Buds, Blossoms, and Leaves, by “Eulalie” [Mary Eulalie Fee Shannon] (Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Keys, 1854)
MOORE, WILSTACH & KEYS.
M DCCC LIV.
Moore, Anderson & Co.
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Ohio.
In the long, still hours of solitude and loneliness, my untaught lyre has breathed the strains I ’ve gathered here. Hastily, and without arrangement, they were written, and thus are they bound together in this little volume; and like a tiny bark, freighted with human hopes and human fears, it is cast upon the uncertain tide of literature, to “sink or swim, survive or perish,” as friends do most applaud, or critics most condemn.
Cincinnati, June, 1854.
Life’s Sunny Spots, … 6
A Morning in May, … 18
Autumn Leaves, … 21
The Mother’s Lament, … 24
The Hills for Me, … 27
To Frank,—In California, … 33
The Tablets of the Soul, … 35
The Invitation, … 39
The Language of Flowers, … 41
Cold Winter has Come, … 49
This Winter Night, … 51
Lines,—, … 54
Song, … 58
Our Little Sister’s Bed, … 59
Bard of the Early West, … 62
Lines to Judge Burnet, … 65
’Plainings, … 68
The Land I Love Best, … 70
The Halls of Memory, … 75
The Dying Minstrel, … 80
Forebodings, … 85
My Birds and Flowers, … 92
Where Dost Thou Wander, … 94
The Minstrel’s Home, … 96
The Maiden’s Resolve, … 98
Lines,—, … 101
The Crystal Palace, … 104
Winter Winds, … 110
The Spirit’s Guests, … 113
A Wish, … 116
Song, … 118
All Hail to Thee, Spring, … 120
Lay of the Lone One, … 122
The “Light of Love", … 124
“The Wandering Organ Player”, … 125
Clarence Gray, … 128
The Return, … 131
The Silent Guest, … 134
The Green Wood by the Tide, … 146
Greeting, … 148
The Old Cedar Tree, … 150
The Star Beams, … 156
My Lyre, … 158
Happy Hours, … 160
The Gold Comet, … 163
Stanzas, … 165
The Storm, … 168
Cora Raymond, … 170
We ’re All Groping, … 174
My Gallery of Pictures, … 176
Song,—The Magyar Chief, … 178
Lines Sent with a Bouquet, … 180
The Angel’s Visit, … 183
An Invocation, … 187
The Season of the Flowers, … 190
The Desert Burial, … 193
GENTLE SUMMER, THOU ART WANING.
Gentle summer, thou art waning, thy roses all are dead,
The brightness and the perfume from their petals long have fled;
Like angel wings outspreading, drifts of gold and amber lie,
All along the breezy hill-tops, that rest against the sky:
The clustering grapes are growing round, and purple with the wine
That morning dews and sunlight distilleth in the vine;
And where sang the gentle song-birds, and bloomed the forest flowers,
Now falls the clinging moss-wreaths, to drape those silent bowers.
Thou art wending, gentle summer, to the valley of the past,
Where all earth’s brightest jewels in one common tomb are cast;
Thou’rt passing like a phantom, with soft and soundless tread,
To sleep amid the shadows, in the city of the dead;
The bursting buds of beauty that enwreathed thy youthful brow,
With the buds of human promise, oh! where, where are they now?
Along the dusty highways, and trampled in the sod,
With scarce a seed-pod ripened for the harvest time of God.
The mists of coming autumn are foreshadowed in my heart,
As I see thy glories fading, and then silently depart;
For though the coming days may bring friends, cherished as the old,
Yet the heart clings to the love-lambs already in the fold;
And the sorrows we have suffered have become familiar now,
While ’neath the accustomed burden the neck has learned to bow;
Yet we can but dread the new ones, that time must surely bring
To every weary mortal, on his heavy laden wing.
LIFE’S SUNNY SPOTS.
Oh, there are many brilliant spots,
To gild life’s loneliest hours,
Where bloom the sweet forget-me-nots
Of the spirit’s green-wood blowers.
There, down within those sunny nooks,
Far, far from the human eye,
Softly murmuring, love-toned brooks
Go sweetly singing by.
There a host of joyous mem’ries come,
Like stars of summer night,
And borrow of Hope’s beaming sun
A golden-tinted light.
’Tis there our brightest dreams, Love’s own,
That blest our trusting youth,
Are garnered up with all we’ve known
Of goodness, and of truth.
Thus, there are many brilliant spots
To gild life’s loneliest hours,
Where bloom the sweet forget-me-nots
Of the spirit’s green-wood bower.
SUMMER EVENINGS IN THE WILD WOOD.
Summer evenings in the wild-wood, oh, how beautiful they are,
Our inmost thoughts baptising in the glory that they wear;
How like a lovely maiden, when sorrow’s clouds have thrown
Upon her heart a shadow, the first it e’er has known;
The sombre hues half veiling the brightness of her brow—
So comes the gentle Evening o’er the sunset mountains now,
Where trails her long, half-mourning robes, behind the leafy hills;
Night softly follows, where her steps have passed the singing rills.
And now with queenly air she comes, serenely gliding through
Where late the God of day had passed, the gates of gold and blue—
How like the bright and heavenly beams from eyes we fondly love,
Falls on the soul the radiance from the azure vaults above;
While, like the witching melody of Love’s delicious strain,
Seem the murmurs of the zephyrs, as they go and come again—
Now passionately breathing words that lovers ever know,
Now growing faint, and fainter, from their own too sudden flow.
The gently flowing waters, like a silver sash they lie,
Starred with the constellations that thick cluster in the sky;
And how they plash and ripple, by the old moss-covered stone,
Where long I’ve sat and listened to their melody alone;
Yet not alone—I ever feel, amid such scenes as these,
That tones of loved ones whisper me, upon the perfumed breeze,
And angel eyes are looking down, from out their home of bliss,
To win my thoughts to their bright world, and cheer my steps through this.
And thus, where gleaming dew-drops lie, like pearls among the flowers,
I treasure up unwritten dreams, through all the moonlight hours,
While Faith and Hope resume their post, though with the rosy dawn,
They spread their rainbow-colored wings, and quickly both are gone;
They’ve no abiding temple where they sit—within my soul;
When care commands, they bow them to the tyrant’s fierce control;
But ever in the “stilly hours,” they come with gentle tread,
To weave their gentle halo, brief but bright, around my weary head.
NEVER STOP TO LOOK BEHIND YOU.
Never stop to look behind you,
Never loiter through the day,
Never let inaction bind you
In its woof of brown and gray;
But up! and onward, ever!
To the left, nor to the right,
Let your gaze be turning never;
But where beams the beacon light
Of duty, straight before you,
Keep your feet upon the way;
For though clouds should gather o’er you,
They must quickly pass away.
Never stop to mope in sadness,
To mourn, and sigh, and fret,
’Tis a sinful kind of madness,
To believe your star is set
In a night of hopeless sorrow;
Oh, arouse, and soon forget,
In the stirring, bright to-morrow,
Each unworthy, vain regret;
Fortune never stoops when, sighing,
The suppliant breathes her name;
At her feet are only lying,
For the brave, her wreaths of fame.
What though the friends you’ve cherished,
And the hearts that were your own,
And the dreams your fancy nourished,
Like meteor gleams have flown;
The soul is narrow moulded,
If, in all this world of ours,
Brighter gems are not enfolded
In the hearts of human flowers,
To give thee, at the asking,
Their freshness and their bloom,—
If but earnest smiles were basking
Where now hangs that sullen gloom.
With youth and health distilling,
In that manly frame of thine,
The blue veins, softly filling
With life’s sweet, rosy wine,
’Tis naught but rank insanity
To fold the arms, and sigh
O’er the faults of frail humanity,
And moan, and pray to die;
With slaves and cowards, never
Le the powers you possess
Ignobly sink forever,
In the slough of idleness!
THE LAST FLOWERS OF THE SEASON.
Written on gathering a November bouquet for a Friend.
The last flowers of the season, I’ve culled them for thee,
Ere the halls of the forest shall ring,
And the far mountain haunts of the bird and the bee,
With the anthems the troubled winds sing;
The last flowers of the season, how strangely they blush,
Through the darkness that gathers around,
When the cold, and the chill, have robbed even the flush
From the dead leaves that carpet the ground!
Thus, the beautiful, soul-cheering visions that spring,
And burst through life’s summer in bloom,
Round the heart where they grew, pertinaciously cling,
Though ’tis bound in a mantle of gloom.
When the winter of life, with its frost, and its snows,
Shall lie white ’mong the locks of thy head,
And down in the heart, where its icy breath blows,
The green leaves lie withered and dead.
Oh, then may some roses still cling to the tree,
Where in sprint time they flourished and grew,
Unfolding their petals with mirth, and with glee,
To the zephyr’s low sighs, and the dew;
Mayst thou gather them then, as I gather these now,
And still twine them with care, one by one,
To gladden the heart, and illumine the brow,
When thy youth, with its sunlight is done.
THAT STRAIN UPON THE WATERS.
Written while listening to the “Last Rose of Summer,” which was exquisitely played upon the flute, by an unseen performer, out on the still, calm, moonlit waters of the beautiful Ohio.
That strain upon the waters!
How it floats upon the breeze,
’Till the echoes seem to nestle
’Mong the tall, green forest trees;
How the mellow flute-tones warble,
Seeming quite to speak the words,
As we sometimes trace the rythm [sic]
In the melody of birds.
Oh, ’tis joyous thus to hear it,
In the stillness of the night,
When the Earth is hushed in slumbers,
’Neath the Heavens’ starry light;
Like Lethean waves, steals o’er me
A tranquilizing spell,
As that strain awakes the waters
Of the spirit’s boundless well;
While the heart chords seem repeating,
In low, and witching tone,
“Oh, who would live forever,
In this bleak world, all alone?”
The smiles of love, and friendship,
Are the roses on life’s tree,—
May there ever be one blossom,
To unfold its leaves for me!
And when the cold winds scatter
Its blighted petals round,
May my weary heart sleep with them,
In the dark and silent ground;
That strain upon the waters
Has now died upon the breeze,
But the echoes softly linger
With the spirit’s melodies.
A MORNING IN MAY.
Where the bright birds were singing a welcome to May,
In Nature’s grand temple, I’ve wandered to-day,
And while my heart beat, in each pause of their rhyme,
With monotonous sound, keeping low, measured time,
My thoughts backward flew to a morning in May,
In the years that are wrapped in Time’s mantle of gray,
Where, like scene of enchantment, sprang up to my view
A glen, with its wild flowers gleaming with dew,
And a cherry-cheeked maiden, who wandered with me,
’Till the shadows of night lengthened out o’er the sea,
And we dreamed, long we dreamed, of the beautiful years,
When life’s springtime had passed, with its sunshine and tears,
And the summer would come, with its pure, golden light,
Undimmed by the storm-cloud, from morning ’till night,
And, like Sages, we talked of the good and the true,
And planned the great things that we surely would do.
Then years flew apace, and once more it was May,
While together we roamed o’er the green hills away,
Yet we talked nevermore of the future, so bright,
But only of beams which had vanished in night;
Then, as we sat down in the shade of a tree,
In sad, plaintive tone, said dear Eva to me,
“Oh! I’m weary of life, and I would I might die,
In this cool, breezy spot, in the green-wood to lie.”
And to-day, as I roamed through the green hills alone. [sic]
With no kindred soul to commune with my own,
Softest tones have seemed calling my spirit away
From the darkness and gloom of its prison of clay;
And a sadness came o’er me, as gentle and sweet
As the song of the waters that played at my feet,
While they seemed to repeat, “Oh, I would I might die,
In this cool, breezy spot, in the green-wood to lie.”
Falling, falling, day by day,
Scarlet, golden, crimson, gray,
Autumn leaves, how bright
Gleam ye, through the mellow haze,
That wraps these sweet October days
In soft, mysterious light!
Like are ye to human pleasures,
Which the saddened heart so treasures,
Brightening, as the gloom
Of sorrow’s clouds fast gather round
The way our weary steps are bound,
To wander to the tomb.
On the breezes straying wide,
Like playful children now ye hide,
In nooks all dark, and lone:
Now leaping, whirling on the wind,
That leaves thy fellows far behind,
On stranger hills ye’re strewn!
Thus, cling bands of friends together,
Through all their spring and summer weather,
Like leaves upon a tree;
Until the autumn breezes rend them
Far apart, and rudely send them
Alone o’er life’s dark sea.
Garlands green! where are ye now,
That decked young Autumn’s blushing brow?
Ye are falling, one by one,
A charm around each passing leaf,
Like Beauty’s tears, when sudden grief
Obscures Hope’s glowing sun.
Ye ’re passing, like the hours of youth—
As beautiful as words of truth,
Upon the low wind’s breath,
To sink upon the ground below,
Where Earth’s fair children all must go,
To silent sleep in death.
Thy days of glory now are o’er—
Autumn leaves! ye’ll hear no more
The wild birds’ merry lay;
When from the south they come again,
New leaves will deck the verdant plain,
To welcome in sweet May.
And ye will lie, all brown and sere,
’Neath the tread of the proud young year,
That rules her given hour;
Unconscious that her rose-wreathed brow
Must lowly lie, as ye do now,
’Neath Time’s resistless power.
THE MOTHER’S LAMENT.
Written on reading an affecting letter from the mother of Rev. AUGUSTUS VERHOOF, a native of Poland, who died in New Richmond, O., in May, 1852.
The warm spring winds are breathing, with their voices soft and low,
Sweet, gentle rhyming sonnet, in the valleys where they go;
The flowrets are uprising, along the verdant hills,
And gladly rings the chorus of the gleeful mountain rills;
The thrush, that cherished warbler, on light and fleeting wing,
Has come from southern spice-groves, to herald back the spring,
And now sings ’mid the blossoms, on the scented hawthorn bow:
The world is full of gladness—but where, oh, where art thou?
Along the azure curtains that drape the boundless sky,
Floats a flood of softened lustre, from the silver lamps on high;
The all-too-vivid brightness of the day has passed from earth,
And Night has thrown her shadow on its merriment and mirth;
The bee, with wings close folded, has ceased its busy hum,
And the holy hour, when angels keep their vigils, now has come;
Yet a weight of grief and sadness lies o’erheavy on my brow,
And my soul is filled with yearnings, for where, oh, where art thou?
One seat, alas! is vacant, beside the hearth-fire bright,
One voice, we miss the music of its low and sweet “good night,”
One less now chaunts, at even, the old accustomed hymn,
One light amid our circle has suddenly grown dim,—
One planet, from the system that revolved around our home,
Has left us in its brightness, with higher orbs to roam!
My son, my son! my cherished one! thou of the broad, white brow,
My beautiful, my loved one! oh, tell me, where art thou?
Oh, then Heaven’s beams were lighting that stricken mother’s eye,
And with Faith’s unclouded vision she looked beyond the sky;
Low, soothing tones were breathing of hopefulness and love,
And nestling in her bosom, like the Ark’s returning dove;
A pure and smiling spirit gently led her by the hand,
To the rose-embowered portals of the angels’ happy land;
And though that mother’s footsteps on earth do linger yet,
Her heart is far above us, where her brightest gem is set!
THE HILLS FOR ME.
Oh, I would sigh, in the close confines
Of a city’s crowded walls,
For the bursting buds, and clambering vines,
Of the green-wood’s leafy halls,
Though genius, beauty, wealth, and power,
And loving hearts were there,
Upon my heart to constant shower
The sunniest smiles they wear.
Yet, there are times when shadows fall,
Like nightmare, on the heart;
When at some strange, unwelcome call,
In the brain wild phantoms start;
When faith in Friendship, and in Love,
Dwell not within the breast,
And our winged thoughts, like a weary dove,
Can find no place of rest;
When the soft lyre that thrills the soul,
Is sadly out of tune,
When its gentle numbers madly roll,
Like sudden storms in June,
Then, O then, who’d willing be
A guest amid the throng,
To list the jests, that echo free,
Or swell the tide of song?
But oh! how sweet, alone to stray
Through the forest’s sounding isles,
Where softly falls the light of day,
Like angel’s silvery smiles:
There to sit, by the gushing springs
That burst beneath the trees,
The fevered brow cooled by the wings
Of bright birds, and the breeze.
’Mid scenes like these, no darkling cloud
O’ershadows fancy’s skies—
There Faith folds back the sombre shroud
That veils Hope’s sunny eyes.
The city belle may love her home,
The sailor love the sea,
The hunter the glades, where tigers roam—
But the hills, the hills for me!
LET US SIT AND TALK TO-NIGHT.
I cannot sing a merry lay, or strike the chords, to-night,
Of my low, silver-toned guitar, with fingers free and light,
For my heart is sad and weary, with a weight of settled gloom
Falling all around my spirit, with the darkness of the tomb;
And the shades of early sorrows are now drooping, like a pall,
Round hopes all dead, and silent, in the heart’s deserted hall,—
Then ask me not to sing for thee, a light or merry lay,
’Till happy thoughts shall gaily chase these weary ones away.
Then let us sit and talk to-night, in tones serene and low,
That soothe the spirit, like the sound of waves’ faint ebb and flow,
While in fancy we will wander through the corridors of Time,
Explore each dim and misty dell, and rugged mountains climb;
We’ll roam through many a distant land, and sail on far-off seas,
Then rest among sweet orange groves, and quaff the perfumed breeze;
We’ll gather Orient pearls of thought, in fairy wreaths to twine,
While our hearts leap higher as we sip Italia’s blushing wine.
We’ll laugh to see the German sit beside his silent “vrow,”
While from their pipes the smoke-wreaths twine, like turbans, round each brow;
We’ll roam through Scotia’s mountain paths, where Burns first woke his lyre,
And catch a spark to light our own, from its undying fire;
We’ll visit then the Emerald Isle, land of the gifted Moore,
And list the echo of his songs from many a foreign shore,
For where a strain of melody on raptured lips have hung,
Or where a bird of song has flown, there Moore’s sweet lays are sung.
Then, through the proud ancestral halls of Byron we will tread,
With step so soft, so light, will seem but phantoms of the dead;
And ’mong the evergreens that deck the noble sleeper’s bed,
We’ll list the turtle doves of peace, cooing softly o’er his head,—
We’ll dream of all things fair and bright, ’till the stars in the upper blue
Are bathed in tears, while tales we tell of the noble, good, and true,—
Then let us sit and talk, to-night, with voices soft and low—
’Twill soothe the spirit, like the sound of waves’ faint ebb and flow.
But breathe not now of future years, the present, or the past—
Of days too full of happiness, and mirth, and joy, to last;
But all of other climes, and things, I care not WHAT or WHERE,
So in OUR joys and griefs they have no lot, no part, or share;
Breathe not of old, familiar things, but let stern Silence brood
Above her treasures, undisturbed, while lasts her fitful mood:
There are hours when I love to view the scenes on Memory’s wall,
But to-night the watch is sleeping, that guards the dim, old hall.
I was thinking to-night, as the mellow light
Came down from the heaven’s clear blue,
Of the hearts that Fate had made desolate—
Thus thinking, I thought of you.
Once only we met—I can ne’er forget,—
’Twas long, long years ago,
When the springs were few that had shed their dew
Above thy brow of snow.
I said in my heart, CAN time ever part
In that bosom, devoid of care,
Youth’s delicate bloom, to strew over the tomb,
Where hope lowly sleeps in despair?
Now the sunbeams rise, on the bending skies,
That curtain a foreign land,
Where on life’s dark sea, float, a fragment ye
Of a household’s broken band.
But turn ye at eve, when good angels weave
Sweet dreams round the hearts of men,
And see in thy home, though far off ye roam,
The land of thy soul again;
Then come once more to thy native shore,—
Kind friends await thee here,
Praying to meet thee, hoping to greet thee
With smiles, thy sad lot to cheer.
And through long years of griefs and tears
Have dimmed thy soul-lit eye,
Yet once more may Joy’s golden ray
Illume thy clouded sky!
Father and mother, sister and brother
For thy presence fondly yearn—
How many years yet, ere life’s sun is set,
Must they sigh for thy safe return?
THE TABLETS OF THE SOUL.
Oh! ’tis a study wonderous rare—
Those fadeless pictures, dark and fair,
Upon the tablets of the soul!
First, is Childhood’s golden hours
With its bright wreath of spring-time flowers,
In mezzotint, upon the scroll.
Now we turn another leaf,
And find a picture, not so brief,
A steel engraving, soft and fine.
Where all the lights and shades combine
With the mellow tints that painters love
To trace in the bending skies above,
Where the golden light comes glancing through
Morn’s silvery veil, of mist and dew.
There a broad and shining river,
Falling onward,—onward ever,
Receives ten thousand singing rills
From babbling springs amid the hills;
And gleaming rainbows shining there,
Like braids of many-colored hair—
Still rises from the crystal wave,
To where an old oak, tall and brave,
Stands ’mong the violets, where they peep
O’er a hill top, high and steep;
Now, traced by Limner’s cunning hand,
In brilliant hues a laughing band
Of sportive sisters gaily move—
Bright-eyed Beauty, Hope, and Love,
Clustering round a noble youth,
The soul of sterling pride and truth,
Making his pathway yet more bright,
With their own pure, effulgent light.
Now, on a richly embossed page,
In yet maturer, riper age,
Is one the heart still loves the best—
Where long the eye delights to rest;
Oh, how surpassing bright and fair,
With Parian brow and flowing hair,
’Tis daguerreotyped there.
Now an interval is past,
’Tween this portrait and the last;
And this one seems rough and rude—
A rustic picture, carved in WOOD;
Disappointment, and its grief
Are sadly lowering o’er the leaf;
Beauty’s dimples all are gone—
And old age is creeping on—
Hark! the cold and chilling blast
Beats around the wanderer fast;
Love’s flowerets all have withered long,
And even Hope has ceased her song:—
Oh, ’tis a picture, rough and rude,
O’er which the thoughts love not to brood.
This snowy page is blotted o’er
With darker, deadlier ills, and more
Of the deep misery of years,
With oft recurring woes and fears—
’Tis STEREOTYPED in blood and TEARS!
Now we turn another page,
And find the picture of old age
Wandering slowly, and alone,
Where the rank thistles have o’ergrown
The valley he is winding through,
All studded thick with thyme and rue,
And here and there, all dark and lone,
A cypress, and funereal yew—
With no soft light around him cast,
Save that reflected from the past;;
Oh, ’tis a picture sad and grave!
Imprinted by Time’s dark, fadeless wave.
But rising o’er yon mountain far,
Behold a pure and radiant STAR,
To guide the wandered on to rest,
In yon bright regions of the blest—
’Tis painted by a Master’s hand,
With colors of the Better Land.
The light wavy wreaths of Octer’s soft mist
Give their silvery sheen to the hills,
And the sunbeams look dreamily down, while they list
To the songs of the murmuring rills;
Then away from the city, its strife, and turmoil,
Away to the wild-wood, and be
For awhile, from anxiety, trouble, and toil,
Like the bounding deer, happy and free!
The luscious paw-paw, in its soft, yellow nest,
Lies gleaming with dew on the ground,
And, ’mong the low grass, in their sombre coats drest,
The brown nuts lie scattered around,
The grapes hang all purple and ripe, where the trees
Graceful bend o’er the darkling ravine;
And the broad leaves, that sport on the mirth-loving breeze,
Have mingled gold tints with their green.
There’s a beautiful nook, on the Kentucky shore,
Where the green-wood slopes down to the tide,—
’Twere fit place for fairies, when daylight is o’er,
To lock hands with the water-king’s bride.
Then come from the city’s dark walls, and we’ll stray
Where the crystal waves glide o’er the sands,
Now leaping along, and now dashing their spray,
Then bursting in glistening bands!
And, as we sit down ’neath the broad, arching sky,
With its roofing of “star-spangled blue,”
’Mid the bright panorama on earth and on high,
We will talk of the good and the true,—
Then come, let us rove while the gentle winds bear,
Through the chambers of each forest dell,
The anthems that close like a beautiful prayer,
As the wood-spirits chaunt their farewell.
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Oh, would that I knew the soft language of flowers,
Or might study it out, in the long summer hours,
And my heart hold communion with them, and them only,
When ’tis careworn and desolate, weary, and lonely;
I would go out with them, in the wild, tangled wood,
(Those innocent types of the lovely and good,)
And, ’mid the sweet songs of the caroling birds,
I’d learn their soft language, their musical words.
With the green turf beneath me, the moonlight above,
All encircled about by Omnipotent love,
With the fair, meek-eyed flowers I’d lull me to sleep,
While the angels above me their vigils would keep;
Then with the first dawn I’d renew the sweet task,
While beneath their bright smiles my glad spirit would bask;
I’d forget that the world (save the world I was in,)
Was o’erflowing with sadness, with grief, and with sin,
Would forget human hearts were all filled up with guile,
And that dark venom lurked ’neath the disciplined smile,
All this would forget, could I dwell but with flowers,
And their sweet language learn, in the long summer hours;
But my heart it is doomed, and I can’t go away,
With the birds and the flowers, in the wood-lands to stray,
And my life must wear out ’mid the scenes I am in,
And the world’s fierce turmoil, its rude strife, and its din.
But I know where at last they will lay me to rest,—
Where the sod is perfumed by the flowers on its breast,
And there will I list, in my solemn repose,
To the tales of the tulip, and opening rose;
There I’ll learn their soft language, and know when they call
For the spirits to come from their dim, distant hall,
And thus will I rest, in the far, forest bowers,
With the birds, and the angels, the moonlight and flowers.
THE BOUGH THAT WILL NOT BEND MUST BREAK.
Whene’er the whirlwinds break the chains
That bind them in the sky,
To wildly sweep the verdant plains,
Or mountains green and high,
’Tis not the Monarch of the wood
That bears their fury best,
Though for long years it still has stood
In robes of greatness drest,
Yet when the Storm-God’s tones awake,
The boughs that will not bend must break!
Though ’mong the wigwams, rough and rude,
Of tribes long passed away,
It sheltered oft the tawny brood
Of pappooses, at their play;
And summer’s suns have brightly shone
For ages o’er its head,
While nations, like brief dreams, have flown,
To slumber with the dead,
Yet when its head bows not, the storm
Will rave above its stricken form.
’Tis thus with mortals,—strength and pride
Are safeguards not below;
The high and low sink side by side
Beneath affliction’s blow:
The haughty child of earth defies
The gathering ills of life,
Though lightnings flash along the skies
Revealing storms and strife;
But soon despair brings on the end—
The heart soon breaks that will not bend!
LINES WRITTEN IN THE FOREST.
Sing on, bright birds, sing sweetly,
For my heart is sad to-day,
And the gloom that shrouds my spirit
I’d have ye chase away.
I have come to sit down silent
On the soft, green mossy turf,
To bend my ear, and listen
To thy melody and mirth.
O! not like you I come, sweet birds,
To the green embowring trees,
With songs of gushing gladness,
To fill the perfumed breeze;
I come, as one who goeth
To the feast, or carnival,
Where alone, and all unheeded,
He roams through each proud hall.
Where smiles gleam round like sunlight,
And tones of joy are heard,
And Love and Hope are breathing
On each impassioned word.
While in some far-off corner,
Where the light falls faint and dim,
He feels no part or portion
Is given, or meant for him.
Yet, those sweet tones will waken
The soul’s harmonious lyre,
And each soft smile rekindle
Some smouldering, pent-up fire
In the chambers of the spirit,
And glow along the wall
That long has been deserted,
Like some ruined abbey’s hall.
Now, as I sit and listen
To each enchanting lay,
The gloom from off my spirit
Is vanishing away;
While visons bright and brighter,
Flit o’er Hope’s lonely grave,
Like the lamps the eastern maidens
Give the star-lit Ganges’ wave;*
While round each dreary picture,
Oblivion, sad and pale,
Enfolds her misty curtains,
Like Mochanna’s silver veil.
* Referring to the beautiful superstition existing among the nations of the East: If a maiden questions the love of her chosen one, or wishes to make an offering for the safe return of an absent friend, or lover, she makes a little boat out of a cocoa nut shell, places a burning lamp and garland of flowers in the “Tiny Ark of the heart,” and sets it afloat, in the dusk of the evening, on the gleaming waters of the Ganges. If it goes shining along till it passes out of sight, their vows are propitious; but if it sinks immediately, the omen is disastrous.
COLD WINTER HAS COME.
Cold winter has come,—God of justice and love,
Look down from thy mansions of gladness above,
Look down on the sorrow, the sadness, and woe,
Of the Winter-king’s reign, on thy foot-stool below!
Now is the season of peril and need,
When thy aid and protection is wanted indeed,
Oh, look on the helpless, to soothe, and to cheer,
For Autumn has flown, and cold Winter is here!
Cold winter is here, and ye who have souls,
Can ye sit at your ease by the light, blazing coals,
While ye know that so many are famishing—dying
Of hunger and cold, on the frozen ground lying?
Away on an errand of mercy! for know
One mite of thy gold will make the hearts glow,
And thrill with new life, in those dwellings so drear,
For that heartless old tyrant, cold Winter, is here!
Away! from the halls where the bright wine is flowing,
Where the lip, and the cheek, of beauty are glowing—
Away! for the face of the heavens is scowling,
And the wild northern winds are so dismally howling;
Wrap your mantles around you, and brave the fierce storm,
On such heaven-sent missions, ’twill do ye no harm,—
Give aid to the needy, the desolate cheer,
For their foe and oppressor, COLD WINTER IS HERE!
THIS WINTER NIGHT.
Lady, hear’st thou not the tinkling,
Tinkling on the window pane?
And the sprinkling, sprinkling, sprinkling
Of the chilling sleet, and rain,
As they fall against the pane?
See, the ruddy coals are gleaming,
Gleaming with a joyous light,
And the silver tea-board teeming
With rich fare, this winter night,
Gleaming ’neath the astral’s light!
This winter night is dreary, dreary,—
Lady, though you hear it not,
Riseth many a “Miserere,”
From the poor man’s wretched cot,
Lady, though you hear it not.
Hark! I hear the clock is telling,
Telling, with its mournful tone,
As the sounds come welling, welling,
Like a troubled spirit’s moan,
That the hour of twelve hath flown.
’Tis now the hour when misery,
And chill despair, and all
Bad angels, o’er the earth and sea,
Do hold their high carnival,
The dreary hovel their banquet hall.
This is the hour when mercy pleadeth
At the portals of the heart,
And telleth tales, which, if one heedeth,
Well might make the life-blood start
From its chambers in the heart.
Man, proud man, and lady bright,
Ye dwellers in marble halls!
Hear ye not the wind to-night,—
How it moans, and groans, and calls,
And beats its wings against the walls?
It tells of famine and despair,
And bids thee arouse, and go,
Philanthropist, where’er ye are,
Upon this mundane sphere below,—
Go, aid thy brother in his woe!
Suggested by the death of Mr. JAMES D. TURNER, of Felicity, Ohio, who died in Nevada City, California, August 4th, 1851.
During his brief illness he called constantly for LUCY, his idolized wife; but alas! like too many wanderers from the loved ones at home, there were none but strangers’ hands to administer to the wants, receive the last sigh, and compose the lifeless form in its last, long sleep.
Dearest Lucy, am I dreaming,
When I think I see thee now?
Is the pressure only seeming
Of thy hand upon my brow?
Oh! are not thy dear arms wreathing
All about my aching head?
Hear I not thy gentle breathing?
Falls not near me thy soft tread?
Nay! how soon those visions vanish,
I’m alone, alone once more,
With the thoughts I cannot banish
Of my own loved native shore.
Oh! to rest but one short hour
Where the dark, luxurious vine
All around our garden bower,
With their wealth of ripe fruit ’twine.
There to hear the glad tones ringing,
With their cadence, wild and free,
Of our own pet Mary, singing
All her little songs to me;
How the sounds would still the throbbing
And the tumults of my breast,
Like sweet music, gently robbing
Each wild thought of its unrest!
Never more my feet shall wander
Toward that Eden of my soul,
Yet my thoughts grow strangely fonder,
Bursting through my vain control.
From the cloudless sky how redly
Falls the sunlight through the door,
With a heat intense and deadly,
On the rude, uncovered floor.
Thirst and fever, burning, burning,
Wildly burning heart and brain,—
Weary soul, is there no turning
From this deep, consuming pain?
Yes, an angel form has spoken,
From the golden gates above,
And I’m summoned by that token
To THE REALMS OF Peace and Love.
Softly the shades of evening fell,
Around the home the wanderer loved so well;
The purple grapes were wet with dew,
Where the starlight strayed, and wandered thro’
The spreading leaves of various dies,
Each soft tint caught from the Northern skies;
On the playful breeze the brown ones sped,
To rustle, and fall on the fair young head
Of a tiny maiden, who, listening, sat
At her mother’s feet, on the grassy plat;
Earnest, and sweet, was the frequent smile
That lit the young matron’s brow the while,
As in the heart’s most musical rhyme,
She fondly talked of the coming time;
And thus she said,—“Ere yon moon shall rise,
In her ruby vest in the orient skies,
We’ll welcome back the one so dear,
To stray no more from his loved ones here;
He’ll smile to see how fair and tall
Has grown the pet of our happy hall;
Oh, I ne’er can tell which heart will be
The happiest ONE of the GLADSOME THREE.”
And thus, in pleasant converse passed
The evening hours, until at last
The smiling eyes were closed in sleep,
That soon, too soon, must wake to weep.
Oh! could she have seen—that loving wife,
The prostrate form, and the ebbing life,
Those failing eyes, growing dimmer sill,
As night’s shadows fell o’er the sunset hill,—
Have heard the sounds that so faintly came,
To breathe once more her much loved name—
To have dreamed of what was passing there,
Would have been a grief too hard to bear.
Oh! could we rend the veil that lies
Between the future and our eyes,
What would the voice of mortals be,
But one long wail of misery!
But thanks, our Father at the helm!
Beyond the sea of life, thy realm
Has “many mansions,” where they go,
Who leave this troubled world below;
There loved ones meet to part no more,
When the fitful dream of life is o’er.
When last the violet buds were peeping,
Where the scented hawthorns grow,
And the warm sunlight was sleeping
On the soft, green grass below;
There we parted with a token,
And fond vows from true hearts spoken.
Again the bright spring buds are peeping,
Where the mountain streamlets flow,
And the warm sunlight is sleeping
’Mong the daisies, where they blow;
We have met, and we have parted,—
With the words of the broken hearted.
OUR LITTLE SISTER’S BED.
The only sister, our little pet CELIA.
Far away in the wild-wood,
Sequestered and lone,
Where the winds ever breathe
In their gentlest tone,
On a soft, green mossy knoll,
Like a mimic mount, or hill,
Whose base is constant washed
By an ever-flowing rill,—
They laid our little sister,
While the solemn prayer was said,
To rest forevermore
In her green, embowered bed.
A few are resting round,
In still, and deep repose,
From this weary world away,
From its troubles and its woes.
But, by the lonely flowers
That are growing on the spot,
The lily and the rose,
And the sweet forget-me-not—
Should you never mark the stone
That is standing at the head,
You might know this brightest one
Was our little sister’s bed.
I’ve thought, as I have listened
To the music floating round,
On the dewy, scented breezes,
Through the consecrated ground,
As my soul became entranced
By the dreamy, soft refrain,
That spirit tones commingled
Their notes amid the strain;
And that angel eyes were smiling
So sweetly round my head,
As they drooped their snowy wings
O’er our little sister’s bed.
There are ever such sweet dreams
Afloating through my brain,
When I visit this sweet spot,
And they go, and come again,
For it seems so far away
From earth’s turmoil and care,
That Heaven’s brightest smiles
Ever beam and linger there;
While Nature’s dearest gifts
Are in rich profusion spread,
Round the spot where we have made
Our little sister’s bed.
BARD OF THE EARLY WEST!
Respectfully inscribed to PEYTON S. SYMMES, Esq. of Cincinnati.
Bard of the early West, arouse!
Too long thy Harp has lain
Neglected, in the halls of Time,—
Oh, strike its chords again!
The mist of years lies heavy now
Upon its tuneful breast;
And cares have gathered, like the dew,
Around its place of rest.
Oh, let those silver-shining chords
Their strange long slumber break,
And bid, once more, each master tone,
In thrilling cadence, wake,—
Ere the gloom that shrouds the end of life
Shall rest upon thy Lyre,
To hush its notes of melody,
And quench the spirit-fire!
Let it ring out as clear and bold
As oft, in other days,
And blend its deeper harmonies
With younger poets’ lays!—
Give us those legends of the past,
Gleamed from the storied West,—
When the children of the forest wilds
Were cradled on its breast.
Sing us some song that thrilled the soul
Of dark-eyed maiden then,—
While roaming, like the wild gazelle,
Through mountain copse and glen;
Or, picture the loved scnes ye saw,
When,—yet a playful boy—
Ye gathered, on those wood-crowned hills,
Some curious Indian toy;
While far and wide, o’er hill and plain,
In stilly silence bound,
(As foot-prints of a vanished race,)
Rose many a mossy Mound,
Where rest their chiefs, and honored men,
And maidens young and fair,—
Entombed with mournful songs and rites,
To slumber softly there.
Then wake those soul-entrancing tales
Ye learned so long ago,
While, with thy Lyre’s sweet changing notes,
Our hearts keep ebb and flow.
Oh, one more song, (if BUT one more,)
To echo light and free,
I ask, in these wild rhymes, which here
I DEDICATE TO THEE!
Respectfully addressed to JUDGE BURNET, of Cincinnati.
When I look through the vista of twenty long years,
And fold back its curtains of sunshine and tears,
I find that old Time has left perfect and whole,
A scene long embalmed in the depths of my soul:
There, is glowingly painted a fair little girl,—
Her brow overshadowed by many a curl:
Her low cottage home she has left, in the glen,
Afar from the haunts, and the turmoil of men,—
Still bearing the breath of the wild roses sweet,
And the dew from the violets fresh on her feet.
She was straying along, as one lost in a dream—
A proud lily thrown on a turbulent stream,
Bewildered and lost, ’mong the hurrying throng
In the Queen City’s thoroughfares rushing along,
Where it seemed to the brain of the weary, lost child,
Like the visions that come with delirium wild.
Long streets were traversed, and long hours had flown,
When on her sad ear fell a soft, kindly tone,
And her heart drank the sounds like a draught of sweet wine,—
And that tone, and that voice, and those accents were thine.
While like the warm sunshine thy smiles were to me,
Or rainbow that arches the storm-girdled sea;
As ye soothed with caress, and with promising word,
The fluttering wing of the wandering bird,
Nor left the poor fledgeling [sic] till safe in its nest,
It was hushed to repose on its mother’s warm breast.
Through the long years of sorrow encountered since then,
To my earliest grief, mem’ry leads me again,
When the thoughts of my first benefactor are twined
With fadeless spring-flowers that grew in my mind.
Thou mayst have forgotten, for the good deeds men do
Sink down in the heart, to revive, and imbue
With new vigor and strength, as the soft April shower
Spreads out a new gloss on each shrub, and each flower;
And this one gentle act may have been as the rill,
To thy ocean of good and benevolence; still
It had the same springs, the same fountain of love,
Reflecting the stars that looked down from above;
And while a pulse wakes in this bosom of mine,
’Twill thrill with a blessing for thee and for thine!
Oh, where hath the spirit of Minstrelsy fled,
That it wakes not the chords of my lyre?
On the altar of song are the embers all dead,
Where should burn the unquenchable fire?
When the numbers do flow, they go dashing ahead,
Like steed on its own native plains,
And will not, by the master’s hand, bow to be led,
Or be fettered by rythm’s [sic] light chains.
Like the melody made by a tinkling bell,
Or a nest of low warbling birds,
Are the thoughts in my bosom that constantly swell,
To go forth in the vesture of words.
But alas! when my fingers sweep over the strings,
And would woo them to come at my call,
They vanish like fayes, on invisible wings,
Till my heart is like Tara’s lone hall.
As I sit at my window, and turn from below,
To gaze up on the bright, beaming stars,
My spirit so longs from its prison to go,
Overleaping mortality’s bars;
For the golden-toned harps are forever in tune,
In the upper realms, happy and blest,
And they sigh through the blossoms, like zephyrs in June,
In this land where the weary find rest.
THE LAND I LOVE BEST.
The Eastern hills and valleys, oh, right beautiful are they,
Ere the roseate hues of morning lose their blushes in the day!
So lordly rise their hill-tops, the trees half veiled in gloom,
Like the time-worn hieroglyphics on some old Egyptian tomb;
So proudly roll the waters of the Hudson, in its pride,
Out to meet the Old Atlantic, as his chosen, queenly bride;
Like emeralds, gleam the islands in their quiet, peaceful rest,
Ere the day-god breaks their slumbers by the brightness of his crest.
The sunlight at its dawning, looks on scenes of wondrous pride,
Where Art goes forth with Nature, like twin sisters, side by side;
Where gentle, meek-eyed Beauty, with sportive, winning grace,
Laughs, like a merry maiden, in Sublimity’s stern face.
There monuments are rising, ’mong the dusky clouds on high,
Till the dreamy distance blends them with the glory of the sky;
They tell of deeds of greatness—they’re the Mutes that sounding Fame
Sets to guard the dear remembrance of some cherished deed, or name.
O! I love the Eastern valleys—I love the rock-bound shore,
The Cataract’s loud moaning—the Ocean’s sullen roar,
The mountain torrents rushing, like wild maniacs along,
Or the low toned, loving murmurs of the summer streamlet’s song.
One tell us of the thunders ’mid which daring deeds were done,
When our fathers fought for freedom, and the priceless treasure won;
The other tells us softly of the bliss that Peace has brought.
And bids us guard the chain of Love our dauntless Fathers wrought.
Yet, though I love those valleys—those Eastern mounts and glades,
I love these best, where nightly the softened sunlight fades!
Land of the West! oh, glowing are thy stilly, sunset hours,
Lighting up the dim old forests, filled with bright-hued birds and flowers,—
Where each shady nook and ravine has some wondrous old romance,
That Nature’s darling student can unravel at a glance;
Where each mound that dots our valleys has a story of its own
To tell us of a nation from their hunting grounds long flown.
They tell of stalwart warriors, the dauntless, and the true,
All vanished from their places, like the drops of morning dew,—
Their wigwams all deserted—unlit their council fires,
Their hymn of sorrow chaunted never more above their sires,
As they sleep the dreamless slumbers beside some tranquil stream,
While the moon smiles sadly o’er them, with her pale and pitying beam.
No more their dark-eyed maidens scatter roses o’er the tomb,
Where they’ve laid some gentle sleeper, in her beauty and her bloom.
I love the Western valleys, when they wear the misty haze
That comes in sweet September, with the soft, autumnal days,—
When the wood-nymphs tune their lyres to the gentle, farewell notes
That from troops of tiny minstrels, on each wooing zephyr float;
And ’tis meet that earnest painter o’er the hills should wander then,
His colors all the gleaming leaves—his studio some wild glen,
Where the “sky light” falling softly the twining branches through,
Sheds a spirit o’er his pictures of the beautiful and true.
The North is all too cold and chill, to kindle genius fire,—
The East’s too lurid, burning light engulfs each faint desire,—
The South—there brilliant things awake, within the human mind,
But often soar, then die away, like perfumes on the wind;—
Then give to me the golden West, where clouds at even lie,
Like robes of glory, loosly thrown from Angel-forms on high,
Where Fame bends down, like sportive king, to bind upon his breast
The buds and flowers that Genius brings from the green hills of the West.
THE HALLS OF MEMORY.
Amid the halls of memory,
There is one I love best,
’Tis there, when weary-worn, I pause,
And sit me down to rest;
A holy quiet reigns around,—
’Tis the autumn of the year;
The trees have spread their golden robe
O’er summer’s funeral bier.
Ohio’s noble waters roll
Between the gentle hills,
While from their hazy depths gush forth
A thousand singing rills.
’Neath the silvery light of heaven,
’Mid earth’s beautiful repose,
Where a noble tree its shadows
O’er the glancing water throws,—
With one arm round a maiden,
While the other points afar,
With his dark bright orbs uplifted
To Hope’s bright, beaming star,
A youth, in his noontide beauty,
Stands ’neath the lowest boughs,
He and the maid exchanging
Their deep, and fervent vows.
A siren voice is singing
Within their hearts a strain,
Which they, alas! found dreamers,
may never hear again.
This picture of life’s history
Is fresh within my soul,
As the glow of summer morning,
On heaven’s azure scroll.
When my heart is sad, and weary
Of the chequered scenes of life,
And clouded, dark and dreary
With its perpetual strife,—
Then I turn, with longing spirit,
Unto my favorite hall,
And take new strength, from gazing
On memory’s gilded wall.
MOURN NOT FOR THE DEPARTED.
Oh, why shouldst thou mourn for loved ones departed?
Why weep thus for them, thus desolate hearted?
Dost weep for a father, who taught thy young eye
To follow the eagle as it soared to the sky,
And bade thee to follow the example, and be
As onward, when right, as dauntless, as free?
Did he die when old age had deep furrowed his cheek,
When his lips could scarce utter the words he would speak?
Mourn not for him—his long pilgrimage ended,
To his bright home above his proud spirit ascended.
Dost mourn for a mother, who sank to the tomb
Ere sorrow had robbed her young cheek of its bloom?
Weep not for her—she still hovers around thee,
Like a bird on its wing, when sorrows surround thee,
And softly as music steals over the wave,
She’ll tell thee of mansions beyond the damp grave,
Where the grief of this world, its sighing and sadness,
Are changed for sweet songs of harmonious gladness,
That thrill from the harps of the angels above,
Filling all the soft breezes with joy, and with love.
Dost thou weep for a babe, thy joy and thy pride,
Whom the Angel of Death snatched up from thy side?
Hadst thou kept it, perchance its cup had been filled
With the aliments of woe, deep, double distilled;
Now, ’tis a cherub, bending over the skies,
To fly to thy bosom, as thou shalt arise.
Dost weep for an erring one, loved but too well,
Who grieved thy sad heart more than mere words can tell?
Rejoice! for now free from earth’s mildew and stain,
They mingle their tones with the Seraphim’s strain.
Oh say! were we tossed, tempest-tossed on the ocean,
The winds shrieking wild, ’mid the billows’ commotion,
The rent sky above us, the rocks “just ahead,”
The boiling surges quick making our bed,—
Would we sigh that our friends were not with us to die—
To share the cold grave where we shortly must lie?
Nay! how oft from such scenes has the wild cry gone up:
“Oh, God! but avert from my loved ones the cup,
And I will drink freely of all that ye give—
But spare them, oh, spare them, my loved, ones to live!”
And oh! are we not on life’s sea tempest-tossed,
Are there not fearful shoals, and dread straits to be crossed?
Then mourn not for those who have gone on before,
And moored their frail barks on Eternity’s shore;
Then dry up thy tears—they will dim thy fair sight,
And thou’lt lose, in the darkness, the sweet beacon light.
Look onward! and upward! the bright star of Hope
Is gloriously beaming, and no horoscope
Wilt thou need to read Heaven’s love in the sky,
Written glowingly out ’mid the gemm’d page on high.
THE DYING MINSTREL.
’Twas morning, and the sweet perfume,
Like incense, floated through the room,
Borne on the wings of a summer breeze,
That stirred the flower-laden trees;
The early sun, like streams of gold
Sent its rays through each green fold
Of vines, that climbed the lattice o’er,
And lay like gems upon the floor;
A hyacinth, and mignonette,
Within a deep recess were set;
Beneath, and glittering still with dew,
A tall, white lily proudly grew.
Oh, had you seen that cottage then,
Embowered within a shady glen,
Made bright with flowers, and musical
By bright-hued birds, and water-fall,—
You would not wonder than that he,
The lord of that bright nook, should be
A soul of genius, proud and high,
Too pure, it almost seemed, to die!
But ah! my thoughts have gone astray,
From the cottage hall, where the Minstrel lay,
Calmly asleep, the last, one one,
Ere he should waken, and look upon
The glad, bright earth he had loved so well,—
Wake, but to bid it a last farewell.
The azure curtains were looped, and thrown
Back from the couch of the dying one,—
Dying, and yet on that forehead rare
You could trace not a sign of death’s lingering there:
The finely curved nostril, and delicate lip,
E’en in sleep, at the well-springs of thought seemed to sip;
The long silken lash has drooped down oe’r the eye,
Where the fires of genius and poesy lie;
But ah! there’s a rose-colored flush on the cheek,
And of suffering, and DEATH, doth its brilliant hue speak.
The daylight has gone, and the soft twilight hour
Is abroad o’er the earth, with its mystical power;
The Poet and Minstrel has wakened once more,
Ere he passes alone through the Death-Angel’s door;
He has bid farewell, in soft, low tone,
To each object his spirit had doated upon,—
Yet almost unmanned, by the thrilling note,
That melodiously gushed from his red-breast’s throat;
But his heart’s cherished treasure, his dearest and best,—
His lute, lay beside him, its bright strings unprest
By the hand that had brought, far over the sea,
The Minstrel’s companion and best legacy.
A low, sweet strain is awakening there,
And ’tis borne away on the evening air;
The chords of the lorn lute are thrilling again,
And touchingly sad is that farewell refrain.
THE MINSTREL’S FAREWELL TO HIS LUTE.
Companion of my earliest years,
My lute, wast thou,
Ere a single thought of cares, or fears,
Had crossed my brow.
Swept by light hand, thy silver chords
Echoed but gladness,
And sweetly thrilled, with love-toned words,
Untouched by sadness;
But passing years have brought to thee
A dreary change,—
Upon the ear, thy melody
Falls sad and strange.
The one that taught this saddest strain,
My lute, to thee,
Has felt, upon his brow, and brain,
Perchance, no more my hand shall sweep
Across thy strings,—
Then soft be thy notes, as dews that sleep
Where the bul-bul sings.
The noiseless tread of watchers came,
To illumine the hall with the night-lamp’s flame;
The chords of the lute were low murmuring still,—
It seemed but the echo of sweet whip-poor-will;
The fingers were warm, that entwined ’mong its chords,
And lips softly parted, with late-spoken words:
The light gleam of the taper streamed over the bed,—
The soul of the Minstrel and Poet had fled!
What are they—these forebodings,
The oppressive sense of dread—
The sepulchral tones that seemeth
Like strange voices from the dead?
We hear them, in the distance,
Peal a solemn, measured knell,
Breaking in upon the melody
Of Joy’s golden bell.
They drape the earth with shadows,
When the stars are beaming bright,
And darkly veil the brightness
Of the morning’s rosy light;
They flit, like evil spirits,
Through the chamber of the brain,
To wake the yielding heart-chords
With a thrill of fear and pain;
Why chase they from our dreaming
The beautiful, and bright,
To leave but sorrow’s seaming,
Through the long and dismal night?
Where dwell they, and what are they,
And wherefore do they keep,
Self-appointed guardians, round us,
While we wake, and while we sleep?
Away! ye graceless visions,—
I feel your presence now;
Away! nor leave the impress
Of your fingers on my brow.
What though the night is coming,
And the eve is growing gray,
Your warnings are but thankless
Of the storm ye cannot STAY!
To my young Poet Friend, S. R. SMITH, of Cincinnati, O.
Fair boy, upon that brow of thine,
Beneath its wealth of soft, brown hair,
A something, almost half divine,
Tells me genius dewlleth there;
While down in those dark orbs I see,
With prophet eyes, thy destiny.
Come thou, in fancy let us wander
Where thy steps must surely go,
Though I would not have thee ponder,
On life’s scenes of sin and woe,—
Here’s my hand, now let us leap
In the future, dark, and deep!
Bright, and gifted, art thou, boy,
As earth-born ones might be,
With heart untouched by Time’s alloy,—
Each pulse beating light and free,
Still dreaming dreams so richly prized—
Too bright to e’er be realized!
The path of life lies broad before thee,
And glittering now with flowers,
While Faith and Hope are smiling o’er thee,
As speed thy golden hours;
For thou hast but begun the race,
Where the strongest reach the wished-for place.
Cull thou the flowers, and twine them all
In wreaths of fadeless hue,
And lay them by in memory’s hall,
Still wet with morning dew;
And lay their perfume o the shrine
Of that young, spotless heart of thine.
Thy path is growing darker still,
Although thou seest it not,—
See! ye must climb yon rugged hill,
And roam through yon dark grot!
Ha! blanch not, boy, I’ve journeyed here,
And well know how thy steps should veer.
Now rest thee,—here’s a lovely nook,
Where the mountain birds rejoice,
Where they plume their wings in purling brook,
And tune each silver voice;
Catch thou the trill of each soft tone,
And make its sweetness all thine own.
Now up, and on! What ho! a storm
Hangs o’er yon mountain brow,—
I see the Wind-king’s dusky form
Hurling fury round him now,—
Fear not, but look on yon ebon sky,
Lit up by the lightning’s fiery eye!
List to the thunder’s mournful roll,
Away ’mong the forest trees,
Like the sad moans of a weary soul,
Borne out on the evening breeze;
Mark thou each change the Storm-god takes,
As each high hill to his voice awakes.
Here are gleaming buds on Nature’s floor,
’Mong the thorns that grow around;
Gather them up, as we journey o’er
This dark and dismal ground,
And set each flower, a priceless gem,
In thy spirit’s deathless diadem.
Now cheer thee, boy! we’ve reached the shrine
Where the victor crowns are laid,
Where the treasures of that heart of thine
Must be curiously displayed;
Where the laurel crown from the bright array
Thou’lt choose, from the rose, or stately bay.
Tho’st brought the harp of thy gifted soul,
With its silver chords all broken,
And fragments of a golden bowl—
Love’s ill-starred, fated token;
What thinkest thou has love to do,
Here at this shrine, with fame and you?
Ha! now the laurel crown is set
Above thy pale, wan brow;
It sits uneasy,—something yet
Thou’dst fondly sigh for now,
And thine eyes are heavy—not with years,
But toil, and care, and bitter tears.
But guard thou well the coronal,—
’Tis all thou’lt ever win,
A place in Fame’s loud-sounding hall,
Where all is blank within,—
Where ever, o’er a brow of care,
The dark, green emblem thou must wear.
MY BIRDS AND FLOWERS.
My birds and flowers, O! I love them well,
And cherish them tenderly;
They cast o’er my heart their own soothing spell,
Like moonbeams over the sea;
When gathering ills oppress my brain,
And my temples throb with a feverish pain,
When my soul is oppressed and sad, as all
Of hopes were robed in one dark pall;
O! then amid those darkling hours,
Gleams one bright spot, MY BIRDS AND FLOWERS.
No secret venom lurks beneath
The bright-hued flowret’s smile,
We breathe their sweetness, and a wreath
Of sun-bright thoughts the while
Fills the soul with gushing gladness,
And banishes each trace of sadness;
Nor ever is falsehood’s canting note
’Mid the songs that fill the warbler’s throat;
O then, amid lie’s suns and showers,
I’ll cherish still MY BIRDS AND FLOWERS.
WHERE DOST THOU WANDER?
Where dost thou wander? ’Tis a thought
That racks the spirit overwrought
By undue absence. Bitter tears,
And undefined, though startling fears
Fill the hours from day to day,
While the loved one is away.
Is there a heart that hath not one
Whom it dwells, and doats upon,—
Wandering, it may be, alone,
Far from friends, and far from home?
Oh, how the spirit then will ponder
O’er the thought,—where dost thou wander?
When the solemn hymn is stealing,
Freighted with intensest feeling,
Through the stilly evening air,
Rising, floating, dying there,—
Chaunted sweet, and cheerfully,
By children round their parent’s knee,—
O! then the scalding tears will start
From their fountains in the heart,
While its chords are bursting, swelling,
With the thoughts that come up welling,
As like contending clouds, they roll,
In fitful gusts, across the soul!
When the warm spring winds are blowing,
When ’tis cloudy, cold, and snowing,
’Mid the fragrant summer bowers,
In the dark, and midnight hours,
The heart will sink, to brook, and ponder
O’er the thought,—where dost thou wander?
Lamps, like southern stars may be,
’Mid the halls of revelry;
We tread the dance, we sing the song,
While still our voice is borne alone;
Still on the absent one we ponder,
And sigh, and dream,—where dost thou wander?
THE MINSTREL’S HOME.
Oh, I love the hills, so free and wild!
And my cottage home is there,
In a fitting nook for mountain child,
’Mong wild flowers, rich and rare,
Where the low winds, in the merry spring,
Breathe soft through the myrtle vines,—
And the bright birds build their tiny nests
In my bower of eglantines.
While my heart laughs with glee, ha, ha, ha, ha!
And rings through the sounding hills,
As I sing a glad chorus, tra la, la, la!
To the songs of the birds and the rills.
When the golden stars look softly through
The trees, with a mellow light,
While like gleaming pearls, each drop of dew
Still shines through the stilly night;
I list to the notes the zephyrs bear
Away on their scented wings,
And dream I never, of woe, or care,
But only of happy thing.
While my heart laughs, etc.
Oh, then, would you know where the Minstrel dwells,
Come out to the high blue hills,
Where kindly hands, from the spirit’s wells,
Love’s glistening goblet fills;
Where eyes are bright as the starry skies,
And hearts are warm and free,
And tones of love ever harmonize
To my own wild minstrelsy.
While my heart laughs, etc.
THE MAIDEN’S RESOLVE.
“I have built the last air castle—
Have dreamed the last bright dream,
And have looked on the departure
Of Hope’s LAST, LURING BEAM!”
Then a smile of haughty triumph
Gleamed in that maiden’s eye,
And sat in stern, bright beauty,
On that forehead, pale, and high.
Lelia cast each fond emotion
Of love, and hope, aside,
Then filled the aching void
With a maiden’s armor—pride;
Her priceless love, oh! could it be
That she had loved IN VAIN?
At this wild thought her bursting heart
Throbbed with intensest pain.
Henceforth her sole companion
Her own sweet lyre would be,
And when long the sun was sleeping
Beneath the western sea,
Lelia sat in her humble hall,
And gleamed from the mines of thought
Richest gems, and in bright wreaths
The deathless treasures wrought.
Years had passed, and the maiden dwelt
Within a stately all;
Rare exotics, and pearly shells
Were strewed around, with all
That gold might buy; but there was not
What Lelia would have given—
The precious gem to win, and wear—
Her very hope of heaven.
Once more sweet smiles were wreathing
Her chiselled brow, but there
Full many a shadow lingered
Of sadness, and despair.
What matter, though her tuneful lyre
Had waked Fame’s trumpet tongue,
And her name upon each gifted,
And enraptured spirit, hung?
The world knew not how fearfully
That bright, poetic fire
Had lit its glorious brilliance
Upon Love’s funeral pyre.
Alas! for each gifted spirit;—
Oh! that unyielding Fate
Should make the home of genius
So LONE, SO DESOLATE!
Composed during a moonlight row on the Ohio, with H. W., the GUITARIST, and C. R. E., the ARTIST.
There is light of heavenly seeming,
Thou of the gloomy brow,
Within thy dark orbs, gleaming
With burning lustre now;
Has thy genius angel sent thee
New colors from the sun,
And a golden pencil lent thee,
Thou lone and gifted one?
For o’er the bark thou’rt leaning,
As if in gentle trance,—
A world of unread meaning
Within thy earnest glance;
What panorama passes
On the theatre above,
That thy thoughts, like magic glasses,
Shape to beauty, light and love?
And do the zephyrs bring thee
Some sportive lays they weave,
Thou CHILD OF SONG, to sing thee,
This starlight, summer eve?
For the motion of thy fingers,
Upon thy light guitar,
With a listless quiver lingers,
Like the rays of yonder star.
O! filled with spirit lightness
Must be thy raptured soul,
From the clouds of sunny brightness
That o’er thy features roll;
Like songs of Eden’s birds,
Must be the thoughts, contending,
In thy bosom’s depths, for words.
While o’er the waters rowing,
My thoughts are busy too,—
With pearly lustre glowing,
Like leaflets tipt with dew,
And while we glide so soft alone,
A faint, poetic fire
Inspires with humble, grateful song,
My unpretending lyre.
’Tis sweet, this starry night in June,
To wander out, we three,
Our hearts in perfect throbbing tune
With all lovely things that be;
While with moonlight falling round us,
On the silver-glancing tide,
A gentle spell hath bound us
In silence, side by side.
THE CRYSTAL PALACE.
An Extract from a CARRIER’S ADDRESS, of 1852, written for the “New Richmond Age.”
* * * * *
Yet though England and France have their faults, we have ours,
Like the rankling thorns that encircle fair flowers;
And each should remember, that in casting a stone
At the other’s glass house they endanger their own.
A glass house! ah, now I bethink me, that same
Expression was once nothing more than a name,
Till the Spirit of Invention once losing his way,
O’er to England was lit by a straggling sun ray;
Thus in hunting for Jonathan, found but his brother—
And thinking he’d probably do for the other,
He managed to accomplish a work that well might
Fill with wonder and awe, either human or sprite;
For he squeezed a bright idea into his head,
Among brains that are dull, and as heavy as lead—
When John went to work, and he built out of glass,
O’er a forest of trees, a great, glittering mass,
When he gave it a name, and a fitting one too,
(The more is the wonder, old John Bull, for you,)
Crystal Palace, he called it, and straightway he sent,
Like the brave knights of old, in the tournament,
For the civilized nations all over the world,
Where his voice was heard, or his flags were unfurled,
To come to his Palace of bright-tinted dyes,
And nobly contend for each honor and prize.
When, lo! flocking in, from the east, and the west,
From the north, and the south, they jostled and pressed,
Bearing caskets of jewels,—each glittering gem
Too precious for aught but a king’s diadem;
The Persian looms sent their treasures rare,
And Orient pearls were gleaming there;
Italia sent her works of Art,
To enchain the eye, and entrance the heart;
The Emerald Isle sent her misty lace,
To dreamily shadow young beauty’s face;
The small footed Chinese came tottering along,
’Neath the ponderous weight of his horrible gong;
The Spaniard was there, with his spear and his lance,
And the ominous light of his soul-piercing glance;
The old turbaned Turk, dark, sullen, and proud,
With his beautiful carpets, made way through the crowd;
The flaxen-haired student from Germany went,
With his mind and his eye on the firmament bent:
He had glasses to draw, like the magnet of love,
Orbits of light from the regions above;
Greece, her sweet features enveloped in gloom,
Brought a block of white marble, for altar or tomb;
And France, in the large spacious hall where she shone,
’Mong her bright treasures, looked like a queen on her throne;
The brave hearted Scots left their flocks on the plain,
And came in their “pladdies” to swell the glad train:
They brought a soft fleece from their lambs on the hills,
Washed white, snowy white, in their own mountain rills;
Then last, but not least, Brother Jonathan strode
Right into their midst, with his queer looking load:
He was somewhat belated, but as he had come
With a bona fide ticket, he “guessed he’s to hum;”
So unpacking the odd looking things he had brought,
Brother John, filled with mirth, some remote corner sought,
Where, apart from the throng, his o’er rude kinsman might
Be out of the way, out of hearing and sight.
Brother Jonathan yielded, with rather bad grace,
To be stationed alone in this desolate place,
And he could not refrain from just saying, “Well neow,
This beats human natur’ to pieces, I sweow.”
But in all of his lifetime he never broods long,
Musing over an insult, a slight, or a wrong.
So when he had placed all his wares on the shelves,
He left them awhile to take care of themselves,
And pushing about, as is ever his wont
From the last in the crowd to the first in the front,
He heard England praising her beautiful yacht,
And he laid them a wager that he could beat that;
They run—when John Bull, to his shame and surprise,
Saw his tall Yankee brother walk off with the prize.
The French were quite sure, that b[y] hook or by crook,
Brother Jonathan never had learned how to cook.
So there ’mong the sneering and insolent group,
He prepared a great dish of the famed Texan soup,
When the cooks and the judges were forced to give way,
That Jonathan surely had carried the day,
To the virtues of Jonathan’s reaper and plow
The British were forced to yield prizes ere now,
When they sent their fair children, like fields of ripe grain,
For Jonathan’s sickle to reap on the plain—
While his plow threw the subsoil of freedom above,
Sending forth the green shoots of peace, plenty, and love;
To him then the just prize was awarding, as now,
While the wreath of the victor encircled his brow,
The wonderful pistol the Englishman thought
The most curious thing their strange brother brought;
They found he could just as well scatter one’s brains,
As unrivet the links of a tyrant king’s chains.
One more Yankee trick he told them he’d show,
And then he’d shake hands and get ready to go—
They looked, and beheld, with a start and a shock,
That he’d picked, without trouble, their great Bramah lock;
Then with good natured smile he placed one in its stead,
That never a mortal can pick, it is said.
Thus, with honors and prizes has Jonathan come,
From the “Crystal Palace” to his backwoods “hum.”
There’s sadness in the winter winds, though in their lowest key
Their choristers are training them, out on the star-lit lea;
Their base notes have the mournful tones that tell of human woe,
When the heart has suffered all the wrongs the human heart can know;
Their alto strains are like the wail of some forsaken one,
Who mingles weeping with their prayer, when each sad day is done;
How through each midnight dreary do they sob, and moan, and sigh
As if troops of troubled spirits were just banished from the sky.
Through the broken roof and casement, where stern poverty holds court,
They come, like gladiators, with deep, maddening wounds to sport,
In the vaulted amphitheatre of Heaven’s wide domain
Their pointed arrows cannot pierce with such exquisite pain,
As when within the wretched hut, where children cry for bread,
And mothers only have the power to bow the stricken head;
Oh, then the winter winds do rave with wildest, fiercest glee,
While feasting at the banquet board of squalid misery.
And yet the marble palaces of pride, and pomp, and power,
Are not forgotten by the winds, while lasts their given hour;
The proud man hears their beating wings against the crystal pane,
And knows their cries for entrance there are only sobbed in vain;
Still, they wake within his spirit fearful wrongs he’d fain forget,
And would erase with all—but gold—from the place where they are set.
He treads the soft and covered floor, and trims the mellow light,
But morning brings those visions still before his tortured sight.
There’s sorrow in the winter winds—a world of grief untold
Is wakened, when the northern clouds are from their paths unrolled;
The good man mourns the bitter ills his hand can ne’er assuage,
And sighs for those who tremble ’neath the madness of their rage.
All feel the strange and wizzard power the winds of winter sway,
Heard through the phantom hours of night, or twilight, lone and gray,
And if one heart can hear unmoved the sadness of their tone,—
If good or ill I know not, but it beats not with mine own.
THE SPIRIT’S GUESTS.
Bright, laughing young Hope! O, a glorious thing
Thou art, with thy love-beaming eyes,
And thy clear, ringing songs, like the wild birds’ of spring,
When they first warble out on the skies;
Thy home is a fairy place, gleaming with light,
And the sound of sweet music is there,
When thy fluttering wings try their first airy flight,
In a bosom unclouded by care.
Far away in one corner, with meek, quiet look,
And a world of long, loose-flowing hair,
Sits a delicate creature, with pencil, and book,
’Tis the lovely “Grand Scribe” sister there;
Her name is young Memory; the beautiful things
That Hope is a telling to-day,
She notes them all down, while, as borne upon wings,
Life’s pleasures glide quickly away.
Anon, there’s a sound at the spirit’s hall door,—
A clamor, a tumult and din,—
Gloomy care with its train, a full hundred or more,
Struggle hard for admittance within.
The entrance is barred, but they patiently wait,
For they know they can enter ere long,
And they stealthily pass through each portal and gate,
One by one, that dark, harrowing throng.
O! then there is sorrow, and wailing, and grief,
As they hurl gentle Peace from her throne;
And as Memory writes, on a dark, chequered leaf,
Long she sighs o’er the bliss that is flown.
Then as years glide along, they hold empire still
O’er the heart,—that fierce, mobocrat crew;
They revel as it pleaseth their humor and will,
And they riot, as mobs ever do.
The sunlight of youth, as age wanders along,
Goes reluctantly down to the grave,
While Memory chaunts a low, funeral song,
As it sinks ’neath Time’s turbulous wave.
Yet Hope, though her garlands are withered and crushed,
Still retains the soft light in her eye,
And Faith points yet, though her sweet tones are hushed,
Her pale, spirit-like fingers on high.
O! would I were a poet!
I’d teach my harp to breathe
Like a bright, enchanted thing,
And from its chords and bosom fling
The sunny lays I’d weave.
O! would I were a poet,—
Not for the wreath of Fame
That twines around the poet’s brow,
Nor the homage of the souls that bow
Unto a deathless name;
But, oh! in sorrow’s trying hour
’Tis surely sweet, to rove
Afar on Fancy’s iris wing,
To a world of our imagining,
All pure, and bright with love.
I’d be a poet,—ah, and yet
One other boon I crave,—
A priceless gem, that is not bought
With yellow gold, nor is it brought
From ’neath the crystal wave:
It is a gentle heart, to thrill
In concord with mine own,
To hold for me affection pure,—
Abiding love, which shall endure
When change-fraught years have flown.
“Oh, for a life on the ocean wave,
A home on the rolling deep!”
Let others sing, but for me, I crave
A home where the wild vines creep,—
Afar in some sequestered dell,
Where violets grow, and the blue hare-bell,
Where the clustering rose, and jessamine,
Around the maple and chestnut twine
Their graceful folds.
The haughty, and the proud may seek
For honor, wealth, and fame;
Still, be it their sto strive, and toil
For a gilded, empty name;
And reckless ones may seek the halls,
Where bright the glittering lamp-light falls
O’er the festive scene, where mirth and glee
Rule the hour, and merrily
The song goes round.
An hour’s stroll, on a summer eve,
Beside the silent sea,
Is dearer far than festal halls,
Or gay saloons, to me;
The love-toned winds, the starry sky,—
The brooks that go soft singing by,
Round a poet’s wild imaginings,
A dreamy, soft enchantment flings,
And visions bright.
Thus, for a “life on the ocean wave,
A home on the rolling deep,”
Let others sing, while still I crave
A home where the wild vines creep;
Nor would I covet splendid domes,
Or libraries of gilded tomes,
But in Nature’s works, around, above,
Find richest gems of song, and love,
ALL HAIL TO THEE, SPRING!
Hail! all hail to thee, glorious Spring!
Joy, and health, and hope ye bring
In thy perfumed breath, and on thy wing,—
Then hail, all hail to thee!
Beautiful garlands ye softly fling
Wherever thou treadest, and ye bring
Robes of the brightest, and richest green,
To clothe each shrub and tree.
Cheerily rings the merry lay
Of the rustic maid, as she trips away,
With the first faint streaks of roseate day,
To cull thy bursting flowers;
And the city nymphs thy presence please,—
They bare their brows to court thy breeze,
As it dallies with transplanted trees,
And artificial bowers.
And the poor! the poor! O, how they fly
From their dreary homes, when thou art nigh,
To bask beneath thy radiant sky,
And bid thee hail, all hail!
Then let us all our voices raise,
With the forest birds, to chaunt thy praise,
Who weave for thee melodious lays,
In mountain, and in vale.
And O, ye kindly, gently speak,
As ye breathe o’er the pallid brow, and cheek
Of the lowly sufferer, calm, and meek,
Of a better, brighter home,
Where, beside a flowing river,
Fadeless flowers bloom forever;
Where winter winds, and autumn never
Within that land can come.
LAY OF THE LONE ONE.
Oh! I’m weary of this solitude,—
I would not be alone;
I would not dwell forever
Unheeded, and unknown;
I know the world is beautiful,—
All nature’s blithe and gay,
But form its gorgeous scenes I turn
My weary eyes away.
I fancy I can hear the winds,
In low, and saddened tone,
Murmur, “Of all created things,
Man’s all that’s left alone;”
There’s groups of planets in the sky,
And groups of flowrets fair,
And in the ocean’s depths are found
Bright groups of gems, so rare;
But man, alone, will toil and work,
Will plow, and sow, and reap,
To gain a little, empty name,
And filthy lucre heap;
Oh, I’m weary of this loneliness,—
I’m weary of this life,
Where the intercourse ’tween man and man
Is naught but endless strife!
THE “LIGHT OF LOVE.”
Addressed to a Friend on his marriage.
Thou hast launched thy bark upon the tide,
While a summer sun is smiling,
And bright winged hopes around thee glide,
Each transient hour beguiling;
No clouds are hovering o’er thee now,
To cast their shadows on thy brow;
And in thy heart nor grief, nor care,
For the “light of love” shines brightly there!
Nor fear thou, though in coming years,—
For years must changes bring,—
Time has for all enough of tears,
And sadness on his wing;
Still, if upon the cliff is set
The “light house” of the spirit yet,
Though storms should rage, thou’lt not despair
While the “light of love” shines brightly there.
“THE WANDERING ORGAN PLAYER.”
Some four or five years since I read a most touching and pathetic little editorial item with the above caption, in the Cincinnati Enquirer, I think. The little history, so full of sadness, that the editor gave of the “Organ Grinder,” touched a sympathetic chord in my own heart, and it was but the work of a few minutes to convert his little prose article into rythm.
A tear is in the old man’s eye,
And it courses down his cheek,
While his heart is filled with an agony
To deep for his lips to speak.
From Italy’s sweet, classic land,
The poet’s ideal home,
With wife and child,—a minstrel band,
To our shores the old man’s come.
But our winter winds were cold and drear,
And strangers only met
With careless look, the wand’rers here,
To pass—and to forget.
The warm spring days came on apace,
But the child was thin and wan,—
The light was gone from her pale, young face,
So sad to look upon.
Her little viol, with ribbon green,
On the organ’s bosom lies,
And precious is that simple thing
Unto the old man’s eyes.
The tiny hand, that trembling o’er
Its strings was wont to sweep,
Will never awaken its voice more,
From its last, lonely sleep.
As the hunter loves his rustic home,
When mountain storms shriek wild,
So when grief upon the old man came,
He clung unto his child.
Now she is gone, and none but he
Will miss her mournful tone;
The oasis of his soul was she,
His heart’s best loved, his own.
The organ is piping loud and high
Its fitful, creaking strain,
And the old man turns unceasingly,
Though his heart is racked with pain.
They’ve passed—and thus another scene
In life’s dramatic play
Is o’er, and sadder ones, I ween,
Will chase this one away.
One evening in October, young Clarence Gray and I
Together roamed, beneath the stars that gemmed the autumn sky;
A holy quiet reigned around, for we rambled out alone,
When the moon hung o’er the hill-tops, and the day had gently flown;
His voice was softly sweet, and low, as mortal’s voice could be,—
And musical, and thrilling were the words he breathed to me;
I knew they were not seeming, I knew that they were true,
And they fell upon my spirit like diamond drops of dew.
That evening in October, young Clarence Gray and I
Parted, beneath the silent stars, that strewed the autumn sky,
While Fancy’s golden pinions were round our young hearts spread,
And Hope a golden halo about our pathway shed.
He left his native valley, in foreign climes to roam,
Afar from all he cherished there—his kindred, and his home;
Yet we still kept back the tear-drops, that would all unbidden start,
And smiled a fond, sad farewell, though ’twas bitterness to part.
* * * * * *
Now many years have vanished, since I met young Clarence Gray,
Where the moon, with silver beams, above our happy pathway lay;
The spring-time of our lives is gone, and the summer’s almost o’er,
And the autumn mists are hovering about us ever more;
Life’s weary storms have faded the flowerets of the soul,
And the glowing arch of Hope is now less beautiful and whole;
While the siren’s voice has taken a wilder, sadder strain,
Since the night when last we parted, on the dew-bespangled plain.
And now, in next October, should I meet with Clarence Gray,
In our old, dear trysting spot, beneath the moonbeam’s mellow ray,
Should we feel the link is broken? or rather, should we not
Find our sorrows and our trials alike in joy forgot?
I wonder if his voice is still as strangely sweet, and low
As when, on that October night, I heard it long ago;
And much I marvel whether I to Clarence Gray would seem
Still like his first, and only love,—or, like a passing dream!
Softly fell the glittering dew,
Where the moonlight wandered through
A linden’s foliage, green and bright,
Wavering in the mellow light,
Laving the dark, and flowing hair,
O’er the marble brow of a lone one there,—
Mem’ry was busy at his heart,
Stirring the fount of feeling,
And anon the pearly tears would start,
Through the silken lashes stealing,
As his thoughts, like the wail of imprisoned birds,
Burst from his lips in these thrilling words:
“Gone, all gone! thou’st left not one, stern Fate,
To greet me in my early home, so lone, so desolate!
O! how I longed to see thee yet once more,
While a weary wanderer on a distant shore;
And thus do I find thee, all sunk in decay,
Each dear trace of beauty fast fading away;
The chimney has fallen, the hearth-stone is cold,
The walls dark with dust, and all covered with mould;
The lawn is o’ergrown with tall thistles, and rank
The iron-weed grows on the brook’s mossy bank;
And where are the light steps, the bright eyes, and all
The glad tones that once cheered the old cottage hall?
They are gone! all gone! and the wind’s hollow moan
Breathes the sigh of my spirit—alone! all alone!
My own gentle mother has sunk to the tomb,
And Julia was nipt like a rose in full bloom;
While George, in his bright, wedded home, dreameth not
Of the wand’rer,—to him like a song half forgot,
Or a strain of lost music ’s the memory, I ween,
Of the brother who sported with him on the green;
And she, my adored one, my destiny, here—
This weakness unmans me,—what! shedding a tear?
Back! back to thy fountain! I deemed ’twas too cold
To thus quickly o’er flow, at the mem’ries of old.
’Twas here, when a child, ’neath this old linden tree,
Where my father oft sat with a book on his knee,
I wove beautiful garlands, all glowing and bright,
To twine ’mong his silken locks, dark as the night;
And no greather reward did I wish than the smile
That mantled his brow, and his lip, all the while,
As he twined ’mong my soft curls his fingers with joy,
And murmured, ‘God bless thee, my own blue-eyed boy!’
Full many a year has flown o’er me since then,
And I’ve written my name ’mong the noblest of men;
Ambition was true to her promise, but still
There’s a place in my heart which Fame never can fill.”
THE SILENT GUEST.
Inscribed to a Friend, on the sudden death of his two little boys, his only children.
Most lovingly the pale moon shone,
Where high and sheltering hills hemmed in,
As if to guard it from the storms
That swept around their rugged brows,
A calm and peaceful village;
But here and there, a glimmering light
Shone faintly through the casement:
No step re-echoed from the stones
That flagged the long, and empty streets:
The noisy spaniel, and the yelping cur
Had sought an hour’s repose within
The kennel of the noble hound,
Or faithful watch-dog, that had left
Its snug and warm retreat to guard
Its master’s premises from harm:
The hour of ten was calmly told,
By the clock that graced the mantel
Of a pleasant cottage hall:
The coals burned bright within the grate
Where still the worthy couple sat,
Dreaming of future bliss, to come
When Time should shake the pearly dews
Of Life’s sweet summer o’er the brow
Of their loved boy, a fair haired child
Of scarce six sunny years.
His slender, fragile form lay wrapt
In dreamless slumber, where the hand
Of love had gently laid him.
When the dusky twilight softly came,
To fold her sombre robes around
The busy brain of childhood.
Against the wall were rudely thrown
The well worn toys, with which he oft
Beguiled the tedious, long day hours
Of winter’s dreary reign:
A hobby horse, caparisoned
Right gaily, foremost stood
Among the oddly sorted heap;
His hoofless foot was prest upon
A picture book, and from his neck
Hung down a tiny horn, and bells,
And on the floor his cap, and whip,
And divers colored shells.
Beside the lamp, his sire pored
Over some quaint old volume,—
Now reading,—and now turning down
Some page, or passage that he liked,
For future note, or reference.
In the low, and cushioned chair,
The fond young mother hushed to rest
Her playful baby boy, and still
Upon some beauteous fabric wrought,
To grace the lithe and lovely forms
Of her sweet ones.
Unseen, unheard, came softly in
A pale, and silent visitor.
His form was chill, for he was asked
Never, to warm his frozen limbs
Beside the household’s ruddy fire;
Yet ’mong men walked he daily.
As a messenger from Heaven,
Though much they feared him, and would fain
Keep from their sight his dreaded form.
Upon the brow of pain and grief
His well known seal is firmly set,
His cold embrace is oft times met
With quick, impatient zeal.
Obedient to the stern command
Of Heaven, e wanders sadly forth,
To cull the flowers that sweetly bloom
Upon the parent tree, to set
Them in the coronet of immortality,—
The troubled heart breaks forth
In lamentations, deep and wild,
That cannot oft be comforted:
It is so hard to yield to Death
The cherished treasures of the heart.
Each idol of the soul,
The last, sole one is torn away,—
O! then, weak mortal, are thy words
Of consolation worse than vain;
For, from a higher source than thine
Must the fresh bleeding wounds be healed.
But, let us turn where we
Have left the silent, unseen guest
Gazing upon the sinless brows
Of those fair, sleeping babes.
With boundless vision did he look
Beyond the realm of childhood’s years
Afar, to the sandy beach that bounds
The open sea of life.
The wild, unlighted, devious ways,
The rocks, and storms that oft obstruct
The paths that they must wander through,—
Marks the uncertain lights that glow
But to allure, and to destroy,—
Sees, rising far, the hills of wealth,
Of wisdom, and of sounding fame,
Where throngs of eager worshippers
Essay to climb their rugged steeps,
While multitudes but grovel at
The ignoble base forever!
Some reach an easy eminence,
And bask in smiles of peace and love—
If haply on the whirlwind’s heath
They’re not torn down, and crushed for aye.
’Twas on such scenes the angel looked,—
And as he gazed, sighed low, and said,
“ ’Tis better I should take them hence.”
Then on their downy cheeks he prest
His fingers till the hot blood came
In torrents, crimsoning the brow,
And burning the softly pouting lips,
The laboring breath came hurriedly.
This was enough—the seal was set—
Death knew them for his own,—
So bright, so beautiful—the gems were his,—
Then softly he departed.
Had made a fearful rent within
Two human hearts, that Time
Could never heal, or cure; but Faith
Twin sisters from the realms above,
Were sent forevermore to breathe,
In the language weary spirits learn
Of our ever faithful guides so well,
Of a brighter, holier land than this—
An Eden isle, far, far away,
Within the midst of the boundless sea
Of shoreless, vast Eternity!
The “Great Supreme,” shall gently rule
Forever over all! where sin,
Disease, and sorrow cannot come;
And death, and parting, never!
KOSSUTH’S ADDRESS TO THE AMERICANS.
“I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts,—
I am no orator, as Brutus is,
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man.
* * * * * *
For I have neither wit, nor worth, nor words,
Actiion, nor utterance, nor the powers of speech
To stir men’s blood; I only speak right on,
Show you sweet Cesar’s wounds,—poor, poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me.”
I have come, I have come, o’er the ocean’s broad wave,
I have come to this land of the “free and the brave,”
I have come at the call of this nation, so blest,
Though a poor, homeless exile, I come as its guest;
Yet I come not my weary, worn limbs to repose,
Where the flourishing Olive of Peace queenly grows;
Nor come I to wake the red fires of wrath,
Or scatter, of discord, the seeds in my path;
And yet, as o’er Cesar Mark Antony bowed,
And wept, as he showed his pale corpse to the crowd,
Thus I come, with the scene of my country’s deep woe,
And like Cesar’s dumb wounds, the dark picture I show.
Behold! from afar the Hungarian plains,
Despoiled, and oppressed, their loved children in chains!
Behold the broad sea of oppression that sweeps
O’er the land where the Goddess of Liberty weeps;
See the wide carnage field where right battled with might,
Till the tyrants came down, like the shadows of night,
Enshrouding the Magyar, his country, and hall,
In a mantle of bondage, a dark, fearful pall!
You would weep scalding tears, could you only behold
But one tithe of the wrongs of my country enrolled,—
Could you see the cold hearth stones, the groups in despair—
All that ’s left of the once happy household bands there,—
Could you see each dark prison, a towering tomb,
That enwraps noble hearts in their wild, hopeless gloom,
Where mothers and maids in each horrid cell lie,
Bound in fetters and chains, to starve, suffer, and die;
And oh! God of Heaven, ’tis bitter to bear,—
My own darling sisters are perishing there!
“Yet I come not, my friends, to wake mutiny here.”
By the sorrows that cling round my country’s sad bier,
I come, a poor exile, my story to tell,—
Its purpose, not doubtful, you all know full well:
I come to this bright, favored spot of the earth,
Where the children of Freedom first owned their glad birth,—
I come but to ask you if I never more
May see, proudly see, o’er my own native shore
The sunlight of Hope, and of Liberty rise,
To illumine with gladness poor Hungary’s skies;
Shall my people in bondage and slavery there
Inhale never more their own free mountain air?
Shall mothers and children still wander and stray
Afar from their own beloved homesteads away?
All wearied, and friendless, far hence must I go,
To hug to my heart its incubus of woe?
Shall my kindred in joy be never more prest,
In a glad, warm embrace, to my own happy breast?
Nor again shall I marshal the way to the field,
In the armor of right, and to victory steeled?
Shall our banner no more be unfurled to the breeze,—
O say! shall I harbor no hope for all these?
Shall my nation sink down in the gulf of despair,
Ignobly to rest in oblivion there?
No, no! God forbid I should do the great wrong
To believe that such thoughts to this nation belong;
For each hour since thy shores firs re-echoed my tread
Has spread a new halo of hope round my head;
O! had I the gift of the Roman, or Greek,
In eloquent periods my wishes to speak,—
I would arouse from their caverns of sleep
The cries of revenge, in each brave bosom, deep—
Till the streams of red blood, from my own native sod,
Should, like incense, arise to the foot-stool of God,—
Borne up on the breath of a nation’s deep prayer,
For justice to plead of Omnipotence there.
Once more—yet once more,—I am passing away—
In this blest, happy region not long may I stay;
They are calling the Magyar, in mountain and glen,
Though the echo is kept in the souls of brave men.
And now I have done,—the sad, parting adieu
Is all that remaineth for me and for you;
Words never may say how I bless, and adore
The hearts that have welcomed my steps to this shore;
While I feel, next to Heaven, that Columbia’s might
Will dispel from my country its mildew and blight,
I await the glad hour when America’s hand,
Like a Sibyline spell, o’er my down-trodden land,
With finger upraised, holds intruders at bay,
Till victory, or death, seals the last deadly fray.
Once more—I am done. I go hence filled with love
Toward my country, and yours, and our Father above!
THE GREEN WOOD BY THE TIDE.
Oh! I love it, I adore it,
And all the bright stars o’er it—
The green wood by the tide;
And as they come down, drinking
In the glassy wave, I’m thinking
Of one, who, by my side,
Long years ago, was breathing
(While the big, round moon was wreathing
Her glory round our brows,)
Of the hopes that then were beaming,
The visions we were dreaming,
And our deep, and fervent vows.
Oh! I love it,—I adore it,
And the gleaming stars high o’er it—
The green wood by the tide;
And as the bees are coming,
A humming, humming, humming,
From the far, green mountain side,
With their heavy laden wing,
And the quaint, old song they sing,
With its never-changing notes;
And the sweet wild birds are winging
To their forest homes, and flinging,
From their little minstrel throats,
Along the vaulted skies,
Enchanting, soft, and clear,
While the stars are o’er me gleaming,—
I’m dreaming, oh! I’m dreaming
Of one once o’er dear,
Who culled with me bright flowers,
In the glorious summer hours,
As we rambled, side by side,—
And this is why I love so well—
Above each glen, or bosky dell—
The green wood by the tide!
The green buds have burst, Fannie, over the hills,
The red-bud’s sweet blossoms unfold,
And the butter-cups, down by the soft flowing rills,
Have oped their broad petals of gold;
Then come, let us rove while the gentle winds woo,
’Mong the brown leaves, the low, timid flowers,
Where the violet beds—the white, yellow, and blue,
Brightly bloom, in the far, forest bowers.
And while the birds sing on the low, bending boughs,
We’ll blend, with each musical tone
Of free, gladsome carol, or bird-spoken vows,
Some wild mountain lay of our own;
We’ll stray through the nooks, away out in the wild,
Where the grape vines, so tangled, and gray,
Are the same that o’ershadowed my brow, when a child,
Oft I dreamed the long hours away.
We’ll go to the haunts where alone I have strayed,
To re-tune the rude chords of my lyre,
When grieved that the unmeasured music they made
Breathed not of the soul’s divine fire;
Oh, I’ve many strange stories and legends to tell,
Of the hills, and the valleys all round,—
I can show you the spot where the red warriors fell,
Like brown leaves, on the old battle ground.
Then come, let us rove where the light squirrel leaps,
And the bee lowly hums on the spray,
As they seek ’mong the buds where the honey dew sleeps,
Then bear the sweet treasure away;
And O! for a while ’mong the glorious things,
Of Nature we’ll wander, and dwell,
Where ever some bright thought unconsciously flings,
O’er the heart-chords, its soul cheering spell.
THE OLD CEDAR TREE.
They have left the Old Cedar, those merry, bright birds,
They passed off like the echo of light spoken words,—
The sprigs are unbent, the soft nests are all bare,
And a lone, solemn look does the Old Cedar wear;
No more do their wings, with their glorious sheen,
Press, like rubies and gems, on the Cedar’s dark green;
When the king of the winds sang his winter refrain
They chimed in the chorus, their last farewell strain.
They’ve left the Old Cedar, that sheltered their young,
When their first flights were taken, and first lays were sung;
Their songs are all hushed, like the music of love,
When the dark clouds of grief veil the brightness above;
They’ve vanished away, as our summer friends flee,
When the winds of adversity ruffle life’s sea;
They have fled, like the smiles from the brow we adore,
When doubt enters in, where faith rested before.
They have left the Old Cedar, as children who stray
From the sheltering breast where their tiny heads lay;
They’re winging their way to some gay summer bower,
Where they’ll feel not the might of the storm-spirit’s power;
They’ve left the Old Cedar, to list to the tones
Of the sighing winds only,—their sobs, and their moans.
They never could brook for their plumage so red
To grow dull, in the darkness that hangs overhead.
But lo! from the north, on the sleet and the hail,
With free, dauntless wing, on the breast of the gale,
Comes a band of brown birds, and with merry a “PEE DEE,”
Seem to ask for a home in the Old Cedar Tree.
Their songs are not sweet as the warblings of old,
That gushed from the bosoms of crimson and gold;
Yet their hearts, though all wrapped in a coat of dull gray,
Spread their cheerfulness round, in their own quiet way.
Oh, thus, when we mortals grow weary and sad,
With nothing to make the heart merry, or glad,—
When the tones we have cherished fall not on the ear,
And the green leaves of love have grown yellow and sere,—
May some kind spirit then, though the storm-cloud is dark,
And the arrows of Fate pierce our souls as their mark,
Come to rest in our bosoms, though humble they be,
Like the brown birds that rest in the Old Cedar Tree.
MY HEART HAS HAD SWEET VISIONS.
My heart has had sweet visions,
And has dreamed them o’er and o’er,
As I sit, this calm June evening,
Outside my cottage door;
All around me flowers are glowing—
The nurslings of my care,
While the winds are softly playing
’Mong the tresses of my hair.
The sweet night-blooming jasmine,
With pearly dew is wet,
And geraniums blend their perfume
With the rose and mignionette;
No mortal sound is breaking
Earth’s sacred time of rest,
There’s a holy quiet round me,
And a quiet in my breast.
Methinks that unseen fingers
Are pressing on my brow,
As a troop of happy spirits
Are clustering round me now;
The early loved and beautiful,
I see them each and all,—
Round each brow, shining brightly,
A fadeless coronal.
They come to bring me messages,
Amid such hours as these
When the stars send golden quivers
Through the flower-laden trees,—
When the moon sails o’er the ocean,
In her silver-broidered vest,
When a hush is in the forest,
And the waters are at rest.
I feel each blissful presence,
I list each murmuring tone,
And I know they are about me,
“My beautiful, my own.”
They ever loved sweet flowers,
The moonlight, and the breeze,—
Thus each summer evening finds me
Alone, mid scenes like these.
’Tis thus I courage borrow,
The patient brow to wear,
Through each coming day of sadness,
Disappointment, and care;
For I know, when night’s gemmed curtain
Falls lightly o’er the sea,
Those dwellers of the spirit land
Will be again with me.
THE STAR BEAMS.
The star beams that came with the fairies last nigh,
And the silver moonlight in the vale,
And went wooing the roses that blushed in their light,
And the lilies, so proud, and so pale;
While the low winds were breathing far over the sea,
’Mid the bright, crystal waves’ gentle flow,
The songs they loved best,—while the soft lullaby
Echoed down where the green sea weeds grow—
They are gone! all gone, from their banqueting hall
To-night, though the roses are there,
Adown in the vale; but roses and all
Are robed in the hues of despair:
As sweetly as ever, the stars beam to-night,
O’er the land of the citron and vine,
And toy, with a happier blush of delight,
With the joys of that odorous clime.
And when next thy come, with their false, burning rays,
The clouds from the skies will have flown,
But the lilies will bow, to avert their rude gaze,
As they’ll turn to the last that have blown;
The flowrets have learnt from the pitiless rain,
And the winds that blew down from the skies,
How fickle they are, and how futile, and vain
’Twere to trust to the light of their eyes.
Thus, the sweet smiles of friendship, and love, in our youth,
Fall, like gems on the shrine of the heart;
We dream they are drops from the fountain of truth—
That their treasures will never depart;
But the vision will fade, and we laugh at them all;
Their light on the bosom may glow,—
’Twill warm it as much as the sunbeams that fall
On a mountain top, crusted with snow.
The beautiful thoughts that come floating along,
To illumine my heart with their lightness,
I never can breathe in my rambling song,
For the chords of my lyre want lightness.
The deep, silver base ones are covered with dust,
The tenor ones soiled, and worn,
And the face of my lyre is covered with dust,
And of all its bright gilding is shorn.
The harmonic tones that its bosom should swell,
Are sullen, discordant, and cold,
And a gloom, and a sadness, will over it dwell,
As it sings the dear mem’ries of old.
Yet I’ll cling to it still, for I never could wake
A lyre, all shining and new;
My rude, careless fingers the wrong chords would take,
And make the notes harsh, and untrue.
There are hours when my spirit folds her weary, wandering wings,
And sees, nor heeds the passing of sublunary things,
While holding fond communion with the loved of other days,
As they throng in troops about me, all veiled from mortal gaze;
Their smiles are like the sunshine, that gently wanders through
The red-bud, in the spring time, while wet with morning dew;
And their voices make sweet music, like a low, sweet matin hymn,
Stealing out upon the waters, from Cathedral, old, and dim;
Or like a chime of silver bells, in Alpine mountain rung,
Where melodious strains are ever, by wooing zephyrs sung.
When each day of grief and sadness is numbered with the past,
And Lethean chains are lightly o’er sleeping myriads cast;
Then, as Clan-Alpine’s Chieftain, the dauntless Roderic Dhu,
With bugle, ’mong the mountains, called his warriors, brave and true,
From each rock, and crag, and ravine, uprose the hardy band,
To promptly do his bidding—to go, or bravely stand!
So memory waves her sceptre, o’er her empire of the heart,
And from each nook, and cranny, beloved idols start;
They wear the “bonnie pladdie” of loyalty and truth,—
Their countersign,—“We love thee, as you loved us in thy youth.”
Once more I feel their breathing, and their hands are clasped in mine,
While we drink from golden goblets affection’s rosy wine,
Oh! it fills the heart with gladness, with purer, holier love,
And fits it for communings with angel ones above;
To thus, amid life’s folly, its wickedness and sin,
Put off the outer vestment, and dwell awhile within,
Where the mem’ry of lost hours, and thoughts of vanished years,
Are like a blooming island, in a sea of briny tears,
Within whose magic circle reigns a calm, unbroken rest,
While the dove of peace sits brooding, on her vine-embowered nest.
THE GOLD COMET.
Written in 1849.
Ho! see to the westward, ’way up in the skies,
Rising upward, still up, a gold comet arise!
And, hark! floating out on the breast of the sea,
With the soft breath of even, a wild melody;
’Tis the gold hunter’s song, the hurrah for the mines,
As the multitude haste where the golden dust shines!
O’er the Emerald Isle, o’er the waters of Dair,
On the bright flowing Rhine, the gold comet is there:
To destroy the earth came the comets of old,
But this one has come to convert it to gold;
O’er the ends of the earth its long, bright streamer gleams,
But its nucleus is hid in California’s streams.
But, beward, oh! beware of its treacherous glow,
’Twill lead thee o’er desolate mountains of snow;
O’er deserts, whose sands are all burning and red,
Engulphing the forms of the dying and dead;
Beware of its glow—like the funeral light,
It illumines the way to a long, dismal night!
’Tis the Jack-o’-the-lantern, to lure from their home
The cherished, and loved, a drear pathway to roam.
O, the soft, spirit light, from many an eye,
Went out, as that comet flashed up in the sky;
And many a hearth has grown cheerless, and lone,
For their stars to its wild, witching brightness have flown!
Composed while gazing on a Beacon Light, on Lake Erie.
Oh, say, why art thou gleaming,
Thy glances downward streaming,
From thy tower, lone and high?
To-night no clouds are lying,
No angry lightnings flying,
Across the summer sky.
The winds are all reposing
’Mong flowers, soft enclosing,
To list their gentle lay;
While the upper orbs are smiling
On the crystal waves, beguiling
The midnight hours away.
Then tell me why thou ’rt gleaming,
Thy glances downward streaming,
From thy tower, lone and high?
Dost tell of hope, or fearing,
To the mariner, while nearing
Thy ever watchful eye?
Thou ’dst tell me, there are lying,
Where the mermaids, low, are sighing,
Beneath the glassy waves,
Dark rocks, that frown forever,
That yield their victims, never,
From their deep and silent graves.
This, then, is why thou ’rt keeping
Thy vigils, never sleeping,
Beside the rock-bound shore;
A faithful warder, truly,
Still giving, not unduly,
Thy warnings evermore.
Like the spirit light that guides us,
Th[r]ough whatever fate betides us,
On life’s uncertain sea,
To tell us of the sadness,
’Neath the silver tide of gladness,
Where fearful maelstroms be.
Or, through joys round us falling,
Like unhushed voices, calling,
To the entranced heart, “beware;”
Or, through clouds of grief and sorrow,
Ever pointing to the morrow,
Where happiest visions are.
Oh! would the heart might harken,
Ere storms around us darken,
To that monitory voice,
As the seaman heeds thy warning
Through the night, till rosy morning
Lights the pathway of his choice.
Down through the darkness, flashing,
Cometh streams of lurid light,
And the rain-drops, madly dashing
’Gainst the sullen brow of night;
Earth trembles ’neath the raving
Of the Storm-god, in the sky,
And fain would shrink from braving
The brightness of his eye.
And now, methinks, the bounding waves,
And troubled winds, that sweep
Around the lonely mountain caves,
Have wakened from their sleep
The ghools [sic] and sprites that dwell within—
Such tumult wild outpours,
As if each den of woe and sin
Were keeping open doors.
But why should mortals shrink aghast
At elemental strife,
Whose breasts have felt the seething blast,
That sweeps the path of life?
Nay, let the child of hope, and love,
The careless, happy one,
Droop, when the angry clouds above
Obscure the setting sun.
Not so, the sorrow-laden heart,
Like freighted ship at sea,
It will not bound, and leap, and start,
When cross waves strike the lee,
But calmly look upn the sky,
In clashing armor drest:—
The oak will never fear to die,
Whose leaves are sered, [sic] at best.
Oh, pleasant were the days, Cora Raymond, when together
We rambled o’er the hill-top, and among the blooming heather;
We knew each sunny nook, where the early dasies [sic] grew,
And ever gentle violets, the yellow, white, and blue;
We had arbors in the glen, where we used to sit and sing,
When the buds began to burst, in the merry, gladsome spring;
We had our favorite birds, and knew each tiny nest,
If thrush, or robin built it, a linnet, or red-breast.
Then, when the sultry summer months came, with their gleaming prize
Of berries, and their bursting buds, of thousand brilliant dies,
Oh, ’twas sport to find them out, in the breezy forest hall,
And twine those wild-wood gems in a glowing coronal,
Which, brilliant as they shone, were not radiant as the dreams
That filled our trusting hearts, with their many-tinted beams;
Then we were like the waters, that glided at our feet,
Never thinking of the chasms, and the darkness, they must meet.
Thus, from childhood, Cora Raymond, we grew up, side by side,
Until the day you left me, a fair, and happy bride:
The light of early love, and hope, shone brightly in your eye,
From which the tear drops trickled, as you bade us all “good-by;” The little birds sang sweetly, out on the cottage eaves,
And the morn was fair, and brilliant, as a vision fancy weaves,
But sighs would still be starting, ’mong the household, all the day,
For, Cora, thou wert wedded, and wandering far away.
But few short years have passed since then, yet, Cora, you and I
Have seen the darkest frowns of Fate o’ershade our summer sky;
Have felt her glance, like lightning shaft, sink deep within the soul,
And heard, amid the beating storms, her sullen thunders roll;
The flowers of youth lie withering, in Time’s dark, funeral urn,
And the stars that lit our early way, now dimly, faintly burn;
Content, that sat upon our hearts, as if upon a throne,
Has, like a vanquished monarch, from beleaguered castle flown.
The same bright heavens, dear Cora, still smile in beauty o’er us,
The same green hills, and valleys, are round us, and before us.
But the harp of thy young spirit is broken and unstrung,
And, like a lute neglected, on the willow branches hung;
The blighting mists have fallen on that gentle heart of thine,
And the weight of many sorrows lie o’er heavily on mine;
The haunts we so much loved are still as beauteous as of yore,
But, ah, we’ll wander gaily ’mong their shadows nevermore.
WE ARE ALL GROPING.
Taken from “Joe’s” death scene, in Chapter xlvii, of Dickens “Bleak House.”
We are all, all “groping”
Through the darkness and the gloom,
Adown the path, sloping,
From the cradle to the tomb.
We are all “moving on,”
Scarcely knowing left from right,
For oft the guide is gone
Who should lead us through the night.
But destiny has spoken,
“Move ahead, move ahead,”
Till the worn cart is broken
In the valley of the dead.
And we that grope alone,
O’er the “long, and rugged road,”
Hear the “shaking wheels” moan,
As they tremble ’neath their load.
There are steps we have dusted
At the portals of the tomb,
But the broad gates are rusted,
And the heart fills with gloom,
As with “Reason’s” key we try
The stubborn bolts to turn,
While the magic one doth lie
Only in the funeral urn.
But the “light is coming fast”
“O’er the dark, benighted way,”
’Twill burst, when we have passed
Through the gates of endless day.
MY GALLERY OF PICTURES.
I ’ve a gallery of pictures,
That cast their fadeless light
O’er my soul’s fast-coming darkness,
Like the vestal queen of night,
They pass before my vision,
And I scan them, one by one,
When the evening shades are round us,
And my daily toils are done.
The beautiful, the cherished,
I ’ve treasured each, and all,
In affection’s ruby settings,
In the heart’s most favored hall;
There landscapes, bright, are painted,
In colors rich and rare;
Broad, green, and fruitful meadows,
And purling streams, are there.
There are gently sloping hill-sides,
All covered o’er with trees,
That wave their dewy tresses
In the ever sportive breeze,—
Where we used to go each even,
A fair, young girl and I,
To see the sunlight fading,
And the stars bestrew the sky.
And listen to the mourning
Of some lonely turtle dove,
And weep, to think it telling
Of its hopelessness and love.
Oh, I ’ve many such bright pictures,
Of happy, joyous years,
Ere they were dimmed, or darkened,
By bitter, burning tears;
Each has its own bright corner,
Its own peculiar nook,
And they ’re never moved, or taken
From the self-same peg or hook;
There Memory, like a student,
All veiled from outward sight,
Sits, wrapt among her pictures,
In a painter’s mellow light.
SONG—THE MAGYAR CHIEF.
Composed for, and sung at, a grand concert, given for the benefit of KOSSUTH, at Cincinnati.
We have come with songs and gladness,
We have come with welcomes sweet,
We have come the Magyar Chieftain,
With throbbing hearts, to greet;
We have come,w ith busy fingers,
To weave a chaplet, now,
Of bright roses with the laurel
Around the hero’s brow.
Then sound the bugle, beat loud the drum,
Free let our banners wave,
The nation’s honored guest has come—
The great Hungarian brave!
We are grieved, that with our welcome
Must mingle the adieu,
But our blessings, noble Magyar,
And our hearts will go with you;
While the arm of this great nation
Shall guard thy chosen way,
As was raised the wand of Moses,
To make the waves obey.
Then sound the bugle, etc.
They are waiting, they are waiting,
In valley and in glen,
They are waiting for their chieftain,
Brave, dauntless, fearless men!
They are waiting for his signal,
With iron will and hand
Nerved and bent, to break the fetters
That bind his cherished land.
Then sound the bugle, etc.
Sent with a bouquet of exotics to a Friend.
Oh! wearily pass by the hours
Of this long, sultry, summer-time day,
And I ’ll joy when the far, green wood bowers
Are clothed in eve’s mantle of gray.
Too deep is the stillness around me,
Too wild are the thoughts of my brain,
And too painfully long have they bound me
In the links of their mystical chain.
But longer the shadows are creeping
Adown the green hills in the west,
And the last golden sunlight is sleeping
On the river’s broad, mirroring breast.
Then I ’ll shake off this lethargic feeling,
As morn shakes the dew from her wings,
While happy thoughts come o’er me, stealing,
Like the notes that my pet bird now sings;
And, by the soft light round me falling,
I ’ll leave my lone lattice awhile,
For the voice of the flowers seem calling,
The gloom of my heart to beguile.
O, sweet are their odorous breathing
And the light of their tear-laden eyes
Glows with joy, while the star-beams are wreathing
Their light round the queen of the skies.
I ’ll gather some buds that I ’ve cherished,
And sprig of geranium tree,
Which the dews and the zephyrs have nourished,
And twine in an off’ring for thee.
O, simple the gift is, and faded
Will be their soft petals, so rare,
Ere they reach thee, and all darkly shaded,
Yet their sweetness will still linger there.
Thus, though friendship’s sweet flowers may decay,
In long years of sorrow and gloom,
Still, the heart’s sacred shrine, where they lay,
Will retain their exquisite perfume.
THE ANGEL’S VISIT.
Suggested by the untimely death, by drowning, of ALFRED HILL, a young stranger in our community, who was much beloved by all who knew him.
The angels in heaven were making a crown,
With the first water jewels all set,
But one still was wanting, and marveled they much
Where they this bright jewel should get.
The angel of death, with his cold, chilling frown,
Plumed his broad, raven wings for the flight,
In the search of this one wanting gem for the crown,
All radiant, all gleaming with light.
He paused o’er the ocean—a proud ship was there,
Its colors waved fearless and free,
Ah, ha, thought the angel, there’s noble gems there,
Though scarce bright enough though for me;—
I’ll gather them soon for a coronal bright,
Proud trophies, to hang up in heaven;
But, pure as they are, they ’ll not answer to-night
The orders, to me, that were given.
Then he flew to a mansion, and hovered around
Where a maiden was passing away,
Where the long, silken curtains, low, drooped to the ground
From the couch, where the lovely one lay.
The angel long sighed, as he murmured, “Not now,
Although thou art destined for bliss;
Though the spirit is pure that illumes thy pale brow,
Yet ’tis scarce bright enough, now, for this.”
So he waved his white scroll, and flew off to the strand,
Where the waters were rolling along,
Where, ’mid the waves’ glee, as they leaped o’er the sand,
Echoed jests, and wild snatches of song.
“Ha! ha!” laughed the angel, “here, here is my prize,
He with the soft smile and delicate cheek,
I ’ll just give a glance in those glorious eyes,
And so gently to him will I speak.”
Then the rush of his wings, as he soared to the skies,
Smote the hearts of that joyous band;
They looked through the gloom, and their far straining eyes
Could discern but the white, unpraised hand,
As the waters were folding his brow to their breast,
And the curls of his long, golden hair;
And they knew by that sign, though the waves were at rest,
That the angel of death had been there.
A tall, stately man, in deep agony, wept,
Down by the broad river’s side;
’Neath the green crystal waters his young brother slept,
His parents’ best loved one, their pride:
From their far, eastern home rose a heart-rending prayer,
Far up to the “Great Supreme’s” throne,
For the sad, fearful tidings to those fond ones there,
On the wings of the lightning* had flown.
They prayed that the waves might give up the fair boy,
That the angel had left in their keeping;
They could not endure that their heart’s treasured joy
In the river’s dark caves should be sleeping.
The “Great Supreme” answered their prayer, and his word,
Like the voice of an avenging one, came;
The waters were troubled, when his voice they heard,
And grew fiery red, in their shame.
“Ho! give up, thou river, give up thy bright dead!”
(The thunders brought the message from God,)
And the waves gave their trust*, from their pebbly bed,
To rest ’neath the flower-gemmed sod.
* This alludes to the recovery of the body immediately after a severe storm on the third day after the fatal catastrophe.
Respectfully inscribed to Mrs. E. C. HAWKINS, of Cincinnati.
A glowing oasis lies, serene,
With crystal founts, and bowers of green,
Within life’s desert plain,
Where each bird of love that dwelleth there,
Is ever filling the perfumed air
With some enchanting strain.
There the flowers of friendship spring and grow,
And beautiful buds of fancy blow
In starry, moon-clad nooks;
And low-voiced harps, with leaves entwined,
Whose strings are swept by the gentle wind,
Keep time with the singing brooks.
There the minstrel learns the thrilling notes,
That over the chords of his lyre float;
There the poet weaves his lay;
And the painter gathers the colors, bright,
Taht gleam in the rainbow’s varied light,
Or from the star-beams stray.
And I ’ve a nook in this eden spot,
A shady, cool, breeze-loving grot,
With its well-springs, all my own,
Where I sometimes sing a gentle lay,
To while the long, long hours away,
Or, silent, muse alone.
And I sometimes gather buds, to twine
Round a goblet, filled with rosy wine—
A libation pure, and true—
To drink to some Friend, beloved, and far,
That gleams in my soul, like a radiant star
And thus do I drink to you.
May happiness, health, and those ye love
Be spared to thy hopes, by heaven above,
While thy footsteps linger here;
And may fate bring never, a darkling cloud,
A single joy with gloom to enshroud,
Or sadden thee with a far.
And may I not hope, as years glide along,
And hushed are the notes of my lonely song,
That one chord in thy soul may be,
With a thrill of gladness, gently stirred,
As autumn leaves by a passing bird,
With a thought of Eulalie.
THE SEASON OF THE FLOWERS.
Again it is the summer time,
The season of the flowers,
When the fa[i]ries people every glen,
Through all the moonlight hours;
When the earth is like an open book,
A book of old romance,
Where the vision takes whole chapters in
At every passing glance.
For who has not some favorite haunt—
In the green-wood it may be,
Or arbor, down the garden slope,
Or ’neath some spreading tree,
Where oft, with cherished ones, we ’ve had
Long hours of pleasant talk,
Have sung sweet songs, have dreamed bright dreams,
In many a rural walk.
Oh! I have many, many such,
Each valley and each glen,
Around my native dwelling place,
Are teeming full of them,
Like true, revolving satellites,
That cluster round the sun,
To shed abroad their glory
When the weary day is done.
So, when the wintry hours
Have ceased their reign on earth,
And the wild-birds fill each forest
With melody and mirth,
There comes a troop of fancies, bright,
Like stars of summer eve,
And round about my spirit
Their golden tissues weave.
I never cull a lovely flower,
Or form a bright bouquet,
But there comes a thought of dear ones
O’er the ocean, far away,
Or of those who wove fair garlands,
But a year ago, with me,
Who now are gently sleeping
Beneath the cypress tree.
O, I treasure all earth’s beauty,
Though I taste her wells of woe,
And oft in gushing melody
My heart will overflow—
Though all untaught my lyre,
And wild and free my strain
As boatmen’s ringing chorus,
Or gondolier’s refrain.
THE DESERT BURIAL.
Suggested by reading the following extract of a letter from a surviving emigrant:—“Amid all this wretchedness, my dear young brother yielded up his breath, earnestly imploring that I would not leave him buried in the desert in his loneliness. When the remorseless sun went down once more, we scraped away the burning sand, and made a rude bed, where I helped to lay the dear boy with my own hands; after which we set out, with what little remaining strength we had, on foot, (for our mules were all dead,) toward the ‘land of promise,’ which, after untold suffering, we have at last reached.”
“Oh! leave me not in this fearful spot,
In this desert, wild and drear,
O, heaven! dear brother, bury me not,
For I cannot rest me here.”
A fearful thing, then, it was to trace
The look of wild agony
That swept, like a cloud, o’er that fair, young face,
When he felt that he must die.
Then closed those lips, so pale and mute,
When these last words were spoken,
Like the sadd’ning wail of discarded lute,
When its chords are shrunk and broken.
The crimson sun then sunk once more,
Away in the distant west,
As a conqueror, when the battle ’s o’er,
Lies down in his gory vest.
Yet from the depths of that lurid sky,
And over those burning sands,
The simoom-like winds came surging by,
Like those of Arabian lands;
Alone, alone, on the desert plain
Fell, darkly, the deep despair,
That rent the sorrowing hearts in twain
Of the wretched beings there.
’Twas a scene to quench the spirit’s light,
To see that desolate band
Making his bed, by the moon-beams light,
Far down in the arid sand;
They left him there, in his loneliness,
Entombed ’neath unfriendly skies,
Their cheerless steps, to wearily press,
On, on to the glittering prize!