A Temperance Song For The Fourth Of July.
Tune.— 'Rose of Allandale.'
A voice is heard upon the gale,
Shrill joy it bears along ;
From city, hamlet, hill and dale,
Bursts forth the welcome song.
And echo sends it, long and loud,
Through all the land with glee ;
Upon the air glad voices crowd,
Proclaiming— WE ARE FREE.
The cup that foamed with deadly bane
Is dashed upon the ground.
'Twas death to millions at the fane
Where misery was found.
An angel near that Dagon drew,
She bade the prisoners flee,
And sent the pledge the nation through
Proclaiming— THEY ARE FREE.
The mother's heart with joy beats high,
Her son's no more a wreck ;
The beam of hope is in her eye,
His arms around her neck.
A freeman, him her bosom claims
With all a mother's glee,
'My child !' her raptured tongue exclaims,
' My child ! my boy is free !'
And freemen such, this day, in throngs
To country homage pay ;
They welcome Freedom by their songs
On this, her holy-day.
Then let the temperance flag, unfurled,
Our country's standard be ;
And wave this motto to the world,
' Columbia is free !'
The Mississippi River
There is not in the wide world a river as grand
As the one whose bright waves lave my own native land ;
From the dear mother-lake which it leaves with a sigh,
And murmurs, at parting, a tender good-by,
On down to the Gulf, that, with arms open wide,
Receives to her bosom the on-rushing tide,
Repeating the vow by her lover begun,
That henceforth, forever, their lives shall be one,
There are beauty and freshness and splendor untold
On its shores, on its isles, in its ripples of gold.
Past meadow and moorland, past forest and glade,
How grandly it courses in sunlight and shade !
Reflecting the blushes of morn's rosy light,
Or set with tiaras of star-gems at night;
So mirroring heaven that if loved ones might stray
Through portals of light in the regions of day,
Or mount its bright ramparts and fondly look down,
We might catch, in these waters, the gleam of a crown,
A glad smile of joy on a glorified face,
And white arms upheld for a tender embrace.
Say, River of rivers, what is't they implore
As thy ripples press forward to kneel on thy shore ?
I see them, at morn, lowly bending in prayer,—
At even their pleadings float soft on the air.
While up through the starlight comes, tender and low,
The trembling refrain of their murmuring flow.
What yearnings can move thee, what longings can start,
With heaven's own image clasped close to thy heart?
I think, when thy islands of verdure are seen,
Of Eden's still waters and pastures of green,
And feel, when my feet touch thy shore's dewy sod,
A sense of His presence, a nearness to God.
A picture floats up from thy blue waves to me
Of Him who sat down by Gennesareth's sea;
And e'en when thy storm-maddened billows mount high,
They waft me the whisper,—'Fear not, it is I.'
Apostrophe To The Galaxy
What are ye, arrayed in your robings of white,
Beyond where the sun drinks in oceans of light;
Surmounting the stars, ay, the farthest we see
Just penciling heaven to prove that ye be?
A cluster so dreamy, expanding, and fair
Creates in the mind a fond wish to be there.
Your orbit our vision can never descry:
What are ye, in fleecy attiring on high ?
Bright orbs, do ye give to the comet its ray,
Careering through space with impetuous sway?
Or, destined as vigils, watch over expanse,
To guard other worlds from the comet's advance?
So clustering are ye, so dense in your path,
Ye may save this fair earth from the wanderer's wrath.
What are ye? Oh, say, does your circuit extend
Round orbs where the angels their minstrelsy blend ?
And do ye pour forth on the throng and the choir
The splendor of light from the disk of your fire?
If such be your destiny, Galaxy bright,
The music how rapturous, blended with light!
Like the songs of the spheres when the Deity's voice
In the light of creation made angels rejoice.
What are ye? If not what the muse has defined,
Then are ye not orbits of beautiful mind ?
Are the white, stainless robes ye expand to our view
la chasteness the emblems of mind among you?
In fancy's excursions behold I not there
In your orbs so resplendent, your region so fair,
Intelligence, rising by intellect's force
Still nearer to Him, of perfection the source,
With natures immortal, all spotless in soul,
And cherishing mind, as in splendor ye roll?
Behold I not, grouped round your altars of praise,
Your children, at even, their orisons raise?
Or, cheerful and happy, in youth's ardent glow,
All sporting in fields where the wild-flowers grow?
A father bends over his boy with a smile,
A mother caresses her infant the while;
Joy blended with joy, and bliss mingled with bliss,
In the fond interchange of a smile and a kiss.
Methinks I can see, by your rills and bland streams,
Your poets, entranced in elysian dreams,
Or, waked from their raptures among your green bowers,
Rehearsing their numbers while culling the flowers;
The learned of your system—philosophers wise,
Astronomers, mapping the stars of your skies,
Vast oceans expanding, your landscapes serene,
Your redolent groves and your valleys of green.
If systems of mind ye are not, still the word,
What are ye ? No answer but echo is heard.
Do ye lead in the van of the spheres as they whirl?
Is the vision of whiteness the flag ye unfurl ?
And, on the reverse, are there emblems displayed
Of orbs in full splendor and glory arrayed ?
Whate'er ye may seem to our dim, mortal view,
Bright star-isles that gleam in your ocean of blue,
We will deem you a stellar assemblage refined,
And with you compare the bright grouping of mind,
To show how it can, like the stars, by its glow,
Relieve our life's orb from the gloom of its woe.
Nelly 's Story
It was on a lovely evening
In the merry month of June,
That we sailed upon the waters clear,
Beneath the rising moon.
We had often sat together thus,
Young Lawrence Grey and I,
And watched the Night-Queen rolling
Through her kingdom in the sky.
He spoke as he was wont to speak,
In whispers soft and low,
Of moonlit skies and slumbering flowers,
And wavelets' murmuring flow.
In vain I listened for the words
I longed to hear him say ;
He breathed them not, —my heart was sad,—
I loved young Lawrence Grey.
Long had I known him ; oft had sat
Within the leafy grove,
And hoped to hear him whisper low
An earnest tale of love ;
Or stood, expectant, by his side,
At twilight's stilly hour,
And felt across my senses steal
A spell of wondrous power.
But Hope, the siren, from my heart
Had well-nigh ta'en her flight ;
And dark despair sat brooding there
Upon that summer's night.
And when, at last, a sacred hush
Fell upon wood and stream,
My thoughts were busy with the past,
While Lawrence seemed to dream.
I touched the water with my hand,
And tried to catch each gem
That, with the moonbeams, formed a gay,
A sparkling diadem.
A sudden fancy seized my brain,—
' Suspense is worse than death;
'Twill test his love to run the risk,—
I can but lose my breath.'
One parting glance was all I gave ;
But 'he beheld me not,
So closely were his senses bound
By deep, unfathomed thought.
' Forgive me, Heaven !' I softly said ;
' Now love or death must win !'
And, with the words, the skiff upset,
And I — I tumbled in.
One moment dark dismay became
A tenant of my breast ;
Another, every doubt gave way,—
All fear was lulled to rest.
A strong arm bore me to the shore,
Upheld my sinking form,
While tear-drops fell upon my cheeks
All fresh and bright and warm.
' Gone, almost gone !' he wildly said,
And smoothed my dripping hair ;
Then pressed his lips upon my own,
And left love's signet there.
A 'wildering bliss, an untold joy,
Across my being stole ;
And eyelids, that till then were closed,
No longer brooked control.
'Lawrence !' I slowly, feebly said, —
A flush suffused his cheek ;
Then, quick, he told me all his lips
Had long refused to speak:
He said he worshiped —he adored ;
If I would be his own,
Henceforth his aim in life should be
My happiness alone.
What answered I? Ask of the moon,
That now, all radiant, shone ;
Or of the still, pale stars beyond,
That tremblingly looked on.
I've tried a thousand times to think,
But tried, alas! in vain ;
Those words escaped from Memory's chart,
And ne'er came back again.
'Twas not till many years had fled
With many joys away,
And I had long been known to friends
As 'sober Nelly Grey,'
That I could venture to confess,
To him who used to dream,
That it was not an accident—
My falling in'the stream.
He scarce believed me when I said
I made the skiff capsize ;
Or that I heard the words he spoke
Before I oped my eyes.
He smiled, though, when he heard me say,
' If I were young once more,
And loved and doubted, I would act—
Just as I did before. ' '
The Shadows On The Wall
Fever sapped my very life-blood, frenzy fired my tortured brain,
And the friends who watched beside me, felt their lingering hopes were vain.
I was going —going from them, all unconscious of their fears ;
Hastening to the Silent Valley, deaf to moans and blind to tears.
But a change was wrought at midnight —the destroyer's hand was stayed,
And the frenzy and the fever fled, affrighted and dismayed.
And the dear ones who had trembled as I neared the mystic goal,
Spoke in glad, rejoicing whispers as light slumber held control ;
All, save one, the youngest —fairest— gentle friend of other years,
Who knelt reverently beside me, and returned her thanks with tears.
Since the sunny days of childhood we had known each other well,
And each fleeting year we numbered but increased love's magic spell ;
But, till sickness felled me, never did her acts of love divine
Seem to drop, like gems unnumbered, from a great exhaustless mine.
With a sister's sweet devotion would her young head o'er me bow,
As she bathed my cheeks with kisses, and with tear-drops dewed my brow,
Like a fond and gentle mother on her bosom lay my head,
And, in soft, endearing accents, speak of happy hours long fled.
When the dreadful dream was ended, when delirium's spell was broke,
When, with all an infant's weakness, I to consciousness awoke,
I could see the form of Emma round my darkened chamber glide,
And could hear her sweet voice breathing soothing whispers by my side
Not till stars were shining brightly in the blue sky overhead
Would she leave me to my slumbers with a Sibyl's noiseless tread,
Then, within the room adjoining, sat she with attentive ear,
Ready, at the slightest murmur, at my bedside to appear.
Well, one eve my eye had wandered from the bright and cheerful light
That came streaming through the doorway, to the wall so smooth and white,
When methought I heard a footfall ('twas not Emma's, I was sure)
Stepping lightly through the hall and pausing at the inner door.
It was opened —oh, so softly I could scarcely hear the sound ;
Had a human hand unclosed it, or were spirits stalking round ?
While I looked and thought and wondered, lo ! there glided from the hall,
With a stealthy tread, a shadow, and stood waiting on the wall.
'Twas as handsome as the 'photos' done by Emerson last week ;
Its two lips were slightly parted, as though just about to speak ;
And its eyes —I lost their color with their most bewitching flash,
Yet I saw it sported whiskers and a slightly-curled moustache ;
Then its nose was sharp and classic, —it was finely built and tall,
And a full round chin and forehead had this shadow on the wall.
Quick before my wondering vision did a second shadow glide ;
It excelled the air in fleetness till it reached the other's side.
Ah ! full well that face, that figure, and those graceful curls were known,
For, with sportive pencil, oft had I the self-same outline drawn.
And, so great was my amazement, I my voice could scarce suppress
When I saw these phantom figures meeting with a warm caress ;
And —my memory here grows faithless —I can only just recall
That I saw four lips of shadow meet upon the pictured wall.
When the pantomime was ended, I grew restless from surprise,
And, remembering not my weakness, I in vain essayed to rise ;
But the shadows heard my movement, and they fled before my gaze
With the swiftness of the lightning, choosing wisely different ways;
And when, in a moment after, bent a fair face o'er my bed,
Eyes were closed and breast was heaving: 'Sleeping sweetly,' Emma said;
Never dreamed she that the sleeper had been witness to it all,
Or, more truly, to the tableau of the shadows on the wall.
Often have I seen the substance of the shadow first since then,
And no nobler heart is numbered in the family of men.
He is worthy of his Emma, who, now standing by his side,
Does not note his beaming glance of mingled tenderness and pride.
With one hand upon his shoulder and the other clasped in mine,
She's been coaxing for a poem about ' Charles and Emmeline ;'
And I've quickly snatched my pencil for the first time to recall
To the twain the summer's eve I saw the shadows on the wall.
A Temperance Poem
Inscribed To The Ladies
Mr. Lionel Lightfoot, a man, you must know,
Whose life had been upright and blameless,
To the capital's chamber came three years ago
From a county that here shall be nameless.
He was loyal at heart, but all tyranny spurned,
And, when comrades endeavored to prove him,
Allegiance to Alcohol's power he spurned,—
Neither jeers nor persuasions could move him.
Though at club-room or bar they would oftentimes meet,
He ne'er treated, nor could be entreated to treat.
And now 'twas mid-winter, —the question was up
To legally sanction or banish the cup.
The ladies had come, with their beauty and grace,
To cheer the desponding and brighten the place.
Discussions grew warm, but all pleading was vain,
For Alcohol triumphed, and Whisky again
Would desolate hearthstones, —bring Want and Despair
To dear ones once guarded with tenderest care.
And Lightfoot lamented, —his mother's calm smile
Seemed resting upon him, —her voice, too, the while,
Those soft, tender tones to remembrance so dear,
Sweet, earnest, and true, floated back to his ear :
' My son, if they sanction this blight of the soul,
Forget not my teachings —beware of the bowl !'
The day had departed, the twilight had fled,
At the still hour of midnight the Old Year lay dead.
The breeze sighed its requiem, the ocean its moan,
For the aged and mighty who perished alone ;
But the sun of the morning rose fair o'er the scene
Where, in night's fearful silence, the death-pall had been.
And now it was New Year, —'a happy New Year,'—
And young Lightfoot were guilty of treason
If he failed to the fair ones in person to pay
His dues, with the dues of the season.
So, calling on Fairface, an exquisite dandy,
An ardent believer in spirits —of brandy,
He found him perturbed —in a barbarous passion,—
His moustache had been trimmed quite too close for the fashion ;
His head, too —oh, shocking to add to the list !—
Two hairs on the left the Macassar had missed.
But Lightfoot restored him : ' The former,' he said,
'Looked so foreign —distangué '(a beautiful red
He fain would have added, but paused, lest the ire
Of his comrade might set his adornment on fire.)
Then, waiting till Fairface made smooth as a die
For the fiftieth time his ' miwaculous tie,'
With assurance his collar just touched his goatee
Without varying, in distance, the slightest degree,
With cane between gloves of invisible green,
They called on Miss Mabel —society's queen ;
And, listening the while to the lively narrations
Of her numerous calls and her morning libations,
' Your health !' cries ma belle; returns Lightfoot, ' Ex-cuse me,
I never indulge.' ' What ! on New Year's refuse me !
Politeness demands it; beside' (soft and low),
' Champagne is so perfectly harmless, you know.'
Ah, woman, fair temptress, thou knew'st not the while
The doom that was sealed by that innocent smile;
Or how fatal the spell in that voice, that was given
To lure man from vice And direct him to heaven.
Thou saw' st not the phantoms that clutched at the bowl,
Nor the serpents that fastened their fangs in his soul ;
Thou heardst not the clank of the chains that were wound
By fiends that kept mocking the spirit they bound.
So Lightfoot was tempted, and yielded at last,
Beguiled by this siren of beauty ;
And, quitting her presence, he carried away
Her smile of approval as booty.
A dangerous trophy, these smiles of the fair;
They melted his good resolutions to air ;
For though he had reasoned, 'I'll only partake
This once of the wine, for the fair charmer's sake,'
He was sadly mistaken, —the breach had been made,
The fortress surrendered, its inmates betrayed ;
The noble resolves that had guarded the tower
Where Faith held her torch in temptation's dark hour,
The purposes high that had stamped on his brow
The glory of manhood, oh, where were they now?
But why follow on with the twain as they flit
From bower to bower, partaking?
Or tell how the feeble resolves of the one
Were seized with an ague of shaking?
How, long before night-fall, he fancied his brain
Was dancing a reel on a circular plain ?
How houses inverted, in warlike array,
Wheeled backward and forth in an endless chasse ?
We pass these sad pictures, nor linger to tell
How, step after step, from true manhood he fell.
How at first he took naught but the choicest of wine,—
Some ancient Madeira, or rum superfine ;
How he drank but with gentlemen, such as would deign
To touch no cheap brandy nor third-rate champagne.
Behold him, at last, in some vice-crowded den,
Where skulk the crouched forms of what once ranked as men;
Where the pestilent fumes from each whisky-scorched throat
The pure air of heaven with plague-spots have smote ;
Where Malice, Pollution, and Wretchedness teem,
And Guilt stalks among them to mock and blaspheme.
There see him, the victim of Woman's soft smile,
Debauched and corrupted, degraded and vile.
Years pass, and again with our 'pillars of State'
Is the same question pending in earnest debate ;
The fair ones are listeners ; Miss Mabel has come
To hear of the darkness in many a home,—
Of the desolate hearthstones the rum-fiend has made,
Of promises broken and loved ones betrayed,
She listens —grows weary— departing, at last,
She hastes to her chamber to think of the Past.
Though languid, she wooes a calm slumber in vain,
For the sleep that should soothe her but frenzies her brain.
She dreams —'tis of Lightfoot : she tempts him to drink.
He quaffs at her bidding, then ceases to shrink
From frequent indulgence of evils the worst;
His hopes are all blasted, his life is accurst ;
She sees him descending from honor —renown—
And sinking to ruin —down— hopelessly down.
There, wrestling with rum-fiends, in fury he raves,
Like a soul reft of reason, on life's maddening waves.
Half palsied with fright, 'mid the demons he stands,
And wards off their blows with his skeleton hands.
His eyes start with horror, and fearfully gloat
On blades, newly whetted, that point at his throat.
He shudders and cringes from serpents that hiss
And dart their forked tongues from their slimy abyss ;
And, reeling from terror, he howls in his pains,
As devils incarnate stand welding his chains;
While one, a' pale imp, the grim valet of Death,
With fagots of sulphur is firing his breath.
O horror ! it blazes ! it seethes to his brain !
His heart-strings have cracked —the blood boils in each vein !
A shudder —a gasp— a wild effort to speak—
And Miss Mabel awakes with a hideous shriek.
O ladies ! dear ladies ! when next round the wine
Your delicate fingers caressingly twine,
When, like a soft blessing, the breath of your lips
Floats over and hallows the juice ere he sips,
Just call the crouched form of poor Lightfoot to view,
And know that the dream of Miss Mabel was true.
Then, by your allurements, teach man to refrain,
And prove that your charms were bestowed not in vain ;
Let your spotless example illustrate the plan
That woman was made as a help-meet for man,
To warn him from treading the pathway of sin
By the beautiful love-light that glows from within.
And, oh ! as ye muse oti that Eden above,
Whence spirits departed are gazing in love,
And guarding their kindred, who, chained by the clay,
Are prone by the tempter to wander astray,
A father's fond blessing may greet you, the while,
A sister bend over your couch with a smile,
A mother, in accents of rapturous joy,
May sing how your warnings have rescued her boy.
Then woman, O woman ! thy mission fulfill !
Know man is the subject —the slave to thy will!
Thou wast given to guide him, —his beacon and star
To cheer when beside him and gleam from afar.
Then keep thy soul white, for one shadow of sin
May dim the bright taper that burneth within ;
And vain are his struggles life's billows above,
When the beacon goes out in the light-house of love.