Saw by the gate the ashy poplar shiver tipt with dawn,
All fever- chill; and worn your cheek, your breathing faintly
Oft checked my own to list; while chirped the sparrow in the
While on the roof the weathercock creaked with inconstant
Now lone, alas, I rest me in the window toward the west,
Where often, as we sat at eve, in twilight's hour of rest,
I saw you gaze upon my face, to get my looks by heart,
And dry a tear, when thinking of the time when we must
While, fretful fond, I checked you; and we turned our tear-
Where the windy trees were tossing in the sad slant evening
While the shadows of the trailers, and gateway poplars tall
Fell, wavering o'er the pictures on the goldened fronting
It seemed to me oft then, as now, that we lived on a shore
Which, to the senseless waves of time seemed crumbling more
And fear struck as I mused on that inevitable ill,
Dear Mother, I would crush the thought, and love you dearer
^still. ' - -
At length, one midnight desolate, came death's black, cruel
- : barque; - ,*
Tt foore.yo.u from my .life a-way into the voiceless dark;
The morn came by all lustrously it only found me stand,
With wildered brain and breaking heart, upon the lonely
Mother, do you know it ? Avhen your corpse beside me lay,
I took from off your pallid brow a dear lock, mild and grey;
And one into your clay-cold hand, tear-blinded, then I gave,
That you might have a lock of mine beside you in the grave.
Then my mind became one memory the past rose up again;
Every joy and every sorrow in oblivion that had lain
Sprung up afresh; but each dear hour a future torment bore,
Since you, whose smile had hallowed them, were gone for
Now, oft upon a winter's night, when fire-light shadows flit,
I draw before the hearth the chair wherein you used to sit;
And tears fall as my heart brings back the loved but voiceless
Of the sweet old songs you sang for me in the quiet room alone.
I hasten to the window and look out along the sky,
Toward the grave where all I loved and all I love doth lie ;
I see a star shine o'er the place perchance its lonely ray
Illumed your spirit on the night when you were ta'en away.
When all is bright within the room from old books, fire, and
I think upon that silent tomb, so lonely, chill, and damp;
I think, half envious of the tree that sighs there faint and
That I should be away from you, and it for ever near!
Yet I love it for being near you; and ever I believe,
Since standing there beside you, one disconsolate dark eve,
When autumn's winds like memories through its thin
It seemed to weep its withered leaves above your lonely head.
I'm desolate now, for none again can love me like to you;
And though I met with some one who would guard me firm
I ne'er would share my heart with them, for then I must
My love for you, whose love for me no love could take away.
Then, in my heart I'll live with you, and think upon the time
'When I shall leave this lonely earth, and hear the heaven's
When I shall stray 'mid happy souls in search of you, my
And, by a smile shed down from God, we shall see one
A VISION OF ERIE.
LET the pilgrim of Europe roam on as he may,
From the snows of the North to the slopes of the vine,
What space can unfold in the light of the day
More versatile beauties, sweet region, than thine
Where the sun that at morn scatters fire on the crest
Of the giant-browed Galtees, rounds southward, and takes
A golden adieu, ere he sinks to his nest
In the arbutus bowers of the legended lakes ?
Here grey castles moulder like dreams of the past,
In the sunshine the shadows and dews of the clime;
Here round towers, haunted by legends, still last
On the evening inland, like dials of Time.
Streams freshen the meadows by forests of green,
By moss-covered Abbeys, all ruined and bare,
Whose lone chancel casements at twilight are seen
Like skeleton hands pointed heavenward in prayer;
Here rise the great hills from the pasturing plains;
Here goldens the cornland by village and lea;
Here rolls the broad Shannon, enriched with the rains,
By the turrets of Limerick, swift to the sea,
Ah ! once by those waters great argosies cast
From their broad vans, at sunset, a heroic gloom;
Ah! once by those mouldering battlements past
The dusky -browed Spaniard in armour and plume.
The pageant is o'er, but the blood which enshades
The peasant's rich cheek from that fountain is drawn,
And glows in the dewy-dark eyes of her maids,
Like the sunned Guadalquivier's first ripple at dawn.
Here feasted the chiefs by the castle's broad fire,
And swelled the wild song of the wandering guest,
Till the memoried music he struck from his lyre
Stirred the sword in the scabbard, the heart in the breast.
Here oft, as the battle day gloomed o'er the flood,
Their fierce cheers gave note of the enemy's flight,
As they marched by the turrets of Desmond's wild wood,
With their reddened spears raised in the evening light.
But, lo ! while we muse in the light of thy streams,
That sparkle in fresh diamond dances anigh,
The souls of thy clime, like a splendour in dreams,
Descend in a radiant train from the sky.
Floats up from the Shannon a shadowy blast,
Where great Brian's Ceaimcorahd lies ruined and lone,
And a phantom looks down from the clouds of the past,
And mournfully sighs o'er the years that are gone;
When discord lay dead as his steel- shining hand
Waved the terror-struck fleets of the Northmen away;
When Peace crowned Victory shone in the land
Like a warrior's plume on a midsummer clay.
Rude years, but ennobled by patriot toil;
Grey years, that still rise o'er the ages at rest,
Like turrets that look o'er a fertilized soil,
As they moulder in mist on the skirts of the west,
And mark, after long barren ages of gloom,
A new light burns broad on eternity's wing;
And Grattan strides proudly by Liberty's tomb,
With the tongue of a prophet, the brain of a king:
Great chieftain of Freedom, proud Erinn's alone,
Whose soul, like a thunder-cloud born in the blue,
Crowned with glory the shadows of history's throne,
While it nurtured the green native isle with its dew.
Who treads by his side o'er the purple -belled heath,
W r ith wild scattered hair o'er his forehead so wan?
Whence flashes the upturned eye from its sheath,
With a glance like the brown-hooded falcon's at dawn ?
Ah ! rich native Fancy, thy flame never lit
Such splendours as swarmed from our Curran's bright
Scintillant as spar to the sparkle of wit,
Yet soft as the blossom enriched with the rain.
And, late, what dear genial shadow appears
Like a young autumn crescent 'twixt morning and night ?
Bise Davis, whose pen in a few happy years
Reaped harvests of thought like a sickle of light.
Ah ! hadst thou but lived for the hearts of the land
That shone with thy spirit, and throbbed with thy lyre,
Success would have crowned them, nor Liberty's hand
Been scorched at the altar while fostering its fire.
Orphan Isle of the Ocean ! how bright is thy sway,
Though sadly thou sit'st by the western wave,
When the song of thy Moore charms the world on its way,
When the brain of thy Burke rules the age from his grave !
Ah! when shall thy Genius arise with the power
To guide thy old storms o'er a fertilized mould,
Pile them high o'er the west in tranquillity's hour,
And magic their gloom to a glory of gold ?
Despair not though shadowed by destiny long,
Great spirits shall guard thee like planets of flame;
And armoured by Heaven, prolific and strong,
With the youth of eternity toil for thy fame.
Yes, nurtured to life by the sun of thy clime,
New heroes shall pace where thy Glories have trod;
And Voices, yet hushed in the silence of Time,
Roll up with thine own living echoes to God.
Two women loved him, shapes of Heaven,
Radiant as aught beneath the sky.
One gentle as the summer moon,
One ardent as the golden noon;
And to the first his heart was given,
And to the last his vanity,
Equal in love, alike in doom -
Content to yield in proud desire
Their souls for shelter in that breast,
Palsied with passion long unrest,
Content to worship and expire
Silent within its upas gloom.
Yes, gentle hearts, thy legend's old
Old thy ambitioned instinct, too.
As turns the blossom to the light,
Beauty's attraction bends to might,
Though shrined within a brain as cold
As yon great snow star in the blue.
Long years they loved, unknown, apart;
In patient fond expectancy
Of consummated hope. At last
The shadow of each presence passed
Across the pathway to his heart,
And love grew dark with jealousy.
Sweet Stella, anguished was the hour-
Ah, piteous hour of proud despair,
When trembled in thy little hand
Thy restless rival's dread demand,
Upon that breast whose earliest flower
Sprung in thy smile, and blossomed there.
And poor Vanessa sadder still
Thy weary worship at the shrine
Where bent thy brow, where turned thy gaza,
Dazzled to darkness in the blaze,
And mastered by a sovereign will,
Strong as the sun's sway o'er the brine.
Forsaken souls ! yon found at last
The barren wreath for which you vie. I.
h, like the Greek girl, sought to draw
Love from a breathless statua,
Whose cold, eternal beauty cast
The shadow in whose gloom you died.
For what to him were loves of earth,
That light the humblest soul below ?
His planet flamed in wider skies,
And moved for mightier destinies
Than circle round a homely hearth,
Or centre in its narrow glow.
What! should the spirit which had soared
Ambition's eyrie as a King,
And wielded with a giant's power
The mighty movers of the hour,
Be cozened by some passion-bird,
And twitted with a feeble wing ?
A truce with mockeries the weak
Are greatest tyrants when they dare.
Too long, too long had he forborne
To check, in mere reserve of scorn,
This puppet play of changing cheek-
This fulsome puling of despair.
It was a dim October day,
When clouds hung low on roof and splio,
He dashed his horse, to gallop pressed,
Along the old road leading west,
Where Liffey's waters shimmering lay
Beneath the noonlight's struggling lire.
A left, the slopes of tillage spread;
And further, higher to the south,
The sloping slate-grey mountains rose,
Sun-pencill'd in the noon's repose,
And by his path the river bed,
Deep sanded with the summer drought.
The city sunk in smoke behind,
Before, the air rose blue and lone.
At times, from ivied hedge and wall,
Faint shrilled the robin's crystal call;
And, from the west, the careless wind
Was blowing in a monotone.
He marked not, as he swept along,
The golden woodland's glimmering domesj
He heard not as he trampled by,
The foliage whispering to the sky,
The laugh of children, or the song
Of mothers in their rustic homes.
Unheeded all to eye and ear,
The world's old genial beauty past;
Nor reck'd he in that hour of wrath,
Aught save the victim in his path,
Though pity, justice hovered near
Though God was watching from the vast.
At length, beneath its woody gloom,
Old Marley's cloister ends his way.
He lights he knocks. The pigeon's plaint
Swoons fitfully above and faint ;
And glimmers through the garden's bloom
The river's sheet of glassy grey.
Lo ! from her memoried laurel bower,
Where oft she sat alone, to hear
His coining, she is hastening now,
To meet him with a joyous brow,
Though saddened by th* impending hour,
And shuddering with an unknown fear.
She enters springs to meet him. God!
Can passion demonize a brow
Of spirit-splendour ! In a breath
The letter's thrown; and he, like death,
Is gone, Hark ! Ringing from the road
His horse's trampling echoes now.
In terrored trance she burst the seal.
Ah, piteous aspect shape forlorn!
.Doom darkness o'er her, and she falls
Dead as the shadow on the walls
Dead, holding in her heart the steel
Brain-blasted by his silent scorn.
Ah, well! a purer, tenderer light
Still smiles upon his barren years.
Like a sweet planet glimmering o'er
Some silent waste of vanished Avar,
Sweet Stella charms life's falling night
With eyes whose love outlives their tears.
Yes ; thou art true, though love has wreathed
Thy brow with cypress. Though the pall
Encircles life, thy voice, no less,
Is toned to soothe his loneliness,
Like melancholy music breathed
Through some funereal banquet hall.
Star of fidelity! Thy light
Soon set beneath the eternal wave,
And from thy place of cold repose,
Retributive remorse arose
The fury of the deepening night,
And heaven darkened o'er thy grave.
As twilight's leaden shadows fall,
He sits within the casement lone.
Bright letters from bright comrades lie
Unheeded round him; and anigh
One empty chair beside the wall:
The world has vanished she is gone.
He muses not in scorn or mirth,
And fondly clasps one raven tress;
Still flames the spirit vision through
Those deep-browed eyes of angry blue,
Too mighty for the mean of earth
Too critic clear for happiness.
Now hums the past its ceaseless song,
And through the chambers of his brain
The tender light of parted days,
Bright cordial smiles old winning ways,
Remembered tones unheeded long,
Rise from the silent years again.
Till, slowly deepens o'er his face
A mournful light, rare and divine,
Like Death's last smile; as silently,
And with a sad simplicity,
His aged hand essays to trace
That relic with one trembling line.
" Only a woman's hair!" No more.
The golden dreams of pride are gone;
And nought remains save this poor prize,
Instinct with anguished memories;
Life's tree is leafless now, and roar
The bleak winds through its skeleton.
The dusk cathedral glooms the while
The bell tolls in the upper air;
And silvering down the mouldered walls,
The winter moonlight coldly falls
Through one old window in the aisle,
On one memorial tablet there.
Ah, what were fame's great trumpet breath,
The proud applause of mightiest men,
The storm, the struggle, and the crown,
The world, that darkened in his frown
The love that he had scorned to death,
Were dearer than an empire then.
Oh, wisdom, manhood, where were ye ;
Thus in caprice of power to move
To play with hearts whose truth you tried
To watch, poor puppet of your pride,
How long sweet, earnest constancy
Would live with unrequited love.
Vain requiem o'er a ruined life
Vain sorrow for the vanished bloom
Of love's sweet blossom. Still with eyes
Turned to its God, affection dies
With curses cankering from the strife
Ambition epitaphs its tomb.
Alone, long, dreary years alone,
His days went down the darkened sky,
Hacked with the heart's revenging war:
A Saturn on his icy star,
God-like upon a ruined throne,
Friendless in his supremacy.
Till, last, by that grey brow there came
Some angel pitying his distress;
And tamed the soul that burned within,
Sin-like revenging upon sin,
And quenched that hell of clearest flame,
In ashes of forgetf ulness.
His spirit lives within his page:
Dissective subtlety of glance;
Keen Truth, to make the merriest mourn,
Fierce wit, that brightens but to burn,
Are there; and cold, ironic rage,
Withering a world it views askance.
What, though amid our warrior band,
An alien patriot he be,
Whose combat clang for Ireland's right,
In reason half, if half in spite,
Still shall we hang his mighty brand
In Freedom's sombre armoury.
And when we pace along the shrine
That coldly closed 011 his despair,
View, from his angered life apart,
The passioned tremble of the heart
That ripples in the little line
4 ' Only a woman's hair. "
WHOSE the white locks wildly scattered
O or that forehead veined and broad,
Like the flakes of marble shattered
From the brow of sculptered god ?
Whose the firm lip of decision
That now shone with thoughts elysian,
Or flamed with fierce derision,
As to dust his foe he trod;
And the eye, clear and intrepid,
Whose immortal glance was dreaded
More than if that frame decrepicl
With a giant's blood had fed it ?
It is Liberty's High Priest,
It is Ireland's first and best
Who from halls of degradation
Spurred a shadowed people onward,
And to glory lead a Nation,
Pointing ever, ever sunward.
Though his the heart as sweet and pure
As summer rivulet demure,
That in the sun of Fancy plays
In peaceful pleasance 'mid its rays
His, too, the brain with Reason bright,
A diamond gem of solid light
Th' Imagination's earthquake power
That moulds a people in an hour,
And sways their spirits in control;
The tongue instinct with fire intense,
Flashing electric eloquence
As some great tempest treads the night,
'Mid mighty hail and thunder-light,
Annihilating in its might
Of Heaven- winged lightning ires
Of fierce thought -executing fires
Tyrannic rule o'er Land and Soul:
But leaving its strong spell withdrawn
A clear- aired world, beneath a dawn.
When, after ages of deep night,
This patriot spirit, armed with Eight,
In the dark Temple of the Land
Stood strong beside its northern shrine,
O'er-heaped with many a bloody chain,
A light broke o'er his sworded hand:
Our banner loosened to the breeze;
And from the silent centuries
A thunder peal burst o'er the main
Proclaiming, " Destined for the free
Has Deity exalted thee,
Green Island o'er the Western Sea;
And dowered with might to use thy right
If but thou worshippest the Light,
Henceforward thou shalt be:
Awaken! Spirit and Time conform arise!
Thy resurrection trumpet through the skies
Sounds from the Throne of Destiny!"
SQUIBS PROM THE CRIMEAN WAR.
AT length the great storm which the prophet forecast,
From his lone ocean rock, is around us unfurled;
The mandate is given the lightnings flame fast
From the long gather'd clouds 011 the brow of the world !
Oh, who may declare how the Nations shall rise,
When peace re-appears o'er the tempest of doom ?
Vague forms of the future are shaped in the skies,
Where the Cossack and Christian contend in the gloom:
Rise, Demons of Force weep, Angels of Light
Our crescent star rolls for a space into night.
Far off, 'mid the wastes of his many-zoned land,
The Despot, enthroned o'er the pomp of the War,
Grasps Glory's dread trump with a warrior's hand,
And clarions a prayer unto Victory's star.
Through the white stately streets of the city, this hour,
Swells the mustering host's multitudinous hum,
And the great bells are tolling from temple and tower,
'Mid the trumpet's drear blast, and the throb of the drum.
Rise, Demons of Force weep, Angels of Light
The Scythian is gathering the Armies of Night.
Lo ! southward, where oft they have traversed of yore,
Through the Mediterranean's azure expanse,
By the ruins of Greece by the swart Afric shore,
Speeds on to the war the bright phalanx of France.
Blow, favouring winds, on the warrior's path
Rise, memories of Moscow, through bosom and brain;
Now the deep passion'd Fury, retributive wrath,
Gives a flame to your chivalry once, once again:
Speed, Spirits as bright as the sun and as warm,
But fierce in your strength as the white Russian storm.
Lo ! England, aroused from her torpor at last
By the slow Scythian terror, moves mightily forth:
Like the full feathered eagles aslant on the blast,
Her thunder brimm'd Fleets surge along to the North.
Oh, what may arise when from Cronstadt's grey steep
The iron-tongued destinies roar through the fire
The sea pride of Britain a wreck on the deep ?
The snow city's towers a funereal pyre ?
Speed on o'er the bleak wintry skies of the town
The vengeance-browed God of Siberia looks down.
Yes, the tempest's a-wing over ocean and glade,
The Hosts hurry on to the plains of the War,
Where throbs the low pulse of the quick cannonade,
From the thundering heart of the battle afar.
While the Slave strains his gaze to the Eastern space,
As the shadow and storm of the time are unfurled,
For that glory of freedom long sought by his Race
In the new dawn of destiny folding the world;
Where, elected by nations, the Sovereign Right
May dictate a new code from his palace of light.
No. II. BEFORE SEBASTOPOL.
Written in the Winter of 1855.
LEADEN low broods the sky round the Crimean shore,
Wild and red sets the sun through the drear water's roar:
Over teiit-scatter'd mountain and rock-scatter'd coast,
Its sullen glare strikes on a perishing host.
Beneath them, the fierce bastions flame, and behind,
Shrill and chill, from the North comes the death-breathing
Ah, desolate vision ! Soon, soon shall the grave
Close over the last weary wreck of the Brave.
Promised Victory pales in the plague -thickened air,
And Glory fades oil from the G olgotha there.
Cease, cannon of Russia, to roar for your prey
The armies of England are wasting away.
What doom is upon them ? A year has scarce died
Since they circled the Throne in the plumes of their pride.
Morn smiled on their parting each Southern steep
Flashed its snowy farewell o'er the blue of the deep,
As breasting the blast toward the orient sun,
Her mighty armada surged buoyantly on.
But, alas for the manhood it bore to their grave,
And alas for the glory they sought o'er the wave.
Now the wind of the steppe sounds their only acclaim
Now the hospital's lair is their Temple of Fame.
Cease, cannon of Russia, to roar for your prey
The silent destroyer has swept them away,
Lo ! bleak night has shrouded the world, from the vcrga
Of the snow- whitened hills to the skirt of the surge.
The trenches are hushed through the veil of the haze
Flickers faint and unfrequent the bivouac's blaze;
Or the pale lamp of the o'er- wearied warriors hold,
As they scantily cover some corse in the mould.
Hark ! a sound from yon gloomy tent stirs on the air.
'Tis no accent of terror 110 moan of despair;
But the voice of a lost lonely heart for anigh,
A poor Irish soldier has lain him to die.
Cease, cease Russian cannon, to roar for ycui prey
A silent destroyer will bear them away.
The thick mist of fever is hot on his eyes,
As he turns his last look toward the Eastern skies.
The Moon slowly rounds through the space of the night,
thinks of one cottage that lies in its light
Far away, faraway on the lost native shore,
Whose fields and whose friends he shall never see more,
He sees, by the glow of its hearth, growing dim,
That memoried group who are thinking of him.
Then, as the death-pulse beats faintly and wild,
He breathes a last prayer for wife, mother, and child.
Cease, cease Russian cannon, to roar for your prey
Frost, fever and famine will bear them away.
Far away, by the storms of the desert o'erblown,
They perish out-numbered, deserted, alone.
Never more shall the soft, blessed balm of the air
They have breathed by their mother's side circle them there
Never more shall the yellow thatched cottage behold
Their return to its roof, as in evenings of old.
Never more, never more shall they rest by its hearth,
'Mid the true tender smiles of the dearest of earth.
For the terrors of winter in pestilence rolled,
Swoops down on Britannia's shepherdless fold:
Cease, cannon of Russia, to roar for your prey
The armies of England are wasting away,
No. III. AN IRISH MOTHER'S DEE AM.
ONE night, as the wind of the winter blew loud,
And snow swathed the earth, like a corse in its shroud,
An aged Mother mused in her dim cottage shed,
O'er the young soldier- son of her heart far away,
Where the camion flames red o'er the low dying dead,
And the desolate Camp bleakly spreads in the day.
And near stood her Daughter, with sad strained smile,
And kind cheek of care, that long weeping had worn,
As she whispered, " Now sleep, dearest Mother, awhile-
God is good, and our Dermodwill surely return."
The poor Mother turned on her pillow, and there
tSoon slept the kind sleep Heaven sheds on our care.
Silence iilled the dusk chamber the low ashy hearth
Sunk lower, and noiselessly sifted the snow
O'er the white, spacious girth of the cold, solemn earth,
Where the muffled moon fitfully glimmer'd below;