Part 5 out of 6
Long in her happy court she dwelt,
In floral games and feasts of mirth,
Until her heart kind wishes felt
To share her joy with all the earth.
To go from longing land to land
A stateless queen, a welcome guest,
O'er hill and vale, by sea and strand,
From North to South, and East to West.
And thus it is that every year,
Ere Autumn dons his russet robe,
She calls her unseen charioteer,
And makes her progress through the globe.
First, sharing in the month-long feast--
"The Feast of Roses"--in whose light
And grateful joy, the first and least
Of all her subjects reunite.
She sends her heralds on before:
The bee rings out his bugle bold,
The daisy spreads her marbled floor,
The buttercup her cloth of gold.
The lark leaps up into the sky,
To watch her coming from afar;
The larger moon descends more nigh,
More lingering lags the morning star.
From out the villages and towns,
From all of mankind's mix'd abodes,
The people, by the lawns and downs,
Go meet her on the winding roads.
And some would bear her in their hands,
And some would press her to their breast,
And some would worship where she stands,
And some would claim her as their guest.
Her gracious smile dispels the gloom
Of many a love-sick girl and boy;
Her very presence in a room
Doth fill the languid air with joy.
Her breath is like a fragrant tune,
She is the soul of every spot;
Gives nature to the rich saloon,
And splendour to the peasant's cot.
Her mission is to calm and soothe,
And purely glad life's every stage;
Her garlands grace the brow of youth,
And hide the hollow lines of age.
But to the poet she belongs,
By immemorial ties of love;--
Herself a folded book of songs,
Dropp'd from the angel's hands above.
Then come and make his heart thy home,
For thee it opes, for thee it glows;--
Type of ideal beauty, come!
Wonder of Nature! queenly Rose!
THE BATH OF THE STREAMS.
Down unto the ocean,
Trembling with emotion,
Panting at the notion,
See the rivers run--
In the golden weather,
Tripping o'er the heather,
Laughing all together--
Madcaps every one.
Like a troop of girls
In their loosen'd curls,
See, the concourse whirls
Onward wild with glee;
List their tuneful tattle,
Hear their pretty prattle,
How they'll love to battle
With the assailing sea.
See, the winds pursue them,
See, the willows woo them
See, the lakelets view them
With a wistful wonder
Down the green slopes under,
Wishing, too, to thunder
O'er their prison bar.
Wishing, too, to wander
By the sea-waves yonder,
There awhile to squander
All their silvery stores,
There awhile forgetting
All their vain regretting
When their foam went fretting
Round the rippling shores.
Round the rocky region,
Whence their prison'd legion,
Oft and oft besieging,
Vainly sought to break,
Vainly sought to throw them
O'er the vales below them,
Through the clefts that show them
Paths they dare not take.
But the swift streams speed them
In the might of freedom,
Down the paths that lead them
Blinding green recesses
With their floating tresses,
With their murmuring song.
Now the streams are gliding
With a sweet abiding--
Now the streams are hiding
'Mid the whispering reeds--
Now the streams outglancing
With a shy advancing
Naiad-like go dancing
Down the golden meads.
Down the golden meadows,
Chasing their own shadows--
Down the golden meadows,
Playing as they run:
Playing with the sedges,
By the water's edges,
Leaping o'er the ledges,
Glist'ning in the sun:
Streams and streamlets blending,
Each on each attending,
All together wending,
Seek the silver sands;
Like the sisters holding
With a fond enfolding--
Like to sisters holding
One another's hands.
Now with foreheads blushing
With a rapturous flushing--
Now the streams are rushing
In among the waves.
Now in shy confusion,
With a pale suffusion,
Seek the wild seclusion
Of sequestered caves.
All the summer hours
Hiding in the bowers,
Scattering silver showers
Out upon the strand;
O'er the pebbles crashing,
Through the ripples splashing,
Liquid pearl-wreaths dashing
From each other's hand.
By yon mossy boulder,
See an ivory shoulder,
Dazzling the beholder,
Rises o'er the blue;
But a moment's thinking,
Sends the Naiad sinking,
With a modest shrinking,
From the gazer's view.
Now the wave compresses
All their golden tresses--
Now their sea-green dresses
Float them o'er the tide;
Now with elf-locks dripping
From the brine they're sipping,
With a fairy tripping,
Down the green waves glide.
Some that scarce have tarried
By the shore are carried
Sea-ward to be married
To the glad gods there:
Triton's horn is playing,
Neptune's steeds are neighing,
Restless with delaying
For a bride so fair.
See at first the river
How its pale lips quiver,
How its white waves shiver
With a fond unrest;
List how low it sigheth,
See how swift it flieth,
Till at length it lieth
On the ocean's breast.
Such is Youth's admiring,
Such is Love's desiring,
Such is Hope's aspiring
For the higher goal;
Such is man's condition
Till in heaven's fruition
Ends the mystic mission
Of the eternal soul.
THE FLOWERS OF THE TROPICS.
"C'est ainsi qu'elle nature a mis, entre les tropiques, la plupart des
fleurs apparentes sur des arbres. J'y en ai vu bien peu dans les
prairies, mais beaucoup dans les forets. Dans ces pays, il faut lever
les yeux en haut pour y voir des fleurs; dans le notre, il faut les
baisser a terre."--SAINT PIERRE, "Etudes de la Nature."
In the soft sunny regions that circle the waist
Of the globe with a girdle of topaz and gold,
Which heave with the throbbings of life where they're placed,
And glow with the fire of the heart they enfold;
Where to live, where to breathe, seems a paradise dream--
A dream of some world more elysian than this--
Where, if Death and if Sin were away, it would seem
Not the foretaste alone, but the fulness of bliss.
Where all that can gladden the sense and the sight,
Fresh fruitage as cool and as crimson as even;
Where the richness and rankness of Nature unite
To build the frail walls of the Sybarite's heaven.
But, ah! should the heart feel the desolate dearth
Of some purer enjoyment to speed the bright hours,
In vain through the leafy luxuriance of earth
Looks the languid-lit eye for the freshness of flowers.
No, its glance must be turned from the earth to the sky,
From the clay-rooted grass to the heaven-branching trees;
And there, oh! enchantment for soul and for eye,
Hang blossoms so pure that an angel might seize.
Thus, when pleasure begins from its sweetness to cloy,
And the warm heart grows rank like a soil over ripe,
We must turn from the earth for some promise of joy,
And look up to heaven for a holier type.
In the climes of the North, which alternately shine,
Now warm with the sunbeam, now white with the snow,
And which, like the breast of the earth they entwine.
Grow chill with its chillness, or glow with its glow,
In those climes where the soul, on more vigorous wing,
Rises soaring to heaven in its rapturous flight,
And, led ever on by the radiance they fling,
Tracketh star after star through infinitude's night.
How oft doth the seer from his watch-tower on high.
Scan the depths of the heavens with his wonderful glass;
And, like Adam of old, when Earth's creatures went by,
Name the orbs and the sun-lighted spheres as they pass.
How often, when drooping, and weary, and worn,
With fire-throbbing temples and star-dazzled eyes,
Does he turn from his glass at the breaking of morn,
And exchanges for flowers all the wealth of the skies?
Ah! thus should we mingle the far and the near,
And, while striving to pierce what the Godhead conceals,
From the far heights of Science look down with a fear
To the lowliest truths the same Godhead reveals.
When the rich fruit of Joy glads the heart and the mouth,
Or the bold wing of Thought leads the daring soul forth;
Let us proudly look up as for flowers of the south,
Let us humbly look down as for flowers of the north.
It is the last of all the days,
The day on which the Old Year dies.
Ah! yes, the fated hour is near;
I see upon his snow-white bier
Outstretched the weary wanderer lies,
And mark his dying gaze.
A thousand visions dark and fair,
Crowd on the old man's fading sight;
A thousand mingled memories throng
The old man's heart, still green and strong;
The heritage of wrong and right
He leaves unto his heir.
He thinks upon his budding hopes,
The day he stood the world's young king,
Upon his coronation morn,
When diamonds hung on every thorn,
And peeped the pearl flowers of the spring
Adown the emerald slopes.
He thinks upon his youthful pride,
When in his ermined cloak of snow,
Upon his war-horse, stout and staunch--
The cataract-crested avalanche--
He thundered on the rocks below,
With his warriors at his side.
From rock to rock, through cloven scalp,
By rivers rushing to the sea,
With thunderous sound his army wound
The heaven supporting hills around;
Like that the Man of Destiny
Led down the astonished Alp.
The bugles of the blast rang out,
The banners of the lightning swung,
The icy spear-points of the pine
Bristled along the advancing line,
And as the winds' 'reveille' rung,
Heavens! how the hills did shout.
Adown each slippery precipice
Rattled the loosen'd rocks, like balls
Shot from his booming thunder guns,
Whose smoke, effacing stars and suns,
Darkens the stifled heaven, and falls
Far off in arrowy showers of ice.
Ah! yes, he was a mighty king,
A mighty king, full flushed with youth;
He cared not then what ruin lay
Upon his desolating way;
Not his the cause of God or Truth,
But the brute lust of conquering.
Nought could resist his mighty will,
The green grass withered where he stood;
His ruthless hands were prompt to seize
Upon the tresses of the trees;
Then shrieked the maidens of the wood,
And the saplings of the hill.
Nought could resist his mighty will;
For in his ranks rode spectral Death;
The old expired through very fear;
And pined the young, when he came near;
The faintest flutter of his breath
Was sharp enough to kill.
Nought could resist his mighty will;
The flowers fell dead beneath his tread;
The streams of life, that through the plains
Throb night and day through crystal veins,
With feverish pulses frighten'd fled,
Or curdled, and grew still.
Nought could resist his mighty will;
On rafts of ice, blue-hued, like steel,
He crossed the broadest rivers o'er
Ah! me, and then was heard no more
The murmur of the peaceful wheel
That turned the peasant's mill.
But why the evil that attends
On War recall to further view?
Accurs`ed War!--the world too well
Knows what thou art--thou fiend of hell!
The heartless havoc of a few
For their own selfish ends!
Soon, soon the youthful conqueror
Felt moved, and bade the horrors cease;
Nature resumed its ancient sway,
Warm tears rolled down the cheeks of Day,
And Spring, the harbinger of peace
Proclaimed the fight was o'er.
Oh! what a change came o'er the world;
The winds, that cut like naked swords,
Shed balm upon the wounds they made;
And they who came the first to aid
The foray of grim Winter's hordes
The flag of truce unfurled.
Oh! how the song of joy, the sound
Of rapture thrills the leaguered camps
The tinkling showers like cymbals clash
Upon the late leaves of the ash,
And blossoms hang like festal lamps
On all the trees around.
And there is sunshine, sent to strew
God's cloth of gold, whereon may dance,
To music that harmonious moves,
The link`ed Graces and the Loves,
Making reality romance,
And rare romance even more than true.
The fields laughed out in dimpling flowers,
The streams' blue eyes flashed bright with smiles;
The pale-faced clouds turned rosy-red,
As they looked down from overhead,
Then fled o'er continents and isles,
To shed their happy tears in showers.
The youthful monarch's heart grew light
To find what joy good deeds can shed;
To nurse the orphan buds that bent
Over each turf-piled monument,
Wherein the parent flowers lay dead
Who perished in that fight.
And as he roamed from day to day,
Atoning thus to flower and tree,
Flinging his lavish gold around
In countless yellow flowers, he found,
By gladsome-weeping April's knee,
The modest maiden May.
Oh! she was young as angels are,
Ere the eternal youth they lead
Gives any clue to tell the hours
They've spent in heaven's elysian bowers;
Ere God before their eyes decreed
The birth-day of some beauteous star.
Oh! she was fair as are the leaves
Of pale white roses, when the light
Of sunset, through some trembling bough,
Kisses the queen-flower's blushing brow,
Nor leaves it red nor marble white,
But rosy-pale, like April eves.
Her eyes were like forget-me-nots,
Dropped in the silvery snowdrop's cup,
Or on the folded myrtle buds,
The azure violet of the woods;
Just as the thirsty sun drinks up
The dewy diamonds on the plots.
And her sweet breath was like the sighs
Breathed by a babe of youth and love;
When all the fragrance of the south
From the cleft cherry of its mouth,
Meets the fond lips that from above
Stoop to caress its slumbering eyes.
He took the maiden by the hand,
And led her in her simple gown
Unto a hamlet's peaceful scene,
Upraised her standard on the green;
And crowned her with a rosy crown
The beauteous Queen of all the land.
And happy was the maiden's reign--
For peace, and mirth, and twin-born love
Came forth from out men's hearts that day,
Their gladsome fealty to pay;
And there was music in the grove,
And dancing on the plain.
And Labour carolled at his task,
Like the blithe bird that sings and builds
His happy household 'mid the leaves;
And now the fibrous twig he weaves,
And now he sings to her who gilds
The sole horizon he doth ask.
And Sickness half forgot its pain,
And Sorrow half forgot its grief;
And Eld forgot that it was old,
As if to show the age of gold
Was not the poet's fond belief,
But every year comes back again.
The Year-King passed along his way:
Rejoiced, rewarded, and content;
He passed to distant lands and new;
For other tasks he had to do;
But wheresoe'er the wanderer went,
He ne'er forgot his darling May.
He sent her stems of living gold
From the rich plains of western lands,
And purple-gushing grapes from vines
Born of the amorous sun that shines
Where Tagus rolls its golden sands,
Or Guadalete old.
And citrons from Firenze's fields,
And golden apples from the isles
That gladden the bright southern seas,
True home of the Hesperides:
Which now no dragon guards, but smiles,
The bounteous mother, as she yields.
And then the king grew old like Lear--
His blood waxed chill, his beard grew gray;
He changed his sceptre for a staff:
And as the thoughtless children laugh
To see him totter on his way,
He knew his destined hour was near.
And soon it came; and here he strives,
Outstretched upon his snow-white bier,
To reconcile the dread account--
How stands the balance, what the amount;
As we shall do with trembling fear
When our last hour arrives.
Come, let us kneel around his bed,
And pray unto his God and ours
For mercy on his servant here:
Oh, God be with the dying year!
And God be with the happy hours
That died before their sire lay dead!
And as the bells commingling ring
The New Year in, the Old Year out,
Muffled and sad, and now in peals
With which the quivering belfry reels,
Grateful and hopeful be the shout,
The King is dead!--Long live the King!
A lady came to a snow-white bier,
Where a youth lay pale and dead:
She took the veil from her widowed head,
And, bending low, in his ear she said:
"Awaken! for I am here."
She pass'd with a smile to a wild wood near,
Where the boughs were barren and bare;
She tapp'd on the bark with her fingers fair,
And call'd to the leaves that were buried there:
"Awaken! for I am here."
The birds beheld her without a fear,
As she walk'd through the dank-moss'd dells;
She breathed on their downy citadels,
And whisper'd the young in their ivory shells:
"Awaken! for I am here."
On the graves of the flowers she dropp'd a tear,
But with hope and with joy, like us;
And even as the Lord to Lazarus,
She call'd to the slumbering sweet flowers thus:
"Awaken! for I am here."
To the lilies that lay in the silver mere,
To the reeds by the golden pond;
To the moss by the rounded marge beyond,
She spoke with her voice so soft and fond:
"Awaken! for I am here."
The violet peep'd, with its blue eye clear,
From under its own gravestone;
For the blessed tidings around had flown,
And before she spoke the impulse was known:
"Awaken! for I am here."
The pale grass lay with its long looks sere
On the breast of the open plain;
She loosened the matted hair of the slain,
And cried, as she filled each juicy vein:
"Awaken! for I am here."
The rush rose up with its pointed spear
The flag, with its falchion broad;
The dock uplifted its shield unawed,
As her voice rung over the quickening sod:
"Awaken! for I am here."
The red blood ran through the clover near,
And the heath on the hills o'erhead;
The daisy's fingers were tipp'd with red,
As she started to life, when the lady said:
"Awaken! for I am here."
And the young Year rose from his snow-white bier,
And the flowers from their green retreat;
And they came and knelt at the lady's feet,
Saying all, with their mingled voices sweet:
"O lady! behold us here."
The day of wintry wrath is o'er,
The whirlwind and the storm have pass'd,
The whiten'd ashes of the snow
Enwrap the ruined world no more;
Nor keenly from the orient blow
The venom'd hissings of the blast.
The frozen tear-drops of despair
Have melted from the trembling thorn;
Hope plumes unseen her radiant wing,
And lo! amid the expectant air,
The trumpet of the angel Spring
Proclaims the resurrection morn.
Oh! what a wave of gladsome sound
Runs rippling round the shores of space,
As the requicken'd earth upheaves
The swelling bosom of the ground,
And Death's cold pallor, startled, leaves
The deepening roses of her face.
Up from their graves the dead arise--
The dead and buried flowers of spring;--
Up from their graves in glad amaze,
Once more to view the long-lost skies,
Resplendent with the dazzling rays
Of their great coming Lord and King.
And lo! even like that mightiest one,
In the world's last and awful hour,
Surrounded by the starry seven,
So comes God's greatest work, the sun,
Upborne upon the clouds of heaven,
In pomp, and majesty, and power.
The virgin snowdrop bends its head
Above its grave in grateful prayer;
The daisy lifts its radiant brow,
With a saint's glory round it shed;
The violet's worth, unhidden now,
Is wafted wide by every air.
The parent stem reclasps once more
Its long-lost severed buds and leaves;
Once more the tender tendrils twine
Around the forms they clasped of yore
The very rain is now a sign
Great Nature's heart no longer grieves.
And now the judgment-hour arrives,
And now their final doom they know;
No dreadful doom is theirs whose birth
Was not more stainless than their lives;
'Tis Goodness calls them from the earth,
And Mercy tells them where to go.
Some of them fly with glad accord,
Obedient to the high behest,
To worship with their fragrant breath
Around the altars of the Lord;
And some, from nothingness and death,
Pass to the heaven of beauty's breast.
Oh, let the simple fancy be
Prophetic of our final doom;
Grant us, O Lord, when from the sod
Thou deign'st to call us too, that we
Pass to the bosom of our God
From the dark nothing of the tomb!
THE FIRST OF THE ANGELS.
Hush! hush! through the azure expanse of the sky
Comes a low, gentle sound, 'twixt a laugh and a sigh;
And I rise from my writing, and look up on high,
And I kneel, for the first of God's angels is nigh!
Oh, how to describe what my rapt eyes descry!
For the blue of the sky is the blue of his eye;
And the white clouds, whose whiteness the snowflakes outvie,
Are the luminous pinions on which he doth fly!
And his garments of gold gleam at times like the pyre
Of the west, when the sun in a blaze doth expire;
Now tinged like the orange, now flaming with fire!
Half the crimson of roses and purple of Tyre.
And his voice, on whose accents the angels have hung,
He himself a bright angel, immortal and young,
Scatters melody sweeter the green buds among
Than the poet e'er wrote, or the nightingale sung.
It comes on the balm-bearing breath of the breeze,
And the odours that later will gladden the bees,
With a life and a freshness united to these,
From the rippling of waters and rustling of trees.
Like a swan to its young o'er the glass of a pond,
So to earth comes the angel, as graceful and fond;
While a bright beam of sunshine--his magical wand,
Strikes the fields at my feet, and the mountains beyond.
They waken--they start into life at a bound--
Flowers climb the tall hillocks, and cover the ground
With a nimbus of glory the mountains are crown'd,
As the rivulets rush to the ocean profound.
There is life on the earth, there is calm on the sea,
And the rough waves are smoothed, and the frozen are free;
And they gambol and ramble like boys, in their glee,
Round the shell-shining strand or the grass-bearing lea.
There is love for the young, there is life for the old,
And wealth for the needy, and heat for the cold;
For the dew scatters, nightly, its diamonds untold,
And the snowdrop its silver, the crocus its gold!
God!--whose goodness and greatness we bless and adore--
Be Thou praised for this angel--the first of the four--
To whose charge Thou has given the world's uttermost shore,
To guide it, and guard it, till time is no more!
There are voices, spirit voices,
Sweetly sounding everywhere,
At whose coming earth rejoices,
And the echoing realms of air,
And their joy and jubilation
Pierce the near and reach the far,
From the rapid world's gyration
To the twinkling of the star.
One, a potent voice uplifting,
Stops the white cloud on its way,
As it drives with driftless drifting
O'er the vacant vault of day,
And in sounds of soft upbraiding
Calls it down the void inane
To the gilding and the shading
Of the mountain and the plain.
Airy offspring of the fountains,
To thy destined duty sail,
Seek it on the proudest mountains,
Seek it in the humblest vale;
Howsoever high thou fliest,
How so deep it bids thee go,
Be a beacon to the highest
And a blessing to the low.
When the sad earth, broken-hearted,
Hath not even a tear to shed,
And her very soul seems parted
For her children lying dead,
Send the streams with warmer pulses
Through that frozen fount of fears,
And the sorrow that convulses,
Soothe and soften down to tears.
Bear the sunshine and the shadow,
Bear the rain-drop and the snow,
Bear the night-dew to the meadow,
And to hope the promised bow,
Bear the moon, a moving mirror
For her angel face and form,
Bear to guilt the flashing terror
Of the lightning and the storm.
When thou thus hast done thy duty
On the earth and o'er the sea,
Bearing many a beam of beauty,
Ever bettering what must be,
Thus reflecting heaven's pure splendour
And concealing ruined clay,
Up to God thy spirit render,
And dissolving pass away.
And with fond solicitation,
Speaks another to the streams--
Leave your airy isolation,
Quit the cloudy land of dreams,
Break the lonely peak's attraction,
Burst the solemn, silent glen,
Seek the living world of action
And the busy haunts of men.
Turn the mill-wheel with thy fingers,
Turn the steam-wheel with thy breath,
With thy tide that never lingers
Save the dying fields from death;
Let the swiftness of thy currents
Bear to man the freight-fill'd ship,
And the crystal of thy torrents
Bring refreshment to his lip.
And when thou, O rapid river,
Thy eternal home dost seek,
When no more the willows quiver
But to touch thy passing cheek,
When the groves no longer greet thee
And the shore no longer kiss,
Let infinitude come meet thee
On the verge of the abyss.
Other voices seek to win us--
Low, suggestive, like the rest--
But the sweetest is within us
In the stillness of the breast;
Be it ours, with fond desiring,
The same harvest to produce,
As the cloud in its aspiring
And the river in its use.
AUGUST 6TH, 1875.
Harp of my native land
That lived anew 'neath Carolan's master hand;
Harp on whose electric chords,
The minstrel Moore's melodious words,
Each word a bird that sings,
Borne as if on Ariel's wings,
Touched every tender soul
From listening pole to pole.
Sweet harp, awake once more:
What, though a ruder hand disturbs thy rest,
A theme so high
Will its own worth supply.
As finest gold is ever moulded best:
Or as a cannon on some festive day,
When sea and sky, when winds and waves rejoice,
Out-booms with thunderous voice,
Bids echo speak, and all the hills obey--
So let the verse in echoing accents ring,
So proudly sing,
With intermittent wail,
The nation's dead, but sceptred King,
The glory of the Gael.
Six hundred stormy years have flown,
Since Erin fought to hold her own,
To hold her homes, her altars free,
Within her wall of circling sea.
No year of all those years had fled,
No day had dawned that was not red,
(Oft shed by fratricidal hand),
With the best blood of all the land.
And now, at last, the fight seemed o'er,
The sound of battle pealed no more;
Abject the prostrate people lay,
Nor dared to hope a better day;
An icy chill, a fatal frost,
Left them with all but honour lost,
Left them with only trust in God,
The lands were gone their fathers owned;
Poor pariahs on their native sod.
Their faith was banned, their prophets stoned;
Their temples crowning every height,
Now echoed with an alien rite,
Or silent lay each mouldering pile,
With shattered cross and ruined aisle.
Letters denied, forbade to pray,
And white-winged commerce scared away:
Ah, what can rouse the dormant life
That still survives the stormier strife?
What potent charm can once again
Relift the cross, rebuild the fane?
Free learning from felonious chains,
And give to youth immortal gains?
What signal mercy from on high?--
Hush! hark! I hear an infant's cry,
The answer of a new-born child,
From Iveragh's far mountain wild.
Yes, 'tis the cry of a child, feeble and faint in the night,
But soon to thunder in tones that will rouse both tyrants and slaves.
Yes, 'tis the sob of a stream just awake in its source on the height,
But soon to spread as a sea, and rush with the roaring of waves.
Yes, 'tis the cry of a child affection hastens to still,
But what shall silence ere long the victor voice of the man?
Easy it is for a branch to bar the flow of the rill,
But all the forest would fail where raging the torrent once ran.
And soon the torrent will run, and the pent-up waters o'erflow,
For the child has risen to a man, and a shout replaces the cry;
And a voice rings out through the world, so wing`ed with Erin's woe,
That charmed are the nations to listen, and the Destinies to reply.
Boyhood had passed away from that child, predestined by fate
To dry the eyes of his mother, to end the worst of her ills,
And the terrible record of wrong, and the annals of hell and hate,
Had gathered into his breast like a lake in the heart of the hills.
Brooding over the past, he found himself but a slave,
With manacles forged on his mind, and fetters on every limb;
The land that was life to others, to him was only a grave,
And however the race he ran no victor wreath was for him.
The fane of learning was closed, shut out was the light of day,
No ray from the sun of science, no brightness from Greece or Rome,
And those who hungered for knowledge, like him, had to fly away,
Where bountiful France threw wide the gates that were shut at home.
And there he happily learned a lore far better than books,
A lesson he taught for ever, and thundered over the land,
That Liberty's self is a terror, how lovely may be her looks,
If religion is not in her heart, and reverence guide not her hand.
The steps of honour were barred: it was not for him to climb,
No glorious goal in the future, no prize for the labour of life,
And the fate of him and his people seemed fixed for all coming time
To hew the wood of the helot and draw the waters of strife.
But the glorious youth returning
Back from France the fair and free,
Rage within his bosom burning,
Such a servile sight to see,
Vowed to heaven it should not be.
"No!" the youthful champion cried,
"Mother Ireland, widowed bride,
If thy freedom can be won
By the service of a son,
Then, behold that son in me.
I will give thee every hour,
Every day shall be thy dower,
In the splendour of the light,
In the watches of the night,
In the shine and in the shower,
I shall work but for thy right."
A dazzling gleam of evanescent glory,
Had passed away, and all was dark once more,
One golden page had lit the mournful story,
Which ruthless hands with envious rage out-tore.
One glorious sun-burst, radiant and far-reaching,
Had pierced the cloudy veil dark ages wove,
When full-armed Freedom rose from Grattan's teaching,
As sprang Minerva from the brain of Jove.
Oh! in the transient light that had outbroken,
How all the land with quickening fire was lit!
What golden words of deathless speech were spoken,
What lightning flashes of immortal wit!
Letters and arts revived beneath its beaming,
Commerce and Hope outspread their swelling sails,
And with "Free Trade" upon their standard gleaming,
Now feared no foes and dared adventurous gales.
Across the stream the graceful arch extended,
Above the pile the rounded dome arose,
The soaring spire to heaven's high vault ascended,
The loom hummed loud as bees at evening's close.
And yet 'mid all this hope and animation,
The people still lay bound in bigot chains,
Freedom that gave some slight alleviation,
Could dare no panacea for their pains.
Yet faithful to their country's quick uprising,
Like some fair island from volcanic waves,
They shared the triumph though their claims despising,
And hailed the freedom though themselves were slaves.
But soon had come the final compensation,
Soon would the land one brotherhood have known,
Had not some spell of hellish incantation
The new-formed fane of Freedom overthrown.
In one brief hour the fair mirage had faded,
No isle of flowers lay glad on ocean's green,
But in its stead, deserted and degraded,
The barren strand of Slavery's shore was seen.
Yet! 'twas on that barren strand
Sing his praise throughout the world!
Yet, 'twas on that barren strand,
O'er a cowed and broken band,
That his solitary hand
Freedom's flag unfurled.
Yet! 'twas there in Freedom's cause,
Freedom from unequal laws,
Freedom for each creed and class,
For humanity's whole mass,
That his voice outrang;--
And the nation at a bound,
Stirred by the inspiring sound,
To his side up-sprang.
Then the mighty work began,
Then the war of thirty years--
Peaceful war, when words were spears,
And religion led the van.
When O'Connell's voice of power,
Day by day and hour by hour,
Raining down its iron shower,
Laid oppression low,
Till at length the war was o'er,
And Napoleon's conqueror,
Yielded to a mightier foe.
Into the senate swept the mighty chief,
Like some great ocean wave across the bar
Of intercepting rock, whose jagged reef
But frets the victor whom it cannot mar.
Into the senate his triumphal car
Rushed like a conqueror's through the broken gates
Of some fallen city, whose defenders are
Powerful no longer to resist the fates,
But yield at last to him whom wondering Fame awaits.
And as "sweet foreign Spenser" might have sung,
Yoked to the car two wing`ed steeds were seen,
With eyes of fire and flashing hoofs outflung,
As if Apollo's coursers they had been.
These were quick Thought and Eloquence, I ween,
Bounding together with impetuous speed,
While overhead there waved a flag of green,
Which seemed to urge still more each flying steed,
Until they reached the goal the hero had decreed.
There at his feet a captive wretch lay bound,
Hideous, deformed, of baleful countenance,
Whom as his blood-shot eye-balls glared around,
As if to kill with their malignant glance,
I knew to be the fiend Intolerance.
But now no longer had he power to slay,
For Freedom touched him with Ithuriel's lance,
His horrid form revealing by its ray,
And showed how foul a fiend the world could once obey.
Then followed after him a numerous train,
Each bearing trophies of the field he won:
Some the white wand, and some the civic chain,
Its golden letters glistening in the sun;
Some--for the reign of justice had begun--
The ermine robes that soon would be the prize
Of spotless lives that all pollution shun,
And some in mitred pomp, with upturned eyes,
And grateful hearts invoked a blessing from the skies.
A glorious triumph! a deathless deed!--
Shall the hero rest and his work half done?
Is it enough to enfranchise a creed,
When a nation's freedom may yet be won?
Is it enough to hang on the wall
The broken links of the Catholic chain,
When now one mighty struggle for ALL
May quicken the life in the land again?--
May quicken the life, for the land lay dead;
No central fire was a heart in its breast,--
No throbbing veins, with the life-blood red,
Ran out like rivers to east or west:
Its soul was gone, and had left it clay--
Dull clay to grow but the grass and the root;
But harvests for Men, ah! where were they?--
And where was the tree for Liberty's fruit?
Never till then, in victory's hour,
Had a conqueror felt a joy so sweet,
As when the wand of his well-won power
O'Connell laid at his country's feet.
"No! not for me, nor for mine alone,"
The generous victor cried, "Have I fought,
But to see my Eire again on her throne;
Ah, that was my dream and my guiding thought.
To see my Eire again on her throne,
Her tresses with lilies and shamrocks twined,
Her severed sons to a nation grown,
Her hostile hues in one flag combined;
Her wisest gathered in grave debate,
Her bravest armed to resist the foe:
To see my country 'glorious and great,'--
To see her 'free,'--to fight I go!"
And forth he went to the peaceful fight,
And the millions rose at his words of fire,
As the lightning's leap from the depth of the night,
And circle some mighty minster's spire:
Ah, ill had it fared with the hapless land,
If the power that had roused could not restrain?
If the bolts were not grasped in a glowing hand
To be hurled in peals of thunder again?
And thus the people followed his path,
As if drawn on by a magic spell,--
By the royal hill and the haunted rath,
By the hallowed spring and the holy well,
By all the shrines that to Erin are dear,
Round which her love like the ivy clings,--
Still folding in leaves that never grow sere
The cell of the saint and the home of kings.
And a soul of sweetness came into the land:
Once more was the harp of Erin strung;
Once more on the notes from some master hand
The listening land in its rapture hung.
Once more with the golden glory of words
Were the youthful orator's lips inspired,
Till he touched the heart to its tenderest chords,
And quickened the pulse which his voice had fired.
And others divinely dowered to teach--
High souls of honour, pure hearts of fire,
So startled the world with their rhythmic speech,
That it seemed attuned to some unseen lyre.
But the kingliest voice God ever gave man
Words sweeter still spoke than poet hath sung,--
For a nation's wail through the numbers ran,
And the soul of the Celt exhaled on his tongue.
And again the foe had been forced to yield;
But the hero at last waxed feeble and old,
Yet he scattered the seed in a fruitful field,
To wave in good time as a harvest of gold.
Then seeking the feet of God's High Priest,
He slept by the soft Ligurian Sea,
Leaving a light, like the Star in the East,
To lead the land that will yet be free.
A hundred years their various course have run,
Since Erin's arms received her noblest son,
And years unnumbered must in turn depart
Ere Erin fails to fold him to her heart.
He is our boast, our glory, and our pride,
For us he lived, fought, suffered, dared, and died;
Struck off the shackles from each fettered limb,
And all we have of best we owe to him.
If some cathedral, exquisitely fair,
Lifts its tall turrets through the wondering air,
Though art or skill its separate offering brings,
'Tis from O'Connell's heart the structure springs.
If through this city on these festive days,
Halls, streets, and squares are bright with civic blaze
Of glittering chains, white wands, and flowing gowns,
The red-robed senates of a hundred towns,
Whatever rank each special spot may claim,
'Tis from O'Connell's hand their charters came.
If in the rising hopes of recent years
A mighty sound reverberates on our ears,
And myriad voices in one cry unite
For restoration of a ravished right,
'Tis the great echo of that thunder blast,
On Tara pealed or mightier Mullaghmast,
If arts and letters are more widely spread,
A Nile o'erflowing from its fertile bed,
Spreading the rich alluvium whence are given
Harvests for earth and amaranth flowers for heaven;
If Science still, in not unholy walls,
Sets its high chair, and dares unchartered halls,
And still ascending, ever heavenward soars,
While capped Exclusion slowly opes it doors,
It is his breath that speeds the spreading tide,
It is his hand the long-locked door throws wide.
Where'er we turn the same effect we find--
O'Connell's voice still speaks his country's mind.
Therefore we gather to his birthday feast
Prelate and peer, the people and the priest;
Therefore we come, in one united band,
To hail in him the hero of the land,
To bless his memory, and with loud acclaim
To all the winds, on all the wings of fame
Waft to the listening world the great O'Connell's name.
MAY 28TH, 1879.
Joy to Ierne, joy,
This day a deathless crown is won,
Her child of song, her glorious son,
Her minstrel boy
Attains his century of fame,
Completes his time-allotted zone,
And proudly with the world's acclaim
Ascends the lyric throne.
Yes, joy to her whose path so long,
Slow journeying to her realm of rest
O'er many a rugged mountain's crest,
He charmed with his enchanting song:
Like his own princess in the tale,
When he who had her way beguiled
Through many a bleak and desert wild
Until she reached Cashmere's bright vale
Had ceased those notes to play and sing
To which her heart responsive swelled,
She looking up, in him beheld
Her minstrel lover and her king;--
So Erin now, her journey well-nigh o'er,
Enraptured sees her minstrel king in Moore.
And round that throne whose light to-day
O'er all the world is cast,
In words though weak, in hues though faint,
Congenial fancy rise and paint
The spirits of the past
Who here their homage pay--
Those who his youthful muse inspired,
Those who his early genius fired
To emulate their lay:
And as in some phantasmal glass
Let the immortal spirits pass,
Let each renew the inspiring strain,
And fire the poet's soul again.
First there comes from classic Greece,
Beaming love and breathing peace,
With her pure, sweet smiling face,
The glory of the Aeolian race,
Beauteous Sappho, violet-crowned,
Shedding joy and rapture round:
In her hand a harp she bears,
Parent of celestial airs,
Love leaps trembling from each wire,
Every chord a string of fire:--
How the poet's heart doth beat,
How his lips the notes repeat,
Till in rapture borne along,
The Sapphic lute, the lyrist's song,
Blend in one delicious strain,
Never to divide again.
And beside the Aeolian queen
Great Alcaeus' form is seen:
He takes up in voice more strong
The dying cadence of the song,
And on loud resounding strings
Hurls his wrath on tyrant kings:--
Like to incandescent coal
On the poet's kindred soul
Fall these words of living flame,
Till their songs become the same,--
The same hate of slavery's night,
The same love of freedom's light,
Scorning aught that stops its way,
Come the black cloud whence it may,
Lift alike the inspir`ed song,
And the liquid notes prolong.
Carolling a livelier measure
Comes the Teian bard of pleasure,
Round his brow where joy reposes
Radiant love enwreaths his roses,
Rapture in his verse is ringing,
Soft persuasion in his singing:--
'Twas the same melodious ditty
Moved Polycrates to pity,
Made that tyrant heart surrender
Captive to a tone so tender:
To the younger bard inclining,
Round his brow the roses twining,
First the wreath in red wine steeping,
He his cithern to his keeping
Yields, its glorious fate foreseeing,
From her chains a nation freeing,
Fetters new around it flinging
In the flowers of his own singing.
But who is this that from the misty cloud
Of immemorial years,
Wrapped in the vesture of his vaporous shroud
With solemn steps appears?
His head with oak-leaves and with ivy crowned
Lets fall its silken snow,
While the white billows of his beard unbound
Athwart his bosom flow:
Who is this venerable form
Whose hands, prelusive of the storm
Across his harp-strings play--
That harp which, trembling in his hand,
Impatient waits its lord's command
To pour the impassioned lay?
Who is it comes with reverential hail
To greet the bard who sang his country best
'Tis Ossian--primal poet of the Gael--
The Homer of the West.
He sings the heroic tales of old
When Ireland yet was free,
Of many a fight and foray bold,
And raid beyond the sea.
Of all the famous deeds of Fin,
And all the wiles of Mave,
Now thunders 'mid the battle's din,
Now sobs beside the wave.
That wave empurpled by the sword
The hero used too well,
When great Cuchullin held the ford,
And fair Ferdiah fell.
And now his prophet eye is cast
As o'er a boundless plain;
He sees the future as the past,
And blends them in his strain.
The Red-Branch Knights their flags unfold
When danger's front appears,
The sunburst breaks through clouds of gold
To glorify their spears.
But, ah! a darker hour drew nigh,
The hour of Erin's woe,
When she, though destined not to die,
Lay prostrate 'neath the foe.
When broke were all the arms she bore,
And bravely bore in vain,
Till even her harp could sound no more
Beneath the victor's chain.
Ah! dire constraint, ah! cruel wrong,
To fetter thus its chord,
But well they knew that Ireland's song
Was keener than her sword.
That song would pierce where swords would fail,
And o'er the battle's din,
The sweet, sad music of the Gael
A peaceful victory win.
Long was the trance, but sweet and low
The harp breathed out again
Its speechless wail, its wordless woe,
In Carolan's witching strain.
Until at last the gift of words
Denied to it so long,
Poured o'er the now enfranchised chords
The articulate light of song.
Poured the bright light from genius won,
That woke the harp's wild lays;
Even as that statue which the sun
Made vocal with his rays.
Thus Ossian in disparted dream
Outpoured the varied lay,
But now in one united stream
His rapture finds its way:--
"Yes, in thy hands, illustrious son,
The harp shall speak once more,
Its sweet lament shall rippling run
From listening shore to shore.
Till mighty lands that lie unknown
Far in the fabled west,
And giant isles of verdure thrown
Upon the South Sea's breast.
And plains where rushing rivers flow--
Fit emblems of the free--
Shall learn to know of Ireland's woe,
And Ireland's weal through thee."
'Twas thus he sang,
And while tumultuous plaudits rang
From the immortal throng,
In the younger minstrel's hand
He placed the emblem of the land--
The harp of Irish song.
Oh! what dulcet notes are heard.
Soaring through the sunny air
Like a prayer
Borne by angel's hands on high
So entranced the listening sky
As his song--
Soft, pathetic, joyous, strong,
Rising now in rapid flight
Out of sight
Like a lark in its own light,
Now descending low and sweet
To our feet,
Till the odours of the grass
With the light notes as they pass
Blend and meet:
All that Erin's memory guards
In her heart,
Deeds of heroes, songs of bards,
Have their part.
Brian's glories reappear,
Fionualla's song we hear,
Tara's walls resound again
With a more inspir`ed strain,
Rival rivers meet and join,
Stately Shannon blends with Boyne;
While on high the storm-winds cease
Heralding the arch of peace.
And all the bright creations fair
That 'neath his master-hand awake,
Some in tears and some in smiles,
Like Nea in the summer isles,
Or Kathleen by the lonely lake,
Round his radiant throne repair:
Nay, his own Peri of the air
Now no more disconsolate,
Gives in at Fame's celestial gate
His passport to the skies--
The gift to heaven most dear,
His country's tear.
From every lip the glad refrain doth rise,
"Joy, ever joy, his glorious task is done,
The gates are passed and Fame's bright heaven is won!"
Ah! yes, the work, the glorious work is done,
And Erin crowns to-day her brightest son,
Around his brow entwines the victor bay,
And lives herself immortal in his lay--
Leads him with honour to her highest place,
For he had borne his more than mother's name
Proudly along the Olympic lists of fame
When mighty athletes struggled in the race.
Byron, the swift-souled spirit, in his pride
Paused to cheer on the rival by his side,
And Lycidas, so long
Lost in the light of his own dazzling song,
Although himself unseen,
Gave the bright wreath that might his own have been
To him whom 'mid the mountain shepherd throng,
The minstrels of the isles,
When Adonais died so fair and young,
Ierne sent from out her green defiles
"The sweetest lyrist of her saddest wrong,
And love taught grief to fall like music from his tongue."
And he who sang of Poland's kindred woes,
And Hope's delicious dream,
And all the mighty minstrels who arose
In that auroral gleam
That o'er our age a blaze of glory threw
Which Shakspere's only knew--
Some from their hidden haunts remote,
Like him the lonely hermit of the hills,
Whose song like some great organ note
The whole horizon fills.
Or the great Master, he whose magic hand,
Wielding the wand from which such wonder flows,
Transformed the lineaments of a rugged land,
And left the thistle lovely as the rose.
Oh! in a concert of such minstrelsy,
In such a glorious company,
What pride for Ireland's harp to sound,
For Ireland's son to share,
What pride to see him glory-crowned,
And hear amid the dazzling gleam
Upon the rapt and ravished air
Her harp still sound supreme!
Glory to Moore, eternal be the glory
That here we crown and consecrate to-day,
Glory to Moore, for he has sung our story
In strains whose sweetness ne'er can pass away.
Glory to Moore, for he has sighed our sorrow
In such a wail of melody divine,
That even from grief a passing joy we borrow,
And linger long o'er each lamenting line.
Glory to Moore, that in his songs of gladness
Which neither change nor time can e'er destroy,
Though mingled oft with some faint sigh of sadness,
He sings his country's rapture and its joy.
What wit like his flings out electric flashes
That make the numbers sparkle as they run:
Wit that revives dull history's Dead-sea ashes,
And makes the ripe fruit glisten in the sun?
What fancy full of loveliness and lightness
Has spread like his as at some dazzling feast,
The fruits and flowers, the beauty and the brightness,
And all the golden glories of the East?
Perpetual blooms his bower of summer roses,
No winter comes to turn his green leaves sere,
Beside his song-stream where the swan reposes
The bulbul sings as by the Bendemeer.
But back returning from his flight with Peris,
Above his native fields he sings his best,
Like to the lark whose rapture never wearies,
When poised in air he singeth o'er his nest.
And so we rank him with the great departed,
The kings of song who rule us from their urns,
The souls inspired, the natures noble hearted,
And place him proudly by the side of Burns.
And as not only by the Calton Mountain,
Is Scotland's bard remembered and revered,
But whereso'er, like some o'erflowing fountain,
Its hardy race a prosperous path has cleared.
There 'mid the roar of newly-rising cities,
His glorious name is heard on every tongue,
There to the music of immortal ditties,
His lays of love, his patriot songs are sung.
So not alone beside that bay of beauty
That guards the portals of his native town
Where like two watchful sentinels on duty,
Howth and Killiney from their heights look down.
But wheresoe'er the exiled race hath drifted,
By what far sea, what mighty stream beside,
There shall to-day the poet's name be lifted,
And Moore proclaimed its glory and its pride:
There shall his name be held in fond memento,
There shall his songs resound for evermore,
Whether beside the golden Sacramento,
Or where Niagara's thunder shakes the shore.
For all that's bright indeed must fade and perish,
And all that's sweet when sweetest not endure,
Before the world shall cease to love and cherish
The wit and song, the name and fame of MOORE.
THE SPIRIT OF THE SNOW.
The night brings forth the morn--
Of the cloud is lightning born;
From out the darkest earth the brightest roses grow.
Bright sparks from black flints fly,
And from out a leaden sky
Comes the silvery-footed Spirit of the Snow.
The wondering air grows mute,
As her pearly parachute
Cometh slowly down from heaven, softly floating to and fro;
And the earth emits no sound,
As lightly on the ground
Leaps the silvery-footed Spirit of the Snow.
At the contact of her tread,
The mountain's festal head,
As with chaplets of white roses, seems to glow;
And its furrowed cheek grows white
With a feeling of delight,
At the presence of the Spirit of the Snow.
As she wendeth to the vale,
The longing fields grow pale--
The tiny streams that vein them cease to flow;
And the river stays its tide
With wonder and with pride,
To gaze upon the Spirit of the Snow.
But little doth she deem
The love of field or stream--
She is frolicsome and lightsome as the roe;
She is here and she is there,
On the earth or in the air,
Ever changing, floats the Spirit of the Snow.
Now a daring climber, she
Mounts the tallest forest tree--
Out along the giddy branches doth she go;
And her tassels, silver-white,
Down swinging through the night,
Mark the pillow of the Spirit of the Snow.
Now she climbs the mighty mast,
When the sailor boy at last
Dreams of home in his hammock down below
There she watches in his stead
Till the morning sun shines red,
Then evanishes the Spirit of the Snow.
Or crowning with white fire.
The minster's topmost spire
With a glory such as sainted foreheads show;
She teaches fanes are given
Thus to lift the heart to heaven,
There to melt like the Spirit of the Snow.
Now above the loaded wain,
Now beneath the thundering train,
Doth she hear the sweet bells tinkle and the snorting engine blow;
Now she flutters on the breeze,
Till the branches of the trees
Catch the tossed and tangled tresses of the Spirit of the Snow.
Now an infant's balmy breath
Gives the spirit seeming death,
When adown her pallid features fair Decay's damp dew-drops flow;
Now again her strong assault
Can make an army halt,
And trench itself in terror 'gainst the Spirit of the Snow.
At times with gentle power,
In visiting some bower,
She scarce will hide the holly's red, the blackness of the sloe;
But, ah! her awful might,
When down some Alpine height
The hapless hamlet sinks before the Spirit of the Snow.
On a feather she floats down
The turbid rivers brown,
Down to meet the drifting navies of the winter-freighted floe;
Then swift o'er the azure walls
Of the awful waterfalls,
Where Niagara leaps roaring, glides the Spirit of the Snow.
With her flag of truce unfurled,
She makes peace o'er all the world--
Makes bloody battle cease awhile, and war's unpitying woe;
Till, its hollow womb within,
The deep dark-mouthed culverin
Encloses, like a cradled child, the Spirit of the Snow.
She uses in her need
The fleetly-flying steed--
Now tries the rapid reindeer's strength, and now the camel slow;
Or, ere defiled by earth,
Unto her place of birth,
Returns upon the eagle's wing the Spirit of the Snow.
Oft with pallid figure bowed,
Like the Banshee in her shroud,
Doth the moon her spectral shadow o'er some silent gravestone throw;
Then moans the fitful wail,
And the wanderer grows pale,
Till at morning fades the phantom of the Spirit of the Snow.
In her ermine cloak of state
She sitteth at the gate
Of some winter-prisoned princess in her palace by the Po;
Who dares not to come forth
Till back unto the North
Flies the beautiful besieger--the Spirit of the Snow.
In her spotless linen hood,
Like the other sisterhood,
She braves the open cloister when the psalm sounds sweet and low;
When some sister's bier doth pass
From the minster and the Mass,
Soon to sink into the earth, like the Spirit of the Snow.
But at times so full of joy,
She will play with girl and boy,
Fly from out their tingling fingers, like white fireballs on the foe;
She will burst in feathery flakes,
And the ruin that she makes
Will but wake the crackling laughter of the Spirit of the Snow.
Or in furry mantle drest,
She will fondle on her breast
The embryo buds awaiting the near Spring's mysterious throe;
So fondly that the first
Of the blossoms that outburst
Will be called the beauteous daughter of the Spirit of the Snow.
Ah! would that we were sure
Of hearts so warmly pure,
In all the winter weather that this lesser life must know;
That when shines the Sun of Love
From the warmer realm above,
In its light we may dissolve, like the Spirit of the Snow.
TO THE BAY OF DUBLIN.
My native Bay, for many a year
I've lov'd thee with a trembling fear,
Lest thou, though dear and very dear,
And beauteous as a vision,
Shouldst have some rival far away,
Some matchless wonder of a bay,
Whose sparkling waters ever play
'Neath azure skies elysian.
'Tis Love, methought, blind Love that pours
The rippling magic round these shores,
For whatsoever Love adores
Becomes what Love desireth:
'Tis ignorance of aught beside
That throws enchantment o'er the tide,
And makes my heart respond with pride
To what mine eye admireth,
And thus, unto our mutual loss,
Whene'er I paced the sloping moss
Of green Killiney, or across
The intervening waters,
Up Howth's brown sides my feet would wend,
To see thy sinuous bosom bend,
Or view thine outstretch'd arms extend
To clasp thine islet daughters;
Then would this spectre of my fear
Beside me stand--How calm and clear
Slept underneath, the green waves, near
The tide-worn rocks' recesses;
Or when they woke, and leapt from land,
Like startled sea-nymphs, hand-in-hand,
Seeking the southern silver strand
With floating emerald tresses:
It lay o'er all, a moral mist,
Even on the hills, when evening kissed
The granite peaks to amethyst,
I felt its fatal shadow:
It darkened o'er the brightest rills,
It lowered upon the sunniest hills,
And hid the wing`ed song that fills
The moorland and the meadow.
But now that I have been to view
All even Nature's self can do,
And from Gaeta's arch of blue
Borne many a fond memento;
And from each fair and famous scene,
Where Beauty is, and Power hath been,
Along the golden shores between
Misenum and Sorrento:
I can look proudly in thy face,
Fair daughter of a hardier race,
And feel thy winning well-known grace,
Without my old misgiving;
And as I kneel upon thy strand,
And kiss thy once unvalued hand,
Proclaim earth holds no lovelier land,
Where life is worth the living.
First loved, last loved, best loved of all I've loved!
Ethna, my boyhood's dream, my manhood's light,
Pure angel spirit, in whose light I've moved,
Full many a year, along life's darksome night!
Thou wert my star, serenely shining bright
Beyond youth's passing clouds and mists obscure
Thou wert the power that kept my spirit white,
My soul unsoiled, my heart untouched and pure.
Thine was the light from heaven that ever must endure.
Purest, and best, and brightest, no mishap,
No chance, or change can break our mutual ties;
My heart lies spread before thee like a map,
Here roll the tides, and there the mountains rise;
Here dangers frown and there hope's streamlet flies,
And golden promontories cleave the main:
And I have looked into thy lustrous eyes,
And saw the thought thou couldst not all restrain,
A sweet, soft, sympathetic pity for my pain!
Dearest, and best, I dedicate to thee,
From this hour forth, my hopes, my dreams, my cares,
All that I am, and all I e'er may be,
Youth's clustering locks, and age's thin white hairs;
Thou by my side, fair vision, unawares--
Sweet saint--shalt guard me as with angel's wings;
To thee shall rise the morning's hopeful prayers,
The evening hymns, the thoughts that midnight brings,
The worship that like fire out of the warm heart springs.
Thou wilt be with me through the struggling day,
Thou wilt be with me through the pensive night,
Thou wilt be with me, though far, far away
Some sad mischance may snatch you from my sight,
In grief, in pain, in gladness, in delight,
In every thought thy form shall bear a part,
In every dream thy memory shall unite,
Bride of my soul! and partner of my heart!
Till from the dreadful bow flieth the fatal dart!
Am I deceived? and do I pine and faint
For worth that only dwells in heaven above,
And if thou'rt not the Ethna that I paint,
Then thou art not the Ethna that I love;
If thou art not as gentle as the dove,
And good as thou art beautiful, the tooth
Of venomed serpent will not deadlier prove
Than that dark revelation; but in sooth,
Ethna, I wrong thee, dearest, for thy name is TRUTH.
On receiving through the Post-Office a Returned Letter from an old
residence, marked on the envelope, "Not Known."
A beauteous summer-home had I
As e'er a bard set eyes on--
A glorious sweep of sea and sky,
Near hills and far horizon.
Like Naples was the lovely bay,
The lovely hill like Rio--
And there I lived for many a day
In Campo de Estio.
It seemed as if the magic scene
No human skill had planted;
The trees remained for ever green,
As if they were enchanted:
And so I said to Sweetest-eyes,
My dear, I think that we owe
To fairy hands this paradise
Of Campo de Estio.
How swiftly flew the hours away!
I read and rhymed and revelled;
In interchange of work and play,
I built, and drained, and levelled;
"The Pope," so "happy," days gone by
(Unlike our ninth Pope Pio),
Was far less happy then than I
In Campo de Estio.
For children grew in that sweet place,
As in the grape wine gathers--
Their mother's eyes in each bright face,
In each light heart, their father's:
Their father, who by some was thought
A literary 'leo,'
Ne'er dreamed he'd be so soon forgot
In Campo de Estio.
But so it was:--Of hope bereft,
A year had scarce gone over,
Since he that sweetest place had left,
And gone--we'll say--to Dover,
When letters came where he had flown.
Returned him from the "P. O.,"
On which was writ, O Heavens! "NOT KNOWN
IN CAMPO DE ESTIO!"
"Not known" where he had lived so long,
A "cintra" home created,
Where scarce a shrub that now is strong
But had its place debated;
Where scarce a flower that now is shown,
But shows his care: O Dio!
And now to be described, "Not known
In Campo de Estio."
That pillar from the Causeway brought--
This fern from Connemara--
That pine so long and widely sought--
This Cedrus deodara--
That bust (if Shakespeare's doth survive,
And busts had brains and 'brio'),
Might keep his name at least alive
In Campo de Estio.
When Homer went from place to place,
The glorious siege reciting
(Of course I presuppose the case
Of reading and of writing),
I've little doubt the Bard divine
His letters got from Scio,
Inscribed "Not known," Ah! me, like mine
From Campo de Estio.
The poet, howsoe'er inspired,
Must brave neglect and danger;
When Philip Massinger expired,
The death-list said "a stranger!"
A stranger! yes, on earth, but let
The poet sing 'laus Deo'!--
Heaven's glorious summer waits him yet--
God's "Campo de Estio."
THE LAY MISSIONER.
Had I a wish--'twere this, that heaven would make
My heart as strong to imitate as love,
That half its weakness it could leave, and take
Some spirit's strength, by which to soar above,
A lordly eagle mated with a dove.
Strong-will and warm affection, these be mine;
Without the one no dreams has fancy wove,
Without the other soon these dreams decline,
Weak children of the heart, which fade away and pine!
Strong have I been in love, if not in will;
Affections crowd and people all the past,
And now, even now, they come and haunt me still,
Even from the graves where once my hopes were cast.
But not with spectral features--all aghast--
Come they to fright me; no, with smiles and tears,
And winding arms, and breasts that beat as fast
As once they beat in boyhood's opening years,
Come the departed shades, whose steps my rapt soul hears.
Youth has passed by, its first warm flush is o'er,
And now, 'tis nearly noon; yet unsubdued
My heart still kneels and worships, as of yore,
Those twin-fair shapes, the Beautiful and Good!
Valley and mountain, sky and stream, and wood,
And that fair miracle, the human face,
And human nature in its sunniest mood,
Freed from the shade of all things low and base,--
These in my heart still hold their old accustom'd place.
'Tis not with pride, but gratitude, I tell
How beats my heart with all its youthful glow,
How one kind act doth make my bosom swell,
And down my cheeks the sweet, warm, glad tears flow.
Enough of self, enough of me you know,
Kind reader, but if thou wouldst further wend,
With me, this wilderness of weak words thro',
Let me depict, before the journey end,
One whom methinks thou'lt love, my brother and my friend.
Ah! wondrous is the lot of him who stands
A Christian Priest, with a Christian fane,
And binds with pure and consecrated hands,
Round earth and heaven, a festal, flower chain;
Even as between the blue arch and the main,
A circling western ring of golden light
Weds the two worlds, or as the sunny rain
Of April makes the cloud and clay unite,
Thus links the Priest of God the dark world and the bright.
All are not priests, yet priestly duties may
And should be all men's: as a common sight
We view the brightness of a summer's day,
And think 'tis but its duty to be bright;
But should a genial beam of warming light
Suddenly break from out a wintry sky,
With gratitude we own a new delight,
Quick beats the heart and brighter beams the eye,
And as a boon we hail the splendour from on high.
'Tis so with men, with those of them at least
Whose hearts by icy doubts are chill'd and torn;
They think the virtues of a Christian Priest
Something professional, put on and worn
Even as the vestments of a Sabbath morn:
But should a friend or act or teach as he,
Then is the mind of all its doubting shorn,
The unexpected goodness that they see
Takes root, and bears its fruit, as uncoerced and free!
One I have known, and haply yet I know,
A youth by baser passions undefiled,
Lit by the light of genius and the glow
Which real feeling leaves where once it smiled;
Firm as a man, yet tender as a child;
Armed at all points by fantasy and thought,
To face the true or soar amid the wild;
By love and labour, as a good man ought,
Ready to pay the price by which dear truth is bought!
'Tis not with cold advice or stern rebuke,
With formal precept, or wit face demure,
But with the unconscious eloquence of look,
Where shines the heart so loving and so pure: