Documenting the American South Logo
Loading

Flowers of Hope and Memory: A Collection of Poems:
Electronic Edition.

Jordan, Cornelia J. M. (Cornelia Jane Matthews), 1830-1898


Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
supported the electronic publication of this title.


Text transcribed by Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Joby Topper
Text encoded by Joshua McKim
First edition, 2001
ca. 500K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
2001.

        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Source Description:
(title page) Flowers of Hope and Memory: A Collection of Poems,
(spine) Flowers of Hope and Memory.
Cornelia J. M. Jordan
330 p., [1] leaf of plates : port.
Richmond, Va.:
Published By A. Morris
1861

Call number 3142.2conf (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
        The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original. The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
        Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. Encountered typographical errors have been preserved, and appear in red type.
        All footnotes are inserted at the point of reference within paragraphs.
        Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
        All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
        All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
        All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
        All em dashes are encoded as --
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Running titles have not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.


Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

Languages Used:

LC Subject Headings:


Revision History:


        

Illustration


        

Illustration


Page half-titlepage

        

Illustration


Page frontispiece

        

Illustration


Page titlepage

        

Illustration


        

Illustration


FLOWERS
OF
HOPE AND MEMORY:
A
Collection of Poems,

BY

CORNELIA J. M. JORDAN.

RICHMOND, VA.:
PUBLISHED BY A. MORRIS.
1861.


Page verso

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861,
BY A. MORRIS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Virginia.


Page v

        To
The Fireside and the Grave,
The Living and the Dead
of a
Broken Home-Circle,
This Volume is affectionately
and tearfully inscribed,
By
The Authoress.


Page vii

CONTENTS.


Page xi

PROEM.


                         WITH loving hands I humbly bring
                         My little wreath of flowers;
                         Some gathered from the haunts of men,
                         And some from wild wood bowers.


                         Some blossom'd in my life's glad Spring,
                         Others in later years,
                         And some were cull'd and woven in
                         The autumn time, of tears.


                         Some grew like sea-weeds, distant far,
                         By sounding Ocean caves,
                         And some (dearest of all are these),
                         Have blossom'd over graves.


Page xii


                         No rare exotics mingle here
                         Their rainbow hues combined,
                         But simple flowers alone look out
                         And ask your welcome kind.


                         Such as they are,--for you, my friends,
                         I've twined this wreath, to be
                         A votive offering at the shrine
                         Of Hope and Memory.


Page 13

FLOWERS OF HOPE AND MEMORY.

THE BRIDE OF HEAVEN.


                         SHE was arrayed as for a Bridal hour;
                         Round her fair forehead twined a matchless wreath
                         Of spotless Orange flowers, and her dark hair
                         Lay in rich, glossy folds, around a brow
                         Which wore the seal of youth and beauty too.
                         The smile of truth played on her coral lip,
                         And on her cheek the blush of innocence;
                         While faith and hope beamed from her dark-brown eyes.
                         In the gay world I had known Genevieve,
                         A being loved and lovely. Yet I marked


Page 14


                         That oft she seemed as some lone star, whose light
                         Waned in the skies, forsaken. Oftentimes
                         A spell of brooding sadness darkly stole
                         Over her gentle spirit, causing friends
                         To marvel that her heritage of wealth,
                         And Nature's bounteous dower of rarest gifts,
                         Did fail to bring her happiness complete.
                         And there was one within whose noble heart
                         Her image lay, e'en like a mirror bright,
                         Which did reflect all that in Earth or Heaven
                         To him seemed beautiful. Aye, and his love,
                         His first, fresh, early love was hers. Alas!
                         That we should ever waste the treasured wealth
                         Of deep and true affection, on a heart
                         Within whose depths there ne'er can throb one pulse
                         Of answering sympathy. She had long vowed
                         To let no human passion e'er find place
                         Within her maiden bosom, and the hour,
                         The solemn hour had come, when she should be
                         Declared the consecrated Bride of Heaven.
                         Lights shone resplendent through the vaulted dome
                         Of the old Convent Chapel; tapers bright


Page 15


                         Gleamed softly through the aisles, and, here and there,
                         Lit up with mellow ray, the quaint Chef-d'oeuvre
                         Of some old Master.
                         Eager crowds pressed in:
                         The young and old, the gay and sad of heart;
                         Mirth with her jests, and Sorrow with her tears;
                         Manhood and Beauty, Youth and Age were there.
                         And he was there, whose lofty brow was bent,
                         Whose heart was breaking at the sacrifice.
                         He saw the Orange wreath placed on her brow,
                         And in her hand, the mystic Crucifix,
                         While round her floated, gracefully, the veil.
                         Timidly, yet not with fear, she approached
                         The illumined altar, and the white-stoled Priest
                         Opened the Holy Book, and in loud voice
                         Asked the stern questions:
                         "Dost thou here renounce
                         The world, its pomps and vanities? Dost fling
                         Aside all ties of human love, and vow
                         To let no Earth-born passion e'er displace
                         The sacred love of Jesus? Wilt forsake


Page 16


                         All that the world holds dear, wealth, honors, friends,
                         To be henceforth the chosen bride of Christ?"
                         A breathless silence reigned. The blushing cheek
                         Of the young novice paled, and gushing tears
                         Moistened her eyelids. Did a thought of home,
                         Of father, mother, and the parted band
                         Of brothers, sisters dear, wake in her heart
                         The slumbering chord of holiest affections?
                         Ah! did she feel in that stern, trying hour,
                         How hard it is, to coldly cast aside
                         Those who have loved us most; to sever ties
                         By God and Nature hallowed and blest? Did
                         Her cradle hymn, fresh from a mother's lip,
                         Chime with the Anthem; or the Organ's tone,
                         Wake the sweet memory of voices loved
                         In early childhood? Ah, could we've withdrawn
                         The secret veil which guarded thus, the heart
                         Of that fair girl, we might have witnessed there
                         The bitter struggle which her spirit felt
                         At yielding thus, the cherished ties of life.
                         One bright hope had armed her for the conflict,


Page 17


                         And she must tear all others from her heart,
                         E'en though it break. One gush of weeping more,
                         And she could then speak with unfaltering voice
                         The expected vow.
                         Silence more silent grew,
                         Until the very air seemed hushed and still.
                         "Hearken," at length was said, in tones that drew
                         Their firmness from some superhuman source.
                         "Hearken, oh, Earth! and Heaven give listening ear
                         To this, my utterance. I do here renounce
                         Henceforth, forever, every mortal tie.
                         E'en from this hour, I take thee, Saviour mine,
                         To be my all in all. For love of Thee
                         I do renounce all other loves. Thy Cross
                         Shall be my talisman, and thy holy name
                         My chosen watchword. That the world may know
                         I am no longer of it, this black veil
                         Shall soon displace the snowy one I wear.
                         Beneath its folds my consecrated face
                         Will be securely guarded from the view
                         Of men; and, as a sacred sign, 'twill prove


Page 18


                         That I can ne'er admit another love,
                         Than that I bear to Jesus."
                         Hark, a sigh!
                         One deep-drawn sigh, and Rudolph looked his last
                         Upon his brave heart's idol. She withdrew
                         To veil her love-sealed features from man's gaze
                         Forever. * * * * * *
                         Quickly the scene was changed, and in her cell
                         Knelt Genevieve, a consecrated Nun,--
                         The sister Eulalie.
                         No rich brocade
                         Now waved its silken folds about her form;
                         No jewel sparkled from her close-veiled breast.
                         The coarse dark "habit" was her wedding dress,
                         A silver cross her bridal ornament.
                         Around her, freshly shorn from the young head,
                         Lay scattered strands of glossy, raven hair;
                         And at her feet the snowy, orange wreath,--
                         An emblem meet of virgin purity.
                         O'er her fair brow the sombre "black veil" hung,
                         Shading, e'en like a cloud, her youthful face;
                         And in low voice, she meekly counted o'er


Page 19


                         The mystic beads, raising, anon, her eyes
                         To that bright Heaven, for which she had resigned
                         All, all the treasured hopes of earth. She asked
                         That no regret might ever come to thwart
                         The solemn keeping of those holy vows,
                         Her lips had but just spoken. As the prayer
                         Died on her virgin tongue, the Convent bell
                         Called her to matins; and the saddened throng
                         Who came, as chosen witnesses, to see
                         Those solemn nuptial rites, heard the deep sound,
                         But as the death-knell of a cherished friend.
                         She only looked a hurried, last farewell,
                         And then withdrew, leaving a mournful spell
                         Of gloom upon us, as the massive door
                         Closed with an echo deep, upon those loved
                         Retiring footsteps we should hear no more.
                         A moment's pause, and clouds of incense rose,
                         Filling the air with fragrance. Voices sweet
                         Chimed with the Organ's peal, and loudly, all
                         Proclaimed our Genevieve the Bride of Heaven.


Page 20

THE PRAYER OF FAITH.


                         FATHER above!
                         Around whose throne the Cherubim are kneeling,
                         And Angels wait, their speechless praise revealing--
                         In whose pure presence veilèd Seraphs bend,
                         Awed by the light Thy dazzling glories lend,--
                         Hear, and remove
                         All blight of sin from out a heart defiled
                         By dross and stain of Earth--I am thy child.


                         Thou Light of Light!
                         Whose radiance fills the boundless sphere of Heaven,
                         Let one blest ray unto my soul be given,
                         And with its piercing radiance chase the gloom
                         Which hangs where Hope's fair blossoms fain would bloom.
                         Cheer me to-night!


Page 21


                         At Thy command sorrow and darkness flee!
                         Giver of Light, lift up my soul to thee.


                         Saviour divine!
                         On Calvary's mount Thy sacred heart was anguished,
                         Thy body bruised, pierced, torn and bleeding, languished;
                         For us Thy brow, pressed by its thorny crown,
                         Pale with its "solemn agony," bowed down--
                         Let Thy grace shine
                         In human hearts crushed now by mortal strife--
                         Send us Thy love to soothe, Giver of Life!


                         Spirit of Truth!
                         At thy behest the doubtful soul, and erring,
                         May lose its fears, Thy changeless law revering,
                         And resting all its wavering hopes on Thee,
                         Straight to the guidance of Thy wisdom flee--
                         Bless Thou my youth!
                         Ere the "long night" cometh, seal with Thy love,
                         This heart I offer thee, Father above!


Page 22

SONG OF THE MORNING SPRITE.


                         Lo! I come with a joyous step and free,
                         The sunlight my brow adorning;
                         Dewy gems I wear in my shining hair,
                         For I am the Sprite of Morning.


                         When I touch the Earth with my fairy wand,
                         Lo! midnight and darkness vanish,--
                         The bright stars grow pale and the sweet moonbeams fail,
                         As the Night's dull train I banish.


                         Hope, murmuring a while in soft pensive tones,
                         Her low sweet melodies humming,
                         Breaks out in wild song as I pass along,
                         And cheerily greets my coming.


Page 23


                         The flowers impatiently wait my smile,
                         As, down in their green beds hidden,
                         They long for the day, as a child at play,
                         Seeks a loving glance unbidden.


                         And I shake from their drowsy leaves dull sleep,
                         I give to their bowed stalks lightness;
                         I sprinkle the dew on their bosoms too,
                         For they love its shining brightness.


                         The birds are all glad when my step draws near,
                         As out, from their green boughs peeping,
                         Their warbles so clear, wake the zephyrs near,
                         On the breasts of the flowers sleeping.


                         Heaven's glowing light is the crown I wear,
                         No other my gay brow beareth;
                         Its jewel, a Star, is more radiant far,
                         Than gems the proud monarch weareth.


                         I laugh and I sport with all joyous things,
                         I brighten the path of sadness;


Page 24


                         I know I am wild, but I'm Nature's child,
                         And mine is a life of gladness.


                         Lo! I come with a joyous step and free,
                         The sunlight my brow adorning;
                         Dewy gems I wear in my shining hair,
                         For I am the Sprite of Morning.


Page 25

LITTLE THINGS.


                         LITTLE things--aye, little things,
                         Make up the sum of life,--
                         A word, a look, a single tone,
                         May lead to calm or strife.


                         A word may part the dearest friends--
                         One, little, unkind word,
                         Which in some light, unguarded hour,
                         The heart with anger stirred.


                         A look will sometimes send a pang
                         Of anguish to the heart;
                         A tone will often cause the tear
                         In Sorrow's eye to start.


                         One little act of kindness done--
                         One little soft word spoken,


Page 26


                         Hath power to wake a thrill of joy,
                         E'en in a heart that's broken.


                         Then let us watch these "little things,"
                         And so respect each other,
                         That not a word, or look, or tone,
                         May wound or vex a brother.


Page 27

THOU ART GONE TO THE GRAVE.


                         THOU art gone to the grave, its cold portals closed o'er thee,
                         While Hope's brilliant star o'er thy pathway did shine;
                         While Love's fairest flowers shed their fragrance around thee,
                         And Youth's brightest treasures, sweet sister, were thine.


                         Thou art gone to the grave, its dark gloom is upon thee,
                         And hushed is thy voice, full of kindness and love;
                         Yet still in my happiest dreams I behold thee,
                         All radiant with beauty and brightness above.


Page 28


                         Thou art gone to the grave, with no stain on thy spirit,
                         No shadow of sorrow or care on thy brow;
                         All sinless and pure, endless bliss to inherit,
                         In life's early morn thy dear form was laid low.


                         Thou art gone to the grave, yet ah, why should I mourn thee!
                         Sweet flower, cut down in thy freshness and bloom.
                         Perhaps hadst thou lingered, misfortune had claimed thee,
                         Or sorrow thrown o'er thee its withering gloom.


                         Thou art gone to the grave, and I would not recall thee,
                         For all that the world gives of rapture or joy;
                         Well I know that the kind arms of Jesus enfold thee,
                         And pleasures unceasing thy moments employ.


Page 29

THE MANSION BY THE SEA.


                         I KNOW a mansion, old and lone,
                         Near by a Sea-girt shore--
                         Its ivied towers are crumbling piles,
                         Its turrets grim and hoar,
                         And gaunt Decay in silence broods
                         Forever o'er its solitudes.


                         A lonely ruin, vast and grand,
                         Mould on the sculptured walls,
                         While moth and lizard trail and creep
                         Along the marbled halls.
                         There, when the Storm-king shows his face,
                         The Curlew finds a hiding-place.


                         No human forms are seen to glide
                         This dreary Mansion near,


Page 30


                         And through its aisles no voices ring
                         In music wild and clear.
                         But day and night the Ocean surge
                         There echoes low, its plaintive dirge.


                         Once, near the spot, at sunset hour,
                         An aged man I spied,
                         As, from the lonely, barren beach,
                         I watched the foaming tide.
                         His form was bent, and from his brow
                         The Sea-breeze lifted locks of snow.


                         Long hours I marked him, silent, gaze
                         Upon you crumbling pile,
                         And down his furrowed cheek there rolled,
                         A burning tear the while.
                         Ah! well I knew that Mansion dim
                         Waked mournful memories for him.


                         Perhaps 'twas here his boyhood passed;
                         Perhaps a mother dear
                         First watched his timid, infant steps


Page 31


                         And boyish beauty here.
                         Or, it may be, that here hath died
                         A gentle, loving, youthful Bride.


                         E'en as I mused, the Sun's last rays
                         Lit up that ruin old,
                         Till all its towers were bathed in light,
                         Its turrets crowned with gold.
                         And as the scene my thoughts beguiled,
                         The old man marked it too, and smiled.


                         Ere long his trembling steps approached,
                         And, standing by my side,
                         He gazed, in silent awe, upon
                         The darkly rolling tide.
                         And as a white Sail ploughed the main,
                         A tear-drop dimmed his eye again.


                         "They'll not come back to me, ah! no,"
                         He turned, at length, and said,
                         "I'll not regain my treasures till
                         The Sea gives up its Dead"


Page 32


                         And to the calm, blue smiling sky,
                         He, upward, raised his tearful eye.


                         My questioning thoughts a look betrayed,
                         And soon he thus began:
                         "Long, weary years have passed since there
                         I lived a happy man."
                         And pointing to the Mansion old,
                         A tale of sorrowing love he told.


                         "'Twas there I lived in calm content,
                         For Heaven had smiled on me,
                         And loving eyes, with mine, looked out
                         Upon the murmuring Sea.
                         But while I watched their tender light,
                         Death veiled them from my yearning sight.


                         "So perished from my side my wife,
                         In youthful beauty's bloom,
                         And soon a smiling babe was laid
                         Beside her in the tomb.
                         Yet though life's dearest joy was gone,
                         My stricken heart must still bear on.


Page 33


                         "I felt that nought could fill again
                         The void which Death had made,
                         Yet still around my lonely hearth,
                         Two laughing children played.
                         These claimed my every thought and care,
                         My noble son and daughter fair.


                         "They grew to bless my fondest wish,
                         And I, that they might be
                         Acquainted with my fatherland,
                         Sent both across the Sea.
                         And from this spot I watched the tide
                         Which bore my children from my side."


                         He paused. "Where are they now?" I asked.
                         His answer was a sigh;
                         And then he pointed to the Sea,
                         And upward to the sky.
                         "An Ocean grave," I, musing, said;
                         The old man bowed his hoary head.


                         The Sea-breeze sighed a requiem round
                         That dim old Mansion grey,


Page 34


                         As, o'er its towers and turrets now,
                         The twilight shadows lay.
                         And as I turned to leave the strand,
                         The stranger seized my proffered hand.


                         "They came not back, in vain I watched
                         Each coming sail in view;
                         The story of their fate, alas!
                         No mortal ever knew.
                         No wreck was found--a fearful gale
                         Was all that told the sorrowing tale.


                         "My homestead yonder now became
                         Intolerable to me,--
                         I could not bear a breeze or flower
                         That whispered of the Sea.
                         Its doors were closed, and I became
                         A wanderer in heart and name. * * * * * *


                         "But God is good, I know; and Heaven
                         Not far away," he said.


Page 35


                         "I shall regain my treasures when
                         The Sea gives up its Dead."
                         And as I clasped his trembling hand,
                         Our tears fell mingling on the strand.


                         Long years have vanished since I heard
                         That old man's parting sigh;
                         Yet never, while my heart can feel
                         One sympathy, shall I
                         Forget the tale he told to me
                         Of that old Mansion by the Sea.


Page 36

THE POOR.


                         Have pity on them, for their days
                         Are cheerless, cold and drear;
                         And night, unwelcomed, comes to them
                         With many a grief-born tear.
                         The scanty meal, the slender fire,
                         Tired Nature's unattained desire:
                         Alas! we know not half the care,
                         The poor, the very poor must bear.


                         Speak kindly to them, do not chide,--
                         E'en though by sin and shame,
                         Their paths are darkened thus; yet oh!
                         In pity do not blame.
                         His searching eye, who may endure,
                         To whom the purest are not pure,--


Page 37


                         'Tis His alone to judge, not we,--
                         Poor heritors of misery.


                         Deal gently with them,--fearful Want
                         Hath filled their hearts with pain;
                         Perchance a word may wake the chords
                         Of slumbering joy again.
                         Oh, to their gall-cup add not more:
                         Be kind, be soothing to the poor;
                         For whatsoe'er their sins may be,
                         They still should claim our sympathy.


                         Give to them gladly, while thou hast,
                         In mercy don't delay;
                         When Fortune smiles, turn not thy face
                         From helpless Want away.
                         Thy prompt assistance yet may save
                         Some brother from a hungered's grave;
                         "Riches have wings;" ah! wisely said,--
                         You too may beg your "daily bread."


Page 38

DEATH OF THE HEART-FLOWER.*

        * On the death of Laura, infant daughter of Dr. William S. Morriss, of Lynchburg.



                         'TWAS a cheerless night--the last of Winter;
                         O'er the quiet town darkness now rested
                         Like a gloomy pall. Not a sound was heard
                         Save when the restless winds swept howling by,
                         Eager for tempest. In her lonely room
                         An anxious mother watched her suffering child;
                         And oh, how fraught with earnest love, and pain,
                         And silent anguish was that mother's vigil.
                         Close in its little cradle lay her charge,--
                         A babe of three bright summers. On its check
                         Health glowed but yesterday, and feebly now
                         The crimson life-stream wanders through its veins.
                         Anxiously the skilled physicians watch, while
                         Gentle nurses wait around.


Page 39


                         Slumber seals
                         The sufferer's eye, and hope springs up afresh
                         That morn will bring a change. * * *
                         * * * * * Fiercely without
                         The moaning wind sighs a last farewell to
                         Winter. Through the distant sky, the threat'ning
                         Clouds roll on, and leave the pale, sweet moon
                         As clear, and calm, and bright, as if no hearts
                         Were breaking then beneath it.
                         Hark !
                         The old Church Clock strikes twelve. Winter has
                         gone;
                         And up from Nature's bosom springs the breath
                         Of coming violets. O'er the Earth
                         A quiet stillness reigns--afar is heard
                         The music flow of waters, but the winds
                         Are hushed to silence, and the folded buds,
                         And birds, and flowers, wake on the breast of Spring.
                         A feeble moan calls the young mother now
                         Close to the cradle. Earnestly she bends
                         To catch some symptom of returning health;
                         But oh! the wish is vain. That brightening eye


Page 40


                         Is but the spirit peering ere it takes
                         Its heavenward flight.
                         The feeble pulse grows faint
                         And fainter, and around her neck are twined
                         The little arms that oft, in happier hours
                         Have fondled her before. "Too much, too much!"
                         Breaks from her lips in low convulsive sobs,
                         While friends, physicians, nurses, patient wait
                         For Death to claim his own. Ah, how could she
                         Yield silently her treasure to his cold,
                         Freezing arms? The heart so worn with watching
                         And with hope deferred, is breaking now; and,
                         Struggling with despair, at length pours forth
                         Its tide of pent-up anguish in one wild,
                         Piteous wail.
                         "How can I give thee up,
                         Oh, child of many hopes and fondest love?
                         Father, remove this cup
                         And send some other test my strength to prove.
                         So lovely, gentle, mild,--
                         Laura, thy smiling beauty haunts me now,
                         Sinless and undefiled!


Page 41


                         Oh, must I see thy form in death laid low?
                         Thy voice,--its music tone,
                         Rings through my ear in merry accents wild;
                         How desolate and lone
                         Must be our hearth without thee, angel child?
                         Stay, stay thy blow, stern Death!--
                         One moment let me gaze in that dear eye,
                         And feel again the breath,
                         That fanned my throbbing breast in days gone by."
                         --Alas! too late.
                         No smile of love, no look
                         Of recognition met her gaze. Feebly
                         The little arms slacken their hold. A sigh,
                         A restless stir, and then a quivering
                         Of the stricken frame, and all is over.
                         Her heart-flower had perished with the morning dawn
                         Of Spring.


Page 42

EULALIE.


                         EULALIE, when first I saw thee,
                         Thy young heart was blithe and free,
                         And the charm of youthful beauty,
                         Threw its radiance over thee.
                         Thou wert in the Convent Garden;
                         I recall the moment well;
                         'Twas when o'er the fragrant blossoms,
                         Twilight's dewy shadows fell.
                         By thy side, were Nuns repeating
                         Vespers to the Virgin mild:
                         "Holy mother, guard, protect her,
                         Save from sin our Novice child."
                         And I gazed on thee and wondered
                         If thy heart knew nought of care,
                         And if blighted human passion
                         Left no farewell shadow there.


Page 43


                         Then I watched a bright smile playing
                         In thy beaming eye again,
                         And I felt that life had spared thee,
                         All its bitterness and pain.
                         Thou wert like a wild flower growing
                         On some lonely river's brink,--
                         Waiting only for the tempest
                         In its silent waves to sink.
                         Months rolled on, I learned to love thee,
                         With devoted, earnest love;
                         Thou wert all my dreams had pictured
                         Of the "pure in heart" above.
                         I have sat for hours and listened
                         To the music of thy voice;
                         And thy very name, thy footstep,
                         Made my youthful heart rejoice.
                         Oft I'd paint the distant future,--
                         Thou wert e'er its day-star bright;
                         And thy cherished form was near me,
                         In each holy dream at night.
                         Till at length life's early sorrow,
                         In my spirit's depth found place,


Page 44


                         When I saw the sombre "black veil"
                         Shade thy young and happy face.
                         And I heard thy own lips utter,
                         In their low, sweet music tone:
                         "Hearken, friends, henceforth I sever
                         Human ties for God alone."
                         Then they threw a black pall o'er thee:
                         "To the world thou'rt dead," they said;
                         And they clipped the raven tresses,
                         From thy meekly-bending head. * * * * * *
                         Eulalie, we now are parted--
                         I am still thy faithful friend;
                         We are parted, yet affection
                         With my life alone can end.
                         I recall with fond emotion
                         Every stern and holy truth,
                         Which thy lips have ever taught me,
                         Gentle Guardian of my youth.
                         And I ponder oft the lessons
                         That I used to learn of thee;


Page 45


                         Whilst methinks I hear thee utter,
                         With a blessing, prayers for me.
                         But our lots are cast asunder,
                         And our paths are severed wide;
                         Thy duties shun the world's rough Sea,
                         Mine bear me with the tide.
                         Yet though perhaps on earth again
                         Thy face I ne'er may see,
                         My soul, through life, will fondly nurse
                         Thy memory, Eulalie.


Page 46

TO SPRING.


                         ONCE more we gladly greet thee, joyous Spring--
                         Clothed in thy dew-gemmed robe of rainbow dye;
                         The smiling Earth, the flowing streams, the flowers,
                         All welcome with delight thy genial sky.


                         And we, who've sighed for Summer sunshine long--
                         We too unite with bird, and brook, and bee,
                         To hail the music whispers of the winds--
                         Glad Nature's melodies that tell of thee.


                         Long have we shivered 'neath the Snow-king's breath,
                         And mourned the blight of dreary Winter's reign;
                         Now warmed to light by thy soft, winsome touch--
                         The violets leave their frozen beds again.


Page 47


                         And ice-bound rivulets flow, sparkling on
                         Through flowery meadows bathed in dewy light;
                         And birds are busy in the forest bowers--
                         Wooing lost mates to join their airy flight.


                         Already flies the summer Oriole near,
                         Seeking the sheltering bough, from which to swing
                         The oval nest, wherein, secure, her young
                         May bide all storm, hid 'neath her cosy wing.


                         And, here and there, in sunny places gleam
                         The sweet Forget-Me-Nots from mossy dells;
                         While golden Buttercups their welcomes breathe
                         By lifting to thy glance their dewy bells.


                         What glories waken as thy steps draw near,
                         What joy thou bearest on thy gladsome wing;
                         Hope blooms afresh, health follows in thy train--
                         A radiance lights thy shining pathway, Spring!


Page 48


                         Then once again we gladly greet thy smile,
                         Bathing in rosy light the dewy morn;
                         On human hearts by Sorrow's winter seared,
                         Thou shedd'st, of prayerful hope, a brightening dawn.


Page 49

A DIRGE FOR LAURA.


                         LAY her beneath the willow,
                         Let soft violets be her pillow;
                         Far, far from the Ocean billow
                         Let the young and lovely rest.


                         Cover her grave with flowers;
                         And in Summer's golden hours
                         Let the gentle evening showers
                         Fall above her silent breast.


                         Be not sad or broken-hearted,
                         That the loved one hath departed,
                         For no cloud of sin e'er darted
                         Thwart her life's unsullied sky.


Page 50


                         Therefore cease, fond mother, cease your weeping,
                         Her pure soul is in God's keeping;
                         And her little form is sleeping
                         In the still earth peacefully.


Page 51

THE FLOWERS HAVE COME.


                         THE flowers have come--from its mossy bed
                         The Violet lifts up its modest head;
                         The Daisy, too--poor shy little thing,
                         Has opened its bright eyes to welcome the Spring.


                         The flowers have come--for the soft perfume
                         Of the Wallflower sweet, and the Rose's bloom
                         Is borne on the wing of the mild South breeze,
                         As it lovingly plays through the leafy trees.


                         The flowers have come--near the garden walk
                         The proud Lily raises its queenly stalk;
                         The Buttercup opens its golden bell,
                         To take in the sunbeams it loves so well.


                         The flowers have come--see, the red Woodbine
                         Wreathes its verdant leaves with the Jessamine vine;


Page 52


                         The Humming-bird, lured by the sweet perfume,
                         Sips joy all day from its honeyed bloom.


                         The flowers have come--I have seen the Bee
                         Now kiss the bright clover that blooms in the lea,
                         Then buzzing away, like a heartless coquette,
                         Woo the very next innocent blossom he met.


                         The flowers have come--on the river's brink
                         The Daffodils cunningly nod and wink
                         To the ripples that sportively trifle all day,
                         With the blossoms that spring in their pebbly way.


                         The flowers have come--lo! the Crocus too,
                         With its leaves of purple, and white, and blue,
                         Looks up from its home with the Cowslip sweet,
                         The smile of its mother, the Spring, to greet.


                         The flowers have come--even now I feel
                         Their fragrant breath o'er my senses steal;
                         Lifting my heart, in its happiest hours,
                         To Him who has brightened life's path with flowers.


Page 53

LINES
ON THE DEATH OF MRS G. S. MEEM.

                         "Oh! for the world where thy home is now.
                         How may we love--but in doubt and fear,
                         How may we anchor our fond hearts here,
                         How should e'en joy, but a trembler be,
                         Beautiful dust, when we look on thee!" HEMANS.


                         AH, brief indeed was life's fair dream,
                         Sweet Friend, to thee!
                         How "passing strange" and sad doth seem
                         Thy destiny.


                         Two fleeting months--and thou didst stand,
                         A timid Bride;
                         And he who claimed thy "heart and hand,"
                         Stood by thy side.


Page 54


                         With rapt'rous ear he heard thee breathe
                         Love's fervent vow,
                         And saw the Orange blossoms wreathe
                         Thy queenly brow.


                         What blissful joy then did light
                         His loving eye.
                         Ah! little thought he, one so bright
                         Could surely die.


                         Too true, alas! the grave's cold breath
                         Is on thee now;
                         No more the beauteous "bridal wreath"
                         Bedecks thy brow.


                         Fond hearts that loved thee, now are sad,
                         And sigh in vain;
                         For thy dear smile to cheer and glad
                         Their home again.


                         They who around thy couch of pain
                         Did watch and weep,


Page 55


                         Mourn now, that nought shall break again
                         Thy dreamless sleep.


                         She too, who soothed with gentle hand
                         Thy burning brow,
                         Sees now the fairest of her band
                         In death laid low.


                         Ah, little reck'st thou of the tears
                         Thus vainly shed;
                         For hushed are all thy trembling fears,
                         Thou sinless dead.


                         Blest, happy spirit--thou dost roam
                         In realms of light;
                         And to thy distant, radiant home,
                         Shall come no blight.


                         No withering flowers there shall bind
                         Thy gentle brow:
                         A fadeless wreath, by Angels twined,
                         Adorns thee now.


Page 56


                         The joys that crown that life above,
                         Ah, who can tell!--
                         He calls thee hence whose name is Love,--
                         Dear one--farewell!


Page 57

THE SUMMER RAIN.


                         WAKING gales that slumbered long
                         In the woodland bowers,
                         Flinging odors on the air
                         From a thousand flowers;
                         Knocking with a gentle tap
                         'Gainst my window pane,
                         'Mid the sultry glare of noon,
                         Comes the Summer Rain.


                         Glittering showers from rainbow skies,
                         Sparkling drops so bright,
                         Coming with a pattering step,
                         Fill us with delight;
                         Little flowerets, drooping long,
                         Lift their heads again;


Page 58


                         Little rills with merry song,
                         Hail the Summer Rain.


                         Bird and bee with folded wing
                         Watch the cooling showers,
                         From their hiding-places sweet,
                         'Mong the smiling flowers;
                         Nature's welcome-chorus glad,
                         Echoes o'er the plain;
                         Blooming fields of waving corn
                         Laugh and sing again.


                         From the ground a thousand sweets
                         Gratefully arise,
                         Through the air a perfumed breath
                         Wafting to the skies;
                         Flocks and herds delighted stand,
                         Verdure decks the plain;
                         Earth, rejoicing, claps her hands,--
                         Lo! the Summer Rain.


Page 59

THERE'S A CLOUD ON MY SPIRIT.


                         THERE'S a cloud on my spirit,
                         A gloom in my heart;
                         A shadow, a something,
                         That will not depart.
                         I've struggled in vain, love!
                         To drive off the spell,
                         Which fain the heart's music
                         With murmurs would quell.
                         I've gazed from my window,
                         This beautiful day,
                         And clouds dim the landscape,
                         Before me alway.
                         I know 'tis not Autumn,
                         E'en now in the bowers,
                         I hear the birds singing
                         Of Spring to the flowers.


Page 60


                         The clover is nodding
                         Its head to the bee,
                         As zephyrs approach it,
                         Far off in the lea.
                         The sunlight is gleaming
                         Through green forest woods,
                         Yet darkening the picture
                         A dim shadow broods.
                         All glad things are around me,
                         And whispering nigh;
                         Yet, yet I am lonely,
                         And cannot tell why.
                         What is it that hides thus
                         The sunshine of life,
                         And stills the heart's music
                         With melody rife?
                         It cannot be Winter,
                         For now in the bowers,
                         The birds are all singing
                         Of Spring to the flowers.
                         I'll ask them the secret,
                         Perhaps they can tell,


Page 61


                         Why broods o'er my spirit
                         This shadowy spell?
                         The question propounded,
                         They laugh at me, dear;
                         While my heart gives the answer
                         That you are not here!


Page 62

MUSINGS AT THE GRAVE OF A YOUNG
SISTER.*

        * Who died, a school-girl, at the Academy of the Visitation, Georgetown, D. C., Sept. 9th, 1846.



                         BENEATH this sod thou'rt lowly laid, oh, cherished one and dear--
                         Thou, at whose name Affection gives to Memory's claim--a tear.
                         Long years, long, weary years have passed, since last we looked on thee,
                         And yet to-day blooms fresh as then, thy fadeless memory.
                         The lonely void which thou hast left, no other form may fill,
                         Within our hearts, as in our home, thy place is sacred still.
                         I look around,--but yesterday it seems, since glad and gay,


Page 63


                         Thy smile shone brightest in our midst,--a sunbeam in our way.
                         Oh, when life's pathway seemed so bright--Hope's prophesy so fair,
                         Why did Death shade thy gentle brow,--why place his signet there?
                         And while Affection's glowing font so fondly gushed for thee,
                         Why did'st thou leave us, birdling bright, away from earth to flee?
                         Far, far in childhood's sunny home, were loving hearts that yearned
                         To clasp thee, darling, but to them thy step no more returned.
                         I saw the rose fade from thy cheek, sweet, laughter-loving child,--
                         For months I watched thy drooping eye,--its brightness strange and wild.
                         And sometimes there would come the thought (but oh, how could it be
                         Long harbored in a breast so full of earnest love and thee?)


Page 64


                         That thou wert fading, day by day--Disease with blighting breath,--
                         A withering simoon, bowing thee to an untimely death.
                         Then all thy blooming loveliness, thy beauty's matchless spell,
                         Would drive from my too blinded heart the fears I dared not tell.
                         And though the "hectic" on thy cheek, its paleness seemed to share,
                         I dreamed not Death's cold dart would aim at one so strangely fair.
                         At length upon a couch of pain, I watched thee patient wait
                         The message that must summon thee beyond the eternal gate.
                         No dark despair, no doubt, no fear, thy peaceful bosom stirred,--
                         "I've left my home to die," was said without one murmuring word.
                         An Angel's arms were round thee then,--I knew it by the smile


Page 65


                         Of heavenly hope that beamed upon thy suffering face the while.
                         Yes, holy angels waited near, impatiently, to bear
                         Thy soul to that far, radiant land, where endless pleasures are.
                         I knew that thou wert dying, yet alas! I could not save,
                         E'en by my heart's deep anguish, our bright Starling from the grave.
                         But ah! since to the "pure in heart" Death brings no bitter sting,
                         Why shouldst thou fear to sleep beneath the Everlasting wing.
                         One look, one farewell glance on us, who wept around thy bed,
                         And then, on viewless pinions borne, thy gentle spirit fled. * * * * * * * *
                         I saw the form I fondly loved wrapped in the "winding sheet;"
                         I called,--those lips would part no more, Affection's voice to greet.


Page 66


                         They laid thee in thy girlhood's bloom, our youngest, fairest, best,
                         With all thy maiden loveliness, low, in the grave's cold breast.
                         That mournful scene, oh, Memory, hide, I dare not dwell too long,--
                         It wakes within my heart a chord of anguish wild and strong.
                         Methinks I see thee, sister mine, as then, a lifeless mould,
                         Thy wasted hands crossed on thy breast,--thy forehead pale and cold.
                         But ah, a brighter vision dawns, by Faith in mercy given;
                         I gaze, and lo! thou com'st to me, an angel bright from Heaven!
                         I know thy sinless soul is free, and ne'er again shall pine,
                         Yet oh, forget not those whose hearts in life were linked with thine.
                         Still hover near his bending form, and soothe his grief-worn brow,


Page 67


                         Whose father-love through long, long years, doth claim remembrance now;
                         And we, the still remaining two, who miss thee from our side,
                         Whenever morning's splendor shines, or evening's shadows glide.
                         Remember us in that bright land where sainted spirits stray,
                         And to those blissful realms above, oh, gently point the way.
                         Be near, our guardian angel still, when luring snares beguile,
                         In health and sickness, life and death, be near us all the while.
                         And when at last we, too, shall sleep within the grave's dark breast,
                         Oh, may our souls like thine awake in realms of endless rest.
                         Now, fare thee well; thy cherished form lies cold beneath this sod,
                         Yet well I know thy spirit pure rejoices with its God.


Page 68

INVOCATION.


                         TELL me, ye Stars of night,
                         Is there beyond your burning orbs of light
                         A home--a heaven;
                         Where spirits of the just, the pure, the blest,
                         Are sheltered from all storms in realms of rest,
                         Where peace is given?


                         To that far world of bliss,
                         That realm of light, can all the woes of this
                         No shadows bring?
                         Flows there a Lethean stream whose silent wave
                         Once sipped by the departed, e'er will save
                         From Memory's sting?


                         Do flowers ne'er fade and die
                         In that bright land, and in each pathway lie,
                         Stripped of their bloom?


Page 69


                         Comes there no Autumn, with its chilling breath,
                         To stamp them with the livid hues of death--
                         No Winter's gloom?


                         Do angels, too, dwell there,
                         And tones of seraph voices fill the air
                         With music sweet?
                         And do the saints, God's faithful children here,
                         Rest from their toils in that heavenly sphere--
                         Their joy complete?


                         'Mid that celestial host
                         May they be found, the loved and early lost,
                         Whom we've mourned so long;
                         And at the evening hour when smiles and mirth
                         Have met in gladness round the social hearth
                         Missed from our throng?


                         Are there no farewells spoken,
                         No bright eyes dimmed with tears, no fond heart broken
                         On that blest shore?


Page 70


                         But do the severed links of Friendship's chain
                         Meet there in gladness and unite again
                         Bright as before?


                         Oh, give me Faith's glad wings,
                         That I may soar above terrestrial things,
                         To realms on high;
                         Where they have gone whom I have loved so well,
                         And where, when life is o'er, I too, may dwell
                         Eternally.


Page 71

TO LITTLE EMILY.


                         GOD'S blessing on thee, darling,
                         Through thy life, as it rests now,
                         In the heavenly expression
                         Of thy little baby brow.


                         What a world of teeming glories
                         Now has burst upon thy sight,
                         With its thousand varied beauties,
                         And its fields all bathed in light.


                         How I love to watch thy features
                         As thy brightly beaming eye
                         Gazes up, as if in wonder,
                         At the splendor of the sky.


Page 72


                         Ay, and then, as though applauding
                         All thy Maker's skill the while,
                         Soon I see the sweet lips parting
                         In a merry baby smile.


                         Listen, hark!--why start enchanted?
                         It was but a joyous bird,
                         Whose gay song among the leafy trees
                         In gladsome notes you heard.


                         Look, see there!--on lightning pinion
                         He is darting through the air;
                         Ah, how bright his warbling spirit
                         And his downy feathers are.


                         What are all thy thoughts, my darling,
                         Of this lovely world of ours,--
                         Seems it bright to thy young spirit,
                         Newly strayed from Eden bowers?


                         Yes, I know it by the gladness,
                         To thy heart and features given,


Page 73


                         That a something lingers round thee
                         Of the radiance of Heaven.


                         Oh, may future years bring to thee
                         Nought to mar thy soul's delight;
                         May Time hold for thee, fair cherub,
                         No dark, distant, coming blight.


                         But be all thy life as joyous
                         As the gushing song of bird,
                         And thy spirit's wave be never
                         By Sin's dark'ning ripples stirred.


                         That when Death draws near to claim thee,
                         He may wear an Angel's face,
                         And the grave, to thee, be only
                         But a blessed resting-place.


Page 74

A FAREWELL TO THE DYING YEAR.


                         GOOD-BYE, Old Year! I take thy hand in sadness,
                         And gaze all tearfully along the Past,--
                         When I did welcome thee with smiles and gladness,
                         And golden hopes too wildly dear to last;
                         When, through Time's mystic veil, in wisdom shading
                         The unseen Future's dim uncertain maze,
                         With Youth's bright prophet-dreams my vision lading,
                         I strove, in restless eagerness, to gaze.


                         And as I caught that future's faint revealing,
                         Breaking upon my heart with shadowy spell;
                         And felt the gloom of disappointment stealing
                         O'er dreams my foolish heart had nursed too well;


Page 75


                         Ah, then I marvelled that Earth's transient glories
                         Could thus allure the soul's immortal trust;
                         And I did learn that Pleasure's siren stories
                         Are gilded legends gathered from the dust.


                         Yet I've no harsh reproach, no vain complaining
                         To weave with this, my parting lay to thee,
                         For thou hast mingled joys, bright and unfeigning,
                         In every cup thy hand hath proffered me;
                         And though, at times, the "bitter" I have tasted,
                         Till all my soul seemed poisoned by its gall,
                         Yet I have felt these lessons were not wasted--
                         Some prayer, unsaid before, hath followed all.


                         And now I kneel, to bless, not to upbraid thee,
                         That thou hast wisely scattered thorns with flowers;
                         Since, varying thus my pathway, thou hast made me
                         Look upward yearningly to Heaven's changeless bowers.
                         There, Joy's ecstatic season is not measured
                         By Time's swift-failing sands so quickly run;


Page 76


                         But, in Eternity's deep bosom treasured,
                         Our days, and months, and moments, all are one.


                         And I would thank thee too, with fond emotion,
                         That from her grave, whose eyes thy hand did'st close,
                         There comes to me a voice of sweet devotion,
                         For faith which placed on Heaven its high repose--
                         That thus I learn, from lips now sealed forever,
                         Whose prayerful tones fell on my childhood's ear,
                         That all in vain my spirit's wild endeavor
                         For lasting joy, while darkly wandering here.


                         And for those household bands thou leavest unbroken,
                         In their deep, tender sympathies, how dear,--
                         That, kindly yet the mandate is unspoken,
                         Which bids them part, I bless thee, Dying Year.
                         Now, with full heart, my inmost bosom swelling,
                         And holy thoughts I may not pause to tell,
                         And gushing tears from Memory's fountain welling,
                         I breathe again, Old Year, my last farewell.


Page 77

TO A CROSS.

"In hoc signo spes mea."


                         EMBLEM of love divine!
                         Thou speak'st to me of Calvary's holy hill,
                         Where Jesus, bowing to his Father's will,
                         Yielded his life for mine.


                         What pain, what agony,
                         O'erwhelmed his spirit in that fearful hour,
                         When love, subduing every sterner power,
                         Bled for humanity.


                         Nature's offended eye
                         Would not behold him of each friend bereft,
                         And on that drear and lonely mountain left
                         To suffer, groan, and die.


Page 78


                         The Temple's veil was rent,
                         The glorious Sun withdrew his cheering light,
                         And earth was sunk in universal night,--
                         Man lost in wonderment.


                         One true heart scorned him not;
                         When in all other bosoms pity slept,
                         Mary, his mother, sat her down and wept
                         O'er his forsaken lot.


                         So may I, Saviour, cling
                         In every trial to thy bleeding side,
                         And in thy wounds my weeping spirit hide
                         From stern Despair's dark sting.


                         Tech me this truth profound,
                         And let my heart the useful lesson know,
                         That in this dim and tearful vale below,
                         Happiness is not found.


                         But by thy Cross and love,
                         Oh! may I learn to purify from sin
                         Each inward feeling, that my soul may win
                         A crown of bliss above.


Page 79

THE MANIAC GIRL.


(FROM A SCENE IN A LUNATIC ASYLUM.)



                         SHE wept in anguish, clasped her hands, and madly tore her hair,
                         And thus, in accents strange and wild, she raved in her despair:
                         "Oh God! remove this iron weight that hangs about my heart,
                         Speak, Thou Almighty, speak, and bid this raven form depart.
                         I cannot live,--yet dare not die by my own feeble hand:
                         Against the act Thy word hath fixed a fearful, dark command.
                         I dare not take what Thou hast given, and yet, my God, I crave
                         The unbroken peace, the silence deep, the oblivion of the grave.


Page 80


                         The grave--oblivion--ha! ha! ha!--a wiser one hath said
                         Dark dreams may come, there may not be oblivion for the dead.
                         If so, and I should sip to-day a draught of Death's cold wine,
                         What dreams of dark and dread despair, what visions would be mine!
                         These crushing memories, would they come to haunt me in the grave?
                         My broken hopes--his trifling! Oh! one draught from Lethe's wave." * * * * * * * *
                         "It may not be; I must bear on, despite this anguish wild.
                         Father, then hear with pitying ear, the heart's prayer of Thy child.
                         Take from me every murmuring thought, and, if it be Thy will
                         To chasten thus, then let these ghastly phantoms haunt me still.
                         It may be, when all others fail, I'll learn to lean on Thee,


Page 81


                         Since Thou alone canst fill the heart, who fill'st immensity!
                         Thou, only Thou, canst say to grief's wild passion-storm, 'Be still!'
                         And Thou alone canst soothe the spirit's anguish at Thy will.
                         Hear me, Oh! God, my Father! take this weight from off my heart,
                         Or bid all restless, murmuring thoughts forever to depart." * * * * * * * *
                         The prayer went up through Mercy's gate, low bows the youthful head,--
                         A calm smile lights the pale, sweet face--the maniac girl is dead.


Page 82

TO A MINIATURE OF THE DEAD.


                         YES, sister dear, this is thine image own;
                         This glad smile thy joyous heart's expression.
                         Fondly I love to gaze, e'en though through tears,
                         Upon each feature, and in each to trace
                         The sinless beauty of an Angel face.
                         And can it be, beloved, that thou art dead?
                         That on that brow, so pure and beautiful,
                         Death's seal is resting now? that those soft eyes
                         No more will open on Life's glorious things?
                         Those laughing lips ne'er part to speak to me?
                         Oh! sister mine, tell me what radiant sphere
                         Contains thy spirit? In its holy clime,
                         Dost thou retain aught of the love of earth?
                         Am I now less thine own, because I trend
                         These darkened pathways still, which thou hast left?
                         Or dost thou backward gaze o'er life's dim track,


Page 83


                         And, mid the glories of that brighter world,
                         Pity the woes of this?
                         Ah, well I know
                         That in the mansions of the "pure in heart"
                         Thou hast a place; and when I look around
                         On all the evil which surrounds us here,
                         I thank my God that thou, so long, sweet dove,
                         Hast folded thy glad wings in Paradise.


Page 84

HARSH WORDS.

AIR--"Kind words can never die."


                         HARSH words can never die;
                         Deeply they rest,
                         In all their rankling power,
                         Down in the breast.
                         What though one may forgive,
                         And all regret be met
                         With kind response? Alas!
                         None can forget.


                         Harsh words will darkly rise
                         In happiest hours,
                         Rank thorns in Memory's path,
                         Crushing the flowers;
                         Rank weeds, whose poisonous breath
                         Mildew and blight unfold,


Page 85


                         Wasting the heart like Death,
                         Chilling and cold.


                         Harsh words, once spoken, stand,--
                         Tear drops that fall
                         On Ocean's rolling waves,
                         Who can recall?
                         So by unkindness moved,
                         Deeply the heart must feel
                         Wounds, which, though pardoned all,
                         Nothing can heal.


                         Oh then beware, beware!
                         Weigh well each word,
                         Lest in some tender breast
                         Anguish be stirred;
                         Lest when 'tis all too late,
                         Thou wouldst call back again
                         Harsh words, whose memory
                         Mocks thee in vain.


Page 86

A MEMORY.


                         'TWAS on a balmy morning in the month of May,
                         When the busy song of birds, and scent of flowers
                         Bespoke the glad return of Spring.
                         I stood
                         Beside a couch, where lay the pale death-stricken form
                         Of a fair girl. The fresh breeze as it murmured by,
                         Soft fanned the glossy ringlets of her dark-brown hair,
                         And cooled the fevered throbbing of her snow-white brow.
                         She had been beautiful, and even now disease
                         Had scarcely robbed her of her youth's bright bloom; yet sure
                         Consumption with its blighting breath wasted her frame,


Page 87


                         And stole the gentle rose-hue from her maiden cheek,
                         Leaving the brilliant "hectic" in its place. She lay
                         The uncomplaining victim to an early doom.
                         And softly by her side, in low convulsive sobs,
                         (Lest troubled grief like hers disturb the flowing fount
                         Of deep, strong, deathless love within the sufferer's heart),
                         Her mother wept.
                         And seeing that a fevered sleep
                         Half sealed her dear one's eye, she in her wild despair
                         Believed her dying. Raising her sad eyes to Heaven,
                         As if to implore, in prayer, that God would kindly will
                         "The bitter cup to pass," she exclaimed in anguish:
                         "Oh my child! my child! I cannot see thee die,
                         Nor watch the fading brightness of thine eye.


Page 88


                         Thou art my widowed heart's idolatry,--
                         I cannot see thee die!
                         How I should miss thy gentle voice's tone,
                         Thou, my first born, my beautiful, my own;
                         Oh! I could ne'er tread Earth's bleak path alone,
                         When thou, my child, art gone!" * * * * * * * *
                         Starting, as if some thrilling dream
                         Had broken her peaceful slumber, her pale, wasted face
                         Radiant with a smile of sweet tranquility,--
                         The maiden woke, and opening her large, languid eyes,
                         Fixed them upon her mother, and began:
                         "Mother, draw near, I must leave thee now:
                         The cold dews of Death are upon my brow.
                         I must quit thy embrace and the home of my love;
                         But I go to a far brighter dwelling above.
                         I'll twine a bright chaplet of fair flowers there,
                         For thee,--meet reward for thy fond, gentle care,--


Page 89


                         And o'er thee a spirit's kind vigil I'll keep.
                         Oh mother, sweet mother, I pray do not weep.
                         Ne'er again shall I know either sickness or care:
                         Disease, Death, nor sorrow can e'er reach me there.
                         Mother! the harp-notes of angels I hear,--
                         They're wooing my soul to that heavenly sphere.
                         I go--fare thee well"--


                         But the next word was spoken in Heaven,
                         For her pure soul had gone back to its God, and now
                         The afflicted mother, bowing her chastened heart
                         In meek submission to Heaven's stern decree,
                         Murmured, "Thy will be done!"


Page 90

A LITTLE CHILD'S PRAYER.


                         Low I bend my knee before Thee,
                         Gracious Saviour, meek and mild;
                         Hear the prayer my young lips utter,
                         Thou wert once, like me,--a child.


                         In this world, a trembling stranger,
                         Timidly I grope alway,
                         For I know that foes are lurking
                         To entice my steps astray.


                         Let Thy gracious hand then guide me
                         O'er life's dark and troubled tide,--
                         Take me under Thy protection,
                         Keep me ever near Thy side.


Page 91


                         Let my footsteps never wander
                         From thy paths thou guid'st me in;
                         Screen, Oh! Lord, my soul from danger,
                         Guard my helpless heart from sin.


                         And when Death shall come to bear me
                         From the scenes of Earth away,
                         May my spirit find its guerdon,
                         In the realms of endless day.


                         There to join the praise eternal
                         Of the myriad Angel host,
                         Who surround Thy throne, adoring
                         Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Page 92

"I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS."


                         I Would not live always, though fortune should smile,
                         And pleasure should gladden my path all the while;
                         Though friends should surround me to comfort and cheer,
                         I still would not linger eternally here.


                         I would not live always, though glory and fame,
                         Should follow my footsteps and honor my name;
                         Though joy like a sunbeam should brighten my way,
                         And peace in my heart shed its shadowless ray.


                         I would not live always, when they I most love
                         Have gone from this earth to their blest homes above.


Page 93


                         When the fond ties that bind us to life are all riven,
                         Oh, who would then linger an alien from Heaven!


                         I would not live always, when Death can restore
                         The friends I have loved and give back as before
                         Each link that hath dropped from Affection's bright chain,
                         And bind us in Love's golden bondage again.


                         I would not live always--no, fain would I fly
                         To that bright land of promise beyond the blue sky,
                         Where the sad work of sorrow forever is o'er,
                         And partings and farewells are heard of no more.


Page 94

TO A FRIEND.

        FOR A BOUQUET DURING ILLNESS.


                         THANKS, many thanks, for your lovely flowers;
                         They have sweetly gladdened my weary hours,--
                         They bring a smile in the sad heart to glow,
                         And a perfumed breath for the fevered brow.
                         Flowers! they wake in the Invalid's breast
                         Glad thoughts of Earth in her Spring beauty drest;
                         Of the open field and the forest wild,--
                         Where Nature's own glory hath brightly smiled.
                         I pine for the cool mountain's shady stream,
                         Where the bright-eyed blossoms in beauty gleam
                         From the sloping bank, and then stooping lave
                         Their light, pearly cups in the sparkling wave.
                         What would the Spring be, though a vocal train
                         Of forest warblers still herald her reign,


Page 95


                         If no blushing buds in our pathway grew,
                         Or lilies to gather the soft May dew?
                         And what of the honey bee,--can ye tell
                         Where his light, airy form all day would dwell
                         In the Summer hours, if no sweet-celled bloom
                         Allured him not with its honeyed perfume?
                         Flowers! they are gems on the breast of Earth;
                         How holy their mission, how pure their worth!
                         Oh! for that clime where no chill, autumn blight,
                         Can wither their freshness, or fade their light.
                         Thanks, gentle friend, for your sweet gift to me;
                         It wakens a wish in my heart for thee,
                         That ever through life from Love's roseate bowers
                         Your hand may gather the choicest flowers.


Page 96

SHADOWS OF MEMORY.


                         ONE moment to my throbbing heart I clasped thee, darling boy,--
                         One moment felt the gushing of a mother's holy joy.
                         And while I gazed with rapture on thy matchless infant charms,
                         Death's envious Angel softly came, and stole thee from my arms.
                         And oh, so stealthily he crept--so gently hushed thy breath,
                         It seemed almost a mockery, to say that such was Death.
                         So full of love and hope was I, that blessèd April morn,
                         I scarce had felt thou wert my own, my beautiful first-born.


Page 97


                         And e'en while I implored for strength, my babe, that I might be
                         Thy only mother,--that no stranger breast might nurture thee,
                         They took thee sleeping from my side, and laid thee snug and low--
                         Close by, within thy cradle-bed, as soft and white as snow.
                         And there, in holy slumber wrapt, I watched thee all the while,
                         Until my mother-fondness grew impatient for thy smile;
                         I longed to see thee ope thine eye, but wished alas, in vain--
                         How little dreaming then that thou wouldst never wake again.
                         At length so breathless still thy sleep, so motionless thy head,
                         That earnestly I begged they would just lay thee on my bed;
                         Where I might note each restless stir, and catch each half-drawn sigh,


Page 98


                         And if a sound disturbed, speak one soft word of "lullaby."
                         But no; "So sweet he rests," they said, "he must not wakened be,"
                         And I, thus feeble, must not feel too anxious, love, for thee.
                         They meant it kind, but I have felt, sometimes, in my despair,
                         That, had they brought thee to my arms, I might have kept thee there;--
                         So closely nestled to my heart, my birdling might have been
                         Warmed into life, if love could win the spirit back again.
                         The weary hours dragged slowly on, till others feared, like me,
                         That thy long slumber was too deep, and softly crept to see.
                         All mutely gazed!--I watched each mien--thy little helpless head
                         Hung still and cold upon thy breast,--oh, God! my child was dead.


Page 99

* * * * * * * *
                         Yes, in the morning of thy life, ere sin could mar thy day,
                         A band of smiling Cherubs came, and wooed thy soul away.
                         Soft Angel-voices in thy sleep told thee, in whispers low,
                         Of deathless flowers in Paradise, and bade thee, darling, go.
                         If thou hadst only known the love that wildly gushed for thee,
                         Ah, then I might have borne to let my little pet dove flee.
                         Or if thou erst had parted that sweet coral mouth of thine
                         To lisp but one soft word of love, in answer back to mine,
                         I might have felt to see thee die, thou couldst not then forget
                         Thy mother's wild idolatry, which lingers, baby, yet.
                         But ah, to yield thee thus, my boy--to give thee up to Death,


Page 100


                         Ere I had scarcely felt the glow of thy soft perfumed breath!
                         'Tis this that mocks my agony! Yet I will not despair,
                         Since Heaven is thine, and I may still clasp thee, my lost one, there.
                         Oh, from that far off spirit land, where all is joy divine,--
                         Where thou, mid radiant Seraph hosts, the loveliest far, doth shine,
                         Sweetbaby, sometimes give one thought--one kindly thought to me,
                         And let thy mother feel that she is not estranged from thee.
                         Hear this fond prayer, in anguish breathed,--and on thy glad wing flee,
                         And bear it to His throne, who ne'er couldst turn away from thee.
                         That where my child, my Angel-child, and little Willie are,
                         I too may go, when life is o'er,--and thou mayst know me there.


Page 101

WHAT A ZEPHYR TOLD ME.


                         I'M a beautiful zephyr,
                         Light, airy, and free;
                         And I roam the wide world,
                         O'er the Land and the Sea.
                         I follow old Winter
                         With warmth on my wing;
                         And the Poets have called me
                         The breathing of Spring.
                         I kiss the young flowers,
                         And they wake to the light;
                         At my voice the birds carol
                         Their songs of delight.
                         I climb the tall mountain,
                         I rove through the plain,


Page 102


                         And I sport with the billows
                         On Ocean's broad main.
                         I fan the sweet garden-beds
                         With my soft wing,
                         And lo! from their dewy breasts
                         Violets spring.
                         The rivulets owe all
                         Their music to me,
                         For I conquer the Ice-King
                         And thus, they are free.
                         I fan the poor Invalid's
                         Brow, and its gloom
                         Fades in light, 'neath the breath
                         Of my rosy perfume.
                         I lure the dull honey-bee
                         Back to the flowers,
                         And I wake the winged warblers
                         In green forest bowers.
                         I'm a beautiful zephyr,
                         Light, airy, and free;
                         And I roam the wide world,
                         O'er the Land and the Sea.


Page 103


                         I follow old Winter
                         With warmth on my wing;
                         And the Poets have called me
                         The breathing of Spring.


Page 104

LITTLE CARLTON.

        A LAMENT.*

        * Inscribed to his father and mother,--Mr. and Mrs. John R. Steptoe, of Virginia.



                         HE came to us--a thing of joy,
                         Filling our home with glee;
                         No warbling bird upon the wing
                         Seemed half so blithe as he.


                         The face so bright, e'er sickness dimmed
                         The light within his eyes;
                         The tottering step, the laughing shout,
                         The look of glad surprise--


                         All now are sad remembered things,
                         That come to mock despair;
                         And yet our fond hearts love to hold
                         Each treasured picture fair.


Page 105


                         For while we watched his angel smile,
                         Heaven seemed not far away--
                         We dreamed not that a phantom-form
                         Followed him, day by day.


                         But oh, at length the Spoiler drew
                         Nearer, with stealthy tread,
                         And marked the prize--our darling bowed
                         His little, sinless head.


                         For months, with anxious, prayerful hearts,
                         We watched him day by day,
                         As with hushed song, and weary wing,
                         Our precious birdling lay.


                         And now, a fresh, green baby-grave,
                         Out in the still, cold air,
                         Holds his pale dust--the faded robe
                         His freed soul used to wear.


                         A little life--a slender span,
                         Made up of Summer hours,
                         Was all of him--he ope'd his eyes,
                         And closed them with the flowers.


Page 106

THE NOSE OUT OF JOINT.

        INSCRIBED TO "EMILY."


                         I WAS a spoiled and petted thing,
                         And "Baby" was the name
                         By which my mother called to me,
                         Till little brother came.


                         I used to have a cradle-bed
                         Just made to suit my form,
                         Where sweet I slept "all by myself,"
                         So nice, and snug, and warm.


                         And gentle nurse would walk with me
                         In summer-time, where flowers
                         Of red, and white, and purple hue,
                         Bloomed in their fragrant bowers.


Page 107


                         When neighbors called and asked to see
                         "The Darling," I was brought;
                         And many a nut and sugar-plum
                         My eager fingers caught.


                         I had my little "party" scenes,
                         And pleased I used to be,
                         For every toy my father brought
                         Was always brought for me.


                         And yet I am not jealous now,
                         Though times are not the same;
                         I had no mate to play with me,
                         Till little brother came.


                         Although he has the cradle-bed
                         That used to be my own,
                         Yet when I wake at morning now,
                         I do not feel alone.


                         For well I know one little heart
                         My childhood's joy partakes--


Page 108


                         One little mouth will share my meal
                         Of slighted "thimble cakes."


                         He knows the language of my lips,
                         When fain I would command
                         Some pleasure which our good mamma
                         Nor nurse can understand.


                         And many a time his finger points,
                         In our sweet walks together,
                         To some bright flower I had not seen
                         Or bird of shining feather.


                         I would not be without him now,
                         Though times are not the same;
                         I had no brother dear to love
                         Till little "Edwin" came.


Page 109

A REMEMBERED SERMON.*

        * By Bishop Johns, of the Virginia Diocese.



                         IT fell upon the ear like the rapt tones
                         Of Heavenly music, and the air around
                         Caught the sweet echo of the Pastor's words
                         All eloquent of love--the Saviour's love.
                         I cannot soon forget that face serene,
                         As, in the meekness of an humble trust,
                         It rose before us; there was such zeal
                         And earnest pleading in each look and tone.
                         No clamor of complaint for misdeeds done,
                         No fearful curse for duties unperformed,
                         No cry of threatening wrath,--but a sweet call
                         Of "mercy" to the wandering. "Brethren"--
                         He spoke, and every listening ear was bent
                         To catch each accent of his rich, clear voice,


Page 110


                         As, from the open pages of The Book,
                         He read the simple language of his text,--
                         "The Master is come and calleth for thee."
                         They were such words as e'en a little child
                         Might have expressed as plainly, yet they fell
                         From those inspired lips like melody;
                         And by each tone that followed, hearts were moved.
                         At length, the speaker's accents fervent grew,
                         As if the spirit of St. Paul was there
                         And spake again, through those meek, parted lips.
                         "Brethren," he said once more, "the Master's come."
                         Faith lifted up her bright, exulting eyes.
                         "Hail, Heavenly Visitor, at whose coming step
                         All gloomy shadows fade; in the blest light
                         Of whose joy-giving smile, darkness and clouds
                         Must vanish.
                         "Jesus, Redeemer, God,--Thou
                         At whose name the Cherubim bow down
                         And Angels veil their faces. Thou, whom the Heaven
                         Of Heavens cannot contain,--whose presence fills


Page 111


                         Immensity,--dost Thou yet deign to choose
                         For thine abode, these earth-stained hearts of ours?
                         Oh, make them then by thine own cleansing grace,
                         Fit dwellings for so great and pure a Guest.
                         Banish from thence, dear Lord, all dross of sin,
                         And bless them with the light of holiness;
                         That when in judgment thy sure step draws near,
                         And Death proclaims in our dull, closing ear,
                         'The Master's come,' our yearning souls may cry,
                         In eager, glad response, 'Even so, come Thou,
                         Lord Jesus, come quickly.' " * * * * * * *
                         I have heard eloquence in Senate halls,
                         Have seen men stirred to wrath, and moved to tears,
                         As mighty tongues chained listening multitudes,
                         By the grand utterance of noble thoughts.
                         I have bowed down to Genius as displayed
                         On glowing pages of immortal verse,
                         But never yet did my ear catch such tones
                         Of thrilling pathos as, that morning, fell
                         In burning words, from the inspired lips
                         Of that meek man of God.


Page 112

"IN MEMORIAM."


        (W. C. M--M.)



                         I HAD no thought when thou were with us here,
                         That I should write thy "In memoriam;"
                         That e'er this hand should, o'er a name so dear,
                         Trace that sad word, "departed."
                         Where are words
                         To speak thy praise, oh, friend of noble soul?
                         What language shall my pen employ to tell
                         The thousand virtues that adorned thy life?
                         That life, whose brightening sun ne'er reached its noon.
                         The soldier falls upon the battle-field,
                         And muffled drum and martial music, slow,
                         Chime forth his requiem. The statesman dies,
                         And drooping banners wave above his bier,


Page 113


                         While nations loud proclaim a nation's loss.
                         But ere the sculptured pile is reared, that marks
                         His grave, another takes his place, and fills
                         The vacant rank as well.
                         Not so with thee;
                         For in the hearts thou leav'st behind, there lives
                         The fadeless record of a good man's name.
                         And Memory calls, at mention of it,
                         Deeds, words, and smiles of kindness lost with thee.
                         Aye, Friendship loves to dwell on all thou wert--
                         Alas! how few resemble thee, while none
                         Excel. So pure in heart, meek, gentle, mild,
                         Withal, of lofty aims, so emulous:
                         Thy manly heart throbbed but in unison
                         With truth and virtue; noble thoughts there found
                         A fitting home, and love a sanctuary.
                         But Death disowns all greatness; and when Earth
                         Seemed fairest to thine eye, when Fortune smiled
                         And life's sky gleamed with rainbows--aye, when Love
                         Circled thy heart with its pure sympathies,
                         And thy proud cheek had but just lately felt


Page 114


                         The thrilling sweetness of thy first-born's breath,
                         His icy dart was near thee. Slowly fell
                         The shaft that laid thee low; the fading cheek,
                         The brightening eye, the weary, laggard step,
                         All told that the Destroyer e'en would lay
                         A gentle hand on thee. The balmy airs
                         Of Southern climes were sought, alas! in vain.
                         Thou didst return with the Spring violets,
                         And, as they breathed sweet incense round thy bed,
                         God's Angel hushed thy breath, and laughing May
                         Awoke the flowers, to lift their heads, and smile
                         Above thy grave.
                         Oh! it is well with thee,--
                         Well, for a soul like thine, thus to lay down
                         Earth's needful cross, and, early thus, put on
                         Heaven's waiting crown. To us, the way is dark,
                         Of thy dear presence and thy smile bereft;
                         Yet well we know that in life's conflict here,
                         Thine was, the while, a hero's noble part,
                         Thine now, a Conqueror's grave.


Page 115

A MOTHER'S PRAYER.


                         GOD of Mercy! Father, Friend,
                         At thy feet we humbly bend;
                         Comfort, in our sorrow, send--
                         Bless our little Willie.


                         Low he lies--his baby cheek
                         Fever-flushed, his eyelids meek
                         Closed in languor; Jesus, speak,
                         Raise our little Willie!


                         Thou a parent's care hath known,
                         Thou a mother's love didst own.
                         Let our hearts to Thee make moan--
                         Heal our little Willie.


                         Once to Thy kind bosom pressed,


Page 116


                         Little ones were fondly blest;
                         Soothe a troubled soul's unrest,
                         Save our little Willie.


                         All day long his head hath lain
                         Restless from disease and pain--
                         Saviour, give him health again!
                         Helpless little Willie.


                         Much of our life's dearest joy
                         Centres in him--angel boy;
                         Do not our fond bliss destroy,
                         Do not take our Willie.


                         But in mercy, God of power,
                         Spare, oh! spare this cherished flower,
                         Drooping in our home's sweet bower.
                         Spare our little Willie!


                         Send, from Heaven's glad realm of light,
                         Messengers of love to-night;
                         Let thine angels, pure and bright,
                         Watch our little Willie.


Page 117


                         And when morning comes to cheer,
                         Gracious Saviour, be thou near;
                         Brighten hope and banish fear,
                         Heal our little Willie.


                         Or if it should be Thy will,
                         We would Thy stern law fulfil;
                         Only whisper, "Peace, be still,"
                         Take our little Willie.


                         And above yon starry dome,
                         Where disease no more may come,
                         Let our darling find a home,
                         Angel little Willie!


Page 118

TO SLEEP.

        (WRITTEN IN SICKNESS.)


                         TOUCH me with thy soft hand,
                         Oh, gentle Soother of the weary-hearted;
                         And bear me to that land
                         Where dreams restore the joys fore'er departed.


                         Take from my brow this pain,
                         And from my heart its dull, cold weight of sorrow;
                         Let me feel once again
                         Health, buoyant health, returning with the morrow.


                         The daylight hath gone by,
                         Soft Night appears, her mystic shadows bringing;
                         Seal with thy kiss mine eye,
                         And quench the tears from a full heart upspringing.


Page 119


                         For though thy silent mien
                         Dost wear of Death perchance too close a seeming,
                         Yet in thy smile serene
                         I trace of quiet joy a welcomed gleaming.


                         Fold me to thy kind breast--
                         Already do I feel thy presence stealing
                         Near with its balm of rest--
                         Oh, lull to Lethean calm each rebel feeling.


                         And I will bless our God,
                         E'en while upon this couch of pain I languish,
                         That, fainting 'neath His rod,
                         Thy touch hath kindly soothed this fevered anguish.


                         Oh, once again draw nigh,
                         Bless the long, weary hours I still must number,
                         Seal with thy kiss mine eye--
                         Fold me to thy soft bosom, peaceful Slumber.


                         And when these aching eyes
                         Upon life's transient scenes are darkly closing,
                         May the freed spirit rise
                         To endless rest mid Heaven's own bliss reposing.


Page 120

GONE HENCE.

        (ON THE DEATH OF AN INFANT NEPHEW, WILLIE E. MEEM.)


                         THOU hast gone hence, my angel boy,
                         Gone is thine eye's soft light;
                         The little form so fondly loved
                         Hath vanished from our sight.


                         I see no more the smile that played
                         Upon thy baby face;
                         No more, thy tiny arms reach out
                         To meet my fond embrace.


                         Thy dimpled cheeks no more may press
                         Thy mother's loving breast;
                         No more her voice in "lullaby"
                         Hush thee to rosy rest.


                         The grave now hides, my precious boy,
                         Thy fair, though faded mould,--


Page 121


                         Thy little heart is pulseless now,
                         Thy forehead, pale and cold.


                         And yet around us everywhere
                         Are little things, that tell
                         Of all the joys we've lost in thee,--
                         Joys loved, perhaps, too well.


                         Thy vacant cradle, carriage, chair,
                         Thy mantle, toys, and ring,--
                         All, all are here to mock the tears
                         Which tender memories bring.


                         But where thy infant step hath been,
                         All now is grief and gloom;
                         And we, who watched thy baby glee,
                         Are wailing round thy tomb.


                         Be still, my heart, why darkly mourn
                         The beautiful and free;
                         Thou'lt not come back to us, my boy,
                         Yet we may go to thee.


Page 122

THE BRIDE OF DEATH.

        (SUGGESTED BY THE DEATH OF A LADY SOON TO HAVE BECOME A BRIDE.)


                         BRING flowers, bring snowy lilies fair,
                         To twine around her brow,
                         For lo! the young, the pure, the bright,
                         In death is slumb'ring now.


                         Tread softly,--angels hover near,
                         Their viewless wings outspread--
                         Bright visitants returned to Earth
                         To watch around the dead.


                         How changed the home where she hath moved,
                         The blessing and the pride
                         Of loving hearts, that struggle now
                         Their helpless grief to hide.


Page 123


                         But yesterday, all bright with hope,
                         Her voice in music burst;--
                         Alas! that in Death's phantom throng,
                         Our fairest should be first.


                         Ah, broken is the golden chain
                         Of hopes and memories dear,
                         That hung around the cherished form
                         Now slumb'ring on this bier.


                         And parted is the household band;
                         All desolate and lone
                         They weep: from out the parent nest
                         The sweetest bird hath flown.


                         Afar is heard the tearful wail
                         Of love by hope denied;
                         HE mourns for her, the doubly lost,
                         Who would have been his bride.


                         The Orange blossoms faded lie,
                         Culled for the bridal wreath;
                         Lay them aside,--with lily-bells
                         Crown ye the Bride of Death.


Page 124

TO A DEAR UNCLE.

        (ON HIS DEPARTURE FOR CALIFORNIA.)


                         HEAVEN'S blessing rest on thee, beloved,
                         As to a distant land
                         Thou wand'rest far, while we remain,
                         A broken household band.


                         The Summer birds will come and go--
                         The flowers will bloom and fade;
                         The autumn winds sigh mournfully
                         Amid the forest's shade.


                         And loving lips will call thy name
                         In whispered accents low,
                         And yearning hearts will sigh for thee
                         Wherever thou mayst go.


Page 125


                         And yet thou'lt not return to us
                         For many a weary day:
                         Spring's verdure, Summer's bloom will find
                         The wand'rer still away.


                         And prayers will oft ascend for thee,
                         At morn and eventide;
                         When gathered round the social hearth
                         We miss thee from our side.


                         Ah, then in Memory's trace will come
                         Thy well-remembered tone;
                         The look of kindness and the smile
                         That's lost when thou art gone.


                         And at the board, the cheerful board,
                         Which thou wert wont to share,
                         Hushed now will be the merry jest,
                         Where sits thy vacant chair.


                         At evening too, when music rings
                         Loud through the parlor hall,


Page 126


                         When heard the song by thee loved best,
                         Tears will unbidden fall.


                         In Summer's glory, Winter's gloom,
                         By hearth, and on the stair,
                         All day, at morning, noon, and night,
                         We'll miss thee everywhere.


                         Nor will the gladness to our home
                         Come back, our hearts to cheer,
                         Or mirth and glee return again,
                         Beloved, till thou art here.


                         Then linger not too long away,
                         Far in a distant land;
                         Remember that thou leav'st behind
                         A lonely household band.


Page 127

A FATHER'S LAMENT.


                         I CANNOT make thee dead, my child,
                         I cannot make thee dead,
                         Although thy form lies cold and still
                         Within its cradle-bed.


                         And on thy breast I see the flowers
                         Of Summer, fragrant lie,
                         Like thee to breathe out their sweet life,
                         And then, like thee, to die.


                         Meet emblems they, of thy brief span,
                         So joyous, calm, and free,--
                         No cloud to dim, no blight to stain
                         Thy soul's sweet purity.


                         I gaze upon thy little form,
                         So motionless and cold;


Page 128


                         And almost doubt that what I see
                         Is but a lifeless mould.


                         Thy gentle eyes seem closed in sleep,
                         To ope again more bright,
                         I cannot feel, that quenched and gone
                         Is their sweet spirit-light.


                         And in fond memory too, I see
                         A sweet, bright, baby face,
                         Following me with its earnest gaze,
                         And modest, winning grace.


                         How meekly o'er those little orbs
                         The close-sealed eyelids lie,--
                         But when I speak, no soft tone comes
                         Like music, in reply.


                         And when I press the tiny hand
                         Near to my beating heart,
                         Its icy coldness makes the pulse
                         Of warm affection start.


Page 129


                         My child, how can we give thee up,
                         Our Mary, sinless one!
                         Where will the gladness of our home
                         Be now, thy smile is gone?


                         But yesterday, thy baby arms
                         Reached out to welcome me;
                         And now, a soulless shrine of dust
                         Is all I clasp of thee.


                         Oh God! who know'st a parent's love,
                         Forgive, if, at Thy will,
                         Our hearts are crushed,--Thy mercy yet
                         May whisper, "Peace--be still."


                         No longer may I pause to hear,
                         In prattling accents sweet,
                         The voice whose baby tones were first
                         My coming step to greet.


                         Yet well I know that in that clime
                         Where all is light and love,


Page 130


                         Close in the Saviour's tender breast
                         Nestles our timid Dove.


                         And though thou never more mayst come
                         To us, yet we may go
                         To thee, sweet baby, when the cares
                         And griefs of life are o'er.


                         Now fare thee well, my angel child,
                         Henceforth there'll surely be
                         Between our hearts and Heaven, a chain
                         Linking us still with thee.


                         One kiss upon the marble cheek,
                         Then to the arms of God
                         We yield thee, while, with chastened hearts,
                         We bow beneath His rod.


                         No more with gladness thy dear smile
                         Our home and hearts may fill,
                         Yet in the mansions of the blest
                         Thou art "our Mary" still.


Page 131


                         And 'mid Heaven's radiant Cherub-hosts
                         Thy little face, so fair,
                         Will be, when we are called above,
                         The first to meet us there.


                         Oh, from that land of fadeless bloom,
                         Where thou art wandering now,
                         With no disease to mar the light
                         That shines upon thy brow,


                         Look on us, baby, still, and be
                         The guardian Angel given,
                         To guide our faltering, wayward steps
                         From this dull Earth to Heaven.


Page 132

NIGHT-WATCH WITH A DEAD INFANT.

        (INSCRIBED TO MR. AND MRS. DEXTER OTEY, OF LYNCHBURG.)


                         TREAD softly here!--Upon this little couch
                         An angel sleeps. Closed are its eyes, and cold
                         Its forehead fair, yet on the lip Heaven's seal
                         Of holiest love is placed,--a Cherub smile.
                         Upon the breast, so still and quiet now,
                         The little hands are folded peacefully;
                         And the young heart will throb again no more
                         In restless agony.


                         This was a flower
                         Of rare and winning loveliness; 'twas reared
                         And watched and tended with devoted care;
                         But when it learned to know the voice of love,
                         And to give back affection's fragrance--lo!


Page 133


                         The Spoiler came, and with his canker-touch
                         Blighted the tender blossom, till it fell
                         Withered and crushed from off the parent stem.
                         Angel hands caught up the faded floweret,
                         And afar to Heaven's immortal bowers
                         Bore it with gentle care, to live and bloom
                         Mid the soft genial airs of Paradise.
                         There, falls no blighting breath upon the flowers,
                         And there, no shadowy veil shuts from our gaze
                         The forms we love. In that bright radiant realm
                         Of endless joy and sunshine, wanders now
                         The little sinless soul, o'er whose pale shrine
                         We keep this midnight vigil. Angel child!
                         Methinks I see thee in that Eden clime
                         Of glowing light and beauty. On thy brow,
                         So cold and pallid here, no trace is there
                         Of suffering or disease,--no quick-drawn sigh,
                         No labored, panting breath, tells me of pain
                         That mocks all human skill, and makes the prayer
                         Wrung from parental lips wild in its tone
                         Of fervor and of anguish. Cherub hands
                         Crown thee with garlands now, and round thee bloom


Page 134


                         Fadeless exotics, o'er whose shining leaves
                         Comes no decay. Never, ah, nevermore
                         Shall thy bright eyes close in dull languor, or
                         Thy baby cheek flush with disease. O'er fields
                         And pastures green, thy tiny feet are led
                         Near the still waters of the Better Land,
                         And the Good Shepherd takes thee in His arms
                         And folds thee to His bosom tenderly.
                         All night long I've watched beside thee, Mary,
                         And the hours have brought me holy musings
                         Of that bliss the freed soul must enjoy, when
                         Like a bird held captive from its own green
                         Forest bowers, it bursts, at length, the bars
                         'Gainst which its weary wing has fluttered long
                         And helplessly, and soaring high above
                         All storm, pours forth its warbling hymn of praise,
                         And love, and joyous thankfulness to Him
                         Who gave it liberty. 'Tis thus with thee.
                         And now as morning breaks o'er earth, and through
                         The window-casement daylight peers again,
                         I'll kiss once more thy dust and say to thee,
                         "Farewell, sweet babe, farewell!" Thy home is now


Page 135


                         Where only the "pure in heart" may hope to dwell;
                         I thank my God that He has called thee hence,
                         And I would fain follow, in humble trust,
                         The path of Truth, which leads to Heaven and thee.


Page 136

THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.

        FROM A PICTURE.


                         WHILE o'er the bloody field night's shadows crept,
                         A weary soldier on the green turf slept;
                         One arm his gun still clasping in his rest,
                         The other thrown across his brave, young breast,
                         With limbs worn down by all the toils of war,
                         His spirit in his slumber wandered far.


                         He had a dream,--'twas of his far-off home,
                         To which all crowned with honors he had come:
                         He felt his wife's embrace, his infant's kiss,
                         And his soul revelled in the envied bliss,--
                         For which he had so toiled and fought, and borne
                         All the privations which his frame had worn.


Page 137


                         His favorite spaniel came his step to greet,
                         And played and gambolled round his dust-worn feet;
                         Each kind domestic smiled his voice to hear,
                         And poured their gladdening welcomes in his ear.
                         Shrub, tree, and flower, as they met his sight,
                         Made him forget awhile his Country's fight.


                         Sleep on, brave soldier! morn will come again,
                         And bring to thy glad heart, distress and pain;
                         Thou'lt know that joys which now so real seem,
                         Are but the sweet delusions of a dream.
                         And 'mid the angry Cannons' deepening roar,
                         Those voices of thy home thou'lt hear no more.


Page 138

CHILDREN.


                         HAPPY children! Heaven bless them;
                         Every day I chance to meet
                         Pleasant, cheerful, smiling faces,
                         Passing by me in the street.


                         Everywhere I meet glad children,
                         Hurrying on with busy feet;
                         Little thinking, little caring,
                         How I love their steps to greet.


                         Noble lads and "bonnie lassies,"
                         School-room truants, loitering, slow,
                         Conning, absently, the lessons
                         Which they "fear" they will not know.


                         Smiling girls,--confiding creatures,
                         Telling "cronies," soft and low,


Page 139


                         How their morning tasks were hindered
                         By a favorite "College Beau."


                         And (how strange), no sooner mentioned,
                         Than the Beau himself, is seen
                         Very gallantly proposing
                         To escort,--the Books, I mean.


                         But I turn from lads and lassies,
                         With their school-day hopes and fears,
                         With a prayer that life may spare them
                         Sorrow's cup in later years.


                         Here are little ones, God bless them!
                         Gaily tripping to and fro;
                         How like cherubs seem they,--only
                         Wanting wings to make them so.


                         Laughing babies from the cradle,
                         Closely hugged to nurses' arms;
                         Little prattlers, tottling slowly,
                         With their dainty "two year" charms.


Page 140


                         Lisping accents! ah, how dearly
                         Do I love such tones to greet,
                         As I daily hear, in passing
                         Little children on the street.


                         Heaven must bless them, they are Heaven's:
                         Angels make them all their care;
                         And, as we are near to children,
                         Just so near to Heaven we are.


                         Who that sees their smiling faces,
                         Innocent, and pure, and mild,
                         Would not say, "My God, I thank thee,
                         I was once a little child."


Page 141

STANZAS.


                         At early morn, from fragrant bowers,
                         With careless hand I gathered flowers;
                         Fresh with the zephyr's breath they grew,
                         A starry cluster bathed in dew,
                         Until from off their native stems
                         In eager haste I plucked the gems,--
                         Toyed with their perfumed leaves awhile,
                         An idle moment to beguile--
                         When in my path, lo! at midday,
                         A group of withered flow'rets lay:
                         Unlike the buds I plucked at morn,
                         Their dewy freshness faded, gone.
                         'Tis thus, thought I, in Youth's glad hours
                         We gather Time's joy-laden flowers,


Page 142


                         And toying idly with his glass
                         We let the golden moments pass,
                         Till in Life's noonday path we tread,
                         On Hope's bright morning-glories dead;
                         Their freshness gone, we only see
                         The faded flowers of Memory.


Page 143

LITTLE HELEN.


                         THEY tell me thou art dead, fair child,
                         That on thy sweet, young brow,
                         The gloom and coldness of the grave
                         Is resting darkly now.


                         That in this world where thou didst move
                         As with an Angel's grace,
                         We never more may hope to meet
                         Thy soul-lit, beaming face.


                         That hushed is now the voice, whose tone
                         Brought gladness to the ear
                         Of fond Affection, while with us
                         Its music lingered near.


                         And that the love which softly shone,
                         So earnestly and bright,


Page 144


                         From out the tender, spirit-depths
                         Of thine eyes' gentle light,


                         No more will bless us with its glance
                         Of sympathy so dear,
                         Which came, e'en like an Angel's smile,
                         Our yearning hearts to cheer.


                         Alas! alas! we dreamed not, on
                         That sad remembered day,
                         When in her snowy, flower-strewn shroud
                         Thy Baby-Sister lay,


                         That thou, of that bereavèd band
                         Whose tears fell fast and long
                         Upon her breast, would be the next
                         To join the Angel throng.


                         That thou, though fairest, would be first
                         To greet her in that clime,
                         Where moments are not measured
                         By the falling sands of Time.


Page 145


                         Nor did we dream when in the grave
                         We laid her form so low,
                         The dust upon her marble cheek,
                         Death's seal upon her brow,


                         That ere one month should fill its course,
                         Thou too wouldst sink to rest,
                         Where Summer birds would sing all day,
                         Above thy silent breast.


                         Ah, vain is human love, and vain
                         The dearest joys of Earth,
                         Since hopes that seem to us most fair,
                         Thus perish in their birth.


                         Thy life, sweet child, was like the blush
                         That lingers on the flower,
                         And only yields its perfumed tint
                         At morning's dewy hour.


                         Thy soul, thy stainless, cherub soul,
                         Could rest no longer here;


Page 146


                         It pined in Earth's dull, cheerless soil,
                         For Heaven's more genial sphere.


                         And there I know that thou art blest
                         For more than thou couldst be
                         With us, e'en with the deep, wild love
                         That blindly mourns for thee.


                         Where thou art, Helen, all is bliss;
                         No clouds in darkness rise
                         To mar the light that shines around
                         Thy pathway in the skies.


                         Oh, from that radiant spirit-clime,
                         Look still in pitying love
                         On those thy parting hath bereft,
                         Dear, cherished, household Dove.


                         And when God's messenger shall come
                         Their spirits to release,
                         Be thine the angel hand to close
                         Their weary eyes in peace.


Page 147

THE CONFIRMATION.


                         THE night was calm and beautiful. The Stars,
                         The quiet Stars, looked down with gentle eyes
                         On Nature's sleeping loveliness. The flowers,
                         Those dewy gems that shine on Earth's fair breast,
                         Were nodding dreamily upon their stems;
                         While the hushed zephyrs slumbered peacefully
                         Within their bosoms. All around breathed tones
                         Of soft subduing melody, stilling
                         To quiet peace, the clamorous discord
                         Of man's jarring nature.


                         By the might
                         Of Sabbath influences, solemn, deep,
                         Our steps were guided willingly, to where
                         Both love and duty beckoned them,--the House
                         Of God. A brooding stillness reigned within


Page 148


                         His Temple. Hearts were raised to Heaven, lips
                         Hushed in prayerful silence, while around
                         The sacred Chancel knelt the little band
                         Of suppliants for grace. Manhood there bowed
                         His lofty head, and meekly asked of long-
                         Neglected Mercy, strength--to finish out
                         The remnant of his days, a soldier of
                         The Cross. Youth offered up the morning bloom
                         And freshness of its heart to Heaven, and prayed
                         For aid to conquer all temptation, and
                         To keep a strict, close walk with God. Childhood,
                         With Childhood's trust, begged wisdom of our Father,
                         And Orphanage bespoke protection of
                         His love.


                         Widowhood was there, with broken heart
                         And tearful eyes, pleading for meek submission
                         To His will. Sadness and joy commingled
                         Sympathy. Hope's glad, expectant bosom
                         Throbbed beside the pulse of Disappointment.
                         Happiness, that bright boon of young natures,


Page 149


                         Touched the sombre garb of Sorrow. Innocence
                         Bowed down, with sage Experience.


                         One common goal
                         Had brought their several paths this night
                         Together, and in God's pure sight, their wants
                         And pious claims were equal. Oh 'twas sweet
                         To see the holy man approach them near,
                         And "laying hands" on each, ask listening Heaven
                         For blessings on them all.


                         Doubt, lingering by
                         With timid footstep, tearfully embraced
                         Faith's proffered blessing. Penitence bowed down
                         In meek humility, and from his heart
                         Arose sweet incense of devotion. To
                         The Sinner's ear, there came sad tones of low
                         And earnest pleading. Would he longer strive
                         Against God's waiting Spirit? Would he still
                         Delay, even while that voice yet lingered
                         In his ear, which oft before, as now, had
                         Whispered, "Son, give me thy heart?"


Page 150


                         Ah, never,
                         Nevermore, perhaps, to him may come its
                         Sweet, remembered music,--nevermore the
                         Kind assurance heard, "Ask, and it shall be
                         Given,--seek, ye shall find,--knock, and it shall
                         Be opened unto thee."* * * *


                         * * * * * Oh, may our souls
                         No solace find, in this dim, tearful vale,
                         Till, shaking off Transgression's fetter, we
                         May all approach our Father's Mercy-seat;
                         And listening Seraphs, waiting round, may catch
                         From our full hearts, and bear to Heaven's glad ear
                         The cry, "Oh Lord,--we come!"


Page 151

TO A SLEEPING INFANT.


                         LITTLE one, with eyelids closing
                         Softly to their wonted rest,
                         In thy mother's arms reposing,
                         Folded gently to her breast--


                         Say, what visions, brightly glowing,
                         Float before thy slumbering eye,
                         On thy heart rich dreams bestowing
                         Of that world beyond the sky?


                         Dost thou view the crystal river,
                         Sparkling clear through meadows green;
                         Wanderest thou where dew-gems quiver
                         Mid the flowers of golden sheen?


Page 152


                         Lo! a smile--I know its meaning--
                         Angel forms communion keep;
                         Spirits from on high are gleaning
                         Secrets from thee, in thy sleep.


                         They are asking, sinless darling,
                         Of the path untried and new,--
                         Whether here so bright a starling
                         May to Heaven's high cause be true.


                         List their message--o'er thee bending,
                         Hear them in low whispers say:
                         "Lean on God, His truth attending,
                         Nought shall harm thee on thy way.


                         "Life is but a wavelet, shaken
                         By a storm from wintry skies;
                         At its close thine eyes shall waken
                         In their native Paradise."


Page 153

ON THE DEATH OF MRS. FANNIE S.
GIBBONS,

        OF HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA.


                         THE breath of Spring is night--it comes once more
                         To glad the Earth where Winter's frown hath been,
                         And violets their fragrant incense pour
                         On flowery paths, through dewy meadows green;
                         But all in vain they smile for us--we mourn
                         For thee, sweet Blossom, from our bosoms torn.


                         The birds, gay warblers, flit from tree to tree,
                         Waking glad melody in forest bowers,
                         And laughing brooks flow on in sportive glee--
                         While sunshine crowns the swiftly-passing hours;
                         Alas! we heed them not: Death's form hath passed
                         In at our threshold, since we saw them last.


Page 154


                         And thou, with love's high hopes fresh in thy heart,
                         Joy's smile, like sunlight, on thy fair, young brow,
                         Thou wert the prize won by his cruel dart;
                         Thine the dear form his ruthless hand laid low--
                         Oh, ne'er before hath his cold fingers pressed
                         Their frozen clasp around a purer breast.


                         Thine was a spirit pure as Summer rose,
                         When morning wakes its fresh, young leaves to light,
                         And in thy heart Affection found repose,
                         While holy thoughts there nestled, warm and bright,
                         But, like the lily, which rude storms have tried,
                         Thou bow'dst thy lovely head and meekly died.


                         Yes, thou art dead! Deep, deep the sod, beneath
                         Whence Summer violets spring, thou'rt sleeping low.
                         Say, wilt thou not return when May's soft breath
                         O'er timid buds and meek-eyed flow'rets blow?


Page 155


                         Ah, vain these bitter tears, and vain the prayer
                         Affection murmurs in its wild despair.


                         Thou'lt not come back to us, though early flowers
                         Still pour their fragrance on the balmy air;
                         Though warbling birds make glad Earth's lonely bowers,
                         We'll miss thy voice, dear lost one, everywhere;
                         Yet Faith will whisper, in low accents sweet,
                         "There is a clime above, where we may meet."


                         Oh, from that land of never-fading bloom,
                         Still bend on us, dear one, thy pitying gaze,
                         While from the darkness of thy early tomb
                         We humbly strive our yearning thoughts to raise;
                         Hover around us, Angel-guide, till we
                         Shall quit this world to live again with thee.


Page 156

ASPIRATIONS.


                         ROUSE thee, my soul, wake all thy slumbering powers,
                         Nor longer trail thy pinions in the dust,--
                         Bright aims, high purposes, demand thy zeal;
                         Upward and soar! thou who canst dare to claim
                         That richest heritage, a spirit-birth.
                         What are the sordid gains for which they toil,
                         Whose highest guerdon is the world's poor praise?
                         What is ambition, wealth, or even fame,
                         But empty bubbles broken by a breath?
                         These do but mock thy cravings; put thee on
                         Faith's burnished helmet, Truth's unfailing shield,
                         And gird thee with new hope and trusting love,
                         And patient, firm endurance; look aloft,
                         And not to self alone devote thy powers;
                         Live not for self alone.


Page 157


                         Let others seek
                         In hidden treasures of the Earth and Sea,
                         That paltry, perishable thing called gold.
                         Aye, let them toil, as many do full oft,
                         With aching heart and brow to win a name;
                         Or let them grasp at power, to learn that crowns
                         May press the brow which wears them. Not for thee
                         These glittering baubles, not for thee, my soul.
                         Earth is thy battle-ground, Heaven thy fair home;
                         Strive to obtain a victor's welcome there.
                         Live for mankind, thy Country--more than all,
                         Live for thy God, my Soul.


Page 158

L'ENVOI.

        (FROM "IMOGEN," AN UNFINISHED POEM.)


                         I HAVE been out, dear Love, this radiant morning,
                         In the broad open field and wild wood near;
                         Amid whose vocal shades and sunlit meadows
                         We took our last sweet walk, when thou wert here.
                         The Sun shone clear as then, the air was balmy,
                         The while a quiet breeze played o'er the hill;
                         And yet my heart was joyless, love, and lonely,
                         The music in my bosom hushed and still.
                         I could not heed the warbling matin-chorus,
                         Which, from a thousand throats, went up on high;
                         Nor did I mark, as then, the low, sweet humming
                         Of each glad insect, as it murmured by.


Page 159


                         Sad memories of sad things bowed down my spirit,
                         And dimmed mine eyes to Nature's charms around,--
                         Cold, cruel tones, and colder words of parting,
                         Blent in strange discord with each vocal sound.
                         Ah! Love and Change, ye have a mystic meaning,
                         Which only they who know ye both can tell.
                         With me Love ne'er could know such cold estrangement,
                         Or Friendship even breathe such cold farewell. * * * * * * * *
                         Rememberest thou, that 'tis the mild September,
                         That month to Memory and to Love so dear;
                         Why is it then, at this sweet, hallowed season,
                         I vainly pause thy coming step to hear?
                         Thou shouldst be with me,--we should roam together
                         The tangled pathways of the forest dim,
                         Together pause, as oft of yore, to listen,
                         As Nature upward sends her choral hymn.
                         Yet if life offers thee more joy in absence,
                         And thou more happy art, when far away,
                         I'll welcome loneliness always, and sorrow,
                         To know that thou art always glad and gay.


Page 160

THE WOODS IN SUMMER.


                         THE woods, the woods! ah, what delicious calm
                         Their freshness brings. Once, with a fevered pulse
                         And weary heart, I sought these cooling shades,
                         And by this flowing rill, so clear and bright,
                         I sat me down in very weariness.
                         It was a day of loveliness, in June,
                         When Nature seemed dressed for a holiday,
                         And little children welcomed it with joy,--
                         Tossing with busy hands the new-mown hay,
                         Or wreathing garlands of the sweet, wild flowers,
                         While bird and bee chorused each merry peal
                         Of ringing laughter. All the air around
                         Echoed the hum of voices--every breeze
                         Wafting a breath of incense, pure and sweet,
                         And blooming fields of yellow, waving grain,
                         Laughed in the golden sunlight.


Page 161


                         To the woods
                         I wandered then, as now, with saddened heart,
                         And 'mid these rural shades found sweet repose.
                         Ah, it is well, sometimes, to turn aside
                         From all the foot-worn paths of busy life,
                         And seek a respite from its clamorous toil
                         Amid the hush of solitude like this;
                         To hear no sound save that of murmuring rill,
                         Or foaming cascade leaping to the light,
                         Or, now and then, the squirrel's lonely chirp
                         Blending in chorus with the wild bird's note;--
                         Anon the sigh of zephyrs, low and sweet,
                         As o'er us waves the leafy canopy,
                         Fraught with their perfumed breath. To watch the while,
                         Through trembling boughs, the calm, blue, smiling sky,
                         And think of those who early walked with us
                         Life's changeful paths beneath it; whose blest feet
                         Now press the "golden streets" beyond. How sweet,
                         Amid such scenes as this, to wander o'er


Page 162


                         Our childhood's faded track, and dream again
                         Of pleasant rambles through the forests wild,
                         With playmates, young and fair--in every tone
                         To catch an echo dim of "Auld Lang Syne;"
                         To trace in every leaf and flower His smile,
                         Whose hand divine hath made them--aye, to hear
                         In running brook and foaming torrent wild,
                         The great voice of our Father.


                         It is thus
                         The woods, the sweet, calm summer woods, become
                         The trysting place for Memory and Hope;
                         While Faith, the meek-eyed angel, waiting near,
                         Unfolds to each the antitype of God.


Page 163

TO MY HARP.


                         CHERISHED harp, my soul is saddened,
                         Nought can soothe like thy sweet strains;
                         Though so long thy chords have slumbered,
                         I'll awake their tones again.


                         Tears I've shed since last we parted,
                         Burning tears of grief and pain,--
                         Hopes I fondly nursed have perished,
                         Nevermore to bloom again.


                         Once, thy notes of rapture thrilled me,
                         Now there's wailing in thy tone;
                         And thy trembling strings, forsaken,
                         Answer to the wind's low moan.


                         Gentle harp, I know thy meaning,
                         For my soul hath felt the spell


Page 164


                         Left of loneliness and sorrow
                         By that parting word, "farewell.'


                         Once a form of matchless beauty,
                         O'er thee swept a skilful hand,
                         And a voice of thrilling sweetness
                         Did thy gentle tones command.


                         But that form, so fondly cherished,
                         Ne'er shall know thee as of yore;
                         And that voice, so sweet, shall waken
                         To thy gladdening strains no more.


                         Heavenly spirit! stoop and hover
                         Near me, as I touch these strings,--
                         Catch the prayer my lips shall murmur,
                         Waft it on thy angel wings.


                         When my soul, no longer fettered,
                         Is from Earth's dull bondage free,
                         May we strike our harps together
                         In a bright Eternity.


Page 165

THE CHRISTENING.


                         A LITTLE cherub-band, in snow-white robes,
                         Were offered at the chancel. Loving eyes
                         Watched tenderly each smiling face, and arms
                         Of fond affection circled them. They gazed
                         In wonder now, first on the Pastor's face,
                         And then upon the Font inquiringly,
                         As though they fain would ask what mystic grace
                         Lay hidden in those glistening drops for them.
                         Lo! as the Man of God lifts up his voice
                         To ask of Heaven its blessing, close they cling
                         In helpless weakness to the yearning breasts
                         That throb for them with parent sympathy.
                         And as he takes each, in his pastoral arms,
                         They timidly shrink back as half afraid,
                         Then to his kindly bosom nestle close.
                         Now as he lays his hand upon their brows,


Page 166


                         And with a solemn mien closes the rite
                         Which pledges them to Heaven, Angels pause
                         To hear the vow of consecration--bend
                         To seal it with a kiss, and lo! a smile
                         Stamps the impression on each beaming face.
                         Ye sinless little ones, in after years,
                         When worldly snares are set for your weak steps,
                         And Pleasure's siren tones call to allure
                         Your hearts from virtue, when perchance the arms
                         Which clasp you now, are folded stiff in Death--
                         Hark then! "a still small voice" will softly breathe
                         Into your ear this truth: that while the dew
                         Of childhood innocence lay fresh upon
                         Your hearts, Love brought you here and offered you
                         To Jesus. Let that memory suffice
                         To keep you ever in the path of Truth;
                         And when at last ye shall lie down to rest
                         Within your narrow beds, may dewy flowers
                         Spring over breasts which never lost in life
                         The pearl of their baptismal purity.


Page 167

GIVE ME THY BLESSING, FATHER
DEAR.


                         GIVE me thy blessing, father dear!
                         On this, my bridal eve;
                         Oh, let me from thy tender lips
                         Some whispered word receive.
                         Some accent spoken soft and low,
                         In earnestness and love,
                         That e'er will linger in my heart,
                         Its talisman to prove.
                         That heart is very sad to-day,
                         Though bright the future seems,--
                         Our parting hour approaching,
                         Throws a shadow o'er my dreams.
                         I think of all thou'st been to me,
                         And fear lest, when I roam,


Page 168


                         I may not find such changeless love
                         As I have found at home.
                         Give me thy blessing, father dear!
                         'Twill calm my troubled heart;
                         One only balm may soothe me now,--
                         Thy blessing ere we part.


Page 169

GUARDIAN SPIRITS.

        [A beautiful feature in the Roman Catholic Faith, teaches that each one of us, while on earth, is watched over continually by a Guardian Spirit, whom Heaven appoints to direct and shield us; and that this viewless counsellor may, perchance, wear the form of some loved one who has "gone before" us to the Better Land.]


                         IT is a holy thought, that while we dwell,
                         O'ershadowed by the gathering clouds of Earth,
                         Each has an Angel friend, who follows near
                         On viewless wing, beside us, taking note
                         "Of thorns and briery places," "lest we dash
                         Our foot against a stone," or darkly grope
                         On Error's brink,--that Spirits, pure and bright,
                         Are ever speaking to us, though the tones
                         Of their mysterious voices are not heard.
                         They prompt to deeds of kindness, love, and truth,--
                         Alas, that we, so often fail to heed
                         Their silent whisperings. They float around


Page 170


                         On pinions light as air,--we ne'er may mark
                         The flutter of their wings, although, perchance,
                         They oft may wear the features we have loved.
                         A mother's eye, closed long ago, may beam
                         In their soft gaze; a father's arm may clasp
                         In their embrace; a sister's angel smile
                         Blend in their look of love; a brother's form,
                         Hid from us by the grave, may wander still
                         Beside us, as in other years, when life and hope
                         Were new. Aye, it may be, that dimpled hands,
                         Which we saw folded in the clasp of Death,
                         Are beckoning to us now from that bright sphere
                         Where ne'er is seen a vacant cradle, where
                         The little suffering form o'er which we bowed
                         For days in agony, hath put aside
                         Its clay, and weareth now a Cherub's wings.
                         Babe, Sister, Mother, though I may not know
                         Who, of Love's buried trio, Heaven appoints
                         To guide my footsteps here, yet I have felt
                         New influences round life's pathway thrown
                         Since ye have entered the eternal gates.
                         Joy springs anew, as Faith breathes, low and sweet,
                         "Reunion there forever."


Page 171

SUMMER'S GONE.


                         AH! Summer's gone! The Autumn breezes sighing,
                         Murmur its requiem, while a dirge-like moan
                         Comes from the heart, an echo dim, replying--
                         "Summer's gone!"


                         Lo! in the forests faded leaves lie scattered,
                         And sweet young blossoms of their freshness shorn,
                         And clinging vines that ruthless storms have shattered.
                         Summer's gone!


                         Pale roses, 'neath the breath of Autumn stooping,
                         Will lift their heads no more to greet the morn;
                         And lilies too, on slender stems are drooping--
                         Summer's gone!


Page 172


                         The song of birds is hushed mid vernal bowers;
                         The sportive butterfly, of sunlight born,
                         No more is seen to woo the gentle flowers,--
                         Summer's gone!


                         The fragrant freshness of the bright June weather,
                         July's warm glory, August's mellow dawn,--
                         All, all have passed, bird, bee and flower together.
                         Summer's gone!


                         And with it, too, how many a hope hath perished,
                         Leaving the joyous bosom sad and lone,--
                         Oh! where are now the day-dreams they once cherished?
                         Summer's gone!


                         Aye, though its coming throw an emerald glory
                         O'er this glad world, yet hark!--a triumph tone
                         From our doomed cities* shouts the welcome story,

        * Norfolk and Portsmouth, in 1855.



                         "Summer's gone!"
Page 173


                         Yes, from thy homes, Virginia, smiles have vanished
                         That greeted merrily Spring's rosy dawn,
                         From stricken hearts, joy hath fore'er been banished;
                         Summer's gone!


                         Gone, gone,--the Autumn breeze proclaims it, sighing,
                         While to the ear, there comes an echoing moan
                         From Hope's pale embers on Love's hearthstone lying,
                         "Summer's gone!"


Page 174

TO HER WHO ASKED ME FOR "A POEM."


                         WOULDST have a poem, dear one? ah! then look
                         Abroad this sunny morn on Nature's face,--
                         There, is true poetry in unmeasured lines,--
                         There God himself hath brightly pictured forth
                         His Glory and his Power. The mountains old,
                         In lofty grandeur rear their hoary crests
                         To meet the clouds. And yonder sky, so soft,
                         So calm, so clear, so beautiful, seems made
                         For eyes like yours to gaze on--eyes that see
                         No sombre hues in aught--to which indeed
                         Life's darker scenes are veiled--which only view
                         Through Hope's gay prism-glass those rainbow tints
                         That bless the gaze of Innocence. Behold!--
                         The world is full of poetry,--its herd
                         Of breathing forms, its busy insect life,


Page 175


                         Its clouds, its storms, its sunshine, Day and Night,--
                         Its changing seasons all,--the smiling Spring
                         In her rich garniture of buds and flowers,--
                         Glad Summer with her joyous harvest-time,
                         Sweet meek-eyed Autumn with her plenteous stores
                         Of golden fruits--her mild October sun--
                         Her scarlet leaves and berries. Winter, too,
                         With his cold breath and glittering icicles--
                         His ermine robe of snow--his Christmas chimes,--
                         Each is within itself a poem true,
                         And God the glorious Author. Thine own heart,
                         My gentle friend, thy young, gay, careless heart,
                         Is but another poem, rich and rare,
                         In voiceless thought and tuneful numbers.
                         Ah! let its study be thy earliest care;
                         So "prune" its "rougher lines,"--so guard its truth,
                         That, when at last thy silent pulses tell
                         The volume closed, Truth, like a "critic" kind,
                         May, o'er thy Life's bright pages, justly write
                         That envied sentence,--"Beautiful!"


Page 176

MY LITTLE FLOWER.


                         IT was a rosebud, pure and sweet,
                         That blossomed in the Spring;
                         And to my heart I fondly pressed
                         The little winsome thing.


                         I loved it for its fragile form,
                         And for a brow, so fair,--
                         It seemed a glistening pearl, half hid
                         By waves of shining hair.


                         I loved it for an eye of blue,
                         That on me softly shone;
                         But I have thought I loved it most
                         Because--it was "my own."


                         So closely with my being, did
                         This flower of beauty twine,


Page 177


                         That soon my thankless mother-heart
                         Became an Idol-shrine.


                         And God, who lent the bud of love,
                         Called back to Heaven his own;
                         Death kissed it sleeping, and no more
                         Its soft eyes on me shone.


                         Ah! well do I remember now
                         The little winsome thing;
                         It was a rosebud, pure and sweet,
                         That perished in the Spring.


Page 178

TO THE WIND.


                         WHAT wouldst thou teach us by thy murmurs low,
                         Oh, melancholy Wind?--what message bear,
                         In the deep cadence of thy mournful voice,
                         From the Eternal sphere? We know thou hast
                         Some mission pure, for thou receivedst thy tones
                         From Him whose will the elements obey;
                         Thou speakst of Him in every murmuring sigh
                         That's wafted from thy breath, and oft I seem
                         To hear His voice in thine, mysterious Wind!
                         Surely a magic power is given to thee,
                         For thou dost sometimes wear the zephyr's form,
                         Bringing to flowers soft airs, from sunny climes;
                         Then, with one touch of thy strange, mighty wand,
                         The dew is scattered from the lily's cup,
                         And sunbeams take its place. Thou dalliest near
                         The violet's bed, and lo! it wakes to light--


Page 179


                         Seeking some sheltered nook, or mossy dell,
                         Wherein to breathe its sweet young life away.
                         Capricious Wind!--by one rude kiss of thine,
                         I've seen the woodbine trailing in the dust,
                         And proud oaks bend, to own thy tyrant power;
                         Aye more, the very waves are made to roll
                         Obedient to thy sway. Afar from home
                         The mariner counts thee his foe or friend,
                         For, of his loss or gain, thou seem'st to be
                         Heaven's instrument.


                         What is thy form, and what
                         The mien thou wearest? Sometimes, in lonely hours,
                         I've fancied thee a spirit, and have held
                         Communion with thee oft; half hoping then
                         That thou wouldst yet disclose the features fair
                         Of some departed face. But this I know
                         Was love's vain fantasy. Thy form and place--
                         None know save our Father. He "tempers thee
                         To the shorn lamb;" and I will be content
                         To hear thy music tones, and humbly blend
                         My voice of grateful praise with thine, oh Wind!


Page 180

A CHILD'S MORNING HYMN.


                         FATHER in Heaven! I rise once more
                         With morning's cheerful light,
                         To thank Thee for Thy watchful care
                         Throughout the long, long night.


                         Thy goodness kept me safe from harm
                         While darkness round me lay,
                         And to Thy faithful service now
                         I consecrate this day.


                         Let every thought my heart employs
                         Be pleasing in Thy sight;
                         And may Thy gracious eye behold
                         Each action with delight.


                         Preserve my lips from sinful speech,
                         My heart from evil free;


Page 181


                         Since all I think, or say, or do,
                         Is known, my God, to Thee.


                         Bless with Thy love my parents dear,
                         My sisters, brothers kind;
                         Let all who seek to know Thy truth
                         That heavenly knowledge find.


                         Bless too, the poor, the rich, the great,
                         The sick, the bond, the free;
                         And may the Heathen souls be taught
                         To worship only Thee.


                         Throughout life's everchanging scenes
                         Be Thou my constant friend;
                         From aught that could my soul deceive
                         Preserve me to the end.


                         And when from Earth I pass away
                         In Death's severe embrace,
                         Father! oh, may I then enjoy
                         Thy presence "face to face."


Page 182

THE BLIND GIRL WITH FLOWERS.

        (FROM A PAINTING BY LEUTZE.)


                         OH! I could sit for hours
                         And gaze upon the placid beauty of thy fair, young face,
                         Sweet child of Night. There is a spell of quiet holiness
                         Upon thy brow, as if thy God had placed a seal thereon,
                         Marking thee out as something that the obtrusive hand of harm
                         And guilt must touch not.
                         Round
                         Thy close-sealed eye a shade of sadness lingers, yet there's nought
                         Of restless murmuring at thy darkened lot--no sombre trace
Page 183


                         Of dull repining at the will of Heaven. There is a calm
                         Of pious resignation sadly sweet, and throwing o'er
                         Thy veiled and sightless orbs, a halo pure and lovely
                         As thy dreams of Light.
                         What were thy thoughts, oh! gentle one, what were thy thoughts of all
                         The glorious things that gladden earth, the sunlight, stars, and flowers?
                         What thy dreams of rainbow, cloud, and mountain? Had the meadow's
                         Quiet stream no charm for thee, save the low murmuring music
                         Of its flow? the garden gems no varied form or color?
                         Ah, thou lov'dst the flowers, for thy rounded arm now clasps a vase
                         Of gorgeous buds and blossoms, and thy curtained eyes are bent
                         As wont to catch one faint gleam at their loveliness. Alas!


Page 184


                         A lonely lot was thine, yet well I know thy soul had sweet
                         Revealings of that radiant clime, where Heaven's own cloudless light
                         Would charm thy raptured vision, where thy lyre no more attuned
                         To sadness, would awake its tones of holy joy, that thus
                         The very earliest ray that ever blest thy being, shone
                         Direct from God.


Page 185

"WE HAD BUT ONE."


                         WE had but one--her little life
                         Seemed made of golden hours,
                         And each a gladness yielded, like
                         The fragrant breath of flowers.


                         We had but one--her glowing smile
                         Of innocence and mirth,
                         Shone like a star in wintry skies,
                         Around our lonely hearth.


                         We had but one--her angel voice
                         In baby accents heard,
                         Still falls upon my listening ear
                         Like sweetest song of bird.


Page 186


                         We had but one--how sweet the task
                         For Love's fulfilment given,--
                         Daily to watch the expanding flower,
                         And keep it pure for Heaven.


                         How sweet, through coming years, to guide
                         In Truth's unerring way,
                         Her gentle heart, that Sin tempt not
                         Its timid thoughts to stray.


                         And when her woman's course was run,--
                         Kissing the chastening rod,
                         How sweet to close her eyes in peace,
                         And yield her back to God.


                         Not thus, oh Father, hath it seemed
                         Good in thy sight to be;
                         Long length of years was not for her,
                         Nor Woman's destiny.


                         But let us not arraign Thy love
                         In this dark hour of need;


Page 187


                         Enough, Great God, to know Thou wilt
                         Not break the bruised reed.


                         Our child is dead,--a wintry grave
                         Holds now her precious clay,--
                         "Thy will be done--'twas thine to give,
                         And thine to take away."


Page 188

MEMORY.


                         AH! I love to remember the days that are gone,
                         And the pleasures that brightened my life's early morn;
                         When the world, bathed in sunlight from Hope's radiant skies,
                         Seemed a glad, fairy land to my joy-beaming eyes.


                         Now, alas! the bright prism I saw it through then,
                         Has o'erdarkened its colors, again and again;
                         I still gaze, but the rainbow tints silently fade,
                         And in hiding the sunlight, leave only the shade.


                         Yet despite the world's clamor, its turmoil and strife,
                         Some bright flowers will spring in the pathway of life;


Page 189


                         And the fairest to me are those blossoms that gleam
                         All along the green banks of fond Memory's stream.


                         They shine 'mid the vapory mists that arise
                         Like those sunbeams that glisten through showery skies;
                         And, whatever the future may bring us at last,
                         We've the fragrance still left of these flowers of the Past.


                         Ah! let us, then, seize the glad moments which fly,
                         To gather Love's flowers in our pathway that lie,
                         Since when all that is present lies dead in the past,
                         'Tis the chaplet of Memory that crowns us at last.


Page 190

TO BABY FRANK, SLEEPING.


                         SLEEP on, baby, take thy rest
                         Calmly on thy mother's breast,
                         Slumber seal thy gentle eye,
                         While she sings thy "lullaby."


                         Sorrow cannot harm thee now,
                         Care nor anguish shade thy brow;
                         For thy heart is pure and free,
                         And thy pulse beats healthfully.


                         O'er thee bends a watchful eye,
                         Angel forms are hovering nigh--
                         Baby, thou art truly blest,
                         Pillowed on thy mother's breast.


Page 191


                         May the future bring no night
                         To thy soul's unclouded light;
                         Ne'er sin's bitter, rankling dart,
                         Throw one shadow on thy heart.


                         But be all life's dreams as bright
                         As thy childhood's sleep was light,
                         Baby, mayst thou never know
                         Aught of sorrow, sin, or woe.


Page 192

SHALL I BE FORGOTTEN THUS?

ON PASSING A NEGLECTED GRAVE THE WAYSIDE.

INSCRIBED TO THE LOVED ONES AT HOME.


                         AH, shall I be forgotten thus, when I am dead,
                         Will not e'en a soft Daisy bloom over my head,
                         When these eyes have long closed in their visionless sleep,
                         Will not Love o'er my grave still a kind vigil keep?


                         Aye, and when the glad Spring comes with verdure and bloom,
                         Will not loving hands, tenderly, plant round my tomb
                         Bright Roses and Woodbine, and meek Violets blue,
                         Ever loving them best, because I loved them too.


Page 193


                         Say, will you not then come, at the soft twilight hour,
                         And wander awhile through the lonely Death-bower
                         Where sleeps my pale form, still and cold in its rest,
                         Low down 'mid the gloom of the grave's silent breast?


                         Ah, then, as with soft timid footsteps you tread
                         On the turf which so mournfully covers my head,
                         Forget all the faults which the vanished life knew,
                         And think only, the heart once beat warmly for you.


                         Though parted the link in your glad household chain,
                         Thus let Memory's clasp reunite us again,
                         And her soft, gentle whispers call up from the past
                         Those glad moments of joy which death could not o'ercast.


Page 194


                         The bright days of our childhood, when, joyous and free,
                         We roamed through the wildwood, for blossom and bee,
                         Or, lingering, knelt by the brook's tiny wave,
                         In its silvery ripples our bosoms to lave.


                         And won't you recall, too, the raptures we knew
                         When the first violets lifted their heads to the dew,
                         And the glad birds came back from their green Southern bowers,
                         As the Spring waked to light the long-slumbering flowers?


                         Ah, then, do not forget me thus, loved ones and true,
                         When hath faded the sound of my dying adieu;
                         Aye, though parted the link in your glad household chain,
                         Still let Memory's clasp reunite us again.


Page 195

WAKE UP, LITTLE DARLING.

        (TO ONE WHO WILL UNDERSTAND IT.)


                         WAKE up, little darling, the Sun is awake,
                         And has taken his place in the sky;
                         Even now, the sweet flowers are opening their leaves
                         To the light of his radiant eye.


                         Wake up--all the blossoms and buds are awake,
                         And the meadow is covered with dew,
                         But the bees are not chasing the butterflies yet,
                         They are waiting, I dare say, for you.


                         Wake up--the sweet birds are awake, for I hear
                         From a thousand gay flutterers nigh,
                         Glad matins of praise, like a chorus of love,
                         Floating up to the Ruler on high.


Page 196


                         Wake up; you are losing the bloom on your cheek,
                         And the bright morn is hastening away,
                         All other glad things are awake and astir,
                         Ah! then, why will Mary delay?


                         Up, up to your books, while the birds are about,
                         They are busy e'en now in the bowers,--
                         Learn a lesson of industry, darling, from them,
                         And be gentle and pure like the flowers.


Page 197

TO AN ANGEL-SPIRIT.*

        * Mary, only daughter of Dr. Gilmer, of Lynchburg, Va.,--the recollection of whose melancholy fate is still painfully fresh in the minds of her many friends.



                         I SADDEN at thy mem'ry, darling child,
                         As thoughts of thy dark fate, thy painful doom,
                         Come up before me now,--dread picturings
                         Of agony and death. Thy slumbers deep,
                         So sweet and tranquil, full of angel-dreams,
                         And then the fearful wakening!--senses lost
                         In wild bewildering terror, as the flames
                         Hissed around thy pillow angrily. Thy look
                         Of dread surprise to find thyself alone,
                         And then thy piteous cry for "Help!"


                         Ah, could
                         Thy mother's arm have clasped thee then, or had


Page 198


                         Her voice been near to whisper courage, thou
                         Mightst yet have dared the window's height, and leapt
                         To arms outstretched to save thee. But the while
                         She kept a midnight watch in her lone home,
                         Over thy baby-brother, shedding tears,--
                         Such tears as only fall from loving eyes,--
                         And mingling them with prayer, that God would smile
                         Upon her cradled boy, and give him health,--
                         She little dreamed that thou, her bright-eyed child,
                         Her gentle daughter, at that very hour
                         Wrestled with Death by fire!


                         Tell us, Angel-child,
                         What thoughts came to thee in that fearful hour,
                         Of home and friends, and "mother." Did her name,
                         Coupled with that of God, go up to swell
                         Thy martyr-shrieks of agony? Did scenes
                         Of bygone blessings thou shouldst know no more,--
                         Thy father's features and thy brother's smile,


Page 199


                         Float in thy visions? or didst thou breathe again
                         The little prayer, learned at thy mother's knee,
                         Which lingered on thy lips as sleep that night
                         Stole gently o'er thine eyelids? Didst thou say
                         "Our Father?" wilder sobbing forth the words
                         "Thy will be done!" and as the approaching flames
                         Drew near and nearer, piercing the red night,
                         With a most piteous cry, "Deliver me
                         From evil?"


                         Ah, we may not know how passed
                         Those awful moments with thee--but we know
                         That ere the stars had paled in the soft sky,
                         Or night withdrawn her mantle from the earth,
                         That prayer was answered. Daylight saw thy form
                         Consumed to ashes,--Death had done his work,
                         And thy pure soul had entered its new life;
                         For Christ the Lord had taken it to dwell
                         Henceforth with Him.


                         Oh, it was better thus
                         To enter Heaven through a gate of fire


Page 200


                         With soul untainted, and with childhood's dew
                         Yet resting on the heart, than live to see
                         Thine innocence depart with length of years.
                         Belovèd child, thy fate to us seems dark,
                         And fond lips breathe thy name mid gushing tears;
                         Yet there will come a time (God's purposes
                         Revealed), when we will say of thee, "'Tis well,"--
                         And Angels shall respond, "YEA, IT IS WELL."


Page 201

A WELCOME.

        TO THE MT. AIRY HOUSEHOLD AND GUESTS, WHO VISITED CLIFF
COTTAGE IN THE SUMMER OF 1858.


                         HARK, 'tis heard in sunny glades
                         Glowing with delight,--
                         Glad with merry song of birds,
                         Musical and bright.


                         Welcome to our valley fair,
                         And to our mountains old,
                         Where Nature's gentlest charms are blent
                         With loftiest grandeur bold.


                         Welcome to our whispering woods,
                         And to our fields so fair,
                         Where sweetest voices, chiming, fill
                         The glowing summer air.


Page 202


                         Welcome, list, the echo flies;--
                         Each passing zephyr bends
                         To catch the sound, whose murmur breathes
                         A welcome to you, friends.


                         E'en timid flowers look meekly up,
                         As eager to prolong
                         The joyous tone, while bird and bee
                         All share our welcome song.


                         Each beaming face, with rapture filled,
                         A gladness new imparts;
                         Aye, welcome to our home and hearth,
                         Thrice welcome to our hearts.


Page 203

TO A YOUNG SPARROW.

        WHICH HAD ESCAPED FROM THE NEST, AND FLUTTERED NEAR ME
IN AN EVENING WALK.


                         COME, little timid nestling, fear
                         No danger, pray, from me;
                         I would not harm one feather which
                         Our God hath given to thee.


                         I would not give thy downy wing
                         One single stroke of pain;
                         I'd only guide thy wandering flight
                         Back to the nest again.


                         Hark! now thy mother calls for thee
                         In mournful chirping tone,
                         She knows not where, in this dim wood,
                         Her little one hath flown.


Page 204


                         I'll place thee where her watching eye
                         May see thee with delight;
                         For well I know her fears have marked
                         The coming of the night.


                         She thinks with terror and alarm
                         Of "Pussy" lurking nigh,
                         With ready paw to seize thee when
                         No rescuing hand is by.


                         Ah, oft do little ones like thee
                         Give pain to parents dear,
                         By wandering from the path of right,
                         With danger threatening near.


                         And little recking of the hearts
                         That sigh for them in vain,
                         They rove, till conscience, like a guide,
                         Conducts them back again.


                         This lesson teach them, little bird,--
                         That though thy steps may stray,


Page 205


                         Thou hast not reason, as they have,
                         To show thee wisdom's way.


                         And tell them that the same great hand
                         Which made both them and you,
                         Hath marked for each some destiny,
                         Your life long to pursue.


                         Ye both are objects of his care,
                         The creatures of his will;
                         Good children then should always strive
                         His wishes to fulfil.


                         Thy little warbling throat was made
                         His lofty praise to sing,
                         And he designed thy form to float
                         Through air, on lightsome wing.


                         Go then, thou little trembler, go--
                         Heaven's azure dome is thine;
                         Thou hast life's freedom, I its cares--
                         Thy Maker though is mine.


Page 206


                         Why He hath differed thus, our paths,
                         We, finite, may not tell;
                         But this, I know,--He cannot err,
                         Who "doeth all things well."


Page 207

A CHILD'S EVENING HYMN.


                         As Day's bright splendor fades from view,
                         And Night's dark shades appear,
                         Father in Heaven! low at Thy feet
                         I once again draw near.


                         For all the blessings Thou hast strewn
                         Around my path to-day,
                         I thank Thee, though, I know the least
                         My praise can ne'er repay.


                         If I have sinned in word or deed,
                         Or thought an evil thing;
                         Forgive, and let me sleep beneath
                         The shelter of Thy wing.


Page 208


                         Bless all I love, and let Thy grace
                         Extend the wide world o'er,
                         Till every tongue shall speak Thy praise,
                         And Thy great Name adore.


                         And when mine eyes shall close, to sleep
                         Through Death's long, fearful night,
                         Father, oh, may I wake to see
                         Thy face, in realms of light!


Page 209

MUSINGS IN A CHURCHYARD.


                         I TOO shall die--the day will come
                         I know not when, or where;
                         When stranger eyes will mark my grave
                         Out in the still, soft air.


                         Yes, busy hands will heap the earth
                         Above my silent breast,
                         Then careless turn to other tasks,
                         And leave me to my rest.


                         I know not if the opening flowers
                         Of Spring shall o'er me wave,
                         Or, if the Summer's fervid sun,
                         Shall light my new-made grave.


Page 210


                         I know not if the Autumn winds,
                         Their requiem tones shall sigh,
                         Or, if the Winter snows shall shroud
                         The lone spot where I lie.


                         It may be at the morning hour,
                         When Nature fairest seems,
                         And young hearts, gay with life and hope,
                         Wake from their rosy dreams;


                         It may be when the setting Sun
                         Lights up the parting day,
                         And little children homeward haste,
                         From coming shadows gray,


                         That friendly hands will bear me out,
                         And lay me calmly down,
                         To sleep my last, long, dreamless sleep,
                         Low in the quiet ground.


                         It matters not--I shall not heed
                         The scenes above my head,


Page 211


                         Or know, when friendly footsteps pause
                         Around my narrow bed.


                         I shall not heed the falling clods,
                         That hide my slumbering clay,
                         Or mark when sad or careless eyes
                         Turn from that mound away.


                         One wish I have,--that when I die,
                         All earthly cares removed,
                         My sleep may be that blessèd sleep
                         God giveth His beloved.


Page 212

TO A REMEMBERED DREAM.


                         COME back, sweet dream, come back, and fill my spirit
                         With those bright, golden visions, flown too fast;
                         Not once, but oft come back, and float around me,
                         Thou viewless guardian of the banished past.


                         Fond dream, beguiling to new life and gladness
                         The buried memories of other years,
                         And thrilling with new joy my inmost being,
                         Till slumber breaketh, and I wake--to tears.


                         When on life's sky I see no bow of promise,
                         No golden sunlight gleaming o'er my way,
                         When all is gloom around, within, about me,
                         And cold, and dark, and dreary, is my day:


Page 213


                         Come then, bright dream, as darkness gathers round me,
                         And slumber soothes the sorrow-laden brow,
                         Unfold once more those visions of past hours,
                         Glad moments, which I ne'er again may know.


                         Dear dream, come back, and cheer my weary spirit
                         With Hope's bright golden visions, flown too fast;
                         Sleeping or waking, do thou float around me,
                         Oh, guardian angel of the banished past.


Page 214

THE STRICKEN HEART'S LAMENT.

        [Written at the request of bereaved parents, to commemorate the mournful fate of a beloved child,--JAMES WARD (eldest son of James B. Ward, Esq., of Campbell Co., Va.), who lost his life, by the accidental discharge of a gun, from his own hand, on the 31st of October, 1856.]


                         OH, laughing sunshine, shedding light
                         O'er mountain, stream, and lea,
                         Why bring'st thou not a ray of joy
                         To cheer my home, and me;--
                         Alas! in thy glad beams I trace
                         One vision fair,--an angel face.


                         In all bright things that speak to us
                         Of innocence and mirth;
                         The glittering star, the murmuring rill,
                         The frail, young flowers of earth,--
                         In all I trace in lines of joy
                         The features of my buried boy.


Page 215


                         And in each sighing tone that comes
                         On wintry breezes borne;
                         Whether from Nature's haunts bereft
                         Or firesides drear and lone;
                         A whispering voice in accents wild
                         Still speaks of my departed child.


                         Lost one!--thy smile returns again
                         In Sunlight, Star, and Flower,
                         But oh, a darker vision haunts
                         This lonely musing hour;
                         Methinks I see the current warm
                         Which stained thy stricken youthful form.


                         Oh, Memory! thou canst paint for us
                         No mournful portrait fair,
                         Of features paled by slow disease,
                         Or wasting lines of care;--
                         Love ne'er was privileged to keep
                         A "last watch" o'er his fevered sleep.


Page 216


                         Gone from us! wert thou tired of life
                         Sweet Boy, that thine own hand
                         Should snap the subtle cord, and stay
                         The swiftly flowing sand;--
                         Was there no charm in home and hearth
                         To bind thee, for awhile, to Earth?


                         Age pleads full oft for length of years,
                         And pleads as oft in vain;
                         Care, too, world-weary, murmurs, yet
                         Would run the race again,--
                         And must thou quit the shores of Time
                         Ere Life had passed its flowery prime?


                         Sweet Boy, had crime its guilty blight
                         Thrown o'er thy heart a shade,
                         And thou hadst ended thus the woes
                         Sin's blasting touch had made,--
                         Ah, then, I might have borne to see
                         The warm, fresh life-blood mantle thee.


Page 217


                         Or, if Disease, with conquering strength,
                         Had breathed upon thy brow,
                         And restless hours of anguish paled
                         Thy young cheek's fervent glow;--
                         I might have closed the beaming eye,
                         And meekly bowed to see thee die.


                         But in my heart a vision dwells,
                         A dark scene, strange and wild;
                         Yet as I gaze, Heaven's mystic light
                         Surrounds my phantom child;--
                         And radiant forms of beauty glide
                         About thee, sinless Suicide!


                         I see thee, as on that bright morn,
                         When, full of hope and joy,
                         Thou, like a warbling bird, went forth
                         To come not back, my boy;
                         With gun in hand, and merry heart,
                         Sure thou must try the Huntsman's art.


Page 218


                         And soon the sunlit rocks and hills
                         Re-echoed with the sound,
                         Thy watchful, eager eye, methought
                         Some luckless prize had found,--
                         But oh, too soon the echo came,--
                         A wild shriek coupled with thy name.


                         And then, to our half palsied arms
                         Thy bleeding form was given;
                         The fatal ball had reached thy heart,
                         Life's golden chords were riven;
                         We prayed, begged, wept, in anguish wild,
                         That Death would yield our guiltless child.


                         But all in vain,--no tears could heal
                         The dark wound in thy side;
                         The crimson life-drops, fresh and warm,
                         Still flowed--a streaming tide;
                         And when upon thy face so fair
                         We gazed, no answering smile was there.


Page 219


                         Pale, cold and still--thy boyish face
                         Ne'er looked more sweetly fair,
                         Than when Death's silent Angel left
                         His frozen impress there,--
                         It seemed as though some Cherub bright
                         Had clothed each lineament in light.


                         My boy,--Spring's balmy touch may wake
                         All other gladsome things;
                         The birds, the warbling birds may come,
                         With sunshine on their wings,
                         But oh, their sweetest songs will be
                         But mournful requiems for thee.


                         And on each verdant hillside fair
                         Earth's dewy flowers may spring,
                         And there the Butterfly may float
                         Its rainbow-tinted wing,
                         But Summer-flowers will only wave
                         Their fragrant incense o'er thy grave.


Page 220


                         And yet, I would not call thee back
                         To tread Life's path with me;
                         I only ask, my angel boy,
                         That I may go to thee,
                         When Time's resistless cares are o'er,
                         And pain shall grieve the heart no more.


                         Child of my love, awhile farewell,
                         I feel thy presence nigh;
                         Chiding each wayward, murmuring thought,
                         Each vain rebellious sigh,--
                         Then let my meek submission tell
                         His praise, who "doeth all things well."


Page 221

TO A WITHERING ROSE,

I HAD NURSED IN MY CHAMBER.


                         ALAS! thou art fading, my beautiful flower!
                         To honor no more either garden or bower,--
                         Though Spring with its glories may come and restore
                         All its beauteous gifts to the glad earth once more;
                         Though Morn, fresh and balmy, may gather and shed
                         Cool dews on thy gentle and languishing head;
                         Though Evening's soft breeze may still kiss thee and sigh,
                         As in low fitful murmurs it passes thee by:
                         Not Morn's dewy fragrance nor Evening's pale light,
                         Can give back thy freshness or save thee from blight;
                         Yet I love thee the more, for in moments of sadness,
                         Sweet Rose, thou hast wakened my spirit to gladness;


Page 222


                         And now I will press thy frail stem to my heart,
                         And there let thy beauty and fragrance depart.
                         Ah, well I remember, pale, perishing flower!
                         The Morn when I pluck'd thee from Flora's gay bower;
                         Thy leaves were all laden with zephyrs and dew,
                         While the Sun o'er thy beauty a radiance threw;
                         And sure from the deference shown thee, I ween,
                         Thou wert of that bower the pride and the Queen.
                         By the side the young hyacinths modestly grew,--
                         At thy feet were the violets, glistening with dew;
                         All around the young flowers peep'd forth to the light,
                         While the birds gaily carolled their song of delight.
                         How changed now the scene: surly Winter has come,
                         And invaded with boldness my own little room;
                         Even thou, the sweet gem that I've cherished so much,
                         Art yielding thy bloom to his cold, freezing touch.
                         What lesson, ah, what wouldst thou teach me, my flower,
                         By the pale, yellow hue that spreads o'er thee this hour?


Page 223


                         Must I learn from thy gentle and lovely decay,
                         That the bright things of Earth are all passing away?
                         Then long shall I bless thee, that thou dost impart
                         So faithful a truth to my thoughtless young heart.


Page 224

A MORNING AT CLIFF COTTAGE.


                         ALL Nature wakes with that soft, peering light
                         Which bright'neth yonder Orient. See the flowers,
                         With what new joy they lift their pearly cups
                         To drink the fallen dew, while each young leaf
                         Stirs with a new-born grace to the soft touch
                         Of the light zephyr, passing o'er its face.
                         I bless God for the flowers, the dewy flowers,--
                         Their fragrant breath wakes in my heart new hopes,
                         And when at early morn I rouse from sleep,
                         And leave the quiet stillness of my room
                         To watch their perfumed welcome to the day,--
                         Methinks I see in this, an emblem meet
                         Of that delight the spirit must enjoy
                         When first its clay-sealed eyes open to greet
                         The radiant light of Heaven. Ah! silently
                         Ye teach, but sweetly, voiceless flowers! Ye speak


Page 225


                         Like Angels, without words, but ye, like them,
                         Speak truthfully, and by your frailty teach
                         The young heart sober lessons. Deep within
                         Your fragrant bosoms lie mysterious truths,
                         If man would only heed them. Fresh and fair
                         Ye hang upon your stems this glowing morn,
                         The dew yet glittering like sparkling gems
                         Upon each petal, till the passing breeze
                         Shakes off the shining drops, and leaves each tint
                         Of rainbow beauty, brighter than before.
                         Alas! too soon beneath a noontide sun,
                         Your slender heads will droop, and when at eve,
                         I come again to seek your perfumed smile,
                         A faded hue will rest upon your leaves;
                         Your blush and dewy freshness, vanished, gone,
                         And in my pathway, I shall soon behold
                         A group of withered flow'rets, blighted, dead.
                         Ah, such is life, frail blossoms! Such the end
                         Of hopes that waked in childhood's golden morn
                         Promise of coming joys. They yielded then
                         Their fragrant freshness to the early dawn
                         Of our brief day; and when we go back now,


Page 226


                         To seek them by the wayside of the Past,
                         We only see around us faded flowers.
                         Yet why pause now, at this delicious hour,
                         To muse upon the sober truths of life?
                         Enough to know, that Nature hath put on
                         Her robe of fairest loveliness to-day;
                         That round me breathe her richest harmonies
                         Of thankfulness and joy. Summer birds
                         Fly near, on gladsome wing, from tree to tree,
                         And from their warbling throats gush forth sweet notes
                         Of welcome to the morn.


                         And e'en the vine
                         Of the Clematis, which above me climbs
                         Its tendrils sweet, hath oped its starry eyes,
                         To share the morning's favor with the Rose,
                         While 'neath the craggy cliff that skirts our home,
                         The murmuring "Hawksbill" sings itself along--
                         Dashing its sportive ripples to the light,
                         Or hiding 'mid the shades of forests dim
                         Its tuneful flow. And, now afar I see,


Page 227


                         Above yon mountain's brow the dazzling Sun,
                         Rising in glorious majesty, to give
                         New radiance to the scene. His glowing face
                         Bathes hill and field, and flowing stream in light,
                         And 'neath the bright efflugence of his smile,
                         Earth seems a garden spot of Eden bloom.
                         Oh, God! my heart is full of gushing praise;
                         I bless thee for the Morn, and I would fain
                         Bless thee, kind Father, too, for the deep joy
                         Its freshness gives. I would lift up my voice
                         Amid this din of Nature's melodies,
                         And say, with Bird, and Stream, and Flower,
                         I thank Thee, Great Creator, that I live.


Page 228

WRITTEN FOR A MOTHER,
IN HER SON'S BIBLE, ON HIS LEAVING HOME FOR COLLEGE.

"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not."
PROV. 1:10.


                         THE time has come, when thou must go
                         Forth from thy mother's side;
                         The world, its dangers and its snares,
                         Now opens for thee wide.


                         Thou'lt miss her guiding hand, my boy,
                         Her love's fond watch o'er thee,
                         Yet may this Book, her parting gift,
                         Thy guide and counsel be.


                         When sin allures with siren tongue,
                         And tempts thy feet to stray,


Page 229


                         Let this bright way-mark point thee, then,
                         To Christ, the Living Way.


                         When proud Ambition speeds thee on
                         To glory and to fame,
                         Seek first God's kingdom,--love thou best
                         A Christian's holy name.


                         When Hope's glad rainbow shines above,
                         And all seems well with thee,
                         Prove thine own heart, and let this book
                         That heart's pure standard be.


                         Dark days will come--the brightest sky
                         Must sometimes be o'ercast,
                         Search then thy Bible, trust in God,
                         Be faithful to the last.


Page 230

AH, I FELT I WAS FORGOTTEN!


                         AH, I felt I was forgotten,
                         I knew it by the spell
                         Of loneliness, and dark despair,
                         Which on my spirit fell.
                         It haunted me in Pleasure's halls
                         When all around were gay,
                         It came when joyous mirth and glee
                         Held everywhere their sway.


                         I could not smile when others smiled,
                         In vain they sought to chide,--
                         Pale Memory, a spectre, stood
                         Forever at my side.
                         And pointing with her finger wan,
                         To pictures of the past,
                         She shut from out my tearful heart
                         Fond hopes, too bright to last.


Page 231


                         She bade me turn to bygone years,
                         When I was all to thee;
                         When gushing from thy heart, there flowed
                         A fount of love for me.
                         Of late, a fairer brow hath charmed
                         That fickle heart of thine,
                         A siren-voice hath lured, and won
                         The heart that once was mine.


                         What bitter tears these eyes have wept,
                         I may not pause to tell;
                         Suffice, the pang is over now,
                         I too can say farewell.
                         And I can backward gaze, nor feel
                         One single fond regret,
                         I can forgive, too, thy false part,
                         Do aught, but not forget.


Page 232

A LITTLE HINT TO LITTLE BEAUX.


                         I'LL tell you lads, what sort of lass
                         To fancy for a wife;
                         And by the way, no other kind
                         Should 'harness me for life.'


                         I'd have her be a child, I mean
                         In childhood so at least,
                         Not 'partying' when she should be at
                         A bread-and-butter feast.


                         Not sporting hoops and crinoline,
                         Or dress of silken goods,
                         When she might look so sweeter far
                         In calico and hoods.


Page 233


                         Not gazing absently in church,
                         To where the 'buttons' flash;
                         Not on the street, or anywhere,
                         Seeking to 'cut a dash.'


                         Not manifesting at her home
                         A stubborn will, or strife;
                         For if she's not obedient there,
                         She'll not be so 'for life.'


                         I'd choose a modest little girl,
                         A girl with girlish ways;
                         Retiring, gentle,--one whom none
                         Could mention but to praise.


                         I'd watch her conduct everywhere;
                         From church, if it occurred,
                         I'd ask her what the text was--just
                         To see if she had heard.


                         And on the street, I'd notice if--
                         With silly, smirking air,


Page 234


                         To every boy she chanced to meet,
                         She nodded here and there.


                         And at her home, I'd look to see
                         Each act with kindness rife,
                         A kind, good daughter's very apt
                         To make a kind, good wife.


                         I'd mark her in the fireside group,
                         To see a noble heart
                         Display itself, in things that bear
                         Upon a sister's part.


                         And when the kitten from the hearth
                         Come purring to her lap,
                         I'd notice if her welcome were
                         A kind stroke, or--a slap.


                         And when I found one good and true
                         As I would have her be,
                         When we were 'grown folks' I would ask
                         Her then to marry me.


Page 235


                         I tell you, boys, such is the girl
                         To fancy for a wife;
                         And were I you, no other kind
                         Should 'harness me for life.'


Page 236

TO AN ONLY SISTER.


                         'TIS night, sweet sister, and the stars
                         Are trembling in the sky,--
                         Brightly as when we watched their light
                         In other years gone by.
                         The moon hath climbed the distant hill
                         And decks Heaven's starry dome,
                         As when her soft rays shone around
                         Our own, sweet childhood-home.


                         The Whippoorwill has hushed his song,
                         The dew is on the ground,--
                         The flowers have closed their fragrant cups,
                         And all is still around.
                         What marvel then that Memory's flight
                         Should wing its way to thee;
                         And to the only parent dear
                         Now left to you and me!


Page 237


                         Our Mother lies asleep, the grave
                         Hath hid her from our view,
                         And Father's eye is growing dim,
                         And we are now but two.
                         The youngest of our parted band
                         Wanders, an angel bright,
                         Where streams of "living waters" glide
                         Through radiant realms of light.


                         Mother and child, united, dwell
                         In that blest home on high,
                         While we are left, that path to seek
                         Which led them to the sky.
                         By all the love we lost in them,
                         By his, whose parent-care
                         Still follows us, where'er we go,
                         With blessings and with prayer,


                         Let's be, through life, devoted, true,
                         Sustaining each the other,
                         Remembering always the wish
                         Of our sweet angel Mother.


Page 238


                         In childhood's bright and sunny hours,
                         When hushed to rosy rest--
                         Soothed by the same low "lullaby,"
                         Clasped to the same fond breast.


                         How oft, ere envied slumber chained
                         Our senses with its spell,
                         Did these sweet words fall on our ear:
                         "Love one another well."
                         The lips that breathed them, now are mute,
                         Death's seal upon them laid;
                         Yet ne'er may their soft music-tones
                         From our remembrance fade.


                         But let our hearts the motto heed
                         Each "loving well" the other--
                         Remembering the last, fond wish,
                         Of our sweet, angel mother.
                         Good night, beloved--the moonbeams fall
                         Gently o'er hill and lea,
                         The while I breathe, to listening Heaven,
                         Love's fervent prayer for thee.


Page 239

NEWSBOY'S CHRISTMAS ADDRESS.


                         SINCE our last year's Christmas greeting,
                         Faithful friends, and patrons kind,
                         We have followed one, whose footprints
                         Leave a mournful shade behind.
                         We have seen the bright Spring blossoms
                         Blooming fair on hill and dell,
                         And we've heard the gentle Summer,
                         Breathe her plaintive, low farewell.


                         Then we've watched the meek-eyed Autumn
                         With her mystic face serene;
                         Mantling all this world of ours
                         In a robe of rainbow sheen.
                         Next, with noiseless step advancing,
                         Winter comes with chilling breath;
                         Clothing hill, and vale, and mountain,
                         In the livery of Death.


Page 240


                         See you not, a Phantom figure
                         Drawing near, with features pale,--
                         Hear you not a requiem swelling?
                         'Tis the Old Year's dying wail.
                         Hark! the Christmas bells are chiming
                         With his moan, and busy feet,
                         All unmindful of the spectre,
                         Glide along the crowded street.


                         Let us join the merry circle,
                         And be happy while we may;
                         'Tis the idle workman, only,
                         Who deserves no holyday.
                         Spare us then the Christmas trifle,
                         We have never claimed in vain;
                         And may Heaven, in countless blessings,
                         Give it back to you again.


Page 241

ON REVISITING THE HOME OF MY
CHILDHOOD.


                         My heart beats with a quickened pulse. Behold,
                         The tide of Time rolls back!--I tread once more
                         The hallowed footprints of my earlier years;
                         This is the threshold, this the open door,
                         Through which my eager steps have entered in,
                         How oft before!


                         Here, was my Mother's room;
                         Aye, it was here she gave me birth, and here
                         These lips received her dying, farewell kiss.
                         A baby-sister lay, that dreary morn,
                         Upon her wasted breast,--now, both are gone. * * * * * * * *
                         From this low window, I have often watched
                         The thick, fast falling of the summer rain,--


Page 242


                         Fears for the birds, whose songs, the storm had hushed,
                         Haunting my childish breast. I little dreamed
                         That after years would shed upon my heart
                         Cold, pelting showers; that would drive Hope and Joy,
                         Like frightened birds, to fold their timid wings
                         'Neath the o'erdarkened sky. My heart looks up
                         And thanks thee, Father, that thou minglest thus
                         Thorns with the flowers about Life's pathway strewn.
                         These would but bind us here; those point us where
                         No clouds shut out Heaven's sunshine from the soul.
                         Oh, how "old times" come back!--This mansion old,
                         With its dim halls, and silent chambers lone,
                         Tells a sweet tale of childhood happiness.
                         There was a time, when nook and corner rang
                         With the glad shout of merry voices. Aye,
                         'Twas here I passed the joyous, fleeting hours
                         Of life's glad Springtime,--now, each way I turn


Page 243


                         Some old familiar haunt calls up the Past.
                         My Grandmother's room! I well remember
                         How, when Mother died, we shared it with her,--
                         Sisters two, I and our little cousins,
                         A helpless band, to whom she did become
                         The second mother. Ah, long years have passed
                         Since on her gentle form we looked our last.
                         Yon crumbling porch led to the parlor, where,
                         With songs and music, passed the evening hours.
                         Even now I see the quaint old pictures
                         Hanging 'gainst the walls,--my father's portrait,
                         Picturing him in all the pride of manhood.
                         This was the dining-room; just on that spot
                         Stood the old sideboard; there the little stand
                         On which the Bible rested; here the desk
                         And time-worn bookcase,--relics quaint and old.
                         I shut mine eyes, and see the table spread,--
                         I almost hear the laughing jest go round,
                         From loving lips, now voiceless. Aye, the Dead,
                         Come back to-day, and seem to fill once more,
                         Their old accustomed places. Absent ones
                         Long parted meet--but mournful thoughts shut out


Page 244


                         The cherished vision, and I look to see
                         Only the dreary change which time hath wrought.
                         There is the tree beneath whose leafy shade
                         We oft "kept house" in Summer's noontide hours,
                         Wooing the birds and butterflies for guests,
                         And chiding them that they did seem to scorn
                         Our mimic hospitality.


                         That path
                         Led to the schoolhouse, where we first did learn
                         To welcome "rainy days;" and where, full oft,
                         The forfeit of a playtime had to pay
                         For playing truant at the grapevine swing.
                         Oh, halcyon days of sunshine and of joy!--
                         There is the garden with its rustic gate
                         Crowned with gay trumpet flowers; how oft before
                         I've seen it thus, in other years gone by,
                         Only more beautiful beneath the light
                         Which childhood's gaze is wont to shed on all
                         Around, above, about us. Shrub and vine,
                         The very rose I planted bloomed more fair,
                         When I, a glad child, watched each mystic growth,
                         And proudly hailed each new development.


Page 245


                         That beaten road led to Mount Olivet,--
                         The country Church whose Summer Sabbath-school
                         I can recall as 'twere but yesterday.
                         Yon shady grove, parting the meadow green,
                         Circles the spring, the bright, clear, gushing spring,
                         Whose crystal depths mirrored each waving bough
                         That hung above it. 'Twas a favorite spot
                         Whereby to loiter when we came from school,--
                         Tired out with rules, "hard lessons," and dull books.
                         I can remember how, in Summer time,
                         We made our play-house here, on holidays,--
                         Launching our mimic boats made up of leaves
                         And hickory-nut shells, on the eddying stream,
                         Whose gurgling fountain was that woodland spring.
                         And then 'twas sweet to come at sultry noon,
                         And sit beneath those tall, proud forest trees,
                         Whose twining arms stretched out protectingly
                         Above our heads. Ah, we were careless then,
                         And young, and free, a little band of six,--
                         All motherless. Grief could not long have sway
                         O'er hearts so blest with love's kind sympathies.
                         We did not know that Death would lay his hand


Page 246


                         On others of our household, and that Time
                         Would rob us of this home we loved so well,--
                         That stranger hands would tend the flowers we reared,
                         And write strange records on familiar things.
                         Lo! where yon sunlight falls so tenderly
                         Upon a hillside fair, are the lone graves
                         Of our departed ones. There rest our Dead;
                         There sleeps my mother close beside her own,
                         Who, in my childhood, held her place to me.
                         Peace to their ashes, peace, beloved Dead!
                         To you may come no more sunshine or storm;
                         Yet well I know, that He whose kind eye marks
                         The sparrow's fall, will guard your sleeping dust,
                         Till He shall bid it rise. Oh, may He then
                         Unite again, each precious, parted link
                         Of our glad household chain, and may we dwell
                         Together in that changeless clime above,
                         Where Death comes never more, and where no tears
                         Fall from fond eyes o'er ruins Time hath made.
                         The evening shadows fall, how soft and still,
                         Upon this hallowed scene,--the air is hushed,


Page 247


                         The mellow rays of the declining sun
                         Shed a mild radiance on each object round,--
                         Nature breathes in concord with my spirit,--
                         Wood, rock, and hill, echo my parting words.
                         Graves of my Dead! Home of my heart! farewell.


Page 248

TO BLANCHE.


                         LITTLE one, with pensive eye,
                         Soft and blue as yonder sky;
                         Lip as pure as Summer flower,
                         Wet with dew at morning hour;
                         Form of fair and fragile mould,
                         Heart where love can ne'er grow cold;
                         Voice as sweet as cooing dove
                         When it mourns its absent love;
                         In thy mirth, so blithe and free,
                         What is Life, sweet one, to thee?


                         Such the language of thy face,
                         So much sadness, so much grace;
                         Such thy noiseless step, as light
                         As the poet's dreams at night;


Page 249


                         Such the soft, appealing tone,
                         Of thy voice, like music's own,
                         That I've thought there ne'er should dwell
                         In thy heart one shadowy spell;
                         That all joy and peace should be
                         Mingled in Life's cup for thee.


                         May it prove that years will shed
                         Blessings on thy gentle head;
                         Faith a sacred halo fling,
                         Radiant as the dawn of Spring;
                         Hope, forever near thy side,
                         Linger still an Angel guide;
                         Love lend ever her soft light
                         To direct thy steps aright,
                         And to thy young heart be given
                         Peace and happiness from Heaven.


Page 250

STEWART HOLLAND,

THE HERO-VICTIM OF THE LOST "ARCTIC."

        "He could not be induced to leave the ship; his post was at the gun, firing signals; he kept firing the gun till the vessel sunk; we saw him in the very act of firing as the vessel disappeared below the waters."


                         A REQUIEM for thee, oh, true and brave!
                         Whose winding-sheet is the Atlantic wave;
                         No braver heart e'er sunk 'neath Ocean's surge,--
                         Ill-fated Holland! billows moan thy dirge.


                         And ah! how many fond eyes vainly weep,
                         As, gazing o'er the trackless, foaming deep,
                         A voice comes to them with the Sea's sad moan,
                         That tells of thee, their loved, brave, perished one!


                         True to thy trust, and to thine honor true,--
                         Alone in all that panic-stricken crew;


Page 251


                         No fears disarmed, nor did thy bosom quail,
                         Though stout hearts faltered, and stern lips grew pale.


                         Rough, hardy seamen rushed by thee on deck,
                         Each struggling to escape the fearful wreck;
                         Men, women, children, frantic with despair,
                         Pierced with their shrieking tones the misty air.


                         And high above, the startled sea-bird soared,
                         While close beneath thee, angry billows roared;
                         Yet, at thy post, unflinching to the last,
                         Thou heed'st not then the danger threatening fast.


                         But all undaunted, self-forgetting, brave,
                         Thou stood'st unmoved,--thy life to duty gave;
                         Nor ceased to fire thy mournful signal-gun,
                         'Till Death pronounced thy martyr-duty done.


                         Down went the noble ship, till Ocean's roar
                         Mingled with cries of human woe no more;
                         Manhood and Beauty, Love and Hope and Pride,
                         All sunk beneath the foaming, billowy tide.


Page 252


                         Firm on the deck, deserted, thou didst stand,
                         The last of that ill-fated, hapless band;
                         One signal more,--then down to Ocean's caves,
                         As that last sound dies o'er the engulfing waves.


                         What yearning thoughts were thine, in that dark hour,
                         No tongue may tell,--yet trusting to that Power,
                         Whose voice the winds and restless waves obeyed,
                         We know His arm thy dauntless spirit stayed.


                         And if, in Memory's vista, then arose
                         Faces and forms beloved, whose life's repose
                         Linked with thy love, henceforth must broken be,
                         He whispered softly, "Leave them all to me."


                         Ah! nobly hast thou yielded thy young life,
                         With all high purposes and proud aims rife;
                         Martyr to Duty!--thou hast given to Fame
                         The long, sweet echo of a hero's name.


Page 253

A LITTLE HINT TO LITTLE BELLES.


                         AND now I'll tell you, little girls,
                         What sort of boy to choose,--
                         For husbands are like lotteries,
                         You win a prize or lose.


                         I'd have him be a boy--at least
                         Till far down in his "teens;"
                         Not squandering in idle trash,
                         His little surplus means.


                         Not boasting of his "fast" exploits,
                         To prove himself a man;
                         Not turning out a scant mustache,
                         To show you that he can.


Page 254


                         Not bragging that he goes to church,
                         Only to see who's there,
                         And that in sermons he could have
                         No interest or share.


                         Not jeering what the preacher says,
                         As foolish "stuff" and vain,
                         Avowing that he'd never let
                         Such "talk" disturb his brain.


                         Not sauntering along the street,
                         With stately step and air,
                         As though for "small things"--Books or
                         Work--
                         He had no taste to spare.


                         Not every lassie's lad he meets--
                         No service be refused,
                         Except when "Sister" asks his aid,
                         And then he'd "be excused."


                         Not twirling a shillaly "nice,"
                         Within a nicer hand,


Page 255


                         While talking of his parents, as
                         "Old woman" and "old man."


                         Not "dropping in" at bar-room haunts,
                         To get--a good cigar(!)
                         When well he knows a Father's eye
                         Would frown to see him there.


                         Not interspersing idle talk
                         With "small oaths" here and there,
                         Regardless that a Mother's heart
                         Would ache to hear him swear.


                         Not fearing lest he should be thought
                         Unmanly, foolish, weak,
                         If from temptation's snare he'd turn
                         Some loftier aim to seek.


                         I'd choose a boy that's bold and brave--
                         Not impudent or fast,
                         But one who'd dare to do the right,
                         Undaunted to the last.


Page 256


                         I'd have him be industrious,
                         And persevering, too--
                         Doing with willing hand and heart,
                         Whate'er he had to do.


                         I'd watch him closely on the street,
                         To see him shun the place,
                         Where, 'neath a Father's frowning eye,
                         He'd blush to show his face.


                         I'd note him in the house of God,
                         And at the hour of prayer,
                         To see a close, attentive ear,
                         And reverential air.


                         I'd mark his conduct well abroad,
                         And at his fireside, too,--
                         A "mother's son" is apt to make
                         A husband kind and true.


                         I'd notice when his humble dog
                         Ventured his hand to lick,


Page 257


                         Whether his welcome impulse were
                         A "soft pat" or a kick.


                         Or when I'd satisfy myself,
                         If he were kind or cross,
                         I'd only wait some careless time,
                         To watch him with his horse.


                         If he were gentle, brave, and good,
                         As noble boys should be,
                         I'd wait till we were grown,--then let
                         Him whisper love to me.


                         For I should feel that I had found
                         A heart both true and warm,
                         On which my own might safely lean,
                         Through sunshine and through storm.


                         So, if my parents both agreed
                         To let me be his wife,
                         I'd tell him so, and joining hands,
                         We'd settle down "for life."


Page 258


                         I tell you, girls, all jest aside,
                         Such is the boy to choose;
                         For husbands are like lotteries,--
                         You win a prize, or lose.


Page 259

A SISTER'S FAREWELL.


                         How shall we give thee up,
                         Brother, so dear?
                         Glad is the household band
                         While thou art here.
                         Changed, changed will be the hearth,
                         Dreary and lone,
                         Vanished our life's delight,
                         When thou art gone.
                         How shall we give thee up,
                         Noblest and best?
                         Happy have been the hearts
                         Thy smile hath blest.
                         Brightly our childhood passed,
                         Thy love its star;
                         Memory now sees its light
                         Shining afar.


Page 260


                         Gladly the days flew by,
                         Thou at my side,
                         Pleasure and mirthfulness
                         On thee relied.
                         Oft by the river's brink
                         Culled we the flowers,
                         Wreathed them in garlands gay
                         For Summer hours.
                         Then tired of passive sports,
                         Chased we the bee,
                         I, full of childish trust,
                         Following thee.
                         Ah! those were joyous times;
                         Would, but how vain,
                         Childhood's unclouded days
                         Might come again.
                         Would that its faith and hope
                         Time might restore;
                         But vainly said, those joys
                         Come back no more.
                         Gone is life's sweet spring-time,
                         Faded its bloom,


Page 261


                         O'er the heart's cherished hopes
                         Rests autumn's gloom.
                         Now the dark hour has come
                         When thou must roam--
                         Life's slippery path untried,
                         Far from thy home.
                         All the deep yearning love,
                         Trusting and tried,
                         Which in our childhood years,
                         Clung to thy side,
                         Follow thee, brother dear,
                         From our lone hearth,
                         Where'er thy steps may stray
                         O'er the broad earth.
                         Oh, may Heaven's blessing rest
                         On thee through life--
                         Shield thee in time of need,
                         Danger and strife.
                         May God his grace bestow,
                         Make thee his care;
                         This be my last farewell,
                         This my last prayer.


Page 262

FLOWERS

        FROM THE CONVENT OF MT. DE SALES, NEAR
BALTIMORE.

        PRESENTED BY "SISTER CECILIA."


                         YE wert born afar from the haunts of men,
                         In the shades of the perfumed bowers;
                         Ye wert given to me by a gentle hand,
                         With a kindliest smile, fair flowers.
                         And though passed long since is your fragrant breath,
                         And the light of your blooming hours,
                         Yet I love, ah! well, the sweet memories linked
                         With your brief, fleeting lives, pale flowers.
                         Ye wert watched, aye long, by an eye as bright
                         As the stars that look down at even;
                         And your smiles did gladden a heart as pure
                         As the Seraphs who smile in Heaven.


Page 263


                         How well I remember that sweet retreat,
                         Her home--in its calm seclusion,
                         Like an isle of beauty, where fairies dwell,
                         Shut out from mortal obtrusion.
                         'Tis a woodland wild, where the squirrel's chirp,
                         And the hum of the mountain bee,
                         Blend in chorus glad with the red bird's note,
                         And the oriole's, so blithe and free.
                         'Tis a hillside fair, from whose verdant crest
                         Rose the Convent spire,--ah, well
                         I recall, e'en now, how it pointed then
                         To that home, where the sinless dwell.
                         And I thought of one, in her girlhood's bloom,
                         More fair than these flowers so cherished,
                         Whose bright cheek grew pale 'neath my anxious gaze,
                         Whose form from my side had perished.
                         I murmured her name--the echo which came
                         Was soft as the whispers of even,
                         And when it was lost to my ear, I gazed--
                         The spire--still--still pointed to Heaven!


Page 264


                         How sadly I mused, as I clasped her hand,
                         Who had guided us both in youth--
                         A "Sister" in name to me and to mine,
                         She was "Mother" indeed and in truth.
                         Around me were faces and forms beloved,
                         In the bright days of "Auld Lang Syne,"
                         When my life was new and my heart was young,
                         And the day-dreams of youth were mine,
                         And near me were voices whose sweet, low tones,
                         Led my spirit rejoicing back,
                         With its burden of years, to roam again
                         O'er my lost childhood's shining track.
                         I lingered long, and on Memory's wall
                         Hangs the picture I saw that day,
                         Of the woodland wild, with its Convent spire,
                         And, distant, the beautiful Bay.
                         Can I ever forget it?--pure and sweet
                         As the odor of Southern gales,
                         Is the dream I hold in my heart of hearts,
                         Of that visit to Mt. de Sales.
                         In those cloistered halls there are forms as bright
                         As a painter might love to trace--


Page 265


                         Of innocent Childhood with laughing brow,
                         And of Beauty, with half-veiled face.
                         As I stood mid that black-veiled group, each smile
                         Woke the past, with its mystical train
                         Of my school-day joys, with their roseate hues--
                         Lost blessings, which come not again.
                         While we strolled through those stately halls, they rang
                         With the echoes of voices clear,
                         And the merry sound waked a slumbering chord,
                         As I, musingly, paused to hear.
                         'Twas the laughing shout of a happy band,
                         At their play on the green below--
                         Meek innocence smiled in each fair young face,
                         Joy beamed from each beautiful brow;
                         Then my own glad school-days came back to me,
                         And I thought of my playmates fair,--
                         Some had passed, long since, to the Silent Land,
                         Some were living,--I knew not where.
                         And a murmured prayer went up from my heart
                         To Our Father who reigneth above,


Page 266


                         That when Death shall have gathered every one,
                         We may meet in His Home of Love!
                         On we passed, through corridors, rich and grand,
                         With their frescoes and pictured walls,--
                         Art, Industry, Learning, and Genius too,
                         Find a home in these cloistered halls.
                         The clock told the fast-fleeting hours,--too soon
                         Came the moment to say farewell,--
                         Still I paused,--my heart beat faster the while,
                         As we entered our loved one's cell.
                         'Twas a neat, small room, where we paused before
                         A shrine of the Virgin and Child,--
                         The Babe looking up in the meek, bowed face
                         Of the Mother, so pure and mild.
                         At the feet of the Virgin stood a vase,
                         Newly filled from the garden bowers,
                         And from out that vase, the dear hand I held,
                         Culled, and gave me these pale sweet flowers.
                         With a smile she added, "They'll tell of us,"
                         And my heart gave its answer true,
                         As in silence I clasped each friendly hand,
                         And in silence, wept an adieu!


Page 267


                         Oh! voiceless flowers, ye are faded now!
                         Yet sweet as the echoes of even
                         Is the tale ye tell of that woodland wild,
                         With its spire that pointed to Heaven.
                         And though distant far is that sunny spot,
                         More pure than the soft Southern gales,
                         Is the dream I hold in my heart of hearts,
                         Of that visit to Mt. De Sales.
                         Long, long may the picture my spirit cheer,
                         With its rainbow tints, lovely and bright,
                         Till Death to my soul fairer visions unfold
                         In the radiant regions of Light.


Page 268

MY LITTLE STAR.


                         I'VE watched a Star, dear one, since last we parted,
                         A solitary star which shines above,
                         As though 'twould lure me, by its strange pure brightness,
                         To dream, once more, of happiness and love.


                         A little trembling star, it shines at even,
                         So pure, so holy, too, its soft rays are,--
                         I almost question if some Angel spirit
                         Does not bend o'er me from that little star.


                         At twilight, when my saddened heart is lonely,
                         That star looks calmly down as though to cheer
                         My weary bosom, when dim spectres only
                         And shadows of the Past are gliding near.


Page 269


                         Each dewy evening as I gaze upon it,
                         So mild, so heavenly, as it shines afar,
                         I, musing, wonder if its soft light reacheth
                         Beyond those mountain summits where you are.


                         I wonder, too, whether your eyes behold it,
                         The while I gaze upon its mystic light,--
                         If so, then tell me, does it charm your spirit
                         By its soft rays, so beautiful and bright?


                         A cloud passed o'er my little star this evening,
                         A cold, dark cloud, so cold, it made me weep;
                         Yet still I mused, mine eyes still upward gazing
                         Through blinding tears, their silent watch to keep.


                         And when I bowed me down in prayerful sorrow,
                         A sudden calmness swept my spirit o'er,--
                         I gazed again, and lo! the cloud had vanished,--
                         My little star shone brighter than before.


                         Didst view it thus, beloved, and didst thou question
                         The direful omen when the cloud appeared?


Page 270


                         And did thy soul, like mine, bow down in sorrow?
                         And was thy heart's deep fountain strangely stirred?


                         And didst thou welcome, too, the star's returning,
                         When pure, and beautiful, and calm, and bright,
                         It shone again, more radiant still, still soothing
                         Our fevered senses by its mystic light?


                         Thus may Life's path for thee, dear one, be lighted
                         By Hope's glad ray which dawneth from above,
                         And may each transient cloud which passes o'er it
                         But add new radiance to thy Star of Love.


                         This silent prayer my fond lips utter nightly,
                         As through the shadows dim and mists of even,
                         My little Star looks down and seems to whisper
                         Of Peace, and Happiness, and Love, in Heaven.


Page 271

LIGHT IN DARKNESS.

        A FRAGMENT.


                         THIS world is not all darkness,--forms of light
                         Float ever round us in the thickest night;
                         Kind, minst'ring spirits pass us to and fro
                         With ready greeting in this vale of woe.
                         And on us from their radiant home, the skies,
                         Bright, guardian angels look with tender eyes,--
                         Or, sent to earth upon some high behests,
                         They leave their starry sphere to be our guests.
                         And hov'ring 'round us on their viewless wings,
                         They cheer the heart with silent whisperings
                         Of endless joy and peaceful rest above,
                         Where in God's presence all is light and love;
                         Where life's dull cares and mocking fears all o'er,
                         Sorrow shall pain the timid heart no more.


Page 272


                         Where clouds no longer o'er our footsteps rise
                         To hide the light that on our pathway lies.
                         Where Hope's glad song may greet th' Eternal ear.
                         And Faith is lost in vision bright and clear.
                         Where from the heart there comes no grieving moan
                         For friendship lost, no quenchless murmuring tone
                         Of silent suffering it is pressed to bear,
                         With no kind bosom in its grief to share.
                         Look up, sad spirit, o'er yon azure dome
                         Is thy inheritance, that blessèd home
                         Whose portals open for the faithful heart,
                         Subdued and chastened by affliction's smart.
                         Our Father offers it; can He deceive?
                         The sole condition is "repent, believe."
                         Oh, rouse thee, heart! rush to thy Master's fight;
                         His yoke is easy and his burden light;
                         Shake off Sin's rankling fetter--strength is His
                         Whose faithful service perfect freedom is.
                         His eye will watch, His arm protect thee here
                         From lurking foes and dangers threat'ning near.


Page 273


                         His love will guide thee through that vale of gloom
                         Which leads to fields of fresh, immortal bloom;
                         Where thou mayst wander by those crystal streams,
                         On whose clear depths the Sun of Glory beams.
                         In that bright land no cherished flow'rets lie
                         Fresh in our pathway, then bow down and die.
                         No gentle spirits,--formed to bless and cheer
                         Our yearning bosoms while we linger here,--
                         Stay with us only till their love hath made
                         The light that round our weary footsteps played;
                         Then leaving us, of banished joy no trace,
                         Say, "Fare-thee well," and quit our fond embrace.
                         In that sweet, heavenly clime, no tears are shed
                         In helpless anguish o'er the loved and dead;
                         No mem'ries haunt us of fond eyes that shone
                         On us in love, their light now quenched and gone,--
                         Eyes that looked on us with sad lustre bright,
                         Then meekly closed in Death's dim, starless night.
                         No lips delight us with fond tones awhile,
                         Then on our darken'd pathway cease to smile.
                         No voice comes to us in low tones and clear,
                         Mocking with its sweet melody, the ear--


Page 274


                         Telling of lips whose whispers hushed and gone
                         Once gladdened us like music's softest tone.
                         No silent, secret woe is ours to bear;
                         No tearful eyes, no broken hearts are there.
                         But lost in rapture, fill'd with boundless love,
                         The freed soul wanders in those realms above;
                         The praise of God, its endless theme and song,
                         While Seraphs the ecstatic notes prolong.
                         Heart, bear on bravely, to thyself be true;
                         Whate'er betide thee, keep thy goal in view;
                         Assured that for the chastened spirit given,
                         There yet remaineth a sweet rest in Heaven,
                         Where the swift, fleeting hours of Time shall be
                         Lost in the reck'ning of Eternity.


Page 275

TO ISABEL.

        WITH THE BRIDAL-GIFT OF A BIBLE.


                         LET others bring their gifts to thee,
                         Of silver and of gold,--
                         Rare pearls from India's coral seas,
                         Rich gems from Oceans old:
                         Mine be this Bible,--blessèd book,
                         A friend, sincere and true,--
                         A beacon star, to light the way
                         Thy footsteps should pursue.


                         Clasp it with fervor to thy heart
                         Now, in thy bridal hours,
                         'Twill wake new joys within thy soul,
                         And strew thy path with flowers.


Page 276


                         Study its precepts--it will prove
                         A guide, both safe and sure,
                         When earthly dangers threaten near,
                         And earthly snares allure.


                         Hold it while living--search its truths,--
                         Make sure its promise sweet.
                         "A light 'twill be unto thy path,
                         A lamp unto thy feet;"
                         Clasp it when dying, it will prove
                         A talisman, pure and bright,--
                         To guide thee through Death's shadowy vale,
                         Up--to the Land of Light.


Page 277

MY MARY.

        (A HUSBAND'S LAMENT.)


                         I KNEW that we must part--
                         She often told me so,
                         But I did not know how hard
                         'Twould be to let her go;
                         I knew not till it came
                         How hard the stroke must be
                         Which made my joy, a dream--
                         My hope, a memory.


                         I watched her fading cheek,
                         Slow step, and languid eye;
                         I prayed that she might live,
                         I felt that she must die.


Page 278


                         And when the moment came,
                         An angel hushed her breath;
                         I said it must be sleep,
                         They told me it was Death.


                         My eyes were blinded now,
                         I nothing saw that day,
                         Till in a coffin dim
                         Her slumbering face of clay,
                         Mute lips that would not speak,
                         A placid forehead fair;
                         Closed eyes, a marble cheek,
                         And stirless folds of hair.


                         Oh! God, if word of mine
                         E'er pained that pulseless heart,
                         If e'er I caused a tear
                         In that closed eye to start:
                         Let her pure spirit speak,
                         And say I am forgiven,
                         Ere yet the "pearly gates"
                         Have shut her in Thy Heaven.


Page 279


                         No answering look or smile,
                         Only a dreadful sound,
                         Which struck against my heart,
                         When they screwed the black lid down.
                         I turned to go--but where?
                         The waiting hearse is near,--
                         They've borne my Mary out,
                         And I must follow her.


                         Beside an open grave
                         They paused, and prayers were read;
                         Then busy hands threw in
                         Dull clods upon the dead.
                         They piled the fresh, cold earth
                         Above her silent breast;
                         Two heavy stones were laid,
                         To mark her place of rest.


                         Their part was over now;
                         They left me, one by one;
                         The sexton, with his spade,
                         His weary task was done.


Page 280


                         But I--where could I go?
                         How turn me from that mound,
                         Where slept my gentle wife,
                         My Mary, in the ground?


                         Oh! this is worse than death,
                         To breathe, yet not to live;
                         To know that all the world
                         Hath no more joy to give.
                         I'll go from place to place,
                         Do aught the hours to vary;
                         But not on earth again
                         Shall I behold my Mary.


Page 281

A PLACE AT THY FEET, OH! MY
SAVIOUR.

        AIR--"A place in thy memory, dearest."


                         A PLACE at Thy feet, oh! my Saviour,
                         Is all that I claim,--
                         That in the Lamb's Book of remembrance
                         Thou wilt write my name.
                         Let others seek fortune and pleasure,
                         The world and its phantoms pursue,--
                         Thou only canst give lasting treasure,
                         Immortal and true.


                         Remember me, Lord, as a sinner,
                         Weak, erring, and blind;
                         No merit I bring as a passport
                         Thy favor to find.


Page 282


                         No price can I offer for pardon,
                         Thy grace must be freely supplied;
                         A worm in Thy sight, poor and helpless,
                         For such Thou hast died.


                         Remember Gethsemane's garden,
                         Thine anguish and prayer;
                         The sadness which bowed down Thy spirit
                         In agony there.
                         Remember thy soul's desolation,
                         Thy death upon Calvary;
                         And, oh! from that cross, bleeding Jesus,
                         Turn thy dying eyes on me.


                         When shineth Hope's rainbow above me,
                         And earth seems most fair;
                         Dear Lord, in thy wisdom unerring,
                         Still make me Thy care.
                         When the sunlight of Fortune is beaming
                         In days of prosperity,
                         And the cup of my joy runneth over,
                         Dear Jesus, remember me.


Page 283


                         When the light o'er life's pathway is darkened
                         By sorrow and gloom,
                         And the flowers of Hope I have cherished
                         Lie stripped of their bloom;--
                         When sickness and Death overtake me,
                         And Earth's mocking phantoms shall flee;
                         As I walk through the Valley of Shadows,
                         Dear Saviour, remember me.


Page 284

OLD WINTER HAS COME.


                         OLD Winter has come again: harsh through the door
                         The cold, chilling blasts creep in;
                         The fast-falling snow-flakes are gathering without,
                         The hickory blazing within.


                         Old Winter has come, aye, and we are all blest
                         With plenty of warmth and of bread;
                         While many a creature is braving the storm
                         With no shelter to cover his head.


                         Old Winter has come, and the trees are all clad
                         In their beautiful vestures of snow.
                         The dark, threatening storm-clonds are lowering above,
                         The rivulets freezing below.


Page 285


                         Old Winter has come, see, the snow-bird hops round
                         And chirps for a spare little crumb,
                         While on, Master Harry still heedlessly sings
                         The song of Bopeep and Tom Thumb.


                         Old Winter has come; the bold schoolboy cries out,
                         "Old Winter's the season for me;"
                         And high in the air the bright snow-balls are hurled,
                         With a halloo of innocent glee.


                         Old Winter has come; yes, but ah! not to all
                         Does he bring with him laughter and mirth,--
                         E'en to-day there are little ones shivering around
                         Full many a comfortless hearth.


                         Old Winter has come; then remember the poor,
                         Relieve their sad wants whilst ye may,--
                         What ye have, what ye are, ye owe all to His love
                         Who hath given and can take away.


Page 286

OVER!


                         THE struggle is over--the agony past,
                         And the dear little sufferer is quiet at last;
                         Press down the fringed lids o'er those shadowless eyes
                         Where the spirit of beauty and holiness lies;


                         Then fold the soft hands on his innocent breast,
                         Nought now can disturb the sweet calm of his rest;
                         He has felt the last pang, he has yielded his breath,
                         And his sleep is the still, dreamless slumber of death.


                         Thank God, he is done now with sickness and pain,
                         Would I call his freed soul to its prison again--


Page 287


                         Would I bar the glad things, the bright joys of Heaven,
                         From his spirit, whom Death to the angels hath given?


                         Ah no, yet I bury in Earth's frozen breast
                         The hopes I have cherished as dearest and best;
                         To thy voiceless keeping, oh! Grave, I impart
                         The joy of my being--the pearl of my heart.


                         One kiss on the marble cheek--baby, farewell!
                         Thy home now is where only blest ones may dwell.
                         Too bleak was our pathway, oh, sinless, for thee;
                         Thy fetters are broken--bright seraph, thou'rt free.


                         We lay thy dear form in the grave, yet no gloom
                         Can reach thee, pale flower, cut down in thy bloom;
                         In Heaven, where thou art now, bliss is thy part;
                         No blight shall fall on thee there, Bud of my heart.


Page 288

A LITTLE BOY'S WISH AND RESOLUTION.


                         "I WANT my mamma!" said a beautiful boy,
                         As the bright, early morn was breaking,--
                         He had opened his eyes, and no fresh, warm kiss
                         Fell soft on his lips, at his waking.


                         "I want my mamma!" and his bright azure eyes,
                         With fast-gathering tears were filling,
                         While his piteous tones swelled a father's heart
                         With an anguish deep and thrilling.


                         And, lifting his little one on his knee,
                         He smoothed back the golden tresses,
                         While only a sob from the motherless child,
                         Could answer his fond caresses.


Page 289


                         Then he told of a radiant clime above,
                         Where tempest and storms come never,
                         To blight the immortal flowers than bloom
                         On the banks of the crystal river.


                         And he said, "In that region of fadeless bloom,
                         Is the friend to your infancy given;
                         Last night, while you slept, lo! an angel came,
                         And carried your mother to Heaven.


                         "Oft, oft in that beautiful land, my child,
                         Where sorrow and death come never,
                         Young children and mothers, long parted, meet,
                         With no more partings forever."


                         The boy, looking up with a wondering gaze,
                         His eye kindling bright at the story,
                         Said, "I wish the good Angel who took my mamma,
                         Would come back and take me to glory."


                         "Then be a good boy," the sad father replied,
                         "Let nought her pure influence smother;


Page 290


                         And in God's own time the good Angel will come,
                         And carry you home to your mother."


                         Bounding off with a heart full of childish delight,
                         His bosom relieved of its sorrow,--
                         "I'll make haste to be good, Pa," the innocent said,
                         "And then maybe he'll take me to-morrow."


Page 291

AN EVENING AT CLIFF COTTAGE.


                         'TIS moonlight on the mountains; and around
                         A brooding stillness, save the night-wind's tone,
                         Wooing sweet rest amid the folded flowers,
                         Or mingling with the Whip-poor-will's sad song,
                         To swell the fading echoes that resound
                         So softly from the parting melodies
                         Of day. It is the hour when holy truths
                         Press deeply on the heart,--the boundless might
                         And majesty of God! His voice proclaimed
                         "Let there be light!" And lo, the earth was bathed
                         In radiance; Nature smiled, and warbling throats
                         Swelled with a morning pæan. Now He bids
                         The dazzling sun withdraw, and moonlight falls
                         Gently on vale and mountain. Oh, how sweet


Page 292


                         Its message to the spirit: "God is love!"
                         The zephyrs bear it in their whispering tones,
                         As with a murmuring sigh they breathe "Good night,"
                         And sleep among the blossoms. It is read
                         Upon each tiny leaflet, and the flowers
                         Proclaim it from their perfumed cells, e'en now,
                         As dreamily they hang, all wet with dew,
                         Yielding their farewell fragrance to the night.
                         Aye, it is heard, too, in the lulling flow
                         Of our own streamlet, as it winds around
                         The rugged cliff, telling of Him who made
                         Each trembling star that's mirrored in its face.
                         Hush, beating heart, be still! I fain would catch
                         Each murmur of its melody. I feel
                         An angel presence hovering 'mid this scene,
                         And musing thought, guided by its sweet spell,
                         Looks upward to the Infinite. Oh, Thou,
                         Beneath whose watchful eye this great world sleeps;
                         Under whose parent care the tiniest bird
                         May fold its wing in peace; whose love extends


Page 293


                         E'en to the smallest butterfly that plays
                         All day with sunbeams in the lily's cup;
                         Teach me to live, that when Death's shadows fall
                         Around me at life's evening, hope may smile
                         Like moonlight on my heart, and whisper low
                         Its message to my spirit: "God is love!"


Page 294

NOT AGAIN.


                         NOT again, lady fair;
                         Never, ah! never;
                         Thou who didst sport the chain,
                         Rent it forever.


                         Gone is the spirit's trust,
                         Gone, and forever;
                         Thou canst not call it back,
                         Charming deceiver.


                         Once it were pain to part,--
                         Then I believed thee;
                         Now I can bear the smart,--
                         Thou hast deceived me.


Page 295

A SABBATH IN MAY.


                         How peacefully Heaven's light upon thee dawns,
                         Sweet day of rest. A mellow radiance
                         Falls from bright skies o'er all this blooming earth,
                         And softly to the ear comes the slow chime
                         Of distant Sabbath bells. The weary heart
                         Throws off its weight of earthly cares, calls back
                         Its scattered thoughts the while, and yields itself
                         To its immortal promptings. Prayer now parts
                         The faithful Christian's lip, and the soft air
                         Bears to the sinner's heart, a sweet, low tone,
                         Which seems to say, "Repent." Not harshly falls
                         Upon his ear that mute, appealing voice,
                         As if th' avenging wrath of Heaven e'en now
                         Was ripening for him, if he longer grieved


Page 296


                         God's long-forbearing Spirit,--but a low
                         Pleading tone, all rife with mournful music,
                         As if borne by Angel tongues from Calvary,
                         Aye, breathing of love, long-suffering love,
                         It steals upon his heart and wakes within
                         An answering chord of earnest penitence.
                         Anon, he wanders sadly forth, beneath
                         The azure arch of Heaven, and feels the touch
                         Of soothing summer warmth steal softly o'er
                         His weary temples. It is God's light
                         That dawns so cheeringly upon him, 'tis
                         His atmosphere that feeds that principle
                         Of life within his veins. It is His air
                         That plays about his forehead, and he hears
                         A mute reproach from Nature. Gazing round,
                         Sees bird and bee, and blossom, busy all
                         In their own sphere of duty,--Man alone,
                         Of all created things, most favored, too,
                         Delinquent. Timid flowers look meekly up
                         With their bright smiling eyes, and seem to say,
                         "We cheerfully fulfil our destiny,
                         We obey our glorious Maker's will,--


Page 297


                         Why do not you, for whom Earth yields her gifts
                         Of fragrant bloom and beauty, and for whom
                         We smilingly discharge our mission pure,
                         Of summer joy and sunshine?"


Page 298

LITTLE RANNIE.

        INSCRIBED TO MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM R. BARBEE.


                         I HELD him in my arms, the while
                         Death nearer drew each hour,
                         Until, at length, a blighting change
                         Passed o'er the little flower.


                         He did not shrink, but unto me
                         A long, fixed gaze was given,
                         And well I knew the pearly gates
                         Now stood ajar in Heaven.


                         I clasped his hand, and closer drew
                         The sweet face to my bosom,
                         But all the while Death waited near,
                         To cull the dying blossom.


Page 299


                         And when, at last, his icy breath
                         Swept o'er the form so cherished,
                         A still, pale lip was all that told
                         The little flower had perished.


                         A nestling Dove might so have died--
                         Fearless, and tranquil-hearted;
                         As lilies droop, and violets fade,
                         The baby-soul departed.


                         And when the spirit pure, had fled
                         Back to our Father's keeping,
                         A smile lit up the pale, cold face,
                         As of an Angel sleeping.


                         And soon we dressed him for the grave,
                         And smoothed his shining tresses;
                         I knew the while, he did not need
                         Our yearning fond caresses.


                         But yet my heart went out to you,
                         Sad father, stricken mother,


Page 300


                         And ah I felt how hard to yield
                         Our dear ones to another.


                         We laid him in the coffin dim,--
                         No ties of earth now bound him;
                         A spotless shrine of dust he lay,
                         Spring's early flowers around him.


                         And now where hemlock branches wave
                         O'er mountain-summits, keeping
                         A silent watch o'er lonely graves,
                         His baby-form is sleeping.


                         Look up, then, to our Father's House,
                         With all your love immortal,--
                         Look up; behold, there waits for you
                         An Angel at the portal.


Page 301

SONG.

        AIR--"I've Wandered by the Brookside."


                         AND must our spirits severed be,
                         And must we say farewell,--
                         We who have nursed so tenderly
                         The hopes we dared not tell.
                         Fast gushing tears are trembling now,
                         In eyes that once were bright,
                         And hearts that bounded joyously,
                         Are sunk in cheerless night.


                         How hard the fate that thus will break
                         Hearts fondly pledged and true,
                         How sadly falls, from lips that love,
                         That parting word, "Adieu!"
                         But, be it so, though never more
                         On earth, Hope's light may shine,
                         There's comfort in the single thought,
                         That still in Heaven thou'rt mine.


Page 302

"ASHES OF ROSES."*

        * On the death of Isabel, daughter of John O. L. Goggin--wife of F. C. Hutter, of Lynchburg, Va.



                         BRING hither snowy garlands fair,
                         And wreathe them round her head,
                         Bring violets and lily-bells
                         To crown the youthful Dead.


                         Ah! hither bring the "bridal wreath,"
                         And place it on her brow,--
                         That brow, so warm beneath its folds,
                         Alas! so frozen now.


                         Three fleeting months!--too soon, too soon,
                         The joyous marriage bell
                         Is hushed,--a wail is on the air,
                         A wail,--her funeral knell.


Page 303


                         Three months!--a brilliant festive scene,
                         Mirth, wit, and laughter loud,--
                         To-day a funeral throng, a pall,
                         A coffin and a shroud.


                         Three months!--the beautiful, the bright
                         Were gathered to her side,
                         With snowy garlands, fresh and gay,
                         To crown the youthful Bride.


                         To-day they come--no laughing voice
                         Each welcomed footstep cheers,--
                         They come with garlands, pure and sweet,
                         All wet with funeral tears.


                         Alas! how changed,--the Man of God
                         Is here, and by his side,
                         The brave young Bridegroom, trembling, pale,--
                         Death claims the blooming Bride.


                         Ah, Love and Death, strange words--he weeps,
                         All desolate and lone--


Page 304


                         The Dove, scarce folded to his heart,
                         Hath upward gazed, and--flown.


                         The sunlight of his marriage joy
                         Hath set, how soon, in cloud,--
                         The bridal veil, a winding sheet,--
                         The bridal dress, a shroud.


                         And we, a parted household band,
                         We mourn the vanished light,
                         Whose presence at our fireside shone,
                         A sunbeam, glad and bright.


                         One kiss,--draw near, ye weeping group,--
                         Oh, Parents!--sad the hour,
                         Which from your darkened dwelling, bears
                         This beautiful, pale flower.


                         They come, they come, with garlands white,--
                         Ah, wreathe them round her head.
                         With Orange-flowers and Lily-bells,
                         Crown ye, the sainted Dead!


Page 305

TO ONE IN HEAVEN.

        A MOTHER'S LAMENT.

        INSCRIBED TO MRS. JOHN O. L. GOGGIN, OF LYNCHBURG.


                         OH thou, so early gone!
                         Lent for awhile, not given;
                         Thou who wert here on earth so dear,
                         Say, shall we meet in Heaven?


                         I know that thou art there,--
                         Bright, beautiful, and blest;
                         Shall I, through paths of trial, reach
                         The same eternal rest?


                         Child of my love! I feel
                         Thy presence hov'ring nigh,
                         In every whispering tone that's heard
                         In earth, or air, or sky.


Page 306


                         The sun with splendor shines
                         At morning's dewy hour;
                         Thy vanished smile I see the while,
                         In every opening flower.


                         The stars look calmly down
                         When evening shadows glide,
                         And then, ah then thou'rt near again,
                         An angel, by my side.


                         Thy favorite haunts I love,--
                         In every spot I trace
                         Some tone or sign, that calls to mind
                         Thy dear, departed face.


                         Ah, whither art thou gone,
                         What distant, heavenly sphere
                         Contains that spirit, glorified,
                         So fondly cherished here.


                         I bow me in the dust,
                         I weep when none are near,--


Page 307


                         Say, dost thou, from thy starry home,
                         Behold each burning tear?


                         And art thou less mine own
                         Because with me 'tis night,--
                         While thou, among the ransomed throng,
                         Art walking in the Light?


                         Look up! my heart, receive
                         This rod in wisdom given,--
                         "Endure the cross, and win the crown:"
                         We'll meet again in Heaven.


                         Child of my love! I seem
                         To see thee even now,--
                         Harp in thy hand, a crown of Light
                         Upon thy sinless brow.


                         And thou wilt know me there
                         (What joy the thought hath given)--
                         Thou'lt know me when through Death's dark vale
                         I go to thee in Heaven.


Page 308

IMOGEN TO FREDERICK.

        WITH A BOUQUET OF PRESSED FLOWERS.

        FROM AN UNFINISHED POEM.

        "'He forbids me to write,' said the wife, musingly, 'but I will send him these pale sweet flowers: they cannot offend; they will say all that my heart prompts of my unchanging love--of our child now in Heaven--of the Past--of God. Surely the appeal cannot be in vain;' and Imogen folded the faded bouquet in a neat envelope, and enclosed with it a few simple lines."--Story of "Imogen," by An Old Schoolmate.


                         FLOWERS have a language of mute appeal,
                         Let these then into thy presence steal;
                         And let them kindly, though mutely, tell
                         Of a wounded heart which hath loved you well;--
                         A heart which unkindness hath bowed to earth,
                         Whose songs are wailings, whose joy hath dearth;
                         Oh, let them whisper in soft, low tone,
                         Of a yearning love which was all thine own;


Page 309


                         A love which the tempest and storm have tried,
                         Clinging 'mid all to thine alien side.
                         Ah! let them tell of the banished Past,
                         With its record of fond hopes, flown too fast;--
                         With its vision fair which, through tears, I trace,
                         Of a little shroud and a baby face.
                         Oh! let them point thee to Him above,
                         Whose arm is almighty, whose name is Love;--
                         To Him who alone hath the power to save
                         Earth's sorrowing children beyond the grave:
                         With all thy burden of errors done,
                         Still, still look up to that sinless One. * * * * * *
                         This be the message I send to-day,
                         On a perfumed breath from my heart away.--
                         In all thy moments of mirth and joy,
                         When sorrows cloud, and when cares annoy;--
                         In all thy lonely and musing hours,
                         Hark, to the voice of my faded flowers.


Page 310

WHERE IS HELEN?


                         WHERE is Helen?--I have listened long
                         For the joyous tones of her welcome song;--
                         I've waited her footstep on the stair;
                         I've been to her home, but she is not there.


                         Childhood's sweet voice hath greeted my ear,
                         With its silvery music, wild and clear;
                         And daintiest lips, too, my own have pressed
                         With the fervor of Innocence, pure and blest.


                         But I look in vain for an eye that shone
                         With Affection's light as it met my own;
                         And a form is missed that was wont to glide
                         With an Angel's gentleness near my side.


Page 311


                         I've questioned the flowers if they would tell
                         Where this bud of my heart may chance to dwell;
                         But the flowers reply, "We are sleeping low
                         In our wintry prisons, and may not know."


                         Then I asked the birds which she used to love,
                         Whither had wandered the household Dove;
                         And they warbled an answer wild and clear,
                         But its mournful melody pained my ear.


                         I gazed on the clouds as they floated by,
                         Through the azure depths of the distant sky,
                         And methought of a radiant clime above,
                         Where all is gladness, and peace, and love.


                         Where "little ones" find an eternal rest
                         In the Saviour's gentle and loving breast;
                         And Faith whispered low, to my listening ear--
                         "Earth's brightest and best find a haven here.


Page 312


                         "The form thou hast missed lies asleep with the flowers;
                         Thy Bird sings its song amid heavenly bowers;
                         The crown of the ransomed is on her brow--
                         The child whom thou seek'st is an Angel now."


Page 313

MY LITTLE NAMESAKE.


                         I HAVE a little namesake,
                         A pet of two years old,
                         Whose baby features all were cast
                         In Beauty's fairest mould.


                         She's a joyous little creature,
                         As blithe as any bird;
                         And sweeter prattle all day long,
                         I'm sure I never heard.


                         She tries to play "the lady,"
                         And takes her little chair,
                         And places it beside my own
                         With such a roguish air;


                         And with her sweet hands folded,
                         Her bright eyes fixed on me,


Page 314


                         She laughs, to have me notice
                         Her mimic dignity.


                         But while I pause to praise her,
                         She's up and tottling round;
                         And such a busy "lady"
                         Can nowhere now be found.


                         Sometimes she hides, to have me
                         Look for her anxiously,
                         And if I fail to find her,
                         She'll call out, "yer is me."


                         And when I walk at morning,
                         I scarcely reach the gate,
                         Ere I hear her sweet voice calling,
                         "Oh, Aunty, pese'um ' ait."


                         Then over field and meadow,
                         And up the green hillside,
                         This little sunbeam follows,
                         An Angel at my side.


Page 315


                         She loves the bright-eyed blossoms,
                         And not a blade of grass
                         Can hide its tiny head t' escape
                         Her notice as we pass.


                         The bird, with plumage gay and bright,
                         The bee, the butterfly,
                         All, all are welcomed as they float
                         Before her wondering eye.


                         God bless my little namesake!
                         Watch o'er her from the skies,
                         Until in Death some Angel, bright,
                         Shall close her beaming eyes.


Page 316

THE FEAR OF BLINDNESS.

        WRITTEN DURING A PERIOD OF GREAT SUFFERING FROM
ASTHENOPIA.


                         A BROODING shadow clouds my heart,
                         A shadow dark and deep,
                         Which crowns with gloom my waking hours,
                         And haunts me when I sleep.


                         The strange, wild fear that veiled to me
                         Must be Earth's glorious things,
                         Shut from my gaze each beauteous flower
                         Which from her bosom springs.


                         I dearly love yon arching sky,
                         In sunshine and in storm;
                         Its calm, bright smile, its lightning glance,
                         Its rainbow's circling form.


Page 317


                         I love the pale, sweet, quiet moon
                         That lights that sky at even;
                         And, more than all, the holy stars
                         That gem the brow of Heaven.


                         I love, ah! well, the woods and streams,
                         Mid summer's fervid ray;
                         To watch the foaming torrent's leap,
                         The brooklet's sparkling play.


                         I love the mountains, old and grand,
                         The valleys, green and fair;
                         The flowers that deck the verdant hills,
                         The birds that swim the air.


                         I love the Sea, the murmuring Sea,
                         When calm its blue waves rest,
                         E'en as a sleeping child might lay
                         Upon its mother's breast.


                         I love it when its billows wild
                         In madness darkly roll,


Page 318


                         And angry waves swell high beneath
                         The storm-king's fierce control.


                         I love all bright and glorious things,
                         The earth, the sky, the sea;
                         And yet the while I gaze on aught,
                         This strange fear haunteth me.


                         Why is it that the brightest sun
                         Thus mocks my yearning sight?
                         I once could view each dazzling beam
                         With rapture and delight.


                         Why is it from the noodtide glare
                         I sadly turn away?--
                         Alas! to my poor heart there comes
                         A pang with every ray.


                         Yes, strange, dark lines, of late, appear
                         Before my burning eyes;
                         And when I test their waning power,
                         Distorted visions rise.


Page 319


                         In mercy, Father, close them not;
                         Take not, take not I pray,
                         That priceless boon which Thou hast given,--
                         The boon of sight, away.


                         Let me yet look in thankfulness
                         On Nature's glorious face,
                         And in her smile or frown the while,
                         Thyself, her Maker, trace.


                         Heal, oh! my God; in pity, heal
                         These aching orbs of mine,
                         That e'en on earth I still may see
                         Thine image faintly shine.


                         Ah, let me welcome, as of yore,
                         The Day's returning light,
                         And I will bless the hand which gave
                         This priceless boon of sight.


                         Or if, in wisdom, Thou wouldst not
                         Thy threatening rod displace,
                         Let me, Thy name still praising, still
                         In darkness see Thy face.


Page 320

A DAUGHTER'S PRAYER.


                         FROM this low couch of pain whereon he lies,
                         Whom Thou hast given me, my father dear,
                         I lift mine eyes, and with full heart, Oh, God!
                         I pray that Thou wilt hear me from the skies.
                         'Tis not for us in blindness to arraign
                         That wisdom which afflicts, or seek to know
                         The hidden ways, by which Thou lead'st us here
                         Through paths of trial oft, disease, and pain.
                         I know that we have sinned and gone astray
                         From Thy commandments; yet we are, Oh, God!
                         Thy children still,--as such, then lead us back
                         To Thee again, through Christ, the Living Way.
                         Thy chastening hand lies heavily and sore
                         On one I dearly love;--a father's form
                         Is slowly wasting from a sure disease,--


Page 321


                         Be Thou his strength, Oh, Christ! I ask no more.
                         Thou who hast suffering known, whose sinless brow
                         Once dropped in anguish 'neath its thorny crown,--
                         Oh! from Thy throne in Heaven look kindly down
                         On him, for whom these tears are falling now.
                         Lo! through the partings of his thin gray hair,
                         And on his cheek, a shadowy paleness lies,--
                         My heart grows heavy as mine eyes behold it,--
                         I pray Thee, Saviour, make him all Thy care.
                         Say to disease, away, and let the glow
                         Of health once more illume his pallid face,--
                         Bid the weak knees be strong, and once again
                         Let the cool breath of healing fan his brow.
                         Give him but length of years, and deign to bless
                         The filial prayer, adding to this that boon,
                         "A hoary head with its bright Glory-crown,
                         Found only in the way of righteousness."
                         Hear me, oh, God! our times are in Thy hands,
                         The number of our days recorded there,--
                         Thy voice alone didst say when should begin,
                         And Thine alone canst stay Life's flowing sands.
                         Or if it be Thy will that I must see


Page 322


                         These dear eyes close in Death's ne'er-waking sleep,
                         In that dark hour open Heaven's "pearly gates"
                         To him, and send Thy Comforter to me.


Page 323

"THY WILL BE DONE."


                         THE twilight deepens into night,
                         And stars look down with pensive light
                         As oft before,
                         And from yon distant sky so clear,
                         The gentle moonbeams wander near,
                         E'en to my door.


                         Spring's early flowers,--the Violet blue,
                         The Cowslip and the Crocus, too,
                         Have come again,
                         And from its moonlit bed of green,
                         The sweet Forget-me-not is seen,--
                         Ah! not in vain.


                         For to my heart the twilight dim,
                         And night-time with its holy hymn
                         Of voices low,


Page 324


                         Brings but one picture,--that I trace
                         In star and flower,--a father's face
                         Hid from me now.


                         My God, I prayed that Thou wouldst stay
                         The blow, and take him not away
                         And leave me here,
                         For well I knew the world would be
                         Alas, how dark and drear to me,
                         Without him near.


                         But on that cheerless winter night
                         When floating shadows dimmed the light
                         From hearthstone cast,
                         I watched a change, though slight its trace,
                         Pass o'er his patient, suffering face--
                         It was the last.


                         And then they told me he must die,
                         But resignation's calm reply
                         I could not speak.


Page 325


                         For love is selfish, and Thy rod
                         Seemed very hard to bear, my God,
                         For I was weak.


                         And when all motionless he lay,
                         A soulless shrine of slumbering clay,
                         My brain grew wild,--
                         I said I could not live and see
                         Him dead, and know that I must be
                         An orphan child.


                         Ah, Jesus,--this poor weary heart
                         Hath learned to bear, of grief, its part,
                         And still throb on.
                         The broken heart Thou bindest up,
                         And Thou hast portioned out my cup,--
                         "Thy will be done."


                         Close to Thy cross, oh, Christ! I cling,
                         Under the shadow of Thy wing,
                         Hide me, ah! hide.


Page 326


                         Low at Thy feet my spirit lies,--
                         Look on me with Thy pitying eyes,
                         Thou Crucified!


                         The way is dark, but Thou wilt be
                         My guide; and clouds and shadows flee
                         At Thy command.
                         Oh! 'mid the waves that darkly roll,
                         And threaten to o'erwhelm my soul,
                         Stretch forth Thy hand.


                         And though through all Life's sorrowing vale,
                         My heart sends forth its tearful wail,--
                         "Alone, alone!"
                         Let Thy dear Cross but strengthen me
                         Always, and all my song shall be,
                         "Thy will be done."


Page 327

A NATIONAL HYMN FOR THE NEW
YEAR.

        AIR--"Old Hundred."


                         GOD of the Year!--whose watchful eye
                         O'er all Thy great Creation bends;
                         Whose mercies all Thy children share;
                         Whose love to all Thy works extends--
                         In this our Country's hour of need,
                         A Nation's heart bows down to Thee;
                         In mercy rule the impending storm
                         Fast gathering o'er our liberty.


                         Righteous and wondrous are Thy ways,
                         And all Thy judgments true and just--
                         Ah! let not vaunting Discord trail
                         Our glorious Banner in the dust;


Page 328


                         That banner, o'er whose stainless folds
                         Hath flowed the life-blood of the brave;
                         For which, in times of danger past,
                         Their all our fathers nobly gave.


                         Shall gaunt Disunion hovering nigh
                         To our bright flag destruction bring,
                         While, 'mid the brooding shadows dark,
                         Our Eagle droops his wounded wing?
                         No! show Thy face, Almighty God,
                         While peril stalks on every hand;
                         Stretch forth thine own all-powerful arm,
                         And save our own, our Native Land.


                         Ah, save the Land which gave us birth;
                         The Land for which our fathers bled;
                         Through whose worn paths our infant feet
                         Were, earliest, to Thy Temples led.
                         God! save the Land, in whose blest soil
                         Sleeps Freedom's best and noblest son,
                         Nor let Discord her triumphs boast
                         Above the Grave of Washington.


Page 329


                         Stay, stay the raging billows, Lord,--
                         E'en waves obey Thy great command.
                         Thou holdest Nations, great and small,
                         Within the hollow of Thy hand.
                         Oh! in this fearful, trying hour,
                         Our refuge and our safety be,
                         As 'mid the tempest, threat'ning, dark,
                         A Nation's heart looks up to Thee.


                         Hide not Thy face in anger now,
                         Though we have erred and strayed from Thee,
                         And in our boasted might, perchance,
                         To other idols bowed the knee.
                         Remember not our wanderings, Lord,
                         As on Destruction's brink we stand;
                         But kindly call, in Mercy's voice,
                         And lead us back by Mercy's hand.


                         God of the Year! receive our prayer,
                         In this our Country's trying hour;
                         Unveil Thy face--stretch forth Thine arm--
                         And save us by Thy mighty power.


Page 330


                         So shall our praise be of Thy name,
                         Our glad hosannas all of Thee,
                         As o'er Columbia still shall wave
                         The banner of the brave and free.

January 1st, 1861.