Gerald Massey: My Lyrical Life VI.

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POEMS FOR CHRISTI.

(Ed. - Massey's eldest daughter, Christabel.)
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A WINTER'S TALE FOR THE LITTLE ONES.


A MERRY sound of clapping hands,
    A call to see the sight;
And lo! the first soft snow-flakes fall,
So exquisitely virginal:
'Tis my wee Nell at window stands,
    And the world is all in white.

Her eyes, where dawns my bluest Day,
    Dance with the dancing snow!
I see delicious shivers thrill
Her through and through.   She feels the
        chill
Of Earth so white, and skies so gray
    Enrich our fireside glow.

"No Winters now, my little Maid,
         Like those that used to come,
 Making our Christmas sparkle, bright
 As crystallized plum-cake at night,
 And Frost his Puck-like trickeries played,
         With fancies frolicsome.

"He fixed your breath in flowers, the Trees
         To Chandeliers would turn:
 He pinched your toes, he nipped your nose,
 He made your cheek a wrinkled Rose:
 Perhaps at night you heard him sneeze,
         And the Jug was cracked at morn!

"The Snow-Storms were magnificent!
         And in the clear, still weather
 Against the bitter wintry blue
 And Sunset's orange-tawny hue
 You saw the smoke straight upward went,
         For weeks and weeks together.

"At night the Waits mixed with our dream
       Their music sweet and low:
 We children knew not as we heard,
 Each, listening, nestled like a Bird,
 Whether from Heaven the music came,
       Or only over the snow!

"No winters now-a-days like those."
         And then my darling tries
 To coax me for a "tale that's true:
 A story that is new—quite new."
 And up the arch of wonder goes,
       Above the frank, blue eyes!

"Once on a time"—"Do tell me when,
         And where?" says my wee Nell—
"When Christmas came on Thursday—now,
 Some five-and-thirty years ago!
 Superbly we were snowed-up then,
          Who lived in Ingle Dell.

"His icy Drawbridge Winter dropped;
       The running springs he froze;
 The Roads were lost; the hedges crossed;
 All field-work ceased through the 'Long Frost.'
 But there was one thing never stopped—
       That was Grandmother's nose!

"The snow might fall by day, by night,
       The weather wax more rough,
 And up to our bedroom windows heap
 The drift, and smother men like sheep,
 And wrap the world in a shroud of white—
       Old Gran must have her snuff!

"So Uncle Willie, then a lad
       Not more than nine years old,
 Upon the Christmas morn must go
 And fetch her snuff, and face the Snow,
 Which surely had gone dancing mad,
       And wrestle with the cold.

"Wrapped in his crimson Comforter,
       His basket on his arm,
 He started.   Mother followed him
 With her proud eyes so dewy-dim;
 While kisses from the heart of her
       Within his heart were warm.

"How gentle is the gracious Snow,
       When first you watch her dance;
 Her feathery flutter, winding whorls;
 Her finish perfect as the pearl's;
 She looks you in the face as though
       'Twere unveiled Innocence.

"But now, 'tis wild upon the waste,
       And winged upon the wind:
 You see, just passing out of sight,
 The Ghost of things in a swirl of white!—
 The Storm unwinkingly he faced,
       Though it snowed enough to blind.

"Fire-pointed, stinging, strikes and burns
       To the bone, each icy dart.
 He stumbles—falls—is up again,
 And onward for the Town a-strain;
 Backward our Willie never turns,
       And never loses heart.

"He looks a weird and wintry Elf
       With face in ruddy glow;
 And all his curls are straightened out,
 Hanging in Icicles about
 A sparkling statue of himself,
       Shaped out of frozen snow.

"He still fought on, for though the Storm
       Might bend him, he was tough;
 And when the Blast would take his breath,
 With kisses like the kiss of death,
 One thought still kept his courage warm—
       It was Grandmother's Snuff!

"At length with many a danger passed,
       Unboding worse to come,
 He has got the Snuff.   Far more than food,
 Or wine, 'twill warm her poor old blood.
 He has it safe at last, at last!
       And sets his face for Home.

"He has the Snuff; but it were well
       If Granny had it too!
 For early closes such a day,
 And wild and dreary is the way;
 If dark before he reach the Dell,
       What can poor Willie do?

"Within the Town the blast is hushed;
       The snow-flakes from you melt:
 But out upon the pathless moor,
 The storm grows madder than before;
 And at him all its furies rushed,
       Till he faint and fainter felt.

"His thoughts are whirling with the Snow:
       His eyes get dizzy and dim!
 And on the path, 'twixt him and night,
 Now dancing left, now dancing right,
 It seems a white Witch-Woman doth go,
       With white hand beckoning him!

"To the last stile he clung—maybe
       A furlong from our door;
 Then missed his footing on the plank,
 And deep into the snow-drift sank.
 O, my belovèd Willie, we
       Shall never see you more!

"Ah, they looked long and wistfully
       Who waiting sat at home:
 At every sound they leaned to hark;
 They strained their eyes through the depeening 

          dark,
 And wondered where could Willie be,
       And when would Willie come?

"Through all that night of wild affright
       They searched the road to Town;
 They called him high, they called him low,
 They mocked each other through the snow,
 And all the night, by lanthorn light,
       They wandered up and down.

"They sought him where the waters plash
       Darkly by Deadman's Cave!
 They sought him at the Rag-Pit, near
 The Mill, and by the awesome Weir;
 At the Cross-Roads where 'Harry's Ash'
       Grows from the Suicide's Grave.

"In Ingle Dell they locked no door,
       Put out no light.    At such
 A time you cling to a little thing
 That's done for neighbourly comforting!
 Old Gran thought she would snuff no more,
       And she took thrice as much.

"All night the Snow with fingers soft
       Kept pointing to the ground.
 Only too well they knew 'twas there;
 But had no hint to guide them where!
 And he so near.  They passed him oft,
       Close by his white grave-mound.

"And did he die?" cries little Nell.
       "No, he was nestled warm.
 The Snow's white arm that round him curled
 Had caught him into another world:
 What other world he could not tell,
        But, out of all the storm.

"And all was changed too suddenly
       For him to know the place.
 He swooned awhile, and when he woke
 A lightning from his darkness broke;
 Alone with the Eternal he
       Seemed standing face to face!

"There in his grave alive, he knew
       He stood, or sat upright!
 With burning brain, and freezing feet:
 And he so young, and life so sweet;
 And, bitter thought! what would Gran do
       Without her snuff that night?

"A long, long night of sixty hours
       Did Willie pass.    I know
 Not how he lived. But Heaven can hold
 A life as safe as Earth can fold
 Her hidden life of fruit and flowers,
       Through her long trance of snow.

"'Tis Sabbath day.   How quietly gleams
       That snow-drift o'er him driven!
 The winds are softly laid asleep,
 In their white snow-bed covered deep.
 The white Clouds all so still! it seems
       Like Sunday up in Heaven!

"The Country-folk are passing near
       His tomb—no tale it tells—
 Old Ploughmen in their white smockfrocks,
 Old Women in long scarlet cloaks,
 And Lad and Lass,—when on his ear
       There faints a sound of Bells!

"And, looking up, a tiny hole
       Was melted with his breath;
 Where-through a bit of God's blue sky
 Was smiling on him like an Eye;
 A living eye with a loving soul
       Shone in that face of death!

"O joy!   He shouted from his grave,
       And finding room to stir,
 He tooth and nail began to climb;
 He clutched the top o' the bank this time;
 Thrust his hand through the snow to wave
       His good old Comforter!

"'I'm here!'  'It's me!'    His flag they see,
       And know lost Willie's voice;
 They quickly answer shout for shout,
 And with their hands they dig him out,
 And carry him home.    Oh! didn't we
       In Ingle Dell rejoice?

"There be some tears that smile, and such
       Were wept by Woman and Man.
 But while they glistened in each eye,
 He pulled the snuff out sound and dry;
 Snow might cover him, cold might clutch,
       The Snuff was safe for Gran."

 

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FOR CHRISTIE'S SAKE.


UPON us falls the shadow of night,
      And darkened is our day!
My Love will greet the morning light
      Four hundred miles away.
God love her! torn so swift and far
      From hearts so like to break!
And God love all who are good to her;
          For Christie's sake.

I know whatever spot of ground
      In any land we tread—
I know the eternal arms are round;
      That heaven is overhead,
And faith the mourning heart will heal;
      But many fears will make
Our spirits faint, our fond hearts kneel,
          For Christie's sake.

Good-bye, Dear! be they kind to you
      As though you were their ain!
My Daisy opens to the dew,
      But shuts against the rain!
Never will New Moon glad our eyes
      But offerings we shall make
To old God Wish! and prayers will rise
          For Christie's sake.

Four years ago we struck our tent;
      O'er homeless Babes we yearned;
Our all—three darlings—with us went,
      But only two returned!
While life yet bleeds into Her grave
      Love ventures one more stake;
Hush, hush, poor Hearts! if big, be brave,
        For Christie's sake.

Like Crown to most ambitious brows
      Was Christie to us given;
To make our Home a holy house,
      And nursery of heaven!
O softer was her bed of rest.
      Than lily's on the lake;
Peace filled so deep each billowy breast,
          For Christie's sake.

To music played by Harps and Hands
      Invisible, were we drawn
O'er charmèd seas, through faëry lands,
      Under a rosier dawn!
We entered our new world of love
      With blessings in our wake,
While prospering Heavens smiled above
          For Christie's sake.

We gazed with proud eyes luminous
      On such a gift of grace—
All heaven narrowed down to us
      In one dear little face!
And many a pang we felt, dear Wife,
      With hurt of heart and ache,
All shut within like clasping knife,
          For Christie's sake.

I would no tears might e'er run down
      Her patient face, beside
Such happy pearls of heart as crown
      Young Mother—new-made Bride!
For 'tis a face that, looking up
      To passing Heaven, might make
An Angel stop, a blessing drop,
          For Christie's sake.

If Love in that child's heart of hers
      Should breathe and break its calm
With trouble sweet as that which stirs
      The brooding buds of balm,—
Listening at ear of peeping pearl
      Glistening in eyes that shake
Their sweet dew down!   God bless our Girl;
          For Christie's sake.

But, Father! if our Babe must mourn,
      Be merciful and kind;
And if our gentle Lamb be shorn,
      Attemper Thou the wind!
Across the Deluge guide our Dove,
      And to Thy bosom take
With arm of love, and shield above,
          For Christie's sake.

We have had sorrows many and strange.
      Dear Christie! when I'm gone,
Some of my words will weirdly change
      If she read sadly on!
Lightnings, from what was dark of old,
      With meanings strange will break
Of troubles hid or dimly told
          For Christie's sake.

Wife! we should still try hard to win
      The best for our dear Child;
And keep a resting-place within,
      When all without grows wild.
As on the winter graves the snow
      Falls softly flake by flake,
Our love should whitely clothe our woe,
          For Christie's sake.

For one will wake at midnight drear
      From out a dream of death,
And find no dear head pillowed near;
      No sound of peaceful breath!
May no weak wailing words arise,
      No bitter thoughts awake
To see the tears in Memory's eyes:
          For Christie's sake.

And There! where many crownless kings
      Of earth a crown shall wear,—
The Martyrs who have borne the pangs
      Their palm at last shall bear,
When, with our lily pure of sin,
      Our homeward way we take;—
There, may we walk with welcome in;
          For Christie's sake.

 

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CHRISTIE'S PORTRAIT.


YOUR tiny picture makes me yearn;
      We are so far apart!
My Darling, I can only turn
      And kiss you in my heart.
A thousand tender thoughts a-wing
      Swarm in a summer clime,
And hover round it murmuring
      Like bees at honey-time.

Upon a little girl I look
      Whose pureness makes me sad;
I read as in a holy book,
      I grow in secret glad!
It seems my darling comes to me
      With something I have lost
Over life's tossed and troubled sea,
      On some celestial coast.

I think of her when spirit-bowed;
      A glory fills the place!
Like sudden light on swords, the proud
      Smile flashes in my face;
And others see, in passing by,
      But cannot understand
The vision shining in mine eye,
      My strength of heart and hand.

That grave content and touching grace
      Bring tears into mine eyes;
She makes my heart a holy place
      Where hymns and incense rise!
Such calm her gentle spirit brings
      As—smiling overhead—
White statued saints with peaceful wings
      Shadow the sleeping dead.

Our Christie is no rosy Grace
      With beauty all may see;
But I have never felt a face
      Grow half so dear to me.
No curling hair about her brows,
      Like many merry girls;
Well, straighter to my heart it goes,
      And round it curls and curls.

Meek as the wood-anemone glints
      To see if skies are blue,
Is my pale flower with her tints
      Of heaven shining through!
She will be poor and never fret,
      Sleep sound and lowly lie;
Will live her quiet life, and let
      The great world-storm go by!

Dear love!   God keep her in His grasp,
      Meek maiden, or brave wife,
Till His good Angels softly clasp
      Her closèd book of life;
And this true picture of the Sun,
      With birthday blessings given,
Shall fade before a glorious one
      Taken of her in heaven.

 

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THE TWO HEAVENS.


THERE are two Heavens for natures clear
    And calm as thine, my gentle Love!
One Heaven but reflected here;
    One Heaven that waits above:

As yonder Lake, in Evening's red,
    Lies smiling with the smile of Rest;
One Heaven glowing overhead;
    One mirrored in its breast.

 

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SLEEP-WALKING.


Oft in the night I am with you, Dear!
I lean and listen your breathing to hear;
Little you dream of any one near.

No one knoweth that I am gone;
Curtains closely about me drawn,
When dreams dissolve at a touch of Dawn!

Nobody meets me under the sky,
Only the staring Owl goes by
Softly as though the night should sigh.

Under the moonlight, over the moss!
I need no bridge the river to cross,
Though winds awake and waters toss.

O sweet, so sweet the Nightingale's strain!
Is it her pleasure that works us pain,
Or her pain that with pleasure pierces the 
       
brain?

Window or door I pass not through:
The way I never could show to you
By day.   I enter as spirits do!

There you are! lying cheek-on-palm,
Drinking of slumber's dewiest calm,
Brimming your life with the rosiest balm.

The little wee bird that beats in the breast,
Hath folded its wings in a wee white nest,
Breathing the fulness of innermost rest.

But the other night—see my blushes bloom—
Somehow I missed my way in the gloom,
And, thinking myself quite safe in your room,

I nestled my face, as I thought, in your bed
To kiss you, and—now let me hide my head—
I kissed—I kissed—your Teacher instead.

 

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CHRISTIE'S POOR OLD GRAN.


No green age, beautiful to see,
              Hath Poor Old Gran!
No ripe life mellowed goldenly
              Hath Poor Old Gran!
One by one we have left her fold,
Her lonely hearth is growing cold,
Faint is her smile as the primrose gold,
              Our Poor Old Gran!

Ah! whitened face, and withered form,
              Of Poor Old Gran!
Beaten and blanched in many a storm:
              Poor Old Gran!
She hath wept the bitter tears that sow
The dark grave-violets in the snow
Where once the red young rose did glow!
              Poor Old Gran!

There's few have lived a harder lot,
              Poor Old Gran!
But she toiled on and murmured not;
              Poor Old Gran!
For us she toiled on starvingly,
And fought the wolf of poverty;
Upon her heart's blood suckled me,
              Our Poor Old Gran!

Her river of life hath roughly rolled;
              Poor Old Gran!
A Wreck lies dark, its tale untold,
              Poor Old Gran!
Yet shall her old heart laugh with ye,
My Bird's-nest in the mouldering tree!
And soft in heaven the bed shall be
              For poor Old Gran!

The grip of Poverty is grim;
              Poor Old Gran!
Lustres of lip and eye will dim;
              Poor Old Gran!
But through the frailty of her face
There gleams a light of tender grace,
Or else I see through a tearful haze
              Poor Old Gran!

You came in all our sorrowings,
              Poor Old Gran!
How your weakness hurried on wings,
              Poor Old Gran!
You stood at Bridal, Birth, and Bier:
Our darlings dead and gone seem near
When you are near, and make more dear
              Our Poor Old Gran!

So come to our Cottage up the lane,
              Poor Old Gran!
Follow our fortune's harvest-wain,
              Poor Old Gran!
We'll shelter you from wind and rain,
Hunger you shall not know again,
Plenty shall smile away your pain,
              Poor Old Gran!

And little laughing Stars shall rise
              On Poor Old Gran!
In the clear heaven of Childhood's eyes,
              For Poor Old Gran!
Wee fingers, stroking her gray hair,
Shall almost melt the hoarfrost there,
Wee lips shall kiss away the care
              From Poor Old Gran!

So come and sit beside our hearth,
              Poor Old Gran!
Come from the darkness and the dearth,
              Poor Old Gran!
And you shall be our fireside guest,
And weary heart and head will rest;
And your last days shall be your best,
              Our Poor Old Gran.

 

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NEWS OF CHRISTIE.


WE read your Letters! no word lost;
    All, all is rememberèd;
And often when there comes no Post,
    Once more are the old ones read.

Of all she did we love to hear,
    And how the days have sped;
But to our listening hearts most dear
    Is something "Christie said."

 

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LITTLE WILLIE.


POOR little Willie,
      With his many pretty wiles;
Worlds of wisdom in his look
      And quaint, quiet smiles;
Hair of amber, touched with
      Gold of heaven so brave;
All lying darkly hid
      In a Workhouse Grave!

In the day we wandered foodless,
      Little Willie cried for bread!
In the night we wandered homeless,
      Little Willie cried for bed.
Parted at the Workhouse door,
      Not a word we said:
Ah, so tired was poor Willie,
      And so sweetly sleep the dead.

You remember little Willie;
      Such a funny fellow! he
Sprang like a lily
      From the dirt of poverty.
Poor little Willie!
      Not a friend was nigh,
When, from the cold world,
      He crouched down to die.

'Twas in the dead of winter
      We laid him in the earth;
The world brought in the New Year,
      Mocking us with mirth:
But, for lost little Willie,
      Not a tear we crave;
Cold and Hunger cannot wake him,
      In his Workhouse Grave.

We thought him beautiful,
      Felt it hard to part;
We to him were dutiful;
      Down, down, poor heart!
The storms they may beat;
      The winter winds may rave;
Little Willie feels not
      In his Workhouse Grave.

No room for little Willie;
      In the world he had no part;
On him stared the Gorgon-eye,
      Through which looks no heart.
Come to me, said Heaven;
      And, if Heaven will save,
We will grieve not, though the door
      Was a Workhouse Grave.

 

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WHEN CHRISTIE COMES AGAIN.


WHEN the merry spring-tide
    Floods all the land;
Nature hath a Mother's heart,
    Gives with open hand;
Flowers running up the lane
    Tell us May is near:
Christie will be coming then!
    Christie will be here!
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Pure is her meek nature,
  Clear as morning dew,
We can see the Angel
  Almost shining through.
To Earth's sweetest blessing
  She the best from Heaven did bring;
Good Genius of our Love-lamp;
  Fine Spirit of the Ring!
O the merry spring-tide!
  We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
  When Christie comes again.

All our joys we'll tell her,
    But for her dear sake,
Not a word of sorrow,
    Lest her little heart should ache.
She shall dance and swing and sing,
    Do as she likes best;
Only I must have her hand
    In ramble or in rest.
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

We'll romp in jewelled meadows,
    Hunt in dingles cool with leaves,
Where all night the Nightingale
    Melodiously grieves.
In her cheek so tender
    The shy and dainty rose
Shall colour, and come for kisses,
    To every wind that blows.
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Hope will lay so many eggs
    In her little nest;
Doesn't your heart run over,
    Christie, in your breast?
Thinking how we'll greet you
    Safe once more at home,
Ours will run to meet you,
    Often ere you come.
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

O the joy in our house,
    Hearts dancing wild!
Christie will be coming soon,
    She's our darling child.
Holy dew of heaven
    In each eyelid starts,
Feeling all her dearness,
    Darling of all hearts.
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Dreary was our winter;
    Come! and all the place
Shall breathe a summer sweetness,
    And wear a happy face;
There will be a sun-smile
    On stern, old Calaby,
Tender as the spring-gold
    On our old Oak-Tree!
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Jack, the Dog, will run before,
    First to reach the Rail;
Jack, the Pony, whisk you home,
    With long trotting tail!
We have had our struggles, dear,
    But couldn't part with Jack;
We shall all be waiting there,
    To welcome Christie back!
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

Then blow you Winds, and shake up
    The sleeping flower-beds!
Make the Violets wake up,
    The Daisies lift their heads;
The Lilacs float in fragrance,
    Dim-purple, saintly-white!
And bring the bonny bairn to us,
    The flower of our delight.
O the merry spring-tide!
    We'll be glad in sun or rain,
In the merry, merry, merry days
    When Christie comes again.

 

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CHILDREN AT PLAY.


"OPEN your mouth and shut your eyes,"
    Three little Maidens were saying,—
"And see what God sends you!" little they 
        thought
    Who listened while they were playing!
So little we guess that a light light word
    At times may be more than praying.

"I," said Kate with the merry blue eyes,
    "Would have lots of frolic and folly;"
"I," said Ciss with the bonnie brown hair,
    "Would have life always smiling and jolly;"
"And I would have just what our Father may 
        send,"
    Said lovable little pale Polly.

Life came for the Two, with sweetnesses new
    Each morning in gloss and in glister:
But the Father above, in a longing of love,
    Caught up little Polly and kissed her.
And the Churchyard nestled another wee 
        grave;
    The Angels another wee Sister.

 

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LITTLE LILYBELL.


WHEN unseen fingers part the leaves,
    To show us beauty's face;
And Earth her breast of glory heaves,
    And glows from Spring's embrace:
Flowers Fairy-like on coloured wings
    Float up,—Life's sea doth swell
And flush a world of vernal things,
    Came little Lilybell.

And like a blessed Bird of calm
    Our love's sweet want she stilled;
Made Passion's fiery wine run balm,—
    Life's glory half fulfilled!
From dappled dawn to twinkling dark,
    Our witching Ariel
Moves through our heaven!   O, like a lark
    Sings little Lilybell!

And she is fair—ay, very fair!
    With eyes so like the dove;
And lightly leans her world of care
    Upon our arms of love!
It cannot be that ye will break
    The promise-tale ye tell;
Ye will not make such fond hearts ache,
    Our little Lilybell!

As on Life's stream her leaflets spread,
    And tremble in its flow,
We shudder lest the awful Dead
    Pluck at her from below!
Breathe faint and low, ye winds that start;
    O stream, but softly swell;
Your every motion smites the heart
    For little Lilybell!

We tremble lest the Angel Death,
    Who comes to gather flowers
For Paradise, at her sweet breath
    Should fall in love with ours!
O, many a year will come and go,
    Ere from Life's mystic well
Such stream shall flow, such flower shall
        blow,
    As little Lilybell!

Ah, when her dear heart fills with fears,
    And aches with Love's sweet pain,
And pale cheeks burn through happy tears,
    Like red rose in the rain!
I marvel, Sweet, if we shall see
    The sight, and say 'tis well,
When the Beloved calls for thee,
    Our dainty Lilybell!

How rich Love made the lowly sod,
    Where such a flower hath blown!
O Love, we love, and think that God
    Is such a love full-grown!
Dear God! that gave the blessed trust,
    Be near, that all be well;
And morn and eve bedew our dust,
    For love of Lilybell!

 

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OUR WHITE DOVE.


A WHITE Dove out of glory flew,
    White as the whitest shape of Grace
    That nestles in the soft embrace
Of heaven when skies are summer blue!

It came with dew-drop purity,
    On glad wings of the morning light,
    And sank into our life, so white
A Vision! sweetly, secretly!

Silently nestled our white Dove:
    Balmily made our bosoms swim
    With still delight, and overbrim;
The air it breathed was breath of love.

Our Dove had eyes of baby-blue,
    Soft as the speedwell's by the way,
    That looked up to us as they would say,
"Who kissed me while I slept, did you?"

God love it! but we took our Bird,
    And loved it well, and merry made;
    We sang and danced around, or prayed
In silence, wherein hearts are heard.

It seemed to come from far green fields
    To meet us over life's rough sea,
    With leaf of promise from the tree
In which a dearer nest it builds.

As fondling Mother-birds will pull
    The softest feathers from their breast,
    We gave our best to line the nest
And make it warm and beautiful!

We held it as the leaves of life
    In hidden silent service fold
    About a Rose's heart of gold,
So jealous of all outer strife!

When holy sleep in soothing palms
    Pillowed the darling little head,
    How lightly moved we round the bed,
And felt the silence fall in balms!

But all we did or tried to do,
    Our flood of joy it never felt;
    Only into our hearts would melt
Still deeper those dove-eyes of blue.

Quick with the spirit of field and wood,
    All other Birds would chirrup and sing
    Till hearts did ripple and homes did ring:
Our white Dove only cooed and cooed—

With every day some sweetness new,
    And night and day and day and night
    It was the voice of our delight,
That gentle, low, endearing coo!

God! if we were to lose our child!
    O, we must die, poor hearts would cry:
    She looked on us so hushingly;
So mournfully to herself she smiled.

One day she pined up in our face
    With a low cry we could not still,
    A moaning we might never heal,
For sleep in some more quiet place.

We could not help and yet must see
    The little head droop wearily,
    The little eyes shine eerily,
My Dove!  what have they done to thee?

The look grew pleading in her eyes,
    And mournful as the lonesome light
    That in a window burns all night,
Asking for stillness, while one dies.

The hand of Death so coldly clings,
    So strongly draws the weak life-wave
    Into his dark, vast, silent cave;
Our little Dove must use its wings!

And so it sought the dearer nest;
    A little way across the sea
    It kept us wingèd company,
Then fled into its leafier rest,

And suddenly left us long to feel
    A sadness in the sweetest words,
    A broken heartstring 'mid the chords;
A tone more tremulous when we kneel.

But, dear my Christie, do not cry,
    Our White Dove gave for you and me
    Such blessed promise as must be
Perfected in the heavens high.

Our Bird of God but soars and sings:
    Oft when life's heaving wave's at rest,
    She makes her mirror in my breast,
I feel a winnowing of wings,

And meekly doth she minister
    Glad thoughts of comfort, thrills of pride;
    She makes me feel that if I died
This moment I should go to her.

Be good! and you shall find her where
    No wind can shake the wee bird's nest;
    No dreams can break the wee bird's rest;
No night, no pain, no parting there!

No echoes of old storms gone by!
    Earth's sorrows slumber peacefully;
    The weary are at rest, and He
Shall wipe the tears from every eye.

 

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POOR ELLEN.


 'TIS hard to die in Spring-time, 
    When, to mock our bitter need,
All life around runs over
    In its fulness without heed:
New life for tiniest twig on tree,
New worlds of honey for the bee,
And not one drop of dew for me
    Who perish as I plead.

'Tis hard to die in Spring-time,
    When it stirs the poorest clod;
The wee Wren lifts its little heart
    In lusty songs to God;
And Summer comes with conquering march;
Her banners waving 'neath the arch
Of heaven, where I lie and parch—
    Left dying by the road.

'Tis hard to die in Spring-time,
    When the long blue days unfold,
And cowslip-coloured sunsets
    Grow, like Heaven's own heart, pure gold!
Each breath of balm brings wave on wave
Of new life that would lift and lave
My Life, whose feel is of the grave,
    And mingling with the mould.

But sweet to die in Spring-time,
    When these lustres of the sward,
And all the breaks of beauty
    Wherewith Earth is daily starr'd,
For me are but the outside show,
All leading to the inner glow
Of that strange world to which I go—
    For ever with the Lord.

O sweet to die in Spring-time,
    When I reach the promised Rest,
And feel His arm is round me—
    Know I sink back on His breast:
His kisses close these poor dim eyes;
Soon I shall hear Him say "Arise,"
And, springing up with glad surprise,
    Shall know Him and be blessed.

'Tis sweet to die in Spring-time,
    For I feel my golden year
Of summer-time eternal
    Is beginning even here!
"Poor Ellen!" now you say and sigh,
"Poor Ellen!" and to-morrow I
Shall say "Poor Mother!" and, from the sky,
    Watch you, and wait you there.

 

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THE NABOB'S DOUBLE.


HAS Man a spirit that's more than breath,
A spirit that walks in sleep or in death;
Shakes off at will its dust of the earth,
And, waking by night, goes wandering forth
To work its wish with a noiseless tread,
While the body lies bound full-length in bed?

This is the fact, as sure as fate,
For Burglar Bill, and his midnight mate,
That frightened until it converted him,
To join the "Salvation Army" with Jim.

Many a "crib" had the couple "cracked";
Large was their luck with the swag they sacked.
Many a time thought Burglar Bill,
"Old Nabob's looks very lone on the hill!"
But, there was the Dog whose infernal bark
Could be heard through a mile of solid dark.

One day it was rumoured that "Keeper" was dead.
To himself Bill knowingly nodded his head,
"To-night or never," he cunningly said.

That night up-hill the couple crept,
To rifle his store as the rich man slept.
All heaven mirrored, with stars agleam,
The dazzle of diamonds in their dream!

They entered their treasury—struck a light—
A tiny light—but it showed a sight
To make the Burglar's heart turn white!
The Nabob sitting alone in his chair,
Facing them there with his long white hair,
And his eyes wide open with corpse-like stare.
And close by his side, keeping watch and ward,
The statue as 'twere of a dog on guard,
With mouth agape, but never a bark;
The dog that was dead and stiff and stark;
Threatening them as if in life!

Jim rushed at the old man with his knife,
And drove it right through—an empty chair,
Instead of the figure sitting there.
For the Nabob vanished, dog and all,—
And the burglars vanished without their haul.

Meanwhile, at the moment he felt the stroke,
Upstairs in bed the Nabob woke.
"Oh wife! are you here?   Am I dead? is it night?
Oh wife!   I have suffered an unked fright!
I dreamed I was dozing below in my chair,
When suddenly, helplessly, I was aware,
In the dead of the night there was life in the gloom;
Then a light—and two masked men in the room:
One of them dealt me a murderous blow,
And—I woke from my dream in the room below.
But this, O my God! was the strangest thing,
'Keeper' was with me; I saw him spring:
Swift as the flash of the falling knife
He flew at the Thief as he would in life!"

Only a dream! but they went down-stair,
And there were the burglar's tools, and there
Was the knife stuck fast in its stab of the chair!

 

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THE DIAKKA.


YOU are the Merry men, dwarfs of soul,
Who can get your hand through the tiniest hole,
And make your bells jingle outside of the show;
Prove there's life beyond, and on that we go!
'Tis trying to find that we are more near
To you than to those we have held more dear,
But I think they are backing you all the while;
And down on our efforts benignly may smile
To see how we strive and are ever unable
To meet and shake hands with the leg of a table.
            So holloa, boys, ring the bells, let them see 
                    how
            You can wake up the world with your 
                    row-de-dow.

Folk say you are Devils: then act as such!
Give them a touch of the devil's clutch.
In times like ours 'tis a comfort to know
For certain there may be a devil or so!
We need them to prove how the lusts of old
For women or wine, for gore or gold,
Are not to be quenched with their burning breath
By the waters of Winter that drown us in death,
But still live on, all a-crave to be fed
In the earth-life lived by the homeless dead.
                    Holloa, boys, ring the bells, let us see how
                    You can wake up the world with your
                            row-de-dow.

Many a fathom deep under the ground
Souls like toads in the rock lie bound,
Awaiting the resurrection sound
Of the Crack of doom, for them to be found!
Nothing short of an earthquake-kick
Will send them heavenward, make them quick.
Spirits far off, invisible, mute,
Can no more reach to the buried root,
Than we upon earth to the moon can shoot,
Or open oysters by playing a flute!
                    Holloa, boys, ring the bells, show them how
                    You can wake up the world with your
                            row-de-dow.

 

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"THEY SANG A NEW SONG."


GATHER round the Table,
    When the day is done;
Lay the Electric Cable
    That weds two Worlds in one.
We have found the passage
    Past the frozen pole;
We have had the Message
    Answering, soul to soul.

Gather round the Table
    In a fervent band:
Learn the Lost are able
    To join us hand in hand
With ties no longer riven:
    Empty in the Past
Stretched our hands toward Heaven—
    They are filled at last.

Gather round the Table:
    The silent and the meek,
So long belied, are able
    For themselves to speak,
Open but a portal:
    Every Spirit saith,
Man is born immortal,
    And there is no death.

Gather round the Table:
    By knowledge faith is fed!
Ours the fact they fable;
    Presence is the Bread.
Come with cleanliest carriage,
    Whitely-pure be dressed:
For this Heavenly Marriage,
    Earth should wear its best.

 

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FLOWER AND FRUIT.


THE flower you placed within my button-hole
Has faded; but there lives within my soul
Another rose, unfolding hour by hour—
Your beauty's self in its immortal flower.

So living-warm this dainty blossom blows,
As if a sunbeam blushed into a Rose,
To make me rich with its ungathered wealth,
And happy in the glory of its health;

With fragrance like a waft from heaven afar,
And look as lustrous as the morning star.
I do not come to crown your beauty, Sweet!
Nor thank you for it, kneeling at your feet;

But pray that on Love's bosom it may rest,
As thornless as its likeness in my breast;
And ask Him who such promise here hath given
To let me see the Flower fulfilled in heaven.

 

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PEGASUS IN HARNESS.


THEY pity Pegasus because
The Matrimonial Car he draws
    Along the ruts of life:
And hot and dusty is the road,
And heavy is the living load
    Of leaning weans and wife.

Poor Pegasus! to turn the Mill,
And grind, and pull the plough until
  The work his withers wrings!
Why not? 'tis he should do it best,
And tread his measure easiest,
  Or where's the use of wings?

 

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LOVE AND DEATH.


THIS butterfly of human breath,
Is followed far and fast by Death;
Some flower of life it settled on
He clasps and crushes, but—'tis gone.

 

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ORPHANS.


WHO would not wish the Dead were near,
If we can dry the mourners' tear?
Who would not pray the Dead may sleep,
When starving Orphans wake to weep?

 

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ONE OF SHAKSPEARE'S WOMEN.


I SOMETIMES think that Shakspeare has revealed
To me that very self so long concealed:
But if his soul my soul has lightened through,
I sometimes think it was to gaze on you,
   To find, with loving wonder in his looks,
   One of his Women living out of his Books!

 

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IMPERFECTION.


AH, never is the Almighty Artist's plan
Crowned and completed in the life of man.
At best a broken fragment we up-rear
Above the tomb, that like a visible prayer
Pleads on and ever with the Infinite,
For other lives to come and finish it,
And for the eternal temple make it fit.

 

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SO IT GOES.


THE tender green that laughs out in the light,
    And drinks the freshness of the dew and rain,
Must take the cloud of dust that turns it white
    And burnish every tiny blade again!
The river into which heaven cometh down,
    It is so exquisitely pure and still,
Must also soil itself to cleanse the town,
    And with hard labour tread and turn the mill.

 

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GROWING OLD.


THE stream of Life that brimmed its banks of old,
We drain to gather Wisdom's grains of gold;
And often as we count the riches o'er,
Half wish our wealth were drowned in it once more!

 

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A GREEK REPLY.


"So many are your foes, their arrows shroud
The very Sun with an eclipsing cloud."
"We'll fight them in the dark then! and the horde
Illumine with the lightning of the Sword."

 

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MAN AND HIS TWO MASTERS.


"YOU cannot serve two Masters," saith the Word.
    But Satan nudges us and whispers, "Gammon!
You lend your Womenkind to love the Lord,
   And give Yourselves to serve and worship 
          Mammon."

 

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WOMANKIND.


DEAR things! we would not have you learn too 
        much—
  Your Ignorance is so charming!   We've a notion
That greater knowledge might not lend you such
  Sure aid to blind obedience and devotion.

 

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A VERY EARLY RISER.


AT the Last Day while all the rest
   Are soundly sleeping underground,
He will be up clean-shaved and dressed
   An hour before the Trumpets sound.

 

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A PECULIAR PERSON.


YOU perfect, pure, original,
Writ in a tongue unknown to all;
Translated, in some other sphere,
You may be read; but will not here.

 

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DELIA BACON.


THE Delian diver wrecked her life to grasp
    A pearl she saw by Visionary gleams,
And died with empty hand that could not clasp
    The treasure only Real in her dreams.

 

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A PAINTED SPRAY OF APPLE-BLOSSOM.


THROUGHOUT the year and year by year will bloom
This blush of Spring arrested in my room,
Whilst Nature's self to rival it must bring
Her breathing buds renewed each passing Spring.

 

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AN ANGEL IN THE HOUSE.


YOU have your Angel in the House! but look
On this, her likeness, mirrored in a book,
If but to learn how shadowy the Ideal
In presence of the living, loving Real.

 

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SOULS OF ANIMALS.


SUCH look of an immortal likeness springs,
At times into the eyes of dear dumb things,
As if Hereafter we must recognize
The Unknown Life that knew us in their eyes.

 

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TRUE POETS.


TRUE Poets conquer Glory—do not woo
    It; do not beg their way to Fame;
Nor at her skirts in private bend and sue,
    Nor sow the public broadcast with their name:
They are the great High Priests of Heaven who
    Hold sacred as they feed their Altar-flame
Within the Temple: No man hears their cry
For recognition to the passers-by!

They toil on like old Noah with his Boat;
    "EL" hath forespoken it, and it shall be
Ready, although the need may seem remote:
    No sign that it will ever get to sea!
They fight the Deluge—keep the soul afloat—
    And still work on, and leave the issue free
With Him whose flood shall fall, or high-tide climb,
To launch the Vessel in His own good time.

Alone, in silence, secretly, they grow
    Invisibly, where no voice is raised to bless:
Creating in the dark like Hills below
    The ocean, shaped by Nature's strong caress:
Wave after wave sweeps over them; they know
    How many failures go to make success.
Their victory's in their work, not in the word
That waits to praise, as servant waits his Lord.

At last they mount from out the Lethean flood
    Beyond the cloud that covers and conceals
The present time, to join the Brotherhood
    Of minds that rise up lofty as the hills:
Heaven crowns them in majestic solitude;
    The world, that saw not once, in wonder kneels!
The less they wooed it all the more it heeds,
And still they mount the more their Age recedes.

 

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HYMNS.
____________


THE LIFE BEYOND.


ALTHOUGH its features fade in light of unimagined
        bliss,
We have shadowy revealings of the Better World
        in this.

A little glimpse, when Spring unveils her face
        and opes her eyes,
Of the Sleeping Beauty in the soul that wakes in
        Paradise.

A little drop of Heaven in each diamond of the
        shower,
A breath of the Denial in the fragrance of each
        flower!

A little low vibration in the warble of Night's
        bird,
Of the praises and the music that shall be here
        after heard!

A little whisper in the leaves that clap their
        hands and try
To glad the heart of man, and lift to Heaven his
        grateful eye!

A little semblance mirrored in old Ocean's smile
        or frown
Of His vast glory who doth bow the Heavens and
        come down!

A little symbol shining through the worlds that
        move at rest
On invisible foundations of the broad Almighty
        breast!

A little hint that stirs and thrills the wings we
        fold within,
And tells of that full heaven yonder which must
        here begin!

A little springlet welling from the fountain-head
        above,
That takes its earthly way to find the ocean of all
        love!

A little silver shiver in the ripple of the river
Caught from the light that knows no night for
        ever and for ever!

A little hidden likeness, often faded or defiled,
Of the great, the good All-father, in His poorest
        human child!

Although the best be lost in light of unimagined
        bliss,
We have shadowy revealings of the Better World
        in this.

 

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THE DIVINE LIKENESS.


SPIRIT Divine, we yearn and strive
Within our souls to keep alive
        Some likeness of Thy love!
But 'tis at best a glimpse, a gleam,
Uncertain as a troubled stream
        Reflects the heavens above.

The more we strive, the more we seem
To mar the vision; break the beam
        Of glory that we chase.
A breath disturbs Thy still design;
We try to mirror the Divine,
        And blur what we embrace.

Spirit Divine, brood down and fill
Us with Thy calm and make us still;
        All sighing cares to cease.
Our restless longings cannot hold
The face of heaven unless it fold
        Us round and whisper "Peace."

 

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THE HIDDEN LIFE.


WE are not only where we seem
To live, but in some Astral gleam
Dwell also in a world of dream!

Some heavenward window opes above
The shut-up soul, to lean out of,
Or let in waiting wings of love.

And thence we pass from out our night
A little nearer to the light,
Transfigured in the eternal sight!

And oft when darkness fills the place
We thrill with Dawn upon the face,
And feel the Infinite embrace.

Beyond the clouds 'tis golden day;
Soft airs of heaven about us play,
That waft all weariness away.

Dear friends we see no longer here
Are with us: We can feel them near;
To comfort us and heal and cheer.

And thus in secret life is fed,
Till full in flower it lifts the head
With all its leaves to heaven outspread.

And by the peace within the breast,
All stormy passions rocked to rest,
We know that God bath been our guest.

 

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JERUSALEM THE GOLDEN.


JERUSALEM the Golden!
    I weary for one Gleam
Of all thy glory folden
    In distance and in dream!
My thoughts, like Palms in Exile,
    Climb up to look and pray
For a glimpse of thy dear Country
    That lies so far away!

Jerusalem the Golden!
    Methinks each flower that blows,
And every bird a-singing,
    Of thee some secret knows;
I know not what the Flowers
    Can feel, or Singers see,
But all these summer raptures
    Seem prophecies of thee.

Jerusalem the Golden!
    When Sunset's in the West,
It seems thy gate of glory,
    Thou City of the Blest!
And Midnight's starry torches
    Through intermediate gloom,
Are waving with our welcome
    To thy Eternal Home!

Jerusalem the Golden!
    Where loftily they sing,
O'er pain and sorrows olden
    For ever triumphing;
Lowly may be the portal
    And dark may be the door,
The Mansion is Immortal
    God's palace for His Poor!

Jerusalem the Golden!
    There all our Birds that flew
Our Flowers but half-unfolden,
    Our Pearls that turned to dew,
And all the glad life-music,
    Now heard no longer here,
Shall come again to greet us
    As we are drawing near.

Jerusalem the Golden!
    I toil on day by day;
Heart-sore each night with longing,
    I stretch my hands and pray,
That 'mid thy leaves of Healing
    My soul may find a nest;
Where the troubles are all over,
    The Weary are at rest!

 

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POOR MAN'S SUNDAY.


WE thank Thee, Lord, for one day
    To look Heaven in the face!
The Poor have only Sunday;
    The sweeter is the grace.
'Tis then they make the music
    That sings their week away:
O, there's a sweetness infinite
    In the Poor Man's holiday!

'Tis here the weary Pilgrim
    Doth reach his House of Ease!
That blessed House, called "Beautiful,"
    And that soft Chamber, "Peace."
The River of Life runs through his dream
    And the leaves of Heaven are at play;
He sees the Golden City gleam,
    This grateful holiday.

'Tis as a burst of sunshine,
    A tender fall of rain,
That set the barest life a-bloom;
    Make old hearts young again.
The dry and dusty roadside
    With smiling flowers is gay:
'Tis open Heaven one day in seven,
    The Poor Man's holiday!

 

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AT EVENTIDE.


FATHER in Heaven, we seek Thy face
When darkness is our dwelling-place.
Our foolish hearts, that daily roam,
Would nightly nestle with Thee at Home.
Be with us Here, and grant that we
Hereafter, Lord, may be with Thee!

Father! our inmost parts lie bare
To Thine own purifying air;
We spread our stains out in Thy sight;
O, Sun of Pureness, turn them white:
And make our spirits clear as dew
For Thine own Self to lighten through.

Send down the Comforter, we plead,
For all who are in bitter need;
May homeless Hagars find, we pray,
Some well of succour by the way
The Angel of Thy Presence bless
All wanderers in the wilderness.

God keep our darlings safe this night,
Though scattered, one still in Thy sight!
Lead on, by many ways, and past
All perils, till we join at last:
With us the broken links! with
Thee The circle perfect endlessly.

Now take us, Father, to Thy breast,
And still our troubled thoughts to rest;
Thy watch and ward about us keep,
That tired souls may smile asleep,
And, having been with heaven awhile,
May wake to-morrow in Thy smile!

 

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GONE BEFORE.


ONE of God's own Darlings was my bosom's nestling
                Dove,
    With her looks of love and sunshine, and her
                voice so rich and low:
How it trembled through my life, like an Immortal's
                kiss of love!
        How its music yearns through all my memory
                now!
How her beauty rainbows round me, and her sweet
                smile, silverly
    As a song, fills all the silence of the Midnight's 
                charmèd hours;
And I know from out her grave she'll send her
                love in death to me,
        By the Spring in smiling utterance of Flowers.

O my Love, too good for Earth, has gone into the
                land of light;
    It was hard, she s aid, to leave me, but the Lord
                had need of her;
And she walks the heavens in glory like a Star i'
                the crown of Night,
        With the Beautiful and Blessed mingling 
                there.
Gone before me, to be clothed in a bridal robe of
                white,
    Where Love's blossom comes to fruit, and all
                its suffering's glorified!
May my love but make me meet and worthy of
                her presence bright
    That in heaven I may claim her as my Bride.

 

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A CRY IN THE NIGHT.


DARK, dark the night, and tearfully I grope,
    Lost in the Shadows, feeling for the way,
But cannot find it.    Here's no help, no hope,
    And God is very far off with His day.

Hush, hush, faint heart! why this may be thy 
            chance,
    When all is at the worst, to prove thy faith;
Be still, and see His great Deliverance,
    And trust Him at the darkest unto Death.

Often upon the last brim ridge of war
    God takes His stand to aid us in the fight;
He watches while we roll the tide afar,
    And, beaten back, is near us with His might.

We hear the Arrows in the dark go by:
    The cowering soul no longer soars or sings,
Or it might know His presence then most nigh,
    Our darkness being the Shadow of His wings.

No need of faith if all were visibly clear!
    'Tis for the trial-time its help was given;
Though clouds be thick, the Sun is just as near
    That shines within and makes the heart
            heaven.

Amidst our wildest night of saddest woes,
    When Earth is desolateHeaven dark with
            doom,
There is a fire-flash of the soul that shows
    The face of the Eternal through the gloom.

 

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HIS BANNER OVER ME.


SURROUNDED by unnumbered Foes,
Against my soul the battle goes!
Yet though I weary, sore-distressed,
I know that I shall reach my Rest:
    I lift my tearful eyes above,
    His Banner over me is Love.

Its Sword my spirit will not yield,
Though flesh may faint upon the field;
He waves before my fading sight
The branch of palm
    I lift my brightening eyes above,
    His Banner over me is Love.

My cloud of battle-dust may dim;
His veil of splendour curtain Him!
And in the midnight of my fear
I may not feel Him standing near:
    But, as I lift mine eyes above,
    His Banner over me is Love.

 

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REST.


SLOW step by step, day after day,
I journey on my homeward way;
And darkly dream the Land of Light
Is drawing near, night after night;
    Where I shall reach my Rest at last,
    And smile at all the troubles past.

Sometimes I sing; sometimes I sigh;
Sometimes I lift the longing eye;
Sometimes my heart laughs 'neath its load,
To think of that august abode,
    Where I shall reach my Rest at last,
    And smile at all the trials past.

She will be near, my Star of Hope,
When at the gloomy gate I grope,
And take my hand and ope for me
The door of Immortality!
    And I shall know my Rest at last,
    And triumph in the perils past.

 

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AT LAST.


A FEW more Meetings on the Deep,
    And partings on the shore;
And then in Heaven at last we keep
    Our tryst for evermore.

A little further we must bear
    The load, and do our best;
Then take immortal solace where
    The wretched are at rest.

Our Pilgrimage will soon be past,
    Our worst afflictions borne;
Some weary night, 'twill be the last,
    And then Eternal Morn.

 

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HYMN OF THE PRESENT.


NOT only in old days He bowed
    The heavens and came clown;
We, too, were shadowed by the cloud,
    We saw the glory shown!
The nations that seemed dead have felt
    His coming through them thrill:
Beneath His tread the mountains melt:
    Our God is living still!

He who in secret hears the sigh,
    Interprets every tear,
Hath lightened on us from on high,
    Made known His presence near!
The Word takes flesh, the Spirit form,
    His purpose to fulfil;
He comes in person of the Storm
    Our God who governs still!

We sawall of us sawhow He
    Drew sword and struck the blow,
And up and free through their Red Sea
    He bade the Captives go:
Yea, we have seen Him, clearly seen
    Him work the miracle:
We know, whate'er may intervene,
    Our God is with us still!

The veil of Time a moment falls
    From off the Eternal's face:
Recede the old horizon-walls
    To give fresh breathing-space:
And all who lift their eyes may learn
    It is our Father's will,
This world to Him shall freely turn,
    A world of freedom still!

 

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FAITH AND FACT.


THERE is no gleam of glory gone,
    For those who read in Nature's Book;
    No lack of triumph in their look
Who stand in Her Eternal Dawn.

Friends of a failing Faith! while your
    Lighthouses of eternal life
    Hold tremulous lamps across the strife,
That die and darken hour by hour;

And higher climb the waves that drench,
    And on the rocks the breakers roar;
    While Light for you opes no new door;
And higher climb the waves that quench,

While Heaven-scalers in the dust
    Sit, with their hopes dead or discrowned;
    Their splendid dreams all shivered round,
And broken every reed of trust,

While timid souls that sail the sea
    Of Time are fearful lest yon band
    Of Cloud should not be solid Land,
To step on for Eternity,

And faint hearts flutter 'twixt a nest
    That is not sealed to wind and wet,
    And one that is not ready yet,
With wandering wings, and find no rest.

There is no gleam of glory gone
    For those who read in Nature's Book;
    No lack of triumph in their look,
Who live in her Eternal Dawn!


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