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Mary Botham Howitt.

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Like fiends, that hemmed them round :
I would not lead a diver's life

For every pearl that's found.



48 DOLORES MARIS.



I have heard how the sea-snake, huge and dark,

In the Arctic flood doth roll ;
He hath coiled his tail, like a cable strong,

All round and round ihe Pole.
They say, when he stirs in the sea below,

The ice- rocks split asunder.
The mountains huge of the ribbed ice.

With a deafening crack like thunder.
There's many an isle man wots not of.

Where the air is heavy with groans ;
And the floor of the sea, the wisest say.

Is covered with dead men's bones.
I'll tell thee what : there's many a ship

In the wild North Ocean frore.
That has lain in the ice a thousand years.

And will lie a thousand more.
And the men — each one is frozen there

In the place where he did stand ;
The oar he pulled, the rope he threw,

Is frozen in his hand.
The sun shines there, but it warms them not.

Their bodies are wintry cold ;
They are wrapped m ice that grows and grows.

All solid, and white, and old.
And there's many a haunted desert rock.

Where seldom ship doth go,
Where unburied men with fleshless limbs

Are moving to and fro ;
They people the cliffs, they people the caves,

A ghastly company :
I never sailed there in a ship myself.

But I know that such there be.
And oh ! that hot and horrid tract



DOLORES MARIS. 49



Of the ocean of the Line !
There are millions of the negro men

Under that burning brine.
The ocean-sea doth moan and moan

Like an uneasy sprite.
And the waves are wan with a fiendish fire

That burnetii all the night.
'Tis a frightful thing to sail along,

Though a pleasant wind may blow,
When we think what a host of misery

Lies down in the sea below.
Didst ever hear of a little boat,

And in her there were three ;
They had naught to eat, and naught to drink,

Adrift on the desert sea.
For seven days they bore their pain ;

Then two men on the other
Did fix their longing, hungry eyes,

And that one was their brother.
And him they killed, and ate and drank, —

Oh me ! 'twas a horrid thing !
For the dead should lie in a churchyard green.

Where the fragrant grasses spring.
And thinkest thou, but for moi'tal sin,

Such frightful things would be ? —
In the land of the New Jerusalem

There will be no more sea."
4 •



50 DELICTI MARIS.



DELICIiE MARIS.



Once, when I was a little child,

I sate beneath a tree
Beside a little running stream,

And a mariner sate with me,
And thus he spake : " For seventy years

I sailed upon the sea.
Thou thinkest that the earth is fair,

And full of strange delieht ;
Yon little brook that murmurs by

Is wondrous in thy sight ;
Thou callest yon poor butterfly

A very marvellous thing,
And listenest in a fond amaze

If but a lark doth sinjj.
Thou speak'st as if God only made

Valley, and hill, and tree ;
Yet I blame thee not, thou- simple child,

Wise men have spoke like thee.
But fur and free are the ocean fields ;

On land you're trammelled round.
On the right and on the left likewise

Doth lie forbidden ground :
But the ocean fields are free to all

Where'er they list to go,



DELICI^ MARIS. 61



With the heavens above, and round about,

And the deep deep sea belovi^.
It gladdeneth much my very soul

The smallest ship to see,
For I know where'er a sail is spread

God speaketh audibly.
Up to the North, the Polar North,

With the whalers did I go,
'Mid the mountains of eternal ice,

To the land of thawless snow.
The great ice-mountains walled us in,

The strength of man was vain,
But at once the Eternal showed his power.

The rocks were rent in twain.
The sea was parted for Israel,

The great Red Sea, of yore ;
Arid Moses and the Hebrew race.

In joy, went dryshod o'er.
A miracle as great was wrought

For us in the Polar Main,
The rocks were rent from peak to base,

And our course was free again.
Yet amid those seas so wild and stern,

Where man hath left no trace.
The sense of God came down to us

As in a holy place.
Great kings have piled up pyramids,

Have built them temples grand,
But the sublimest temple far

Is in yon northern land :
Its pillars are of the adamant.

By a thousand winters hewed,
Its priests are the awful Silence



52 DELICTI MARIS.



And the ancient Solitude.
And then we sailed to the Tropic Seas,

That are like crystyl clear ;
Thou little child, 't is marvellous

Of them alone to hear ;
For down, down in those ocean depths,

Many thousand fathoms low,
I have seen, like woods of mighty oaks,

The trees of coral grow ;
The red, the green, and the beautiful

Pale-branched like the chrysolite.
Which amid the sun-lit waters spread

Their flowers intensely bright :
Some they were like the lily of June,

Or the rose of Fairy-land,
As if some poet's wondrous dream

Inspired a sculptor's hand.
And then the million creatures bright.

That sporting went and came :
Heaven knows ! but, I think, in Paradise

It must have been the same ;
When 'ncath the trees where angels walked

The land was free to all,
When the lion gambolled with the kid,

The great ones with the small.
No wastes of burning sand are there,

There is not heat nor cold.
And there doth spring the diamond mine,

There flow the veins of gold.
Oft with the divers of the East,

Who in these depths have been.
Have I conversed of marvels strange,

And treasures they have seen.



DELICIyE MARIS. 53



They say, each one, not halls of kings

With the ocean caves can vie,
With the untrod caves of the carbuncle,

Where the great sea-ti*easures lie.
And well I wot it must be so ;

Man parteth evermore
The miser-treasures of the earth,

The sea has all its store.
I have crossed the Line full fifteen times.

And down in the Southern Sea
Have seen, the whales, like bounding lambs.

Leap up ; the strong, the free.
Leap up ; the creatures that God hath made

To people the isleless main :
They have no bridle in their jaws.

And on their necks no rein.
But, my little child, thou sittest here

Still gazing on yon stream,
And the wondrous things that I have told

To thee are as a dream.
To me they are as living thoughts ;

And well I understand
Why the sublimest sea is still

More glorious than the land :
For when at first the world awoke ,

From its primeval sleep,
Not on the land the Spirit of God

Did move, but on the deep.



M LILIEN MAY.



LILIEN MAY,



AN EASTER LEGEND.



PART I.



'T WAS on the Easter Sunday mom,
That, from the blessed skies.

Came down the holy angels,
To see our Lord arise :

To see our dear Lord Jesus rise

From death, whose bonds were riven ;

And give him back unto his friends,
Before he went to heaven.

Oh, happy Easter Sunday morn !

Of old they blessed the day ;
And gifts, in memory of that time,

In love they gave away.

The rich gave gifts abundantly,

The poor gave gifts also ;
For every heart at Easter, then.

With love did overflow.



LILIEN MAY. 55



But these old times are past and gone ;

None hasten now to bring
The happy resurrection news,

And hymns of Easter sing.

Yet here and there, among the hills,

In places far and lone,
Some memory of the time yet lives,

Some Easter love is shown.

And kindly country-women, yet,
Their Pasch-eggs ready make,

Of divers colors beautiful,
To give for Jesus' sake.

And little country children go -

Far o'er the hills away,
From door to door, with cheerful hymns.

To celebrate the day.

Oh, happj"- Easter Monday !

It shineth clear and bright ;
And they shall go a dozen miles

Amonjj the hills ere night.

O'er the bleak fells, and down the dells

That lie so warm and low,
To the cottage and the grey farm-house

Shall the neighbor-children go.

Each hand in hand, a loving band,

They go with joy along ;
And tune their voices, sweet and low,

To a holy Easter song.



56 LI LI EN MAY.



And far along the sunny hills
Were heard their voices clear :
" Be glad, for our Lord Jesus rose
At this time of the year !"

The pleasant voice of singing came

To a cottage on the moor,
Where sate the lovf;ly Lilien May

Beside her mother's door.

Her locks were bright as shining gold,
Her eyes as harebells blue,

And the red, red rose of summer
Had given her cheeks its hue.

Sweet Lilien May was four years old ;
And " I am strong," said she ;
" And I'll run after them with speed,
And sing in company.

" And I'll be back by night, mother.
And I'll be back before."
Her careful mother heard her not,
Nor missed her from the door.

On went the cheerful singing band,

Like merry birds, away ;
And on, among the budding broom.

Went after, Lilien Mav.

The sky was bright above her head.
The earth beneath her feet ;

And the little maiden sung aloud
Her carol wild and sweet.



LILIEN MAY. 57



Down, down the glen, she wandered down,
Where the mountain stream ran clear ;

Across the moor, and up the fell,
Without a thought of fear.

She watched the glancing lizard slide

Into his n.arrow hold,
And little birds that built their nests

All on the open wold.

Beside hor fed the mountain flocks,
On the hills so wild and high ;

And the gentle herd looked after her.
As she Went singing by.

On, on, with little nimble feet,

She wandered further still,
Up to the heights of rocky stone,

Where whistling winds blew shrill.



o



Through those bright locks of golden hair,
The strong, cold winds did blow ;

And the red rose upon her cheek
All rosier yet did glow.

She saw the raven sitting there,

She heard his croaking cry.
She saw him look askance at her.

Yet did not fear his eye.

The place was wild, and stern, and drear,

An herbless waste of stone ;
Yet merry singing Lilien

Feared not to be alone.



ULIELX MAY.



On, on again she wande#ed on.

Down from the mountain grey ;
Where all before her, brown and wild,

The wide fell stretched away.

On, on she went ; her mother's door

Lay many a mile behind :
But now a strange and lonesome dread

Came creeping o'er her mind.

She saw the fells so wild and brown ;

She saw the grey rocks hoar;
And all at once she saw them look

As they had not looked before :
The fells were wild, and drear, and brown.

The mountains stem and hoar.

The sky, so blue, no more was blue ;

The golden sun was set ;
The air was keen, and thin, and cold ;

ITie spongy turf was wet.

Sweet Lilien May looked all around ;

Yet nothing could she see.
But afar a flock of mountain sheep,

And anigh a grey thorn-tree.

Sweet Lilien May she listened then ;

But nothing could she hear,
Save afar a sound of running streams.

And a croaking raven near.



LILIEN MAY. 80



' ' The water is deep,' "' quoth Lilien,
" ' And the raven's beak is strong ;
And oroblins three dance "neath the tree,

Thorough the night so long.'
I wish the blind man had not sung,"
Said she, " that evil song."

" And the night grows dark," quoth Lilien,
" And the fells are brown and drear :
Oh mother ! mother ! come to me,"
Cried Lilien, " mother dear ! "

Adown the fells went Lilien,
But she wist not whither at all ;

And against the stones and twisted roots
She struck her feet so small.

Amonff the night-black furze she went,

Still calling for her mother ;
And now she lost one little shoe.

And now she lost the other.

And all among the prickly furze,

That grew so black around,
Sweet Lilien thrust her pretty hands ;

But never a shoe she found.

And ever as she groped about.
The streaming tears did fall ;

And the prickles of the thorny furze
They pierced her fingers small.



60 LI LIEN MAY.



And ever as she groped about,

Beneath the darksome sky,
Where'er she trode, a little trace

Of crimson blood did lie ;
And, " Mother, mother, come to me !"

Was still her moaning cry.

Three paces on went Lilien May,
With bare and aching feet ;

When, lo ! she heard, among the furze,
A soft and gentle bleat,

The bleating of a mountain sheep

That lay in quiet there.
Down by its side sank Lilien May,

No farther could she fare.

Down by its side sank Lilien, *

Her little heart so full.
And her yellow locks of dewy hair

Fell o'er its snow-white wool.

And God, who saw her all alone
In the darkness where she lay.

He sent a heavy sleep that took
Her misery all away.



PART II.

Now turn we to her mother's house
" And where is Lilien gone,

My little, merry Lilien ?"
Quoth she to many a one.



LILIEN MAY. 61

Said they, " We saw thy Lilien

Go with the singing train :
Fear not, they'll bring the pretty child

At nightfall back again !"

The eve is come, and up the fell

Is heard a sound of glee ;
The mother rose, and said, " They bring

My Lilien back to me."

And down she reached the wheaten bread,

The new-baked and the sweet ;
•' My Lilien shall have that she loves,"

Said she, "this night to eat."

And out unto the door she went
To meet the singing train :
" And wherefore is't ye bring me not
My Lilien back again ?"

" We have not seen thy Lilien,

With us she did not go."
" A wretched woman am I, then !"

The mother shrieked in woe.

" Go fetch my husband from the fold,
Call up my neighbors dear.
And seek with me my Lilien,
Be she afar or near !"

Up came the father from the fold,

A woful man was he ;
And up came neighbors many a one,

A kindly company.



62 LILIEN MAY.



" And we will seek thy Lilien

Through all the country round ;
We will not rest," cried many a one,
"Till Lilien May is found."

And north and south, and east and west,

The neighbor folks divide ;
And all that night sweet Lilien's name

Was echoed far end wide.

All drear and dark the night came on.
The cutting winds did blow ;

Yet ever on throughout the night.
Did the weeping parents go.

*' I ne'er shall see my child again !"

The woful mother cried.
" We'll find her," said the father good,

" Please Heaven to be our guide !"

And on they went throughout the night.
Still calling Lilien May :
" Oh, answer us, dear Lilien !"
They cried till break of day.

Then came they to the spongy bog.

The running stream anigh,
And the raven, from the grey thorn-tree,

Croaked low as they went by.

And then the waste of darksome furze
Stretched out before them wide :

Down dropped the mother on her knees,
For a gladsome sight she spied.



LILIEN MAY. 63



The little shoe of Lilien !

She kissed it o'er and o'er,
And from her eyes the joyful tears,

Like streaming rain, did pour.

*' Now blessed be God !" the father said,
" That he with us did keep !"
Ten paces on, and they beheld
Sweet Lilien fast asleep !

'Tis not for me to tell their joy,

By them alone 't is wist ;
Sometimes they kissed her snow-white cheeks,

Sometimes her lips they kissed.

They kissed her wounded hands and feet ;

They kissed her curling hair :
Then cheering drops of healing wine

They gave with tender care.

At length her feeble eyes she oped

Unto the dawning day.
And gently spake : " Oh, mother dear.

Let me go home, I pray ! "

They bore her in their careful arms

A dozen miles or more ;
And joyful were the neighbors dear,

As they came near their door.

All warm within the snow-white sheets

They laid her on her bed.
And o'er her a gi-een coverlet,

And a pillow 'neath her head.



64 LILIEN MAY.



And in that heavy sleep she lay

Until the evening bell ;
Then rose she up, sweet Lilien,

All rosy-red and well.

And, on the Sabbath next, the priest,
Bare-headed, blessed the Lord,

Before all men, within the church.
That Lilien was restored.



A TALE OF THE WOODS. 65



A TALE OF THE WOODS.



" Speak not," she said, " of bookish tales,
Of haunted halls and spectres bold,
For things in real life there are
More sadly wild, more dismal far,

Than ever fiction told ;
And you shall hear a tale of truth,
The pains and sorrows of my youth.

" From very childhood I had learned
Labor and weariness to bear :
My parents died ; and upon me
Devolved a numerous family,
And many an early care ;
Sickly the children were, and small.
And yet I reared and nurtured all.

" We lived upon a northern moor.

And 'mong the heath wild berries grew ;

It was a lonesome place, yet fair ;

And from the hills a clear fresh air
Ever around it blew ;

And sparkling streams, o'er moss and stone,

From hidden springs went singing on.



66 A TALE OF THE WOODS.

" The freshness of that wholesome air

Gave strength unto each youthful frame j
And a wild flow of spirits strong
Made labor lightly pass along,

Till other troubles came,
Ah ! Love doth cunning snares devise,
To draw young hearts from Paradise !

" To me, a simple countrj' maid,

He came in glorious colors dressed ;
With brow erect and stately limb,
A soldier-youth, in gallant trim.
With helm and nodding crest ;
And burning speech, that poured along
Like rivers of the mountains strong.

" We wedded ; and I left my home,

That pure and solitary life.
In busy camps the arts to learn
Of evil natures, cold and stern ;

To be a soldier's wife ;
To have no home, to roam afar.
Still following the career of war.



" A marching regiment was ours,
And to America was sent ;
Our station was among the woods,
In dreary desert solitudes,

'Mong marshes pestilent ;
Where, left uncertain of their fate,
They grew morose, then desperate.



A TALE OJ" THE WOODS. 67



" No wonder that the brave rebelled !

The food was scant, the water bad ;
And the hot air was filled with flies,
Whose stings were scorching agonies

That well nigh drove us mad :

And there, for weary months we lay,

Not living — dying day by day.

\

" My husband was a daring man,
Lawless, and wild, and resolute ;

And spirits like his own were there,

Who leagued themselves with him, and sware
His word to execute ;

In vain my heart foreboded ill,

I could not turn his stubborn will.

" We left the camp at still midnight.
And struck into the thickest wood ;
By day to dreary caves we crept.
And, while some watched, the others slept ;

By night our course pursued,
Still keeping westward, and away.
From tracts where habitations lay.

" Oh, how I envied the wild things

That lived in forest or morass !
They had no fear : but my weak heart
Died if a squirrel did but start.

Or stir the withered grass ;
And, when my comrades laughed and sung.
With boding dread my soul was wrung.



68 A TALE OF THE WOODS.



** My terror peopled the still woods :

And, like the snake, beneath the trees

1 saw the creeping Indian prone ;

Yet no eve saw him but mine own.
I heard upon the breeze,

When others said the air was mute,

Wild voices as in hot pursuit.

" In vain we sought a safe retreat,
For us the wilderness had none ;
Till drooping heart and failing strength
Wore out the little band at length ;

They dropped off one by one,
Without a sigh from kindred grief,
Scarce noticed, like an autumn leaf.

" At last we two alone remained ;

And then an Indian hut we found,
A wild, and low, and dismal place,
Where savage life left many a trace

Of murder all around ;
Three shattered skulls, deformed and bare,
And tangled tufts of human hair,
And many a horrid stain was there.

' Yet even there we made our home ;
It was so lone, so lost, so wide
Of any track, my husband said,
* Here we are safe as with the dead.
And here we will abide.'
And so we might, but for the awe
Of what I heard and what I saw.



A TALE OF THE WOODS. 69



" I'll tell you. He was in the woods :

He had been gone since morning clear,

And then 'twas nightfall ; and I heard

The bullfrog and the wailing bird,
And wild wolf barking near ;

And through the grass, and in the brake,

I heard the rattling of the snake.

" I made a fire outside the door,

To keep the creatures from my home ;

And in the gloom I sate me down,

Still looking to the forest brown,
And wishing he would come ;

When in the black hut's furthest nook

I heard a sound. Scarce dared I look ;

" And yet I did. The skulls lay there,
And there I saw a wannish flame ;
And, one by one, those bones so cold
Grew horrid faces, black and old ;
And from their jaws there came
Mutterings and jibberings, low at first.
Then loud and louder, till they burst.
Like thundering yells from lungs accursed.

" A din as of ten thousand wheels

Seemed whirling, stunning, in my brain ;
And that fiend's fire, all multiplied,
Dazzled and danced in cii'cles wide,

Now pale, then bright again !
I felt my stiffened hair stand up.
And, cold as death, my pulses stop.



70 A TALE OF THE WOODS.



" 'T was midnight when my husband came ;
The fire of pinewood had burned low ;
And stiff, with eyeballs staring wide,
He found me speechless, stupefied,

As pale as desert snow :
Long time he strove with loving pain.
Ere he recalled my life again.

" I told him all : and that lone place
We left before the morning smiled;

And then beneath the forest tree

We lived in simple luxury,
Like natives of the wild ;

Our food the chase supplied ; our wine

The clusters of the Indian vine.



" But man is tyrant to his brother.

They heard of the free life we led ;
They found him, like the Indian, dressed
In hunter-spoils, and with a crest

Of feathers on his head.
Oh, stony hearts ! they did not heed ;
A cruel vengeance they decreed.

" They hung him on a forest tree.
As he a murderer had been.
Oh, wretched man ! If he did wrong,
'Twas that temptation had been strong ;

Nor was it deadly sin.
They stayed by him till lite had fled.
And then they left me with tjie dead.



A TALE OF THE WOODS. 71

" 'Twas well for me that I was used
To hardship from my early years,
Or I had never borne that hour :
But Christ sustained my heart with power,

And freed my soul from fears ;
And in the desert, all alone,
Beside the dead I made my moan.

" I washed his body in the stream

That through a neighboi'ing thicket ran ;
I closed his eyes ; I combed his hair ;
I laid his limbs with decent care ;

He was a murdered man.
I saw, upon the second day,
The raven watcliing for his prey.

" Then, then, I first began to feel

That I was all alone, alone !
Wildly I glanced behind each tree ;
The Indian had been company,
Aught human must have pitied me,

But human form was none :
Then, with a firm but sad intent,
In silence to my work I went.

" I found a hollow by the stream,

A little cave, M'here one might lie
In shelter from the poonday sun ;
There bore I my uncoffined one,

And wished I too could die.
I laid him on the rocky floor,
With moss and white sand sprinkled o'er.



72 A TALE OF THE WOODS.

" The entrance to the cave was low,

Scarce rising two feet from the ground,
And this, with long unwearied care,
I closed with stones collected there,

That by none might be found
The sepulchre, so lone and dim.
Where in my grief I buried him.

" There was a large and mossy stone
Without the cave, and there I sate,
Like Mary by the sepulchre :
But a bright angel sate with her ;

I, I was desolate.
Oh, miserable time of woe !
How it went by I do not know.

" I must have perished with the dead,

From that great grief, and want of food.
But that an English party, sent
To burn an Indian settlement.

There found me in the wood.
They bore me thence ; they clothed, they fed.
And my poor spirit comforted.

" Since then 'tis five and fifty years ;

So long, it might seem fancy all,
But that 1 know this silver hair
Was whitened by that heavy care ;

And names and dates I can recall.
So deeply in my soul inlaid
By burning pangs, they cannot fade."



1834,



MAY MAXWELL. 73



MAY MAXWELL



O'er the broad hills of Lammermoor ;

In the grey light of the morn,
Lord Maxwell and his children fair

Rode out with hound and horn ;

Lord Maxwell and his daughter May

With her bold brothers three ;
And far they rode o'er the heathy hills,

A merry company.

With hawk and hound good sport had they

Those heathy wilds among ;
And home they rode at eventide,

When the wood-lark poured his song.

The next eve, when the wood-lark's song

Poured from the leafy spray.
All deathly pale, upon her bed

The little maiden lay :

With her white cheek pillowed mournfully,

And a death-look in her eye ;
With her mother sitting at her head,

And her father standing by j

5



74 MAY MAXWELL.



And those bright youths, her brothers tliree,

Tlieir faces dim with sorrow,
For they knew their little sister May

Would die before the morrow.

** Now bring to me," she meekly said,
And raised her heavy eye,
" My hawk and hound, that I once more
May see them ere I die."

They brought her hawk, and the gentle bird

Perched on her slender wrist ;
And drooped his head, and nestled close

To her white lips to be kissed.


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