Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

“My first was dark o'er earth and air,

As dark as she could be !
The stars that gemmed hér ebon hair

Were only two or three :
King Cole saw twice as many there

As you or I could see.

“ Away, King Cole,' mine hostess said,

'Flagon and flask are dry; Your nag is neighing in the shed,

For he knows a storm is nigh.' She set my Second on his head,

And she set it all awry.”.

[ocr errors]

Come from my First, ay, come!

The battle dawn is nigh ;
And the screaming trump and the thund'ring drum

Are calling thee to die !
Fight as thy father fought,

Fall as thy father fell,
Thy task is taught, thy shroud is wrought;

So-forward ! and farewell !

Toll ye, my Second ! toll!

Fling high the flambeau's light;
And sing the hymn for a parted soul,

Beneath the silent night!

The wreath upon his head,

The cross upon his breast, Let the prayer be said, and the tear be shed:

So—take him to his rest!

Call ye my Whole, ay, call!

The lord of lute and lay;
And let him greet the sable pall

With a noble song to-day;
Go, call him by his name;

No fitter hand may crave
To light the flame of a soldier's fame

On the turf of a soldier's grave.

VI.

Sir Hilary charged at Agincourt,

Sooth 'twas an awful day!
And though in that old age of sport
The rufflers of the camp and court
Had little time to-pray,

Int:
'Tis said Sir Hilary muttered there
Two syllables by way of prayer. ;

My First to all the brave and proud

Who see to-morrow's sun;
My Next with her cold and quiet cloud
To those who find their dewy shroud

Before to-day's be done ;
And both together to all blue eyes
That weep when a warrior nobly dies.

III.

How shall I woo her ?—I will try

The charms of olden time,
And swear by earth and sea and sky,

And rave in prose and rhyme;-
And I will tell her when I bent

My knee in other years, I was not half so eloquent,

I could not speak for tears!

[ocr errors]

How shall I woo her ?—I will bow

Before the holy shrine; And pray the prayer, and vow the vow,

And press her lips to mine; And I will tell her, when she parts

From passion's thrilling kiss, That memory to many hearts

Is dearer far than bliss.

[ocr errors]

Away! away! the chords are mute,

The bond is rent in twain ;You cannot wake that silent lute,

Nor clasp those links again;
Love's toil I know is little cost,

Love's perjury is light sin;
But souls that lose what I have lost,-

What have they left to win ?

STANZAS.

The lady of his love, oh, she was changed,
As by the sickness of the soul!

Byron.

Go thou, while in thy soul, and fill a throne
Of innocence and purity, in Heaven!

Ford.

I know that it must be, Yea! thou art changed—all worshipped as thou artMourned as thou shalt be! Sickness of the heart

Hath done its work on thee !

Thy dim eyes tell a tale,
A piteous tale, of vigils; and the trace
Of bitter tears is on thy beauteous face,

Beauteous, and yet so pale!

Changed love! but not alone !
I am not what they think me; though my cheek
Wear but its last year's furrow, though I speak

Thus in my natural tone.

The temple of my youth
Was strong in moral purpose: once I felt
The glory of philosophy, and knelt

In the pure shrine of truth.

I went into the storm,
And mocked the billows of the tossing sea ;
I said to Fate, “What wilt thou do to me?

I have not harmed a worm !"

Vainly the heart is steeled
In Wisdom's armor ; let her burn her books !
I look upon them as the soldier looks

Upon his cloven shield.

Virtue and Virtue's rest, How have they perished ! Through my onward course Repentance dogs my' footsteps! black Remorsa

Is my familiar guest !

The glory and the glow
Of the world's loveliness have passed away ;
And Fate hath little to inflict, to-day,

And nothing to bestow!

Is not the damning line Of guilt and grief engraven on me now? And the fierce passion which hath scathed thy brow,

Hath it not blasted mine?

No matter! I will turn
To the straight path of duty; I have wrought,
At last, my wayward spirit to be taught

What it hath yet to learn.

« PreviousContinue »