Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE CHILD'S LAST SLEEP.

SUGGESTED BY A MONUMENT OF CHANTREY'S.

Thou sleepest - but when wilt thou wake, fair child ?
When the fawn awakes in the forest wild ?
When the lark's wing mounts with the breeze of

morn ?
When the first rich breath of the rose is born ?-
Lovely thou sleepest, yet something lies
Too deep and still on thy soft-seal'd eyes;
Mournful, though sweet, is thy rest to see-
When will the hour of thy rising be?

Not when the fawn wakes - not when the lark
On the crimson cloud of the morn floats dark
Grief with vain passionate tears hath wet
The hair, shedding gleams from thy pale brow yet;
Love, with sad kisses unfelt, hath press'd
Thy meek dropt eyelids and quiet breast;
And the glad Spring, calling out bird and bee,
Shall colour all blossoms, fair child! but thee.
Thou ’rt gone from us, bright one !— that thou

shouldst die,
And life be left to the butterfly!"
Thou’rt gone as a dewdrop is swept from the bough:
Oh! for the world where thy home is now!
How may we love but in doubt and fear,
How may we anchor our fond hearts here;
How should e'en joy but a trembler be,
Beautiful dust! when we look on thee?

*A butterfly, as if resting on a flower, is sculptured on the monument.

THE SUNBEAM.

Thou art no lingerer in monarch's hall —
A joy thou art, and a wealth to all!
A bearer of hope unto land and sea
Sunbeam! what gift hath the world like thee?

Thou art walking the billows, and ocean smiles ; Thou hast touch'd with glory his thousand isles ; Thou hast lit up the ships, and the feathery foam, And gladden'd the sailor, like words from home.

To the solemn depths of the forest shades,
Thou art streaming on through their green arcades;
And the quivering leaves that have caught thy glow,
Like fire-flies glance to the pools below.

I look'd on the mountains

a vapour lay Folding their heights in its dark array: Thou brakest forth, and the mist became A crown and a mantle of living flame.

I look'd on the peasant's lowly cot-
Something of sadness had wrapt the spot;
But a gleam of thee on its lattice fell,
And it laugh'd into beauty at that bright spell.

To the earth's wild places a guest thou art,
Flushing the waste like the rose's heart;
And thou scornest not from thy pomp to shed
A tender smile on the ruin's head.

Thou takest through the dim church aisle thy way,
And its pillars from twilight flash forth to day,
And its high, pale tombs, with their trophies old,
Are bathed in a flood as of molten gold.

And thou turnest not from the humblest grave, Where a flower to the sighing winds may wave; Thou scatterest its gloom like the dreams of rest, Thou sleepest in love on its grassy breast.

Sunbeam of summer! oh, what is like thee?
Hope of the wilderness, joy of the sea !-
One thing is like thee to mortals given,
The faith touching all things with hues of heaven!

BREATHINGS OF SPRING.

Thou givest me flowers, thou givest me songs;- bring back
The love that I have lost!

What wakest thou, Spring!-sweet voices in the woods,

And reed-like echoes, that have long been mute; Thou bringest back, to fill the solitudes,

The lark's clear pipe, the cuckoo's viewless flute, Whose tone seems breathing mournfulness or glee,

E’en as our hearts may be.

And the leaves greet thee, Spring !—the joyous leaves,

Whose tremblings gladden many a copse and glad Where each young spray a rosy flush receives, When thy south wind hath pierced the whispery And happy murmurs, running through the grass,

shade, Vol. V.26

Tell that thy footsteps pass.

And the bright waters- they too hear thy call,

Spring, the awakener ! thou hast burst their sleep! Amidst the hollows of the rocks their fall

Makes melody, and in the forests deep, Where sudden sparkles and blue gleams betray

Their windings to the day.

And flowers—the fairy-peopled world of flowers !

Thou from the dust hast set that glory free,
Colouring the cowslip with the sunny hours,

And penciling the wood anemone;
Silent they seem-yet each to thoughtful eye

Glows with mute poesy.

But what awakest thou in the heart, O Spring!

The human heart, with all its dreams and sighs? Thou that givest back so many a buried thing,

Restorer of forgotten harmonies ! Fresh songs

and scents break forth where'er thou art, What wakest thou in the heart?

Too much, oh! there too much !- we know not well

Wherefore it should be thus, yet roused by thee, What fond, strange yearnings, from the soul's deep

cell, Gush for the faces we no more may see! How are we haunted, in the wind's low tone,

By voices that are gone!

Looks of familiar love, that never more,

Never on earth, our aching eyes shall meet, Past words of welcome to our household door,

And vanish'd smiles, and sounds of parted feet! Spring ! ʼmidst the murmurs of thy flowering trees,

Why, why revivest thou these? Vain longings for the dead !- why come they back With thy young birds, and leaves, and living

blooms? Oh! is it not, that from thine earthly track

Hope to thy world may look beyond the tombs? Yes! gentle spring; no sorrow dims thine air,

Breathed by our loved ones there!

THE ILLUMINATED CITY.

The hills all glow'd with a festive light,
For the royal city rejoiced by night:
There were lamps hung forth upon tower and tree,
Banners were lifted and streaming free;
Every tall pillar was wreath'd with fire;
Like a shooting meteor was every spire ;
And the outline of many a dome on high
Was traced, as in stars, on the clear dark sky.

I pass'd through the streets; there were throngs on

throngsLike sounds of the deep were their mingled songs; There was music forth from each palace borneA peal of the cymbal, the harp, and horn;

« PreviousContinue »