MAN WHAT IS HE?
is Man? The question floweth
From the lips with ease, and yet
He who best can answer knoweth,
Answer true were hard to get.
Not the Sphinx in Egypt olden
Did a deeper question ask;
Love to strengthen and embolden
Be to answer mine the task!
But a feeble mortal merely,—
An immortal now believed;
One too complex to be clearly
Even by himself conceived;
One both complex and immortal,
Say I inward going, yea,
Death is but to Life the portal,
As the poets always say.
From the Inner Sun, a sparklet,
He (Man) glows a star in turn,
From whose life-evolving circlet
Other living powers are born;
These again their source enringing,
To the seeric ken's unfurl'd,
On its way unending winging
In the great a lesser world.
Each deep thought and each great action
Shrined within our inner skies,
To our rapture or distraction,
Greets us when the Earth-man dies:
There a meteor, or a starlet,
Burns it while the years take wing;
To the check the guilt-born scarlet,
Or the glow of bliss to bring.
Empires come and go; the granite
Boulder moulders into clay—
From each pathway shall each planet
And its splendour pass away.
But whilst these away have vanished,
Not one thought and not one deed,
Tho' awhile to Lethe banished,
But shall live our worth to meed.
Not our merit or demerit,
But to crown or punish—ne'er;
In the regions of the spirit,
Other ends life's issues bear.
Deeper than the ocean, even,
Higher than Orion still—
Still to them the power is given,
On to go for good or ill.
Boundless still for good and evil;
Not for good or evil—loth,
Loth were truth to call him devil,
Man's a god and devil both.
But the devil weakens, stronger
In his person grows the god,
Till a slave to sin no longer,
Bright's the pathway by him trod.
Up thro' ill the good still rises,
And the souls thus risen see
What still hid from dimmer eyes, is
Without ill no good can be.
Nay thro' strife with the infernal,
And the sinful only can,
In the courts of the Eternal,
Be a high seat won by Man.
From the shattered limbs of Cælus
Given to the ocean waves,
Venus rose as legends tell us,
She whose grace the heart enslaves.
So thro' strife with evil shatter'd,
May we seem a moment when
Lo! from out the relics scattered
Springs what's hailed a God to Men.
What is Man? You have my answer,
In a may be less prized song,
Than a tip-toed, tight-rope dance, were
By yon wonder stricken throng.
Yet however faulty seems it,
From a soul the truth would know,
And for Truth's advantage streams it—
Would all lauded songs did so.
I could waken numbers, brighter, sweeter,
Than is the lark's song in the cloud above;
Then would I tell you in befitting metre,
How much the Seer is worthy of your love.
Shy, sensitive is he, and far from equal
Unto the battle of material life;
He strives unheeded, and too oft the sequel
Unheeded falleth in the bitter strife.
Averse to falsehood and pretences hollow,
Averse to slander, cruelty and wrong;
He scorns the gilded car of pomp to follow,
And underneath is trampled by the throng.
Too nobly strung of self—to brook the mention—
Of aught essential to his personal gain—
Too finely strung to pleasure in contention;
He seeks within the peace he would obtain.
Unlike the crowd who never dare look inward,
Lest they a hideous spectre there should meet;
Would point to secret longings prompting sinward,
He looks within and finds a solace sweet.
There in a conscience pure he sees a charmer,—
A harper from whose harp such tones are hurl'd;
They act as mighty spells, as tested armour,
To shield him from the malice of the world.
"Go on brave heart," he hears an anthem chanted,
The distant echoes of that harp's weird tones;
"Go on—to thee a richer dower is granted
Than that which gilds a hundred monarchs' thrones.
"Thou may'st be thrust aside and scorned and taunted
As being a lunatic, a knave or fool;
Thou hast within thy inner being planted
A power that yet shall put the world to school.
"Thou may'st be destined here to tribulation;
Thy every pang shall prove a key by which
Thou shalt unlock some safe of the Creation,
And with its precious stores thy mind enrich.
"Illumined by that sun forever burning,
Deep in the centre of the inner spheres;
Thou shalt be gifted with the gift of learning,
What lieth hidden from thy mortal peers.
"In every planet in the midnight heaven,—
In every hue doth in the rainbow blend,
Shalt thou perceive a lore and meaning, given
To very few on earth to comprehend.
"The very flower upon the meadow blowing,—
The very weed down trampled on the road,
Shall be to thee a priceless casquet, glowing
With glories hinting of the light of God.
"In every breezelet—nay, in the commotion
Of raging winds—in every streamlet clear,—
Nay, in the roaring of the mighty ocean,
Shalt thou hear sounds will gladden thee to hear.
"Thus shalt thou in the Universe external,
The Universe internal read, and so
Possess what shall be to the weal eternal
Of earth's, benighted 'habitants to know.
"Encrowned by knowledge thus and a volition
Still to the highest purposes attuned
Shalt thou, a king go forth, and superstition
Discrown shalt thou, and with thy glance confound.
" 'Woo' black-browed guilt shall cry; and 'woe' and
Despair and desolation, sisters sad,
And for the hydra-brood thou thus shalt banish,
Celestial Love shall make the spirit glad.
"Uplifting them by slow, yet sure gradations,
From spheres inferne into the spheres superne,
Shalt thou thus prove a boon unto the nations,
And in return a boon divine shalt earn.
"If not in monuments of brass or marble,
Deep in Mens' spirits shall thy glory glow;
And little ones shall of the wonders warble
Accomplished by the wise man long ago.
"All this and more than this shall be thy guerdon,
The sense of having acted right!"—So says
The happy echo of that harp's sweet burden
A certain Seraph in his bosom plays.
And this enableth the true seer ever
To triumph tho' he falleth, and to pray
That theirs like his may be a potion, never,
Who plot and plan to take his life away.
Ah, to the last his words and deeds are sweeter
Than is the lark's song in the cloud above;
And rare the bard could find befitting metre,
To hymn the love we owe this child of Love!
LO, A FAIRY.
Lo, a fairy on a day
Came and bore my heart away;
But as she secured her prize,
Sweetest smiles illumed her eyes,
And, hey lerry, lerry O!
From that moment my career
Lay thro' dells and dingles, where
Pleasure blossom'd out of pain—
Where grief changed her dying strain
To "hey lerry, lerry O!"
in fancy by a river,
That flows onward ever, ever,
Down I sat me while the moon
In her fairest vesture shone—
All was still as death, when lo!
Down the solemn tide did flow
Fays that once with pleasure thrill'd me,—
Fiends that once with horror chill'd me—
Social Glee and sullen Care,
Lofty Courage, crouching Fear,
And—ah! who with dire Despair?
She on whom my heart has hung,
She who oft my heart has strung,
While the heavy-footed years,
Sought to bury her in cares!
"One by one, and two by two,
They the graceful, they the true,
Went my idols long ago,
And must thou desert me now?"
Thus I frantically cried,
When a look was cast behind,
Clung—shall cling unto my mind,
And a hollow voice replied;—
"All things go the way we're going,
From the quest refrain—
All, all that be—the Earth, the Sea,
Yon Moon above, the Stars that move
In concord o'er yon crystal;
Yea, all to one vast gulph are flowing,
And thy cry's in vain?"
Heard I aright, what is my cry
A cry in vain? what means reply
So dark as this? Can earth and sky—
Can all my hope, my pride, my joy,
With earth and sky take wing and fly?
Can that for which I've daily borne
With insult, empty scoff and scorn,
For which I've labour'd still to earn,
"Till Life itself's a burden grown—
Can that one day from me be flown?
Can that for which I've inly bled,
And tears of blood, not water shed;
For which I've lain on thorny bed,
Who else had lain on bed of down—
Can that one day from me be flown?
Can that for which I've wooed disgrace—
Look'd Persecution in the face;
For which I've barter'd pelf and place,
And donn'd instead the martyr's crown—
Can that one day from me be flown?
What can the all my soul held dear,
The soul itself and all whate'er
Comprised in this Great Universe
Take wing and never more return?
Can Life itself thus prove a curse,
And mock the mighty souls who yearn
Even to obtain the life superne—
Sung in prophetic verse?
Forbid it Truth!—"It is forbid!"
Rang in my soul as voice ne'er did,
A voice whose tone the quester chid;—
"It is forbid. On facts alone
From battle with externals won,
The common understanding may
Persist another thing to say;
But whoso looks Life's surface under
The Veil of Isis seeks to sunder,
And on internals cares to ponder,
Even such a one will find whate'er
Has been will be, tho' Earth's rude sphere
To outer sense should disappear—
Tho' to that sense, above, below,
All things appear to come and go,
Yet to the inner living still
With dread to chill, with bliss to thrill—
To warn, encourage, pain or charm,
To lead to blessedness, or harm;
To whip or bless us for the act
Another's heart has soothed or racked;
Yea, all things and all deeds whatever
Shall to the inner sense remain—
Shall constitute a fountain ever
Of what should nerve for high endeavour—
Of what, once drank, should heart and brain,
So fire that Man, would rue ah, never!
That he was born tho' born to pain—
Thy cry is not in vain."
THE hopes that allured me
To cope with the worst,
have secured me
The tortures accu'rst,
Of fever and grief,
And frenzy—in brief
Ills—ills from which Death is the only relief.
My soul in her chains—
The answer she gains,
But adds night and day
To pain and dismay—
'Tis the scream of the vulture despair at his prey.
LOVE WITHOUT HOPE.
glory of her charms I felt,
And thro' my frame electric ran
What made my stubborn heart to melt,
And feel as hearts of passion can?
And from that hour, her eyes of jet,
And every trait and every hue,
In her delightful being met,
Pursues me and shall e'er pursue.
A vision bright, a form of light
She glides before my inner eyes;
And tho' anear she doth appear,
In vain for her my bosom sighs—
In vain, in vain, and woe and pain
Are mine—and woe and pain alone—
Another's arms must fold those charms,
Which I would give a world to own.
Upon the block with nerve of rock,
This hour would see my head reclined,
Could such this hour but me assure
My image in her heart were shrined;
Yes, yes, for this unequalled bliss,
Upon the wings of rapture born,
My soul would cleave the air and leave
Her mortal bonds asunder torn!
A niche possessed within her breast,
Ay, more than life I'd value that—
What were it then, could I but strain
Her to my heart my own? ay, what?
Entranced I feel, my senses reel,—
Up in a fiery whirlwind caught
Away, they fly and leave me—ay,
Half frantic at the very thought!
What would I have, what do I crave,
What were a sin for me to touch?
Yon radiant star that beams from far,
Her lustre equals twenty such;
She's past compare a jewel rare,
Of value more than crowns can boast;
Whilst I who sigh—ah what am I?
A wretch who merits scorn at most.
Far, far above my worth and love
Is she—and were she less divine,
Another's arms would fold her charms,
And I were destined still to pine;
Thus double doomed to be consumed
By passion's raging fires, I know
On earth a hell as fierce and fell,
As aught a future state could show.
Alas! alas! we seldom love
Where love may equal love obtain;
Our idols in our fancy move—
Fleet phantoms we may chase in vain;
We either love what's little worth,
And live to rue the sequel; or,
What never can be ours on earth,
And so must evermore deplore!
can he ail? I hear them ask;
And what can make his cheek so pale?
Ah, that to answer were a task
For which no effort could avail.
To say I love were but to say
What many another might as well,
Who never felt the cruel sway,
Which makes my heart with sorrow swell.
Dear are the pains of love and sweet,
Yet he who loves, and loves in vain,
Endures a torment more complete
Than any love-unsweeten'd pain,
Nay, keener than the savage fangs,
Which limb from limb their victim tear,
And much more cruel are the pangs
Which drive a lover to despair.
With feelings racked, without a spark
Of hope to give those feelings rest,
The darksome grave is not so dark,
As is the chäos in his
The brightest hour that comes and goes,
Might just as well be dull as bright,
His grief o'er all a shadow throws,
That hides the splendour from his sight.
Unmoved he eyes the sun arise,
Yea, doth without a thrill behold
The sun down go at ev'ning, tho'
He settle in a sea of gold.
The sweetest flower of field or bower,
The brightest star by night revealed,
To him's not rare, nor sweet, nor fair,
For him no joyous beam can yield.
The tempest swells and roars and yells,
Up-tears and heaves to earth the oak;
The death-bolts crash, the lightnings flash,
And cities wrap in flame and smoke.
Let thunder crash, and lightnings flash,
And bid him perish as they can;
The storm he hears, no death-dart bears,
Like that which makes his life a ban.
O'er all he sees, o'er all he hears,
The raven shades of woe are cast;
And all his hopes, delights, and fears,
Are now but phantoms of the past;
The past, the present, future—all,
All now have faded from him—ay,
All save the feeling of a thrall
He finds he never can destroy.
He wanders wide of human haunts,
What others do he little reeks;
Their very sympathy or taunts,
Can little soothe, can little vex;
Where-e'er he moves, where-e'er he turns,
One, but one image meets his ken;
For that he yearns and pines and mourns,
And yearns and mourns for that in vain.
Away! away with questions, which
No mortal yet could answer—nay,
My pangs are far beyond the pitch
Of seraph-tongue or pen to say;
To speak of love were but to speak
Of what another might, whose heart
Was never forced like mine to break,
Yet while it breaks to hide the smart!
THE INNER CONFLICT.
"Io Pæan!" let me cry,
And bless the hour that I was born;
And born thro' love in vain to sigh—
To cheer my longing heart a morn
Has risen in my ebon sky,
Such as did ne'er my sky adorn
From out my night of pain—and so
A victor on my way I go.
Transpierced by Amor's arrows long
I cried—or thought in vain I cried
For surcease to my woe—the strong
A weakling floundered in the tide.
On which his soul was swept and Song,
That still had told my grief, denied
Not only what my pangs had earned,
But e'en the peace for which I yearned.
A tenant of some curse-girt sphere
Appear'd I—even so—and Pain
Still by a destiny severe,
Had power my spirit to enchain,
Or to impel his venomed spear
Up to the hilt in heart and brain;
And this he did—but this once done,
The measure of his power was run—
Yea, having brooked the worst, I felt
The power within, with steadfast gaze,
To scan the blows upon me dealt,—
Life's issues to their cause to trace;
And whilst I looked, the fogs did melt
That swathed my ken—and face to face
I stood with Fate's own self and viewed
The secret of the lash I'd rued.
Illumined by an inner light,
My past a pictured scroll became,
In which my sorrow, my delight,
My hope, my fear, my pride, my shame,
Assumed a shape and colour quite
Beyond the power of speech to name—
A chronicle mysterious, man
Engrossed by self might never scan.
Yet gazing on that mystic scroll,
Enough of its contents was read,
To teach my desolated soul,
Not all in vain she'd pined and bled
Beneath the lash, the dire control
Of passions fierce, by beauty fed;—
Nor yet in vain her longings—if
She read aright this hieroglyph.
As metal by the furnace, so
The soul by pain is purified
And gifted with a lustre to
Apparent luckier wights denied:
This was she led to know—and know
The still more precious truth beside
To gold is turned our dross by pain,
And nothing's lost that could be gain.
Thus learned I from that scroll, and learned
The way by which to rend the chain
Had kept my soul in self inurned:
Unhappy self that would obtain,
Whatever won is ever mourn'd,
Whose blessings e'er as bans remain—
Ah would that men would rock this reed,
So would their hearts less often bleed.
With feelings sharpened—eye and ear—
For others weal I then did learn
To shed the sympathetic tear,
To wile the frown from temples stern;
To do the thing desired to cheer,
To speak the word required to warn;
And in return a boon did find,
In all appeals to heart and mind.
Ay, with the All-enwoven—both
The outer and the inner world
Did I survey—e'en in the froth
By Life's imperious surges hurled
In its unutterable wroth;
As worthy only to be furl'd
In Limbo's bosom—on Time's sands,
A sheen that seen the soul expands.
That glory in the grass as sung
By deep-souled bard, and in the flower
A glamour o'er my spirit flung,
And strove—nor vainly—to re-dower
Her with that bliss from which we sprung,
When in creation's natal hour
God said "Let there be Light!"—and up
She leapt enraptured with Life's cup.
Then "Io Pæan!" let me cry,
And bless the hour that I was born,
And born thro' Love to languish—ay,
To curse that natal hour—a morn
Has risen in my spirit's sky,
Such as did ne'er that sky adorn
From out my night of pain, and so
A victor on my way I go.
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,
And dies a victim to its strength.
LISTEN to the accents of the silver corded harp,
And tho' aweary of the darts at me by malice hurl'd,
Allying goes life's shuttle and aflying woof and warp—
A renovated soul I seek to renovate the world.
As the spring is to tire brooklet bound in winter's icy chain,
As the shower is to the blossom parch'd by summer's hottest
As sleep is to the body bow'd by toil and rack'd by pain,
So is music to this heart to whom the jars of life are death.
The bonds in which I'm bound are broken by its magic power,
And the pent up founts of feeling flow in looks and acts that
And refreshened as the lily is refreshened by the shower,
The soul from trouble freed in turn the frame from trouble
Nay, not alone from trouble freed—alone by pleasure fill'd—
Not alone to strength of body and to peace of mind restored;
I'm thrill'd and by a feeling that the ancients may have thrill'd
When they sang the golden truths and taught what later
Taught by the glamour under which I labour bright and clear,
Become to me the darkest legends of an elder day;
And the so-called myths thus said or sung by bards illumined,
The colours which the True itself and not the False array.
'Tis said that to the Amphionic song, sun-like, up-rose
The Hundred-Gated City, and howe'er this be I know
At music's touch a tower-girt citadel my spirit glows,
Thro' whose illumined corridors no hydra-doubt may go.
Not mine to under-go what under-went Arion, yet
From out a darker sea, the waters of affliction caught,
And on a brighter than a Tenarian shore I'm set
To marvel at the miracle a melody has wrought.
Not mine Orpheus-like, the gift to strike the lyre and chant
What from another Pluto had another captive charmed;
But mine to know a lesser gift has made despair to grant
What Plato's gruesome regions had a place of pleasure form'd.
Nay, not a feeler merely but an actor keen am I,
Empower'd to seize the harp of life and from its cords to
An anthem such as had compelled Apollo's self to sigh,
And wrung from him the palm Marsyas tried in vain to wring.
Away into the regions of delight and, what is more,
Away into the regions of the inner life I'm borne
To learn how Nature at one birth both light and music bore,
And how the planets danced and sung upon Creation's morn.
A dream of a lost paradise the Rosicrucians held
This twin of light and one that light-like points the fount
From which the glories that enshrine the universes well'd,
And whence but sprang the soul a spark, a planet to return.
At this the world may laugh and laugh; their jibes are spent in
I stand above and far above the arrows at me flung:—
So chant I music-fired—and whatever worth my strain,
For men of brain, not stocks and stones, for men of brain
THE MYSTIC LYRE.
was the mortal, thrice-illum'ed by heaven's
A bard the cords of whose great soul to love and truth
Who deemed the mighty universe itself a seven-stringed
From which at the Creator's touch the anthem, Life, is
An instrument it is by which a gamut vast is spann'd,
Whose every tone's in unison with every other tone;
And which alone is given to the heart to understand
Who to pity gives an ear of soul—to self an ear of stone.
To such a one the accents of that magic lyre expound
The kinship of all beings great and small, and how the
Yet mighty octave to the key struck in yon planet's found
Within the little dew-drop that sparkles at our feet.
In the seeming great the little, in the seeming small the great,
Are render'd by that music to the pure in spirit, plain;
And the thistle's and the lily's and the mourn'd and envied
Are but altos and contraltos in one bright harmonic strain.
In the seeming ill the good is, in the seeming good the ill;
But in Life's complex measure what the ill deplored
Is often but a needful step into a varied trill
That terminates with rapture what began 'mid doubts and
All height and depth of moral being are compass'd in one
And thro' vast scales descending in the lowest soul is
True echoes, true, tho' faint, of what the highest soul can
Whilst to the lowest full as oft the highest yields a chord.
The measure of the man with all his destiny so vast,
When the key-note of the living known is stricken may
And the burden of the future and the burden of the past,
Are but coloured octavos to the note from out the present
The measure of the angel in the measure of the man,
Yea, he the highest seraph in the lowest serf's conceal'd;
And the diapason struck on earth compriseth in its span,
An echo of the heaven itself in angel-states reveal'd.
Not that which was, is that which is, as sang the Hebrew
But a duller to a brighter chord; and that which is, in
Is but a stage in life's great march prophetic of a stage
That awaits the soul's arrival when we leap death's
The mighty universe itself is but a mighty lyre,
From which at the Creator's touch the anthem, Life, is
And could we heed its music up would leap our souls on fire,
And up a hymn to Love Eterne would leap from every
me, my heart is like to break,
The envied rose upon my cheek,
The blood red rose is cold and bleak
Since he has slighted me.
A very shadow lone and pale,
I all unheard my lot bewail,
He listens to another's tale,
He has no ear for me.
Erewhile as if a toad were I,
He with that other passed me by;
She "hemm'd" and tossed her head on
And he, he scowled at me.
Ah, had he looked upon my grief,
Had he not sought to give relief,
I feel my days below are brief,
By his harsh ways to me.
I trail about I know not how,
I like a thief slink down the row,
For well behind my back I know,
The rest all laugh at me.
The one unto the other wink
Whenever down the row I slink;
Their hearts are filled with glee to
How he's deserted me.
The very bairns have caught their
As notes are caught by mocking birds;
By jibes are rent my bosom chords,
And grief is killing me.
I feel my days on earth are brief—
Ah, could he look upon my grief,
Would he not try to bring relief,
And rue his wrong to me?
I dream'd last night to me he came,
A blush was on his cheek for shame;
He took my hand, he breathed my
He spake kind words to me.
Back from mine eyes my locks he drew,
He bound them with a ribbon blue,
He kiss'd me as he used to do—
He gave such looks to me.
Such looks? No sun will rise or set
When I forget those looks—forget
Those star-bright eyes—those eyes of jet,
Which stole my heart from me.
The vision fled and I was left
With tear on tear, with heart thrice cleft,
To mourn a lot of hope bereft
By his false vows to me.
He'll rue that e'er he wrong'd me so,
Yet were my woe a greater woe,
I would not do by him—ah, no!
As he has done by me.
My heart is rent, my heart is sore,
A canker eats into its core;
Yet would I breathe my last before
He'd wring a curse, from me.
Alas, alas! Deceiver say,
How could'st thou wile my heart away,
Then leave me thus by night and day
To sigh and pine for thee?
THE VIOLET AND THE ROSE.
Violet invited my kiss,—
I kiss'd it and call'd it my bride;
"Was ever one slighted like this?"
Sighed the Rose as it stood by my side.
My heart ever open to grief,
To comfort the fair one I turned;
"Of fickle ones thou art the chief!"
Frown'd the Violet, and pouted and
Then to end all disputes, I entwined
The love-stricken blossoms in one;
But that instant their beauty declined,
And I wept for the deed I had done!
Anna, cruel elf,
Spite of all my reason,
She, she puts me from myself,
In and out of season;
Ah, the imp! ah, the shrimp!
Glee to Mischief wedded;
Foe to rest—she's a pest,
And always to be dreaded!
When I see her bonnie blink,
I'm upraised to heaven;
When upon her ways I think,
I'm to limbo driven.
Like the lammie on the lea,
Void of harm she seemeth,
All the while on mad pranks, she—
Daily, hourly dreameth.
Never goes the sun around,
But upon me stealing,
She, she does 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!
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!
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.
Nearly drives me frantic;
Night and day gars me play
Many a foolish antic;
Fain would I her presence fly,
Fain keep at a distance,
But her rein once on, ay then,
Vain were man's resistance.
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.
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!
Rare her grace, her bearing rare,
Meteor-like she glideth;
And where'er she glideth, there
Some dire ill betideth.
In the earth or in the air
Lo, an imp abideth
All, to whelm in despair
He who love derideth.
So do I—I who love mocked—
Feel unto my anguish,
In love's magic fetters locked
Night and day I languish;
Not a bit of use am I,
Save with arms a-kimbo,
Thus to sit and thus to sigh,
And wish myself at limbo.
Oft from tossings to and fro,
Bite or sup unheeded
Up, from bed to work I'll go
Long before it's 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.
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 is't her e'en
Yonder nook adorning?
Blacker than the coal, their sheen
Mocks the coal a-burning.
Daily—hourly, by the elf
I, who love derided,
Witched—nay lost am to myself,—
From myself divided:
Lost?—I'm cross'd and tempest toss'd
On a sea of passion,
And shall so remain while, lo!
There's a rock to dash on!
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,
It's deeper than the ocean.
The following was suggested by a sweet little lyric,
'Resolution,' translated from the German of Uhland.
sun is in the western sky
And thro' the barley, she—
Comes she, the apple of my eye,
The rose-checked Rosa Rea.
Away I slink the maid to meet,
As if I went away,—
Alone to please a pair of feet,
Resolved to go astray.
I whistle as I go, tho' what
I cannot tell, but know
Right well my heart goes pit-a-pat
With every note I blow.
Anon, I, silent as the path
Whereon I tread become,
The power to blow my whistle, hath
Ta'en wing and left me dumb.
The lark's loud lilt so bright and clear
Is ringing in the sky;
A dearer tune I hear—I hear
Two little feet draw nigh.
Two feet I hear approaching near
—Abashed I hing my head—
Two little feet a hornpipe beat,
Or is't my heart instead?
A floweret I of scarlet dye
Espy as on I tread;
The maid who trips this way, hath lips—
Two lips of richer red.
A floweret I hard by espy,
A gem of azure hue;
The maid who hies this way hath eyes—
Two eyes of sweeter blue.
Those tiny blooms my heart might steal,
Did not a spell profound
Now gar my mortal reason reel,
Or gar the world go round.
My senses swim, my sight grows dim,
A-near, more near her tread;
Her little feet a hornpipe beat,
Or is't my heart instead?
Ah, am I moving on my feet?
Or am I on my head?
Do airy dreams my senses cheat?
Am I alive, or dead?
Not dead! away, that notion, nay,
Not in a dream I move;
Lo, in the clear bright pool I near
I see my own dear love.
She nears—appears a blink uprears
My head—O joy!—ah see!
Till night's o'erhead, locked hand in hand,
Stand I, and—Rosa Rea!
day as I came down by Jarrow,
Engirt by a crowd on a stone,
A woman sat moaning and sorrow
Seized all who gave heed to her moan.
"Nay, blame not my sad lamentation,
But oh, let" she said, "my tears flow,
Nay offer me no consolation—
I know they are dead down below."
I heard the dread blast and I darted
Away on the road to the pit,
Nor stopped till my senses departed,
And left me the wretch I here sit.
"Ah, thus let me sit," so entreated
She those who had had her away;
Then yet on the hard granite seated,
Resumed her lament and did say:—
"My mother, poor body, would harry
Me still with a look sad and pale,
When I had determined to marry
The dimpled-chinn'd lad of the dale.
"Not that she had any objection
To one praised by each and by all;
But ay his lot caused a reflection
That still, still her bosom would gall.
"Nay, blame not my sad lamentation;
My mother sleeps under the yew—
She views not the dire desolation
She dreaded one day I should view.
"Bedabbled with blood are my tresses?
No matter! Unlock not my hand!—
When first I enjoyed his caresses,
Their hue would his praises command.
"He'll never praise more locks nor features,
Nor, when the long day-tide is o'er,
With me view our two happy creatures;
With bat and with ball at the door.
"Nay, chide not. A pair either bolder
Or better nobody could see:
They passed for a year or two older
Than what I could prove them to be.
"Their equals for courage and action
Were not to be found in the place;
And others might boast of attraction,
But none had their colour or grace.
"Their feelings were such, tho' when smitten
By scorn, still their blood would rebel;
They wept for the little blind kitten
Our neighbour did drown in the well.
"The same peaceful, calm, and bravo bearing,
Had still been the father's was theirs;
And now we felt older a-wearing,
We deemed they'd soon lighten our cares.
"So doomed I last night. On his shoulder
I hung and beheld them at play:
I dreamed not how soon they must moulder
Down, down in their cold bed of clay.
"Chide, chide not. This sad lamentation
But endeth the burden began,
When to the whole dale's consternation,
Our second was crushed by the van.
"That dark day the words of my mother
In all the deep tone which had made
Me like a wind-ridden leaf dother,
Rang like the dead bell in my head.
"Despair, the grim bird away chidden,
Would light on the house-top again;
But still from my husband was hidden
Each thought that had put him to pain.
"He's pass'd from existence unharried
By any forbodings of mine;
Nor till we the lisper had buried,
E'er pined he. But then he did pine.
"Down when the dark shadow had falling
Across the long row gable-end,
He miss'd him when home from his calling,
With thrice weary bones he would wend.
"No more would his heavy step lighten,
No more would his hazel eyes glow;
No more would his smutty face brighten
At sight of the darling. Ah, no!
"He lived by my bodings unharried,
But when from his vision and mine,
Away the sweet lisper was carried
He pined, and long after would pine.
"Ay, truly.—And reason.—The sonsy—
The bairn with his hair bright and curled,
He still had appeared to our fancy,
The bonniest bairn in the world.
"As ruddy was he as a cherry,
With dimple on chin and on cheek;
And never another as merry
Was seen to play hide-and-go-seek.
"Yet, yet with his fun and affection,
His canny bit pranks and his grace,
He wheedled my heart from dejection,
And put a bright look on my face.
"Full oft upon one leg advancing,
Across to the door he would go;
Wheel round on his heel, then go dancing
With hop after hop down the row.
"When—Let my hand go!—When he perish'd,
The rest were a balm to my woe:
But now, what remains to be cherish'd?
But now, what remains to me now?
"Barely cold was the pet ere affected
By fever they lay one and all;
But lay not like others neglected;
I slept not to be at their call.
"Day and night, night and day without slumber,
I watched till so weary and worn;
When Death took the gem of the number,
I'd barely strength left me to mourn.
"I've mourn'd enough since. And tho' cruel
Mishap like a curs'd hag would find
Her way to my door still, the jewel
Has seldom been out of my mind.
"Another so light and so airy
Ne'er gladden'd a fond mother's sight—
I oft heard her called a wee fairy,
And heard her so called with delight.
"Whilst others played, by me she tarried,
—The cherub!—and rumour avers
That now-a-days many are married,
With not half the sense that was hers.
"A-down on the hearth-rug a-sitting
The long winter nights she was heard,
The while her sweet fingers were knitting,
To lilt out her lay like a bird.
"Did I appear cross? To me stealing,
Askance in my face she would keek;
At which, e'er the victim of feeling,
I could not but pat her bit check.
"Once, when I had pricked this hard finger—
No he who in grave-clothes first slept;
No she—with the senses that linger
I cannot tell which of them—wept.
"She vanished at last. Ah, an ocean
Of trouble appeared that black cup,
But what was it all to the potion
I now am commanded to sup.
"My husband, my birdies, my blossoms!
Well—well—I am wicked—yes, yes;
But take my case home to your bosoms,
And say if your sin would be less?
"The dear ones to perish thus sudden
Not only last night by the hearth—
This morn when resuming their dudden,
E'en they, the dear bairns, were all mirth.
"Aroused by their voices—a-yearning
To kiss them I sprang to the floor,
They kissed me and bade me good morning,
And whistled away from the door.
"Long after away they had hurried,
Their music a-rang in my ears;
Then thought I of those we had buried,
And thought of the jewels with tears.
"Then thought I—what said I—thus thinking
Was I, when rat-tat went the pane,
And back into sense again shrinking,
I thought of the living again.
"Anon gaining nerve I endeavour'd
To open the door, when some-how
The sneck from my fingers was severed,
And back into bed I did go.
"Did I sleep? I did sleep. To his calling
The father had gone hours before,
And now in that havock appalling,
He lies with the blossoms I bore.
"Did I sleep? I did sleep. Heart-a-weary,
How oft have I so wept before;
Not to weep but to sleep, lone and dreary
I've wandered the broken brick floor.
"Did I sleep?—well, your kind arm and steady
My tottering steps, and now you
Go, get out the winding sheets ready,
And do what remaineth to do.
"Spread winding sheets—one for the father,
And two for the darlings, our pride,—
And one for the wife and the mother,
All, soundly she'll sleep by their side!"
THE STARS ARE TWINKLING.
THE stars are twinkling in the sky,
As to the pit I go;
I think not of the sheen on high,
But of the gloom below.
Not rest nor peace, but toil and strife,
Do there the soul enthral;
And turn the precious cup of life
Into a cup of gall.
WILLY TO LILY.
all the passion which I've strove
So long to hide be paid with scorn?
And must a bosom framed for love,
Be doomed a hopeless love to mourn?
And must thou still its homage spurn?
And must thou still my suit reject?
And be to me this cruel thorn?
Reflect upon the past, reflect!
A time there was and time shall pass
To me ere that forgotten be,
When side by side from tide to tide
We played and sported on the lea.
Then, then have I not chased the bee
From bloom to bloom—oft chased and caught,
And having drawn its sting in glee,
To thee the little body brought?
Then, when a bloom of rarer dyes
Into my busy fingers fell,
To whom was reached the lucky prize?
Can not thy recollection tell?
As oft away as summer went,
Who pulled with thee the haw, bright, brown
—Brown as thy own bright eyes—and bent
For thee the richest branches down?
With blooms I've graced thy yellow hair,
With berries filled thy lap—thy hand,
—That hand as alabaster fair—
Had every gift at my command.
Nay, tho' to others dour, yet meek
I ever was to thee, and kind,
And when we played at hide and seek,
I hid where then would'st seek to find.
Upon the play-round still unmatched
Was I, unless with thee I played;
And then it seem'd to those who watched,
My failures were on purpose made.
As sure as did a race begin,
The palm was mine unless you joined;
Then strive who might the race to win
Did I with thee not lag behind?
The ball I knocked to others mocked
Their efforts to arrest its flight;
But when my ball to thee was knocked,
Did it not on thy lap alight?
None, up and down so well I bobbed,
To skip the rope with me would try,
Didst thou attempt? my skill was robbed;
If others skipped thee out—did I?
The smothered sneers of our compeers,
Would hint how acts like these were read,
What then? the while was not thy smile
Upon thy little lover shed?
Time vanished thus and childhood past;
But ere the lasses reach their teens,
Atween them and the lads a vast
Mysterious distance intervenes.
They seldom on the green appear
In careless sport and play; and if
They join the throng erect they wear
Their head and still their air is stiff—
They ail they know not what. And such
The change that on my lassie fell;
Then would she shrink my hand to touch,
And I have feared her touch as well.
Had I changed too? This I can tell,
That touch o'er me a spell would cast;
And did I pass her in the dell
With slow and snail-like pace I pass'd.
Her voice had lost its former ring;
Yet in that voice such power was flung,
I better liked to hear her sing
Than when of old to me she sung.
Her touch, her tone, her sight would gar
Me shake, and tho' with all my might
I strove to please and please but her,
I ever blundered in her sight.
When by the hearth she sewing sat,
Did I to thread her needle try
Still, still my heart played pit-a-pat,
And still I missed the needle's eye.
Then when I held to her the hank,
Such slips and knots occurred we heard
Aunt's dreaded tongue go clink and clank,
Before the dancing end appeared.
"What ails the lass?" she often said;
"She's sound asleep!" once said, and flew
And snatched and snapped the tangled thread;
Whilst I, I know not how, withdrew.
Away too fled those hours!—Alack!
They came and went like visions rare,
To mock the heart, delude, and wrack,
And leave the gazer in despair.
Ah, less—tho' sun-illum'ed—less fair
The bubbles dancing down the burn:
And let them burst, they'll re-appear
Ere those delightsome hours return.
Yet they may live in thought, and could
They live in Lily's thought again;
Would she not change her bearing? would—
Would she not change her bitter strain?
Would she her Willy still disdain?
Would she continue thus to gall
And put me to this cruel pain?
Recall to mind the past, re-call!