The Monitions of the Unseen (III)

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COLD AND QUIET.


    COLD, my dear,cold and quiet.
        In their cups on yonder lea,
    Cowslips fold the brown bee's diet;
        So the moss enfoldeth thee.
"Plant me, plant me, O love, a lily flower
    Plant at my head, I pray you, a green tree;
And when our children sleep," she sighed, "at the dusk
            hour,
    And when the lily blossoms, O come out to me!"

    Lost, my dear?   Lost! nay, deepest
        Love is that which loseth least;
    Through the night-time while thou sleepest,
        Still I watch the shrouded east.
Near thee, near thee, my wife that aye liveth,
    "Lost" is no word for such a love as mine;
Love from her past to me a present giveth,
    And love itself doth comfort, making pain divine.

    Rest, my dear, rest.   Fair showeth
        That which was, and not in vain
    Sacred have I kept, God knoweth,
        Love's last words atween us twain.
"Hold by our past, my only love, my lover;
    Fall not, but rise, O love, by loss of me!"
Boughs from our garden, white with bloom hang over.
    Love, now the children slumber, I come out to thee.


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A SNOW MOUNTAIN.


CAN I make white enough my thought for thee,
    Or wash my words in light?   Thou hast no mate
To sit aloft in the silence silently
    And twin those matchless heights undesecrate.
Reverend as Lear, when, lorn of shelter, he
    Stood, with his old white head, surprised at fate;
Alone as Galileo, when, set free,
    Before the stars he mused disconsolate.
Ay, and remote, as the dead lords of song,
    Great masters who have made us what we are,
For thou and they have taught us how to long
    And feel a sacred want of the fair and far:
Reign, and keep life in this our deep desire
Our only greatness is that we aspire.


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SLEEP.

(A WOMAN SPEAKS.)


O SLEEP, we are beholden to thee, sleep,
    Thou bearest angels to us in the night,
    Saints out of heaven with palms.   Seen by thy light
Sorrow is some old tale that goeth not deep;
Love is a pouting child.   Once I did sweep
    Through space with thee, and lo, a dazzling sight
    Stars!   They came on, I felt their drawing and might;
And some had dark companions.   Once (I weep
When I remember that) we sailed the tide,
And found fair isles, where no isles used to bide,
    And met there my lost love, who said to me,
That 'twas a long mistake: he had not died.
    Sleep, in the world to come how strange 'twill be
    Never to want, never to wish for thee !

 
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PROMISING.

(A MAN SPEAKS.)


ONCE, a new world, the sunswart marinere,
    Columbus, promised, and was sore withstood,
Ungraced, unhelped, unheard for many a year;
    But let at last to make his promise good.
Promised and promising I go, most clear,
    To better my dull heart with love's sweet feud,
My life with its most reverent hope and fear,
    And my religion, with fair gratitude.
O we must part; the stars for me contend,
    And all the winds that blow on all the seas.
Through wonderful waste places I must wend,
    And with a promise my sad soul appease.
Promise then, promise much of far-off bliss;
Butah, for present joy, give me one kiss.

 
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LOVE.


WHO veileth love should first have vanquished fate.
    She folded up the dream in her deep heart,
    Her fair full lips were silent on that smart,
Thick fringd eyes did on the grasses wait.
What good? one eloquent blush, but one, and straight
    The meaning of a life was known; for art
    Is often foiled in playing nature's part,
And time holds nothing long inviolate.
Earth's buried seed springs upslowly, or fast:
The ring came home, that one in ages past
    Flung to the keeping of unfathomed seas:
    And golden apples on the mystic trees
Were sought and found, and borne away at last,
    Though watched of the divine Hesperides.

 
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POEMS

 

Witten on the deaths of Three Lovely Children who were
taken from their Parents within a month of one another.

_______________

HENRY,

AGED EIGHT YEARS.


YELLOW leaves, how fast they flutterwoodland
            hollows thickly strewing,
    Where the wan October sunbeams scantly in the mid
            day win,
While the dim gray clouds are drifting, and in saddened
            hues imbuing
                    All without and all within!

All within! but winds of autumn, little Henry, round
            their dwelling
Did not load your father's spirit with those deep and
            burdened sighs;
Only echoed thoughts of sadness, in your mother's bosom
            swelling,
                    Fast as tears that dim her eyes.

Life is fraught with many changes, checked with sorrow
            and mutation,
But no grief it ever lightened such a truth before to
            know:
I behold themfather, motheras they seemed to
            contemplation,
                    Only three short weeks ago!

Saddened for the morrow's parting up the stairs at
            midnight stealing
    As with cautious foot we glided past the children's
            open door,
"Come in here," they said, the lamplight dimpled forms
            at last revealing,
                    "Kiss them in their sleep once more."

You were sleeping, little Henry, with your eyelids
            scarcely closing,
    Two sweet faces near together, with their rounded
            arms entwined:
And the rose-bud lips were moving, as if stirred in their
            reposing
                    By the movements of the mind!

And your mother smoothed the pillow, and her sleeping
            treasures numbered,
    Whispering fondly"He is dreaming"as you
            turned upon your bed
And your father stooped to kiss you, happy dreamer, as
            you slumbered,
                    With his hand upon your head!

Did he know the true deep meaning of his blessing?
            No! he never
    Heard afar the summons uttered"Come up hither"
            Never knew
How the awful Angel faces kept his sleeping boy for
            ever,
                    And for ever in their view.

Awful Faces, unimpassioned, silent Presences were by
            us,
    Shrouding wingsmajestic beingshidden by this
            earthly veil
Such as we have called on, saying, "Praise the Lord,
            O Ananias,
                    Azarias and Misael!"

But we saw not, and who knoweth, what the missioned
            Spirits taught him,
    To that one small bed drawn nearer, when we left him
            to their will?
While he slumbered, who can answer for what dreams
            they may have brought him,
                    When at midnight all was still ?

Father! Mother! must you leave him on his bed, but not
            to slumber?
    Are the small hands meekly folded on his breast, but
            not to pray?
When you count your children over, must you tell a
            different number,
                    Since that happier yesterday?

Father! Mother! weep if need be, since this is a "time"
            for weeping,
    Comfort comes not for the calling, grief is never argued
            down
Coldly sounds the admonition, "Why lament? in better
            keeping
                    Rests the child than in your own."

"Truth indeed! but, oh! compassion!   Have you sought
            to scan my sorrow?"
    (Mother, you shall meekly ponder, list'ning to that
            common tale)
"Does your heart repeat its echo, or by fellow-feeling
            borrow
                    Even a tone that might avail?

"Might avail to steal it from me, by its deep heart-warm
            affection?
    Might perceive by strength of loving how the fond
            words to combine?
Surely no! I will be silent, in your soul is no reflection
                    Of the care that burdens mine!"

When the winter twilight gathers, Father, and your
            thoughts shall wander,
    Sitting lonely you shall blend him with your listless
            reveries,
Half forgetful what division holds the form whereon you
            ponder
                    From its place upon your knees

With a start of recollection, with a half-reproachful
            wonder,
    Of itself the heart shall question, "Art Thou then no
            longer here?
Is it so, my little Henry?   Are we set so far asunder
                    Who were wont to be so near?"

While the fire-light dimly flickers, and the lengthened
            shades are meeting,
    To itself the heart shall answer, "He shall come to
            me no more:
I shall never hear his footsteps nor the child's sweet
            voice entreating
                    For admission at my door."

But upon your fair, fair forehead, no regrets nor griefs
            are dwelling,
    Neither sorrow nor disquiet do the peaceful features
            know;
Nor that look, whose wistful beauty seemed their sad
            hearts to be telling,
                    "Daylight breaketh, let me go!"

Daylight breaketh, little Henry; in its beams your soul
            awaketh
    What though night should close around us, dim and
            dreary to the view
Though our souls should walk in darkness, far away that
            morning breaketh
                    Into endless day for you!

 
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SAMUEL,

AGED NINE YEARS.


THEY have left you, little Henry, but they have not left
            you lonely
    Brothers' hearts so knit together could not, might not
            separate dwell,
Fain to seek you in the mansions far awayOne lingered 
            only
                    To bid those behind farewell!

Gentle Boy!His childlike nature in most guileless form
            was moulded,
    And it may be that his spirit woke in glory unaware,
Since so calmly he resigned it, with his hands still
            meekly folded,
                    Having said his evening prayer.

Orif conscious of that summons "Speak, O Lord,
            Thy servant heareth"
    As one said, whose name they gave him, might his
            willing answer be,
"Here am I"like him replying"At Thy gates my
            soul appeareth,
                    For behold Thou calledst me!"

A deep silenceutter silence, on his earthly home
            descendeth:
    Reading, playing, sleeping, waking he is gone, and
            few remain!
"O the loss!"they utter, weepingevery voice its
            echo lendeth
                    "O the loss!"But, O the gain!

On that tranquil shore his spirit was vouchsafed an early
            landing,
    Lest the toils of crime should stain it, or the thrall of
            guilt control
Lest that "wickedness should alter the yet simple under
            standing,
                    Or deceit beguile his soul!"

"Lay not up on earth thy treasure"they have read
            that sentence duly,
    Moth and rust shall fret thy richesearthly good hath
            swift decay
"Even so," each heart replieth"As for me, my riches
            truly
                    Make them wings and flee away!"

"O my riches!O my children!dearest part of life
            and being,
    Treasures looked to for the solace of this life's declining
            years,
Were our voices cold to hearing or our faces cold to
            seeing,
                    That ye left us to our tears?"

"We inherit conscious silence, ceasing of some merry
            laughter,
    And the hush of two sweet voices(healing sounds
            for spirits bruised!)
Of the tread of joyous footsteps in the pathway following
            after,
                    Of two names no longer used!"

Question for them, little Sister, in your sweet and childish
            fashion
    Search and seek them, Baby Brother, with your calm
            and asking eyes
Dimpled lips that fail to utter fond appeal or sad com-
            passion,
                    Mild regret or dim surprise!

There are two tall trees above you, by the high east
            window growing,
    Underneath them, slumber sweetly, lapt in silence
            deep, serene;
Save, when pealing in the distance, organ notes towards
            you flowing
                    Echowith a pause between!

And that pause?a voice shall fill ittones that blessed
            you daily, nightly,
    Well beloved, but not sufficing, Sleepers, to awake
            you now,
Though so near he stand, that shadows from your trees
            may tremble lightly
                    On his book and on his brow!

Sleep then ever!   Neither singing of sweet birds shall
            break your slumber,
    Neither fall of dew, nor sunshine, dance of leaves, nor
            drift of snow,
Charm those dropt lids more to open, nor the tranquil
            bosoms cumber
                    With one care for things below!

It is something, the assurance, that you ne'er shall feel
            like sorrow,
    Weep no past and dread no future know not sighing,
            feel not pain
Nor a day that looketh forward to a mournfuller to-
            morrow
                    "Clouds returning after rain!"

No, far off, the daylight breaketh, in its beams each soul
            awaketh:
    "What though clouds," they sigh, "be gathered dark
            and stormy to the view,
Though the light our eyes forsaketh, fresh and sweet
            behold it breaketh
                    Into endless day for you!"

 
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KATIE, AGED FIVE YEARS.

(ASLEEP IN THE DAYTIME.)


ALL rough winds are hushed and silent, golden light the
            meadow steepeth,
    And the last October roses daily wax more pale and
            fair;
They have laid a gathered blossom on the breast of one
            who sleepeth
                    With a sunbeam on her hair.

Calm, and draped in snowy raiment she lies still, as one
            that dreameth,
    And a grave sweet smile hath parted dimpled lips that
            may not speak;
Slanting down that narrow sunbeam like a ray of glory
            gleameth
                    On the sainted brow and cheek.

There is silence!   They who watch her, speak no word
            of grief or wailing,
    In a strange unwonted calmness they gaze on and can
            not cease,
Though the pulse of life beat faintly, thought shrink
            back, and hope be failing,
                    They, like Aaron, "hold their peace."

While they gaze on her, the deep bell with its long slow
            pauses soundeth;
    Long they hearkenfathermotherlove has nothing
            more to say:
Beating time to feet of Angels leading her where love
            aboundeth
                    Tolls the heavy bell this day.

Still in silence to its tolling they count over all her
            meetness
    To lie near their hearts and soothe them in all sorrows
            and all fears;
Her short life lies spread before them, but they cannot tell
            her sweetness,
                    Easily as tell her years.

Only daughterAh! how fondly Thought around that
            lost name lingers,
    Oft when lone your mother sitteth, she shall weep and
            droop her head,
She shall mourn her baby-sempstress, with those imita-
            tive fingers,
                    Drawing out her aimless thread.

In your father's Future cometh many a sad uncheered
            to-morrow,
    But in sleep shall three fair faces heavenly-calm to-
            wards him lean
Like a threefold cord shall draw him through the weari-
            ness of sorrow,
                    Nearer to the things unseen.

With the closing of your eyelids close the dreams of
            expectation,
    And so ends the fairest chapter in the records of their
            way:
ThereforeO thou God most holyGod of rest and
            consolation,
                    Be Thou near to them this day!

Be Thou near, when they shall nightly, by the bed of
            infant brothers,
    Hear their soft and gentle breathing, and shall bless
            them on their knees;
And shall think how coldly falleth the white moonlight
            on the others,
                    In their bed beneath the trees.

Be Thou near, when they, they only, bear those faces in
            remembrance,
    And the number of their children strangers ask them
            with a smile;
And when other childlike faces touch them by the strong
            resemblance
                    To those turned to them erewhile.

Be Thou near, each chastened Spirit for its course and
            conflict nerving,
    Let Thy voice say, "Fathermotherlo! thy treasures
            live above!
Now be strong, be strong, no longer cumbered over
            much with serving
                    At the shrine of human love."

Let them sleep!   In course of ages e'en the Holy House
            shall crumble,
    And the broad and stately steeple one day bend to its
            decline,
And high arches, ancient arches bowed and decked
            in clothing humble,
                    Creeping moss shall round them twine.

Ancient arches, old and hoary, sunny beams shall glim-
            mer through them,
    And invest them with a beauty we would fain they
            should not share,
And the moonlight slanting down them, the white moon
            light shall imbue them
                    With a sadness dim and fair.

Then the soft green moss shall wrap you, and the world
            shall all forget you,
    Life, and stir, and toil, and tumult unawares shall pass
            you by;
Generations come and vanish: but it shall not grieve nor
            fret you,
                    That they sin, or that they sigh.

And the world, grown old in sinning, shall deny her first
            beginning,
    And think scorn of words which whisper how that all
            must pass away;
Time's arrest and intermission shall account a vain
            tradition,
                    And a dream, the reckoning day!

Till His blast, a blast of terror, shall awake in shame
            and sadness
    Faithless millions to a vision of the failing earth and
            skies,
And more sweet than song of Angels, in their shout of
            joy and gladness,
                    Call the dead in Christ to rise!

Then, by One Man's intercession, standing clear from
            their transgression,
    Fathermotheryou shall meet them fairer than
            they were before,
And have joy with the Redeemd, joy ear hath not
            heardheart dreamd,
                    Ay for everevermore!

 
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