Page images
PDF
EPUB

A banner, from its flashing spear,

Flung out o'er many a fight;
A war-cry ringing far and clear,

And strong to turn the flight;
An arm that bravely bore the lance

On for the holy shrine;
A haughty heart and a kingly glance -

Chief! were not these things thine ?

A lofty place where leaders sate

Around the council board;
In festive halls a chair of state

When the blood-red wine was pour'd; A name that drew a prouder tone

From herald, harp, and bard; Surely these things were all thine own

So hadst thou thy reward.

Woman! whose sculptured form at rest

By the arm'd knight is laid,
With meek hands folded o'er a breast

In matron robes array’d;
What was thy tale?-0 gentle mate

Of him, the bold and free,
Bound unto his victorious fate,

What bard hath sung of thee?

He woo'd a bright and burning star

Thine was the void, the gloom, The straining eye that follow'd far

His fast-receding plume; Vol. V.-25

The heart-sick listening while his steed

Sent echoes on the breeze; The pang- but when did Fame take heed

of griefs obscure as these?

Thy silent and secluded hours

Through many a lonely day
While bending o'er thy broider'd flowers,

With spirits far away;
Thy weeping midnight prayers for him

Who fought on Syrian plains,
Thy watching till the torch grew dim-

These fill no minstrel strains.

A still, sad life was thine !- long years

With tasks unguerdon’d fraught,
Deep, quiet love, submissive tears,

Vigils of anxious thought;
Prayer at the cross in fervour pour’d,

Alms to the pilgrim given —
Oh! happy, happier than thy lord,

In that lone path to heaven!

LANDING OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS.

291

THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS

IN NEW ENGLAND.

“Look now abroad - another race has fill'd

Those populous borders — wide the wood recedes,
And towns shoot up, and fertile realms are tillid;
The land is full of harvests and green meads.”

BRYANT.

The breaking waves dash'd high

On a stern and rock-bound coast, And the woods against a stormy sky

Their giant branches toss'd;

And the heavy night hung dark,

The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moor’d their bark

On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,

They, the true-hearted, came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,

And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,

In silence and in fear;
They shook the depths of the desert gloom

With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,

And the stars heard and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang

To the anthem of the free!

The ocean eagle soar'd

From his nest by the white wave's foam; And the rocking pines of the forest roard

This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair

Amidst that pilgrim band ;-
Why had they come to wither there,

Away from their childhood's land?

There was woman's fearless eye,

Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,

And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?

Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?-

They sought a faith's pure shrine !

Ay, call it holy ground,

The soil where first they trode: They have left unstain'd what there they found

Freedom to worship God.

THE SPIRIT'S MYSTERIES.

“And slight, withal, may be the things which bring
Back on the heart the weight which it would fling

Aside for ever;- it may be a sound -
A tone of music - summer's breath, or spring -

A flower - a leaf - the ocean - which may wound
Striking th' electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound.”

Childe Harold.

The power that dwelleth in sweet sounds to waken

Vague yearnings, like the sailor's for the shore, And dim remembrances, whose hue seems taken

From some bright former state, our own no more; Is not this all a mystery?- Who shall say Whence are those thoughts, and whither tends their

way?

The sudden images of vanish'd things,

That o'er the spirit flash, we know not why ;
Tones from some broken harp's deserted strings,

Warm sunset hues of summers long gone by;
A rippling wave- —the dashing of an oar-
A flower scent floating past our parents' door;

A word-scarce noted in its hour perchance,

Yet back returning with a plaintive tone: A smile—a sunny or a mournful glance,

Full of sweet meanings now from this world flown; Are not these mysteries when to life they start, And press vain tears in gushes from the heart?

« PreviousContinue »