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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




*0














.



i 1






i



A!*












STREAMS



HUM



AN OLD FOUNTAIN.



BY



ELIJAH RIDINGS,



AUTHOR OF "THE VILLAGE MUSE."



fHancIjrstEt :

JOHN HEYWOOD, 143, DEANSGATE.

1863.



PR



Co



THOMAS BAZLEY, ESQ.

gjjtmbtr of parliament



FOR IHI



CITY OF MANCHESTER,



THIS YOLTJME IS MOST RESPECTEULLY DEDICATED



BY



THE AUTHOB



t>0 v LJ



THE POETS DREAM



0>



A BETTEB DAI FOB THE HUMAN FAMILY.



DEDICATION,



:&. REAMS of my youth revive in age,
V' And first impressions deeper grow ;
Delineations bright engage

My heart's affections fondly now :
Do I grow young and fresh in mind,

As now grows older, every day,
My perishable frame, design' d

To moidder into common clay ?
Bright dreams, bright scenes around me rise,
And lead my vision to the skies.

It is within the hours of eve,

That I am happy, heart and soul ;
Ah ! it is then I most believe,

No little part, but the grand whole.
Star of my happy hours serene,

How I have lov'd thy quiet smile,
That look'st o'er the evening scene,

"Without one gleam of devious guile :
Born but to die, yet evermore to be,
Does my mild mother's eye now look on me ?



THE TOETS DREAM.

It was her looks of love that told

Her power o'er those she gave their birth ;
No rod her gontle hands could hold,

When she was here on this rude earth ;
With cheerful voice she would say, "Come," —

The hearts of children would obey :
Bound with a chain of love to home,

The while she liv'd they fain would stay.
Alas ! shall 1 behold her face once more,
Where all, who truly love, their God adore !

Star of my thoughtful hours serene,

As thou dost shed thine evening light,
And brightly glows thy morning beam,

May my soul take its final flight,
Pass safely through the night of death,

A rise, like thee, to be new-born,
Bless' d with a true and living faith,

To smile on an eternal mom.
To all who truly live, the happy death is given ;
Then shine, my morning star, and glow on me
from Heaven.



PREFACE.



IX the poem of the "Poet's Dream" the Author maybe under-
stood to have founded his hopes and aspirations on the most legiti-
mate prophecies of the past, and the indications of the present,
rather than be considered to have rushed into the prophetic temple
with an unpardonable presumption. On those favourite themes of
the author, which constitute the subjects of the present poem, the
reader may dwell with some degree of pleasure, in the ratio of his
hopes and wishes for the good of mankind. A vulgar spirit will
not sympathise, to any appreciating extent, with the dreams of an
ardent imagination, the ever-active faculty which baffles, in better
natures, all power of a severe control. The logical or the mathe-
matical mind may perceive the sequences of pre-disposing causes;
and though the integrity of a scientific school may not compromise
itself with the acknowledgement of the truth of poetical fancies,
the heart that does not, more or less, wish sincerely for much that
is herein indicated, then the mind, in such a case, must have been
too much cultivated exclusively, or greatly neglected, at its expense.

For the introduction of the classical story of Iamus, or Ion, in
the second part, although the story may be found in numerous
books, in prose and verse, I availed myself of that, which I have
always admired, being a translation by the late Hon. and Very
Rev. WILLIAM Herbert, Dean of Manchester, &c, of "Five Odes,
from the Greek of Pindar: London, 1843." Of this translation,
the late Dean of Manchester thought proper to write as follows : —
" The aim of the translation is to convey the entire meaning, with-
out interpolation, and to give as just an idea of Pindar's style as
the difference of language will permit." Guided by such an autho-
rity, I cannot suspect myself of any misconception of the meaning
of passages descriptive of one of the most beautiful of the Greek
mythic legends.

With reference to the general tone of the poem, I should be
permitted to say that men of letters, self-taught or otherwise, are
likely to be somewhat dissatisfied, if not disheartened, by wars of
a Homeric length, in these times of progressive humanization ; but
let us indulge the hope that the spirit of western civilization,
under the protection of a wise Providence, may be as much as
possible directed to the arts of peace and commercial enterprise.



4 PREFACE.

As many of the former pieces of the Author have been well re-
ceived by the vast public of Manchester an I fburban town-:
and Tillages, he pn poem to their attention, with a slight
explanation of the circui composition. Hav-
ing, in the early part of the present year, a little before the vernal
equinox, determined to cultii . and indulge
in tin' study ni' :i tew books, not necessary to particularize, I could
suppress or resist a 1 .1 knew
not what, without pre-di i rule, or laboured common-plaoe.
The result is the Following simple Poem, almost unstudied, and

certainly not bearing the rii xnberant or overflowing

fancy, nor the poverty of a very studied and mediocre accuracy.
Whether this production will be considered the offspring of a legi-
timate visitation of tho Muse, the nm scholar will be the
best judge. B ! lay it before such without any apology.
Tin- plea are [ felt in its composition is expressed in one of the
stanzas of the Poem itself. No - [devoting his
leisure hours to mental improvement; and there is no particular
period of human life, generally speaking, when the opportunity is
not worth accepting with a Studies, properly
directed, or otherw i , like virtue and vice, their
own undoubted reward.

Perhaps, I have not always succeeded in the true poetic diction;
although I perceive, myself, an occasional freedom of syntactical
arrangement, I hope that all will not be found a kind of rhymed
prose, nor a specimen of the spasmodic school, nor an overflowing
cup of sugared words, to pall upon the taste, and satiate before it
gratifies or satisfies. A happy d bo preferred to a

fastidious care, for the Muses brook no chains but those of their
own selection or adoption. While writin- <m, I was not

in a paroxysm, nor had 1, to the best <'t my knowledge, lost my
common .-■

After all, I know that in this atmosphere of the worldly, and
the practical, where mi i I v. ith the materialistic,

this poem or rhyme, with its occasional indications or scintillations
of the poetical, may i"- read, in,. I then thrown a ide; bul that it.
will be better thought of when the Ai departed from this

scene of mortality, is a truth as obvious to him, as was to the
Roman poet the "one-half of that round eternity" with which he
solaced himself in exile under the tyranny of a CaBBar.

E. R.
March 15, 1866.



THE POET'S DREAM.



53ook ifirst.



" We are such stuff
As dreams are made of ; and our little life
Is rounded by a sleep."

— Shakspere.



y&Z OME, from the yawning gulph of time,
$$ Come, from the deep oblivion,
And vital breathe in this my rhyme,
And soften all this northern clime

With cultured fields, where work is done :
A providential nature shall be mine,
"Whose genial spirit breathes a love divine :

Come, once again those glorious years,

Those ever-glorious years of old,
That golden age, when sighs and tears,
From tyrant ills or slavish fears,

Heart never felt, nor song e'er told :
Come, come once more those years of happy life,
When man and woman knew no slavish strife.

Give me the plough-share, and all those
Bright implements of bloodless war ;

My rudest fallow lands dispose

To blossom with the summer rose,
And fill with corn my harvest car ;

Come, with the horn of plenty richly crown'd,

And feast my loving neighbours all around.



TIIE TOET'S DREAM.

Come, to my final festival,

Pure men, sweet women, boys and girls ;
Come, at my serious earnest call,
Noblea and peasants, one and all ;

I will distribute choicest pearls ; —
Those precious pearls, of priceless worth, .shall be
The precious pearls of love and charity.

Let envy go to shades below,

Let malice darken not my door,
Nor pride, nor falsehood be my foe,
To plunge me in a selfish woe,

Lest I forget the suffering poor :
Let human kindness bring the welcome light,
That gives to all mankind a clearer sight.

Give me the voice that never knew

To speak unto another's shame ;
Give me the heart, that, always true,
Hath kept simplicity in view,

And never stain'd a noble name ;
"Where humble modesty and grace arc found,
Where sacred love and virtue both abound.

Revive the ashes of that urn,

The pure remains of virtue's son,
For whom the people fondly mourn,
"Whose bosoms would with ardour burn,

To see the work of virtue done :
Bring from the endless source of light its fire,
And my fond heart one moment more inspire.

A famous period give to me,

Epoch historical, made known
By philosophic pen, to be
A date when men have become free,



THE POET'S DREAM,

And human woes for ever gone •
When ignorance and vice have lost their power,
And all men breathe life's uneorrupted hour.

An epoch, as a starting-time,

Continued in an era bright,
Unerring, to adorn each clime,
Immortal as old Homer's rhyme,

To pour on man a flood of light,—
Endless, pacific, generous, and free,
Until absorbed in dread eternity.

Then, who shall have the meed of song ?

Then, who shall have the poet's praise ?
Not he who grasps imperial wrong,
Pursues ambition's path alone,

And seeks for fame in war's dread blaze :
But he, victorious o'er the wealthy sod,
Who cultivates the grateful realms of God.

Weave me the well-earn'd lyric strain,

Come, weave the web of poesy ;
That solemn, heart-felt song again,
Repeat it over land and main,

That cries aloud for liberty ;
From every human limb let shackles fall,
And freedom breathe reviving breath o'er aH,

Crowns, sceptres, mitres, bring to me,

Furr'd gowns and ermin'd robes of gold, —

But gilding human misery,

Binding man fast in slavery, —

With useless coll'ers' wealth untold,

I would bequeath them to" the common good,

Nor seek my riches in my brother's blood.



8 THE TOET'S DREAM.

Eternal Justico ! true to thee,

I tall no spot of ground mine own ;

Yet tyrant hands seize on the free

Inheritance of liberty ;

Deem human right for ever gono

Into the past obscurity of time,

Blotting the truth, as 'twere a worthless rhyme.

Aspiring o'er the vulgar ken,

Gaping with ignorant wonder round,

Rating above all price the pen,

That, in my age, dares onco again

Startle the car with freedom's sound ;

Nor in a sullen indolence hescems

To be content with mere dull opiate dreams.

A sweet content has been my lot,

Amid, betimes, some welcome smiles ;
P>y one Superior unforgot,
"While in obscure, or brighter spot,

Mine inward heart all care beguiles,
"When far away from overflowing bowl,
"With the o'erilowing fulness of the soul.

I weave a wreath of simple flowers,
To grace the arch of prophecy ;

Gems from the old poetic bowers,

When luxury's corrupted hours
Effeminated not the free ;

When undegenerate man could safely tell

The simple truth of wisdom's secret cell.

Unto the muse the scroll belongs,
The secret and unfolded scroll ;
When she begins to pour her songs,
And blcsseth right, contemning wrongs,



THE POET H DREAM.

All ! then expands the human soul :
Her songs alone are to be bruited wide, —
None with the muse her empire can divide.

Me number with the willing blind,

Or deem me wrapt within the cloud
Of visionary thought, resigned
Both heart and soul, above mankind,
And the dull traffic of the crowd ;
Bearing with patience, as me best beseems,
Neglect, or scorn, of all my fondest dreams.

You may deprive me of life's breath,
You may denude me of my home,
You may disturb me unto death, —
But the true soul's undying faith

Eemains to bloom above the tomb :
Whatever storm may bring unnumbered ills,
No earthly power the truthful spirit kills.

As nature in harmonious spheres

Moves in the order of her sway,
Strip man of superstitious fears,
And he will love the law which cheers

His soul through every gloomy day :
A natural reciprocity will then
Pervade the hearts of women and of men.

A calm, benignant, happy mind

May taste the joys of perfect health ;

Then, you may revel unconfin'd,

In intellectual bowers resign d,

And need not envy richest wealth :

The purest pleasures under man's control,

Are the sweet contemplations of the soul.



TO THE TOETS DREAM.

! let mo tuno to voice of yomli,

Tlic languago of an honest pride,
Nor deviate from the path of truth,
Remembering all good ways, in sooth,

And from mean falsehood turn aside :
Tell them, that, to ho manly, wise, and hold,
Not to forget the counsel of the uld :

That moral purity 'a the gem,

Adorning all in human life,
More tlmn the costly diadem
Could honour either me, or tin m,

If hut bestain'd in worldly Btrife :
The physical and mental both combine
Ever in one all-perfect law divine.

Let good n port di light thy pride,
And seek for ]>uiity of fame ;

Muy'st thou in moral worth abide,

Nor from discretion turn aside,

Yet kindly treat the chill of shame :

Lei love he law, and law be love for thee,

And thou shalt never sink in misery.

Bear well within thine inmost mind,

That the rich gifts of bounteous Heaven
Are not alone for thee design' d :
The common right of all mankind

May claim a share, of whal is given :
lie who withholds it from his l'.l low-men
Is hut the selfish savage of his den.

The bravest work of virtue springs

Forth from the mighty Cod immortal ;
He's hut the bringez of good things,
Like almoner of wisost kings,



TBE POET'S DREAM. H

Who enters laden virtue's portal :
And if he faileth in his best intent,
Perpetual smiles are ever on him bent.

But, if you crave a wreath for worth

And moral courage well sustained;
Amid sweet songs of sylvan mirth,
The olden groves have oft brought forth,

Give him the meed so richly gain'd,
The simple token of a kind regard,
And praise sincere from many an olden bard.

Still lives the good man's humble name :
Not marble tomb, nor sculptur'd form,

Nor Latin verse, can e'er proclaim

More than the empty boast of fame :
The feeble syllables deform,

If human kindness have not grac'd its birth,

The proudest cenotaph of all the earth.

There yet shall be a monument,

Greater than Athos would have been,

Had the proud artist his intent

Achieved, as he was fondly bent

To sculpture mountains to the mien

And form of him, in a vain, loyal pride —

The Macedonian soldier deified.*

But unto one in human shape

True glory shall not beam one ray ;
A 'principle shall not escape
From a rude thraldom, but to ape

The mockeries of an evil day :
A monument of justice shall arise,
Like Jacob's ladder, to the lofty skies.

* Vide the atory of Alexander the Great and his Artist,



12 Tin: POETS DEBAM.

The Cleopatren column high —

The Herculean pillars hold —
The Delphic shrine of prophecy,
Communicating with the sky,

Shall give less fame than shall be told
Of hiin who rears a temple unto Truth,
To be the wonder of old age and youth.

Deep in the human heart is made
The sweet impression of a Muse,

"Who, with the olden world, shall fade

Never, but living undecay d,
Mankind shall fondly choose

As the expositor, to keenly scan

The great Avonian representing man.

Now, the prophetic arch erect,

A shrine, a temple shall be built, —

The greatest theatre, whose architect

May from all orders well select

The pillars, whereon shall be gilt

The name of Shakspere, in a wreath of gold,

There to remain till the new world grows old.

Kivers may fail, and lakes grow dry;

Seas may recede from well-known shores;
All the eternal waters fly
From their vast dread locality,

Quick as the thunder-torrent pours;
But, like the atmosphere of life we breathe,
His varied song shall never end in death.

He, who delights in selfish pride,

The Muse's voice for ever scares ;
His soul to justice unallied,
The truthful song he would deride,



THE POET S DREAM. 13

Nor listen to celestial airs :
The screech-owl's voice, the croak from raven's throat,
He welcomes more than famous poet's note.

Unending discord him pursue,

Who frowns upon the genial Muse ;
Him melody may not subdue ;
But let the wretch for ever rue,

If cheerful music he refuse:
And unto fame shall he in vain aspire
Who frowns upon the sweet, harmonious lyre.

A blessed lot be ever thine,

Either in this or other spheres,
Who cherisheth a single line
Of the old lyric art divine

With a benignant mind, and cheers
The wandering bard at hospitable board,
And lulls to social rest the soldier's sword.

Unfailing be thy strength and health,
So God-like given and God-like used ;

Unfailing be thy source of wealth,

Unvisited by cunning stealth,
By worthless idlers unabus'd:

Thy years move calmly to a green old age,

Thy name recorded on the poet's page.

The longsome speech, and over-wrought,

Befits not mine, a simple Muse ;
It blunts the lively edge of thought,*
While e'en the unheeding ear hath caught

Nought but sounds that may confuse :
Obscurity and simple truth are twain,
My choicest rhetoric is very plain.



* Vi<le Pindar.



14 THE POET'S DREAM.

Ajb iV degenerate hi 1 of man,

In citii a n aews its Btreams

From vale, and hill, and rader glen,

So words unlit for poet's pen

Are lisp'd in Bcenes where luxury beams

A fickle and alluring smile, to bo

Lost in the void of sheer inanity.

l'i, til the genius of the M

< lr philosophic Bcholar, deigns
To feast on what false tastes refu
i renins, t lie arbiter they choose

Unwillingly, soon proudly reigns:
All weaken'd forms of speech, all maudlin tales,
Fade 'neath the spirit of the hills and val

Is there not many a truthful word

Unsung from fear of falsehood's .sway '.

No more in silence Bleep the chord

That welcome music might afford,
Symphonious to the light of day:

To its charm'd influence the human mind

Doth ever cling, for harmony design'd.

From harmony to harmony

B -in this universal frame;*
Ami on the lyre the lingers ply
With a sweet, soothing ecstac ,

A - if tli'' sacr< ■! trump of f a
Were sounding loud, with a full vital breath,
The song of life, which might not end in death.

Breathe me tie' songs of simple measure;

Give mi' the old reviving strain
Of rural life and harmless pleasure;
Enrich me with tie happy treasure;

* Dryden'a Ode.



THE POET'S DREAM. 1 5

Give me the oldeu song again,
Whose sylvan notes mine inmost bosom thrills —
The native music of old Albion's hills.

The books of war the epic Muse

Hath left to each succeeding age,
I read, and copious tears suffuse
The eye : the pages I would choose

Which most the human heart engage,
Leaving the scenes where mortal conflicts rose,
Are the sweet episodes of lovers' woes.

For forty years the reign of peace

I loved, and never dream'd of war,
Fondly believing it might cease,
And all the liberal arts increase ;

But still once more the vengeful car
Of warriors brave drives o'er the fruitful field,
That a sweet sustenance to life might yield.

Barbarian rage, with cunning guile,

In an ignorant, royal state,
Sighs for imperial power awhile,
Deigns on imperial seas to smile,

Nor dreams of his approaching fate :
A cheerful look on all mankind he cast,
Cold as the freezing sway of Hyperborean blast.

But Western Union* hath torn

From Russia's spangled diadem —
Laid her in ashes pale, to mourn
O'er despotism's sepulchral urn —

The stealthy and felonious gem :
The Western lightning her dread fort hath burn'd,
The fire of hell is on her demons turn'd.

* The Alliance of England, France, and Sardinia.



1 6 THE POET'S DREAM.

And from the year the Russ became

Vanquish'd on land, ami from the sea
Frighten'd within the granite frame
That makes wild waters calm and tame,

This rhyme shall bear some memory of me:
And through his realm, unto the arctic pole,
Truth yet shall speak forth from her inmost soul.

Trochaic and iambic sounds

From sacred writings, — modified

Somewhat on deep, erudite grounds, —

"Wherein rich poetry abounds,

By the old Saxon tongue supplied, —

Shall even earth's remotest corners reach,

And penetrate where man hath thought or speech.

Unfold to the deep human heart,

The scrolls of some delightful age ;

Publish the tablets, and impart

To scenes obscure, or open mart,
The truthful, philosophic page :

Cloister no more within exclusive walls,

The mental food, for which man's nature calls.

In the strong Saxon tongue, explore
Mysterious learning, and lay bare

New truths, and sacred ancient lore,

Of which there is a goodly store
< 'ommitted unto mi i r ''are ;

B( spread the knowledge, like the light of day,

And then rule- all with a benignant sway.

Come, now, bedeck each British grove, —

For the behoof of far-off climes, —
With the glorious plants of ,}<
And the goddi ss true of love,



the poet's DREAM. 1 7

The druid oaks of olden times ;
Shape them in architectural frames, to hold
Worth to be prized more than imperial gold.

Swift o'er cerulean waters hears

The barque, as wild bird over plain,
Laden with liberal and ingenious wares,
For what abundance freely spares,

Sweet fruit, and the more welcome grain :
Tyrannic law shall never, never sway
The many for the few, upon the watery way.

Cheerly the swift barque runs his race,

The aerounaut ascends the shy,
Soaring aloft in pride of place,
Smiling the while in danger's face :

Man's powers beseem to multiply,
And to confound the ignorant and the wise,
Like old Briareus' hands and Argus' eyes.

Electric sparks already beam

In lines of inter-communication,
And, like the fairy's girdle, seem
To realise the poet's dream:*

A girdle binding every nation
In welcome links of interchanging thought,
Work most magnificent that man hath wrought.

Grant, sacred Heaven ! a favouring breeze

To all the argosies that bound
At rapid speed through stormy seas ;
If it shoidd Thy best wisdom please,

Eeturn them safe to British ground :
Man's gratitude, before religion's shrine,
Shall breathe Thy name in hymnic songs divine.



* Vide Shakspere's " Midsummer Night's Dream."



1 8 THE POET'S DREAM.

I love not war; but there's a time

And tide, an intermediate state,
When death inflicted is not crime:
The self-defender is sublime,

Fixed on the pedestal of fate:
Men bleed from the beginning to the end,
When each to each becomes a constant friend.

Come, plant within each British vale,

To guard with strength my sea-girt home,

The ship-seed, ready for the sail,

And mast to bear the boisterous gale :
Should barbarous, cruel foemen come,

The good ships mann'd, may breast old ocean's wave,

And volley'd thunder sweep them to the grave.

0, Heart of Hearts ! thou dost inspire,
And sluggard sleep is no more mine ;

Light of Life ! dost thou require

The secrets of each fond desire ?

1 humbly lay them on Thy shrine :

Tlir- winged words of struggling thought to be

OfTe rings most meet for Liberty and Thee.

Thy Spirit-light, that westward came
Forth from the ancient Magi's star,

Beaming on man a glorious flame,

Ever constant, and still the same,
Shall quench the ,u f l<>ry of all war,

Whose blood-stain'd banner shall be ever furl'd,

Ami peace beam brighter glories to the world.

The varied Eastern throng persuading,

With all tli<' \\'< stern sovereign Mind;
Rude barbarism, all-degrading,

Shall be subdued by the unfading



THE POET'S DREAM. 1 9



Truthful Fiat to mankind:
Csesar, nor Czar, nor Emperor, nor King,
Nor Papal Pontiff be a hideous thing,

Unworthy of the Logos given,

Breath'd forth to mitigate man's woe,
While priests, who have for ever striven
To keep obscure the Light of Heaven,

Shall torture honesty no more :
The Vatican shall then with light abound,
And old St. Peter's change her mood of sound.

As when the primal chaos reigned,

And discord held horrific sway,
The boundless waters were unchain'd,
Love soon a sovereignty maintain' d,

And gave creation to the day :
Then did the Fiat on the eternal throne,
Claim wise obedience to Him alone.

May I indulge more pleasing dream

Than Plato's dream of Virtue, poor, —
Whose parabolic lessons seem
Wisdom array' d in brighter beam, —

A wicked world drove from its door,
Imprisoned, scourged, and unto death soon cast,


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