While on my lonely couch I lie,
I seldom feel myself alone,
For fancy fills my dreaming eye
With scenes and pleasures of its own.
Then I may cherish at my breast
An infant's form beloved and fair,
May smile and soothe it into rest
With all a Mother's fondest care.
How sweet to feel its helpless form
Depending thus on me alone!
And while I hold it safe and warm
What bliss to think it is my own!
And glances then may meet my eyes
That daylight never showed to me;
What raptures in my bosom rise,
Those earnest looks of love to see,
To feel my hand so kindly prest,
To know myself beloved at last,
To think my heart has found a rest,
My life of solitude is past!
But then to wake and find it flown,
The dream of happiness destroyed,
To find myself unloved, alone,
What tongue can speak the dreary void?
A heart whence warm affections flow,
Creator, thou hast given to me,
And am I only thus to know
How sweet the joys of love would be?
The Narrow Way
Believe not those who say
The upward path is smooth,
Lest thou shouldst stumble in the way
And faint before the truth.
It is the only road
Unto the realms of joy;
But he who seeks that blest abode
Must all his powers employ.
Bright hopes and pure delights
Upon his course may beam,
And there amid the sternest heights,
The sweetest flowerets gleam; --
On all her breezes borne
Earth yields no scents like those;
But he, that dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.
Arm, arm thee for the fight!
Cast useless loads away:
Watch through the darkest hours of night;
Toil through the hottest day.
Crush pride into the dust,
Or thou must needs be slack;
And trample down rebellious lust,
Or it will hold thee back.
Seek not thy treasure here;
Waive pleasure and renown;
The World's dread scoff undaunted bear,
And face its deadliest frown.
To labour and to love,
To pardon and endure,
To lift thy heart to God above,
And keep thy conscience pure, --
Be this thy constant aim,
Thy hope and thy delight, --
What matters who should whisper blame,
Or who should scorn or slight?
What matters -- if thy God approve,
And if within thy breast,
Thou feel the comfort of his love,
The earnest of his rest?
I will not mourn thee, lovely one,
Though thou art torn away.
'Tis said that if the morning sun
Arise with dazzling ray
And shed a bright and burning beam
Athwart the glittering main,
'Ere noon shall fade that laughing gleam
Engulfed in clouds and rain.
And if thy life as transient proved,
It hath been full as bright,
For thou wert hopeful and beloved;
Thy spirit knew no blight.
If few and short the joys of life
That thou on earth couldst know,
Little thou knew'st of sin and strife
Nor much of pain and woe.
If vain thy earthly hopes did prove,
Thou canst not mourn their flight;
Thy brightest hopes were fixed above
And they shall know no blight.
And yet I cannot check my sighs,
Thou wert so young and fair,
More bright than summer morning skies,
But stern death would not spare;
He would not pass our darling by
Nor grant one hour's delay,
But rudely closed his shining eye
And frowned his smile away,
That angel smile that late so much
Could my fond heart rejoice;
And he has silenced by his touch
The music of thy voice.
I'll weep no more thine early doom,
But O! I still must mourn
The pleasures buried in thy tomb,
For they will not return.
Verses To A Child
O raise those eyes to me again
And smile again so joyously,
And fear not, love; it was not pain
Nor grief that drew these tears from me;
Beloved child, thou canst not tell
The thoughts that in my bosom dwell
Whene'er I look on thee!
Thou knowest not that a glance of thine
Can bring back long departed years
And that thy blue eyes' magic shine
Can overflow my own with tears,
And that each feature soft and fair
And every curl of golden hair,
Some sweet remembrance bears.
Just then thou didst recall to me
A distant long forgotten scene,
One smile, and one sweet word from thee
Dispelled the years that rolled between;
I was a little child again,
And every after joy and pain
Seemed never to have been.
Tall forest trees waved over me,
To hide me from the heat of day,
And by my side a child like thee
Among the summer flowerets lay.
He was thy sire, thou merry child.
Like thee he spoke, like thee he smiled,
Like thee he used to play.
O those were calm and happy days,
We loved each other fondly then;
But human love too soon decays,
And ours can never bloom again.
I never thought to see the day
When Florian's friendship would decay
Like those of colder men.
Now, Flora, thou hast but begun
To sail on life's deceitful sea,
O do not err as I have done,
For I have trusted foolishly;
The faith of every friend I loved
I never doubted till I proved
Their heart's inconstancy.
'Tis mournful to look back upon
Those long departed joys and cares,
But I will weep since thou alone
Art witness to my streaming tears.
This lingering love will not depart,
I cannot banish from my heart
The friend of childish years.
But though thy father loves me not,
Yet I shall still be loved by thee,
And though I am by him forgot,
Say wilt thou not remember me!
I will not cause thy heart to ache;
For thy regretted father's sake
I'll love and cherish thee.
The chestnut steed stood by the gate
His noble master's will to wait,
The woody park so green and bright
Was glowing in the morning light,
The young leaves of the aspen trees
Were dancing in the morning breeze.
The palace door was open wide,
Its lord was standing there,
And his sweet lady by his side
With soft dark eyes and raven hair.
He smiling took her wary hand
And said, 'No longer here I stand;
My charger shakes his flowing mane
And calls me with impatient neigh.
Adieu then till we meet again,
Sweet love, I must no longer stay.'
'You must not go so soon,' she said,
'I will not say farewell.
The sun has not dispelled the shade
In yonder dewy dell;
Dark shadows of gigantic length
Are sleeping on the lawn;
And scarcely have the birds begun
To hail the summer morn;
Then stay with me a little while,'
She said with soft and sunny smile.
He smiled again and did not speak,
But lightly kissed her rosy cheek,
And fondly clasped her in his arms,
Then vaulted on his steed.
And down the park's smooth winding road
He urged its flying speed.
Still by the door his lady stood
And watched his rapid flight,
Until he came to a distant wood
That hid him from her sight.
But ere he vanished from her view
He waved to her a last adieu,
Then onward hastily he steered
And in the forest disappeared.
The lady smiled a pensive smile
And heaved a gently sigh,
But her cheek was all unblanched the while
And tearless was her eye.
'A thousand lovely flowers,' she said,
'Are smiling on the plain.
And ere one half of them are dead,
My lord will come again.
The leaves are waving fresh and green
On every stately tree,
And long before they die away
He will return to me!' --
Alas! Fair lady, say not so;
Thou canst not tell the weight of woe
That lies in store for thee.
Those flowers will fade, those leaves will fall,
Winter will darken yonder hall;
Sweet spring will smile o'er hill and plain
And trees and flowers will bloom again,
And years will still keep rolling on,
But thy beloved lord is gone.
His absence thou shalt deeply mourn,
And never smile on his return.
Power Of Love
Love, indeed thy strength is mighty
Thus, alone, such strife to bear --
Three 'gainst one, and never ceasing --
Death, and Madness, and Despair!
'Tis not my own strength has saved me;
Health, and hope, and fortitude,
But for love, had long since failed me;
Heart and soul had sunk subdued.
Often, in my wild impatience,
I have lost my trust in Heaven,
And my soul has tossed and struggled,
Like a vessel tempest-driven;
But the voice of my beloved
In my ear has seemed to say --
'O, be patient if thou lov'st me!'
And the storm has passed away.
When outworn with weary thinking,
Sight and thought were waxing dim,
And my mind began to wander,
And my brain began to swim,
Then those hands outstretched to save me
Seemed to call me back again --
Those dark eyes did so implore me
To resume my reason's reign,
That I could not but remember
How her hopes were fixed on me,
And, with one determined effort,
Rose, and shook my spirit free.
When hope leaves my weary spirit --
All the power to hold it gone --
That loved voice so loudly prays me,
'For my sake, keep hoping on,'
That, at once my strength renewing,
Though Despair had crushed me down,
I can burst his bonds asunder,
And defy his deadliest frown.
When, from nights of restless tossing,
Days of gloom and pining care,
Pain and weakness, still increasing,
Seem to whisper 'Death is near,'
And I almost bid him welcome,
Knowing he would bring release,
Weary of this restless struggle --
Longing to repose in peace,
Then a glance of fond reproval
Bids such selfish longings flee
And a voice of matchless music
Murmurs 'Cherish life for me!'
Roused to newborn strength and courage,
Pain and grief, I cast away,
Health and life, I keenly follow,
Mighty Death is held at bay.
Yes, my love, I will be patient!
Firm and bold my heart shall be:
Fear not -- though this life is dreary,
I can bear it well for thee.
Let our foes still rain upon me
Cruel wrongs and taunting scorn;
'Tis for thee their hate pursues me,
And for thee, it shall be borne!
Severed And Gone
Severed and gone, so many years!
And art thou still so dear to me,
That throbbing heart and burning tears
Can witness how I cling to thee?
I know that in the narrow tomb
The form I loved was buried deep,
And left, in silence and in gloom,
To slumber out its dreamless sleep.
I know the corner where it lies,
Is but a dreary place of rest:
The charnel moisture never dries
From the dark flagstones o'er its breast,
For there the sunbeams never shine,
Nor ever breathes the freshening air,
- But not for this do I repine;
For my beloved is not there.
O, no! I do not think of thee
As festering there in slow decay: -
'Tis this sole thought oppresses me,
That thou art gone so far away.
For ever gone; for I, by night,
Have prayed, within my silent room,
That Heaven would grant a burst of light
Its cheerless darkness to illume;
And give thee to my longing eyes,
A moment, as thou shinest now,
Fresh from thy mansion in the skies,
With all its glories on thy brow.
Wild was the wish, intense the gaze
I fixed upon the murky air,
Expecting, half, a kindling blaze
Would strike my raptured vision there, --
A shape these human nerves would thrill,
A majesty that might appal,
Did not thy earthly likeness, still,
Gleam softly, gladly, through it all.
False hope! vain prayer! it might not be
That thou shouldst visit earth again.
I called on Heaven -- I called on thee,
And watched, and waited -- all in vain.
Had I one shining tress of thine,
How it would bless these longing eyes!
Or if thy pictured form were mine,
What gold should rob me of the prize?
A few cold words on yonder stone,
A corpse as cold as they can be -
Vain words, and mouldering dust, alone -
Can this be all that's left of thee?
O, no! thy spirit lingers still
Where'er thy sunny smile was seen:
There's less of darkness, less of chill
On earth, than if thou hadst not been.
Thou breathest in my bosom yet,
And dwellest in my beating heart;
And, while I cannot quite forget,
Thou, darling, canst not quite depart.
Though, freed from sin, and grief, and pain
Thou drinkest now the bliss of Heaven,
Thou didst not visit earth in vain;
And from us, yet, thou art not riven.
Life seems more sweet that thou didst live,
And men more true that thou wert one:
Nothing is lost that thou didst give,
Nothing destroyed that thou hast done.
Earth hath received thine earthly part;
Thine heavenly flame has heavenward flown;
But both still linger in my heart,
Still live, and not in mine alone.
I dreamt last night; and in that dream
My boyhood's heart was mine again;
These latter years did nothing seem
With all their mingled joy and pain,
Their thousand deeds of good and ill,
Their hopes which time did not fulfil,
Their glorious moments of success,
Their love that closed in bitterness,
Their hate that grew with growing strength,
Their darling projects -- dropped at length,
And higher aims that still prevail, --
For I must perish ere they fail, --
That crowning object of my life,
The end of all my toil and strife,
Source of my virtues and my crimes,
For which I've toiled and striven in vain, --
But, if I fail a thousand times,
Still I will toil and strive again: --
Yet even this was then forgot;
My present heart and soul were not:
All the rough lessons life has taught,
That are become a part of me,
A moment's sleep to nothing brought
And made me what I used to be.
And I was roaming, light and gay,
Upon a breezy, sunny day,
A bold and careless youth;
No guilty stain was on my mind;
And, if not over soft or kind,
My heart was full of truth.
It was a well-known mountain scene; --
Wild steeps, with rugged glens between
I should have thirsted to explore,
Had I not trod them oft before.
A younger boy was with me there.
His hand upon my shoulder leant;
His heart, like mine, was free from care,
His breath, with sportive toil, was spent;
For my rough pastimes he would share,
And equal dangers loved to dare,
(Though seldom I would care to vie
In learning's keen pursuit with him;
I loved free air and open sky
Better than books and tutors grim,)
And we had wandered far that day
O'er that forbidden ground away --
Ground, to our rebel feet how dear;
Danger and freedom both were there! --
Had climbed the steep and coursed the dale
Until his strength began to fail.
He bade me pause and breathe a while,
But spoke it with a happy smile.
His lips were parted to inhale
The breeze that swept the ferny dale,
And chased the clouds across the sky,
And waved his locks in passing by,
And fanned my cheek; (so real did seem
This strange, untrue, but truthlike dream;)
And, as we stood, I laughed to see
His fair young cheek so brightly glow.
He turned his sparkling eyes to me
With looks no painter's art could show,
Nor words portray; -- but earnest mirth,
And truthful love I there descried;
And, while I thought upon his worth,
My bosom glowed with joy and pride.
I could have kissed his forehead fair;
I could nave clasped him to my heart;
But tenderness with me was rare,
And I must take a rougher part:
I seized him in my boisterous mirth;
I bore him struggling to the earth
And grappling, strength for strength we strove --
He half in wrath, -- I all for love;
But I gave o'er the strife at length,
Ashamed of my superior strength, --
The rather that I marked his eye
Kindle as if a change were nigh.
We paused to breathe a little space,
Reclining on the heather brae;
But still I gazed upon his face
To watch the shadow pass away.
I grasped his hand, and it was fled; --
A smile -- a laugh -- and all was well: --
Upon my breast he leant his head,
And into graver talk we fell, --
More serious -- yet so blest did seem
That calm communion then,
That, when I found it but a dream,
I longed to sleep again.
At first, remembrance slowly woke.
Surprise, regret, successive rose,
That love's strong cords should thus be broke
And dearest friends turn deadliest foes.
Then, like a cold, o'erwhelming flood
Upon my soul it burst ------------
This heart had thirsted for his blood;
This hand allayed that thirst!
These eyes had watched, without a tear,
His dying agony;
These ears, unmoved, had heard his prayer;
This tongue had cursed him suffering there,
And mocked him bitterly!
Unwonted weakness o'er me crept;
I sighed -- nay, weaker still -- I wept!
Wept, like a woman o'er the deed
I had been proud to do: --
As I had made his bosom bleed;
My own was bleeding too.
Back foolish tears! -- the man I slew
Was not the boy I cherished so;
And that young arm that clasped the friend
Was not the same that stabbed the foe:
By time and adverse thoughts estranged,
And wrongs and vengeance, both were changed.
Repentance, now, were worse that vain:
Time's current cannot backward run;
And be the action wrong or right,
It is for ever done.
Then reap the fruits -- I've said his death
Should be my country's gain: --
If not -- then I have spent my breath,
And spilt his blood in vain:
And I have laboured hard and long,
But little good obtained;
My foes are many, yet, and strong,
Not half the battle's gained;
For, still, the greater deeds I've done,
The more I have to do.
The faster I can journey on,
The farther I must go.
If Fortune favoured for a while,
I could not rest beneath her smile,
Nor triumph in success:
When I have gained one river's shore
A wilder torrent, stretched before,
Defies me with its deafening roar;
And onward I must press.
And, much I doubt, this work of strife,
In blood and death begun,
Will call for many a victim more
Before the cause is won. --
Well! my own life, I'd freely give
Ere I would fail in my design; --
The cause must prosper if I live,
And I will die if it decline:
Advanced this far, I'll not recede; --
Whether to vanquish or to bleed,
Onward, unchecked, I must proceed.
Be Death, or Victory mine!
Views Of Life
When sinks my heart in hopeless gloom,
And life can shew no joy for me;
And I behold a yawning tomb,
Where bowers and palaces should be;
In vain you talk of morbid dreams;
In vain you gaily smiling say,
That what to me so dreary seems,
The healthy mind deems bright and gay.
I too have smiled, and thought like you,
But madly smiled, and falsely deemed:
Truth led me to the present view,
I'm waking now -- 'twas then I dreamed.
I lately saw a sunset sky,
And stood enraptured to behold
Its varied hues of glorious dye:
First, fleecy clouds of shining gold;
These blushing took a rosy hue;
Beneath them shone a flood of green;
Nor less divine, the glorious blue
That smiled above them and between.
I cannot name each lovely shade;
I cannot say how bright they shone;
But one by one, I saw them fade;
And what remained whey they were gone?
Dull clouds remained, of sombre hue,
And when their borrowed charm was o'er,
The azure sky had faded too,
That smiled so softly bright before.
So, gilded by the glow of youth,
Our varied life looks fair and gay;
And so remains the naked truth,
When that false light is past away.
Why blame ye, then, my keener sight,
That clearly sees a world of woes,
Through all the haze of golden light,
That flattering Falsehood round it throws?
When the young mother smiles above
The first-born darling of her heart,
Her bosom glows with earnest love,
While tears of silent transport start.
Fond dreamer! little does she know
The anxious toil, the suffering,
The blasted hopes, the burning woe,
The object of her joy will bring.
Her blinded eyes behold not now
What, soon or late, must be his doom;
The anguish that will cloud his brow,
The bed of death, the dreary tomb.
As little know the youthful pair,
In mutual love supremely blest,
What weariness, and cold despair,
Ere long, will seize the aching breast.
And, even, should Love and Faith remain,
(The greatest blessings life can show,)
Amid adversity and pain,
To shine, throughout with cheering glow;
They do not see how cruel Death
Comes on, their loving hearts to part:
One feels not now the gasping breath,
The rending of the earth-bound heart, --
The soul's and body's agony,
Ere she may sink to her repose,
The sad survivor cannot see
The grave above his darling close;
Nor how, despairing and alone,
He then must wear his life away;
And linger, feebly toiling on,
And fainting, sink into decay.
* * *
Oh, Youth may listen patiently,
While sad Experience tells her tale;
But Doubt sits smiling in his eye,
For ardent Hope will still prevail!
He hears how feeble Pleasure dies,
By guilt destroyed, and pain and woe;
He turns to Hope - and she replies,
'Believe it not - it is not so!'
'Oh, heed her not!' Experience says,
'For thus she whispered once to me;
She told me, in my youthful days,
How glorious manhood's prime would be.
When, in the time of early Spring,
Too chill the winds that o'er me pass'd,
She said, each coming day would bring
A fairer heaven, a gentler blast.
And when the sun too seldom beamed,
The sky, o'ercast, too darkly frowned,
The soaking rain too constant streamed,
And mists too dreary gathered round;
'She told me Summer's glorious ray
Would chase those vapours all away,
And scatter glories round,
With sweetest music fill the trees,
Load with rich scent the gentle breeze,
And strew with flowers the ground.
But when, beneath that scorching ray,
I languished, weary, through the day,
While birds refused to sing,
Verdure decayed from field and tree,
And panting Nature mourned with me
The freshness of the Spring.
"Wait but a little while," she said,
"Till Summer's burning days are fled;
And Autumn shall restore,
With golden riches of her own,
And Summer's glories mellowed down,
The freshness you deplore."
And long I waited, but in vain:
That freshness never came again,
Though Summer passed away,
Though Autumn's mists hung cold and chill,
And drooping nature languished still,
And sank into decay.
Till wintry blasts foreboding blew
Through leafless trees - and then I knew
That Hope was all a dream.
But thus, fond youth, she cheated me;
And she will prove as false to thee,
Though sweet her words may seem.'
Stern prophet! Cease thy bodings dire -
Thou canst not quench the ardent fire
That warms the breast of youth.
Oh, let it cheer him while it may,
And gently, gently die away --
Chilled by the damps of truth!
Tell him, that earth is not our rest;
Its joys are empty -- frail at best;
And point beyond the sky.
But gleams of light may reach us here;
And hope the roughest path can cheer:
Then do not bid it fly!
Though hope may promise joys, that still
Unkindly time will ne'er fulfil;
Or, if they come at all,
We never find them unalloyed, -
Hurtful perchance, or soon destroyed,
They vanish or they pall;
Yet hope itself a brightness throws
O'er all our labours and our woes;
While dark foreboding Care
A thousand ills will oft portend,
That Providence may ne'er intend
The trembling heart to bear.
Or if they come, it oft appears,
Our woes are lighter than our fears,
And far more bravely borne.
Then let us not enhance our doom;
But e'en in midnight's blackest gloom
Expect the rising morn.
Because the road is rough and long,
Shall we despise the skylark's song,
That cheers the wanderer's way?
Or trample down, with reckless feet,
The smiling flowerets, bright and sweet
Because they soon decay?
Pass pleasant scenes unnoticed by,
Because the next is bleak and drear;
Or not enjoy a smiling sky,
Because a tempest may be near?
No! while we journey on our way,
We'll notice every lovely thing;
And ever, as they pass away,
To memory and hope we'll cling.
And though that awful river flows
Before us, when the journey's past,
Perchance of all the pilgrim's woes
Most dreadful -- shrink not - 'tis the last!
Though icy cold, and dark, and deep;
Beyond it smiles that blessed shore,
Where none shall suffer, none shall weep,
And bliss shall reign for evermore!
Alexander And Zenobia
Fair was the evening and brightly the sun
Was shining on desert and grove,
Sweet were the breezes and balmy the flowers
And cloudless the heavens above.
It was Arabia's distant land
And peaceful was the hour;
Two youthful figures lay reclined
Deep in a shady bower.
One was a boy of just fourteen
Bold beautiful and bright;
Soft raven curls hung clustering round
A brow of marble white.
The fair brow and ruddy cheek
Spoke of less burning skies;
Words cannot paint the look that beamed
In his dark lustrous eyes.
The other was a slender girl,
Blooming and young and fair.
The snowy neck was shaded with
The long bright sunny hair.
And those deep eyes of watery blue,
So sweetly sad they seemed.
And every feature in her face
With pensive sorrow teemed.
The youth beheld her saddened air
And smiling cheerfully
He said, 'How pleasant is the land
Of sunny Araby!
'Zenobia, I never saw
A lovelier eve than this;
I never felt my spirit raised
With more unbroken bliss!
'So deep the shades, so calm the hour,
So soft the breezes sigh,
So sweetly Philomel begins
Her heavenly melody.
'So pleasant are the scents that rise
From flowers of loveliest hue,
And more than all -- Zenobia,
I am alone with you!
Are we not happy here alone
In such a healthy spot?'
He looked to her with joyful smile
But she returned it not.
'Why are you sorrowful?' he asked
And heaved a bitter sigh,
'O tell me why those drops of woe
Are gathering in your eye.'
'Gladly would I rejoice,' she said,
'But grief weighs down my heart.
'Can I be happy when I know
Tomorrow we must part?
'Yes, Alexander, I must see
This happy land no more.
At break of day I must return
To distant Gondal's shore.
'At morning we must bid farewell,
And at the close of day
You will be wandering alone
And I shall be away.
'I shall be sorrowing for you
On the wide weltering sea,
And you will perhaps have wandered here
To sit and think of me.'
'And shall we part so soon?' he cried,
'Must we be torn away?
Shall I be left to mourn alone?
Will you no longer stay?
'And shall we never meet again,
Hearts that have grown together?
Must they at once be rent away
And kept apart for ever?'
'Yes, Alexander, we must part,
But we may meet again,
For when I left my native land
I wept in anguish then.
'Never shall I forget the day
I left its rocky shore.
We thought that we had bid adieu
To meet on earth no more.
'When we had parted how I wept
To see the mountains blue
Grow dimmer and more distant -- till
They faded from my view.
'And you too wept -- we little thought
After so long a time,
To meet again so suddenly
In such a distant clime.
'We met on Grecia's classic plain,
We part in Araby.
And let us hope to meet again
Beneath our Gondal's sky.'
'Zenobia, do you remember
A little lonely spring
Among Exina's woody hills
Where blackbirds used to sing,
'And when they ceased as daylight faded
From the dusky sky
The pensive nightingale began
Her matchless melody?
'Sweet bluebells used to flourish there
And tall trees waved on high,
And through their ever sounding leaves
The soft wind used to sigh.
'At morning we have often played
Beside that lonely well;
At evening we have lingered there
Till dewy twilight fell.
'And when your fifteenth birthday comes,
Remember me, my love,
And think of what I said to you
In this sweet spicy grove.
'At evening wander to that spring
And sit and wait for me;
And 'ere the sun has ceased to shine
I will return to thee.
'Two years is a weary time
But it will soon be fled.
And if you do not meet me -- know
I am not false but dead.'
* * *
Sweetly the summer day declines
On forest, plain, and hill
And in that spacious palace hall
So lonely, wide and still.
Beside a window's open arch,
In the calm evening air
All lonely sits a stately girl,
Graceful and young and fair.
The snowy lid and lashes long
Conceal her downcast eye,
She's reading and till now I have
Passed unnoticed by.
But see she cannot fix her thoughts,
They are wandering away;
She looks towards a distant dell
Where sunny waters play.
And yet her spirit is not with
The scene she looks upon;
She muses with a mournful smile
On pleasures that are gone.
She looks upon the book again
That chained her thoughts before,
And for a moment strives in vain
To fix her mind once more.
Then gently drops it on her knee
And looks into the sky,
While trembling drops are shining in
Her dark celestial eye.
And thus alone and still she sits
Musing on years gone by.
Till with a sad and sudden smile
She rises up to go;
And from the open window springs
On to the grass below.
Why does she fly so swiftly now
Adown the meadow green,
And o'er the gently swelling hills
And the vale that lies between?
She passes under giant trees
That lift their arms on high
And slowly wave their mighty boughs
In the clear evening sky,
And now she threads a path that winds
Through deeply shaded groves
Where nought is heard but sighing gales
And murmuring turtle doves.
She hastens on through sunless gloom
To a vista opening wide;
A marble fountain sparkles there
With sweet flowers by its side.
At intervals in the velvet grass
A few old elm trees rise,
While a warm flood of yellow light
Streams from the western skies.
Is this her resting place? Ah, no,
She hastens onward still,
The startled deer before her fly
As she ascends the hill.
She does not rest till she has gained
A lonely purling spring,
Where zephyrs wave the verdant trees
And birds in concert sing.
And there she stands and gazes round
With bright and searching eye,
Then sadly sighing turns away
And looks upon the sky.
She sits down on the flowery turf
Her head drooped on her hand;
Her soft luxuriant golden curls
Are by the breezes fanned.
A sweet sad smile plays on her lips;
Her heart is far away,
And thus she sits till twilight comes
To take the place of day.
But when she looks towards the west
And sees the sun is gone
And hears that every bird but one
To its nightly rest is flown,
And sees that over nature's face
A sombre veil is cast
With mournful voice and tearful eye
She says, 'The time is past!
'He will not come! I might have known
It was a foolish hope;
But it was so sweet to cherish
I could not yield it up.
'It may be foolish thus to weep
But I cannot check my tears
To see in one short hour destroyed
The darling hope of years.
'He is not false, but he was young
And time rolls fast away.
Has he forgotten the vow he made
To meet me here today?
'No. If he lives he loves me still
And still remembers me.
If he is dead -- my joys are sunk
In utter misery.
'We parted in the spicy groves
Beneath Arabia's sky.
How could I hope to meet him now
Where Gondal's breezes sigh?
'He was a shining meteor light
That faded from the skies,
But I mistook him for a star
That only set to rise.
'And with a firm yet trembling hand
I've clung to this false hope;
I dared not surely trust in it
Yet would not yield it up.
'And day and night I've thought of him
And loved him constantly,
And prayed that Heaven would prosper him
Wherever he might be.
'He will not come; he's wandering now
On some far distant shore,
Or else he sleeps the sleep of death
And cannot see me more!
'O, Alexander, is it thus?
Did we but meet to part?
Long as I live thy name will be
Engraven on my heart.
'I shall not cease to think of thee
While life and thought remain,
For well I know that I can never
See thy like again!'
She ceases now and dries her tears
But still she lingers there
In silent thought till night is come
And silver stars appear.
But lo! a tall and stately youth
Ascends the grassy slope;
His bright dark eyes are glancing round,
His heart beats high with hope.
He has journyed on unweariedly
From dawn of day till now,
The warm blood kindles in his cheek,
The sweat is on his brow.
But he has gained the green hill top
Where lies that lonely spring,
And lo! he pauses when he hears
Its gentle murmuring.
He dares not enter through the trees
That veil it from his eye;
He listens for some other sound
In deep anxiety.
But vainly -- all is calm and still;
Are his bright day dreams o'er?
Has he thus hoped and longed in vain,
And must they meet no more?
One moment more of sad suspense
And those dark trees are past;
The lonely well bursts on his sight
And they are met at last!
'The mist is resting on the hill;
The smoke is hanging in the air;
The very clouds are standing still:
A breathless calm broods everywhere.
Thou pilgrim through this vale of tears,
Thou, too, a little moment cease
Thy anxious toil and fluttering fears,
And rest thee, for a while, in peace.'
'I would, but Time keeps working still
And moving on for good or ill:
He will not rest or stay.
In pain or ease, in smiles or tears,
He still keeps adding to my years
And stealing life away.
His footsteps in the ceaseless sound
Of yonder clock I seem to hear,
That through this stillness so profound
Distinctly strikes the vacant ear.
For ever striding on and on,
He pauses not by night or day;
And all my life will soon be gone
As these past years have slipped away.
He took my childhood long ago,
And then my early youth; and lo,
He steals away my prime!
I cannot see how fast it goes,
But well my inward spirit knows
The wasting power of time.'
'Time steals thy moments, drinks thy breath,
Changes and wastes thy mortal frame;
But though he gives the clay to death,
He cannot touch the inward flame.
Nay, though he steals thy years away,
Their memory is left thee still,
And every month and every day
Leaves some effect of good or ill.
The wise will find in Memory's store
A help for that which lies before
To guide their course aright;
Then, hush thy plaints and calm thy fears;
Look back on these departed years,
And, say, what meets thy sight?'
'I see, far back, a helpless child,
Feeble and full of causeless fears,
Simple and easily beguiled
To credit all it hears.
More timid than the wild wood-dove,
Yet trusting to another's care,
And finding in protecting love
Its only refuge from despair, -
Its only balm for every woe,
The only bliss its soul can know; -
Still hiding in its breast.
A tender heart too prone to weep,
A love so earnest, strong, and deep
It could not be expressed.
Poor helpless thing! what can it do
Life's stormy cares and toils among; -
How tread this weary desert through
That awes the brave and tires the strong?
Where shall it centre so much trust
Where truth maintains so little sway,
Where seeming fruit is bitter dust,
And kisses oft to death betray?
How oft must sin and falsehood grieve
A heart so ready to believe,
And willing to admire!
With strength so feeble, fears so strong,
Amid this selfish bustling throng,
How will it faint and tire!
That tender love so warm and deep,
How can it flourish here below?
What bitter floods of tears must steep
The stony soil where it would grow!
O earth! a rocky breast is thine
A hard soil and a cruel clime,
Where tender plants must droop and pine,
Or alter with transforming time.
That soul, that clings to sympathy,
As ivy clasps the forest tree,
How can it stand alone?
That heart so prone to overflow
E'en at the thought of others' woe,
How will it bear its own?
How, if a sparrow's death can wring
Such bitter tear-floods from the eye,
Will it behold the suffering
Of struggling, lost humanity?
The torturing pain, the pining grief,
The sin-degraded misery,
The anguish that defies relief?'
'Look back again - What dost thou see?'
'I see one kneeling on the sod,
With infant hands upraised to Heaven,
A young heart feeling after God,
Oft baffled, never backward driven.
Mistaken oft, and oft astray,
It strives to find the narrow way,
But gropes and toils alone:
That inner life of strife and tears,
Of kindling hopes and lowering fears
To none but God is known.
'Tis better thus; for man would scorn
Those childish prayers, those artless cries,
That darkling spirit tossed and torn,
But God will not despise!
We may regret such waste of tears
Such darkly toiling misery,
Such 'wildering doubts and harrowing fears,
Where joy and thankfulness should be;
But wait, and Heaven will send relief.
Let patience have her perfect work:
Lo, strength and wisdom spring from grief,
And joys behind afflictions lurk!
It asked for light, and it is heard;
God grants that struggling soul repose
And, guided by His holy word,
It wiser than its teachers grows.
It gains the upward path at length,
And passes on from strength to strength,
Leaning on Heaven the while:
Night's shades departing one by one,
It sees at last the rising sun,
And feels his cheering smile.
In all its darkness and distress
For light it sought, to God it cried;
And through the pathless wilderness,
He was its comfort and its guide.'
'So was it, and so will it be:
Thy God will guide and strengthen thee;
His goodness cannot fail.
The sun that on thy morning rose
Will light thee to the evening's close,
Whatever storms assail.'
'God alters not; but Time on me
A wide and wondrous change has wrought:
And in these parted years I see
Cause for grave care and saddening thought.
I see that time, and toil, and truth,
An inward hardness can impart, -
Can freeze the generous blood of youth,
And steel full fast the tender heart.'
'Bless God for that divine decree! -
That hardness comes with misery,
And suffering deadens pain;
That at the frequent sight of woe
E'en Pity's tears forget to flow,
If reason still remain!
Reason, with conscience by her side,
But gathers strength from toil and truth;
And she will prove a surer guide
Than those sweet instincts of our youth.
Thou that hast known such anguish sore
In weeping where thou couldst not bless,
Canst thou that softness so deplore -
That suffering, shrinking tenderness?
Thou that hast felt what cankering care
A loving heart is doomed to bear,
Say, how canst thou regret
That fires unfed must fall away,
Long droughts can dry the softest clay,
And cold will cold beget?'
'Nay, but 'tis hard to feel that chill
Come creeping o'er the shuddering heart.
Love may be full of pain, but still,
'Tis sad to see it so depart, -
To watch that fire whose genial glow
Was formed to comfort and to cheer,
For want of fuel, fading so,
Sinking to embers dull and drear, -
To see the soft soil turned to stone
For lack of kindly showers, -
To see those yearnings of the breast,
Pining to bless and to be blessed,
Drop withered, frozen one by one,
Till, centred in itself alone,
It wastes its blighted powers.
Oh, I have known a wondrous joy
In early friendship's pure delight, -
A genial bliss that could not cloy -
My sun by day, my moon by night.
Absence, indeed, was sore distress,
And thought of death was anguish keen,
And there was cruel bitterness
When jarring discords rose between;
And sometimes it was grief to know
My fondness was but half returned.
But this was nothing to the woe
With which another truth was learned: -
That I must check, or nurse apart,
Full many an impulse of the heart
And many a darling thought:
What my soul worshipped, sought, and prized,
Were slighted, questioned, or despised; -
This pained me more than aught.
And as my love the warmer glowed
The deeper would that anguish sink,
That this dark stream between us flowed,
Though both stood bending o'er its brink;
Until, as last, I learned to bear
A colder heart within my breast;
To share such thoughts as I could share,
And calmly keep the rest.
I saw that they were sundered now,
The trees that at the root were one:
They yet might mingle leaf and bough,
But still the stems must stand alone.
O love is sweet of every kind!
'Tis sweet the helpless to befriend,
To watch the young unfolding mind,
To guide, to shelter, and defend:
To lavish tender toil and care,
And ask for nothing back again,
But that our smiles a blessing bear
And all our toil be not in vain.
And sweeter far than words can tell
Their love whose ardent bosoms swell
With thoughts they need not hide;
Where fortune frowns not on their joy,
And Prudence seeks not to destroy,
Nor Reason to deride.
Whose love may freely gush and flow,
Unchecked, unchilled by doubt or fear,
For in their inmost hearts they know
It is not vainly nourished there.
They know that in a kindred breast
Their long desires have found a home,
Where heart and soul may kindly rest,
Weary and lorn no more to roam.
Their dreams of bliss were not in vain,
As they love they are loved again,
And they can bless as they are blessed.
O vainly might I seek to show
The joys from happy love that flow!
The warmest words are all too cold
The secret transports to unfold
Of simplest word or softest sigh,
Or from the glancing of an eye
To say what rapture beams;
One look that bids our fears depart,
And well assures the trusting heart.
It beats not in the world alone -
Such speechless rapture I have known,
But only in my dreams.
My life has been a morning sky
Where Hope her rainbow glories cast
O'er kindling vapours far and nigh:
And, if the colours faded fast,
Ere one bright hue had died away
Another o'er its ashes gleamed;
And if the lower clouds were grey,
The mists above more brightly beamed.
But not for long; - at length behold,
Those tints less warm, less radiant grew;
Till but one streak of paly gold
Glimmered through clouds of saddening hue.
And I am calmly waiting, now,
To see that also pass away,
And leave, above the dark hill's brow,
A rayless arch of sombre grey.'
'So must it fare with all thy race
Who seek in earthly things their joy:
So fading hopes lost hopes shall chase
Till Disappointment all destroy.
But they that fix their hopes on high
Shall, in the blue-refulgent sky,
The sun's transcendent light,
Behold a purer, deeper glow
Than these uncertain gleams can show,
However fair or bright.
O weak of heart! why thus deplore
That Truth will Fancy's dreams destroy?
Did I not tell thee, years before,
Life was for labour, not for joy?
Cease, selfish spirit, to repine;
O'er thine own ills no longer grieve;
Lo, there are sufferings worse than thine,
Which thou mayst labour to relieve.
If Time indeed too swiftly flies,
Gird on thine armour, haste, arise,
For thou hast much to do; -
To lighten woe, to trample sin,
And foes without and foes within
To combat and subdue.
Earth hath too much of sin and pain:
The bitter cup - the binding chain
Dost thou indeed lament?
Let not thy weary spirit sink;
But strive - not by one drop or link
The evil to augment.
Strive rather thou, by peace and joy,
The bitter poison to destroy,
The cruel chain to break.
O strive! and if thy strength be small,
Strive yet the more, and spend it all
For Love and Wisdom's sake!'
'O I have striven both hard and long
But many are my foes and strong.
My gains are light - my progress slow;
For hard's the way I have to go,
And my worst enemies, I know,
Are these within my breast;
And it is hard to toil for aye, -
Through sultry noon and twilight grey
To toil and never rest.'
'There is a rest beyond the grave,
A lasting rest from pain and sin,
Where dwell the faithful and the brave;
But they must strive who seek to win.'
"Show me that rest - I ask no more.
Oh, drive these misty doubts away;
And let me see that sunny shore,
However far away!
However wide this rolling sea,
However wild my passage be,
Howe'er my bark be tempest tossed,
May it but reach that haven fair,
May I but land and wander there,
With those that I have loved and lost:
With such a glorious hope in view,
I'll gladly toil and suffer too.
Rest without toil I would not ask;
I would not shun the hardest task:
Toil is my glory - Grief my gain,
If God's approval they obtain.
Could I but hear my Saviour say, -
"I know thy patience and thy love;
How thou hast held the narrow way,
For my sake laboured night and day,
And watched, and striven with them that strove;
And still hast borne, and didst not faint," -
Oh, this would be reward indeed!'
'Press forward, then, without complaint;
Labour and love - and such shall be thy meed.'