My sun went down at noon to-day,
O Sorrow!
For in thine eyes
My sun doth rise;
Then, Love, I pray,
Bring back to-day,
Or make it soon to-morrow.

Lines For Music

False Love, take hence thy roses,
Give me the bitter Rue
That on my heart reposes,
Sorrow at least is true.

Maiden so fair and pale,
Wandering adown the dale,
What flow'r that drinks the dew
Or light is dear to you?—
The bitter Rue.

Maid on thy wedding day,
Wan as the flower of May,
What buds of brightest hue,
Say shall we weave for you?—
The bitter Rue.

Sorrow and sin, and suffering and strife,
Have been cast in the waters of my life;
And they have sunk deep down to the well-head,
And all that flows thence is embitterèd.
Yet still the fountain up towards heaven springs,
And still the brook where'er it wanders sings;
And still where'er it hath found leave to rest,
The blessed sun looks down into its breast;
And it reflects, as in a mirror fair,
The image of all beauty shining there.

Lines For Music (Iii)

Good night! from music's softest spell
Go to thy dreams: and in thy slumbers,
Fairies, with magic harp and shell,
Sing o'er to thee thy own sweet numbers.
Good night! from hope's intense desire
Go to thy dreams: and may to-morrow,
Love, with the sun returning, fire
These evening mists of doubt and sorrow.
Good night! from hours of weary waking
I'll to my dreams: still in my sleep
To feel the spirit's restless aching,
And even with eyelids closed, to weep.

Yet once again, but once, before we sever,
Fill we one brimming cup,—it is the last!
And let those lips, now parting, and for ever,
Breathe o'er this pledge, 'the memory of the past!'
Joy's fleeting sun is set; and no to-morrow
Smiles on the gloomy path we tread so fast,
Yet, in the bitter cup, o'er filled with sorrow,
Lives one sweet drop,—the memory of the past.
But one more look from those dear eyes, now shining
Through their warm tears, their loveliest and their last;
But one more strain of hands, in friendship twining,
Now farewell all, save memory of the past.

Lady, whom my beloved loves so well!
When on his clasping arm thy head reclineth,
When on thy lips his ardent kisses dwell,
And the bright flood of burning light that shineth
In his dark eyes, is poured into thine;
When thou shalt lie enfolded to his heart
In all the trusting helplessness of love;
If in such joy sorrow can find a part,
Oh, give one sigh unto a doom like mine!
Which I would have thee pity, but not prove.
One cold, calm careless, wintry look that fell
Haply by chance one, is all that he
Ever gave my love; round that, my wild thoughts dwell
In one eternal pang of memory.

Lady, Whom My Belovèd Loves So Well!

Lady, whom my belovèd loves so well!
When on his clasping arm thy head reclineth,
When on thy lips his ardent kisses dwell,
And the bright flood of burning light, that shineth
In his dark eyes, is pourèd into thine;
When thou shalt lie enfolded to his heart,
In all the trusting helplessness of love;
If in such joy sorrow can find a part,
Oh, give one sigh unto a doom like mine!
Which I would have thee pity, but not prove.
One cold, calm, careless, wintry look that fell
Haply by chance on me, is all that he
E'er gave my love; round that, my wild thoughts dwell
In one eternal pang of memory.

I Know That Thou Wilt Read What Here Is Writ,

I know that thou wilt read what here is writ,
And yet not know that it is writ for thee;
To this cold page I have entrusted it,
Which tells thee all, and yet is true to me.
For oh! this paper is not like my cheek,
To blush, when o'er it thou shalt cast thine eye,
These words can't falter, like the words I speak,
With trembling accents, still when thou art nigh.
Devoid of pity, doth this leaf receive
The story of my sorrow and my love;
Yet while I trace the words, I half believe,
That latent sympathy will in it move,
All I would have thee learn, to teach to thee,
And hold the rest in safest secrecy.

Say Thou Not Sadly, Never And No More

Say thou not sadly, 'never,' and 'no more,'
But from thy lips banish those falsest words;
While life remains that which was thine before
Again may be thine; in Time's storehouse lie
Days, hours, and moments, that have unknown hoards
Of joy, as well as sorrow: passing by,
Smiles come with tears; therefore with hopeful eye
Look thou on dear things, though they turn away,
For thou and they, perchance, some future day
Shall meet again, and the gone bliss return;
For its departure then make thou no mourn,
But with stout heart bid what thou lov'st farewell;
That which the past hath given the future gives as well.

To Lady Annabella Noel

Wand'ring with thee in the delicious land,
What visions meet me of those far-off years,
When all my youth's fresh springs of smiles and tears
Lay lock'd beneath the spell of that strong hand
Whose blood is in thy veins.—I gaze on thee,
And think on the great name thy maidhood wears—
That name whose sound circles this lovely shore
With echoes of divinest melody,
Of strains whose mingled grief and glory pour
Triumph and mourning round it evermore,—
That noble name, link'd to a memory
Brighter than the deep splendour of this sky,
And darker than the storms that sweep it o'er,—
That English name—belov'd of Italy.

Before my senses or my soul awake,
Sorrow begins to stir within my heart;
Keen anguish dawns before the day doth break;
Ere fluttering birds chirp faintly towards the east,
A bat-like terror flaps above my breast
With a shrill cry that sleeping makes me start,
And moan with unclosed lips, in drear dismay,
Reluctant greeting to another day;
And though perchance through pity of the night
I have not dreamt of misery, but have slept,
Tears stand within my eyes before the light
Smites them with its new beams, — cold tears unwept,
That from their brimming fountain up have crept,
In which the morning rounds her rainbows bright.

A maiden meek, with solemn, steadfast eyes,
Full of eternal constancy and faith,
And smiling lips, through whose soft portal sighs
Truth's holy voice, with every balmy breath,
So journeys she along life's crowded way,
Keeping her soul's sweet counsel from all sight;
Nor pomp, nor vanity, lead her astray,
Nor aught that men call dazzling, fair, or bright:
For pity, sometimes, doth she pause, and stay
Those whom she meeteth mourning, for her heart
Knows well in suffering how to bear its part.
Patiently lives she through each dreary day,
Looking with little hope unto the morrow;
And still she walketh hand in hand with sorrow.

'Tis all in vain, it may not last,
The sickly sunlight dies away,
And the thick clouds that veil the past,
Roll darkly o'er my present day.
Have I not flung them off, and striven
To seek some dawning hope in vain;
Have I not been for ever driven
Back to the bitter past again?
What though a brighter sky bends o'er
Scenes where no former image greets me,
Though lost in paths untrod before,
Here, even here, pale Memory meets me.
O life—O blighted bloomless tree!
Why cling thy fibres to the earth?
Summer can bring no flower to thee,
Autumn no bearing, spring no birth.
Bid me not strive, I'll strive no more,
To win from pain my joyless breast;
Sorrow has ploughed too deeply o'er
Life's Eden—let it take the rest!

Lament For Israel

Where is thy home in thy promised land?
Desolate and forsaken!
The stranger's arm hath seized thy brand,
Thou art bowed beneath the stranger's hand,
And the stranger thy birthright hath taken.
Where is the mark of thy chosen race?
Infamous and degraded!
It hath fallen on thee, on thy dwelling-place,
And that heaven-stamped sign to a foul disgrace
And the scoff of the world, has faded.
First-born of nations! upon thy brow,
Resistless and revenging,
The fiery finger of God hath now
Written the sentence of thy woe,
The innocent blood avenging!
Lion of Judah! thy glory is past,
Vanished and fled for ever.
Homeless and scattered, thy race is cast
Like chaff in the breath of the sweeping blast,
To rally or rise again, never!

Upon the altar of my life there lies
A costly offering: its price I know;
The worth that it might have, its power and beauty;
Yet it lies there, and darkness covers it.
It has not burned towards heaven in holy flames,
Worshipping God, warming and lighting man;
No fire has quickened it.—Love, like a torch
Quenched in foul mist, passed over it in vain:
A flickering ray of pale uncertain happiness
Played round it once, too weak to kindle it.
Strike, strike then now, ye lightning fires of sorrow!
Devouring flames! ye that have all consumed
Love, Hope, and Happiness, do your whole work!
Light up the gifts that lie on my life's altar,
Kindle the precious sacrifice my soul
Has heaped in vain: so shall it burn towards heaven,
And glorify the Giver of all gifts,
The Sender of all earthly destinies.

Lines Written At Sea (Ii)

Why art thou weeping
Over the happy, happy dead,
Who are gone away,
From this life of clay,
From this fount of tears,
From this burthen of years,
From sin, from sorrow,
From sad 'to-morrow,'
From struggling and creeping:
Why art thou weeping,
O fool, for the dead?

Why art thou weeping,
Over the steadfast faithful dead,
Who can never change,
Nor grow cold and strange,
Nor turn away,
In a single day,
From the love they bore,
And the faith they swore,
Who are true for ever,
Will slight thee never,

But love thee still,
Through good and ill,
With the constancy
Of eternity:
Why art thou weeping,
O fool, for the dead?

They are your only friends;
For where this foul life ends,
Alone beginneth truth, and love, and faith;
All which sweet blossoms are preserved by death.

I never shall forget thee—'tis a word
Thou oft nust hear, for surely there be none
On whom thy wondrous eyes have ever shone
But for a moment, or who e'er have heard
Thy voice's deep impassioned melody,
Can lose the memory of that look or tone.
But, not as these, do I say unto thee,
I never shall forget thee:—in thine eyes,
Whose light, like sunshine, makes the world rejoice,
A stream of sad and solemn splendour lies;
And there is sorrow in thy gentle voice.
Thou art not like the scenes in which I found thee,
Thou art not like the beings that surround thee;
To me thou art a dream of hope and fear;
Yet why of fear?—oh sure! the Power that lent
Such gifts, to make thee fair, and excellent;
Still watches one whom it has deigned to bless
With such a dower of grace and loveliness;
Over the dangerous waves 'twill surely steer
The richly freighted bark, through storm and blast,
And guide it safely to the port at last.
Such is my prayer; 'tis warm as ever fell
From off my lips: accept it, and farewell!
And though in this strange world where first I met thee,
We meet no more—I never shall forget thee.

Thou little star, that in the purple clouds
Hang'st, like a dewdrop, in a violet bed;
First gem of evening, glittering on the shrouds,
'Mid whose dark folds the day lies pale and dead,
As through my tears my soul looks up to thee,
Loathing the heavy chains that bind it here,
There comes a fearful thought that misery
Perhaps is found, even in thy distant sphere.
Art thou a world of sorrow and of sin,
The heritage of death, disease, decay;
A wilderness, like that we wander in,
Where all things fairest soonest pass away?
And are there graves in thee, thou radiant world,
Round which life's sweetest buds fall witherèd,
Where hope's bright wings in the dark earth lie furled,
And living hearts are mouldering with the dead?
Perchance they do not die, that dwell in thee,
Perchance theirs is a darker doom than ours;
Unchanging woe, and endless misery,
And mourning that hath neither days nor hours.
Horrible dream!—O dark and dismal path,
Where I now weeping walk, I will not leave thee.
Earth has one boon for all her children—death:
Open thy arms, O mother! and receive me!
Take off the bitter burthen from the slave,
Give me my birthright! give—the grave, the grave!

The Black Wallflower

I found a flower in a desolate plot,
Where no man wrought,—by a deserted cot,
Where no man dwelt; a strange, dark-colour'd gem,
Black heavy buds on a pale leafless stem;
I pluck'd it, wondering, and with it hied
To my brave May; and, showing it, I cried:
'Look, what a dismal flower! did ever bloom,
Born of our earth and air, wear such a gloom?
It looks as it should grow out of a tomb:
Is it not mournful?' 'No,' replied the child;
And, gazing on it thoughtfully, she smiled.
She knows each word of that great book of God,
Spread out between the blue sky and the sod:
'There are no mournful flowers—they are all glad;
This is a solemn one, but not a sad.'

Lo! with the dawn the black buds open'd slowly;
Within each cup a colour deep and holy,
As sacrificial blood, glow'd rich and red,
And through the velvet tissue mantling spread;
While in the midst of this dark crimson heat
A precious golden heart did throb and beat;

Through ruby leaves the morning light did shine,
Each mournful bud had grown a flow'r divine;
And bitter sweet to senses and to soul,
A breathing came from them, that fill'd the whole
Of the surrounding tranced and sunny air
With its strange fragrance, like a silent prayer.
Then cried I, 'From the earth's whole wreath I'll borrow
No flower but thee! thou exquisite type of sorrow!'

A Vision Of The Vatican

In the great palace halls, where dwell the gods,
I heard a voice filling the vaulted roof;
The heart that uttered it seemed sorrow-proof,
And, clarion-like, it might have made the clods
Of the dead valley start to sudden life,
With such a vigour and a joy 'twas rife.
And, coming towards me, lo! a woman past,
Her face was shining as the morning bright,
And her feet fell in steps so strong and light,
I scarce could tell if she trod slow or fast:
She seemed instinct with beauty and with power,
And what she sang, dwells with me to this hour.

'Transfigured from the gods' abode I come,
I have been tarrying in their awful home;
Stand from my path, and give me passage free,
For yet I breathe of their divinity.
Zeus have I knelt to, solemn and serene,
And stately Herè, heaven's transcendent queen;
Phoebus's light is on my brow, and fleet,
As silver-sandalled Artemis', my feet;

Graciously smiling, heavenly Aphrodite
Hath filled my senses with a vague delight;
And Pallas, steadfastly beholding me,
Hath sent me forth in wisdom to be free.'

When at the portal, smiling she did turn,
And, looking back through the vast halls profound,
Re-echoing with her song's triumphant sound,
She bowed her head, and said—'I shall return!'
Then raised her face, all radiant with delight,
And vanished, like a vision, from my sight.

Farewell To Italy

Farewell awhile, beautiful Italy!
My lonely bark is launched upon the sea
That clasps thy shore, and the soft evening gale
Breathes from thy coast, and fills my parting sail.
Ere morning dawn, a colder breeze will come,
And bear me onward to my northern home;
That home, where the pale sun is not so bright,
So glorious, at his noonday's fiercest height,
As when he throws his last glance o'er the sea,
And fires the heavens, that glow farewell on thee.
Fair Italy! perchance some future day
Upon thy coast again will see me stray;
Meantime, farewell! I sorrow, as I leave
Thy lovely shore behind me, as men grieve
When bending o'er a form, around whose charms,
Unconquered yet, death winds his icy arms:
While leaving the last kiss on some dear cheek,
Where beauty sheds her last autumnal streak,
Life's rosy flower just mantling into bloom,
Before it fades for ever in the tomb.
So I leave thee, oh! thou art lovely still!
Despite the clouds of infamy and ill
That gather thickly round thy fading form:
Still glow thy glorious skies, as bright and warm,
Still memory lingers fondly on thy strand,
And genius hails thee still her native land.
Land of my soul's adoption! o'er the sea,
Thy sunny shore is fading rapidly:
Fainter and fainter, from my gaze it dies,
Till like a line of distant light it lies,
A melting boundary 'twixt earth and sky,
And now 'tis gone;—farewell, fair Italy!

Lines On A Sleeping Child

O child! who to this evil world art come,
Led by the unseen hand of Him who guards thee,
Welcome unto this dungeon-house, thy home!
Welcome to all the woe this life awards thee!
Upon thy forehead yet the badge of sin
Hath worn no trace; thou look'st as though from heaven,
But pain, and guilt, and misery lie within;
Poor exile! from thy happy birth-land driven.
Thine eyes are sealed by the soft hand of sleep,
And like unruffled waves thy slumber seems;
The time's at hand when thou must wake to weep,
Or sleeping, walk a restless world of dreams.
How oft, as day by day life's burthen lies
Heavier and darker on thy fainting soul,
Wilt thou towards heaven turn thy weary eyes,
And long in bitterness to reach the goal!

How oft wilt thou, upon Time's flinty road,
Gaze at thy far-off early days, in vain!
Weeping, how oft wilt thou cast down thy load,
And curse and pray, then take it up again!
How many times shall the fiend Hope extend
Her poisonous chalice to thy thirsty lips!
How oft shall Love its withering sunshine lend,
To leave thee only a more dark eclipse!
How oft shall Sorrow strain thee in her grasp,—
How oft shall Sin laugh at thine overthrow—
How oft shall Doubt, Despair, and Anguish clasp
Their knotted arms around thine aching brow!
O living soul, hail to thy narrow cage!
Spirit of light, hail to thy gloomy cave!
Welcome to longing youth, to loathing age,
Welcome, immortal! welcome to the grave!

Lament Of A Mocking-Bird

Silence instead of thy sweet song, my bird,
Which through the darkness of my winter days
Warbling of summer sunshine still was heard;
Mute is thy song, and vacant is thy place.

The spring comes back again, the fields rejoice,
Carols of gladness ring from every tree;
But I shall hear thy wild triumphant voice
No more: my summer song has died with thee.

What didst thou sing of, O my summer bird?
The broad, bright, brimming river, whose swift sweep
And whirling eddies by the home are heard,
Rushing, resistless, to the calling deep.

What didst thou sing of, thou melodious sprite?
Pine forests, with smooth russet carpets spread,
Where e'en at noonday dimly falls the light,
Through gloomy blue-green branches overhead.

What didst thou sing of, O thou jubilant soul?
Ever-fresh flowers and never-leafless trees,
Bending great ivory cups to the control
Of the soft swaying, orange scented breeze.

What didst thou sing of, thou embodied glee?
The wide wild marshes with their clashing reeds
And topaz-tinted channels, where the sea
Daily its tides of briny freshness leads.

What didst thou sing of, O thou winged voice?
Dark, bronze-leaved oaks, with silver mosses crowned,
Where thy free kindred live, love, and rejoice,
With wreaths of golden jasmine curtained round.

These didst thou sing of, spirit of delight!
From thy own radiant sky, thou quivering spark!
These thy sweet southern dreams of warmth and light,
Through the grim northern winter drear and dark.

The Lord's son stood at the clear spring head,
The May on the other side,
'And stretch me your lily hand,' he said,
'For I must mount and ride.
'And waft me a kiss across the brook,
And a curl of your yellow hair;
Come summer or winter, I ne'er shall look
Again on your eyes so fair.
'Bring me my coal-black steed, my squire,
Bring Fleetfoot forth!' he cried;
'For threescore miles he must not tire,
To bear me to my bride.
'His foot must be swift, though my heart be slow;
He carries me towards my sorrow;
To the Earl's proud daughter I made my vow,
And I must wed her to-morrow.'
The Lord's son stood at the altar stone,—
The Earl's proud daughter near:
'And what is that ring you have gotten on,
That you kiss so oft and so dear?
'Is it a ring of the yellow gold,
Or something more precious and bright?
Give me that ring in my hand to hold,
Or I plight ye no troth to-night.'
'It is not a ring of the yellow gold,
But something more precious and bright,
But never shall hand, save my hand, hold
This ring by day or night.'
'And now I am your wedded wife,
Give me the ring, I pray.'—
'You may take my lands, you may take my life,
But never this ring away.'
They sat at the board; and the lady bride
Red wine in a goblet pour'd;
'And pledge me a health, sweet sir,' she cried,
'My husband and my lord.'
The cup to his lips he had scarcely press'd,
When he gasping drew his breath,
His head sank down on his heaving breast,
And he said, 'It is death! it is death!—
'Oh, bury me under the gay green shaw
By the brook, 'neath the heathery sod,
Where last her blessed eyes I saw,
Where her blessed feet last trod!'

A German Legend

Round thy steep castle walls,
Who seeks thy love must ride,
Who from their dizzy summit falls,
Must death abide.
O Lady proud and fair,
'Tis not too much;
Gladly that death I dare
Thy lovely lips to touch.
Tears in thy blue eyes springing,
Gathering I see,
Thou kneel'st thy white hands wringing
For me!—is it for me?
Fear not—I shall return,
For one so blest as I,
Whom thou couldst love and mourn,
He cannot die.
Give me one kiss—one kiss,
And so farewell,
From yonder dread abyss
That be my spell.

Steady, good steed and true,
One false step were thy last,
Which thou and I should rue,
Down to perdition cast.
Steady, my gallant gray,
Paw not the ground,
To tilt or tourney gay
We are not bound.
Many a field of death
Have we gone o'er,
But such a dreadful path
Never before.
Toss not thy noble mane,
Champ not the bit,
Lightly I guide thy rein
And lightly, lightly sit.
Now, now the hideous round
Is almost won,
Now one more step—one bound,
O God, 'tis done!
Hence not thy smiles to meet,
Have I that doom defied,
It was to spurn thee from my feet
Not clasp thee as my bride.

Fiend with an angel's face
And heart of stone,
In thy perfidious grace
Woman alone.
Hurl'd from thy cruel cursed wall,
My brother met his fate;
Thou had'st his love—his life—his all:
Thou hast my scorn, my hate.
Oh, never on thy flinty breast
May loyal lover lie!
By baby lips ne'er be it prest:
Live lonely—lonely die!
Well done, good gallant gray!
Thou shalt be shod with gold,
And thy brave ride to-day
In song and story told.
Now from this fatal place
Speed like the wind,
Gallop apace, apace,
And leave this slaughter-house behind.


I'll tell thee why this weary world meseemeth
But as the visions light of one who dreameth,
Which pass like clouds, leaving no trace behind;
Why this strange life, so full of sin and folly,
In me awakeneth no melancholy,
Nor leaveth shade, or sadness, on my mind.
'Tis not that with an undiscerning eye
I see the pageant wild go dancing by,
Mistaking that which falsest is, for true;
'Tis not that pleasure hath entwined me,
'Tis not that sorrow hath enshrined me;
I bear no badge of roses or of rue,
But in the inmost chambers of my soul
There is another world, a blessèd home,
O'er which no living power holdeth control,
Anigh to which ill things do never come.
There shineth the glad sunlight of clear thought,
With hope and faith holding communion high,
Over a fragrant land with flowers ywrought,
Where gush the living springs of poesy,
There speak the voices that I love to hear,
There smile the glances that I love to see,
There live the forms of those my soul holds dear,
For ever, in that secret world, with me.
They who have walked with me along life's way,
And severed been by fortune's adverse tide,
Who ne'er again, through time's uncertain day,
In weal or woe, may wander by my side;
These all dwell here: nor these, whom life alone
Divideth from me, but the dead, the dead;
Those weary ones who to their rest are gone,
Whose footprints from the earth have vanishèd;
Here dwell they all: and here, within this world,
Like light within a summer sun-cloud furled,
My spirit dwells. Therefore, this evil life,
With all its gilded snares, and fair deceivings,
Its wealth, its want, its pleasures, and its grievings,
Nor frights, nor frets me, by its idle strife.
O thou! who readest of thy courtesy,
Whoe'er thou art, I wish the same to thee!

A Lament For The Wissahiccon

The waterfall is calling me
With its merry gleesome flow,
And the green boughs are beckoning me,
To where the wild flowers grow:

I may not go, I may not go,
To where the sunny waters flow,
To where the wild wood flowers blow;
I must stay here
In prison drear;
O heavy life, wear on, wear on,
Would God that thou wert done!

The busy mill-wheel round and round
Goes turning, with its reckless sound,
And o'er the dam the waters flow
Into the foaming stream below,
And deep and dark, away they glide,
To meet the broad, bright river's tide;
And all the way
They murmuring say:

'O child! why art thou far away?
Come back into the sun, and stray
Upon our mossy side!'

I may not go, I may not go,
To where the gold green waters run,
All shining, in the summer's sun,
And leap from off the dam below
Into a whirl of boiling snow,
Laughing and shouting as they go;
I must stay here
In prison drear;
O heavy life, wear on, wear on,
Would God that thou wert done!

The soft spring wind goes passing by,
Into the forests wide and cool;
The clouds go trooping through the sky,
To look down on some glassy pool;
The sunshine makes the world rejoice,
And all of them, with gentle voice,
Call me away
With them to stay,
The blessed, livelong summer's day.

I may not go, I may not go,
Where the sweet breathing spring winds blow,
Nor where the silver clouds go by,
Across the holy, deep blue sky,

Nor where the sunshine, warm and bright,
Comes down like a still shower of light;
I must stay here
In prison drear;
O heavy life, wear on, wear on,
Would God that thou wert done!

Oh that I were a thing with wings!
A bird, that in a May-hedge sings!
A lonely heather bell that swings
Upon some wild hill-side;
Or even a silly, senseless stone,
With dark, green, starry moss o'ergrown,
Round which the waters glide.

Poor little sprite! in that dark, narrow cell
Caged by the law of man's resistless might!
With thy sweet, liquid notes, by some strong spell,
Compelled to minister to his delight!
Whence, what art thou? art thou a fairy wight
Caught sleeping in some lily's snowy bell,
Where thou hadst crept, to rock in the moonlight,
And drink the starry dew-drops as they fell?
Say, dost thou think, sometimes when thou art singing,
Of thy wild haunt upon the mountain's brow,
Where thou were wont to list the heath-bells ringing,
And sail upon the sunset's amber glow?
When thou art weary of thy oft-told theme,
Say, dost thou think of the clear pebbly stream,
Upon whose mossy brink thy fellows play?
Dancing in circles by the moon's soft beam,
Hiding in blossoms from the sun's fierce gleam,
Whilst thou, in darkness, sing'st thy life away.
And canst thou feel when the spring-time returns,
Filling the earth with fragrance and with glee;
When in the wide creation nothing mourns,
Of all that lives, save that which is not free?
Oh! if thou couldst, and we could hear thy prayer,
How would thy little voice beseeching cry,
For one short draught of the sweet morning air,
For one short glimpse of the clear azure sky!
Perchance thou sing'st in hopes thou shalt be free,
Sweetly and patiently thy task fulfilling;
While thy sad thoughts are wandering with the bee,
To every bud with honey dew distilling.
That hope is vain: for even could'st thou wing
Thy homeward flight back to the greenwood gay,
Thou'dst be a shunned and a forsaken thing,
'Mongst the companions of thy happier day.
For fairy sprites, like many other creatures,
Bear fleeting memories, that come and go;
Nor can they oft recall familiar features,
By absence touched, or clouded o'er with woe.
Then rest content with sorrow: for there be
Many that must that lesson learn with thee;
And still thy wild notes warble cheerfully,
Till, when thy tiny voice begins to fail,
For thy lost bliss sing but one parting wail,
Poor little sprite! and then sleep peacefully!

Are They Indeed The Bitterest Tears We Shed

Are they indeed the bitterest tears we shed
Those we let fall over the silent dead?
Can our thoughts image forth no darker doom,
Than that which wraps us in the peaceful tomb?
Whom have ye laid beneath that mossy grave,
Round which the slender, sunny grass-blades wave?
Whom are ye calling back to tread again
This weary walk of life? towards whom, in vain,
Are your fond eyes and yearning hearts upraised;
The young, the loved, the honoured, and the praised?
Come hither;—look upon the faded cheek
Of that still woman, who with eyelids meek
Veils her most mournful eyes;—upon her brow
Sometimes the sensitive blood will faintly glow,
When reckless hands her heart-wounds roughly tear,
But patience oftener sits palely there.
Beauty has left her—hope and joy have long
Fled from her heart, yet she is young, is young;
Has many years, as human tongues would tell,
Upon the face of this blank earth to dwell.
Looks she not sad? 'tis but a tale of old,
Told o'er and o'er, and ever to be told,

The hourly story of our every day,
Which when men hear they sigh and turn away;
A tale too trite almost to find an ear,
A woe too common to deserve a tear.
She is the daughter of a distant land;—
Her kindred are far off;—her maiden hand,
Sought for by many, was obtained by one
Who owned a different birth-land from her own.
But what recked she of that? as low she knelt
Breathing her marriage vows, her fond heart felt,
'For thee, I give up country, home, and friends;
Thy love for each, for all, shall make amends;'
And was she loved?—perishing by her side
The children of her bosom drooped and died;
The bitter life they drew from her cold breast
Flickered and failed;—she laid them down to rest:
Two pale young blossoms in their early sleep;
And weeping, said, 'They have not lived to weep.'
And weeps she yet? no, to her weary eyes,
The bliss of tears her frozen heart denies;
Complaint, or sigh, breathes not upon her lips,
Her life is one dark, fatal, deep eclipse.
Lead her to the green grave where ye have laid
The creature that ye mourn;—let it be said:
'Here love, and youth, and beauty, are at rest!'
She only sadly murmurs, 'Blest!—most blest!'
And turns from gazing, lest her misery
Should make her sin, and pray to Heaven to die.


Darkness upon the mountain and the vale—
Forest and field are bathed in dewy sleep,
And the night angels vigil o'er them keep.
No sound, no motion; over hill and dale,
A calm and lovely Death seems to embrace
Earth's fairest realms, and heaven's unmeasured space.

The dark wood slumbers; leaf, and branch, and bough,
High feathery crest, and lowliest grassy blade;
All restless wandering wings are folded now,
That swept the sky, and in the sunshine played.
The lake's wild waves rest in their rocky bowl,
Harmonious silence breathes from nature's soul,
And night's wide star-sown wings brood o'er the whole.
In the deep trance of the hushed universe
The dark death-mystery doth man rehearse.
Now for awhile, cease the swift thoughts to run
From task to task—tired labour, overdone,

With lighter toil than that of brain or heart,
In the sweet pause of outward life takes part;
And hope, and fear,—desire, love, joy, and sorrow,
Wait, 'neath sleep's downy wings, the coming morrow.
Peace upon earth, profoundest peace in heaven,
Praises the God of Peace, by whom 'tis given.

But hark! the woody depths of green Begin to stir,
Light thrills of life creep fresh between Oak, beech, and fir—
Faint rustling sounds of trembling leaves Whisper around,
The world at waking slowly heaves A sigh profound.
And showers of tears, Night gathered in her eyes,
Fall from fair Nature's face as she doth rise.

A ripple roughens on the lake,
The cradled lilies shivering wake,
Small crisping waves lift themselves up and break Along the laurelled shore;
And woods and waters, answering each other, make Silence no more.
And lo! the East turns pale—
Night's dusky veil Thinner and thinner grows;
Till the bright morning star
From hill to hill, afar,

His fire glance throws.
Gold streaks run through the sky,
Higher, and yet more high,
The glory streams—
Flushes of rosy hue,
Long lines of palest blue,
And amber gleams.
From the green valleys rise
The silver mists like spray,
Catch and give back the ray
In opal dyes;
Light floods the sky, light pours upon the earth,
In glorious light the joyful day takes birth.

Hail to the day that brings ye home,
Ye distant wand'rers from the mountain land!
Hail to the day that bids ye come
Again upon your native hills to stand!
Hail, hail! from rocky peak,
And wood-embowered dale,
A thousand voices welcome speak,
Hail, home-turned pilgrims, hail!
Oh welcome! from the meadow and the hill Glad greetings rise,
From flowing river, and from bounding rill,
Smooth sunny field, and gloomy wood-depth still,
And the sharp thunder-splintered crag, that strikes
Its rocky spikes,
Into the skies;

Gray Lock, cloud-girdled, from his purple throne
A shout of gladness sends,
And up soft meadow slopes, a warbling tone
The Housatonic blends.

Welcome, ye absent long, and distant far!
Who from the roof-tree of your childhood turned,
Have waged 'mid strangers life's relentless war,
While at your hearts the ancient home-love burned.
Ye that have ploughed the barren, briny foam,
And reaped hard fortunes from the stormy sea,
The golden grain-fields rippling round your home,
Roll their ripe billows from fierce tempests free.
Ye, from those western deadly blooming fields
Where Pestilence in Plenty's bosom lies,
The sterner rock-soil of your mountains yields
Health's rosy blossoms, to these purer skies.
And ye, who on the accursèd southern plain,
Barren, not fruitful, with the sweat of slaves,
Have breathed awhile the tainted air in pain,
'Mid human forms, their spirits' living graves,
Here fall the fetters—by his cottage door,
Lord of the lordliest life, each dweller stands,
Lifting to God, as did his sires of yore,
A heart of love, and free laborious hands.

On each bold granite peak, and forest crest,
Each stony hill-path, and each lake's smooth shore,
Blessings of noble exiled patriots rest,

Liberty's altars are they evermore.
And on this air there lingers yet the tone
Of those last sacred words to freedom given,
The parting utterance of that holy one,

Whose spirit from these mountains rose to Heaven.
Ye that have prospered, bearing hence with ye
The virtues that command prosperity,
To the green threshold of your youth oh come,
And hang your trophies round your early home.
Ye that have suffered, and whose weary eyes
Have turned with sadness to your happier years,
Come to the fountain of sweet memories,
And by its healing waters dry your tears.
Ye that departed young, and old return,
Ye who went forth with hope, and hopeless come,—
If still unquenched within your hearts hath burned
The sacred love and longing for your home—

Hail, hail!
Bright hill and dale
With mirth resound;
Join in the joyful strain,
Ye have not wept in vain,
The parted meet again,
The lost are found!

And may God guard thee, O thou lovely land!
Evil, nor danger, nigh thy borders come!
Green towers of freedom may thy hills still stand,
Still be thy valleys peace and virtue's home;
The blessing of the stranger rest on thee,
Unmoved as Heaven be thy prosperity!

The Wreck Of The Birkenhead,


As well as I am able, I'll relate how it befell,
And I trust, sirs, you'll excuse me, if I do not speak it well.
I've lived a hard and wandering life, serving our gracious Queen,
And have nigh forgot my schooling since a soldier I have been.

But however in my untaught speech the tale I tell may thrive,
I shall see the scene before me, to the latest day I live;
And sometimes I have scarce the heart to thank God for saving me,
When I think of my poor comrades, who went down in that dreadful sea,
And my brother's drowning eyes and voice, as a monstrous swirling wave
Rolled him right across my arms, 'twas his winding sheet and grave—

God forgive me! but I wish he had been saved instead of me,
He was a better, braver man than ever I shall be.

The night was still and silent, and the stars shone overhead,
And all were sleeping in the ship, who in one hour were dead.
A heavy swell was rolling in upon the treacherous shore,
And the steersman steered off from the coast, four miles, and barely four.
Six hundred sleeping souls relied upon that helmsman's care,
Poor wretch! the sea has saved him from a terrible despair!
For in that still and starlight night, on that smooth and silent sea,
He sent four hundred sleeping men straight to eternity;
He drove the ship upon the rocks that stretch the waves beneath,
It has been called Point Danger—it should be the Reef of Death.

I was dreaming of old Scotland, the home of my boyish years,
And the sound of the village bagpipe was droning in my ears;
And across the purple heath, behind a screen of fir and oak,
I saw from our low chimney curl the silver blue peat smoke;

My foot was on the door-stone, and my hand was on the lock,
And I heard my mother's voice within—when, suddenly, a shock
Went shuddering through the whole ship's frame, and then a grinding sound,
And the cry was heard above, below, 'Back her! she is aground!'
We heard the water rushing, whence or where we did not know,
And every face was darkened with terror and with woe;
But our officers did all that brave gentlemen could do,
And the sailors did their duty,—they were a gallant crew!
And we poor soldiers, too, sirs, I dare think, did all we could,
We had thought to die upon dry land, not choke in the weltering flood,
But steady, as if we had been on our old parading ground,
We stood till she went to pieces,—and the most of us were drowned.
With the first shock the word was given to put the engine back,
For we saw, when the sea was sucked away, where the reef lay, bare and black,
Right underneath the poor ship's prow, huge, hard, and without motion,
Beneath the sweltering, seething surf, of the restless, rolling ocean;

And it was terrible to hear the engine heave and throb,
Like the huge heart of a giant, with a sound like a heavy sob;
And it cast its shining arms aloft, and the wheels began to turn,
And the mad waves flashed, and whirled, and hissed, as they felt the strong ship spurn.
Another stroke, and we were off—but the black reef's stony teeth,
Had bitten through her iron ribs, and the sea rushed in beneath,
And up and up the water rose, fast, faster yet and higher,
And leapt into our ship's warm heart, and danced above the fire,
The shining arms fell motionless, and stopped the mighty breath,
And the mad waves sucked us back again, into the jaws of death.

Like horses plunging on the reef, we could see them through the dark,
The flying of their wild white manes made a long and shining mark,
And beyond where the rolling blackness, ridge upon ridge was tost,
Not four miles off, how near, and yet how distant! was the coast.
And now there came another shock, with a hideous crashing sound,
The ship broke right in half—and whirling madly round and round,

Half was sucked down before our eyes, and the water far and near,
Was strewed with hapless, helpless men, whose cries of pain and fear
Drove us wild with terror and with grief, as we stood upon the wreck,
The shivering, shattered, slippery planks, of that miserable deck.

Our wives and children in the boats had been lowered from the side,
And through the dark we heard them, as their wild farewells they cried;
And many a brave man's heart grew sick, as silently he stood,
And heard those bitter wailings rise and sink with the heaving flood:
But not one foot was stirred, and not one hand was raised to fly,
We were bid to stand there on that deck—and we stood still there to die.

At length word of command was given: 'Save yourselves all who can,'
And then, and not till then, away broke every boy and man,
When a loud voice, like an angel's, rose above the infernal din,
'Don't swamp your wives and children, hold back, if you are men!'

We looked into each other's eyes—the boats put off to shore—
And suddenly above my head I felt the billows pour.

I threw my arms abroad to swim—and found that they were cast
(Lord what a gripe I closed them with!) around our gallant mast:
As up the blessed shaft I clomb, shouting in frenzied glee,
The mad waves' thundering voices seemed to call alone for me;
But along the high main-topsail yard I climbed, and crawled, and clung,
And out into the empty night, over the sea I swung;
And others followed in the dark, that fearful, slippery way,
And there we held, and hung, and prayed, for the dear light of day;
And pray you, sirs, that never you may count such hideous hours,
Or know the agony and dread of those speechless prayers of ours.

All in a heap our limbs were twined, holding by one another,
And one man clutched my right arm fast, alas! 'twas not my brother;
I wound my hands around the spar, tight, tight, with the grip of Death,
And in my mortal fear I seized the wood fast in my teeth;

And as each high wave struck the mast, and shook us to and fro,
We could see the sharks' white bellies turn in the sea below.

Just as the day was breaking, I grew dizzy, faint, and sick,
And I heard the man who held me breathing heavily and quick,
His limbs slid slowly down, while with one hand he still did clasp
My arm, and I felt it yielding in the dead man's fatal grasp,
I flung it loose, still holding by one arm alone, while he,
With a heavy plunge fell fathoms down, into the churning sea—
He was dead, sirs, he was dead, yet my eyes grew glazed and dim
With horror, for I felt as if I just had murdered him,
And with that thought my wits gave way, for 'twas followed by another,
At which I shrieked aloud—that I had cast away my brother.

And this is all that I can tell—for I saw and heard no more
Till life came into me again, as I lay upon the shore;
I and a few poor fellows that a boat had fetched away,
By God's grace, from that direful mast, with the blessed light of day.
Our eyes were full of tears, as we looked towards the fatal reef,
Where above the surf the swinging yard seemed to beckon for relief,

For our comrades who lay rolling all round the sunken mast,—
They were brave fellows, sirs, and did their duty to the last:
And I hope that I may say it without unbecoming pride,
There are gallant soldiers, well I know, in many a land beside,
But I think that none but Englishmen like those men would have died.