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!
Jesus To The Soul Savonarola
Air Soul, created in the primal hour,
Once pure and grand,
And for whose sake I left my throne and power
At God’s right hand
By this sad heart, pierced through because I love thee
Let love and mercy to contrition move thee.
Cast off the sins thy holy beauty veiling,
Vain against thee the host of hell assailing
My strength is thine.
Drink from my side the wine of life immortal,
And love will lead thee back to Heaven’s portal.
Quench in my light the flame of low desire,
Crush doubt and fear;
Even to my glory may each soul aspire,
If victor here.
Die now to earth, with earthly vanity,
And live for evermore in Heaven with me.
I, for thy sake, was pierced with many sorrows,
And bore the Cross;
Yet heeding not the galling of the arrows,
The shame or loss.
So, faint not thou, whate’er the burden be,
Bear with it bravely, even to Calvary.
Still shall my spirit urge if thou delayest,
My hand sustain;
My blood wash out thy errors if thou strayest
Plead I in vain?
An hour is coming when the judgment loometh;
Repent, fair soul, ere yet that hour cometh.
Hymn To The Cross. Savonarola
Jesus, refuge of the weary,
Object of the spirit’s love,
Fountain in life’s desert dreary,
Saviour from the world above!
Oh, how oft Thine eyes, offended,
Gazed upon the sinner’s fall;
Yet, Thou on the Cross extended,
Bore the penalty of all!
For our human sake enduring
Tortures infinite in pain;
By Thy death our life assuring,
Conquerors through Thee we reign.
Still we passed the Cross in scorn,
Breathing no repentant vow,
Though from ’neath the circling thorn,
Dropped the blood‐sweat off Thy brow.
Yet, Thy sinless death hath brought us
Life eternal, peace and rest;
What Thy grace alone hath taught us,
Calms the sinner’s stormy breast.
Jesus, would my heart were burning
With more vivid love for Thee!
Would mine eyes were ever turning
To Thy Cross of agony!
Would that on that Cross suspended
I the martyr’s palm might win—
Where the Lord, the heaven‐descended,
Sinless suffered for my sin!
Cross of torture! may’st thou rend me
With thy fierce, unearthly dole;
Welcome be the pangs that lend me
Strength to crush sin in my soul.
So, in pain and rapture blending,
Might my fading eyes grow dim,
While the freed heart rose, ascending
To the circling Seraphim.
Then in glory, parted never
From the blessed Saviour’s side,
Graven on my heart for ever
Be the Cross, and Crucified!
The Young Patriot Leader
Oh! he stands beneath the sun, that glorious Fated One
Like a martyr or conqueror, wearing
On his brow a mighty doom, be it glory, be it gloom,
The shadow of a crown it is bearing.
At his Cyclopean stroke the proud heart of man awoke,
Like a king from his lordly down‐lying;
And whereso’er he trod, like the footstep of a God,
Was a trail of light the gloom outvying.
In his beauty and his youth, the Apostle of the Truth,
Goes he forth with the words of salvation,
And a noble madness falls on each spirit he enthralls,
As he chants his wild Pæans to the nation.
As a tempest in its force, as a torrent in its course,
So his words fiercely sweep all before them,
And they smite like two‐edged swords, those undaunted thunder‐words,
On all hearts, as tho’ angels did implore them.
See our pale cheeks how they flush, as the noble visions rush
On our soul’s most dark desolation,
And the glorious lyric words, Right, Freedom, and our Swords!
Wake the strong chords of life to vibration.
Aye; right noble, in good sooth, seemed he battling for the truth,
When he poured the full tide of his scorn
Down upon the tyrant’s track, like an Alpine cataract:
Ah! such men wait an Æon to be born.
So he stood before us then, one of God’s eternal men,
Flashing eye, and hero mould of stature,
With a glory and a light circling round his brow of might,
That revealed his right royal kingly nature.
Lo! he leadeth on our bands, Freedom’s banner in his hands,
Let us aid him, not with words, but doing;
With the marches of the brave, prayers of might that strike and save,
Not a slaving spirit’s abject suing.
Thus in glory is he seen, tho’ his years are yet but green,
The anointed as head of our nation;
For high Heaven hath decreed that a soul like his must lead,
Let us kneel, then, in deep adoration.
Oh! his mission is divine; dash down the Lotus wine
Too long is your trancéd sleep abiding;
For by Him who gave us life, we shall conquer in the strife,
So we follow but that Young Chief’s guiding.
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!
What of the night, O Watcher on the Tower?
Is the Day dawning through the golden bars?
Comes it through the midnight, over clouds that lower,
Trailing robes of crimson mid the fading stars?
“Through the rent clouds I see a splendour gleaming,
Rolling down the darkness to the far Heaven’s rim,
While through the mist the glorious Dawn upstreaming
Rises like the music of a grand choral hymn.”
From the deep valleys where the whirlwind passes,
Hear you the tramp of the coming hosts of men,
Strong in their manhood, mighty in their masses,
Swift as rushing torrents down a mountain glen?
“Far as eye can reach, where purple mists are lifted,
Thousands upon thousands are gathering in might,
Powerful as tempests when giant sails are rifted,
Beautiful as ocean in the sun’s silver light.”
See you their Banner in the free air proudly
Waving, as an oriflamme a king might bear,
Has it no legend—dare we utter loudly
All that a people may have written there?
“I see their Banner in the red dawn flashing
Haughty is the legend, plain to all men’s sight,
Traced in their heart’s blood, which the breeze upcatching,
Flings out in flame‐words—Liberty and Right!
“Onward they come, still gathering in power,
Serried ranks of men o’er the crimson‐clouded lawn;
Banners glisten brightly in the golden shower
Pouring through the portals of the golden Dawn.
“Each bears a symbol, glorious in its meaning,
Holy as the music of the crown’d Bard’s Psalm:
Faith gazing upward, on her Anchor leaning,
Peace with the Olive, and Mercy with the Palm.”
Long have we waited, O Watcher, for the vision,
Splendid in promise we now can see it rise,
Scattering the darkness, while with hero‐mission
Brave hands uplift Hope’s banner to the skies.
Not with vain clamour, but the soul’s strength revealing
In the golden silence of all great true deeds,
Banded in strength for human rights appealing,
Banded in love for our poor human needs.
Bitter was the Past; let it rest, a new Æon
Preaches a new Gospel to man not in vain,
Earth through all her kingdoms echoes back the Pæan
Chanted once by Angels on the star‐lit plain.
Brotherhood of Nations, disdaining ancient quarrel,
Brotherhood of Peoples, flushed with a nobler rage,
Palm branch and Olive let us mingle with the Laurel
In the radiant future of the coming Age!
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.
Thekla. A Swedish Saga. The Temptation
On the green sward Thekla’s lying,
Summer winds are round her sighing,
At her feet the ocean plays;
In that mirror idly gazing
She beholds, with inward praising,
Her own beauty in amaze.
And with winds and waves attuning
Her low voice, in soft communing
Said: “If truly I’m so fair,
Might the best in our Swedish land
Die all for love of my white hand,
Azure eyes and golden hair.”
And fair Thekla bent down gazing,
Light her golden curls upraising
From her bosom fair to see,
Which, within the azure ocean,
Glittered back hack in soft commotion,
Like a lotus tremblingly.
Saying soft, with pleasure trembling,
“If so fair is the resembling,
How much fairer I must be!
Rose‐lipped shadow, smiling brightly,
Are we angels floating lightly
Through the azure air and sea?
“Oh! that beauty never faded,
That years passing never shaded
Youthful cheek with hues of age!
Oh! thou fairest crystal form,
Can we not time’s hand disarm?”
Hark! the winds begin to rage;
And with onward heaving motion
Rise the waves in wild commotion
Spirits mournfullest they seem
Round the crystal shadow plaining,
Shivered, shattered, fades it waning
From the maiden like a dream.
And from midst the drooping oziers
Of the sunny banks’ enclosures
Rose a woman weird to see:
Strange her mien mein and antique vesture,
Yet with friendly look and gesture
To the trembling girl spake she.
“As the cruel winds bereft thee
Of the shadow that hath left thee,
Maiden, will thy children steal
One by one these treasures from thee,
Till all beauty hath foregone thee:
Mother’s woe is children’s weal.
“For the beauty of the mother
Is the children’s—sister, brother,
As she fades away, will bloom.
Mother’s eyes grow dim by weeping,
Wan her cheek cheak , lone vigils keeping:
Youthful virgin, ’ware your doom!
“Wifely name is sweet from lover,
Yet ere many years are over,
From the fatal day you wed,
Sore you’ll rue the holy altar,
And the salt sea will grow salter
For the bitter tears you’ll shed.
“See the pallid cheek reflected,
Hollow, sunken eyes dejected,
Look of weary, wasting pain;
All changed for thy beauty rarest:
Maiden, tell me, if thou darest
Then come here, and look again.
“But should lovers’ pleading gain thee,
Haste thee quick and I will sain thee
Ere the marriage vows are said;
By the might of magic power,
I can save thee from the hour
Of a mother’s anguish dread.”
Answered Thekla:: “Save me! save me!
Witch or woman, then I crave thee,
From a mother’s fated doom!
So my beauty never fading
Thou canst make with magic aiding,
Fatal Mother, I shall come.”
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.
The Ideal.From Schiller
So wilt thou, Faithless! from me sever,
With all thy brilliant phantasy?
With all thy joys and sorrows never
For prayers or tears come back to me?
Oh, golden time of youthful life!
Can nothing, Swift One, stay thy motion?
In vain! thy waves, with ruthless strife,
Flow on to the eternal ocean.
Quenched are the glorious suns that glowing
Bright o’er my youthful pathway shone,
And thoughts the prescient heart o’erflowing
With burning inspirations, gone.
For ever fled the trusting faith
In visions of my youthful dreaming,
Reality has risen to scathe
Their all too fair and godlike gleaming.
As once with wild desire entreating,
Pygmalion the stone enclasped,
’Till o’er the marble pale lips fleeting
Life, hope, and passion glowed at last;
So, around Nature’s cold form weaving
My youthful arms, her lips I pressed,
Until her lifeless bosom heaving,
Throbbed life‐like on my poet‐breast.
An answering chord to passion’s lyre
Within her silent frame I woke;
She gave me back my kiss of fire,
And in my heart’s deep language spoke.
Then lived for me the tree, the flower,
The silver streams in music sang;
All soulless things in that bright hour,
With echoes of my spirit rang.
The while it sought with eager strife,
To clasp Creation with its arm,
And spring incarnated to life
In deed, or word, or sound, or form.
How glorious then the world upfolded,
Within its shrouding calyx seen!
How little when Time’s hand unroll’d it!
That little, oh! how poor and mean!
But, as the wayward, rippling motion
Of some bright rock‐stream gathers strength,
Until, in kingly waves of ocean,
It dashes down the height at length:
With storm, and sound, and power, crushing
The granite rock, or giant tree;
Proud in its chainless fury rushing,
To mingle with the rolling sea.
So, filled with an immortal daring,
No chains of care around his form,
Hope’s impress on his forehead bearing,
The youth sprang forth amid Life’s storm.
Ev’n to dim ether’s palest star
Wing’d fancy bore him on untiring;
Nought was too high, and nought too far,
For those strong pinions’ wild aspiring!
How swiftly did they bear him, dashing
Through all youth’s fiery heart could dare!
How danced before life’s chariot flashing
Bright aërial visions there!
Love in her sweetest beauty gleaming,
Fortune with golden diadem crown’d,
Truth like the glittering sunlight streaming,
Fame with her starry circlet bound!
Alas! those bright companions guided
Through only half of life’s dark way;
All false and fleeting, none abided
With the lone wanderer to stray.
First light, capricious Fortune vanished
Still love of lore consumed his youth;
But doubt’s dark tempest rose and banished
The sun‐bright form of radiant Truth.
I saw the sacred crown degraded,
Of Fame, upon a common brow
And, ah! ’ere yet life’s summer faded,
I saw Love’s sweetest spring‐flowers bow.
And ever silenter, and ever
Lonelier grew the dreary way
Scarce even could hope, with frail endeavour
Shed o’er the gloom a ghastly ray.
But who, amid the train false‐hearted,
Stayed lovingly with me to roam
Still from my side remains unparted,
And follows to my last dark home?
Thou, who with joys and sorrows blending,
Thy gentle hand to soothe each wound,
And bear life’s burdens, ever lending,
Thou, Friendship, early sought and found.
And thou, with Friendship wedded ever,
To calm the tempest of the soul
Exhaustless study! wearying never,
Creating while the ages roll.
Still the world‐temple calm uprearing,
Tho’ grain on grain thou can’st but lay,
And striking, with a ceaseless ceasless daring,
Time’s minutes, days, and years away.
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!
Oremus! Oremus! Look down on us, Father!
Like visions of Patmos Thy last judgments gather
The angels of doom, in bright, terrible beauty,
Rise up from their thrones to fulfil their stern duty.
Woe to us, woe! the thunders have spoken,
The first of the mystical seals hath been broken.
Through the cleft thunder‐cloud the weird wierd coursers are rushing
Their hoofs will strike deep in the hearts they are crushing;
And the crown'd and the proud of the old kingly races
Fall down at the vision, like stars from their places:
Oremus! Oremus! The pale earth is heark'ning;
Already the spirit‐steeds round us are dark'ning.
With crown and with bow, on his white steed immortal,
The Angel of Wrath passes first through the portal;
But faces grow paler, and hush'd is earth's laughter,
When on his pale steed comes the Plague Spirit after.
Oremus! Oremus! His poison‐breath slayeth;
The red will soon fade from each bright lip that prayeth.
Now, with nostrils dilated and thunder hoofs crashing,
On rushes the war‐steed, his lurid eyes flashing;
There is blood on the track where his long mane is streaming,
There is death where the sword of his rider is gleaming.
Woe to the lands where that red steed is flying!
There tyrants are warring, and heroes are dying.
Oh! the golden‐hair'd children reck nought but their playing,
Thro' the rich fields of corn with their young mothers straying;
And the strong‐hearted men, with their muscles of iron,
What reck they of ills that their pathway environ?
There's a tramp like a knell—a cold shadow gloometh
Woe! 'tis the black steed of Famine that cometh
At the breath of its rider the green earth is blasted,
And childhood's frail form droops down pallid, and wasted;
The soft sunny hair falleth dank on the arm
Of the mother, whose love shields no longer from harm:
For strength is scarce left her to weep o'er the dying,
Ere dead by the loved one the mother is lying.
But can we only weep, when above us thus lour
The death‐bearing wings of the angels of power;
When around are the arrows of pestilence flying
Around, the pale heaps of the famine‐struck lying
—No, brother of sorrow, when life's light is weakest,
Look up, it is nigh the redemption thou seekest.
Still WORK, though the tramp of the weird spirit‐horses,
Fall dull on the ear, like the clay upon corses;
Still Freedom must send forth her young heroes glowing,
Though her standard be red with their life‐current flowing;
Still the preacher must cast forth the seed, as God's sower,
Though he perish like grass at the scythe of the mower.
Still do the Lord's work through life's tragical drama,
Though weeping goes upward like weeping at Rama;
The path may be thorny, but Spirit eyes see us;
The cross may be heavy, but Death will soon free us:
Still, strong in Christ's power we'll chant the Hosanna,
Fling down Christ's defiance—Υπαγε Σατανα!
I see in a vision the shadowy portal,
That leadeth to regions of glory immortal;
I see the pale forms from the seven wounds bleeding,
Which up to God's Throne the bright angels are leading;
I see the crown placed on each saint bending lowly,
While sounds the Trisagion—Holy, thrice Holy!
I have Paradise dreams of a band with palm‐branches,
Whose wavings give back their gold harps' resonances,
And a jewelled‐walled city, where walketh in splendour
Each one who his life for God's truth did surrender.
Who would weep their death‐doom, if such bliss we inherit,
When the veil of the human falls off from the spirit?
The Christian may shrink from the last scenes of trial,
And the woes yet unknown of each mystical vial;
But the hosts of Jehovah will gather beside him,
The rainbow‐crowned angel stoop downward to guide him;
And to him, who as hero and martyr hath striven,
Will the Crown, and the Throne, and the Palm‐branch be given.
Oh! for pinions to bear me sunward,
Ever and ever higher and onward;
With a glance of pride, and a wing of might,
Cleaving a path through the starry skies,
As the soul of a poet that heavenward flies,
Daring the depths of the Infinite.
Soaring and singing, still upward aspire,
Trailing a path through the crimson fire,
Bathing in oceans of purple and gold,
Treading the glory that men behold,
Like far‐off fields of Elysian light,
Where angels walk in radiance bright;
And never to rest till the goal is won,
And I furl my wings at the blazing sun
I alone, the Conquering One!
Then, said Love, I will lend thee mine;
And with strange enchantments, and many a sign,
He bound on me the wings divine.
Onward, onward—higher, higher,
Seemed to bear me those wings of fire;
Over the earth, the clouds, the moon,
Till the portals of Heaven glittered soon.
But, ah! too near the Sun of Truth
I passed, in the vain, proud spirit of youth;
And Love’s cement could not, tho’ strong,
Retain the glowing pinions on;
And they fell from my heart, and left it bare;
And so I sank down weeping there,
Into the fathomless sea of despair.
Long I lay in depth of dole,
Till a Voice like a trumpet stirred my soul:
My wings, it said, will bear thee far,
Over yon highest glittering star.
Glorious thoughts of high emprize,
These will lift thee to the skies,
Where the goal of glory lies.
Trust thy own undaunted will,
Let ambition’s spirit fill
All thy being, till no height
Seems too distant or too bright,
Through the stars of upper air,
For a soul like thine to dare.
Then upon my spirit came
Flooding glory, like a flame;
And I soared away from the mountain height,
Filled with a strange and mad delight:
Away, away, over march and fen,
Over the heads of my fellow‐men;
Hearing their choral praises rise,
As I soared away through the pathless skies,
In ever‐echoing symphonies.
But never a rest till I reached the star
Ambition had pointed out afar;
Alas! I knew not the dazzling ray
Of its glory was made for no mortal sight
And I sank back dazed with excess of light.
Still the proud wings bore me on,
I knew not whether, my sight was gone;
But I heard the tempest raging round,
And the rolling thunder’s terrible sound,
As if all fierce passions were unbound.
And the wings Ambition had tied so fast,
Were rent from my soul by the tempest blast;
And down I sank to earth again,
Like the dead eagle on the plain,
By the blasting lightning slain.
Then I heard a low Voice near,
Murmuring softly in my ear:
Shall I give thee wings of power,
Wings that will thy spirit dower,
With a strength that, angel‐wise,
Up will waft thee to the skies?
Passing, unscathed, the Sun of Truth,
Fatal to wings of Love in sooth;
Past the false but glittering light,
Whose glory dimm’d thy mortal sight;
On, through the trackless firmament,
Where the wings Ambition lent,
By the stormy winds were rent.
Onward still, and ever higher,
Past the solar central fire,
Past the hymning angel choir;
Till thou standest at the Throne
Of the great Eternal One.
Ever more to dwell on high,
Breathing like a harmony,
Through the unnumber’d worlds that lie
Far in yon blue Infinity
Wilt thou have these wings of mine?
Murmured that low Voice divine.
Yet my touch is cold and chill,
Horror through thy heart would thrill,
Pale dismay thy bosom fill,
Could’st thou see me face to face.
Never one of human race
Could that dreadful sight behold;
Mortal lips have never told,
All the terrors that abide,
All the gloom, yet kingly pride,
In the pale form at thy side.
Ha! the cold sweat on thy brow,
As I bind them on thee now:
Canst thou bear the touch of pain,
For the glory thou shalt gain?
Then I asked, with faltering breath
Thy name, dread Spirit? and he saith
I who give these wings am Death!
Who Will Show Us Any Good?
Beautiful Ireland! Who will preach to thee?
Souls are waiting for lips to vow;
And outstretched hands, that fain would reach to thee,
Yearn to help, if they knew but how,
To lift the thorn‐wreath off thy brow.
Passionate dreamers have fought and died for thee,
Poets poured forth their lava song;
But dreamer and poet have failed as a guide for thee
Still are unriven the chains of wrong.
Suffering Ireland! Martyr‐Nation!
Blind with tears thick as mountain mist;
Can none amidst all the new generation
Change them to glory, as hills sun‐kissed
Flash lights of opal and amethyst?
Welcome a Hero! A man to lead for us,
Sifting true men from chaff and weeds;
Daring and doing as those who, indeed, for us
Proved their zeal by their life and deeds.
Desolate Ireland! Saddest of mothers,
Waits and weeps in her island home;
But the Western Land—has she help for others
Who feeds her eagles on blood of brothers?
Not with cannon or roll of drum,
Or foreign flag can our triumph come.
Why seek aid from the arm of a stranger?
Trust thy sons, O Mother! for good;
Braver can none be in hours of danger,
Proudly claiming thy rights withstood.
Then, Ireland! wake from thy vain despairing!
Grand the uses of life may be;
Heights can be reached by heroic daring,
Crowns are won by the brave and free,
And Nations create their own destiny.
But, Time and the hour fleet fast unbidden,
A turbid stream over golden sands;
And too often the gold is scattered or hidden,
While we stand by with listless hands.
Then seize the least grain as it glistens and passes,
Swift and sure is that river’s flight:
The glory of morning the bright wave glasses,
But the gold and glory soon fade from sight,
And noon‐tide splendours will change to night.
Ah! life is too brief for languor or quarrel,
Second by second the dead dropp down;
And souls, all eager to strive for the laurel,
Faint and fall ere they win the crown.
Ireland rests mid the rush of progression,
As a frozen ship in a frozen sea;
And the changeless stillness of life’s stagnation,
Is worse than the wildest waves could be,
Rending the rocks eternally.
Then, trumpet‐tongued, to a people sleeping,
Who will speak with magic command,
Bidding them rise—these dead men, keeping
Watch by the dead in a silent land?
Grandly, solemnly, earnestly preaching,
Man’s great gospel of Truth and light;
With lips like saints’ in their love beseeching,
Hands as strong as a prophet’s to smite
The foes to Humanity’s sacred right.
Earth is thrilling with new aspirations,
Rending the fetters that bar and ban;
But we alone of the Christian nations
Fall to the rear in the march of Man.
Alas! can I help? but a nameless singer
Weak the words of a woman to save;
We wait the advent of some light‐bringer,
Strong to roll the stone from the grave,
And summon to life the death‐bound slave.
Down from heights of the Infinite drifting,
Raising the prisoned soul from gloom;
Like the white angels of God uplifting
Seal and stone from the Saviour’s tomb.
Yet, hear me now, for a Nation pleading;
Strike! but with swords yet keener than steel;
Flash on the path the new Age is treading,
As sparks from grooves of the iron wheel,
In star‐flames its onward march reveal.
Work by the shore where our broad ocean rages,
Bridging it over by wraiths of steam;
Linking two worlds by a chain that sages
Forged in the heat of a science dream.
For Nature has stamped us with brand immortal,
Highway of nations our Land must be:
We hold the keys of the Old‐world portal,
We guard the pass of the Western Sea
Ireland, sole in her majesty!
Work! there is work for the thinker and doer,
And glory for all when the goal is won;
So we are true to our Country, or truer
Than Planets are to the central Sun.
Call from the hills our own Irish Eagle,
Spread its plumes on the “The Green” of old;
With a sunrise blaze, as a mantle regal,
Turning the dust‐brown wings to gold
Symbol and flag be it then unrolled!
Face Heaven’s light with as proud a daring,
Tread the heights with a step as grand,
Breast the wild storm with brave hearts unfearing
As kings might do for their rightful land.
Irish daring by land and by river,
Irish wealth from mountain and mine,
Irish courage so strong to deliver,
Irish love as strong to combine
Separate chords in one strain divine;
These are the forces of conquering power,
Chains to sever, if slaves we be;
Then strike in your might, O Men of the hour!
And Ireland springs on the path of the free!
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.