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VOICES OF THE NIGHT.
And beckoned solemnly and slow;
Into the woodlands hoar;
Into the solemn wood,
Like one in prayer I stood. Before me rose an avenue
Of tall and sombrous pines;
In long and sloping iines.
Like a fast-falling shower,
As once upon the flower.
Yet were so sweet and wild!
It cannot be! They pass away! Other themes demand thy lay:
Thou art no more a child!"
PRELUDE. PLEASAYT it was, when woods were green,
And winds were soft and low,
Alternate come and go;
No sunlight from above,
The shadows hardly move.
I lay upon the ground;
With one continuous sound, -
The feelings of a dream,
O'er meadow, lake, and stream.
Bright visions, came to me,
Like ships upon the sea;
Ere Fancy has been quelled;
And chronicles of Eld And, loving still these quaint old themes
Even in the city's throng
The holy land of song.
The Spring, clothed like a bride,
I sought the woodlands wide.
It was a sound of joy!
As if I were a boy ;
" Come be a child once more !"
" The land of Song within thec lies,
Watered by living springs,
Its clouds are angels' wings. " Learn, that henceforth thy song shall be,
Not mountains capped with snow, Nor forests sounding like the sea, Nor rivers flowing ceaselessly, Where the woodlands bend to see
The bending heavens below.
Of iron branches sounds!
Sees not its depths, nor bounds,
Soft rays of sunshine pour; Then comes the fearful wintry blast; Our hopes, like withered leaves, fall fast; Pallid lips say, 'It is past !
We can return no more!' “Look then, into thine heart and write!
Yes, into Life's deep stream! All forms of sorrows and delight, All solemn Voices of the Night, That can soothe thee, or affright,
Be these henceforth thy theme."
HYMN TO THE NIGHT.
* Shall I have nought that is fair?" saith he: I HEARD the trailing garments of the Night
* Have nought but the bearded grain ?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to Sweep through her marble halls!
me, I saw her sable skirt all fringed with light, From the celestial walls!
I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes, I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his shcaves.
“My Lord has need of these flowerets gay," The manifold, soft chimes,
The Reaper said, and smiled; That fill the baunted chambers of the Night,
Dear tokens of the earth are they, Like some old poet's rhymes.
Where he was once a child. From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
"They shall all bloom in fields of light, My spirit drank repose;
Transplanted by my care, The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,
And saints upon their garments white, From those deep cisterns flow.
These sacred blossoms wear." O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
And the mother gave, in tears and pain, What man has borne before!
The flowers she most did love: Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
She knew she would find them all again And they complain no more.
In the fields of light above. Peace! peace! Orestes-like I breathe this
Oh, not in cruelty, not in pain, prayer!
The Reaper came that day; Descend with broad-winged flight,
I 'Twas an angel visited the green earth, The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most
And took the flowers away. fair, The best-beloved Night!
THE LIGHT OF STARS.
The night is come, but not too soon;
And sinking silently,
All silently the little mioon
Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven,
But the cold light of stars :
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love? And the grave is not its goal;
The star of love and dreams? "Dust tholl art, to dust returnest,"
Oh, no! from that blue tent above, Was not spoken of the soul.
A hero's armour gleams. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
And earnest thoughts within me rise, Is our destined end or way ;
When I behold afar, But to act, that each to-morrow
Suspended in the evening skies
The shield of that red star.
O star of strength! I see thee stand
Aud smile upon my pain;
Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,
And I am strong again.
Within my breast there is no light, In the bivouac of Life.
But the cold light of stars ; Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
I give the first watch of the night Be a hero in the strife!
To the red planet Mars. Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
The star of the unconquered will, Let the dead Past bury its dead!
He rises in my breast, Act,-act in the living Present!
Serene, and resolute, and still, Heart within, and God o'erbead!
And calm, and self-possessed. Lives of great men all remind us
And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art, We can make our lives sublime,
That readest this brief psalm, And, departing, leave behind us
As one by one thy hopes depart, Footprints on the sands of time;
Be resolute and calm. Footprints, that perhaps another,
Oh, fear not in a world like this, Sailing o'cr life's solemn main.
And thou shalt know ere long, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother
Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.
FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS.
WHEN the hours of Day are numbered, Learn to labour and to wait.
And the voices of the night
Wake the better soul that slumbered, THE REAPER AND TIIE FLOWERS.
To a holy, calm delight; THERE is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
Ere the evening lamps are lighted. And, with his sickle keen,
And, like phantoms grim and tall, le renps the bearded grain at a breath
Shadows from the fitful fire-light And the flowers that grow between,
Dance upon the parlour wall.
Then the forms of the departed
Not alone in meadows and green alleys, Enter at the open door;
On the mountain-top, and by the brink The beloved, the true-hearted,
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys, Come to visit me once more;
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink; He, the young and strong, who cherished Not alone in her vast dome of glory, Noble longings for the strife,
Not on graves of birds and beasts alonc, By the road-side fell and perished,
But in old cathedrals, high and hoary, Weary with the march of life!
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone; They, the holy ones and weakly.
In the cottage of the rudest peasant. Who the cross of suffering bore,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Folded their pale hands so mcekly,
Speaking of the Past unto the Present, Spake with us on earth no more!
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers; And with them the Being Beauteous,
In all places, then, and in all seasons, Who unto my youth was given,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like More than all things else to love ine,
wings, And is now a saint in heaven.
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, With a slow and noiseless footstep
How akin they are to human things. Comes that messenger divine,
And with childlike, credulous affection Takes the vacant chair beside me,
We behold their tender buds expand ; Lays her gentle hand in mine.
Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
I HAVE read, in some old marvellous tale, Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,
Some legend strange and vague, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,
That a midnight host of spectres pa le Breathing from her lips of air.
Beleagured the walls of Prague. Oh, though oft depressed and lonely,
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream, All my fears are laid aside,
With the wan moon overhead, If I but remember only
There stood, as in an awful dream, Such as these have lived and died !
The army of the dead. - FLOWERS
White as a sea-fog, landward bound, SPAKE full well, in language quaint and often,
The spectral camp was seen, One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound, When he called the flowers so blue and golden,
The river flowed between. Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine:
No other voice nor sound was there, Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
Nor drum, nor sentry's pace; As astrologers and seers of eld;
The mist-like banners clasped the air, Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery,
As clouds with clouds embrace, Like the burning stars which they beheld. But, when the old cathedral bell Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
Proclaimed the morning prayer, God hath written in those stars above;
The white pavilions rose and fell But not less in the bright fiowerets under us
On the alarmed air Stands the revelation of his love.
Down the brond valley fast and far Bright and glorious is that revelation,
The troubled army Hed: Written all over this great world of ours;
Uprose the glorious morning star, Making evident our own creation,
The ghastly host was dead. In these stars of earth,-these golden flowers.
I have read, in the marvellous heart of man, And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing
That strange and mystic scroll, Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part
That an army of phantoms vast and wan. Of the self-same universal being,
Beleaguer the human soul. Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Encamper beside Life's rushing stream, Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining
In Fancy's misty light, Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,
Gigantic shapes and shadow's gleam Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
l'ortentous through the night. Buds that open only to decay ;
Upon its midnight battle-ground Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
The sceptral camp is seeil, Flaunting gayly in the golden light;
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice, nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave; Workings are they of the self-same power,
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life's wave.
And, when the solemn and deep church-bell Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born;
Entreats the soul to pray, Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell, Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn ;
The shadows sweep away. Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar And in Summer's green-emblazoned field,
The spectral camp is fled; But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
Faith shineth as a morning-star, In the centre of his brazen shield:
Our ghostly fears are dead.
MIDNIGIIT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR. To the crimson woods he saith,
To the voice gentle and low
Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath,Death, with frosty hand and cold,
"Pray do not mock me so! Plucks the old man by the beard,
Do not laugh at me!"
And now the sweet day is dead;
Cold in his arms it lies; Solemnly and slow;
Xo stain from its breath is spread Caw! caw! the rooks are calling,
Over the grassy skies,
No mist or stain!
Then, too, the Old Year dieth,
And the forests utter a moan, The winds, like anthems, roll;
Like the voice of one that crieth They are chanting solemn masses,
In the wilderness alone, Singing. “Pray for this poor soul,
* Vex not his ghost!” Pray,--pray!"
Then comes with an awful roar, And the hooded clouds, like friars,
Gathering and sounding on, Tell their beads in drops of rain,
The storm-wind from Labrador, And patter their doleful prayers:
The wind Euroclydon,
Howl! howl! and from the forest
Sweep the red leaves away! The foolish, fond old Year,
Would, the sins that thou abhorrest, Crowned with wild flowers and with heather,
O soul! could thus decay,
And be swept away!
For there shall come a mightier blast, Then comes the summer-like day,
There shall be a darker day; Bids the old man rejoice!
And the stars, from heaven down-cast, His joy! his last! Oh, the old man grey
Like red leaves be swept away
Kyrie, elyson !
EARLIER PO EM S.
These poems were written for the most part | Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with during my college life, and all of them before the |A sober gladness the old year takes up age of nineteen. Some have found their way His bright inheritance of goldeu fruits, into schools, and seem to be successful. Others A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene. lead a vagabond and precarious existence in the
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now corners of newspapers; or have changed their
Its mellowed richness on the clustered trees, names, and run away to seek their fortunes beyond the sea. I say, with the Bishop of
And from a beaker full of richest dyes, Avranches, on a similar occasion, "I cannot be
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods, and displeased to see these children of mine, which I
And, dipping in warn light the pillared clouds. have neglected, and almost exposed, brought
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird, from their wanderings in lanes and alleys, and
Lifts up her purple wing; and in the vales
The gentle Wind, a sweet and passionate wooer, safely lodged, in order to go forth into the world
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life together in a more decorous garb."
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned, AN APRIL DAY.
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man sits down WHEN the warn sun that brings
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees Seed-time and harvest has returned again,
The golden robin moves. The purple tinch, 'Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds, The first flower of the plain.
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud I love the season well,
From cottage-roofs the warbling blue-bird sings; When forest glades are teaming with bright
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke, forms, Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.
Oh, what a glory doth this world put on
For him, who, with a fervent heart goes forth The sapling draws its sustenance and thrives;
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent! Though stricken to the heart with winter's cold,
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves, The drooping tree revives.
Shall have a voice and give him eloquent The softly-warbled song
teachings. Comes from the pleasant woods, and coloured He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that Death wings
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting-place without a tear,
WOODS IN WINTER.
WHEN winter winds are piercing chill, throws
And through the hawthorn blows the gale, Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
With solemn feet I tread the hill And wide the upland glows.
That overbrows the lonely vale.
O'er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play, And twinkles many a star.
And gladden these deep solitudes. Inverted in the tide,
Where, twisted round the barren oak, Stand the grey rocks, and trembling shadows
The summer vine in beauty clung, throw,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.
Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Pour out the river's gradual tide, Nor shall they fail, till to its autumn brought,
Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.
When birds sang out their merry lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green, WITH what a glory comes and goes the year!
And the song ceased not with the day
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd; Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out, And gathering winds, in hoarse accord, And when the silver habit of the clouds
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud,