So mortal may in mortal rest,
And work from heaven all his days,
And even griefs that rend his breast
Sow music for immortal praise.
36 TO MY MOTHER,
TO MY MOTHER.
WHEN skies are bright and spring is kind,
When sunset glories hold the mind,
When flowers wear their sweetest air
And leafy woodland waves most fair,
Then thou art near.
When books most please, both old and new,
When speech is apt and wit is true,
When art and science lift our seeing
To regions of diviner being,
Thou art not far.
When winter days like May are bright,
When stars impress the silent night,
When hope, though oft cast down, believes,
When strength through dark distress achieves,
Thought turns to thee.
A quiet garden next the mart,
A hymn heard in the city's heart,
Amid the throng a voice of rest
Inspiring war to win the best,
The tones are thine.
TO N. 37
THE skylark singing loud and clear
From dawn to dusk for all to hear,
The nightingale, with glorious pleading,
Through rain and thunder nothing heeding,
The bluebells bending dewy heads,
The may that now her snow-wreath sheds,
The dappled show of flower and tree
So fragrant, generous, and free ;
All these must make a present poor,
So I leave nothing at your door,
But only say, To each glad thing,
When winter comes, be thou like spring.
38 HUNTING SONG.
SEE the morning is adorning all with golden
sunny light ;
There's no scorning such a warning for whom
hunting is delight.
Sol is gaining, Luna waning, and the stars
have shut their eyes ;
Last night's feigning to be raining with the
gray night quickly flies ;
There's a twittering and a tittering of birdlings
Don't be frittering time while glittering shine
the wavelets on the lake ;
Prick with bright spurs to the green furze
whence old Reynard bolts away ;
Brook no demurs when your blood stirs at the
breaking of the day.
Your noble steed can hardly feed, he's all
trembling for the chase ;
With boldest deed he'll serve thy need in the
hottest of the race.
Then forward hark, as blithe as lark, to the
meeting on the slope,
Where the glad bark in the grand park is a
greeting full of hope.
O VIOLET, sweetest of flowers, dear gift of a
Why dost thou lower thy head, and hide in
thy dewy green leaflets ?
Long hath my spirit sought thee, and would
almost have perished without thee,
Heaven's meek token of faith, low angel to
Breathing mercy and peace, and mildly winning
Gently reproving our rage and bidding us
hearken to conscience,
Turning the stubborn thought back, replacing
the good for amendment.
Spring is the season of joy and of blossom and
Then more warmly the sun, more tenderly
shineth the moon-beam ;
Daintily capers the fawn, gaily the lamb in the
Yet my heart hath been hard, unmoved by
repentance around it ;
Struck by the waves of new life, no echo came
Shrouded by grief in a tomb, swooning away
But thou hast come like the touch of the note
that alone could awake me.
Now there shall dwell in my soul a hymn of
PROUD city of the azure gulf !
Who said thou wast no more ?
Who sailing on thy furrowed bay
Saw ruin on thy shore ?
The days of thy magnificence
Were all too bright to last ;
A cloud has overshadowed thee,
But it will soon be past !
Superbly stand thy palaces,
Still dost thou climb the steep,
Aspiring to the snowy Alps,
And sprinkled o'er the deep.
And east and west thy glory spreads
In crescent-like array,
And far beyond on either side
Soft shines the olive gray.
Great Italy shall live again
More nobly than of yore ;
And wilt thou lag in slow decay
Forgetting all before ?
Rise, Genoa ! and Venice, rise !
Pillars of art and fame ;
When you excel she leads the world ;
Your torpor is her shame.
Then enterprise and courage come,
And languid ease depart !
All hardy virtues help thee on,
And flourish in thy heart !
THE DEATH OF SOCRATES. 43
THE DEATH OF SOCRATES.
BY ONE WHO HEARD HIM.
GONE ! he is gone, the master whom we loved,
We know not whither, but we know 'tis well ;
He grieved not for the parting of his soul
From the poor frame ; therefore we must not
Two angels led him, Memory and Hope,
Childlike and shining through the gate of
Unruffled by resentment or dismay ;
Feeling the breath of a more glorious day
Upon his brows, his burden fell away.
Weep not that he is gone ; 'tis better now
In honour and in strength, since death must
Than that with overburdened weight of years
A flagging body should offend that mind
So deep, so passionate, so true. No time
44 THE DEATH OF SOCRATES.
Can kill what he has left, mountains of
And pleasant lands where future men may
Untired in exploit, spreading far and wide,
Making their homes where desert once dis-
How that one life enriched an idle world !
How that one death ennobled it ! My friends,
Let us think of him as philosophers
And his disciples, of that soul with joy,
Which looked with joy upon the highest
Though hidden far from common sense and
Beyond all mortal ken, we know not why.
No little troubles vexed him in his walk,
No superstitious vanities annoyed.
His trouble was the error of his kind,
His highest care to find and teach the truth.
If all were like him, we should all be free,
By crime unharrowed, undistrest by pain,
And, bearing natural evil with a smile,
Secure that what our Deity offends
In earthy substance, cannot live hereafter,
Nor bind the spirit still with envious chains,
Nor make this muddy cast, this floating isle,
More than a guest-house for what came from
Brethren, our Master has bequeathed us more
THE DEATH OF SOCRATES. 45
Than ever man was heir to, the bequest
To make right known and to exalt our kind
In spite of what the world may do or say,
The privilege to die, if death be good,
The dignity of hate, if hate be wrong,
The perfect bond of love for evermore.
46 THE SCEPTIC.
HE stands alone like some sea-sundered rock,
Which all the seething surge around defies,
Looking upon the cliffs to which it once was
And grieving o'er the mighty swept away.
Gravely he sorrows for the vacant space,
But never bows his head, for he must stand
And bear the flowing years which lesser
Declined, and trembled and for ever sank.
So firm, so sad, so scornful, and so true,
The sceptic looks upon his fellows dear
Across the mournful waste of moaning brine,
And hopes for naught and gives the past a
There was a time when all was fresh and gay,
When he would fall upon his knees in tears
And lift on high the praises of his heart
With inward peace, and hold divine discourse.
Too noble to make wrong, he spurns the false ;
His mighty mind works groping towards the
THE SCEPTIC. 47
His deep humility proclaims no faith.
But one within in silence counsels him.
O blame him not, assailed by every foe,
And blasted in the midst of his bright life,
If now no comfort can enfold his age ;
Bear with him lovingly, for still he loves.
THOU know'st no God, thou can'st not find
the Sun ;
Since night is true, to thee there is no day ;
Blind to thee blind the strife of good and ill,
Time but a segment of the wheel of fate,
The world an accident of shadowy space,
Man born to learn that all must be unlearnt,
And, knowledge wanting, faith and reason
Behold the changeless law o'er all supreme,
Who made the law that works to higher ends ?
Behold the tender grace of star and flower,
Who made thee conscious of their softening
Behold the snowflake exquisite in form,
Was it made perfect by unwilling norm ?
Behold thy senses, mind, and heart,
Is there no purpose in thy conscious soul ?
And canst thou make thy ignorance thy god ?
Duty is not the breath of cloudy dreams ;
Love is not matter struck by senseless force ;
THE AGNOSTIC. 49
Force has not contemplation in itself,
The world of spirit is above the seen,
And in the spirit dwells the Life of life.
Leave then thy load upon the miry ways,
And plant thy garden on the hill of praise.
There breathe beyond the cold fume-shrouded
And make thy desert land to bloom again.
How gloriously the day comes after night !
How spring excels the level summer time !
How are we honoured by adversity !
Now God's love like the dawn by contrast
And wins the eye that comprehended not.
We are not made for lifelong happiness
To hold this world a little paradise,
And mere contentment as our being's end,
Or to be great without much agony.
The plough must pass across the tender sense ;
Frost, heat, and winnowing must prepare the
The Bread of Life was made our joy by pain
THE REVOLUTIONARY IDEALIST.
THE REVOLUTIONARY IDEALIST
AND if I die, my soul shall spurn the tomb
And robe herself for battle once again,
To finish where the poor weak flesh has failed,
Not with the sinews of this groping arm
But strong in death my spirit shall arise,
And, purified by visions hid from earth,
Shall sound the war-song of a nobler race,
Who, like their fathers on this mighty day,
Fear not to break through custom's leaden
And every heart that bound itself in life
To march in van of our eternal cause
Shall live again upon another field ;
And O may that be bloodless ! may we breathe
A gentle blessing on a willing age !
May not the luxury and wealth of one
Drawn from the well-springs of a thousand
The curse of poverty, the tares of ease,
The choking fungus and ill-weeds of gain,
5 2 THE RE VOL UTIONA R Y IDEA LIST.
The bitter treason of despotic rule,
The preference of ruin to repair,
And of repair to building all afresh,
Then be the will and pleasure of mankind.
That time is very far, but it will come,
And we have erred in catching at the fruit
Before the flower has dropt ; but it will come,
For when they break oppression's flinty husk,
And know the bounty of the equal boon,
Then will they thank us that we found the
And planted it for future happiness.
Yes, thou great Future, bear me witness now
That we poor fools who build among the clouds
Shall not descend while they approach the sun,
But shine the brighter for the foil of night
When they look back upon dark history.
We have done wrong, most shameful grievous
In running to rebellion. O the pang
We suffered silently, when we had made
The channels that should water all the land,
And on a sudden saw them overflowed
By muddy torrents gathered in the hills,
Sweeping away our labour and our care.
It was a thrilling moment of despair,
Counsel and thought fled scared before the
And some were lifted by it and became its
THE RE VOL UTIONAR Y IDEALIST. 5 3
We should have stood against it, but the brain,
Raptured, unmoored, delirious to behold
The passion cherished as its own possess
The stormy current of a frantic crowd,
Welcomes the whirlwind, sanctifies its rage,
And rides exultant on the foaming wave.
Most heavy anguish settled on our hearts
When through the ruin horrid vices loomed
And dashed Hope's image from our happy
Then every rogue, professing common good,
Worked out his crooked profitable way,
And great reforms, which should have come
To ope the budding virtues of our land,
Were marred by plagues of fattened selfishness
More fatal than the Eastern locust-swarm,
Which sucks the sap and blackens all the fields.
Still I have faith, for through the soul of each
Strife shall prepare for Nature's home-coming
Each man must raise himself to smite the fiend
Which in himself, as in the rich and proud,
Works common evil, and the Golden Age
Must reign in hearts before it fashions life.
My fate is fallen, I must pass away ;
Work-days are short, eternity is long,
May all good fare with you to endless joy.
54 "JANE THE QUEEN."
ON SEEING A LETTER SIGNED
"JANE THE QUEEN," AT LOSELY,
DEAR type of good on earth's rude stage,
Wise, gentle " Jane the Queen " !
How hadst thou blest that ruffian age !
What healing might have been !
Thy soaring spirit walled in stone,
Thy loving heart beat down,
Books, truest friends, kept faith alone,
The rest but served a crown.
So, in this world, confusion's might
Gives ten days' reign to grace ;
And when glad eyes first welcome light,
Death runs to take her place.
MIGHTY WORKS. 55
There are no miracles, nor ever were,
So must we learn, and faint with pain ;
Yet so we grow to higher prayer,
And weakness turns to truer gain.
All, all are miracles ; each day and hour
We move in mysteries profound,
Each leaf and flower is work of power,
And every inch is hallowed ground.
The passing sunbeam doth surpass all story,
Each drop of dew is eloquent,
Through common things we see a world of
And law makes marvel excellent.
56 VAIN IMAGININGS.
FROM all the jarring din of earth's low strife,
The hollow words, the vain false views of life ;
From petty rage, and eddying waves of care,
And multitudinous woes which rasp the air
With jangling discord ; from the waste of
Where ill betides the growth of wholesome
From love of self, disguised in Wisdom's garb
Where swift-tongued malice speeds her poi-
I fled and sought a God who would me hear,
His poor low worshipper, in doubt and fear.
I stood upon the towering cliff
And looked upon the sea below :
" Art thou not great, O glorious sea,"
I said, " and powerful, and free ?
Speak in mine ear, or on the storm "
But. all the waters vast were still.
VAIN IMAGININGS. 57
I looked into the blue of heaven
By day, and on the stars by night :
" Art thou not high, thou vault of space ?
Ye stars, where is your resting-place ?
Tell me the height, the depth, O tell,
Seen and unseen, confess where dwell
The spirits of your hosts for ever ?
That silence never had been broken,
And silence made the words unspoken.
Sun, O Source of Life and Light,
Art thou not to the angels bright ?
Shall death o'ertake thy hallowed beams,
And hail thee king, but king of dreams ?
Where shall thy glory bide and shine ?
Art thou delusion or divine ? "
No leaf, no blade around me stirred ;
No whispered hope my sorrow heard.
1 sought the throne of the Supreme,
And prayed : " Thy works are as a dream
Are they Thine own ? They give no rest
To breaking heart and mind distrest ;
They live their life, if life it be,
But none hath aught to tell of Thee ;
And even we who all may scan
Know not the destiny of Man,
Nor why the worlds in circles roll,
Nor Him who guides and rules the whole.
58 VAIN IMAGININGS.
We form our creeds and forge our prayers
But know not how our message fares.
Art Thou Creator, Father, God ?
send not death before I hear ! "
If ever darkness reigned alone,
It reigned around me at His throne.
At length I rose, and said within myself
Mighty are words, and wisdom great indeed \
But greater, greatest of all, is Patience.
And no seen power on earth prevaileth,
And patience in faith our task remaineth,
And duty doth well when worship faileth,
And afar, perhaps, the Unknown One reigneth
A star arose above my soul,
And joy and light glowed full and free.
1 said : " O Love, I ask not thee
To grant what I did vainly seek,
For I am dumb, and thou dost speak ; "
And heaven and earth in chorus high
Returned one great harmonious cry :
" For ever."
COME with triumph songs about thee.
Noble, fair one, high descended,
Teacher of divine discoursings,
Angel of eternal truth !
Sister to religion holy,
Kindly in thine awful speech,
Stern and beautiful in virtue,
Mighty in reforming youth !
Horrid errors flee before thee,
Adoration steeped in sin,
Pious dreams in pomp dissolving,
Show of faith and void within ;
Flee the vanity of fables,
Flee the priesthood of the night,
Quench the taper shadow-raising,
Tell of universal light !
Pass away ye falsely holy,
Smotherers of Christian fire,
Preachers of a mute obedience
Damping down the golden lyre ;
Cast away your cunning palsied,
60 AD SCIENTIAM.
Shrouded in your killed conceit,
You have kept the world in darkness,
You shall drown in seas of light.
You have carved a paltry heaven
That your wretched key might serve,
Opening to the pence of sinners,
Closing to a martyr's prayers.
You have kept the world in darkness,
Coffined out the shining sky,
That your smoking torch might glimmer
Spectres to the blinded eye.
Millions tremble at the curses
Thundered in the name of Christ,
Pardons fill your choking purses,
Truly sin is precious grist !
Pomp in power sits approving
Sowers of the seed of shame,
Gospel truth is locked and guarded,
Churches' lies are swelled with fame.
So the past speaks, but the present
And the future loathe the tale,
We are risen to the hilltops
From the shadows of the vale.
Nevermore to wolfish traders,
Shall a nation's soul be bound ;
Goblin legends were for children,
Truth for men is right and sound.
Come then, Science, honour beaming
Jn thy bright and truthful eyes,
AD SCIENTIAM. 61
Step among the sordid peoples,
Raise them from their idols vile.
Maiden, cleave their rusted fetters,
Lead with many-sounding choir,
Bring them forth with hymning holy
Echoing to the starry sphere.
Teach them from the Book of Wisdom
Graven by no mortal hand,
Written from the ancient ages,
All may read and understand.
Living language burns before us,
Strong in everlasting type,
All who read may learn and worship.
Children of a larger life.
He that made the mind to reason
Must be greater than all thought,
He that formed the heart for loving
Must be greater than all love.
Give we then our souls high praises,
Truth in mind and love in heart,
These to regions blest will bear us
Ere the world's great war is past.
TENDER, and kind, and true,
Lovely, and sweet, and bright,
Dayspring that breaks from heaven,
To mortals seldom given,
Shedding a summer peace,
A joy that will not cease,
Anguish to one.
Heart like the warm sun-streams
Of golden morning beams,
Wakening each soul to praise,
Shining through all our days,
Making the minutes a song
Of heroes for battle strong,
A knell to one.
Turn not to see him grope,
Parted from health and hope,
By heaven and earth forgot,
Thine is a better lot,
Crown of created life,
Noble as woman and wife,
God bless thy love.
THE KING. 63
WHO is the King ? a man of men,
A mind of nation-holding power
A hero, noble to maintain
State-weal against an evil hour.
A warrior of the just and true,
Quick to perceive his people's right,
Content with honour from the few,
Slow to allow unworthy might.
Appealing ever from the heart
To Him who sways eternal law,
And from the wisdom of the mart
To higher wisdom's love and awe.
A friend compassionate and strong
To brethren laid in suffering low ;
A scathing fire to rotten wrong,
A light upon the path of woe.
A learner of the kindest thought,
Of widest truth, of care humane,
That whatsoever things are taught
May work for good in his domain.
64 THE KING.
Most gentle to the creatures meek
Whose happy living is our trust,
Scorning because their cry is weak
To lay their gladness in the dust.
Constructor in the social cause,
Distilling strength from broad debate ;
Not recking much for swift applause,
Or freshet floods of love and hate.
Severe in justice, not consenting
To please a pity blind and small,
Nor slaying by undue relenting
Where pain to few is peace to all.
Stern to reprove the subtler sin
Which customs coax and judges pass,
The baleful pleasant things which win
Corruption's way by fashion's glass.
Unsparing to the roots of ill,
Subduing plagues to safe control,
Increasing joy and sure goodwill,
A healer of the stricken soul.
So ruling that each mind may learn
To rule himself in ordered ways,
That every shining light may turn
Some fort of bad to heaven's praise.
THE KING. 65
Religious, reverent, and loyal
To rubrics of the starry scroll,
Not suffering human craft to coil
Vain incense clouds about the soul.
Awakener of war sublime,
Explorer where none ever trod,
A glory to the coasts of time,
A servant of the peace of God.
66 MILO''S ERRAND.
A LEGEND OF GREECE.
A STATELY lady dwelt in Macedon,
Whose name was Daphne, famed for flocks
But more for science and philosophy,
Deep knowledge of the stars and flowers and
And magic art to heal her ailing folk.
She learnt from Thales as her guide and guest,
For in old days oft sojourning awhile
For well-earned rest, the sage would freely
Oft in her presence of the things he loved.
Milo, her only son, dwelt with her ; him
The games most pleased and feats of giant
Stalwart in body, but in mind a child ;
First prizeman in the great Olympic race.
Towered Irene was their dwelling-place,
About whose bulwarks stretched her emerald
Renowned for horses trained for peace or war.
MILO'S ERRAND. 67
Then mighty men dwelt on the merry earth,
And sweet accord united State with State,
And all the isles rejoiced with songs of peace.
But years of mirth are oft repaid with grief,
And a great shadow stole o'er Grecian hearts
Like some dire ghost that haunts a festival,
For knowledge pierced the child-built walls of
And truth of life in conscience was not sought,
And lacking righteousness a nation falls.
Empires loomed fateful in the West and East,
One to be dreaded for its giant strength,
The other for its autumn of decay.
In such a time lived Daphne and her son.
One morning, early, ere the faintest dawn
Blenched the bright radiance of the eastern
A messenger from Thales came in haste,
Bearing a note ; thereat she roused her son,
Saying the time had come whereof she dreamt,
And she must gird him for a mightier deed
Than on the world's stage had been done
He rose and broke his fast, and spoke no word,
Then, not too willing, stood before the gate,
Then spoke his mother, in less doubtful guise :
My son, the gods are gone to feast to-day
With the Ethiopians in their golden groves,
Leaving alone to guard the sacred fire
68 MILtyS ERRAND.
That glows for ever on Olympus' top,
More subtle element than aught we know,
Whereby the jewels of the gods are wrought,
Hephaestus, who is lame and runneth ill.
Lo ! Phosbus will forsake the heavens to-day.
This is the time for one who bides his time.
Ambition shrinks not before men or gods ;
Thou art the fleetest runner of the Greeks.
Had'st thou not joy to wear the victor's crown,
And great delight to swoon in loud applause
And to be hailed incomparably first ?
Yet that is small renown and passing praise ;
I will that thou be famous for all time,
The man who gave the flame of gods to men.
Now therefore go, but use thy wariest sense,
And creep the flank of the great Mount with
For though the lame god sleep, his sleep is
And he has eyes more subtle far than thine,
And the least tremor of the earth, or flash
Of common fire, marring the pale light,
Will start him to his feet, and woe to him
On whom the hammer of Hephaestus falls.
Pass then the line of everlasting snow,
Mark how he lies upon the marble hearth
High above storms, taking unwonted ease,
The brawny builder of those halls of Zeus
Set in the firmament's eternal blue,
Where never pain or mortal cares endure ;
MILCTS ERRAND. 69
And so approach that from behind his head
Swiftly this torch dipt in the deathless flame
Shall not appear nor move the light calm air.
Thou knowest now the mission of my love,
Nobler is none wherein to live or die.
Then answer Milo made, inspired with zeal :
Thy word, O mother, is my soul's first law ;
I cannot doubt, since thou hast bid me go,
That this great errand has a pious end,
And, when the anger of the gods is past,
Will raise us mortals to be sons of Zeus.
If Hermes teach me, 'tis a worthy theft,
And the immortals ever love the bold.
I will bring back the secret fire of heaven,
And thou shalt love me better for the feat ;
Till then look kindly on my lowlier zeal,