Part 2 out of 3
Where seal, 'mid icebergs, sportive play,
Far westward wander'd nature's child,
And wigwam built, near Georgia's Bay.
With bow of elm, or hick'ry strong,
And arrow arm'd with flinty head,
He drew with practis'd hand the thong,
And quick and straight, the shaft it sped.
Full many a bounding deer or doe,
Lay victims of his hand and eye,
And many a shaggy buffalo,
In lifeless bulk did lowly lie.
The forest did his wants supply,
Content he was with nature's scheme;
For, fail'd the woods to satisfy,
There came response from lake or stream.
His simple shell of birchen rind,
Propell'd by skilful hands, and strong,
Down cataracts and rivers pass'd,
And over lakes, it went along.
With spears, from stone or iv'ry, wrought,
Or hooks, ingenious made of bone,
He stores from out the waters brought,
Nor look'd for forest gifts, alone.
Contentment dwelt within his heart,
And, from his dark and piercing eye
His freedom showed, unbred of art,
His honor look'd unconsciously.
Untaught by books, untrain'd by men,
Vers'd in the thoughts of bard or sage,
He yet had read from nature's hand,
A book unwrit, yet wise its page.
One would have thought a man so bless'd
And richly, too, with manly pow'rs,
Had surely some far higher quest,
Than living thus, in nature's bow'rs.
One would have thought, that when he knew
The laws of God, and cultur'd men,
His mind would take a nobler view,
And light pursue, with eager ken.
But such is not his happy state,
Since light of knowledge round him shone;
He still stands sadly at the gate,
And few still go, where few have gone.
And whose the fault, and whose the blame,
That thus his mind is still so dim,
That wisdom's lamp, with shining flame.
Still gives so pale a light, for him.
Oh, thinking white man, look around,
And, when you have discern'd the cause,
Express yourself with certain sound,
Concerning this poor forest child,
Who left his father's hunting ground.
* * * * *
TO NOVA SCOTIA.
OH brothers, friends, down by the sea,
We can thy voices hear,
And painful is their tone, and free,
Upon each brother's ear.
We hear each voice, pitch'd strong and high,
And, could we see you now,
Our hearts would heave another sigh,
At each beclouded brow.
We hear thy voice, from day to day,
In one long, doleful strain,
Oh tell us why, oh brethren say
Why sounds that voice of pain.
Are we not one, in race and creed,
Rul'd by one gracious queen?
And we have all receiv'd our meed
Of praise and pelf, I ween.
Why vex her now, who's rul'd so long
Upon her virtuous throne?
Why sing her such a doleful song,
And send her such a groan?
And why annoy that whiten'd head,
Our land's adopted son,
Who wisely drew love's slender thread,
And wedded us in one.
And firmer yet he wish'd to bind
Us to our country's weal,
And see, plann'd by his master mind,
One band of glitt'ring steel,
One shining track, which stretches far,
From wild Columbia's shore,
To where those doleful voices are,
And the Atlantic's roar.
Oh brethren, friends down by the sea,
With us your voices raise,
Instead of groans, oh, shout with glee,
With us, one shout of praise.
And trust him, brethren, trust us, too,
Seek not from us to go;
Our country's good is weal for you,
And common, all our woe.
* * * * *
A SNOW STORM.
I hear the wintry wind again,
I see the blinding snow,
Pil'd high, by eddying winds, in heaps,
No matter where I go.
The storm is raging hard, without;
But let us not complain,
For fiercely tho' it rages now,
A calm will come again.
And, though the wildly raging storm
Makes all things bleak and bare,
Beside the fire we brave it well,
And closer draw our chair.
In social fellowship, our hearts
With kindly thoughts grow warm;
Then is there not a pleasant side,
E'en to a raging storm?
And when the angry storm has calm'd,
As ev'ry storm must do,
Then, sure, the tempest's handiwork,
Has pleasant features, too.
An artist's eye would look around,
Upon these calmer days,
And view the pure white heaps of snow,
With pleas'd and puzzl'd gaze.
Like purest marble, deftly carv'd,
They stretch o'er vale and hill,
Fair monuments, not made by man,
But rear'd by nature's skill.
The sweeping curve, the graceful arch,
The line so firm and free;
A skilful sculptor well might say:
"Can this teach aught to me?"
The trees are rob'd in purest white,
And gleaming atoms shine
From out the snow, beneath the sun,
Like stones from Ophir's mine.
The merry shouts of busy men
Sound, as they dig the snow;
And, when the way is clear, the bells
With joyful jingle, go.
Then who shall say the tempest's work
Brings more of pain than joy;
Or that the evil things, to us
Are pain, without alloy?
* * * * *
CATCHING SPECKLED TROUT.
In early days, when streams ran pure,
Untainted from their spring,
Unchok'd by sawmill dust, or logs,
Or any other thing,
Each river, creek and rill ran on,
So pure, and free, and bright,
That through the gloomy shades, they shed
A cheerful, happy light.
The finny tribes, of varied kinds,
Ran swiftly to and fro,
And with most swift and graceful dart,
The speckl'd trout did go.
So swift to dash, and quick to see,
He caught the fatal fly,
Before less active fishes had
E'en turn'd to it their eye;
For, ever active and alert,
At once, or not at all,
He caught the tempting bait he saw
Upon the waters fall.
These were the days to angler dear,
When, with his hook and line,
He brought his treasures from the brook,
So splendid and so fine.
Each angler had his fav'rite spot,
Wherein he held his breath,
To watch the fishes rush and plunge,
So sure to bring its death.
But now the angler rarely throws
With great delight, his line,
Or listens to the rippling brook,
Beside the wild grape vine.
The finny treasures now are scarce,
In river, creek or rill,
For poison'd are they by the dust,
That comes from lumber mill.
The picturesque and shady grove,
Which streamlets hurried by,
Are now uncover'd by the sun;
Full many a stream is dry.
The poet's land is going fast;
Wild beauty must give place
To useful and substantial things,
Which benefit our race.
But who shall e'er forget the joys,
When, from some shady nook
He flung his fly, with practic'd hand,
Far out upon the brook?
* * * * *
THE HUNTSMAN AND HIS HOUND.
When hill and dale, long years ago,
Lay clad in nature's dress,
And flourish'd the primeval pomp
Of nature's wilderness,
A huntsman and his hound would roam,
Where fed the timid deer,
And where the partridge's drum, or whirr,
Brought music to his ear.
In sooth, he heard all forest sounds
With real sportsman's joy;
And here he always pleasure found,
With little of alloy.
The pigeon's coo, the squirrel's chirp,
The wild-bird's thrilling lay,
Brought freshen'd pleasure to his heart,
At ev'ry op'ning day.
But music sweeter far than aught
In wood or vale around,
Was the loud crackling of the deer,
Or baying of his hound.
Full many a deer his steady aim,
With faithful rifle slew,
But, faithful as his rifle was,
His hound was faithful, too.
With loud, sonorous bay, he ran
Through swamp, or darken'd brake,
Till, from the bush the deer would bound
Far out into the lake.
And then, with ready boat at hand,
The hunter got his game;
For to its struggling, frightened mark,
The well-aim'd bullet came.
And thus they liv'd from day to day,
This hunter and his hound;
With nature's simple joys content,
He felt not life's dull round.
A hunter's life he dearly lov'd,
And still, from day to day,
No other sound he lov'd to hear,
Like his own deer-hound's bay.
But soon that voice must sound no more;
The faithful dog must die;
The man must hunt the deer, without
That well-known, guiding cry.
The hound had chas'd a noble buck
Right down into the lake,
But roll'd the waves so high and strong,
The noble beast did quake
With fear, for now he saw 'twas death,
To leave the solid shore--
A lesser danger there he saw,
So back he came once more.
He came with fierce, determin'd bounds,
Impell'd by wild despair,
With lower'd head he reach'd the dog,
Who bravely met him there.
But short the fight, the antlers gor'd,
The dog's brave heart, so true
To him who stood upon the shore,
As spell-bound by the view.
The dog's death yell rang o'er the lake,
For him, and for his foe,
As whizzing came the well-aim'd ball,
That laid the slayer low.
The bullet came, but yet too late
To save the gallant hound;
And long the hunter mourn'd his loss,
And miss'd his voice's sound.
* * * * *
The steamer Forfarshire, one morn
Right gaily put to sea,
From Hull, in merry England,
To a Scottish town, Dundee.
The winds were fair, the waters calm,
And all on board were gay,
For sped the vessel quickly on,
Unharrass'd in her way.
All trim and neat the vessel look'd,
And strong, while, from on high
Her flag stream'd gaily, over those
Who deem'd no danger nigh.
So strong she look'd from stem to stern,
That all maintained that she
Would weather e'en the fiercest storm,
From Hull unto Dundee.
But bitterly deceiv'd were they,
When off North England's shore,
The vessel in a nor'-west gale,
Did labor more and more.
Her timbers creak'd, her engines mov'd
With weak, convulsive shocks,
And soon the ship, beyond control,
Rush'd madly on the rocks,
And then a lighthouse keeper saw
Her struggle with the waves,
And knew that soon, if came no help,
They'd find them wat'ry graves.
"What boat," he said, "could pass to them
O'er such a raging sea,
And e'en if I should venture out,
Oh! who would go with me"?
"Oh father, I will go with you,
Out o'er the raging sea;
To rescue them, come life, come death,
I'll work an oar with thee."
She went, and battling with the sea,
They reach'd the vessel's side,
And sav'd nine precious lives,
From sinking in the tide.
For those, who on the wreck remain'd,
Afraid to trust the waves,
In such a frail and loaded boat,
Soon found uncoffin'd graves.
All noble acts, unconsciously
Are done, with pure intent;
And thus, upon her errand bold,
This noble maiden went.
And when, from many mouths, she heard
Her praises told aloud,
'Twas but for simple duty done,
This modest maid felt proud.
And when, into her lone abode
Fam'd artists quickly came,
No swelling and self-conscious pride
Did animate her frame.
They knew rewards would scarcely do,
To tell what should be told,
And yet, they gave this modest girl
Five hundred pounds in gold.
But gold her peerless bravery
Could neither buy nor pay,
And yet, content, her lonely life
She liv'd from day to day.
* * * * *
One night, while peaceful in my bed
I lay, unwitting what befell,
By Morpheus' arms clasped close,
In blissful rest, I slumber'd well.
When suddenly, unto my ears
There came a dreadful, piercing sound,
So strange unto my startl'd mind,
I left my bed with single bound.
And then, transfix'd unto the floor,
I stood, in terror pinion'd there,
With drops of sweat upon my brow,
And eyes with fix'd and rigid stare.
I listen'd for the dreadful sound,
Which brought such terror to my brain;
And then, with wildly beating heart,
I heard the fearful noise again.
Affrighted yet, I heard the noise,
Which, tho' 'twas modified in tone,
It terror brought unto my heart,
And from my lips it drew a groan.
For horror yet was in the sound,
That froze my blood, and fix'd my eye;
It seem'd to me a demon's shriek,
Or wailing banshee's boding cry.
But soon my eyes unfix'd their stare,
My senses clearer now became,
And borne unto my sharpen'd ear,
I heard a sound, but not the same.
Within the plaster'd wall, near by,
I heard a grinding, ringing tone--
A mouse was gnawing at a board;
That was the sound, and that alone.
I waited then, and listen'd long;
But naught there came unto my ear,
Save this, and lying down again,
I wonder'd what had caus'd my fear.
And then I thought 'tis thus with us--
We mortals, who, with darken'd sight
See things, and fearful sounds do hear,
Which cause our narrow senses fright.
But when we waken from this dream,
With senses join'd to earth no more,
Our brighten'd faculties will see
No fear, where fear there was before.
* * * * *
THE TEMPEST STILLED.
The sky was dark with threat'ning clouds,
And fiercely on the raging sea,
The roaring tempest wilder swept,
And fiercer rag'd old Galilee.
Deep, dark and wild the waters roll'd,
And fast across the lurid sky
The black clouds pass'd, as if to hide
The lights of heav'n from human eye.
A little boat, from crest to crest
Was lash'd about, and wildly thrown,
While down below lay timid souls,
Too faint to shriek, too weak to groan.
While thunders roll'd, and lightning flash'd,
And fiercer onward rush'd the waves,
Deep down below these mortals look'd
With freighted mind, to wat'ry graves.
The helmsman held the rudder still,
But unavailing his control;
The blasts grew wild, and wilder yet,
And louder grew the thunder's roll.
His hand grew faint, his heart grew sick,
As still he saw the lightning's glare,
And heard the thunders toll his doom,
And voices shriek it in the air.
Air, water, heavens, all combin'd,
Seem'd on the ship their wrath to pour,
Combin'd to sink it in the tide,
And keep it ever from the shore.
One hope was left, and only one;
The Master on a pillow slept,
And to him these affrighted ones,
So weak of faith, in silence crept.
With gentle touch they wake the Lord,
And half in hope, and half in fear,
They cry, "save us, or we're lost.
O Master, Lord, wilt thou not hear?"
With gentle mien the Master rose,
And to his mild, but mighty will,
The thunders, winds and billows bow'd,
And answer'd yes, his "peace be still."
"O, fearful ones, why do you fear?"
Then said the mighty Lord of all;
"Why trust ye not, ye faithless ones,
And call in faith, whene'er ye call?"
Thus, on the raging sea of life,
While billows wild around us swell,
Let faith in Christ our fears disperse,
Let trust in Him our sorrows quell.
When bitter anguish fills our breast,
And weak and trembling grows our hand,
Give Christ the rudder of our ship,
And he will bring us safe to land.
For wind, and sea, and thunder's roll,
His great command at once obey,
And those who trust Him, He will lead
Through storm and gloom, to perfect day.
* * * * *
THE SCHOOL-TAUGHT YOUTH.
His step was light, and his looks as bright
As the beams of the morning sun,
And his boyish dreams, as the rippling streams
That gently onward run,
Without a shock from rugged rock
To check their course of glee,
As they wound their way, day after day,
To their destin'd goal, the sea.
He had come from the schools brimful of rules,
His head and note-book cramm'd
With varied lore; from many a shore
Pack'd solid in, e'en jamm'd.
He'd learn'd a part of many an art,
Had studied mathematics,
And thought he knew how people grew,
In palaces or attics.
He'd scann'd the page of many a sage,
And did his mind adorn
With classic sweets, and varied treats,
Preserv'd ere he was born.
"And now," says he, "upon life's sea,
I'll steer my bark so truly;"
"She is," he thought, "so trim and taut,
She cannot prove unruly."
He look'd each morn, with cultur'd scorn
On homely barks beside him,
And pass'd them by right merrily,
Whenever he espied them.
"O do but note how well they float,"
An aged man did say;
He pass'd him by with flashing eye:
"I've mark'd me out my way."
"And did you see how easily
Those ships their helm obey'd,
When in that storm your vessel's form
So near the rocks was laid.
Young man so stern, you've yet to learn
That sailing on life's sea
Is not an art to get by heart,
Just like the rule of three.
"You'll have to know this 'fleeting show,'
Tho' fleeting it may be,
Requires tact to think and act,
That is not known to thee."
Thus the old man said, but this youth so read
In varied arts and lore,
Bent not his neck, but trod the deck,
And calmly look'd on shore.
But soon the shore was seen no more,
The sea, so calm, got troubl'd;
The billows wild, no more beguil'd,
But round him boil'd and bubbl'd.
The craft it sway'd; the boy, dismay'd,
Saw how she rode unsteady;
The helm in vain they tug and strain,
For storms she is not ready.
She pitch'd and toss'd; she's lost! she's lost!
For see the rocks beside her;
Each effort's vain; she's cleft in twain,
And now, O woe betide her!
The old man spoke, as through her broke
The cruel rocks around her.
"Advice was vain; you took the chain,
And helplessly you bound her.
"For all your store of varied lore,
Tho' guidance and defence,
Was quite in vain to stand the strain,
Like rocks of common sense."
* * * * *
THE TRUANT BOY.
AFTER MOORE'S "MINSTREL BOY."
Oh, the truant boy to the woods has gone,
And you ne'er, alas, can find him,
He's strapp'd his empty school bag on,
For his books are left behind him.
He's gone to shake the beechnuts down
From a height--'twould make you shiver,
And stain his hands a gipsy brown,
With the walnuts by the river.
"Away from school!" said this youth so free,
"Tho' all the world should praise thee,
I'd rather climb this walnut tree,
Because it's such a daisy."
The truant fell, but the stunning shock
Could not bring his proud soul under;
"I'll try again, and here I go
To get those nuts, by thunder!"
So he tightly strapp'd his bag so neat,
This soul of spunk and bravery,
And said, "If I in this get beat,
I will go back to slavery."
But he climb'd the tree, and got the nuts,
And wander'd home in the gloaming,
Well knowing, as the door he shuts,
That his pa, with rage, is foaming.
But he gets some bread, and steals to bed
With his heart fill'd up with sorrow,
And shudders, as he looks ahead,
And thinks of school to-morrow;
He knows the score of lies he'll tell
Will scarce prevent a licking,
And he sadly wonders if 'tis well
To go thus walnut picking.
* * * * *
THE FISHERMAN'S WIFE.
The fisherman's wife stood on the beach.
One chilly April day,
And far out on the lake she look'd,
And o'er the waves, away.
The ice which late had spann'd for miles
This rolling, inland sea,
Had now releas'd its wintry grasp
The long pent waves were free.
And now resistlessly they roll'd,
And frightful was the sound,
As cakes of ice, dash'd to and fro,
Against each other ground.
A north-west wind had lately lash'd
The waves to fury wild,
But now they fast were sinking down,
Like tam'd and frighten'd child.
The woman caught their soughing sound,
As tho' she heard a groan,
And heard them roll upon the beach,
With sad and solemn moan
For late, with wild, hilarious glee,
Their reckless course had run,
And now, it seem'd as if they thought
Of all the ill they'd done.
The fisherman's wife stood on the beach,
And still her eyes did strain,
To catch of mast or sail, a glimpse,
Upon the inland main.
The woman turn'd her from the beach,
Loose flow'd her streaming hair,
And, louder than the white-rob'd gull,
She shriek'd in wild despair.
Three days ago her husband had,
For wife and children's sake,
Dar'd changeful gales and floating ice,
Upon the treach'rous lake.
With two stout hearts he left the shore,
To reach the fishing "grounds,"
Undaunted by the freezing winds,
Or ice-floes crushing sounds.
They reach'd the grounds, but scarce had turn'd
Upon the homeward track,
When came the wild nor'wester down
On their frail fishing smack.
Yes, wring your hands, thou fisher's wife,
For thou hast cause to wail
For him who left the fishing "grounds"
In that wild north-west gale.
'Mid frozen snow, and blocks of ice,
And fiercely rolling waves,
He and his little crew went down,
Uncoffin'd, to their graves.
* * * * *
YE PATRIOT SONS OF CANADA.
Ye patriot sons of Canada,
Whate'er your race or creed,
Arise, your country claims you now,
In this, her hour of need.
Arise, with right and valor girt,
To battle with the foe,
Which threatens to defy our laws,
And lay our country low.
Arise, for black rebellion's flag,
Again may 'mongst us wave,
And traitors in our country's camp,
May dig our country's grave.
The law was righteously enforc'd,
Riel did fairly die,
And why should we give way to those,
Who raise the rebel's cry?
In spite of priest's or statesman's voice,
Quebec, forsooth, must rage,
And, with her wrongful acts and words,
Insult experience and age.
And demagogues, with purpose vile,
Must lead the trait'rous cause,
And hound unthinking masses on,
To wreck our country's laws.
Then rise, each patriotic son,
And guard your country's flag,
Both for your own and country's sake,
Oh, never let it drag.
By vote, and action, if there's need,
Assert your country's claim,
To brandish high stern Justice' sword,
O'er any race or name.
Arise then, sons of Canada,
In purpose strong and bright,
Fear not the foe, nor doubt results,
For God defends the right.
* * * * *
A PROTESTANT IRISHMAN TO HIS WIFE.
"Just forty years to-day, my dear,
We sail'd from Irish waters,
And bade farewell, with many a tear,
To Erin's sons and daughters.
"You'll recollect how ach'd our hearts,
That day in Tipperary,
When we set forth for foreign parts,
For distant woods or prairie.
"You know our very hearts were rent
With grief, almost asunder,
And if we thought all joy was spent,
No exil'd heart will wonder.
"But soon we reach'd our strange, new home,
Where mighty forests flourish'd,
With others, forc'd like us to roam,
Who in our isle were nourish'd.
"But now I'm fairly happy here,
And so are you, my Mary,
But still I've seen you drop a tear
Betimes, for Tipperary.
"We've many friends from home, here, now,
And some we call our brothers,
While some we meet with clouded brow,--
Their creed, our feeling smothers.
"There's some from Dublin, Cork, indeed
There's some from distant Galway,
But ev'ry man, whate'er his creed,
Should own his country, alway.
"Tho' one attends the church, and one
Devoutly seeks the chapel,
Agreeably they yet might run,
Nor have one discord apple.
"True Irishmen have often met,
One common cause to feel,
And many a furious onset met,
With 'valor's clashing steel.'
"And surely there will come a day,
When common thoughts and aims,
Will shed a pure and healthy ray,
And show what duty claims.
"Sure Parson E. went o'er the sea,
And back he came so smiley,
With stick so fine from black-thorn tree,
For father John O'Rielly.
"Thus we, as Irishmen, should ne'er
Forget our common land,
Or claims of breth'ren, ev'rywhere,
Upon our heart and hand."
* * * * *
NATURE'S FORCES OURS.
I see the wild and dashing waves
Break madly on the shore;
With glee I watch their stately course,
With joy I hear their roar.
The howling of the wildest storm,
The shrieking of the gull
Drive quickly all of pain away,
And all my fears they lull.
I join my feeble voice with theirs,
Triumphant in its yell,
For evil powers of earth I scorn,
And all the pow'rs of hell.
Tho' men and devils both unite,
And all their force combine,
I feel, ye waves and howling winds,
That all your strength is mine.
For He who holds you in His hand,
And moulds you to His will,
Can whisper to all hostile pow'rs,
As to you, "Peace, be still!"
He bends your necks like osiers green,
Also the necks of men;
Therefore with you I raise my voice,
And shout aloud, again.
For you are on my side, ye waves,
And you, ye winds, are mine.
If I but cast off worldly cares,
If I my will resign.
Then let me feel what I have felt
Full oft, in days of yore--
A fearful, joyous pulse of life
Thrill through me at your roar.
Let me fling on your crests, ye waves,
My loads of heavy woe,
And on your wings, ye howling winds,
My cares and sorrows throw.
* * * * *
THE READING MAN.
With patient toil, from day to day,
The printed page he scann'd,
The page of learned book, or sheet
With news from foreign land.
And people thought him wond'rous wise,
And he himself was vain
Of all the knowledge he had stor'd
Within his jaded brain.
What other men were working at,
He knew from day to day,
But never dream'd his barren task
Was only idle play.
Fill'd with the thoughts of other minds,
His words were barren, dry;
He seldom coin'd a thought himself,
He had so many by.
And when he found himself alone,
Where self could only think,
He found the store within his brain,
A weight to make him sink.
What he had always thought were ends,
He saw were only means,
And, for his urgent purpose now,
Were worth--a row of beans.
With loud and bitter voice he curs'd
Newspapers, books and all,
That weaken'd his own manhood's force,
And drove him to the wall.
He saw that man must be himself,
Or he will live in vain,
That nothing in this world can take
The place of his own brain.
The man who rides, but never walks,
Should surely never pout,
If in a race he falls behind,
Where horses are rul'd out.
The man who thinks by press or book,
No matter how profound,
Will find a grave some day, beneath
An ink and paper mound.
* * * * *
A VIRTUOUS WOMAN.
Proverbs, Chap. xxxi.
A woman pure, oh, who can find?
Her price is dearer far than gold,
And greater in her husband's mind,
Than shining gems, or pearls untold.
In her he safely puts his trust,
And while her life shall last,
His welfare she shall surely seek,
His honor, holding fast.
With willing hands she works in flax,
In wool, and many other things,
And, rising early in the morn,
Her household's portion duly brings.
She buyeth fields, she planteth vines,
And girds herself to duty's round,
And far into the shades of night,
Her spindle plies with busy sound.
Her open hand, and gen'rous heart,
The poor and needy daily bless,
And in the cold her household walk,
All warmly clad in scarlet dress.
And she herself, in bright array
Of gorgeous silk and tapestries,
Brings gladness to her husband's face,
Who sits in honor 'mid the wise.
In honor and in virtue strong,
Her joy shall come in future days;
She speaks with gentleness to all;
The law of kindness guides her ways.
She governeth her household well,
And eateth not of idle bread,
Her husband gives the praise she earns,
Her children bless her worthy head.
Amid the virtuous and the good,
Of womankind she stands alone,
Unconscious of her priceless worth--
A queen on her domestic throne.
* * * * *
One day I sat me down to write,
And thought with might and main,
But neither subject fit, nor thoughts,
Came to my barren brain.
And then I laid my pen aside,
With sad, despairing mind,
And, fill'd with self-contemptuous scorn,
I thought of human kind.
I saw a trifling, feeble race,
With narrow thoughts and aims,
Each noble aspiration crush'd
By rigid duty's claims.
Selfish and hard, they toil'd along,
And, in the bitter strife,
Neglected all that sweeten'd toil,
Or that ennobl'd life.
Another day I sat me down;
A happy subject came,
And pleasant thoughts light up my mind
With bright and cheerful flame.
And, as I thought, with heart aglow,
Self-satisfied I grew,
And guag'd with ampler girt, my mind,
And minds of others, too.
With satisfaction now, I view'd
Creation's mighty plan;
And had a clearer vision too,
And juster thoughts of man.
A toiling mortal yet, I saw,
But saw no more, a clod,
For far as mind o'er matter is,
He stood, plac'd by his God.
For now I saw to man was given
The right to rule and reign,
And bend all other pow'rs to his,
In nature's wild domain.
The light of endless life gleam'd forth
From his pain'd body's eye,
And tho' in shackles now it liv'd,
That light should never die.
The window now, thro' which it look'd,
Might clos'd in darkness be,
But in a world above, beyond,
Eternal light 'twould see.
And this is what I learn'd that day,
When I sat down to write:
That man, above all earthly things,
Sits plac'd by lawful right.
And tho' he lives this life below,
'Mid accidents and pain,
There is a better life for him,
When he shall live again.
And tho' his road upon this earth
Be dusty, bleak and bare,
Another, and a joyful road,
Is his, to travel there.
* * * * *
"What is life?" I asked a lad,
As on with joyful bound,
He went to join the merry troop,
Upon the cricket ground.
He paus'd at once with pleasant look,
This bright-ey'd, laughing boy,
"Why, life," said he, "is sport and mirth;
With me 'tis mostly joy.
"The tasks which I receive at school,
I feel to be unkind;
But when I get my ball and bat,
I drive them from my mind.
"With other boys I run and shout,
I throw and catch the ball,
Oh, life is a right jolly thing,
To take it all in all."
"And what is life?" I asked a maid,
Who trod, as if on air,
So lightly she did trip along,
So bright she look'd, and fair.
The maiden stopp'd her graceful steps,
And to my words replied,
"Oh, life's a lovely dream," she said,
With some slight boons denied.
"But love, and health, and beauty crowns
My lot so filled with cheer,
That joy beams forth from ev'rything,
To favor'd mortals here.
"The birds and flow'rs are fill'd with joy,
With joy the birds do sing;
The very rain that comes from heav'n,
Seems loads of joy to bring.
"And when I look to future years,
The view seems brighter still,
And brighter grow the perfum'd flow'rs,
As I go up the hill."
"And what is life?" I asked a man,
A man of middle years.
"This world is truly call'd," he said,
"A vale of bitter tears.
"I thought this earth a bright, fair spot,
But that was long ago;
I view it now, with truer sight,
And see a world of woe.
"With disappointment and regret,
And hopes thrown to the ground,
I live, but with an aching heart
I tread life's weary round."
"And what is life?" This time a man
With hoary hair replied:
"This life consists of gracious boons,
With evils by their side.
"To leave the bad, and choose the good,
Is done but by the few,
And that is why mankind are such
A discontented crew.
"With greed, the pleasure now is grasp'd,
Or what they deem is so,
Not thinking that each pleasure now,
May bring a future woe.
"My son, take heed to what I say,
And see thou mark it well,
All earthly joys, too much indulg'd
Will lead you down to hell.
"For Heaven's sake, I pray you now
To curb your youthful will,
Nor give your headstrong passions play,
To use their deadly skill.
"There's joy, my son, all through this life,
To meet, as well as woe,
And if mankind would act aright,
Much more of it they'd know.
"With prudence, virtue, for your friends,
And caution by your side,
And faith in God's o'erruling pow'r,
Your life will calmly glide.
"Content to bear the ills you meet,
Mix'd always with your joy,
For human prudence can't avert
Some woes, which still annoy.
"Pray that your mind be strong and clear,
And vigorous your frame,
Your heart inspir'd with love and fear
For your Creator's name."
* * * * *
A HERO'S DECISION.
He just had reached the time of life,
When cares are felt by men,
But when they're strong to bear them well,--
A score of years and ten.
"Heigh ho!" says he, "and this is life,
The dream of earlier years,
In which we see so much of joy,
And naught of bitter tears.
"I've lived a half a score of years,
In search of fame and glory,
For all earth's boasted joys I've sought,
But ah! what is the story?"
The story! 'tis the same old tale,
Told long, long years ago,
But strange, each for himself must learn
This earth's a 'fleeting show.'
"The dreams of sanguine, hopeful youth,
Are chiefly dreams alone,
Whose falseness often breaks the heart,
Or turns it into stone.
Fame's or ambition's giddy height
Is only seldom gain'd,
And often half the pleasure leaves,
Just when the height's attain'd."
But still I strive, and still I hope,
And still I fight the battle,
Besieg'd by earth's artillery,
With all its horrid rattle.
Then come, ye mocking earthly foes,
E'en come like fiends of hell,
I'll fight the battle till I die,
And I will fight it well.
"I'll change my tactics quickly, tho',
Fight on a diff'rent line,
And on my waving battle flag,
I'll mark a diff'rent sign.
Until this present moment, I
Have fought in single strife,
But I will fight no more alone,
I'll get myself a wife.
We'll then fight all who dare oppose,
E'en should it be her brother,
And when we've vanquish'd all our foes,
We'll turn and fight each other."
* * * * *
ODE TO MAN.
A man is not what oft he seems,
On this terrestrial sphere,
No pow'r to wield, no honor'd place,
Oft curb his spirit here.
He knows not what within him lies,
Until his pow'rs be tried,
And when for them some use is found,
They spring from where they hide,
To startle and to puzzle him,
Who never knew their force,
Because his unfreed spirit kept
A low and shackl'd course.
Dishearten'd and despairing, he
Had often sigh'd alone,
Not thinking that in other ways
His spirit might have grown.
Not thinking that another course,
Which needed pluck and vim,
Might raise his drowning spirit high,
And teach it how to swim;
To battle with the rolling tide,
That hurries onward men,
And raise his head above the waves,
That come and go again.
* * * * *
A SWAIN TO HIS SWEETHEART.
What subtle charm is in thy voice,
That ever, when I hear its tone,
My heart doth pleasantly rejoice,
And fondly turns to thee alone?
The mem'ries of a toilsome life
Are banish'd by its potent spell,
And earthly care, and earthly strife,
No whisper'd sorrows dare to tell.
Where hope had fled, new hope inspires;
Comes life, where lately life had gone;
New purposes my bosom fires,
To battle hard and bravely on.
What charm dwells in thine eye of blue,
That thus, by its magnetic pow'r,
The world to me hath brighter hue,
And happier grows each passing hour?
With virtuous thought, and pure desire,
Thine eyes look forth from lofty soul;
Contagious, then, my thoughts aspire
To reach, with thee, thy lofty goal.
Thine eyes contemptuously look down
On all that's sordid, mean and low;
Around thy head is virtue's crown,
About the feet is virtue's snow.
* * * * *
God of the harvest, once again
Our joyful tones we raise,
For all Thy goodness, day by day,
We give Thee thankful praise.
With blessings rich, from fertile field,
And gifts from fruitful tree,
We wish, this day, our thanks to yield
With earnest hearts, to Thee.
We plough'd the ground, we sow'd the seed,
But Thou didst send the rain
In grateful show'rs, in time of need,
And now we've reap'd the grain.
The sun with grateful heat did shine;
The dew did nightly fall;
And now, for loaded tree and vine--
We give Thee thanks for all.
The bee, in well-fill'd honey cells,
Her sweets for us hath stow'd,
The crystal water in the wells,
For us from springs hath flow'd.
The lowing herd, the prancing steed
Receiv'd we from Thy hand,
And we, this day, return our meed
Of praise, throughout the land.
Then let us sing with earnest hearts,
Tho' joyful be each lay,
And thankful ev'ry song that starts
On this Thanksgiving Day.
* * * * *
"Oh come," said I unto my love,
"And let us view the setting sun,
And watch the fleeting clouds above,
So brightly color'd, ev'ry one."
Thus lightly to my love, I spake,
And she responded lightly, too,
And by my side her place did take,
Her young heart gladden'd by the view.
I walk'd along, she tripp'd beside,
Short was the time, until we stood
Above the rolling, glassy tide--
Above old Huron's mighty flood.
"Oh, see," said I, "the glorious sight,
Now spread before our favor'd gaze--
The clouds all flame, the sea all light,
The sun, one grand, terrific blaze."
E'en such a time, and such a scene
Could not love's gentle pow'r dispel.
I saw my love's grave, thoughtful mien,
I turn'd and said: "your thoughts pray tell."
"My thoughts! Oh yes, since you request,
My thoughts were centr'd all in you,
As chang'd my gaze from crest to crest,
Across the glassy ocean's blue;
"And, as I saw the waters shine
With polish'd splendor from the sun,
Thus gleam'd, I thought, this love of mine,
Thus shall it gleam till life is done.
"And, as I saw the bars of gold,
And clouds with crimson deeply dy'd,
Your love, I thought, was wealth untold,
And my heart's blood, your crimson tide."
"And yours," I said, "your love to me
Is one great, shining, glassy flood;
Your face, reflected, there I see,
So beautiful, so bright and good.
"My nature glows at thy dear name,
With deep, red heat, like yonder ball,
It shines with constant, ruddy flame;
It shines for you, but tinges all.
"But see, the sun has sunk to rest,
As if beneath the distant wave,
But still the colors in the west,
Show that he still shines from his grave.
"And thus, my love, when I shall sink
Into the dark and dread Unknown,
'Tis surely just for us to think,
Some rays shall shine for thee alone.
"And if it be my fate to stay,
While thou shalt calmly sink to rest,
'Tis surely right for me to say,
Some light from thee shall cheer my breast."
* * * * *
THE MAPLE TREE.
Where craggy hills round Madoc rise,
With scenic grandeur bold,
Where frowning rocks, from wooded heights,
Look down so stern and cold,
On peaceful vales, and silent lakes,
And islets, wild and fair,
Where trees, in fadeless beauty clad,
Display their verdure there.
Where men, undaunted by the force
Of nature's stern array,
Determin'd, drive a prosp'rous course,
And honorable way.
Here doth the oak rear high its form,
The spreading beech beside,
And here the hemlock meets the storm,
With branches stretching wide.
The pine, with straight and lofty stem,
The birch, whose shapen rind
Sails o'er the lakes by dusky hands,
Or favorable wind.
Such trees as those, are widely known,
And many more beside,
And may be found from Madoc's hills,
To Huron's waters wide.
Right dear they are to sturdy hearts;
To pioneers, their name
Lights up the thoughts of other days,
With bright and cheerful flame.
But dearer far than all of these,
Than all from sea to sea,
To Canada's brave sons of toil,
Is the stout maple tree.
The maple tree! the maple tree!
Because its leaf so fair,
Is emblem of our Canada,
And all our hopes are there.
Our country thrives, and so shall we,
On this, our native sod,
If we respect our maple tree,
And worship only God.
The maple leaf! the maple leaf!
Tho' in the fall it fade,
May it but die, to bloom again,
And brighten up the glade.
Oh, deeper strike each year thy roots,
Young Canada's fair tree,
That no rude hand may tear thee up,
Thou emblem of the free.
If on thy branch an eagle bold,
Or other bird of prey,
Shall dare with haughtiness to sit,
May it soon fly away.
* * * * *
Where once the red deer, wolf or bear,
Pursued by hardy Indian braves,
Lay low, in cunning grove or lair,
And listen'd to the rolling waves.
Where once the maple and the beech,
In nature's splendor tower'd high,
Far, far beyond the white man's reach,
Was this lone spot, in years gone by.
The lofty bank, and level plain,
With wide-mouth'd maitland stretch'd to view,
Look'd out upon the inland main,
And back, where virgin forests grew.
No harbor then, nor water-break,
Made by the mind and hand of man,
But fast into the rolling lake,
In nature's course, the river ran.
No pennon stream'd from lofty mast,
No ships were there, propell'd by steam,
For then, instead of whistle blast,
Was heard the lordly eagle's scream.
The light canoe of birchen rind,
Sent o'er the waves by skilful oar,
Express'd so plain the untrain'd mind--
Content with this, it wish'd no more.
No chimneys, tall and massive made,
Show'd where the white man ground his corn,
For there no white man yet had stray'd,
Where but the forest child was born.
And now, where spacious mansions stand,
Where grace and culture now reside,
There clasp'd the Indian brave the hand
Of his own war-won forest bride.
Where once the painted warrior wrote
His thoughts in rudely pictur'd signs,
A cultur'd language now we quote,
And write and print, in graceful lines.
Where once the hieroglyphic bark
Told when the warlike bow should twang,
The torch of light with glowing spark,
Is held aloft by faithful Strang.
But there is yet another flame,
With pure and holy light to shed;
And all revere that honor'd name,
And all respect that rev'rend head.
That hoary head, which, from the place
Where mild religion's beams doth play,
Hath warn'd, implor'd our fallen race,
And pray'd, while years have pass'd away.
Beneficent and kind old man,
Accept our humble tributes now,
And when is run thine earthly span,
May fadeless wreathes entwine thy brow.
* * * * *
VERSES WRITTEN IN AUTOGRAPH ALBUMS.
TO MISS ----
Youth is the time when all is bright;
The mind is free from care;
No thoughts of aught, save present joys,
Can find an entrance there.
And, if a thought of future years
Steal o'er the careless mind,
That thought speaks of a happier time
When years are left behind.
But when the years of youth have fled,
And life is fill'd with pain,
We think full oft of vanish'd years,
And wish them back again.
And oft this wish will soothe our pain,
And oft allay our woe,
Oh, sweet to us is mem'ry then,
When we think of long ago.
May thou live on till youth has pass'd,
And feel but little pain,
And may thou, in a blest old age,
Live o'er your youth again.
TO A FRIEND.
With kindly thoughts full oft we've met,
And bow'd at Friendship's sacred shrine;
Oh, may we ne'er those thoughts forget,
But may they still our hearts entwine.
May both retain those feelings long,
Which prompt the words of friendly tongue,
May I not fail to think of thee,
Nor you to think of T. F. Young.
TO MISS ----
My friend of days, but not of years,
With kindly heart these lines I trace,
To tell you of a kindly wish,
Which I upon this page would place.
It is that thou thro' future years
May meet with very much of joy,
And just a little grief, because
Continued happiness will cloy.
And when, in future years, you read
What I to you just now have sung,
Let others praise or blame, do thou
Think pleasantly of T. F. Young.
These lines, which on this leaf I write,
I trace with friendly thoughts of thee,
And hope, when o'er this page you glance,
You'll think a kindly thought of me.
And why should I this tribute ask?
Why crave from you this humble boon?
Because I knew you through life's morn,
And hope to know you in its noon.
Because the path of life we trod,
With youthful hearts so free from pain,
When both together went to school,
And wander'd gaily home again.
This, then, is why I ask of you,
As on this little page you look,
To think of me, with other friends,
Whose names are written in your book.
TO A FRIEND.
In years to come, when looking o'er
These lines I've penn'd for thee,
I trust that thou shalt ne'er have cause
To think unkind of me.
And if you have, let memory
Try hard to blunt the dart,
And tho' I may deserve the blame,
Let kindness soothe the smart.
TO A FRIEND.
The youthful joys of vanish'd years,
The joys e'en now we share,
Have something of a sacred bliss,
Which time can not impair.
For when the years of youth have gone,
Its joys and hopes have flown,
The mem'ry clings with fond embrace--
Those joys are still our own.
Then, as I write these words for you,--
This earnest wish I pen:
That you may think but pleasant thoughts--
When life's liv'd o'er again.
May nought of sorrow, or of woe,
Invade to wound or pain,
And may the joys that we have shar'd
Be bright in mem'ry's train.
TO MISS ----
In tracing here these lines, my friend,
Which spring from friendly heart,
I here record an earnest wish,
For thee, before we part:
May health and happiness serene,
Long, long with thee abide,
May youthful joys no sorrow bring,
Nor future woes betide.
And when thy youthful beauty leaves,
And youthful thoughts thy breast,
May thou in calm old age still live,
In happiness and rest.
TO A LITTLE GIRL.
Go, little girl, your course pursue,
On life's rough ocean safely glide,
May want nor woe e'er visit you,
Nor any other ills betide.
Improve the shining hours of youth,
For soon, alas, they will be gone,
Strive hard for learning, zeal and truth,
For ev'ry soul must fight alone.
TO A FRIEND.
Within this little book of thine,
Are thoughts of many a friendly mind,
Express'd in words, on which you'll gaze
In after years, with feelings kind.
And while you're scanning o'er each page,
These lines I write, perchance you'll see,
And tho' they're penn'd by careless hand,
You'll know that they are penn'd by me.
Perhaps you'll think of school-days then,
Of happy school-days, long since past,
When you and I, in careless youth,
Thought that those days would always last.
TO MASTER GEORGE TWIDDY.
G o on your way, my youthful friend,
E arth's joys and woes to feel,
O 'er rough and smooth, your course will tend,
R ight on, thro' woe and weal,
G ird up yourself then, for the fight,
E ach foe to meet without affright.
T hink not too much of joy or woe,
W hich one and all must meet,
I n duty's path still onward go,
D ark days and bright to greet,
D etermin'd still to do your best,
Y our work, be sure, will then be blest.
TO MISS ----
The fairest flowers often fade,
And die, alas! too soon,
Ere half their life is sped, they droop,
And wither in their bloom.
But may thy life thro' future years,
In healthful beauty shine,
And when you think of other days,
Think of this wish of mine.
TO MISS MILLY SCOTT.
Memories of happy school-days,
In which we view the years gone by,
Long they last, and long they cheer us--
Live well the moments as they fly,
Your youth is passing swiftly by.
See, then, Milly, that your school-days
Can no mem'ries sad retain.
Onward! upward! be your motto,
Try and try, and try again,
The future will reward the pain.
The land of poetry and mirth,
Of orators and statesmen, too,
To one more genial, ne'er gave birth,
Than when, gay Moore, it brought forth you.
The land of Goldsmith, Wolfe and Burke,
May well, with gladness, sound thy name,
And honor thee, whose life and work
Produc'd a bright and joyous flame.
Thy lively genius, sparkling, free,
Emitted rays, which sparkle yet,
And gladden hearts across the sea,
When tears of pain their eyelids wet.
Mild Goldsmith sang with taste, and well,
And so did Wolfe, his plaintive ode,
But thou, alone, possess'd the spell,
That served to ease thy country's load.
O'Connell work'd with wondrous skill,
With silv'ry tongue, and prudent head,
With patriotic heart and will,
To ease Oppression's crushing tread.
He did remove th' oppressor's weight,
Or made it rest more lightly there,
But still there crowded in the gate
The ills of life we all must share.
Great Burke, with comprehensive mind,
Pour'd forth his thoughts, too lofty far,
To glad his humble, simple kind,
Who could not reach the lowest bar.
But thou brought forth thy tuneful lyre,
And swept it with a skilful hand,
And hearts, with joy and hope afire,
Arose to bless thee, thro' the land.
Thy songs of love, religion, fame,
Resounded from each hill and dale,
And fann'd the patriotic flame,
In beautiful Avoca's vale.
They reach'd us here, we have them now,
And treasure them, both rich and poor;
And here's a green wreath for thy brow,
Of Irish shamrocks, Thomas Moore.
In fadeless verdure may it stay,
And long thy gifted head entwine,
For time will mark full many a day,
Till head and heart shall live, like thine.
One hundred years have come and gone,
Since thy brave spirit came to earth,
Since Scotland saw thy genius dawn,
And had the joy to give thee birth.
There was no proud and brilliant throng,
To celebrate thine advent here,
And but the humble heard the song,
Which first proclaim'd a poet near.
But genius will assert its right
To speak a word, or chant a lay,
And thou, with independent might,
Asserted it from day to day.
No fawning, sycophantic whine,
Marr'd the clear note thy spirit blew,
Thy stirring words, thy gift divine,
Were to thyself and country true.
Tho' heir to naught of wealth, or land,
Thy soaring mind, with fancy fir'd,
Saw, in Creation's lavish hand,
The gifts display'd, thy soul desir'd.
The field, the forest and the hill
Supplied thee with exhaustless wealth,
The singing birds, and flowing rill,
Unto thy soul gave food and health.
An honest man thou lov'd, and thou
Wert honest to thy bosom's core,
As harden'd hand, and sweated brow,
A true, tho' silent witness bore.
No empty theorizer, thou,
Thy words said what thyself would do,
Thou ne'er would make thy spirit bow,
That worldly honors might accrue.
Torn by temptations, strange and wild--
Hard-hearted critics laugh to scorn
The fate of the "poetic child,"
In rugged, bonnie Scotland born.
But let them laugh, they laugh in vain.
For they, or we, who know in part,
Can never gauge the mighty strain,
That burst the genial poet's heart.
It is enough for us to know
The songs he sang for Scotland's sake,
Which winds of time can never blow
Into oblivion's silent lake.
O Burns! thy life was sad, we know,
Thy sensitive and fertile mind
Had to withstand full many a blow,
Dealt by the ignorant and blind.
But let us do thee justice here,
Tho' distant from thy native shore,
For all thy faults repress the sneer,
And thy great qualities explore.
In Canada, where all are free,
And none can e'er be call'd a slave,
Let Scotia's sons remember thee,
And weave a garland for thy grave.
In fancy, let them grace thy brows
With wreathes of fadeless asphodel,
And let them yearly plight their vows
Unto the bard they love so well.
While genius endows the sons of men
With eloquence, or with poetic pen,
It leaves them still the frailties of our frame,
It does not curb, but fans th' unrighteous flame.
It gives a wider, nobler range of thought,
But such advantage, oft, is dearly bought.
Man's lower nature troubles scarce the low,
But, like a fiend, at natures high doth go.
Of such a nature, now, these lines shall tell,
Who wrote full many a line, and wrote them well.
Byron, the noble, sensitive and high,
Whose bosom hath not heav'd for thee a sigh?
Whose breast hath not full often given room
To mournful thoughts, for thy untimely doom?
Thy genius soar'd to regions bright and fair,
And thou, such times, were with thy genius there.
And then thy lofty mind, 'neath passion's sway,
Left its high throne, and wander'd far astray.
'Twas strange and sad, that one so richly bless'd,
Should find within the world, so much unrest;
But we can in thy life and nature see
The means, to some extent, that fell'd the tree.
Thy shining youth, men much too freely prais'd,
And then the cry of blame, too loudly rais'd.
The fickle crowd, thy person loudly curs'd,
And then thou fled, and dar'd them do their worst.
Unfortunate in love, thy youthful heart
Was pain'd, and likewise with the burning smart
Thy vanity receiv'd from critic's pen,
Which often makes sarcastic, stronger men.
Let us be fair with thee, thy fate deplore,
And grieve thy youthful death, if nothing more.
Let us in mercy judge, for thus we can,
E'en with thy faults, thou wert a noble man.
MEMORIES OF SCHOOLDAYS.
There are mem'ries glad of the old school-house,
Which throng around me still;
And voices spoke in my youthful days,
My ears with music fill.
Those youthful voices I seem to hear,
With their gladsome, joyous tone,
And joy and hope they bring to me,
When I am all alone.
I think of the joys of that time long past,
Of its boyish hopes and fears,
And 'tis partly joy, and partly pain,
That wets my eyes with tears.
For 'tis joy I feel, when I seem to stand,
Where I stood long years ago,
And when I think that cannot be,
My heart is fill'd with woe.
My old school mates are scatter'd far,
And some are with the dead,
And my old class mates have wander'd, too,
To seek for fame, or bread.
And those who still are near my home,
And whom I often see,
Have come to manhood's grave estate;
They're boys no more to me.
And tho' we meet in converse yet,
And each one's thoughts enjoy,
Our thoughts and words are not so free,
As when, each was a boy.
For the spring of life is gone for us,
With all its bursting bloom,
And manhood's thoughts, and joys, and cares,
Are now within its room.
But the mem'ry of our bright school days,
Will last through ev'ry strain,
And time will brighten ev'ry joy,
And darken ev'ry pain.
The rippling of our childhood's laugh,
Will roll adown the years,
And time will blunt, each day we live,
The mem'ry of our tears.
Our boyhood's hopes, and boyhood's dreams,
And aspirations high,
Will doubtless never be fulfill'd,