MRS. MARY NOEL McDONALD
" To me, the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."
N E W - Y O R K
I'UDNET, HOOKEB & RUSSELL, Printers.
A volume like the present, whose circulation it was supposed would be a
limited one, seems scarcely to require an introduction : but, having met
with a success which has far exceeded the writer's expectations, she deems
it proper to state, that many of the pieces have previously appeared in the
periodicals of the day, and are now for the first time collected. They have
not been arranged in the order of their dates, but in accordance with their
subjects those at the close of the volume being the productions of earlier
The Emigrant's Sabbath Day, 9
The Heavens, 17
The Loved and Lost 21
The Marriage Vow 25
Nature's Teachings 28
The Dying Boy, 32
An Old Man's Reminiscence 37
The Spirit's Whisper, 41
The Promised Land, 45
The Child at Prayer, 48
To a City Pigeon, 51
Tasso's Crown, 58
The Return of Summer 62
The Sculptor's Dream of Home, 75
To Estelle, 80
Remembrance, , 85
Lament of Age for Boyhood, 88
An Autumn Thought, 92
The Dying Wife to Her Husband, 95
The Land of Joy, 100
The Summer Rain, 103
Elegiac in Memory of Mrs. S. W. C e, 106
The Diamond of the Desert, 110
Our Rest, 113
Ministering Spirits. 116
The Absent Communicant, 117
Stanzas, suggested by the death of a young daughter of the
Rev. Dr. Schroeder, 121
A Lament, inscribed to the Memory of L. A. C 130
To the Portrait of a Child, 135
Ten Years Ago, 137
In Memory of Henry S. Craig, 142
To a Friend at Parting, 146
Winter Twilight, 148
Past and Present, 149
To a Picture of Pierre De Coruillan, Grand Master of the Knights
Hospitallers, in a Painter's Studio, 152
Sonnet to a Child, 158
The Old Album 159
The Frozen Stream, 167
A Whisper from Fairy Land, 168
Early Days, 174
Thanks for a Boquet, 178
The First Snow, 180
To , 181
To the Moon, 184
The Maiden to her Mirror, 189
To Annie, a Valentine, 195
The Love Letter, suggested by a Picture, 200
A Sigh for the Past, 203
THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY.
THE morning breaketh, and the sacred day,
JEHOVAH'S Sabbath, calls each heart to pray ;
A deeper hush the universe pervades ;
A softer whisp'ring fills the forest shades ;
The streams go murmuring with a gentler flow,
And sweeter breezes fan the vales below ;
Birds trill their notes, to fancy's ear less gay,
In blest accordance with the sacred day ;
10 THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY.
While flowers send up their incense thro' the dews
To Him who robed them in their varied hues,
Who filled each bell with fragrance, gave each bud
A richer dye, or some abundant good,
And strewed them, gemlike, o'er the smiling land,
Marks of his love, and wonders of his hand.
No\# on the breeze, from verdant valleys swell
The distant echoes of the Sabbath bell ;
To the rapt ear, as they were voiced from heaven,
The mellow tones harmoniously are given ;
To humble fanes the villagers repair,
Bow down the heart, and bend the knee in prayer,
And hear from lips revered the message high
Of Him who governs all immensity.
But turn awhile to other scenes than these
Lo ! 'neath the shelter of umbrageous trees,
Within some forest of the western wilds,
In sweet seclusion, a rude cabin smiles.
A little band, from regions far away,
Here find a home and happy children play
On the green sward, as careless and as free,
As summer birds that build on every tree.
THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY. 11
Now breaks the day of rest his labour done,
Gladly the exile greets the coming sun.
Hush'd every sound, the heavy axe is still,
Nor waken' d echo haunts the wooded hill.
'Tis silent all the blue o'er-arching sky
Scarce answers to the wild birds' melody ;
Within the forest glades the dappled deer
Roams undisturbed, nor dreams of danger near ;
All is so peaceful, beautiful, and still,
He quaffs the stream without a thought of ill,
Forgets the hunter's rifle flashing nigh,
Nor turns, with quivering ear, to start and fly.
The sun rides on, beside their cabin door,
Within the tree's deep shadow arching o'er
Its branching arms, to shelter from the heat
The lowly roof and the green mossy seat
The emigrants repose ; to them the day
Passes serenely, ling'ringly away.
Mem'ry retraces happier hours gone by,
Dwells on past joys, with retrospective eye,
Which thro' the lengthen' d vista brightly glow,
With rainbow light, the future cannot know.
12 THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY.
Vainly, alas ! they strain the anxious ear
The Sabbath bell's sweet harmony to hear
No sacred temple, 'neath their glorious sky,
Points its tall spire, to lift the thoughts on high ;
No voice proclaims the Gospel message blest,
Nor Christian worship marks the day of rest.
The mother, with a babe upon her knee,
Lulls its complaint with some low melody,
Musing, with eye half-dimm'd by gathering tears,
On the lov'd scenes of earlier, happier years,
In fancy seeks the viUage church again,
Joins in the prayer, and lifts the hallow'd strain,
Sings the sweet hymns she learned in childhood's day,
With friends beloved, in places far away.
The father, while his children cluster round,
Opens GOD'S book, with reverence profound,
And reads some sacred story of the past,
Of him upon the Nile's dark waters cast,
A helpless babe, till she of high degree,
Proud Pharaoh's daughter, chanc'd the ark to see ;
Of him, the shepherd boy, whose single blow
Brought great Goliah's boasted prowess low ;
THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY. 13
Of youthful Samuel, early call'd to be
The chosen servant of the Deity ;
Or where angelic hosts at night proclaim
The infant Saviour born in Bethlehem ;
And as they listen still with fixed eye,
Traces the rugged path to Calvary,
Binds on the sinless brow the thorny crown,
Marks the dark stream of blood come flowing down,
Hears the last cry, sees how the rocks are riven,
Till parting clouds convey Him back to heaven,
Then shuts the holy volume to exclaim,
" My little flock, for you the Saviour came."
Eve brings its shadows, all the western sky
Is hung with sunset's gorgeous drapery
Of gold and crimson where the wearied sun
Spreads his rich couch, the day's long journey done.
The air is freshen'd, and the silver dew
Falls silently upon the violet's tender blue,
Softening its beauty and the fair wild rose
Droops its young head, like childhood to repose.
The birds have sought their shelter ; each soft nest
Hides a wing'd rover, as on downy breast,
14 THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY.
And head close crouched beneath its feathery dress,
The wind-rock' d cradle soothes its weariness.
The twilight deepens in the welkin blue,
A few pale stars are glimmering faintly through
Night's sentinels. But hark ! what voices raise,
Within the forest depths, the hymn of praise ?
'Tis childhood's melody, in sweet accord
Breaks forth the simple lay of hallo w'd word,
And when the trembling notes almost expire,
A mother's tongue assists the timorous choir.
They cease and borne upon the summer air,
Come the firm tones of pure and earnest prayer.
In solitary wilds that household band
Kneel to the GOD of nations he whose hand
Hath guided safely thro' the parted day
Their pilgrim footsteps, in the narrow way.
They pray for home and friends, the dear ones bending,
Perchance for them when twilight shades are blending,
Before the mercy seat but oh ! the prayer
More fervently ascends, when pleading there
For the pure light of heavenly truth, to bless
Their lonely home within the wilderness.
THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY. 1.5
They ask, that yet, amid the forests dim,
May echo holy psalm, and pealing hymn;
That once again, ere life's short day is gone,
Their ears may list the Gospel's cheering tone,
Proclaim'd by one commission'd from on high,
To speak the message of the Deity.
And when the day is past, and night's dark pall
Is spread o'er earth, while stars a festival
Are keeping in their high and holy home,
And soft on human lids sweet slumbers come,
The exiles rest, to greet in pleasant dreams
Their native vales, green woods, and shining streams,
Forgetful of the weary leagues that spread
Between them and the land they long to tread.
Go forth, ye heralds may the Gospel's voice
Soon bid the lonely wilderness rejoice.
Tho' friends and home the emigrant has left,
Still let him feel as not of all bereft ;
Bear to his ear, with all their thrilling power,
The strains he learned to love in childhood's hour,
The prayers which taught his youthful heart to rise
On faith's unfailing pinion to the skies ;
16 THE EMIGRANT'S SABBATH DAY.
Spread the lov'd feast, and to the sacred board
Invite each trembling servant of the LORD ;
Seal with baptismal water infant brows ;
Join plighted hands, and sanction nuptial vows ;
Beside the bed of death speak words of peace,
And soothe the spirit waiting its release ;
And when the last dark conflict shall be o'er,
When sin and sorrow pain the soul no more,
Then lay the form in dust with solemn prayer,
And consecrate the ashes slumb'ring there.
'The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the
firmament showeth his handy-work."
Is it not glorious the arch of blue
Spread out above us by our Maker's hand ?
The mighty dome a heaven-built temple knew,
When springing forth at God's all- wise command ;
How it doth stretch away o'er sea and land,
Unpillared since the hour His mandate clear
Fixed its unmeasured limit, thus to stand
Till the last trump shall burst upon the ear,
And nations wake from death, their final doom to hear !
'Tis morn, the gates of light are opened wide
See from the orient comes the god of day !
He mounts his dazzling chariot to ride,
Like a proud monarch, his appointed way :
Onward he journeys, till his noontide ray
Pierces each leafy screen, each wooded dell,
Then westward rolling, pass the heats away ;
And when chimes clearly out the vesper bell,
'Mid clouds of gorgeous hue, he bids the world farewell.
Night curtains earth again, each weary child
Of frail mortality it calls to rest ;
And now the moon's pale crescent undefiled,
Hangs like a silver boat in the cool west ;
Or, older waxing, pours her radiance blest,
Where city streets lie silent 'neath her beams,
Robing all nature in her spotless vest,
And mirrored in a thousand mighty streams,
And lighting ocean's foam, and on the white sail gleams.
Nor cometh she alone the stars are there,
Those flaming jewels set by God on high ;
Transient but beautiful, the meteor's glare
Lights for a moment the uplifted eye ;
Orion and the Pleiades are nigh,
The Polar Star unwearied, and with them
The day's bright herald, as the night lays by
The regal splendors of her diadem,
And lost in greater glory, fades each radiant gem.
But more, look up once more, and trembling see
The clouds unfurl their banners in the sky :
Loud rolls the thunder's dread artillery,
And swift and fierce the winged lightnings fly ;
Veil, mortal, veil thy terror-stricken eye,
Jehovah speaks to listening man below ;
And now the blast is spent, the storm gone by,
The sun shines forth triumphantly, and lo !
The darkest cloud is spanned by the bright promise-
The heavens declare thy glory in his might
The sun tells out thy praise from day to day
The stars, the myriad stars, at noon of night,
Sing as they keep their fixed, unerring way ;
Silent they seem to man but oh ! each ray
Is vocal with creation's choral hymn
Far rolling orbs take up the rapturous lay,
And distant planets, vast, obscure and dim,
Swell the loud anthem, clear as white-robed seraphim,
The heavens declare thy glory who can gaze,
Almighty Father ! on that azure sea,
With all its countless barks of light, yet raise
Nor voice nor grateful tribute unto thee ?
Thine are the dazzling worlds of light we see,
And each their Maker's majesty proclaim,
Burn in their orbits by thy sure decree,
And write thy power in characters of flame,
Meet page, Eternal God ! to bear thy glorious name.
THE LOVED AND LOST.
"The shadows of death o'er my path have been sweeping,
There are those who have loved me, debarred from the day ;
The green turf is bright where in peace they are sleeping,
And on wings of remembrance my soul is away.
'Tis shut to the glow of this present existence,
It hears from the past a funereal strain,
And eagerly turns to the high-seeming distance,
Where the last blooms of earth will be garnered again."
WILLIS G. CLARK,
Come to my heart again, ye long departed,
Come, fill the vacant places at our hearth;
Vainly for you the bitter tears have started,
Since ye forsook for heaven the haunts of earth.
Vainly, ye lost, we yearn for your caressing,
And ask the tender tones which once we heard ;
On the still air there comes no whispered blessing,
Mute is each lip, and lost each loving word.
22 THE LOVED AND LOST.
Come once again, there is a shadow o'er us,
Earth seems a weary land since ye are gone,
Dim is the lengthened pathway spread before us,
And distant far the goal which ye have won :
Vainly the spring-time, in its bloom returning,
Wakes the young buds, and clothes the earth anew ;
Unto our hearts, with quenchless love still burning,
What, what avails its beauty, 'reft of you !
Thou, the dear friend of girlhood, memory traces
Full many an hour of gladness linked with thee,
And in thy children's fair and gentle faces,
Some loved resemblance of thyself may see.
Thou, the kind guardian of my childhood's hours,
My guide in youth, thine absence I deplore ;
See the dark cloud that on her pathway lowers,
Come to thy child, and be her shield once more.
And thou, the best and dearest, words can never
Speak the keen anguish of my stricken breast ;
'Twas but our summer day how soon to sever
The sacred bond which made our life so blest.
THE LOVED AND LOST. 23
The past, the past, 'tis robed in hues of brightness,
Its records tell of years how full of bliss,
When my young spirit in its joy and lightness,
Dreamed not of such a fearful woe as this.
Dost thou still love me in that far-off heaven V
Or art thou near me on thy spirit wings ?
Beloved, beloved, I cannot deem it riven,
That holy tie to which my heart yet clings :
Hast thou not seen the tears, which, like a river,
Swelled to the flood-gates of my breaking heart ?
O say not thou art lost to me for ever
We have been linked too fondly, thus to part.
Come, come to bless me, with thine eyes kind beaming,
Let thy loved voice upon my fond ears thrill ;
Come, with the light of heaven around thee streaming,
Come to the heart that weeps thee, loves thee still.
Ay ! in its inmost core with sorrow breaking,
Still does that love with quenchless ardor burn ;
While a sad voice within its depths awaking,
Hath but one echo, " O return, return."
Hark ! on mine ear seraphic notes are ringing !
Your voices, loved ones, mingle in the lay ;
Ye join the hymns which angel choirs are singing,
But, 'mid your songs, methinks I hear you say,
"There is no darkness here, the clouds are riven,
The veil is lifted from our earthly eyes ;
Would' st thou recall us from the light of heaven,
And all the ceaseless joys of Paradise ?"
No ! no ! let mortal vision greet ye never ;
Silence thy yearning, O repining heart !
Bliss, bliss unending, ye have gained for ever,
No more in earthly sorrow to have part ;
Joy for the free and blessed ! all unheeding
The world, its fleeting pleasures or its care ;
Onward my soul, be then thine eager speeding,
To those pure realms, and join thy lost ones there.
THE MARRIAGE VOW.
" For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to
cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance ; and thereto I plight thee
MARRIAGE SERVICE OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
Speak it not lightly 'tis a holy thing,
A bond enduring through long distant years,
When joy o'er thine abode is hovering,
Or when thine eye is wet with bitterest tears,
Recorded by an angel's pen on high,
And must be questioned in Eternity.
26 THE MARRIAGE VOW.
Speak it not lightly though the young and gay
Are thronging round thee now with tones of mirth,
Let not the holy promise of to-day
Fade like the clouds that with the morn have birth,
But ever bright and sacred may it be,
Stored in the treasure-cell of memory.
Life may not prove all sunshine there will come
Dark hours for all : O will ye, when the night
Of sorrow gathers thickly round your home,
Love as ye did, in time when calm and bright
Seemed the sure path ye trod, untouched by care,
And deemed the future, like the present, fair ?
Eyes that now beam with health may yet grow dim,
And cheeks of rose forget their early glow ;
Languor and pain assail each active limb,
And lay perchance some worshipped beauty low;
Then will ye gaze upon the altered brow,
And love as fondly, faithfully, as now ?
THE MARRIAGE VOW. 27
Should fortune frown on your defenceless head,
Should storms o'ertake your barque on life's dark sea;
Fierce tempests rend the sail so gayly spread,
When Hope her syren strain sang joyously
Will ye look up, though clouds your sky o'ercast,
And say, " together we will bide the blast ? "
Age with its silvery locks comes stealing on,
And brings the tottering step, the furrowed cheek,
The eye from whence each lustrous gleam hath gone,
And the pale lip, with accents low and weak
Will ye then think upon your life's gay prime,
And smiling, bid Love triumph over Time ?
Speak it not lightly O beware, beware !
'Tis no vain promise, no unmeaning word
Lo, men and angels list the faith ye swear,
And by the High and Holy One 'tis heard :
O then kneel humbly at his altar now,
And pray for grace to keep your marriage vow.
Go forth with Nature she hath many voices,
Speaking deep lessons to the human heart,
Where the blue streamlet in its course rejoices,
And where amid the forest wild birds dart,
Bearing in some sweet chorus each a part ;
Wind, wave and blossom, tree and fragrant sod,
The mossy hillock in its robe of green,
The tiny bells that in the breezes nod,
Lifting their dewy heads, broad leaves between
NATURE'S TEACHINGS. 21
Each has a tone, a lesson ; man hath need
Oft to go forth and ponder all their lore :
In Nature's open volume he may read
Truths of the mightiest import, and in awe
Bow down an humble heart, an unseen power adore,
Go to the ocean, when its giant waves
Are lashed to fury in the tempest's hour,
And while each tortured billow madly raves,
Learn thou the LORD JEHOVAH'S might and power ;
Then turn thee to the little modest flower,
That blooms unnoticed 'mid the gay and fair,
Or gives its bright cheek to the summer shower,
And read His watchful love and goodness there.
The lilies of the field are still His care,
And He who fixed the rolling worlds on high,
And spread above the broad blue arch of heaven,
And clothes it with the gorgeous hues of even,
Looks on the meanest worm with guardian eye,
And marks the sparrow's fall, and heeds the raven's
Go trace the waters of the sparkling rill,
From out their rocky birthplace wildly gushing,
Trickling in infant beauty from the hill,
Or in the sun with diamond lustre flushing :
Now gliding onward for awhile serene,
Now, twisted roots and vexing rocks between,
Then dashing on, with fiercer, wilder force,
And swifter race along their destined course,
To mingle with the ocean waves at last ;
And such is Life its Childhood's fount so fair,
Its Youth's gay morn so joyous and so free,
Its Manhood's hour of fearful strife and care
Its Age of rapid flight so quickly past
'Till lost amid thy depths, Eternity.
Go in the spring-time when the smiling earth
Puts on her robes of beauty for thine eye,
And lo, she speaks of that celestial birth
The Spirit knows in brighter worlds on high :
NATURE'S TEACHINGS. 31
And when the Autumn winds all mournful sigh
Through leafless branches, then go forth and store
Thy mind with thoughts of death, and read once more
The lesson of thine own mortality.
Ay, wander forth with Nature, every glade,
Each leafy aisle amid the forest's shade
The lightning's flash the thunder's awful roll
The rainbow's arch the dazzling orb of day
The silent moon upon her pathless way
All have mysterious tones to pierce the human soul.
THE DYING BOY.
'Twas early summer, pleasant June had come,
Flinging her coronals on every bough,
And from the soft southwest, with perfume rife,
The light-winged zephyrs wooed the coy young flowers.
The brooks like playful children babbled on,
Loosed from their icy bondage, and the birds,
Nature's unwearied choir, tuned their clear notes,
And in the wild-wood shades held revelry.
Earth wore her robes of light and loveliness ;
There were no clouds athwart the deep blue heaven,
Naught that might tell of darkness or decay :
But in a cottage home, where the green vines
Clambered about the casement, and the sun
Peeped stealthily amid the clustering boughs,
And the red rose gave her sweet odors forth
There Sorrow sat, and claimed her heritage
In human hearts.
Upon his lowly couch
Lay like a broken lily, a fair child
Just numbering then his tenth bright summer.
His clasped hands were white as braided snow-wreaths ,
And his silken hair, once waving lightly
In the summer's breath, now wet with death dews,
Fell all heavily on his pure forehead.
There was no rose-teint on his wasted cheek,
It seemed like Parian marble and his eye,
The lid half drawn, shone faintly, as a star
'Mid parting clouds.
Beside him leaned, heart-sick
With hope deferred, and worn with ceaseless vigils,
She who had borne him. There was much that told
Of patient suffering in her pallid face,
For she had struggled earnestly, till faith
Could spread its eagle pinions and soar up,
From the cold bed where she must lay her boy,
To his bright spirit-home. Oh, only they
Who with a mother's speechless agony,
Have watched the life-blood ebb, and the young cheek
Grow pale ; counted each feeble pulse, and seen
The full round limbs shrink in undue proportion
Only they, can tell a mother's sorrow,
And may own, how hard to bow submissively,
And say, " Thy will be done."
Hush ! he is waking,
The dim eyes re-open, and the white lips,
Long sealed as though in death, find utterance.
She had thought he slept, but when he turned
Those soft dark orbs to hers, she saw that tears
Were on their silken fringe, and o'er his face
Passed a deep shade of gloom. " Mother," he said,
And the faint tones were tremulous with grief,
" Mother, I know how soon the time will come
When I must die ; and as I lay but now,
And thought of the sweet spring and summer days
Which, each revolving year, make the green earth
So beautiful, and how they all would pass
Over my grave, and I should see them not
I thought how sad it were to be forgotten.
Will it be so, dear mother ? I would care
But little if all others should forget ;
But I was thinking, that you too, perhaps,
When you grew older, and your tears were dried,
And I had slumbered long, you might forget
The timid boy who wandered by your side
In the sweet garden paths at close of day, .
Or gathered wild flowers in the shady nooks
Of the old pasture meadow ; he who knelt
Each morn and eve, to lisp his childish prayers
Low at your knee, and grasped your gentle hand,
When the clear Sabbath bells rang joyously,
To seek our heavenly Father's hallowed house ;
You might forget the hour when he was wont
To come with bounding step and gleesome call,
From his wood rambles to your open arms.
Will it be so, dear mother ? Must I die,
And you forget your child ?"
She pressed her lips
On his cold forehead, and her burning tears
Fell fast with his : but when the first keen pang
Was past, she nerved herself to comfort him,