Page images

Make their last narrow resting-places known,

Who, living, loved it as a holy spot;
And, dying, made their deep attachment shown

By wishing here to sleep when life was not,
That so their turf, or stone, might keep them un-


It is a bright and balmy afternoon,

Approaching unto eventide ; and all
Is still except that streamlet's placid tune,

Or hum of bees, or lone wood-pigeon's call,
Buried amid embow'ring forest tall,

Which feathers, half-way up, each hill's steep side: Dost thou not feel such landscape's soothing thrall ;

And wish, if not within its bowers t abide, At least to explore its haunts, and know what joys

they hide?

Nor need'st thou wish a truer luxury

Than in its depths, delighted, thou might'st share; I will not say that naught of agony,

Blest as it is, at times may harbour there, For man is born to suffer and to bear:

But could I go with thee, from cot to cot, And show thee how this valley's inmates fare,

Thou might'st confess, to live in such a spot, And die there in old age, were no unlovely lot.



CLEAR, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake,
With the wild world I dwelt in, is a thing
Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring.
This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing

To waft me from distraction : once I loved Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring, Sounds sweet as if a sister's voice reproved, That I with stern delights should e'er have been so


It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellow'd and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darken'd Jura, whose capp'd heights appear
Precipitously steep; and, drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear

Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more;

He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill;
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill;
But that is fancy, for the starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instil,

Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into nature's breast the spirit of her hues.

All heaven and earth are still—though not in sleep,
But breathless, as we grow when feeling most ;
And silent as we stand in thoughts too deep:
All heaven and earth are still : from the high host
Of stars, to the lull'd lake and mountain-coast,
All is concentred in a life intense,
Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,

But hath a part of being, and a sense
Of that which is of all Creator and defence.


OH! SAY NOT 'TWERE A KEENER BLOW. Oh! say not 't were a keener blow

To lose a child of riper years, You cannot feel a mother's woe,

You cannot dry a mother's tears ;
The girl who rears a sickly plant,

Or cherishes a wounded dove,
Will love them most, while most they want

The watchfulness of love!
Time must have changed that fair young brow!

Time might have changed that spotless heart! Years might have taught deceit—but now

In love's confiding dawn-we part! Ere pain or grief had wrought decay,

My babe is cradled in the tomb;
Like some fair blossom torn away

Before its perfect bloom.
With thoughts of peril and of storm,

We see a bark first touch the wave;
But distant seems the whirlwind's form,

As distant as an infant's grave!
Though all is calm, that beauteous ship

Must brave the whirlwind's rudest breath;
Though all is calm, that infant's lip
Must meet the kiss of Death!


Ah there!-and comest thou thus again

Thou phantom of delight?
How oft, in hours of lonely pain,

Thou risest on my sight!
Since last we met, what suns have known

Their rising and decline!
But none of all those suns have shown

A faii face than thine.

'Tis many a year since I look'd on

Those meek and loving eyes ;
And thousands since have come and gone,

Like meteors through the skies.
But thine—they often come to me,

With lustre so benign,
Though memory of all others flee,

'T will make but dearer thine.
As not alone, the gorgeous arch

Rear'd in heaven's summer dome,
Gleams proudly on its silent march,

And heralds good to come,
But leaves, where'er its glory pass'd,

A fragrancy divine,*
So freshly on my soul is cast

The odorous light of thine.
Then welcome to my lonely hours,

Thou visionary thing,
Come with thy coronal of flowers,

Flowers of a vanish'd spring.
For gleeful souls let others roam,

But, till life's cords untwine,
In my heart's depth shall find a home
That pensive face of thine.



RAISED on the rocky barriers of the sea,
Stands thy dark convent, fair St. Valerie!
Lone like an eagle's nest, the pine-trees tall
Throw their long shadows on the heavy wall,

*"The ancients," says Lord Bacon, in his "Ten Centuries of Natural History," "believed that where the rainbow rested it left a delicate and heavenly odour."


Where never sound is heard, save the wild sweep
Of mountain waters rushing to the deep,
The tempest's midnight song, the battle-cry
Of warring winds, like armies met on high,
And in a silent hour the convent chime,
And sometimes, at the quiet evening time
A vesper song—those tones, so pure, so sweet,
When airs of earth and words of heaven do meet!
Sad is the legend of that young Saint's doom!
When the Spring Rose was in its May of bloom,
The storm was darkening; at that sweet hour
When hands beloved had rear'd her nuptial bower,
The pestilence came o'er the land, and he

With whom her heart was, died that very morn-
Her bridal morn! Alas, that there should be

Such evils ever for affection born!
She shrank away from earth, and solitude

Is the sole refuge for the heart's worst pain;
Life had no ties,--she turn'd her unto heaven,

And on the steep rock rear'd her holy fane.
It has an air of sadness, as just meet
For the so broken heart's last lone retreat!
A portrait here has still preserved each charm:
I saw it one bright evening, when the warm
Last glow of sunset shed its crimson ray
Over the lovely image. She was fair
As those most radiant spirits of the air
Whose life is amid flowers; like the day,
The golden summer day, her glossy hair
Fell o'er a brow of Indian ivory;
Her cheek was pale, and in her large dark eye
There was a thought of sorrow, and her brow
Upon one small snow hand lean'd pensively,
As if to hide her tears ;-the other press'd
A silver crucifix upon her breast.
I ne'er saw sadness touching as in thee,
And thy lorn look, oh fair ST. VALERIE!


« PreviousContinue »