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XV.G.Bowdoin





' Never yet was a spring-time
When the buds forgot to blow



fP-4



EASTER BELLS

poems

BY

MARGARET E. SANGSTER

ILLUSTRATED




NEW YORK

HARPER AND BROTHERS
MDCCCXCVII



BY MRS. SANGSTER.

WITH MY NEIGHBORS. i6mo, Cloth, Ornamental, $i 35.

ON THE ROAD HOME. Poems. Illustrated. i6mo,
Cloth, Ornamental, $i 25.

LITTLE KNIGHTS AND LADIES. Poems. Illus-
trated. i6mo, Cloth, Ornamental, $i 25.

HOME FAIRIES AND HEART FLOWERS. Illus
trated. 4to, Cloth, Ornamental, $6 oo.

PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.



Copyright, 1897, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.



Z767



TO

MY DEAR FRIEND

CORNELIA REMSEN JOHNSON

THESE SIMPLE VERSES

EnscrfbeU



The poems here, gathered, originally ap
peared in the several publications of
Messrs. HARPER & BROTHERS, or in The
Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Youth's Companion,
The Congregationalism The Christian Intelli
gencer, and The Sunday-School Times.



CONTENTS



PART I SONGS OF THE EASTER-TIDE

Page

EASTER BELLS 3

AWAKENING 4

GETHSEMANE 5

GOOD-FRIDAY 7

AN EASTER SONG g

"WHO ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD" . II

THE SPLENDOR OF LILIES 14

EASTER CHORDS 15

UNDER THE CLOUD l8

ANGELS 2O

WHEN SPRING COMES BACK 22

AN EASTER IDYL 24

IN THE SHADOW 28

A DREAM 30

A WAY-SIDE GRAVE 3!



Pagt

COMFORT ONE ANOTHER 33

GOD'S WAY 35

EASTER FLOWERS 37

PART II HOME AND HEARTH

LOVE'S KINGDOM 41

WHEN POLLY PLAYED FOR DANCING . 42

WEDDED HANDS 44

THE AMBULANCE 45

THE HOME-BOUND SHIP 46

A COQUETTE 47

CAMP ECHOES 48

THE REASON 50

THREE BASKETS 51

CONVALESCENT 53

HER LETTER 54

BON VOYAGE ! 56

SNOWDROP AND CROCUS 58

VIOLETS 59

A CLUSTER OF ROSES TO A FRIEND . . 60

THE BLOOM OF THE CACTUS .... 62

INFELIX 64

DAY BY DAY 66

THE OLD SCHOOL-HOUSE . 68



Pas,

THE MOTHER'S CHAIR 71

THE LETTER SHE DID NOT WRITE . . 73

THE UNRETURNING 75

THANKSGIVING 77

PART III MILE-STONES

CHRISTMAS Si

AUTUMN PLOUGHING 83

THE CHRISTMAS ANGELS 85

HOLLY AND PINE 87

MISS LUCINDA'S OPINION 89

OF ALL DEAR DAYS Q2

IN BETHLEHEM 95

A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT 97

OCTOBER 99

A THANKSGIVING FEAST IOO

GARDENS 103

AUTUMN DAYS IO5

THE LOVING-CUP IO7

THE DAYS WHEN NOTHING HAPPENS . IIO

GOOD-NIGHT 112

THE NEW YEAR ........ 114

AT THE PARTING OF THE WAYS . . . Il6

THE THINNING RANKS Il8



PART IV CLOSET AND ALTAR

Page

JESUS WENT BEFORE 123

NOT READY 124

JOINT HEIRS 125

THE DEAREST ONE 127

A SONG OF THE BURDEN BEARER . . I2g

VESPERS 131

ONE STEP AT A TIME 133

THE WORD SHE REMEMBERED. . . . 136

TE DEUM LAUDAMUS 137

THINE IS THE POWER 139

A THOUGHT 140

FOLDED HANDS 141

THE CURTAIN FALLS 143



ILLUSTRATIONS



" NEVER YET WAS A SPRING-TIME WHEN

THE BUDS FORGOT TO BLOW " Frontispiece

MAIDEN BERTHA Facingf. $2

"THE DEAR OLD GARDENS . . . WHERE
MOTHER USED TO POTTER ABOUT"

Facing f. 104

"IN THE FIELDS ARE SILENCE AND

PERFUME" Facing p. 132



part fl

SONGS OF THE EASTER-TIDE



EASTER BELLS

CHIME, solemn bells of Easter!

The shadows flee away,
And all the earth is smiling

In the glory of the day.

Ring, tender bells of Easter !

Beyond our toil and tears,
There wait for all the faithful

Heaven's long and happy years.

Break, joyous bells of Easter !

From far across the sea
Bring us the endless music

Of immortality.

Triumphant bells of Easter!

Again by angels rung,
Speak comfort to the sorrowing

Of every land and tongue.
3



Blend, golden bells of Easter !

Heaven's fairest and its best,
To hush earth's clamorous discords

And soothe earth's sad unrest.



AWAKENING

NEVER yet was a spring-time,
Late though lingered the snow,

That the sap stirred not at the whisper
Of the south wind, sweet and low ;

Never yet was a spring-time
When the buds forgot to blow.

Ever the wings of the summer
Are folded under the mould j

Life, that has known no dying,
Is Love's, to have and to hold,

Till sudden, the bourgeoning Easter !
The song ! the green and the gold !



GETHSEMANE

THE dew lay thick on thorn and flower,
And where the olives clustered gray

Weird shapes, within that awesome hour
Between the midnight and the day,

Seemed walking phantom-like abroad,

As if to vex the Son of God.

And all the city lay asleep,

O'er beast and bird the spell was cast,
And nothing stirred the silence deep,

Save where our Lord the vigil passed $
The long lone vigil when His prayer
Was uttered from a heart's despair.

" Oh, watch with me one little hour !"
His tender tones had pleading cried

Unto the faithful three, whose dower
Of love had kept them near His side.

Nay folded hands and drooping head,

And slumber quiet as the dead.
5



No wonder then for weariness
The second time they fall asleep,

He turns in very tenderness,

And leaves them to repose so deep ;

Alone He meets the serpent foe,

Alone He bears the bitter woe.

Gethsemane ! Gethsemane !

We see the glory and the gloom !
Through all thy pain and agony,

Thy garden wears immortal bloom.
'Twas human friendship failed Him there,
But Love Divine did hear His prayer.

Life's bitter cups we too must take,
Life's bitter bread in anguish eat $

But when our hearts are like to break
There comes to us a whisper sweet,

" Fear thou no dim Gethsemane ;

Thy sleepless Friend will watch with thee! 1



GOOD-FRIDAY

BE hushed, my heart, remembering
What dole was given for thee,

How pressed on Him thy burden, when,

For all the sinful sons of men,
Christ went to Calvary.

The mournful journey that He made,
Each step was taken for thee.

Be hushed, my heart, let clamor cease ;

Prepare a chamber white with peace,
His resting-place to be.

In solemn shadow of the cross,

O soul, abide till He

Who tasted death ere thou shouldst know
Its bitterness of utmost woe

With strength shall guerdon thee.
7



Its Via Dolorosa still

Each life of earth must see,
And in some hour, or soon or late,
Must bend beneath the crushing weight
Of earth's Gethsemane.

But heart, in love and prayer look up

Beyond the awesome tree ;
The heaven of heavens is reft to-day ;
All angels march the starry way

That leads from Calvary.

For conquering, the Lord of life

(His mighty legions free)
Goes forward while the ages roll j
The price of every ransomed soul

Full paid on Calvary.



AN EASTER SONG

THE golden sun climbs up the sky,

The shadows flee away,
Oh ! weary heart, forget to sigh,

God sends thee Easter Day !
Long was the night, chill was the air,

And grief o'er brooded long,
Yet is the new world white and fair,

Uplift thine Easter song !

The cross that bowed thee with its weight

By strength of prayer is stirred,
Till it shall bear thee soon or late,

As wings upbear the bird.
The life that thrills from star to star,

And beats in leaf and stem,
Is wider than the heavens are,

And blesses thee from them.

Wert thou cast down, wert thou dismayed,

Dear child of One above,
Behold the earth in light arrayed,

The light of deathless love.
9



Oh ! listen to the word that wakes

In every budding flower,
And take the bread the Master breaks,

In His triumphant hour.

Nor feel, dear one whom Jesus saves,

And heartens day by day,
That earth is but a place of graves,

A dim and dolorous way.
As mothers hush their little ones,

God puts his own to sleep ;

And long as time is marked by suns,
Their beds His angels keep.

Not once a year alone, but oft

In all our years of days,
Shall fall the word or promise, soft

As hymns the blessed raise.
If but we bend the listening ear

To hear upon the strand
The wave-beat of the endless life,

Not far, but close at hand.

For those who hear, and hearing yearn,
The King hath secrets sweet ;

Their hearts within them thrill and burn,
They wait His coming feet.



Then swift the sun climbs up the sky !

The shadows flee away !
Oh ! weary heart, forget to sigh,

God sends thee Easter Day !



"WHO ROSE AGAIN FROM THE
DEAD "

O EARTH, forget thy winter ; O Nature, bud
and bloom,

And clothe the slopes with greenness that
late were hung with gloom.

O clustered Easter lilies, your gleaming cen
sers lift,

Forth comes the mighty Victor, the rocky
tomb to rift.



O gentle Easter angels, be swift to greet the

day
When from the guarded chamber the stone

is rolled away,
And Christ the King steps onward, with

Death beneath him dead,
And leads His ransomed homeward, with

glory on His head.



THE SPLENDOR OF LILIES

OH, rare as the splendor of lilies,

And sweet as the violet's breath,
Comes the jubilant morning of Easter,

The triumph of life over death ;
And fresh from the earth's quickened bosom

Full baskets of flowers we bring,
And scatter their satin soft petals

To carpet a path for our King.

In the countless green blades of the meadow,

The sheen of the daffodil's gold,
In the tremulous blue on the mountains,

The opaline mist on the wold,
In the tinkle of brooks through the pasture,

The river's strong sweep to the sea,
Are signs of the day that is hasting

In gladness to you and to me.

Oh, dawn in thy splendor of lilies,

Thy fluttering violet breath,
Oh, jubilant morning of Easter,

Thou triumph of life over death !
Then fresh from the earth's quickened bosom

Full baskets of flowers we bring,
And scatter their satin soft petals

To carpet a path for our King.
14



EASTER CHORDS

CHRIST the Lord M risen to-day !
Sons of men and angels say,
Raise your joys and triumphs high,
Sing ye heavens, and earth reply.

Sweet, sweet and clear the dear old strain

across the aisles is pealing,
The choir uplifts its stately chords that

throb with tender feeling,
For never time as Easter time brings glad

ness to our eyes,
When morning unto evening tells the rapt

ure of the skies.



redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battlers <won.
Lo! the sun's eclipse is o'er,
Lo ! He sets in blood no more.

Again we read the wondrous tale, how on

the Cross they bound Him,
How Jew and Roman jeered and scoffed in

cruel throngs around Him,
15



Till noon forgot its light in gloom and all

the world grew black,
While He who came to save us paid the

price with naught held back.

Vain the stone, the - watch, the seal;
Christ bath burst the gates of hell!
Death in vain forbids His rise,
Christ hath opened Paradise.

Oh ! listen, thrilling far and loud the Gloria

strains excelling,
For death for evermore is dead, triumphant

shouts are swelling.
They who have passed beyond the stream

and reached the other side,
Exult in life that never ends $ with Christ

are satisfied.

Hail, the Lord of earth and heaven I
Praise to Thee by both be given!
Thee -ive greet triumphant no-iv;
Hail! the Resurrection Thou!

In solemn joy, in trustful hope, in faith that

cannot falter,
This Easter Day we bring our meed of

praises to God's altar.
16



All crowns are set on Christ's dear head,
the crown of thorns that wore ;

Forever and forever more our Saviour we
adore.

Oh ! risen Lord victorious, oh ! Son of God

Most High,
Who for our sins did bear the yoke, who

came for us to die ;
In Thee we conquer death and hell, in Thee

we rise and reign ;
Life throbs to-day victorious in every pulsing

vein.

We have no fear, we have no doubt, we read

redemption's story,
And earth and heaven together meet in

ecstasies of glory.



UNDER THE CLOUD

UNDER the cloud we pass,

The cloud that dims our skies,
The hot tears blur our eyes,

We enter the cloud, alas !

We mourn for our darling gone ;
For the days that come no more,
With her laugh at the dear home door

We are desolate, being alone.

We sigh for the might-have-beens,
For the words we did not say
Was it only yesterday?

And memory sits and spins

A web that is like a shroud,
So thick and dark does it fold,
Woe for the tale that is told!

Like children we cry aloud.
18



For when she was here, and yet
Our own, for love's sweet grace,
When the lighting up of her face

Could banish our dull regret

And give us surcease from pain,
We took as a common thing
(Ah ! there is the sharpened sting)

The touch, the look, the strain,

The music and cheer she gave
And now she is gone away,
Lost into heaven's bright day ;

And we plant flowers on her grave.

Aye, friends, we are under the cloud,
So white, and chill, and thick,
And the heart grows faint and sick,

So fast do our wan thoughts crowd.

But the cloud has an upper side,
And somewhere out of the blue
Our darling is looking through,

And our sorrow is glorified.



ANGELS

IN the old days God sent His angels oft
To men in threshing-floors, to women

pressed
With daily tasks j they came to tent and

croft,

And whispered words of blessing and of
rest.

Not mine to guess what shape those angels

wore,
Nor tell what voice they spoke, nor with

what grace

They brought the dear love down that ever
more
Makes lowliest souls its best abiding place.

But in these days I know my angels well ;
They brush my garments on the common

way,

They take my hand, and very softly tell
Some bit of comfort in the waning day.
20



And though their angel-names I do not ken,
Though in their faces human love I read,

They are God-given to this world of men,
God-sent to bless it in its hours of need.

Child, mother, dearest wife, brave hearts that

take
The rough and bitter cross, and help us

bear
Its heavy weight when strength is like to

break,
God bless you all, our angels unaware !



WHEN SPRING COMES BACK

WHEN Spring comes back the violets lift

Their shyly hooded faces,
Where late the frozen snows adrift

Heaped high the woodland spaces.
When Spring comes back the sunbeams dance

On green leaves all a-quiver,
And grasses rally, spear and lance,

By rippling brook and river.

When Spring comes back the lilies haste,

What time the bells are ringing,
To bring their perfumes, pure and chaste,

From hallowed censers swinging.
Shine dim church aisles on Easter day

Beneath the lilied whiteness,
And happy children kneel and pray

Amid the serried brightness.

When Spring comes back a merry train,
Of merry wings come with her,

The robin and the wren again
Come gayly flitting hither ;



The bluebird and the oriole,

The martin and the swallow.
" Away," they chant, " with grief and dole,

Here's spring, and summer '11 follow !"

When Spring comes back, when Spring comes
back,

Chill winter will be over !
Erelong we'll hear the elfin drums

Where bees are deep in clover.
After we catch the swaying lilt

Of winds among the daisies,
And see the rose-cups' sweetness spilt

Among the garden mazes.



AN EASTER IDYL

MANY a year the Easter came, laughing o'er

land and sea,
Wafting the perfume of lilies wherever its

dawn-light fell,
Kindling the flames of the roses, and waving

their torches free,

Far over hill and mountain, and deep in
the lonesome dell.

And many a year at Easter I sat in the old

church loft,
And lifted my voice in Te Deums, and

sang like a mavis clear,
Sang of glory and triumph, and my voice

thrilled sweet and soft,
O ! many a time in the Easter of many a
cloudless year.

Till there fell a season of anguish, when the

stars went out in the sky,
When I covered my face, and bent my
knees, and beat with a hopeless prayer
24



At the golden gates of heaven that were

shut to my bitter cry,
While the Angel of Death at my threshold
was deaf to my love's despair.

Then, straight on that wild, bleak winter

there followed the fairest spring,
With snowdrops and apple blossoms in

riotous haste to bloom,
With the sudden note of the robin, and the

flash of the bluebird's wing ;
And all that was mine of its beauty was
the turf that covered a tomb.

O ! the bells rang out for Easter, rang strong

and sweet and shrill,
And the organ's rolling thunder pealed

through the long church aisle,
And the children fluttered with flowers, and

I sat mute and still,

I who had clean forgotten both how to
pray and to smile.

And I murmured in fierce rebellion: "There

is naught that endures below,
Naught but the lamentations that are rent
from souls in pain j"
25



And the joy of the Easter music, it struck

on my ears like a blow,
For I knew that my day was over, I could
never be glad again !

And then how it happened I know not

there was One in my sight who stood,

And lo ! on His brow was the thorn-print, in

His hands were the nails' rough scars,

And the shadow that lay before Him was

the shade of the holy rood,
But the glow in His eyes was deeper than
the light of the morning stars.

" Daughter," He said, " have comfort ! Arise !

keep Easter-tide !
I, for thy sins who suffered and died on

the cruel tree,
I, who was dead, am living ; no evil shall e'er

betide

Those who, in earth or heaven, are pledged
unto life with Me."

Now I wake to a holier Easter, happier than

of old,

And again my voice is lifted in Te Deums
sweet and strong ,
26



I send it to join the anthem in the wonderful

city of gold,

Where the hymns of the ransomed forever
are timed to the Easter song.

And I can be glad with the gladness that is

born of a perfect peace ;
On the strength of the Strong I am resting $

I know that His will is best.
And who that has found that secret from

darkness has won release,
And even in sorrow's exile may lift up her
eyes and be blessed.



IN THE SHADOW

WE walk within the shadow, and we feel its

thickening fold
That wraps us round and holds us close, a

cloak against the cold $
The day is growing sombre, and the joyous

light has fled,
And beneath our feet the road is rough, and

clouds are overhead.

We sit within the shadow, and in that silence

dumb,
To us in softened echoes remembered voices

come ;
Dear eyes that closed in slumber once, dear

hands that straightened lie,
Awaken tender yearnings as the day wanes

slowly by.

We rest within the shadow, though the

hurrying people go
On errands swift for gold and gain, beyond

us, to and fro ;

28



We have no care for transient things j we

wish no more to strive
As once we did ; we rest, we dream, we feel

but half alive.

Our resting and our waiting, and our plodding

on the way,
With the sunshine of the past casting

darkness on to-day,
With no caring for the future, while the

heartache holds us fast,
With no thought for any pleasure ah ! 'tis

well these cannot last.



For the shadow always lifts, and the sunlight

glows again ;
There are sudden gleams of brightness, sweet

clear shining after rain j
And we gird ourselves for action, strengthened

we arise and go
From the sanctuary outward, where the feet

tramp to and fro.

Life must have its sometime sorrow j but

the years that drift along
Touch the minor chords but seldom j there

are spaces blithe with song.
29



Sometimes we must face the shadow, where
the wind blows keen and cold,

But the shadow fades at dawning, and the
east is flecked with gold.



A DREAM

SOME perfect day I shall not need

To bend my brows o'er baffling tasks ;

Some perfect day my eyes will read

The meaning hid 'neath clouding masks ;

Some perfect day my word and deed
Will fill the ideal my spirit asks.

Dear perfect day of days to be,

Which safe the steadfast heaven doth keep
Deep filled with love and rest for me,

Close pressed with sheaves I yet shall reap,
When they who watch beside me see

Only that I have fallen asleep.



A WAY-SIDE GRAVE

OUR upland journey wound its way
Past hills that wore the green of May.

The dogwood starred the shadowy copse ;
The light breeze rocked the pine-tree tops.

Far off we saw the village spires

And fluttering smoke of household fires.

But here of voice or tool no sound
Fell on the cloistered hush profound.

Sudden I drew my bridle rein,

Dim, shining out from moss and stain,

Alone amid a fallow field,

And half by brier and weed concealed,

I saw a rough stone cross that bore
One little dear home name $ no more.



Some heart had ached, some house had known
The desolate hunger for its own,

When, hollowed out this narrow grave,
They laid, whom love had died to save

But could not, one whose name had been
To her own people "Josephine."

A ruined chimney, and the bloom
Of a pale purple lilac plume

Close by, and this small way-side cross
Told all the tale of love and loss j

While near and far the fragrant day
Was golden glimmering with May.



COMFORT ONE ANOTHER

COMFORT one another ;

For the way is growing dreary,

The feet are often weary,
And the heart is very sad.

There is heavy burden-bearing,

When it seems that none are caring,
And we half forget that ever we were glad.

Comfort one another

With the hand-clasp close and tender,
With the sweetness love can render,

And the look of friendly eyes.

Do not wait with grace unspoken $
While life's daily bread is broken,
Gentle speech is oft like manna from the
skies.

Comfort one another ;

There are words of music ringing
Down the ages, sweet as singing

3 33



Of the happy choirs above.

Ransomed saint and mighty angel
Lift the grand, deep-voiced evangel,
Where forever they are praising the Eternal
Love.

Comfort one another;

By the hope of Him who sought us
In our peril Him who bought us,

Paying with His precious blood $
By the faith that will not alter,
Trusting strength that shall not falter,
Leaning on the One divinely good.

Comfort one another ;

Let the grave-gloom lie behind you,
While the Spirit's words remind you
Of the home beyond the tomb,

Where no more is pain or parting,
Fever's flush or tear-drops starting,
.But the presence of the Lord, and for all
His people room.



GOD'S WAY

OUR way had been to smooth her upward

road,
Easing the pressure of each heavy load,

Never to let her white hand know a soil,
Never her heart to feel the weight of toil,

Could we have shielded her from every care,
Kept her forever young and blithe and fair,

And from her body warded every pain,
As from her spirit all distress and strain,

This had been joy of joys, our chosen way.
God led her by a different path ; each day

Sorrow and work and anxious care He gave,
And strife and anguish, till her soul grew
brave.

35



Through weary nights she leaned upon His

love,
Through cloudy days she fixed her gaze

above.

Her dearest vanished, but in faith and trust
She knew them safe beyond the perished dust.

Refined by suffering, like a little child

She grew ; into her Father's face she smiled.

And then, one day of days, an angel came ;
In flute-notes sweet she heard him breathe
her name.

Perhaps from out the rifted heaven she saw
Her mother's face look forth ; in raptured
awe

We caught the last swift glory in her eyes,
Ere, sleeping here, she woke in Paradise.

God's way was best, with reverent lips we

My,

God's way is best, and praise our God to-day.



EASTER FLOWERS

BLOOMING to garland Easter,

White as the drifted snows,
Are the beautiful vestal lilies,

The myriad-petaled rose,
Carnations with hearts of fire,

And the heather's fragrant spray
Blooming to garland Easter,

And strew our King's highway.

Late we had gloom and sorrow,

But the word from Heaven forth
Has scattered the clouds before it

Like a trumpet blown from the north
And east and west and southward

The flowers arise to-day
To garland the blithesome Easter,

And strew the King's highway.
37



Carry the flowers of Easter

To the darkened house of woe,
With their message of strength and comfort

Let the lilies of Easter go ;
Scatter the Easter blossoms

In the little children's way j
Let want and pain and weakness

Be cheered on our Easter day.

For lilac, and rose, and bluebell,

And whatever name they wear,
The spell of the flowers of Easter

Is a spell to banish care ;
And blooming to garland Easter,

They will shine in church to-day,
The lovely things that have awakened

To deck our King's highway.



part 1IH

HOME AND HEARTH



LOVE'S KINGDOM

You see no pomp of circumstance,

No entourage of pride,
My lowly seeming to enhance

As I walk by your side.
All day, at others' beck and call,

My work obscure is done,
But off my shabby garments fall
When comes the set of sun

You may not know it, friend, but then

I, walking by your side,
Am crowned and sceptred, king of men.

Let none my state deride ;
For when I turn my own latch-key

My wife is at the stair,
The baby claps her hands with glee,

And I am royal there.



WHEN POLLY PLAYED FOR
DANCING

WHEN Polly played for dancing,

Her slender fingers flew
Across the flashing ivory keys

As if they winked at you.
The music bubbled under


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Online LibraryMargaret Elizabeth Munson SangsterEaster bells; poems → online text (page 1 of 4)