A Summer Morning
Welcome, glad morning, night's sable curtain
Rolls from the valley and mountains away;
Bursts the great sun forth in glorious splendor,
Herald of morning and king of the day!
Far in the distance the brooklet is singing,
The honey-bee hums o'er the fair, fragrant flower,
High in the tree-tops sweet bird songs are ringing;
And far to the west the tall mountain peaks tower.
Up in the oak tree, canaries sing gaily,
Linnets perch, chirping, on trellis and wall;
Sweet, merry warblers, ye gladden me, daily,
As down from the tree-tops your merry notes fall.
Beautiful picture, mountain and green wood,
Clad in rich robes, like a fairy queen's song,
Radiant Summer! to thy great storehouse
All of these beauties and wonders belong.
The Invalid to the Caged Bird
What are you singing my beautiful bird?
What are the words of your song?
How can you carol when always denied
The freedom for which you must long?
Once, where the wild roses blushing at morn
Grew pale at the sunset's first glow;
Hidden from sight by a cool, leafy screen,
Your little nest swung to and fro.
There your bright eyes first awoke to the light,
And your restless wings scarcely could wait;
So eager to try in the great outside world,
Their portion of fortune or fate.
But long ere your delicate velvety wings
Were penciled with faint lines of blue;
With the first eager taste of sweet freedom's delight,
A prison stood ready for you.
Have you forgotten the shadowy trees,
With the lily-bells nodding below?
Have you forgotten the rocky hill-side,
Where the wood-pinks and buttercups grow?
There I too, wandered, unfettered and free,
Ere my prison doors hid them from sight;
I too, am longing to see them again
Aglow in the sun's golden light.
For I am a prisoner, too, beautiful bird,
Shut in from the beauties I love;
Shut in from the blossoms and verdure beneath,
And the blue of the cloud-lands above.
O teach me, sweet singer, your pure, artless song,
That I may your happiness share;
And forget in the joy of a rapture like them,
The phantoms of hope and despair!
The birds are happy, singing all day through
Their little psalms of praise,
And just because the sky is clear and blue,
The grasses green, the trees in leafage new;
Awake my heart, and be thou happy too,
These sunny days.
Sing, as the birds sing, just for love
Of God and song;
Make for His temple every leafy grove
That rears its frescoed canopy above.
Thy strength, thy freedom and thy gladness prove
O'er gloom and wrong.
One little songster taught me his lay
It was so sweet,
These were the warbled words he seemed to say:
'Earth is so joyous that I long to stay,
Heaven is so glorious, I would fly away.'
Still doth his song repeat.
Dreading to live, yet fearing more to die,
Take thy distress
To where the birds through field and forest fly,
Trilling their thankfulness to earth and sky,
And without gold, or lands or honor, buy
Such songs as this.
The birds are singing, not for gold or fame
Their songs may bring.
O, what care they for words of slight or blame,
For breathless listeners, or honored name!
To empty aisles they carol just the same
Because they love to sing.
The birds are happy, 'till their joy o'erflows
No wealth for them in glittering treasure glows.
Awake, my heart, and know what nature knows
The ecstasy of life that is and was
And evermore shall be.
One Little Glimpse Of Heaven
One thought of holy ecstasy
Breaks on my spirit's sight
Like a bright, flashing meteor
Athwart the skies at night;
'Tis not of all the glory
Eternity may hold,
That centuries unmeasured
Shall wondrously unfold;
'Tis not of all the music
Angelic choirs shall pour,
Like rolling ocean billows,
To break on either shore;
My thoughts turn back bewildered,
Too weak to comprehend
The unsolved mighty problem
Of the never-ending end;
But sometimes vaguely, dimly,
I seam to realize
One glimpse of all the glory
Unseen by mortal eyes;
One burst of matchless music,
That souls redeemed hath stirred;
One sweep of that grand melody,
That ear hath never heard.
Thou saint, who circling cycles
Hath borne through seas of bliss,
I ask not of your triumphs
From such a world as this;
But thou, exultant spirit,
Freed from a world of woe,
Who the first glimpse of Heaven
Hath journeyed out to know,
Tell me what thrill of rapture,
Of happiness divine,
Hath thrilled and swayed and overflowed
That human heart of thine?
The dungeon bars behind thee,
The palace gates before,
Thou, entering to the presence
Of God forevermore,
One burst of Heavenly light,
And all beyond thee- glory,
And all behind thee- night;
Life's give of sin and misery,
Earth's dower of blight and ban,
How seem they, when a glimpse of Heaven
Enters the heart of man?
Oh, all the strife and discord
Of years that seemed so long,
The sound of earthly voices
That thrilled the world with song,
The glare of earthly grandeur,
The pleasure and the pain,
Life with its doubtful portion
Of blessing and of bane,
Left like a heavy burden
All in the vanished past,
To rise above corruption,
A grave-stone at the last!
Needs it a vast forever,
With joy its grief to drown,
The power of endless ages,
To bid it crumble down?
Oh, when within the presence
Of glory and grace,
We hear archangel trumpets,
Behold the Saviour's face,
Before the crown is brought us,
Before the palm we wave,
Before we have forgotten
The darkness of the grave;
When with a song of triumph
The chains of death are riven,
The clouds of years will melt before,
One little glimpse of Heaven!
There is no climax in Ambition's scope,
Behold her wrestling with the angel, Hope,
And beating back the Demon of Despair,
Yet looking for a brighter crown to wear;
Despair enchains her, Hope her transient guest,
Unfurls her wings, and leaves her still unblest;
But naught can keep her quenchless ardor back;
She bears the struggling Demon in her track,
Mounts on the wind's wild wings, her zeal on fire;
And treads the paths to which her dreams aspire.
She goeth forth to conquer, and the fall
Of giant empires, and the leveled wall
Of each strong city, bathed in human blood,
Lift up their voices, 'till from where they stood
Goes forth the oft-repeated, mournful cry
Of: 'Fallen! fallen! fallen!' whose reply
Is peal on peal of victory's bugle blast
In echoing cadence, dying out at last;
But what to her is triumph but a force
To spur her onward in her upward course?
Lo, as the last proud empire mourns her fall,
Ambition weeps that she hath conquered- all,
Lifts up her hands, that earth can never feel,
And pants for other worlds to conquer still.
She goeth forth, new countries to explore,
Dark miles of inland and untrampled shore
She breaks upon, and her enkindled seal,
Like a bright torch, their rayless mines reveal.
Into the vaults of Time, she penetrates,
And knowledge, new, discovers and creates;
Braves the wild jungle with unfaltering breath,
And speeds unguarded to the daws of death;
Defies the poisoned arrows, in her way,
Of fiendish human beasts that scent their prey,
Faces the dread contagion of disease,
If in each awful guise, new light she sees
Bursts forth again, with priceless treasure fraught,
Stars to illume the broad realm of thought.
But does she then recline in peace content,
Her zeal consumed, her fadeless ardor spent?
No. While the life-blood surges in her veins,
Her zeal revives, her ardor bright remains.
A captive in the palace-courts of ease,
With strengthening aim, her restless powers she frees.
Willingly are the silken fetters torn
In pride and boasting, by so many worn,
Gladly she speeds the glittering portal through
And greets the triumph that her steps pursue.
She gathereth in the gold of Ophir bright-
Food to her mind and beauty to her sight,
She layeth up the treasures of the mine
No more in grandeur's coronet to shine;
On her bright store, no prying eye may gaze,
That swift increases with the fleeting days.
No eye may know its beauty but her own;
She revels in her treasure-house alone,
And grudges the mere pittance that sustains
The blighted mind and body that remains.
'More! More!' her cry, and eager is her clasp,
O'er added riches falling in her grasp-
On gold, gold, gold, her energies must feed;
But gold has failed to satisfy her greed.
Her riches, like some youth-immortal tree
Grow up- she perishes in poverty.
She delves in Wisdom's boundless, peopled realm,
Resplendent hopes, her youthful sense o'erwhelm,
With living beings, do her thoughts converse,
Who throng the romance of the universe.
She treads, a victor, through each starry host,
And sails the cloud-locked seas from coast to coast;
On the ignoble earth, her mind reflects,
And finds new food in Time's long-buried wrecks.
She culls the simplest blossom from the stalk
And finds it grander that the greatest rock.
She muses on the human frame, divine,
And cries: 'O man, what architect is thine?'
And marvels that one dares to desecrate
The temple that he never could create.
Through the rich realm of knowledge, on she speeds
Nor stops to question where her pathway leads.
Jungles of thought, she struggles bravely through,
Emerges, but to plunge into a new;
Hungering still for knowledge, as at first,
While each fresh draught does but increase her thirst,
Starving for higher, loftier, grander themes;
No climax glitters in her loftiest dreams.
She grasps her pen, her glittering pen of gold
Set with its diamonds, bright, a thousand-fold:
Truth, deadless truth, would she write down for men,
Sprinkled with beauty, from her glowing pen.
The years have brought their bitter and their sweet,
Nations have cast their laurels at her feet,
Her name is written on Fame's rising-stars,
But, to and fro, behind its prison bars
Like a caged bird, each fluttering impulse flies,
In hopeless hope to pierce the farthest skies;
Beating their very lives out in their round
And falling, helpless, hopeless, to the ground,
Like a sharp dagger, in her fluttering heart,
Is her bright pen, so glorious at the start;
When sweet success, so lavish in the past,
Crowns not each effort, brighter than the last,
She sweeps the canvas, and fair forms are there,
Instinct with life, they seem, in vital air;
Sweet roses bloom and feathered songsters sing
And ivy garlands to old ruins cling.
Ships (angel pinioned) ride the dark blue waves
Or dash in lonesome wrecks above their graves;
And beings live, immortal as her art,
To touch the well-springs of the human heart.
She casts her brush aside, her grief to quell.
Where is the magic of that secret spell?
What! are success's dreams so quickly o'er
When each is not more glorious than before?
She strings her viol to the western breeze;
She presses, joyfully, the ivory keys:
And waves roll in upon the sandy beach.
Her dreams suggest such notes she cannot reach,
Beyond her grasp, they roll and rise and surge
And break on imagery's farthest verge;
She hangs her harp upon the willows, then,
And sighs that naught can be, but what has been.
She lifts her voice in pure and soulful song.
She steals some notes that to the birds belong.
But voice, divine and human, like a link
'Twixt earth and Heaven, yet to earth must sink.
Daughters of music, this your knell of woe.
Wafted to Heaven, then to earth brought low.
Ambition, what can now thy longing bless
When all thy powers are lost in feebleness?
She sways the mortal mind with golden speech,
Her words are jeweled vessels, launched to reach
The farthest shore that reason can command,
And bring back precious cargoes to her hand.
Unsatisfied, Ambition's dreams eclipse
The deepest waters where her bright oar dips.
Each effort's climax is the throne from whence
She mourns the fall of human excellence.
She gazes out, with clear prophetic eye
On avenues, that plain before her lie.
She reads the longings of her throbbing heart.
She sees the vanity of human art,
Whose glittering future, howeoe'er sublime
Is prisoned by the narrow walls of Time;
Whose triumphs are but mockeries, at last,
Like faded, withered garlands of the past.
She sees the devotee of fame and pride
Turn from her brightest crown, unsatisfied.
She sees the conqueror at last deplore
The glories of his final victory o'er;
And all, yes, all, of fleeting Time's success,
Sinks down to failure and to nothingness;
When o'er their sunset hath no glad hope dawned
To whisper of a brighter day beyond:
She turns away from Time's decaying things
And casts her crown before the King of Kings;
Her riches, honor, glory, power, and might,
She lays them down with all their earthly blight:
He rends for her Time's heavy curtain through,
Eternity lies bright before her view;
As a small inlet of the ocean's shore
Seems the great future, she beheld before
Like stormless, boundless seas before her roll
Through Him, her leader, more than conqueror;
Treasures, unfading, glitter now for her,
Her feet may pace this lonely planet round
But still the universe lies bright beyond.
Her mind may grasp earth's knowledge, but before,
Wisdom reserves a deeper, loftier lore,
Exhaustless as the ocean's full supply
Of freshening moisture, unto earth and sky,
Glad rays of light upon her path descend.
Ambition grasps her never-ending end;
Changes a narrow cell with bolted door,
For glory unto glory, evermore.