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FLEURS DE LYS
ARTHUR WEIR, B.A. Sc.
He only is a poet who can find
In sorrow happiness, in darkness light,
Love everywhere; and lead his fellow-kind
By flowery paths towards life's sunny height.
WILLIAM AND ELIZABETH SOMERVILLE WEIR,
MOST SEVERE AND KINDLY CRITICS,
IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED BY THEIR SON.
The name FLEURS DE LYS has been chosen for the Canadian Poems in the
early portion of this book, because the scenes and incidents they
describe belong to the Monarchial, or Fleur de Lys, period of France in
Canada. The royal crest during the seventeenth century is depicted
upon the cover.
Many of these poems have already appeared in the columns of the
Carnival and Jubilee _Star_, the Toronto _Week_, the
_University Gazette_, and the Montreal _Gazette_, as well as
in the Daily and Weekly _Star_, and it is the kindly reception
which they met with that has led the author to publish them in this
more permanent form.
Some of the poems were written at twenty, and the latest at twenty-
three, so that the author hopes the critics will consider this volume
rather as a bud than as a flower, and will criticize it with the view
to aiding him to avoid faults in the future rather than to censuring
him for errors of the present and past.
To Mr. George Murray, of this city, the author is deeply indebted for
encouragement when encouragement was most needed, and for much valuable
assistance in the selection and revision of these verses for
It is hoped that the notes at the end of this book will throw
sufficient light upon the verses to make them perfectly intelligible to
December, 1st, 1887.
Ode for the Queen's Jubilee
FLEURS DE LYS.
The Captured Flag
L'Ordre de Bon Temps
The Priest and the Minister
The Secret of the Saguenay
Nelson's Appeal for Maisonneuve
To One Who Loves Red Roses
The Sea Shell
A January Day
Love Guides Us
The Lover's Appeal
The Spirit Wife
Hope and Despair
De Salaberry at Chateauguay
At Rainbow Lake
Welcoming the New Year
A Greater Than He
Life in Nature
Winter and Summer
A Child's Kiss
The Grave and the Tree
A Mother's Jewels
_FLEURS DE LYS AND OTHER POEMS_.
ODE FOR THE QUEEN'S JUBILEE.
_Sailor William is dead. And now
Toll the great bells disconsolate.
Let the maiden have time for tears
Ere you set on her gentle brow
England's glittering crown of state.
Heavy burden for eighteen years.
Grant the maiden some weeping space
Ere on her youthful brow you place
Once her stately head it presses,
Fifty years it must rest on her tresses
Till their brown
Turns to white beneath King Time's caresses--
Grant her weeping space._
Set the crown on the maiden's brow,
And silence the bells disconsolate.
Peal! Ye loud joy-bells, now;
Over city and wold let your echoes reverberate.
Peal! for the crowning of smiles and the death of tears,
Peal! for the crowning of hopes and the death of fears,
Peal! for a Queen who shall rule us for fifty years.
The maiden is crowned with her glorious crown,
Heavy with care;
Yet it shall never burden her down
We will watch over her with our love,
And our loyalty prove.
We will bear, each, his share
Of the worry, grief, and pain
That may seek to mar her reign.
Blow! ye silvery bugles, over the sunny land,
Our Queen has yielded to love.
Ring out with merry clangor, O ye bells!
Ye mountains! give the laughing bells reply.
_Hark! how the joyous tumult sinks and swells,
And beats against the sky
Mark how the billows of the mighty sea
Toss their white arms in glee,
And race along the strand,
Joining their voices with the symphony!
Our Queen has yielded to love.
Blow! silvery bugles blow!
That all may know._
_Toll! toll! ye deep-mouthed bells,
Answer! each thundering gun.
Your cadence sadly tells
Of a great life-work done.
Death rules this changing earth,
Through royal halls he stalks,
And with an awful mirth
Man's noblest efforts mocks.
He stills the busy brain,
Tears loving souls apart,
And leaves alone to reign_
_A Queen with empty heart.
Upon her lonely throne
She sits, and ever weeps,
For him who, once her own,
Now wed to heaven sleeps.
Albert has fallen, conquered by Death's dart,
A shadow lies across her anguished heart.
She dwells in loneliness that none can gauge;
In grief that only heaven can assuage.
She trembles and her soul would fain depart,
And beats with tireless wings against its cage.
Oh! live for us, dear Queen,
Thou who for years hast been
Our leader in all good,
Live! Live for us, O Queen!_
_Ring! ye loud bells, in deep, triumphal tone,
And bind a zone
Around this earth of glorious melody,
Till land and sea
Awaken and, rejoicing, answer ye.
Ah! noble Queen! who lookst around thee now
On this great nation.
Thy life, since first the circlet touched thy brow,
Of self to us. Through half a century
From darkness into light we followed thee.
The poet, patriot, warrior, statesman, sage
Have given thee service long,
Lending their fiery youth and thoughtful age
To make thy sceptre strong,
And in the never-ending march of man
To higher things, still England leads the van._
In fifty years what change! The world is bound
In close communion, and a sentence flies
O'er half the earth ere yet the voice's sound
Upon the calm air dies.
Behold at England's feet her offspring pour
Their bounteous store;
To her each yields
The first fruits of its virgin fields;
Each country throws
Its hospitable portals open wide
To the great tide
That from the dense-thronged mother country flows.
New homes arise
By rivers once unknown, among whose reeds
The wild fowl fed, but now no longer dwells.
No more the bison feeds
Upon the prairie, for the once drear plain
Laughs in the sun and waves its golden grain.
By a slender chain
Ocean is linked to ocean, and the hum
Of labor in the wilderness foretells
The greatness of a nation yet to come.
In Southern seas
Another nation grows by slow degrees,
In dreamy India, under tropic sun,
Two hundred millions own an Empress' sway,
And day by day.
New territories won
Shed lustre on our Queen's half century.
FLEURS DE LYS.
THE CAPTURED FLAG.
Loudly roared the English cannon, loudly thundered back our own,
Pouring down a hail of iron from their battlements of stone,
Giving Frontenac's proud message to the clustered British ships:
"I will answer your commander only by my cannons' lips."
Through the sulphurous smoke below us, on the Admiral's ship of war,
Faintly gleamed the British ensign, as through cloudwrack gleams a
And above our noble fortress, on Cape Diamond's rugged crest--
Like a crown upon a monarch, like an eagle in its nest--
Streamed our silken flag emblazoned with the royal fleur de lys,
Flinging down a proud defiance to the rulers of the sea.
As we saw it waving proudly, and beheld the crest it bore,
Fiercely throbbed our hearts within us, and with bitter words we swore,
While the azure sky was reeling at the thunder of our guns,
We would strike that standard never, while Old France had gallant sons.
Long and fiercely raged the struggle, oft our foes had sought to land,
But with shot and steel we met them, met and drove them from the
Though they owned them not defeated, and the stately Union Jack,
Streaming from the slender topmast, seemed to wave them proudly back.
Louder rose the din of combat, thicker rolled the battle smoke,
Through whose murky folds the crimson tongues of thundering cannon
And the ensign sank and floated in the smoke-clouds on the breeze,
As a wounded, fluttering sea-bird floats upon the stormy seas.
While we looked upon it sinking, rising through the sea of smoke,
Lo! it shook, and bending downwards, as a tree beneath a stroke,
Hung one moment o'er the river, then precipitously fell
Like proud Lucifer descending from high heaven into hell.
As we saw it flutter downwards, till it reached the eager wave,
Not Cape Diamond's loudest echo could have matched the cheer we gave;
Yet the English, still undaunted, sent an answering echo back:
Though their flag had fallen conquered, still their fury did not slack,
And with louder voice their cannon to our cannonade replied,
As their tattered ensign drifted slowly shoreward with the tide.
There was one who saw it floating, and within his heart of fire,
Beating in a Frenchman's bosom, rose at once a fierce desire,
That the riven flag thus resting on the broad St. Lawrence tide
Should, for years to come, betoken how France humbled England's pride.
As the stag leaps down the mountain, with the baying hounds in chase,
So the hero, swift descending, sought Cape Diamond's rugged base,
And within the water, whitened by the bullets' deadly hail,
Springing, swam towards the ensign with a stroke that could not fail.
From the shore and from the fortress we looked on with bated breath,
For around him closer, closer, fell the messengers of death,
And as nearer, ever nearer, to the floating flag he drew,
Thicker round his head undaunted still the English bullets flew.
He has reached and seized the trophy. Ah! what cheering rent the skies,
Mingled with deep English curses, as he shoreward brought his prize!
Slowly, slowly, almost sinking, still he struggled to the land,
And we hurried down to meet him, as he reached the welcome strand.
Proudly up the rock we bore him, with the flag that he had won,
And that night the English vessels left us with the setting sun.
He had been with the Indians all the day,
But sat with us at eve,
Chatting and laughing in his genial way,
Till came the hour to leave;
And then he rose, we with him, for we loved
Our good old parish priest,
Who all his lifetime in our midst had moved
At death-bed and at feast.
He raised his hand for silence, and each head
Was bowed as though in prayer,
Expectant of his blessing, but instead
He stood in silence there.
Thrice he essayed to speak, and thrice in vain,
And then his voice came back,
Vibrating in a deep, triumphal strain
That it was wont to lack.
"My children, we must part. My task is done.
God calls me to His rest,
And though my labors seem scarce yet begun,
Surely He knoweth best.
I have grown old in laboring for Him,
My hair with age is white,
My footsteps feeble, and my eyesight dim--
But all shall change to-night.
"When strikes the hour of twelve, my weary soul
On earth shall cease to dwell,
As sign of which the chapel bell shall toll
Its slow funereal knell.
Then seek me, if you will, and you shall find
Upon the altar stair
The prison-house my soul will leave behind,
Kneeling as though in prayer.
"Seek, then, P�re Compain, on the Isle aux Coudres,
Nor fear the rising gale,
For Heaven will guide you through the angry flood,
And it shall not prevail.
He will be waiting for you on the sands,
Amid the morning gloom,
To be your comrade, and, with kindly hands
Consign me to my tomb."
He ceased, and left us, as though turned to stone,
All motionless and still:
And faintly fell his footsteps, as alone
He slowly climbed the hill.
Then we awoke, and all so wondrous seemed,
His words so strange at best,
We almost fancied we had slept and dreamed
That he had been our guest.
We turned unto our merriment anew,
With some kind thoughts for him;
Yet as the hour of midnight nearer drew,
And waxed the hearth fire dim,
A silence fell upon us, and in fear
We stopped and held our breath,
As though more clearly through the gloom to hear
The promised knell of death.
There had been something in his face that night
That thrilled our hearts with fear,
An undefinable, mysterious light,
Which told us Heaven was near.
He had a deeper lustre in his eyes,
His smile had seemed more bright,
Till, looking in his face, all Paradise
Seemed opened to our sight.
Soon chimed the clock. And scarcely had it ceased,
Than tolled the chapel bell,
As though for some long-suffering soul released,
Its slow funereal knell,
And on its ebon wings the rising gale
Swept landward from the sea,
And mingled with the chapel bell's long wail
Its own sad symphony.
We found him lying lifeless, as he said,
Before the altar, prone,
Nor laid our sinful hands upon the dead,
But left him there alone,
And launched our frail canoe upon the tide,
Not marvelling to behold
Before our prow the billows fall aside,
Like the Red Sea of old.
On every hand the screaming waters flung
Their great, white arms on high,
And over all the thundering storm-clouds hung
And battled in the sky.
Yet fearless we sailed on, until when day
Broke, panting, through the night,
The fertile Isle aux Coudres before us lay,
Its beach with breakers white.
And there, upon that tempest-beaten strand,
Waiting, P�re Compain stood
And beckoned to us with uplifted hand
Across the raging flood.
No need to tell our errand, for that night
P�re Brosse had sought his cell,
And told him all, then faded from his sight,
Breathing a kind farewell.
L'ORDRE DE BON TEMPS.
When Champlain with his faithful band
Came o'er the stormy wave
To dwell within this lonely land,
Their hearts were blithe as brave;
And Winter, by their mirth beguiled,
Forgot his sterner mood,
As by the prattling of a child
A churl may be subdued.
Among the company there came
A dozen youths of rank,
Who in their eager search for fame
From no adventure shrank;
But, with the lightness of their race
That hardship laughs to scorn,
Pursued the pleasures of the chase
'Till night from early morn.
And soon their leader, full of mirth.
And politic withal--
Well knowing that no spot on earth
Could hold them long in thrall,
Unless into their company,
Its duties and its sport,
Were introduced the pageantry
And etiquette of court--
Enrolled them in a titled band,
_L'Ordre de Bon Temps_ named,
First knighthood's grade for which this land
Of Canada is famed.
Each one in turn Grand Master was--
At close of day released--
His duty to maintain the laws,
And furnish forth a feast.
Filled with a pardonable pride
In nobles wont to dwell,
Each with his predecessor vied
In bounty to excel,
And thus it was the festive board
With beaver, otter, deer,
And fish and fowl was richly stored,
Throughout the changing year.
At mid-day--for our sires of old
Dined when the sun was high--
To where the cloth was spread, behold
These merry youths draw nigh,
Each bearing on a massy tray
Some dainty for the feast,
While the Grand Master leads the way,
Festivity's high priest!
Then seated round the banquet board,
Afar from friends and home,
They drank from goblets freely poured
To happier days to come.
And once again, in story, shone
The sun, that erst in France
Was wont, in days long past and gone,
Amid the vines to dance.
Still later, when the sun had set,
And round the fire they drew
To sing, or tell a tale ere yet
Too old the evening grew,
He who had ruled them for the day
His sceptre did resign,
And drink to his successor's sway
A brimming cup of wine.
Would that with the bold Champlain,
And his comrades staunch and true,
I had crossed the stormy main,
Golden visions to pursue:
And had shared
Their lot, and dared
Fortune with that hardy crew!
Thus I murmur, as I close
Parkman, day being long since sped,
Yet in vain I seek repose,
For the stirring words I read
In the sage's
Still are ringing in my head.
All the perils of the sea.
All the dangers of the land,
Of the waves that hungrily
Leapt round Champlain's stalwart band,
Of the foes,
That round him rose,
Numerous as the ocean sand.
Every trial he underwent,
Winter's famine and disease,
Weeks in dreary journey spent,
Battle, treason, capture--these
Sweep my mind,
As sweeps the wind,
Sighing, through the forest trees.
Wandering through the tangled brakes,
Where the treacherous Indians hide,
Launching upon crystal lakes,
Stemming Uttawa's dark tide;
Still my sight,
Pursues his flight
Through the desert, far and wide.
With the sunlight in his face,
I behold him as he plants
At Cape Diamond's rugged base,
In the glorious name of France,
Yon fair town
That still looks down
On the river's broad expanse.
I behold him as he hurls
Proud defiance at the foe,
And the fleur-de-lys unfurls
High o'er Admiral Kirkt below,
Till he slips,
With all his ships,
Down the river, sad and slow.
And I see him lying dead,
On that dreary Christmas day,
While the priests about his bed
Weeping kneel, and softly pray,
As the bell
Rings out its knell
For a great soul passed away!
Yes, a gallant man was he,
That brave-hearted, old French tar,
Whose great name through history
Shines on us, as from afar
Through the gray
Of dawning day
Gleams the glorious Morning Star!
THE PRIEST AND THE MINISTER.
From Old France once sailed a vessel,
Bearing hearts that came to nestle
In Acadia's breast and wrestle
With its Winters cold.
Priests and ministers it bore,
Who had sought that desert shore,
Filled with ardor to restore
Lost sheep to the fold.
Yet though on such errand wending,
They debated without ending,
Each his cherished faith defending
Morning, noon and night.
Never on the balmy air
Heavenward rose united prayer,
Stout Champlain was in despair
At the godless sight.
Late and early they debated,
Never ceasing, never sated,
Till the very sailors hated
Them and their debates.
Not at dinner were they able,
Even, to forego their Babel,
But, disputing, smote the table
Till they jarred the plates.
Tossed about by the gigantic
Billows of the wild Atlantic,
Still they argued, until, frantic
With religious zeal,
Tonsured priests and Huguenots
From discussions came to blows,
Sieur de Monts had no repose
From their fierce appeal.
Oft the minister came crying,
How, while he had been replying
To the cur� and denying
Something he had said,
That the latter fell on him
And, with more than priestly vim,
Beat him, body, head and limb--
Beat him till he fled.
Days passed by, and then one morning,
While the sunbeams were adorning
Sea and sky, the lookout's warning
Echoed from the mast;
And, before the close of day,
Safe the little vessel lay,
Anchored in a sheltered bay:
Land was reached at last.
But, within their cabins lying,
Priest and Minister were dying,
To their future haven nighing,
Ere the dawn they died,
And within the forest shade
Soon a narrow grave was made,
Where the two were gently laid,
Sleeping side by side.
That same evening, as they rested
Round the fire, the sailors jested
Of the dead, how they contested
All across the sea,
And a sailor, laughing said:
"Let us hope the reverend dead
Yonder in their narrow bed
Manage to agree."
Merry Carlo, who runn'st at my heels
Through the dense-crowded streets of the city,
In and out among hurrying wheels,
And whose run in the suburbs reveals
Only scenes that are peaceful and pretty.
Raise to mine your intelligent face,
Open wide your great brown eyes in wonder
While I tell how lived one of your race
Years ago in this now busy place--
Ay, and ran at the heels of its founder.
Mistress Pilot, for that was her name,
And you could not have called her a better,
Was a gallant and dutiful dame--
Since her breed is forgotten by Fame,
For your sake I will call her a setter.
Pilot lived when _Ville Marie_ was young,
And the needs of its people were sorest;
When the rifle unceasing gave tongue,
And the savage lay hidden among
The Cimmerian shades of the forest;
When the hearts of frail women were steeled
Not to weep for the dead and the dying;
When by night the fierce battle-cry pealed
And by day all who worked in the field
Kept their weapons in readiness lying;
When full oft at the nunnery gate,
As the darkness fell over the village,
Would a swart savage crouch and await,
With the patience of devilish hate,
A chance to kill women, and pillage.
Every one had his duty to do,
And our Pilot had hers like another,
Which she did like a heroine true,
At the head of a juvenile crew
Of the same stalwart stuff as their mother.
In a body these keen-scented spies
Used to roam through the forests and meadows,
And protect _Ville Marie_ from surprise,
Though its foes clustered round it like flies
In a swamp, or like evening shadows.
Oftentimes in the heat of the day,
Oftentimes through the mists of the morning,
Oftentimes to the sun's dying ray
There was heard her re�choing bay
Pealing forth its brave challenge and warning.
And so nobly she labored and well,
It was fancied--so runneth the story--
She had come down from heaven to dwell
Upon earth, and make war upon hell,
For the welfare of man and God's glory.
"When her day's work was over, what then?"
Well, my boy, she had one of your habits;
She would roam through the forest again,
But instead of bold hunting for men,
Would amuse herself hunting jack rabbits.
_THE SECRET OF THE SAGUENAY._
Like a fragment of torn sea-kale,
Or a wraith of mist in the gale,
There comes a mysterious tale
Out of the stormy past:
How a fleet, with a living freight,
Once sailed through the rocky gate
Of this river so desolate,
This chasm so black and vast.
'Twas Cartier, the sailor bold,
Whose credulous lips had told
How glittering gems and gold
Were found in that lonely land
How out of the priceless hoard
Within their rough bosoms stored,
These towering mountains poured
Their treasures upon the strand.
Allured by the greed of gain,
Sieur Roberval turned again,
And sailing across the main,
Passed up the St. Lawrence tide.
He sailed by the frowning shape
Of Jacques Cartier's Devil's Cape,
Till the Saguenay stood agape,
With hills upon either side.
Around him the sunbeams fell
On the gentle St. Lawrence swell,
As though by some mystic spell
The water was turned to gold;
But as he pursued, they fled,
Till his vessels at last were led
Where, cold and sullen and dead,
The Saguenay River rolled.
Chill blew the wind in his face,
As, still on his treasure chase,
He entered that gloomy place
Whose mountains in stony pride,
Still, soulless, merciless, sheer,
Their adamant sides uprear,
Naked and brown and drear,
High over the murky tide.
No longer the sun shone bright
On the sails that, full and white,
Like sea gulls winging their flight,
Dipped into the silent wave;
But shadows fell thick around,
Till feeling and sight and sound
In their awful gloom were drowned,
And sank in a depthless grave.
Far over the topmost height
Great eagles had wheeled in flight,
But, wrapped in the gloom of night,
They ceased to circle and soar:
Grim silence reigned over all,
Save that from a rocky wall
A murmuring waterfall
Leapt down to the river shore.
O merciless walls of stone!
What happened that night is known
By you, and by you alone:
Though the eagles unceasing scream,
How once through that midnight air,
For an instant a trumpet's blare,
And the voices of men in prayer,
Arose from the murky stream.
Since the morning we parted
On the slippery docks of Rochelle,
I have wandered, well nigh broken-hearted,
Through many a tree-shadowed dell:
I've hunted the otter and beaver,
Have tracked the brown bear and the deer,
And have lain almost dying with fever,
While not a companion was near.
I've toiled in the fierce heat of summer
Under skies like a great dome of gold,
And have tramped, growing number and number,
In winter through snowstorm and cold.
Yet the love in my heart was far hotter,
The fear of my soul far more chill,
As my thoughts crossed the wild waste of water
To your little home on the hill.
But now Father Time in a measure
Has reconciled me to my fate,
For I know he will bring my dear treasure
Back into my arms soon or late.
And, besides, every evening, when, weary,
I lie on my soft couch of pine,
Sleep wafts me again to my dearie,
And your heart once more beats against mine.
You never have heard of such doings
As those that are going on here;
We've nothing but weddings and wooings
From dawn till the stars reappear.
For the king, gracious monarch, a vessel
Has sent, bearing widows and maids
Within our rough bosoms to nestle,
And make us a home in the glades.
They are tall and short, ugly and pretty,
There are blondes and brunettes by the score:
Some silent and dull, others witty,
And made for mankind to adore.
Some round as an apple, some slender--
In fact--so he be not in haste--
Any man with a heart at all tender
Can pick out a wife to his taste.
Now, darling, don't pout and grow jealous,
I still am a bachelor free,
In spite of the governor's zealous
And extra-judicial decree,
Commanding all men to be married
In less than two weeks from this date,
And promising all who have tarried
Shall feel the full strength of his hate:
In spite of his maddening order,
That none in the country may trade
With the tribes on our side of the border,
Who is not a benedict staid;
In spite of a clause, far the sorest,
That none past his twentieth year,
And single, shall enter the forest
On any pretext whatsoe'er.
Now, you know I was ever a rover,
Half stifled by cities or towns,
Of nature--and you--a warm lover,
Wooing both in despite of your frowns,
So you well may imagine my sorrow
When fettered and threatened like this--
Oh! Marie, dear, pack up to-morrow,
And bring me back freedom and bliss.
If you do not, who knows but some morning
I'll waken and find a decree
Has been passed, that, without any warning,
Has wedded some woman to me?
Oh! Marie, ch�re Marie, have pity;
You only my woes can assuage;
I'm confined, till I wed, to the city,
And feel like a bird in a cage.
Then come, nor give heed to the billows
That tumble between you and Jules.
I know a sweet spot where lithe willows
Bend over a silvery pool,
And there we will dwell, dear, defying
Misfortune to tear us apart.
My darling, come to me, I'm dying
To press you again to my heart.
Last of its race, beside our college
There stands an Oak Tree, centuries old,
Which, could it voice its stores of knowledge,
Might many a wondrous tale unfold.
It marked the birth of two fair towns,
And mourned the cruel fate of one,
Yet still withstands grim Winter's frowns,
And glories in the Summer sun.
Jacques Cartier passed, its branches under,
Up yonder mount one autumn day,
And viewed, with ever-growing wonder,
The scene that spread beneath him lay.
He was the first from Europe's shore
To pass beneath the Oak Tree's shade,
The first whose vision wandered o'er
Such boundless wealth of stream and glade.
Beneath his feet a little village
Lay, like a field-lark in her nest,
Amid the treasures of its tillage,
The maize in golden colors dressed.
Years passed; and when again there came
A stranger to that peaceful spot,
Gone was the village and its name,
Save by a few gray-heads, forgot.
But soon beneath the Oak, another,
And sturdier village took its place;
One that the gentle Virgin mother
Has kept from ruin by her grace.
She saved it from the dusky foes
Who thirsted for its heroes' blood,
And when December waters rose
About its walls she stilled the flood.
What noble deeds and cruel, stranger
Than aught in fiction ere befell,
What weary years of war and danger
That village knew, the Oak might tell.
Perchance, brave Dollard sat of yore
Beneath its very shade, and planned
A deed should make for evermore
His name a trumpet in the land.
Perchance, beneath its gloomy shadows
De Vaudreuil sat that bitter day
When round about him, in the meadows
Encamped, the British forces lay;
And as he wrote the fatal word
That gave an Empire to the foe,
The Old Oak's noble heart was stirred
With an unutterable woe.
The army of a hostile nation
Once since hath entered _Ville Marie_,
But we avenged that desecration
At Chrystler's farm and Chateauguay--
Peace! peace! 'tis cowardly to flout
Our triumphs in a cousin's face:
That page was long since blotted out
And Friendship written in its place.
Beloved of Time, the Old Oak flourished
While at its foot its little charge,
An eaglet by a lion nourished,
Grew mighty by the river marge;
Till, where the deer were wont to roam,
There throbs to-day a nation's heart,
Of wealth and luxury the home,
Of learning, industry and art.
No longer now the church bells' ringing
Fills all the little town with life,
Its loud-tongued, startling clangor bringing
Young men and aged to the strife.
No longer through the midnight air
The savage hordes their war-cries peal,
As rushing from their forest lair
They meet the brave defenders' steel.
Long has the reign of war been ended
And Commerce crowned, whose stately fleet
Brings ever treasures vast and splendid
To lay them humbly at her feet.
And now her eager sons to-day
Have crossed the wild, north-western plain,
And made two oceans own her sway
Held captive by a slender chain.
What further Time may be preparing
For this fair town, the years will tell,
But while her sons retain their daring,
Their zeal and honor, all is well.
Still, as the seasons come and go,
Long may they spare the Old Oak Tree
In age as erst in youth to throw
Protection over _Ville Marie_.
_NELSON'S APPEAL FOR MAISONNEUVE_.
"Silent I have stood and borne it, hoping still from year to year
That the pleading voice of justice you would some day wake to hear.
But beneath the soulless present you have sunk the glorious past,
Till I cannot bear it longer--you must learn the truth at last.
Shame upon you, shameless city, heart of this great land of yours,
That the world should say you care not if your founder's name endures!
Shame upon you, that no statue stands within your greatest square
To commemorate the hero who so often battled there!
Who long years ago sprang lightly from his pinnace to the beach,
And amid the virgin forests, spreading far as eye could reach,
Knelt and prayed, his people with him, while the prophet-priest
How their growth should be as great as was the mustard seed's of old.
"Have you ceased to care, already, how that noble little band
Toiled, and fought with man and nature that their sons might
rule the land,
Braving winter's cold and famine, summer's hot and stifling breath,
Danger in unnumbered forms; and in each form a cruel death,
Slain by skulking, coward foemen, now one moment in the corn
Singing some sweet Norman ditty, and the next one overborne?
Comrades, you have mothers, sisters, wives whom you would die to save,
Think, then, of the noble ones who claim your tribute to the brave;
Tender women, timid children, crouching at the barricade,
Pallid, trembling, stained with blood, yet nerved to give the
Staunching deadly wounds, and wiping death-dews from a loved
While their fathers, husbands, brothers fought and won they scarce
"Think of him among them toiling! hear his simple, trusting prayers!
See him, stern, unyielding, hopeful, with a thousand daily cares,
Sharing his companions' hardships, cheering there and chiding here,
With a head to rule them wisely, and a heart that knew not fear,
Sleeping with his armor on him and his weapons by his bed,
Ready ever for the foes that, like the shadows, came and fled.
See him fighting in the forest with a host that seeks his blood!
Hear him praying to the Virgin to restrain the rising flood,
Vowing that if she would heed him and preserve the little town,
He himself would bear a cross and plant it on Mount Royal's crown!
True crusader, in whose heart there never dwelt one sordid thought,
Guardian of the Virgin's city: this is he you honor not.
"Of our Queen a stately statue stands upon Victoria Square,
In its hand a wreath of laurel, in that wreath a tiny pair
Nesting year by year uninjured, heedless of the passing throng,
Living symbols of a reign that guards the weak from every wrong.
Loyalty upraised that statue, and were it the only one
That your city had erected still the deed were nobly done.
But to honor me, my brothers, one whose blood was never shed
On your soil or for your country, heaps but shame upon my head,
Not because you might not praise me--I may merit your esteem--
But because you place me first where he alone should stand supreme.
Shame upon you, to forget him and remember such as I!
Shame upon you, if your ears are heedless still to honor's cry!
"True, I tamed a haughty foeman at Trafalgar and the Nile,
But I had a nation's wealth and numbers at my back the while.
His was one long fight with scarcely seven score to do his will,
With a host of open foes and secret foes, more deadly still;
Foes in every bush and hollow, foes behind his monarch's throne,
Stabbing with one hand extended seemingly to clasp his own.
Yet he triumphed, and behold you! now a country growing fast,
With a glorious future breaking through the darkness of the past,
With a host of stout hearts toiling day and night to make you great,
And a glittering roll of heroes worthy of a mighty state.
Yet you cannot he a nation if your children never hear
Aught of those whose blood has won the land that they should hold most
"Can you wonder that the rains have beaten on my statued form?
Can you marvel that the winter shakes me with its fiercest storm?
Ah! not age it is but shame that makes me look so worn and old,
Makes me hang my head and tremble lest the bitter truth be told.
It is murmured by the maples, it is whispered by the wind,
Till I cannot but imagine it is heard by all mankind,
How your children, from gay boyhood until tottering age, behold
Gallant Maisonneuve forgotten and less worthy me extolled.
Oh! my comrades, if you love me, lighten the disgrace I feel,
Lend your ready hands to aid me, bend your hearts to my appeal:
Raise a statue to the founder of this great, historic town,
Chomedey de Maisonneuve, or pity me and take mine down."
_TO ONE WHO LOVES RED ROSES._
When our lives were in their springtime and our souls were in the bud,
While the watchful world was silent, heeding not such childish love,
I poured forth for thee my heart-thoughts in a sweet, unthinking flood,
Like a bird that carols freely in the grove.
And thou heardst them, half unconscious of the import that they bore,
Till the years unlocked the chambers of thy stainless, maiden heart
And thou badest my songs be silent. They are silent evermore,
But their echoes from my soul will not depart.
Yet the love songs that I lilted in those by-gone childhood days,
Surely, them thou wilt not silence, let them be a memory dear
Of the happy days of childhood when unchecked I sang thy praise,
While with thee I looked to heaven and deemed it here.
The melody of birds is in her voice.
The lake is not more crystal than her eyes,
In whose brown depths her soul still sleeping lies.
With her soft curls the passionate zephyr toys,
And whispers in her ear of coming joys.
Upon her breast red rosebuds fall and rise,
Kissing her snowy throat, and, lover-wise,
Breathing forth sweetness till the fragrance cloys.
Sometimes she thinks of love, but, oftener yet,
Wooing but wearies her, and love's warm phrase
Repels and frightens her. Then, like the sun
At misty dawn, amid the fear and fret
There rises in her heart at last some One,
And all save love is banished by his rays.
There stands a cottage by a river side,
With rustic benches sloping eaves beneath,
Amid a scene of mountain, stream and heath.
A dainty garden, watered by the tide,
On whose calm breast the queenly lilies ride,
Is bright with many a purple pansy wreath,
While here and there forbidden lion's teeth
Uprear their golden crowns with stubborn pride.
See! there she leans upon the little gate,
Unchanged, save that her curls, once flowing free,
Are closely coiled upon her shapely head,
And that her eyes look forth more thoughtfully.
Hark to her sigh! "Why tarries he so late?"
But mark her smile! She hears his well-known tread.
Beneath the eaves there is another chair,
And a bruised lily lies upon the walk,
With the bright drops still clinging to its stalk.
Whose careless hand has dropped its treasure there?
And whose small form does that frail settee bear?
Whose are that wooden shepherdess and flock,
That noble coach with steeds that never balk?
And why the gate that tops the cottage-stair?
Ah! he has now a rival for her love,
A chubby-cheeked, soft-fisted Don Juan,
Who rules with iron hand in velvet glove
Mother and sire, as only Baby can.
See! there they romp, the mother and her boy,
He on her shoulders perched and wild with joy.
The sun was swimming in the purple tide,
His golden locks far floating on the sea,
When thou and I stole beachward, side by side,
To say adieu and dream of joys to be.
The ebbing waves were whispering to the strand
Amid the rocks a tender, sweet good-bye--
Ah! Well that night could we two understand
What bitter grief was in their ceaseless cry.
The salt wind blew across the rank marsh grass,
And laid its chilling, fingers on our pulse.
Sea nettles lay in many a shapeless mass,
Half hidden, in the garnet hills of dulse.
The awkward crabs ran sideways from our path,
And starfish sprawled face downward in the mud;
While, token of some bleak December's wrath,
A wreck lay stranded high above the flood.
Few were our words. Love speaks from heart to heart,
Nor needs that rude interpreter the tongue.
A few short hours and fate would bid us part,
No more to stray the weedy rocks among.
We dared not trust our bitter thoughts to speech.
For speech had raised the floodgates of our tears;
And so we walked in silence on the beach
With the wild billows wailing in our ears.
How beautiful thou wast! Thy snowy gown,
Whose rustle made sweet music, part revealed
Thy perfect form. Thy thoughtful eyes and brown,
Beneath their drooping lashes half concealed,
Swam in a sea of tears. Thy tresses played
Wild wanton with the wind, and kissed each cheek,
That flushed and paled, till one had well nigh said.
Thy very blood did think and love and speak.
We sat within the shelter of the boat.
That, buried in the sand for half its length,
Before the black-browed storm no more would float
Nor like a gull defy the tempest's strength.
We spoke of pleasures past, of joys to be
When we should meet again nor ever part.
I faltered forth my deathless love for thee,
And in thy tearful silence read thy heart.
We looked upon the setting of the sun;
We marked the summer twilight fade away;
We saw the star-worlds rising, one by one,
And, stooping, kiss the surface of the bay.
Then sitting in the moonlight, each by each,
I bent and kissed away thy lingering tears;
While ever plunged the billows on the beach
And sent their dreary cadence to our ears.
The sun was swimming in the purple tide,
His golden locks far floating on the sea,
When I stole forth yestre'en and sat beside
The stranded wreck to dream again of thee.
Across my cheek I felt the marsh wind sweep,
Still called the sea along the darkening shore,
Again the changeless stars began to peep;
Naught save thyself had changed since days of yore.
O! happy period of my early youth!
When Love was master, Reason but a slave,
When friends seemed heroes, woman crystal truth,
Success the certain portion of the brave:
Come back, come back and give me ere I die
The pure ideal of my life again!
In vain I plead. Time's snowy ashes lie
Cold on the hearth-stone of my aged brain.
Memory gleams like a gem at night
Through the gloom of to-day for me,
Bringing dreams of a summer bright
Summer sleeps in the ripening corn,
Sunlight glitters on wood and lea,
Scent of flowers on the air is borne
Swiftly rushes the river by,
Through the lake to the far-off sea,
Full of light as a maiden's eye,
Stands a house by the river side,
(Weeds upspring where the hearth should be),
Only its tottering walls abide
Birds are singing the live-long day,
Trembling, stoopeth an aspen tree.
Eager to hear what the wind will say
Still the sunlight around me falls,
Still in fancy I seem to see
Two who stand on the crumbling walls
Once more wanders a brown-eyed maid
Up the rough, country road with me,
Swinging her hat by its slender braid,
Once for a moment more we stay
Under the tattling aspen tree--
Birds are sweetly lilting to-day
Tree, thou art dear for that sweet tryst,
Dear, for the maiden's sake, to me
Is each spot that her feet have kissed
Fifteen years have come and gone,
Maiden since thy large, brown eyes
Opened first and looked upon
Wintry English skies.
Fifteen treasure ships they were,
Sailing on life's sunlit sea,
Bearing frankincense and myrrh
Sent from heaven to thee:
Fifteen pilgrims, old and gray,
Mounted upon moments fleet,
Who have seen thee but to lay
Pleasure at thy feet:
Fifteen maids who, like a queen,
Decked thee, Sweet, with beauty rare,
Till the world hath never seen
Maiden half so fair.
And a sixteenth year to-day
Brings a wreath of budding hours,
Saying: "Let not one decay;
All must grow to flowers."
All have not the self-same needs;
Loving smiles are life to some,
Others but by kindly deeds.
To perfection come.
Some are quickened by a tear,
Some by hopes and pleasures dead;
Take them, Bright Eyes, without fear,
God is overhead.
With silken tresses floating free,
A dark-eyed maiden wanders
Alone beside the murmuring sea,
And of her lover ponders.
The fisher boats at anchor ride,
The summer moon is waking;
Its beams of silver on the tide
In rippling flakes are breaking.
The golden sands in murmurs speak,
Her dainty foot that presses,
The salt sea wind upon her cheek
Is lavish of caresses.
Afar upon a winding stream
A youth is softly rowing;
Above his head the star-worlds gleam,
And bright the moon is glowing.
The trees are swaying to and fro,
Their shadowy boughs extending,
And leaf-born music, sweet and low,
Is with the night-wind blending.
Far off, where meadows kiss the stream,
A golden light is winking:
Upon the waves its soft rays gleam,
From crest to hollow sinking.
Upon the youth and maiden's heart
The lamp of love is shining,
Though distance holds them both apart,
Their souls are intertwining.
_THE SEA SHELL._
'Tis a dainty shell, 'tis a fragile shell
At my feet that the wild waves threw,
And I send it thee, that its lips may tell
In thine ear that my heart is true.
It will tell thee how by the sunlit sea
Pass the hours we were wont to share.
On its pearl-pink lips is a kiss for thee
That my own loving lips placed there.
In a lady's hand it will snugly lie,
'Tis as thin as a red rose-leaf,
Yet it holds the seagull's sorrowing cry,
And the roar of the tide-lashed reef.
In its ivory cave, though the mighty sea
May find room, and to spare, to move,
Yet this same sea shell that I send to thee
Is too small to contain my love.
_A JANUARY DAY._
King Winter sleeps. His daughter, Spring,
His sceptre steals away,
And, laughing, bids fair Nature bring
For once a perfect day.
Bright glows the sun in azure skies,
And balmy blows the breeze,
On gayer wing the sparrow flies,
And softly sway the trees.
The seasons run like some great stream
That to the ocean flows,
The waves that _here_ in sunshine gleam
Bound _there_ in mountain snows:
And, as where darkling waters steal,
Drear walls of rock between,
Yet in their depths a gem reveal
That glows with sunny sheen.
So in this blustering month that bears
The banner of the year,
Such days as this with balmy airs
Amid the storms appear.
It is but meet that thy birthday
Should open bright and warm,
And into darkness fade away
Without a cloud or storm.
Alone I pace the path we walked last year.
Dost thou remember it? Then everywhere
The wheat-fields shimmered in the summer glare,
But now the moonbeams sparkle, silver clear,
On swollen stream and meadows dun and drear,
While, with the myriad blossoms that they bear,
The cherry trees perfume the evening air,
And gaunt and cold the ruined house stands near.
The aspens whisper to the passing breeze.
I hear the night-hawk's scream, the pipe of frogs,
The baying of the distant village dogs,
The lapping waves, the rustle of the trees.
And every sound is musical to me,
For every sound is a sweet song of thee.
Sleep, dearest, sleep beside the murmuring sea;
Sleep, dearest, sleep, and bright dreams compass thee.
My sleepless thoughts a guard of love shall be
Around thy couch and bid thee dream of me.
Sleep, Bright Eyes, sleep.
Sleep, dearest, sleep, the slumber of the pure;
Sleep, dearest, sleep, in angels' care secure.
Evil itself thy beauty would allure
To cease from ill and make thy joyance sure.
Sleep, Bright Eyes, sleep.
Sleep, dearest, sleep; in slumber thou art mine;
Sleep, dearest, sleep; our souls still intertwine.
Yon radiant star that on thy couch doth shine
Bears from my lips a kiss to lay on thine.
Sleep, Bright Eyes, sleep.
_LOVE GUIDES US._
Love guides our bark, and we have naught to fear.
We are the world ourselves, and as we glide
Upon the stream of life, if Love but steer,
We care not how tempestuous the tide.
Thy head leans on my shoulder, and my arm
Is round thee clasped. Thine eyes upturn to mine,
So full of faith the future feels their charm
Blunting Fate's dart that threatens joy of thine.
O Love! thy tresses wind about my sense,
Thy glances melt my soul, and thy ripe lips
Seem morning roses, red and dewy, whence
The bee of love a draught of nectar sips.
Float on, float on upon the crystal tide,
Our company these snowy swans that seem
Our mirrored souls, pure love personified--
Float on, nor ever waken from our dream.
_THE LOVER'S APPEAL._
Tell me when you'll wed me?
Sweetest, name the day:
Hope has well nigh fled me,
Joy has slipped away.
Dearest, why this strange delay?
Must I sigh till we are gray?
With a smile,
We are young," you say.
Do you know the reason
Why the nightingale
Through the drear night season
Pipes her tuneful tale?
She was, once, like you, a maid,
Who her wedding day delayed,
And her swain,
All in vain,
For her favor prayed.
She had been a maiden
Fair to look upon,
Sweet as breezes laden
With the scent of dawn.
But her lover prayed that she
Rest not till eternity.
And this bird,
She was doomed to be.
Can you read the moral,
Of this mournful tale?
Sweetheart, if we quarrel,
To a nightingale
I will change you, though I weep,
You shall sing and never sleep.
With the owl
You shall prowl
Where the shades lie deep.
Tell me when you'll marry;
Darling, name the day:
Do not longer tarry,
Life slips fast away.
Do not, like the nightingale,
Live your harshness to bewail.
At your feet
Let my love prevail.
_THE SPIRIT WIFE._
Rabbi Ben Horad was a learned man,
Of gentle ways, who taught a pious flock,
So small, at morn and eve the sexton ran
From door to door, and with a triple knock
Summoned the faithful who were dwelling there
To kneel and seek the Lord in humble prayer.
The sexton had a daughter, than whom dreamed
Man fairer none, and from whose great, dark eyes
An angel soul in spotless radiance beamed,
As shines a star from out the midnight skies.
She loved the Rabbi with a maid's first love:
He worshipped her well nigh like God above.
Whene'er by mortal sickness sorely pressed
One of the little congregation lay,
The sexton's mallet to the flock expressed
With its sad knock his woe, and bade them pray;
Arid oft their intercession with the Lord
Prevailed, and He the invalid restored.
Late, late one night the sexton sought to sleep,
But ere he slept himthought he heard a sound
That caused his heart to throb, his flesh to creep--
The ghostly knocking of his daily round--
And, trembling, to his child he cried in fear:
"Some one is dying, daughter, dost thou hear?"
She heard the sound and answered with a cry,
Love teaching her: "Oh! it is he, mine own:
Rabbi Ben Horad is about to die--
Oh! father, haste! life may not yet have flown;
Bid all our people pray, that God may hear,
And in His mercy turn a willing ear."
All through the night the faithful people prayed
That their beloved Rabbi still might live;
And by their prayers the hand of death was stayed,
Yet could their prayers no greater favor give;
And so he lingered, while she watched the strife,
With sinking heart, waged between death and life.
Then, as a last resort, from door to door
The young men went, that all who wished might give
Some space of time out of their own life's store,
That yielded to the Rabbi he might live.
Some gave a year, a month a week, a day,
But wheresoe'r they went none said them nay.
At last they sought the maid and gravely asked:
"What wilt thou give, O maiden?" and she cried--
By his sad plight her deathless love unmasked--
"Oh! gladly for his sake I would have died:
Take all my life and give it unto him."
They wrote, but saw not, for their eyes were dim.
And lo! the Rabbi lived; but ere the earth
Had thrice upturned its face to greet the sun,
Hushed was the little congregation's mirth,
For the sweet maiden's life its course had run;
And, decked with flowers, they bore her to her grave,
He sobbing by whom she had died to save.
THE SPIRIT SONG.
Chastened by grief, Ben Horad holier grew,
And, uncomplaining, toiled from day to day.
His sad, sweet smile his loving flock well knew,
His kindly voice their sorrows charmed away;
Yet, though he bowed before his Master's will,
His heart was sad, for he was human still.
By night or day, wherever he might stray,
Through bustling city streets or lonely lane,
One form he ever saw--a maiden gay;
One voice he heard--a soft, melodious strain:
And oh! the loneliness, to see and hear,
Yet lack the tender touch of one so dear!
Long as he read into the silent night,
The winking stars soft peeping in his room,
While at his hand the dreamy, lambent light
Just lit his book and left all else in gloom.
His study walls evanished, and in mist
He saw the maid whose dead lips once he kissed:
Yet dead no more, but his dear spirit wife.
And still in heaven she sang the same glad strain
She would have sung on earth had not her life
Been given to him that he might live again,
And as she sang he wept: "Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet futurity."
There came a day when on the Rabbi's ears
Fell the low moans of one in mortal pain.
Slowly they died, as though dissolved in tears,
While a weak infant's wail took up the strain.
Sadly Ben Horad smiled, and raised his head:
"She has been spared that agony," he said.
Then all his sorrow died; but not for long,
For soon again the spirit voice he heard,
Crooning all day a little cradle song,
With happiness and love in every word.
And as she sang he wept: "Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet maternity."
Once more he heard her moans, and once again
Heard the young mother crooning o'er her child.
And then came no more sorrow in the strain,
Which had there been might him have reconciled,
But as she sang he wept: "Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet maturity."
And still he read the Talmud, day and night,
And still the years slipped by on noiseless wing.
Then one day as he studied, lo! the sprite,
Till then long silent, recommenced to sing.
He sighed: "To-day she feasts her eldest boy,
And I have robbed my darling of this joy."
Again was silence, and again there fell
Upon the Rabbi's ears the sweet refrain,
With the glad tumult of a marriage bell,
Now rising like a bird, now low again.
"Her daughter weds," he said. "Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet maternity."
Year after year he lived, and children died
Of age, whom he had dandled, until he,
Worn with his grief, for death's oblivion sighed;
But still he heard the same sweet melody,
And could not die until the singing ceased,
For by her life had his life been increased.
Long flashed the lamp upon the sacred page,
Long peeped the star-worlds through the orioled pane,
Long nightly sat the white-haired, saintly sage
And listened till at last the happy strain
Died into discord. "God be thanked," he said--
Next day they found him, smiling now--but dead.
In Egypt Rhodope was born,
And lived afar from king and court;
No jewels did the maid adorn;
She crowned herself with flowers in sport.
Her hair was like a summer night,
Her eyes like stars that twinkle low,
Her voice like soft winds in their flight,
When through the tremulous leaves they blow.
She dwelt beside the sacred Nile,
And in its waters every day,
With but the sun to gaze and smile,
Like any nymph was wont to play.
While in the limpid stream she played
One day, an eagle cleft the blue,
And, hovering o'er the sporting maid,
Upon the bank espied her shoe.
Loth to forget so sweet a sight,
And lest his memory should grow dim,
He sought the earth with sudden flight,
And bore the shoe aloft with him.
He bore it far, and let it fall
In the king's palace, where next day
So lily-frail, so strangely small,
Within the palace-court it lay.
The king was walking, wrapped in thought,
Throughout his palace, up and down:
Him had his councillors besought,
With some fair maid to share his crown,
And he had searched the wide world through
To find a princess he could love,
Yet all in vain he sought to woo,
His heart there was not one could move.
Into the palace-court he went,
Still wondering whom to make his bride,
And as he strolled, eyes earthward bent,
The wondrous tiny shoe he spied.
As leaps the sun to tropic skies,
So sprang his heart unto its choice,
Love sparkled brightly in his eyes,
And thrilled triumphant in his voice.
"You bid me wed, I could not do,
For lack of love, your bidding, Sirs.
But find the maid who wore this shoe,
And I will make my kingdom hers."
They searched the palace from the ground
Up to the towers, but in vain;
Nowhere was maiden to be found
To own the shoe and share the reign.
Then came a lad, who told in awe
How just at dawn an eagle flew
Above the town, and from its claw
Dropped to the palace-yard the shoe.
The wise men stroked their beards, and said:
"The gods have surely done this thing,
That our beloved lord may wed
A maiden meet for such a king."
Then far and wide the heralds rode
To find the king's God-chosen bride;
They chanced on Rhodope's abode,
The overflowing Nile beside.
She stood before the heralds twain,
She fitted on the tiny shoe,
And claimed it for her own again,
And not till then their errand knew.
The richest robes they offered her,
But she refused them: "If my king
In my coarse garb, will deem me fair,
Then only will I take his ring."
Before the king the maid they brought,
And at his feet she bent the knee;
He gently raised her: "Nay, kneel not,
O sweetheart! I should kneel to thee,
"Fair as a poet's dream thou art,
Purer than lilies--Oh! mine own,
Since thou has won thy monarch's heart,
'Tis meet that thou shouldst share his throne."
The wise men stroked their beards and said:
"The gods have surely done this thing."
Then Rhodope the fair was wed,
And ruled all Egypt with the king.
_HOPE AND DESPAIR._
You love the sun and the languid breeze
That gently kisses the rosebud's lips,
And delight to see
How the dainty bee,
Stilling his gauze-winged melodies
Into the lily's chalice dips.
I love the wind that unceasing roars,
While cringe the trees from its wrath in vain,
And the lightning-flash,
And the thunder-crash,
And skies, from whose Erebus depths outpours
In slanting drifts the autumnal rain.
You sigh to find that the time is here
When leaves are falling from bush and tree;
When the flowerets sweet
Die beneath our feet,
And feebly totters the dying year
Into the mists of eternity.
To me the autumn is never drear,
It bears the glory of hopes fulfilled.
Though the flowers be dead,
There are seeds instead,
That, with the spring of the dawning year,
With life will find all their being thrilled.
You tread the wood, and the wind behold
Tear down the leaves from the crackling bough
Till they make a pall,
As they thickly fall,
To hide dead flowers. The air seems cold,
No summer gladdens the forest now.
HOPE AND DESPAIR
I tread the maze of the changing wood,
And though no light through the maples plays,
Yet they glow each one,
Like a rose-red sun,
And drop their leaves, like a glittering flood
Of warm sunbeams, in the woodland ways.
Poor human heart, in the year of life
All seasons are, and it rests with thee
To enjoy them all,
Or to drape a pall
O'er withered hopes, and to be at strife
With things that are, and no brightness see.
Poor, lone Carlotta, Mexico's mad Queen,
Babbling of him, amid thy vacant halls,
Whose ears have long been heedless of thy calls;
Sad monument of pomp that once hath been,
Thy staring eyes mark ever the same scene
Of levelled muskets, and a corpse which falls,
Dabbled in blood, beneath the city walls--
Though twenty years have rolled their tides between.
Not of this world thy vengeance! They have passed,
Traitor and victim, to the shadow-land.
Not of this world thy joy; but, when at last
Reason returns in Paradise, its hand
Shall join the shattered links of thought again,
Save those that form this interval of pain.
Mad fools! To think that men can be
Made equal all, when God
Made one well nigh divinity
And one a soulless clod.
Nowhere in Nature can we find
Things equal, save in death,
One man must rule with thoughtful mind,
One serve with panting breath.
The maples spread their foliage green
To shade the grass below,
Hills rise the lowly vales between
Or streams would never flow.
A million creatures find a home
Within a droplet's sphere,
And giants through the woodlands roam
While quakes the land in fear.