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Title: The Angel of The Desert and Other Poems
Author: A Lady
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0900591.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: August 2009
Date most recently updated: August 2009

Production Note:
This ebook was, initially, incorrectly attributed to
Mrs Allan (Emma) Macpherson

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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: The Angel of The Desert and Other Poems
Author: A Lady


WINDSOR [Victoria, Australia]:
PRINTED BY J. E. TARRANT, CHRONICLE OFFICE.
(188?)


* * *


CONTENTS:

Angel of the Desert
Mount Milleray Abbey (a piece)
Messages to the Dead
The light of the Countenance
True Friendship
On the Death of a Young Lady Friend
The Mother
The Summer Dawn
What should Woman be?
Midnight Hymn
Winter Rose
The Dove
The Sabbath Sun
Flowers on a Grave
The Shamrock
Heart Weariness
White Rose Wreath
Epitaph on a Butterfly
On Mrs. E----'s Death
Russian Song (piece)
Bird of Paradise
The Chrysalis
The Lost Crown
The Garden Party
The Closing Scene


* * *


THE ANGEL OF THE DESERT.

I

Once in a wilderness, retired, unknown,
  A babe was nursed, a dear and only child;
One o'er whose birth a mystic glory shone,
  A heavenly promise in his aspect smil'd.
He seemed like one who could have reconciled
  Rebellious subjects to an angry king,
Whose love and laws they outrag'd, so sweet, so mild
  Was this fair image, like summer flow'rs in Spring,
Perfect in undue season, and seem'd this babe to bring

II

A light and blessing on his infant brow,
  A light prophetic, as if intelligence
Of future times was kindling in the glow
  Of more than mortal wisdom and deep sense
That shone thereon. Of pure and high presence
  His mission was. Even now he seem'd to see
The shadow of his greatness, tho' from thence
  He knew not yet in truth what he should be,
But deemed his life must suit his destiny,

II

A scion of a high and holy house,
  Lowly he walk'd on earth apart from men,
One mortal only heard his early vows
  Of intense love and piety; for then
Few knew his lonely dwelling, few again
  E'er cross'd the desert paths of his abode;
Wrapp'd in the silence of his sylvan den,
  No thought or trace of earthliness he showed;
His figure moved on earth, his heart was with his God.

IV

Few were the years this solitary grew,
  A mother's hope. The Angel of the dead
Bade her depart from her beloved one's view.
  While yet a child he laid his little head
Upon her bosom, listening as she said
  What he was born to be.--A light whereby
The strayed ones to their shepherd back are led.--
  And with what holy fire his full, dark eye
Flashed as her parting spirit spoke the prophesy.

V

Now like a Temple in a desert isle,
  Beauteous and lone in its deep solitude,
Fill'd with a sacred presence, did he smile,
  As one by nought of time to be subdued.
And while all meekly by her grave be stood,
  Whom he alone had loved, his young heart beat
With deep emotion; feeling that he should
  Now seek alone those paths prescribed by fate;
The cheerless earth his couch, the honeycomb his meat.

VI

But ere he wander'd from that chosen spot,
  Where first his infant limbs had learn'd to move,
One duty still remained, and it was not
  The least, though last, due to a parent's love,
Whose words and wishes in unison strove
  To fit the noble mind for noble deeds.--
Some filial record of regard, to prove
  Where rest the ashes when the soul recedes
To those august abodes to which heaven's portal leads.

VII

The odorous balm must mingle its fair flow'rs,
  With the bland beauty of the sweet wild rose;
Child of the desert, of those hidden bow'rs
  Which fragrant zephyrs to the sense disclose;
Such forms as these shall clothe her deep repose
  With living loveliness--Now may her son
Respond to that mysterious fire that glows
  So deep within him, prompting his spirit on
To that great work of love he feels must yet be done.

VIII

Whither are his footsteps bent, that pilgrim boy?
  No scrip, nor staff, nor purse to cheer his way;
What has a mind like his to do with joy
  Bought with the coin of worldlings? he can pray
For daily bread from Him who rules the day.
  Nay, even for bread he asks not, the wild food
The wilderness affords, shall form his fare,
  Whate'er is scatter'd by God's hand is good.
He spreads a banquet for the birds of air;
  For him who loves and serves hath He not greater care?

IX

He knows no path thro' mountain, vale or wild,
  No end defined to shape his progress by;
His soul's strong impulse all his toil beguiles,
  He onward moves, his gaze still fixed on high.
Who knows what "Angel guide" there greets his eye?
  Who sees the beacon that allures him on?
Who hears the Spirit's voice that makes reply
  To words unearthly, winged from that bright zone,
Where He his heart adores sits on His starry throne.

X

Nay, need the shielded of the Lord to fear,
  Whose mission is to do His sacred will?
Hymns fill the air (that none beside may hear)
  With their ethereal echoes, deep and still;
As is the abyss of that soul they fill.
  Their sweetness breathes around. Who may he be
In whose fair presence cherub notes thus thrill?
  A prophet? Aye, and more, in whom we see
The Light of Lights reflected, a herald of majesty.

XI

No scathing breath of burning desert waves,
  Tar spicy groves, nor vales where Eden's bloom
A lingering impress of its beauty leaves,
  Diverts that mind whose solemn thoughts assume
Forms most divine. He seeks a prophet's tomb,
  Where'erst eternal Glory council held,
With his frail minion man, where'erst the boom
  Of Zion's thunders o'er the valleys swelled,
When God proclaimed His law, and Israel's hosts rebell'd.

XII

Lo! on the Madian plains his wearied feet
  Leave their unsandaled traces--and anon
His memory grasps the vision once did greet
  The Hebrew shepherd's eye, when haloes shone
High o'er the flaming shrub, ere yet upon
  The consecrated spot his steps had trod;
Ere yet Jehovah's mandate forth had gone,
  To test his soul's pure faith and trust in God,
And the great deep should move obedient to his rod.

XIII

Long, long he paused in meditative thought,
  How far was he thus on his mission brought;
What knew he of these glorious mysteries
  That lit the prophet's brow with mystic fire;
A glory all too bright for mortal eyes.
  To meet its radiance man must retire
From this tremendous preface, or expire,
  While goeth forth the law that binds anew
The soul to godliness, to a meet desire
  Of its first birthright, to the hope and view
Of Eden once again, more perfect, and more true.

XIV

The pilgrim from the spiritual court
  Of Judah's King--whom thinketh he here to meet?
The King who comes. Divinest hopes support
  That aspiration. Yet he may not greet
That veiled majesty in this retreat.
  The King is come--and yet he knows him not;
He whom his heart adored ere yet it beat
  With full pulsations; he hath not forgot
The warning to await him, from his Mother caught.

XV

Await him, where?
  Back to the Halls of Salem, to assume
His place in destiny.--From Sinia's hill,
  From Nebo's Mount, and from His nameless tomb
The prophet speaks:--"Thou goest to fulfil,
  Appointed parts of that Omniscient will
That rules the world. Thou goest to prepare
  His way before Him; meekly to instill
The awe of wrath to come; impressively declare
  The "Orient's" dawn, in His transcendent sphere."

XVI

Henceforth His ways are thine Thou goest before,
  Abiding in the wilderness, while men
Shalt come to hearken, and perchance adore
  Him whom thou foreshadowest, and then
Bear back to city homes thy words again;
  And those who come not, question who thou art,
Austere, sublime, unlike all other men,
  The testimony of the Word, sent to impart
The Spirit's teachings to the righteous heart.

XVII

He hath not seen the promised one, as yet,
  Whose advent be proclaims Some mighty signs
That his divining mind can interpret,
  Will tell him of His presence. Visions benign.
Even though the heavens shall open, His design
  Shall be made manifest. Lo! a voice speaks,
"What went you to the wilderness to see?
  A man not clothed in soft garments, he who makes
His home in houses of Kings, their earthly spirit takes."

XVIII

"Who is this man thou goest forth to see,
  That as a reed that quivereth in the wind
Bends in his lowliness, but breaketh not for aye,
  That is but, as he says, a voice designed
To preach the coming of a mightier mind,
  To make the paths more straight, the rough ways plain?
Is he Elias? And be answereth no.
  Comes he to the vineyards of our land, to glean
The precious, vintage, while ill fruits remain?"

XIX

Nay, that is not the wisdom of his plan,
  He speaketh to the adverse, words of grace;
Apart in all things else, in nature man.
  He bids his erring brother back to sue for peace;
To sue for ransom, mercy and release;
  To watch and wait His coming. He who comes
To walk His pastures, lovingly retrace
  The wanderer's paths, to follow where he roams,
And lead him to sweet waters of his sunny homes.

XX

Diving Intelligence teaches him all things,
  The past, the future, how they shall be done,
The shepherd bearing the lost lamb, He brings
  Back to the fold, the meek, the Holy One,
Whose kingdom is at hand, who rests upon
  The Mount of Thabor, and the Hill of woe,
For man's transgressions there at last atone.
  Thus end the agony of mortal strife
In the grand mystery of resuscitated Life.

XXI

When the dove, ransomed Babe Simeon pressed
  To his adoring heart, a mother stood,
Holding a kindred babe, as tenderly carreseed,
  A fair and noble child, his brows imbued
With wondrous grace, reflected haloes glowed
  Encircling them, caught from th' Divinest Source,
In the meek Virgin's arms----Then did the man of God
  Proclaim him Prophet of the most high! his course
Presanctified with power and spirit to enforce.

XXII

The grand brief lessons he had come to preach,
  Remote from man thenceforth, in desert homes
Unknown, unsought, with heaven-giv'n power to teach
  He waits the fulness of his time to come.
And now 'tis come; prophetic forms assume
  Predestined parts; the mighty voice that speaks,
Yet toucheth not the chords of outward sense
  (Tho spirit harkeneth) bids him to warn, to watch, to seek
The coming of those souls whose bonds He comes to break.

XXIII

Lo! to that river in whose mysterious course
  Lie the dread relics of a people's sin
His face ho turns. Tradition will enforce
  His teachings with memories of yore, wherein,
The multitudes were warned to repent, and win
  Immunity from wrath. Lo! the herald voice
Proclaims His coming, judgement to begin,
  To give the lowly strength, to bid the just rejoice,
The victor take his crown, the chosen one his choice.

XXIV

Now in that sacred tide he cometh to lave
  With these regenerating waters those meek hearts,
Whose faith and hope discern the power to save,
  In the true symbols which this rite imparts.
Lo! to his side approaches with saintly mien;
  A Form Divine and lowly bends His head
To meet the Baptist's; and as that Angel said,
  "The heavens now open to announce their God;
The father witnesseth His mighty Son."

XXV

"This is my Beloved One! hear ye Him."
  Thy Paraclete decends in form of Dove,
And rests upon that radiant head, so soon to wear
  Its crown of thorns. Grand affirmation.
The triune Majesty of heaven is there,
  And Canticles resound in courts above.
Then! and not till then with rapturous awe
  The "Angel of the Desert" worshipped as he saw
His God, his Saviour, and his kindred Man.



LINES ON MOUNT MILLERAY ABBEY,
SEEN ON A LOVELY AUTUMN MORNING, AT 6 A.M.


O'er its high alter pour'd the rising sun
  Its first and gentlest beams, his lustre shone
Like a celestial halo round a shrine
  Where rested sacred relics.
A herald of future glory seemed it there,
  Winged with the light and peace of purer worlds
To which their hopes are tending who there dwell,
  Apart from earth, to be the nearer heaven.

Scarce did the "melody of starry orbs"
  Subside in day, ere at that altar stood
Enrobed for sacrifice with snow white cowl,
  The Priest and recluse, while like an angel band,
Rang'd in their stalls, the white robed choir monks stand.
  It was a solemn hour, befitting scenes,
Worthy His eye and ear who saw and heard
  The saintly office with each one fulfill'd.

For anthems were entoned, and sacred songs
  Peal'd through these cloister'd halls, and many lips
Framed words of fervent praise that none could hear,
  Save Him who hark'neth in the inmost soul.
And was there aught of earth in these sweet sounds,
  And in that vision of pure beings bow'd
In lowliest reverence, and most fervent love,
  Before the throne of him whom they thus worshipped
While millions slept, or revell'd out these hours
  Of holy calm in vanity and sin.

Almighty God must not thy kingdom be
  Where thou art thus adored with endless praise?
From midnight anthem unto vesper psalm
  Thy glories are announced, thy works are sung
With more than mortal fire, and as those flowers
  That ope their petals to the sun's first glance,
Give out their virgin odors to Thee then;
  And with his farewell ray, bestow once more
The grateful offering of a fragrant praise,
  Ere they veil up their beauty in repose,
So does the homage of these saintly hearts
  For ever tends to Thee.

Strong are the bonds which bind their souls to heaven,
  They view their treasures there transferred from earth,
And looking upwards where the roses bloom,
  Mark not the thorns which strew their austere path.
The "gem of countless price" for which they left
  All else that they possess'd is sparkling there,
And lights and lures them with its radiance on.
  They see the crown of Life width each would win,
Placed on the cross's summit, and they know
  That ere its glorious circlet shall enwreathe
Their brows, they must take up that cross, and bear
  Its burden, for His sake who bore it first.

Thin is the yoke made sweet, and burthen light,
  Which a meek Saviour will'd them to take up
And follow with; thus are the fountains dried,
  Of earthly feeling and of human love.
And kindred claims and nature's dearer ties
  Yield where the spirit yearns for purer joys
Than earth can give. Yet do they cherish hope,
  That those fond links which bound them once to life,
May be renewed again by faith and grace
  Where dove is perfect, endless, and intense.



* MESSAGES TO THE DEAD.


Beloved brother, what is it to die?
  It is not bitter, is it? bright change
That gladdens thy vision thitherward to fly
  To spirit lands, for evermore to range
Through glorious meads, and by those golden shores
  Whose wavelets make sweet music, as a song
Brought back from memories long pass'd, and pours
  Its melodies around, to greet among
Those happy souls, beloved ones of ours
  Awaiting thee in those celestial bowers.

II.

And thou shalt speak remembrances from me,
  From me, their friend and brother in this vale
Of mortal pilgrimage; your heart shall be
  Bound by new links, where change cannot prevail,
The silent dead speak not to us in earth,
  The brightness of their presence goes with life.
Bring them sweet messages of love--Our hearth
  Hath yet their vacant places, but not grief,
For they have peace, and untold joy, and hope
  That we shall join them when the fallen leaf
Fortells the binding up the kindred sheaf.

III.

Tell thou the brothers of our boyhood's prime,
  That the sweet echoes of their sinless glee
Break on the spirit's ear, a rapturous chime,
  A ransomed captive's song of liberty.
I long to hear it in its verity,
  To taste those springs of everlasting bliss.
Pass on pure soul, pass on exultingly;
  What are the glories of that life to this;
Thou leavest me desolate, but for bright hope and fair,
  To bear me onward, upward to that glorious gate.

IV.

And thou shalt see our sister, that sweet flower,
  Transplanted in the bud, matured in heaven,
So fair, so beautiful, where the priceless dower
  Of truth and beauty evermore is given,
To sing the songs of seraphs, tune her lyre
  Where countess multitudes chant hymns divine,
Intoning anthems in that angel choir
  Who sing new songs.--Such evermore is thine,
Sweet sister. The saintly office of those hearts that love
  With love unearthly, destined thus to move.

V.

In chosen bands, sweet sister of my heart,
  I must rejoice that those predestinate
As are the souls that dwelleth where thou art
  May still remember ma, Sweet thoughts elate
With hope, and love, and joy; sweet images surround
  Our Pictures of that land be enters on,
Thy brothers and mine. He flyeth there apace,
  Soon will he greet thee, and the prize be won;
Be still my heat, be still, grief must not mar
  So bright a passage to that home afar.

VI.

Hark! ere thou goest, to my mother bear
  The last fond message her last child shall send,
Henceforth no kindred soul may enter there
  Until my weary way on earth shall end;
Tell Thou to her and to our sire in heaven,
  The watch-word of their faith our hearts have borne,
Be true to God, for to this truth is given
  The key that opens, the bright robe that's worn
When souls triumphant, jubilant and blest,
  Pass in to reams of everlasting rest.


* In ancient times it was a belief among the Northern
Countries of Europe, that their dying relations carried
messages from their survivors to the departed ones gone
before. It is said that even yet, this pleasing superstition
holds a place among them.



"THE LIGHT OF THY COUNTENANCE IS SIGNED ON US, O LORD."
--Psalms.


Mysterious is that light which God hath signed
Upon our being here. Where may we view
Its glorious marks revealed? That light ineffable,
From whose transcendant beams the seraphs bring
The lustre that illumes their glowing wings--
And yet before whose brilliancy they veil
Their eyes in ecstacy and awe--is sealed
Upon His creature man.
There is a type of its effulgence marked,
Yet where are its reflections manifest?
Within the earthly casket, or without
Shines forth this jewel with celestial hues;
We may not trace its likeness on the brow
Of human loveliness--its waning bloom
Suits not those characters, that wear the stamp
Of an immutable perfection;
We may not trace it in the sparkling eye--
Those orbs, whose shining fires will oft denote
Intelligence and love, will quench in death;
We may not recognise it in the form
That moves with stately pride--it is but dust;
The scholar's bays, the warrior's laurel crown,
Last but a day--those phantom wreaths of fame
That one breath gives, another takes away,
Can never represent immortal rays.
Within the noble mind and fervent soul
Where God's true likeness is, a glory beams
That, like the light of His eternal smile,
Shines everlastingly.



TRUE FRIENDSHIP.


Is there a heart that hath not worn,
  Those gentle chains that friendship weaves?
That path of life must be forlorn,
  Where friendship no impression leaves.

II.

But there are many friends in name,
  Who like those birds that fly not hence
While summer suns upon them beam,
  Will care not how we may dispense

III.

With their blythe presence when the hours
  Of loneliness and gloom are come,
But haste them to those distant bowers
  Where they may find a gayer home.

IV.

And there are "friends" perchance, to greet
  You with a passing smile or word,
To seem rejoiced when you may meet,
  But where no genuine feeling stirred.

V.

And there are friends who choose to wear
  The semblance of affection when
No other "friends" in view appear,
  But yet whose fervor cools again,

VI.

With passing hours and varying scenes,
  As forms and fancies come and go,
Or a new object intervenes
  Whose fitful passions quench or glow.

VII.

These would not suit the heart that seeks
  The sympathy true friendship gives;
These would not suit the life that speaks
  Confiding words--Where pure faith lives.

VIII.

There is a calm unvarying love,
  That values not external show,
That mind and feeling most approve,
  And strengthens in the hours of woe.

IX.

But clasps the hand and cheers the heart,
  Perhaps in silence, yet in truth,
And gently, sweetly will impart
  In age its treasures as in youth.



LINES ON THE DEATH OF AN AMIABLE
YOUNG LADY FRIEND IN EARLY AGE.


Thou hast stolen a treasure, Death!
  A father's fondest pride,
Thou'st stilled a fair one's breath
  And love and hope defied.

And tarriest thou to see
  The wreck which thou hast made?
Oh! what is life to thee,
  That thy coarse should be staid?

Its hopes will bear no fruit,
  When brightest bloom appears,
A canker at the root,
  Will turn its smiles to tears.

O what is life to thee?
  Its loves, its joys, but seem
Like visions o'er the sea,
  Nought save a watery beam.

Hence to an early grave,
  A pure young heart is gone,
No human skill could save
  Thy doomed and fated one.

Thou'st called her in her prime,
  A prized and pretty flower,
What fadeth thus with time,
  Is but a useless dower.

But yet a higher charm,
  Lay in that crumbling vase;
A hope all bright and warm,
  That death could not efface.

A love that aimed beyond
  The transient things of earth,
And false and hollow sound,
  Of sorrow masked by mirth.

I sing no dirge for her,
  No requiem sad and slow,
Such solemn notes may stir
  Pangs of unsolaced woe.

But here no grief hath place,
  For a happy spirit's flown,
And the mourner's tears may cease,
  Since God hath called His own.



"THE MOTHER"


That species of education in infancy which is
derived from maternal care, is ever the most valuable.
How many are the cases in which guilt itself is
checked by the force of affectionate recollections
arising in the bosom of youth; when far from home
and friendly council, the image of his mother floats
before him, the vicious passion is repelled, and the
waverer may for ever be fixed in a life of virtue
from the first triumphs of maternal precepts.--

--McDonnell.


Sounds of angelic sweetness guided me
  To where a gentle being sat beside
A cottage porch--breathing a melody
  Of such deep feeling as could be supplied
From love's pure fount alone;
  I lingered there unknown.

It was in summer time at close of even,
  The "angel of the twilight hour" had spread
A veil of gray over the face of heaven,
  While round that porch a flow'ry foliage shed
Still deeper hues, and made
  A sweet and odorous shade.

I longed to know the subject of her song,
  And if the warblings of that syren voice
Were but the echoes of devotion deep and strong
  Resounding from a heart taught to rejoice
In hopes that never die,
  In treasures hid on high.

Or if perchance those gentle strains might be
  Affection's tribute to some absent one
Whose treasured image in the sanctuary
  Of her fond bosom lay, for all alone
She seemed to breath the prayer
  Of sweetest harmony there.

And as I listened with delighted ear,
  Such sacred words were utter'd as revealed
The soul's communion with a brighter sphere,
  And beings whose eternal lot is sealed
In bliss that none could tell,
  In light ineffable.

She sang a hymn, fit one for seraph choirs,
  'Twas like the music of those summer eves
When Southern zephers tune unnumbered lyres
  In sylvan palaces, that ever leaves
A rapture in the mind,
  Unearthly, undefined.

And as with fervent pathos it arose,
  And my rapt thoughts were soaring with the strain,
The slumb'ring accents she would thus compose
  Recall'd her memory to earth again,
Where like a gentle dove
  She watched her cradled love.

And then I knew it was a mother's prayer
  Whose sweetness lulled her baby into rest,
Whispering of heaven in its infant ear;
  Guiding its thoughts ere they could be express'd.
Oh! happy was the child
  On whom such love had smiled.

Must not the bud thus nursed in life's young hour
  Unfold immortal beauty with its years,
Until it blooms at last a perfect flower
  In that blest land where evermore it wears
The snowy robes of grace,
  The smiles of endless peace.



"THE SUMMER DAWN."


The summer dawn, the summer dawn
  Is blushing now on sweet young flowers,
And visions bright and purely drawn,
  Repose in fancy's "airy bowers,"
Ali nature wears the robes of youth,
  The soft and placid hue of truth.

Now countless tongues proclaim the grand,
  The lovely and the gay around,
And countless hearts with joy expand
  To hear the thrilling sublime sound
Of nature's music, mild and sweet,
  The praise wherewith the sinless greet.

The God who made these glories rise,
  From depths of darkness, death and gloom,
Whose hand hath formed these brilliant skies,
  Whose breath renews this earthly bloom,
And bids th' adoring spirit taste
  With joy of this mysterious feast.

Hail summer dawn, an emblem thou
  OF scenes that marked our earliest days,
And if remembrance warms urn now
  It is to thee we owe the praise,
Thou canst impart a pleasing spell
  Where other joys have ceased to dwell.

Thou leadest us back thro' verdant shades
  To think upon the happy prime
Of youth resembling thy green glades,
  The playmates of that peaceful time,
And all that charmed our young hearts then,
  Though they be done, thou showest again.

Thou leadest us back thro' paths of flowers,
  To the sweet haunts of childhood's love,
When all that breathed of bliss seemed ours,
  And heart with heart so sweetly strove
To wile the happy hours away
  With gentle song and guileless play.

Sweet season of the summer dawn
  Supernal beauties round thee glow,
Serene thy sky, and meekly drawn
  Seems yon white cloud--a veil of snow,
Bright hours of nature's revelry,
  A holy pomp o'ershadows thee.

And Oh! a hallowed rapture dwells
  Where'er delighted fancy roves,
When on thy breeze a soft note swells,
  When in the rustling of thy groves
Deep tones are borne which strike the chords
  Of feeling in mysterious words.

O who is there that could not feel
  The pleasures of these pastoral spells,
The truth, the beauty they reveal,
  A somewhat that expressly tells
That 'tis a science sweetly given,
  To lead the thoughts from earth to heaven.

For when we see these flowers and trees
  Fade and decline in autumn winds,
Tho power that earthly spirits frees,
  Speaks in their fall to thinking minds,
"And thus shalt thou," it seems to say,
  "Mingle once more with kindred clay."

Yet be it so, the brightest hope
  Thou lowly sentence beams thro' thee,
Nursed by pure faith it springeth up
  To guide to an eternity
Of everlasting life and bliss;
  My soul, let us remember this.

For there, Oh, there again shall break
  Eternal summer's dawning flame,
And there shall stainless spirits speak
  Hosannas to God's holy name,
Where flowers die not, and all is fair;
  O, may our happy home be there.




"WHAT SHOULD WOMAN BE?"


What should woman be? Just like a flower,
  Meekly adorning where her lot is cast;
And as the modest tenants of the bower
  Emit the sweetest perfumes, so her power,
Like precious odors, should her bloom out-last,

What should she be? Just like the diamond's rays,
  Chaste, bright, and shadowless, illumining
What comes within her sphere, whose light betrays
  No superficial lustre, but displays
A solid brilliance beaming from within.

What should she be? Just as a crystal fount,
  Fair from its source; whose face reflecteth heaven
Refreshing pilgrims to the holy Mount
Of Zion with her sweetness; who could count
  The many hearts to whom thus strength is given.

What should she be? Like unalloyed gold,
  Pure, incorruptible--a treasure to
The home and heart that such true wealth may hold,
  As her devoted love hath ever told,
Lies in a hallowed bosom--deep and true.

What should she be? Like to a radiant star,
  Still shining on thro' life unchangingly--
Whose benign presence, though reveal'd afar,
  Smiles thro' the gloominess that oft would mar
The wearied heart and heaven directed eye.

What should she be? As azure skies above,
  The home of God--a house of prayer and praise,
Within whose precincts angel visions move
  And sacred words and canticles of love
Resound till time is lost in length of days.



AN INVALID'S MIDNIGHT HYMN.


Strength of my weary soul, to the
  My lips direct their praise;
Give me desire and grace to be
  A lover of thy ways.

Give me a steadfast hope, and faith
  To guide my steps aright,
As I walk through the "Vale of Death"
  To thine eternal light.

From my frail heart all thoughts remove
  That do not tend to Thee;
And all that may displease Thy love,
  O, take away from me.

Light of my sleepless couch, to Thee,
  When falls the midnight cloud,
My full heart turns, Thy majesty
  My silent thoughts enshroud.

O, may the heaven Thou hast revealed
  To meditation's eye
Be never from my view concealed,
  So perfect let me die.

So may my "lamp of faith" be lit
  When Thou dost call, O Lord,
And my unburthen'd spirit fit
  To follow at Thy word.

Staff of the pilgrim's lowly way
  To that all-beauteous land
Where the waves of a crystal sea
  Washeth a golden strand.

Well may the wearied bosom pant
  Amidst a world of strife
For those fair courts whence floweth streams
  Of everlasting life.

Well may we long to rest us where
  We trust that we shall see
Thee "face to face," and even share.
  Thine immortality.



"THE WINTER ROSE."


Thou bloomest alone, sweet flower,
  'Mid beauties' relics here,
Thou bidest a chilling hour
  And weepest a blighting tear,
Yet lovely thou appearest
  Smiling 'mid snowy wreaths,
So a rude faith endeareth
  The gentle form it scathes.

What art thou like, sweet flower?
  Braving the wintry blast,
Though sunless skies may lower,
  Thy beauty's not o'ercast
With gloom, or pale despairing,
  Its carmine hues live on,
In every change upbearing
  Just like a patient one.

When summer suns are beaming
  Upon such forms as thine,
We may not mark their seeing,
  Where thousand beauties shine,
But now that none outlive thee,
  Where many bloomed beside,
Our minds best thoughts we give thee,
  As to a gentle guide.

Thy meek endurance telleth
  Of charms that never die;
In thee an emblem dwelleth
  Of changeless constancy;
That sinks not, or repineth,
  Howe'er the rough storm blows,
But all to God resigneth,
  Like thee "Sweet winter rose."



THE DOVE.


    Fair dove,
Sweet truths in thy brief life are told,
  Emblem of hallow'd vows!
High virtues doth its course unfold,
  Thou pure and faithful spouse,
To thee the chaste heart owes a debt of love.

    'Twas thou,
When on the surge of wrath was toss'd
  Creation's wreck, that soared
Above a world desolate and lost
  Beneath a sky that lower'd
To pluck the type of peace--the olive bough.

    Thine eye
Beheld thy Lord's subsiding frown,
  A light play o'er the waste,
As if in mercy He look'd down
  On man crushed and debased,
And earth throbb'd with echo of His sigh.

    'Twas then
Thy wing was poised, soon thou wast heard
  Nestling in Judah's tree,
When not a living being stirred,
  Thou speedest all silently
To bring one token back of hope again.

    Sweet, bird,
Reposing on the Virgin's breast;
  Who lowly knelt and vowed
In Salem's halls, that babe carress'd
  To whom Creation bowed
'Twas thine to be the ransom of thy Lord.

O! Thou,
The beautiful, the meek, the bless'd
  Symbol of all that grand,
That holy group; in thee express'd
  The wise, the fond, the chaste
What glorious mission doth await thee now.

    'Twas thine
To hear the Virgin Mother's prayer,
  To hear the prophesy
Of Judah's white haired prophet there,
  As on adoring knee
His arms received the pledge of love divine.

    Behold!
In likeness of thy form appears
  The Majesty of heaven,
Thy shape that mighty Spirit wears,
  By whom the grace is given
All wisdom, truth, and knowledge to unfold,

    Above,
With sounds of angels coming forth,
  The other vaults are stirr'd,
As issuing from their radiant courts,
  Their echoing flight is heard,
The hallow'd air peals with the voice of love.

    Beside
The Jordan stands a Mighty one,
  Though humbly bent His head,
While those first rites of faith are done
  (By which the soul is fed
With strengthening grace) within its sacred tide.

    Bright bird,
Thy happy course to Him is bent,
  Bearing the Paraclete,
On high and joyous tidings sent,
  With heavenly hope elate,
Thou lightest on the person of thy Lord.

    And now,
That "Desert Angel's" hope is bless'd,
  Who watched for Him in prayer,
Whom now the Father's lips confess'd
  His Son--the Saviour there,
"Home of the Spirit," His true witness thou.

    Allied
With man to nature thus divine,
  Thy spotless life we hail,
O, that so purely our's might shine,
  Such innocence reveal
As dwells in Thee, Type of the Sanctified.



THE SABBATH SUN.


Now a Sabbath sun is breaking,
  'Mid his kindling; beams of light,
Like a heavenly spirit speaking
  Of a world more pure and bright.

As a vision sent to guide us
  Upwards to our homes of rest,
Sweetly shine his rays beside us
  Like the shadows of the blest.

Gently do they fall as seeming
  To remind us of that love
Which for ever thus is beaming
  For us from God's eye above.

And we are captive here, my soul,
In frail mortality's control,
  Nor lookest on those shining lines
As emblems of the rays which form
  Bright haloes round those sainted heads
Which bow in homage pure and warm,
  Where love's most perfect essence spreads

Its fragrant columns through the air,
  Ambrosial with breathings divine,
Transparent, lovely, subtle, where
  Angels in light and beauty shine.

Fair beams, why stay our thoughts on earth
  Communing with thy shadows there?
Above, where had thy brightness birth,
  'Tis our's to claim a kindred sphere.

Above thy burning source, 'tis our's
  To range through worlds thou lightest not,
To where eternal radiance pours
  A lustre with pure glory fraught.

Why are our thoughts held captive here?
  The happy blest keep festival
To-day with sacrifice of prayer.
  New hymns from sainted lyrists swell,
While our hearts, bound by sin and strife,
  Aspire not to the Light of Life.



FLOWERS ON A GRAVE.


They speak in vain of what once was our's,
They are love's last gift, bring ye flow'rs, pale flow'rs.
--Mrs. Hemans.

Come strew these flow'rs upon her grave
O'er it the "white rose" chaplet weave,
And blend the hyacinth's gentle bloom
With these our offerings on her tomb.

Strew here sweet violets of the vale,
Flow'rs of blushing hues, and pale,
The loveliest, fairest, brightest wreath
To honour her who sleeps beneath.

Bring branches from her myrtle bower,
And twine the scarlet woodbine flow'r
Athwart their dark and shadowy,
To glitter in the early dew.

To breathe a lingering fragrance o'er
The senses they can charm no more;
And group the lily and the rose
To decorate her loved repose.

O that around her flow'ry bier,
Such beauty throngs; and yet the tear
Of loneliness and grief will start,
And sighs break from the bleeding heart.

Yet why? O ask not that of me,
Can I again her bright face see?
Or hear the sweet sounds of her voice,
Or in her happy smile rejoice?

Can I behold her form again,
Glide with a light and graceful mien
Thro' the sweet village dance at eve?
Then why may not the lone heart grieve?

Yet is a joyful promise given
That we may meet again in heaven,
Where purer and unfading flowers
Shall glad our pathways and our bowers.



THE SHAMROCK.


The *patriarch of the Western **Isle
  Drew pagan hearts around,
Whom nought but things of earth and time
  Could move by sense on sound.

[*St. Patrick. ** Hibernia.]

They saw the seasons circling on;
  The beauteous summer flowers
Lay dying in pale autumn's lap
  And dead in winter's showers.

They saw the glorious spring time come;
  The trees put forth their leaves,
The flowers that slept appointed time
  Arise from out their graves.

And man, dies too, they quaintly said,
  And sleeps beneath our trees,
But walks and speaks no more on earth--
  Is he no more than these?

Our God shines on them from on high;
  Our God of light and power--
Thou whom we worship, Mighty Sun--
  Is man less than the flower?

This man adores another God,
  More mighty far than you,
For he restores man's life again
  In spring time ever new.

His God, "he says," hath persons three--
  Three Persons all in One.
O, wondrous power and mystery,
  What means it, Mighty Sun?

The Patriarch heard and bless'd his God
  Who gave the fitting time
To speak to those yet darkened souls
  The power of truths sublime.

He seized the humble shamrock plant
  That sprang up where they stood,
And pointing to the triune leaf
  With mystic power imbued,

He told them how this Trinity--
  Three Persons all in One,
Alike in all their Godhead's gifts--
  All wondrous works had done.

Had wrought for man a Paradise,
  A "home not made with hands,"
But who, ungrateful for His love,
  Rebell'd at His commands,

And mercy now must take its place;
  For forfeiture of right
He lost his blest inheritance
  And prospects once so bright.

He told them how God came on earth,
  The second person He,
And thence begun that mighty work,
  The incarnate mystery.

He took man's nature thus to die
  A sacrifice of love;
And all His love and life hath wrought
  His precious words doth prove.

He told them how he rose again;
  Most glorious then this seemed,
Most grand and beauteous to behold
  Th' Redeemer and redeemed.

Where they shall live eternal life,
  Where nought of care or pain
Shall smite the spirit or the flesh,
  Nor tempter weave their chain.

And you shall live in bliss with us,
  He humbly, gently cried.
They bowed their reverent hearts and heads
  And worshipped Him who died.



HEART WEARINESS.


There's somewhat of sadness
In the deep gloom of night,
Even in the soft radiance
Of the pale moonbeam's light,
And how pleasing it is
For the full heart to pour
All its secret of sorrow
In that lonely hour.

For 'tis in that lone hour
That the mind loves to dwell
Upon some secret grief
That the lips would not tell,
The heart that is troubled
Must have moments of sorrow;
It has cares, it his fears
For the fate of to-morrow.

There's a voice, a deep voice,
Like a murmuring wind,
That toucheth the chords
Of the care-worn mind,
That glides through the soul
Like a dream of the past,
And whispers of hopes
That shall beam to the last.

Despair not; saith that voice,
'Tis in vain to repine;
Go bend thy proud knee
At religion's fair shrine;
Go thou burthened in spirit,
Thou laden with care;
There's refreshment and peace
For thy weary soul there.



EPITAPH ON A BUTTERFLY,
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.


Here 'neath this little heap of crumbling leaves
  Lies all that once was beautiful and gay.
A gentle fate to rest in perfumed graves,
  To moulder where the sweetest flowers decay.

Reader reflect that what thou art I was,
  A weary mortal struggling on my path,
Subjected too to death by nature's laws,
  I rose endowed with all a spirit hath.

Brilliant and beautiful in shape and shade,
  Of my fair privilege and beauty vain,
Like Lucifer in angel's robes array,
  I too was doomed for pride to die again.



THE WHITE ROSE WREATH.


"I have seen many monuments on which art had
exhausted itself to excite the sensibilities of nature. But
I have seen none to affect me more than this simple and
delicate memento of departed innocence."

--Rural Funerals--WASH. IRVING


I saw it in in freshest hue,
  Amidst the funeral gloom,
Just as the blighting dew of tears
  Fell on it o'er her tomb;
And to this sweet memorial
  Of innocence and grace,
I paused to consecrate my thoughts
  Within that sacred pace.

Fair flow'rs, thought I, ye seem to be
  Her perfect emblem now;
Thy pale and lifeless loveliness
  Is pictured on her brow.
Chaste as ye are, as chaste she was
  In heart and mind and word.
Her soul was a placid lake,
  That trouble never stirred.

Night after night, o'er thy sweet leaves
  The dews of heaven shall fall,
Just like those unavailing tears
  That never can recall
The breath or bloom of those fair forms
  That gladdened, as her's has done,
Tho kindred hearts that now must mourn
  A lost and lovely one.

Pale flow'rs, reflecting all that was
And is of her who sleeps
In the long trance of death beneath,
Where thy soft wreathlet weeps;
Though ye may seem to die, when spring
Renews the bloom around
We gather such as thee again,
But where may she be found?

Oh, yes, she may, but not with us.
In yon ethereal dome
The light of faith reveals that she
Enjoys a glorious home--
A home befitting one who lived
To earn the bliss it gives,
Where never fading charms abound,
Where joy for ever lives.



LINES
ON THE DEATH OF MY MOTHER'S ONLY SURVIVING
BELOVED SISTER.


She was my last surviving one,
  A fair and gentle friend,
With whom in our first scenes of life
  It was my lot to wend
Through many a path of pleasantness,
  Such as young hearts will find
Where e'er they turn in those bright days
  When fiction fills the mind.

She was a lovely being then,
  One whom the heart would prize;
There was such sweetness in her words,
  Such love within her eyes;
And whether in the vale of youth,
  Or up "the steep of years,"
The same sweet spirit ever shone
  On that calm brow of her's.

And though upon that brow was set
  The type of age and care,
The gentle rays or inward peace
  For ever brighten'd there;
The bitterest pangs could change her not,
  Or keenest grief of heart;
Her quenchless faith and patient love
  Still chose the better part.

To sit by her Redeemer's feet
  Day after day, and hear
The "Words of Life" by which she knew
  Her home could not be here;
And by the light of His true words,
  And by the hopes they gave,
She cheer'd the weary paths of pain
  That led her to the grave.

And now she hath resign'd her cross,
  Upon the "hill of rest,"
From whence the faithful Christian soul,
  May view the happy bless'd;
And she hath spread her spirit's wings
  To seek that bright abode,
Not made with mortal hands, but where
  Is fixed the Throne of God.

Yet faith forbids that I should grieve,
  For in her death appears
Too many signs of love and grace
  To be a cause of tears,
Just like a pure and gentle light
  She burned brightly on,
Until a last faint glimm'ring ray
  Told that the prize was won.



SONG
OF A BAND OF BEAUTIFUL YOUNG RUSSIAN MAIDENS
IN HONOR Of THE NEW SPRING


Beneath the woody shade,
Where the bright sunbeams staid,
    By foliage deep
    The shadows sleep,
Like heavenly visions laid,
To rest by some bright arch
Of apple scented larch,
Whose ruby tufts, and dazzling green
Gladden the woodland scene;
There do happy wood nymphs sing
Their merry Hymn to the glad spring.

O blue-eyed daughters of the North,
Rejoice, rejoice, be cometh forth
From out his icy tomb,
Arrayed in joy and bloom,
Like a pure spirit from the lowly dust,
All glorious into life and beauty burst,
Sending to heaven his fragrant sighs in praise.

What though the blossoms fair
Of the odorous orange tree,
The dark-eyed Southern maids may wear,
Lend not their light to thee;
What though the balmy flowers
Of the sunny Eastern clime,
Nursed by the gentle honey showers
Of the beauteous summer time,
No gorgeous robes display
To deck our green sward here;
Yet does the birch-bough bear
    Rose-scented leaves,
    And where the tall fir weaves
    Its dark green plume,
    The violet's sweet perfume
Loads the delicious air.

Haste lovely maidens, haste!
The loveliest must be graced
With wreaths of Spring's first green,
And hailed as Beauty's Queen;
    In honor of the reign,
    Spring hath commenced again.
The many tinted moss prepare
To bind it in her golden hair,
    Haste maidens fair.



THE BIRD OF PARADISE.


Sweet "Bird of Beauty," whither comes thou?
With sylph-like form, and radiance all aglow,
With golden hues, and silver lines among,
An exile from some lend of "light and song,"
Some land more near to heaven, than it to us appears,
Some home of fairy birds in bright enchanting spheres.

Unlike all other birds that fly on earth;
Where had such grace and loveliness its birth?
In slightest breath, the gentlest breeze may blow,
Thy phantom plumage waveth to and fro,
Then wafts thee upward on airy pinions borne
To those fair bowers thy presence doth adorn,

How gracious is that instinct, impulses that warm,
Teaching thy King-bird how to breast the storm
Though rude the gale, though rough the tempest blows,
Thy feathery beauties keeping in repose.
How wise a lesson doth this order teach,
How bravely strive to noble purpose reach.

Thou hast no winter, heavenward dost thou fly
When odorous sunshine brightens not the sky,
When tropic rains make dull thy glorious bowers,
And spicy breezes play not with bright flowers.
Then doth the mystery of life in thee
Aspire to higher regions of immensity.

Thy Kind bird brests the storm if rudely tost,
He soars still higher, seeming as if lost;
And his fair train still follow him on high,
Still keeping his brave presence in the upward eye,
Faithful to him their leader and their king,
Who bringeth them safely to another spring.

Sweet birds of Paradise, all beauteous birds,
How could we speak of thee in less fervid words,
How true a moral dost thou show to those
Who journey on through storms till life shall close;
Thou never art diverted from thy chosen track,
Though great the conflict, thou never art put back.

How doth thy kindred--men of thy islands born--
Name thee of Paradise, unless some legend warn
Their untaught minds that such must be the cause
Thou dwellest on earth a stranger to its laws,
And then depart a season to enjoy
The bliss of peace, where storms may not annoy.

How like the Christian dost thou rule thy ways,
Keeping thy beauty perfect, watching for glorious days,
Guided by aspirations; higher from earth to soar,
Gaining thy patient victory till trial time is o'er;
And yet thou hast thine enemies, thou lovely bird, to meet;
Lured by thy pretty plumage they follow in thy suite.

Those hunters of the spicy Isles thou makest thy transient home
Till instinct guides thee safely through aerial fields to roam--
How like the Christian pilgrim with conflicts ever nigh--
Finds safety only in seeking His certain help on high;
Thou glorious bird, in sympathy we hail thee as our friend,
And praise that ruling power that guides and saves thee to the end.

How grand a mission to some birds is given,
Like aerial messengers between earth and heaven,
Assuming parts in glorious embassies.
Divine, prophetic, saintly, sublimest mysteries
Their presence symbols--their master's power prevails;
Their instinct guides where human knowledge fails.



ON THE CHRYSALIS


Thou emblem of the voiceless gloom
  That shrouds our last repose,
And of that all-pervading hope
  That midst its darkness glows;
Thou slumberest as it were in death,
  And yet a mighty change
Within thee works its silent way
  In transformations strange.

Who taught thee as thou slowly crept
  Upon thy earthly way
To hasten to a higher state
  And calmly wait the day
On which the secret voice of God
  Would bid thee first to fly
Aloft into those paths of air
  Beneath His own blue sky.

Who told thee, when the chill of death
  Seemed to benumb thy form,
That the Creator's breath once more
  Its torpid sense should warm;
That thou shouldst take another shape
  And put on wings of light,
And soar a lovely being up
  As spirits take their flight.

Reposing in the tomb the while,
  But not unconscious still;
Oh, were we but to learn of thee
  Submission to the will
Of our Almighty Lord and Judge,
  Who from His throne on high
Proclaims to all who keep his law
  "Thou shalt not wholly die."



THE LOST CROWN.


A haughty king with sleepless eye
  Strode through his palace halls,
He dreamed a dream of fearful deeds,
  That every nerve appals.

He feared not death in combat, though,
  Nor glory, nor renown,
Had nought to do with hearts like his,
  He feared to lose his crown.

* * * * *

It was a battle eve, that night,
  His warriors slumbered near;
When the loud wail of child-like grief
  Awoke that mighty fear.

He sprang from off his weary couch
  To fight against his dread,
"My crown, my crown; it a not thine!"
  His crown was on his head.

His dream. What was it? Who would say?
  Yet some there were who could,
A tiny form uprose in air
  And smote him where he stood.

And then another child-like hand,
  Avenging in its wrath,
Grasped at the fatal crown, and hurled
  The bauble from his path.

"Dost thou essay to hold that prize
  Bought at such guilty cost?
In vain, in vain, that crown to thee
  For evermore is lost.

"The lives thy tyrant hands have crushed,
  Of babes the stifled breath,
Breathe now again destruction swift,
  Pursuing unto death."

"To-morrow shall thy judgment be,
  Upon the ensanguined plain;
Where noble and ignoble dust,
  Shall mingle and remain."

"There shall thy 'white rose' blush false king
  To hues of deepest red,
For on it in thy bosom crushed,
  Thy heart's blood shall be shed."

"And knowest thou not the voice that speaks
  Prediction unto thee,
And heedest thou not the fair young lives,
  That perished so ruthlessly."

Hast thou no thought that crown thou'st worn,
  Was never thine, nor yet
The usurped throne thou satest upon,
  Thou last Plantaganet."

"In after times the historic page
  Shall thy fell deed proclaim,
And show the grave thy victims filled--
  A grave without a name."

So spoke these voices of the dead
  Into his guilty ears;
When, lo! o'er Bosworth's flowery mead
  A glorious sun appears,

And lit up there the fires of life.
  Too soon to quench again,
For there that day full many a shield
  Should bear its fatal stain.

And there the battle hosts stood, till
  The trumpet notes awoke
Tho slumbering zeal for victory;
  And then the war cloud broke.

We need not pause to dwell upon
  Its fierce and fiery wrath,
We need not question here who fell
  Beneath its recking path.

But one there was hearts quailed to see
  Into the mid-ranks spring--
A charger with his rider on,
  And he a crowned king.

'Twas eve; they ceased, to count how much
  The thirst of battle cost;
That king lay there mid heaps of slain,
  "His fatal crown was lost."



THE GARDEN PARTY;


"We shall have a garden party,"
  Said pretty Maud to me;
"Our gardens are so lovely,
  And strangers come to see
Their beautiful arrangement,
  For it must ever seem
In all the points a landscape needs,
  Their beauty is supreme."

"The terraces are charming,
  The woodlands and the lake;
And beauteous bowers where beauteous birds
  Sweet music all day make;
And gentle streams go murmuring through
  These daisied meads of ours,
Singing their own sweet rippling songs
  Among the beds of flowers."

"Oh! what could be more joyous,
  Delightful it must be,
To think upon this grand array,
  And all to honor me--
It is to be my birthday
  The day on which begun
The landscape of my life, for time
  To paint its promise on."

"I think on it with ecstacy.
  Dear friend, dear friend, forgive
The young heart bursting with its bliss;
  Oh, what it is to live.
I cannot say what I would say,
  My thoughts I can't express,
But something in your grave, sweet face
  Must make my pleasure less."

"I hear thy words, my darling Maud,
  I more than hear, I feel,
For in my heart of hearts is touched
  A wound that cannot heal.
Thou saidst, Oh, what it is to live?'
  And know not what it means;
Thou hast no answer yet to give
  Through thy life's placid scenes."

And this bright festival to be
  Upon my birthday fixed,
God grant no cloud with sunshine there
  Be ever intermixed.
Thy birthday was a day of grace,
  As we who loved shall own;
Thou wast the first bright "gem" God sent
  To deck the matron's crown.

And we would fain to make the gem
  A beauty and a prize,
And on each anniversary
  More blessed in His eyes.
But at that period there was planned
  A garden party too,
Where young friends came, and old ones met,
  To bid a last adieu.

Young hopes and hearts drew fervent there;
  The pageantry of life
Threw splendour o'er each simple scene,
  And rivalship grew rife;
There was a gallant guest that night,
  My kinsman, Maud, and thine.
He was thy mother's brother, and
  A darling one of mine.

A soul unstained, a heart as pure
  As ever manhood bore.
The index on his noble brow
  Said all of this, and more--
A mind unused to low design
  To act a double part;
His brave, outspoken thoughts and words
  Bespoke a sinless heart.

There was a charming maiden, too,
  Most beautiful and fair
The cynosure of all who looked
  Upon her presence there.
The blithe, bland grace that moved in her,
  The grandeur of her mien,
Drew homage to her fantasies,
  All through that festal scene.

She knew it all--she felt her power.
  Too vain, alas! though good,
Those lessons that give woman worth
  She learned not when she could;
Hearts conquered--broken--castaway,
  "Oh, what it was to live!"
The mischief of a life like this
  She learned when no reprieve

Could heal the wounds in her or them
  Her victims unawares,
Herself the victim more than all,
  In vanity's fell snares.
That night that gallant guest of ours
  Had held her by his side
Until a rival, as he seemed,
  Bowed to the promised bride.

Betrothed from early years they were,
  My brother and this maid,
How could she falter then, or show
  Her promises betrayed?
She did not understand, poor soul,
  What faith and honor claimed.
She leaned upon that rival's arm,
  And noticed not how beamed

The fire of wrath within his eyes,
  Whose bride she was to be.
Mad with the praise that rival spoke,
  She sped to revelry;
And when at parting, friends delayed
  To say a farewell word,
'Twas noticed then that both had gone,
  Gone--and both unobserved.

No farewell to his sisters given;
  Their trembling hearts beat high;
The clouds of sorrow and of night
  Came to the watcher's eye.
Afar upon a distant grove
  His silent corse was found,
And by his side a broken sword
  That made the fatal wound.

And never was that rival seen,
  While Emma's reason fled,
But yet returned before she died,
  To find her lover dead;
And then she knew the blame was hers,
  She sought to see his grave,
She did not wish, she would not try
  Her broken life to save.

In one short month they both were laid,
  Nay, almost side by side,
That brave young heart thus lost to all
  The lover and his bride,

* * * * *

Maud's tears rained down a gracious shower,
  A shower that ever leaves
A sadder and a wiser heart,
  For at these silent graves
She oft had with her mother knelt,
  And knew not there were laid
Two victims to misguided thoughts
  By vanity betrayed.

"And this was Life," she softly cried,
  "A life that few may brave;
Might I be not thus led and lost,
  With no loved hand to save?
Another form our party takes,
  Dear aunt I would not grieve
Your hearts of love, your memories,
  For all that earth could give."

My darling child to thee now comes
  The crisis of thy youth;
The time to sow the seeds of worth,
  Of honor and of truth;
A woman's part may soon be thine,
  Though yet of girlhood's age,
The gradual step from infancy
  Counts little in life's page.

And now thy mission is begun,
  Think not to thee 'tis given,
For selfish ends, for vain display,
  But as thy path to heaven;
Keep that grand goal in steadfast view,
  Bow not at fashion's shrine,
Nor let the breath of flattery touch
  That virgin heart of thine.

Be unto God a child of love,
  To win His graces here;
Be thou to man a pure bright star,
  A model in thy sphere;
Be unto us a hope, a prop
  To rest our hearts upon,
A "gem," a prize, a life-long light,
  Till thy bright course is run.



THE CLOSING SCENE.


Far in an island of the Western seas,
  In their thatched cottage two fair maidens dwelt,
Of poor estate, though patient and resigned,
  They daily at the shrine of faith had knelt;
So side by side they grew, by the same mother nurst,
  Until the first faint dawn of woman-hood had burst.
A prelude to the beauty soon to be.

They knew not then of what pretence that word,
  Was in a woman's being--praise or blame
Were oft its handmaids, but the pure at heart
  See not through inference; honor is the name
That gives it strength or brightness; they could boast
  These gifts of heaven as theirs, though by rude fortune tost,
And wanting what the world would call a high degree.

Degrees of worth or place worldlings cannot define.
  Too much of dross is with their coin mixed;
Their weights are counterfeit, their judgments insincere,
  They speak not as they think, nor words, nor thoughts are fixed
By that divinest standard for such as have nobly striven
  To rise up higher to a higher life, their errors all forgiven,
And seek that haven where for peace they happily are driven.

But these fair sisters, dwelling thus remote,
  In peace they passed their silent lives away;
By Nature they were not untaught--she teaches best;
  Such fervid portraits she can well pourtray
On sanguine minds where fiction will have place,
  Investing their imaginings with such simple grace
As suits not the emotions of a modern race.

The legends of grand Orsian suited them,
  That sublime poet of the antique times,
And the weird melody of his glorious songs
  Touched their young hearts with rapture as the chimes
Of far-off minstrelsy, echoing through the breeze,
  Grows faint and fainter, merging by degrees
To the plain notes of "life's realities."

He was their countryman, and that strong tie
  Of kindred homes, and speech, and country's love,
Held memory captive, 'twas but a plea of truth,
  And the bright portraits fiction interwove
In these young fervent minds, related to the past
  Long ages gone, and pictures will not last,
Nor past and present reconciled be.

So wore their youth away, each day was filled
  With the mild duties of their filial care,
And mutual interchange of simple arts
  That make a pastime; helping thus to bear
Their little trials, self-imposed as seemed,
  For yet no cloud had darken'd the light that beamed
On their surroundings, the cloud they could not see.

* * * * *

Now "life's realities" came surging on,
  The smiling land grew desolate and grave
Where plenty had abounded; gaunt figures sat
  Constrained, alas, their pleasant homes to leave;
Sweet homes of happy childhood, bright homes of adult years,
  Where beauty's bloom had faded, wet with the rain of tears,
And on the bleak horizon no hope as yet appears!

How sad this picture hangeth its the mind
  Reflecting griefs, too grievous to forget;
Reflecting images of household stars,
  Whose light in sorrow might ere long be set.
How tell the tale, self-exiled hosts suggest,
  Gone forth to distant worlds in other homes to rest,
How still the parting pangs with agony oppresst.

These gentle sisters, how fared they in this woe,
  This scourge that passed as if with a fiery rod?
Though poor, yet rich in the abundant grace
  That filled their hearts with faith and steadfast trust in God,
They bowed submission, what willed He them to do,
  Their yearning love no terrors could subdue,
And yet that they should serve they fully knew.

How could they leave their parents in such times,
  They could not bring them with them, one sh'd go;
On which was cast the lot? The pride, the pet,
  Their precious spring-flower--what a fearful blow;
Her on whose beauty rested hopes more worth than gold,
  Mysterious promises by human lips untold.
Haw could she go unguarded from out their little fold.

Nay, Eveleen's steps were guarded by watchers from on high
  Bravely she stepped upon the gallant ship that lay
Awaiting her fair freightage from these lovely island homes;
  Where first the sun had smiled upon their first sweet light of day,
Their farewells were all spoken, the seamen's parting cheer.
  Lulled the last strong cry of voices; but could not check the tears.
Quick through the surging waters the goad ship disappears.

* * * * *

Years sped away, the awful scourge had pass'd,
  The seasons teamed with fruitfulness again;
The smiling present hid those shadows of the past.
  But one thing came not, sought for alas in vain,
Those broken links that bind fond memory still,
  To its lost idols, why did they not fulfil
Love's last desire, and promise? a token sent to thrill.

The dying hopes that perish fer tidings that don't come,
  It would not be for Eveleen this censure speaketh now,
That gentle, faithful heart of her's could not deceptive be;
  Few missives came, but one to breathe her fervent vow,
That o'er the realm of waters she should depart once more,
  To seek her home and kindred within her native shore,
And be to them a treasure as she had been of yore.

A suitor Eveleen had, a proud and wealthy man,
  He heard unknown her vow, she was to be his wife
Too proud to brook from her divided love,
  He feigned intelligence as had by him, her sister's life
He could not trace; her parents dead! why thus assail?
  Poor Eveleen faded in her grief, nor knew how false the tale,
Her parents gone; her Minnie lost; could evil so prevail.

Her Minnie lost! reverberated through her dreams
  Appalled she woke to find the day-dream worse.
He strove to soothe her frenzy, who had wrought it;
  And Minnie her darling unconscious of the curse
That worked unseen among them, was at hand,
  Searching for sweet Eveleen throughout the land,
But finding all things strange, she could but stand

And wonder, no name to know her by, no home to trace
  Her footsteps to; was there no guide to show
Where they might meet (if yet alive)? Yes;
     Providence arranged
  An incident; sweet mercy preordained it to be so.
A drama was produced night after night
  With pretty Pathos--some emigrants that might
Be just as they had been--so pure and bright

Coming to seek new treasures and new homes
  For their dear absent ones--and then behold!
When all seems gained and joyful promise reached,
  The spoiler Death sets in and breaks the fold,
And scatters hearts and hopes and treasur'd plans,
  And leaves a waste that memory weeping scans;
Yet why repine? Oh, God all things are in thy hand.

Some strange coincidence brought Eveleen, too,
  To hear this story, shaped as hers had been,
So beautiful she looked in mourning robes arrayed,
  Her intense looks watching each varying scene,
In her unearthly loveliness and youth,
  Until the climax came--when all seemed truth;
She started with uplifted hands, and then, forsooth,

She screamed the name of Minnie as she fell;
  Onward a rushing form flew by, and knelt
Down by the prostrate form and breathed her name.
  The sisters clasped once more, as when they dwelt
In far-off lands--"The closing scene had come."



THE END



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