Harriet Acton.

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And dry the falling tear.

A joy that fade th not away

Thy future course shall steep ;
Sow the good seed with care to-day,

To-morrow shalt tbou reap.

H. A.

POEMS. 119


Erin ' the wild harp is hushed on thy mountains,
The sad wail of sorrow hath deadened its tone,
The hands that could strike on its bright chords are
And those that are fettered are left thee alone.
I Mi ! once smiling garden ! what blight hath passed
o'er thee,
To sweep the fair flowers of peace from thy soil ?
What spell hath been cast o'er the fate of thy chil-
To mingle with tears the hard fruit of their toil ?
Erin Mavourneen ! light laughter hath wakened

Around the same hearths that are desolate now ;
And they sleep not yet, who remember the halo

Flung down by contentment on each open brow.
But now is thy cabin-roof shelter no longer

From poverty's blasts, to the low-drooping head :
And the laughter that rang 'neath that roof, is now
By the famine- wrung cry for the then ' ' daily

120 POEMS-

Oh ! woe to the clay when that prayer denied it,

The long- open heart closed to hope's fervent trust;
And they lighted the fierce brand of crime, in their
For ever to raze their proud worth, to the dust.
For ever? no ! Erin — thy ruins but seem such,

er-grown by the rank weeds of faction and woe ;
But tear them from round thee, and all thy lost glory
Will once more break forth from its fetters below.
All praise to the hands that are stretched forth to aid
In wiping the blood-stain from off thy green land ;
And pity and scorn for the soul that in silence
Can look on thy children, a perishing band !
And ye, Erin's sons ! quench the false flame that
lights ye
To deeds which 'twere better deep darkness should
hide ;
For e'en amid sorrow, the cheer of the conscience

Is worth to the true heart, the whole world beside.
Ah, trust ! and bright blessings will yet be above ye,
And joy, long unknown, may be traced on your
brow ;
And the cloud's " silver lining " may tell of the sun-
To break through the gloom which encircles ye

now !

R. A.

FOEMS. 121


'Tis beautiful by woodland green

To watch the dancing sunbeams play,

The drooping willow leaves between ;
While motionless on summer day,

Amid the rays that round them gleam,

The shadows sleep upon the stream.

Oh ! closely, wheresoe'er they be,

Those lisfhts and shades are still entwined;

For when the sunbeam's glance we see,
The shadow stealeth on behind,

And with its sombre hue doth lend

More beauty to its golden friend.

So is it with life's changing scene ;

Its present joy doth oft efface
The memory of what hath been,

Tho' on each care-worn brow the trace
Of sorrow's iron-hand may be
Written, alas ! how legibly !

122 POEMS.

Aye, brighter for the passing shade,
The fleeting rays of pleasure seem,

Though hopes that round our heart had played
May shed no more their joyous gleam ;

Yet in the sun that shines at last,

We lose the shadow of the past.

And better far, tho' keen the dart,

That chequered thus our path should be ;

For well we know the human heart
Doth rust in long prosperity ;

But chastened by the shadow's night,

We learn to bless the sunbeam bright.

H. A.

POEMS. 123


Old Time is before ye ! — is passing away !

He hath cast the dull shade of his wing o'er your
Ye note it not yet, but that shadow hath dimmed

The light of that joy which was beaming ere now !
Do ye look upon age as a far-distant cloud

In your bright sky of life ? Do ye deem that the
Falling now like sweet music on listening ears,

Will then bear such silvery accents alone ?
Are ye young in earth's sorrows as childish in years ?
Have ye ne'er sown your friendship and watched it
decay ?
'Tis, therefore, ye cry, as 1 pass from your sight,
" Youth's flowers of hope, Time can ne'er sweep
away !"
.Smile on while ye may, 'neath the touch which will
All too soon those fair flowers ye hold deathless
The moment must come when your mirth will have
And the heart's bitter care may be traced on the

124 POEMS.

Mistrust not your sunshine ! 'Twere better that youth
Should see not the tempest in each passing cloud ;
Possess ye faith's shelter to serve ye at need,

And in storms of Time's bringing ye shall not be
And ye of earth's children whose tears track my path,
Whose summer hath passed ere its first fruits were
Whose winter of age hath closed in with despair,
When there is not left one to the lone heart
endeared ;
Tis meet ye should welcome with faltering tone

The stern guest who sojourneth but to destroy.
Perchance hath Time's coming been looked for with
And his touch but been marked by the blight of
your joy;
Yet would ye revile him ? In bearing away

Some loved flow'r from round ye, how oft hath 1 e
Of a yet fairer garden where still it might bloom,

And twine round your soul as it twined there of old !
Oh ! there is the same golden sunlight for each,
Though Time may have darkened its lustre ere
while ;
There breathes not the heart that, 'mid misery's sighs,
Hath ne'er known the moment illumed by joy's

POEMS. 125

But thorny life's pathway, or hordered with flowers,
It leads where earth's pleasures and pains must be
o'er ;
Age's tottering tread and the light step of youth,

Are passing there now to return never more !
'Tis a land where love's blossoms ne'er bend to the
Where they grow for the lonely who find them not
here ;
Where the cold hand of Time cannot reach to destroy ;

His wing cannot darken its skies ever clear.
Though he planted ye sorrow, in tearing away

Your loved flow'rs from round ye, forget not he
Of a yet fairer garden where still they might bloom,
And twine round your soul as they twined there of

R. A.




We were a merry party

That ten long years ago
Look'd forth with jest and ringing laugh,

Upon the falling snow.
Old Christmas, with his holly green,

That summon'd us to see >
How hlithe he made the dying year,

With feast and revelry.

Few cares had come upon us,

In those our spring-time days,
And smiling glances met our own,

Around the yule log's blaze ;
No marvel that each tone was glad,

And that each heart was light,
While deep the snow on hill and plain

Lay with its mantle white.

And high rose glee and laughter,

When days swept swiftly by,
And still the clouds of driving snow

Fell from the wintry sky.

POEMS. 127

Right willing captives were we held

Within that cheerful home,
Like ladies fair and knights of old,

Beneath some fairy dome.

No foot could venture near us

In that our charmed bow'r ;
And many were the mirthful plans

To while away each hour ;
And though a month had fleeted by,

And snow-bound still were we,
We coidd not wish to break the chain

Of our captivity.

But when at length the Snow King

Did slowly loose his spell,
The friends so long that sojourned there

Full sadly sighed, " Farewell."
And yearningly we took our way,

On other scenes to gaze ;
Yet ever stole our mem'ry back

To those bright winter days.

That happy Christmas party,

How scattered now are all
The friendly group whose cheerful smiles

Lit up the pleasant hall !

L28 poems.

Death, with his fatal dart, hath crept

Within that circle gay ;
And some whose hearts were lightest there,

Since then have pas's'd away.

But when the chimes of Christmas

Steal sweetly on the ear,
And eager hands are gladly stretched

To greet the coming year,
We think upon the merry time

We pass'd so long ago,
With that joyous band in the country hall,

Held captives by the snow.

H. A.

POEMS. 129


Cupid ! o'er thy brow why steals

A shadow of bewilderment ?
Why thus droops thy weapon dread,

As if it mourned its power spent ?

Is it pity that thou feel'st

For some poor heart bow'd down by thee,
Whose fairest hopes thou hast but raised,

Blighted and crushed at last to be ?

Perhaps, though wanton be thy work,
Some gush of feeling may return ;

Compassion's light, so long put out,
May be re-lit, yet strong to burn.

Oh ! be it so ! Young Love, we crave
Thy clemency — thy justice now !

Give back the peace thy spells have crushed,
To the once light, now aching brow !

130 POEMS.

Yet hold, proud boy ! we fear thee not !

We scorn thy arts of deathless might !
We can defy thee as thou stand'st

Unarmed to enter on the fight !

We fly from thee unscathed at last,
Ne'er thus to plead for peace again.

Oh ! thou wouldst he a beauteous thing,
Couldst thou but lose the power to pain !

And there are many happy hearts,
'Tis pity thou shouldst sadden yet ;

Thou dost but give a passing joy,

That thy stern pangs they may forget.

For all thy arts and all thy wiles

Seek but to train, as 'twere a flower,

Some spirit bright through long, long years,
To blight it in a single hour.

Then seek'st thou pity that thy fate
Hath doomed thee powerless to roam.

Never in guileless hearts again,
To find and to betray a home ?

POEMS. 131

No ! Though thy loss to thee may give

A moment's passing misery ;
Thy shaft were better never found,

Than there should rise another sigh !

R. A.


Over the stilly waters,

Over the changing sea,
Where mortal hath never sought us,

Our sunny path shall be.

Long may the op'ning flowers,
That blossom o'er hill and plain,

Bloom on in their summer bowers
Ere we return again.

We will glance o'er the sparkling billow,
We will ride on the storm-clouds dark ;

Ere the mariner seeks his pillow,
We will look on his gallant bark.

K 2

231 POEMS.

Over the lofty mountain,

Over the forest lone,
By the side of the gushing fountain,

We will go, ere the day he done.

Away ! to the troubled ocean,

Where the echoes of thunder roll ;

Where the waves, in their wild emotion,
Bring death to the shipwreck 'd soul :

Where the foam of the tempest dashes
O'er the lost, in their lone despair ;

And the glare of the lightning flashes —
Let our trackless path he there.

Then on ! to the gliding river,

And over the waving trees ;
Where the leaves and the blossoms quiver,

To the sigh of the ev'ning hreeze.

When the hell for the vesper pealing,
Is heard by the waters clear ;

And the sound of the night-wind stealing.
Comes over the list'ning ear.

Away ! ere the daylight closes,

Ere rises the evening star ;
Ere the sunset hath tinged the roses,

Away ! to our homes afar !

POEMS. 133

Away ! over hall and tower ;

Away ! over hill and tree :
Away ! over leaf and flower,

To our home, by the changing sea.

And many of earth's proud mortals,
When they look on our passage bright

To the verge of the sky's blue portals,
May envy the Sea-bird's flight.

H. A.

134 POEMS.

(Written to a Melody.)

In the silent summer eve

Does my spirit yearn for thee,
When the soft wind faintly sighs

O'er the calm and silver sea ;
And each wave that steals along,

On its crest doth hear with pride,
Beauty meet for poets' song,

Yet thou art not by my side !

: Mid the varied scenes of earth,

Festal hall or leafy dell,
As a cloudless vision sweet,

Doth thy mem'ry with me dwell ;
'Neath the sunny morning light,

Or at balmy eventide,
On my spirit falls a blight,

For thou art not by my side !

H. A.

POEMS. 135


Fetter me down — but my bounding form
Will burst from tbe pond'rous chain,

Which care and want can forge to check
The workings of the brain.

'6 K

Know ye my strength ? A heaven-born

And spanless thing am I ;
And the scorning of earth's mighty ones,

Genius can well defy !

Hollow-cheeked poverty comes to lend

A link to those fetters brave,
Which are to drag down my panting form

To the confines of the grave !

It comes in vain ! I shall find no grave !

I do, and my deeds live on,
When the brain and the hand, and their reason and

In the flight of time are gone !

136 POEMS.

Remember ye when I stood beneath

The Scottish poet's roof ;
Where bright-eyed hope with drooping soul

Was lingering aloof ?

(Oh the shades of your bards bear ye witness that oft

More gallant my offspring be,
Born and nurtured in blasts of this life's fierce

Than reared amid luxury.)

'Twas for me to fling open the portal, closed

So long to fame's golden ray ;
And note as my work the gathering gloom

In the sunlight pass away.

'Twas mine to bring forth the Peasant-bard,
In a changeless home to dwell ;

In a nation's heart, where as years pass by,
They will cherish him right well !

Ay ! and many a brow that was bent to earth,

Unknown, in your own fair land,
Has been raised and wreathed with the laurel-leaf,

Alone by this single hand !

POEMS. 137

It hath power to bow down rank's gilded form

At the shrine of a mighty mind,
Tho' the wizard hand he a toil-cramped one,

And the wizard a nameless hind.

Then fetter me down ! hut I rise to burst

The links of the pond'rous chain,
Wliich care and want can forge to check

The working of the brain !

What ! tho' more oft than in stately halls,

In the earth's dark spots I lie ;
The scorning of its mighty ones,

Genius can well defy !

R. A.

138 POEMS.

Suggested by attending a meeting for the " Earlier
Cessation of Labour," at which the aid of the women
of England was earnestly invoked.

A thrilling cry, a mighty cry,

Is rushing through the land ;
It riseth with a growing strength

From a firm and earnest band.
Who can their true and just appeal,

Their many wrongs, withstand ?

To aid them on their thorny path,

They call on woman's heart !
For in the stand they boldly make,

She well can bear her part,
And strive to shield the spirit crushed

From stern oppression's dart.

They ask her if the pallid cheek,

The dim and sunken eye,
The strong form bowed by lengthened toil,

Wake not her pitying sigh ?
Can she such crying evils mark,

Yet stand inactive by ?



All, no ! be hers, in sympatic,

A willing ear to lend
To those who, working wearily,

'Neath many a trial bend,
And with a firm and noble zeal

Their truthful cause befriend.

Be hers the spirit prompt to aid

This long-enduring band,
Whose cry for justice rises up,

And rings throughout the land ;
And what shall then their bold appeal,

Their prayer, their wrongs, withstand ?

H. A.

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