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The night comes down, - and in they bound,
But the living, --Oh, woe, to hear their cry,
Of little children singing low Through flowery meadows as they go; Of cooing doves, and the hum of bees 'Mong the lime-trees' yellow racimes; Of the pebbly waters gliding by, Of the woodbird's peaceful sylvan cry. Then turn thy thought to a land of snow Where the cutting icy wind doth blow A dreary land of mountains cold, With ice-crags splintered hoar and old, Jagged with woods of storm-beat pines, Where a cold moon gleams, a cold sun shines, And all through this distant land we'll go In a dog-drawn sledge o'er the frozen snow, On either hand the ice-rocks frore, And a waste of trackless snow before! Where are the men to guide us on? Men! in these deserts there are none. Men come not here, unless to track The ermine white or marten black. Here we must speed alone. - But hark ! What sound was that? The wild wolf's bark! The terrible wolf!- Is he anigh, With his gaunt, lean frame and his blood-shot eye? Yes! - across the snow I saw the track Where they have sped on, a hungry pack; And see how the eager dogs rush on, For they scent the track where the wolf has gone. And beast and man are alike afraid of that cruelest creature that e'er was made ! Oh, the horrible wolves ! methinks I hear The sound of their barking drawing near; Down from their dismal caves they drive, And leave behind them nought alive; Down from their caves they come by day, Savage as mad-dogs for their prey ; Down on the tracks where the hunters roam, Down to the peasant's hut they come. The peasant is waked from his pine-branch bed By the direst, fiercest sound of dread; A snuffing scent, a scratching sound, Like a dog that rendeth up the ground; Up from his bed he springs in fear, For he knows that the cruel wolf is near. A moment's pause - a moment more And he hears them snuffing 'neath his door. Beneath his door he sees them mining, Snuffing, snarling, scratching, whining. Horrible sight! no more he sees, With terror his very senses freeze; Horrible sounds! he hears no more, The wild wolves bound across his floor, . And the next moment lap his gore; And ere the day come o'er the hill, The wolves are gone, the place is still, And to none that dreadful death is known, Save to some ermine hunter lone, Who in that death foresees his own!
THE PASSION.FLOWER. I LOVE sweet flowers of every sort,
High-spired or trailing low; I love the musky roses red,
The lilies white as snow.
Sweet-pea and virgin-bower,
The good old passion-flower!
It bringeth to my mind, The young days of the Christian church,
Dim ages left behind. I see the bloody streets of Rome ;
The throng - the burning pyre, And Christians stand with clasped hands
Amid the raging fire.
The men with courage high,
Forgive their foes - and die.
In desert-places dwell,
In wood or mountain-cell.
By love and pity brought,
And the new truths he taught.
Amid the eager throng, Preaching like Paul at Ephesus,
In burning words and strong. - Again I see a lonely man,
or spirit sad and mild, Who hath his little dwelling-place Amid a region wild.
Or think thee now of a battle field,
The wild flowers of the desert
Grow round him thick as weeds,
Of holy things he reads.
The white, the pure from sin,
Christ was apparelled in.
The cross whereon he died ;
That pierced his blessed side. I see him as he mused one day
Beneath a forest-bower, With clasped hands stand, and upturned eyes,
Before an open flower; Exclaiming with a fervent joy,
“I have found the Passion-flower! “The Passion of our blessed Lord,
With all his pangs and pain, Set forth within a little flower,
In shape and colour plain! "Behold the ladder, and the cord
With which his limbs were lied ; Behold his five deep, cruel wounds
In hands, and feet, and side!
The bloody crown of thorn;
Of God and man forlorn!
And take this flower with me,
As it was preached to me!"
Throughout the world was sent,
It's holy sentiment.
Of Christian fathers came;
No longer purchased shame : When abbeys rose in towered state;
And over wood and dell,
The stately minster-bell :
All with the nicest care ;
In fancies rich and rare.
With sainted names, a flower
For every holy hour;
The noble passion-flower.
And there they kept the pious monks,
Within a garden small,
All herbs medicinal.
The moonstruck and the blind, For holy flower, for wort of power,
For charmed root and rind ! - Oh, those old abbey-gardens
With their devices rich, Their fountains, and green solemn walks,
And saint in many a niche ! I would I could call back again
Those gardens in their pride,
The abbot dignified.
Half dozing in his cell;
That loved the flowers so well; That laid the abbey-gardens out,
With all their fancies quaint, And loved a little flower as much
As his own patron saint! That gardened late and early,
And twined into a bower,
The good old passion-flower!
Those abbey-gardens old,
So busy in the mould; Tying up his flowers and thinking
The while, with streaming eyes Of Jesus in the garden;
Of Eve in Paradise ! - Alas, the abbey lieth low;
The Abbot's tomb is bare; And he, the abbey-gardener,
Is all forgotten there; His garden is a pasture field
Wherein the flocks repose ; And where his choicest flowers were set
The common clover grows! But still we have the passion-flower,
Although he lieth low,
In pleasant gardens grow!
And ever bring to mind,
Long ages left behind !
With its quaint beds and bowers,
Coined gold and silver fine,
THE IVY BUSH.
Afar in the woods of Winter-burn,
When thou wast at first designed
What the camel is, thou art,
Now we are here :- the words I spoke Were not, ye see, an idle joke! Stem, branch, and root, what think ye all Of this ivy-bush, so broad and tall ? Many and many a year I wis, The tree has throve ere it grew to this! Many a year has tried its speed, Since this old bush was an ivy-seed ; And the woodman's children that were then, Long years ago were ancient men, And now no more on earth are seen; But the ivy-bush is hale and green, And ere it sinks in slow decay, Many years to come will have passed away.
All round about 'mong its twisting boughs There's many an owl doth snugly house, Warm feathered o'er, yet none can see How they winking sit in the ivy-tree, For the leaves are thick as they can be. But at fall of night, when the stars come out, The old owls begin to move about ; And the ivy-bush, like a busy hive, Within its leaves is all alive; And were you here you would declare, That the very bush began to stare, For in the dusk of leaves dark-green, The owl-eyes look out fixed and keen; North and south, and round about, East and west the eyes look out, And anon is heard asar and nigh How the ivy-bush sends forth a cry, A cry so long, a cry so wild, That it wakes, almost, the cradled child; And the coach that comes with its peopled load, Man, woman and babe, up the hilly road, They hear in amaze the sudden hoot That shakes the old bush, branch and root, And the caped-up coachman, then says he, " In Winter-burn there grows a tree, And in this tree more owls abide Than in all Winter-burn beside ; And every night as we climb this brow, The owls hoot out as they're hooting now!"
Meek Reindeer, of wondrous worth ; Treasure of the desert north, Which, of thy good aid bereft, Ten times desert must be left! Flocks and herds in other lands, And the labour of men's hands;
I think of human sorrow
But as of clouds that brood Upon the bosom of the day, And the next moment pass away ; And with a trusting heart I say
Thank God, all things are good!
And when they hoot and when they shout,
Oh bush, of ivy-trees the prime,
"Twere well for us, thou rare old tree,
The stock-dove builds in the old oak wood,
Away to the woods with the silvery rind,
The streams run on in music low, 'T will be joy by their flowery banks to go; "T will be joy to come to the calamus beds, Where a broken root such odour sheds; And to see how the water-sedge uplifts Its spires and crowns — the summer's gifts ; To see the loosestrife's purple spear, And the wind through the waving reeds to hear. Then on through hazelly lanes away To the light green fields all clear of hay, Where along the thick hedge-side we greet, Tall purple vetch and meadow-sweet; Past old farm-house and water-mill, Where the great colt'e-foot grows wild at will; Where the water-rat swirns calm and cool, And pike bask in the deep mill-pool.
THE summer sun is shining
Upon a world so bright!
To minister delight.
And all their veinèd leaves ;
My spirit joy receives.
When the birds' songs I hear;
The morning doth appear!
That from the Throne flows free; Of weary pilgrims on its brink, Who, thirsting, have come down to drink; Of that unfailing Stream I think,
When earthly streams I see! I think of pain and dying,
As that which is but nought, When glorious morning. warm and bright, With all its voices of delight, From the chill darkness of the night, Like a new life, is brought.
So on and away to the mossy moor,
Oh! beautiful bird, in thy stately pride,
COME down into the harvest-fields
This autumn morn with me; For in the pleasant autumn-fields
There's much to hear and see; On yellow slopes of waving corn
The autumn sun shines clearly ; And 't is joy to walk, on days like this,
Among the bearded barley. Within the sunny harvest-fields
We'll gather flowers enow; The poppy red, the marigold,
The bugles brightly blue; We'll gather the white convolvulus
That opes in the morning early; With a cluster of nuts, an ear of wheat,
And an ear of the bearded barley. Bright over the golden fields of corn
Doth shine the autumn sky; So let's be merry while we may,
For time goes hurrying by. They took down the sickle from the wall
When morning dews shone pearly ; And the mower whets the ringing scythe
To cut the bearded barley.
The robin sings his song;
And autumn stays not long.
They carried to-day so early, Along the lanes, with a rustling sound,
Their loads of the bearded barley.
The sea is fresh, the sea is fair,
And the sky calm overhead,
Like a king in his royal bed!
A joyful bird is he,
On the breast of the heaving sea!
And the gulls together crowd,
To the sea that is roaring loud ;And let the sea roar ever so loud,
And the winds pipe ever so high, With a wilder joy the bold sea-gull,
Sendeth forth a wilder cry, -
And he loves with the storm to sail;
And to breast the driving gale!
Like a sea-weed, to and fro;
As the gusty tempests blow,
And sails in a wild delight
Like a foam-cloud, calm and white.
But he fears not wreck nor need,
As a strong man rides his steed!
He makes on the shore his nest,
But he loveth the sea the best!
He goes 'mid surging foam ;
For the sea is his truest home!
And among the frozen snow,
Will the wanton sea-gull go.
Nor those desert-regions chill;
The sea-gull hath its will! And the dead whale lies on the northern shores,
And the seal, and the sea-horse grim,
A full, merry feast for him!
As he screams in his wheeling flight:
All cometh to him aright!
Nor any his will gainsay;
That was crowned but yesterday! The Gull, notwithstanding the gormandizing and rather disgusting character given of it hy Bewick,
A joyful bird is he,
In the arms of a sunny sea!
And the white gull lies asleep, As the fisher's bark, with breeze and tide,
Goes merrily over the deep. The ship, with her fair sails set, goes by,
And her people stand to note, How the sea-gull sits on the rocking waves
As still as an anchored boat.