Harriet Acton.

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The ivy withered too !

H. A.


When coming years shall o'er us pass,

This picture I may gaze upon,
And there hehold, as in a glass,

The look you wore in days long gone.
Time may have dimmed the beaming eye,

And cast a shadow o'er thy brow ;
Tamed the light step that glideth by,

And paled the cheek so blooming now;
But oh ! my sister, may I feel

Thy love the same in good or ill,
And know those years each charm that steal,

Have left thy heart unchanging still.

II. A.




Down — down where the shipwrecked lies low in his

With, o'er head, the wild chaunt of the hound-spurn-
ing wave ;

Where alone is my footstep 'mid coral and shell,

And jewels that lighten up beauty so well ;

Where kings dare not tread, 'mid the deep-hidden

I go, in my hoard seeking riches for them !

Not for me the pale treasure — not mine is earth's
pride —

The diver's so hardly-earned fame — what beside ?

How much of the peace we must purchase with gold

Repays the poor man hours of anguish untold ?

Away, scenes of grandeur ! for me rise ye not !

/ have wealth, as ye pride ! wealth that perisheth

Ye have fortune's warm friends, and to me it is given

To stand with my Maker, alone, before heaven !
Oh ! ye mighty of earth ! 'neath your proud gilded


Read ye e'er of God's might, as in my gem-decked

home ?


Count ye wealth as the evidence sole of his pow'r ?

There are traces more true in the Avild mountain-

It hath proof in the wave that, with foam-crested

Bears the living ahove where lies scattered the dead !

It hath proof in the gem I can hring from the grave

Of the child or the friend whom your wealth could
not save.

Wreath your brow, man of pride, with Fame's gold-
tinted flow'rs,

But beware lest they fade in Fate's oft-falling
show'rs !

For me twines no laurel ! on me bends no eye,

Save that one which, 'mid danger, seems ever most

nigh ;
Ye have fortune's warm friends, and to me it is given

To stand with my Maker, alone, before heaven '

R. A.



I lift the veil from my hidden form,

As I follow the year gone hy ;
Like the dying wail of a passing storni

It hath hreathed its farewell sigh ;
And now pile high the festive cheer,
And haste ye to welcome the Coming Year !

Hail me with gladness, though many a brow
Will be bowed to the earth ere I vanish acain.

And the eyes that shall smile on my presence now,
May weep for the ill that I bear in my train :

Yet hope ! for ye know not what good may be near,

To lighten each heart in the Coming Year !

Welcome me, ye who are pining to sleep

Where the blasts ye have felt in this life shall be
Where the lov'd ones long lost, for whom sadly ye
May meet ye in bliss that shall darken no more.
Welcome me now — stay each sorrowing tear —
Ye may find your calm rest in the Coming Year!


Hail me, fond parents ! who yearn to behold
Your bright opening buds into flowers expand ;

Ere the last parting knell of my course hath been
What beauties may rise 'neath my fostering hand ;

And gazing with joy on the forms ye hold dear,

Ye may bless the proud work of the Coming Year !

Perchance to the blighted in heart I may bring
A smile that shall lighten each care-wasted face —

Some bright, gleaming flashes of joy on my wing,
To blot out the vestige of misery's trace ;

Mistrust me not yet, ye may have naught to fear

In threading the maze of the Coming Year.

Then grudge not my welcome — bring holly so green,
To twine round my brow, when my presence ye
see ;
Let the memory sad of the ill that has been,

Be lost in the hope of the good that may be.
Prepare the gay dance and the glad festal cheer,
And haste ye to welcome the Coming Year.

II. A.



There were strange voices in the sea
Whispering mysteriously ;
And myriads of creatures came
Issuing thence, that hore no name.
A shadow was before the sun
Ere half his daily course was run ;
And faint and heavy seemed the air,
Wont to waft spicy odours there :
While Egypt lay beneath a ban,
Bringing their doom to beast aud man.

* * * i

The holy man had cried for aid,
And on his foes there had been laid
The mighty finger of God's power,
Throwing them prostrate in that hour.
The prophet had stretched forth his hand
To bring despair on that fair land :
The Tenth Plague had been cast around,
Felling the pagans to the ground.


And desolate before the doom

Was palace proud and cottage home ;

And equal in the terror wdd

Was the poor slave with fortune's child.

* * * *

Amid the gloom that reigned as night,
When Egypt's sin had quenched its light,
Within his courts stood a proud chief,
Whose soul was dark in disbelief.
Death was around him : everywhere
Rose the hoarse wailing of Despair ;
Yet did that man's vain heart defy
Mankind's Avenger from on high ;
Tho' there had fall'n the deadly blow,
Laying his own heart's altars low.
Slaves to his presence rushed in dread,
To fall with untold mission dead ;
Beneath the terror of God's ban
They feared not then the wrath of man.
One mighty voice was ringing there,
And in that cry of deep despair
The Ruler knew his power gone ;
That in that hour he stood alone.
Pride's reign was over — and his eye
Glared forth its dark malignancy,


As the last embers of a fire
When crushed, glearn out with fiercer ire.
But 'twas not thus the man gazed down
With quiv'ring lip and lessened frown
To where there lay his worshipp'd child
Motionless in the terror wild.
" My child ! my flower ! sure thine eye
Looks on Death's might too fearfully !
Am I not scathless, and mine arm
Strong to save thee from touch of harm ?
There shall not pass a blight to thee
That brings not first its doom to me !
Rise ! Thou hast yet the eagle's might !
Thine eye hath still the Heaven's light !
Thy father guards thee ! Dost thou still
Dream thou await'st another's will ?"
And as he spoke, a burning glow
Of passion swept across his brow.
The young girl's face was bathed in tears,
Wrung from her not by woman's fears :
Sobs were her answer, as she lay,
Her young life passing there away.
The damp chill lying on that brow
The father deemed so bright but now ;
The frail form quiv'ring at each breath,
Had warned her that she bent to death .
If she had trembled at that thought,
If at its coming it had brought


A vision of the parent left
To be of earth's last tie bereft,
She did not sorrow that her eyes
Should close to gaze on Paradise.
There had been laid on her a hand
Leading her towards the better land.
Hers had not been her father's path,
And the deep grief the righteous hath
For others' sin, grew with her years,
Till had that path been traced with tears.
Oh ! agony undreamt to gaze
In the dark soul where faith's pure rays
Have never entered ! When that heart
So sinning, is of ours a part !
Such misery was hers. Love's trust
She knew had been poured forth on dust ;
She knew the last left hope was o'er ;
For him no prayers would rise more.
And he was doomed, and she must die,
Knowing they part eternally.
'Twas as a holy fire was given,
To light her glaring eyes from Heaven,
As she read searchingly the brow,
Bent to her own in terror now.
" My father dost thou mark a hand,
Stretched over our devoted land,
Mocking the might of man to save
Those whom it draweth to the grave ?


It hath heen laid upon thy child !

Nay ' hend not to this anguish wild !

A shelter from life's storms to me

Hath heen thy heart's idolatry ;

Tho' it hath not the power now

To ward the death-chill from my brow.

It needeth not that thou shouldst tell

How long thou'st loved me and how well ;

Thy child hath answered it to thee,

In her faith's deep intensity.

But, ere she dies, oh ! darest thou hear,

Thoughts that weigh down her soid with fear ?

Curse not thy child, if, at her tale

Of falsity, thy cheek grow pale !

Father, she heard the holy man

Call on his enemies, God's ban !

She heard him speak of one whose might

Had turned our country's day to night ;

Listened until, her senses dim

With awe, she knelt and worshipped him :

And then she prayed that she might die,

Confessing her apostacy ;

That pity for her early doom

Could in thy heart alone have room.

Thou couldst not listen and forgive

Thy child's deception did she live."

It was a fearful thing to see

The father's hitter agony ;


titi POEMS.

While his young daughter's words of prayer

Were mingled with his wild despair.

He stood there like the blasted tree,

Erect in former majesty ;

Tho' stripped of every leaf and flower,

In the dread whirlwind of that hour.

And then the passion of his grief

In his wild ravings found relief ;

Clasping his first-horn to his arm,

As it had might to shield from harm,

He hounded onwards with the form

Now withering in Death's fierce storm ;

Still on among the scattered dead

The frenzy-stricken parent fled.

Where in the wildly gleaming eye

Was then the ruler's majesty ?

The clenching hands, the gasping breath

Calling for mercy upon Death,

Told that the prophet's threat had past

Across his memory at last.

Onward — still on, with blinded gaze,

'Mid tears which since his childhood's days

Had never started, till his eye

Fell on his priests of prophecy.

To lay there the now pallid dead,

Gently as tho' life had not fled ;

And drag them, in his anguish wild,

To gaze upon his worshipped child,


Were as the passing of a thought

To him whose madness had heen wrought.

" Her God hath called this Death ! Arise !

Break ye the spell in which she lies !

Say 'tis not this, for Egypt's pride,

For honour of your craft beside ;

Unsay the words she spoke — that we

Were parted for eternity !

Give her to life again ! and prove

Her God less mighty than my love !

Or in her creed I kneel and how

Among the dust of earth this brow !

Proving, in mine idolatry,

That God is truth — man's might a he !"

Silent the ruler bent him down

Beside the dead in his renown,

And listened for the coming breath,

To say he looked not upon Death.

And then upon his reason's night

There seemed to break a sudden light.

Starting, he mutely gazed around,

As seeking for some yearned-for sound

Of life within that lonely room

To wake the sleeper from her tomb.

The glance of that distended eye

Was laden with a mystery

That to the watchers seemed to say,

Madness had lent its glaring ray.


And as to one whose thought had fled,

They whispered him his child was dead.

There was no murmur when the word

So dreaded had at length heen heard.

And as they watched there came the thought

That the dread knowledge death had brought :

And fearfully they raised the form

There levelled in despair's fierce storm,

And gazed in wonder on the eye,

Fixed on the sleeper dreamily ;

Filled with the tears that had the pow'r

To quench the madness of that hour ;

And lighted by the holy rays

That had not shone since childhood's days.

With clasping hands and weakened voice,

Faltering with the word " Rejoice :"

Beside his gentle Saviour there,

Egypt's proud ruler knelt in prayer.

R. A.



Ye leave us, oh ! beloved ones,

In our anguish and our fear,
And vainly we shall listen

Each cherished tone to hear.
No face will smile upon us,

In all our sorrow lone,
For the silence of your household roof

Will tell us ye are gone.

No footsteps lightly ringing

Shall steal our senses o'er ;
The voices we so dearly loved

Must gladden us no more.
In vain each bright and smiling face

We yearn to gaze upon ;
For mem'ry to our aching hearts

Will whisper, " Ye are gone."

Ye seek a strange and distant land —

Another home afar ;
And, oh ! may peace with gentle ray,

Be still your guiding star.



For mournfully, as in a dream,

The time will linger on,
And our thoughts will haunt that foreign home

When from us ye are gone !

Ye leave us — oh ! beloved ones ;

But night and day our prayers
Will cling around the distant bark

Our pilgrim-band that bears.

And oh ! may ye, in brighter days,

When coming years have flown,
Return to those whose sun will set,

When from them ye are gone !

H. A.


'Neath the trysting tree, on a summer's day,

Sat a maiden young and fair ;
Bright was the glance of her laughing eye,

Dark was her braided hair :
And her downcast face look'd sweeter still,
When her lover hied him there.


Pale was the youth, and sad his look,
And cold grew the maiden's heart,

When the dread words fell upon her ear,
' « Beloved one, we must part !

Oh that my sire thy worth would own,
All lovely as thou art ! "

Long wept the maiden hy his side,

At her daring love dismayed ;
For titles, and lands, and wealth had he,

And she was a village maid :
But her beauty bright his heart had won,

As she roved in the greenwood shade.

And now for a year, a weary year,

Oh ! that its length were o'er !
He must hasten forth, at his sire's command,

To dwell on a distant shore ;
And a voice within the maiden's heart

Said, " He will return no more."

Bitter the parting, wild her grief ;

" Wilt thou be true ?" she sighed.
" I pledge thee my faith by my lofty name,"

At her feet the youth replied ;
" When a year hath fled will I meet thee here,

And hail thee as my bride."




" I will keep the tryst 'neath tills ancient tree,"

The pallid maiden said,
As she weeping knelt on the grassy hank,

And bowed her lovely head.
' When the year hath pass'd, 'neath the trysting tree

Shalt thou see me alive or dead !"


The year pass'd on, and the trysting tree

Was stripp'd of its mantle green,
And the autumn shadows dimly fell

Where the summer sun had been ;
But the maiden fair, with her eyes of light,

Was ne'er in the greenwood seen.

For ah ! in that year, that weary year,

Tidings of falsehood came,
That the youth had forgotten the solemn vow

He had sworn by his knightly name,
And had phghted his troth, at his sire's command.

To a lovely and high-born dame.

Pale grew the drooping maiden's cheek,

And paler it seemed each day ;
Her peace was gone, and the woods no more

Woke to her footsteps gay :
As the winter pass'd, and the spring stole on,

She wearily pined away.


" And carry me forth," she dying said,

" Once more to the trysting tree,
Where its green leaves whisper o'er my head,

Let my parting moments he ;
I will keep the tryst that to him I pledged,

Though false hath he proved tome!"

They bore her there and her bloom return'd,

And her eyes grew wildly bright,
As the fitful gleam from a dying lamp

Doth warn of fading light :
And she pass'd away with a sad sweet smile,

Worn down by her spirit's blight.

The smile still played upon her cheek

As dews on rosebuds hang,
When through the leafy forest glades

A distant bugle ran,
And a graceful youth in joyful haste

From a panting courser sprang.

One glance upon the maiden pale,

Who slept the tree below,
And his bounding form seem'd turn'd to stone,

And his cheek grew white as snow.
" Oh God !" he cried, " what direful ill

Hath struck this crushing blow ?"




They told him that his broken vow

Had paled her youthful face :
" 'Tis false !" he cried, " what cruel tongue

Hath forged such slander base ?
Oh, father, in this evil deed

Thy vengeful hand I trace."

A yearning look, a long last kiss,

And the frenzied youth was gone ;
They mark'd his pallid cheek with dread,

As he madly hurried on,
Nor look'd he from that trying hour

His father's face upon.

The old man died, bowed down by grief

For the wrong that he had done,
And praying with his parting breath

To gaze upon his son,
Who came no more with a smile to bless

The long repentant one.

His castle proud to ruins fell,

Doom'd lonely e'er to be,
And nought was left of that ancient race

Save a tearful memory
Of the missing youth, and the maid who died

Beneath the trysting tree !

H. A.



Sternly I come with my aspect drear,

For no beauty my presence hath,
Not a flower to twine round my temples sere,

And the snow-wreath clouds my path.
While the skeleton arms of the leafless trees

Wave high when my face they see,
And sad is the moan of the evening breeze,

As it whispers its tale to me ;
List to its cry as it steals o'er the plain,
" Chilling December comes hither again."

Wild sweep the clouds through the wintry sky,

When I come in my might so strong,
With a shivering sound does the wind rush by,

As it beareth my car along.
The rocking bark on the troubled sea

Bends down to my cutting blast,
And the mad waves lower their crests to me,

When my shadow is o'er them cast :
Hark to their voice as they dash o'er the main,
" Storm December, thou comest again."


Yet rugged and stern though my nature seem,

I joy in the ringing laugh,
And the misletoe wakens hright thoughts I ween,

As it twines round my ancient staff ;
And hearts are glad as my end draws near,

For they cherish this truth right well,
That with smiles and glad voices and festal cheer,

They must ring out my parting knell.
And young lips chaunt 'mid the dance's chain,
" Merry December, we hail thee again."

When the yule log blazes in cot and hall,

With its ruddy and cheerful light,
When the holly-hough decks the pictured wall,

And blushes and smiles are bright,
Let my coming, ye earth-born, bring kindly aid

To those who your bounty need,
From the feast that to honour me well ye've made,

Cast some crumbs to the poor that plead ;
Let not their prayer for your pity be vain,
So shall they yearn for December again.

May care at my death from each bosom pass,

Nor leave on a brow its trace,
While the rich wine mantles in sparkling glass

'Mid many a joyous face,
As a parting song from the young and gay

Falls cheeringly sweet on my ear,


List to my prayer ere I vanish away

To give place to the new-horn yearj
With spirit and lip as ye join in the strain,
" Long may ye welcome December again.''

H. A.


Oh ! sister, twine me young May flowers !

Bright visions to recall,
Of the joyous time when my heart and step

Were lightest 'midst ye all.
Each bud will tell of the starry nights,

Ere the summer breeze had flown,
When the silver light of the moonbeams pale,

Through our woodbined lattice shone.
Mine eye hath lost its brightness now,

My cheek hath lost its bloom,
There's a warning voice within my heart,

That speaketh of the tomb ;
And tearful glances meet my own,

Lov'd tones are lost in sighs,
And I read my fate, oh ! sister mine !

By gazing in thine eyes.

80 toems.

A little, oli ! a little while !

And I must leave ye all,
And the dark leaves swept by the autumn wind,

On my lowly grave will fall ;
Yet have I pined the op'ning buds

In their freshness bright to see,
And I've yearned to live till the summer came,

With its sweetest month to me.
Then, sister, twine me May flowers,

Remembrance fond to bring,
Of all I've loved and all I leave

In my early blighted spring :
And when again the breath of May

Steals forth o'er hill and dell,
Weep ye for her who passed away

Ere the summer blossoms fell !

H. A.



Mine own ! my cherished one ! a breaking heart,
'Mid its last agonies, still clings to thee !

Doomed from a mother's love so soon to part,
And bow thy young bright form to misery.

Thou little reck'st, mine infant, that one hour
Will leave thee friendless, desolate ; when thou

Wilt have no shelter from the storms which low'r
Above thy guiltless and unconscious brow !

Thou wilt not have, ere long, my little one,
A mother's heart to shield as mine has done ;

Thou wilt be left unheeded and alone —
/ shall be silent, and my race be run.

Yet thou art happy, for thou canst not know
That dark'ning clouds shall overcast thy sky ;

Thy fair young cheek is radiant with the glow
Of childhood's joy flung o'er thee from on high.


Brightest ! most innocent ! Thy future fate
Is yet unwritten ! Thou hast yet to learn

That what thou deemest love may be hut hate —
That sunny smiles can change to frowns as stern.

Ah ! Fare thee well ! I feel no pangs, no fears,
Save for the helpless, injured one I leave ;

I can hut give thee now, my child, these tears,
Wrung from a heart too early taught to grieve !

I have but reaped the doom my vain heart sowed :
/ had no tears when Catherine bowed low

To pray for mercy, even as do I

Crave, in mine agony, such mercy now !

Once more — Farewell ! my treasured one ; may He,
To whose blest hand I trust thee, guide thy way

Through this wide world of woe and misery,
Casting around thy path an angel's ray ;

Granting a guiltless mother's parting prayer —
Not that the mockery of power be thine,

But that thy heart may be untouched by care,
Ever unconscious of a fate like mine !

R. A.




There's a vision in ray heart

Of a h rightly- smiling spot —
A lowly home of peace,

By care remembered not ;
There's a memory of scorn

For that spring-time sweet of life,
And a bitter yearning then

For the world's wild scenes of strife.

There's a scene before me now

Of heavenly delight —
A ray, 'mid gathering gloom,

Of pure undying light ;
'Tis but that cottage-home,

Whose peace now seems to tell
From me 'tis gone for aye,

And whispers, " Fare thee well!"

R. A.

g 2



My gentle child, my gleesome one, thy father's joy"

and pride,
Come rest thy bright and glowing form these aged

limbs beside :
I'm pining forthy silv'ry laugh; I want thy joyous tone,
For the softness of its melody can soothe this heart

Come nearer, sweet one ! touch me ; lay thine hand

upon my brow :
I've missed thy bounding step all day ; oh ! do not

leave me now.
Nay, nay, I did not mean to chide : full well, mine

own, I know
That thy light footsteps long to glide the sunny vales

below ;
I must not keep thee ever near, though lonely seems

the clay,
And mournfully the hours pass by, to me, when thou'rt

For these sightless orbs can never greet the forms so

lov\l before,
And the joyous things of earth may meet their stricken
glance no more.


And what have I to fill this heart, hut one long dream

of thee ?
In every thought thou hast thy part, for thou art all

to me ;
But oh ! my child, mine own, mine own, in agony I

To think I ne'er may gaze upon thy bright and glad-
some brow,
To hear thy light step by my side, thy merry laugh

of glee,
And know that form of joyous pride is ever dai'k to

Ah ! can"st thou wonder that mine ear dwells on thy

slightest tone ?
Ah ! can'st thou wonder that I hear its echo when

alone ?
Whilst thou art gaily singing 'midst thy birds and

flowers choice,
To me there is no music like the music of thy voice ;
And I love thee better when I think that thou hast

none but me
To guide thy life's frail bark along this wide world's

troubled sea,
No arm save mine to shield thy form with tenderness

and care,
Lest the rough breath of sorrow's storm should'st wave

thy sunny hair.
Aye ! we are linked together by a firm and holy tie,
Which nothing e'er shall sever 'till told in death I lie;


Thou hast heen all in all to me, and I will guard thee

So that a shade may never he upon that laughing

Then come, my own, my cherished one, the last lov'd

tie to earth,
Draw near, that I may listen to thy tones of gleeful

mirth ;
Sing me thy sainted mother's lays, that joy this heart

may fill,
And the sunny dreams of other days may rest upon

me still.
And when the clouds of evening come across yon

summer sea,
And night steals o'er the cottage home so lov'd by

thee and me,
Together kneeling side by side we'll breathe a fer-
vent prayer,
That God may guard the Blind old Man and bless

thy tender care.

H. A.



It hath heen said, how, oft upon our path

There hursts a kindred spirit, to awake

The slumb'ring senses, light the eye, and give

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