Oh! that I stood upon some lofty tower,
Before the gathered people, face to face,
That, like God’s thunder, might my words of power
Roll down the cry of Freedom to its base!
Oh! that my voice, a storm above all storms,
Could cleave earth, air, and ocean, rend the sky
With the fierce earthquake shout: “To arms! to arms!
For Truth, Fame, Freedom, Vengeance, Victory!”
The mountains, could they speak, would cry in thunder,
“Too long we’ve borne the tyrant’s trampling hoof;”
The stars would fight from Heaven with signs of wonder;
The tempest waves dash back a stern reproof:
But ye, writhing like worms beneath the tyrant’s spurning,
Dragged in the dust behind his chariot‐wheel,
Is there no vengeance in your strong hearts burning,
Tho’ God, and man, and earth, and heaven appeal?
Oh! for some prophet’s voice to rouse and warn
Some angel’s strength to strike them branch and root!
Oh! for Christ’s strength to bid, in Godlike scorn,
The very stones cry out, should ye be mute!
Human lives are silent teaching,
Be they earnest, mild, and true
Noble deeds are noblest preaching
From the consecrated Few.
Poet‐Priests their anthems singing,
Hero‐sword on corslet ringing,
When Truth’s banner is unfurled;
Youthful preachers, genius‐gifted,
Pouring forth their souls uplifted,
Till their preaching stirs the world;
Each must work as God has given
Hero hand or poet soul;
Work is duty while we live in
This weird world of sin and dole.
Gentle spirits, lowly kneeling,
Lift their white hands up appealing
To the Throne of Heaven’s King
Stronger natures, culminating,
In great actions incarnating
What another can but sing.
Pure and meek‐eyed as an angel,
We must strive—must agonise;
We must preach the saints’ evangel
Ere we claim the saintly prize.
Work for all, for work is holy,
We fulfil our mission solely
When, like Heaven’s arch above,
Blend our souls in one emblazon,
And the social diapason
Sounds the perfect chord of love.
Life is combat, life is striving,
Such our destiny below;
Like a scythéd chariot driving
Through an onward pressing foe.
Deepest sorrow, scorn, and trial
Will but teach us self‐denial;
Like the alchymists of old,
Pass the ore through cleansing fire
If our spirits would aspire
To be God’s refinéd gold.
We are struggling in the morning
With the spirit of the night;
But we trample on it scorning
Lo! the eastern sky is bright.
We must watch. The day is breaking;
Soon, like Memnon’s statue waking
With the sunrise into sound,
We shall raise our voice to Heaven,
Chant a hymn for conquest given,
Seize the palm, nor heed the wound.
We must bend our thoughts to earnest,
Would we strike the idols down;
With a purpose of the sternest
Take the Cross, and wait the Crown.
Sufferings human life can hallow,
Sufferings lead to God’s Valhalla;
Meekly bear, but nobly try,
Like a man with soft tears flowing,
Like a God with conquest glowing
So to love, and work, and die!
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!
Tis midnight, falls the lamp‐light dull and sickly,
On a pale and anxious crowd,
Through the court, and round the judges, thronging thickly,
With prayers none dare to speak aloud.
Two youths, two noble youths, stand prisoners at the bar
You can see them through the gloom
In pride of life and manhood’s beauty, there they are
Awaiting their death doom.
All eyes an earnest watch on them are keeping,
Some, sobbing, turn away,
And the strongest men can hardly see for weeping,
So noble and so loved were they.
Their hands are locked together, those young brothers,
As before the judge they stand
They feel not the deep grief that moves the others,
For they die for Fatherland.
They are pale, but it is not fear that whitens
On each proud, high brow,
For the triumph of the martyr’s glory brightens
Around them even now.
They sought to free their land from thrall of stranger;
Was it treason? Let them die;
But their blood will cry to Heaven—the Avenger
Yet will hearken from on high.
Before them, shrinking, cowering, scarcely human,
The base informer bends,
Who, Judas‐like, could sell the blood of true men,
While he clasped their hands as friends.
Aye, could fondle the young children of his victim,
Break bread with his young wife,
At the moment that for gold his perjured dictum
Sold the husband and the father’s life.
There is silence in the midnight—eyes are keeping
Troubled watch till forth the jury come;
There is silence in the midnight—eyes are weeping—
“Guilty!”—is the fatal uttered doom.
For a moment o’er the brothers’ noble faces
Came a shadow sad to see;
Then silently they rose up in their places,
And embraced each other fervently.
Oh! the rudest heart might tremble at such sorrow,
The rudest cheek might blanch at such a scene:
Twice the judge essayed to speak the word—to‐morrow
Twice faltered, as a woman he had been.
To‐morrow!—Fain the elder would have spoken,
Prayed for respite, tho’ it is not death he fears;
But thoughts of home and wife his heart hath broken,
And his words are stopped by tears.
But the youngest—oh, he spake out bold and clearly:
“I have no ties of children or of wife;
Let me die—but spare the brother who more dearly
Is loved by me than life.”
Pale martyrs, ye may cease, your days are numbered;
Next noon your sun of life goes down;
One day between the sentence and the scaffold
One day between the torture and the crown!
A hymn of joy is rising from creation;
Bright the azure of the glorious summer sky;
But human hearts weep sore in lamentation,
For the Brothers are led forth to die.
Aye, guard them with your cannon and your lances
So of old came martyrs to the stake;
Aye, guard them—see the people’s flashing glances,
For those noble two are dying for their sake.
Yet none spring forth their bonds to sever
Ah! methinks, had I been there,
I’d have dared a thousand deaths ere ever
The sword should touch their hair.
It falls!—there is a shriek of lamentation
From the weeping crowd around;
They’re stilled—the noblest hearts within the nation
The noblest heads lie bleeding on the ground.
Years have passed since that fatal scene of dying,
Yet, lifelike to this day,
In their coffins still those severed heads are lying,
Kept by angels from decay.
Oh! they preach to us, those still and pallid features
Those pale lips yet implore us, from their graves,
To strive for our birthright as God’s creatures,
Or die, if we can but live as slaves.
The Fall Of The Tyrants
Ho! Spaniards! rise for Liberty—your country on ye calls,
To fight to‐day, in proud array, before Granáda’s walls;
A proud array is here to‐day, full fifty thousand strong,
Of Fantassins and Cavaliers Gonzalo leads along.
From Leon to Granáda—from Corunna to Sevílle,
Gather, Spaniards, gather, by the banks of the Xenil!
Eight hundred years of blood and tears beneath a foreign sway
Eight hundred years of blood and tears must be avenged to‐day.
Think of your ancient glory, Oh ye lions of León!
And how in ancient story your great lion name was won;
Think of Zamora’s conquest field, and royal Douro’s flood
How ye bridged with Moslem corses, and swam it in their blood.
And, mountaineers, have ye no tears to be avenged to‐day
Asturians, and Gallicians, and wild dwellers by Vizcày?
Ye, the unconquered remnant of the brave old Celtic race
For ne’er could Roman, Goth, or Moor, your nationhood efface.
Ye, too, proud Gothic nobles! by your memories as men,
Will never fail, or shrink, or quail to meet the Saracen;
Ye, ’fore whose conquering arm were the bravest forced to yield,
Who smote the Suevi in their tent—the Romans in the field.
Now, now, oh, shame and misery! a stranger rules your lands!
A stranger’s spoil is your native soil—a stranger’s voice commands;
Ye, princes once and chieftains, ere the false foe crossed the flood,
Now, drawers of their water and base hewers of their wood!
And, Adalusian Brothers, of the old Vandalic race,
Will ye alone ’midst Spaniards, be proud of your disgrace?
They flatter, fawn, but hate you, these proud foes to whom you’ve sold
Your Liberty for mocking smiles—your country for their gold.
They own your stately palaces, they desecrate your shrines,
They trample on your vineyards, yet ye stoop to drink their wines;
Ye wear their silk, their gold, their gems, and to their feasts ye run;
Now shame for ye, my brothers, is it thus that Freedom’s won?
Back to your wild sierras, better die there in your homes
Than cringingly bow low beneath your masters’ haughty domes;
Their Syrian silks, their Indian Indiam gems, go—fling them to the Sea,
But keep their Syrian steel, for it will help to set us free.
Oh! by your ancient memories, rise Prince, and Peer, and Chief
Smite down the foe that wrought our woe at Gebel el Taríf.
The robber horde awaits your sword—draw, Spaniards! for your land!
The crown ye lost by Roderic, regain it by Fernand!
No coward fears—eight hundred years ye’ve lived as slaves, not men;
But swords makes bright each chartered right—ye’ll have your own again.
Brave hearts and leal of proud Castile—Revenge, on Mauritania!
Rend earth and sky with your gathering cry: Charge! Cierra Espana!
As tempests sweep the surging deep, thus on the Moorish ranks
Dashes the Spanish chivalry; they charge on van and flanks.
From Calpe’s rock the thunder‐shock re‐echoes o’er the main
Now, God and Santiago, for our Liberty and Spain!
Little they think of mercy, these slaves of eight hundred years;
Never they spare a foeman, these bold true Iberian spears.
Crescènted hosts your taunting boasts this day find answer meet,
For the light of Heaven is darkened by the dust of your flying feet.
Granàda falls! From the Castle walls tear down the Alien’s rag
On turret and Alcàzar, comrades, up with our ancient flag!
It floats from the proud Alhambra! Thank God, we’ve lived to see
Our ancient standard waving once again above the Free!
Pass out, ye weeping people; aye, weep—for never more
Shall ye gather in Granàda by the sound of Atambór;
For, by the rood, ye Moslem brood, we swore it in Castile,
Never again should Spain be ruled by foreign Alquazil.
O Moorish King! by suffering thou has earned a name to‐day—*
But we give thee life, Abdallah; pass onwards on thy way.
Accursed race, the foul disgrace thy rule hath brought on Spain,
Is cleansed away in blood to‐day—we drive thee ’cross the main.
By Elvira’s gate he goeth, all solemnly and slow
One last look at Granàda, ere they pass that gate of woe.
“Oh, better far thy scimitar had laid thee with the dead,
Than weep for what thou could’st not keep”—the proud
Allah, Allah Hu Akbar! what sorrow like my sorrows?
Thus he goeth weeping by the way of Alpujarras;
Allah, Allah Hu Akbar! on his tomb is written down
The King who lost a Kingdom when great Spain regained her Crown.
An Appeal To Ireland
The sin of our race is upon us,
The pitiless, cruel disdain
Of brother for brother, tho’ coiling
Round both is the one fatal chain;
And aimless and reckless and useless
Our lives pass along to the grave
In tumults of words that bewilder,
And the conflicts of slave with slave.
Yet shadows are heavy around us,
The darkness of sin and of shame,
While the souls of the Nation to slumber
Are lulled by vain visions of fame;
True hearts, passion‐wasted, and breaking
With sense of our infinite wrong,
Oh! wake them, nor dread the awaking,
We need all the strength of the strong.
For we rage with senseless endeavours
In a fever of wild unrest,
While glory lies trampled, dishonoured,
Death‐pale, with a wound in her breast;
Had we loosened one chain from the spirit,
Had we strove from the ruin of things
To build up a Temple of Concord,
More fair than the palace of Kings;
Our name might be heard where the Nations
Press on to the van of the fight,
Where Progress makes war upon Evil,
And Darkness is scattered by Light.
They have gold and frankincense and myrrh
To lay at the feet of their King,
But we—what have we but the wine‐cup
Of wrath and of sorrow to bring?
Let us ask of our souls, lying under
The doom of this bondage and ban,
Why we, made by God high as Angels,
Should fall so much lower than man;
Some indeed have been with us would scale
Heav’n’s heights for life‐fire if they dare
But the vultures now gnaw at their hearts
Evermore on the rocks of Despair.
Let us think, when we stand before God,
On the Day of the Judgment roll,
And He asks of the work we have done
In the strength of each God‐like soul;
Can we answer—“Our prayers have gone up
As light from the stars and the sun,
And Thy blessing came down on our deeds
As a crown when the victory’s won.
“We fought with wild beasts, wilder passions,
As of old did the saints of God,
Tho’ our life‐blood ran red in the dust
Of the fierce arena we trod;
We led up Thy people triumphant
From Egypt’s dark bondage of sin,
And made the fair land which Thou gavest
All glorious without and within.
“We changed to a measure of music
The discord and wail of her days,
For sorrow gave garments of gladness,
For scorn of her enemies praise;
We crowned her a Queen in the triumph
Of noble and beautiful lives,
While her chariot of Freedom rolled on
Through the crash of her fallen gyves.”
I ask of you, Princes, and Rulers,
I ask of you, Brothers around,
Can ye thus make reply for our people
When the Nations are judged or crowned?
If not, give the reins of the chariot
To men who can curb the wild steeds
They are nearing the gulf, in this hour
We appeal by our wrongs and our needs.
Stand back and give place to new leaders;
We need them—some strong gifted souls,
From whose lips, never touched by a falsehood,
The heart’s richest eloquence rolls.
True Patriots by grandeur of purpose,
True men by the power of the brain:
The chosen of God to lift upward
His Ark with hands clear of all stain.
We need them to tend the Lord’s vineyard,
As shepherds to watch round His fold,
With brave words from pure hearts outpouring,
As wine from a chalice of gold;
That the souls of the Nation uplifted,
May shine in new radiance of light,
As of old stood the Prophets transfigured
In glory with Christ on the height.
Far out where the grand western sunsets
Flush crimson the mountain and sea,
And the echoes of Liberty mingle
With the roar of the waves on the lea;
Where over the dim shrouded passes
The clouds fling a rainbow‐hued arch,
And through giant‐rent portals a people
Go forth on their sad, solemn march:
I had dreams of a future of glory
For this fair motherland of mine,
When knowledge would bring with its splendours
The Human more near the Divine.
And as flash follows flash on the mountains,
When lightnings and thunders are hurled,
So would throb in electrical union
Her soul with the soul of the world.
For we stand too apart in our darkness,
As planets long rent from the sun,
And the mystical breath of the spirit
Scarce touches our hearts sweeping on.
I appeal from this drear isolation
To earth, to the mountains, and sky
Must we die as of thirst in a desert,
While full tides of life pass us by?
Yet still, through the darkness and sorrow,
I dream of a time yet to be,
When from mountain and ocean to Heaven
Will rise up the Hymn of the Free.
When our Country, made perfect through trial,
White‐robed, myrtle‐crowned, as a Bride,
Will stand forth, “a Lady of Kingdoms,”
Through Light and through Love glorified.
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.
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!