Part 2 out of 3
Oh tell me not of the lands so old
Where the Orient treasures its hills of gold,
And the rivers lie in the sun's bright rays
Forever singing the old world's praise.
Nor proudly boast of the gardens grand
That spring to earth at a king's command;
There are treasures here in the far great West
That rival the hills on the Orient's crest.
Far from the sight of the dusty town
Like a perfect gem in a golden crown,
Lies a beautiful garden vast and fair,
Where the wild birds sing in the evening air,
And the dews fall down in a silent shower
On the fragrant head of each beaming flower;
While far and near o'er the land sun-kissed,
Hangs the roseate veil of the sunset mist.
Under the shade of the western wall
There's a glimmer of roses fair and tall,
And the crimson heart of each royal flower
Gleams purely forth from its leafy bower.
There are things in this world too sweet to last,
But we catch their grace ere the bloom is past,
And the roses that die in the early morn
In the garden of memory anew are born.
The dear little pansies, quaint and fair,
Uplift their heads in the silent air;
And the gleam of the purple tinged with gold
Is as fair as the roses' velvety fold.
There are tropical plants from the Southern seas
Where the flowers sleep in the perfumed breeze;
And the scent of the orange groves fill the air
With a mystical incense rich and rare.
Like waxen buds in a leafy screen
Magnolia blooms float in a sea of green;
And their fragrance falls on the dewy air
Like the breath of the tropics richly rare.
And up from the South in the voiceless night
Steals the scent of the blossoms pure and white,
And one by one as the winds sweep by
They shrink away, from that touch, to die.
There are trees and flowers from every clime
Defying the scope of the poet's rhyme;
There are beautiful lawns where the feet could rest,
Unwilling to wander, forever blest;
There are peaceful nooks where the soul might dwell
Forever lost in a fadeless spell;
But the tomb of the man who is great and wise
Is the loveliest spot in this paradise.
And just to the south is a park so fair
That the children of God love to wander there;
And the emerald green of its winding ways
Is flecked with the gold of the sun's last rays.
There are statues, too, of the good and great,
Who point on forever to Truth's wide gate,
And the bronze and the green and the sun's red gold
Are mingled at eve in a glory untold.
Immortal the name of the man shall be
Who hath given these treasures so fair to see,
And the grace of the flowers he loves so well
The truth of his goodness forever shall tell.
But fairer than all are the deeds of love
That shine in God's temple of grace above;
And Fame on her beautiful shadowless height
Has woven his name in a glory of light.
Oh, take this shell, this pretty thing
With tinted waves of pearly red;
Hold close your ear and hear it sing,
Then tell me what its voice hath said.
A song of surges deep and strong,
A song of summer sweet and long,
A sound of storm and wind and rain,
A sound of joy--a glad refrain.
O plaything of the idle sea,
Whence come these changing tints of thine?
Have sunset clouds looked down on thee
And stained thee with their hues divine?
Oh, tell the secrets thou must know
Of clouds above and waves below;
Oh, whisper of the bending sky
And ocean caves where jewels lie.
O beauteous sea-shell, tinged with red,
What dost thou know; what canst thou tell?
Unto what mysteries are thou wed,
Thou fragile thing, thou pearly shell?
A whisper of the sounding sea;
A sweep of surges strong and free;
A tale of life--a tale of death;
A warm, bright sin--an icy breath.
Ah, more than this, thou lovely shell,
Thy years have gathered from the deep!
And, more than this, thy voice can tell
Of things learned in that ocean sleep.
A grave within the lonely sea;
A spot where love can never be;
A place where tears may never fall;
A lonely grave--and that is all.
A beautiful form and a beautiful face,
A winsome bride and a woman's grace,
So fair and sweet it were heaven indeed
For man to follow where she would lead.
A web of lace and a jeweled hand,
And life is changed by a golden band;
A dream of love and a wealth of gold--
The old new story once more is told.
A wealth of flowers and a robe of snow,
A beauteous woman with cheeks aglow;
A train of satin that sweeps the floor--
And life is altered forevermore.
A beautiful scene on this Christmas eve,
Where all could linger and none could grieve,
A dazzling vision of wealth and pride,
A royal feast and a happy bride.
But turn your steps to the lonely street,
Where fierce winds mutter and wild storms beat;
And come with me to the haunts of woe
Where life is a burden and hopes are low.
Look on this woman, so thin and white;
You close your eyes--'tis a dreadful sight;
But shudder not--she is cold and dead--
And died, oh men! for a CRUST OF BREAD.
So young and hopeless, oh! God above,
With none to comfort and none to love;
A tortured soul and a hungry cry
That rang unheard through the stormy sky.
While, oh! so near in the gloomy night
Lay rescue and love and warmth and light;
And oh! so near to the longing eyes,
There gleamed the bright depths of a paradise.
Oh! look on this picture, thou fair young bride,
For one poor morsel of bread she died;
One glittering gem from your breast or hair,
Could have saved this woman who lieth there.
One costly spray of your flowers bright
Could have bought the food that she craved this night;
One drop of love from your boundless store
Her soul could have saved forevermore.
Oh, sadd'ning picture, this Christmas eve,--
For thy sad story the angels grieve;
To think in this city of wealth and might
A woman perished for BREAD, this night.
The Queen-Rose--A Summer Idyl.
The sunlight fell with a golden gleam
On the waves of the rippling rill;
The pansies nodded their purple heads;
But the proud queen-rose stood still.
She loved the light and she loved the sun,
And the peaceful night when the day was done,
But the faithless sun in his careless way
Had broken her heart on that summer's day.
She had bathed her soul in his warm sweet, rays,
She had given her life to him;
And her crimson heart--it was his alone--
Of love it was full to the brim.
But a fairer bud in the garden of love
Had conquered the heart of the king above;
And the proud queen-rose on that summer's day
Had given a love that was thrown away.
The pansies laughed in the summer breeze,
For they were so happy and free;
And the lilies swayed in the waving grass,
Like sails on an emerald sea.
But the sun glanced down with a mocking light,
And the heart of the rose stood still at the sight,
For never again with its love for him
Would her crimson heart be filled to the brim.
"Ah me!" she sighed, as she drooped her head,
"How vain is my haughty will;
I sought to mate with the sun above,
But lo! I am mortal still.
I envy the pansy that nods at my feet,
For though she is lowly, her life is sweet;
And I envy the lily, for she is glad,
And knows not the longings that make me sad."
A maiden sat where the pansies grew,
In a golden shower of light;
And she heard the words of the sighing rose,
Borne near in the wind's swift flight.
"Ah, rose!" she cried, "I am like to you;
There's never a heart in this world that's true;
I yielded a love that's thrown away,
And I'm weary of life on this summer's day.
"But listen, my rose, and I'll tell you, sweet,
The lesson I learned to-day;
There's never a heart in this wide, wide world
That was born to be thrown away.
The sun may smile as he sails away
In the depths of his azure seas for aye;
But the rose that blooms in the garden of love,
Is as fair as the sun to our God above.
"The smallest flower that slakes her thirst
In the dews of the early morn,
Is as great as the stars in heaven above,
The greatest that ever was born.
The love we give on this earth of ours
Is treasured in heaven through all the hours,
And the crimson heart of the proud queen-rose
Is as fair a gem as the earth-land knows."
The queen-rose listened and held her breath
As the maiden passed her by,
And then, with a grace that was fearless and grand
She lifted her face to the sky.
And never again, when the day was done,
Did she long for the love of the golden sun;
For the lesson she learned on that summer's day
Lay deep in her heart forever and aye.
Twin lilies in the river floating,
Two lilies pure and white;
And one is pale and faintly drooping,
The other glad and bright.
Twin lilies in the silvery waters,
Two lilies white and frail;
And one is ever laughing gladly,
The other, still and pale.
Upon the peaceful gleaming waters,
They linger side by side;
And one, her head is drooping sadly;
The other glows with pride.
Twin stars are o'er the river beaming,
Two stars with silvery light;
And now they look with glances loving
Upon the lilies white.
Two lilies now are drooping lowly
Unto the river tide;
While in the wave the stars reflected
Are floating side by side.
And now the stars are bending slowly
To kiss the lilies white;
Who e'en their fragrant heads are lifting
In wonder at the sight.
And one twin lily now is longing
For light and heaven above;
And yields unto her star-king's keeping
Her wealth of life and love.
And as the star-god bends in rapture
To kiss her pale, white face,
Her soul is wafted into heaven
Beneath his love and grace.
Twin lilies in the tide were floating,
With quickly coming breath,
But one is left, with sad tears falling,
To mourn her sister's death.
Twin stars upon the waves were gleaming;
Two star-gods pure and bright;
But one is left--that one is fading
And dying with the night.
A treasured link of shining pearls,
A by-gone melody,
A shower of tears with smiles between--
And this is memory.
A thing so light a breath of air
May waft its life away;
A thing so dark that moments of pain
Seem like some endless day.
A careless word may wound the heart,
And quickly it may die;
Yet in the seas of memory
Forever it will lie.
And sometimes when the tide rolls back
Its waves of joy and pain,
That careless word, though long forgot,
Will wound the heart again.
The restless seas of memory
Are vast and deep and wide;
And every deed that we can know
Sleeps in that tireless tide.
Upon the thoughtless lives of men
Its waves in mockery roll;
And sweep a might of bitter pain
Across each human soul.
And few can stand upon the sands
Beside this boundless sea,
And say with calm unfaltering voice
"It has no grief for me."
The passing wave may bear away
Our deeds and words untrue;
Yet surely as the tide comes in
The wrecks will follow too.
Oh, what so subtle as the spell
The silvery moonlight weaves?
Oh, what so sad and what so glad,
And what so soon deceives.
A vision of the long ago--
Long years of pain between;
A mocking dream of happier days--
A veil of silver sheen.
A passing gleam of falling stars--
An idle summer's dream;
The sudden waking of a heart--
Things are not as they seem.
Oh, silver moon, indeed you hold
The secrets of the heart;
And none can know and none can guess
The mystery of thy art.
A silver length of rippling waves,
A glance from happy eyes;
A strain of music low and sweet--
The heart in rapture lies.
Yet, ah, how faithless are the vows
Made 'neath the summer moon;
As changing as the falling rays
That fade away as soon.
For love is like the subtle spell
The sliver moonlight weaves;
And what so sad and what so glad
And what so soon deceives?
The Star of Youth.
The sun sinks down in the crimson west,
Oh, a beautiful sun is he;
With his purple robes and his crown of gold
And his feet dipped in the sea.
Along the shore where the sea-weeds lie
Like threads of her tangled hair,
Naomi stands in the amber glow
Of the mystical sunset air.
Her hair is brown, with a yellow tinge
That rivals the gold of the west;
Her eyes are dark with the velvety glow
That darkens the pansy's breast.
A star shines out in the purple east,
Oh, a beautiful star is he!
With his home in the wonderful azure skies,
And his throne in the deep blue sea.
There are bars of gold in the crimson west
And jewels on every bar;
Yet Naomi's soul is beyond the sea,
And her eyes are fixed on the star.
O star that shines in the dusky east,
Be thou the star of my youth,
And guide my soul through the shadows of earth
To the shining gates of truth.
There are years that melt in the seas of life
Like drops in the ocean of time;
And the joys they bring are as soon forgot
As the words of a careless rhyme.
Be thou the light that shall guide me far
From the years that vanish as rain,
And lead my soul to the feet of God,
Even through years of pain.
The Day is Dead.
The day is dead,
And evening trails her purple robes
In fading fires of red.
The day is dead.
And yonder lily welcomes sleep
And nods her weary head.
The day is dead,
And night droops low her sable plumes
To mourn the glory fled.
A fair sweet blossom is born for you,
A beautiful rose, my queen!
And never was flower so fair as this,
Oh, never so fair, I ween!
A banner is hung in the western sky
Of colors that flash ere they fade and die;
And the rippling waves where the waters run
Are stained with the gold of the summer sun;
The world is so fair for you, my queen,
The world is so fair and true;
And the rose that blossoms to-day, my own,
Is the love that I have for you.
The grasses that spring at your feet, my queen,
Could whisper all day in your ear;
But I stand dumb at your side, my own,
Stilled by my love's own fear.
Oh, what would you know of my love's sweet will
The heart speaks most when the lips are still;
And the love that is filling my soul to-day
Is the beautiful blossom you throw away.
But I worship you still, my queen, my queen,
I worship you still, I ween;
For the loveliest blossom on earth I know
Is my beautiful love, my queen!
The Song of the Brook.
Oh, what would you have, you splendid sun,
With your restless eyes of fire?
And why do you lean o'er the lilies pale?
What more can your heart desire?
You've crimsoned the rays in the heart of the rose,
You've drunk up the dewdrops all;
And down in the meadows your golden light
Has gilded the daisies tall.
The thirsty flowers that grow on the hill
Have given their lives to you;
And what do you care, you restless sun,
As you sail through your seas of blue?
Your rays are so warm, like the glances of love,
The lily is mad with delight;
And whispers her secret with silent joy,
As she kisses my face in the night.
What more can you want, O eager sun?
I've given my all to you;
I've counted my treasures and claimed them not,
What more can I ever do?
But, eager sun, with your restless rays,
Know this, that I love not you;
For the sun that knoweth a world of loves
To one can never be true.
'Tis eventide; the noisy brook is hushed
Or murmurs only as a tired child,
Worn out with play; the tangled weeds lie still
Within the marshy hollow. Quaint and dark
The willows bend above the brooklet's tide,
Reflecting shadowy images therein.
The dark-browed trees, with faces to the sky,
Shut out the light that fades in crimson lines
Along the western sky. And yonder shade
Of purple marks the cloud, the storm-god rides
In moods of angry fire.
The woods are filled
With wild-wood blossoms drinking in the dew.
Their scented breath is sweeter than the maid's
Who stands at eve and drinks in love and hope
From every budding flower.
All day the sun
With fiery breath has held his hot, long reign;
The leaves have quivered 'neath his burning gaze,
And all the flowers have drooped; yet now the moon,
His pale young bride, awaking from her spell
Of sweet day dreams, arises in the dusky East,
And sweeping back the clouds that dim her crown
Of stars, floods all the world with holy light.
Oh, welcome night! the flowers love their queen!
Yea, better than their king, for he is fierce
And warm, and drinks the jeweled dew-drops all.
Her hand is cool and soothing! 'neath its spell
They sink to restful slumber.
When all he world's asleep, and thought can fly
On tireless wings from sky to sky, when, free
From earthly chains, the soul immortal feels
Its throbbing freedom.
When God looks down from every shining star,
And breathes in every dew-gemmed flower, when faith
From her rock-bound temple on the hills
His everlasting glory sings! Oh, welcome night!
Thy beauty holds the spell that wakes to life
All things immortal. Crowned be thou with light
Eternal as the sun whose radiance wakes the day.
Sounds from the Convent.
"Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Sober, steadfast and demure."
White-robed nun, I pray thee tell me
Whatsoe'er my life shall be;
Thou of God art purely chosen,
Ne'er can I be like to thee.
There is sunlight in the shadow
Of the lives we live below;
There is starlight in the darkness
Of the night of human woe.
Yet I pray thee, sweet-voiced woman,
Tell me of thy life and thee;
Can the soul to heaven given
Yield its secrets unto me?
Nevermore the earth shall claim thee,
Only lilies bloom for thee;
All the world is full of beauty
That thy eyes may never see.
On the hill the daisies springing,
Lift their heads to greet the morn;
Yet thou mayest not pluck the smallest
Of these blossoms lately born.
Violets may bring no memories
Unto thee of days gone by;
Summer eves and joyous mornings--
In the grave these, too, must die.
Long ago, the roses drooping,
Crimson blushed and died for thee;
Yet to-day no more thou know'st them,
They are lost in Life's dead sea.
Oh, the world is full of beauty!
Oh, the world is full of love!
Yet the chains that bind thee earthward,
Link thy soul with Heaven above.
Through the windows creeps the sunlight,
Rays of gold and restless red;
Covering all the world with glory,
Sweetly resting on thy head.
Would my life were crowned with sunlight,
Would my soul was pure as thine!
Then the world no more would know me,
Earth were Heaven, and Heaven were mine.
A limpid lake, a diamond gem,
The moonbeams kissed with light;
And all the stars that heaven knew
Were mirrored in the night.
How fair the world, how fair the night,
When lake and river run
Like jeweled streams of fairy land
Beneath a silver sun.
The lake grew proud and claimed each star
That lay upon her breast;
"Ah! they are mine," she said; "these gems
That in my bosom rest.
"And yonder moon, that sails on high,
Doth shine for me alone;
Beneath the foam that crests my waves
Is built her silver throne."
A star-king knelt and kissed the waves
That swept the shadowed shore;
"Our moon is queen of heaven," he said,
"Is queen forevermore.
A thousand lakes are hers by night,
A thousand lakes of light;
A thousand rivers kiss her feet,
A thousand rivers bright.
"Then be not vain, thou lakelet small,
The moon is not for thee;
Her home is in the river wide,
Her throne is in the sea."
The bright waves swept the silent shore,
The star-king crept away;
Yet calm and fair, still unconvinced,
The lake in silence lay.
The moon, that swept her silvery light
Far o'er the waters wide,
Belonged to her, and all the stars
That floated side by side.
Ah! silver lake, too well we know
How like we are to thee;
A thousand truths are in the world
That we may never see!
A dewy flower, bathed in crimson light,
May touch the soul--a pure and beauteous sight;
A golden river flashing 'neath the sun,
May reach the spot where life's dark waters run;
Yet, when the sun is gone, the splendor dies,
With drooping head the tender flower lies.
And such is life; a golden mist of light,
A tangled web that glitters in the sun;
When shadows come, the glory takes its flight,
The treads are dark and worn, and life is done.
Oh! tears, that chill us like the dews of eve,
Why come unbid--why should we ever grieve?
Why is it, though life hath its leaves of gold,
The book each day some sorrow must unfold!
What human heart with truth can dare to say
No grief is mine--this is a perfect day?
Oh! poet, take your harp of gold and sing,
And all the earth with heavenly music fill!
You may do this, yet song can never bring
One sunbeam back, let song be what it will.
Oh! painter, you can catch the glowing light
That tints the skies before the coming night;
With throbbing heart and upward lifted eyes,
You paint the splendor of the purple skies;
Yet tell me, does your genius hold the key
To life's strange secrets and its mystery?
Oh! life is sad, yet sunshine, too, is there;
We cannot tell what spell the years may weave--
Perchance a song that dies upon the air--
Perhaps a shadow that the sun doth leave.
Amid my treasures once I found
A simple faded flower;
A flower with all its beauty fled,
The darling of an hour.
With bitterness I gazed awhile,
Then flung it from my sight;
For with it all came back to me
the pain and heedless blight.
But, moved with pity and regret
I took it up again;
For oh, so long and wearily
In darkness it had lain.
Ah, purple pansy, once I kissed
Your dewy petals fair;
For then, indeed, I had no thought
Of earthly pain or care.
Your faded petals now I touch
With sacred love and awe;
For never will my heart kneel down
To earthly will or law.
Your velvet beauty still is dear,
Though faded now you seem;
You drooped and died, yet still you are
The symbol of my dream.
Sweet, modest flower, tinged with gold,
A lesson you have said;
Your purple glory, like my love,
Is faded now, and dead.
The Baby's Tear.
A tiny drop of crystal dew
That fell from baby eyes of blue;
A shining treasure, there it lay
For grandma's love to wipe away.
A tear of sorrow, pure and meek
It graced our darling's dimpled cheek;
A gem so fair, that angels smiled
And claimed the treasure undefiled.
A sunbeam came with winsome grace
And chased the shadow from her face;
A smile fell from its wings of light
And baby eyes laughed at the sight.
The wee bright tear was kissed away,
Yet in our hearts its sorrow lay;
For like a shadow came the thought,
With pain and sorrow life is wrought.
Oh, baby heart, what will you do
When life's unrest is given you;
And mother-love no more like this
Each tear can banish with a kiss?
The love you brought, oh, baby dear,
Is like the sunbeam passing near;
A ray of light--a touch of gold
To keep our hearts from growing old.
Then may thy life grow strong and sweet
With mother-love to guide thy feet;
And may the sunbeams ever chase
Each shadow, darling from thy face.
The years are slowly creeping on
Beneath the summer sun;
Yet, still in silent love and peace
Our lives serenely run.
Beyond the mist that veils the coming years
I see no gathering clouds, nor falling tears.
Beside life's river we have stood
And lingered side by side;
Where royal roses bloomed and blushed
And gleamed the lily's pride,
And happily there we've plucked the sweet wild flowers
while heedless passed away the sunny hours.
Irene, thy sunny face is lit
With all the hope of youth;
God grant thy heart may never know
Aught but the purest truth.
Keep in thy soul its faith and trusting love
Until they e'en must bloom in heaven above.
Beside the river still we stay
And swift the hours fly by;
While low upon the fragrant banks
The flowers silent lie.
Yet, far beyond the mist, our longing eyes
Still seek the gleaming walls of paradise.
The splendors of a southern sun
Caress the glowing sky;
O'er crested waves, the colors glance
And gleaming, softly die.
A gentle calm from heaven falls
And weaves a mystic spell;
A glowing grace that charms the soul--
Whose glory none can tell.
Oh, warm sweet treasures of a sun
Of endless fire and love;
Those dying embers are the flames
From heavenly fires above.
Unto the water's edge they creep
And bathe the seas in red;
Then die like shadows on the deep
With glory cold and dead.
A ship--a lone, dark wanderer
Upon the southern seas,
Speeds like a white-faced messenger
Before the dying breeze.
Her masts are tipped with amethyst,
A splendor all untold;
A crimson mantle wraps her round,
Her sails are made of gold.
The light wind dies--she slowly drifts,
Then stops--an idle thing;
While sunset clouds around her prow
A dreamy grandeur fling.
And eyes upon her deck look forth
With looks of longing pain;
A hundred sunsets they would give
Dear home to see again.
But see! a shadow as of night
Spreads o'er the crimson sky;
Like doomed and lifeless forms of earth
The clouds in heaven lie.
A silence falls--the ship stands still,
A fated thing of earth;
Then like a child of sin and wrong
The storm is given birth.
Oh! struggle well ye gallant crew
With storm and wind and wave;
For there are helpless women here
And children, too, to save.
Quick--sailors do your duty well--
And man the life-boats, too;
For soon the rocks will strand the ship,
And pierce her through and through.
See! like a woman turned to stone
A weeping mother stands;
Her heart seems like seems like some frozen thing--
She wrings her trembling hands;
Within her arms she holds a child
With frightened wond'ring eyes;
Below--the waters pitiless--
Above--the angry skies.
Beside her stands a fair young girl
With eyes that flash and quiver;
They are the only ones still left,
These three that moan and shiver.
But soon a voice shouts back the words--
Through all the deaf'ning roar:--
A strong hand grasps the trembling girl,
"There's room for just one more."
"Stay, stay," she cries with whitened face
"Why should I fear to die?
Oh, take this woman by my side,
Nor stay to question why.
She has a dear one 'mongst your crew,
She is a mother, too;
I am alone--I fear not death,
If this you'll only do."
The sailor grasped the mother's hand,
She turned and kissed the maid;
The tears of pity filled her eyes
Yet not one word she said.
The maiden stood with outstretched hands,
All hope indeed was gone;
And yet she stood with fearless heart,
Undaunted and alone.
"Oh, God, the heart that knows your love
Will never need to fear;
A priceless gem lies on my face,
The mother's grateful tear."
The lightnings swept across the ship,
The darkness wrapped her round;
Above the thunder of the storm,
There came no other sound.
The morning broke--the storm had fled,
The wreck was washed away;
And calmly now as yesterday
The sea in splendor lay.
The noble heart that throbbed with life
Lay fathoms deep below:
And what lies buried in that heart
The waves alone can know.
O beautiful woman, too well we know
The terrible weight of thy woman's woe,
So great that the world, in its careless way,
Remembered thy beauty for more than a day.
In the name of the truth from thy brow is torn
The crown of redemption thou long hast worn,
And into the valley of sin thou art hurled
To be trampled anew by the feet of the world.
The beautiful picture is thine no more
That hangs in the palace on Italy's shore;
The tear-stained eyes where the shadow lies,
Like a darksome cloud in the summer skies,
Will tell thy story to men no more,
For all untrue is the tale of yore;
And the far-famed picture that hangs on the wall
Is a painter's fancy--that is all.
Italia's shore is a land of light
Where the sunlight of day drowns the shadows of night;
And the great warm sun with his golden rays
Imprisons the light of eternal days;
But the tale of thy woes is a shadow there
That fills with its horror the perfumed air.
By day and by night in the palace there,
Thy picture has hung with its face so fair;
Beguiling the travelers come from afar
With its sad, sweet grace, like some voiceless star,
Till the hears that shuddered before thy sin
Recalled not the shadow that lay within,
But remembered only with pitying grace
The hopeless grief on the child-like face.
The rosy dawn with its misty light,
Shone fair on thy brow in the morning bright;
And the glittering noon with its rays of gold
Imprisoned thy soul in its jeweled hold.
Oh, fair was the picture at early dawn,
With the matchless beauty that Guido had drawn;
And fair was the face in the noon of gold,
Touched with a glory that never grew old.
But lovelier still in the shadowed eyes
Lay the burning sunset of Italy's skies;
And the beautiful face with its voiceless woe
Grew fair as a saint's in the crimson glow.
No wonder the poets grew wild at the sight,
And sung of thy beauty with mad delight,
Till the fame of the picture spread over the land,
Revealing the touch of its master-hand.
The fair Madonna with saint-like face,
Creation of Raphael's exquisite grace,
Is scarcely more famed than the child-like head
Of thou to whom sorrow forever is wed.
O beautiful woman, the world with its scorn
Will mock at the glory thou long hast worn,
And rend aside in the name of the truth
The veil of mercy that hides thy youth.
But the romance that clings to the wondrous face
Will fall on our hearts with a softened grace,
And the fair young sinner on Italy's shore
Will be loved and pitied forevermore.
Under the Stars.
Under the stars, when the shadows fall,
Under the stars of night;
What is so fair as the jeweled crown
Of the azure skies, when the sun is down,
Beautiful stars of light!
Under the stars, where the daisies lie
Lifeless beneath the snow;
Lovely and pure, they have lived a day,
Silently passing forever away,
Lying so meek and low.
Under the stars in the long-ago--
Under the stars to-night;
Life is the same, with its great unrest
Wearily throbbing within each breast,
Searching for truth and light.
Under the stars as they drift along,
Far in the azure seas;
Beautiful treasures of light and song,
Glad'ning the earth as they glide along,
What is so fair as these?
Under the stars in the quiet night,
Under the stars above;
Sweet is the breath of the evening air,
Spirits of heaven unseen are there,
Weaving a web of love.
Under the stars in the shadowy eve,
Glittering stars of truth;
Beautiful sprays of eternal light,
Laid on the brow of the dusky night,
Blossoms of fadeless youth.
Catching the Sunbeams.
Catching the sunbeams, oh, wee dimpled child,
Gleefully laughing because they are bright;
Knowing, ah! never, my beautiful pet,
Ne'er can our fingers imprison the light.
Beautiful sunshine, oh! fair is the light
Falling on earth from the heavens above;
Beautiful childhood, oh! glad is the sight
Filling the world with its measure of love.
Playing with sunbeams, oh, all of us, pet,
Toy with the treasures, so shining and bright;
Catching the sunshine we never may hold,
Trying like you, to imprison the light.
Sunbeams that glitter and sparkle and shine--
Life is so full of the beautiful light;
Gilding the wings of each fleet-footed day
Only to fade in the shadows of night.
Playing with sunbeams, oh! all of us, pet,
Long for the treasures so shining and glad;
Finding too late that they slip from our hands,
Leaving us heart-sick and weary and sad.
Learning the lessons we never will heed--
Life is so full of the things that we crave;
Catching the sunshine oh, darling, each heart
Longs for the sunbeams till it reaches the grave.
The Soldier's Grave.
[To the memory of Lieut. Wm. W. Wardell, of the First Massachusetts
Cavalry, killed May 28, 1864.]
Above his head the cypress waves
Its dark green drooping leaves;
The sunlight through its branches wide
Where bright birds linger side by side
A golden net-work weaves.
Within the church-yard's silent gloom
He lies in quiet rest;
And never more to cold, pale brow,
Or proud lips mute with silence now
Will loving lips be pressed.
Perhaps even now in death's dark dream
He sees the deadly strife;
Where brothers fought with blinded eyes,
Forgetting all the tender ties
That bound them life to life.
Ah! nobly there he proudly rode
With honest, warm, true heart;
And shrank not from the carnage red,
But bravely thee, among the dead,
He took a soldier's part.
Yet soon his hands fell helplessly,
Low at his trembling side;
For on his brow the death drops rose,
While in his heart the life-blood froze
And died his young life's pride.
The dark brown eyes, whose loving glance
Gave happiness to all,
Have closed their weary lids for aye
Beneath the sunset of life's day,
Where dark'ning shadows fall.
Oh, weary years that still creep on
Adown the sands of Time,
Give back the loving tones of yore,
That haunt us here forever more
As echoing church bell's chime.
And yet it cannot, cannot be
That hearts must ever grieve;
Above his head the shadows fall,
Yet still the sunbeams shine through all
And mystic splendors weave.
And thus upon the grieving heart
That ever weeps for him,
The dark clouds fall, yet God's sweet light
Of faith still onward takes its flight,
Through shadows vast and grim.
Oh! faint heart, with thy clinging grief,
Look upward to the sky;
For there, beyond the weary strife,
Where angels ever guard thy life,
There's One who hears thy cry.
Within the "City of the Dead"
He only lies asleep;
And soon his hand will clasp once more
Thine own as oft he did of your,
With love's pure feeling deep.
Beyond the Sunset are the Hills of God.
Gleaming folds of read and gold linger in the western sky;
Fleecy clouds of purest tint, mingle with the purple dye.
Faintly to the dreamy mind comes the sound of earthly life;
Far beyond the shining banks, cometh rest from worldly strife.
Through the sunset's misty veil, now we look with longing eyes,
To behold more beauteous sight than the evening's glor'ous skies.
Slowly now the red banks part, showing what is hidden there;
Flushing hills of shadowy light, piercing through the dark'ning air.
Like the rainbow's promise clear, God has placed His emblem there,
Giving life and trust to all, love unbounded, rich and rare.
Glimpses of a life beyond come to each faint, weary heart,
And we long for that bright shore where the loved ones ne'er shall
Strange, that souls should still live on, hopeless with their hidden
When, would they but read the skies, heaven and hope would come again.
Though the life be weary spent, evening brings the glory near;
And beyond the sunset's glow, grand the hills of God appear.
Two dark-brown eyes looked into mine
Two eyes with restless quiver;
A gentle hand crept in my own
Beside the gleaming river.
"Ah, sweet," I murmured, passing sad,
You will forget me ever?"
The dear, brown eyes their answer gave;
"I will forget you NEVER."
Up in the leaves above our heads
The winds were softly dying;
Down in the river at our feet
The lilies pale were lying.
The winds their mournful murmur sent:
You will forget me ever?
The lilies raised their drooping heads:
We will forget you never.
A spell hung o'er the numbered hours
That chained each thought and feeling;
My heart was filled with idle dreams
That sent my sense reeling.
Once more I murmured, "Well, I know
You will forget me ever;"
Yet still the same dear promise came,
"I will forget you NEVER."
Ah, vain the words that we must speak,
Though we are still believing;
And subtle are the webs of fate
That love is ever weaving;
The dark brown eyes meet mine no more,
I am forgotten ever;
And mocking memory echoes now,
I will forget you NEVER.
Beside the idle stream I stand,
Where flowers droop and shiver
And cold and dark it seems to me
This dreary, restless river;
For, sweet, your eyes are lost to me,
I am forgotten ever;
And only MEMORY echoes now,
"I will forget you NEVER."
Where is the bard, O river grand and old,
That has thy praises sung, thy beauties told,
In measures lofty as the mighty pride
That lingers in thy deep and flowing tide?
And where the echoing measures low and sweet
That should thine own faint rippling songs repeat?
The eyes of nature ever turned on thee
Watch o'er thy restless wandering to the sea;
The rosy morn awakes thee from thy sleep;
Along thy dusky waves her glances creep,
And o'er the weird dark shadows of the night
She spreads her sunny robes of morning light.
The yellow noon comes too, with fiery eyes,
And all unwept the dewy morning dies;
Thy waters run in waves of rippling gold,
And all the rivers sacred deemed of old
Are not so grand as thee, nor yet so fair.
Amid the mists that fill the evening air
The sun droops low his golden head and dies,
Yet in thy depths his last glance ling'ring lies
and lights it with a royal purple glow;
Anon into a splendor falling low
Of crimson stains and gleams of molten gold
It changes, like great waves of fire rolled
Across the sky.
The moon caresses thee
With rays of silver light as to the sea
Thy dark waves glide; and shadows long and wide
Reflect grim images within thy tide.
Pale stars that wander through the trackless skies
All night, glance in thy depths with glowing eyes,
And like a stream of silver flecked with gold
Thy waters run.
O river, proud and old,
From snow-bound shores thy dark waves loosened run
To mingle with the waters of the sun;
And lo! from North and South, from East and West,
Companions come to aid thee in thy quest.
Along thy shores great cities stately stand,
Sprung up beneath thy kindly welcoming hand;
Proud commerce lives upon thy sweeping tide
And palaces upon thy bosom glide.
O Mississippi, monarch of the West,
What daring hand can quell thy proud unrest?
What human pen can paint thee as thou art,
The loved, the pride of every free-born heart?
Thou symbol of a nation strong and free,
Whose throne is on the land and on the sea!
What power is thine, what might is unto thee!
Though men shall die, thy waters still will be.
The Prince Imperial.
Under the cross in the Southern skies,
Where the beautiful night like a shadow lies,
A fair young life went out in the light
To wake no more in the star-crowned night.
Beautiful visions of life were his,
Visions of triumph and fame;
Longing for glory that he might be
Worthy to wear his name.
Brave was his heart as he sailed away
Under the Northern sky;
Leaving behind him all that he loved--
Stilling his heart's wild cry.
Proudly his mother, with royal pride,
Stifled her last regret;
Steeling her heart--but her dream was in vain
For the star of his race was set.
Surely the moon as he slept at night
Whispered his doom on high;
Surely the waves in their rocky beds
Mourned as he passed them by.
For never again in the dusky night
Would the prince go sailing by;
Weaving his dreams with a boyish pride
Under the shadowy sky.
Silent and cold in the morn he lay,
Slain by a ruthless hand!
Never to wake with his fearless eyes--
Never again to command.
Imperial mother--too well we know
The speechless depths of her awful woe;
For the bright young life into Eternity hurled
Was her only like to a sad, dark world.
But mothers kneel in the silent night
To whisper a prayer to the Throne of Light,
For the beautiful woman whose head lies low,
Crushed 'neath the weight of its crown of woe.
From sun to shadow her life has swayed
Like some wild rose in a mountain glade;
But the storms have won, and the blossom lies
Forever broken--no more to rise.
On the Lake.
There's a beautiful lake where the sun lies low,
And the skies are warm with their summer glow;
And a beautiful picture there I see
Where the winds are warm and the waves are free,
And the waves lie still in the sun
As the flowers at night, when the day is done.
You may sing of your silvery seas by night
When the moon looks down with a dreamy light;
And the stars shine out in the skies above
Like the warm sweet gaze of the eyes of love;
But the glow on the lake to-day
Is a glory that never will fade away.
The beautiful lake is a sea of gold
And the beauty it wears will never grow old;
The trees bend down in the sun's warm glow
Till their branches meet in the waves below,
And the clouds in the far-off skies
Are mirrored anew where the sunlight lies.
I love to float where the shadows lie
'Neath the matchless glow of the summer sky;
And I love to dream that these waves of light
Will never fade in the gloomy night:
But I know that the things I love
Are as far from my reach as the clouds above.
Oh, the beautiful lake is a sea of gold
And the beauty it wears will never grow old;
The cloudlets of Heaven are mirrored there
In a golden splendor so bright and fair
That the soul is dazzled for aye
By the beautiful light of this summer's day.
Oh, I love to dream when this life is o'er
We shall moor our boats near the golden shore;
And our sorrows shall drift from us far away
As the leaves that float in their idle play,
And the waves shall smile in the sun
When the night is over and life is done.
Beyond yon dim old mountain's shadowy height,
The restless sun droops low his grand old face;
While downward sweeps the trembling veil of night,
To hide the earth; the frost king's filmy lace
Rests on the mountain's hoary snow-crowned head,
And adds to it a softened grace; the light
Which dies afar in faint and fading red
In purple shadows circles near.
Of birds across the vast and silent plains
Awakes the echoes of the sleeping earth;
Of all the summer beauty naught remains,
There come no tidings of the spring's glad birth.
Beyond the valley and far-off height
The birds in wandering do take their way;
Ah, whither is their strange and trackless flight
Amid the dying embers of the day;
Into the clouds that seek to veil the sun
They seem to float on strange bright wings of fire;
Beyond the shades that tell us day is done
They soar on spirit wings that never tire.
Ah, strange, strange mysteries indeed are these;
To watch the sunlight fade and die away,
To hear the whispering of the dark pine trees,
To see the deepening shadows 'round us play,
And then to feel that all that 'round us lies
Is e'en beyond the knowledge of the soul.
We seek to grasp the truth, it quickly flies
And leaves us full of doubt.
Around us roll
The spheres that light the way to heaven's shore,
And soon their lights will brighten all the sky;
And yet we dare not read their mystic lore
But only stand and wait and wonder why,
Beyond, beyond in deep mysterious space
They wander through the darkness all the night,
Each one within its own allotted place.
The stars' dim course, the birds' lone dreamy flight,
Will ever fill our souls with doubt and fear.
We walk upon life's unknown shadowy shore
With wandering steps, while through the heavens clear
The stars their music sing forevermore.
Sweet summer queen, with trailing robe of green,
What spell has thou to bind the heart to thee?
Thy throne is built upon the sun-lit sea,
Where break the waves in clouds of silver sheen
And oft at dawn like some resplendent queen,
Thou sittest on the hills in majesty;
And all the flowers wake at thy decree.
But now farewell to all thy joys serene;
The autumn comes with swift-winged, silent flight,
And he will woo thee with his fiery breath;
In crimson robes and hues of flashing gold
He'll clothe thee, and thy beauty in the night
Will take a richer glow. But wintry death
Will come and wrap thee in his fold.
Under the Sea.
Under the sea, the great wide sea
That sweeps the golden shore;
What treasures lie beneath the waves
Ask of the winds, the sobbing winds
That toss the waves on high;
And fling the burden of their song
Unto the sky.
Ask of the stars, the jeweled stars
That sleep within the tide;
Like golden lilies floating far,
And swinging wide.
Ask of the clouds that drift at noon
In fadeless seas of blue,
And looking down see skies beneath
Of deeper hue.
Up in the sky, the golden clouds
Will never make reply;
Deep in the sea, the jeweled stars
In silence lie.
Under the sea, the great wide sea
That sweeps the golden shore,
Are secrets hidden from us now
The Old Year and the New.
Low at my feet there lies to-night
A crushed and withered rose;
Within its heart of fading red
No crimson fire glows;
For o'er its leaves the frost of death
Steals like an icy breath;
And soon 't will vanish from my sight,
A thing of gloom and death.
Ah! beauteous flower, once thou wert
My pleasure and my pride;
And now when thou art old and worn
I will not turn aside;
But gently o'er thy faded leaves
I'll shed one kindly tear;
That thou wilt know, though dead and gone,
To memory thou art dear.
Before my gaze there lies to-night
A rose-bud fresh and fair;
And like the breath of dewy morn
Its fragrance scents the air.
This fragile flower I fain would pluck
With hand most kind yet bold;
And watch its petals day by day
Their shining wealth unfold.
And soon 'twill be my very own
To keep forevermore:
This flower that bloomed for me alone
Upon a heavenly shore.
God grant my hands may guard it well
And keep it pure and fair;
For angel hands have gathered it
And placed it in my care.
Then fare thee well, thou dying year,
Thou art my withered rose;
And on the stem where once thou wert,
Another flower grows;
Yet fear thee not, when thou are dead,
To thee I'll still be true;
And 'mid the joys of other years
I still will think of you.
Let all the flowers wake to life;
Let all the songsters sing;
Let everything that lives on earth
Become a joyous thing.
Wake up, thou pansy, purple-eyed,
And greet the dewy spring;
Swell out, ye buds, and o'er the earth
Thy sweetest fragrance fling.
Why dost thou sleep, sweet violet?
The earth has need of thee;
Wake up and catch the melody
That sounds from sea to sea.
Ye stars, that dwell in noonday skies,
Shine on, though all unseen;
The great White Throne lies just beyond,
The stars are all between.
Ring out, ye bells, sweet Easter bells,
And ring the glory in;
Ring out the sorrow, born of earth--
Ring out the stains of sin.
O banners wide, that sweep the sky,
Unfurl ye to the sun;
And gently wave about the graves
Of those whose lives are done.
Let peace be in the hearts that mourn--
Let "Rest" be in the grave;
The Hand that swept these lives away
Hath power alone to save.
Ring out, ye bells, sweet Easter bells,
And ring the glory in;
Ring out the sorrow, born of earth--
Ring out the stains of sin.
The world is full of gems to-day,
The world is full of love;
The earth is strewn with star-gemmed flowers
That fall from skies above.
The sunshine is a stream of gold
That flows from flower to flower;
The shadows are but passing thoughts
That mark each shining hour.
The pansy nods her purple head,
And sings a silent song;
Her life is full of sunny hours--
The days are never long.
The rose uplifts her sun-crowned head;
She is the queen of love;
Her eyes behold the hidden stars
That glow in skies above.
There is a fragrance in the air,
A glory in the sky;
Oh, who would sigh for other days,
Or grieve for things gone by?
Oh, what is so pure as the glad summer rain,
That falls on the grass where the sunlight has lain?
And what is so fair as the flowers that lie
All bathed in the tears of the soft summer sky?
The blue of the heavens is dimmed by the rain
That wears away sorrow and washes out pain;
But we know that the flowers we cherish would die
Were it not for the tears of the cloud-laden sky.
The rose is the sweeter when kissed by the rain,
And hearts are the dearer where sorrow has lain;
The sky is the fairer that rain-clouds have swept,
And no eyes are so bright as the eyes that have wept.
Oh, they are so happy, these flowers that die,
They laugh in the sunshine, oh, why cannot I?
They droop in the shadow, they smile in the sun,
Yet they die in the winter when summer is done.
The lily is lovely, and fragrant her breath,
But the beauty she wears is the emblem of death;
The rain is so fair as it falls on the flowers,
But the clouds are the shadows of sunnier hours.
Why laugh in the sunshine, why smile in the rain?
The world is a shadow and life is a pain;
Why live in the summer, why dream in the sun,
To die in the winter, when summer is done?
Oh, there is the truth that each life underlies,
That baffles the poets and sages so wise;
Ah! there is the bitter that lies in the sweet
As we gather the roses that bloom at our feet.
Oh, flowers forgive me, I'm willful to-day,
Oh, take back the lesson you gave me I pray;
For I slept in the sunshine, I woke in the rain
And it banished forever my sorrow and pain.
Oh, soon the forests all will boast
A crown of red and gold;
A purple haze will circle round
The mountains dim and old;
Afar the hills, now green and fair,
Their sombre robes will wear;
A mist-like veil will dim the sun
And linger on the air.
Already seems the earth half sad
The summer-child is dead;
And who can tell the dreams gone by,
The tales of life unsaid?
September is a glowing time;
A month of happy hours;
Yet in its crimson heart lies hid
The frost that kills the flowers.
Life, too, may feel the glory near
And wear its crown of gold;
Yet are the snows not nearest then?
Are hearts not growing old?
September is the prime of life,
The glory of the year;
Yet when the leaves begin to fall
The winter must be near.
I would not ask thee back, fair May,
With all your bright-eyed flowers;
Nor would I welcome April days
With all their laughing showers;
For each bright season of the year
Can claim its own sweet pleasures;
And we must take them as they come--
These gladly-given treasures.
There's music in the rain that falls
In bright October weather;
And we must learn to love them both--
The sun and rain together.
A mist is 'round the mountain-tops
Of gold-encircled splendor;
A dreamy spell is in the air
Of beauty sad and tender.
The winter hath not wooed her yet,
This fair October maiden;
And she is free to wander still
With fruits and flowers laden.
She shakes the dew-drops from her hair
In one swift, golden shower;
And all the woods are filled with light
That gilds each autumn flower.
But soon the frost-king's icy breath
Will chill her laughing beauty;
And she will waken in the dusk
Unto a sterner duty.
Ah! life is full of days like these,
Of days too bright to perish;
Yet death, like winter, claims too oft
The things we most would cherish.
There was a sound of music low--
An undertone of laughter;
The song was done, and can't you guess
The words that followed after?
Like autumn leaves sometimes they fall--
The words that burn and falter;
And is it true they too must fade
Upon Love's sacred alter?
From memory each one of us
Can cull some sweetest treasure;
Yet golden days, like golden leaves,
Give pain as well as pleasure.
There was a sound of music low--
An undertone of laughter:
The sun was gone--yet heaven knew
The stars that followed after.
O crimson-tined flowers
That live when others die,
What thoughtless hand unloving
Could ever pass you by?
You are the last bright blossoms,
The summer's after-glow,
When all her early children
Have faded long ago.
Sweet golden-rod and xenia
And crimson marigold,
What dreams of autumn splendor
Your velvet leaves unfold.
Long, long ago the violets
Have closed their sweet blue eyes,
And lain with pale, dead faces
Beneath the summer skies.
And on their graves you blossom
With leaves of gold and red,
And yet--how soon forever
Your beauty will be fled.
The frost will come to kill you
The snows will wrap you round;
And you will sleep forgotten
Upon the frozen ground.
Your tints are like the beauty
The sunlight leaves behind,
And deep and full of sadness
The thoughts you bring to mind.
Dear memories of the summer!
Sweet tokens of the past!
You are the fairest flowers
Because you are the last.