By one of the authors of Poems For Youth, by a Family Circle.
Printed for Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy,
Paternoster-Row. 1821 1821.
The following Poems have been selected from many others, written principally between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one years. The kind reception given by the public to a small volume, intitled Poems for Youth, by a Family Circle, to which the Author of these little pieces was a contributor, has induced her to allow them to be printed, under an assurance from her friends that they are not inferior to those which have preceded them.
As on the world I gaze with fearful eye,
And mark the vast expanse to wander through,
My full heart heaves with many a deep drawn sigh,
And almost trembles at the awful view.
Where lies my path amid this wondrous waste,
Hung with dark clouds, or circled with serene?
What is the bourne to which I daily haste?
What the dread changes of the future scene?
Lost in the mists of dark futurity,
For ever hid from my unbidden gaze
They rest, Almighty One!—they rest with Thee:
Wise and inscrutable are all thy ways.B 2 B1v 2
The humble creature thou hast deign’d to make
Here also rests. Thy mercies I have prov’d;
Deep in this heart a holy trust they wake,
To bid me bear the ills of life unmov’d.—
Vain terrors, peace!—Go, spirit, mail’d in worth
Hallow’d, not injur’d, by the trials given;
And look upon the varied woes of earth
But as the pains which purify for heaven.
Severer woes my spirit steep,
I weep not as I used to weep;
The tear bedews my cheek no more,
But lives within my heart’s warm core.
What, tho’ it may not reach my eye,
It thrills my frame with agony;
And tho’ the sigh must be represt,
It swells within my aching breast.
O Christian! are they cherish’d there—
The food of anguish and despair?
And is not life too frail and brief
For time to feed on secret grief?
Hast thou no duties to pursue?
No sacred claims before thy view?
No task appointed for the day,
That hours may thus be mourn’d away?B2 4 B2v 4
No preparation for the morrow,
To steal one passing pang from sorrow?
No fellow-creature to befriend,
That thus life’s interest seems to end?
No good to do?—no hope to cheer?—
That wan and worn thou lingerest here.
Is nought of blessing to thee given?
No home on earth?—no trust in Heaven?
—O, if those holy hopes on thee
Have pour’d their sacred agency;
And if thou hast a soul to feel
The mercies which such hopes reveal;
However dark thy path may be,
With this world’s passing misery,
Go, and be thankful—murmur not
Over the sorrows of thy lot;
But, meekly happy, kiss the rod;
All-grateful that thou hast a God;
And let all earthly grief be still
In the high aim to do his will.—
All fear, all doubt, all woe discard,
And He will be Thy great reward.
The gay hues of life are fast fading away,
And dark is the cloud that o’ershadows my morn;
Yet would I not change this wild storm-troubled day
For the calms that a fairer horizon adorn.
O moments of sorrow with rapture o’erpaid!
O dreams of delight, tho’ ye die in my breast,
Your beautiful forms are but soften’d to shade,
And more dear in their faintness they still are imprest.
My thoughts on such sweet recollections are straying,
The griefs of the present pass heedlessly by;
Like the unnotic’d clouds, when the lightning is playing
Across the dark verge of a turbulent sky.
The Dying Soldier.
I saw afar a dark and bloody field;
The evening sun was setting on the brave,
Who, pierc’d with gashes never to be heal’d,
Lay in their glory, reckless of a grave.
They did not murmur, tho’ the damp of death
Was rising cold on every noble brow;
Nor deem it sorrow to resign their breath,
While freedom’s spirit drank their dying vow.
And when the thoughts of home with anguish crept
Over their senses, and those broken ties—
Those thoughts, which in the battle-field had slept,
With well-known faces rose before their eyes—
They did not weep;—but to their babes bequeath’d
Their glorious cause—the strife of liberty;
A ruddy sword, for her to be unsheath’d,
The same glad fearlessness for her to die.7 B4r 7
And to their wives they left their living fame,
Their country’s gratitude; and the last glow,
Which o’er their pallid cheek in fondness came,
Ere the destroying pang had laid them low.
—Yet there was one to life who closely clung,
As wanting that which made departing sweet;
When, as he turn’d, a soft form o’er him hung,
And all he lov’d his dying sight did meet!
That tender face with transient rapture flush’d
To find him living, and some tremulous sound
Rose to her lips,—but soon the voice was hush’d,
And she stretch’d by him on the bloody ground.
She laid his head upon her breaking heart;
Yet in that anguish’d moment both were blest;
Each smil’d a look which said we do not part,
And the next sunbeam shone upon their rest.
I had a dream; and was wandering,
Lonely and sad, upon a foreign shore;
Round me I heard the sea’s eternal roar,
And the wild wind’s prophetic murmuring!
I watch’d the storm upon its strange career;
I grew acquainted with the mountain blast;
It was my music—leaves that rustled sere,
And the scath’d foliage, crackling as it past!
I mus’d upon the scene—when ’mid the waste,
Thro’ the long distance, came a voice of dread,
Like thunder o’er my senses:—Mortal, haste,
For clouds and whirlwinds are around thy head,
Thy port is there, in yon pure stainless sky,
And thy next step may be eternity!’
The Repentant Criminal.
Art thou a wretch to whom the past
Speaks of dire deeds?—O’er whom the blast
Of guilt hath swept a pestilence,
Destroying to the soul and sense?
Whose heart that rankling steel has worn
Which goads the feelings it has torn?
And gashes in its dark profound,
The deep immedicable wound?
Over whose dim and festering hue
A sickening shadow memory threw;
And brought to light forgotten things,
But to add keenness to its stings?—
O is there written on thy brain,
In black indentures, sin and pain?B3B5 10 B5v 10
And is there nought on earth to thee,
But thine own secret agony?
—Yet raise thy burning eye above
To the high Heaven, for God is love;—
And tho’ the clouds obscure thy sight!
Yet fearless gaze—for God is light!
And soon shall earthly struggles cease
In that blest trust—for God is peace!
—Yes, dark and sinful tho’ thou art,
Some beam of Heaven shall touch thy heart;
In years to come shall bloom for thee
A purer, happier destiny;
When thou shalt meekly gaze within,
On thy own soul redeem’d from sin;
Shalt calmly smile on each past sigh,
And every chastening agony;
And feel thro’ thy expanding spirit
The holier hopes thou dost inherit.
—Yes! sanctified by flood and fire,
Thy heart shall spurn each low desire;
And from the pangs and stings of fate,
Shall rise more nobly elevate;—11 B6r 11
Look back upon the flaming path,
See mercy’s hand that pour’d the wrath,
Still kind, while o’er thy shrinking form,
It flung the darkness of the storm;
And taught thee, even by despair,
To pour thy fainting soul in prayer;
And lowly bend to kiss the rod
Which led thee back to peace and God!
I heard a happy murmur thro’ the sky
Arch’d in blue beauty, thousand birds were singing;
Beneath my feet earth’s loveliest flowers were springing;
And radiant prospects burst upon my eye!
The wind was murmuring its sweet lullaby;
The sun in glory shot his living rays;
It seem’d the hour of nature’s jubilee,
And all creation found a voice of praise!
My heart throbb’d high—but, O, it was not bliss,—
Trembling I cried—-And did I e’er repine?
And could I gaze upon a world like this,
Nor breathe one vow at nature’s holy shrine?—
Then, bending low upon my parent dust,
I pour’d my soul in deep repentant trust.
Time past I wandered weeping on my way
O’er the vain changes of all earthly things;
Mid life’s dull cares I saw no cheering ray,
And my aspiring spirit droop’d her wings
Earthward in sadness. Holy truths I knew;
And my aw’d soul their sacredness confest;
But had not felt, tho’ I believ’d them true,
Their daily influence on my life imprest.
In sorrow then I sought them—now I know
The Cross must be endur’d from hour to hour;
And bitter tho’ it seem, in scenes of woe,
It has a blessed and a soothing power;14 B7v 14
Its yoke is easy and its burthen light;
Such bosom-cherished hopes it can inspire
That thro’ the darkest scenes of this world’s night,
The faith-enlightened spirit can look higher
Unto its rest!—O thou example pure,
And untir’d traveller in this holy road,
Still grant thy warning counsel, and secure,
My soul shall follow thine unto its God!
Tho’ to my living eye be still denied
The sight of Nature in her glorious mood,
Amid her wilds of trackless solitude;
—Yet in my dreaming soul the forms abide
Of grandeur and of beauty, and I brood
O’er inexpressive thoughts; and spreading wide,
Behold those scenes my fancy oft has woo’d;
But in my heart these visions fair I hide,
They mingle not with aught of this vain world;
On shadowy wing alone I love to roam,
For unto me their secret views unfurl’d
Are hope’s young dwelling place and rapture’s home.
Alone I bow to Him who gave this light,
And form’d my spirit for its radiant flight.
There are feelings that lie in the depth of the soul,
Unnotic’d and even unknown,
’Till occasion calls for them, and onward they roll,
And we wonder to find them our own.
Was it danger that rous’d the sublime in the breast,
That conquer’d all natural fear?
That taught it a strength it scarce knew it possest,
And whisper’d—Thy safety lies here?
Or was it oppression that taught it to burn
With such an unquenchable flame?
On pride and injustice undaunted to turn,
At Liberty’s glorious name!
O what made a rock of the patriot’s heart,
Unshaken by threat or alarm?
An eagle’s keen glance to his eye could impart?
A terrible strength to his arm?
And whence is that calm which within us we feel
As the perils around us increase?
In sorrow and trouble the spirit to steel,
’Till all is internally peace;
’Tis a visitant sent from the brightness of Heaven,
A beam of the mercy of God;
A courage divine to mortality given,
That points to its blessed abode!
O why are thou disquieted, my soul?
And why do human sufferings dim these eyes?
Is not yon azure heaven thy destin’d goal,
And thy sweet home of welcome in the skies?
Faint not upon thy weary path.—Arise!
Gird on thy might of wisdom’s pure control;
And in thy bosom hush all earthly sighs,
And check the tears that down thy wan cheek roll.
The Father of thy spirit guards its fate;
And the blest spark but for a time did fold
In the low mansion of a mortal mould,
Allied to angels in its native state!
Then faint not, O my soul, on thy dark way;
The light is round thee of eternal day.
Weep not, tho’ lonely and wild be thy path,
And the storms may be gathering round;
There is one who can shield from the hurricane’s wrath,
And that one may for ever be found.
He is with thee, around thee, He lists to thy cry,
And thy tears are recorded by Him—
A pillar of fire He will be to thine eye,
Whose brightness no shadow can dim.
O follow it still through the darkness of night,
In safety ’twill lead to the morrow;
’Tis not like the meteor of earth’s fickle light,
Often quench’d in delusion and sorrow;20 B10v 20
For pure is the beam, and unfading the ray,
And the tempests assail it in vain,
When the mists of this world are all vanish’d away,
In its brightness it still will remain.
And weep not that none are around thee to love,
For a Father is with thee to bless;
And if griefs have exalted thy spirit above,
O say wouldst thou wish for one less?
He is with thee, whose favor for ever is life;
Could a mortal heart guard thee so well?
O hush the vain wish, calm thy bosom’s wild strife,
And forbid but a thought to rebel.
Smiling serenely, as on earth she smil’d,
But those sweet eyes no longer tear-bedew’d,
She sat, invested with Heaven’s sanctitude,
Amid the blissful bowers, happy and mild
And angel-like in gentleness; unchanged,
Save that the grief which weigh’d upon her breast
Had fled, and left her now entirely blest,
Earth’s chain unloos’d, and free where’er she rang’d.
She still retain’d her spirit’s playfulness;
With sweet and holy thoughts so calmly blended,
As spoke Heaven’s peace upon her head descended,
And her brow wore no shadow of distress,22 B11v 22
I saw her thus—the angels cherishing
Their long-belov’d, and welcoming her home,
And whispering her of pure joys yet to come,
And hopes eternal and unperishing.
I saw her smile upon them, and the band
Of fadeless flowers they laid upon her brow;
And heard her sigh, O happy, happy now,
Th’ immortal airs my burning cheek have fann’d.
And those I left on earth, and wept to leave
Their ministering angel I awhile shall be;
But soon their wearied hearts shall cease to grieve,
And they will come to rapture and to me.
Ihail thee, Solitude! for unto me
Thou art but memory of the hours most dear;
Chosen from all life’s strange variety,
To live again with calmer feelings here.
Calmer and sweeter, in that soften’d glow,
With which we view the flight of years gone by;
And feel the joys we ne’er again can know,
Yet in a constant heart can never die.
Forms rise around me which affection owns,
Tho’ long estranged by fate’s untimely doom;
And memory’s hallow’d intercourse atones
For every tear I wept upon their tomb.
And thou, O Solitude, to me hast given
High dreams, and aspirations after Heaven!
And can this bright and heaven descended spark,
—Portion of thine own Immortality,—
In future ages, Father, cease to be?
The spirit’s vital fire eclips’d and dark?
No,—by the pure aspirings after Thee,
Which even sin-bound souls at moments feel,
By every high and glorious faculty,
Which thou hast stamp’d with thine Almighty seal,
It shall not perish!—Thou hast breath’d the flame,
And Thou canst purify. Tho’ mortal sight
Thro’ earth’s involving shades behold no light,
The soul’s vitality is still the same;
And those whom earth saw grovelling in her dust,
In heaven shall perfect virtue in thy trust.
Good morn, good morn—see the sweet light breaking
O’er hill and dale to greet thy waking!—
The dark grey clouds are flitting away,
And the young sun sheds forth a twilight ray;
And a halo of bloom is in the skies,
Yet the night of slumber is on thine eyes.
The opening dew lies fresh on the flower,
And sweetly cool is the youthful hour;
And the birds are twittering their tender song,
The bright and weeping boughs among;
And all seems fresh and with rapture rife,
While wakening into conscious life.
O rouse thee!—rouse thee!—the precious time
Is fleeting fast; and merrily chimeC 26 C1v 26
The morning bells; and the beautiful view
Thy touch should arrest, is fading too!—
The glow of the cloud is darkening fast,
And the sunny mist is almost past;
And thy lyre is lying all unstrung,
And thy matin hymn is still unsung;
And thy lip is mute and thy knee unbending,
Nor is yet the sweet prayer to heaven ascending.
—What! slumbering still!—Arise! arise!—
For thy lovely dreams are fantasies,
And mock thy waking; but come with me,
And listen to life’s reality.
And come and muse on that deeper sleep,
O’er which Hope will her silent vigils keep,
And sooth and shield with her guardian wing
The spirit’s secret fluttering,
And lead it on to that brighter day,
Which knows no evening and no decay.
Good night, good night; for the dews are sleeping,
And the moon in the pale blue skies is steeping
Her radiant locks; and the birds are at rest,
And the cushat sits brooding on her nest;
And the shade on the woods is a deeper green;
And the dark gray hills are more faintly seen;
And the flowers their bells of beauty close,
And wearied nature seeks repose.
—There is rest for all, but none for thee,
For thy heart is spell-bound, and thou must flee
From the influence of this twilight hour,
For it hath a strange bewitching power.
’Twill breathe of hopes which will never be true;
’Twill bring thine infancy fresh to thy view;
And with its sweet and shadowy light,
Retouch each vision to thy sight.C2 28 C2v 28
And, last of all, ’twill breathe of love,
And thou wilt start—but cannot remove
The heavy weight of the lingering sigh,
And the dream of the vanish’d extasy.
’Twill fall on thy heart like sun on flowers,
Like spring to the birds among the bowers;
And while thou art hailing the vision bright,
Thou shalt waken and find—the chill of night.
Thou! whom Creation doth proclaim aloud,
Breathing her living spirit at thy shrine!
Whose glory streams upon the burning cloud!
Who taught the stars ’mid the blue depths to shine!
Father of Earth and Heaven! all, all are Thine!
The boundless tribes in ocean, air, and plain;
And nothing lives, and moves, and breathes in vain;
Thou art their soul—the impulse is divine!—
Nature lifts loud to Thee her happy voice,
And calls her caverns to resound thy praise!
Thy name is heard amid her pathless ways;
And even her senseless things in Thee rejoice.
O God! what homage shall He pour to Thee,
Whom thou hast stamp’d with Immortality!
She flung her white arms round him.—Thou art all,
That this poor heart can cling to: yet I feel
That I am rich in blessings; and the tear
Of this most bitter moment still is mingled
With a strange joy. Reposing on thy heart,
I hear the blasts of fortune sweeping by,
As a babe lists to music,—wondering,
But not affrighted. In the darkest hour
Thy smile is brightest; and when I am wretched
Then am I most belov’d. In hours like this
The soul’s resources rise, and all its strength
Bounds into being.—I would rather live
With all my faculties thus waken’d round me,
Of hopes, and fears, and joys, and sympathies,
A few short moments, ev’n with every feeling
Smarting from fate’s deep lash,—than a long age,31 C4r 31
However calm and free from turbulence,
Bereft of these most high capacities.
Not vainly have I nurs’d them; for there is
An impulse ev’n in suffering; and so pure
Rise the eternal hopes, call’d by the anguish
Of a world-wearied spirit; with such light
They rush before me, like a sunny ray,
Piercing the dark shades of my clouded thoughts,
That for such high and holy consolations,
I welcome misery; and I know thy heart
Hath the same blessed anchor. In heaven-ward hopes
We drank the cup of youthful happiness;
And now, when sorrow shades our early promise,
In heaven-ward trust we comfort one another.
O shroud me, Heaven, beneath thy guardian wings!
For my soul sickens of a mortal trust;
And mourning its alliance to the dust,
Fondly to its Eternal Kindred springs.
For earth is full of perishable things;
And the sweet visions of the heart’s young bloom
Are faithless all; and human sufferings
Make life’s fair flowers soon wither on the tomb.
But, in my spirit’s awful secrecy,
I feel the peace, the purity above;
And sigh to join the holy band of love,
Who breathe the breath of Immortality.
Alas! in vain! feelings of mortal woe
Rush o’er my soul, and I am still below.
Si Deseris, Pereo.
He seem’d to love her; and her youthful cheek
Wore for a while the transient bloom of joy;
And her heart throbb’d with hopes she could not speak,
New to delight, and mute in extasy.
He won that heart in its simplicity,
All undisguis’d in its young tenderness:
And, smiling, saw that he and only he,
Had power at once to wound it, or to bless.
She gave to him her innocent affection,
And the warm feelings of her guileless breast;
And from the storms of life she sought protection,
In his dear love, her home of earthly rest:
In this sweet trust her opening days were blest,
And joyously she hail’d her coming years;
For well she knew that even if distrest,
There would be one kind hand to dry her tears.
He left her—and in trouble she awoke
From her young dream of bliss; but murmur’d not
Over her silent sufferings, nor spoke
To any one upon her cruel lot.
You would have deem’d that he had been forgot,
Or thought her bosom callous to the stroke;
But on her cheek there was one hectic spot,
’Twas little,—but it told her heart was broke.
And deeper and more deep the painful flush
Daily became: yet all distress seem’d o’er,
Save when the life-blood gave a sudden rush,
Then trembled into silence as before.
At once too proud, too humble to deplore,
She bow’d her head in quietness:—she knew
Her blighted prospects could revive no more;
Yet was she calm, for she had heaven in view.
She lov’d and she forgave him—and in dying
She ask’d a blessing on his future years;
And so she went to sleep; meekly relying
Upon that power which shall efface all tears.
Her simple turf the young spring flow’ret wears,
And the pale primrose grows upon her tomb;
And when the storm its little blossom tears
It bows its head—an emblem of her doom.
As fades this mortal life of few frail days,
Thus one by one we drop into the tomb;
Yet, ’midst the darkness of th’ impending gloom,
Still memory feebly sheds some lingering rays;
And for a moment dying fancy plays
’Mid the young hours of life’s unclouded bloom,
Feels on her cheek the summer’s noontide blaze,
And smiles amid the darkness of her doom.
Smile on, thou mourner of departed time;
If not unblest to thee those moments sped;
If rich in toils to win a purer clime,
Fear not the slumber of the quiet dead;
And gaze in calmness on this sacred dust;
Her life was virtue and her death was trust.
I saw in heaven the radiant form of one
Who had been mine on earth. Love’s pale pure buds
Lay braided on her brow, and her eye shone
With tenderest blue thro’ rapture’s holy floods.
O’er the wide ether stream’d her shadowy hair,
Encircled with a calm and silvery light;
And the slight veil that rob’d her bosom fair,
Was gently heaving with untold delight.
The purple hue of fadeless youth lay there;
And her cheek beam’d with an immortal bloom;
And with a voice my spirit thrill’d to hear
She spoke—Thus am I risen from the tomb!
I heard my Saviour’s voice, my soul did spring
From the deep slumber of its earthly rest,
Stirring the high air with its glorious wing,
Until it reach’d the mansion of the blest;38 C7v 38
And now indeed I live. Above, around,
Roll those deep blessings mortal cannot view;
And heaven’s wide arch is ringing with the sound
Of extasy, which human heart ne’er knew
In its sublimest broodings.—Mortal, go
And do his will who form’d this starry sphere;
And thro’ the darkest scenes of earthly woe,
His ceaseless mercy will conduct thee here.
But be thou shrined in virtue; for the love
Of God and human kind is blossoming
In these sweet homes of everlasting spring.
The voice was hush’d; the calm lip ceas’d to move;
The vision vanish’d. Fearless of my doom,
With outstretch’d arms I grasp’d Eternity;
Not yet, was softly breath’d, and all was gloom:
The golden gates of heaven were clos’d on me.
Nurst the solitude of the wast wild,
And lonely haunts by mortal foot untrod,
Thou hast not been alone; but, nature’s child,
Hast held high converse with thy guardian God,
And bow’d before the bright etherial forms
Of grandeur and of grace his touch has given;
And own’d the spirit which Creation warms,
A mighty impulse which is caught from Heav’n.
To thee the murky cloud, the lightnings keen,
And rushing surges, were but proofs sublime,
Of where that awe-inspiring power has been,
Which calmly triumphs o’er the wrecks of time;
’Till all thy lofty musings burst in song,
And the full tide of rapture roll’d along.
As o’er the smiling face of the blue heaven,
The angry clouds in trouble sweep away;
By the remorseless winds all tempest-driven,
And hurrying from the brightness of the day.
So, on my soul, do sorrow and dismay,
And tracks of earthly suffering leave their mark;
But they too fly, and on my spirit dark,
Peace and religion shed their hallowing ray;
And o’er my faded hopes I cease to sigh,
Nor longer nurse the solitary tear;
For such sweet scenes are waiting me on high,
That my heart’s trust is wean’d from resting here;
And springing far above life’s troubled sea,
I look in rapture to Eternity.
I have been lonely, even from a child;
Tho’ bound with sweet ties to a happy home,
With all life’s sacred charities around me;
I have been lonely—for my soul had thirst
The waters of this world could not assuage:
I found them bitter, and I had high dreams,
And strange imaginations—yea, I liv’d
Amid my own creations; and a world
Of many hopes and raptures was within me,
Such as I could not tell of; for I knew
Such feelings could not bear a sympathy;
They were too sacred to admit communion,
Too blest to need it—to the fields and woods
Did my heart’s fulness pour them; solitude42 C9v 42
Was the expansion of my secret visions,
When I could ask my soul to tell me all,
And many a bright and blessed reverie
Hath cheer’d my wanderings. I have heard sweet music
In my own thoughts; mysterious harmonies,
Felt, but not understood; vague, happy musings,
And shadowy sketches of my future fate,
In young and glowing colours. Are they faded?
—Years are gone by; and once again I commune
With my own spirit—it is passionless,
And silent now, its loveliest visions over;
And yet I do not shun this scrutiny.
Tho’ I have fed my heart with perishing joys,
They have not been in vain; for those wild hopes,
And noble aims, and all those proud aspirings,
Gave me a loftier being. I have plung’d
Within the maddening wave, unaw’d, to succour
An object of my love. I have stood calm
In danger’s fiercest moment, with a trust
Above all mortal peril. I have wander’d43 C10r 43
O’er moors and mountains to assuage the woes
Of human kind. In all that could excite
I have been foremost:—then have woke and wept
To feel how little and how weak I was.—-
O thou young worshipper at nature’s throne,
Whom she hath blest with that electric spirit,
That genius, which hath stampt thee for her own,
And which her votaries may alone inherit!
Grieve not while gazing on the mountain brow,
The rocky precipice, or torrent’s roar,
That strange emotions bid thine eye o’erflow,
And that thy heart in trouble doth adore
The glory that is round thee; there are few
Form’d to partake a joy so pure and holy,
As is that high and tender melancholy,
To every finer feeling ever true:
Then O repine not that thy throbbing vein
Is keenly strung alike to pleasure and to pain.
Spirits! blest spirits! hear,
I call ye from your shadowy throne,
From the shroud of death around ye thrown—
Spirits! blest spirits! appear.
And come array’d in your heavenly guise,
With the purple lips and the burning eyes,
And with all the bright and breathing bloom,
Which ye inhal’d on the day of doom,
When heaven was open’d to your sight,
And ye sprang like flowers to drink the light;
Descend! and bid my soul inherit
The pure aspirings of your spirit;
Pour on my trembling lip the vow
Which weds me to the joys above;
And start not at the mournful love,
Which earth has stamp’d on my pale brow.46 C11v 46
I see, I see the glorious goal,
The river for my thirsting soul;
And I hear the voice which calls for me
O’er the billows of Eternity.
Spirits! who died unknown,
Whose blossom of virtue perish’d
On sorrow’s wild gale uncherish’d,
Where, where is that blossom flown?
To play on the breezes of heaven,
To bloom in the beam of the sky,
And to find earth was only given
To gain Eternity.
And thou, sweet spirit of one
Whom love wept, but could not save;
Who smiling lay down alone
In the darkness of the grave!
Come, and a moment beam
Where we sigh above thy rest;
And our eyes shall cease to stream,
As they see thee for ever blest.
O Angel-Minded we have lov’d;
And holier ties our souls have prov’d,
Than earthly bond could frame;
And each within its deep recess
Has breathed a purer tenderness,
A more celestial flame.
We lov’d indeed, but not such love
As common hearts are wont to prove,
In the gay hopes of youth;
It was in sorrow and in trial,
We taught each other self-denial,
And pledg’d our mutual truth.
Each bore the cross, and every day
Together learnt to watch and pray,
In the high trust of heaven;
And from this pure and lofty faith,
We smil’d at danger and at death,
In the hopes which it had given.
We knew each other’s mind and heart,
Each form’d to act a nobler part,
In a more blest abode;
And so we lov’d, because both bent
Upon one hallow’d high intent,
Bound in the fear of God.
What tho’ we part, it is not here
That even these vows, so pure and dear,
Can have their perfect rest;
But tried and sanctified by time,
Shall blossom in a fairer clime,
Where virtue shall be blest.
Then sigh not in this long farewell;
Or if thy bosom heave one swell,
Thy cheek one struggle own,
Remember, we shall meet again,
Releas’d from every care and pain,
Before th’ Eternal throne.
St. Helen’s Wood.
It was a summer’s day, and the warm air
Was glowing in my frame; all things around
With heat, and youth, and joy were animate;
The very breeze was loaded with the hum
Of happy myriads, on their light blue wings,
Exhaling their glad being, eagerly
Sipping heaven’s nectar from the opening flowers.
The little vetch, with its deep purple bloom
And slender stalk; the bright convolvulus
With canopy of blue and fragile frame,
Clinging around for succour; the low daisy,
With little buds up peeping, blossom’d round
In wild luxuriance. On the ground I lay,
Musing in that cessation of the thoughts
Which is so sweet and inexpressible,51 D2r 51
When new ideas beam upon us, and
The soul is loosen’d from the daily burthen
Of common cares and feelings;—can expand,
Urg’d by its fancy and the blest scenes round,
In waking visions, and unfold its wings.
Over my head the deep embowering trees
Form’d a soft shade;—with venerable trunks
And richly loaded boughs impending round.—
The dark green wood shone brightly beautiful,
And lighter trees in many a graceful group,
Met my eyes wandering, and inspir’d my touch:
And there were forms mov’d round me—forms I lov’d,
Of whom I could not recollect the day
When first I knew them;—who in infancy
Had been my playmates—in all little sports
Welcome companions. Many a summer sun
And winter evening we beguil’d together;
And when the spirit of our childhood fled,
And riper years and deeper cares came on,D2 52 D2v 52
Youth found us friends, and with more thoughtful love
Endear’d us to each other. Were all there?—
Did not my eye want one accustom’d smile?
Did not my heart own one sad vacancy?
Ah yes!—And it had wept its loneliness:—
But as I gaz’d unto the deep blue heaven,
It smil’d so placidly and so serene,
It had been sin to murmur; for I knew
That She above that living azure dwelt,
In joys I could not image; and I then
Did meditate on Him who destin’d all things,
And wove the thread of every mortal fate,
And felt it was in mercy. All was good!
Or when He took us to those happier scenes,
Where tears shall be unknown and day or night,
But He himself our sunshine and our joy:
Or when He left us in this world of trial,
And strew’d our path with troubles—that more pure,
More firm our faith and deeper our endurance,53 D3r 53
We might turn to Him.—Still his eye was on us
In care and tenderness;—and knowing this
I did unfold my heart to the glad impulse
Of all things round, in peace and thankfulness,
And with hush’d spirit then pursued my way.
How oft beneath his blest and healing wings
He would have gather’d me, and I would not!
Like a weak bird, all heedless of my lot;
Perverse and idle in my wanderings.
Now my soul would return, and trembling brings
Her wearied pinion to its wonted rest;
And faint with its short flights and flutterings
Would seek a refuge in its parent breast!
O Father! in thy mercy shelter me,
For I am worn with mortal miseries;
My dark and earth-entangled spirit free,
And plume it to ascend its native skies;
With loosen’d wing to thy high rest to soar,
And never to desert its mansion more!
O Thou, who from the silent dust
Gav’st these young eyes to drink the light;
And taught’st my spirit in thy trust
To wing above its happy flight:
Who thro’ the clouds of mortal care
The sunshine of thy mercy pour’d,
’Till my pale lip breath’d forth the prayer,
And all my aching heart ador’d.
Father of Heaven, be with me now,
And place before my untried youth,
When fate’s dark storms around me blow,
Thy armour of celestial truth!
Thy love shall calm, thy power shall save,
And I shall smile on earth’s vain strife,
With the sweet presage that the grave
But opens to eternal life!
O, ere that fateful hour arrive
What changes may I live to see!
How many a hope I may survive,
How heart-sick of the world may be
Then lead me, lead me to thy shrine,
Th’ immortal hope again renew,
O keep this trembling spirit thine,
Each pulse to its Creator true!
Tho’ human love may die away,
Its only dirge a passing tear—
Thy mercy will unfold a day,
When those sweet hopes shall re-appear:
And human friendships shall not fade,
Thy call shall re-unite the blest;
And earth’s long suffering be repaid
With thine own everlasting rest!
To faith’s rapt eye that scene is bright;
O may I firmly walk on earth,
’Till I deserve that purer light—
That moment of celestial birth!57 D5r 57
To thee, my God, freed from its chain,
My disencumber’d soul shall fly;
And lingering years of mortal pain
Shall vanish in eternity!
I Have trembled with emotion,
Bending at thy holy shrine;
And my heart’s absorb’d devotion
Lord, hath been entirely thine!
I have pour’d my soul before Thee,
Spirit-humbled on my knees;
And have waken’d to adore Thee,
All my being’s energies.
I have laid my wearied head
On thy sacred book of rest,
When my quivering lips have read
The high promise of the blest.
Nature faints beneath the splendour
Of thine unveil’d words of truth;
While to that pure pledge I render
The deep homage of my youth.
Thro’ the mists of earthly sorrow
I have raised mine eyes to Thee,
And have mark’d a happier morrow,
Bosom’d in eternity;
There in ceaseless splendour beaming,
Lie the scenes of blessedness;
Floods of light with rapture streaming,
Glories—nothing can express!
Ecclesiasticus, c. 43.
The glory of the lofty height,
The firmament serenely bright,
The dazzling splendours of the sun
Declaring God’s own work begun;
That beaming orb to which is given
To lead the armies of the Heaven;
And the pale moon, in high array
Decreasing in her perfect ray,
And pouring forth a mellower light
On the dark shadows of the night;
And every pure etherial cloud,
Which seems th’ Almighty throne to shroud,
And flings its veil across the sky,
As if to guard from earthly eye61 D7r 61
The lustre of each glorious star,
Shining more soften’d from afar;
Each in their own impervious place
Running their appointed race;
By the Holy One’s command
Impell’d by his almighty hand;
Sweeping round with constant force,
Never fainting in their course;
Who these regions can explore,
Who behold and not adore?
Look upon heaven’s beauteous bow,
Praise Him who taught its hues to glow,
Whose hands the radiant arch did bend,
And bade the rival colors blend;
Who sent his lightning’s vivid scroll,
Quick as thought fleets thro’ the soul;
Soon as felt ’tis past away,
Spark of a celestial ray!
Who pour’d his deep resounding thunder,
Filling mortal ears with wonder.
At whose sight the mountains shake,
And all earth begins to quake;62 D7v 62
Who rides upon the northern storm,
And in the whirlwind hides his form;
Who scattereth snow down from on high,
Like winter birds that skim the sky;
And dazzleth the astonish’d sight,
With its glittering spotless white,
’Till mortal heart owns, inly aw’d,
These are indeed the works of God:
How wide in their eternal range
Are they! How glorious and how strange!
They are surprising thro’ the land,
But He is terrible and grand!—
And all Creation bows to own
That He Himself is God alone!
Adventurous power! that hath transported me
To an invisible and brighter world;
Open’d the records of futurity,
And all its wonders to my soul unfurl’d.
Prophetic hope! O, in life’s wildest doom,
When all around is dim and desolate,
Thou art the smiling conqueror of fate;
Thy form sits brooding o’er the lowliest tomb.
Still be th’ unfailing guardian of my way;
Thy smile was blessing to my infant breast,
The inspiration of my youthful day,
When doubtful, trust—and comfort, when distrest;
And now when clouds and tempests o’er me lower,
O bear my spirit up in this dark hour!
Where rocks tremendous frown on either side,
Casting an awful gloom, and starting forth
In wild projections, as with instant death
Threatening the venturous traveller, in a pass
Dark, dread, and desolate, alone I stood:
I gaz’d on nature’s most terrific features,
And hailed them with a strange sublimity,
Such as those feel who have held high communion
With all her glorious forms;—and if I trembled,
It was with joy to read her mysteries—
The very danger fill’d me with a pleasure
And deep enthusiasm.—I had peril’d
All for that burst of gloomy extasy
Which fill’d my spirit in that drear abyss.
It was no common feeling—and it told me
My soul had secret chords, which with a touch65 D9r 65
Would waken into passion; for such scenes
Had been before in my imagination,
And were familiar to me. I had thirsted
For such a living vision, and rejoiced
In the dark city, when the brightening thought
That such things were came o’er me. It had been
A lofty consolation, ’mid the cares
And toils of my existence. Now I stood
Inhaling all the majesty of nature;
But was this all?—Was there no sudden impulse
Bore my soul upward, and impell’d its gaze
Unto th’ Almighty Author?—Yes, my heart
With wonder and with gratitude was bounding,
And every throb was answering the appeal.
I saw a coming storm; there was a voice
Of thunder in the Heavens, which seem’d to call
For adoration; and the lightnings flash’d
A sudden glory past me. On I hasten’d,
Aw’d by the jar of struggling elements:
When soon a gleam of beauty met my view.
Amid the mountain waste a little spot66 D9v 66
Shone fair and verdant. The sun’s parting ray
Still linger’d on it, and I heard the tone
Of human voices, and astonish’d saw
A cottage hanging on the sloping brow
Of the deep precipice. What new emotions
It brought upon me!—human sympathies,
And rural pleasures, and domestic toils,
And all the hopes and cares of busy life.—
It vanish’d, and the solitary way
Still lay before me, and the darkening rocks
Became more intricate;—they too are vanish’d;
Yet in their grandeur often seem to rise:
And in my lone or melancholy hours
My memory muses on Llanberis Pass.
J. McCreery, Tooks Court, Chancery-Lane, London.