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Poems by Denis Florence MacCarthy

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Quick his step, but quicker sending his herald thoughts before;
By rocks and streams before him, proud and hopeful on he bore him;
One star was shining o'er him--in his heart of hearts two more--
And two other eyes, far brighter than a human head e'er wore,
Unseen were shining o'er.

These eyes are not of woman, no brightness merely human
Could, planet-like, illumine the place in which they shone;
But Nature's bright works vary--there are beings light and airy,
Whom mortal lips call fairy, and Una she is one--
Sweet sisters of the moonbeams and daughters of the sun,
Who along the curling cool waves run.

As summer lightning dances amid the heavens' expanses,
Thus shone the burning glances of those flashing fairy eyes;
Three splendours there were shining, three passions intertwining,
Despair and hope combining their deep-contrasted dyes,
With jealousy's green lustre, as troubled ocean vies
With the blue of summer skies!

She was a fairy creature, of heavenly form and feature,
Not Venus' self could teach her a newer, sweeter grace,
Not Venus' self could lend her an eye so dark and tender,
Half softness and half splendour, as lit her lily face;
And as the choral planets move harmonious throughout space,
There was music in her pace.

But when at times she started, and her blushing lips were parted,
And a pearly lustre darted from her teeth so ivory white,
You'd think you saw the gliding of two rosy clouds dividing,
And the crescent they were hiding gleam forth upon your sight
Through these lips, as though the portals of a heaven pure and bright,
Came a breathing of delight!

Though many an elf-king loved her, and elf-dames grave reproved her,
The hunter's daring moved her more wildly every hour;
Unseen she roamed beside him, to guard him and to guide him,
But now she must divide him from her human rival's power.
Ah! Alice!--gentle Alice! the storm begins to lower
That may crush Glengariff's flower!

The moon, that late was gleaming, as calm as childhood's dreaming,
Is hid, and, wildly screaming, the stormy winds arise;
And the clouds flee quick and faster before their sullen master,
And the shadows of disaster are falling from the skies;
Strange sights and sounds are rising--but, Maurice, be thou wise,
Nor heed the tempting cries.

If ever mortal needed that council, surely he did;
But the wile has now succeeded--he wanders from his path;
The cloud its lightning sendeth, and its bolt the stout oak rendeth,
And the arbutus back bendeth in the whirlwind, as a lath!
Now and then the moon looks out, but, alas! its pale face hath
A dreadful look of wrath.

In vain his strength he squanders--at each step he wider wanders--
Now he pauses--now he ponders where his present path may lead;
And, as he round is gazing, he sees--a sight amazing--
Beneath him, calmly grazing, a noble jet-black steed.
"Now, heaven be praised!" cried Maurice, "for this succour in my need--
From this labyrinth I'm freed!"

Upon its back he leapeth, but a shudder through him creepeth,
As the mighty monster sweepeth like a torrent through the dell;
His mane, so softly flowing, is now a meteor blowing,
And his burning eyes are glowing with the light of an inward hell;
And the red breath of his nostrils, like steam where the lightning fell;
And his hoofs have a thunder knell!

What words have we for painting the momentary fainting
That the rider's heart is tainting, as decay doth taint a corse?
But who will stoop to chiding, in a fancied courage priding,
When we know that he is riding the fearful Phooka Horse?[101]
Ah! his heart beats quick and faster than the smitings of remorse
As he sweepeth through the wild grass and gorse!

As the avalanche comes crashing, 'mid the scattered streamlets
Thus backward wildly dashing flew the horse through Ceim-an-eich--
Through that glen so wide and narrow back he darted like an arrow--
Round, round by Gougane Barra, and the fountains of the Lee;
O'er the Giant's Grave he leapeth, and he seems to own in fee
The mountains, and the rivers, and the sea!

From his flashing hoofs who shall lock the eagle homes of Malloc,
When he bounds, as bounds the Mialloch[102] in its wild and murmuring
But as winter leadeth Flora, or the night leads on Aurora,
Or as shines green Glashenglora[103] along the black hill's side,
Thus, beside that demon monster, white and gentle as a bride,
A tender fawn is seen to glide.

It is the fawn that fled him, and that late to Alice led him,
But now it does not dread him, as it feigned to do before,
When down the mountain gliding, in that sheltered meadow hiding,
It left his heart abiding by wild Glengariff's shore:
For it was a gentle fairy who the fawn's light form thus wore,
And who watched sweet Alice o'er.

But the steed is backward prancing where late it was advancing,
And his flashing eyes are glancing, like the sun upon Lough Foyle;
The hardest granite crushing, through the thickest brambles brushing,
Now like a shadow rushing up the sides of Slieve-na-goil!
And the fawn beside him gliding o'er the rough and broken soil,
Without fear and without toil.

Through woods, the sweet birds' leaf home, he rusheth to the sea foam,
Long, long the fairies' chief home, when the summer nights are cool,
And the blue sea, like a syren, with its waves the steed environ,
Which hiss like furnace iron when plunged within a pool,
Then along among the islands where the water nymphs bear rule,
Through the bay to Adragool.

Now he rises o'er Berehaven, where he hangeth like a raven--
Ah! Maurice, though no craven, how terrible for thee
To see the misty shading of the mighty mountains fading,
And thy winged fire-steed wading through the clouds as through a sea!
Now he feels the earth beneath him--he is loosen'd--he is free,
And asleep in Ceim-an-eich.

Away the wild steed leapeth, while his rider calmly sleepeth
Beneath a rock which keepeth the entrance to the glen,
Which standeth like a castle, where are dwelling lord and vassal,
Where within are wind and wassail, and without are warrior men;
But save the sleeping Maurice, this castle cliff had then
No mortal denizen![104]

Now Maurice is awaking, for the solid earth is shaking,
And a sunny light is breaking through the slowly opening stone
And a fair page at the portal crieth, "Welcome, welcome! mortal,
Leave thy world (at best a short ill), for the pleasant world we own:
There are joys by thee untasted, there are glories yet unknown--
Come kneel at Una's throne."

With a sullen sound of thunder, the great rock falls asunder,
He looks around in wonder, and with ravishment awhile,
For the air his sense is chaining, with as exquisite a paining
As when summer clouds are raining o'er a flowery Indian isle;
And the faces that surround him, oh! how exquisite their smile,
So free of mortal care and guile.

These forms, oh! they are finer--these faces are diviner
Than, Phidias, even thine are, with all thy magic art;
For beyond an artist's guessing, and beyond a bard's expressing,
Is the face that truth is dressing with the feelings of the heart;
Two worlds are there together--earth and heaven have each a part--
And of such, divinest Una, thou art!

And then the dazzling lustre of the hall in which they muster--
Where the brightest diamonds cluster on the flashing walls around;
And the flying and advancing, and the sighing and the glancing.
And the music and the dancing on the flower-inwoven ground,
And the laughing and the feasting, and the quaffing and the sound,
In which their voices all are drowned.

But the murmur now is hushing--there's a pushing and a rushing,
There's a crowding and a crushing, through that golden, fairy place,
Where a snowy veil is lifting, like the slow and silent shifting
Of a shining vapour drifting across the moon's pale face--
For there sits gentle Una, fairest queen of fairy race,
In her beauty, and her majesty, and grace.

The moon by stars attended, on her pearly throne ascended,
Is not more purely splendid than this fairy-girted queen;
And when her lips had spoken, 'mid the charmed silence broken,
You'd think you had awoken in some bright Elysian scene;
For her voice than the lark's was sweeter, that sings in joy between
The heavens and the meadows green.

But her cheeks--ah! what are roses?--what are clouds where eve
What are hues that dawn discloses?--to the blushes spreading there;
And what the sparkling motion of a star within the ocean,
To the crystal soft emotion that her lustrous dark eyes wear?
And the tresses of a moonless and a starless night are fair
To the blackness of her raven hair.

Ah! mortal hearts have panted for what to thee is granted--
To see the halls enchanted of the spirit world revealed;
And yet no glimpse assuages the feverish doubt that rages
In the hearts of bards and sages wherewith they may be healed;
For this have pilgrims wandered--for this have votaries kneeled--
For this, too, has blood bedewed the field.

"And now that thou beholdest what the wisest and the oldest,
What the bravest and the boldest, have never yet descried,
Wilt thou come and share our being, be a part of what thou'rt seeing,
And flee, as we are fleeing, through the boundless ether wide?
Or along the silver ocean, or down deep where pale pearls hide?
And I, who am a queen, will be thy bride.

"As an essence thou wilt enter the world's mysterious centre,"
And then the fairy bent her, imploring to the youth--
"Thou'lt be free of Death's cold ghastness, and, with a comet's
Thou canst wander through the vastness to the Paradise of Truth,
Each day a new joy bringing, which will never leave in sooth
The slightest stain of weariness and ruth."

As he listened to the speaker, his heart grew weak and weaker--
Ah! Memory, go seek her, that maiden by the wave,
Who with terror and amazement is looking from her casement,
Where the billows at the basement of her nestled cottage rave,
At the moon which struggles onward through the tempest, like the brave,
And which sinks within the clouds as in a grave.

All maidens will abhor us, and it's very painful for us
To tell how faithless Maurice forgot his plighted vow:
He thinks not of the breaking of the heart he late was seeking,
He but listens to her speaking, and but gazes on her brow;
And his heart has all consented, and his lips are ready now
With the awful and irrevocable vow.

While the word is there abiding, lo! the crowd is now dividing,
And, with sweet and gentle gliding, in before him came a fawn;
It was the same that fled him, and that seemed so much to dread him,
When it down in triumph led him to Glengariff's grassy lawn,
When, from rock to rock descending, to sweet Alice he was drawn,
As through Ceim-an-eich he hunted from the dawn.

The magic chain is broken--no fairy vow is spoken--
From his trance he hath awoken, and once again is free;
And gone is Una's palace, and vain the wild steed's malice,
And again to gentle Alice down he wends through Ceim-an-eich:
The moon is calmly shining over mountain, stream, and tree,
And the yellow sea-plants glisten through the sea.

The sun his gold is flinging, the happy birds are singing,
And bells are gaily ringing along Glengariff's sea;
And crowds in many a galley to the happy marriage rally
Of the maiden of the valley and the youth of Ceim-an-eich;
Old eyes with joy are weeping, as all ask on bended knee
A blessing, gentle Alice, upon thee!

99. The pass of Keim-an-eigh (the path of the deer) lies to the
south-west of Inchageela, in the direction of Bantry Bay.

100. The lusmore (or fairy cap), literally the great herb, 'Digitalis

101. The Phooka is described as belonging to the malignant class of
fairy beings, and he is as wild and capricious in his character as he is
changeable in his form. At one time an eagle or an 'ignis fatuus,' at
another a horse or a bull, while occasionally he figures as a compound
of the calf and goat. When he assumes the form of a horse, his great
object, according to a recent writer, seems to be to obtain a rider, and
then he is in his most malignant glory.--See Croker's "Fairy Legends."

102. Mialloch, "the murmuring river" at Glengariff.--Smith's "Cork."

103. Glashenglora, a mountain torrent, which finds its way into
the Atlantic Ocean through Glengariff, in the west of the county of
Cork. The name, literally translated, signifies "the noisy green
water."--Barry's "Songs of Ireland," p. 173.

104. There is a great square rock, literally resembling the description
in the text, which stands near the Glengariff entrance to the pass of

National Poems and Songs.


God bade the sun with golden step sublime,
He whispered in the listening ear of Time,
He bade the guiding spirits of the stars,
With lightning speed, in silver shining cars,
Along the bright floor of his azure hall,
Sun, stars, and time obey the voice, and all

The river at its bubbling fountain cries,
The clouds proclaim, like heralds through the skies,
Throughout the world the mighty Master's laws
Allow not one brief moment's idle pause;
The earth is full of life, the swelling seeds
And summer hours, like flowery harnessed steeds,

To man's most wondrous hand the same voice cried,
Go clear the woods, and o'er the bounding tide
Go draw the marble from its secret bed,
And make the cedar bend its giant head;
Let domes and columns through the wondering air
The world, O man! is thine; but, wouldst thou share,

Unto the soul of man the same voice spoke,
From out the chaos, thunder-like, it broke,
Go track the comet in its wheeling race,
And drag the lightning from its hiding-place;
From out the night of ignorance and fears,
For Love and Hope, borne by the coming years,

All heard, and some obeyed the great command,
It passed along from listening land to land,
The strong grew stronger, and the weak grew strong,
As passed the war-cry of the world along--
Awake, ye nations, know your powers and rights--
Through hope and work to Freedom's new delights,

Knowledge came down and waved her steady torch,
Sages proclaimed 'neath many a marble porch,
As rapid lightning leaps from peak to peak,
The Gaul, the Goth, the Roman, and the Greek,
The painted Briton caught the wing`ed word,
And earth grew young, and carolled as a bird,

O Ireland! oh, my country, wilt thou not
Wilt thou not share the world's progressive lot?--
Must seasons change, and countless years roll on,
And thou remain a darksome Ajalon?
And never see the crescent moon of Hope
'Tis time thine heart and eye had wider scope--

Dear brothers, wake! look up! be firm! be strong
From out the starless night of fraud and wrong
The chains have fall'n from off thy wasted hands,
And every man a seeming freedman stands;--
But, ah! 'tis in the soul that freedom dwells,--
Proclaim that there thou wearest no manacles;--

Advance! thou must advance or perish now;--
Advance! Why live with wasted heart and brow?--
Advance! or sink at once into the grave;
Be bravely free or artfully a slave!
Why fret thy master, if thou must have one?
Advance three steps, the glorious work is done;--

The first is COURAGE--'tis a giant stride!--
With bounding step up Freedom's rugged side
KNOWLEDGE will lead thee to the dazzling heights,
TOLERANCE will teach and guard thy brother's rights.
Faint not! for thee a pitying Future waits--
Be wise, be just, with will as fixed as Fate's,--


Bless the dear old verdant land,
Brother, wert thou born of it?
As thy shadow life doth stand,
Twining round its rosy band,
Did an Irish mother's hand
Guide thee in the morn of it?
Did thy father's soft command
Teach thee love or scorn of it?

Thou who tread'st its fertile breast,
Dost thou feel a glow for it?
Thou, of all its charms possest,
Living on its first and best,
Art thou but a thankless guest,
Or a traitor foe for it?
If thou lovest, where the test?
Wouldst thou strike a blow for it?

Has the past no goading sting
That can make thee rouse for it?
Does thy land's reviving spring,
Full of buds and blossoming,
Fail to make thy cold heart cling,
Breathing lover's vows for it?
With the circling ocean's ring
Thou wert made a spouse for it!

Hast thou kept, as thou shouldst keep,
Thy affections warm for it,
Letting no cold feeling creep,
Like the ice breath o'er the deep,
Freezing to a stony sleep
Hopes the heart would form for it--
Glories that like rainbows weep
Through the darkening storm for it?

What we seek is Nature's right--
Freedom and the aids of it;--
Freedom for the mind's strong flight
Seeking glorious shapes star-bright
Through the world's intensest night,
When the sunshine fades of it!
Truth is one, and so is light,
Yet how many shades of it!

A mirror every heart doth wear,
For heavenly shapes to shine in it;
If dim the glass or dark the air,
That Truth, the beautiful and fair,
God's glorious image, shines not there,
Or shines with nought divine in it:
A sightless lion in its lair,
The darkened soul must pine in it!

Son of this old, down-trodden land,
Then aid us in the fight for it;
We seek to make it great and grand,
Its shipless bays, its naked strand,
By canvas-swelling breezes fanned.
Oh! what a glorious sight for it!
The past expiring like a brand,
In morning's rosy light for it!

Think that this dear old land is thine,
And thou a traitor slave of it;
Think how the Switzer leads his kine,
When pale the evening star doth shine,
His song has home in every line,
Freedom in every stave of it!
Think how the German loves his Rhine,
And worships every wave of it!

Our own dear land is bright as theirs,
But, oh! our hearts are cold for it;
Awake! we are not slaves but heirs;
Our fatherland requires our cares,
Our work with man, with God our prayers.
Spurn blood-stained Judas-gold for it,
Let us do all that honour dares--
Be earnest, faithful, bold for it!


Come! Liberty, come! we are ripe for thy coming--
Come freshen the hearts where thy rival has trod--
Come, richest and rarest!--come, purest and fairest!--
Come, daughter of Science!--come, gift of the God!

Long, long have we sighed for thee, coyest of maidens--
Long, long have we worshipped thee, queen of the brave!
Steadily sought for thee, readily fought for thee,
Purpled the scaffold and glutted the grave!

On went the fight through the cycle of ages,
Never our battle-cry ceasing the while;
Forward, ye valiant ones! onward, battalioned ones!
Strike for your Erin, your own darling isle!

Still in the ranks are we, struggling with eagerness,
Still in the battle for Freedom are we!
Words may avail in it--swords if they fail in it,
What matters the weapon, if only we're free?

Oh! we are pledged in the face of the universe,
Never to falter and never to swerve;
Toil for it!--bleed for it!--if there be need for it,
Stretch every sinew and strain every nerve!

Traitors and cowards our names shall be ever,
If for a moment we turn from the chase;
For ages exhibited, scoffed at, and gibbeted,
As emblems of all that was servile and base!

Irishmen! Irishmen! think what is Liberty,
Fountain of all that is valued and dear,
Peace and security, knowledge and purity,
Hope for hereafter and happiness here.

Nourish it, treasure it deep in your inner heart--
Think of it ever by night and by day;
Pray for it!--sigh for it!--work for it!--die for it!--
What is this life and dear freedom away?

List! scarce a sound can be heard in our thoroughfares--
Look! scarce a ship can be seen on our streams;
Heart-crushed and desolate, spell-bound, irresolute,
Ireland but lives in the bygone of dreams!

Irishmen! if we be true to our promises,
Nerving our souls for more fortunate hours,
Life's choicest blessings, love's fond caressings,
Peace, home, and happiness, all shall be ours!


I dreamt a dream, a dazzling dream, of a green isle far away,
Where the glowing West to the ocean's breast calleth the dying day;
And that island green was as fair a scene as ever man's eye did see,
With its chieftains bold and its temples old, and its homes and its
altars free!
No foreign foe did that green isle know, no stranger band it bore,
Save the merchant train from sunny Spain, and from Afric's golden shore!
And the young man's heart would fondly start, and the old man's eye
would smile,
As their thoughts would roam o'er the ocean foam to that lone and "holy

Years passed by, and the orient sky blazed with a newborn light,
And Bethlehem's star shone bright afar o'er the lost world's darksome
And the diamond shrines from plundered mines, and the golden fanes of
Melted away in the blaze of day at the simple spellword--Love!
The light serene o'er that island green played with its saving beams,
And the fires of Baal waxed dim and pale like the stars in the morning
And 'twas joy to hear, in the bright air clear, from out each sunny
The tinkling bell, from the quiet cell, or the cloister's tranquil

A cloud of night o'er that dream so bright soon with its dark wing came,
And the happy scene of that island green was lost in blood and shame;
For its kings unjust betrayed their trust, and its queens, though fair,
were frail,
And a robber band, from a stranger land, with their war-whoops filled
the gale;
A fatal spell on that green isle fell, a shadow of death and gloom
Passed withering o'er, from shore to shore, like the breath of the foul
And each green hill's side was crimson dyed, and each stream rolled red
and wild,
With the mingled blood of the brave and good--of mother and maid and

Dark was my dream, though many a gleam of hope through that black night
Like a star's bright form through a whistling storm, or the moon through
a midnight oak!
And many a time, with its wings sublime, and its robes of saffron light,
Would the morning rise on the eastern skies, but to vanish again in
For, in abject prayer, the people there still raised their fettered
When the sense of right and the power to smite are the spirit that
For those who would sneer at the mourner's tear, and heed not the
suppliant's sigh,
Would bow in awe to that first great law, a banded nation's cry!

At length arose o'er that isle of woes a dawn with a steadier smile,
And in happy hour a voice of power awoke the slumbering isle!
And the people all obeyed the call of their chief's unsceptred hand,
Vowing to raise, as in ancient days, the name of their own dear land!
My dream grew bright as the sunbeam's light, as I watched that isle's
Through the varied scene and the joys serene of many a future year;
And, oh! what a thrill did my bosom fill as I gazed on a pillared pile,
Where a senate once more in power watched o'er the rights of that lone
green isle!


Man of Ireland, heir of sorrow,
Wronged, insulted, scorned, oppressed,
Wilt thou never see that morrow
When thy weary heart may rest?
Lift thine eyes, thou outraged creature;
Nay, look up, for man thou art,
Man in form, and frame, and feature,
Why not act man's god-like part?

Think, reflect, inquire, examine,
Is it for this God gave you birth--
With the spectre look of famine,
Thus to creep along the earth?
Does this world contain no treasures
Fit for thee, as man, to wear?--
Does this life abound in pleasures,
And thou askest not to share?

Look! the nations are awaking,
Every chain that bound them burst!
At the crystal fountains slaking
With parched lips their fever thirst!
Ignorance the demon, fleeing,
Leaves unlocked the fount they sip;
Wilt thou not, thou wretched being,
Stoop and cool thy burning lip?

History's lessons, if thou'lt read 'em,
All proclaim this truth to thee:
Knowledge is the price of freedom,
Know thyself, and thou art free!
Know, O man! thy proud vocation,
Stand erect, with calm, clear brow--
Happy! happy were our nation,
If thou hadst that knowledge now!

Know thy wretched, sad condition,
Know the ills that keep thee so;
Knowledge is the sole physician,
Thou wert healed if thou didst know!
Those who crush, and scorn, and slight thee,
Those to whom thou once wouldst kneel,
Were the foremost then to right thee,
Didst thou but feel as thou shouldst feel!

Not as beggars lowly bending,
Not in sighs, and groans, and tears,
But a voice of thunder sending
Through thy tyrant brother's ears!
Tell him he is not thy master,
Tell him of man's common lot,
Feel life has but one disaster,
To be a slave, and know it not!

Didst but prize what knowledge giveth,
Didst but know how blest is he
Who in Freedom's presence liveth,
Thou wouldst die, or else be free!
Round about he looks in gladness,
Joys in heaven, and earth, and sea,
Scarcely heaves a sigh of sadness,
Save in thoughts of such as thee!


Oh! the orator's voice is a mighty power,
As it echoes from shore to shore,
And the fearless pen has more sway o'er men
Than the murderous cannon's roar!
What burst the chain far over the main,
And brighten'd the captive's den?
'Twas the fearless pen and the voice of power,
Hurrah! for the Voice and Pen!
Hurrah! for the Voice and Pen!

The tyrant knaves who deny man's rights,
And the cowards who blanch with fear,
Exclaim with glee: "No arms have ye,
Nor cannon, nor sword, nor spear!
Your hills are ours--with our forts and towers
We are masters of mount and glen!"
Tyrants, beware! for the arms we bear
Are the Voice and the fearless Pen!
Hurrah! for the Voice and Pen!

Though your horsemen stand with their bridles in hand,
And your sentinels walk around!
Though your matches flare in the midnight air,
And your brazen trumpets sound!
Oh! the orator's tongue shall be heard among
These listening warrior men;
And they'll quickly say: "Why should we slay
Our friends of the Voice and Pen?"
Hurrah! for the Voice and Pen!

When the Lord created the earth and sea,
The stars and the glorious sun,
The Godhead spoke, and the universe woke
And the mighty work was done!
Let a word be flung from the orator's tongue,
Or a drop from the fearless pen,
And the chains accursed asunder burst
That fettered the minds of men!
Hurrah! for the Voice and Pen!

Oh! these are the swords with which we fight,
The arms in which we trust,
Which no tyrant hand will dare to brand,
Which time cannot dim or rust!
When these we bore we triumphed before,
With these we'll triumph again!
And the world will say no power can stay
The Voice and the fearless Pen!
Hurrah! for the Voice and Pen!


Oh! thou whom sacred duty hither calls,
Some glorious hours in freedom's cause to dwell,
Read the mute lesson on thy prison walls,
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well."

If haply thou art one of genius vast,
Of generous heart, of mind sublime and grand,
Who all the spring-time of thy life has pass'd
Battling with tyrants for thy native land,
If thou hast spent thy summer as thy prime,
The serpent brood of bigotry to quell,
Repent, repent thee of thy hideous crime,
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well!"

If thy great heart beat warmly in the cause
Of outraged man, whate'er his race might be,
If thou hast preached the Christian's equal laws,
And stayed the lash beyond the Indian sea!
If at thy call a nation rose sublime,
If at thy voice seven million fetters fell,--
Repent, repent thee of thy hideous crime,
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well!"

If thou hast seen thy country's quick decay,
And, like the prophet, raised thy saving hand,
And pointed out the only certain way
To stop the plague that ravaged o'er the land!
If thou hast summoned from an alien clime
Her banished senate here at home to dwell:
Repent, repent thee of thy hideous crime,
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well!"

Or if, perchance, a younger man thou art,
Whose ardent soul in throbbings doth aspire,
Come weal, come woe, to play the patriot's part
In the bright footsteps of thy glorious sire
If all the pleasures of life's youthful time
Thou hast abandoned for the martyr's cell,
Do thou repent thee of thy hideous crime,
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well!"

Or art thou one whom early science led
To walk with Newton through the immense of heaven,
Who soared with Milton, and with Mina bled,
And all thou hadst in freedom's cause hast given?
Oh! fond enthusiast--in the after time
Our children's children of thy worth shall tell--
England proclaims thy honesty a crime,
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well!"

Or art thou one whose strong and fearless pen
Roused the Young Isle, and bade it dry its tears,
And gathered round thee ardent, gifted men,
The hope of Ireland in the coming years?
Who dares in prose and heart-awakening rhyme,
Bright hopes to breathe and bitter truths to tell?
Oh! dangerous criminal, repent thy crime,
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well!"

"Cease to do evil"--ay! ye madmen, cease!
Cease to love Ireland--cease to serve her well;
Make with her foes a foul and fatal peace,
And quick will ope your darkest, dreariest cell.
"Learn to do well"--ay! learn to betray,
Learn to revile the land in which you dwell
England will bless you on your altered way
"Cease to do evil--learn to do well!"

105. This inscription is on the front of Richmond Penitentiary, Dublin,
in which O'Connell and the other political prisoners were confined in
the year 1844.


We have mourned and sighed for our buried pride,[106]
We have given what nature gives,
A manly tear o'er a brother's bier,
But now for the Land that lives!
He who passed too soon, in his glowing noon,
The hope of our youthful band,
From heaven's blue wall doth seem to call
"Think, think of your Living Land!
I dwell serene in a happier scene,
Ye dwell in a Living Land!"

Yes! yes! dear shade, thou shalt be obeyed,
We must spend the hour that flies,
In no vain regret for the sun that has set,
But in hope for another to rise;
And though it delay with its guiding ray,
We must each, with his little brand,
Like sentinels light through the dark, dark night,
The steps of our Living Land.
She needeth our care in the chilling air--
Our old, dear Living Land!

Yet our breasts will throb, and the tears will throng
To our eyes for many a day,
For an eagle in strength and a lark in song
Was the spirit that passed away.
Though his heart be still as a frozen rill,
And pulseless his glowing hand,
We must struggle the more for that old green shore
He was making a Living Land.
By him we have lost, at whatever the cost,
She must be a Living Land!

A Living Land, such as Nature plann'd,
When she hollowed our harbours deep,
When she bade the grain wave o'er the plain,
And the oak wave over the steep:
When she bade the tide roll deep and wide,
From its source to the ocean strand,
Oh! it was not to slaves she gave these waves,
But to sons of a Living Land!
Sons who have eyes and hearts to prize
The worth of a Living Land!

Oh! when shall we lose the hostile hues,
That have kept us so long apart?
Or cease from the strife, that is crushing the life
From out of our mother's heart?
Could we lay aside our doubts and our pride,
And join in a common band,
One hour would see our country free,
A young and a Living Land!
With a nation's heart and a nation's part,
A free and a Living Land!

106. Thomas Davis.


The awful shadow of a great man's death
Falls on this land, so sad and dark before--
Dark with the famine and the fever breath,
And mad dissensions knawing at its core.
Oh! let us hush foul discord's maniac roar,
And make a mournful truce, however brief,
Like hostile armies when the day is o'er!
And thus devote the night-time of our grief
To tears and prayers for him, the great departed chief.

In "Genoa the Superb" O'Connell dies--
That city of Columbus by the sea,
Beneath the canopy of azure skies,
As high and cloudless as his fame must be.
Is it mere chance or higher destiny
That brings these names together? One, the bold
Wanderer in ways that none had trod but he--
The other, too, exploring paths untold;
One a new world would seek, and one would save the old!

With childlike incredulity we cry,
It cannot be that great career is run,
It cannot be but in the eastern sky
Again will blaze that mighty world-watch'd sun!
Ah! fond deceit, the east is dark and dun,
Death's black, impervious cloud is on the skies;
Toll the deep bell, and fire the evening gun,
Let honest sorrow moisten manly eyes:
A glorious sun has set that never more shall rise!

Brothers, who struggle yet in Freedom's van,
Where'er your forces o'er the world are spread,
The last great champion of the rights of man--
The last great Tribune of the world is dead!
Join in our grief, and let our tears be shed
Without reserve or coldness on his bier;
Look on his life as on a map outspread--
His fight for freedom--freedom far and near--
And if a speck should rise, oh! hide it with a tear!

To speak his praises little need have we
To tell the wonders wrought within these waves
Enough, so well he taught us to be free,
That even to him we could not kneel as slaves.
Oh! let our tears be fast-destroying graves,
Where doubt and difference may for ever lie,
Buried and hid as in sepulchral caves;
And let love's fond and reverential eye
Alone behold the star new risen in the sky!

But can it be, that well-known form is stark?
Can it be true, that burning heart is chill?
Oh! can it be that twinkling eye is dark?
And that great thunder voice is hush'd and still?
Never again upon the famous hill
Will he preside as monarch of the land,
With myriad myriads subject to his will;
Never again shall raise that powerful hand,
To rouse, to warm, to check, to kindle, and command!

The twinkling eye, so full of changeful light,
Is dimmed and darkened in a dread eclipse;
The withering scowl, the smile so sunny bright,
Alike have faded from his voiceless lips.
The words of power, the mirthful, merry quips,
The mighty onslaught, and the quick reply,
The biting taunts that cut like stinging whips,
The homely truth, the lessons grave and high,
All, all are with the past, but cannot, shall not die!


They are dying! they are dying! where the golden corn is growing,
They are dying! they are dying! where the crowded herds are lowing;
They are gasping for existence where the streams of life are flowing,
And they perish of the plague where the breeze of health is blowing!

God of Justice! God of Power!
Do we dream? Can it be?
In this land, at this hour,
With the blossom on the tree,
In the gladsome month of May,
When the young lambs play,
When Nature looks around
On her waking children now,
The seed within the ground,
The bud upon the bough?
Is it right, is it fair,
That we perish of despair
In this land, on this soil,
Where our destiny is set,
Which we cultured with our toil,
And watered with our sweat?

We have ploughed, we have sown
But the crop was not our own;
We have reaped, but harpy hands
Swept the harvest from our lands;
We were perishing for food,
When, lo! in pitying mood,
Our kindly rulers gave
The fat fluid of the slave,
While our corn filled the manger
Of the war-horse of the stranger!

God of Mercy! must this last?
Is this land preordained
For the present and the past,
And the future, to be chained,
To be ravaged, to be drained,
To be robbed, to be spoiled,
To be hushed, to be whipt,
Its soaring pinions clipt,
And its every effort foiled?

Do our numbers multiply
But to perish and to die?
Is this all our destiny below,
That our bodies, as they rot,
May fertilise the spot
Where the harvests of the stranger grow?

If this be, indeed, our fate,
Far, far better now, though late,
That we seek some other land and try some other zone;
The coldest, bleakest shore
Will surely yield us more
Than the store-house of the stranger that we dare not call our own.

Kindly brothers of the West,
Who from Liberty's full breast
Have fed us, who are orphans, beneath a step-dame's frown,
Behold our happy state,
And weep your wretched fate
That you share not in the splendours of our empire and our crown!

Kindly brothers of the East,
Thou great tiara'd priest,
Thou sanctified Rienzi of Rome and of the earth--
Or thou who bear'st control
Over golden Istambol,
Who felt for our misfortunes and helped us in our dearth,

Turn here your wondering eyes,
Call your wisest of the wise,
Your Muftis and your ministers, your men of deepest lore;
Let the sagest of your sages
Ope our island's mystic pages,
And explain unto your Highness the wonders of our shore.

A fruitful teeming soil,
Where the patient peasants toil
Beneath the summer's sun and the watery winter sky--
Where they tend the golden grain
Till it bends upon the plain,
Then reap it for the stranger, and turn aside to die.

Where they watch their flocks increase,
And store the snowy fleece,
Till they send it to their masters to be woven o'er the waves;
Where, having sent their meat
For the foreigner to eat,
Their mission is fulfilled, and they creep into their graves.

'Tis for this they are dying where the golden corn is growing,
'Tis for this they are dying where the crowded herds are lowing,
'Tis for this they are dying where the streams of life are flowing,
And they perish of the plague where the breeze of health is blowing.



Long have I loved the beauty of thy streets,
Fair Dublin: long, with unavailing vows,
Sigh'd to all guardian deities who rouse
The spirits of dead nations to new heats
Of life and triumph:--vain the fond conceits,
Nestling like eaves-warmed doves 'neath patriot brows!
Vain as the "Hope," that from thy Custom-House
Looks o'er the vacant bay in vain for fleets.
Genius alone brings back the days of yore:
Look! look, what life is in these quaint old shops--
The loneliest lanes are rattling with the roar
of coach and chair; fans, feathers, flambeaus, fops,
Flutter and flicker through yon open door,
Where Handel's hand moves the great organ stops.[107]

March 11th, 1856.

107. It is stated that the "Messiah" was first publicly performed in
Dublin. See Gilbert's "History of Dublin," vol. i. p. 75, and
Townsend's "Visit of Handel to Dublin," p. 64.


(Dedication of Calderon's "Chrysanthus and Daria.")

Pensive within the Coliseum's walls
I stood with thee, O Poet of the West!--
The day when each had been a welcome guest
In San Clemente's venerable halls:--
With what delight my memory now recalls
That hour of hours, that flower of all the rest,
When, with thy white beard falling on thy breast,
That noble head, that well might serve as Paul's
In some divinest vision of the saint
By Raffael dreamed--I heard thee mourn the dead--
The martyred host who fearless there, though faint,
Walked the rough road that up to heaven's gate led:
These were the pictures Calderon loved to paint
In golden hues that here perchance have fled.

Yet take the colder copy from my hand,
Not for its own but for the Master's sake;
Take it, as thou, returning home, wilt take
From that divinest soft Italian land
Fixed shadows of the beautiful and grand
In sunless pictures that the sun doth make--
Reflections that may pleasant memories wake
Of all that Raffael touched, or Angelo planned:--
As these may keep what memory else might lose,
So may this photograph of verse impart
An image, though without the native hues
Of Calderon's fire, and yet with Calderon's art,
Of what thou lovest through a kindred muse
That sings in heaven, yet nestles in the heart.

Dublin, August 24th, 1869.


(On being presented by him with a copy, painted by himself, of a rare
Portrait of Calderon.)

How can I thank thee for this gift of thine,
Digby, the dawn and day-star of our age,
Forerunner thou of many a saint and sage
Who since have fought and conquer'd 'neath the Sign?
Thou hast left, as in a sacred shrine--
What shrine more pure than thy unspotted page?--
The priceless relics, as a heritage,
Of loftiest thoughts and lessons most divine.
Poet and teacher of sublimest lore,
Thou scornest not the painter's mimic skill,
And thus hath come, obedient to thy will
The outward form that Calderon's spirit wore.
Ah! happy canvas that two glories fill,
Where Calderon lives 'neath Digby's hand once more.

October 15th, 1878.

TO ETHNA.[108]

Ethna, to cull sweet flowers divinely fair,
To seek for gems of such transparent light
As would not be unworthy to unite
Round thy fair brow, and through thy dark-brown hair,
I would that I had wings to cleave the air,
In search of some far region of delight,
That back to thee from that adventurous flight,
A glorious wreath my happy hands might bear;
Soon would the sweetest Persian rose be thine--
Soon would the glory of Golconda's mine
Flash on thy forehead, like a star--ah! me,
In place of these, I bring, with trembling hand,
These fading wild flowers from our native land--
These simple pebbles from the Irish Sea!

108. This sonnet to the poet's wife was prefixed as a dedication to his
first volume of poems.



The blue-eyed maidens of the sea
With trembling haste approach the lee,
So small and smooth, they seem to be
Not waves, but children of the waves,
And as each link`ed circle laves
The crescent marge of creek and bay,
Their mingled voices all repeat--
O lovely May! O long'd-for May!
We come to bathe thy snow-white feet.

We bring thee treasures rich and rare,
White pearl to deck thy golden hair,
And coral beads, so smoothly fair
And free from every flaw or speck;
That they may lie upon thy neck,
This sweetest day--this brightest day
That ever on the green world shone--
O lovely May, O long'd-for May!
As if thy neck and thee were one.

We bring thee from our distant home
Robes of the pure white-woven foam,
And many a pure, transparent comb,
Formed of the shells the tortoise plaits,
By Babelmandeb's coral-straits;
And amber vases, with inlay
Of roseate pearl time never dims--
O lovely May! O longed-for May!
Wherein to lave thine ivory limbs.

We bring, as sandals for thy feet,
Beam-broidered waves, like those that greet,
With green and golden chrysolite,
The setting sun's departing beams,
When all the western water seems
Like emeralds melted by his ray,
So softly bright, so gently warm--
O lovely May! O long'd-for May!
That thou canst trust thy tender form.

And lo! the ladies of the hill,
The rippling stream, and sparkling rill,
With rival speed, and like good will,
Come, bearing down the mountain's side
The liquid crystals of the tide,
In vitreous vessels clear as they,
And cry, from each worn, winding path:
O lovely May! O long'd-for May!
We come to lead thee to the bath.

And we have fashioned, for thy sake,
Mirrors more bright than art could make--
The silvery-sheeted mountain lake
Hangs in its carv`ed frame of rocks,
Wherein to dress thy dripping locks,
Or bind the dewy curls that stray
Thy trembling breast meandering down--
O lovely May! O long'd-for May!
Within their self-woven crown.

Arise, O May! arise and see
Thine emerald robes are held for thee
By many a hundred-handed tree,
Who lift from all the fields around
The verdurous velvet from the ground,
And then the spotless vestments lay,
Smooth-folded o'er their outstretch'd arms--
O lovely May! O long'd-for May!
Wherein to fold thy virgin charms.

Thy robes are stiff with golden bees,
Dotted with gems more bright than these,
And scented by each perfumed breeze
That, blown from heaven's re-open'd bowers,
Become the souls of new-born flowers,
Who thus their sacred birth betray;
Heavenly thou art, nor less should be--
O lovely May! O long'd-for May!
The favour'd forms that wait on thee.

The moss to guard thy feet is spread,
The wreaths are woven for thy head,
The rosy curtains of thy bed
Become transparent in the blaze
Of the strong sun's resistless gaze:
Then lady, make no more delay,
The world still lives, though spring be dead--
O lovely May! O long'd-for May!
And thou must rule and reign instead.

The lady from her bed arose,
Her bed the leaves the moss-bud blows
Herself a lily in that rose;
The maidens of the streams and sands
Bathe some her feet and some her hands:
And some the emerald robes display;
Her dewy locks were then upcurled,
And lovely May--the long'd-for May--
Was crown'd the Queen of all the World!


Let us seek the modest May,
She is down in the glen,
Hiding and abiding
From the common gaze of men,
Where the silver streamlet crosses
O'er the smooth stones green with mosses,
And glancing and dancing,
Goes singing on its way--
We shall find the modest maiden there to-day.

Let us seek the merry May,
She is up on the hill,
Laughing and quaffing
From the fountain and the rill.
Where the southern zephyr sprinkles,
Like bright smiles on age's wrinkles,
O'er the edges and ledges
Of the rocks, the wild flowers gay--
We shall find the merry maiden there to-day.

Let us seek the musing May,
She is deep in the wood,
Viewing and pursuing
The beautiful and good.
Where the grassy bank receding,
Spreads its quiet couch for reading
The pages of the sages,
And the poet's lyric lay--
We shall find the musing maiden there to-day.

Let us seek the mirthful May,
She is out on the strand
Racing and chasing
The ripples o'er the sand.
Where the warming waves discover
All the treasures that they cover,
Whitening and brightening
The pebbles for her play--
We shall find the mirthful maiden there to-day.

Let us seek the wandering May,
She is off to the plain,
Finding the winding
Of the labyrinthine lane.
She is passing through its mazes
While the hawthorn, as it gazes
With grief, lets its leaflets
Whiten all the way--
We shall find the wandering maiden there to-day.

Let us seek her in the ray--
Let us track her by the rill--
Wending ascending
The slopings of the hill.
Where the robin from the copses
Breathes a love-note, and then drops his
Trilling, till, willing,
His mate responds his lay--
We shall find the listening maiden there to-day.

But why seek her far away?
Like a young bird in its nest,
She is warming and forming
Her dwelling in her breast.
While the heart she doth repose on,
Like the down the sunwind blows on,
Gloweth, yet showeth
The trembling of the ray--
We shall find the happy maiden there to-day.


A bright beam came to my window frame,
This sweet May morn,
And it said to the cold, hard glass:
Oh! let me pass,
For I have good news to tell,
The queen of the dewy dell,
The beautiful May is born!

Warm with the race, through the open space,
This sweet May morn,
Came a soft wind out of the skies:
And it said to my heart--Arise!
Go forth from the winter's fire,
For the child of thy long desire,
The beautiful May is born!

The bright beam glanced and the soft wind danced,
This sweet May morn,
Over my cheek and over my eyes;
And I said with a glad surprise:
Oh! lead me forth, ye blessed twain,
Over the hill and over the plain,
Where the beautiful May is born.

Through the open door leaped the beam before
This sweet May morn,
And the soft wind floated along,
Like a poet's song,
Warm from his heart and fresh from his brain;
And they led me over the mount and plain,
To the beautiful May new-born.

My guide so bright and my guide so light,
This sweet May morn,
Led me along o'er the grassy ground,
And I knew by each joyous sight and sound,
The fields so green and the skies so gay,
That heaven and earth kept holiday,
That the beautiful May was born.

Out of the sea with their eyes of glee,
This sweet May morn,
Came the blue waves hastily on;
And they murmuring cried--Thou happy one!
Show us, O Earth! thy darling child,
For we heard far out on the ocean wild,
That the beautiful May was born.

The wing`ed flame to the rosebud came,
This sweet May morn,
And it said to the flower--Prepare!
Lay thy nectarine bosom bare;
Full soon, full soon, thou must rock to rest,
And nurse and feed on thy glowing breast,
The beautiful May now born.

The gladsome breeze through the trembling trees,
This sweet May morn,
Went joyously on from bough to bough;
And it said to the red-branched plum--O thou,
Cover with mimic pearls and gems,
And with silver bells, thy coral stems,
For the beautiful May now born.

Under the eaves and through the leaves
This sweet May morn,
The soft wind whispering flew:
And it said to the listening birds--Oh, you,
Sweet choristers of the skies,
Awaken your tenderest lullabies,
For the beautiful May now born.

The white cloud flew to the uttermost blue,
This sweet May morn,
It bore, like a gentle carrier-dove,
The bless`ed news to the realms above;
While its sister coo'd in the midst of the grove,
And within my heart the spirit of love,
That the beautiful May was born!


Welcome, May! welcome, May!
Thou hast been too long away,
All the widow'd wintry hours
Wept for thee, gentle May;
But the fault was only ours--
We were sad when thou wert gay!

Welcome, May! welcome, May!
We are wiser far to-day--
Fonder, too, than we were then.
Gentle May! joyous May!
Now that thou art come again,
We perchance may make thee stay.

Welcome, May! welcome, May!
Everything kept holiday
Save the human heart alone.
Mirthful May! gladsome May!
We had cares and thou hadst none
When thou camest last this way!

When thou camest last this way
Blossoms bloomed on every spray,
Buds on barren boughs were born--
Fertile May! fruitful May!
Like the rose upon the thorn
Cannot grief awhile be gay?

'Tis not for the golden ray,
Or the flowers that strew thy way,
O immortal One! thou art
Here to-day, gentle May--
'Tis to man's ungrateful heart
That thy fairy footsteps stray.

'Tis to give that living clay
Flowers that ne'er can fade away--
Fond remembrances of bliss;
And a foretaste, mystic May,
Of the life that follows this,
Full of joys that last alway!

Other months are cold and gray,
Some are bright, but what are they?
Earth may take the whole eleven--
Hopeful May--happy May!
Thine the borrowed month of heaven
Cometh thence and points the way.

Wing`ed minstrels come and play
Through the woods their roundelay;
Who can tell but only thou,
Spirit-ear'd, inspir`ed May,
On the bud-embow'r`ed bough
What the happy lyrists say?

Is the burden of their lay
Love's desire, or Love's decay?
Are there not some fond regrets
Mix'd with these, divinest May,
For the sun that never sets
Down the everlasting day?

But upon thy wondrous way
Mirth alone should dance and play--
No regrets, how fond they be,
E'er should wound the ear of May--
Bow before her, flower and tree!
Nor, my heart, do thou delay.


There is within this world of ours
Full many a happy home and hearth;
What time, the Saviour's blessed birth
Makes glad the gloom of wintry hours.

When back from severed shore and shore,
And over seas that vainly part,
The scattered embers of the heart
Glow round the parent hearth once more.

When those who now are anxious men,
Forget their growing years and cares;
Forget the time-flakes on their hairs,
And laugh, light-hearted boys again.

When those who now are wedded wives,
By children of their own embraced,
Recall their early joys, and taste
Anew the childhood of their lives.

And the old people--the good sire
And kindly parent-mother--glow
To feel their children's children throw
Fresh warmth around the Christmas fire.

When in the sweet colloquial din,
Unheard the sullen sleet-winds shout;
And though the winter rage without,
The social summer reigns within.

But in this wondrous world of ours
Are other circling kindred chords,
Binding poor harmless beasts and birds,
And the fair family of flowers.

That family that meet to-day
From many a foreign field and glen,
For what is Christmas-tide with men
Is with the flowers the time of May.

Back to the meadows of the West,
Back to their natal fields they come;
And as they reach their wished-for home,
The Mother folds them to her breast.

And as she breathes, with balmy sighs,
A fervent blessing over them,
The tearful, glistening dews begem
The parents' and the children's eyes.

She spreads a carpet for their feet,
And mossy pillows for their heads,
And curtains round their fairy beds
With blossom-broidered branches sweet.

She feeds them with ambrosial food,
And fills their cups with nectared wine;
And all her choristers combine
To sing their welcome from the wood:

And all that love can do is done,
As shown to them in countless ways:
She kindles to the brighter blaze
The fireside of the world--the sun.

And with her own soft, trembling hands,
In many a calm and cool retreat,
She laves the dust that soils their feet
In coming from the distant lands.

Or, leading down some sinuous path,
Where the shy stream's encircling heights
Shut out all prying eyes, invites
Her lily daughters to the bath.

There, with a mother's harmless pride,
Admires them sport the waves among:
Now lay their ivory limbs along
The buoyant bosom of the tide.

Now lift their marble shoulders o'er
The rippling glass, or sink with fear,
As if the wind approaching near
Were some wild wooer from the shore.

Or else the parent turns to these,
The younglings born beneath her eye,
And hangs the baby-buds close by,
In wind-rocked cradles from the trees.

And as the branches fall and rise,
Each leafy-folded swathe expands:
And now are spread their tiny hands,
And now are seen their starry eyes.

But soon the feast concludes the day,
And yonder in the sun-warmed dell,
The happy circle meet to tell
Their labours since the bygone May.

A bright-faced youth is first to raise
His cheerful voice above the rest,
Who bears upon his hardy breast
A golden star with silver rays:[109]

Worthily won, for he had been
A traveller in many a land,
And with his slender staff in hand
Had wandered over many a green:

Had seen the Shepherd Sun unpen
Heaven's fleecy flocks, and let them stray
Over the high-pealed Himalay,
Till night shut up the fold again:

Had sat upon a mossy ledge,
O'er Baiae in the morning's beams,
Or where the sulphurous crater steams
Had hung suspended from the edge:

Or following its devious course
Up many a weary winding mile,
Had tracked the long, mysterious Nile
Even to its now no-fabled source:

Resting, perchance, as on he strode,
To see the herded camels pass
Upon the strips of wayside grass
That line with green the dust-white road.

Had often closed his weary lids
In oases that deck the waste,
Or in the mighty shadows traced
By the eternal pyramids.

Had slept within an Arab's tent,
Pitched for the night beneath a palm,
Or when was heard the vesper psalm,
With the pale nun in worship bent:

Or on the moonlit fields of France,
When happy village maidens trod
Lightly the fresh and verdurous sod,
There was he seen amid the dance:

Yielding with sympathizing stem
To the quick feet that round him flew,
Sprang from the ground as they would do,
Or sank unto the earth with them:

Or, childlike, played with girl and boy
By many a river's bank, and gave
His floating body to the wave,
Full many a time to give them joy.

These and a thousand other tales
The traveller told, and welcome found;
These were the simple tales went round
The happy circles in the vales.

Keeping reserved with conscious pride
His noblest act, his crowning feat,
How he had led even Humboldt's feet
Up Chimborazo's mighty side.

Guiding him through the trackless snow,
By sheltered clefts of living soil,
Sweet'ning the fearless traveller's toil,
With memories of the world below.

Such was the hardy Daisy's tale,
And then the maidens of the group--
Lilies, whose languid heads down droop
Over their pearl-white shoulders pale--

Told, when the genial glow of June
Had passed, they sought still warmer climes
And took beneath the verdurous limes
Their sweet siesta through the noon:

And seeking still, with fond pursuit,
The phantom Health, which lures and wiles
Its followers to the shores and isles
Of amber waves, and golden fruit.

There they had seen the orange grove
Enwreath its gold with buds of white,
As if themselves had taken flight,
And settled on the boughs above.

There kiss'd by every rosy mouth
And press'd to every gentle breast,
These pallid daughters of the West
Reigned in the sunshine of the South.

And thoughtful of the things divine,
Were oft by many an altar found,
Standing like white-robed angels round
The precincts of some sacred shrine.

And Violets, with dark blue eyes,
Told how they spent the winter time,
In Andalusia's Eden clime,
Or 'neath Italia's kindred skies.

Chiefly when evening's golden gloom
Veil'd Rome's serenest ether soft,
Bending in thoughtful musings oft,
Above the lost Alastor's tomb;

Or the twin-poet's; he who sings
"A thing of beauty never dies,"
Paying them back in fragrant sighs,
The love they bore all loveliest things.

The flower[110] whose bronz`ed cheeks recalls
The incessant beat of wind and sun,
Spoke of the lore his search had won
Upon Pompeii's rescued walls.

How, in his antiquarian march,
He crossed the tomb-strewn plain of Rome,
Sat on some prostrate plinth, or clomb
The Coliseum's topmost arch.

And thence beheld in glad amaze
What Nero's guilty eyes, aloof,
Drank in from off his golden roof--
The sun-bright city all ablaze:

Ablaze by day with solar fires--
Ablaze by night with lunar beams,
With lambent lustre on its streams,
And golden glories round its spires!

Thence he beheld that wondrous dome,
That, rising o'er the radiant town,
Circles, with Art's eternal crown,
The still imperial brow of Rome.

Nor was the Marigold remiss,
But told how in her crown of gold
She sat, like Persia's king of old,
High o'er the shores of Salamis;

And saw, against the morning sky,
The white-sailed fleets their wings display;
And ere the tranquil close of day,
Fade, like the Persian's from her eye.

Fleets, with their white flags all unfurl'd,
Inscribed with "Commerce," and with "Peace,"
Bearing no threatened ill to Greece,
But mutual good to all the world.

And various other flowers were seen:
Cowslip and Oxlip, and the tall
Tulip, whose grateful hearts recall
The winter homes where they had been.

Some in the sunny vales, beneath
The sheltering hills; and some, whose eyes
Were gladdened by the southern skies,
High up amid the blooming heath.

Meek, modest flowers, by poets loved,
Sweet Pansies, with their dark eyes fringed
With silken lashes finely tinged,
That trembled if a leaf but moved:

And some in gardens where the grass
Mossed o'er the green quadrangle's breast,
There dwelt each flower, a welcome guest,
In crystal palaces of glass:

Shown as a beauteous wonder there,
By beauty's hands to beauty's eyes,
Breathing what mimic art supplies,
The genial glow of sun-warm air.

Nor were the absent ones forgot,
Those whom a thousand cares detained,
Those whom the links of duty chained
Awhile from this their natal spot.

One, who is labour's useful tracks
Is proudly eminent, who roams
The providence of humble homes--
The blue-eyed, fair-haired, friendly Flax:

Giving himself to cheer and light
The cottier's else o'ershadowing murk,
Filling his hand with cheerful work,
And all his being with delight:

And one, the loveliest and the last,
For whom they waited day by day,
All through the merry month of May,
Till one-and-thirty days had passed.

And when, at length, the longed-for noon
Of night arched o'er th' expectant green
The Rose, their sister and their queen--
Came on the joyous wings of June:

And when was heard the gladsome sound,
And when was breath'd her beauteous name,
Unnumbered buds, like lamps of flame,
Gleamed from the hedges all around:

Where she had been, the distant clime,
The orient realm their sceptre sways,
The poet's pen may paint and praise
Hereafter in his simple rhyme.

109. The Daisy.

110. The Wallflower.


The days of old, the good old days,
Whose misty memories haunt us still,
Demand alike our blame and praise,
And claim their shares of good and ill.

They had strong faith in things unseen,
But stronger in the things they saw
Revenge for Mercy's pitying mien,
And lordly Right for equal Law.

'Tis true the cloisters all throughout
The valleys rais'd their peaceful towers,
And their sweet bells ne'er wearied out
In telling of the tranquil hours.

But from the craggy hills above,
A shadow darken'd o'er the sward;
For there--a vulture to this dove--
Hung the rude fortress of the lord;

Whence oft the ravening bird of prey
Descending, to his eyry wild
Bore, with exulting cries, away
The powerless serf's dishonour'd child.

Then Safety lit with partial beams
But the high-castled peaks of Force,
And Polity revers'd its streams,
And bade them flow but for their Source.

That Source from which, meandering down,
A thousand streamlets circle now;
For then the monarch's glorious crown
But girt the most rapacious brow.

But individual Force is dead,
And link'd Opinion late takes birth;
And now a woman's gentle head
Supports the mightiest crown on earth.

A pleasing type of all the change
Permitted to our eyes to see,
When she herself is free to range
Throughout the realm her rule makes free.

Not prison'd in a golden cage,
To sigh or sing her lonely state,
A show for youth or doating age,
With idiot eyes to contemplate.

But when the season sends a thrill
To ev'ry heart that lives and moves,
She seeks the freedom of the hill,
Or shelter of the noontide groves.

There, happy with her chosen mate,
And circled by her chirping brood,
Forgets the pain of being great
In the mere bliss of being good.

And thus the festive summer yields
No sight more happy, none so gay,
As when amid her subject-fields
She wanders on from day to day.

Resembling her, whom proud and fond,
The bard hath sung of--she of old,
Who bore upon her snow-white wand,
All Erin through, the ring of gold.

Thus, from her castles coming forth,
She wanders many a summer hour,
Bearing the ring of private worth
Upon the silver wand of Power.

Thus musing, while around me flew
Sweet airs from fancy's amaranth bowers,
Methought, what this fair queen doth do,
Hath yearly done the queen of flowers.

The beauteous queen of all the flowers,
Whose faintest sigh is like a spell,
Was born in Eden's sinless bowers
Long ere our primal parents fell.

There in a perfect form she grew,
Nor felt decay, nor tasted death;
Heaven was reflected in her hue,
And heaven's own odours filled her breath.

And ere the angel of the sword
Drove thence the founders of our race,
They knelt before him, and implor'd
Some relic of that radiant place:

Some relic that, while time would last,
Should make men weep their fatal sin;
Proof of the glory that was past,
And type of that they yet might win.

The angel turn'd, and ere his hands
The gates of bliss for ever close,
Pluck'd from the fairest tree that stands
Within heaven's walls--the peerless rose.

And as he gave it unto them,
Let fall a tear upon its leaves--
The same celestial liquid gem
We oft perceive on dewy eves.

Grateful the hapless twain went forth,
The golden portals backward whirl'd,
Then first they felt the biting north,
And all the rigour of this world.

Then first the dreadful curse had power
To chill the life-streams at their source,
Till e'en the sap within the flower
Grew curdled in its upward course.

They twin'd their trembling hands across
Their trembling breasts against the drift,
Then sought some little mound of moss
Wherein to lay their precious gift.

Some little soft and mossy mound,
Wherein the flower might rest till morn;
In vain! God's curse was on the ground,
For through the moss out gleam'd the thorn!

Out gleam'd the fork`ed plant, as if
The serpent tempter, in his rage,
Had put his tongue in every leaf
To mock them through their pilgrimage.

They did their best; their hands eras'd
The thorns of greater strength and size;
Then 'mid the softer moss they plac'd
The exiled flower of paradise.

The plant took root; the beams and showers
Came kindly, and its fair head rear'd;
But lo! around its heaven of flowers
The thorns and moss of earth appear'd.

Type of the greater change that then
Upon our hapless nature fell,
When the degenerate hearts of men
Bore sin and all the thorns of hell.

Happy, indeed, and sweet our pain,
However torn, however tost,
If, like the rose, our hearts retain
Some vestige of the heaven we've lost.

Where she upon this colder sphere
Found shelter first, she there abode;
Her native bowers, unseen were near,
And near her still Euphrates flowed--

Brilliantly flow'd; but, ah! how dim,
Compar'd to what its light had been;--
As if the fiery cherubim
Let pass the tide, but kept its sheen.

At first she liv'd and reigned alone,
No lily-maidens yet had birth;
No turban'd tulips round her throne
Bow'd with their foreheads to the earth.

No rival sisters had she yet--
She with the snowy forehead fringed
With blushes; nor the sweet brunette
Whose cheek the yellow sun has ting'd.

Nor all the harbingers of May,
Nor all the clustering joys of June:
Uncarpeted the bare earth lay,
Unhung the branches' gay festoon.

But Nature came in kindly mood,
And gave her kindred of her own,
Knowing full well it is not good
For man or flower to be alone.

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