Page images

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait.


WHEN the hours of Day are numbered,

And the voices of the Night
Wake the better soul, that slumbered,

To a holy, calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted,

And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Shadows from the fitful fire-light

Dance upon the parlour wall;
Then the forms of the departed

Enter at the open door ;
The beloved, the true-hearted,

Come to visit me once more;
He, the young and strong, who cherished

Noble longings for the strife, By the roadside fell and perished,

Weary with the march of life! They, the holy ones and weakly,

Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly,

Spake with us on earth no more!

And with them the Being Beauteous,

Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me,

And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep

Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me,

Lays her gentle hand in mine. And she sits and gazes at me

With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saint-like,

Looking downward from the skies. Uttered

not, yet comprehended, Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,

Breathing from her lips of air.
Oh, though oft depressed and lonely,

fears are laid aside, If I but remember only

Such as these have lived and died!


THERE is a Reaper, whose name is Death,

And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that

grow between.

“Shall I have nought that is fair,” saith he;

“Have nought but the bearded grain? Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,

I will give them all back again."

He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,

He kissed their drooping leaves; It was for the Lord of Paradise

He bound them in his sheaves.

“My Lord has need of these flowerets gáy,”

The Reaper said, and smiled ; Dear tokens of the earth are they,

Where he was once a child.

“They shall all bloom in fields of light,

Transplanted by my care,
And saints upon their garments white,

These sacred blossoms wear."

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,

The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again

In the fields of light above.
Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,

The Reaper came that day;
'Twas an angel visited the green earth,

And took the flowers away.


The night is come, but not too soon;

And sinking silently,
All silently the little moon

Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven,

But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given

To the red planet Mars.

Is it the tender star of love?

The star of love and dreams? Oh, no! from that blue tent above

A hero's armour gleams.

And earnest thoughts within me rise,

When I behold afar, Suspended in the evening skies,

The shield of that red star.

O star of strength! I see thee stand

And smile upon my pain; Thou beckonest with thy mailèd hand,

And I am strong again.

Within my breast there is no light,

But the cold light of stars;
I give the first watch of the night

To the red planet Mars.

The star of the unconquered will,

He rises in my breast, Serene, and resolute, and still,

And calm, and self-possessed.

And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,

That readest this brief psalm, As one by one thy hopes depart,

Be resolute and calm.

Oh, fear not in a world like this,

And thou shalt know ere long, Know how sublime a thing it is

To suffer and be strong.


SPAKE full well, in language quaint and olden,

One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,

Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we read our history,

As astrologers and seers of eld;
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery,

Like the burning stars which they beheld.
Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,

God hath written in those stars above; But not less in the bright flowerets under us

Stands the revelation of his love.

Bright and glorious is that revelation,

Written all over this great world of ours; Making evident our own creation,

In these stars of earth,—these golden flowers. And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,

Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part Of the self-same universal being

Which is throbbing in his brain and heart. Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,

Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, Tremulous leaves with soft and silver lining,

Buds that open only to decay; Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,

Flaunting gaily in the golden light; Large desires, with most uncertain issues,

Tender wishes, blossoming at night!

« PreviousContinue »