Lost At Sea
I stood where the starlit heavens
Spread away over field and glen,
Like the hands of loving angels
Reaching down to the hearts of men.
And the sea, with a glow, reflected
The infinite lights above;
The quivering resplendent heavens
All smiling with peaceful love.
And the waves o'er the white sand creeping
Brought ripples of joyous glee,
As the lips of the purple heaven
Bent over to kiss the sea.
'O treacherous sea!' I murmured,
'Restore to my arms, I pray,
The treasure I gave to your keeping
One beautiful autumn day.'
A ship with its precious burden
Sailed out from my longing gaze,
Away from the peaceful harbor
In the bright October haze.
And a sweet face looking backward,
With a tear and a smile for me, ―
The dearest of all my treasures
I gave to the treacherous sea.
Old Ocean, all darkly hidden
In thy secret bosom lies
The face that I fondly cherished,
The beautiful lovelit eyes.
For the ship that left the harbor
In the calm October haze
Bore its precious freight forever
Away from my longing gaze.
Fair Margaret! beautiful Margaret!
In the hush of the twilight cold.
The sun on a dazzling throne has set
In a cloud of amber and gold;
And the great green waves, with their white caps wet,
O'er the beach to her feet have rolled.
She waits for the lover whose kiss one day
Was pressed on her quivering lips, -
The lover who went from her side away
In one of those swift-sailing ships,
O'er the waves that bright in the sunlight lay
'Neath the glow of its finger-tips.
O the sea! the stormy, tempestuous sea!
The sea with its roar and its gloom, -
The treacherous sea, how it shouts in glee
O'er each jewel-decked coral tomb!
The glorious, grand, resplendent sea,
In the light of a golden noon!
Whenever the shadowy twilight creeps
O'er the earth, with her fair feet wet, -
When the stars come out and the great world sleeps,
When the murmuring waters fret
On the sandy shore, - then she waits and weeps,
Lonely, sorrowful Margaret!
There she sits alone mid the gleaming sands,
By the shadowy ivied wall,
While over the clasp of her trembling hands
Like a shower the tear-drops fall;
And the sea brings murmurs of far-off lands,
And the blue sky bends over all.
'O bring back my lover once!' she cries,
'As I sit by the sea alone;
O pitiful Father in Paradise!
Stoop down from thy glorious throne,
And grant to the light of my waiting eyes
One glimpse of his face, - only one!'
Now the sea rolls in with a mighty swell, -
Will it bring a curse or a crown?
For, alas! no echoing murmurs tell
Of the home-bound ship that went down
Mid the hidden reefs, with never a knell
From the slumbering harbor town.
All about her the water moans and raves,
She is drenched with the falling sleet;
Something lies dark in the arms of the waves
Where the sky and the waters meet:
Lo! a victim snatched from the coral graves
Is cast on the beach at her feet!
O beautiful Margaret, pale and fair!
By the sea no longer alone;
For two faces lie in the starlight there,
With features like chiselled stone.
And the seaweed drifts from his tangled hair
To the sunny locks of her own.
The Little Bells
A legend of the fuchsia.
Clasping her close in his strong young arms,
As his blue eyes met her own,
He said: 'I have brought a lovely plant
From the far-off tropic zone,
With clusters of leaves like satin green,
And blossoms ― ah, who can tell? ―
Some day you will see each bud will be
A wonderful little bell.'
'Though sorrow comes to your waiting heart
When my ship has sailed away,
Remember I said, 'These bells will ring
On your happy wedding-day.'
A fortune I've brought you, sister mine,
From the sun-crowned southern dells;
Go and set it where the sweet south air
Will open the little bells.'
In the southern window, bright and warm,
'Neath the low-roofed cottage eaves,
She placed her treasure, and day by day
She watched its unfolding leaves;
There were tears in her sweet English eyes,
Tears gleamed on her lashes brown,
For a ship one day, far, far away
In a storm-tossed sea went down.
The young earl rode by the cot one day
When the plant was all in bloom;
He lingered long ere he rode away
In the dusk of twilight's gloom.
'The loveliest flowers on earth,' he said,
'They bloom by a cottage wall;
They would grace a throne; they shall be my own,
And bloom in my palace hall.'
He met the maid at the cottage door:
'A fortune,' he said, 'for these.'
'No, no,' she cried, as a vision came
Of the stormy southern seas,
'The hand that gave them lies cold and still
In one of the ocean dells;
It would break my heart to ever part
With my dainty little bells.'
He turned his gaze on the maiden's face, ―
A face that was shy and sweet;
She was wondrous fair, from her gold-kissed hair
To her pretty sandalled feet.
''Tis the fairest face on earth,' he thought,
'As pure as an angel's own;
She shall be my bride; 't is a shame to hide
Such grace in a cottage home!'
O, the palace halls were wide and grand,
And the palace towers were high!
There were lawns and parks wide spreading 'neath
The dome of the English sky.
And still to the listening children
At twilight a grandsire tells
Of a lady bright who was wed one night
Mid the chime of little bells.