Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

The very lowest of them all

Doth act an angel's part,
And bear a message home from God

Unto the listening heart.
And thou may'st hear—as Adam heard

In Eden's flowery shades,
When angels talked, at falling eve,

Amid its silent glades-
The hallowing rush of spirit-wings,
And murmur of immortal strings :-
Truths such as guide the comet cars

On fiery mission driven,
Or in their beauty light the stars

Along the floor of heaven :
One choral theme, below, above,

One anthem near and far-
The daisy singing in the grass,

As through the cloud the star-
And to the wind that sweeps the sky
The roses making low reply.
For the meanest wild-bud breathes to swell,

Upon immortal ears-
So hear it, thou, in grove or dell!-

The music of the spheres.

49.-AN OLD MAN'S IDYLL.

RICHARD REALF. [Richard Realf was born at Uckfield, in Sussex, in 1835. His poetica! talents attracting the attention of a lady at Brighton, in whose service he resided, she was induced to publish for him a volume of his poems, " Guesses at the Beautiful,” by which he obtained some local repute. Since then he appears to have led a roving life ; he was with John Brown at Harper's Ferry, was reported dead, returned to England, and after being seen at several places in his native county, suddenly disappeared.]

By the waters of Life we sat together,

Hand in hand, in the golden days
Of the beautiful early summer weather,

When skies were purple and breath was praise-
When the heart kept tune to the carol of birds,

And the birds kept tune to the songs which ran
Through shimmer of flowers on grassy swards,

And trees with voices Æolian.
By the rivers of Life we walked together,

I and my darling, unafraid ;
And lighter than any linnet's feather

The burdens of Being on us weighed.

An Old Man's Idyll.

215

And love's sweet miracles o'er us threw

Mantles of joy outlasting Time, And up

from the rosy morrows grew A sound that seemed like a marriage chime.

In the gardens of Life we strayed together,

And the luscious apples were ripe and red,
And the languid lilac and honeyed heather

Swooned with the fragrance which they shed.
And under the trees the angels walked,
And

up

in the air a sense of wings Awed us tenderly while we talked

Softly in sacred communings.

In the meadows of Life we strayed together,

Watching the waving harvests grow; And under the benison of the Father

Our hearts, like the lambs, skipped to and fro. And the cowslips, hearing our low replies,

Broidered fairer the emerald banks : And glad tears shone in the daisies' eyes,

And the timid violet glistened thanks.

Who was with us, and what was round us,

Neither myself nor my darling guessed; Only we knew that something crowned us

Out from the heavens with crowns of rest; Only we knew that something bright

Lingered lovingly where we stood, Clothed with the incandescent light

Of something higher than humanhood.

O the riches love doth inherit!

Ah, the alchemy which doth change Dross of body and dregs of spirit

Into sanctities rare and strange! My flesh is feeble and dry and old,

My darling's beautiful hair is grey ; But our elixir and precious gold

Laugh at the footsteps of decay.

Harms of the world have come unto us,

Cups of sorrow we yet shall drain ;
But we have a secret which doth show us

Wonderful rainbows in the rain.
And we hear the tread of the years move by,

And the sun is setting behind the hills;
But

my darling does not fear to die, And I am happy in what God wills.

So we sit by our household fires together,

Dreaming the dreams of long ago; Then it was balmy summer weather,

And now the valleys are laid in snow. Icicles hang from the slippery eaves,

The wind blows cold, 'tis growing late; Well, well! we have garnered all our sheaves,

I and my darling, and we wait.

[blocks in formation]

No bosom trembles for thy doom,

No mourner wipes a tear;
The gallows' foot is all thy tomb,

The sledge is all thy bier!
Oh! Gilderoy, bethought we then

So soon, so sad, to part,
When first in Röslin's lovely glen
You triumphed o'er my

heart!
Your locks they glittered to the sheen,

Your hunter-garb was trim,
And graceful was the ribbon green

That bound your manly limb!
Ah ! little thought I to deplore

Those limbs in fetters bound;
Or hear, upon the scaffold floor,

The midnight hammer sound.
Ye cruel, cruel, that combined

The guiltless to pursue !
My Gilderoy was ever kind,

He could not injure you!

The Three Fishers.

217

A long adieu !—but where shall fly

Thy widow all forlorn,
When every mean and cruel eye

Regards my woe with scorn?
Yes, they will mock thy widow's tears,

And hate thy orphan boy!
Alas! his infant beauty wears

The form of Gilderoy.
Then will I seek the dreary mound

That wraps thy mouldering clay,
And weep and linger on the ground

And sigh my heart away!

moor.

[ocr errors]

51.-THREE FISHERS WENT SAILING.

THE REV. CHARLES KINGSLEY. [The Rev. Charles Kingsley was born, 1819, at Holme Vicarage, near Dart

He was educated at King's College, London, and Magdalene College, Cambridge. He abandoned the law for the Church, and became the rector of Eversley, Hampshire. His writings are very numerous, and include “The Saint's Tragedy,” 1848; “ Alton Locke," a novel, 1850; “ Yeast, a Problem, 1851 ; “Westward Ho," a novel ; Glaucus, or the Wonders of the Shore ;" " Andromeda," and other poems (1858), &c. &c. He is the editor of “Macmillan's Magazine," and professor of Literature in Cambridge University. Still living.]

THREE fishers went sailing out into the West,

Out into the West as the sun went down;
Each thought on the woman who loved him best,

And the children stood watching them out of the town:
For men must work, and women must weep,
And there's little to earn, and many

to keep,
Though the harbour-bar be moaning.
Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,

And they trimm'd the lamps as the sun went down;
They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,

And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown;
But men must work, and women must weep,
Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,

And the harbour-bar be moaning.
Three corpses lie out in the shining sands,

In the morning gleam, as the tide went down,
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands,

For those who will never come home to the town.
For men must work, and women must weep,
And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep,

And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.

52.-THE MOTHER'S LAMENT.

GERALD GRIFFIN.

[See page 153.]
My darling, my darling, while silence is on the moor,
And lone in the sunshine I sit by our cabin door;
When evening falls quiet and calm over land and sea,
My darling, my darling, I think of past times and thee.
Here, while on this cold shore, I wear out my lonely hours,
My child in the heavens is spreading my

bed with flowers :
All weary my bosom is grown of this friendless clime,
But I long not to leave it; for that were a shame and crime.
They bear to the churchyard the youth in their health away,
I know where a fruit hangs more ripe for the grave than they ;
But I wish not for death, for my spirit is all resigned,
And the hope that stays with me, gives peace to my aged mind.
My darling, my darling, God gave to my feeble age

, A prop for

my faint heart, a stay in my pilgrimage : My darling, my darling, God takes back his gift againAnd my heart may be broken, but ne'er shall my will complain.

:

53.-NAPOLEON'S MIDNIGHT REVIEW.

MERY AND BARTHELEMY.
At midnight, from his grave,

The drummer woke and rose,
And beating loud the drum,

Forth on his rounds he goes.
Stirred by his faithful arms,

The drumsticks patly fall,
He beats the loud retreat,

Reveillé and roll-call.
So grandly rolls that drum,

So deep it echoes round,
Old soldiers in their graves,

Start to life at the sound.

Both they in farthest North

Stiff in the ice that lay,
And who too warm repose

Beneath Italian clay ;

« ForrigeFortsæt »