, and a heart as cold as snow.


“Many a softly-moulded accent floated from her perfect mouth,
Syllabl’ing words as mellow as the fruitage of the South.

“Words that made my heart awaken, and my pulsing spirit bound,
Every stricken chord of Feeling trembling with melodious sound.

“Oriental odors floated in her warm Sabean breath,


And I knew not they were filtered through an atmosphere of             Death. [Page 69]

“Sweetly did my dreams deceive me, like the babe’s upon the             sea,
When the noble ship’s endangered with a typhoon on the lee.

“And a glorious Hope reigned proudly, like a giant, in my heart,
Falsely swearing by the Future, Love and he should never part.


“Oh! with what a saintly glory the strong eye of manhood beams,
When the youthful soul is flooded with the languor of its dreams.

“How the world becomes Ideal, Nature’s beauties all laid bare,
And a harmonizing fragrance fills the universal air.

“Morning wears a tenfold beauty, evening comes serenely down,


And at night each star is praying for the sin-endangered town.

“In the midnight, when the moonbeams warm the bosom of the             earth,
How divine the swift emotions springing into Godlike birth.

“Every drop of dew that trembles, glistening, on the pleaséd sight,
Has an eye of sparkling beauty, looking upward through the night.

            [Page 70]

“Every zephyr, like a spirit, breathes a more delicious balm,
Every gust of wind that passes sings its animated psalm.

“To each memory-haunted nook a more exalted beauty clings,
And the summer flies make music with the motions of their wings.

“The anthem of the thunder falls in organ peals upon the brain,


And the passionate clouds smile lightnings through the weepings             of the rain.

“To the perfect sense there seems a fuller rolling of the floods,
A more dulcet tone is whispering in the bursting of the buds.

“A more silvery cadence ringeth in the laughter of the rills,
A warmer purple blendeth with the vapours on the hills.


“Angels stepping down from heaven fill the chambers of the mind,
Chanting there their hymns of triumph, waking love for all             mankind.

“Every tree, and bud, and flower, has a hue it never wore,
When the soul was love-deserted, in the callous days of yore.             [Page 71]

“Birds are warbling from the thickets orisons of wondrous note,


And the wooing dove pairs nestle closer in their blessed cote.

“Where was deadly hatred rankling in the sinful human breast,
Sits Forgiveness, blest and blessing, with a glory for its crest.

“Love, Love Paramount of all, dispenses, from his thousand             thrones,
Sunshine for all clouded sorrows, boundless joy for passion


“Earth, and air, and sky, and ocean, every living, breathing thing,
Sits in peace beneath the shelter of Love’s universal wing.

“So sat I beneath it, dreaming of a world of bliss to come,
In a universe of fancies, for my joy had struck me dumb.

“And my quiet heart had yielded every pulsing hope and beat


To that cold and stately Maiden, who had charmed me to her feet.

“Day by day my love grew stronger, and my soul, exultant, trod
Through my mind’s illumined palace, with the bearing of a God.             [Page 72]

“Every tender word she spake rode to me in a silver car,
Every look she gave at parting rounded to a perfect star.


“Could that voice be all it promised? might that firmament grow             dark
Where those star-looks had been treasured?—each a             covenanting ark!

“Once my heart the question whispered, lowly, for I scarce could             hear,
But I hurled the slander from me, though my spirit crouched for             fear.

“Was it not some jealous demon that had crept into my mind?


Dare it crush so pure a passion? or was Love, indeed so blind?

“Blind, alas! a frantic devil in my heart did stamp and rave,
Like a sightless Cyclop groping madly round his granite cave.

“Oh! from what a height of promise did my stricken spirit fall!
Crushed, and bleeding, and despairing, covered with a raven


“For my heart’s pure love was wasted, and my dreams a             semblance bore,
To the disappointed moonlight, that convoys each wave ashore;             [Page 73]

“Smiling on it in its worship, with a look divinely bland,
And while dreaming on its beauty sees it melt into the sand.

“Love and Hope went forth together from the Eden of my Heart,


At the gate they lingered, weeping, all unwilling to depart.

“But I drove them forth in sorrow, on their broken faith to brood,
And I made my home with nature, for a time in solitude.

“I had sought the love of Woman, that pure joy that heaven distils,
Better searched for Truth and found it, in the centenarian hills.


“Better rent the solid granite for a heart of flesh and blood,
Looked for passion in the iceberg’s pulseless and congealéd             flood:

“Better these than hoped for love within that faithless maiden’s             breast—
’Twas like driving out an Angel when my heart’s dove left its nest.


“Every radiant winged To-morrow hidden in the distant years,


Has its poise of joy and sorrow, has its freight of hopes and fears.             [Page 74]

“Every hour upon the dial, every sand-grain dropped by Time,
Quickens man, by useful trial, for his march to the sublime.

“Friendship’s hands forever grasping, glad to meet and grieved             to part;
Love, accursed, or blessed, clasping Woe or Gladness to its


“Friendship hath a Jura-presence, thronéd like an Alp on high,
Love hath a diviner essence, for, like Truth, it cannot die!


“Thrice since then the Spring has parted from the Winter’s cold             embrace.
Thrice the birds in songs were thankful for the light of nature’s             face.

“Thrice the Summer flowers have blossomed on the summits of

            the hills,

Thrice the vales have leaped for gladness to the piping of the rills.

Thrice the red-browed, sheavéd Autumn has lain down its golden             store,
Like a blessed crop of bounty, on the thankful farmer’s floor.

 “And the passing of the seasons, with their yearly tide of wealth,
Braced my mind and flushed my features with a treble glow of

            health. [Page 75]

“Here among these hills eternal, Love and Hope have both             returned,
Higher aims and wider feelings than of yore my bosom burned,

“Ever up my soul are rolling, with a hot Etnæan glow.
As the eagle from his eyrie views the wide champaign below,

“So from this, my lofty station, ’mongst the mountains of my youth,


I look round and study Nature, God, and Man, and endless Truth.”


          Blest is the heart whose love
Is fed from the deep fountains of the soul!
          It never can grow old—above
The highest heaven it wins its final goal.


          His mind grew royally,
His visions all were dowered with large hopes;
          Like to some fruitful tree,
His thoughts came crowned all regally; as opes

          The amber gates of Morn,


When through them pours from young Day’s ardent soul,
          The Light of Love, sun-born:
So loomed his thoughts toward Fame’s far-distant goal.
            [Page 76]

          His heart was purified
By suffering, but desolate as the moon,


          That wanders far and wide,
By myriads of stars attended, yet alone.

          Some day the tongue of Fame
May bring the old world down upon its knees
          At mention of his name,


And he, be one of earth’s divinities,

          With wise men at his feet
Sitting, and worshipping his wondrous speech!—
          Oh! human Love! replete
With Suffering and Truth, what heights through thee we reach!

            [Page 77]