« PreviousContinue »
1718.—THE MEN OF OLD. I know not that the men of old
Were better than men now,
Of more ingenuous brow :
A ghost of time to raise,
Of these appointed days.
Still is it true and over true,
That I delight to close This book of life self-wise and new,
And let my thoughts repose On all that humble happiness
The world has since foregoneThe daylight of contentedness
That on those faces shone!
1719.—THE LONG-AGO. On that deep-retiring shore
Frequent pearls of beauty lie, Where the passion-waves of yore
Fiercely beat and mounted high : Sorrows that are sorrows still
Lose the bitter taste of wo; Nothing's altogether ill
In the griefs of Long-ago. Tombs where lonely love repines,
Ghastly tenements of tears, Where the look of happy shrines
Through the golden mist of years : Death, to those who trust in good,
Vindicates his hardest blow; Oh! we would not, if we could,
Wake the sleep of Long-ago ! Though the doom of swift decay
Shocks the soul where life is strong, Though for frailer hearts the day
Lingers sad and overlong-
Still the spoiler's hand is slow,
Lord Houghton.-Born 1809.
With rights, though not too closely scann'd,
Enjoy'd as far as known-
With pulse of even tone-
Expected nothing more,
Had proffer'd them before.
To them was life a simple art
Of duties to be done, A game where each man took his part,
A race where all must run; A battle whose great scheme and scope
They little cared to know, Content, as men at arms, to cope
Each with his fronting foe.
1720.—THE OLD ARM-CHAIR.
Man now his virtue's diadem
Puts on, and proudly wears-
Like instincts unawares :
With tasks of every day,
As noble boys at play.
I love it, I love it; and who shall dare
with sighs. 'Tis bound by a thousand bands to my heart; Not a tie will break, not a link will start. Would ye learn the spell ?-a mother sat
there; And a sacred thing is that old arm-chair.
A man's best things are nearest him,
Lie close about his feet,
That we are sick to greet :
We struggle and aspireOur hearts must die, except they breathe
The air of fresh desire.
In childhood's hour I linger'd near
But, brothers, who up reason's hill
Advance with hopeful cheer-
As chill as they are clear ;
The loftier that ye go,
Lord Houghton.-Born 1809.
I sat and watch'd her many a day,
gray ; And I almost worshipp'd her when she
smiled, And turn'd from her Bible, to bless her child. Years rollid on; but the last one sped My idol was shatter'd; my earth-star fled : I learnt how much the heart can bear, When I saw her die in that old arm-chair.
My country, I love thee :—though freely I'd
'Tis past, 't is past, but I gaze on it now With quivering breath and throbbing brow : 'T was there she nursed me, 't was there she
died : And memory flows with lava tide. Say it is folly; and deem me weak, While the scalding drops start down my
cheek; But I love it, I love it; and cannot tear My soul from a mother's old arm-chair.
Eliza Cook.-Born 1817.
Through the western savannah, or sweet
orange grove; Yet warmly my bosom would welcome the
gale That bore me away with a homeward-bound
sail. My country, I love thee !—and oh, mayst thou
have The last throb of my heart, ere 'tis cold in
the grave; Mayst thon yield me that grave, in thine own
daisied earth, And my ashes repose in the land of my birth!
Eliza Cook.-Born 1817.
1721.-THE LAND OF MY BIRTH.
1722.—THE OLD FARM-GATE.
There's a magical tie to the land of our
home, Which the heart cannot break, though the
footstep may roam : Be that land where it may, at the Line or the
Pole; It still holds the magnet that draws back the
soul. 'Tis loved by the freeman, 'tis loved by the
slave, 'Tis dear to the coward, more dear to the
brave ! Ask of any the spot they like best on the
earth, And they'll answer with pride, “ 'Tis the
land of my birth.”
Where, where is the gate that once served to
divide The elm-shaded lane from the dusty road
side ? I like not this barrier gaily bedight, With its glittering latch and its trellis of
white. It is seemly, I own-yet, oh! dearer by far Was the red-rusted hinge and the weather
warp'd bar. Here are fashion and form of a modernized
date, But I'd rather have look'd on the Old Farm
'Twas here where the urchins would gather to
play, In the shadows of twilight, or sunny mid-day ; For the stream running nigh, and the hillocks
of sand, Were temptations no dirt-loving rogue could
withstand. But to swing on the gate-rails, to clamber and
ride, Was the utmost of pleasure, of glory, and.
pride; And the car of the victor, or carriage of
state, Never carried such hearts as the Old Farm
gate. 'Twas here where the miller's son paced to
and fro, When the moon was above and the glow
worms below; Now pensively leaning, now twirling his stick, While the moments grow long and his heart
throbs grew quick. Why, why did he linger so restlessly there, With church-going vestment and sprucely.
comb'd hair? He loved, oh! he loved, and had promised to
wait For the one he adored, at the Old Farm-gate.
[SEVO. Twas here where the grey-headed gossips 1723.—THE LOVED ONE X would meet;
THERE. And the falling of markets, or goodness of wheat
We gather'd round the festive board, This field lying fallow—that heifer just
The crackling fagot blazed ; bought
But few would taste the wine that poi Were favourite themes for discussion and Or join the song we raised : thought.
For there was now a glass unfill'dThe merits and faults of a neighbour just
A favour'd place to spare ; dead
All eyes were dull, all hearts' were chill'dThe hopes of a couple about to be wed
The loved one was not there. The Parliament doinys - the Bill and Debate
No happy laugh was heard to ring, Were all canvass'd and weigh'd at the Old
No form would lead the dance ; Farm-gate.
A smother'd sorrow seem'd to fling
A gloom in every glance. 'Twas over that gate I taught Pincher to
The grave had closed upon a brow, bound
The honest, bright, and fair ; With the strength of a steed and the grace of
We miss'd our mate, we mourn'a the blowa hound.
The loved one was not there. The beagle might hunt, and the spaniel might
Eliza Cook. Born 1817.
But none could leap over that postern like
him. When Dobbin was saddled for mirth-making
trip, And the quickly-pull’d willow-branch served
for a whip, Spite of lugging and tugging, he'd stand for
his freight, While I climb'd on his back from the Old
'Tis well to pass portals where pleasure and
fame May come winging our moments, and gilding
our name; But give me the joy and the freshness of
mind, When, away on some sport-the old gate
slamm'd behindI've listen'd to music, but none that could
speak In such tones to my heart as the teeth-setting
creak That broke on my ear when the night had
could clasp. Oh! how strangely the warm spirit grudges to
part With the commonest relic once link'd to the
1724.—THE OLD WATER-MILL.
side, And the minnow and perch darted swift through
its tide. Yes! here was the oniller's house, peaceful
from the road;
“ a dance,"
mirth As the veriest youngsters that circled his
Blind Ralph was the only musician we had,
any heart glad !
grow the Rushes," Woke our eyes' brightest beams, and our
cheeks' warmest flushes.
And the brightest of fortune--the kindliest
fateWould not banish my love for the Old Farmgate.
Eliza Cook.—Born 1817.
No lustre resplendent its brilliancy shed,
was well spread;
But a star never dim sheds a halo for him Who can turn for repose to a home in the heart.
Eliza Cook.–Born 1817.
'T is past, 'tere undamask'd, our partners were With quival, ’T was t we were happy, and that was enough.
di And nere was the mill where we idled away Say holiday hours on a clear summer day; Wiere Roger, the miller's boy, lollid on a
sack, pand chorus'd his song to the merry clickN clack. But lo! what rude sacrilege here hath been
done! The streamlet no longer purls on in the sun; It's course has been turn'd, and the desolate
edge Is now mournfully cover'd with duckweed and
sedge. The mill is in ruins. No welcoming sound In the mastiff's gruff bark and the wheels
dashing round ; The house, too, untenanted-left to decayAnd the miller, long dead : all I loved pass'd I
away! "his play-place of childhood was graved on Tis
my heart rare Paradise colours that now must de.
e old water-mill's gone, the fair vision is Ask fled,
2d I weep o'er its wreck as I do for the An dead.
Eliza Cook. - Born 1817.
1726.-A REMEMBRANCE. Methinks I can remember, when a shade All soft and flow'ry was my couch, and I A little naked child, with fair white flesh, And wings all gold bedropt; and o'er my
head Bright fruits were hanging, and tall, balmy
shrubs Shed odorous guns around me, and I lay Sleeping and waking in that wondrous air, Which seem'd infused with glory—and each
breeze Bore, as it wander'd by, sweet melodies, But whence I knew not: one delight was
there, Whether of feeling, or of sight, or touch, I know not how-which is not on this earth, Something all-glorious and all beautiful, Of which our language speaketh not, and
which Flies from the eager graspings of my thought, As doth the shade of a forgotten dream. All knowledge had I, but I cared not then To search into my soul, and draw it thence : The blessed creatures that around me play'd, I knew them all, and where their resting was, And all their hidden symmetries I knew, And how the form is link'd unto the soul; I knew it all; but thought not on it then; I was so happy.
And upon a time, I saw an army of bright, beamy shapes, Fair-faced, and rosy-cinctured, and gold
wing'd, Approach upon the air ; they came to me; And from a crystal chalice, silver-brimm'd, Put sparkling potion to my lips and stood All around me, in the many blooming shade, Shedding into the centre where I lay A mingling of soft light ; and then they sung Songs of the land they dwelt in; and the last Lingereth even till now upon mine ear. Holy and blest Be the end
of thy rest, or thy chamber of sleep Shall be dark and deep : They will dig thee a tomb In the dark, deep womb, In the warm, dark womb.
Spread ye, spread the dewy mist around
1725.-A HOME IN THE HEART. Oh ! ask not a home in the mansions of pride, Where marble shines out in the pillars and
walls; Though the roof be of gold, it is brilliantly
cold, And joy may not be found in its torch.
lighted halls. But seek for a bosom all honest and true, Where love, once awaken'd, will never de
part : Turn, turn to that breast like the dove to its
on like a home ou'll find there's no homo om the heart. Oh! link but one spirit that's warmly sincere, That will heighten your pleasure and solace
your care; Find a soul you may trust as the kind and
the just, And be sure the wide world holds no
treasure so rare. Then the frowns of Misfortune may shadow
our lot, The cheek-searing tear-drops of Sorrow may
Spread ye, spread, till the thick, dark night
The third cloud is dim to the sight,
Twine ye, twine, till the fast, firm fate sur.
Sing ye, sing the spirit song around him; Sing ye, sing, till the dull, warm sleep sur
round him Till the warm, damp sleep hath bonnd him, Which bindeth all before their birth Down npon the nether earth. The first dream is beamy and bright, The next dream is mellow'd in light, The third dream is dim to the sight, And it stretcheth away into gloomy night. Holy and blest Is the calm of thy rest, For thy chamber of sleep Is dark and deep; They have dug thee a tomb In the dark, deep womb, The warm, dark womb. Then dimness pass'd upon me; and that
song Was sounding o'er me when I woke again To be a pilgrim on the nether earth.
Twine ye, twine the mystic threads around
Sets in upon our being like a tide,
that In thy soft eye and long-accustom'd voice Would win me from them all.
For since our birth, Our thoughts have flow'd together in one
stream; All through the seasons of our infancy The same hills rose about us—the same trees, Now bare, now sprinkled with the tender leaf, Now thick with full dark foliage—the same
church, Our own dear village church, has seen us pray In the same seat, with hands clasp'd side by
side,And we have sung together; and have walk'd, Full of one thought, along the homeward
lane; And so were we built upwards for the storm That on my walls hath fallen unsparingly, Shattering their frail foundations; and which
thou Hast yet to look for, but hast found the help Which then I knew not—rest thee firmly
Twine ye, twine, till the fast, firm fate sur.
Dean Alford.—Born 1810.
When first I issued forth into the world, Well I remember—that unwelcome morn When we rose long before the accustom'd
hour, By the faint taper-light: and by that gate We just now swung behind us carelessly, I gave
thee the last kiss; I travellid on, Giving my mind up to the world without, Which pour'a strange ideas of strange
things,New towns, new churches, new inhabitants: And ever and anon some happy child Beneath a rose-trail'd porch play'd as I
pass’d; And then the thought of thee swept through
1727.- THE PAST. Few have lived As we have lived, unsever'd; our yonng life Was but a summer's frolic: we have been Like two babes passin
And made the hot drops stand in either eye.
Dean Alford.—Born 1810.
A sunny bank on flowers—the busy world
1728.-ONE SUMMER'S NIGHT. I remember well, one summer's night, A clear, soft, silver moonlight, thou and I Sat a full hour together, silently; Looking abroad into the pure pale heaven. Perchance thou hast forgotten : but my arm Was on thy shoulder, and thy clustering
locks Hung lightly on my hand, and my clear eye Glisten'd beside my forehead: and at length