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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



POEMS.



POEMS



BY



EDWARD HENRY BICKERSTETH,



C I'EATE OF BANNINGHAM, NORFOLK.



©ambriBgc :
MACMILLAN, BARCLAY, AND MACMILLAN.

LONDON :
SEELETS, FLEET STREET AND HANOVER STREET.



MDCCUXLIX.



LONDON:

UEORGE BARCLAY, CASTLE STREET, LEICESTER SQl'ARE



Hi o9



TO
MY BELOVED FATHEE,

WITHOUT WHOSE SANCTION AND PERMISSION

THESE THOUGHTS WOULD NOT HAVE SO EARLY LEFT

THE RETIREMENT OF KINDRED AND FRIENDLY CIRCLES,

THIS VOLUME OF POEMS AND HYMNS,

WRITTEN, MANY OF THEM,
IN THE HAPPY HOME OF CHILDHOOD,

Es JBefcuatetJ,

WITH THE WARMEST LOVE AND ADMIRATION,

BY

HIS AFFECTIONATE SON.



a 2



852837



CONTENTS.



The Things that are

The Earthquake

On the Quick Movement of Mozart's Symphony

On the Slow Movement of the same

The Favouritisms of Heaven

To my Sister on the Eve of her Marriage

Der Ausruf

Wiegenlied

In Imitation of Korner's "Das Warst du"

On seeing a Leaf fall by Moonlight

Herz mein Herz

Plato

Fragments »

Lines on a Suffering Sister

Lamentations, ch. i. 1-7

The Two Brothers



Page
1

17

30

36

41

47

51

55

57

61

63

65

74

76

83

86



Vlll CONTENTS.








Page


A Night at Sandgate




111


On an Air of Novello's, "Ave Verum"




115


On the Third Centenary in Trinity College




117


Alone upon the Mountains




127


Sonnet .....




130


The Last Hour of 1845




131


Ceruline .....




133


The Church .....




179


The Irish Protestant Converts




181


The Protestant .....




184


The Death-Bed .....




187


Hymns on the Jubilee of the Church Missionary Society


190


The Tower of London ....


199


Caubul ......


211


Cresar's Invasion of Britain




225



CORRIGENDA.



Page 48, line 10, for golden cloud, read golden cord.
„ 71, „ 10, for as like, read as likes.
„ 131, „ heading, for 1846, read 1845.



P 11 E F A C E



The following Poems have been written from
time to time during the last five years. The earlier
ones have been selected from many contemporary
productions, which although at that time, I believe,
the true expression of my young life, would claim
but little interest from the public in these days,
when the fountains of thought are stirred, and the
field of conflict is the heart and soul.

One word of apology for having affixed to each
Poem the date of its composition. Some friends
into whose hands this book may fall will be aware
that the writer of these pages has recently entered
upon the higher and holier duties of ministerial
work. And though he trusts that there will be
nothing found in these pages inconsistent with that



PREFACE.



blessed calling, he was yet unwilling that those
friends should imagine that pieces of a lighter
shade — whose heart was moral rather than spiritual,
and whose region the fancy rather than the ima-
gination — should have engrossed the hours of that
dedicated life. Not that he would for a moment
assert that religion — simple Gospel religion, and
poetry — earnest poetry, are at variance. How
were this possible, when poetry rests on truth, and
is beautified and glorified by the sanction of the
word of God ? Whether Truth and Beauty be one,
as the Germans claim, or not, this seems certain, —
that if it were possible to divorce Beauty from
Truth, she would be the falsest syren who ever sang
the seafarer to destruction. And what field presents ,
a thousandth part of such magnificent resources for {
poetry as the page of Bible truth ? — the dim back-
ground of a past eternity, the antagonist powers of
mighty evil and almighty good, the awful redemption , (
of man, the centuries of conflict, the world-wide
arena, the intermingling of celestial and earthly
agents, the deep heavings of the present, the cloud-
less ages of the future; and, in all, human hearts
beating and throbbing with human sympathies and
affection.

But I have wandered far from my apology for






PREFACE. M



laving appended dates to all the following Poems,
that the lighter among them may not be assigned
;o a wrong period in my life. This remark cspc-
:ially applies to the longest Poem in the book,
' Ceruline/' which was first written about the age of
eighteen, and re-written about two years afterwards ;
ind, though fully sensible of its many defects, the
current of thought underflowing it being far more
hallow than ought ever to enrich such phantasms
if fancy, yet, if withdrawn now, I felt that it would
>e withdrawn for ever, and that it would be a
nemento, at least to myself, of faery labyrinths
low escaped and deserted.

The first Poem, " The Things that are," was
originally intended to have been the introduction to
longer and far more laborious undertaking than
have yet found time or energy to pursue, — A
Iketch of the Present and the Future. The piece
ere given was designed to delineate the true state
mind a man must possess ere he could truly
nd rightfully contemplate the course of time. The
ontinuation of this, which forms the second poem
1 the book, was rather compelled by the awful
iterest of the events of the present year, than
iven as if it were any connected link in the work
5 sketched at first. But if it please God that time



1






Ml PREFACE.

and opportunity be given, I hope it may yet be
permitted me to attempt anew this favourite and
lung - cherished subject, though almost demanding
the recreation-hours of a lifetime.

The Prize Poems have been reprinted without
alteration, except the closing stanzas of the first,
which the kindly banterings of divers private critics
have led me to prune and slightly change. Also
some of the other Poems have been modified, and
one or two re-written, previous to publication.

And now, with fervent prayers that this mean
and unworthy contribution to the Christian litera-
ture of our country may yet be used by the great
Head of our Church for the furtherance of His
cause and truth, this book is committed to the kind
perusal of readers.



Buuiituyiiunt, Nov. 1848.



THE THIXGS THAT ARE.

(J iirriv ov ovra;.

The closing of a stormy night : — the wrecks

Of many tempests stranded on the shore

Of Time's mysterious sea : — and yet no break,

No far blue vista in the storm-tost drifts

Of clouds, that gather blackness ever and aye

Close round the wild horizon. If a star

With trembling light, and that the light of tears,

Gleams for a moment through the vault of gloom,

The swift clouds envying Hope's sweet messenger,

Quick shifting dim its radiance, and the void

Of darkness reigns supreme. Perchance, anon,

A meteor with its dazzling train shoots by,

And hurries into nothingness — a dream

Of dying human glory — a bright torch

B



VJ THE THINGS THAT AEE.

To light ambition to its starless tomb. —

Once more the eye looks up, as if in fear

Of that which shall be, for the lightnings now

Are all abroad upon the winds of night,

Writing, in vivid characters of flame,

Truths words might never utter, truths intense,

Of man's strange destiny and future worlds

Prophetic : — brief their tale, as it is bright ;

And after them, dim thunder sounds far off,

Like waters, or the wail of nations come,

From the lone caverns of chill shadowy mountains,

In fitful bursts upon the startled ear.

All speak of woes and tempests past and coming. .

Is such the sky that stretches o'er the world ?
Fool, fool, — it cannot be — just close thine eye
And open it anew, and o'er its sweep
"Will rise, in faery pageantries of joy,
Life-pictures diverse far : young pleasure's train.
Dances, and revelries, and reckless smiles,
All cluster'd there beneath a cloudless sky : —
None know it is but painted o'er their heads,



THE THINGS THAT AEE. 3

And that the true dread heavens roll rife with storms.

Tush, tush, bend down thine ear and list again : —

I listen 71 — and the dulcet voice of song

And music manifold of various spells,

And the yet sweeter tones of flattering hope,

Whispering of peace and pleasures without fail,

Smiled at my fears, and ask'd me tauntingly

If I too smiled not — hut a deeper voice

Like that of thunder, utter 71 answer — Peace !

There is no peace, and echoed still — no peace:

And all the after sounds of mirth that came

Upon the moaning breezes, ever seem'd

To sicken on my weary soul, like things

Of little moment to a dying man.

Hast thou not often at lone hours of midnight,
When the vain troublous world is still, and thou
Art there amidst the universe alone,
Alone with visions of the vast unseen,
In the stern grandeur of eternal truth
Looming around thee — turn 71 thy spirits eye
Inward upon itself, and in a tone



1 THE THINGS THAT ARE.

Tremulous for fear of answer unforeseen,

Ask'd thyself what thy heing's being is?

Aye, what that strange mysterious thing self is?

And all things seem to fall from off thee, like

The leaves of autumn, and the earth to sink,

The stars to fade, and all things be as dreams —

Oh ! then the solitude of solitudes,

The feeling of uhutter'd weariness,

Like shipwreck 'd mariner cast far adrift

Upon a desert ocean, with its void

Crushes the heart — the spirit faints — till soon

The stern conviction that thou canst not stay

Heartless, and homeless, and companionless,

That struggle unto death thou must for life,

Floods all thy soul ; and with a sudden spring

Of blended fear, and hope, and confidence,

Thou castest all that storm-tost thing, thyself,

Upon the blessed certainty of God :

And clingest unto Him, with energies

Lent by despair — the only anchor left ;

If that could fail, all others were but straws —

Yet clinging there a voice within thee tells



THE THINGS THAT ARE.

That cannot fail thee — 'tis thy Father's hand,
Poor child — He loves thee — love can never fail.
And then all grows serene like light, and Peace
Comes stealing o'er the waters, and aloft
Faith rises, Phoenixdike, amid the wreck.

So when that mystic undertone, no peace,
Like the dull clangour of a muffled hell
Rousing the sleep of a heleaguer'd town,
First mingled with those revelries of song,
Louder and louder pealing (whether they
Wax'd fainter, or its tone the clearer grew),
Until I seem'd to hear nor lyre nor dance,
But only that prophetic wailing ; then
My spirit lost all consciousness of earth,
And listlessly I counted as they fell
The heatings of the heavy clock of Time*
I saw and slept, and sleeping still I heard ; —
And in my sleep my lips re-echoed ever
After that mighty pendulum of Fate
Words that it utter 'd palpably, — now — then :
And then still followed now, and still the now



6 THE THINGS THAT ARE.

Preceded then, eternally the same.

Save when at intervals of mystic length,

The hours of those illimitable ages,

I heard a hammer strike some viewless sphere,

And straightway through the universe of worlds,

In varying number but in tone the same,

Peal'd forth the everlasting answer, 'gone.''

And is there nothing then that fleets not thus ?
Unconsciously I murmured. At the words,
Came crowding on my spirit's inward eye
A thousand sunny visions — mine heart leapt
To welcome them — for there were cloudless scenes
Of childhood's happy rambles ; there were thoughts
That blended with the burning dreams of youth,
And like the sunbeams to the sun flew back
As to their early home, where gushes ever
That fount within a fountain, human love —
When music held her calm unruffled spell,
Or trembled into sorrow, or did wail
With deepest spirit storms, and these again
Did soothe to rest in wondrous magic wise.



THE THINGS THAT ARE,

Childhood and youth rose thus, and thus laid out

Their rosy landscapes at my feet — I look'd

Once more, — once more, — a moment they were gone.

I could have wept their sojourn was so brief —

But ere the tear fell from my eye, behold

New thoughts, new burning feelings, new desires

Came rushing o'er me : — all the streams of love

From that young ciystal fountain, music-like,

Flow'd a majestic river through the vale

Of life, and I was wandering by its banks,

And often paused my footstep, often gazed

Into what seem'd a nether sky, where heaven

With its unfathomable mysteries,

In characters of soften'd loveliness,

Was imaged in the watery mirror. Oh

I could have linger'd by that stream, methought,

For ever and for ever, but its flow

Grew faint and fainter still, till all was air,

And viewless winds, and unremaining dreams —

Yes, I might tell for hours what there and then

Arose and vanish'd, till my bosom ached

And all my heart was pain'd within me : — friends



8 THE THINGS THAT ARE.

They were and brothers those light spirit-scenes
For a few passing moments, but oh, when
My heart was going out towards them, when
Like bright homes nestling in a vale they seem'd,
Where I long while might linger, as I mused
Their cloud foundations sway'd before the wind,
For they were built upon the mists and winds,
And perishable were, and brief as they.

As one awaking from a glorious train

Of dreams and phantasies at dead of night,

Looks forth upon the darkness for awhile :

Musing aghast ; as if he thought straightway

Another image, beautiful as those

That have pass'd by him in their loveliness,

Would rise and fill the void of gasping thought :

But when the listless moments steal away

Unvision'd all and dreamless, doth start up

And question of himself what forms they were ?

And what he is, and where, and whence, and how ?

So I, as panting to lay hold on that

Which would not vanish at my touch like snow,



THE THINGS THAT ARE.

Struggled to cast myself from out myself
In secret prayer and agony of soul ;
And though in darkness, onward felt my way,
If haply I might find a rock whereon
To stay my weary foot ; for all that once
I deem'd substantial, had proved light as air,
And fragile as the foam on slippery waves —
The fashions of this world, its feasts and songs,
To my incredulous gaze seem'd planted now
Upon the words — no peace. The course of Time-
Its seeming endless cycles, its vast spans,
Stretching like new horizons day by day
Before a journeying traveller, reaching far
Athwart the clouded Past and clouded Future,
In countless maze of circles, as I gazed, —
All rested on one shifting sliding point,
Which men call Present, which was ever gone
Though still renew'd like shower drops in a stream
And when with sickening soul I turn'd away
From all the unrealities of earth,
And the brief phantoms of historic ■worlds,
To what I deem'd were everlasting things,



10 THE THINGS THAT AEE.

And truths that borrow'd immortality

Of deeper things than mortal hand might touch,

And mortal foot explore ; lo, these likewise

Had vanish'd — darkness wrapt my steps in gloom —

Yet there are things that in the darkness live

A life intense and vivid as in light.

Prayer then can wrestle on victoriously,

And Faith without suspicion lean her hand

Upon a viewless anchor — there is One

To whom the night translucent seems as day,

And though unseen, I felt His presence filling

The vast and vacant chambers of my soul.

And one by one, as wrapt in silvery mist

That caught their diamond brightness, like the stars

Of twilight visiting a lonely vale,

The words of promise beauteously brake forth

And kindled into radiance. For awhile

Wonder and rapture reft my soul of thought,

And left me tranced as a child who first

Stands on the shore of blue phosphoric waves

At midnight : but ere long the dews of heaven

Shed balm upon my fever'd spirit : all



THE THINGS THAT ARE. 11

Was peace : and the pure atmosphere of truth
Around me, like an infant's holy dream,
Diffused a light and beauty all its own.
Ah ! words can never tell my bliss, for I
Had found what my soul long'd for ; I had found
My spirit's home, my Father's presence, found
Wherewith to sate my bosom's infinite —
And He was smiling on me, and His peace
Was in my heart of hearts, that peace divine
Which passes understanding. I did weep,
But they were tears of joy — I sigh'd, but 'twas
The fulness of a heart that overflow'd,
Nor otherwise could utter what within
Was hidden — long my musing lasted — long
I held intense communion with my God.

Oh, hast thou known the yearnings of delight
It is to commune with a tender father,
To cast the burden of a host of cares
Upon his father-heart, to feel thyself
His child, and in that blessed privilege
To ask his sympathy, his care, his love,



12 THE THINGS THAT ARE.

And with a deep familiar earnestness

151 end all thy thoughts with his, with filial fear

Yet fearless in affection ? If thou hast

Thou knowest an emblem, faint indeed and dim.

But yet the brightest, loveliest earth affords

of the joy fountains gushing in the heart

Of one, who, from the world a fugitive,

And from despair, and darkness, and thick doubt.

Finds there is yet one bosom where to cast

His sorrows, and a Father's heart that glows

For him, and yearns to greet him as a child.

Entranced, imparadised in joy, I knelt

There at the footstool of my Father's throne,

My Father's and my God's, and from His smile

Drank life, drank beauty, drank intensest love,

From love, and life, and beauty's fountain-head.

I may not tell ye more — but when that dream

Of glory (if ye reckon those things dreams

That have a deep and vast reality

Beyond all certainties of sight and sense,

As reaching the unseen eternal world)

Had pass'd me, like a golden sunset cloud,



THE THINGS THAT ARE. 13

My soul was as a sea of light, whereon

No grief did cast a shadow ; such as oft

Thou mayst have seeu within a summer sky,

Sleeping untroubled in calm mellow light,

Above the spot where the sun's chariot wheels

Sank slowly into ocean. Yes, it pass'd,

But yet I felt it was my own for ever,

A wealth, a rapture, an inheritance.

And quickly I bethought me once again

Of all those airy scenes of young delight,

That whilome, as I gazed, had pass'd away,

Or seem'd to pass, like phantom soulless things.

And a voice spake within me, ' Thou hast found,

By finding out thy spirit's home in God,

A master key of truth that shall unlock

The thousand wards of earthly mysteries ;

And shew thee unto whom alone, the good,

The true, the noble, -pure, and beautiful,

"Whatever seems to mortals loveliest,

Can have or claim an immortality

Of goodness, truth, or beauty — 'tis to those

Whose hearts are right, whose beings one with God,



1-i THE THINGS THAT ARE.

Who in Him find theiv all — to other men,

The heauteous things that pass them by on earth,

Oh, yes, they are immortal, hut it is

An immortality of deathless woe,

That haunts them with the sting of lost delight.

And once again, retracing all my steps,

I gazed upon those lovely scenes of life ;

Those passion fountains of unfathom'd depth.

Those springs of human love, those heautiful homes

Of friendship and affection, which the dove

Of Peace broods over evermore, and there

Doth shelter underneath her sacred wing

A father's heart, a mother's, or a child's —

Those dearest types of heaven ; and lo, they rose

In tenfold loveliness before me, rose

More passionately beautiful than ever ;

And oh, the blessed change ! — they vanish'd not.

At first my faithless heart grew chill with fear,

And trembled as the moments swift flew by,

And the far beatings of the clock of time

Again struck dimly on mine ear, but soon



THE THINGS THAT ARE. 15

Faith whisper'cl, " They are amaranthine now,
Thou livest now 'mid everlasting things —
Fear not : what once was of the present, soon
Is number'd with the past : what once was now,
Let one brief moment pass away, is then :
And Time may count these hours and cycles, gone,
But Faith hath vanquished Time : and she beholds
The things that have been, being, and to be."

In peace, my spirit linger'd on the scenes

Of her eternal Past : — in peace I mused

On those delicious spots of earth, those fair

Oases in the wilderness of life,

Those isles too often few and far between,

Emblems of home upon the homeless sea,

Those Edens blooming in a ruin'd world,

Those sunbeams 'mid the storm-clouds all astray,

Those gushing springs within a thirsty land,

Those stars that startle us like friends at night,

Those blessed things so inexpressibly dear,

There, there I mused — there wander'd like a child

Through flowerets all his own ; and when at length



16 THE THINGS THAT ARE.

The cycle was complete, and through the heavens
Thrice peal'd the everlasting answer, Gone,
I look'd upon those scenes of far delight,
And there unfading and unchanged they lay
In the clear cloudless region of the Past,
Imperishably shrined in love and light.



L845.



THE EARTHQUAKE.

2=/3as §' a.f&a.%ov, aSafixrw, atfoXiftov to <ri>)v
Nuv a.q>l<rru.ra,t. — iEsCH. Choe.

Two years have fleeted, and almost a third,

Since thus the image of the Present (calm

It seem'd, yet was not) interwove itself

With my wild, wayward musings ; till enlink'd

To truths that change not, Time's tumultuous sea

For once in the clear mirror of my soul

Lay changeless. Fool ! to dream that passionate waves

Could, infantdike, forget their wrath so soon

And lull themselves into eternal sleep.

Fool ! to forget that under-voice " no peace "

Of storms prophetic amid calm. Once more

It fell upon my spirit s slumbers — fell

c



18 THE EARTHQUAKE.

Like sudden thunder on a mariner

Who sleeps at midnight : look'd I forth once more

With eager thought, yet tranquil, for my soul

Was anchor 'd now upon a rock that lay

Fast rooted in the Eternity of truth,

And deep as heaven's foundations. What, if still

Cold clashing waters in the depths of ocean

Sweep o'er it and ahout, far, far above

My vessel rode securely o'er the waves,

And in tranquillity and rest I look'd

Forth on the untranquil, restless flood of the world.

In sooth, my spirit's peace was not of earth ;

Or else the sudden shock of change and ruin

That met mine eyes had shaken my whole frame

As if with earthquake. Desolate and vast

The homes of millions sigh'd : and sulphurous clouds

Hung over them, from whence at intervals

Sharp lightnings flooded heaven with gusts of flame ;

The stars were struck with blindness ; and the sea

Roar'd ; and the earth, as with volcanic fires,

Labour'd, and moan'd, and shook exceedingly.



THE EARTHQUAKE. 19

Woe for the sous of men ! woe, when the earth,

Whereon their hopes are builcled as on rock,

The eldest, firmest, soliclest of things,

Trembles as smitten with the curse of God.

Woe, woe ! for baseless as a fabric built

Of clouds, and transient as they, are fears

Less deep than hell, and hopes less high than heaven.

Ay, for the earth may shudder, and the stars

Fall, as a fig-tree, swept of mighty winds,

Casts her untimely figs, and truth that rests

Upon the word of God stand forth, alone

Eternal amid perishable things.

The sharp shock of the earthquake ceased. Mine eye
Fell where the thunder of its ruin and wreck
Seem'd loudest, on the guilty land of France.
And, — as a scene of sunset glory plays
Delusively before us, though the sun
Be sunk, and wintry darkness clouding heaven —
A moment on my spirit's eye there flash'd .
A dream of bygone hours : — a monarch throned
On arms and proud ambition, and the will



•20 THE EARTHQUAKE.

(Of fickle, frail foundations, frailest this) —

A people's shifting will, who scoff 'd to own

The fountain of all kingly power in God.

Poor man ! yet seem'd he throned securely : — long

His fate hung o'er him ere it fell, and long

The earthquake slumher'd under ere it came.

Long years he reign'd : his gilded sceptre sway'd

Pale crowds of flattering menials, men who swore

Allegiance, and innumerable throngs

Of warriors, and a Godless multitude

Whose god was Pleasure, and the lawless fires

Of dastard men whom sin alone inspired

With boldness, and a few heroic souls

Who pray'd and wept o'er that they saw and heard

In solitude, and many aching hearts.

Long years he reign'd : the assassin's hand in vain ;

Was raised against him often times, but still

God's mightier hand was o'er him : and the floods

Of evil chafed and toss'd themselves in vain

The hour of their unloosing was not come ;

And God reserved him for no common fall.

Long years he reign'd : and with the liberal hand



THE EARTHQUAKE. 21

Of kingly friendship woo'd alliances


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