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A FUNERAL THOUGHT.
When the stern genius, to whose hollow tramp Echo the startled chambers of the soul,
Waves his inverted torch o'er that pale camp Where the archangel final trumpets roll,
I would not meet him in the chamber dim,
Hushed, and pervaded with a nameless fear,
When the breath flutters and the senses swim, And the dread hour is near.
Though love's dear arms might clasp
me fondly then As if to keep the Summoner at bay, And woman's woe and the calm grief
Hallow at last the chill, unbreathing clay,— These are earth's fetters, and the soul would shrink, thus bound, from darkness and the dread unknown, stretching its arms from death's eternal brink. Which it must dare alone.
But in the awful silence of the sky, Upon some mountain summit, yet untrod,
Through the blue ether would I
To the pure keepingof the stainless air Would I resign my faint and fluttering breath.
And with the rapture of an answered prayer
Receive the kiss of Death.
Then to the elements my frame would turn;
No worms should riot on my coffined clay. But the cold limbs, from that sepulchral urn,
In the slow storms of ages waste away.
Loud winds and thunder's diapason high
Should be my requiem through the coming time, [sky, And the white summit, fading in the My monument sublime.
The violet loves a sunny bank,
The cowslip loves the lea;
The sunshine kisses mount and vale,
The stars, they kiss the sea; The west winds kiss the clover-bloom, But I kiss — thee!
The oriole weds his mottled mate:
The lily's bride of the bee; Heaven's marriage-ring is round the earth,— Shall I wed thee?
WIND AND SEA.
The sea is a jovial comrade.
He laughs wherever he goes; His merriment shines in the dimpling lines That wrinkle his hale repose; He lays himself down at the feet of the Sun, And shakes all over with glee, And the broad-backed billows fall faint on the shore, In the mirth of the mighty sea!
But the Wind is sad and restless,
And cursed with an inward pain! You may hark as you will, by valley or hill.
But you hear him still complain, He wails on the barren mountains,
And shrieks on the wintry sea; He sobs in the cedar, and moans in the pine, And shudders all over the aspen tree.
Welcome are both their voices,
A joy in the heart of pain,
IN THE MEADOWS.
I Lie in the summer meadows,
In the meadows all alone. With the infinite sky above me,
And the sun on his midday throne.
The smell of the flowering grasses
Is sweeter than any rose, And a million happy insects
Sing in the warm repose.
The mother lark that is brooding
And the deeps of the noonday glitter
From the billowy green beneath me To the fathomless blue above,
The creatures of God are happy In the warmth of their summer love.
The infinite bliss of Nature
I feel in every vein;
Blossom in heart and brain.
But darker than any shadow
The awful truth arises.
And the sky may beam as ever,
And the airs he living odors,
Out of the deeps of sunshine
There's life in the summer meadows,
BEFORE THE BRIDAL.
Now the night is overpast.
On my barren life at last
Day of payment for the wrong
Day of promise, day of song,
Let me wake to bliss alone;
Let me bury every fear: What I prayed for is my own;
What was distant, now is near.
For the happy hour that waits
And I hear forgiving Fates
Leave the song that now is mute,
Leave the blossom for the fruit,
The fisherman wades in the surges;
The sailor sails over the sea; The soldier steps bravely to battle;
The woodman lays axe to the tree.
They are each of the breed of the heroes,
The manhood attempered in strife; Strong hands that go lightly to labor, True hearts that take comfort in life.
In each is the seed to replenish
The centre of honest affections,
But the shark drinks the blood of the fisher;
The sailor is dropped in the sea; The soldier lies cold by his cannon; The woodman is crushed by his tree.
Each prodigal life that is wasted
But lengthens the days of the coward, And strengthens the crafty and mean.
The blood of the noblest is lavished That the selfish a profit may find; But God sees the lives that are squaredered,
And we to Kis wisdom are blind.
THE LOST MAY.
When May, with cowslip-braided locks,
Walks through the land in green attire,
and burns in meadow-grass the phlox His torch of purple fire:
When buds have burst the silver sheath,
And shifting pink, and gray, and gold
Steal o'er the woods, while fair beneath
The bloomy vales unfold:
When, emerald-bright, the hemlock stands
New-feathered, needled new, the
And, exiles from the orient lands,
When wild azaleas deck the knoll, And cin(|ue-foil stars the fields of home,
And winds, that take the white-weed, roll
The meadows into foam:
Then from the jubilee I turn
To other Mays that I have seen. Where more resplendent blossoms burn.
And statelier woods arc green;—
Mays when my heart expanded first, A honeyed blossom, fresh with dew;
And one sweet wind of heaven dispersed The only clouds I knew.
For she, whose softly murmured name
The music of the month expressed, Walked by my side, in holy shame Of girlish love confessed,
The budding chestnuts overhead, Their sprinkled shadows in the lane, —
Blue flowers along the brooklet's bed, — I see them all again!
The old, old tale of girl and boy,
Repeated ever, never old:
And when the punctual May arrives,
And cannot give us now!
Thou art not dead; thou art not gone to dust;
No line of all thy loveliness shall fall
To formless ruin, smote by Time, and thrust Into the solemn gulf that covers all.
Thou canst not wholly perish, though the sod
Sink with its violets closer to thy breast;
Though by the feet of generations trod,
The headstone crumble from thy
The marvel of thy beauty cannot die;
Death may not keep what Death has never made.
It was not thine, that forehead strange and cold, Nor those dumb lips, they hid beneath the snow; Thy heart would throb beneath that passive fold. Thy hands for me that stony clasp forego.
But thou hadst gone, — gone from
the dreary land, Gone from the storms let loose on
every hill, Lured by the sweet persuasion of a
Which leads thee somewhere in the distance still.
Where'er thou art, I know thou
wearest yet The same bewildering beauty, sanctified
By calmer joy, and touched with soft regret
For him who seeks, but cannot reach thy side.
I keep for thee the living love of old.
And seek thy place in Nature, as a child
Whose hand is parted from his playmate's hold, Wanders and cries along a lonesome wild.
When, in the watches of my heart, I hear
The messages of purer life, and know
The footsteps of thy spirit lingering near,
The darkness hides the way that I should go.
Canst thou not bid the empty realms
That form, the symbol of thy heavenly part? Or on the fields of barren silence pour
That voice, the perfect music of thy heart?
Oh, once, once bending to these widowed lips, Take back the tender warmth of life from me,
Or let thy kisses cloud with swift eclipse
The light of mine, and give me death with thee?
THE SONG OF THE CAMP.
'"give Us a song!'' the soldiers
The outer trenches guarding, When the heated guns of the camps allied
Grew weary of bombarding.
The dark Redan, in silent scoff,
Lay, grim and threatening, under; And the tawny mound of the Malakoff
No longer belched its thunder.
There was a pause. A guardsman said,
"We storm the forts to-morrow; Sing while we may. another day Will bring enough of sorrow."
They lay along the battery's side,
Below the smoking cannon: Brave hearts, from Severn and from Clyde,
And from the banks of Shannon.
They sang of love, and not of fame;
T was Britain's glory: Each heart recalled a different name.
But all sang " Annie Lawrie."
Voice after voice caught up the song,
Until its tender passion Rose like an anthem, rich and strong, —
Their battle-eve confession.
Dear girl, her name he dared not speak,
But, as the song grew louder, Something upon the soldier's cheek washed off the stains of powder.
Beyond the darkening ocean burned
While the Crimean valleys learned
And once again a fire of hell
Rained on the Russian quarters, With scream of shot, and burst of shell,
And bellowing of the mortars!
And Irish Nora's eyes are dim
And English Mary mourns for him
Sleep, soldiers! still in honored rest
The bravest are the tenderest, —
TO A BAVARIAN GIRL.
Thou, Bavaria's brown-eyed daughter.
Art a shape of joy,
With thy brother-boy;
Threading through his curls, On thy cheek the sun's kiss lingers,
Rosiest of girls!
Woods of glossy oak are ringing
With the echoes bland, While thy generous voice is singing
Songs of Fatherland, — Songs, that by the Danube's river
Sound on hills of vine, And where waves in green light quiver,
Down the rushing Rhine.
Life, with all its hues and changes,
To thy heart doth lie
In the southern sky;
Which the foot should fear, And the crags that fall unbidden
Startle not the ear.
Where the village maidens gather
At the fountain's brim, Or in sunny harvest weather,
With the reapers trim; Where the autumn fires are burning
On the vintage-hills; Where the mossy wheels are turning
In the ancient mills;
Where from ruined robber towers
Hangs the ivy's hair,
On the crumbling stair: —
Would the sunshine fail, Fairest of the maiden peasants!
Flower of Isar's vale.
Sir Henry Taylor.
[From Philip Van Artevelde.]
HE was a man of that unsleeping spirit,
He seemed to live by miracle: his food
Was glory, which was poison to his mind
And peril to his body. He was one Of many thousand such that die betimes,
Whose story is a fragment, known to few.
Then comes the man who has the
luck to live. And he's a prodigy. Compute the
And deem there's ne'er a one in dangerous times
Who wins the race of glory, but than him
A thousand men more gloriously endowed