Page images


There is no Death! What seems so is transition;

This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,

Whose portal we call Death.
She is not dead, the child of our affection,

But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection,

And Christ himself doth rule.

In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,

By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,

She lives, whom we call dead.
Day after day we think what she is doing

In those bright realms of air;
Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,

Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken

The bond which nature gives,
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,

May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her;

For when with raptures wild
In our embraces we again enfold her,

She will not be a child;
But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,

Clothed with celestial grace;
And beautiful with all the soul's expansion

Shall we behold her face.

And though at times impetuous with emotion

And anguish long suppressed, The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean, That cannot be at rest,

We will be patient, and assuage the feeling

We may not wholly stay;
By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
The grief that must have way.


ALL are architects of Fate,

Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,

Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is or low;

Each thing in its place is best ;
And what seems but idle show

Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise,

Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays

Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these ;

Leave no yawning gaps between ;
Think not, because no man sees,

Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,

Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;

For the gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,

Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where gods may dwell,

Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,

Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet

Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,

With a firm and ample base ;
And ascending and secure

Shall to-morrow find its place.


Thus alone can we attain

To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,

And one boundless reach of sky.

A HANDFUL of red sand, from the hot clime

Of Arab deserts brought,
Within this glass becomes the spy of Time,

The minister of Thought.
How many weary centuries has it been

About those deserts blown!
How many strange vicissitudes has seen,

How many histories known!

Perhaps the camels of the Ishmaelite

Trampled and passed it o'er,
When into Egypt from the patriarch's sight

His favourite son they bore,
Perhaps the feet of Moses, burnt and bare,

Crushed it beneath their tread;
Or Pharaoh's flashing wheels into the air

Scattered it as they sped;
Or Mary, with the Christ of Nazareth

Held close in her caress,
Whose pilgrimage of hope and love and faith

Illumed the wilderness;
Or anchorites beneath Engaddi's palms

Pacing the Red Sea beach,
And singing slow their old Armenian psalms

In half-articulate speech;
Or caravans, that from Bassora's gate

With westward steps depart;
Or Mecca's pilgrims, confident of Fate,

And resolute in heart!

These have passed over it, or may have passed !

Now in this crystal tower
Imprisoned by some curious hand at last,

It counts the passing hour.
And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand ;-

Before my dreamy eye
Stretches the desert with its shifting sand,

Its unimpeded sky.
And borne aloft by the sustaining blast,

This little golden thread
Dilates into a column lrigh and vast,

A form of fear and dread.

And onward, and across the setting sun,

Across the boundless plain,
The column and its broader shadow run,

Till thought pursues in vain.
The vision vanishes! These walls again

Shut out the lurid sun,
Shut out the hot, immeasurable plain ;

The half-hour's sand is run!


BLACK shadows fall
From the lindens tall
That lift aloft their massive wall

Against the southern sky;

And from the realms
Of the shadowy elms
A tide-like darkness overwhelms

The fields that round us lie,

But the night is fair,
And everywhere
A warm, soft vapour fills the air,

And distant sounds seem near;

And above, in the light
Of the star-lit night,
Swift birds of passage wing their flight

Through the dewy atmosphere.
I hear the beat
Of their pinions fleet,
As from the land of snow and sleet

They seek a southern lea.

I hear the cry
Of their voices high
Falling dreamily through the sky,

But their forms I cannot see.

Ob, say not so!
Those sounds that flow
In murmurs of delight and woe

Come not from wings of birds.
They are the throngs
Of the poet's songs,
Murmurs of pleasures, and pains, and wrongs,

The sound of winged words.
This is the cry.
Of souls, that high
On toiling, beating pinions fly,

Seeking a warmer clime.
From their distant flight
Through realms of light
It falls into our world of night,

With the murmuring sound of rhyme.


THE old house by the lindens

Stood silent in the shade,
And on the gravelled pathway,

The light and shadow played.
I saw the nursery windows

Wide open to the air ;
But the faces of the children,

They were no longer there.
The large Newfoundland house-dog

Was standing by the door;
He looked for his little playmates,

Who would return no more.
They walked not under the lindens,

They played not in the hall;
But shadow, and silence, and sadness,

Were hanging over all.
The birds sang in the branches

With sweet, familiar tone;
But the voices of the children

Will be heard in dreams alone!

And the boy that walked beside me,

He could not understand
Why closer in mine, ah! closer,

I pressed his warm, soft hand!


WITLAF, a king of the Saxons,

Ere yet his last he breathed,
To the merry monks of Croyland

His drinking-horn bequeathed, -
That, whenever they sat at their revels,

And drank from the golden bowl,
They might remember the donor,

And breathe a prayer for his soul.
So sat they once at Christmas,

And bade the goblet pass;
In their beards the red wine glistened,

Like dew-drops in the grass.

« PreviousContinue »