Carols from the Coal-Fields (4)

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BUBBLE-BLOWING.


FROM the pipe-end off it glides,
    Many hued appearing;
What, if cynic harsh derides,
    Sets the boys a-staring.
In their eyes gleam its dyes,
    Glow with radiance rarer
Till they cry "how bright!   Yon sky
    Hath no planet fairer!"
Nay, nought else can be so fair,
    Naught, sir, more entrancing;
Blow it here, blow it there—
    Keep the bubble dancing!

Sailing thro' the air it goes,
    While the urchins stretching
Out their chins, upon their toes
    Blow the thing bewitching:
So blows Dick, and "ha, ha!" cries,
    At the image gazing,
"What is this salutes mine eyes?
    Truly it's amazing――"
"Eh, thy picture," Sue rejoins;
    And a-nearer glancing;
Mine, too, in the crystal shines—
    Keep the bubble dancing!"

Blow it well—Bill and Bell,
    Blow in turn, and Jerry;
And in turn each discern
    What yet makes them merry;
Merry, very!   Scurvy loot—
    Little villain, scurvy,
Shout and blow, blow and shout,
    Wits a topsy-turvy;
Even so agog they go
    On their hobbies prancing—
Blow and shout, shout and blow,
    Keep the bubble dancing.

"Fiddle-faddle fum is that!
    Understand me clearly—
I detest a ditty flat,
    Shouting, blowing merely:"
"Hear me out!" "Well?" "While they blow
    Bursts the magic wonder,
Leaving little Dick and Co.
    On their ways to ponder;"
"Tut, what then?"   No look oblique—
    Then they seek, and chancing
To find other bubbles, seek,
    Seek to keep them dancing.

 

 
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THE VISION.


I SAW but once that lovely one,
    Nor need I see her twice to love;
She broke upon me like the dawn,
    And o'er my soul her magic wove—
Yea, forced the lion stern to own
    Himself the captive of the dove.

She brought the morn, she left the night;
    Nor strove I to throw off the chain;
But rather felt a sweet delight
    To intermingle with the pain
That made my heart's repose a blight,
    Till madness ruled my thought's domain.

By night I sought a solitude,
    And gave unto the winds a grief
That struggled like the lava flood,
    That boils and struggles for relief;
And night still left me in a mood
    Unto the voice of reason deaf.

The radiant planets in their flight,
    And she the quiet Queen of heaven,
With glory garmented the night;
    But not to them the power was given
To kill, but rather nurse the blight
    By which afar my peace was driven.

Yet wished I not the sun to rise,
    For then the world were up, and then
Were I exposed to wistful eyes,
    And questions bold of forward men,
Who deem themselves both good and wise,
    Yet neither know nor pity pain.

And what on earth—ay, what in hell
    Can be more racking to the thought,
Than that our pangs unspeakable
    Should, disregarded, be as nought
Or look's upon with looks that tell
    In vain would sympathy be sought?

The magic vision fled, and so
    Have all those precious feelings, all!
Which gave to life a golden glow—
    Which made a joy this earthly ball—
And now, what's left to me? what, oh!
    What, but a cup of very gall!

 

 
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I'M A-WEARY.


I'M a-weary with care, I'm a-weary with care,
Surrounded with woes that no mortal can bear;
Whil'st I gaze on the night of my ills and survey,
Not a star to direct my lorn soul on her way.

I'm shorn of my strength and the few are my years,
The winter of life on my aspect appears;
Ay, the feeling of death steals apace round my core,
Like the sea-waves around yon lone rock on the shore.

 

 
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THE TWO VISIONS.


A GOLDEN sun went down to-night;
    When lo! a vision from the olden
Time, flashed on my inner sight,
    With smiles more tender and as golden.

My blood ran cold; for I did know
    Another dream of equal splendour
Would follow that; but not withO!
    Not with the golden smiles and tender.

 

 
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THE SONGSTRESS.


THE dearest accents ever heard
    Are thine my canny Sally—nay,
Thou art to me the sweetest bird
    That ever charmed the hours away.

I listen to each syllable
    Doth from thy lips of scarlet flow
And how I feel I cannot tell—
    But fain would feel forever so.

The stalest jest, the tritest tale,
    The rudest air, the longest song,
From thee were neither trite nor stale,
    From thee were neither rude nor long.

Thy music puts me in a trance,
    When I'm to heaviness inclined;
And maketh me in glee to dance,
    When I've no dancing in my mind.

The well-played lute, panpipe, or flute,
    May—must the tender heart enchant;
But neither flute, panpipe, or lute
    Had ever thy sweet tongue to vaunt.

 

 
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SITE IS NOT FASHIONED.


SHE is not fashioned to command,
    Nor once, for grace, in her is shown,
A form that peers the lily-wand—
    An air the lily's self might own;
Not such her vaunt, tho' such enchant,
    Nay, make with joy the reason reel,
'Tis hers to bear a boon more rare,—
    A heart another's woe to feel.

Nor hers the hair that beams afar
    Like streams of molten gold—an eye—
That twinkles like the little star
    Attends the virgin moon on high;
Not such her vaunt, yet joy will haunt
    Whoe'er her gentle smile has viewed;
That smile would light the gloom would
        blight
    A heart with lion-nerve endued.

Not hers the golden tones that break
    Like music from the lips, the rare—
The dancing dimple on the cheek
    Accorded to the fabled fair;
Not such her vaunt—nay, pride might taunt
    Her with a lack of charms—yet oh!
She's to the faint and weak a saint
    Ordained to bless this world below.

 

 
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THE CRUSHED ASPIRE.


O, MY Spirit, art thou vanquisht?
    Is thy latest prospect gone?
Must my task be thus relinquisht
    Ere my noble end is won?

Must I die, and be remember'd
    Never more, ah, never more!
As the clown who laught and slumber'd
    Out his passing mortal hour?

Has my life been one untiring
    Vigil kept at sorrow's shrine,—
One unceasing toil acquiring
    What unsought for had been mine?

Have I undergone privations
    That the noblest soul had bow'd,—
Stoop to unearn'd degradations
    But to die, as die the crowd?

Whither wilt thou wander? whither?
    From thy quest my soul refrain!
Sure the God who sent me hither
    Had sonic purpose in my pain.

 

 
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THE MYSTERIOUS RIDER.


UPON a steed he came with speed,
    The Day behind him breaking;
And still he sped when Day o'erhead
    Her last farewell was taking.

"Ah, whither fliest?—Name thy goal!"
    "The Dark from which I bounded!"
He spake and fled; and in my soul,
    The voice night-long resounded.

 

 
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AN ERROR.


I NEVER said my verse you'd mocked;
    Nor how you'd giggled at my grammar—
You, on whom Fame her door has lock'd,
    I little mark'd your empty clamour.

I merely said that when you'd call'd
    On Fame, and thrice her cruel porters
Had kick's you off, thrice back you crawl'd,
    And kiss'd, thrice kiss'd, their hinder-quarters.

 
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BECKY SHARP.

I.

THE DITTY.


O, BECKY SHARP, dear Becky Sharp!
    So very clever and so witty;
I'm half inclined your praise to harp
    In one, at least, well-worded ditty.

First be it sung, You're framed for love
    "For love, thou fool?" cried Beck, upbringing,
And snatching up the tongs, half clove
    My head, and off "thou fool!" went singing.

 
II.

CONSOLATION.


SWEET Becky Sharp, sweet Beck, upon
    A time I tried to frame a ditty,
For which you knock'd me down, anon,
    And left me sprawling without pity.

Sir Crawley plus Sir Sprawley, then
    Was I, and yet you little honey,
How charming wasn't next half-hour, when
    You came and kissd away—my money.

 
III.

THE PRECIOUS PEARL.


DEAR Becky Sharp, you lovely girl!
    Come, now on knacks my money's lavished,
I yet have left one precious pearl
    With which your brokers may be ravished.

"Where, Crawley, dear!"   Why even here—
    Ah, no; I dream—Sweet mercy, bless us!
I thought I'd yet that manhood, pet,
    I had ere I had thy caresses.

 
IV.

THE TOAST.


BEST Becky Sharp, pray do not carp,
    Nor turn your cherry lip up snarling—
"Man, are you mad?—this Becky bad,
    Why, she's a visionary darling!"

Is't so? "'Tis so!"—Your glasses ring—
    Ring then and toast the bright ideal;
Ah, bring the ideal Beckies, bring!
    And take away the Beckies real!

 
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MISFORTUNE.


AWAY with the muses of frolic!—away
    With the haunts of diversion and folly!—and mine—
Ay, mine be the joy to awaken a lay,
    And to weave for misfortune a garland divine.

We shrink at life's shadows and fly to the bowl,
    Tho' warned and reminded again and again,
That the death of the reason's the death of the soul,
    And what seemeth a loss may in fact be a gain.

Full often to us is the loss or the cross
    What the furnace itself's to the nugget of ore;
And the more we are freed from mortality's dross,
    The brighter the soul and her glory the more.

The saint is the grander when smitten by woe—
    The sinner excites a sweet thrill in our breast;
And still from the presence of sorrow shall flow
    What endeareth the spirit by sorrow possest.

Cleopatra of old threw o'er Cæsar a spell,
    And her life was a chain of such triumphs, and yet
Her very chief glory began when she fell,
    And her blood as a meal to the viper was set.

Not only the victims of virtue we mourn,
    But the victims of error our pity enthral;
And the tear we let fall o'er a Lucretia's urn,
    Leaves a tear o'er the urn of a Helen to fall.

Not alone round the brows of the martyrs of right,
    But a halo encircles the victims of wrong;
And if history's muse in a Hampden delight,
    Not less is a Stuart the Idol of song.

Endeared thro' affliction, thro' anguish endeared,
    By pity to many a vigil is kept,
Who else, with the idols by fashion revered,
    Unburned in the waters of Lethe had slept.

The mortal immortal becomes upon earth;
    And the spirit thro' trials is helped to the goal,
Where the mantle of glory and girdle of worth,
    Are the meed that awaiteth the tender in soul.

Be our state e'er so lofty, down, down, we must sink,
    When the dire wheel of fortune moves on, as it may,
But the greater the blow sooner broken the link
    By which we are bound to what smacks of the clay.

Then give me the gift to awaken a lay,
    And to weave for misfortune a garland divine;
And the world and its follies may go on their way—
    A rapture unknown to the giddy is mine.

 
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IO PÆAN.


TRIUMPHANT o'er trouble, triumphant o'er pain,
    Triumphant o'er all and thro' all we shall hie,
With the cry "Iö Pæan! and Echo, the strain,
    From her cave "Iö Pæan!" enraptured shall cry.

The storm may set in and the summer may go,
    But, the while winter winds in the rafters yet roar,
Will a gleam in the cloud and a bloom in the snow,
    Give a pledge of a glory-girt future in store.

In Pandora's Box, Hope was left, and, in fact,
    As long as the world on its axis shall move,
The Parcæ from mortals will never exact
    What a ban, not a boon, in the sequel will prove.

Not only our manfold evils externe,
    But the ashes-fill'd apples by error pluck'd, they—
Even they emanate from a fountain superne,
    And will prove to be true golden apples one day.

Thro' the regions of Erebus lay the rough road,
    By which the brave passed to the Fields of the Blest,
Yet once having enter'd Jove's envied abode,
    The trouble made sweeter the pleasure possesst.

Dragon-watched was the idol of Jason's desire,
    Yet a triumph awaited the noble and wise;
And as sure as the faggot but heatens the fire,
    As sure did the danger but brighten the prize.

Creation itself from a chaos was born
    So sang the Illumed of the centuries fled;
And Atë herself to an Eros would turn,
    If aright the vast drift of existence were read.

Nay, neither the gloom that o'er-shadows our skies,
    Nor the danger that lies on the path to our goal,
Nor the keenest of pangs need awaken our sighs;
    From woe the soul wrings the delight of the soul!

Triumphant o'er trouble, triumphant o'er pain,
    Triumphant o'er all and thro' all we shall hie
With the cry "Iö Pæan!" and Echo, the strain,
    From her cave "Iö Pæan!" enraptured shall cry.

 
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LITTLE ANNA.


LITTLE Anna, young and fair,
    How with heart a-dancing,
I descry her image rare,
    O'er the footway glancing;
Ah, those locks of dusky hue,
    Ah, those eyes that twinkle,
Now I laugh their sheen to view,
    Now my tears down trinkle.

    Chorus—Well-a-way, night and day,
                         I must sigh nor can a
                     Youth once view her charms, nor
                                  rue
                         The peerless charms of Anna!


When I see her bonny blink,
    I'm upraised to heaven;
When upon her ways I think,
    From myself I'm driven
Not a bit of use am I,
    Save with arms a-kimbo,
Thus to sit and thus to sigh,
    A very wretch in limbo.

    Chorus—Well-a-way, etc.

Up, from tossing, to and fro,
    Bite or sup unheeded,
Up from bed to work I go,
    Long before 'tis needed;
But a-pit, love a-smit,
    Do all I can do, now,
Still a-wry the pick will fly,
    And no coal will hew, now.

    Chorus—Well-a-way, etc.

Can it be her voice I hear,
    When my pick is swinging?
When her tongue attracts the ear
    Golden bells are ringing;
Do I dream? or isn't her e'en
    Yonder nook adorning?
Blacker than the coal, their sheen
    Mocks the coal a burning!

    Chorus—Well-a-way, etc.

Ah those locks and ah, those eyes,
    Ah, the rest they've broken;
But in vain their victim tries
    Love can ne'er be spoken;
Man may fathom ocean—say
    The reason of its motion;
But love's magic never! nay
    'Tis deeper than the ocean.

    Chorus—Well-a-way, etc,

 
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CRUEL ANNA.


LITTLE Anna, cruel elf,
    Spite of all my reason,
She yet puts me from myself
    In and out of season;
Ah, the may, ah, the fay,
    Glee to mischief wedded!
Foe to rest, she's a pest,
    And always to be dreaded!

    Chorus—Ah, the may, ah, the fay
                         Glee to mischief wedded!
                     Foe to rest, she's a pest
                         And always to be dreaded!


Never goes the sun around,
    But upon me stealing,
She, she doth my soul confound,
    Sends my reason reeling;
Gars me sing, and while, alack,
    I in glee am singing,
On me turns and in a crack,
    Gives my ear a-wringing.

        Chorus—Ah, the may, etc.

Pat she comes and goes, the wasp!
    Back anon she hummeth;
Round my neck her hands to clasp,
    That to do she cometh;
So she leads me to suppose
    By her air entrancing,
Till I'm twitted by the nose
    And again sent dancing.

        Chorus—Ah, the may, etc.

Ear or nose, or wrung or stung,
    'Tween a thumb and finger,
How to be avenged now long
    Lost in doubt I linger;
Then when I resolved at last
    Rush her pride to humble;
Lo, o'er me a glamour cast,
    O'er the stools I tumble,

        Chorus—Ah, the may, etc.

Head-a-turned, heart-a-burned,
    Nay reduced to cinders;
Nose-a-stung, ears-a-wrung,
    Shins all sent to flinders;
Pale and thin, bone and skin—
    I'm a spectre merely;
And he who'd play my part might say
    He'd bought his whistle dearly.

        Chorus—Ah, the may, etc.

 
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BALOO.


BALOO, my sweet baby—the blossom!
    I dandle't till weary, and sigh,
With not a bare drop in my bosom
    To silence its pitiful cry.

The red moon above us right rarely,
    I lay on the brink of the burn,
And drank in the words which so early
    Have brought me to anguish and scorn.

And had he but thought of the trouble,
    And had he but thought on the pain:
Tho' green in the blade with the stubble,
    I'm fated to bleach on the plain.

Mid all our wooed maidens so many,
    The bonny bright lily was I;
But now plucked and tainted, like any
    Vile weed on the footway I lie.

But let anguish thus my heart rend, and
    The briny tear thus my cheek lave;
The longest lane yet has an end, and
    The weary sleep sound in the grave.

Baloo, my sweet baby—the blossom!—
    Ah! hush—ere his life-glass is run,
The false one shall find in his bosom
    A pang for the deed he has done.

 
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THE RUIN.


THE bitter wind blows o'er the desolate wold,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
And I must trudge on thro' the sleet and the cold,
    And sweet to my heart were the lot of the dead.

Upon my shrunk bosom sleep seizeth my child,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
Awaken my darling!—Alas, I'm beguiled,
    And would I too slept the sound sleep of the dead.

Cold, cold are its feet and its bosom, and oh,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
No more will the bird prove a light to my woe;
    And would I too slept the sound sleep of the dead.

Its sweet glossy eyes seem to look at men yet,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
They mind me of others I fain would forget;
    And would I too slept the sound sleep of the dead.

Its soft silken locks, e'er as sunny as soft,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
A-wet are the curies I've kissed so oft;
    And would I too slept the sound sleep of the dead.

The wee tottie crept atween me and my toil,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
But then its bit smile had the trick of his smile,
    And would that I slept the sound sleep of the dead.

No father had I once to threaten or frown,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
And mother kept silent till reason had flown,
    Then dropt she to sleep—the sound sleep of the dead.

I've reached the old ruin endeared by the past,
    —The bloom from the blossom forever is sped!—
He'll come here and find our bones whiten'd at last,
    And lie down and rest by the dust of the dead.

 
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LIFE AND DEATH.


OH, what is Life?   A magic night
    In which we still to phantoms yield;
And what is Death, if not the light
    By which the real truth's reveal'd?

 
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THE SUMMER BREEZELET.


"NOT now shall I sing of my sports in Spring,
    But the golden hours and gay,"
Sang the Breeze, "when I, a wild lover, hie
    With the Summer flowers to play.

"When I tiptoe go to the pansy, tho'
    She wag to and fro her head,
She yet likes, I know, my kisses, and so
    Is kist on her low green bed.

"The rose newly born, albeit she's sworn
    Her lover shall mourn, I woo,
And escape untorn by her pointed thorn,
    And never a scorn may rue.

"The pink she may shrink at my touch, I think,
    When her sweets I drink in glee,
At the theft she'll wink, and a kindly blink,
    Will the sweet-mouth'd pink throw me.

"That snowy white may, the lily I sway,
    And when I essay, love stirred,
In my own wild way with the saint to play,
    No cruel Nay is heard.

"When I in my zeal to the poppy steal,
    Tho' she'd fain conceal her flame,
Yet she'll rock and reel with feeling I feel,
    Nor seek my zeal to blame.

"The woodbine too—nay, all blooms I woo
    In the fields or bowers, and O,
And the mad pranks we will play, and the glee,
    And the golden hours, we know!"

 
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ALAS!


ALAS! the woe the high of heart,
    Seem pre-ordained to undergo,
While proud ambition hides the smart,
    And smiles delude the world below.

Their anguish, like a Samson blind,
    Gropes on in darkness, till at length
It grasps the pillars of the mind, grasp
    And dies a victim to its strength.

 
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LOTTY HAY.


AS I came down from Earsdon Town,
    A-lilting of a lay,
Whom did I meet but she, the sweet,
    The blue-eyed Lotty Hay.

A crimson blush her cheek did flush,
    Nor sin did that betray;
The pearl is sure a jewel pure,
    And so is Lotty Hay.

All evil flees her heart, yet she's
    To Slander's shafts a prey,
And words of ill do nearly kill
    The lowly Lotty Hay.

Some deem her proud; in speech aloud
    Some other mays will say
She's cold or fierce, and all to pierce
    The heart of Lotty Hay.

Proud?—She's not proud: to-day I view'd
    An ant beside her stray,
And that wee thing kind blinks did bring
    From soft eyed Lotty Hay.

Fierce?—She's not fierce; a fly did pierce—
    Late pierce her bosom—yea,
And made her cry, yet that bad fly
    Was spared by Lotty Hay.

Not proud nor bold, not fierce nor cold,
    But meek, kind, mild alway—
A soul of light did meet my sight
    As I pass'd Lotty Hay.

Upon her way she went and, nay,
    Not lighter moved to-day
The thistle-down then upward flown,
    Than walked this Lotty Hay.

In cotton gown she tript to town,
    And not a lady gay
In satin drest could be more blest
    Than seemed sweet Lotty Hay.

 
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DOLLY DARE.


AT Backworth sung till echo rung,
    A bard whose feelings were,
In what to young and old he sung
    Of little Dolly Dare.

"Tho' Lizzy's sweet and Polly's neat,
    And Fanny she is fair,
There's truly none, was never one,
    So blithe as Dolly Dare.

In doors and out she stirs about
    As if she felt aware,
By labour glows more red the rose
    That dowereth Dolly Dare.

A duty here with forehead clear,
    With grace a duty there,
She'll do, and do what very few
    Can do, will Dolly Dare.

She, knitting, will a ditty trill
    And, to an olden air,
The needles bright dance left and right
    Of sweet-tongued Dolly Dare.

Beneath her touch, its power is such,
    As bright as palace rare,
The cottage seems, and in it gleams
    A Queen in Dolly Dare.

The pots and mugs and pans and jugs
    Into their places fare,
And clearer glow and dearer grow
    When touched by Dolly Dare.

The bread she bakes, the beds she makes,
    And up and down the stair,
On tripping toe will dancing go
    The tidy Dolly Dare.

To words of mirth she scours the hearth,
    While in his easy chair
Old Robin lies and, smoking, eyes
    With pride his Dolly Dare.

Her pail to fill she'll to the rill,
    Or to the well, and there
Doth clearly see Truth's self, for she
    Therein sees Dolly Dare.

Tis thus away she'll while the day,
    And then to me repair,
When envy smit the moments flit
    O'er me and Dolly Dare."

The bard his song so sung and long,
    Tho' plain his verses were,
Wagged every tongue with what he sung
    Of little Dolly Dare.

 
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LILLY AND WILLY.


IF Ellerton Willy be slighted by Lilly!
    Yet others as bonny will hark to his lay;
Then why like a silly bit daffodowndilly,
    Should I droop my head, droop, and cry, well-a-way?

Chorus:—Then why should pine Willy? if slighted by Lilly,
                     Yet others as bonny will hark to his lay, etc.


Has Effie, a violet sweet, and a sweeter
    In Wanie's fair valley ne'er lifted its head,
Not pined hour by hour since I promised to meet her,
    And met with this music-tongued Lilly instead?

            Chorus.—Then why should pine Willy? etc.

Has Tibbie, the pride of the Moor, and whose glances
    Are spells that enrapture the young and the old,
—The Queen of our dancers, so finely she dances—
    Not sighed for the love at which Lilly is cold?

            Chorus:—Then why should pine Willy? etc.

Has Meg, at whose bearing the Hirsts are enchanted,
    And whom as a charmer the charmer respects,
Not tipt me the wink, and thrice hinted if wanted,
    She'd skip at the proffer this Lilly rejects?

            Chorus:—Then why should pine Willy? etc.

Would Clara herself, at whose dimples and madly
    Young Robin of Uffam would dance in delight,
Not slip a red-rose in her hair and hie gladly
    To wile, could she wile, me from Lilly to night?

Chorus:—Then why should pine Willy? if slighted by Lilly,
                     Yet others as bonny will hark to his lay,
                 Then why like a silly bit daffodowndilly,
                     Should I droop my head, droop, and cry, well-a-way?

 
________________________

 
BARBARA BELL.

A new song to an old tune.


AWAY to the pic-nic at Ryton, away
    Went off in the sunrise our younkers pell-mell—
And many were bonny and many were gay,
    But sweetest of any was Barbara Bell.

Chorus.—As sweet as a cherry was Barbara Bell,
                      Both tricksy and merry was Barbara Bell;
                  Tho' others that day were bonny and gay

                      The Queen of the charmers was Barbara Bell.


Nan Harley was there, her locks in the sun
    Did sparkle and burn, yet woful to tell,
No spoils by her long yellow tresses were won—
    The lads only hankered for Barbara Bell.

        Chorus:—As sweet as a cherry was Barbara Bell, etc.

Meg Wilson came up, her eyes black as jet—
    And tho' at a fair oft ruled by their spell,
Meg fail'd even one rosy apple to get—
    No pickings were there but for Barbara Bell.

        Chorus:—As sweet as a cherry was Barbara Bell, etc.

Nell Dewey appeared, in her dimples adorned,
    The rose of the roses was she on the Fell;
But somehow this rose to a daffodil turn'd
    That moment she glided near Barbara Bell.

        Chorus:—As sweet as a cherry was Barbara Bell, etc.

The lovely and young, they danced and they sung,
    Till down came the night and darkened the dell;
When homeward they hied—a star for their guide—
    And who was that star saving Barbara Bell.

Chorus.—As sweet as a cherry was Barbara Bell,
                      Both tricksy and merry was Barbara Bell,
                  Tho' others that day were bonny and gay
                      The Queen of the charmers was Barbara Bell.

 
________________________

 
THE DEATH OF CLEOPATRA.


I GO—from all earth can give, riven
    By fate's sternest mandate—so—so,
A Queen in a fiery car driven,
    To meet her god-lover—I go.

That blissful reunion to hasten,
    Hie, hie, with the worm to my breast;
And here let its fatal lips fasten—
    On here where a god's head would rest.

Here, here let it suck and be suckled,
    On what hath this pallid cheek dyed,
When on his fell weapon I've buckled,
    And frolic-mad mimicked his stride.

That golden day's vanished, yet, clingeth
    One hope to the fallen one,—nay,
A lay in the murky cloud ringeth,
    And dances her heart at that lay.

"Even yet will she meet with his olden
    Blink" rings that sweet music;—"her love,
Whose smile will make Hades more golden
    Than Jove's gilded palace above.

"Even yet will she thrill with the glory
    That stream from his looks, as she'd thrill;
And hear from his tongue the sweet story
    Of what she once was—and is still!

"A Queen is she not, who o'er victors,
    A victor hath trodden, while Kings
Would smile on her prætors and lictors,
    And gift their attendants with rings?

"And so in the far future ages,
    Some poet will chant to the throng;
And Rulers, and Heroes, and Sages,
    An echo return to the song.

"Then spirits Titanic shall wonder
    At one who o'er nations would reign,
As if the dread bolt of the thunder
    Had danced in delight in her train.

"As if Jove himself had forbidden
    All ill thro' her portals to tread,
And here would on lightning have ridden
    To save a small hair of her head.

"A god-guarded women, they'll hold her;
    A god-illumed soul—and aright!
Ay, where were the eyes could behold her,
    And not in her glory delight?

"Her graces a Pompey would dazzle;
    A Cæsar his faulchion would sheath,
Their vassal to be—and their vassal
    Shall now be the victor-king—Death.

"Her body will perish, but rarer
    The spirit that gilds it will gleam,
And to her own Marcus yet fairer
    Whatever seemed fairest, will seem.

"The sun-soaring bird afire flashes
    A wreck to the wonder-bound earth;
But up the next hour from its ashes,
    Again the sun-scaler goes forth.

"A Phœnix the Phœnix succeedeth;
    So up from the dust doth she spring,
And go in a lustre that feedeth
    With rapture the eyes of her King.

"His star, from his burnished throne yonder,
    He sees, as he saw her of old,
A-far on the Cydnus—a wonder,
    That turns the black Styx into gold.

"And hers he is still."—Thro' my anguish,
    Thus rings that sweet voice in my ears:
And not in her sorrows may languish
    The soul which such harmony hears.

That voice, at its sound I'm uplifted,
    Nor feel as I've felt, weak and worn;
That voice at its music I'm gifted
    With strength yet the foeman to scorn.

The Roman may giggle, the Roman
    May sound his brass timbrels in mirth
Shall he make a mock of the woman
    Erewhile the delight of the earth?

Shall she to the seven-hilled City
    In triumph be hurried in deed?
No, no, from their laughter or pity,
    Ah, see by the viper she's freed.

Freed, free is her spirit and given
    Power—"longings immortal "—and oh!—
A Queen in a fiery car driven
    To meet her god-lover, I go.

 
________________________

 
THE CHARMER.


A SONG in devotion I sing to my Annie—
    Ah! be startled not to discover I long,
To fold in my arms and possess what so many
    And many a time is the theme of my song.

My manhood's dissolved at the sight of thy beauty,
    And while heart can feel and such beauty is known,
What youth could be kept by a mere sense of duty
    From yearning to call the enchanter his own?

The saint he may blame—so to do is the fashion—
    And carp at my feelings and call them a sin;
Could beauty like thine be the price of his passion,
    He'd rush to perdition the jewel to win.

To view thy locks blacker than coal and thy glances;
    To hear thy voice, sweetest of music—ay, ay—
Thy manifold beauty my spirit entrances,
    And reason deserts me when Annie is nigh!

 
________________________

 
THE BROKEN SPELL.


COME sing me the song that once gilded my gloom,
    And the heart unsubdued till that moment subdued,
That with its red rose caused the rose-tree to bloom,
    That long year after year without blossoms had stood.

With thy hand on my hand, and thy cheek by my cheek,
    In thy wild and weird tones, be that lay again sung,
And the bleak world to me, shall no longer be bleak,
    And this heart, wrung by anguish, no longer be wrung.

Then over thy grace, shall thy voice throw a grace;
    And that image which long had its home in my breast,
Be robed in a splendour, no pencil could trace,
    And possest of a charm by no other possest.

Than its red, shall thy lip then a richer dye show,
    And with beams brighter still, shall thy hazel eyes burn;
And thy beauty, deep down in my spirit, shall glow,
    And my life to a drop of pure ecstasy turn.

Shall the boon then be mine? shall that music reward
    Thus the faith of a heart that yet leapt at its strain?
Ah, broken's the spell of that song I oft heard,
    And so—so thro' thy dark guile to me shall remain.

 
________________________

 
THE FAIRIES' ADIEU.


OUR revels now are ended, so good night, so good night,
    And each unto our chamber let us hie,
And there lose ourselves in visions till the broad daylight
    Again has bid adieu unto the sky.
                    So good-bye
        Till day has gone out of the sky.

"My couch is in the daisy with its golden, golden eye,"
    "And mine is in the violet, sweet and pure,"
"And mine the modest blue bell, beneath whose canopy
    I dream away the angry day secure."
                    So good-bye
        Till day has gone out of the sky.

But when the day's departed, upstarting from our dreams
    We'll gather in a ring upon the green,
And there dance till night's enraptured, and the pale moon seems
    To mourn the fate that changeth such a scene.
                    So good-bye
        Till day has gone out of the sky.

 
________________________

 
The Magic Glass.

I.
THE INNER HARP.


THE memories of moments flown,
    Into my spirit's glass assemble;
And as they enter, one by one,
    My heart-strings into music tremble.

Even as the harp, the breezelet sways,
    So thrills my heart responsive ever
Unto the thoughts of other days
    That came and went—and went forever?

 
II.
THE FAIR ROWER.


SHE took the oars and rowed along
    With such a grace, the mere did waken
Into a sweet, melodious song,
    At every charming stroke was taken.

And at each sound, the hills around,
    By many a magic memory haunted,
And skies did seem with joy to gleam
    Within the mere, her strokes enchanted.

 
III.
THE LUCKY HOUR.


THE fickle Moon has left the skies;
    But Night's blue veil with stars is sprinkled,
And every little twinkler tries
    To twinkle as he'd never twinkled.

O, now's the hour for Love to pour,
    And Beauty hear his vows supernal;
No Moon will glint of change to hint,
    And stars but hint of things eternal.

 
IV.
THE ASSURANCE.


AH dearest dear, what do I hear?
    I've hurt thy feelings! have I, dearest?
Then let thy words be fiery swords,
   To punish me with pangs severest!

Than hear thee sigh, I'd rather die;
    Ay, were Death's gruesome terrors
        doubled,—
I'd rather die than hear thee sigh,
    Or deem thy heart a moment troubled.

 
V.
THE SECRET.


THE wind comes from the west to-night;
    So sweetly down the lane he bloweth
Upon my lips, with pure delight,
    From head to foot my body gloweth.

Where did the wind, the magic find
    To charm me thus? say, heart that knoweth!
"Within a rose on which he blows
    Before upon thy lips he bloweth!"

 
VI.
THE BUGLE-HORN.


O, THE bugle-horn I heard last night!
    Its wild tones set the echoes flying;
And night long in my soul, Delight
    Danced, danced her gift for dancing trying!

Such tones, I swear a magic bear,
    Which turns to heaven the hell man
        mourneth,
And almost match the joys I snatch,
    When Minnie's rose my breast adorneth!

 
VII.
THE PEARL.


UNKNIT that brow; the day too soon
    Departs when starry nights are nearer;
They're clouded now, nor will the Moon
    Once come and try to make them clearer.

Be not like her, a peevish girl;—
    I own I err'd; but when I dearer
Than worlds appraised thy rival's pearl—
    I only meant that pearl, its wearer!

 
VIII.
THE TWO-FOLD SURPRISE.


SHE snapt her fingers, on her heel,
    Her sweet boot-heel, she turned and left me;
What did I feel?—What could I feel,
    At what of paradise had reft me?

I swooning lay; my soul away
    To hell had fled, by madness driven—
Where—where!—she met again the pet,
    Who'd come to coax her back to—heaven!

 
IX.
THE RETURN.


CAN this be her?   Her dark eyes show
    Two planets in the midnight heaven;
Her cheeks the blood-dyed rose—her brow
    The snow upon the mountains driven;

Her tongue's a silver bell to hear,
    Ah, death when certain words are spoken!—
Can this be her?   And comes the dear
    To break again the heart she's broken?

 
X.
THE BEE AND THE ROSE.


"You wont!" the Rose's accents ring;
    "I will!" the Golden Bee's are ringing;
And tho' the winds, to aid her, spring,
    Soon with the breeze-tost bloom he's
        swinging.

His prize secured, away he goes,
    At which anon, in rage the rarest;
"Come back thou villain!" cries the Rose;
    "Come once more kiss me, if thou darest!"

 
XI.
THE ROSE'S COMPLAINT.


"You naughty Bee!" the Red Rose said;
    "To come at noon by Envy driven,
And wound the bloom whose beauty made
    The Sun to linger in the heaven!

"I little dream'd, while I did grant
    An ear unto one little story,
You'd meed with stings, for what to vaunt
    Yon Golden Sun had given his glory!"

 
XII.
THE ECHO.


"ADIEU!" she cried, and with that cry
    Adown the star-lit valley fleeted,
And Echo from her tower on high,
    With cruel tongue, the word repeated.

"What?—Never!" cried I, yet possess'd
    Of hope, that by some sweet endeavour,
Again we'd meet our hearts at rest,
    When—"What?" cried startled Echo;—
        "Never!"

 
XIII.
THE MINSTREL.


AH, deem not when thy minstrel tunes
    His harp to hours and glories vanished,
His star of stars, his moon of moons,
    Can ever from his heart be banish'd.

Each tune he wakes, each note that takes
    And charms the heart, Love's arrow
        woundeth,
But flows from strings she only rings,
    And from a Deep, she only soundeth.

 
XIV.
THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN.


THEY cry, "How light the heart and bright,
    From which proceed such strains of
        gladness!"
They can't discern the pangs that burn,
    And seek to drive the bard to madness.

From pryers vain, he hides his pain,
    And while with skill his harp lie's plying,
They mark the bloom upon the tomb,
    But not the ruin in it lying!

 
XV.
THE FAIR THIEF.


THE rogue, she smiled, then swept away,
    Her raven locks behind her streaming;
My very pulse forgot to play,
    And I was left in wonder dreaming.

The Pleiads lost their charms that night
    And Dian lost her bow and quiver;
They'd with the damsel taken flight,
    And never have been found since—never!

 
XVI.
THE TWO MIRRORS.


SHE took the wood thro' which she sung,
    But in the lake near which she wended,
An image met, and swayed and swung,
    And three times with her image blended.

The vision from that mirror fled,
    But, ah! I found when day had vanished,
It only to a glass had sped,
    From which it never can be banished.

 
XVII.
THE ONE SOLACE.


I MIGHT have wish's it otherwise;
    But yet, poor heart, tho' they were cruel—
Those thunder-clouds above her eyes,
    They very much became the jewel!

Hope fled, but Truth remains, and owns
    What yet this fond heart half-beguileth;
"One knows the worst on't when she frowns,
    But never when the syren smileth!"

 
XVIII.
THE SYREN.


HER harp she takes, from string to string,
    Her little snowy fingers, glancing,
Into Night's ear a wild spell fling,
    And all the while my heart is dancing.

Why thus, fond heart, thus dancest thou?
    "A dream of old in memory lingers,
At thought of which I dance to know
    That mine are not the strings she fingers!"

 
XIX.
THE CLOUD.


A CLOUD the valley domes, and down
    Yon erewhile sun-lit mountain stealth,
And bit by bit, with one black frown,
    The green and gold below concealed.

Down, down it comes, and pain me numbs,
    To think how soon yon vision splendid
Yon one last scene of gold and green,
    Must like my other dreams have ended.

 
XX.
THE SONGSTRESS.


BACK flies my soul to other years,
    When thou that charming lay repeatest,
When smiles were only chased by tears,
    Yet sweeter far than smiles the sweetest.

Thy music ends, and where are they?
    Those golden times by memory cherish'd?
O, syren, sing no more that lay
    Or sing till I like them have perish'd!

1886.




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