CurrerEllis and Acton Bell
[CharlotteEmily and Anne Brontė]
PILATE'S WIFE'S DREAM
I've quench'd my lampI struck it in that start
Which every limb convulsedI heard it fall--
The crash blent with my sleepI saw depart
Its lighteven as I wokeon yonder wall;
Over against my bedthere shone a gleam
Strangefaintand mingling also with my dream.
It sankand I am wrapt in utter gloom;
How far is night advancedand when will day
Retinge the dusk and livid air with bloom
And fill this void with warmcreative ray?
Would I could sleep again tillclear and red
Morning shall on the mountain-tops be spread!
I'd call my womenbut to break their sleep
Because my own is brokenwere unjust;
They've wrought all dayand well-earn'd slumbers steep
Their labours in forgetfulnessI trust;
Let me my feverish watch with patience bear
Thankful that none with me its sufferings share.
Yetohfor light! one ray would tranquillize
My nervesmy pulsesmore than effort can;
I'll draw my curtain and consult the skies:
These trembling stars at dead of night look wan
Wildrestlessstrangeyet cannot be more drear
Than this my couchshared by a nameless fear.
All black--one great clouddrawn from east to west
Conceals the heavensbut there are lights below;
Torches burn in Jerusalemand cast
On yonder stony mount a lurid glow.
I see men station'd thereand gleaming spears;
A soundtoofrom afarinvades my ears.
Dullmeasured strokes of axe and hammer ring
>From street to streetnot loudbut through the night
Distinctly heard--and some strange spectral thing
Is now uprear'd--andfix'd against the light
Of the pale lampsdefined upon that sky
It stands up like a columnstraight and high.
I see it all--I know the dusky sign--
A cross on Calvarywhich Jews uprear
While Romans watch; and when the dawn shall shine
Pilateto judge the victimwill appear--
Pass sentence-yield Him up to crucify;
And on that cross the spotless Christ must die.
Dreamsthenare true--for thus my vision ran;
Surely some oracle has been with me
The gods have chosen me to reveal their plan
To warn an unjust judge of destiny:
Islumberingheard and saw; awake I know
Christ's coming deathand Pilate's life of woe.
I do not weep for Pilate--who could prove
Regret for him whose cold and crushing sway
No prayer can softenno appeal can move:
Who tramples hearts as others trample clay
Yet with a falteringan uncertain tread
That might stir up reprisal in the dead.
Forced to sit by his side and see his deeds;
Forced to behold that visagehour by hour
In whose gaunt lines the abhorrent gazer reads
A triple lust of goldand bloodand power;
A soul whom motives fierceyet abjecturge--
Rome's servile slaveand Judah's tyrant scourge.
How can I loveor mournor pity him?
Iwho so long my fetter'd hands have wrung;
Iwho for grief have wept my eyesight dim ;
Becausewhile life for me was bright and young
He robb'd my youth--he quench'd my life's fair ray--
He crush'd my mindand did my freedom slay.
And at this hour-although I be his wife--
He has no more of tenderness from me
Than any other wretch of guilty life ;
Lessfor I know his household privacy--
I see him as he is--without a screen;
Andby the godsmy soul abhors his mien!
Has he not sought my presencedyed in blood--
Innocentrighteous bloodshed shamelessly?
And have I not his red salute withstood?
Aywhenas ersthe plunged all Galilee
In dark bereavement--in affliction sore
Mingling their very offerings with their gore.
Then came he--in his eyes a serpent-smile
Upon his lips some falseendearing word
And through the streets of Salem clang'd the while
His slaughteringhackingsacrilegious sword--
And Ito see a man cause men such woe
Trembled with ire--I did not fear to show.
And nowthe envious Jewish priests have brought
Jesus--whom they in mock'ry call their king--
To haveby this grim powertheir vengeance wrought;
By this mean reptileinnocence to sting.
Oh! could I but the purposed doom avert
And shield the blameless head from cruel hurt!
Accessible is Pilate's heart to fear
Omens will shake his soullike autumn leaf;
Could he this night's appalling vision hear
This just man's bonds were loosedhis life were safe
Unless that bitter priesthood should prevail
And make even terror to their malice quail.
Yet if I tell the dream--but let me pause.
What dream? Erewhile the characters were clear
Graved on my brain--at once some unknown cause
Has dimm'd and razed the thoughtswhich now appear
Like a vague remnant of some by-past scene;--
Not what will bebut whatlong sincehas been.
I suffer'd many things--I heard foretold
A dreadful doom for Pilate--lingering woes
In farbarbarian climeswhere mountains cold
Built up a solitude of trackless snows
There he and grisly wolves prowl'd side by side
There he lived famish'd--theremethoughthe died;
But not of hungernor by malady;
I saw the snow around himstain'd with gore;
I said I had no tears for such as he
Andlo! my cheek is wet--mine eyes run o'er;
I weep for mortal sufferingmortal guilt
I weep the impious deedthe blood self-spilt.
More I recall notyet the vision spread
Into a world remotean age to come--
And still the illumined name of Jesus shed
A lighta clearnessthrough the unfolding gloom--
And still I saw that signwhich now I see
That cross on yonder brow of Calvary.
What is this Hebrew Christ?-to me unknown
His lineage--doctrine--mission; yet how clear
Is God-like goodness in his actions shown
How straight and stainless is his life's career!
The ray of Deity that rests on him
In my eyes makes Olympian glory dim.
The world advances; Greek or Roman rite
Suffices not the inquiring mind to stay;
The searching soul demands a purer light
To guide it on its upwardonward way;
Ashamed of sculptured godsReligion turns
To where the unseen Jehovah's altar burns.
Our faith is rottenall our rites defiled
Our temples sulliedandmethinksthis man
With his new ordinanceso wise and mild
Is comeeven as He saysthe chaff to fan
And sever from the wheat; but will his faith
Survive the terrors of to-morrow's death ?
* * * * * * *
I feel a firmer trust--a higher hope
Rise in my soul--it dawns with dawning day;
Lo! on the Temple's roof--on Moriah's slope
Appears at length that clear and crimson ray
Which I so wished for when shut in by night;
Ohopening skiesI hailI bless pour light!
Partclouds and shadows! Glorious Sun appear!
Partmental gloom! Come insight from on high!
Dusk dawn in heaven still strives with daylight clear
The longing soul doth still uncertain sigh.
Oh! to behold the truth--that sun divine
How doth my bosom pantmy spirit pine!
This dayTime travails with a mighty birth;
This dayTruth stoops from heaven and visits earth;
Ere night descends I shall more surely know
What guide to followin what path to go;
I wait in hope--I wait in solemn fear
The oracle of God--the sole--true God--to hear.
Arranging long-locked drawers and shelves
Of cabinetsshut up for years
What a strange task we've set ourselves!
How still the lonely room appears!
How strange this mass of ancient treasures
Mementos of past pains and pleasures;
These volumesclasped with costly stone
With print all fadedgilding gone;
These fans of leaves from Indian trees--
These crimson shellsfrom Indian seas--
These tiny portraitsset in rings--
Oncedoubtlessdeemed such precious things;
Keepsakes bestowed by Love on Faith
And worn till the receiver's death
Now stored with cameoschinashells
In this old closet's dusty cells.
I scarcely thinkfor ten long years
A hand has touched these relics old;
The growth of green and antique mould.
All in this house is mossing over;
All is unusedand dimand damp;
Nor lightnor warmththe rooms discover--
Bereft for years of fire and lamp.
The sunsometimes in summerenters
The casementswith reviving ray;
But the long rains of many winters
Moulder the very walls away.
And outside all is ivyclinging
To chimneylatticegable grey;
Scarcely one little red rose springing
Through the green moss can force its way.
Unscaredthe daw and starling nestle
Where the tall turret rises high
And winds alone come near to rustle
The thick leaves where their cradles lie
I sometimes thinkwhen late at even
I climb the stair reluctantly
Some shape that should be well in heaven
Or ill elsewherewill pass by me.
I fear to see the very faces
Familiar thirty years ago
Even in the old accustomed places
Which look so cold and gloomy now
I've cometo close the windowhither
At twilightwhen the sun was down
And Fear my very soul would wither
Lest something should be dimly shown
Too much the buried form resembling
Of her who once was mistress here;
Lest doubtful shadeor moonbeam trembling
Might take her aspectonce so dear.
Hers was this chamber; in her time
It seemed to me a pleasant room
For then no cloud of grief or crime
Had cursed it with a settled gloom;
I had not seen death's image laid
In shroud and sheeton yonder bed.
Before she marriedshe was blest--
Blest in her youthblest in her worth;
Her mind was calmits sunny rest
Shone in her eyes more clear than mirth.
And when attired in rich array
Lightlustrous hair about her brow
She yonder sata kind of day
Lit up what seems so gloomy now.
These grim oak walls even then were grim;
That old carved chair was then antique;
But what around looked dusk and dim
Served as a foil to her fresh cheek;
Her neck and armsof hue so fair
Eyes of uncloudedsmiling light;
Her softand curledand floating hair
Gems and attireas rainbow bright.
Reclined in yonder deep recess
Ofttimes she wouldat eveninglie
Watching the sun; she seemed to bless
With happy glance the glorious sky.
She loved such scenesand as she gazed
Her face evinced her spirit's mood;
Beauty or grandeur ever raised
In hera deep-felt gratitude.
But of all lovely thingsshe loved
A cloudless moonon summer night
Full oft have I impatience proved
To see how long her still delight
Would find a theme in reverie
Out on the lawnor where the trees
Let in the lustre fitfully
As their boughs parted momently
To the softlanguidsummer breeze.
Alas! that she should e'er have flung
Those purethough lonely joys away--
Deceived by false and guileful tongue
She gave her handthen suffered wrong;
Oppressedill-usedshe faded young
And died of grief by slow decay.
Open that casket-look how bright
Those jewels flash upon the sight;
The brilliants have not lost a ray
Of lustresince her wedding day.
But see--upon that pearly chain--
How dim lies Time's discolouring stain!
I've seen that by her daughter worn:
Forere she dieda child was born;--
A child that ne'er its mother knew
That loneand almost friendless grew;
Foreverwhen its step drew nigh
Averted was the father's eye;
And thena life impure and wild
Made him a stranger to his child:
Absorbed in vicehe little cared
On what she didor how she fared.
The love withheld she never sought
She grew uncherished--learnt untaught;
To her the inward life of thought
Full soon was open laid.
I know not if her friendlessness
Did sometimes on her spirit press
But plaint she never made.
The book-shelves were her darling treasure
She rarely seemed the time to measure
While she could read alone.
And she too loved the twilight wood
And oftenin her mother's mood
Away to yonder hill would hie
Like herto watch the setting sun
Or see the stars bornone by one
Out of the darkening sky.
Nor would she leave that hill till night
Trembled from pole to pole with light;
Even thenupon her homeward way
Long--long her wandering steps delayed
To quit the sombre forest shade
Through which her eerie pathway lay.
You ask if she had beauty's grace?
I know not--but a nobler face
My eyes have seldom seen;
A keen and fine intelligence
Andbetter stillthe truest sense
Were in her speaking mien.
But bloom or lustre was there none
Only at momentsfitful shone
An ardour in her eye
That kindled on her cheek a flush
Warm as a red sky's passing blush
And quick with energy.
Her speechtoowas not common speech
No wish to shineor aim to teach
Was in her words displayed:
She still began with quiet sense
But oft the force of eloquence
Came to her lips in aid;
Language and voice unconscious changed
And thoughtsin other words arranged
Her fervid soul transfused
Into the hearts of those who heard
And transient strength and ardour stirred
In minds to strength unused
Yet in gay crowd or festal glare
Grave and retiring was her air;
'Twas seldomsave with me alone
That fire of feeling freely shone;
She loved not awe's nor wonder's gaze
Nor even exaggerated praise
Nor even noticeif too keen
The curious gazer searched her mien.
Nature's own green expanse revealed
The worldthe pleasuresshe could prize;
On free hill-sidein sunny field
In quiet spots by woods concealed
Grew wild and fresh her chosen joys
Yet Nature's feelings deeply lay
In that endowed and youthful frame;
Shrined in her heart and hid from day
They burned unseen with silent flame.
In youth's first search for mental light
She lived but to reflect and learn
But soon her mind's maturer might
For stronger task did pant and yearn;
And stronger task did fate assign
Task that a giant's strength might strain;
To suffer long and ne'er repine
Be calm in frenzysmile at pain.
Pale with the secret war of feeling
Sustained with couragemuteyet high;
The wounds at which she bledrevealing
Only by altered cheek and eye;
She bore in silence--but when passion
Surged in her soul with ceaseless foam
The storm at last brought desolation
And drove her exiled from her home.
And silent stillshe straight assembled
The wrecks of strength her soul retained;
For though the wasted body trembled
The unconquered mindto quaildisdained.
She crossed the sea--now lone she wanders
By Seine'sor Rhine'sor Arno's flow;
Fain would I know if distance renders
Relief or comfort to her woe.
Fain would I know ifhenceforthever
These eyes shall read in hers again
That light of love which faded never
Though dimmed so long with secret pain.
She will returnbut cold and altered
Like all whose hopes too soon depart;
Like all on whom have beatunsheltered
The bitter blasts that blight the heart.
No more shall I behold her lying
Calm on a pillowsmoothed by me;
No more that spiritworn with sighing
Will know the rest of infancy.
If still the paths of lore she follow
'Twill be with tired and goaded will;
She'll only toilthe aching hollow
The joyless blank of life to fill.
And oh! full oftquite spent and weary
Her hand will pauseher head decline;
That labour seems so hard and dreary
On which no ray of hope may shine.
Thus the pale blight of time and sorrow
Will shade with grey her softdark hair;
Then comes the day that knows no morrow
And death succeeds to long despair.
So speaks experiencesage and hoary;
I see it plainlyknow it well
Like one whohaving read a story
Each incident therein can tell.
Touch not that ring; 'twas histhe sire
Of that forsaken child;
And nought his relics can inspire
Iwho sat by his wife's death-bed
Iwho his daughter loved
Could almost curse the guilty dead
For woes the guiltless proved.
And heaven did curse--they found him laid
When crime for wrath was rife
Cold--with the suicidal blade
Clutched in his desperate gripe.
'Twas near that long deserted hut
Which in the wood decays
Death's axeself-wieldedstruck his root
And lopped his desperate days.
You know the spotwhere three black trees
Lift up their branches fell
And moaningceaseless as the seas
Still seemin every passing breeze
The deed of blood to tell.
They named him madand laid his bones
Where holier ashes lie;
Yet doubt not that his spirit groans
In hell's eternity.
Butlo! nightclosing o'er the earth
Infects our thoughts with gloom;
Comelet us strive to rally mirth
Where glows a clear and tranquil hearth
In some more cheerful room.
THE WIFE'S WILL.
Sit still--a word--a breath may break
(As light airs stir a sleeping lake)
The glassy calm that soothes my woes--
The sweetthe deepthe full repose.
O leave me not! for ever be
Thusmore than life itself to me!
Yesclose beside thee let me kneel--
Give me thy handthat I may feel
The friend so true--so tried--so dear
My heart's own chosen--indeed is near;
And check me not--this hour divine
Belongs to me--is fully mine.
'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside
After long absence--wandering wide;
'Tis thy own wife reads in thine eyes
A promise clear of stormless skies;
For faith and true love light the rays
Which shine responsive to her gaze.
Ay--well that single tear may fall;
Ten thousand might mine eyes recall
Which from their lids ran blinding fast
In hours of griefyet scarcely past;
Well mayst thou speak of love to me
Foroh! most truly--I love thee!
Yet smile--for we are happy now.
Whencethenthat sadness on thy brow?
What sayst thou? "We muse once again
Ere longbe severed by the main!"
I knew not this--I deemed no more
Thy step would err from Britain's shore.
"Duty commands!" 'Tis true--'tis just;
Thy slightest word I wholly trust
Nor by requestnor faintest sigh
Would I to turn thy purpose try;
ButWilliamhear my solemn vow--
Hear and confirm!--with thee I go.
"Distance and suffering didst thou say?
Danger by nightand toil by day?"
Ohidle words and vain are these;
Hear me! I cross with thee the seas.
Such risk as thou must meet and dare
I--thy true wife--will duly share.
Passiveat homeI will not pine;
Thy toilsthy perils shall be mine;
Grant this--and be hereafter paid
By a warm heart's devoted aid:
'Tis granted--with that yielding kiss
Entered my soul unmingled bliss.
ThanksWilliamthanks! thy love has joy
Pureundefiled with base alloy;
'Tis not a passionfalse and blind
Inspiresenchainsabsorbs my mind;
WorthyI feelart thou to be
Loved with my perfect energy.
This evening now shall sweetly flow
Lit by our clear fire's happy glow;
And parting's peace-embittering fear
Is warned our hearts to come not near;
For fate admits my soul's decree
In bliss or bale--to go with thee!
But two miles moreand then we rest!
Wellthere is still an hour of day
And long the brightness of the West
Will light us on our devious way;
Sit thenawhilehere in this wood--
So total is the solitude
We safely may delay.
These massive roots afford a seat
Which seems for weary travellers made.
There rest. The air is soft and sweet
In this sequestered forest glade
And there are scents of flowers around
The evening dew draws from the ground;
How soothingly they spread!
Yes; I was tiredbut not at heart;
No--that beats full of sweet content
For now I have my natural part
Of action with adventure blent;
Cast forth on the wide world with thee
And all my once waste energy
To weighty purpose bent.
Yet--sayst thouspies around us roam
Our aims are termed conspiracy?
Haplyno more our English home
An anchorage for us may be?
That there is risk our mutual blood
May redden in some lonely wood
The knife of treachery?
Sayst thouthat where we lodge each night
In each lone farmor lonelier hall
Of Norman Peer--ere morning light
Suspicion must as duly fall
As day returns--such vigilance
Presides and watches over France
Such rigour governs all?
I fear notWilliam; dost thou fear?
So that the knife does not divide
It may be ever hovering near:
I could not tremble at thy side
And strenuous love--like mine for thee--
Is buckler strong 'gainst treachery
And turns its stab aside.
I am resolved that thou shalt learn
To trust my strength as I trust thine;
I am resolved our souls shall burn
With equalsteadymingling shine;
Part of the field is conquered now
Our lives in the same channel flow
Along the self-same line;
And while no groaning storm is heard
Thou seem'st content it should be so
But soon as comes a warning word
Of danger--straight thine anxious brow
Bends over me a mournful shade
As doubting if my powers are made
To ford the floods of woe.
Knowthen it is my spirit swells
And drinkswith eager joythe air
Of freedom--where at last it dwells
Chartereda common task to share
With theeand then it stirs alert
And pants to learn what menaced hurt
Demands for thee its care.
RememberI have crossed the deep
And stood with thee on deckto gaze
On waves that rose in threatening heap
While stagnant lay a heavy haze
Dimly confusing sea with sky
And bafflingeventhe pilot's eye
Intent to thread the maze--
Of rockson Bretagne's dangerous coast
And find a way to steer our band
To the one point obscurewhich lost
Flung usas victimson the strand;--
Allelsewheregleamed the Gallic sword
And not a wherry could be moored
Along the guarded land.
I feared not then--I fear not now;
The interest of each stirring scene
Wakes a new sensea welcome glow
In every nerve and bounding vein ;
Alike on turbid Channel sea
Or in still wood of Normandy
I feel as born again.
The rain descended that wild morn
Whenanchoring in the cove at last
Our bandall weary and forlorn
Ashorelike wave-worn sailorscast--
Sought for a sheltering roof in vain
And scarce could scanty food obtain
To break their morning fast.
Thou didst thy crust with me divide
Thou didst thy cloak around me fold;
Andsitting silent by thy side
I ate the bread in peace untold:
Given kindly from thy hand'twas sweet
As costly fare or princely treat
On royal plate of gold.
Sharp blew the sleet upon my face
Andrising wildthe gusty wind
Drove on those thundering waves apace
Our crew so late had left behind;
Butspite of frozen shower and storm
So close to theemy heart beat warm
And tranquil slept my mind.
So now--nor foot-sore nor opprest
With walking all this August day
I taste a heaven in this brief rest
This gipsy-halt beside the way.
England's wild flowers are fair to view
Like balm is England's summer dew
Like gold her sunset ray.
But the white violetsgrowing here
Are sweeter than I yet have seen
And ne'er did dew so pure and clear
Distil on forest mosses green
As nowcalled forth by summer heat
Perfumes our cool and fresh retreat--
These fragrant limes between.
That sunset! Look beneath the boughs
Over the copse--beyond the hills;
How softyet deep and warm it glows
And heaven with rich suffusion fills;
With hues where still the opal's tint
Its gleam of prisoned fire is blent
Where flame through azure thrills!
Depart we now--for fast will fade
That solemn splendour of decline
And deep must be the after-shade
As stars alone to-night will shine;
No moon is destined--pale--to gaze
On such a day's vast Phoenix blaze
A day in fires decayed!
There--hand-in-hand we tread again
The mazes of this varying wood
And soonamid a cultured plain
Girt in with fertile solitude
We shall our resting-place descry
Marked by one roof-treetowering high
Above a farmstead rude.
Refreshederelongwith rustic fare
We'll seek a couch of dreamless ease;
Courage will guard thy heart from fear
And Love give mine divinest peace:
To-morrow brings more dangerous toil
And through its conflict and turmoil
We'll passas God shall please.
[The preceding composition refersdoubtlessto the scenes
acted in France during the last year of the Consulate.]
She will not sleepfor fear of dreams
Butrisingquits her restless bed
And walks where some beclouded beams
Of moonlight through the hall are shed.
Obedient to the goad of grief
Her stepsnow fastnow lingering slow
In varying motion seek relief
From the Eumenides of woe.
Wringing her handsat intervals--
But long as mute as phantom dim--
She glides along the dusky walls
Under the black oak rafters grim.
The close air of the grated tower
Stifles a heart that scarce can beat
Andthough so late and lone the hour
Forth pass her wanderingfaltering feet;
And on the pavement spread before
The long front of the mansion grey
Her steps imprint the night-frost hoar
Which pale on grass and granite lay.
Not long she stayed where misty moon
And shimmering stars could on her look
But through the garden archway soon
Her strange and gloomy path she took.
Some firscoeval with the tower
Their straight black boughs stretched o'er her head;
Unseenbeneath this sable bower
Rustled her dress and rapid tread.
There was an alcove in that shade
Screening a rustic seat and stand;
Weary she sat her downand laid
Her hot brow on her burning hand.
To solitude and to the night
Some words she nowin murmurssaid;
And trickling through her fingers white
Some tears of misery she shed.
"God help me in my grievous need
God help me in my inward pain;
Which cannot ask for pity's meed
Which has no licence to complain
"Which must be borne; yet who can bear
Hours longdays longa constant weight--
The yoke of absolute despair
A suffering wholly desolate?
"Who can for ever crush the heart
Restrain its throbbingcurb its life?
Dissemble truth with ceaseless art
With outward calm mask inward strife?"
She waited--as for some reply;
The still and cloudy night gave none;
Ere longwith deep-drawntrembling sigh
Her heavy plaint again begun.
"Unloved--I love; unwept--I weep;
Grief I restrain--hope I repress:
Vain is this anguish--fixed and deep;
Vainerdesires and dreams of bliss.
"My love awakes no love again
My tears collectand fall unfelt;
My sorrow touches none with pain
My humble hopes to nothing melt.
"For me the universe is dumb
Stone-deafand blankand wholly blind;
Life I must boundexistence sum
In the strait limits of one mind;
"That mind my own. Oh! narrow cell;
Dark--imageless--a living tomb!
There must I sleepthere wake and dwell
Contentwith palsypainand gloom."
Again she paused; a moan of pain
A stifled sobalone was heard;
Long silence followed--then again
Her voice the stagnant midnight stirred.
"Must it be so? Is this my fate?
Can I nor strugglenor contend?
And am I doomed for years to wait
Watching death's lingering axe descend?
"And when it fallsand when I die
What follows? Vacant nothingness?
The blank of lost identity?
Erasure both of pain and bliss?
"I've heard of heaven--I would believe;
For if this earth indeed be all
Who longest lives may deepest grieve;
Most blestwhom sorrows soonest call.
"Oh! leaving disappointment here
Will man find hope on yonder coast?
Hopewhichon earthshines never clear
And oft in clouds is wholly lost.
"Will he hope's source of light behold
Fruition's springwhere doubts expire
And drinkin waves of living gold
Contentmentfullfor long desire?
"Will he find blisswhich here he dreamed?
Restwhich was weariness on earth?
Knowledgewhichif o'er life it beamed
Served but to prove it void of worth?
"Will he find love without lust's leaven
To all with equal bounty given;
"Will hefrom penal sufferings free
Released from shroud and wormy clod
All calm and gloriousrise and see
Creation's Sire--Existence' God?
"Thenglancing back on Time's brief woes
Will he behold themfadingfly;
Swept from Eternity's repose
Like sullying cloud from pure blue sky?
"If soenduremy weary frame;
And when thy anguish strikes too deep
And when all troubled burns life's flame
Think of the quietfinal sleep;
"Think of the glorious waking-hour
Which will not dawn on grief and tears
But on a ransomed spirit's power
Certainand free from mortal fears.
"Seek now thy couchand lie till morn
Then from thy chambercalmdescend
With mind nor tossednor anguish-torn
But tranquilfixedto wait the end.
"And when thy opening eyes shall see
Mementoson the chamber wall
Of one who has forgotten thee
Shed not the tear of acrid gall.
"The tear whichwelling from the heart
Burns where its drop corrosive falls
And makes each nervein torturestart
At feelings it too well recalls:
"When the sweet hope of being loved
Threw Eden sunshine on life's way:
When every sense and feeling proved
Expectancy of brightest day.
"When the hand trembled to receive
A thrilling claspwhich seemed so near
And the heart ventured to believe
Another heart esteemed it dear.
"When wordshalf loveall tenderness
Were hourly heardas hourly spoken
When the longsunny days of bliss
Only by moonlight nights were broken.
"Tilldrop by dropthe cup of joy
Filled fullwith purple light was glowing
And Faithwhich watched itsparkling high
Still never dreamt the overflowing.
"It fell not with a sudden crashing
It poured not out like open sluice;
Nosparkling stilland redly flashing
Draineddrop by dropthe generous juice.
"I saw it sinkand strove to taste it
My eager lips approached the brim;
The movement only seemed to waste it;
It sank to dregsall harsh and dim.
"These I have drunkand they for ever
Have poisoned life and love for me;
A draught from Sodom's lake could never
More fierysaltand bitterbe.
"Oh! Love was all a thin illusion
Joybut the desert's flying stream;
And glancing back on long delusion
My memory grasps a hollow dream.
"Yet whence that wondrous change of feeling
I never knewand cannot learn;
Nor why my lover's eyecongealing
Grew cold and cloudedproud and stern.
"Nor whereforefriendship's forms forgetting
He careless leftand cool withdrew;
Nor spoke of griefnor fond regretting
Nor ev'n one glance of comfort threw.
"And neither word nor token sending
Of kindnesssince the parting day
His coursefor distant regions bending
Wentself-contained and calmaway.
Which will not weakencannot die
Hasten thy work of desolation
And let my tortured spirit fly!
"Vain as the passing galemy crying;
Though lightning-struckI must live on;
I knowat heartthere is no dying
Of loveand ruined hopealone.
"Still strong and youngand warm with vigour
Though scathedI long shall greenly grow;
And many a storm of wildest rigour
Shall yet break o'er my shivered bough.
"Rebellious now to blank inertion
My unused strength demands a task;
Traveland toiland full exertion
Are the lastonly boon I ask.
"Whencethenthis vain and barren dreaming
Of deathand dubious life to come?
I see a nearer beacon gleaming
Over dejection's sea of gloom.
"The very wildness of my sorrow
Tells me I yet have innate force;
My track of life has been too narrow
Effort shall trace a broader course.
"The world is not in yonder tower
Earth is not prisoned in that room
'Mid whose dark panelshour by hour
I've satthe slave and prey of gloom.
"One feeling--turned to utter anguish
Is not my being's only aim;
Whenlorn and lovelesslife will languish
But courage can revive the flame.
"Hewhen he left mewent a roving
To sunny climesbeyond the sea;
And Ithe weight of woe removing
Am free and fetterless as he.
"New scenesnew languageskies less clouded
May once more wake the wish to live;
Strangeforeign townsastirand crowded
New pictures to the mind may give.
"New forms and facespassing ever
May hide the one I still retain
Definedand fixedand fading never
Stamped deep on visionheartand brain.
"And we might meet--time may have changed him;
Chance may reveal the mystery
The secret influence which estranged him;
Love may restore him yet to me.
"False thought--false hope--in scorn be banished!
I am not loved--nor loved have been;
Recall notthenthe dreams scarce vanished;
Traitors! mislead me not again!
"To words like yours I bid defiance
'Tis such my mental wreck have made;
Of God aloneand self-reliance
I ask for solace--hope for aid.
"Morn comes--and ere meridian glory
O'er thesemy natal woodsshall smile
Both lonely wood and mansion hoary
I'll leave behindfull many a mile."
I. THE GARDEN.
Above the city hung the moon
Right o'er a plot of ground
Where flowers and orchard-trees were fenced
With lofty walls around:
'Twas Gilbert's garden--there to-night
Awhile he walked alone;
Andtired with sedentary toil
Mused where the moonlight shone.
This gardenin a city-heart
Lay still as houseless wild
Though many-windowed mansion fronts
Were round it; closely piled;
But thick their wallsand those within
Lived lives by noise unstirred ;
Like wafting of an angel's wing
Time's flight by them was heard.
Some soft piano-notes alone
Were sweet as faintly given
Where ladiesdoubtlesscheered the hearth
With song that winter-even.
The city's many-mingled sounds
Rose like the hum of ocean;
They rather lulled the heart than roused
Its pulse to faster motion.
Gilbert has paced the single walk
An houryet is not weary;
Andthough it be a winter night
He feels nor cold nor dreary.
The prime of life is in his veins
And sends his blood fast flowing
And Fancy's fervour warms the thoughts
Now in his bosom glowing.
Those thoughts recur to early love
Or what he love would name
Though haply Gilbert's secret deeds
Might other title claim.
Such theme not oft his mind absorbs
He to the world clings fast
And too much for the present lives
To linger o'er the past.
But now the evening's deep repose
Has glided to his soul;
That moonlight falls on Memory
And shows her fading scroll.
One name appears in every line
The gentle rays shine o'er
And still he smiles and still repeats
That one name--Elinor.
There is no sorrow in his smile
No kindness in his tone;
The triumph of a selfish heart
Speaks coldly there alone;
He says: "She loved me more than life;
And truly it was sweet
To see so fair a woman kneel
In bondageat my feet.
"There was a sort of quiet bliss
To be so deeply loved
To gaze on trembling eagerness
And sit myself unmoved.
And when it pleased my pride to grant
At last some rare caress
To feel the fever of that hand
My fingers deigned to press.
"'Twas sweet to see her strive to hide
What every glance revealed;
Endowedthe whilewith despot-might
Her destiny to wield.
I knew myself no perfect man
Noras she deemeddivine;
I knew that I was glorious--but
By her reflected shine;
"Her youthher native energy
Her powers new-born and fresh
'Twas these with Godhead sanctified
My sensual frame of flesh.
Yetlike a god did I descend
At lastto meet her love;
Andlike a godI then withdrew
To my own heaven above.
"And never more could she invoke
My presence to her sphere;
No prayerno plaintno cry of hers
Could win my awful ear.
I knew her blinded constancy
Would ne'er my deeds betray
Andcalm in consciencewhole in heart.
I went my tranquil way.
"YetsometimesI still feel a wish
The fond and flattering pain
Of passion's anguish to create
In her young breast again.
Bright was the lustre of her eyes
When they caught fire from mine;
If I had power--this very hour
Again I'd light their shine.
"But where she isor how she lives
I have no clue to know;
I've heard she long my absence pined
And left her home in woe.
But busiedthenin gathering gold
As I am busied now
I could not turn from such pursuit
To weep a broken vow.
"Nor could I give to fatal risk
The fame I ever prized;
Even nowI fearthat precious fame
Is too much compromised."
An inward trouble dims his eye
Some riddle he would solve;
Some method to unloose a knot
His anxious thoughts revolve.
Hepensiveleans against a tree
A leafy evergreen
The boughsthe moonlightintercept
And hide him like a screen
He starts--the tree shakes with his tremor
Yet nothing near him pass'd;
He hurries up the garden alley
In strangely sudden haste.
With shaking handhe lifts the latchet
Steps o'er the threshold stone;
The heavy door slips from his fingers--
It shutsand he is gone.
What touchedtransfixedappalledhis soul?--
A nervous thoughtno more;
'Twill sink like stone in placid pool
And calm close smoothly o'er.
II. THE PARLOUR.
Warm is the parlour atmosphere
Serene the lamp's soft light;
The vivid embersred and clear
Proclaim a frosty night.
Booksvariedon the table lie
Three children o'er them bend
And allwith curiouseager eye
The turning leaf attend.
Picture and tale alternately
Their simple hearts delight
And interest deepand tempered glee
Illume their aspects bright.
The parentsfrom their fireside place
Behold that pleasant scene
And joy is on the mother's face
Pride in the father's mien.
As Gilbert sees his blooming wife
Beholds his children fair
No thought has he of transient strife
Or pastthough piercing fear.
The voice of happy infancy
Lisps sweetly in his ear
His wifewith pleased and peaceful eye
The fire glows on her silken dress
And shows its ample grace
And warmly tints each hazel tress
Curled soft around her face.
The beauty that in youth he wooed
Is beauty stillunfaded;
The brow of ever placid mood
No churlish grief has shaded.
Prosperityin Gilbert's home
Abides the guest of years;
There Want or Discord never come
And seldom Toil or Tears.
The carpets bear the peaceful print
Of comfort's velvet tread
And golden gleamsfrom plenty sent
In every nook are shed.
The very silken spaniel seems
Of quiet ease to tell
As near its mistress' feet it dreams
Sunk in a cushion's swell
And smiles seem native to the eyes
Of those sweet childrenthree;
They have but looked on tranquil skies
And know not misery.
Alas! that Misery should come
In such an hour as this;
Why could she not so calm a home
A little longer miss?
But she is now within the door
Her steps advancing glide;
Her sullen shade has crossed the floor
She stands at Gilbert's side.
She lays her hand upon his heart
It bounds with agony;
His fireside chair shakes with the start
That shook the garden tree.
His wife towards the children looks
She does not mark his mien;
The childrenbending o'er their books
His terror have not seen.
In his own homeby his own hearth
He sits in solitude
And circled round with light and mirth
Cold horror chills his blood.
His mind would hold with desperate clutch
The scene that round him lies;
No--changedas by some wizard's touch
The present prospect flies.
A tumult vague--a viewless strife
His futile struggles crush;
'Twixt him and his an unknown life
And unknown feelings rush.
He sees--but scarce can language paint
The tissue fancy weaves;
For words oft give but echo faint
Of thoughts the mind conceives.
Noisetumult strangeand darkness dim
Efface both light and quiet;
No shape is in those shadows grim
No voice in that wild riot.
Sustain'd and stronga wondrous blast
Above and round him blows;
A greenish gloomdense overcast
Each moment denser grows.
He nothing knows--nor clearly sees
Resistance checks his breath
The highimpetuousceaseless breeze
Blows on him cold as death.
And still the undulating gloom
Mocks sight with formless motion:
Was such sensation Jonah's doom
Gulphed in the depths of ocean?
Streaking the airthe nameless vision
Oh! whence its sourceand what its mission?
How will its terrors close?
Long-sweepingrushingvast and void
The universe it swallows;
And still the darkdevouring tide
A typhoon tempest follows.
More slow it rolls; its furious race
Sinks to its solemn gliding;
The stunning roarthe wind's wild chase
To stillness are subsiding.
Andslowly borne alonga form
The shapeless chaos varies;
Poised in the eddy to the storm
Before the eye it tarries.
A woman drowned--sunk in the deep
On a long wave reclining;
The circling waters' crystal sweep
Like glassher shape enshrining.
Her pale dead faceto Gilbert turned
Seems as in sleep reposing;
A feeble lightnow first discerned
The features well disclosing.
No effort from the haunted air
The ghastly scene could banish
That hovering wavearrested there
Rolled--throbbed--but did not vanish.
If Gilbert upward turned his gaze
He saw the ocean-shadow;
If he looked downthe endless seas
Lay green as summer meadow.
And straight beforethe pale corpse lay
Upborne by air or billow
So nearhe could have touched the spray
That churned around its pillow.
The hollow anguish of the face
Had moved a fiend to sorrow;
Not death's fixed calm could rase the trace
Of suffering's deep-worn furrow.
All moved; a strong returning blast
The mass of waters raising
Bore wave and passive carcase past
While Gilbert yet was gazing.
Deep in her isle-conceiving womb
It seemed the ocean thundered
And soonby realms of rushing gloom
Were seer and phantom sundered.
Then swept some timbers from a wreck.
On following surges riding;
Then sea-weedin the turbid rack
Uptornwent slowly gliding.
The horrid shadeby slow degrees
A beam of light defeated
And then the roar of raving seas
And all was gone--gone like a mist
Three children close to Gilbert prest
And clung around his neck.
Good night! good night! the prattlers said
And kissed their father's cheek;
'Twas now the hour their quiet bed
And placid rest to seek.
The mother with her offspring goes
To hear their evening prayer;
She nought of Gilbert's vision knows
And nought of his despair.
Yetpitying Godabridge the time
Of anguishnow his fate!
Thoughhaplygreat has been his crime:
Thy mercytoois great.
Gilbertat lengthuplifts his head
Bent for some moments low
And there is neither grief nor dread
Upon his subtle brow.
For well can he his feelings task
And well his looks command;
His features well his heart can mask
With smiles and smoothness bland.
Gilbert has reasoned with his mind--
He says 'twas all a dream;
He strives his inward sight to blind
Against truth's inward beam.
He pitied not that shadowy thing
When it was flesh and blood;
Nor now can pity's balmy spring
Refresh his arid mood.
"And if that dream has spoken truth
Thus musingly he says;
If Elinor be deadin sooth
Such chance the shock repays:
A net was woven round my feet
I scarce could further go;
Ere shame had forced a fast retreat
Dishonour brought me low.
"Conceal herthendeepsilent sea
Give her a secret grave!
She sleeps in peaceand I am free
No longer terror's slave:
And homage stillfrom all the world
Shall greet my spotless name
Since surges break and waves are curled
Above its threatened shame."
III. THE WELCOME HOME.
Above the city hangs the moon
Some clouds are boding rain;
Gilberterewhile on journey gone
To-night comes home again.
Ten years have passed above his head
Each year has brought him gain ;
His prosperous life has smoothly sped
Without or tear or stain.
'Tis somewhat late--the city clocks
Twelve deep vibrations toll
As Gilbert at the portal knocks
Which is his journey's goal.
The street is still and desolate
The moon hid by a cloud;
Gilbertimpatientwill not wait--
His second knock peals loud.
The clocks are hushed--there's not a light
In any window nigh
And not a single planet bright
Looks from the clouded sky;
The air is rawthe rain descends
A bitter north-wind blows;
His cloak the traveller scarce defends--
Will not the door unclose?
He knocks the third timeand the last
His summons now they hear
Withina footstephurrying fast
Is heard approaching near.
The bolt is drawnthe clanking chain
Falls to the floor of stone;
And Gilbert to his heart will strain
His wife and children soon.
The hand that lifts the latchetholds
A candle to his sight
And Gilberton the stepbeholds
A womanclad in white.
Lo! water from her dripping dress
Runs on the streaming floor;
From every dark and clinging tress
The drops incessant pour.
There's none but her to welcome him;
She holds the candle high
Andmotionless in form and limb
Stands cold and silent nigh;
There's sand and sea-weed on her robe
Her hollow eyes are blind;
No pulse in such a frame can throb
No life is there defined.
Gilbert turned ashy-whitebut still
His lips vouchsafed no cry;
He spurred his strength and master-will
To pass the figure by--
Butmoving slowit faced him straight
It would not flinch nor quail:
Then first did Gilbert's strength abate
His stony firmness quail.
He sank upon his knees and prayed
The shape stood rigid there;
He called aloud for human aid
No human aid was near.
An accent strange did thus repeat
Heaven's stern but just decree:
The measure thou to her didst mete
To thee shall measured be!
Gilbert sprang from his bended knees
By the pale spectre pushed
Andwild as one whom demons seize
Up the hall-staircase rushed;
Entered his chamber--near the bed
Sheathed steel and fire-arms hung--
Impelled by maniac purpose dread
He chose those stores among.
Across his throat a keen-edged knife
With vigorous hand he drew;
The wound was wide--his outraged life
Rushed rash and redly through.
And thus diedby a shameful death
A wise and worldly man
Who never drew but selfish breath
Since first his life began.
Lifebelieveis not a dream
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom
O why lament its fall?
Life's sunny hours flit by
Enjoy them as they fly!
What though Death at times steps in
And calls our Best away?
What though sorrow seems to win
O'er hopea heavy sway?
Yet Hope again elastic springs
Unconqueredthough she fell;
Still buoyant are her golden wings
Still strong to bear us well.
The day of trial bear
Can courage quell despair!
What is she writing? Watch her now
How fast her fingers move!
How eagerly her youthful brow
Is bent in thought above!
Her long curlsdroopingshade the light
She puts them quick aside
Nor knows that band of crystals bright
Her hasty touch untied.
It slips adown her silken dress
Falls glittering at her feet;
Unmarked it fallsfor she no less
Pursues her labour sweet.
The very loveliest hour that shines
Is in that deep blue sky;
The golden sun of June declines
It has not caught her eye.
The cheerful lawnand unclosed gate
The white roadfar away
In vain for her light footsteps wait
She comes not forth to-day.
There is an open door of glass
Close by that lady's chair
From thenceto slopes of messy grass
Descends a marble stair.
Tall plants of bright and spicy bloom
Around the threshold grow;
Their leaves and blossoms shade the room
From that sun's deepening glow.
Why does she not a moment glance
Between the clustering flowers
And mark in heaven the radiant dance
Of evening's rosy hours?
O look again! Still fixed her eye
And fast her pen and fingers fly
Urged by her eager will.
Her soul is in th'absorbing task;
To whomthendoth she write?
Naywatch her still more closelyask
Her own eyes' serious light;
Where do they turnas now her pen
Hangs o'er th'unfinished line?
Whence fell the tearful gleam that then
Did in their dark spheres shine?
The summer-parlour looks so dark
When from that sky you turn
And from th'expanse of that green park
You scarce may aught discern.
Yeto'er the piles of porcelain rare
O'er flower-standcouchand vase
Slopedas if leaning on the air
One picture meets the gaze.
'Tis there she turns; you may not see
Distinctwhat form defines
The clouded mass of mystery
Yon broad gold frame confines.
But look again; inured to shade
Your eyes now faintly trace
A stalwart forma massive head
A firmdetermined face.
Black Spanish locksa sunburnt cheek
A brow highbroadand white
Where every furrow seems to speak
Of mind and moral might.
Is that her god? I cannot tell;
Her eye a moment met
Th'impending picturethen it fell
Darkened and dimmed and wet.
A moment moreher task is done
And sealed the letter lies;
And nowtowards the setting sun
She turns her tearful eyes.
Those tears flow overwonder not
For by the inscription see
In what a strange and distant spot
Her heart of hearts must be!
Three seas and many a league of land
That letter must pass o'er
Ere read by him to whose loved hand
'Tis sent from England's shore.
Remote colonial wilds detain
Her husbandloved though stern;
She'mid that smiling English scene
Weeps for his wished return.
Long ago I wished to leave
The house where I was born;
Long ago I used to grieve
My home seemed so forlorn.
In other yearsits silent rooms
Were filled with haunting fears;
Nowtheir very memory comes
O'ercharged with tender tears.
Life and marriage I have known.
Things once deemed so bright;
Nowhow utterly is flown
Every ray of light!
'Mid the unknown seaof life
I no blest isle have found;
At lastthrough all its wild wave's strife
My bark is homeward bound.
Farewelldark and rolling deep!
Openin unclouded sweep
Thou glorious realm before!
Yetthough I had safely pass'd
That wearyvexed main
One loved voicethrough surge and blast
Could call me back again.
Though the soul's bright morning rose
O'er Paradise for me
William! even from Heaven's repose
I'd turninvoked by thee!
Storm nor surge should e'er arrest
My soulexalting then:
All my heaven was once thy breast
Would it were mine again!
"Sisteryou've sat there all the day
Come to the hearth awhile;
The wind so wildly sweeps away
The clouds so darkly pile.
That open book has lainunread
For hours upon your knee;
You've never smiled nor turned your head;
What can yousistersee?"
"Come hitherJanelook down the field;
How dense a mist creeps on!
The paththe hedgeare both concealed
Ev'n the white gate is gone
No landscape through the fog I trace
No hill with pastures green;
All featureless is Nature's face.
All masked in clouds her mien.
"Scarce is the rustle of a leaf
Heard in our garden now;
The year grows oldits days wax brief
The tresses leave its brow.
The rain drives fast before the wind
The sky is blank and grey;
O Janewhat sadness fills the mind
On such a dreary day!"
"You think too muchmy sister dear;
You sit too long alone;
What though November days be drear?
Full soon will they be gone.
I've swept the hearthand placed your chair.
ComeEmmasit by me;
Our own fireside is never drear
Though late and wintry wane the year
Though rough the night may be."
"The peaceful glow of our fireside
Imparts no peace to me:
My thoughts would rather wander wide
Than restdear Janewith thee.
I'm on a distant journey bound
And ifabout my heart
Too closely kindred ties were bound
'Twould break when forced to part.
"'Soon will November days be o'er:'
Well have you spokenJane:
My own forebodings tell me more--
For meI know by presage sure
They'll ne'er return again.
Ere longnor sun nor storm to me
Will bring or joy or gloom;
They reach not that Eternity
Which soon will be my home."
Eight months are gonethe summer sun
Sets in a glorious sky;
A quiet fieldall green and lone
Receives its rosy dye.
Jane sits upon a shaded stile
Alone she sits there now;
Her head rests on her hand the while
And thought o'ercasts her brow.
She's thinking of one winter's day
A few short months ago
Then Emma's bier was borne away
O'er wastes of frozen snow.
She's thinking how that drifted snow
Dissolved in spring's first gleam
And how her sister's memory now
Fadeseven as fades a dream.
The snow will whiten earth again
But Emma comes no more;
She left'mid winter's sleet and rain
This world for Heaven's far shore.
On Beulah's hills she wanders now
On Eden's tranquil plain;
To her shall Jane hereafter go
She ne'er shall come to Jane!
THE TEACHER'S MONOLOGUE.
The room is quietthoughts alone
People its mute tranquillity;
The yoke put offthe long task done--
I amas it is bliss to be
Still and untroubled. NowI see
For the first timehow soft the day
O'er waveless waterstirless tree
Silent and sunnywings its way.
Nowas I watch that distant hill
So faintso blueso far removed
Sweet dreams of home my heart may fill
That home where I am known and loved:
It lies beyond; yon azure brow
Parts me from all Earth holds for me;
Andmorn and evemy yearnings flow
My happiest hoursaye! all the time
I love to keep in memory
Lapsed among moorsere life's first prime
Decayed to dark anxiety.
SometimesI think a narrow heart
Makes me thus mourn those far away
And keeps my love so far apart
From friends and friendships of to-day;
SometimesI think 'tis but a dream
I treasure up so jealously
All the sweet thoughts I live on seem
To vanish into vacancy:
And thenthis strangecoarse world around
Seems all that's palpable and true;
And every sightand every sound
Combines my spirit to subdue
To aching griefso void and lone
Is Life and Earth--so worse than vain
The hopes thatin my own heart sown
And cherished by such sun and rain
As Joy and transient Sorrow shed
Have ripened to a harvest there:
Alas! methinks I hear it said
Thy golden sheaves are empty air.
All fades away; my very home
I think will soon be desolate;
I hearat timesa warning come
Of bitter partings at its gate;
Andif I should return and see
The hearth-fire quenchedthe vacant chair;
And hear it whispered mournfully
That farewells have been spoken there
What shall I doand whither turn?
Where look for peace? When cease to mourn?
'Tis not the air I wished to play
The strain I wished to sing;
My wilful spirit slipped away
And struck another string.
I neither wanted smile nor tear
Bright joy nor bitter woe
But just a song that sweet and clear
Though haply sadmight flow.
A quiet songto solace me
When sleep refused to come;
A strain to chase despondency
When sorrowful for home.
In vain I try; I cannot sing;
All feels so cold and dead;
No wild distressno gushing spring
Of tears in anguish shed;
But all the impatient gloom of one
Who waits a distant day
Whensome great task of suffering done
Repose shall toil repay.
For youth departsand pleasure flies
And life consumes away
And youth's rejoicing ardour dies
Beneath this drear delay;
And Patienceweary with her yoke
Is yielding to despair
And Health's elastic spring is broke
Beneath the strain of care.
Life will be gone ere I have lived;
Where now is Life's first prime?
I've worked and studiedlonged and grieved
Through all that rosy time.
To toilto thinkto longto grieve--
Is such my future fate?
The morn was drearymust the eve
Be also desolate?
Wellsuch a life at least makes Death
A welcomewished-for friend;
To suffer to the end!
Some have won a wild delight
By daring wilder sorrow;
Could I gain thy love to-night
I'd hazard death to-morrow.
Could the battle-struggle earn
One kind glance from thine eye
How this withering heart would burn
The heady fight to try!
Welcome nights of broken sleep
And days of carnage cold
Could I deem that thou wouldst weep
To hear my perils told.
Tell meif with wandering bands
I roam full far away
Wilt thou to those distant lands
In spirit ever stray?
Wildlonga trumpet sounds afar;
Bid me--bid me go
Where Seik and Briton meet in war
On Indian Sutlej's flow.
Blood has dyed the Sutlej's waves
With scarlet stainI know;
Indus' borders yawn with graves
Yetcommand me go!
Though rank and high the holocaust
Of nations steams to heaven
Glad I'd join the death-doomed host
Were but the mandate given.
Passion's strength should nerve my arm
Its ardour stir my life
Till human force to that dread charm
Should yield and sink in wild alarm
Like trees to tempest-strife.
Ifhot from warI seek thy love
Darest thou turn aside?
Darest thou then my fire reprove
By scornand maddening pride?
No--my will shall yet control
Thy willso high and free
And love shall tame that haughty soul--
Yes--tenderest love for me.
I'll read my triumph in thine eyes
Beholdand prove the change;
Then leaveperchancemy noble prize
Once more in arms to range.
I'd die when all the foam is up
The bright wine sparkling high;
Nor wait till in the exhausted cup
Life's dull dregs only lie.
Then Love thus crowned with sweet reward
Hope blest with fulness large
I'd mount the saddledraw the sword
And perish in the charge!
Not in scorn do I reprove thee
Not in pride thy vows I waive
ButbelieveI could not love thee
Wert thou princeand I a slave.
Thesethenare thine oaths of passion?
Thisthy tenderness for me?
Judgedevenby thine own confession
Thou art steeped in perfidy.
Having vanquishedthou wouldst leave me!
Thus I read thee long ago;
Thereforedared I not deceive thee
Even with friendship's gentle show.
Thereforewith impassive coldness
Have I ever met thy gaze;
Thoughfull oftwith daring boldness
Thou thine eyes to mine didst raise.
Why that smile? Thou now art deeming
This my coldness all untrue--
But a mask of frozen seeming
Hiding secret fires from view.
Touch my handthou self-deceiver;
Nay-be calmfor I am so:
Does it burn? Does my lip quiver?
Has mine eye a troubled glow?
Canst thou call a moment's colour
To my forehead--to my cheek?
Canst thou tinge their tranquil pallor
With one flatteringfeverish streak?
Am I marble? What! no woman
Could so calm before thee stand?
Could so coldly take thy hand?
Yes--a sister mighta mother:
My good-will is sisterly:
Dream notthenI strive to smother
Fires that inly burn for thee.
Rave notrage notwrath is fruitless
Fury cannot change my mind;
I but deem the feeling rootless
Which so whirls in passion's wind.
Can I love? Ohdeeply--truly--
Warmly--fondly--but not thee;
And my love is answered duly
With an equal energy.
Wouldst thou see thy rival? Hasten
Draw that curtain soft aside
Look where yon thick branches chasten
Noonwith shades of eventide.
In that gladewhere foliage blending
Forms a green arch overhead
Sits thy rivalthoughtful bending
O'er a stand with papers spread--
Motionlesshis fingers plying
That untiredunresting pen;
Time and tide unnoticed flying
There he sits--the first of men!
Man of conscience--man of reason;
Sternperchancebut ever just;
Foe to falsehoodwrongand treason
Honour's shieldand virtue's trust!
Of Heaven's truth--man's liberty;
Soul of iron--proof to slander
Rock where founders tyranny.
Fame he seeks not--but full surely
She will seek himin his home;
This I knowand wait securely
For the atoning hour to come.
To that man my faith is given
Thereforesoldiercease to sue;
While God reigns in earth and heaven
I to him will still be true!
The human heart has hidden treasures
In secret keptin silence sealed;--
The thoughtsthe hopesthe dreamsthe pleasures
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion
And nights in rosy riot fly
Whilelost in Fame's or Wealth's illusion
The memory of the Past may die.
But there are hours of lonely musing
Such as in evening silence come
Whensoft as birds their pinions closing
The heart's best feelings gather home.
Then in our souls there seems to languish
A tender grief that is not woe;
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish
Now cause but some mild tears to flow.
And feelingsonce as strong as passions
Float softly back--a faded dream;
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations
The tale of others' sufferings seem.
Oh! when the heart is freshly bleeding
How longs it for that time to be
Whenthrough the mist of years receding
Its woes but live in reverie!
And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer
On evening shade and loneliness;
Andwhile the sky grows dim and dimmer
Feel no untold and strange distress--
Only a deeper impulse given
By lonely hour and darkened room
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven
Seeking a life and world to come.
If thou be in a lonely place
If one hour's calm be thine
As Evening bends her placid face
O'er this sweet day's decline;
If all the earth and all the heaven
Now look serene to thee
As o'er them shuts the summer even
One moment--think of me!
Pausein the lanereturning home;
'Tis duskit will be still:
Pause near the elma sacred gloom
Its breezeless boughs will fill.
Look at that soft and golden light
High in the unclouded sky;
Watch the last bird's belated flight
As it flits silent by.
Hark! for a sound upon the wind
A stepa voicea sigh;
If all be stillthen yield thy mind
If thy love were like minehow blest
That twilight hour would seem
Whenback from the regretted Past
Returned our early dream!
If thy love were like minehow wild
Thy longingseven to pain
For sunset softand moonlight mild
To bring that hour again!
But oftwhen in thine arms I lay
I've seen thy dark eyes shine
And deeply felt their changeful ray
Spoke other love than mine.
My love is almost anguish now
It beats so strong and true;
'Twere rapturecould I deem that thou
Such anguish ever knew.
I have been but thy transient flower
Thou wert my god divine;
Till checked by death's congealing power
This heart must throb for thine.
And well my dying hour were blest
If life's expiring breath
Should passas thy lips gently prest
My forehead cold in death;
And sound my sleep would beand sweet
Beneath the churchyard tree
If sometimes in thy heart should beat
One pulsestill true to me.
There's no use in weeping
Though we are condemned to part:
There's such a thing as keeping
A remembrance in one's heart:
There's such a thing as dwelling
On the thought ourselves have nursed
And with scorn and courage telling
The world to do its worst.
We'll not let its follies grieve us
We'll just take them as they come;
And then every day will leave us
A merry laugh for home.
When we've left each friend and brother
When we're parted wide and far
We will think of one another
As even better than we are.
Every glorious sight above us
Every pleasant sight beneath
We'll connect with those that love us
Whom we truly love till death!
In the eveningwhen we're sitting
By the fireperchance alone
Then shall heart with warm heart meeting
Give responsive tone for tone.
We can burst the bonds which chain us
Which cold human hands have wrought
And where none shall dare restrain us
We can meet againin thought.
So there's no use in weeping
Bear a cheerful spirit still;
Never doubt that Fate is keeping
Future good for present ill!
This last denial of my faith
Thousolemn Priesthast heard;
Andthough upon my bed of death
I call not back a word.
Point not to thy MadonnaPriest--
Thy sightless saint of stone;
She cannotfrom this burning breast
Wring one repentant moan.
Thou say'stthat when a sinless child
I duly bent the knee
And prayed to what in marble smiled
I did. But listen! Children spring
Full soon to riper youth;
Andfor Love's vow and Wedlock's ring
I sold my early truth.
'Twas not a greybare headlike thine
Bent o'er mewhen I said
That land and God and Faith are mine
For which thy fathers bled.
I see thee notmy eyes are dim;
But well I hear thee say
O daughter cease to think of him
Who led thy soul astray.
Between you lies both space and time;
Let leagues and years prevail
To turn thee from the path of crime
Back to the Church's pale."
Anddid I need thatthou shouldst tell
What mighty barriers rise
To part me from that dungeon-cell
Where my loved Walter lies?
Anddid I need that thou shouldst taunt
My dying hour at last
By bidding this worn spirit pant
No more for what is past?
Priest--MUST I cease to think of him?
How hollow rings that word!
Can timecan tearscan distance dim
The memory of my lord?
I said beforeI saw not thee
Becausean hour agone
Over my eyeballsheavily
The lids fell down like stone.
But still my spirit's inward sight
Beholds his image beam
As fixedas clearas burning bright
As some red planet's gleam.
Talk not of thy Last Sacrament
Tell not thy beads for me;
Both rite and prayer are vainly spent
As dews upon the sea.
Speak not one word of Heaven above
Rave not of Hell's alarms;
Give me but back my Walter's love
Restore me to his arms!
Then will the bliss of Heaven be won;
Then will Hell shrink away
As I have seen night's terrors shun
The conquering steps of day.
'Tis my religion thus to love
My creed thus fixed to be;
Not Death shall shakenor Priestcraft break
My rock-like constancy!
Now go; for at the door there waits
Another stranger guest;
He calls--I come--my pulse scarce beats
My heart fails in my breast.
Again that voice--how far away
How dreary sounds that tone!
And Imethinksam gone astray
In trackless wastes and lone.
I fain would rest a little while:
Where can I find a stay
Till dawn upon the hills shall smile
And show some trodden way?
I come! I come!in haste she said
'Twas Walter's voice I heard!
Then up she sprang--but fell backdead
His name her latest word.
We take from life one little share
And say that this shall be
A spaceredeemed from toil and care
From tears and sadness free.
AndhaplyDeath unstrings his bow
And Sorrow stands apart
Andfor a little whilewe know
The sunshine of the heart.
Existence seems a summer eve
Warmsoftand full of peace
Our freeunfettered feelings give
The soul its full release.
A momentthenit takes the power
To call up thoughts that throw
Around that charmed and hallowed hour
This life's divinest glow.
But Timethough viewlessly it flies
And slowlywill not stay;
Alikethrough clear and clouded skies
It cleaves its silent way.
Alike the bitter cup of grief
Alike the draught of bliss
Its progress leaves but moment brief
For baffled lips to kiss
The sparkling draught is dried away
The hour of rest is gone
And urgent voicesround ussay
And has the soulthenonly gained
From this brief time of ease
A moment's restwhen overstrained
One hurried glimpse of peace?
No; while the sun shone kindly o'er us
And flowers bloomed round our feet--
While many a bud of joy before us
Unclosed its petals sweet--
An unseen work within was plying;
Like honey-seeking bee
From flower to flowerunweariedflying
Laboured one faculty--
Thoughtful for Winter's future sorrow
Its gloom and scarcity;
Prescient to-dayof want to-morrow
Toiled quiet Memory.
'Tis she that from each transient pleasure
Extracts a lasting good;
'Tis she that findsin summertreasure
To serve for winter's food.
And when Youth's summer day is vanished
And Age brings Winter's stress
Her storeswith hoarded sweets replenished
Life's evening hours will bless.
Ploughvesselplough the British main
Seek the free ocean's wider plain;
Leave English scenes and English skies
Unbinddissever English ties;
Bear me to climes remote and strange
Where altered lifefast-following change
Hot actionnever-ceasing toil
Shall stirturndigthe spirit's soil;
Fresh roots shall plantfresh seed shall sow
Till a new garden there shall grow
Cleared of the weeds that fill it now--
Mere human lovemere selfish yearning
Whichcherishedwould arrest me yet.
I grasp the ploughthere's no returning
Let methenstruggle to forget.
But England's shores are yet in view
And England's skies of tender blue
Are arched above her guardian sea.
I cannot yet Remembrance flee;
I must againthenfirmly face
That task of anguishto retrace.
Wedded to home--I home forsake;
Fearful of change--I changes make;
Too fond of ease--I plunge in toil;
Lover of calm--I seek turmoil:
Nature and hostile Destiny
Stir in my heart a conflict wild;
And long and fierce the war will be
Ere duty both has reconciled.
What other tie yet holds me fast
To the divorcedabandoned past?
Smoulderingon my heart's altar lies
The fire of some great sacrifice
Not yet half quenched. The sacred steel
But lately struck my carnal will
My life-long hopefirst joy and last
What I loved welland clung to fast;
What I wished wildly to retain
What I renounced with soul-felt pain;
What--when I saw itaxe-struckperish--
Left me no joy on earth to cherish;
A man bereft--yet sternly now
I do confirm that Jephtha vow:
Shall I retractor fearor flee?
Did Christwhen rose the fatal tree
Before himon Mount Calvary?
'Twas a long fighthard foughtbut won
And what I did was justly done.
YetHelen! from thy love I turned
When my heart most for thy heart burned;
I dared thy tearsI dared thy scorn--
Easier the death-pang had been borne.
Helenthou mightst not go with me
I could not--dared not stay for thee!
I heardafarin bonds complain
The savage from beyond the main;
And that wild sound rose o'er the cry
Wrung out by passion's agony;
And even whenwith the bitterest tear
I ever shedmine eyes were dim
Stillwith the spirit's vision clear
I saw Hell's empirevast and grim
Spread on each Indian river's shore
Each realm of Asia covering o'er.
Therethe weaktrampled by the strong
Live but to suffer--hopeless die;
There pagan-priestswhose creed is Wrong
Crush our lost race--and brimming fill
The bitter cup of human ill;
And I--who have the healing creed
The faith benign of Mary's Son
Shall I behold my brother's need
Andselfishlyto aid him shun?
I--who upon my mother's knees
In childhoodread Christ's written word
Received his legacy of peace
His holy rule of action heard;
I--in whose heart the sacred sense
Of Jesus' love was early felt;
Of his purefull benevolence
His pitying tenderness for guilt;
His shepherd-care for wandering sheep
For all weaksorrowingtrembling things
His mercy vasthis passion deep
Of anguish for man's sufferings;
I--schooled from childhood in such lore--
Dared I draw back or hesitate
When called to heal the sickness sore
Of those far off and desolate?
Darkin the realm and shades of Death
Nationsand tribesand empires lie
But even to them the light of Faith
Is breaking on their sombre sky:
And be it mine to bid them raise
Their drooped heads to the kindling scene
And know and hail the sunrise blaze
Which heralds Christ the Nazarene.
I know how Hell the veil will spread
Over their brows and filmy eyes
And earthward crush the lifted head
That would look up and seek the skies;
I know what war the fiend will wage
Against that soldier of the Cross
Who comes to dare his demon rage
And work his kingdom shame and loss.
Yeshard and terrible the toil
Of him who steps on foreign soil
Resolved to plant the gospel vine
Where tyrants rule and slaves repine;
Eager to lift Religion's light
Where thickest shades of mental night
Screen the false god and fiendish rite;
Reckless that missionary blood
Shed in wild wilderness and wood
Has leftupon the unblest air
The man's deep moan--the martyr's prayer.
I know my lot--I only ask
Power to fulfil the glorious task;
Willing the spiritmay the flesh
Strength for the day receive afresh.
May burning sun or deadly wind
Prevail not o'er an earnest mind;
May torments strange or direst death
Nor trample truthnor baffle faith.
Though such blood-drops should fall from me
As fell in old Gethsemane
Welcome the anguishso it gave
More strength to work--more skill to save.
Andoh! if brief must be my time
If hostile hand or fatal clime
Cut short my course--still o'er my grave
Lordmay thy harvest whitening wave.
So I the culture may begin
Let others thrust the sickle in;
If but the seed will faster grow
May my blood water what I sow!
What! have I ever trembling stood
And feared to give to God that blood?
What! has the coward love of life
Made me shrink from the righteous strife?
Have human passionshuman fears
Severed me from those Pioneers
Whose task is to march firstand trace
Paths for the progress of our race?
It has been so; but grant meLord
Now to stand steadfast by Thy word!
Protected by salvation's helm
Shielded by faithwith truth begirt
To smile when trials seek to whelm
And stand mid testing fires unhurt!
Hurling hell's strongest bulwarks down
Even when the last pang thrills my breast
When death bestows the martyr's crown
And calls me into Jesus' rest.
Then for my ultimate reward--
Then for the world-rejoicing word--
The voice from Father--Spirit--Son:
Servant of Godwell hast thou done!
FAITH AND DESPONDENCY.
"The winter wind is loud and wild
Come close to memy darling child;
Forsake thy booksand mateless play;
Andwhile the night is gathering gray
We'll talk its pensive hours away;--
"Ierneround our sheltered hall
November's gusts unheeded call;
Not one faint breath can enter here
Enough to wave my daughter's hair
And I am glad to watch the blaze
Glance from her eyeswith mimic rays;
To feel her cheekso softly pressed
In happy quiet on my breast
"Butyeteven this tranquillity
Brings bitterrestless thoughts to me;
Andin the red fire's cheerful glow
I think of deep glensblocked with snow;
I dream of moorand misty hill
Where evening closes dark and chill;
Forloneamong the mountains cold
Lie those that I have loved of old.
And my heart achesin hopeless pain
Exhausted with repinings vain
That I shall greet them ne'er again!"
"Fatherin early infancy
When you were far beyond the sea
Such thoughts were tyrants over me!
I often satfor hours together
Through the long nights of angry weather
Raised on my pillowto descry
The dim moon struggling in the sky;
Orwith strained earto catch the shock
Of rock with waveand wave with rock;
So would I fearful vigil keep
Andall for listeningnever sleep.
But this world's life has much to dread
Not somy Fatherwith the dead.
"Oh! not for themshould we despair
The grave is drearbut they are not there;
Their dust is mingled with the sod
Their happy souls are gone to God!
You told me thisand yet you sigh
And murmur that your friends must die.
Ah! my dear fathertell me why?
Forif your former words were true
How useless would such sorrow be;
As wiseto mourn the seed which grew
Unnoticed on its parent tree
Because it fell in fertile earth
And sprang up to a glorious birth--
Struck deep its rootand lifted high
Its green boughs in the breezy sky.
"ButI'll not fearI will not weep
For those whose bodies rest in sleep--
I know there is a blessed shore
Opening its ports for me and mine;
Andgazing Time's wide waters o'er
I weary for that land divine
Where we were bornwhere you and I
Shall meet our dearestwhen we die;
From suffering and corruption free
Restored into the Deity."
"Well hast thou spokensweettrustful child!
And wiser than thy sire;
And worldly tempestsraging wild
Shall strengthen thy desire--
Thy fervent hopethrough storm and foam
Through wind and ocean's roar
To reachat lastthe eternal home
The steadfastchangeless shore!"
Ah! whybecause the dazzling sun
Restored our Earth to joy
Have you departedevery one
And left a desert sky?
All through the nightyour glorious eyes
Were gazing down in mine
Andwith a full heart's thankful sighs
I blessed that watch divine.
I was at peaceand drank your beams
As they were life to me;
And revelled in my changeful dreams
Like petrel on the sea.
Thought followed thoughtstar followed star
Through boundless regionson;
While one sweet influencenear and far
Thrilled throughand proved us one!
Why did the morning dawn to break
So greatso purea spell;
And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek
Where your cool radiance fell?
His fierce beams struck my brow;
The soul of nature sprangelate
But mine sank sad and low!
My lids closed downyet through their veil
I saw himblazingstill
And steep in gold the misty dale
And flash upon the hill.
I turned me to the pillowthen
To call back nightand see
Your worlds of solemn lightagain
Throb with my heartand me!
It would not do--the pillow glowed
And glowed both roof and floor;
And birds sang loudly in the wood
And fresh winds shook the door;
The curtains wavedthe wakened flies
Were murmuring round my room
Imprisoned theretill I should rise
And give them leave to roam.
Ohstarsand dreamsand gentle night;
Ohnight and starsreturn!
And hide me from the hostile light
That does not warmbut burn;
That drains the blood of suffering men;
Drinks tearsinstead of dew;
Let me sleep through his blinding reign
And only wake with you!
Enough of thoughtphilosopher!
Too long hast thou been dreaming
Unlightenedin this chamber drear
While summer's sun is beaming!
Space-sweeping soulwhat sad refrain
Concludes thy musings once again?
"Ohfor the time when I shall sleep
And never care how rain may steep
Or snow may cover me!
No promised heaventhese wild desires
Could allor half fulfil;
No threatened hellwith quenchless fires
Subdue this quenchless will!"
"So said Iand still say the same;
Stillto my deathwill say--
Three godswithin this little frame
Are warring night; and day;
Heaven could not hold them alland yet
They all are held in me;
And must be mine till I forget
My present entity!
Ohfor the timewhen in my breast
Their struggles will be o'er!
Ohfor the daywhen I shall rest
And never suffer more!"
"I saw a spiritstandingman
Where thou dost stand--an hour ago
And round his feet three rivers ran
Of equal depthand equal flow--
A golden stream--and one like blood;
And one like sapphire seemed to be;
Butwhere they joined their triple flood
It tumbled in an inky sea
The spirit sent his dazzling gaze
Down through that ocean's gloomy night;
Thenkindling allwith sudden blaze
The glad deep sparkled wide and bright--
White as the sunfarfar more fair
Than its divided sources were!"
"And even for that spiritseer
I've watched and sought my life-time long;
Sought him in heavenhellearthand air
An endless searchand always wrong.
Had I but seen his glorious eye
ONCE light the clouds that wilder me;
I ne'er had raised this coward cry
To cease to thinkand cease to be;
I ne'er had called oblivion blest
Nor stretching eager hands to death
Implored to change for senseless rest
This sentient soulthis living breath--
Ohlet me die--that power and will
Their cruel strife may close;
And conquered goodand conquering ill
Be lost in one repose!"
Cold in the earth--and the deep snow piled above thee
Farfarremovedcold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgotmy only Loveto love thee
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?
Nowwhen alonedo my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountainson that northern shore
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
Thy noble heart for everever more?
Cold in the earth--and fifteen wild Decembers
From those brown hillshave melted into spring:
Faithfulindeedis the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!
Sweet Love of youthforgiveif I forget thee
While the world's tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me
Hopes which obscurebut cannot do thee wrong!
No later light has lightened up my heaven
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.
Butwhen the days of golden dreams had perished
And even Despair was powerless to destroy;
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished
Strengthenedand fed without the aid of joy.
Then did I check the tears of useless passion--
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.
Andeven yetI dare not let it languish
Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish
How could I seek the empty world again?
"O day! he cannot die
When thou so fair art shining!
O Sunin such a glorious sky
So tranquilly declining;
He cannot leave thee now
While fresh west winds are blowing
And all around his youthful brow
Thy cheerful light is glowing!
The golden evening gleams
Warm and bright on Arden's lake--
Arouse thee from thy dreams!
Beside theeon my knee
My dearest friendI pray
That thouto cross the eternal sea
Wouldst yet one hour delay:
I hear its billows roar--
I see them foaming high;
But no glimpse of a further shore
Has blest my straining eye.
Believe not what they urge
Of Eden isles beyond;
Turn backfrom that tempestuous surge
To thy own native land.
It is not deathbut pain
That struggles in thy breast--
I cannot let thee rest!"
One long lookthat sore reproved me
For the woe I could not bear--
One mute look of suffering moved me
To repent my useless prayer:
Andwith sudden checkthe heaving
Of distraction passed away;
Not a sign of further grieving
Stirred my soul that awful day.
Paledat lengththe sweet sun setting;
Sunk to peace the twilight breeze:
Summer dews fell softlywetting
Glenand gladeand silent trees.
Then his eyes began to weary
Weighed beneath a mortal sleep;
And their orbs grew strangely dreary
Cloudedeven as they would weep.
But they wept notbut they changed not
Never movedand never closed;
Troubled stilland still they ranged not--
Wandered notnor yet reposed!
So I knew that he was dying--
Stoopedand raised his languid head;
Felt no breathand heard no sighing
So I knew that he was dead.
The linnet in the rocky dells
The moor-lark in the air
The bee among the heather bells
That hide my lady fair:
The wild deer browse above her breast;
The wild birds raise their brood;
And theyher smiles of love caressed
Have left her solitude!
I weenthat when the grave's dark wall
Did first her form retain
They thought their hearts could ne'er recall
The light of joy again.
They thought the tide of grief would flow
Unchecked through future years;
But where is all their anguish now
And where are all their tears?
Welllet them fight for honour's breath
Or pleasure's shade pursue--
The dweller in the land of death
Is changed and careless too.
Andif their eyes should watch and weep
Till sorrow's source were dry
She would notin her tranquil sleep
Return a single sigh!
Blowwest-windby the lonely mound
There is no need of other sound
To soothe my lady's dreams.
How beautiful the earth is still
To thee--how full of happiness?
How little fraught with real ill
Or unreal phantoms of distress!
How spring can bring thee gloryyet
And summer win thee to forget
December's sullen time!
Why dost thou hold the treasure fast
Of youth's delightwhen youth is past
And thou art near thy prime?
When those who were thy own compeers
Equals in fortune and in years
Have seen their morning melt in tears
To cloudedsmileless day;
Blesthad they died untried and young
Before their hearts went wandering wrong--
Poor slavessubdued by passions strong
A weak and helpless prey!
'BecauseI hoped while they enjoyed
And by fulfilmenthope destroyed;
As children hopewith trustful breast
I waited bliss--and cherished rest.
A thoughtful spirit taught me soon
That we must long till life be done;
That every phase of earthly joy
Must always fadeand always cloy:
'This I foresaw--and would not chase
The fleeting treacheries;
Butwith firm foot and tranquil face
Held backward from that tempting race
Gazed o'er the sands the waves efface
To the enduring seas--
There cast my anchor of desire
Deep in unknown eternity;
Nor ever let my spirit tire
With looking for WHAT IS TO BE!
"It is hope's spell that glorifies
Like youthto my maturer eyes
All Nature's million mysteries
The fearful and the fair--
Hope soothes me in the griefs I know;
She lulls my pain for others' woe
And makes me strong to undergo
What I am born to bear.
Glad comforter! will I not brave
Unawedthe darkness of the grave?
Naysmile to hear Death's billows rave--
Sustainedmy guideby thee?
The more unjust seems present fate
The more my spirit swells elate
Strongin thy strengthto anticipate
In the dungeon-crypts idly did I stray
Reckless of the lives wasting there away;
Draw the ponderous bars! openWarder stern!
He dared not say me nay--the hinges harshly turn.
"Our guests are darkly lodged I whisper'dgazing through
The vaultwhose grated eye showed heaven more gray than blue;
(This was when glad Spring laughed in awaking pride;)
Aydarkly lodged enough!" returned my sullen guide.
ThenGod forgive my youth; forgive my careless tongue;
I scoffedas the chill chains on the damp flagstones rung:
Confined in triple wallsart thou so much to fear
That we must bind thee down and clench thy fetters here?
The captive raised her face; it was as soft and mild
As sculptured marble saintor slumbering unwean'd child;
It was so soft and mildit was so sweet and fair
Pain could not trace a linenor grief a shadow there!
The captive raised her hand and pressed it to her brow;
I have been struckshe saidand I am suffering now;
Yet these are little worthyour bolts and irons strong;
Andwere they forged in steelthey could not hold me long.
Hoarse laughed the jailor grim: "Shall I be won to hear;
Dost thinkfonddreaming wretchthat I shall grant thy prayer?
Orbetter stillwilt melt my master's heart with groans?
Ah! sooner might the sun thaw down these granite stones.
"My master's voice is lowhis aspect bland and kind
But hard as hardest flint the soul that lurks behind;
And I am rough and rudeyet not more rough to see
Than is the hidden ghost that has its home in me."
About her lips there played a smile of almost scorn
My friendshe gently saidyou have not heard me mourn;
When you my kindred's livesMY lost lifecan restore
Then may I weep and sue--but neverfriendbefore!
Stilllet my tyrants knowI am not doomed to wear
Year after year in gloomand desolate despair;
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me
And offers for short lifeeternal liberty.
"He comes with western windswith evening's wandering airs
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars.
Winds take a pensive toneand stars a tender fire
And visions riseand changethat kill me with desire.
"Desire for nothing known in my maturer years
When Joy grew mad with aweat counting future tears.
Whenif my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm
I knew not whence they camefrom sun or thunder-storm.
"Butfirsta hush of peace--a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distressand fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast--unuttered harmony
That I could never dreamtill Earth was lost to me.
"Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gonemy inward essence feels:
Its wings are almost free--its homeits harbour found
Measuring the gulphit stoops and dares the final bound
"Oh I dreadful is the check--intense the agony--
When the ear begins to hearand the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throbthe brain to think again;
The soul to feel the fleshand the flesh to feel the chain.
"Yet I would lose no stingwould wish no torture less;
The more that anguish racksthe earlier it will bless;
And robed in fires of hellor bright with heavenly shine
If it but herald deaththe vision is divine!"
She ceased to speakand weunansweringturned to go--
We had no further power to work the captive woe:
Her cheekher gleaming eyedeclared that man had given
A sentenceunapprovedand overruled by Heaven.
Hope Was but a timid friend;
She sat without the grated den
Watching how my fate would tend
Even as selfish-hearted men.
She was cruel in her fear;
Through the bars one dreary day
I looked out to see her there
And she turned her face away!
Like a false guardfalse watch keeping
Stillin strifeshe whispered peace;
She would sing while I was weeping;
If I listenedshe would cease.
False she wasand unrelenting;
When my last joys strewed the ground
Even Sorrow sawrepenting
Those sad relics scattered round;
Hopewhose whisper would have given
Balm to all my frenzied pain
Stretched her wingsand soared to heaven
Wentand ne'er returned again!
A DAY DREAM.
On a sunny brae alone I lay
One summer afternoon;
It was the marriage-time of May
With her young loverJune.
From her mother's heart seemed loath to part
That queen of bridal charms
But her father smiled on the fairest child
He ever held in his arms.
The trees did wave their plumy crests
The glad birds carolled clear;
And Iof all the wedding guests
Was only sullen there!
There was not onebut wished to shun
My aspect void of cheer;
The very gray rockslooking on
AskedWhat do you here?
And I could utter no reply;
In soothI did not know
Why I had brought a clouded eye
To greet the general glow.
Soresting on a heathy bank
I took my heart to me;
And we together sadly sank
Into a reverie.
We thoughtWhen winter comes again
Where will these bright things be?
All vanishedlike a vision vain
An unreal mockery!
The birds that now so blithely sing
Through desertsfrozen dry
Poor spectres of the perished spring
In famished troops will fly.
"And why should we be glad at all?
The leaf is hardly green
Before a token of its fall
Is on the surface seen!"
Nowwhether it were really so
I never could be sure;
But as in fit of peevish woe
I stretched me on the moor
A thousand thousand gleaming fires
Seemed kindling in the air;
A thousand thousand silvery lyres
Resounded far and near:
Methoughtthe very breath I breathed
Was full of sparks divine
And all my heather-couch was wreathed
By that celestial shine!
Andwhile the wide earth echoing rung
To that strange minstrelsy
The little glittering spirits sung
Or seemed to singto me:
"O mortal! mortal! let them die;
Let time and tears destroy
That we may overflow the sky
With universal joy!
"Let grief distract the sufferer's breast
And night obscure his way;
They hasten him to endless rest
And everlasting day.
"To thee the world is like a tomb
A desert's naked shore;
To usin unimagined bloom
It brightens more and more!
"Andcould we lift the veiland give
One brief glimpse to thine eye
Thou wouldst rejoice for those that live
BECAUSE they live to die."
The music ceased; the noonday dream
Like dream of nightwithdrew;
But Fancystillwill sometimes deem
Her fond creation true.
When weary with the long day's care
And earthly change from pain to pain
And lostand ready to despair
Thy kind voice calls me back again:
Ohmy true friend! I am not lone
While then canst speak with such a tone!
So hopeless is the world without;
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy worldwhere guileand hateand doubt
And cold suspicion never rise;
Where thouand Iand Liberty
Have undisputed sovereignty.
What matters itthat all around
Dangerand guiltand darkness lie
If but within our bosom's bound
We hold a brightuntroubled sky
Warm with ten thousand mingled rays
Of suns that know no winter days?
Reasonindeedmay oft complain
For Nature's sad reality
And tell the suffering heart how vain
Its cherished dreams must always be;
And Truth may rudely trample down
The flowers of Fancynewly-blown:
But thou art ever thereto bring
The hovering vision backand breathe
New glories o'er the blighted spring
And call a lovelier Life from Death.
And whisperwith a voice divine
Of real worldsas bright as thine.
I trust not to thy phantom bliss
Yetstillin evening's quiet hour
With never-failing thankfulness
I welcome theeBenignant Power;
Sure solacer of human cares
And sweeter hopewhen hope despairs!
HOW CLEAR SHE SHINES.
How clear she shines! How quietly
I lie beneath her guardian light;
While heaven and earth are whispering me
To morrowwakebut dream to-night.
YesFancycomemy Fairy love!
These throbbing temples softly kiss;
And bend my lonely couch above
And bring me restand bring me bliss.
The world is going; dark worldadieu!
Grim worldconceal thee till the day;
The heart thou canst not all subdue
Must still resistif thou delay!
Thy love I will notwill not share;
Thy hatred only wakes a smile;
Thy griefs may wound--thy wrongs may tear
Butohthy lies shall ne'er beguile!
While gazing on the stars that glow
Above mein that stormless sea
I long to hope that all the woe
Creation knowsis held in thee!
And this shall be my dream to-night;
I'll think the heaven of glorious spheres
Is rolling on its course of light
In endless blissthrough endless years;
I'll thinkthere's not one world above
Far as these straining eyes can see
Where Wisdom ever laughed at Love
Or Virtue crouched to Infamy;
Wherewrithing 'neath the strokes of Fate
The mangled wretch was forced to smile;
To match his patience 'gainst her hate
His heart rebellious all the while.
Where Pleasure still will lead to wrong
And helpless Reason warn in vain;
And Truth is weakand Treachery strong;
And Joy the surest path to Pain;
And Peacethe lethargy of Grief;
And Hopea phantom of the soul;
And lifea labourvoid and brief;
And Deaththe despot of the whole!
There should be no despair for you
While nightly stars are burning;
While evening pours its silent dew
And sunshine gilds the morning.
There should be no despair--though tears
May flow down like a river:
Are not the best beloved of years
Around your heart for ever?
They weepyou weepit must be so;
Winds sigh as you are sighing
And winter sheds its grief in snow
Where Autumn's leaves are lying:
Yetthese reviveand from their fate
Your fate cannot be parted:
Thenjourney onif not elate
PLEAD FOR ME.
Ohthy bright eyes must answer now
When Reasonwith a scornful brow
Is mocking at my overthrow!
Ohthy sweet tongue must plead for me
And tell why I have chosen thee!
Stern Reason is to judgment come
Arrayed in all her forms of gloom:
Wilt thoumy advocatebe dumb?
Noradiant angelspeak and say
Why I did cast the world away.
Why I have persevered to shun
The common paths that others run;
And on a strange road journeyed on
Heedlessalike of wealth and power--
Of glory's wreath and pleasure's flower.
Theseonceindeedseemed Beings Divine;
And theyperchanceheard vows of mine
And saw my offerings on their shrine;
But careless gifts are seldom prized
And MINE were worthily despised.
Sowith a ready heartI swore
To seek their altar-stone no more;
And gave my spirit to adore
My slavemy comradeand my king.
A slavebecause I rule thee still;
Incline thee to my changeful will
And make thy influence good or ill:
A comradefor by day and night
Thou art my intimate delight--
My darling pain that wounds and sears
And wrings a blessing out from tears
By deadening me to earthly cares;
And yeta kingthough Prudence well
Have taught thy subject to rebel
And am I wrong to worship where
Faith cannot doubtnor hope despair
Since my own soul can grant my prayer?
SpeakGod of visionsplead for me
And tell why I have chosen thee!
"The evening passes fast away.
'Tis almost time to rest;
What thoughts has left the vanished day
What feelings in thy breast?
"The vanished day? It leaves a sense
Of labour hardly done;
Of little gained with vast expense--
A sense of grief alone?
"Time stands before the door of Death
And Consciencewith exhaustless breath
Pours black reproach on me:
"And though I've said that Conscience lies
And Time should Fate condemn;
Stillsad Repentance clouds my eyes
And makes me yield to them!
"Then art thou glad to seek repose?
Art glad to leave the sea
And anchor all thy weary woes
In calm Eternity?
"Nothing regrets to see thee go--
Not one voice sobs' farewell;'
And where thy heart has suffered so
Canst thou desire to dwell?"
"Alas! the countless links are strong
That bind us to our clay;
The loving spirit lingers long
And would not pass away!
"And rest is sweetwhen laurelled fame
Will crown the soldier's crest;
But a brave heartwith a tarnished name
Would rather fight than rest.
"Wellthou hast fought for many a year
Hast fought thy whole life through
Hast humbled Falsehoodtrampled Fear;
What is there left to do?
"'Tis truethis arm has hotly striven
Has dared what few would dare;
Much have I doneand freely given
But little learnt to bear!
"Look on the grave where thou must sleep
Thy lastand strongest foe;
It is endurance not to weep
If that repose seem woe.
"The long war closing in defeat--
Defeat serenely borne--
Thy midnight rest may still be sweet
And break in glorious morn!"
Death! that struck when I was most confiding.
In my certain faith of joy to be--
Strike againTime's withered branch dividing
From the fresh root of Eternity!
Leavesupon Time's branchwere growing brightly
Full of sapand full of silver dew;
Birds beneath its shelter gathered nightly;
Daily round its flowers the wild bees flew.
Sorrow passedand plucked the golden blossom;
Guilt stripped off the foliage in its pride
Butwithin its parent's kindly bosom
Flowed for ever Life's restoring tide.
Little mourned I for the parted gladness
For the vacant nest and silent song--
Hope was thereand laughed me out of sadness;
WhisperingWinter will not linger long!
Andbehold! with tenfold increase blessing
Spring adorned the beauty-burdened spray;
Wind and rain and fervent heatcaressing
Lavished glory on that second May!
High it rose--no winged grief could sweep it;
Sin was scared to distance with its shine;
Loveand its own lifehad power to keep it
From all wrong--from every blight but thine!
Cruel Death! The young leaves droop and languish;
Evening's gentle air may still restore--
No! the morning sunshine mocks my anguish-
Timefor memust never blossom more!
Strike it downthat other boughs may flourish
Where that perished sapling used to be;
Thusat leastits mouldering corpse will nourish
That from which it sprung--Eternity.
STANZAS TO ----
Wellsome may hateand some may scorn
And some may quite forget thy name;
But my sad heart must ever mourn
Thy ruined hopesthy blighted fame!
'Twas thus I thoughtan hour ago
Even weeping o'er that wretch's woe;
One word turned back my gushing tears
And lit my altered eye with sneers.
Then "Bless the friendly dust I said
That hides thy unlamented head!
Vain as thou wertand weak as vain
The slave of FalsehoodPrideand Pain--
My heart has nought akin to thine;
Thy soul is powerless over mine."
But these were thoughts that vanished too;
Do I despise the timid deer
Because his limbs are fleet with fear?
Orwould I mock the wolf's death-howl
Because his form is gaunt and foul?
Orhear with joy the leveret's cry
Because it cannot bravely die?
No! Then above his memory
Let Pity's heart as tender be;
SayEarthlie lightly on that breast
Andkind Heavengrant that spirit rest!
The moon is full this winter night;
The stars are clearthough few;
And every window glistens bright
With leaves of frozen dew.
The sweet moon through your lattice gleams
And lights your room like day;
And there you passin happy dreams
The peaceful hours away!
While Iwith effort hardly quelling
The anguish in my breast
Wander about the silent dwelling
And cannot think of rest.
The old clock in the gloomy hall
Ticks onfrom hour to hour;
And every time its measured call
Seems lingering slow and slower:
Andohhow slow that keen-eyed star
Has tracked the chilly gray!
Whatwatching yet! how very far
The morning lies away!
Without your chamber door I stand;
Loveare you slumbering still?
My cold heartunderneath my hand
Has almost ceased to thrill.
Bleakbleak the east wind sobs and sighs
And drowns the turret bell
Whose sad noteundistinguisheddies
Unheardlike my farewell!
To-morrowScorn will blight my name
And Hate will trample me
Will load me with a coward's shame--
A traitor's perjury.
False friends will launch their covert sneers;
True friends will wish me dead;
And I shall cause the bitterest tears
That you have ever shed.
The dark deeds of my outlawed race
Will then like virtues shine;
And men will pardon their disgrace
Beside the guilt of mine.
Forwho forgives the accursed crime
Of dastard treachery?
Rebellionin its chosen time
May Freedom's champion be;
Revenge may stain a righteous sword
It may be just to slay;
Buttraitortraitor--from THAT word
All true breasts shrink away!
OhI would give my heart to death
To keep my honour fair;
YetI'll not give my inward faith
My honour's NAME to spare!
Not even to keep your priceless love
This treason should the future prove
I know the path I ought to go
I follow fearlessly
Inquiring not what deeper woe
Stern duty stores for me.
So foes pursueand cold allies
Mistrust meevery one:
Let me be false in others' eyes
If faithful in my own.
I'll not weep that thou art going to leave me
There's nothing lovely here;
And doubly will the dark world grieve me
While thy heart suffers there.
I'll not weepbecause the summer's glory
Must always end in gloom;
Andfollow out the happiest story--
It closes with a tomb!
And I am weary of the anguish
Increasing winters bear;
Weary to watch the spirit languish
Through years of dead despair.
Soif a tearwhen thou art dying
Should haply fall from me
It is but that my soul is sighing
To go and rest with thee.
Well hast thou spokenand yet not taught
A feeling strange or new;
Thou hast but roused a latent thought
A cloud-closed beam of sunshine brought
To gleam in open view.
Deep downconcealed within my soul
That light lies hid from men;
Yet glows unquenched--though shadows roll
Its gentle ray cannot control--
About the sullen den.
Was I not vexedin these gloomy ways
To walk alone so long?
Around mewretches uttering praise
Or howling o'er their hopeless days
And each with Frenzy's tongue;-
A brotherhood of misery
Their smiles as sad as sighs;
Whose madness daily maddened me
Distorting into agony
The bliss before my eyes!
So stood Iin Heaven's glorious sun
And in the glare of Hell;
My spirit drank a mingled tone
Of seraph's songand demon's moan;
What my soul boremy soul alone
Within itself may tell!
Like a softair above a sea
Tossed by the tempest's stir;
A thaw-windmelting quietly
The snow-drift on some wintry lea;
No: what sweet thing resembles thee
My thoughtful Comforter?
And yet a little longer speak
Calm this resentful mood;
And while the savage heart grows meek
For other token do not seek
But let the tear upon my cheek
Evince my gratitude!
THE OLD STOIC.
Riches I hold in light esteem
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn:
And if I praythe only prayer
That moves my lips for me
IsLeave the heart that now I bear
And give me liberty!
Yesas my swift days near their goal:
'Tis all that I implore ;
In life and death a chainless soul
With courage to endure.
Yesthou art gone! and never more
Thy sunny smile shall gladden me;
But I may pass the old church door
And pace the floor that covers thee
May stand upon the colddamp stone
And think thatfrozenlies below
The lightest heart that I have known
The kindest I shall ever know.
Yetthough I cannot see thee more
'Tis still a comfort to have seen;
And though thy transient life is o'er
'Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;
To think a soul so near divine
Within a form so angel fair
United to a heart like thine
Has gladdened once our humble sphere.
I'll rest me in this sheltered bower
And look upon the clear blue sky
That smiles upon me through the trees
Which stand so thick clustering by;
And view their green and glossy leaves
All glistening in the sunshine fair;
And list the rustling of their boughs
So softly whispering through the air.
And while my ear drinks in the sound
My winged soul shall fly away;
Reviewing lone departed years
As one mildbeamingautumn day;
And soaring on to future scenes
Like hills and woodsand valleys green
All basking in the summer's sun
But distant stilland dimly seen.
Ohlist! 'tis summer's very breath
That gently shakes the rustling trees--
But look! the snow is on the ground--
How can I think of scenes like these?
'Tis but the FROST that clears the air
And gives the sky that lovely blue;
They're smiling in a WINTER'S sun
Those evergreens of sombre hue.
And winter's chill is on my heart--
How can I dream of future bliss?
How can my spirit soar away
Confined by such a chain as this?
How brightly glistening in the sun
The woodland ivy plays!
While yonder beeches from their barks
Reflect his silver rays.
That sun surveys a lovely scene
From softly smiling skies;
And wildly through unnumbered trees
The wind of winter sighs:
Now loudit thunders o'er my head
And now in distance dies.
But give me back my barren hills
Where colder breezes rise;
Where scarce the scatteredstunted trees
Can yield an answering swell
But where a wilderness of heath
Returns the sound as well.
For yonder gardenfair and wide
With groves of evergreen
Long winding walksand borders trim
And velvet lawns between;
Restore to me that little spot
With gray walls compassed round
Where knotted grass neglected lies
And weeds usurp the ground.
Though all around this mansion high
Invites the foot to roam
And though its halls are fair within--
Ohgive me back my HOME!
VANITAS VANITATUMOMNIA VANITAS.
In all we doand hearand see
Is restless Toil and Vanity.
While yet the rolling earth abides
Men come and go like ocean tides;
And ere one generation dies
Another in its place shall rise;
THATsinking soon into the grave
Others succeedlike wave on wave;
And as they risethey pass away.
The sun arises every day
And hastening onward to the West
He nightly sinksbut not to rest:
Returning to the eastern skies
Again to light ushe must rise.
And still the restless wind comes forth
Now blowing keenly from the North;
Now from the Souththe Eastthe West
For ever changingne'er at rest.
The fountainsgushing from the hills
Supply the ever-running rills;
The thirsty rivers drink their store
And bear it rolling to the shore
But still the ocean craves for more.
'Tis endless labour everywhere!
Sound cannot satisfy the ear
Light cannot fill the craving eye
Nor riches half our wants supply
Pleasure but doubles future pain
And joy brings sorrow in her train;
Laughter is madand reckless mirth--
What does she in this weary earth?
Should Wealthor Fameour Life employ
Death comesour labour to destroy;
To snatch the untasted cup away
For which we toiled so many a day.
Whatthenremains for wretched man?
To use life's comforts while he can
Enjoy the blessings Heaven bestows
Assist his friendsforgive his foes;
Trust Godand keep His statutes still
Upright and firmthrough good and ill;
Thankful for all that God has given
Fixing his firmest hopes on Heaven;
Knowing that earthly joys decay
But hoping through the darkest day.
I mourn with theeand yet rejoice
That thou shouldst sorrow so;
With angel choirs I join my voice
To bless the sinner's woe.
Though friends and kindred turn away
And laugh thy grief to scorn;
I hear the great Redeemer say
Blessed are ye that mourn.
Hold on thy coursenor deem it strange
That earthly cords are riven:
Man may lament the wondrous change
But "there is joy in heaven!"
MUSIC ON CHRISTMAS MORNING.
Music I love--but never strain
Could kindle raptures so divine
So grief assuageso conquer pain
And rouse this pensive heart of mine--
As that we hear on Christmas morn
Upon the wintry breezes borne.
Though Darkness still her empire keep
And hours must passere morning break;
From troubled dreamsor slumbers deep
That music KINDLY bids us wake:
It calls uswith an angel's voice
To wakeand worshipand rejoice;
To greet with joy the glorious morn
Which angels welcomed long ago
When our redeeming Lord was born
To bring the light of Heaven below;
The Powers of Darkness to dispel
And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.
While listening to that sacred strain
My raptured spirit soars on high;
I seem to hear those songs again
Resounding through the open sky
That kindled such divine delight
In those who watched their flocks by night.
With them I celebrate His birth--
Glory to Godin highest Heaven
Good-will to menand peace on earth
To us a Saviour-king is given;
Our God is come to claim His own
And Satan's power is overthrown!
A sinless Godfor sinful men
Descends to suffer and to bleed;
Hell MUST renounce its empire then;
The price is paidthe world is freed
And Satan's self must now confess
That Christ has earned a RIGHT to bless:
Now holy Peace may smile from heaven
And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:
The captive's galling bonds are riven
For our Redeemer is our king;
And He that gave his blood for men
Will lead us home to God again.
Ohweep notlove! each tear that springs
In those dear eyes of thine
To me a keener suffering brings
Than if they flowed from mine.
And do not droop! however drear
The fate awaiting thee;
For MY sake combat pain and care
And cherish life for me!
I do not fear thy love will fail;
Thy faith is trueI know;
Butohmy love! thy strength is frail
For such a life of woe.
Were 't not for thisI well could trace
(Though banished long from thee)
Life's rugged pathand boldly face
The storms that threaten me.
Fear not for me--I've steeled my mind
Sorrow and strife to greet;
Joy with my love I leave behind
Care with my friends I meet.
A mother's sad reproachful eye
A father's scowling brow--
But he may frown and she may sigh:
I will not break my vow!
I love my motherI revere
My sirebut fear not me--
Believe that Death alone can tear
This faithful heart from thee.
IF THIS BE ALL.
O God! if this indeed be all
That Life can show to me;
If on my aching brow may fall
No freshening dew from Thee;
If with no brighter light than this
The lamp of hope may glow
And I may only dream of bliss
And wake to weary woe;
If friendship's solace must decay
When other joys are gone
And love must keep so far away
While I go wandering on--
Wandering and toiling without gain
The slave of others' will
With constant careand frequent pain
Grieving to look on vice and sin
Yet powerless to quell
The silent current from within
The outward torrent's swell
While all the good I would impart
The feelings I would share
Are driven backward to my heart
And turned to wormwood there;
If clouds must EVER keep from sight
The glories of the Sun
And I must suffer Winter's blight
Ere Summer is begun;
If Life must be so full of care
Then call me soon to thee;
Or give me strength enough to bear
My load of misery.
Brightly the sun of summer shone
Green fields and waving woods upon
And soft winds wandered by;
Abovea sky of purest blue
Aroundbright flowers of loveliest hue
Allured the gazer's eye.
But what were all these charms to me
When one sweet breath of memory
Came gently wafting by?
I closed my eyes against the day
And called my willing soul away
From earthand airand sky;
That I might simply fancy there
One little flower--a primrose fair
Just opening into sight;
As in the days of infancy
An opening primrose seemed to me
A source of strange delight.
Sweet Memory! ever smile on me;
Nature's chief beauties spring from thee;
Ohstill thy tribute bring
Still make the golden crocus shine
Among the flowers the most divine
The glory of the spring.
Still in the wallflower's fragrance dwell;
And hover round the slight bluebell
My childhood's darling flower.
Smile on the little daisy still
The buttercup's bright goblet fill
With all thy former power.
For ever hang thy dreamy spell
Round mountain star and heather bell
And do not pass away
From sparkling frostor wreathed snow
And whisper when the wild winds blow
Or rippling waters play.
Is childhoodthenso all divine?
Or Memoryis the glory thine
That haloes thus the past?
Not ALL divine; its pangs of grief
(Althoughperchancetheir stay be brief)
Are bitter while they last.
Nor is the glory all thine own
For on our earliest joys alone
That holy light is cast.
With such a rayno spell of thine
Can make our later pleasures shine
Though long ago they passed.
Sweet are thy strainscelestial Bard;
And oftin childhood's years
I've read them o'er and o'er again
With floods of silent tears.
The language of my inmost heart
I traced in every line;
MY sinsMY sorrowshopesand fears
Were there-and only mine.
All for myself the sigh would swell
The tear of anguish start;
I little knew what wilder woe
Had filled the Poet's heart.
I did not know the nights of gloom
The days of misery;
The longlong years of dark despair
That crushed and tortured thee.
But they are gone; from earth at length
Thy gentle soul is pass'd
And in the bosom of its God
Has found its home at last.
It must be soif God is love
And answers fervent prayer;
Then surely thou shalt dwell on high
And I may meet thee there.
Is He the source of every good
The spring of purity?
Then in thine hours of deepest woe
Thy God was still with thee.
How elsewhen every hope was fled
Couldst thou so fondly cling
To holy things and help men?
And how so sweetly sing
Of things that God alone could teach?
And whence that purity
That hatred of all sinful ways--
That gentle charity?
Are THESE the symptoms of a heart
Of heavenly grace bereft--
For ever banished from its God
To Satan's fury left?
Yetshould thy darkest fears be true
If Heaven be so severe
That such a soul as thine is lost--
Oh! how shall I appear?
THE DOUBTER'S PRAYER.
Eternal Powerof earth and air!
Unseenyet seen in all around
Remotebut dwelling everywhere
Though silentheard in every sound;
If e'er thine ear in mercy bent
When wretched mortals cried to Thee
And ifindeedThy Son was sent
To save lost sinners such as me:
Then hear me nowwhile kneeling here
I lift to thee my heart and eye
And all my soul ascends in prayer
OHGIVE ME--GIVE ME FAITH! I cry.
Without some glimmering in my heart
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
Butoh! a stronger light impart
And in Thy mercy fix it there.
While Faith is with meI am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast
I often feel it slide away.
Thencold and darkmy spirit sinks
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hellmethinks
Enjoys the anguish of my heart.
What shall I doif all my love
My hopesmy toilare cast away
And if there be no God above
To hear and bless me when I pray?
If this be vain delusion all
If death be an eternal sleep
And none can hear my secret call
Or see the silent tears I weep!
Ohhelp meGod! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own
Though weakyet longing to believe.
Ohdrive these cruel doubts away;
And make me knowthat Thou art God!
A faiththat shines by night and day
Will lighten every earthly load.
If I believe that Jesus died
And wakingrose to reign above;
Then surely SorrowSinand Pride
Must yield to Peaceand Hopeand Love.
And all the blessed words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o'er my head
A spring of comfort in my heart.
A WORD TO THE "ELECT."
You may rejoice to think YOURSELVES secure;
You may be grateful for the gift divine--
That grace unsoughtwhich made your black hearts pure
And fits your earth-born souls in Heaven to shine.
Butis it sweet to look aroundand view
Thousands excluded from that happiness
Which they deservedat leastas much as you.--
Their faults not greaternor their virtues less?
And wherefore should you love your God the more
Because to you alone his smiles are given;
Because He chose to pass the MANY o'er
And only bring the favoured FEW to Heaven?
Andwherefore should your hearts more grateful prove
Because for ALL the Saviour did not die?
Is yours the God of justice and of love?
And are your bosoms warm with charity?
Saydoes your heart expand to all mankind?
Andwould you ever to your neighbour do--
The weakthe strongthe enlightenedand the blind--
As you would have your neighbour do to you?
And when youlooking on your fellow-men
Behold them doomed to endless misery
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?--
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!
That none deserve eternal bliss I know;
Unmerited the grace in mercy given:
Butnone shall sink to everlasting woe
That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.
Andoh! there lives within my heart
A hopelong nursed by me;
(And should its cheering ray depart
How dark my soul would be!)
That as in Adam all have died
In Christ shall all men live;
And ever round his throne abide
Eternal praise to give.
That even the wicked shall at last
Be fitted for the skies;
And when their dreadful doom is past
To life and light arise.
I ask nothow remote the day
Nor what the sinners' woe
Before their dross is purged away;
Enough for me to know--
That when the clip of wrath is drained
The metal purified
They'll cling to what they once disdained
And live by Him that died.
'Tis strange to think there WAS a time
When mirth was not an empty name
When laughter really cheered the heart
And frequent smiles unbidden came
And tears of grief would only flow
In sympathy for others' woe;
When speech expressed the inward thought
And heart to kindred heart was bare
And summer days were far too short
For all the pleasures crowded there;
And silencesolitudeand rest
Now welcome to the weary breast--
Were all unprizeduncourted then--
And all the joy one spirit showed
The other deeply felt again;
And friendship like a river flowed
Constant and strong its silent course
For nought withstood its gentle force:
When nightthe holy time of peace
Was dreaded as the parting hour;
When speech and mirth at once must cease
And silence must resume her power;
Though ever free from pains and woes
She only brought us calm repose.
And when the blessed dawn again
Brought daylight to the blushing skies
We wokeand not RELUCTANT then
To joyless LABOUR did we rise;
But full of hopeand glad and gay
We welcomed the returning day.
Though bleak these woodsand damp the ground
With fallen leaves so thickly strown
And cold the wind that wanders round
With wild and melancholy moan;
There IS a friendly roofI know
Might shield me from the wintry blast;
There is a firewhose ruddy glow
Will cheer me for my wanderings past.
And sothough stillwhere'er I go
Cold stranger-glances meet my eye;
Thoughwhen my spirit sinks in woe
Unheeded swells the unbidden sigh;
Though solitudeendured too long
Bids youthful joys too soon decay
Makes mirth a stranger to my tongue
And overclouds my noon of day;
When kindly thoughts that would have way
Flow back discouraged to my breast;
I know there isthough far away
A home where heart and soul may rest.
Warm hands are therethatclasped in mine
The warmer heart will not belie;
While mirthand truthand friendship shine
In smiling lip and earnest eye.
The ice that gathers round my heart
May there be thawed; and sweetlythen
The joys of youththat now depart
Will come to cheer my soul again.
Though far I roamthat thought shall be
My hopemy comforteverywhere;
While such a home remains to me
My heart shall never know despair!
LINES COMPOSED IN A WOOD ON A WINDY DAY.
My soul is awakenedmy spirit is soaring
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky
I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing
And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!
VIEWS OF LIFE.
When sinks my heart in hopeless gloom
And life can show no joy for me;
And I behold a yawning tomb
Where bowers and palaces should be;
In vain you talk of morbid dreams;
In vain you gaily smiling say
That what to me so dreary seems
The healthy mind deems bright and gay.
I too have smiledand thought like you
But madly smiledand falsely deemed:
TRUTH led me to the present view--
I'm waking now--'twas THEN I dreamed.
I lately saw a sunset sky
And stood enraptured to behold
Its varied hues of glorious dye:
Firstfleecy clouds of shining gold;
These blushing took a rosy hue;
Beneath them shone a flood of green;
Nor less divinethe glorious blue
That smiled above them and between.
I cannot name each lovely shade;
I cannot say how bright they shone;
But one by oneI saw them fade;
And what remained when they were gone?
Dull clouds remainedof sombre hue
And when their borrowed charm was o'er
The azure sky had faded too
That smiled so softly bright before.
Sogilded by the glow of youth
Our varied life looks fair and gay;
And so remains the naked truth
When that false light is past away.
Why blame yethenmy keener sight
That clearly sees a world of woes
Through all the haze of golden light
That flattering Falsehood round it throws?
When the young mother smiles above
The first-born darling of her heart
Her bosom glows with earnest love
While tears of silent transport start.
Fond dreamer! little does she know
The anxious toilthe suffering
The blasted hopesthe burning woe
The object of her joy will bring.
Her blinded eyes behold not now
Whatsoon or latemust be his doom;
The anguish that will cloud his brow
The bed of deaththe dreary tomb.
As little know the youthful pair
In mutual love supremely blest
What wearinessand cold despair
Ere longwill seize the aching breast.
And even should Love and Faith remain
(The greatest blessings life can show)
Amid adversity and pain
To shine throughout with cheering glow;
They do not see how cruel Death
Comes ontheir loving hearts to part:
One feels not now the gasping breath
The rending of the earth-bound heart--
The soul's and body's agony
Ere she may sink to her repose.
The sad survivor cannot see
The grave above his darling close;
Nor howdespairing and alone
He then must wear his life away;
And lingerfeebly toiling on
And faintingsink into decay.
* * * *
OhYouth may listen patiently
While sad Experience tells her tale
But Doubt sits smiling in his eye
For ardent Hope will still prevail!
He hears how feeble Pleasure dies
By guilt destroyedand pain and woe;
He turns to Hope--and she replies
Believe it not-it is not so!
"Ohheed her not!" Experience says;
For thus she whispered once to me;
She told mein my youthful days
How glorious manhood's prime would be.
Whenin the time of early Spring
Too chill the winds that o'er me pass'd
She saideach coming day would bring
a fairer heavena gentler blast.
"And when the sun too seldom beamed
The skyo'ercasttoo darkly frowned
The soaking rain too constant streamed
And mists too dreary gathered round;
"She told meSummer's glorious ray
Would chase those vapours all away
And scatter glories round;
With sweetest music fill the trees
Load with rich scent the gentle breeze
And strew with flowers the ground
"But whenbeneath that scorching ray
I languishedweary through the day
While birds refused to sing
Verdure decayed from field and tree
And panting Nature mourned with me
The freshness of the Spring.
"'Wait but a little while' she said
'Till Summer's burning days are fled;
And Autumn shall restore
With golden riches of her own
And Summer's glories mellowed down
The freshness you deplore.'
And long I waitedbut in vain:
That freshness never came again
Though Summer passed away
Though Autumn's mists hung cold and chill.
And drooping nature languished still
And sank into decay.
"Till wintry blasts foreboding blew
Through leafless trees--and then I knew
That Hope was all a dream.
But thusfond youthshe cheated me;
And she will prove as false to thee
Though sweet her words may seem.
Stern prophet! Cease thy bodings dire--
Thou canst not quench the ardent fire
That warms the breast of youth.
Ohlet it cheer him while it may
And gentlygently die away--
Chilled by the damps of truth!
Tell himthat earth is not our rest;
Its joys are empty--frail at best;
And point beyond the sky.
But gleams of light may reach us here;
And hope the ROUGHEST path can cheer:
Then do not bid it fly!
Though hope may promise joysthat still
Unkindly time will ne'er fulfil;
Orif they come at all
We never find them unalloyed--
Hurtful perchanceor soon destroyed
They vanish or they pall;
Yet hope ITSELF a brightness throws
O'er all our labours and our woes;
While dark foreboding Care
A thousand ills will oft portend
That Providence may ne'er intend
The trembling heart to bear.
Or if they comeit oft appears
Our woes are lighter than our fears
And far more bravely borne.
Then let us not enhance our doom
But e'en in midnight's blackest gloom
Expect the rising morn.
Because the road is rough and long
Shall we despise the skylark's song
That cheers the wanderer's way?
Or trample downwith reckless feet
The smiling floweretsbright and sweet
Because they soon decay?
Pass pleasant scenes unnoticed by
Because the next is bleak and drear;
Or not enjoy a smiling sky
Because a tempest may be near?
No! while we journey on our way
We'll smile on every lovely thing;
And everas they pass away
To memory and hope we'll cling.
And though that awful river flows
Before uswhen the journey's past
Perchance of all the pilgrim's woes
Most dreadful--shrink not--'tis the last!
Though icy coldand darkand deep;
Beyond it smiles that blessed shore
Where none shall suffernone shall weep
And bliss shall reign for evermore!
OhI am very weary
Though tears no longer flow;
My eyes are tired of weeping
My heart is sick of woe;
My life is very lonely
My days pass heavily
I'm weary of repining;
Wilt thou not come to me?
Ohdidst thou know my longings
For theefrom day to day
My hopesso often blighted
Thou wouldst not thus delay!
THE STUDENT'S SERENADE.
I have slept upon my couch
But my spirit did not rest
For the labours of the day
Yet my weary soul opprest;
And before my dreaming eyes
Still the learned volumes lay
And I could not close their leaves
And I could not turn away.
But I oped my eyes at last
And I heard a muffled sound;
'Twas the night-breezecome to say
That the snow was on the ground.
Then I knew that there was rest
On the mountain's bosom free;
So I left my fevered couch
And I flew to waken thee!
I have flown to waken thee--
Forif thou wilt not arise
Then my soul can drink no peace
From these holy moonlight skies.
And this waste of virgin snow
To my sight will not be fair
Unless thou wilt smiling come
Loveto wander with me there.
Forif thou couldst only know
How the quiet moonlight sleeps
On this wilderness of snow
And the groves of ancient trees
In their snowy garb arrayed
Till they stretch into the gloom
Of the distant valley's shade;
I know thou wouldst rejoice
To inhale this bracing air;
Thou wouldst break thy sweetest sleep
To behold a scene so fair.
O'er these wintry wildsALONE
Thou wouldst joy to wander free;
And it will not please thee less
Though that bliss be shared with me.
THE CAPTIVE DOVE.
Poor restless doveI pity thee;
And when I hear thy plaintive moan
I mourn for thy captivity
And in thy woes forget mine own.
To see thee stand prepared to fly
And flap those useless wings of thine
And gaze into the distant sky
Would melt a harder heart than mine.
In vain--in vain! Thou canst not rise:
Thy prison roof confines thee there;
Its slender wires delude thine eyes
And quench thy longings with despair.
Ohthou wert made to wander free
In sunny mead and shady grove
And far beyond the rolling sea
In distant climesat will to rove!
Yethadst thou but one gentle mate
Thy little drooping heart to cheer
And share with thee thy captive state
Thou couldst be happy even there.
Yeseven thereiflistening by
One faithful dear companion stood
While gazing on her full bright eye
Thou mightst forget thy native wood
But thoupoor solitary dove
Must makeunheardthy joyless moan;
The heart that Nature formed to love
Must pineneglectedand alone.
Ellenyou were thoughtless once
Of beauty or of grace
Simple and homely in attire
Careless of form and face;
Then whence this change? and wherefore now
So often smoothe your hair?
And wherefore deck your youthful form
With such unwearied care?
Tell usand cease to tire our ears
With that familiar strain;
Why will you play those simple tunes
So often o'er again?
Indeeddear friendsI can but say
That childhood's thoughts are gone;
Each year its own new feelings brings
And years move swiftly on:
And for these little simple airs--
I love to play them o'er
So much--I dare not promisenow
To play them never more."
I answered--and it was enough;
They turned them to depart;
They could not read my secret thoughts
Nor see my throbbing heart.
I've noticed many a youthful form
Upon whose changeful face
The inmost workings of the soul
The gazer well might trace;
The speaking eyethe changing lip
The ready blushing cheek
The smilingor beclouded brow
Their different feelings speak.
Butthank God! you might gaze on mine
For hoursand never know
The secret changes of my soul
From joy to keenest woe.
Last nightas we sat round the fire
We heardwithoutapproaching steps
Of one well known to me!
There was no trembling in my voice
No blush upon my cheek
No lustrous sparkle in my eyes
Of hopeor joyto speak;
Butoh! my spirit burned within
My heart beat full and fast!
He came not nigh--he went away--
And then my joy was past.
And yet my comrades marked it not:
My voice was still the same;
They saw me smileand o'er my face
No signs of sadness came.
They little knew my hidden thoughts;
And they will NEVER know
The aching anguish of my heart
The bitter burning woe!
What though the Sun had left my sky;
To save me from despair
The blessed Moon arose on high
And shone serenely there.
I watched herwith a tearful gaze
Rise slowly o'er the hill
While through the dim horizon's haze
Her light gleamed faint and chill.
I thought such wan and lifeless beams
Could ne'er my heart repay
For the bright sun's most transient gleams
That cheered me through the day:
Butas above that mist's control
She roseand brighter shone
I felt her light upon my soul;
But now--that light is gone!
Thick vapours snatched her from my sight
And I was darkling left
All in the cold and gloomy night
Of light and hope bereft:
Untilmethoughta little star
Shone forth with trembling ray
To cheer me with its light afar--
But thattoopassed away.
Anonan earthly meteor blazed
The gloomy darkness through;
I smiledyet trembled while I gazed--
But that soon vanished too!
And darkerdrearier fell the night
Upon my spirit then;--
But what is that faint struggling light?
Is it the Moon again?
Kind Heaven! increase that silvery gleam
And bid these clouds depart
And let her soft celestial beam
Restore my fainting heart!
It would not have been difficult to compile a volume out of thepapers left by my sistershad Iin making the selectiondismissed from my consideration the scruples and the wishes ofthose whose written thoughts these papers held. But this wasimpossible: an influencestronger than could be exercised by anymotive of expediencynecessarily regulated the selection. Ihavethenculled from the mass only a little poem here andthere. The whole makes but a tiny nosegayand the colour andperfume of the flowers are not such as fit them for festal uses.
It has been already said that my sisters wrote much in childhoodand girlhood. Usuallyit seems a sort of injustice to expose inprint the crude thoughts of the unripe mindthe rude efforts ofthe unpractised hand; yet I venture to give three little poems ofmy sister Emily'swritten in her sixteenth yearbecause theyillustrate a point in her character.
At that period she was sent to school. Her previous lifewiththe exception of a single half-yearhad been passed in theabsolute retirement of a village parsonageamongst the hillsbordering Yorkshire and Lancashire. The scenery of these hills isnot grand--it is not romantic it is scarcely striking. Long lowmoorsdark with heathshut in little valleyswhere a streamwatershere and therea fringe of stunted copse. Mills andscattered cottages chase romance from these valleys; it is onlyhigher updeep in amongst the ridges of the moorsthatImagination can find rest for the sole of her foot: and even ifshe finds it thereshe must be a solitude-loving raven--nogentle dove. If she demand beauty to inspire hershe must bringit inborn: these moors are too stern to yield any product sodelicate. The eye of the gazer must ITSELF brim with a "purplelight intense enough to perpetuate the brief flower-flush ofAugust on the heatheror the rare sunset-smile of June; out ofhis heart must well the freshnessthat in latter spring andearly summer brightens the brackennurtures the mossandcherishes the starry flowers that spangle for a few weeks thepasture of the moor-sheep. Unless that light and freshness areinnate and self-sustainedthe drear prospect of a Yorkshire moorwill be found as barren of poetic as of agricultural interest:where the love of wild nature is strongthe locality willperhaps be clung to with the more passionate constancybecausefrom the hill-lover's self comes half its charm.
My sister Emily loved the moors. Flowers brighter than the rosebloomed in the blackest of the heath for her; out of a sullenhollow in a livid hill-side her mind could make an Eden. Shefound in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; and not theleast and best loved was--liberty.
Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; without itsheperished. The change from her own home to a schooland from herown very noiselessvery secludedbut unrestricted andinartificial mode of lifeto one of disciplined routine (thoughunder the kindliest auspices)was what she failed in enduring.Her nature proved here too strong for her fortitude. Everymorning when she wokethe vision of home and the moors rushed onherand darkened and saddened the day that lay before her.Nobody knew what ailed her but me--I knew only too well. In thisstruggle her health was quickly broken: her white faceattenuated formand failing strengththreatened rapid decline.I felt in my heart she would dieif she did not go homeandwith this conviction obtained her recall. She had only been threemonths at school; and it was some years before the experiment ofsending her from home was again ventured on. After the age oftwentyhaving meantime studied alone with diligence andperseveranceshe went with me to an establishment on theContinent: the same suffering and conflict ensuedheightened bythe strong recoil of her uprightheretic and English spirit fromthe gentle Jesuitry of the foreign and Romish system. Once moreshe seemed sinkingbut this time she rallied through the mereforce of resolution: with inward remorse and shame she lookedback on her former failureand resolved to conquer in thissecond ordeal. She did conquer: but the victory cost her dear.She was never happy till she carried her hard-won knowledge backto the remote English villagethe old parsonage-houseanddesolate Yorkshire hills. A very few years moreand she lookedher last on those hillsand breathed her last in that houseandunder the aisle of that obscure village church found her lastlowly resting-place. Merciful was the decree that spared her whenshe was a stranger in a strange landand guarded her dying bedwith kindred love and congenial constancy.
The following pieces were composed at twilightin the school-roomwhen the leisure of the evening play-hour brought back infull tide the thoughts of home.
A LITTLE whilea little while
The weary task is put away
And I can sing and I can smile
Alikewhile I have holiday.
Where wilt thou gomy harassed heart--
What thoughtwhat scene invites thee now
What spotor near or far apart
Has rest for theemy weary brow?
There is a spot'mid barren hills
Where winter howlsand driving rain;
Butif the dreary tempest chills
There is a light that warms again.
The house is oldthe trees are bare
Moonless above bends twilight's dome;
But what on earth is half so dear--
So longed for--as the hearth of home?
The mute bird sitting on the stone
The dank moss dripping from the wall
The thorn-trees gauntthe walks o'ergrown
I love them--how I love them all!
Stillas I musedthe naked room
The alien firelight died away;
And from the midst of cheerless gloom
I passed to brightunclouded day.
A little and a lone green lane
That opened on a common wide;
A distantdreamydim blue chain
Of mountains circling every side.
A heaven so clearan earth so calm
So sweetso softso hushed an air;
Anddeepening still the dream-like charm
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere.
THAT was the sceneI knew it well;
I knew the turfy pathway's sweep
Thatwinding o'er each billowy swell
Marked out the tracks of wandering sheep.
Could I have lingered but an hour
It well had paid a week of toil;
But Truth has banished Fancy's power:
Restraint and heavy task recoil.
Even as I stood with raptured eye
Absorbed in bliss so deep and dear
My hour of rest had fleeted by
And back came labourbondagecare.
II. THE BLUEBELL.
The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit's care.
There is a spell in purple heath
Too wildlysadly dear;
The violet has a fragrant breath
But fragrance will not cheer
The trees are barethe sun is cold
And seldomseldom seen;
The heavens have lost their zone of gold
And earth her robe of green.
And ice upon the glancing stream
Has cast its sombre shade;
And distant hills and valleys seem
In frozen mist arrayed.
The Bluebell cannot charm me now
The heath has lost its bloom;
The violets in the glen below
They yield no sweet perfume.
Butthough I mourn the sweet Bluebell
'Tis better far away;
I know how fast my tears would swell
To see it smile to-day.
Foroh! when chill the sunbeams fall
Adown that dreary sky
And gild yon dank and darkened wall
With transient brilliancy;
How do I weephow do I pine
For the time of flowers to come
And turn me from that fading shine
To mourn the fields of home!
Loud without the wind was roaring
Through th'autumnal sky;
Drenching wetthe cold rain pouring
Spoke of winter nigh.
All too like that dreary eve
Did my exiled spirit grieve.
Grieved at firstbut grieved not long
Sweet--how softly sweet!--it came;
Wild words of an ancient song
Undefinedwithout a name.
It was springand the skylark was singing:"
Those words they awakened a spell;
They unlocked a deep fountainwhose springing
Nor absencenor distance can quell.
In the gloom of a cloudy November
They uttered the music of May ;
They kindled the perishing ember
Into fervour that could not decay.
Awakeno'er all my dear moorland
West-windin thy glory and pride!
Oh! call me from valley and lowland
To walk by the hill-torrent's side!
It is swelled with the first snowy weather;
The rocks they are icy and hoar
And sullenly waves the long heather
And the fern leaves are sunny no more.
There are no yellow stars on the mountain
The bluebells have long died away
From the brink of the moss-bedded fountain--
From the side of the wintry brae.
But lovelier than corn-fields all waving
In emeraldand vermeiland gold
Are the heights where the north-wind is raving
And the crags where I wandered of old.
It was morning: the bright sun was beaming;
How sweetly it brought back to me
The time when nor labour nor dreaming
Broke the sleep of the happy and free!
But blithely we rose as the dawn-heaven
Was melting to amber and blue
And swift were the wings to our feet given
As we traversed the meadows of dew.
For the moors! For the moorswhere the short grass
Like velvet beneath us should lie!
For the moors! For the moorswhere each high pass
Rose sunny against the clear sky!
For the moorswhere the linnet was trilling
Its song on the old granite stone;
Where the larkthe wild sky-larkwas filling
Every breast with delight like its own!
What language can utter the feeling
Which rosewhen in exile afar
On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling
I saw the brown heath growing there?
It was scattered and stuntedand told me
That soon even that would be gone:
It whisperedThe grim walls enfold me
I have bloomed in my last summer's sun.
But not the loved musicwhose waking
Makes the soul of the Swiss die away
Has a spell more adored and heartbreaking
Thanfor mein that blighted heath lay.
The spirit which bent 'neath its power
How it longed--how it burned to be free!
If I could have wept in that hour
Those tears had been heaven to me.
Well--well; the sad minutes are moving
Though loaded with trouble and pain;
And some time the loved and the loving
Shall meet on the mountains again!
The following little piece has no title; but in it the Genius ofa solitary region seems to address his wandering and waywardvotaryand to recall within his influence the proud mind whichrebelled at times even against what it most loved.
Shall earth no more inspire thee
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee
Shall nature cease to bow?
Thy mind is ever moving
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving
Come backand dwell with me.
I know my mountain breezes
Enchant and soothe thee still
I know my sunshine pleases
Despite thy wayward will.
When day with evening blending
Sinks from the summer sky
I've seen thy spirit bending
In fond idolatry.
I've watched thee every hour;
I know my mighty sway:
I know my magic power
To drive thy griefs away.
Few hearts to mortals given
On earth so wildly pine;
Yet few would ask a heaven
More like this earth than thine.
Then let my winds caress thee
Thy comrade let me be:
Since nought beside can bless thee
Return--and dwell with me.
Here again is the same mind in converse with a like abstraction.The Night-Windbreathing through an open windowhas visitedan ear which discerned language in its whispers.
In summer's mellow midnight
A cloudless moon shone through
Our open parlour window
And rose-trees wet with dew.
I sat in silent musing;
The soft wind waved my hair;
It told me heaven was glorious
And sleeping earth was fair.
I needed not its breathing
To bring such thoughts to me;
But still it whispered lowly
How dark the woods will be!
"The thick leaves in my murmur
Are rustling like a dream
And all their myriad voices
Instinct with spirit seem."
I saidGogentle singer
Thy wooing voice is kind:
But do not think its music
Has power to reach my mind.
Play with the scented flower
The young tree's supple bough
And leave my human feelings
In their own course to flow."
The wanderer would not heed me;
Its kiss grew warmer still.
O come!it sighed so sweetly;
I'll win thee 'gainst thy will.
Were we not friends from childhood?
Have I not loved thee long?
As long as thouthe solemn night
Whose silence wakes my song.
"And when thy heart is resting
Beneath the church-aisle stone
I shall have time for mourning
And THOU for being alone."
In these stanzas a louder gale has roused the sleeper on herpillow: the wakened soul struggles to blend with the storm bywhich it is swayed:--
Ay--there it is! it wakes to-night
Deep feelings I thought dead;
Strong in the blast--quick gathering light--
The heart's flame kindles red.
"Now I can tell by thine altered cheek
And by thine eyes' full gaze
And by the words thou scarce dost speak
How wildly fancy plays.
"Yes--I could swear that glorious wind
Has swept the world aside
Has dashed its memory from thy mind
Like foam-bells from the tide:
"And thou art now a spirit pouring
Thy presence into all:
The thunder of the tempest's roaring
The whisper of its fall:
"An universal influence
From thine own influence free;
A principle of life--intense--
Lost to mortality.
"Thus trulywhen that breast is cold
Thy prisoned soul shall rise;
The dungeon mingle with the mould--
The captive with the skies.
Nature's deep beingthine shall hold
Her spirit all thy spirit fold
Her breath absorb thy sighs.
Mortal! though soon life's tale is told;
Who once livesnever dies!"
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP.
Love is like the wild rose-briar;
Friendship like the holly-tree.
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Thenscorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly's sheen
Thatwhen December blights thy brow
He still may leave thy garland green.
THE ELDER'S REBUKE.
"Listen! When your hairlike mine
Takes a tint of silver gray;
When your eyeswith dimmer shine
Watch life's bubbles float away:
When youyoung manhave borne like me
The weary weight of sixty-three
Then shall penance sore be paid
For those hours so wildly squandered;
And the words that now fall dead
On your earbe deeply pondered--
Pondered and approved at last:
But their virtue will be past!
"Glorious is the prize of Duty
Though she be 'a serious power';
Treacherous all the lures of Beauty
Thorny bud and poisonous flower!
"Mirth is but a mad beguiling
Of the golden-gifted time;
Heedless feet to gulfs of crime.
"Those who follow earthly pleasure
Heavenly knowledge will not lead;
Wisdom hides from them her treasure
Virtue bids them evil-speed!
"Vainly may their hearts repenting.
Seek for aid in future years;
Wisdomscornedknows no relenting;
Virtue is not won by fears."
Thus spake the ice-blooded elder gray;
The young man scoffed as he turned away
Turned to the call of a sweet lute's measure
Waked by the lightsome touch of pleasure:
Had he ne'er met a gentler teacher
Woe had been wrought by that pitiless preacher.
THE WANDERER FROM THE FOLD.
How fewof all the hearts that loved
Are grieving for thee now;
And why should mine to-night be moved
With such a sense of woe?
Too often thuswhen left alone
Where none my thoughts can see
Comes back a worda passing tone
From thy strange history.
Sometimes I seem to see thee rise
A glorious child again;
All virtues beaming from thine eyes
That ever honoured men:
Courage and trutha generous breast
Where sinless sunshine lay:
A being whose very presence blest
Like gladsome summer-day.
Ofairly spread thy early sail
And freshand pureand free
Was the first impulse of the gale
Which urged life's wave for thee!
Why did the pilottoo confiding
Dream o'er that ocean's foam
And trust in Pleasure's careless guiding
To bring his vessel home?
For well he knew what dangers frowned
What mists would gatherdim;
What rocks and shelvesand sands lay round
Between his port and him.
The very brightness of the sun
The splendour of the main
The wind which bore him wildly on
Should not have warned in vain.
An anxious gazer from the shore--
I marked the whitening wave
And wept above thy fate the more
Because--I could not save.
It recks not nowwhen all is over:
But yet my heart will be
A mourner stillthough friend and lover
Have both forgotten thee!
WARNING AND REPLY.
In the earth--the earth--thou shalt be laid
A grey stone standing over thee;
Black mould beneath thee spread
And black mould to cover thee.
"Well--there is rest there
So fast come thy prophecy;
The time when my sunny hair
Shall with grass roots entwined be."
But cold--cold is that resting-place
Shut out from joy and liberty
And all who loved thy living face
Will shrink from it shudderingly
"Not so. HERE the world is chill
And sworn friends fall from me:
But THERE--they will own me still
And prize my memory."
Farewellthenall that love
All that deep sympathy:
Sleep on: Heaven laughs above
Earth never misses thee.
Turf-sod and tombstone drear
Part human company;
One heart breaks only--here
But that heart was worthy thee!
I knew not 'twas so dire a crime
To say the wordAdieu;
But this shall be the only time
My lips or heart shall sue.
That wild hill-sidethe winter morn
The gnarled and ancient tree
If in your breast they waken scorn
Shall wake the same in me.
I can forget black eyes and brows
And lips of falsest charm
If you forget the sacred vows
Those faithless lips could form.
If hard commands can tame your love
Or strongest walls can hold
I would not wish to grieve above
A thing so false and cold.
And there are bosoms bound to mine
With links both tried and strong:
And there are eyes whose lightning shine
Has warmed and blest me long:
Those eyes shall make my only day
Shall set my spirit free
And chase the foolish thoughts away
That mourn your memory.
THE LADY TO HER GUITAR.
For him who struck thy foreign string
I ween this heart has ceased to care;
Then why dost thou such feelings bring
To my sad spirit--old Guitar?
It is as if the warm sunlight
In some deep glen should lingering stay
When clouds of stormor shades of night
Have wrapt the parent orb away.
It is as if the glassy brook
Should image still its willows fair
Though years ago the woodman's stroke
Laid low in dust their Dryad-hair.
Even soGuitarthy magic tone
Hath moved the tear and waked the sigh:
Hath bid the ancient torrent moan
Although its very source is dry.
THE TWO CHILDREN.
Heavy hangs the rain-drop
From the burdened spray;
Heavy broods the damp mist
On uplands far away.
Heavy looms the dull sky
Heavy rolls the sea;
And heavy throbs the young heart
Beneath that lonely tree.
Never has a blue streak
Cleft the clouds since morn;
Never has his grim fate
Smiled since he was born.
Frowning on the infant
Shadowing childhood's joy
Guardian-angel knows not
That melancholy boy.
Day is passing swiftly
Its sad and sombre prime;
Boyhood sad is merging
In sadder manhood's time:
All the flowers are praying
For sunbefore they close
And he prays too--unconscious--
That sunless human rose.
Blossom--that the west-wind
Has never wooed to blow
Scentless are thy petals
Thy dew is cold as snow!
Soul--where kindred kindness
No early promise woke
Barren is thy beauty
As weed upon a rock.
Wither--soul and blossom!
You both were vainly given;
Earth reserves no blessing
For the unblest of heaven!
Child of delightwith sun-bright hair
And sea-bluesea-deep eyes!
Spirit of bliss! What brings thee here
Beneath these sullen skies?
Thou shouldst live in eternal spring
Where endless day is never dim;
WhySeraphhas thine erring wing
Wafted thee down to weep with him?
"Ah! not from heaven am I descended
Nor do I come to mingle tears;
But sweet is daythough with shadows blended;
Andthough cloudedsweet are youthful years.
"I--the image of light and gladness--
Saw and pitied that mournful boy
And I vowed--if need were--to share his sadness
And give to him my sunny joy.
"Heavy and dark the night is closing;
Heavy and dark may its biding be:
Better for all from grief reposing
And better for all who watch like me--
"Watch in love by a fevered pillow
Cooling the fever with pity's balm
Safe as the petrel on tossing billow
Safe in mine own soul's golden calm!
"Guardian-angel he lacks no longer;
Evil fortune he need not fear:
Fate is strongbut love is stronger;
And MY love is truer than angel-care."
Silent is the house: all are laid asleep:
One alone looks out o'er the snow-wreaths deep
Watching every clouddreading every breeze
That whirls the wildering driftand bends the groaning trees.
Cheerful is the hearthsoft the matted floor;
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or door;
The little lamp burns straightits rays shoot strong and far:
I trim it wellto be the wanderer's guiding-star.
Frownmy haughty sire! chidemy angry dame!
Set your slaves to spy; threaten me with shame:
But neither sire nor damenor prying serf shall know
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen snow.
What I love shall come like visitant of air
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare;
What loves meno word of mine shall e'er betray
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay
Burnthenlittle lamp; glimmer straight and clear--
Hush! a rustling wing stirsmethinksthe air:
He for whom I waitthus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou my constancy.
I do not weep; I would not weep;
Our mother needs no tears:
Dry thine eyestoo; 'tis vain to keep
This causeless grief for years.
What though her brow be changed and cold
Her sweet eyes closed for ever?
What though the stone--the darksome mould
Our mortal bodies sever?
What though her hand smooth ne'er again
Those silken locks of thine?
Northrough long hours of future pain
Her kind face o'er thee shine?
Remember stillshe is not dead;
She sees ussisternow;
Laidwhere her angel spirit fled
'Mid heath and frozen snow.
And from that world of heavenly light
Will she not always bend
To guide us in our lifetime's night
And guard us to the end?
Thou knowest she will; and thou mayst mourn
That WE are left below:
But not that she can ne'er return
To share our earthly woe.
Often rebukedyet always back returning
To those first feelings that were born with me
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning
For idle dreams of things which cannot be:
To-dayI will seek not the shadowy region;
Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear;
And visions risinglegion after legion
Bring the unreal world too strangely near.
I'll walkbut not in old heroic traces
And not in paths of high morality
And not among the half-distinguished faces
The clouded forms of long-past history.
I'll walk where my own nature would be leading:
It vexes me to choose another guide:
Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding;
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.
What have those lonely mountains worth revealing?
More glory and more grief than I can tell:
The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling
Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.
The following are the last lines my sister Emily ever wrote:-
No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's glories shine
And faith shines equalarming me from fear.
O God within my breast
Life--that in me has rest
As I--undying Life--have power in thee!
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The stedfast rock of immortality.
With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above
Though earth and man were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And Thou were left alone
Every existence would exist in Thee.
There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou--THOU art Being and Breath
And what THOU art may never be destroyed.
In looking over my sister Anne's papersI find mournful evidencethat religious feeling had been to her but too much like what itwas to Cowper; I meanof coursein a far milder form. Withoutrendering her a prey to those horrors that defy concealmentitsubdued her mood and bearing to a perpetual pensiveness; thepillar of a cloud glided constantly before her eyes; she everwaited at the foot of a secret Sinailistening in her heart tothe voice of a trumpet sounding long and waxing louder. Someperhapswould rejoice over these tokens of sincere thoughsorrowing piety in a deceased relative: I ownto me they seemsadas if her whole innocent life had been passed under themartyrdom of an unconfessed physical pain: their effectindeedwould be too distressingwere it not combated by the certainknowledge that in her last moments this tyranny of a too tenderconscience was overcome; this pomp of terrors broke upandpassing awayleft her dying hour unclouded. Her belief in Goddid not then bring to her dreadas of a stern Judge--but hopeas in a Creator and Saviour: and no faltering hope was itbut asure and stedfast convictionon whichin the rude passage fromTime to Eternityshe threw the weight of her human weaknessandby which she was enabled to bear what was to be bornepatiently--serenely--victoriously.
I have gone backward in the work;
The labour has not sped;
Drowsy and dark my spirit lies
Heavy and dull as lead.
How can I rouse my sinking soul
From such a lethargy?
How can I break these iron chains
And set my spirit free?
There have been times when I have mourned!
In anguish o'er the past
And raised my suppliant hands on high
While tears fell thick and fast;
And prayed to have my sins forgiven
With such a fervent zeal
An earnest griefa strong desire
As now I cannot feel.
And I have felt so full of love
So strong in spirit then
As if my heart would never cool
Or wander back again.
And yetalas! how many times
My feet have gone astray!
How oft have I forgot my God!
How greatly fallen away!
My sins increase--my love grows cold
And Hope within me dies:
Even Faith itself is wavering now;
Ohhow shall I arise?
I cannot weepbut I can pray
Then let me not despair:
Lord Jesussave melest I die!
Christhear my humble prayer!
My God (ohlet me call Thee mine
Weakwretched sinner though I be)
My trembling soul would fain be Thine;
My feeble faith still clings to Thee.
Not only for the Past I grieve
The Future fills me with dismay;
Unless Thou hasten to relieve
Thy suppliant is a castaway.
I cannot say my faith is strong
I dare not hope my love is great;
But strength and love to Thee belong;
Ohdo not leave me desolate!
I know I owe my all to Thee;
OhTAKE the heart I cannot give!
Do Thou my strength--my Saviour be
And MAKE me to Thy glory live.
IN MEMORY OF A HAPPY DAY IN FEBRUARY.
Blessed be Thou for all the joy
My soul has felt to-day!
Ohlet its memory stay with me
And never pass away!
I was alonefor those I loved
Were far away from me;
The sun shone on the withered grass
The wind blew fresh and free.
Was it the smile of early spring
That made my bosom glow?
'Twas sweet; but neither sun nor wind
Could cheer my spirit so.
Was it some feeling of delight
All vague and undefined?
No; 'twas a rapture deep and strong
Expanding in the mind.
Was it a sanguine view of life
And all its transient bliss
A hope of bright prosperity?
Ohno! it was not this.
It was a glimpse of truth divine
Unto my spirit given
Illumined by a ray of light
That shone direct from heaven.
I felt there was a God on high
By whom all things were made;
I saw His wisdom and His power
In all his works displayed.
But most throughout the moral world
I saw his glory shine;
I saw His wisdom infinite
His mercy all divine.
Deep secrets of His providence
In darkness long concealed
Unto the vision of my soul
Were graciously revealed.
But while I wondered and adored
His Majesty divine
I did not tremble at His power:
I felt that God was mine;
I knew that my Redeemer lived;
I did not fear to die;
Full sure that I should rise again
I longed to view that bliss divine
Which eye hath never seen;
Like MosesI would see His face
Without the veil between.
Oppressed with sin and woe
A burdened heart I bear
Opposed by many a mighty foe;
But I will not despair.
With this polluted heart
I dare to come to Thee
Holy and mighty as Thou art
For Thou wilt pardon me.
I feel that I am weak
And prone to every sin;
But Thou who giv'st to those who seek
Wilt give me strength within.
Far as this earth may be
From yonder starry skies;
Remoter still am I from Thee:
Yet Thou wilt not despise.
I need not fear my foes
I deed not yield to care;
I need not sink beneath my woes
For Thou wilt answer prayer.
In my Redeemer's name
I give myself to Thee;
Andall unworthy as I am
My God will cherish me.
My sister Anne had to taste the cup of life as it is mixed forthe class termed "Governesses."
The following are some of the thoughts that now and then solace agoverness:--
LINES WRITTEN FROM HOME.
Though bleak these woodsand damp the ground
With fallen leaves so thickly strewn
And cold the wind that wanders round
With wild and melancholy moan;
There is a friendly roof I know
Might shield me from the wintry blast;
There is a fire whose ruddy glow
Will cheer me for my wanderings past.
And sothough still where'er I go
Cold stranger glances meet my eye;
Thoughwhen my spirit sinks in woe
Unheeded swells the unbidden sigh;
Though solitudeendured too long
Bids youthful joys too soon decay
Makes mirth a stranger to my tongue
And overclouds my noon of day;
When kindly thoughts that would have way
Flow backdiscouragedto my breast
I know there isthough far away
A home where heart and soul may rest.
Warm hands are therethatclasped in mine
The warmer heart will not belie;
While mirth and truthand friendship shine
In smiling lip and earnest eye.
The ice that gathers round my heart
May there be thawed; and sweetlythen
The joys of youththat now depart
Will come to cheer my soul again.
Though far I roamthat thought shall be
My hopemy comfort everywhere;
While such a home remains to me
My heart shall never know despair.
THE NARROW WAY.
Believe not those who say
The upward path is smooth
Lest thou shouldst stumble in the way
And faint before the truth.
It is the only road
Unto the realms of joy;
But he who seeks that blest abode
Must all his powers employ.
Bright hopes and pure delight
Upon his course may beam
And thereamid the sternest heights
The sweetest flowerets gleam.
On all her breezes borne
Earth yields no scents like those;
But he that dares not gasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.
Arm--arm thee for the fight!
Cast useless loads away;
Watch through the darkest hours of night;
Toil through the hottest day.
Crush pride into the dust
Or thou must needs be slack;
And trample down rebellious lust
Or it will hold thee back.
Seek not thy honour here;
Waive pleasure and renown;
The world's dread scoff undaunted bear
And face its deadliest frown.
To labour and to love
To pardon and endure
To lift thy heart to God above
And keep thy conscience pure;
Be this thy constant aim
Thy hopethy chief delight;
What matter who should whisper blame
Or who should scorn or slight?
What matterif thy God approve
And ifwithin thy breast
Thou feel the comfort of His love
The earnest of His rest?
Why should such gloomy silence reign
And why is all the house so drear
When neither dangersicknesspain
Nor deathnor wanthave entered here?
We are as many as we were
That other nightwhen all were gay
And full of hopeand free from care;
Yet is there something gone away.
The moon withoutas pure and calm
Is shining as that night she shone;
But nowto usshe brings no balm
For something from our hearts is gone.
Something whose absence leaves a void--
A cheerless want in every heart;
Each feels the bliss of all destroyed
And mourns the change--but each apart.
The fire is burning in the grate
As redly as it used to burn;
But still the hearth is desolate
Till mirthand loveand PEACE return.
'Twas PEACE that flowed from heart to heart
With looks and smiles that spoke of heaven
And gave us language to impart
The blissful thoughts itself had given.
Domestic peace! best joy of earth
When shall we all thy value learn?
White angelto our sorrowing hearth
THE THREE GUIDES
[First published in FRASER'S MAGAZINE.]
Spirit of Earth! thy hand is chill:
I've felt its icy clasp;
AndshudderingI remember still
That stony-hearted grasp.
Thine eye bids love and joy depart:
Ohturn its gaze from me!
It presses down my shrinking heart;
I will not walk with thee!
"Wisdom is mine I've heard thee say:
Beneath my searching eye
All mist and darkness melt away
Phantoms and fables fly.
Before me truth can stand alone
The nakedsolid truth;
And man matured by worth will own
If I am shunned by youth.
"Firm is my treadand sure though slow;
My footsteps never slide;
And he that follows me shall know
I am the surest guide."
Thy boast is vain; but were it true
That thou couldst safely steer
Life's rough and devious pathway through
Such guidance I should fear.
How could I bear to walk for aye
With eyes to earthward prone
O'er trampled weeds and miry clay
And sand and flinty stone;
Never the glorious view to greet
Of hill and daleand sky;
To see that Nature's charms are sweet
Or feel that Heaven is nigh?
If in my heart arose a spring
A gush of thought divine
At once stagnation thou wouldst bring
With that cold touch of thine.
Ifglancing upI sought to snatch
But one glimpse of the sky
My baffled gaze would only catch
Thy heartlesscold grey eye.
If to the breezes wandering near
I listened eagerly
And deemed an angel's tongue to hear
That whispered hope to me
That heavenly music would be drowned
In thy harshdroning voice;
Nor inward thoughtnor sightnor sound
Might my sad soul rejoice.
Dull is thine earunheard by thee
The stillsmall voice of Heaven;
Thine eyes are dim and cannot see
The helps that God has given.
There is a bridge o'er every flood
Which thou canst not perceive;
A path through every tangled wood
But thou wilt not believe.
Striving to make thy way by force
Toil-spent and bramble-torn
Thou'lt fell the tree that checks thy course
And burst through brier and thorn:
Andpausing by the river's side
Poor reasoner! thou wilt deem
By casting pebbles in its tide
To cross the swelling stream.
Right through the flinty rock thou'lt try
Thy toilsome way to bore
Regardless of the pathway nigh
That would conduct thee o'er
Not only art thouthenunkind
And freezing cold to me
But unbelievingdeafand blind:
I will not walk with thee!
Spirit of Pride! thy wings are strong
Thine eyes like lightning shine;
Ecstatic joys to thee belong
And powers almost divine.
But 'tis a falsedestructive blaze
Within those eyes I see;
Turn hence their fascinating gaze;
I will not follow thee.
"Coward and fool!" thou mayst reply
Walk on the common sod;
Gotrace with timid foot and eye
The steps by others trod.
'Tis best the beaten path to keep
The ancient faith to hold;
To pasture with thy fellow-sheep
And lie within the fold.
"Cling to the earthpoor grovelling worm;
'Tis not for thee to soar
Against the fury of the storm
Amid the thunder's roar!
There's glory in that daring strife
Unknownundreamt by thee;
There's speechless rapture in the life
Of those who follow me.
YesI have seen thy votaries oft
Upheld by thee their guide
In strength and courage mount aloft
The steepy mountain-side;
I've seen them stand against the sky
And gazing from below
Beheld thy lightning in their eye
Thy triumph on their brow.
OhI have felt what glory then
What transport must be theirs!
So far above their fellow-men
Above their toils and cares;
Inhaling Nature's purest breath
Her riches round them spread
The wide expanse of earth beneath
Heaven's glories overhead!
But I have seen them helplessdash'd
Down to a bloody grave
And still thy ruthless eye has flash'd
Thy strong hand did not save;
I've seen some o'er the mountain's brow
Sustain'd awhile by thee
O'er rocks of ice and hills of snow
Bound fearlesswildand free.
Bold and exultant was their mien
While thou didst cheer them on;
But evening fell--and thenI ween
Their faithless guide was gone.
Alas! how fared thy favourites then--
Did ever wanderer find again
The path he left of old?
Where is their glorywhere the pride
That swelled their hearts before?
Where now the courage that defied
The mightiest tempest's roar?
What shall they do when night grows black
When angry storms arise?
Who now will lead them to the track
Thou taught'st them to despise?
Spirit of Prideit needs not this
To make me shun thy wiles
Renounce thy triumph and thy bliss
Thy honours and thy smiles!
Bright as thou artand boldand strong
That fierce glance wins not me
And I abhor thy scoffing tongue--
I will not follow thee!
Spirit of Faith! be thou my guide
O clasp my hand in thine
And let me never quit thy side;
Thy comforts are divine!
Earth calls thee blindmisguided one--
But who can shew like thee
Forgotten things that have been done
And things that are to be?
Secrets conceal'd from Nature's ken
Who like thee can declare?
Or who like thee to erring men
God's holy will can bear?
Pride scorns thee for thy lowly mien--
But who like thee can rise
Above this toilsomesordid scene
Beyond the holy skies?
Meek is thine eye and soft thy voice
But wondrous is thy might
To make the wretched soul rejoice
To give the simple light!
And still to all that seek thy way
This magic power is given--
E'en while their footsteps press the clay
Their souls ascend to heaven.
Danger surrounds them--pain and woe
Their portion here must be
But only they that trust thee know
What comfort dwells with thee;
Strength to sustain their drooping pow'rs
And vigour to defend--
Thou pole-star of my darkest hours
Affliction's firmest friend!
Day does not always mark our way
Night's shadows oft appal
But lead meand I cannot stray--
Hold meI shall not fall;
Sustain meI shall never faint
How rough soe'er may be
My upward road--nor moannor plaint
Shall mar my trust in thee.
Narrow the path by which we go
And oft it turns aside
From pleasant meads where roses blow
And peaceful waters glide;
Where flowery turf lies green and soft
And gentle gales are sweet
To where dark mountains frown aloft
Hard rocks distress the feet--
Deserts beyond lie bleak and bare
And keen winds round us blow;
But if thy hand conducts me there
The way is rightI know.
I have no wish to turn away;
My spirit does not quail--
How can it while I hear thee say
Press forward and prevail!
Even above the tempest's swell
I hear thy voice of love--
Of hope and peaceI hear thee tell
And that blest home above;
Through pain and death I can rejoice.
If but thy strength be mine--
Earth hath no music like thy voice
Life owns no joy like thine!
Spirit of FaithI'll go with thee!
Thouif I hold thee fast
Wilt guidedefendand strengthen me
And bear me home at last;
By thy help all things I can do
In thy strength all things bear--
Teach mefor thou art just and true
Smile on methou art fair!
I have given the last memento of my sister Emily; this is the last
of my sister Anne:--
I hopedthat with the brave and strong
My portioned task might lie;
To toil amid the busy throng
With purpose pure and high.
But God has fixed another part
And He has fixed it well;
I said so with my bleeding heart
When first the anguish fell.
ThouGodhast taken our delight
Our treasured hope away:
Thou bid'st us now weep through the night
And sorrow through the day.
These weary hours will not be lost
These days of misery
These nights of darknessanguish-tost
Can I but turn to Thee.
With secret labour to sustain
In humble patience every blow;
To gather fortitude from pain
And hope and holiness from woe.
Thus let me serve Thee from my heart
Whate'er may be my written fate:
Whether thus early to depart
Or yet a while to wait.
If Thou shouldst bring me back to life
More humbled I should be;
More wise--more strengthened for the strife--
More apt to lean on Thee.
Should death be standing at the gate
Thus should I keep my vow:
ButLord! whatever be my fate
Ohlet me serve Thee now!
These lines writtenthe desk was closedthe pen laid aside-- for ever.