Harriet Acton.

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London, December, 1846.




The Two Flowers - - - 1

Peace - - - - 9

The Farewell of the Unloved - - - 10

The Sleeping Monitor - - - 13

The Poor Man's Prayer - - - 16

A Farewell to the Old Year - - 19

The Song of the Waves - - -21

To the Evening Star - - - 23

The Lay of the Gipsy - - - 24

Summer's last Lay - - -27

The Youth and the Withered Tree - - 30

The Day and Night of the Heart - - 34

The Power of doing Good - - - 35

To a Valued Preceptress - - 37

The Seasons - - - - 38

Tears of Bitterness - - - 41

The Child and the Sunbeam - 45


Pfl org i

The Wandering Minstrel - - 47

The Sea King - . . - 49

A Farewell to Bishop's Itchington - - 51

The Old Grey Fountain - - .54

The Ivy and the Oak - - - 55

On my Sister's Portrait - - - 58

The Song of the Pearl-Diver - - 59

The Voice of the coming Year - - 6 1

The Tenth Plague of Egypt - - 63

On the Departure of some Relatives for Africa- - 71

The Try sting Tree - - . 72

The Song of December - - - 77

May Flowers - - - .79

Anna Boleyn's Farewell to the Princess Elizabeth,

on the Morning of her Execution - - SI

Visions of the Heart - . - 83

The Blind Man to his Child - - - 84

To a Friend of Childhood - - 8/

The Holly - - . . 88

Spells - - - - 91

The Homeward Bound - - - 92

Homage to the Author of the Christmas Carol 95

On an Ancient Oak Room in Warwickshire - 97

Nairla - - - . _ 10 o

A Tribute to Campbell, the Poet - - 103


On the Threatened Destruction of some Withered

Christmas Holly - 105

The Ancient Mirror - - - 107

The Old Covenanter - - - 1 1 1

A Birthday Tribute to an Early Friend - 113
Lines, on a Picture of " Uncas at his Watch-fire " - 115

To-morrow - - - - 117

The Irish Exile's Lament - - - 119

Lights and Shadows - - - 121

The Song of Old Time - - -123

The Snow-bound - - - 126

On a Picture of " Love's mislaid Quiver" - 129

The Song of the Sea-birds - - 131

Thou art not by my Side - • - 134

The Cry of Genius - - - 135

Lines, suggested by attending a Meeting for the

" Earlier Cessation of Labour" - - 138




There bloomed two lovely flowers

In a sweet and shady dell ;
Through the summer's balmy hours

They had graced its beauty well ;
The soft west wind breathed on them,

In the calm and stilly air ;
And the bright sun shone upon them,

As they grew in beauty there.
Oh ! happy were those flowers

In their home of love and light :
" What a merry life is ours ! "

Was their chorus day and night.
The leaves bent down to watch them

With a fond and holy care,
Lest some rude-hand might snatch them

From their home, so bright and fair.


They had known no other dwelling

Half so sunny as their own,
Ere the spring's glad voice was telling,

They had hlossomed there alone.
Alone ! alone ! with nought to look

Upon their kingdom free ;
And their graceful stems with triumph shook,

As they sighed " How hlest are we!"

One morn when leaf and flower

Were beginning to unfold,
And that sweet and tranquil bower

Seemed bathed in rays of gold ;
A sound came stealing o'er them

Of joyous voices there,
And a party swept before them,

Of lords and ladies fair.
A moment ! and the stately throng

Have hied them far away,
With laughter as they passed along,

And tones and gestures gay.
A moment ! and the stern old trees

Were lonely left again,
To shake with anger in the breeze,

That aught disturbs their reign.
And the two fair flowers looked forth at last,

In wonder and in dread ;
They had liid them 'till the throng had passed,

In their thick and leafy bed.


But now they watch'd the gallant train,

As it vanished from their sight,
'Till they longed to see it once again,

In its glittering beauty bright.
And they thought upon that band so gay,

'Till they loathed their silent dell :
And they sigh'd to think that they must stay

In the home once loved so well.
The bright sun cast his rays of gold

Upon that spot so fair,
But the flowers looked on reserved and cold,

And wept that they were there.

The evening dews were falling fast,

And naught had reached their ear,
When they heard a bugle's thrilling blast

Proclaim the party near.
On ! on they came with horse and hound,

And feathers waving high,
And the greenwood rang to their footstep's sound

As they swept the forest by.
" Will they depart and leave us here ?"

And the flowers gaz'd forth with dread ;
For the stately throng was drawing near,

But glanced not on their bed.
With snowy plumes and jewels bright,

And merry laugh and tone,

They have vanished like a beam of light,

And the flowers are left alone.

B 2


No ! not alone — a lady fair

Has loitered in the dell,
To gather blossoms for her hair,

Of the graceful heather hell.
And he who lingers by her side,

To mark each smile and sigh,
Will call that gentle lady bride,

Ere the autumn passes by.
They have culled tbe bells so fresh and sweet,

When oh ! long looked-for chance !
The flowers so fair and blooming- meet

The lady's laughing glance.
And she takes them from their home beneath

The leaves and dew-drops bright,
To lend their beauty to the wreath

Which binds her hair that night.
And the flowers ! the flowers, oh ! what said they,

To leave their shady bower,
And the quiet glen, to speed away

To the halls of wealth and power?
They shook their slender stems with glee,

And they waved their heads with pride,
When they thought that they should ever be

By that lovely lady's side.
And yet a sad and fond regret

Came o'er them at the last,
For the home they could not quite forget,
And the bright and happy past.

toems. a

For their joyous life so calm and free,

For the leaves they loved so well,
For the waving grass, and stately tree,

Which graced the sunny dell —
They have wished to change their tranquil lot :

They must hear it as they may ;
They have looked their last on that sweet spot,

And the flowers are home away.


A strain comes sweeping, soft and clear,

Of music's measure light,
And steals upon the startled ear

Of the still and peaceful night.
And the moonbeams, as they softly fall

The waving trees between
Look in upon a stately hall,

And a gay and festive scene.
The first and fairest of the land,

Are gathered smiling there,
But the brightest of the joyous band

Is that gentle lady fair :
With naught amidst her clust'ring curls,

Save the flowers in beautv rare.
Oh ! lovelier far than gems or pearls,

Those blooming flowers were.


And well Indeed might they be proud

Of the part they bore that night,
As they moved amidst the festal crowd,

Upon that lady bright.
As they grace the fair and polished brow

Of the glittering revel's queen,
They can have naught to sigh for now,

Beyond that brilliant scene.
And yet ! they were not happy quite,

A feeling new and strange
Passed over them with a chilling blight :

And again they wished for change.
Again they wished to be away,

Where they alone were fair ;
They had looked on flowers of hues more gay,

Since they had entered there.
And they thought that in their home serene

None had seemed fair save them,
And they were to that forest scene

As a rare and foreign gem.
But here swept by them every hour

Strange flowers of beauty bright ;
They were more prized in their greenwood bower

Than in those halls of light.
'Twas true that they were still most fair,

They had not lost their bloom,
But they drooped beneath the perfumed air

Which filled that gorgeous room.


And they longed to feel the evening breeze

Steal o'er them, and they sighed
For their slighted home beneath the trees,

In the stately forest wide.
A still small voice first whispered then,

That they had happier been
In the leafy shades of the peaceful glen

Than in that brilliant scene.
And the flowers bent down their heads and wept,

For their hearts were full of woe,
When they thought how calmly they had slept

The moon's pale light below.

Dark night is giving place to day,

The morn begins to break,
And the lovely lady hastes away

Ere the sun's bright rays awake.
But the flowers that late had graced her brow

Are thrown neglected by ;
Their bloom is past, they are faded now,

They are left alone to die.
To die uncared for, far away

From their own sweet forest glen,
What visions of its life so gay,

Came rushing o'er them then !
" Oh would ! oh would that we were there

In our home of beauty bright,
Near the leaves that watched us with such care,

And sheltered us each night.


Where the tall trees shaded us all day,

'Till the sun's fierce heat was o'er,
And we are dying far away;

They will never see us more."
The flower's words were choked with woe,

For their hearts were breaking fast,
And their tears in hitter sorrow flow,

As they mourn their folly past.
As they think that had they ever been

Contented in their dell,
They might have graced its tranquil scene,

Where they were loved so well.
" Oh ! that we ne'er had from thee fled,"

In agony they sighed,
And bowing down each drooping head,

The blighted flowers died !

H. A.




Oh ! hidden sojourner amid earth's shade,
So oft a stranger where its gifts are laid —
So wildly worshipp'd in thy distant sphere,
So lightly treasur'd in thy beauty near —
Flying the bosom where ambition reigns,
To thrill the life-blood of a peasant's veins —
To wreathe with flow'rs Toil's oft heart-galling
chains —

Whence art thou ?

To the lone captive, in his hour of death —
To the reft watcher of a parting breath —
When the heart's latest blessing is removed —
When we are taught to doubt where we have lov'd —
When we have sown our trust, and reap'd despair —
When we have gather 'd weeds from flowers fair —
When we have garner 'd, at the last, but care,

Why com'st thou ?

On the pure eyes that seek for thee thou break'st ;
To the high hearts that call on thee thou speak'st.
Where thou art stay'd by prayer from passing fast —
Where thou art held the first boon and the last —



Planting the tree of Faith where had grown Fear —
Bringing Hope's smile to check Affliction's tear —
From that bright land whose skies are ever clear,

Thence art thou.

R. A.


Come nearer to my side, Mother,

There's a dimness in my eye,
There's a weight upon my heart, Mother,

I feel that I shall die.
But ere the hand of death, Mother,

Is laid upon my brow,
Come nearer to my side, Mother,

I've much to tell thee now.
I've been a slighted child, Mother,

Yet have I loved thee well,
And the prayers I've breathed for thee, Mother.

Are more than I can tell.
I've been a slighted child, Mother,

And fond and kindly word,
And tones that soothe the soul, Mother,

My ear hath never heard.



I've prayed upon my knees, Mother,

In sorrow night and day,
That the coldness of thy heart, Mother,

Might sometime pass away.
I've prayed upon my knees, Mother,

That I might come to he,
As treasured and as dear, Mother,

As my sister is to thee.
But ah ! 'twas all in vain, Mother,

I strove thy will to do,
I would I had been fair, Mother,

That thou hadst loved me too.
I've laid upon my bed, Mother,

When others thought I slept ;
Through the long and weary night, Mother,

My lonely watch I've kept.
To hear thy well-known step, Mother.

And see thee fondly press
On my sister's sleeping brow, Mother,

A kiss of tenderness.
But ah ! no kiss was mine, Mother,

No blessing came to me,
I've wept till daylight dawned, Mother,

For I was nought to thee !
Yet now so near my grave, Mother.

One wish my heart doth fill,
One pray'r upon my lip, Mother,

Doth hang unuttered still.



Soon must I bend to death, Mother,

Yet while I linger on,
Let the sunshine of thy love, Mother,

Be turned thy child upon.
For I could not seek my grave, Mother,

Without a parting word,
To tell me ere we part, Mother,

How thy slighted child has erred !
Oh ! is it that thine eyes, Mother,

Are fondly bent on mine ?
Oh ! is it that my hand, Mother,

Is wildly clasped in thine ?
Oh ! is it that thy voice, Mother,

Falls kindly on mine ear ?
My heart will break with joy, Mother,

Those cherished tones to hear !
Oh ! mourn not that I die, Mother,

That heart would sink with care,
If I should seek thy face, Mother,

And find a shadow there.
Thy treasured smiles of love, Mother,

Around me now have played ;
I fain would pass away, Mother,

Before those smiles can fade.
My eye is growing dim, Mother,

My heart is growing cold,
My life is ebbing fast, Mother,

My earthly days are told.



Thus ! thus ! to hold thy hand, Mother,

Will still my latest pain — ■
Smile on me ere I die, Mother,

Oh ! may we meet again !

H. A.


There lay a weary child

'Neath an old tree ;
In its sweet sleep it smiled,

How joyfully !
Bright must its dreams have heen,
Couched in that sylvan scene

So peacefully.

One near that sheltered spot

Gloomily pass'd ;
Fortune around his lot

Rich gifts had cast ;
Yet did his heart declare
Peace from its sojourn there

Still hurried fast.



Slowly his footsteps stray

By glade and hill,
Where the young sleeper lay

Slumbering still ;
Smiles on its eyelids rest,
As if its guileless breast

Cay visions fill.

Soft stole the stranger on,

Downward he bent ;
Long that smooth brow upon

Gazed he intent ;
" Oh ! that such rest were mine !
And to my sleep like thine

Sweet dreams were sent."

Tears o'er his earnest gaze

Silently start ;
Thoughts of forgotten days

Steal round his heart ;
When with his day-dreams fair,
Like the child sleeping there,

Grief had no part.

All that the world calls great,

His might be styled ;
Glory and high estate

On him had smil'd ;


Yet had he falsehood found,
And for its sleep profound
Envied that child.

Then came the yearning thought —

Would it be vain,
If he with fervour sought

Sweet peace to gain ?
How should he welcome rest
Back to his wearied breast

Gladly again ?

" Peace may once more be thine !"

Hope whispered low ;
But in thy bosom's shrine

Change must thou know.
Some to thee false have seem'd,
All hast thou worthless deem'd —

Ah, 'tis not so !

" Scatter thou mercy's seed,

Wipe tears away,
Kind word and noble deed

Sow while you may :
Gladden the mourning one —
Joy, for such mercies done,

With thee shall stay."


" Sweet one !" the stranger cried.

" Sleep in thy dell ;
Peace doth thy slumbers guide

As with a spell.
Holy thoughts woke by thee,
Never shall pass from me —

God guard thee well !"

H. A.


There is a tale of fervent faith

Within that prayer so often said ;
And yet, so oft unheedingly —
" Each day give us our daily bread."

It stealeth forth from many a lip,

That's decked with smiles — perchance unheard
On ears that drink but sounds of joy,

It falleth as an empty word.

How shoxdd there be in lightsome hearts

A vision of their mirth's decay ?
How should the child of wealth have need

For " daily bread" to kneel and pray ?


It is not these who kneel with faith,
To crave the food they must obtain ;

It is not faith to pray, and know
Each day must bring but joys again.

Go 'neath the poor man's cheerless roof,

Wliere Care's gaunt form hath gone before :

Where Want's chill breath is ever felt ;
Where Joy, if e'er it was, is o'er.

Look on young eyes which should be bright,
On drooping forms which should be proud :

On aged locks, by sorrow thinned,

By all the heart's stern anguish bowed.

Oh ! it is tliese who pray with faith,

For means to keep from sin and shame ;

Who crave for what a thousand deem,
In pride of wealth, an empty name !

And shall no kindly hand be stretched,

In this, o\ir land of boasted worth,
To save, from ruin and disgrace,

Our fellow-pilgrims upon earth ?

Turn ! oh, ye high ones ! ye that share
The " common lot" with each of those,

Whose fate, so widely differing now,
Will be as yours when life shall close.


Turn ! and the pity here ye shew

May win ye blessings, which shall cling

Around your memory on that day,
Far above every earthly thing.

Scorn not the poor ! The heart you crush
Can feel, as yours, a blighting word ;

And it may be, his prayer, before

Your own, for pardon, shall be heard !

Oh ! ye should glory that your gold
Can lighten some lone hearts of pain ;

When many, that the world deems blest,
Are yearning for such peace in vain.

Have pity, then ! Be yours the hand
To turn destruction from its prey.

One mite from out your store can make
How many tears to pass away.

Oh ! answer ye the prayer that bursts
In anguish from the stricken heart,

And triumph that it is for man,
To say to misery, " Depart !"

And in the poor man's prayer, for you
A blessing shall ascend on high,

To soothe your chequered path on earth,
And win for you eternity.

R. A.



Go ! Winter bears thee from us. Flowers,

That crowned thee once, are dead ;
And hopes, thy spring-time raised to us,

Have, with thy beauty, fled.
Yet we would shield thy fading form

From murmurs of regret ;
Though many a heart that yearned for thee

Thy sojourn must forget.

Pass on thy way ; thou leav'st a trace

Of other sorrows here :
Have we no griefs for wasted time ?

Sighs for a mis-spent year ?
Go ! thou must now give place to one

That hath not mark'd our care —
That cometh to restore to earth

Its robe of beauty rare —

To soothe the troubles sent by thee —

To calm the spirit wild —

To teach the task a cold world sets

Adversity's wan child.

c 2


Some light and unwrung hearts may know

But joy while thou art here ;
And some may count the weary days

By Sorrow's blighting tear.

Thou hast pass'd by to humble us

By stern Affliction's hand —
To render desolate a place

In many a household band ;
Scattering misery around

On some once smiling spot,
While thou art linking friends, whose names

Were once remember 'd not.

Go ! the New Year will read to us

A yet unopened page ;
Perchance to sadden blooming youth —

Perchance to lighten ace.
'Tis meet that we should watch thee die

With feelings kindly yet :
We know not that a future hour

We woidd not fain forget.


All, it is therefore Ave should mark
Witb fear thy form depart :

Time, in its changes, may but bring
A changed and care-worn heart ;


And, in remembrance of the smile,

We should forget the tear ;
Nor turn with slighting from the past

To greet the coming year.

R. A.



When the sky is drear as night,
And the winds with fury roar,
We come in our giant might
To lash the trembling shore.
Ha ! ha ! we come from an ocean home,

With our snow-white crests of glancing foam ;
And ever our song, as we hurry along,
Is, " Hail to the rolling waves !"

We play with the stately bark,

When lull'd by the zephyr's breath ;
But beneath the tempest dark
Our touch is the clasp of death.
Ha ! ha ! we fly with a fearful cry,

Startling the clouds as we pass them by ;
And still is our song, as we whirl along,
" Hail to the foaming waves !"


But oh ! when our rage is past,

We sorrow its work to see,
We list to the dying hlast,
And glory at peace to be.
Ha ! ha ! we glide to the bright earth's side,
And we kiss each bank, in its velvet pride ;
And gay is our song, as we steal along —
" Hail to the laughing waves !"

Coral, and weed, and shell,

From their fathomless caves we tear,
To bribe the land right well,

The might of our wrath to bear.
Ha ! ha ! they pine for the foaming brine,

And they say to the sand — " We are none of
thine ;"
And merry our song, as we sweep them along —
" Hail to the sparkling waves !"

Dark as the raven's wing,

Bright as the cloudless sky,
Sorrow and joy we bring,

As swift on our course we fly.
Ha ! ha ! we delight in the moonlit night,

To mirror the stars with their glances
bright ;
And changeless our song, as we dance along —
" Hail to the rippling waves."


Let the earth in its pride rejoice,
And scoff at the ocean's bed ;
Yet ours is a mighty voice,

That thrilleth each heart with dread.
Ha ! ha ! we are free on the trackless sea ;

Merry, yet proud, our reign shall he ;
And still is our song, as we bound along,
All hail to the mighty waves !

H. A.


O'er me steals a vision bright :

Star of Eve ! I gaze on thee :
While beneath thy silver light

Faintly smiles the summer sea.
Mem'ry comes with gentle spell,
Sweetly in my heart to dwell,
Bringing back, with magic chain,
All I love to me again.

Friends afar on thee may gaze
Yearningly, as I do now,

Calling up departed days,
Haply with a saddened brow.


Eyes that oft have dwelt on mine..
Star of Eve ! behold thee shine :
Oh ! that each loved face could be
Mirror 'd in thine orb to me.

Paler grows each trembling ray ;

'Neath the sun thy glories die,
Fading, like my hopes, away,

In yon blue and distant sky.
Thoughts, that by thy welcome beam
Seem recalled as in a dream ;
And the joys thou bring'st to me,
Star of Eve ! they die with thee.

H. A.


List ye to me ! list ye to me !
Do ye not envy my life, so free ?
Do ye not envy my boundless range,
From city to city, in varying change ?
All ye who are tied to your homes so tame,
Where each lagging moment is still the same,
Away with such bondage ! no life for me,
Save that which is led by the gipsy free.



No riches I boast, no comforts I own,
Save those I procure by this strong arm alone.
A tent for my home, and the ground for my bed,
With the giant trees casting their shade o'er my head,
And the summer breeze sighing me softly to sleep —
Oh ! monarchs might envy my slumbers so deep.
'I am free of the world ! I can roam where I will —
Over mountain and sea, over valley and hill.
I enter unquestioned in palace and tower ;
To the flattered and high-born in beauty's bower,
I am welcome ; nay, more — I am needed to try
My skill in foretelling her destiny ;.
And she, to the world so disdainful and proud,
With terror and dread to the gipsy has bowed.
None dare to oppose me — the stoutest grows pale,
And the bravest will shrink, as he lists to the tale —
Of the curse I can breathe, of the power that I hold,
Of the spells that I weave round the stately and bold ;
And I, the wild son of the mountain and moor,
Can shake by my presence the rich and the poor.
Ye children of cities, your wealth I despise ;
And the titles and lands that so dearly ye prize.
Give me the blue sky, and the rich-tinted trees,
The soft summer air, and the fresh autumn breeze ;
Give me the bright picture of streamlet and fell,
The calm silver lake, and the deep forest dell.
Is there aught that can yield me, in castle or tower,
The pleasure I find in my lone greenwood bower ?


Where I basic in the sun's golden lustre all day,

Or watch the pale moon as she glides on her way,

With none to molest me, no law save my own.

I am monarch and lord in the forest alone,

And I would not exchange one old tree from my

For a score of those gems which so proudly ye vaunt ;
I covet them not — I can look on as bright,
When the dew-droj)S are tinting the flowers with light,
Or the glow-worm is shining the fresh leaves between,
When the sunset has passed o'er the wild woodland

Have ye aught to bestow, 'midst the riches ye own,
Like the star-lighted roof of my free sylvan throne ?
Ye hare not, ye have not ; your treasures I spurn !
From all that ye cherish so fondly I turn.
Let me live, let me die, 'midst the scenes that I love —
The bright earth beneath, and the blue sky above ;
The dance 'neath the moonlight, the feast in the dell,

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