O’connell, Hibernæ Liberator Ad Limina Apostolorum Pergens Genoæ Obdormivit
Crowned with a liberated people’s love,
Crowned by the Nations with eternal fame,
His great heart burning still with patriot‐fire,
Tho’ Death’s pale shadow rested on his brow,
Forth went the mighty Chief from his loved Land,
’Mid the hushed reverence paid to dying Kings,
On his last pilgrimage; yearning to find rest
For the o’erwearied hero‐heart and brain,
After great trials pass’d and triumphs won,
Within the Temple‐City of the World.
But, faint with combats of a glorious life,
Tho’ Freedom’s hymns still murmured on his lips,
And his dim eyes still tracked the western Sun
Would rise on Ireland, but no more for him,
Seeking the gates of God’s great Church on earth,
He found the gates of Heaven, and entered in
There Angels met him with the conqueror’s Palm,
And passing from the portal to the Throne,
Circled with golden glitter of their wings,
God crowned him Victor for his work well done!
When the gloom is deepest round thee;
When the bands of grief have bound thee,
And in loneliness and sorrow,
By the poisoned springs of life
Thou sittest, yearning for a morrow,
That will free thee from the strife;
Look not upward, for above thee
Never sun or star is gleaming;
Look not round for one to love thee;
Put not faith in mortal seeming;
Lightly would they scorn, then leave thee.
Trust not man—he will deceive thee.
But in the depths of thy own soul
Descend; mysterious powers unroll
Energies that long had slumbered
In its mystic depths unnumbered.
Speak the word!—the power divinest
Will awake, if thou inclinest.
Thou art lord in thine own kingdom;
Rule thyself—thou rulest all!
Smile, when from its proud dominion
Earthly joy will rudely fall.
Be true unto thyself and hear not
Evil thoughts, that would enslave thee.
God is in thee! Mortal, fear not;
Trust in Him, and He will save thee!
Close the starry dream‐portal,
We must tread earth again,
Flashes no light immortal
Now on life’s dreary plain.
We must wait, like the Stoic,
Brave, enduring, and strong,
Till the soul’s strength heroic
Bends the fetters of wrong.
By the lore life has brought us,
We shall fathom man’s soul;
By the tears sorrow taught us,
We shall measure their dole.
Guide them on through affliction,
All earth’s Saviours have trod,
Till from life’s crucifixion
They can soar up to God.
From the heart of man weeding
Up each rough brier and thorn,
With a hero‐pride treading
Down the world’s shallow scorn;
With a saint’s self‐denying
Toiling still for our land;
With a Christ‐strength defying
Earth and Hell’s gathered band.
In the soul’s earnest travail
Must the God‐work be wrought;
By the world’s woe and cavil,
Must the deep heart be taught.
Blighted youth, crushed ambition,
On the altar must lie;
’Tis the world‐old tradition,
Thus the Prophet must die.
But this deep lore can only
Be learnéd in the gloom,
Where the gifted tread, lonely,
The Prophet‐path of doom:
For by life‐blood, and brain‐sweat,
Is the altar‐flame fed;
And from hearts crushed by pain, yet
Must the incense be shed.
Still, ’tis grand this wild warring,
Upon life’s battle‐field;
Fear not the heart’s marring
If the soul never yield.
Fight for God’s Truth yet longer,
’Gainst the fierce storms of life,
For the strong soul grows stronger
By the combat and strife.
Sympathies With The Universal
The Angel of the Universe, for ever stands he there
Within the planet circle, the grand Hierophant of prayer;
His altar is the eternal sun, his light its flames of gold,
And the stars are his rosary, through the hands of angels rolled.
Down, down, throughout the Infinite, they’re falling, world on world;
Like coral beads from praying hands, the planet beads are hurled.
Thus, for unnumbered ages on their diamond string they run,
The circling planet rosary from Uranus to the Sun.
A rythmic music rises from that stately choral band,
Like a vibrant‐chorded lyre when struck by angel hand;
Pealing down the deep abysses, soaring up the infinite,
The grand hymn of the Universe is sounding day and night.
The grand cathedral chanting from the choir of the spheres,
Within the star‐roofed temple, tho’ unheard by mortal ears.
Never prayer from lip ascendeth, or from spirit never groan,
But the flooding planet music bears it up before God’s throne.
Thus, ages after ages, will the cherub, earnest eyed,
Within the starry temple of the Universe abide,
Till hymns of spheral litanies, till solemn chants are done,
Then he’ll rise up from the altar within the glowing sun.
By his mighty pinions shaken, star falleth after star,
And he flings the planet rosary down from him afar;
As by an earthquake riven, temple, altar, falleth crush’d,
And the wailing planet music of the choral band is hush’d.
But he leads the praying spirits up from each burning world,
Till before the Throne in Heaven his radiant wings are furled.
There he resteth calm in glory, his holy mission done,
For within the Golden City, Altar, Temple, needeth none.
“De profundis clamavi ad te Domine.”
BY our looks of mute despair,
By the sighs that rend the air,
From lips too faint to utter prayer,
By the last groans of our dying,
Echoed by the cold wind’s sighing
On the wayside as they’re lying,
By our fever‐stricken bands
Lifting up their wasted hands
For bread throughout the far‐off lands,
Miserable outcasts we,
Pariahs of humanity,
Shunned by all where’er we flee,
For our dead no bell is ringing,
Round their forms no shroud is clinging,
Save the rank grass newly springing,
Golden harvests we are reaping,
With golden grain our barns heaping,
But for us our bread is weeping,
Death‐devoted in our home,
Sad we cross the salt sea’s foam,
But death we bring where’er we roam,
Whereso’er our steps are led,
They can track us by our dead,
Lying on their cold earth bed,
We have sinned—in vain each warning
Brother lived his brother scorning,
Now in ashes see us mourning,
Heeding not our country’s state,
Trodden down and desolate,
While we strove in senseless hate,
We have sinned, but holier zeal
May we Christian patriots feel,
Oh! for our dear country’s weal,
Let us lift our streaming eyes
To God’s throne above the skies,
He will hear our anguish cries,
Kneel beside me, oh! my brother,
Let us pray each with the other,
For Ireland, our mourning mother,
King Erick's Faith
In Upsal’s stately Minster, before the altar, stands
The Swedish King, brave Erick, with high uplifted hands
His royal robes are round him, the crown upon his head,
And thus, before his people, right sovranly he said:
“God! whoso trusteth in Thee will never rue his trust;
If God the Lord be with us, our foes shall flee like dust.”
He spake—from priests and people rose up the answering cry—
“If God the Lord be with us, all danger we defy!”
Scarce through the aisles is dying their mingled voices’ din,
A pallid slave, disordered, comes rushing wildly in.
“Now God us aid!—Skalater, the Dane, has come agen,
Fast pouring down the mountains with seven hundred men!”
King Erick heard him calmly, then strong in faith replied
“What man can fight against us, with God upon our side?”
A second slave comes rushing all breathless as the first
“The gate is down—Skalater each bar and bolt hath burst!”
King Erick’s brow grew paler, but still he looked on high
“If God the Lord be with us, no danger need we fly!”
In comes another, trembling, but ere he uttered sound
The Danish axes glisten—they cleave him to the ground.
Then rose a fearful tumult—then rose a wildered cry
Skalater comes in fury—defenceless we must die
Skalater comes in fury, with all his pagan hordes,
And Priest, and King, and Altar must fall beneath their swords.
King Erick’s glance grew prouder; he grasp’d the golden rood—
He held it high to Heaven, as on Skalater strode:
Lo! from each wound, the seven, pours forth a thousand rays,
And down to earth Skalater sinks dazzled by the blaze.
They’re prostrate on their foreheads, the seven hundred Danes,
Praying the God to spare them who guards the Christian fanes;
But Erick and his people lift up the joyful cry
Our God, the Lord, has conquered; all praise to Him on high!
The guests have met in the castle hall.
Who rides through the castle gate,
With banner and plume? The young bridegroom
And a hundred knights in state.
The guests have met in procession fair,
Around the bride they stand;
The myrtle wreath on her golden hair,
The bride ring on her hand.
So bright her beauty she dazed men’s eyes,
Like the blinding, glorious sun.
“Never knight,” they murmured, “gained such prize
Since ever the world begun.”
Seven maidens held up her train of white,
Inwrought with the precious gold,
And over it flowed in a stream of light
Her long, bright hair unrolled.
Seven pages, each with a lighted torch,
Precede her as she moves
With the long array to the ancient church
Within the beechen groves.
The priest stood mute with the holy book,
And scarce could utter a prayer,
As that lovely vision of light and youth
Knelt down before him there.
She vows the vows. Erick bends to place
The gold ring on her hand,
Prouder then, as he gazed on her face,
Than if King of the Swedish land.
The lights were bright in the hall that night,
But brighter Thekla’s glance,
As in wedded pride, by Erick’s side,
She led the bridal dance.
“Drink! and wave high the flaming pines;
God bless the bride so fair!
May a goodly race, like clustering vines,
Twine round the wedded pair!”
The “vivas” rung for the noble race,
Till they stirred the banners of gold,
And the bridegroom bow’d with a stately grace;
But the bride sat mute and cold
For the air seemed heavy as that of graves,
And the lights burned lurid and chill;
And she hears the dash of the far‐off waves,
And the creak of the mighty mill.
The “vivas” sound like an infant’s wail,
Or a demon’s laugh of scorn.
“Oh! would to God,” she murmured, all pale,
“That I had never been born!”
To A Despondent Nationalist
Wherefore wail you for the harp? Is it broken?
Have the bold hands that once struck it weaker grown?
Can false words, by false traitors spoken,
Blight a cause which we know is God’s own?
No coward hearts are with us that would falter,
Tho’ a thousand tyrants strove to crush us low;
No coward pen the daring words to alter,
That we fling in haughty scorn ’gainst the foe.
Who has doomed, or can dare “doom us to silence?”
In the conscious pride of truth and right we stand;
Let them rave like the ocean round the islands,
Firm as they we stand unmoved for Fatherland.
Ay, we’ll “till,” spite of banded foes who hate us
But to rear the tree of Freedom God hath given;
Ay, we’ll toil—but for triumphs that await us,
If not leading to the Capital—to Heaven.
Shall we mourn if we’re martyrs for the truth?
God has ever tried His noblest by the cross
Let us bless Him that we’re worthy in our youth,
For Country, truth, and right to suffer loss.
So the word that we have spoken be immortal,
Little reck we tho’ no glory may be won;
If of God, it will scorn ban of mortal
Standing ever as the archetypal sun.
True, the path is dark, but ever sunward,
In faith, and love, and hope we journey on;
We may pause in the desert passing onward,
Lay our weary heads to rest upon the stone;
But ever in our visions, low and faintly,
Come the voices of the far‐off angel band,
To earnest souls, in prophecy all saintly,
That the good cause will yet triumph in the land.
Fear not, oh! my brother, then, that any
Will hush Ierne’s harp at man’s command;
For phylacteries of misery too many,
Are bound upon all foreheads in the land.
Let others bow in abject genuflexion
Sue from Pity what they ought to claim as right;
By God’s grace we’ll stand by our election
Freedom, Knowledge, Independence, Truth, and Light!
Gone from us—dead to us—he whom we worshipped so!
Low lies the altar we raised to his name;
Madly his own hand hath shattered and laid it low
Madly his own breath hath blasted his fame.
He whose proud bosom once raged with humanity,
He whose broad forehead was circled with might,
Sunk to a time‐serving, driv’lling inanity
God! Why not spare our loved country the sight?
Was it the gold of the stranger that tempted him?
Ah! we’d have pledged to him body and soul;
Toiled for him—fought for him—starved for him—died for him
Smiled, tho’ our graves were the steps to his goal.
Breathed he one word in his deep, earnest whispering,
Wealth, crown, and kingdom, were laid at his feet;
Raised he his right hand, the millions would round him cling
Hush! ’tis the Sassenach ally you greet.
Leaders have fallen—we wept, but we triumphed, too
Patriot blood never sinks in the sod;
He falls, and the jeers of the nation he bent to sue
Rise like accusing weird spirits to God.
Weep for him—weep for him—deep is the tragedy
Angels themselves now might doubt of God’s truth;
Souls from their bloody graves, shuddering, rise to see
How he avenges their lost, murdered youth.
Tone, and Fitzgerald, and the pale‐brow’d enthusiast—
He whose heart broke, but shrank not from the strife;
Davis, the latest loved—he who in glory passed,
Kindling Hope’s lamp with the chrism of life.
Well may they wail for him—power and might were his
Loved as no mortal was loved in the land
What has he sold them for? Sorrow and shame it is,
Fair words and false from a recreant band.
Time’s shade was on him; what matter? we loved him yet;
Aye, would have torn the veins with our teeth,
Made him a bath of our young blood to pay the debt
Purchased his life, tho’ we bought brough it by death.
Pray for him—pray: an archangel has fallen low;
There’s a throne less in Heaven, there is sorrow on earth.
Weep, angels—laugh, demons! When his hand could strike the blow,
Where shall we seek for truth, honour, or worth?
Pale victims, where is your Fatherland?
Where oppression is law from age to age,
Where the death‐plague, and hunger, and misery rage,
And tyrants a godless warfare wage
'Gainst the holiest rights of an ancient land.
Where the corn waves green on the fair hillside,
But each sheaf by the serfs and slavelings tied
Is taken to pamper a foreigner's pride—
There is our suffering Fatherland.
Where broad rivers flow 'neath a glorious sky,
And the valleys like gems of emerald lie;
Yet, the young men, and strong men, starve and die,
For want of bread in their own rich land.
And we pile up their corses, heap on heap,
While the pale mothers faint, and the children weep;
Yet, the living might envy the dead their sleep,
So bitter is life in that mourning land.
Oh! Heaven ne'er looked on a sadder scene;
Earth shuddered to hear that such woe had been;
Then we prayed, in despair, to a foreign queen,
For leave to live on our own fair land.
We have wept till our faces are pale and wan;
We have knelt to a throne till our strength is gone;
We prayed to our masters, but, one by one,
They laughed to scorn our suffering land;
And sent forth their minions, with cannon and steel,
Swearing with fierce, unholy zeal,
To trample us down with an iron heel,
If we dared but to murmur our just demand.—
Know ye not now our Fatherland?
What! are there no MEN in your Fatherland,
To confront the tyrant's stormy glare,
With a scorn as deep as the wrongs ye bear,
With defiance as fierce as the oaths they sware,
With vengeance as wild as the cries of despair,
That rise from your suffering Fatherland?
Are there no SWORDS in your Fatherland,
To smite down the proud, insulting foe,
With the strength of despair dispair give blow for blow
Till the blood of the baffled murderers flow
On the trampled soil of your outraged land?
Are your right arms weak in that land of slaves,
That ye stand by your murdered brothers' graves,
Yet tremble like coward and crouching knaves,
To strike for freedom and Fatherland?
Oh! had ye faith in your Fatherland,
In God, your Cause, and your own right hand,
Ye would go forth as saints to the holy fight,
Go in the strength of eternal right,
Go in the conquering Godhead's might
And save or Avenge your Fatherland!
William Carleton. Died, January 30th, 1869.
Our land has lost a glory! Never more,
Tho’ years roll on, can Ireland hope to see
Another Carleton, cradled in the lore
Of our loved Country’s rich humanity.
The weird traditions, the old, plaintive strain,
The murmured legends of a vengeful past,
When a down‐trodden people stove in vain
To rend the fetters centuries made fast;
These, with the song and dance and tender tale,
Linked to our ancient music, have swept on
And died in far‐off echoes, like the wail
Of Israel’s broken Harps in Babylon.
No hand like his can wake them now, for he
Sprang from amidst the people: bathed his soul
In their strong passions, stormy as the sea,
And wild as skies before the thunder‐roll.
Yet, was he gentle; with divinest art
And tears that shook his nature over much,
He struck the key‐note of a people’s heart,
And all the nation answered to his touch,
Even as he swayed them, giving smiles for gloom,
And childlike tenderness for hate that kills
As rain clouds threat’ning with a weight of doom
Flash sudden, silver light upon the hills.
But, he had faults—men said. Oh, fling them back,
These cold deductions, marring praise with blame;
When earthquakes rend the rocks they leave a track
For central fires issuing forth in flame;
And by the passionate heat of gifted minds
The ruddest stones are crystallised to gems
Of glorious worth, such as a poet binds
Upon his brow, right royal diadems!
Like the great image of the Monarch’s dream,
Genius lifts up on high the head of gold,
And cleaves with iron limbs Time’s mighty stream,
Tho’ all too deep the feet may press earth’s mould.
Yet, by his gifts made dedicate to God
In noblest teachings of each gentle grace,
Through every land that Irishmen have trod
We claim for him the homage of our race.
With pen of light he drew great pictures when
Nothing but scorn was ours; and without fear
He flung them down before the face of men,
Saying, in words the whole world paused to hear:
So brave, so pure, so noble, grand, and true
Is this, our Irish People. Thus he gave
His fame to build our glory, and undo
The taunts of ages,—strong to lift and save
So, with a nation’s gratitude we vow
In every Irish heart a shrine shall be
To The Great Peasant, on whose deathless brow
Rests the star‐crown of immortality.
The kings of mind, unlike the kings of earth,
Can bear their honours with them to illume
The grave’s dark vault; so Carleton passes forth,
As through triumphal triumpal arches, to the tomb!
What though Freedom’s hosts are parted,
Yet, beneath one banner fighting,
Strong in love and hero‐hearted,
All, their Country’s wrongs are righting
With the weapon that each deemeth best to strike oppression down.
And one battle‐cry resoundeth
From your ranks, success presaging;
And one heart within you boundeth
With a martyr’s faith, engaging
Each to bind upon his forehead cypress wreath or laurel crown.
For a power without you urges
That can brook no more delaying,
And the heaving myriad surges,
To and fro in tumult swaying,
Threaten death to all who vainly would oppose them in their might.
Thrilling words, that burn like fire,
Ye have preached to hut and hovel,
Till they leap up in their ire
From the death‐dust where they grovel,
These men of many sufferings, to die or win their right.
Pass the word that bands together
Word of mystic conjuration
And, as fire consumes the heather,
So the young hearts of the nation
Fierce will blaze up, quick and scathing, ’gainst the stranger and the foe.
Hand to hand with them confronted,
Looking death and danger gravely
In the face, with brow undaunted;
Doing nobly, dying bravely,
Stern as men resolved to conquer or to perish in their woe.
For the God‐breath speaketh in you,
Dare ye not belie your mission;
And the beck’ning angels win you
On with many a radiant vision,
Up the thorny path of glory, where the hero gains his crown.
Fling abroad our Country’s banner,
Foremost march to Freedom leading,
Let the breath of millions fan her,
Not alone the wine‐press treading,
For a Nation is arising from her long and ghastly swoon.
Go with lips that dare not falter,
Offer up, with exaltations,
On your country’s holy altar,
Youth, with all its fervid passions,
And your life, if she demands it—Can a patriot fear to die?
What is life that ye should love it
More than manlike deeds of duty?
There’s a glory far above it
Crowns your brow with nobler beauty—
’Tis to die, with cheers heroic, lifting Freedom’s standard high.
Through the darkness and the dunlight,
Of this sorrow‐night of weeping,
Ye shall trail the radiant sunlight,
And, like strong men armed, leaping
Forth to wondrous deeds of glory, make Humanity sublime.
Rising higher still, and higher,
Till the Angel who stands nighest
To the Throne shall tune his lyre
To your praise before the Highest,
And the Crown of Fame Immortal shall be yours throughout all time.
The Year Of Revolutions
Lift up your pale faces, ye children of sorrow,
The night passes on to a glorious to‐morrow!
Hark! hear you not sounding glad Liberty’s pæan,
From the Alps to the Isles of the tideless Ægean?
And the rhythmical march of the gathering nations,
And the crashing of thrones ’neath their fierce exultations,
And the cry of Humanity cleaving the ether,
With hymns of the conquering rising together
God, Liberty, Truth! How they burn heart and brain
These words shall they burn—shall they waken in vain?
No! soul answers soul, steel flashes on steel,
And land wakens land with a grand thunder‐peal.
Shall we, oh! my Brothers, but weep, pray, and groan,
When France reads her rights by the flames of a Throne?
Shall we fear and falter to join the grand chorus,
When Europe has trod the dark pathway before us?
Oh, courage! and we, too, will trample them down,
The minions of power, the serfs of a crown.
Oh, courage! but courage, if once to the winds
Ye fling Freedom’s banner, no tyranny binds.
At the voice of the people the weak symbols fall,
And Humanity marches o’er purple and pall,
O’er sceptre and crown, with a glorious disdain,
For the symbol must fall and Humanity reign.
Onward! then onward! ye brave to the vanguard,
Gather in glory round Liberty’s standard!
Like France, lordly France, we shall sweep from their station
All, all who oppose the stern will of a nation;
Like Prussia’s brave children will stoop to no lord,
But demand our just rights at the point of the sword.
We’ll conquer! we’ll conquer! No tears for the dying,
The portal to Heaven be the field where they’re lying.
We’ll conquer! we’ll conquer! No tears for the slain,
God’s angels will smile on their death‐hour of pain.
On, on in your masses dense, resolute, strong
To war against treason, oppression, and wrong;
On, on with your chieftains, and Him we adore most,
Who strikes with the bravest and leads with the foremost,
Who brings the proud light of a name great in story,
To guide us through danger unconquered to glory.
With faith like the Hebrew’s we’ll stem the Red Sea
God! smite down the Pharaohs—our trust is in Thee;
Be it blood of the tyrant or blood of the slave,
We’ll cross it to Freedom, or find there a grave.
Lo! a throne for each worker, a crown for each brow,
The palm for each martyr that dies for us now;
Spite the flash of their muskets, the roar of their cannon,
The assassins of Freedom shall lower their pennon;
For the will of a Nation what foe dare withstand?
Then Patriots, Heroes, strike! God for our Land!
“A Million A Decade!” Calmly and cold
The units are read by our statesmen sage;
Little they think of a Nation old,
Fading away from History’s page;
Outcast weeds by a desolate sea
Fallen leaves of Humanity.
“A million a decade!”—of human wrecks,
Corpses lying in fever sheds
Corpses huddled on foundering decks,
And shroudless dead on their rocky beds;
Nerve and muscle, and heart and brain,
Lost to Ireland—lost in vain.
“A million a decade!” Count ten by ten,
Column and line of the record fair;
Each unit stands for ten thousand men,
Staring with blank, dead eye‐balls there;
Strewn like blasted trees on the sod,
Men that were made in the image of God.
“A million a decade!”—and nothing done;
The Cæsars had less to conquer a world;
And the war for the Right not yet begun,
The banner of Freedom not yet unfurled:
The soil is fed by the weed that dies;
If forest leaves fall, yet they fertilise.
But ye—dead, dead, not climbing the height,
Not clearing a path for the future to tread;
Not opening the golden portals of light,
Ere the gate was choked by your piled‐up dead:
Martyrs ye, yet never a name
Shines on the golden roll of Fame.
Had ye rent one gyve of the festering chain,
Strangling the life of the Nation’s soul;
Poured your life‐blood by river and plain,
Yet touched with your dead hand Freedom’s goal;
Left of heroes one footprint more
On our soil, tho’ stamped in your gore
We could triumph while mourning the brave,
Dead for all that was holy and just,
And write, through our tears, on the grave,
As we flung down the dust to dust
“They died for their country, but led
Her up from the sleep of the dead.”
“A million a decade!” What does it mean?
A Nation dying of inner decay
A churchyard silence where life has been
The base of the pyramid crumbling away:
A drift of men gone over the sea,
A drift of the dead where men should be.
Was it for this ye plighted your word,
Crowned and crownless rulers of men?
Have ye kept faith with your crucified Lord,
And fed His sheep till He comes again?
Or fled like hireling shepherds away,
Leaving the fold the gaunt wolf’s prey?
Have ye given of your purple to cover,
Have ye given of your gold to cheer,
Have ye given of your love, as a lover
Might cherish the bride he held dear,
Broken the Sacrament‐bread to feed
Souls and bodies in uttermost need?
Ye stand at the Judgment‐bar to‐day
The Angels are counting the dead‐roll, too;
Have ye trod in the pure and perfect way,
And ruled for God as the crowned should do?
Count our dead—before Angels and Men,
Ye’re judged and doomed by the Statist’s pen.
Full seven times the summer sun
Had waked the dreaming summer flowers,
And seven times they slept again
Beneath the winter snow and showers;
And still, through summer’s parching heat,
Through winter’s storm, and rain, and snow,
Had Thekla dragged her weary feet
In one long pilgrimage of woe.
The beasts fled back at her approach,
The sunshine shunshine ceased to flicker round,
The flowers withered at her touch,
And fell like corpses to the ground.
Where’er she passed there lay a gloom,
The young birds shivered in the nest,
All nature echoed back her doom,
And spurned the sinner from her breast.
She flung her sighs out to the wind:
The peasants heard that mournful wail,
And, crouching down by winter fires,
Said: “’Tis the witch‐fiend in the vale.”
They laid down food beneath the trees,
And waited, trembling, till she came,
Then fled away, for none would speak
To one so bann’d by sin and shame.
She gathered autumn leaves and moss,
Within a cavern lone and deep,
And there she crept each night to rest,
To rest, but never more to sleep.
No human voice came near to soothe,
Her anguish dimm’d no human eye,
The bond of sisterhood was rent
Between her and Humanity.
But ever when the moon was full,
All in the moonlight weird and still
Came evermore upon her ear
The moanings by the lonely mill;
And seven dread shadows entered in
And gathered round her lowly bed,
The ghastly witnesses of sin,
A silent freezing sight of dread.
All night they stayed, those phantoms pale,
Those formless phantoms phantons dim and drear,
And looked at her with fixed cold eyes,
That chilled her very blood with fear.
In vain she tried to hide her face;
She felt their presence still around,
And well she knew no pitying grace
From these dread beings could be found.
She could not weep, she dare not pray,
But lay like one in coffined clay,
Till those weird phantoms, one by one,
Melted away in the morning sun,
Which fell like the light of the judgement‐day,
When the doom of the Lord is done.
Oft wandering round the ancient church,
The ruined church where they were wed,
She vainly tried to cross the porch,
And lay therein her weary head;
And her weary load of shame and sin
Upon the altar steps within.
But never, since the fatal night
She fled away from Erick’s sight,
Curs’d with his ban of deepest hate,
Had human hand unbarred the gate;
Nor priest nor chorister was there,
Nor sacred rite nor holy prayer:
Foredoom’d and desolate it stood
All in the lonely beechen wood.
God’s curse it is a bitter thing
To fall on a human soul,
Alone with its awful suffering,
With its deadly sin and dole;
’Mid the ghastly wrecks of a human life,
And memories of shame,
When thoughts of a past that would not sleep,
Like barbèd arrows came.
Signs Of The Times
When mighty passions, surging, heave the depth of life's great ocean
When the people sway, like forest trees, to and fro in wild commotion
When the world‐old kingdoms, rent and riven, quiver in their place,
As the human central fire is upheaving at their base,
And throbbing hearts, and flashing eyes, speak a language deep and cryptic;
Yet he who runs may read aright these signs apocalyptic:
Then rise, ye crownéd Elohim*—rise trembling from your thrones;
Soon shall cease the eternal rhythm betwixt them and human groans.
Ah! ye thought the nations, faint and weary, lay for ever bound;
They were sleeping like Orestes, with the Furies watching round;
Soon they'll spring to vengeance, maddened by the whisperings divine,
That breathed of human freedom, as they knelt before God's shrine.
See you not a form advancing, as the shadow of the Gnomon,
Step by step, in darkness, onward—can ye read the fatal omen!
Coarse the hand, and rude the raiment, and the brow is dark to see,
But flashes fierce the eye as those of vengeful Zincali.
On its brow a name is written—France read it once before,
And like a demon's compact, it was written in her gore
A fearful name—thrones trembled as the murmur passed along—
RETRIBUTION, proud oppressors, for your centuries of wrong.
From the orient to the ocean, from the palm‐tree to the pine,
From Innisfail, by Tagus, to the lordly Appenine
From Indus to the river by which pale Warsaw bleeds
Souls are wakening—hands are arming—God is blessing noble deeds.
Bravely done, ye Roman Eagles, ye are fluttering at last;
Spread your broad wings brave and proudly, as in old times, to the blast;
Never furl them—never flag, till with the Austrian's slaughter,
Ye crimson the full tide of the Danube's rolling water.
Who will falter now? Who'll stand like a trembling coward dumb!
Plaudite! Freedom stands again on the Janiculum!
From the Tiber to the Adige her vatic words are waking,
Italy! fair Italy! arise the dawn is breaking!
The Russian breathed on Poland, and she changed to a Zahara;
The jewels of her ancient crown adorn the Czar's tiara.
Her princes, and her nobles, tread the land with footsteps weary,
And her people cry to Heaven with ceaseless Miserere.
On her pale brow, thorn crownéd, ye may read her shame and loss;
See, foreign rule has branded there the fatal Thanatos.
But her agony and bloody sweat the Lord from Heaven will see,
And a resurrection morn heal the wounds of Calvary.
By our prophets God is speaking, in Sinai's awful thunders,
By pestilence and famine, in fearful signs and wonders;
By our great poet‐priesthood, the sacred race immortal,
Whose words go forth triumphant, as through a golden portal;
By our patriots and martyrs, who, for Freedom's holy law,
Have hearts to dare, a hand to burn, like Mutius Scævola.
Then, courage, Brothers! lock your shields, like the old Spartan band,
Advance! and be your watchword ever—God for Ireland!
The Famine Year
Weary men, what reap ye? —Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye? —Human corses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger‐stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger's scoffing.
There's a proud array of soldiers—what do they round your door?
They guard our masters' granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping? —Would to God that we were dead
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.
Little children, tears are strange upon your infant faces,
God meant you but to smile within your mother's soft embraces.
Oh! we know not what is smiling, and we know not what is dying;
But we're hungry, very hungry, and we cannot stop our crying.
And some of us grow cold and white—we know not what it means;
But, as they lie beside us, we tremble in our dreams.
There's a gaunt crowd on the highway—are ye come to pray to man,
With hollow eyes that cannot weep, and for words your faces wan?
No; the blood is dead within our veins—we care not now for life;
Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife;
We cannot stay and listen to their raving, famished cries
Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.
We left our infants playing with their dead mother's hand:
We left our maidens maddened by the fever's scorching brand:
Better, maiden, thou were strangled in thy own dark‐twisted tresses—
Better, infant, thou wert smothered in thy mother's first caresses.
We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan;
Yet, if fellow‐men desert us, will He hearken from His Throne?
Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;
But the stranger reaps our harvest—the alien owns our soil.
O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains
We perish houseless, naked, starved, with branded brow, like Cain's?
Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow
Dying, as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.
One by one they're falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;
We've no strength left to dig them graves—there let them lie.
The wild bird, if he's stricken, is mourned by the others,
But we—we die in Christian land—we die amid our brothers,
In the land which God has given, like a wild beast in his cave,
Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin, or a grave.
Ha! but think ye the contortions on each livid face ye see,
Will not be read on judgment‐day by eyes of Deity?
We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride,
But God will yet take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died.
Now is your hour of pleasure—bask ye in the world's caress;
But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,
From the cabins and the ditches, in their charred, uncoffin'd masses,
For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.
A ghastly, spectral army, before the great God we'll stand,
And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land.
A form stood by her in the night,
A human presence near her
Spoke one low word of pitying grace,
A name once uttered face to face,
When none was ever dearer
Like oil upon the raging flame
That burned within her heart, it came,
That word of soft approving;
The first soft word that struck her ears,
Through all the long and dreary years,
Of human or of loving.
At once the barred gate opens wide,
They pass within it, side by side
The human hand still leading;
Up through the ruined aisle they go,
When from the altar, still and slow,
Like angels onward treading,
Came seven fair spirits robed in white,
Each holding high a torch, whose light
Lit all the dark with splendour;
And the heavy air around was stirred,
As if from an Æolian chord,
With music low and tender.
“We come from God,” they murmured low,
“Thy unborn children, seven,
To break the bonds of thy bitter woe
And lead thee back to Heaven.
Thy tears have washed away thy crime,
Thou hast repented while ’tis time,
The sinner is forgiven!
“The bond is loosed, the doom is done,
We come to thee, thou sinning one,
With words of peace and pardon;
And as a sign of mercy lay
Upon thee on thy dying day
A lily as God’s guerdon.”
She sank before them on the ground,
With folded palms and hair unbound,
And eyes upraised to Heaven.
Her pale lips moved as if to pray,
But one low murmured word they say
“Forgiven! oh, forgiven!”
And lo! while yet the shadows speak,
A dove with lily in its beak,
A snow‐white dove, came floating in,
Along the silver line of light,
And laid upon that breast of sin
A spotless lily, pure and white.
Then bending low at Erick’s feet,
As if before the Mercy‐seat,
“Pardon!” she said, “by God’s own sign,
I claim from thee that word divine
Before the Judgment‐day;
Bend lower down, and yet more low,
That I may feel thy soft tears flow
To wash my sin away.”
He took her hand as an angel might,
A dying soul to save,
And his tears fell fast as a holy chrism,
Anointing her for the grave
He kissed her brow to still her fears,
Ere yet her eyes grew dim:
The curse is broken, she but hears
His pardon—sees but him.
The damp of death is on her brow,
The last death‐strain is over now,
The suffering soul hath fled.
The solemn shadows slowly wane,
And nought within the church remain
Save Erick and the dead.
They laid her ’neath the altar stair
Thus Erick gave command
Wrapped in her shroud of golden hair,
The lily in her hand.
And standing in the Holy place,
With solemn voice he said:
I do recall the bitter curse
I poured upon her head.
Let the dead bells toll for the sinning soul,
Repentant, saved, forgiven;
By the dread remorse of that pallid corpse,
We feel that her sin is shriven.
She stands before the Mercy‐seat,
If human prayers can waft her,
And by that angel sign ’tis meet
We trust in God’s Hereafter.
Work While It Is Called To-Day
“No man hath hired us”—strong hands drooping,
Listless, falling in idleness down;
Men in the silent market‐place grouping
Round Christ’s cross of silent stone.
“No man hath hired us”—pale hands twining,
Stalwart forms bowed down to sue.
“The red dawn is passed, the noon is shining,
But no man hath given us work to do.”
Then a voice pealed down from the heights of Heaven:
Men, it said, of the Irish soil!
I gave you a land as a Garden of Eden,
Where you and your sons should till and toil;
I set your throne by the glorious waters,
Where ocean flung round you her mighty bands,
That your sails, like those of your Tyrian fathers,
Might sweep the shores of a hundred lands.
Power I gave to the hands of your leaders,
Wisdom I gave to the lips of the wise,
And your children grew as the stately cedars,
That shadowed the rivers of Paradise.
What have ye done with my land of beauty
Has the spoiler bereft her of robe and crown?
Have my people failed in a people’s duty?
Has the wild boar trampled my vineyard down?
True, they answered, faint in replying
Our vines are rent by the wild boar’s tusks;
The corn on our golden slopes is lying,
But our children feed on the remnant husks.
Our strong men lavish their blood for others;
Our prophets and wise men are heard no more;
Our young men give a last kiss to their mothers,
Then sail away for a foreign shore.
From wooded valleys and mountain gorges,
Emerald meadow and purple glen,
Across the foam of the wild sea surges,
They flee away like exiled men.
Yet, the chant we hear of the new Evangels,
Rising like incense from earth’s green sod;
We—we alone, before worshipping Angels,
Idly stand in the Garden of God.
Then the Lord came down from the heights of Heaven,
Came down that garden fair to view,
Where the weary men waited from morn till even,
For some one to give them work to do.
Ye have sinned, He said, and the angel lustre
Darkened slowly as summer clouds may;
Weeds are growing where fruit should cluster,
Yet, ye stand idle all the day.
Have ye trod in the furrows, and worked as truly
As men who knew they should reap as they sow?
Have ye flung in the seed and watched it duly,
Day and night, lest the tares should grow?
Have ye tended the vine my hand hath planted,
Pruned and guided its tendrils fair;
Ready with life‐blood, if it were wanted,
To strengthen the fruit its branches bear?
Have ye striven in earnest, working solely
To guard my flock in their native fold?
Are your hands as pure, and your hearts as holy,
As the saints who walk in the City of Gold?
Go! work in my vineyard, let none deceive ye,
Each for himself his work must do;
And whatever is right shall my Angels give ye,
The work and the workman shall have their due.
Who knoweth the times of the new dispensations?
Go on in faith, and the light will come;
The last may yet be the first amongst nations,
Wait till the end for the final doom.
The last may be first! Shall our Country’s glory
Ever flash light on the path we have trod?
Who knows?—who knows?—for our future story
Lies hid in the great sealed Book of God.
The New Path
We stand in the light of a dawning day,
With its glory creation flushing;
And the life‐currents up from the pris’ning clay
Through the world’s great heart are rushing.
While from peak to peak of the spirit land
A voice unto voice is calling:
The night is over, the day is at hand,
And the fetters of earth are falling!
Yet, faces are pale with a mystic fear
Of the strife and trouble looming;
And we feel that mighty changes are near,
Tho’ the Lord delayeth his coming.
For the rent flags hang from each broken mast,
And down in the ocean’s surges
The shattered wreck of a foundering Past
Sinks mid the night wind’s dirges.
But the world goes thundering on to the light,
Unheeding our vain presages;
And nations are cleaving a path to Right
Through the mouldering dust of ages.
Are we, then, to rest in a chill despair,
Unmoved by these new elations;
Nor carry the flag of our Island fair
In the onward march of nations?
Shall our hands be folded in slumber, when
The bonds and the chains are shattered;
As stony and still as enchanted men,
In a cave of darkness fettered?
The cave may be dark, but we’ll flash bright gleams
Of the morning’s radiance on it,
And tread the New Path, tho’ the noontide beams,
As yet, fall faintly upon it.
For souls are around us, with gifts divine,
Unknown and neglected dying;
Like the precious ore in a hidden mine,
Unworked and as useless lying.
We summon them forth to the banded war,
The sword of the Spirit using,
To come with their forces from near and far,
New strength with our strength infusing.
Let each bear a torch with the foremost bands,
Through the Future’s dark outgoing;
Or stand by the helm, mid the shoals and sands
Of the river of life fast flowing.
Or as guides on the hills, with a bugle note,
Let us warn the mountain ranger
Of the chasms that cross and the mists that float
O’er his upward path of danger.
For the chasms are deep, and the river is strong,
And the tempest is wildly waking;
We have need of brave hands to guide us along
The path which the Age is taking.
With our gold and pearls let us build the State;
Faith, courage, and tender pity
Are the gems that shine on the golden gate
Of the Angels’ Heavenly city.
O People! so richly endowed with all
The splendours of spirit power,
With the poet’s gift and the minstrel‐soul,
And the orator’s glorious dower;
Are hearts not amongst us, or lips to vow,
With patriot fervour breathing,
To crown with their lustre no alien brow
While the thorn our own is wreathing.
Ev’n lovelier gifts on our lowly poor,
Kind Nature lavishly showers,
As the gold rain falls on the cottage door,
Of the glowing laburnam flowers;
The deathless love for their Country and God
Undimmed through the ages keeping,
Tho’ the fairest harvests that grew on our sod
Were left for the stangers’ reaping.
The gentle grace that to commonest words
Gives a rare and tender beauty;
With the zeal that would face a thousand swords
For their Country, home and duty.
Still breathing the prayer for their Motherland
Her wrongs and her sorrows taught them;
Tho’ the scaffold’s doom, or the felon‐brand,
Were the only gifts she brought them.
But we, let us bring her—as eastern kings,
At the foot of Christ low kneeling
The gold that symbols our costliest things,
And myrrh for the spirit’s healing
Oh, Brothers! be with us, our aim is high,
The highest of man’s vocation:
With these priceless jewels, that round us lie,
To build up a noble Nation.
And Erick roamed in distant lands,
But cannot fly his weary fate;
Before him in the lonely night,
Before him in the noonday bright,
His guilty wife for ever stands,
A thing of loathing and of hate.
Alone, as under blight and ban,
He roams, a saddened, weary man.
Yet yearnings came to him at last,
And, drawn as by a spirit hand,
He homeward turned, his wanderings past,
To his own distant Swedish land;
And rose up with a spirit grace,
As pleading to him for her life,
Before him, with her angel face,
His beautiful, his sinning wife.
The ship sailed fast through storm and wrack,
The ship sailed slow the Isles between,
And Erick, watching on the deck,
Saw rise before him, low and green,
The Swedish Sweedish shores in level lines,
The fringèd shores of lordly pines:
A spirit’s touch, a spirit’s power,
Seemed on him at that magic hour.
He stood within his castle halls,
The grass grew rank around the gate,
The weeds hung from the mouldering walls,
And all around was desolate.
The bridal room was closed from sight,
For none had dared to enter in,
Since by God’s awful, searching light
The sinner had confessed her sin.
Her golden ring of hellish ban
Still lay upon the marble floor,
Her broken ring—the fatal sign
Of love that could return no more.
And nought the purple curtains stirred
Save the drear night‐wind’s mournful gust,
And golden crown and silken veil
Lay mouldering in the silent dust.
A bitter cry, a mournful cry,
Was wrung by grief from Erick’s breast.
She sinned, he said, but suffered, too,
Could penitence the sin undo,
Her sinning soul had rest.
If God can pity, why should I
Relentless doom a soul to die
Unpardoned, and unblest?
Christ did not scorn the sinner’s touch:
Shall man avenge sin overmuch,
And crush the heart‐woe riven?
Fain would I say one word of grace
Ere yet I meet her face to face,
Before the throne in Heaven.
Then led as by a spirit’s might,
He wandered forth into the night,
And rested not till he stood
By the lone Chapel in the wood.
And she that night in bitter woe,
Low kneeling by the closèd gate,
Poured out the grief those only know
By God and man left desolate.
Nought but the sacred owl heard her moan
Of inarticulate agony,
As down upon the threshold stone
She sank, and prayed that she might die.
O piteous sound of vain despair,
That mournful wailing by the gate;
That wailing of a ruined soul,
Downfallen from its high estate!
She wrung her wasted hands the while,
And pressed her forehead to the bar,
As if within that holy aisle
God’s pardon yet might come to her.
The cruel moon lit up the sward,
And pierced the guilty soul within,
That blighted form, all seared and marred
With deadly consciousness of sin;
The form that threw no shadow more
Besides God’s holy temple door;
And the awful moon, sharp, cold, and clear,
Struck through her like the Avenger’s spear.
O saddest sight beneath its light,
That humbled, suffering creature!
For all too heavy lay the doom.
Upon her human nature.
The curse of sin that none forego,
The agony, the pain, the strife,
The sullied soul, the wasted life,
Sin’s endless heritage of woe.
She prayed as only those can pray
Who pray to be forgiven;
She wept as only those can weep
Who fear to forfeit Heaven.
With outstretched hands and streaming eyes
She pleads to Heaven, imploring,
As if her cries could pierce the skies,
Where angels stand adoring.
O writhing hands! O wasted hands!
Flung out with frenzied gesture,
As if they fain would touch the hem
Of Christ’s fair flowing vesture.
Bitter the dole of that sinning soul,
Outcast of Earth and Heaven;
And her cry went up like a wail from Hell,
Across the night‐wind driven.
The Fountain In The Forest.From Lamartine
Lonely stream of rushing water,
From the rock that gave thee birth,
Hast thou fallen, O Naiad's daughter!
Mingling with the common earth?
Shall Carrara's snowy marble
Never more thy waves inurn;
That with wild and plaintive warble,
By their broken temple mourn?
Nor thy dolphins lying shattered,
Fling their columns up again,
That in radiant glory scattered,
Fell to the earth a jewelled rain
Must the bending beeches only,
Veil thy desolate decay,
Spreading solemnly and lonely
O'er thy waters, dark as they?
Pallid Autumn‐leaves are lying
On thy hollow marble tomb,
And the willows round it sighing,
Wave their bannerets of gloom.
Still thou flowest ever, ever
Like a loving heart that gives
Smiles and blessings, though it never
Meeteth smile from one who lives.
Roughest rocks to polished beauty
Changing as thou flowest on;
Such the Poet's heaven‐taught duty,
Mid the stony‐hearted throng!
Thus thy voice to me hath spoken,
Falling, falling from on high,
As a chord in music, broken
By a gently‐murmured sigh.
Ah! what sad yet glorious vision
Of my youth thy scenes unroll,
When I felt the Poet's mission
Kindling first within my soul;
When the passion and the glory
Of the far‐off future years,
Shone in radiant light before me,
Through the present dimm'd by tears.
Can thy stream recall the shadow
Of the spirit‐haunted boy,
Who in sunlight, through the meadow,
Roamed in deep and wondrous woundrous joy?
Yet bright memory still reaches,
All athwart thy glistening beams,
Where, beneath the shading beeches,
Lay the sunny child of dreams;
Weaving fancies bright as morning,
With its purple and its gold;
Strong to trample down earth's scorning
With the faith of men of old.
Ready life itself to render
At the shrine to which he bowed,
Knowing not the transient splendour
Gilded but the tempest‐cloud.
On my heart was still'd the laughter,
Cold the clay around the dead,
When I came in years long after
Here to rest my weary head.
Waked the sad tears fast and warm,
Once again the ancient place,
Till, like droppings of the storm,
They fell heavy on thy face.
Human voice was none to hear me
In that silence of the tomb;
But thy waters, sobbing near me,
Seemed responsive to the gloom;
And I flung my thoughts all idly
On thy current in a dream,
Like the pale leaves scattered widely
On thy autumn‐drifted stream.
Yet 'twas in that mournful hour
Rose the spirit's mighty words;
Never soul could know its power
Until sorrow swept the chords
Blended with each solemn feature
Of the lonely scenes I trod,
For the sacred love of Nature
Is the Poet's hymn to God.
Did He hear the words imploring
Of a strong heard tempest‐riven?
Did the tears of sorrow pouring
Rise like incense up to Heaven?
Ah! the heart that mutely prayeth
From the ashes of the past,
Finds the strength that ever stayeth,
Of the Holy, round it cast!
But the leaf in winter fadeth,
And the cygnet drops her plumes:
Time in passing ever shadeth
Human life in deeper glooms;
So, perchance, with white hair streaming,
In my age to thee I'll turn
Muse on life, with softened dreaming,
By thy broken marble urn.
While thy murmuring waters falling
dropp by dropp upon the plain,
Seem like spirit‐voices calling
Spirit‐voices not in vain;
For life's fleeting course they teach me,
With life's endless source on high,
Past and future thus may reach me,
While I learn from thee to die.
O stream! hath thy lonely torrent
Many ages yet to run?
O life! will thy mournful current
See many a setting sun?
I know not; but both are passing
From the sunlight into gloom
Yet the light we left will meet us
Once again beyond the tomb!
The Prisoners. Christmas, 1869.
Has not vengeance been sated at last?
Will the holy and beautiful chimes
Ring out the old wrongs of the past,
Ring in the new glories and times?
Will the eyes of the pale prisoners rest
Once again on their loved mountain scenes,
When the crimson of East or of West
Falls o’er them as mantles on Queens?
Will they muse once again by the sea,
List the thunder of waves on the strand,
As exultant, as fearless and free
As the foam‐flakes that dash on the land?
Will they lift their wan faces to God
In the radiant, bright, infinite air,
Press their lips to the old native sod
In a rapture of praise and of prayer?
Ah, the years of their young lives pass over,
Still wept out in dungeons alone,
Where the lips of a wife, child, or mother
Were never yet pressed to their own;
Years of torture and sorrow and trials,
In the gloom of the desolate cell,
Where the wrath of the sevenfold vials
Seem poured to turn Earth to a Hell;
Where strong brains are seared into madness,
And burning hearts frozen to stone,
And despair surges over life’s gladness,
And young life goes out with a moan.
Go, kneel as at graves, weeping woman
When the last fatal sentence was said,
All ties that are tender and human
Were rent as from those that are dead.
They were young then, in youth’s glorious fashion
With a pulse‐throb of fire in each vein,
And the glow and the splendours of passion
Flashing up from the heart to the brain.
Sharp as falchions their keen words reproving
Great words moved by no coward breath
And no crime on their souls save of loving
Their Country with love strong as death.
Oh, their hearts, how they leaped to the surface,
As a sword from the scabbard unsheathed,
Their pale faces stern with a purpose,
Their brows with Fate’s cypress enwreathed.
Grave, earnest, the judgment unheeding,
Or the wreck of their lives lying prone,
From these doomed lips the strong spirits’ pleading
Soared up from man’s bar to God’s Throne.
“We but taught men,” they said, “from the pages
Graven deep in our history and soil,
From the Litanies poured through the ages
Of sorrow, and torture, and toil;
By the insults, the mockings, the scornings,
The bondage on body and soul;
By the ruin, the slaughters, the burnings,
When death was the patriot’s goal;
By the falsehood enthroned in high places,
By the feeble hearts cowering within,
By the slave‐brand read plain on their faces,
Though the ermine might cover the sin.
We were broken and sundered and shattered,
Made thrall by the tyrant’s strong arm,
To the wild waves and fierce winds were scattered
As dead leaves swept on by the storm.
For each age gave a traitor or tyrant
To build up the wrongs that we see,
But each age, too, gives heroes aspirant
Of the Fame or the death of the Free!”
Oh, Chimes ringing out in our city,
Oh, Angels that walk to and fro,
Oh, Christ‐words of pardon and pity,
Can ye speak to those souls lying low
In a sorrow no festal chime scatters,
In a night where no Angel appears,
The wasted limbs heavy with fetters,
The weary heart heavy with tears;
With the ghost of dead youth crushing on them,
And the gloom of the years yet to be,
With a blackness of darkness upon them
As of night when it falls on the sea?
When the Christmas bells ring out at even
The song of the Angels’ bright spheres,
Their sad eyes will strain up to Heaven,
Their bread will be bitter with tears.
Through our laughter will come that sad vision,
Through the ivy‐wreathed wine‐cup’s red glow,
Through our wassail the wail from their prison,
Lamentation and mourning and woe.
With sorrow wrapped round like a garment,
With ashes for joy as their crown,
With bonds tight’ning close as a cerement
They wait till God’s morning comes down;
Yet no echo from their lips will falter
Of the solemn, sweet carol or song,
But a cry, as of souls ’neath the Altar,
“How long! oh, our Lord God, how long?”
Shall we tread the dust of ages,
Musing, dreamlike, on the past,
Seeking on the broad earth’s pages
For the shadows Time hath cast;
Waking up some ancient story,
From each prostrate shrine or hall,
Old traditions of a glory
Earth may never more recall?
Poets thoughts of sadness breathing,
For the temples overthrown;
Where no incense now is wreathing,
And the gods are turned to stone.
Wandering by the graves of heroes,
Shrouded deep in classic gloom,
Or the tombs where Egypt’s Pharaohs
Wait the trumpet and the doom.
By the city, desert‐hidden,*
Which Judea’s mighty king
Made the Genii, at his bidding,
Raise by magic of his ring;
By the Lake Asphaltian wander,
While the crimson sunset glow
Flings its radiance, as we ponder
On the buried towns below.
By the Cromleach, sloping downward,
Where the Druid’s victim bled;
By those Towers, pointing sunward,
Hieroglyphics none have read:
In their mystic symbols seeking,
Of past creeds and rites o’erthrown,
If the truths they shrined are speaking
Yet in Litanies of Stone.
By the Temple of the Muses,
Where the climbers of the mount
Learned the soul’s diviner uses
From the Heliconian fount.
By the banks of dark Illyssus,
Where the Parcæ walked of old,
In their crowns of white narcissus,
And their garments starred with gold.
By the tomb of queenly Isis,
Where her fallen prophets wail,
Yet no hand has dared the crisis
Of the lifting of the vail.
By the altar which the Grecian
Raised to God without a name;
By the stately shrine Ephesian,
Erostratus burned for fame.
By the Libyan shrine of Ammon,
Where the sands are trod with care,
Lest we, bending to examine,
Start the lion from his lair.
Shall we tread the halls Assyrian,
Where the Arab tents are set;
Trace the glory of the Tyrian,
Where the fisher spreads speads his net?
Shall we seek the “Mene, mene,”
Wrote by God upon the wall,
While the proud son of Mandane
Strode across the fated hall?
Shall we mourn the Loxian’s lyre,
Or the Pythian priestess mute?
Shall we seek the Delphic fire,
Though we’ve lost Apollo’s lute?
Ah! the world has sadder ruins
Than these wrecks of things sublime;
For the touch of man’s misdoings
Leaves more blighted tracks than Time.
Ancient lore gives no examples
Of the ruins here we find—
Prostrate souls for fallen temples,
Mighty ruins of the mind.
We had hopes that rose as proudly
As each sculptured marble shrine;
And our prophets spake as loudly
As their oracles divine.
Grand resolves of giant daring,
Such as Titans breathed of old;
Brilliant aims their front uprearing,
Like a temple roofed with gold.
Souls of fire, like columns pointing,
Flamelike, upward to the skies;
Glorious brows, which God’s anointing
Stainless hearts, like temples olden,
None but priest hath ever trod;
Hands as pure as were the golden
Staves which bore the ark of God.
Oh! they built up radiant visions,
Like an iris after rain;
How all Paradise traditions
Might be made to live again.
Of Humanity’s sad story,
How their hand should turn the page,
And the ancient primal glory,
Fling upon this latter age.
How with Godlike aspirations,
Up the souls of men would climb,
Till the fallen, enslavéd nations
Trod in rhythmic march sublime;
Reaching heights the people knew not,
Till their Prophet Leaders led—
Bathed in light that mortals view not,
While the spirit life lies dead.
How the pallid sons of labour,
They should toil, and toil to raise,
Till a glory, like to Tabor,
Once again should meet earth’s gaze.
How the poor, no longer keeping
Count of life alone by groans,
With the strong cry of their weeping,
Start the angels on their thrones.
Ah! that vision’s bright ideal,
Must it fade and perish thus?
Must its fall alone be real?
Are its ruins trod by us?
Ah! they dreamed an Eldorado,
Given not to mortal sight;
Yet the souls that walk in shadow,
Still bend forward to its light.
Earnest dreamers, sooth we blame not
If ye failed to reach the goal—
If the glorious Real came not
At the strong prayer of each soul.
By the path ye’ve trod to duty,
Blessings yet to man may flow,
Though the proud and stately beauty
Of your structure lieth low.
Low as that which Salem mourneth,
On Moriah’s holy hill;
While the heathen proudly scorneth,
Yet the wrecks are glorious still:
Like the seven columns frowning,
On the desert city down;
Or the seven cedars crowning
Poet wanderer, hast thou bent thee
O’er such ruins of the soul?
Pray to God that some Nepenthe
May efface that hour of dole.
We may lift the shrine and column,
From the dust which Time hath cast;
Choral chants may mingle solemn,
Once again where silence passed;
But the stately, radiant palace,
We had built up in our dreams,
With Hope’s rainbow‐woven trellis,
And Truth’s glorious sunrise beams;
Our aims of towering stature,
Our aspirations vain,
And our prostrate human nature
Who will raise them up again?
The Parable Of Life
He treads alone the burning sand
Of the fiery desert plain;
No human heart is near to love,
No human hands sustain.
There are spirits dread in that region wild,
And they howl in the desert blast;
There are spirits lost, who wail and weep
As viewless they hurry past.
There are forms that man never looked upon,
Nor mortal eye could bear—
The terrible sight of an angel’s brow,
On which is stamped despair.
No lofty palm‐tree casts a shade,
Gusheth no silvery well,
Where the stately Giraffe stoops down to drink,
Or cometh the soft Gazelle.
For the desert islands of waving green
Are far, oh! far away;
And never a spot can the wanderer find
To rest from the noontide ray.
Oh! weary, weary, the changeless, waste,
Of that burning desert sand;
Oh! weary, weary, the changeless changless sky,
Of that blasted fiery land!
Weary to listen, with straining sense,
For the step or the voice of man;
To watch in despair, till the sun goes down,
For the wandering caravan.
But the sun goes down, and the white stars rise,
And never a sound is heard,
Save the roar of the Lion, the Panther’s howl,
Or the scream of the carrion bird.
Still on the pale young wanderer goes
On, without fear or dread,
The hot sand burning beneath his feet,
The hot sun above his head:
On, tho’ never his fevered lips
Have been cooled in the desert springs;
For the soul that is filled with the Spirit of God,
Recks little of earthly things.
On, tho’ never the bending fruit
Of the palm‐tree meets his hand;
No food, no rest, no shelter for him
In all that terrible land.
And the powers of Hell seem gathering round
That frail and gentle form,
But, sublime in the strength of faith, he stands
Unmoved, amid the storm.
The spirit is strong, but the flesh is weak,
He hath borne what a mortal can;
And down on the desolate waste he sinks,
A fainting, dying man.
Now the hot samiri approaches fast,
The desert wind of dread;
Glaring upon the horizon’s verge,
Like a pillar fiery red.
Onward it comes in its lurid light,
Like a giant form of death,
Blasting the earth, and air, and sky,
With its scorching, deadly breath.
The sands rise high as the billows at sea,
Raging when tempest‐tossed:
Ah! the fiery column has reached him now
Pale wanderer—thou art lost!
It drinks the blood from his youthful cheek,
It burns up the life within;
And fiercely around him it dashes and whirls,
With a wild, unearthly din.
Then he seems to hear a silvery flow,
Soft gushing, like Paradise streams;
For of such whom the desert kills, it is said,
These are the dying dreams.
And he lifts his head from the burning waste;
But in place of the silvery fall,
He sees but that lurid, fiery cloud
Encircling him as a pall.
Nearer and nearer it gathers round,
Stifling the half‐breathed prayer,
And the fainting hands dropp weary down,
That were lifted in mute despair.
There’s an hour of dread for human souls,
When help there seemeth none,
And the powers of Hell rage fierce around
The God‐forsaken one;
’Tis the hour of dread, when souls are tired,
And angels are bending down,
Watching each one that resisteth to death,
To weave for him the crown.
But an hour more dark, a trial more dread,
That Weary‐one hath known;
For now he must fight the Lord of Hell,
In the desolate waste alone.
Oh! the burning breath of the fiery wind,
Hunger, and thirst, and woe—
What are they all to that strange, lone strife
With man’s dark Demon‐foe?
What terrible form the Tempter chose.
Saw never a mortal eye
Did he come in the flame, or the thunder‐cloud,
Or flash as the lightning by?
Was his blasted brow as the midnight black,
Or wreathed with a lurid light,
Like the livid rays that play on the ice
In the gloom of a polar night?
None can tell; but the subtle words
He poured in the wanderer’s ears,
Are echoed to us from that desert wild,
Through the long, long course of years.
And ages many have shadowed the earth
Since human woes began,
Yet still, with the self‐same words and lures,
He tempteth the sons of man.
Woe, woe to the suffering soul, unless
Sustained, O God, by Thee,
Who hears in its anguish the Tempter’s words
“Fall down, and worship me.”
Woe to the soul that ascends the mount
Of pomp, and power, and pride,
With the glories of earth within his reach,
And the Demon at his side.
But Christ, with His meek and holy brow,
Shuns not the deadly strife;
For His soul is strong in the armour of faith,
And His sword is the Word of Life.
The soul is strong, tho’ the human frame
May faint ’neath the chastening rod;
And the Demon‐foe recognises there
The mortal and the God.
With the radiant light of a stainless soul,
As a crown upon His brow,
How He forces the trembling Chief of Hell
To bend in homage low.
Thus, with His foot on the serpent’s head,
He stands a triumphant king;
But the serpent fangs that have pierced His heel,
Sorrow and Death must bring.
How glorious now is that frail, weak form,
Strong in the spirit within,
Standing alone in the desert of life,
Conquering Hell and Sin.
And we must tread the desert too,
Where want and woe assail;
We must war, like Christ, with the Prince of Hell,
We—human, weak, and frail.
The Tempter will come in those moments of life,
When the soul is dark with fears,
And we sit by the empty urn of joy,
Filling it with our tears;
When those we love, as shadows pass,
And we tread life’s desert lone,
Without hope in heaven, or love upon earth,
Wearily ever on.
It is then he will lead us to doubt upon God,
Doubt in His love for us;
And the murmuring soul he will tempt to ask
“Why must I suffer thus?”
And pleasure and power will seem so near,
If we but kneel to him
O God, keep from us the Tempter far,
When faith is burning dim!
O Christ, who hast known the Tempter’s strength,
Bend from Thy throne of light;
Aid in the terrible strife with Hell,
Aid with Thy power and might.
Teach us to fight as Thou hast fought;
To conquer as Thou hast done;
That angels may bring from the starry skies
The plan for the conquering one.
For never yet was the Tempter foiled
By the might of Jehovah’s name,
But holy joys in the sufferer’s heart.
Like blessed angels came.
And the terrible strife, and the desert drear,
Will pass like earthly things;
But the soul that has conquered will rest in peace,
’Neath angels’ shadowing wings.
Full seven years have passed and flown
But years o’er Thekla lightly pass,
As rose leaves, falling one by one,
From roses on the summer grass.
“It is our bridal day,” she said;
“We’re bidden to a christ’ning feast
I’ll wear the robe I had when wed,
The robe I love of all the best.
“I’ll wear my crown of jewels rare:
On brow and bosom let them shine;
Yet diamonds in my golden hair
Were dull beside these eyes of mine!”
She laughed aloud before the glass.
“Some women’s hair would turn to grey
With cares, ere half the years did pass
I’ve numbered since my wedding day.
“But they were mothers—fools, I trow.
Life’s current all too quickly runs;
I would not give my beauty now
For all their goodly race of sons.”
She sprang upon her palfrey white,
While Erick held the broidered broiderd rein,
And showered down her veil of light
Upon the flowing, silky mane.
The guests rose up in wonderment
Such beauty never had been seen
And bowed before her as she went,
As if she were a crownéd queen.
The knights pressed round with words of praise,
And murmured homage in her ear,
And swore to serve her all their days,
E’en die for her—would she but hear.
But vainly, all in vain they sought
One answering smile of love to win.
Upon her soul there lieth nought
Save that one only, deadly sin.
“I pray you now I fain would have
So fair an angel hold my child,”
The mother said; and smiling smilling , gave
To Thekla’s arms her infant mild.
Advancing slow, with stately air,
Beside the font she took her place,
The infant, like a rosebud fair,
Nestling amid her bosom’s lace.
She lays it on the bishop’s arm,
The while he makes the blessed sign,
And sains it safe from ghostly harm
By Father, Spirit, Son Divine.
Then reaches out her hands again
To take it—but with moaning sound,
Like one distraught with sudden pain,
Falls pale and fainting to the ground.
“She has no children,” Erick said,
As pleading for the strange mischance;
“This only grief since we were wed
Has saddened sore her life, perchance.”
“She has no children!” murmured low
The happy mothers, gathered near;
“No child to love her—bitter woe;
No child to kiss her on her bier!”
But graver matrons shook the head:
“That witchlike beauty bodes no good;
Witch hands can never hold, ’tis said,
A child just blessed by holy rood.”
They raised her up; she spake no word,
But slowly drooped her tearful eyes;
The rushing wave was all she heard,
The whirling wheels, the infants’ cries.
And Erick said, with bitter smile:
“You play the mother all too ill;
Madonnas do not suit your style.”
Her thoughts were by the lonely mill.
They set her on her palfrey white;
She heeds not all their taunting sneers,
But showers down her veil of light,
To hide the conscious, guilty tears.
They rode through all his vast estate,
But rode in silence—he behind,
Sore pondering on his childless fate,
With ruffled brow and moody mind.
They rode through shadowy forest glades,
By meadows filled with lowing kine,
By streams that ran like silver threads
Down from the dark‐fringed hills of pine.
“Alas!” he thought, “no child of mine
When I am dead shall take my place;
Must all the wealth of all my line
Pass to a hated kinsman’s race?
“Now, by my sword, I’d give up all,
Wealth, fame, and glory, all I’ve won,
So that within my father’s hall
Beside me stood a noble son!”
He saw her white veil floating back
Along the twilight gray and still,
Like ghostly shadows on her track
Her thoughts were by the lonely mill.
And now they neared the ancient church,
The ancient church where they were wed!
The moonlight full upon the porch
Shone bright, and Erick raised his head.
O Heaven! There upon the lawn
The palfrey’s shadow stands out clear,
But Thekla’s shadow—it is gone!
Nor form nor floating veil is there.
He spurred his steed with bitter cry:
“Could she have fallen in deathly swoon?”
But no, there, slowly riding by,
He sees her by the bright full moon.
With gesture fierce he seized her rein:
“ Woman or fiend! Look, if you dare,
The palfrey casts a shadow plain,
But yours—O horror!—is not there!”
She gathered close her silken veil,
And wrung her hands, and prayed for grace,
While down from Heaven the calm moon pale
Looked like God’s own accusing face.
He flung aside the broidered rein:
“O woe the day that we were wed!
A witch bride to my arms I’ve ta’en,
Branded by God’s own finger dread.”
She followed, weeping, step by step,
Led by the unseen hand of Fate,
Still keeping in the shadows deep,
Until they reached the castle gate.
He strode across the corridor,
And rolling back upon its ring
The curtain curtan of her chamber door,
He motioned her to enter in.
She laid aside her silken veil,
The golden circlet from her head,
And waited, motionless and pale,
Like one uprisen from the dead.
Could she deny, e’en if she would?
The moonlight wrapped her like a sheet.
And in the accusing light she stood,
As if before God’s judgment‐seat.
Brief were his questions, stern his wrath;
A doom seemed laid on her to tell,
How, with the ring of plighted troth,
Her hand had wrought the murd’rous spell.
How she had marred his ancient line,
And broke the life‐chord that should bless,
And sent the seven fair souls to pine
Back to the shades of nothingness
That so her beauty might not wane,
Her glorious beauty—fatal good;
Yet one she would not lose to gain
The rights of sacred motherhood.
And still she told the tale as cold
The witch‐fire burning in her eyes
As if it were some legend old,
Drawn from a poet’s memories.
He cursed her in his bitter wrath,
He cursed her by her children dead,
He cursed the ring of plighted troth,
He cursed the day when they were wed.
Fierce and more fierce his accents rose:
“Away!” he cried, “false hag of sin:
I see through all this painted gloze
The black and hideous soul within.
“Oh! false and foul, thou art to me
A devil—not a woman fair!
Like coiling snakes I seem to see
Each twisted tress of golden hair.
“I hate thee, as I hate God’s foe.
Forth from my castle halls this night:
I could not breathe the air, if so
Thy poison breath were here to blight.”
She cowered, shivered, spake no word,
But fell before him at his feet,
As if an angel of the Lord
Had smote her at the judgment‐seat.
And on her heart there came at last
The dread, deep consciousness of sin,
That ghastly spectre which had cast
Upon her life this suffering.
And from her hand the gold ring fell
Her wedding ring—and broke in twain;
The fatal ring that wrought the spell,
The accursed ring of love and pain.
The spell seemed broken then: the word
Came, softly breath’d: “Oh, pardon! grace!”
And pleadingly to her dread lord
She lifted up her angel face
With golden tresses all unbound,
Still lovely through her shame and loss,
Around his feet her arms she wound,
As sinner might around the cross.
He dashed her twining hands aside,
He spurned her from him as she knelt.
“O hateful beauty!” Erick cried,
“The source of all thy hellish guilt.
“Pray for a cloud that can eclipse
That long, white streak of moonlight pale.
No word of grace from mortal lips
Can bring a ruined soul from Hell.
“Away! I would not pardon, not
(I swear it by the holy rood)
Unless upon that hated spot
An angel with a lily stood!”
She shuddered in the moonlight pale,
That doomed and banned her from his sight,
Then rose up with a bitter wail,
And fled away into the night!
Shadows From Life
Vain the love that looketh upward; we may worship, may adore;
From the heart's o'erflowing chalice all the tide of feeling pour;
Dash our souls against the barriers that divide us from the shrine;
Fling the incense; pour libations—aye, of life's own ruddy wine;
But, the angel we gaze up to, calm as form of pictured saint,
From its golden mist of glory bendeth never to our plaint plant;
Heedeth not if crushed the temple where the altar fires burned,
For the doom runs through the ages—Love was never yet returned.
Thus it was he loved a lady: never priest in Ispahàn
So adored when mount and ocean morning's flashing glories span.
Never sun‐god in its glory, marching stately from the east,
Crimson‐robed and cloud‐attended, heeded less the praying priest,
Than the lady that pale lover, while her lonely path she took
O'er the spirit's glittering summits, with her proud and queenly look;
Like that Roman Sybil bearing in her hands the mystic scroll,
And her large eyes looking onward where the future ages roll.
So, in lone and lofty beauty, she stood high above the world,
Never heeding, dashing neathward, how life's stormy billows curled;
As a pine upon the mountain, warring tempests raging round,
As an island peak of ocean, with the starry midnight crowned.
How could she who trod the pathway of the spirit's starry zones
Stoop to listen, bending earthward, to a lover's murmuring tones? —
While her ear was gathering music from Creation's golden chords,
List the human tears low falling, with the pleading human words?
And could he, who tracked the eagle borne on through cloud and light,
With her glorious regnant beauty filling soul and sense and sight,
Stoop to gaze on me, half‐blasted by fierce Passion's fiery skies,
Only Love, the love of woman, burning strangely in my eyes?
Oh! I've watched his glance dilating, as it rested where afar
Rose her lofty brow, as riseth the pale glory of a star;
Heard the world's praise hymning round her, saw his cheek of flushing pride,
Whilst I, writhing in heart‐agony, all calmly sat beside.
No rays of genius crowning, such as brows like hers enrol,
With no flashing thoughts, like North‐lights, rushing up my darkened darkned soul;
Waking but his earnest feelings with, perchance, my graver words,
While her spirit, like a tempest, swept the range of Passion's chords.
Oh, Woman! calmest sufferer! what deep agony oft lies
In thy low, false‐hearted laughter, glancing bright through tearless eyes!
And how little deemed he truly that the calmest eyes he met
Were but Joy's funereal torches, on Life's ruined altar set.
How could I light up his nature, with no glory in my own?
Soul like his, that throbbed and glittered in the radiance of her throne.
Bitter came the words of plaining:—Why should fate to me deny
All the beauty of the mortal, all the soul to deify?
What had she done, then, for Heaven, so that Heaven should confer
Every gift, to make man prostrate at her feet as worshipper?
Raised her high enough to scorn him—aye, to trample in disdain
On the heart flung down before her—heart that I had died to gain!
Trod his love down calmly, queenly, like a mantle 'neath her feet,
While with lordly spirit‐monarchs she moved proudly to her seat,
Grand as eagle in the zenith, with the noonday radiance crowned
Lone and icy as an Alp‐peak, with the circling glaciers round.
But an echo of all beauty through her fine‐toned spirit rang,
As a golden harp re‐echoes to each passing music clang,
Till in thrilling, clear vibrations rang her poet‐words in air,
Summoning souls to lofty duties, as an Angelus to prayer.
Oh! she flung abroad her fancies, free as waves dash off the foam
As the palm‐tree flings its branches on the blue of Heaven's dome,
With a genius‐shadow dark'ning in the stillness of her eyes
With her rainbow‐spirit arching half the circle of the skies,
Like a dark‐browed Miriam chanting songs of triumph on the foe,
As the rushing waters bore them to the Hades halls below,
Till up through the startled ether, down the far horizon's rim,
Clashed the swords of men in music to her lofty prophet‐hymn.
But no beauty thrill'd my nature, noon, or night or sunset skies;
For the only heaven I gazed on was the heaven of his eyes—
I'd have bartered Freedom, Justice, People's rights, or native Land,
All the island homes of Ocean, for one pressure of his hand;
Trembling, weak, a coward spirit, only wishing low to lie,
As a flower beneath his footstep, breathe my life out, and so die.
Yet he liked me—aye, he liked me—'twas the phrase—O saints above!
Cold and cruel sounds this liking from the lips of one we love.
They said that he was dying; could I longer silence keeping,
Only pour forth my deep passion in my chamber lonely weeping?
I reck'd not if 'twere womanly, cold convention little heeding,
But in mine his hand enfolding, said, with tearful raised eyes pleading
"She hath left you, left you lonely—sorrow's harvest death may reap;
I say not—love me; let me only watch here by you and weep! "
Then he said, his pale brow raising, with a faint, unquiet smile,
And with saddest eyes upgazing upon mine for all the while
"Sweetest friend, this sorrow‐blighted, faded form, and searéd heart,
To pale death, I fear, are plighted, yet 'twere bitter now to part;
For the chords of life are shaken by a sympathy so true,
And they tremble, in vibration, with a pleasure strange and new.
Still, no love‐dream may be cherished—ah! the time of love is o'er
Youthful heart, by passion blighted, can be kindled never more;
But if sympathy thou darest with a heart so wrecked as mine,
I will give thee back the rarest kindred souls can inter twine."
And so bending coldly, gently, on my brow he placed his lips;
While, I trembling in the shadow of that faint and brief eclipse,
Murmur'd:—"Tell me, tell me truly, do you love her then so well? "
And the hot tears, all unruly, through my twinèd fingers fell,
And I sank down there unheeding so of maidenhood or wrong,
While I told him, weeping, pleading, how I'd loved him, loved him long;
Seen my hopes all faded, perished, spread around in pale dismay,
Wept their pallid corses over—I alone, like Niobe!
Thank God, that no cruel scorning dimm'd his starry eyes divine,
Softly, tender, earnest gazing down the tearful depths of mine—
But with warmest splendours resting on the paleness of his cheek,
As the roseate tinted sunset on a snowy Alpine peak,
Bent he down upon my shoulder, murmuring loverlike and low,
While his breathing softly trembled on my pale lips lying so:
"Ah! such deep and tender loving hath recall'd me from the grave
And this heart with soft approving bids you keep the life you gave;
"Woman's soothing grief to lighten hath a mystic healing power,
And their sympathy can brighten man's most dark and destined hour.
Let the holy words be spoken that bind soul to soul for life;
Let me place the symbol token on this hand—my wedded wife! "
Oh! never yet did an angel breathe diviner words of bliss,
Never mortal heard evangel of a joy like unto this;
In my gladness, smiling, weeping, knelt I down before him there,
Blessing God with wild words leaping from my full heart's inward prayer;
And a glory, ruddy, golden‐hued, streamed down on me from high,
As with lifted hands enfolden gazed I up into the sky
Ever brighter, flashing downward, till my pained eyes ached with light,
And I turned from gazing sunward back to earth's more calm delight.
But—was it spell, or was it charm? —when I turned me to the room,
Fading seem'd the loved one's form, half in light and half in gloom
Throbb'd my brain in wild confusion, slowly died his words in air,
All around me seemed illusion, save that streaming golden glare.
On my fevered eyelids aching, madly press'd my hands I keep
Then arose like one awaking from a strange and magic sleep;
Round I gazed in wild amazement for the glorious light that shone,
Was morn streaming through my casement, but it shone on me alone!
The last cold words he had written still lay there beside my bed;
The last flowers he had given lay beside them, faded, dead;
Life's lonely bitter desolation was true, for aye, I deem,
But, joy's blessed revelations, that—oh, that—was but a dream!