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CANADA AND OTHER POEMS.
T. F. YOUNG.
I introduce the following poetical attempts to the public, with great
diffidence. I am not sure but a direct apology would be in better taste,
but the strength derived from the purpose I had in view, in writing and
publishing them, sustains me without saying anything further by way of
excuse. Like Burns, I wished to do something for my country, and chose
this method of doing it.
The literature of this country is in its infancy. It must not always
remain so, or the expectations we have in regard to making it a great
nation, will never be fulfilled. Literature gives life to a nation, or
rather it is the reflection of a nation's life and thought, in a mirror,
which cheers, strengthens and ennobles those who look into it, and study
what is there displayed. Literature must grow with our nation, and, when
growing, it will aid the latter's progress in no small degree.
Pedantic critics may find fault with my modest productions, and perhaps
justly, in regard to grammatical construction, and mechanical
arrangement, but I shall be satisfied, if the public discern a vein of
true poetry glittering here and there through what I have just written.
The public are the final judges of compositions of this sort, and not
the writer himself, or his personal friends. It is they, therefore, who
must decide whether these humble attempts of my 'prentice hand, shall be
numbered with writings that have been forgotten, or whether their
author shall be encouraged to strike his lyre in a higher key, to
accompany his Muse, while she tries to sing in a loftier strain.
In passing an opinion on my literary venture, of course the youthful
state of our country will be taken into consideration, for it is a
state which necessarily tinges all of our productions, literary or
otherwise, with a certain amount of crudity. Consequently, reasonable
men will not expect that felicity of expression, and that ripeness and
happiness of thought, which would be expected in the productions of an
older country, although they may be aware that true poetry is not the
result of education, or even the refinements of a nation long civilized.
With these words by way of introduction and explanation, I dedicate this
little book of mine to the Canadian public, hoping that whatever they
may think of me as a poet, they will not forget that I am a loyal
Canadian, zealous in behalf of anything that may tend to refine,
instruct and elevate my country, and anxious to see her take an
honourable stand among the other nations of the earth.
PORT ALBERT, March, 1887.
* * * * *
New Year's Day
Is There Room for the Poet
David's Lamentation over Saul and Jonathan
A Virtuous Woman
The Tempest Stilled
Nature's Forces Ours
Ode to Man
The Reading Man
Man and His Pleasures
Lines in Memory of the Late Archdeacon Elwood, A.M.
By the Lake
Lines on the North-West Rebellion
Ye Patriot Sons of Canada
A Hero's Decision
John and Jane
The Truant Boy
A Swain to his Sweetheart
The Fisherman's Wife
The Diamond and the Pebble
Love and Wine.
How Nature's Beauties Should be Viewed
To a Canary
The School-Taught Youth
A Snow Storm
To Nova Scotia
The Huntsman and His Hound
The Maple Tree
The Pine Tree
A Sabbath Morning in the Country
Catching Speckled Trout
A Protestant Irishman to his Wife
Memories of School Days
Verses Written in Autograph Albums
* * * * *
* * * * *
NEW YEAR'S DAY.
Hail! joyous morn. Hail! happy day,
That ushers in another year,
Fraught with what sorrow, none can say,
Nor with what pain, to mortals here.
Another year has roll'd away,
With all its sorrows, joys and fears,
But still the light of hope's glad ray,
Yet beams within our heart, and cheers.
One year, one span of time has pass'd,
So swift to some, to others slow;
But it has gone, and we should cast
Along with it, remorse and woe.
Of things we've done, or only thought,
'Tis useless now the bitter tear,
Of actions unavailing wrought,
Let them repose upon their bier.
We should, indeed, e'en yet atone
For what our reason says we can,
But never let remorse's groan
Degrade us from our state as man.
Let us discharge the debts we owe,
But still some debts will be unpaid;
But we, if we forgive, also,
Should ne'er, despairing, feel afraid.
The future is before us still,
And to that future we should gaze,
With hope renew'd, with firmer will,
To tread life's weary, tangl'd maze.
We ne'er should let the gloomy past,
Bow down our heads in dark despair,
But we should keep those lessons fast,
Which e'en our follies taught us there.
Experience, so dearly bought,
By folly, or by ignorance,
Should, in our inmost system wrought,
Our daily life improve, advance.
Then let us press towards the goal,
The common goal of all mankind,
Go on, while seasons onward roll,
Nor cast one fainting look behind.
And, as we journey through this year,
Let us in watchfulness beware
Of all that brings remorseful tear,
Or future terror and despair.
Let us with thoughtful vision scan
Each step we take, each act we do,
That we may meet our brother man,
With no unrighteous thing to rue.
A happy, happy, bright New Year,
I wish to all the sons of men,
With happy hearts, and merry cheer,
Till it has roll'd its round again.
* * * * *
TO A CANARY.
Imprison'd songster, thou for me
Hath warbl'd many a cheerful lay,
Thy songs, so sweetly glad and free,
Revive my heart, from day to day.
The frost is keen, the wind is cold,
No wild-bird twitters from the spray,
But, still resounding as of old,
Thy voice thrills forth, and seems to say:
"Wake up! O sadden'd mortal, wake!
Shake off that anxious, careworn frown,
Thy hopes renew, fresh courage take,
Nor let your troubles weigh you down.
"See, I am happy all alone,
And, kept behind the prison bars,
I sing, and shouldst thou ever moan?
--A mortal free, beneath the stars.
"I fly around my narrow cage,
I sing the song that gladdens you,
But carking care thy thoughts engage,
While walking free, 'neath heaven's blue.
"My heart might faint, my spirit die,
Far from my kind, and from my home,
But cheerfully I sing and fly,
Beneath my narrow prison's dome.
"Oh, list, sad mortal to my song,
And, while thou hearest, mark it well,
And go thy cheerful way along,
Nor pray to know, what none can tell.
"I'll sing my song each day for thee,
And live the moments as they fly,
With gladden'd heart, with sounding glee,
And thou shouldst do the same as I."
* * * * *
TO A LITTLE GIRL.
E ach wish, my fairest child, I pen,
F or thee I write with earnest heart;
F or who shall say, that ere, again,
I shall behold thee; when we part
E 'en now the time is near, I start.
H ere are my wishes, then, sweet child,
A long life's pathway may thou go,
R ob'd white, as now, in virtue mild,
R etaining pure, thy virtue's snow.
I wish thee this, and wish thee more,--
S o long as thou on earth hath life,
O h! may thy heart be never sore,
N or vex'd with anxious care or strife!
TO A YOUNG LADY.
Short is the time, my friend, since I
First heard thy voice, first saw thy face,
And yet, the days in gliding by,
Have left within my mind a trace--
A friendly trace of thee and thine,
Which I am sure will long remain
Within my heart, to cheer and shine
With other joys, to lessen pain.
It is my hope, also, that thou
May, in thy heart, and on thy tongue,
Have thoughts and words for him, who now
Is yours so friendly, T. F. Young.
While poets sing in lofty strain,
And ask where Rome and Carthage are,
This humble village on the plain,
To many hearts is dearer far.
Then to these hearts I'll sing my lay,
With humble Kelvin for my theme;
My song shall be of life to-day,
And not a retrospective dream.
Of "Kelvin's Grove," some love-lorn swain
Sang sweetly, many years ago,
And I shall sound the name again,
Although I may not sound it so.
Of Kelvin's bonnie lasses, I
Can sing, tho' not so well as he,
And Kelvin's groves, in passing by,
I can repeat, have charms for me.
And Kelvin's stream, where fishes glide,
And timid fowl their plumage lave,
Where drooping willows by its side,
Their graceful branches gently wave.
Here happiness and plenty reign,
And e'en refinement, too, is seen.
For music sends its cheering strain,
Where flowers grow within the green.
Here virtuous dames with busy hand,
Untiring do what should be done,
And sons and fathers till the land,
And to each manly duty run.
The winsome maids with willing hearts,
In youthful beauty all aglow,
Right cheerfully perform their parts
Where duty's voice may bid them go.
Oh, may their graceful figures long
Their youthful energy retain,
And may they meet no heartless wrong,
To fill their gentle souls with pain.
As yet there is no village bell,
Save that which rings the call to school,
Where festive youth drink at the well
Which flows from knowledge' sparkling pool.
And yet, whene'er the Sabbath comes,
Or week night held for praise and prayer,
No need for signal bells and drums,
Each knows the time, and he is there.
There is the daughter, there the son,
To kneel in humble prayer to God,
And those whose race is well-nigh run,
Who humbly kiss the chast'ning rod.
Oh, blest content, and lowly life
That blunts Ambition's biting sting
Unknown to thee the bitter strife,
Which proud refinements often bring.
* * * * *
IS THERE ROOM FOR THE POET?
Is there room for the poet, fair Canada's sons.
To live his strange life, and to warble his songs,
To follow each current of thought as it runs,
And to sing of your victories, glories and wrongs?
Is there room for the poet, ye senators grave?
Ye orators, statesmen and law-makers, say;
May he of the calling so gentle e'er crave
Your patronage, and of your kindness a ray?
Ye toilers in cities, ye workers in fields,
Who handle the hammer, the pen or the plow,
Can the poet implicitly trust, as he yields
His heart, and his hopes, and his name to you now?
Wilt thou pardon his follies, forgive him his faults
In manners, in habits, in distance and time?
For when on his charger, Pegasus, he vaults,
He rises o'er reason's safe, temperate clime.
He will sing of his country, his people and thine,
Exalt, if you aid him, your honor and fame.
Your sympathy, acting like purest of wine,
Will urge him to joyously sing of your name.
His case is peculiar, stern fate has been hard,
His body unfitted for labours of men,
His mind, with the sensitive make of the bard,
Unfitted for aught, but the work of the pen.
He singeth, but yet he must live, as he sings;
He hath wants of the earth, that must be supplied;
And tho' 'tis an off'ring most humble he brings,
He hopes that your favors will not be denied.
Our country is young, let us early instil
Deep into the minds of the youthful and fair,
The greatness of virtue, uprightness and will,
And the poet will help you to 'stablish them there.
Be it his to proclaim, e'en tho' rudely, in measure,
The rights of his country, her honour, renown;
To sing of whatever his people may treasure,
In court or in camp, in the country or town.
* * * * *
MAN AND HIS PLEASURES.
'Tis not with glad fruition crown'd,
We always feel our greatest joy;
For pleasure often dwells around
The heart that hopes, and knows no cloy.
We wait, we watch, we think, we plan
To catch the pleasure ere it flies,
But when 'tis caught, for which we ran,
It often droops, perchance, it dies.
In truth the non-possession oft'
Creates the chief, the only charm,
Of that, which, once obtain'd, is scoff'd,
And oft' receiv'd with vex'd alarm.
The mind of man is strange and deep,
Deceiving others and himself;
Its wiles would make an angel weep,
In strife for praise, for power and pelf.
Strange mixture of the good and ill,
He strives continually to bend
Those qualities, with wondrous skill,
To meet in one, which never blend.
* * * * *
DAVID'S LAMENTATION OVER SAUL AND JONATHAN.
The beauty of Israel is slain on thy mountains,
The mighty are low, and how great is their fall,
But tell not our grief in Gath, by the fountains,
And publish it not within Askelon's wall,
Lest the Philistines' daughters shall mock at our
And triumph in gladness o'er us in our pain,
And sound all their timbrels and harps on the morrow,
While here we are sore, in lamenting our slain.
Oh! Gilboa's mountains, from now and forever,
Let moisture, which falleth as rain, or as dew,
Come down on thy parch'd, burning summits, oh, never,
For the shield of the mighty is cast upon you.
From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the
The bow of fair Jonathan never did quail,
And the sword of his father, in danger the highest,
Went forth to brave deeds, like the sweep of the gale.
O Saul thou anointed! and Jonathan, brother!
In life ye were pleasant and lovely to see;
And still in your death ye are lovely together,
Tho' great is my grief, and my sorrow, for thee.
Ye were swifter than eagles, ye heaven anointed,
And stronger than lions, thou glorious pair,
Bur sad was the day, that Jehovah appointed,
To humble your strength, and your bravery, there.
Oh, weep o'er the fallen, fair Israel's daughters!
He cloth'd you in scarlet, and deck'd you with gold,
Then shed ye your tears, until their sad waters
Shall moisten the tomb, where now he is cold;
I'm sad for thee, Jonathan, more than my brother,
So kindly and gentle, so faithful and free,
I lov'd thee, as never I shall love another,
And thou hadst a wonderful love unto me.
The mighty have fallen, their weapons have perish'd!
And, slain in high places, so low lies the brave;
No more I shall gaze on the face that I cherish'd.
* * * * *
THE DIAMOND AND THE PEBBLE.
Why value ye the diamond, and
The pearl from Ceylon's balmy shore,
When stones unnumber'd strew the land,
And in the sea are millions more?
Why treasure ye each silver bar,
And watch, with Argus eye, your gold,
When lead and iron, near and far,
Are strewn beneath the rocks and mould.
Ye prize those shining gems, because
Their sparkling beauty cheers the eye,
And, by the force of nature's laws,
They never in profusion lie.
Could we, Aladdin like, descend
Into a place where diamonds grow,
Our minds would then most surely tend
To value diamonds very low.
The emerald's or diamond's shine,
Is valued not for that alone,
But for its absence in the mine,
Where thousands lie, of common stone.
And thus, within the world of thought,
The pebble and the lead abound,
But real pearls are seldom brought,
And gold or silver rarely found.
We all have thoughts, we speak them, too,
The world is fill'd with words of men,
But still is priz'd the precious hue,
Of golden thoughts from tongue or pen;
And he who digs and brings to light
A lovely thought, a pearly gem,
'Twill surely shine with lustre bright,
For men, to cheer and better them.
* * * * *
The greatest glory consists, not in never falling, but
in getting up every time you fall.--CONFUCIUS.
The raging force of passion's storm,
Say who can check at will.
Or cope with sin, in ev'ry form,
With ever conquering skill?
How oft we've tried, and hop'd and pray'd
To conquer in the right;
But still, how oft our hearts, dismay'd,
Have fail'd amid the fight.
But still we fought the wrong we loath'd,
And though we fought in vain,
Our wills in fleshly weakness cloth'd,
Would try the fight again.
And He, I apprehend, who sees,
And knows our struggles here.
Will lead us onward, by degrees,
To triumph, though we fear.
And even tho' we're never quit
Of these sharp earthly thorns,
In black despair we'll never sit,
Till danger's signal warns.
We'll gird ourselves anew, to fight
Our fell, determin'd foe,
And with experience's light,
Each time more skilful grow.
* * * * *
Of all the poison plants that grow,
And flourish in the human breast,
No other plant, perhaps, hath so
Deep clench'd a root, or peaceful rest.
No other plant has such a fruit,
At once so sweet, and deadly too,
As that which loads each branch and shoot,
And falls for me to eat, and you.
Fell jealousy, the monster wild,
Whose green eyes roll in frenzy round,
His ravages are small, and mild,
To thine, and narrow'r far his ground.
His pow'r is felt around his home,
But who can gauge the sway of thine,
Which reaches high to heaven's dome,
And acts within the darksome mine?
Thy poison drops distil each hour,
To blight, to ruin and destroy,
And find with dark, insidious pow'r,
The heart of woman, man and boy.
What antidote can neutralize
Thy baneful force, thy potent spell?
For deepest danger ever lies
Within this poison draught of hell.
And men will drink with eager lip,
The cup thou holdest forth to them,
Not knowing that the draught they sip
May their, and other souls, condemn.
* * * * *
I've had my share of bright employ,
My share of pain and blame,
But thro' it all, I've thought, with joy,
Of tender woman's name.
Her healing tones have often brought
New gladness to my soul;
Her breath hath rent the darken'd clouds,
That often o'er it roll.
Her voice hath often cheer'd my heart,
In sickness and in pain,
And help'd me bear the surgeon's knife,
Or fever's fervid reign.
But, oh, that voice can change its tone,
That tender feeling die,
Those gentle, loving tones become
A terrorizing cry.
In kindly sound, a woman's voice
Is happiness alone;
And may it ever be my lot
To hear its tender tone.
But let me never know the thoughts
Of vengeful woman's heart,
Or hear the voice that breathes them forth,
With cold and cruel dart.
O woman, thou hast mighty pow'r
Among the sons of men,
For thou canst make deep, rankling wounds,
And heal them up again.
Oh, let thy angel nature shine,
And may we all refrain
To wake the tiger in thy breast,
Bound by a slender chain.
* * * * *
'Mid forces all, that work unseen,
And cheer or warm the human breast,
Thou, Sympathy, hath ever been,
In active power, amid the rest:
When raging hate, or heedless love,
Aspir'd to rule and reign alone,
Thou still did keep thy place above,
And rul'd serenely, from thy throne.
Thou ever dost assert thy right,
And walkest on thy gentle way,
To rule with mild, persuasive might,
But with a strong, unconscious sway,
What pow'r thou hast o'er human hearts
We daily feel, we daily see;
For men and women act their parts,
Encourag'd and upheld by thee.
For, in an unseen current runs,
From heart to heart, from soul to soul,
Thy force, like heat from genial suns,
To permeate and warm the whole.
Not always, tho', to warm and cheer.
At times thy influence is chill,
And checks the noble rage of thought,
As ice can check a flowing rill.
One cutting word of ours can wilt,
Or blast the young heart's fairest flow'r,
And tumble down air castles built,
By this unseen affection's pow'r.
That man is brave, who acts his part,
'Mid comrades faithful, known and brave,
But braver far is he, whose heart
Upholds itself upon the wave.
For men have shrunk with coward fright,
At terrors which they ne'er might feel,
Had Sympathy's strange, magic might
Inspir'd their hearts to face the steel.
* * * * *
LOVE AND WINE.
'Tis wine that cheers the soul of man,
With subtle and seductive flow;
It warms the heart, as naught else can,
And banishes regret, and woe.
It keeps alive the flick'ring flame,
Which strives to burn with feeble force
Within the heart, so dull and tame,
But still of life, the present source.
It warms up this fount of life,
And sends life's fluid here and there;
And nerves and brain, in gladsome strife,
Forget their dull and dark despair.
And what is love, if 'tis not wine,
Refin'd, distill'd from grossness, tho',
More potent than the juice of vine,
And bringing greater joy, and woe?
Does it not, too, refresh, revive,
And oft intoxicate the brain,
And make the being all alive
With keenest joy, or keenest pain?
And does it not when much indulg'd,
Or held by slack and yielding hand,
Lead on to woes oft undivulg'd,
To crimes unknown, throughout the land?
Oh! blessed woman, fruitful vine,
Inspiring and enchanting twain,
I pray that neither love nor wine,
May o'er my will, resistless reign.
They tell us, that the safest way
To 'scape from wine or woman's thrall,
Is to go on from day to day,
And never drink, or love, at all.
I could give up the cheering wine,
And never taste the siren cup,
But oh, thou woman, nymph divine,
I can not, will not give thee up.
* * * * *
HOW NATURE'S BEAUTIES SHOULD BE VIEWED.
Should man, with microscopic eye,
View the details of Nature's plan,
Into each nook and corner pry,
And needlessly the hidden scan?
Should he inspect each bud and flow'r,
With close, unmeant, uncall'd-for look,
And, by his analytic pow'r,
Dissolve each charm of vale or brook?
Should he resolve the rainbow's hues,
Into their prime and simple forms,
And thus the charm dispel, unloose,
Which gladdens us, amid the storms?
Should he, with keen, inquiring look,
Insist on knowing, seeing all,
Which nature made a sealed book
On this, our strange, terrestrial ball,
'Tis hard to draw the line, indeed,
When we should pry, and when refrain,
But science surely has its need
Of knowledge gain'd, and also pain.
The blooming flow'r, the flutt'ring leaf,
Have surely charms we all can tell,
And analysing brings to grief,
The charms we felt, and knew so well.
Th' untutor'd savage, roaming wild,
Could view the rainbow in the sky,
And, tho' in science but a child,
He saw with gladden'd heart, and eye.
And so, I apprehend, that we
Should oft restrain our thoughts and sight,
Nor delve too far, nor try to see,
With deeper, but more painful light.
* * * * *
Niagara, thou mighty flood.
I've seen thee fall, I've heard thee roar,
And on the frightful verges stood,
That overhang thy rocky shore.
I've sailed o'er surging waves below,
And view'd the rainbow's colour'd light,
And felt the spray, thy waters throw,
When leaping, with resistless might.
I've seen the rapids in their course,
Like madden'd, living things rush on,
With wild, unhesitating force,
To where thy mighty chasms yawn.
And there to take the awful leap,
And fall, with hoarse and sullen roar,
Into th' unfathomable deep,
Which rolleth on, from shore to shore.
Niagara, thou'rt mighty, grand,
Thou fill'st human souls with awe,
For thee, and for that mighty Hand,
Which maketh thee, by nature's law.
Thou'rt great, thou mighty, foaming mass
Of water, plunging, roaring down,
But so are we, yea, we surpass
Thee, and we wear a nobler crown.
Thy mighty head is crowned with foam,
And rainbows wreathe thy robes of blue;
Our earthly forms--our present home--
Are insignificant to you.
But look, thou mighty thund'rer, thou,
Tho' puny be our forms to thine,
These forms possess, yea, even now,
A spark, a ray of life divine.
Rush on, O waters! proudly hurl
Thyself to roaring depths below,
And let the mists of ages curl,
And generations come and go.
But know, stupendous wonder, know,
Thy rocks would crumble, at the nod
Of Him, who lets thy waters flow;
Thy Maker, but our Friend and God.
Thy rocks _shall_ crumble, fall they must;
Thy waters, then, shall plunge no more,
But we shall rise, e'en from the dust,
To live upon another shore.
* * * * *
A SABBATH MORNING IN THE COUNTRY.
'Tis morning, and the meadows yet,
Are wet with gracious drops of dew.
Each blade of grass, and flow'r, is set
With sparkling gems of richest hue.
The sun, with rising glory, sheds
A radiance, that none divine,
Save those, who early leave their beds,
When glist'ning dew-drops briefly shine.
Just ere the rising sunbeams play,
From glorious orb, of rosy red,
There is no sound of life, no hum,
And but, seemingly, all things are dead.
But when the blessed, welcome beams,
Light up, and cheer, and warm the earth,
All things awaken from their dreams,
To celebrate Creation's birth.
The very fields are filled with life,
With hum of bee, and insect throng;
The woods are vocal, with the strife
Of friendly rivalry, in song.
But 'tis the Sabbath morn, and now
Are heard no sounds of industry,
Save milk-maid, calling to her cow,
Or buzzing of the toilsome bee.
Or save, perhaps, the gentle neigh
Of horses, answering the call,
For mother, father, child to-day
Must hear the holy words, that fall
From lips, that pray with them, and preach
To them, the old, old words of cheer.
They must receive the sounds, that teach
Those solemn truths, they love to hear.
But now, the sun's increasing heat
Hath dried the dew, and warm'd the air;
The feather'd songsters now retreat,
Fann'd by the sun's relentless glare.
The morning service now is o'er,
The pastor, kindly greeted too,
And, after greetings at the door,
They all their homeward way pursue.
* * * * *
JOHN AND JANE.
Said Jane to John, "Come, let us wed,
For know, dear John, I love you,
And, by the bright stars overhead,
There's none I place above you."
"I doubt it not," said John, "and I
Reciprocate the feeling,
And here, with one despairing cry,
I kneel, and love you, kneeling."
"Then why, dear John, do you despair,
If you do love so madly?"
"Because," said John, "my pocket there
Is slim, and furnish'd badly."
"Oh, that is naught," said Jane, with glee,
"I'd marry you to-morrow,
And live on bread, and water free,
Without one grain of sorrow."
"All right," said John, "I'm with you there,
Old Logan's charming daughter,
You'll get the bread, the work to share,
And I will get the water."
* * * * *
This earth's a mystery profound,
Its movements, make, and changes all--
A mystery which none can sound,
Who dwell upon the whirling ball.
And deeper far than all the rest,
Is man; a mystery unsolved
Since the first heave of ocean's breast,
Since the first course our earth revolv'd.
His thoughts, and e'en his actions too,
Possess a subtle meaning, when
That meaning others may construe,
As plain and open to their ken.
There is a place in every heart,
As secret as the silent tomb,
Where others have no lot nor part,
Where none may gaze, where none may room.
It seemeth strange, that flesh and blood
Should hold such ghostly, hellish things,
And also things supremely good,
Which might not shame an angel's wings.
Yet so it is, for ev'ry throb
That man's pulsating bosom gives,
And ev'ry smile, and ev'ry sob
Speaks of a mystery that lives.
There is a tale in ev'ry flow'r,
Which none may whisper, none may tell,
A secret thing in ev'ry bower,
Which ev'ry tenant hideth well.
There is a tale of joy and woe,
Round ev'ry hearth, in ev'ry land,
Which ne'er may ever further go,
Than round that humble, home-like band.
And shall we seek to draw the screen
Which hides the good, and eke the ill?
No, it is better far, I ween,
To let them keep in hiding still.
For unknown good is virtue still,
And virtue shows a richer bloom,
As violet, or daffodil,
When growing 'mid the grass or broom.
And he who hides within his heart
A secret sin, all unconfess'd
To God or man, no glossing art
"Can quiet the distracting guest."
* * * * *
THE PINE TREE.
The wind last night was wild and strong,
It shriek'd, it whistl'd and it roar'd,
And went with whirl and swoop along,
'Mid falling trees and crashing board.
The timbers creak'd, the rafters sway'd,
And e'en some roofs, upheav'd and torn,
Came crashing to the earth, and laid
Before the view, upon the morn.
The air seem'd like some monstrous thing,
By its uncurbed passion held;
Like dreadful dragon on the wing,
So horribly it scream'd and yell'd.
Now venting a triumphant shout,
And ever and anon a groan,
Like fiend from prison lately out,
Or like unhappy chain'd one's moan.
There was a lofty pine I knew;
Each morn and eve I passed it by;
To such a lofty height it grew,
It caught at once each passing eye.
It stood alone, and proudly stood,
With straight, and clean, and lofty stem;
All other trees it seemed to view,
As though it scorn'd to live with them.
Full many a winter's snow had whirl'd
About its base, and settl'd there,
And many an autumn mist had curl'd
About its head, so high in air.
Full many a blast had spent, in vain,
Its force, for, ever like a rock,
It stood each persevering strain,
And long defied the tempest's shock.
But yesternight it crashing fell,
And now, this morn, I see it lie.
I knew the brave old tree so well,
A tear almost bedims my eye.
But brave old trees, like brave old men,
Must feel at last the fatal stroke,
That dashest them to earth again,
Tho' lofty pine, or mighty oak.
I'll miss, old tree, thy lofty stem
Outlin'd against the distant sky,
But 'tis no gain to fret for them--
For men, or trees, that fall and die.
* * * * *
The grass is wet with heavy dew,
The leaves have changed their bright green hue,
To brighter red, or golden;
The morning sun shines with a glow,
As bright and pure as long ago,
In time ye left the olden.
One tree is cloth'd with scarlet dress,
And one, with brown leaf'd loveliness,
Delights the eye that gazes;
While others varied tints display,
But all, in beauteous array,
Delight us, and amaze us.
We see the trees in beauty clad,
But still that beauty makes us sad,
E'en while we may admire,
For death has caus'd that sudden bloom
Stern death, the tenant of the tomb,
Or funereal pyre.
The ruthless, bitter, biting air
Hath dried the life which flourish'd there,
Throughout the warmer seasons;
The nourishment hath ceas'd to flow
Through veins, where once it us'd to go--
Hath ceas'd for diff'rent reasons.
And soon the leaves will strew the ground,
And whirl with rustling ardor round,
Or lie in heaps together,
Their hues of red, of brown, of gold,
Will blacken, as they change to mould
By action of the weather.
But leaves will grow where once they grew,
Will bud, and bloom, and perish too,
The same as all the others,
As we through youth, and joy, and grief,
Must find at last a sure relief,
As did our many brothers.
Like in the leaf, no life-blood flows,
When frosts of death the fountain close,
From which it flow'd, to nourish.
And like the leaf, another spring
Around us shall her gladness fling;
Another life shall flourish.
Our bodies turn to dust or mould.
As lifeless as the rocks, and cold,
But life's fair Tree is living.
And fadeless green leaves we shall be,
Because the Fountain of that Tree
Eternal life is giving.
* * * * *
Old father Time, his cruel scythe
Has swung full oft around,
Since last the merry Christmas, bells
Rang out their cheerful sound.
With cruel vigor he has held
His great, impartial sway,
And many thousands mown to earth,
Who saw last Christmas day.
For some have left this world for aye,
Who dwelt with us last year;
Glad voices heard amongst us then,
We never more shall hear.
But still we'll build our Christmas fires,
And sing our Christmas songs,
And for one day forget our griefs,
Our failures and our wrongs.
Then ring, ye joyful bells, ring out;
Ye crashing cymbals fall;
And for old Christmas, hale and stout,
Sound up, ye harps and all.
Let music's loud and sweetest strain
Beat from our hearts each ill;
Let thoughts of those assuage our pain,
Who are around us still.
Oh, winsome maid, oh, hearty youth,
I urge you on to glee,
For, in your innocence and truth,
You all are dear to me.
Nor youth, nor age should cherish gloom,
And voices oft should sing,
So give the gladsome voices room,
And let the joy-bells ring.
* * * * *
Come now, my Muse, do thou inspire my pen,
To sing, with worthy strain, my country's praise,
But not to hide the faults within my ken,
By tricks of art, or studied, verbal maze,
To play on him who reads with careless gaze,
To whom each thought upon a printed page.
Is gospel truth, nor e'er with wile betrays;
From this, oh, steer me clear, nor let the rage
Of prejudic'd and narrow minds, my thoughts engage.
Oh, Canada! the land where first I saw
The blue of heav'n, and bursting light of day,
Where breezes warm and mild, and breezes raw,
First o'er my boyhood's eager face did play,
As o'er the hills I stepp'd my joyful way.
Held by a loving hand, I went along
Thro' shelter'd wood, or by some shaded bay,
And ever, as I went, I sang a song,
With sylvan joy, amid a sylvan throng.
For birds and bees, and e'en the flowers, did sing
Their cheerful songs, with voices pure and sweet;
Their notes were silent, yet those notes did bring
A soothing balm, amid a calm retreat.
Protected from the sun's relentless heat.
Oh, wearied men, could ye but once divine
The healing pow'r of some lone country seat,
You would not strive to drown your care in wine,
Or vainly seek relief, in any lustful line.
But this is not a moralizing lay,
Of Canada I sing, and her alone,
Her varied progress, every passing day,
Her faults, for which, in time, she must atone,
By nature's law, in every clime and zone,
Then what are the peculiar, common claims,
Our country has with nations larger grown,
And the superior things she classes as her own.
First let us take her climate; who will not
Say she is favour'd there o'er other lands?
The winter's cold, indeed, and summer's hot,
But in a robust health the native stands,
So keen to work with brain, or use his hands.
Where, let me ask, between the distant poles
Is there a clime so mod'rate in demands,
Where men are not compell'd to live like moles,
Nor drop with heat on burning, barren, sandy knolls.
A hardy, energetic, toilsome race,
Is raised within this favourable clime,
In physical and mental power apace
With those of any land, and any time,
Save in the golden age, that age of thought sublime;
But, what I mean is this: that her own men
Do act their parts, they reason or they rhyme
Within their bounds, with keen, far-reaching ken,
For those who late have left the axe to wield the pen.
Yes, left the axe, whose skilful, cleaving stroke
Hew'd out a home from 'mid the forest wild,
Where grew the maple and the lofty oak,
Where liv'd the dusky colour'd forest child,
So sternly fierce in war, in peace so mild;
Yes, here the settler met with Nature's force;
Quite unsubdued, she look'd around and smil'd,
And seem'd to view with scorn the white man's course
Of labour slow, but yet of wealth the only source.
But still the patient white man plodded on,
He swung his axe, and drove his horned team;
At times he felt despair, but soon 'twas gone,
And gladsome rays of hope would brightly gleam
To cheer his path, like light on darken'd stream.
Some saw their hopes fulfill'd, some sank to rest
Amid their toil, but, sinking, saw the beam
Of brighter days, to make their children blest.
And give a rich reward to ev'ry earnest guest.
These latter gaz'd on fertile fields, and saw,
The waving grain, where stood the forest tree,
Where prowl'd the bear; or wolf, with hungry maw,
Howl'd in the settlers' ears so dismally,
That children crouch'd near to their mother's knee.
They saw, instead of plain, bark-roof'd abode,
A mansion wide, the scene of youthful glee,
And happy Age, now resting on his road,
To pay the debt, his sinning kind so long hath ow'd.
The organ or piano sounds its tone,
Where late in darkness cried the whip-poor-will,
Or gloomy owl's to whoo! to whoo! alone,
Came from the glen, or darkly wooded hill,--
These sounds, untaught, and unimprov'd in skill.
All round, where'er they look, they see a change,
By rolling lake, by river, mount or rill;
Wherever feet may walk, or eyes may range,
There is a transformation pleasing, new and strange.
Schools, churches, built in costly, solid style,
Proclaim the fact that here a higher life
Is liv'd than that of seeking all the while
For wealth, and pow'r, amid ignoble strife,
Degrading unto husband, son or wife.
The scholar's light, and blest religion's smile
Ennobles, soothes and lends a joy to life--
A pow'r, which counteracts the trickster's wile
And blunts the edge of slander undeserv'd and vile.
From where the fierce Atlantic waters rage,
Unto the mild Pacific's fertile shore,
Small villages to cities rise and wage
A steady war; but not a war of gore--
A friendly rivalry exists, no more,
Save in the far North-West, where savage clan
Ungrateful rise, and make a serious sore,
Whose pains increas'd, as eastward far it ran,
And plac'd the British race beneath the Frenchman's ban.
But quickly, let us hope, the time may come,
When peacefully the British flag shall wave,
And when the rebels' terrorizing drum
Shall be as still as Kiel's rebel grave,
O'er the wide land, whose sides two oceans lave;
When demagogues of party shall retire,
Or curb their selfish zeal, their land to save
From factious feuds and savage rebel fire.
And all that tends to raise the patriot's scorn and ire.
From ocean unto ocean runs a band,
A double band of hard and gleaming steel;
It binds in one this fertile, mighty land,
In bonds which all should recognize and feel,
If anxious to promote their country's weal.
A bond which Nature's sympathetic law
Should fasten on our hearts with solid seal,
Which factious feuds should ne'er asunder draw,
Nor wily traitors cut, by selfish treason's saw.
The strange, stupendous, magic power of steam,
In works, is great as fam'd Aladdin's ring,
It carries men o'er miles of land and stream,
And maketh loom and forge, with labour sing,
And o'er the land, a busy air doth fling.
That fluid, too, that none can well define,
In active life hath wrought a wondrous thing.
It speeds our words with lightning flash or sign,
And maketh glorious light from midnight's darkness
Then to our country's future we may gaze
With gladden'd eyes, and hearts with hope aglow,
That our young country still its head will raise,
And stand 'mid nations, in the foremost row,
High honour'd there, and honour'd not for show--
For solid worth, and lasting pow'r and fame
Will be her portion, if her footsteps go
In duty's path, and if the ruddy flame
Of honor shines within, and keeps away all shame.
* * * * *
The morning of a gladsome day in spring
Had scarce its freshness brought to weary men,
When, o'er the meadows wet, a boy did sing,
And whistled o'er a tune, and carroll'd-it, again,
In youthful happiness unconscious then
Of aught which time might bring, of pain or woe,
But careless, pitching stones in bog or fen,
It seem'd as if he buried there, also,
All worldly cares, so blithely did he onward go.
And yet he was no careless, heedless boy,
Who thought but of the present time alone.
Of future years he thought, but with such joy,
His thoughts but pleasure gave, nor caused a groan
From out the breast that claim'd them as its own;
His thoughts were of the future, fair and bright,
And fresh from his unburden'd heart, alone,
Untarnish'd by the hard and glaring light,
By which he yet might see with such a diff'rent sight.
A picture of the blissful future, he
Had gaily painted in his youthful mind,
And thought no color there too bright to be
An image of his share from fortune kind,
Which she, in future years, would give so free,
To him, the lucky sailor on life's sea.
He thought of honor, happiness and fame,
As he went gaily o'er the dewy lea,
And to his mind no thought of failure came,
To win a prize of worth, in life's tremendous game.
He heard his parents, brothers, sisters, all,
With pride and fondness, speak his honor'd name,
And listen'd, while a nation's mighty call
Invited him to honor and to fame,
And crowds his praises shout, with loud acclaim;
He saw in wealthy town his mansion wide,
And in the country view'd his fields, the same,
Until, in rapture, he had almost cried,
"In happiness and wealth all others are outvied."
He saw a lovely maiden by his side,
Who soon with him his favor'd lot would share,
He saw her upward glance of joy and pride,
As to his eyes she rais'd her face so fair,
So proudly glad that he, her lord, was there.
And all unconscious of her own sweet grace,
But, confident in his protecting care,
She gave him first within her mind the place,
And raised him high above all others of his race.
And now, how joyful rings the marriage bell,
Upon the brightest morn in his career.
He proudly hears the mighty organ swell,
While orange buds, and bridal robes, appear,
And people stop, the merry notes to hear.
And now the organ peals its parting strain,
And, issuing forth, they hear a stirring cheer,
While, crowds surround the stately marriage train,
To cheer him and his bride, and cheer them once again.
These are the thoughts that fill his boyish mind,
And agitate and fire his youthful breast,
Oh, why should fortune oft' be so unkind,
And real life appear in sombre colors drest,
And dash to earth bright hopes, and give so much unrest?
Oh, why should boyish hopes, and maiden's dreams
Fail, sadly fail, to stand the crucial test?
Say, why should all the brightness of man's schemes
Full often fade away, like earth's forgotten themes?
Why do you ask, O sad inquirer? How
Can things like that be known to mortal ken?
Suffice it, that it suits the mortal Now,
And leads our thoughts to the eternal Then,
When darkness shall be light, to ransom'd men,
When dreams of bliss, with glad fruition crown'd,
And happiness, untold by prophet's pen,
Shall fill the hearts of those who sought and found
That peace, which lighted up, and cheer'd life's weary
* * * * *
Fair Happiness, I've courted thee,
And used each cunning art and wile,
Which lovers use with maidens coy,
To win one tender glance or smile.
Thou hast been coy as any maid,
So lofty, distant, stern and cold,
And guarded from a touch of mine,
As miser guards his precious gold.
To win a smile from thee, did seem
A painful, fruitless thing to try,
Thy scornful, thin and cruel lips,
No pity gave thy steely eye.
Thy countenance, so sternly set,
Did seem to say how vain to knock
At thy heart's door, for all within
Was hard, as adamantine rock.
Thus unto me thy visage seem'd,
But faces do not always tell
The feelings of the heart within,
Or thoughts that underneath them dwell.
For e'en at times, I saw thy face
Relax, and look with pity down,
On struggling, weary mortals here,
Without one scornful glance or frown.
At times I've seen thy steely eye,
Sheath'd with a look of tender love,
As if thou saw our mortal woes,
And fain would help, but dare not move.
As if some higher power than thine,
Directed all things here below,
And for some wise and happy end,
Let struggling mortals suffer woe.
Except at times, when from thy face,
A cheerful light is shed on men,
And when, withdrawn within thyself,
We, hopeful, watch for it again.
Such is the happiness of earth,--
A sudden light, a glancing beam,
Which cheers us in our lonely bark,
Upon times dark, relentless stream.
The stormy waves roll darkling on,
And with the current we must go,
Perchance to meet some cheerful beams
Of happiness, amid our woe.
But, if we guide our bark aright,
And guard the precious tenant there,
We soon shall reach a sea of light,
From this dark, troubl'd stream of care.
Then, may we never let the shade
Of bitter trouble and despair,
Hide from our eyes the happy gleams,
Which even we, at times, may share.
* * * * *
Thou source of bliss, thou cause of woe,
Disturber of the mind of man,
Wilt thou still calmly onward go,
A sightless leader of the van?
In court and camp wilt thou still rule,
And nation's destinies still sway;
Make wise men act as doth the fool,
And blindly follow thee, away?
Thou siren nymph, ethereal sprite,
Thou skilful charmer of mankind,
Oh, when wilt thou lead man aright,
And when will they thy cords unbind?
Thy potent spells have still their force,
And reason's dictates still are scorn'd,
And reason runs a shackl'd course,
While life, with love, is still adorn'd.
Thou fond inmate of maiden's breast,
Thou lighter up of manly heart;
Thou surely hast some high behest,
And we shall surely never part.
We'll never part, but oh, thou friend
And cheerer of life's dreary way.
May reason guide us to the end,
And may she ever with thee stay.
* * * * *
While love inspires, and friendship warms
All hearts, in ev'ry state,
High over thee, grim hatred storms,
As pitiless as fate.
Remorseless, unrelenting, hard,
It holds its stubborn way,
Which duty's claim cannot retard,
Nor righteous thoughts delay.
With steady look, it keeps its eye
Fixed firmly on its foe;
With panting zeal it hurries by,
To make its deadly throw.
In bosoms white it sits in state,
And often, faces fair
Conceal the rankling fire of hate,
Which looks may not declare.
It is not strange to church or state,
For oft beneath the gown
Of prelate grave, and judge sedate,
It sits with hideous frown.
Disturbing truth and righteous law,
It scorns the bitter tear,
And laughs at all we hold in awe,
And all that causes fear.
O God of love, and not of hate,
Look down where'er we be,
And snatch us, ere 'tis yet too late,
From hate's black, raging sea.
From rolling tides of vengeful thought,
Oh, lift us far above,
And may we thank Thee as we ought,
From pleasant seas of love.
* * * * *
Deep planted in the heart of man,
Wherever you may go,
Display hath fertile seeds, which sprout,
And daily larger grow.
As oftentimes, in happy soil,
A lofty tree may rise,
And 'neath its gloomy, blighting shade,
A sprout, fair, tender, dies.
One lovely sprout, yes, more than one
Droops, dies beneath the shade,
And, where might be a garden plot,
A tangl'd waste is made.
Ill favor'd weeds, and poison'd fruit,
In rank luxuriance reign,
And virtuous plants may strive to grow,
But strive to grow in vain.
Oh, man, why in thy foolish heart
Should one seed grow so well,
That naught but chaos there should reign,
'Mid poison plants of hell.
Oh, man, immortal in thy soul,
Thou dost possess a will,
Then why not prune these noxious sprouts,
With firm and steady skill.
If thou would'st make thy heart a plot,
Trimm'd, bright, and pure, and clean,
Oh, let no tree o'erpow'r the rest,
Or rank o'ergrowth be seen.
* * * * *
The blight of life, the demon, Thought--BYRON.
With demon's shriek or angel's voice,
'Mid hellish gloom, or heav'nly light,
Thought haunts our path o'er land and sea,
And dwells with us, by day and night.
In roomy hall, or narrow hut,
It withers, blasts and kills with gloom,
Or gently onward smooths the path
Of him, who gives the tyrant room.
With siren voice it soothes our woe;
It dwells with us in blissful dreams;
But when we wake, it tells us then,
That it is far from what it seems.
Rebellious o'er its prostrate slave,
Its iron chain of bondage swings,
Or, govern'd by a master hand,
In numbers loud and strong, it sings.
And, with its keys of rarest mould,
Its stores of hoarded wealth unlocks,
It dives for man beneath the sea,
And cleaves for him the hardest rocks.
Forever thus it lives and acts,
With angel host, or demon throng,--
To sing with voice of heav'nly love,
Or shout, with dismal, hellish song.
Thus shall it live, thus shall it act,
While ages shall their cycles roll;
It leaves us when we reach the grave
But oh? it rises with the soul.
And still it lives in that beyond,
As here it lives in this our sphere,
To light our road and cheer our path,
Or torture us with nameless fear.
* * * * *
Keep pure the thoughts within thy mind,
For they to actions turn,
Which succor want, or pity woe,
Or all but self they spurn.
Keep pure thy thoughts, for outward looks
Will then in beauty shine;
Although thy face be plain, 'twill be
A human face divine.
Keep pure thy thoughts by trust in God,
And, when in trouble's sea,
Look thou for strength to brave the storm,
Upon thy bended knee.
Then lift thy head with fearless front,
For come whatever may,
Thou'lt gather strength to brave it well,
Thro' ev'ry passing day.
Keep pure thy heart, oh, keep it pure,
And thou wilt bless the hour,
When thou withstood temptation's siege,
And bridl'd passion's pow'r.
* * * * *
Farewell! and know, where'er I roam,
My heart still turns to thee,
From spacious halls, or trackless woods,
Or on the foaming sea.
Farewell, my friend! oh, could I say,
My love, my own, to you,
My outlook on this dreary world
Would have a brighter hue.
But duty calls, and I must go,
E'en now, with outstretch'd hand,
I take a sad, sad leave of thee,
To dwell in distant land.
For thy sweet sake I'll onward toil,
In earnest, patient strife.
Content, if thou shalt know I live
An earnest, useful life.
And if, in future years thou'rt free,
And none has gain'd thy heart,
Oh, darling, wilt thou come to me,
And we shall never part.
My shatter'd life will then be sweet,
My spirit shall rejoice,
And weariness forsake my frame,
At thy dear, loving voice.
Farewell! farewell! and oh, the words
Dwell on my falt'ring tongue;
Oh, sad, despairing accents now,
That from my lips are wrung.
O, God, look down in gracious love,
And, for my pray'rs and tears,
Oh! guide and bless that gentle maid,
Through all the coming years.
And, if on earth we meet no more,
Grant, in thy boundless love,
That I till death may faithful be,
And meet with her above.
* * * * *
Thou green isle of sorrows, I think of thee daily,
And sad are the thoughts that come into my brain,
When here, to my home, o'er the wide, rolling ocean,
Is wafted the news of thy trouble and pain.
Oh, Erin! I love thee in spite of thine errors,
And now for thee, Erin, my heart is forlorn,
Disturb'd as thou art by such various terrors,
Thou beautiful isle, where my kindred were born.
E'en now, in my thoughts, I can climb thy steep
Or roam through thy valleys, where green shamrocks
Or over thy meadows, where hedges of hawthorn
Stand gracefully clipp'd, an impassable row.
And I see the thatch'd cottage, where often, the
With kind word of welcome, is met at the door;
The castle or tow'r, a shelter from danger,
When foemen invaded thy sea-beaten shore.
Oh, Erin, I roam, in my thoughts, by thy rivers,
I stand by thy lakes, in delight at the view,
And ever I pray for the time, that delivers
This nation from strife, and from misery, too.
From Shannon's green banks unto Erne's limpid waters,
I've travell'd in thought, while this was my pray'r:
That sons of Fermanagh, and Limerick's daughters.
Should join in a union of loyalty, there.
For what loyal maid, from the banks of the Shannon,
Or what Irish lad, from the slopes of the Bann,
Would not dread the day, when the boom of the cannon
Should speak of destruction and death, from the van?
And what loyal son of old Ireland's glory,
From Cork's cove of beauty, to Foyle's distant shore,
Would not mourn the day, when, cold, lifeless and gory,
Brave forms downfallen, should rise never more?
And who would not hail, throughout Erin's dominion,
The time when Religion's bright form should arise,
And sail o'er the land; with her blest, healing pinion,
And bring to all hearts the truth in one guise?
And then, in his home, afar o'er the ocean,
Or by the turf fire, upon Erin's old sod,
Each Irishman, kneeling in humble devotion,
Would love all his brothers, while praying to God.
Oh Erin, mavourneen! Let Love's joyous fingers
Strike out from your harps, one glad, resonant strain,
And, if one discordant, harsh, jarring note lingers,
Oh, strike for your country, together again!
And then, when your hands and your hearts are united,
When you kneel at one shrine, when you bow to one law.
With a sea of glad brightness, your isle shall be
While thunders the chorus, of Erin-go-bragh.
* * * * *
BY THE LAKE.
The waves are dashing on the shore,
With wild, glad joy, I stand and view them;
And, as they break with sullen roar,
My heart responds with gladness, to them.
They've pow'r to thrill the human soul,
As on the shore they break so madly,
The spirit, bounding, hears their roll,
And speaks responsive, wildly, gladly.
The heart, with proud, defiant beats,
Re-echoes the triumphant roar,
And, as each wave its course retreats,
The pulse retires to beat once more.
The gull screams wildly o'er the waves,
Defiant in its stormy glee;
It screams, perchance, o'er wat'ry graves
And recks not, heeds not, nor do we.
But comes a time, when waves and wind,
In restful quietude remain,
A change then comes upon the mind,
And stormy passion's recent reign.
The gull sails softly thro' the air,
For all is calm and still below;
Peace, blessed peace is ev'rywhere,
And all regret the recent throe.
The man, remorseful, thinks of how
Defiant thoughts reign'd wild and high,
The waves are mourning, sobbing now,
In peace, but yet in agony.
* * * * *
Misguided man, thy turbid life
This day in shameful death shall close,
And thou shalt ne'er behold the sun,
That in thy sight, this morn, arose.
The moon, which yestere'en so clear,
Shone thro' thy cell's small window pane--
No more shalt thou behold its light,
Or see its chasten'd rays, again.
No more thy voice, 'mong savage hordes,
Shall sound, with baneful, potent spell,
To make them rise with savage force,
And 'gainst their country's laws, rebel.
And thou art calm in trustful hope,
And conscience gives thee little pain,
'Tis strange, but man's a myst'ry deep,
Unsolv'd in finite thought's domain.
The scaffold's there, and thou art firm;
Thou walkest forth upon it now;
The thoughts within thy breast are hid,
But calm and peaceful is thy brow.
The man of God, thy faithful friend
Of brighter days, and happier years,
Upon thy cheek, with holy lips,
A kiss imprints, 'mid blinding tears.
The priest and thou art praying now,
For thy poor soul, before 'tis gone,
When suddenly, with crashing force,
The door descends--the bolt is drawn.
And what can be the pray'r of those,
Who learn'd with awe thy dreadful death?
It is that thou God's mercy found,
Before thou yielded up thy breath.
It is that thou that mercy found,
Which thou to others never gave;
That thy rebellious, restless soul,
A pardon found, beyond the grave.
Man's justice had to take its course,
And tie the fatal hempen knot,
For vengeance cried from out the ground,
Where lay the blood of murder'd Scott.
But who shall say e'en such a cry
Did drown the voice of pard'ning love,
Which comes to sins of deepest dye,
From Him who died, but reigns above?
* * * * *
LINES ON THE NORTH-WEST REBELLION.
The war is o'er, and vict'ry crowns
Our youthful soldiers brave,
And back their homeward steps have turn'd,
Save those who found their grave;
Save those whom rebel bullets fell'd,
Whose martial souls have gone,
Whose bodies rest beneath the plains
Of wide Saskatchewan.
Sleep on, brave hearts! Nor bugle sound,
Nor beat of martial drum
Shall make you spring to arms again,
And to your comrades come.
Sleep on, brave hearts! Nor western storm,
Nor rebel balls you'll feel;
You fought the last campaign of life,
And fought it well, with Riel.
And others wounded in the strife,
Their valor still will burn,
And to the bloody field again,
Their spirits brave return;
Tho' maim'd, and bruis'd, and battle worn,
Their names are honor'd here,
Next to the names of those who fought,
And found a bloody bier.
Oh, British troops are brave,
To charge the foreign guns,
And British spirit shows itself
In our young country's sons.
Long, long may truth and valor strong,
Inspire Canadian hearts,
To meet with steady bravery,
All rebel balls and darts;
To meet all foreign foes, or quell
The sinful rebel's pride,
And teach that right must yet prevail,
That justice must preside;
That law must ne'er be set at naught,
By selfish cliques or elans,
That right must ne'er give way to might,
That liberty is man's.
* * * * *
Say, sadden'd mortal, thou who goest along
With look so weary, and with step so slow,
Why trillest thou no blithe and cheerful song,
Why whistlest thou that tune, so sad and low?
What trouble weighs thee down, what sorrow sore
Lies heavy on thy yet so youthful breast?
Sure fortune yet holds wide for thee her door;
Sure fame and joy yet wait thy earnest quest.
Why, know'st thou not the birds for thee do sing,
The flow'rs for thee with perfum'd beauty grow,
With melody for thee the wild birds sing,
With rippling laugh, the cheerful streamlets flow?
Then why, my friend, once more I ask of thee,
Why shows thy face so much unrest and pain?
What painful phase of life dost thou still see?
What sad, sad woe, doth in thy heart remain?
Bright flash'd the teacher's languid eye,
Flushed his pale cheek, with bright, tho' fleeting
Leap'd forth his voice with energetic cry,
And thus, to me express'd, his thoughts they came.
"Inquirer, cease, thy words stir up the fire,
That erst did fill my live and vig'rous brain;
Thy words stir up the seeds of healthy ire,
That still, with latent pow'r and force, remain.
"'Tis strange, thou think'st, that darkly on my brow
The shadow of a careworn spirit stays;
My youth, with springless step, doth make thee bow
Thy head, in kindly wonder, and amaze.
"Thou would'st not look with such a puzzl'd air,
Upon my weary pace, and heavy eye,
If thou didst know the cause of my despair,
The stem, substantial, solid reason why.
"Didst ever know, my friend, what I endure,
In slavish, plodding work, from day to day,
Which work should be in its own nature pure,
And lifted high, from gross and heavy clay.
"Examinations, cram and pressure high,
Are daily kept before my anxious mind;
What tho' for higher aims I daily sigh,
This is my work, and this my daily grind.
"I work, you say, on minds, and hearts, and souls,
Alas, 'tis true, but what can e'er atone
For dry, mechanic thought, and lifeless coals,
Which light not up, but turn the intellect to stone?
"Work on! ye faithful, grinding and hair-splitting band,
Work on, in slavish fear, and penitential pain,
But daily pray, that thro' this young and prosp'rous
A system, higher, purer, freer, yet shall reign.
"Yours shall not be the blame, the people must it bear,
For, while they look for quick results, for hot-bed
Amongst them, they the various ills must surely share,
Of hasty fev'rish work, compell'd by outside pow'rs."
Thus spoke the man, and closed his lips became,
The fire forsook his lately flashing eye,
His nerves relax'd, and o'er his brow, the same
Dark cloud of bitter woe, could I descry.
* * * * *
When wooded hill, and grassy plain,
With nature's beauties, gaily dress'd,
Lay calm beneath the red man's reign,
And smiling, in unconscious rest,
Then roam'd the forest's dusky son,
In nature's wildness, proudly free,
From where Missouri's waters run,
Far north, to Hudson's icy sea.
From Labrador, bleak, lonely, wild,