The Poems of R. D. Williams, intro. by P. A. Sillard (1894 Edn.)

[Source: Internet Archive - online; accessed 8.02.2013.]

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CONTENTS
  Introduction vii
National Poems
 
[p.iii.]

The Nation’s Valentine - To the Ladies of Ireland
The Gathering of Leinster
The Battle of Clontarf
The Rath of Mullaghmast
The Lion and the Serpent
Lament for Clarence Mangan
Dedication of the Harp of “The Nation”
The Vision
A Prophecy
The Munster War-Song
The Leinster War-Song
Western War-Song
Irish War-Song
Irish War-Song
The Mountain War-Song
The Captivity
The Extermination
Steady!
Fall, Flag of Tyrants
Gratias Agamus [A Paeon to England]
The Patriot Brave
Here’s a Chorus
Hand in Hand
Kling! Klang!
Adieu to Innisfail

1
4
6
9
12
16
21
25
28
31
35
38
41
42
43
46
49
51
52
55
57
59
60
64
65
p.iv The Pass of Plumes
Lord of Hosts
King Brian’s March to Clontarf
Freedom
The Irish National Guard to his Sister
Lament for Thomas Davis
Song of the Irish-American Regiments
The Mine of Tortona
68
73
74
77
80
82
85
87
Humorous Poems
 
  Misadventures of a Medical Student: -  
    No. I. - Blighted Love
No. II. - The Cut One
No. III. - My Skull
No. IV. - Quodded
No. V. - The Taxman
No. VI. - The Dream
No. VII. - A Dream of the Rotundo
No. VIII. - A Reverie
No. IX. - My Cousin
No. X. - The Cirilla Pulchella
No. XI. - To the Fraulein Von Bummel
91
97
101
108
115
119
124
133
137
155
162
  Dear Law
Advice to a Young Poet
Valentine to the Poetesses of the “Nation”
Romance in Real Life
The Barmaid’s Eyes [parody of J. C. Mangan]
The Legend of Stiffenbach
Dunore Hill
A Dream
Reason and Song
167
169
174
179
181
184
187
191
194
p.v. Oh! for a Feed [[parody of Davis]
Leander
“Never say Die”
Winter - an Elegy
198
200
204
206
Miscellaneous Poems
 
 

The Poet’s Passion
Day Dreams
The Dying Girl
To Fanny Power
To Kathleen
To Jessy
A Dream of the Stars
Trust Not
To Mary
Ben Heder
Last Song of Kirke White
Hardress Cregan to Eily O’Connor
Hardress Cregan to Anne Chute
Those Sunny Hours
The Flower
St. Kevin to his Sister
St. Kevin to Kathleen
The Praise of Michael
Sister of Charity
The Hymn of St. Brigid
Invocation
A Thought on Calvary
Vesper Hymn
Kyrie Eleison
Contrition - Adoration

211
215
220
223
225
227
230
234
236
240
243
245
246
248
249
250
253
257
261
264
267
269
271
274
277

p.vi

Adoro Te Devote
Before the Blessed Sacrament
To our Lady of Victory
Dies Irae
Stabat Mater, Paraphrased
To the Mother of the Christinas Babe
The Sister of Mercy
Lines on the Death of his Infant Daughter, Katie,
To Isabel
A Breeze through the Forest
Not For Me
The Voice of June
Erin
Melpomene
Prologue for “ Cato”
The Fairies of Knockshegowna
Come with Me o’er Ohio
Longing

280
282
284
292
296
299
301
303
303
306
311
313
317
319
322
325
328
332

§

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Introduction

Richard D’Alton Williams, the poet whose collected works are here presented, is sufficiently well known to the Irish people to need no introduction; but as it is hoped that his poems may be read by others as well, some account of his life may be found of interest. To those whose conception of the poet is that of an amazing compound of exalted virtue and dgrading vice, his story may prove disappointing. Sir Walter Scott’s last words to Lockhart were, “Be a good man, my dear!” and this it was that Williams always endeavoured to be. His lot was not the happiest in the great lottery wherein prizes are rare, and in which no one has ever yet won lasting happiness. But this did not stamp itself on his poetry, or give rise to any psychological morbidness resolving itself into questionings as to the use of life and its Living-Worthiness. On the contrary, his poems are all perfectly healthy in tone, breathing the only true philosophy - too beautifully expressed by America’s poet:-

”Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way” [viii]

There is a sense in which biographical detail gives light to criticism; yet, although it might be interesting to trace the influence of pedigree on his poetry, still for the purpose of this narrative it is sufficient to state that Williams was born in Dublin on the 8th of October, 1822. It was, however, in Grenanstown, a romantic spot, “meet nurse for a poetic child,” at the foot of the Tipperary mountains, that his childhood and early youth were passed. Here, although he never knew a father’s love, a mother’s tender care watched over him, and he in turn loved her deeply. She it was who instilled into his young mind those excellent principles of goodness and truth, and that solid piety, “the soul’s securest guard” for which he was so remarkable all through life.

He was first sent to the Jesuit School of St. Stanislaus, at Tullabeg, where, he tells us, he was sufficiently acquainted with the fervla of the then prefect, Father Meagher, uncle of Thomas Francis Meagher. Here his master was the Rev. Dr. Taylor, a very distinguished professor, who subsequently became Parish Priest of Maryborough, where he died in 1876. Having completed his preparatory course, Williams passed to St. Patrick’s College, Carlow, which he entered in 1839, at which time the Very Rev. [viii] Andrew Fitzgerald was president. He studied here for some years, and even at this early age began to write poetry. Some of those juvenile pieces were considered of sufficient merit to obtain a place in a Book of Honour kept in the College wherein were enshrined such composi- tions, prose and verse, of the students as were worthy of preservation. His youthful productions which have been thus preserved number ten, and include two attempts in blank verse which, however, he never afterwards essayed. None of these productions find a place in this volume, for however interesting they may be considered as juvenilia, it is not just that the efforts of the young in trying their wings should be regarded after they have learned to soar. What good use he had made of this period of apprenticeship to the Muses is clearly evidenced by the excellence of his first published contribution to poetry: the famous “Munster War Song,” which appeared in the Nation for the 7th of January, 1843. This poem was directly inspired by Thomas Davis’s “Lament for Owen Roe,” which was instrumental in discovering to Davis that he had the poetic gift, and in stimulating the young student to excel in the Art for which he had evinced such an aptitude. The manuscript [ix] of this poem was signed “Shamrock,” [see note] a nom de plume which the readers of the Nation grew to know and to love, and which was chosen by Williams because its triple leaf was symbolic to him of Faith, Hope and Love.

[Note: It was published, without a signature, as No. 3 of “Songs of the Nation”.]

The favour with which this poem was received must have been somewhat of a surprise to its author; yet truly it was a brilliant achievement, and one worthy of a much older hand. It ensured him a position on the staff of the Nation writers, and called forth the warmest encomiums from Thomas Davis and Oavan Duffy, the editors of that journal, who assured him in the number for January 21st, 1843, that “’Shamrock” is a jewel. He cannot write too often. His verses are full of vigour, and as natural as the harp of Tara.” But Williams was conscious that he could write too often, and was careful to take time in the production and polishing of his verses before sending them to the Nation, in which much of his early poetry appeared. Although the “Munster War Song “was his first published poem, yet an earlier one from his pen is included in this volume, - it is the poem entitled [x] “Erin,” which he wrote in October, 1841, but which was never printed in the Nation or in any collection of his poems. He also contributed to the Evening Tablet and to Duffy’s Irish Catholic Magazine over the initials D. N. S., the final letters of his name.

His next appearance in the Nation was on the 25th of February, 1843, with the pathetic “Adieu to Innisfail,” which for him proved to be somewhat of a prophecy. In this month of February he also wrote “The Voice of June” which he sent to the Nation along with the “Adieu to Innisfail,” but, owing to its length, space could not be found for it at the time. It is not to be supposed, however, that Williams contemplated devoting himself exclusively to the making of verses, an occupation which, while doubtless fascinating, is apt to make the dreamer rather than the worker, and as medi- cine was the field in which he proposed to labour, he came to Dublin in March, 1843, and began his attendance at the School of Medicine. While pursuing his studies for this profession he was connected with St. Vincent’s Hospital in Stephen’s Green. Here it was that be received inspiration for two of his most beautiful ballads: “The Sister of Charity,” and “The Dying Girl.” To have written [xi] these two alone would have constituted his claim to the title of poet - the beauty of thought and the felicity of diction alike command our admiration, while the pathos of the latter goes straight to the heart.

It is to those medical student days in Dublin that we owe the series of mirthful verses which he called the “Misadventures of a Medical Student” and into which he worked the most fantastically humorous notions, combined with a free use of medical terminology, Latin abbreviations, and Greek compounds. Of these verses it may be said that while innocently gay, they have wit combined with a native ease and grace. In them he gave vent to his talent for parody, and freely parodied, amongst others, Byron and Bulwer Lytton, but his most daring feats in this direction are his parodies of Davis’s ’’Oh I for a Steed!” O’Hagan’s “ Dear Land,” and Clarence Mangan’s “Time of the Barmecides” - the latter is undoubtedly the best, having caught exactly the spirit and pathos of the great original, and makes us almost forgive the irreverence in its very audacity. Those who are familiar with Drayton’s “Battle of Agincourt “ will recognise a perfect travesty of the manner of that ballad in the ’’Bomance in Real Life;” but Williams [xii] also used this impressive metre with striking effect in some of his serious poems.

In high contrast to those facetiae are his reli-gious pieces, foremost amongst which must be placed his exquisite translations, or paraphrases rather, of the “Dies Irae” and of the “Adoro Te Devote.” His rendering of the “Stabat Mater,” while in many respects excellent, is somewhat spoiled by the two first grandly simple words being withheld too long. These translations he undertook at the special request of the nuns of the hospital, who have shown their appreciation of them by incorporating them in their “Manual of Devotions.” The metre used by Williams in the “Dies Irae” is the same, it will be observed, as his “King Brian’s March to Clontarf,” and accords perfectly with the dirge-like cadence of the original. The critical reader who would like to contrast other versions of this wonderful hymn will find an admirable translation, in the metre of the original, in Blackwood’s Magazine for March, 1860, by an English Protestant Clergyman, the Rev. Philip Stanhope Worseley : another that may be mentioned is by John 0’Hagan (justly famous for his magnificent translation of the “ Chansons de Roland” and which will be found in the Irish Monthly vol. ii, p.136 Before passing [xiii] from the mention of Williams’ sacred poems, it is impossible to resist drawing attention to the two very remarkable outbursts of lyrical piety, “Before the Blessed Sacrament,” and “Contrition and Adoration.” These beautiful pieces, replete as they are with religious feeling and poetic grace, would add lustre to the fame of a greater poet. Reading them we are fain to regret that their author was unable to lead a life of lettered ease in which he could have done full justice to his intellect, and poured his spirit forth in songs that would never die.

Williams on his advent in Dublin was received into the inner circle of “Young Ireland,” soon to be carried along by the wave of revolutionary excitement that swept over Europe, scattering dynasties and shaking thrones to their very foundations. The prose articles in the Nation became more vigorous, the poetry more fervid - Davis and Williams putting their whole souls into their ballads and war-songs. The clash of arms could almost be heard as one read these soul-stirring effusions. In the midst of all this, death struck Thomas Davis down - Davis the foremost among that heroic band who never yielded, though foredoomed to fail. Then came the Famine with all its attendant horrors, and black despair about to [xiv] settle over the land, when John Mitchel established the United Irishman newspaper, and with burning soul and flashing pen endeavoured to rouse the people from their lethargy. Never, before or since, in Irish journalism has there been such brilliant writing as for sixteen weeks illumined the pages of that historic paper. The crisis thus precipitated came, and Mitchel’s paper was suppressed. “Patriotism once felt to be a duty becomes so.” No sooner was the United Irishman suppressed than two other papers took its place. John Martin established the Irish Felon, Williams and Kevin Izod O’Dogherty (another young medical student), the Irish Tribune, the first number of which appeared on the 10th of June, 1848. The evangel preached by Mitchel was further propagated in these two journals; but not for long, for after a brief career of six weeks the Irish Tribune was suppressed, and on the 16th of July Williams was arrested at his residence, 35 Mountpleasant Square, Eanelagh, but his trial did not take place until the 2nd of November. Judge Torrens and Judge Crampton presided at the Commission, whereat he was charged with treason-felony, in having compassed, imagined, or intended to depose and levy [xv] war against the Queen, by the publication of certain articles in the Irish Tribune. Against this charge he was defended by Sir (then Mr.) Samuel Ferguson, Sir Colman O’Loghlen, and Mr. (afterwards Judge) O’Hagan. That our poet should have had enlisted in his defence two such true poets as John 0’Hagan and Sir Samuel Ferguson was a peculiarly happy incident; the latter’s speech for the defence was manly, eloquent, and judicious, and well cal- culated to promote the interests of his client. In the result the jury found a verdict of Not Guilty, and, in closing the Commission, the judges ordered that Williams should be set at liberty. The previous day O’Dogherty had been convicted and sentenced to transportation for ten years: a similar sentence was passed on John Martin. Thus closed in disaster Williams’ brief participation in Irish political journalism. The funds required for the enterprise were supplied by a young Dublin doctor named Antisell, who also contributed to the literary department of the paper, as did the celebrated John Savage, who died in New York on the 9th of October, 1888. In the first number of the Tribune appeared a poem entitled “The Irish National Guard to his Sister” in which occur the lines [xvi]

 

”Chain-breaking Liberty, at whose command,
For weal or woe, to felon-chains or slaughter,
I do devote myself for this dear land.”

But perhaps the finest poetry that Williams wrote about this period was the striking ballad, “Lord of Hosts,” which appeared in John Mitchel’s United Irishman on the 20th of May, 1848, and the touching “Kyrie Eleison,” a lay of the Famine, which he wrote for Duffy’s Irish Catholic Magazine. This poem has been enshrined by Miss Annie Keary in one of the most affecting passages in her famous novel, Castle Daly, in which she makes her heroine, Ellen Daly, read it “ with a face wet with tears.”

It was with a spirit much subdued that Williams resumed his medical studies after the collapse of his trial. His worldly circumstances, never the best, were now worse than ever, and his proud spirit prevented him from letting his friends know his condition. That sense of humour to which we owe the “Misadventures of a Medical Student” never deserted him, however, for we find him saying that bread-and-water was not so bad if one could get enough of it. Having finished his studies in Dublin he proceeded to Edinburgh on the 31st of July, 1849, and there he took his diploma. On his return to Dublin in [xvii] November of the same year he became attached for some time to Stevens’ [for Steevens’] Hospital; but his literary tastes were still a distraction, notwithstanding that he said in a letter to Denis Florence MacCarthy, dated from 4 Hamilton Row, 23rd November, 1849: - “I am too well aware that in me the fire of song is extinct for ever, and has left me only very bitter ashes.” Truly, “the heart knoweth its own bitterness.” Early in 1851 he resolved to become an exile in the greater Ireland beyond the sea. “The mournful exile’s song is now for me to learn,” sang another Irish poet, and it was with this feeling full upon him that Williams wrote “Come with me o’er Ohio.” This poem appeared in the Nation for the 1st of March, 1851, and in June of that year he left his native land behind him for ever. Those readers who would like to picture to the mind’s eye the man as he was at this time may be interested to know that he was slightly above the middle height, his face pale and thoughtful in expression, rather good-looking than handsome, and being weak-sighted he wore spectacles. In manner he was gentle, and reserved almost to shyness, but in congenial society a very pleasant companion. At those re-unions and weekly suppers which the “Young Ireland” [xviii] used to hold at each other’s residence, he was one of the gayest of an exceedingly gay party, not infrequently would he sing for them some of his own compositions, which were thus first introduced to an expectant and appreciative audience.

In America Williams made his first home in Alabama. Here he obtained a professorship of Belles-Lettres in the Jesuit College, at Spring Hill, Mobile, which he held for some years. In a letter written from here on the 11th of December, 1853, to the Rev. Stephen Anster Farrell, whom Williams knew in Dublin as a Curate in Francis Street, but who afterwards became a Jesuit, we find the old humour breaking out again. “I wish,” he says, “you could send us an Irish Father, a scholastic, or even a novice. If he have an eye for colour, scarlet fever, yellow ditto, and blue cholera, afford a striking variety which can be admired at leisure. The curious in ophiology can also make a brilliant and entirely unlimited collection. ’Here’s a fine opening for a young man,’ as Cartius said of the chasm in the Forum.” From Mobile he paid occasional visits to Havanna and to New Orleans, and in the latter city he made the acquaintance of a Mrs. Connolly, a widow of Irish [xix] birth, and closely connected with the Irish families of Brooke, Cuthbert, and O’Hara. With her daughter, Elizabeth, he fell in love, and it is to her that the lines “To Isabel,’’ which appear now for the first time in his works, were addressed. The poet’s love was returned, and they were married at New Orleans on the 8th of September, 1856. He then resigned his professorship, and made his home in New Orleans, having decided to resume his practice of the medical profession, which he then successfully carried on for some years. During these years he occasionally contributed to American magazines and journals, and also sent some pieces to the old Nation but the greater part of his literary work was done previous to 1851.

He had four children, one son and three daughters, two of whom are dead; the youngest, Katie, is the subject of the “Lines” on page 303.

The climate of New Orleans had much to do with the breaking up of his health, which in 1860 induced him to seek change, first at Baton Rouge (the then capital city, about 130 miles above New Orleans), and finally at Thibodeaux, also in Louisiana, in which town be was residing at the outbreak [xx] of the Civil War. While here he wrote his last poem, entitled “Song of the Irish-American Regiments,” breathing all his old patriotism; and here he died of consumption on the 5th of July, 1862. On the following 8th of October he would have completed his fortieth year. As he had prophesied at the outset of his career he indeed ’’slumbers in a foreign tomb,” but not in a nameless or a noteless one; for those Irish-American soldiers, whose sentiments he had so recently expressed in song, hearing of his death, sought out his grave, and finding it all but unmarked subscribed amongst them for the purchase of a beautiful monument of Carara marble which they erected over his last resting place, and which bears this graceful and eloquent inscription:-

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
RICHARD D’ALTON WILLIAMS,
THE IRISH PATRIOT AND POET,
WHO DIED JULY 5th, 1862. AGED 40 YEARS.
THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY HIS COUNTRYMEN SERVING IN COMPANIES C AND K, 8TH REGT., N.H. VOLUNTEERS,
AS A SLIGHT TESTIMONIAL OF THEIR ESTEEM
FOR HIS UNSULLIED PATRIOTISM AND HIS EXALTED
DEVOTION
TO THE CAUSE OF IRISH FREEDOM.

[xxi]

This touching incident has been commemorated in verse by another Irish poet, who also “lies far off beyond the wave” - Thomas D’Arcy McGee.

Such is the life-story of Richard D’ Alton Williams, physician, journalist, and poet, who gave to the service of the poor and his country those talents with which heaven had endowed him. We say talent whereas we might say genius, for little less than genius could have given us such beautiful and heart-stirring lyrics as are to be found within the compass of this small volume. Into the merits of his poems it is not now needful to enter critically. Poetry with him was a passion, not a fashion. His poems were not, as is the dainty privilege of these days, given to the public in small doses, - rivulets of text in meadows of margin; they even appeared occasionally in the “Answers to Correspondents” column of newspapers, where indeed some of Mangan’s first saw the light. Like Mangan he had a marvellous command of rhythm, but unlike him his poetry, while the genuine outpouring of a nature that could feel tenderly and love deeply, was not wrung from the depths of a heart filled with abiding sorrow. His pathos, however, is genuine, no false or sickly sentiment, but obviously [xxii] gushing straight from the heart; - not even Robert Burns has written anything more pathetic than “The Dying Girl,” which it is difficult to read without tears. His national and patriotic ballads while little, if anything, inferior in spirit to those of Thomas Davis, are more finished than his, although he was not prone to labour at the embellishing of what he wrote.

“With native eloquence he soars along,
Grace in his thoughts and music in his song.”

Had he been an ambitious poet he would, doubtless, have devoted to the polishing of his verses those hours which, snatched from a life of toil, he gave to the visiting and alleviating the sufferings of the Sick Poor in his capacity of member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, then just introduced into Ireland from France, and which he was one of the first to aid in establishing in Dublin.

Sir Samuel Ferguson, himself a poet of distinction and no mean critic of poetry, declared Williams to be, after Moore, one of the first of Irish poets; but in awarding him a niche in Ireland’s Temple of Fame it need not mean the displacement of any that are already there. It is always rash to attempt to assign the place [xxiii] of any poet, especially in these days when, to borrow Swift’s phrase, “every fool his claim alleges” to the title. Dr. Johnson says: “By the common sense of readers, uncorrupted with literary prejudices, after all the refinements of subtilty [sic for subtlety] and the dogmatism of learning, must be finally decided all claim to poetical honours.” And the same high authority assures us that “Time quickly puts an end to artificial and accidental fame.” From these tests of time and common sense D’Alton Williams’ fame has nothing to fear. Thirty-two years have rolled by since he was laid in his grave, and “Ireland, mother of sweet singers,” still cherishes his poems as a precious heritage. As one of the sweetest singers of the Nation - the journal that “breathed a soul into Ireland” - his works are deserving of that permanent place in Irish Literature to which it is safe to say they have now attained.

P. A. S.

Dublin, May, 1894.

§

A Selection from the Poems (1894 Edn.) [see note]

LAMENT FOR CLARENCE MANGAN.

Oft with tears I’ve groaned to God for pity,
   Oft gone wandering till my way grew dim,
Oft sang unto Him a prayerful ditty,
Oft, all lonely in this throngful city.
               Raised my soul to Him;
And from path to path His mercy tracked me,
   From many a peril snatched He me,
When false friends pursued, betrayed, attacked me,
When gloom overdarked, and sickness racked me.
               He was by to save and free
.”
                                    — James Clarence Manoan.

Yes! happy friend, the cross was thine; ’tis o’er a sea of tears
Predestined souls must ever sail to reach their native spheres.
May Ohrist, the crowned of Calvary, who died upon a tree,
Bequeath His tearful chalice and His bitter cross to me.

The darkened land is desolate - a wilderness of graves -
Our purest hearts are prison-bound, our exiles on the waves;
Gaunt Famine stalks the blasted plains - the pestilential air
O’erhangs the gasp of breaking hearts or stillness of despair. [15]

The ebbing blood of Ireland is shed by foreign streams,
Where our kinsmen wake lamenting when they see her in their dreams.
Oh I happy are the peaceful dead - ’tis not for them we weep
Whose troubled spirits rest at length in calmly laurelled sleep.

No chains are on thy folded hands, no tears bedim thine eyes,
But round thee bloom celestial flowers in ever tranquil skies,
While o’er our dreams thy mystic songs, faint, sad, and solemn, flow,
Like light that left the distant stars ten thousand years ago.

How sweet thy harp on every string - wild, tender, mirthful, grand,
Of fairy pranks, of war, or love, or bleeding Fatherland;
And long the mournful caoina of Tyrconnell and Tyrone
Like midnight waves on caverned coasts around their tombs shall moan. [16]

Still “boating down the Bosphorus,” with thee we gaily go,
And still the “elfin mariners” o’er tiny brooklets row,
The phantom “Lady Agnes” still roams in awful woe,
And Irish hearts o’er “Cahal Mor” and “Roisin Dubh” shall glow.

Thou wert a voice of God on earth - of those prophetic souls
Who hear the fearful thunder in the Future’s womb that rolls,
And the warnings of the angels, as the midnight hurried past,
Rushed in upon thy spirit, like a ghost-o’erladen blast.

Then the woes of coming judgment on thy tranced vision burst,
To call immortal vengeance on an age and land accurst;
For where is Faith, or Purity, or Heaven in us now?
In power alone the times believe - to gold alone they bow. [17]

If any shade of earthliness bedimined thy spirit’s wings,
Well cleansed thou art in sorrow’s ever-salutary springs;
And even bitter suffering, and still more bitter sin,
Shall only make a soul like thine more beautiful within.

For every wound that humbles, if it do not all destroy,
Shall nerve the heart for nobler deeds, and fit for purer joy;
As the demigod of fable-land, as olden legends say,
fiose up more strong and Valorous each time he touched the clay.

And wisely was a weakness with thine ecstasies allied -
Thus Heaven would save a favourite child from God-dethroning pride.
And teach the star-land dreamer that his visioned Milky Way
Is but the feeble reflex of his Sire’s transmitted ray. [18]

As aforetime the apostle wept to bear an earthly thorn,
While his raptured spirit floated through the portals of the mom;
For bards, like saints, have secret joys none other mortals know,
And He who loves would chasten them in weakness and in woe.

Tears deck the soul with virtues, as soft rains the flow’ry sod.
And the inward eyes are purified for clearer dreams of God;
’Tis sorrow’s hand the temple-gates of holiness unbars;
By day we only see the earth, ’tis night reveals the stars.

Alas! alas! the minstrel’s fate! his life is short and drear,
And if he win a wreath at last, ’tis but to shade a bier;
His harp is fed with wasted life - to tears its numbers flow -
And strung with chords of broken hearts is dream-land’s splendid woe. [19]

But now - a cloud, a cloud transfigured, all luminous, auroral -
Thou joinest the Trisagion of choired immortals choral,
While all the little discords here but render more sublime
The joybells of the universe from starry to chime.

Father of the harmonies eternally that roll
Life, light, and love to trillioned suns, receive the poet’s soul!
And bear him in Thy bosom from this vale of tears and storms
To swell the sphere-hymns thundered from the rushing starry swarms.

In sacred lustre rolling where the constellated throngs
Peal down through heaven’s chasmata unutterable songs,
And myriad-peopled systems - beneath, around, above -
Resound with admiration —reverberate with love. [20]

Sleep, happy friend! The cross was thine - ’tis o’er a sea of tears
Predestined souls must ever sail to reach their native spheres.
May Christ, the crowned of Calvary, who died upon a tree,
Vouchsafe His tearful chalice and His bitter cross to me!

THE MUNSTER WAR-SONG. A.D. 1190.
Can the depths of the ocean afford you not graves.
That you come thus to perish afar o’er the waves -
To redden and swell the wild torrents that flow
Through the valley of vengance, the dark Aherlow? [31]

The clangor of conflict o’erburthens the breeze,
From the stormy Sliabh Bloom to the stately Gailtees;
Your caverns and torrents are purple with gore,
Slievenamon, Gleann Colaich, and sublime Gailtee More!

The sunburst that slumbered, embalmed in our tears,
Tipperary! shall wave o’er thy tall mountaineers;
And the dark hill shall bristle with sabre and spear,
While one tyrant remains to forge manacles here.

The riderless war-steed careers o’er the plain,
With a shaft in his flank, and a blood-dripping mane -
His gallant breast labours, and glare his wild eyes!
He plunges in torture - falls - shivers - and dies.

Let the trumpets ring triumph! the tyrant is slain!
He reels o’er his charger, deep-pierced through the brain;
And his myriads are flying like leaves on the gale -
But who shall escape from our hills with the tale? [32]

For the arrows of vengeance are showering like rain,
And choke the strong rivers with islands of slain,
Till thy waves, “lordly Shannon,” all crimsonly flow,
Like the billows of hell, with the blood of the foe.

Ay! the foemen are flying, but vainly they fly -
REevenge with the fleetness of lightning can vie.
And the septs of the mountains spring up from each rock.
And rush down the ravines like wolves on the flock.

And who shall pass over the stormy Sliabh Bloom
To tell the pale Saxon of tyranny’s doom.
When, like tigers from ambush, our fierce mountaineers
Leap along from the crags with their death-dealing spears?

They came with high boasting to bind us as slaves;
But the glen and the torrent ha yawned for their graves: [33]
From the gloomy Ard Fionnain to wild Teampoll Mor -
From the Suir to the Shannon - is red with their gore.

By the soul of Heremon! our warriors may smile,
To remember the march of the foe through our isle;
Their banners and harness were costly and gay,
And proudly they flashed in the Summer sun’s ray.

The hilts of their falchions were crusted with gold,
And the gems of their helmets were bright to behold;
By Saint Bride of Kildare! but they moved in fair show -
To gorge the young eagles of dark Aherlow! [34]

WESTERN WAR-SONG
[...]
Not the phalanx of Sparta, for threshold and shrine,
More nobly has battled, my country, than thine;
Our cause is as holy, our bosoms as true -
And Erin may have her Thermopylae too. [End; p.41]

THE EXTERMINATION.
” Dominas pupillum et viduam suscipiet.” - Ps. 145.

When tyranny’s pampered and purple-clad minions
Drive forth the lone widow and orphan to die,
Shall no angel of vengeance unfurl his red pinions,
And grasping sharp thunderbolts, rush from on high?

”Pity! oh, pity! - a little while spare me;
My baby is sick - I am feeble and poor;
In the cold winter blast, from the hut if you tear me,
My lord, we must die on the desolate moor!”

’Tis vain - for the despot replies but with laughter,
While rudely his serfs thrust her forth on the wold:
Her cabin is blazing from threshold to rafter,
And she crawls o’er the mountain, sick, weeping and cold.[49]

Her thinly-clad child on the stonny hill shivers -
The thunders are pealing dread anthems around -
Loud roar in their anger the tempest-lashed rivers -
And the loosened rocks down with the wild torrents bound.

Vainly she tries in her bosom to cherish
Her sick infant boy, ’mid the horrors around,
Till, faint and despairing, she sees her babe perish -
Then lifeless she sinks on the snow-covered ground.

Though the children of Ammon, with trumpets and psalters,
To devils poured torrents of innocents’ gore,
Let them blush from deep hell at the far redder altars
Where the death-dealing tyrants of Ireland adore!

But, for Erin’s life-current, thro’ long ages flowing,
Dark demons that pierce her, you yet shall atone;
Even now the volcano beneath you is glowing,
And the Moloch of tyranny reels on his throne. [50]

GRATIAS AGAMUS - A Pæan to England.
Children of the slain!
While we fall beneath the swords,
Let us sing a grateful strain,
As behoves us, to our lords -
Glory be to England!

By the blood at Wexford cross
That the hounds of Cromwell shed,
And the shrieking babes they toss
On their lances, murder-red -
Glory be to England! [55]

By our Sarsfield’s magic blade -
By the capture of Athlone -
And by Limerick, the betrayed,
That could never be overthrown -
Glory be to England!

Sons of murdered sires! By the tortures of the past -
By the glare of penal fires -
By the Rath of Mullaghmast -
Glory be to England!

By your traders unemployed -
By your ancient glory flown -
By your majesty destroyed,
And your senate overthrown -

Let us shout for England!

By the still remaining scars
On the Wexford hills that bled -
By your blood, in foreign wars,
For a foreign tyrant shed -
Let us kneel to England!

By the ghastly myriads sleeping
In a coffinless repose,
And the dying-living weeping
For God’s justice on our foes -
Let us die for England! [56]

By the curses that have risen
From the gibbets and the graves -
From the poorhouse and the prison,
Where we starve disarmed slaves -
Let us worship England!

By the seven hundred years
We have dragged the weary chain,
Till in ceaseless blood and tears
It is rusted nigh in twain -
Let us cherish England!

By the God of Freedom, bending
From His judgment seat of power,
And His burning spirit sending
O’er the trembling land this hour -
Let us - humble England! [57]

LORD OF HOSTS
Lord of Hosts! in vain for pity
Tyrants long we prayed, but now
To Thee we cry from plain and city -
Rise, and judge between us, Thou!
To glut the rage of English Mammon
We mourn a yearly million slain;
And reap from graves the plague and famine
, Pouring forth our blood like rain.

Every heart is bare before Thee -
If with sacrilegious lips
And lying tongue we dare adore Thee,
Strike us down in foul eclipse!
If we seek revenge or plunder,
Or to crush a brother’s creed,
Blast us with Thy fiercest thunder -
Leave us in our hour of need.

If we seek but justice purely,
Earth and Hell our foes may be;
Thou wilt bless our banner surely,
And Thy smile is victory!
Ere we burst the chains that gore us,
Ere the tide of battle rolls.
May Thine angels camp around us,
Nerve our hearts and cleanse our souls! [73]

Lord of Hosts! in tears before Thee
See the prostrate people kneel - .
Hear the starving poor implore Thee -
Smile on Freedom’s sacred steel!
By His blood who lived to love us,
Toiled to teach, and died to save -
By Thyself, just God! above us,
Grant us Freedom, or the grave!

May 20th, 1848.

LAMENT FOR THOMAS DAVIS
Hast thou fallen from our band,
Purest spirit of the land?
Hast thou perished while thy glory yet was young?
While more than mortal fire
Sprang intensely from thy lyre,
And love and wisdom flowed from thy tongue?

O think, with grief and pride,
How he laboured, thought, and died.
To knit our souls together in love’s chain;
And shall the nations say,
Reproachful o’er his clay,
That his great heart throbbed, and broke at last, in vain?

Oh! could his gentle eyes
E’er know sorrow in the skies.
This - this would mar his glory in the spheres;
His crown would grow less bright.
And before the angels’ sight
For once would Eden’s floor be dewed with tears. [82]

No! humbly kneeling here,
Around his early bier,
His spirit smiling o’er us from above,
With clasped souls and hands,
Where our hero’s marble stands
We’ll rear a lasting shrine to him and love.

Arise! spread shamrocks round -
This earth is holy ground;
May seraphim watch fondly o’er his grave,
And curses scourge away
From this consecrated clay
The hypocrite, the tyrant, and the slave!

Let him sleep in Irish ground,
At his feet the Irish hound,
The harp of battle broken by his side,
And let his willing hand
Embrace the half-drawn brand -
Oh! had he but unsheathed it ere he died!

With laurel shade his clay
From the amber light of day,
And be thou his ceaseless caoiner mournful wind!
For ne’er a nobler heart, “World-seeing” though thou art,
In all they boundless kingdom shalt thou find.

But his deathless name shall be
Still a rainbow to the free -
A promise slavery’s deluge to control,
And our children, yet in strife
For love, liberty, and life,
Shall feel the inspiration of his soul.

The morning’s golden hair
Shall be grey, with time, in air -
The constellated host pass away -
The angel-bearing spheres
Shall grow sterile in their years,
And the pillars of the universe decay.

But natures all divine,
Bard and Patriot! like thine.
Pure spirit of imperishable flame!
Exult in native light,
Inextinguishably bright.
Immortal as the soul whence they came! [84]

SONG OF THE IRISH-AMERICAN REGIMENTS
We have changed the battle-field,
But the cause abandoned never -
Here a sharper sword to wield,
And wage the endless war for ever.
Yes! the war we wage with thee -
That of light with power infernal -
As it hath been still shall be,
Unforgiving and eternal.

Let admiring nations praise
Thy crystal halls and silk pavilions;
But I see through bloody haze
The phantoms of the murdered millions.
Hark! from out their shallow graves
Wail our brothers o’er the billow -
”We have died the death of slaves,
Weeds our food, the earth our pillow.”

Lo! the ghastly spectre throng!
Shroudless all in awful pallor!
Vengeance! Who should right our wrong?
We have arms and men and valour. [85]
Strike! the idol long adored
Waits the doom just gods award her;
To arms! away! with fire and sword!
Our march is o’er the British border!

The harlot, drunk with pride as wine,
Revels in her guilty palace;
Thus Belshazzar Syria’s vine
Quaffed from plundered Salem’s chalice.
That very hour avenging Fates
Rolled back thy storied tide, Euphrates;
And thou! the Gaul is at thy gates,
And panic smites thy pale Penates.

The brazen hypocrite who moans
O’er others’ sins, yet dares dissemble
Her own foul guilt, whereat the stones
Of Sodom’s self might blush and tremble!
Thy power and pride shall cease below
The scoff of every tongue and nation,
And men thy name shall only know
As meaning guilt and desolation.

New Orleans, April 25th, 1862.

THE BARMAID’S EYES [parody of Mangan]
My eyes are goggled, my whiskers dyed,
I am stooped, notwithstanding stays;
I would I were stretched that stream beside,
Where I fished in my zigzag days; [181]
For, back to that spot - (it costs nothing, you know) -
My memory ever flies,
Where I first saw glow, long, long ago,
The light of the barmaid’s eyes!
Where I first saw glow, long, long ago.
The light of the barmaid’s eyes.

Then ’’tin” was mine, and a love of fun,
And a sharp steel pen to war
On despot, dandy, dunce, and dun,
And humbugs wherever they are;
And donkeys vicious as any I know
At Dundrum or Tramore that plies,
Ere my cash ran low, long, long ago.
When I basked in the barmaid’s eyes!
Ere my cash ran low, long, long ago,
When I dreamed of the barmaid’s eyes,

One polished cranium graced my board,
And divers pipes hung round;
And of smuggled “weed “ a secret horde
Was always to be found;
For these were the days when we used “to blow
A cloud” and cheat the Excise -
When poteen could flow, long, long ago,
To the praise of the barmaid’s eyes -
When poteen could flow, long, long ago,
In toasting the barmaid’s eyes. [182]

By Liffey and Dodder our spirits high
Could raise at will “a lark;”
Mud Isle was ours, and Ireland’s Eye,
And eke the Phoenix Park.
Oh! glittered that brilliant wit to and fro,
Which only snobs despise -
I could joke, I know, long, long ago,
In the light of the barmaid’s eyes -
I could joke, I know, long, long ago,
In the light of the barmaid’s eyes.

I see “ould Ireland” once again,
With its “victims” bought and sold;
And the twice five hundred spouting men
Whose breeches were lined with gold.
I call up many a precious “go,”
And sublimely monstrous lies,
Hear, hears! and cheers, with sneers and jeers -
But I cheered for the barmaid’s eyes;
Tom Steele and Co., and the long, long bow,
When I cheered for the barmaid’s eyes.

But mine eyes are goggled, my whiskers dyed,
And I stoop in spite of stays;
May I soon go back to the Dodder’s side,
Where I fished in my zigzag days! [183]
For to Donnybrook back on elastic toe
My memory ever flies,
And I rave of the time, long, long ago,
When I worshipped the barmaid’s eyes;
And I howl for the time, long, long ago,
And the light of the barmaid’s eyes.

THE DYING GIRL
From a Munster vale they brought her.
From the pure and balmy air,
An Ormond peasant’s daughter,
With blue eyes and golden hair -
They brought her to the city,
And she faded slowly there,
Consumption has no pity
For blue eyes and golden hair. [220]

When I saw her first reclining,
Her lips were moved in pray’r,
And the setting sun was shining
On her loosened golden hair.
When our kindly glances met her.
Deadly brilliant was her eye,
And she said that she was better,
While we knew that she must die.

She speaks of Munster valleys,
The pattern, dance, and fair.
And her thin hand feebly dallies
With her scattered golden hair.
When silently we listened
To her breath with quiet care,
Her eyes with wonder glistened,
And she asked us what was there.

The poor thing smiled to ask it.
And her pretty mouth laid bare,
Like gems within a casket,
A string of pearlets rare.
We said that we were trying,
By the gushing of her blood.
And the time she took in sighing
To know if she were good. [221]

Well, she smiled and chatted gaily;
Though we saw in mute despair
The hectic brighter daily,
And the death-dew on her hair.
And oft her wasted fingers
Beating time upon the bed,
O’er some old tune she lingers,
And she bows her golden head.

At length the harp is broken,
And the spirit in its strings,
As the last decree is spoken.
To its source exulting springs.
Descending swiftly from the skies,
Her guardian angel came,
He struck God’s lightning from her eyes
And bore Him back the flame.

Before the sun had risen
Through the lark-loved morning air,
Her young soul left its prison,
Undefiled by sin or care.
I stood beside the couch in tears,
Where pale and calm she slept,
And, though I’ve fazed on death for years,
I blush not that I wept.
I checked with effort pity’s sighs,
And left the matron there,
To close the curtain of her eyes,
And bind her golden hair.

BEN HEDER [Howth, from Danish Heved].
I rambled away, on a festival day,
From vanity, glare, and noise,
To calm my soul, where the wavelets roll,
In solitude’s holy joys -
By the lonely cliffs, whence the white gull starts,
Where the clustering sea-pinks blow.
And the Irish rose, on the purple quartz,
Bends over the waves below - [240]

Where the ramaline clings, and the samphire swings,
And the long laminaria trails,
And the sea-bird springs on his snowy wings,
To blend with the distant sails.
I leaned on a rock, and the cool waves there
Plashed on the shingles round,
And the breath of Nature lifted my hair -
Dear God! how the face of Thy child is fair!
And a gush of memory, tears, and pray’r.

My spirit a moment drowned.
I bowed me down to the rippling wave -
For a swift sail glided near -
And the spray as it fell upon pebble and shell
Received, it may be, a tear.
For well I remember the festal days,
On this shore, that Hy-Brassil seemed -
The friends I trusted, the dreams I dreamed,
Hopes high as the clouds above -
Perchance ’twas a dream of a land redeemed.
Perchance it was a dream of love.
When first I trod on this breezy sod,
To me it was holy ground.
For genius and beauty, rays of God,
Like a swarm of stars shone round. [241]

Well! well! I have learned eude lessons since then,
In life’s disenchanted hall;
I have scanned the motives and ways of men,
And the skeleton grins through all.
Of the great heart-treasure of hope and trust I exulted to feel mine own,
Remains, in that down-trod temple’s dust,
But faith in God alone. I have seen too oft the domino torn,
And the mask from the face of men.
To have aught but a smile of tranquil scorn
For all believed in then.
The day is dark as the night with woes.
And my dreams are of battles lost,
Of eclipse, phantoms, wrecks, and foes,
And of exiles tempest-tost.

No more! no more! On the dreary shore I hear a caoina sung;
With the early dead is my lonely bed -
You shall not call me long; I fade away to the home of clay,
With not one dream fulfilled;
My wreathless brow in the dust I bow,
My heart and harp are stilled.
Oh! would I might rest, when my soul departs,
Where the clustering sea-pinks blow, [242]
And the Irish rose on the purple quartz
Droops over the waves below -
Where crystals gleam in the caves about,
Like virtue in human souls,
And the victor Sea, with a thunder-shout,
Through the breach in the rock-wall rolls!

HARDESS CREGAN TO EILY O’CONNOR.
Sustain me, God! - for mine own sin
Has bound me with a fiery chain,
And - like a corrach drawn within
A vortex on the black’ ning main -
The while for fame, for life, for love,
I madly strain with desp’rate oar,
A spectre laughs the helm above,
And mocks my frenzied strokes to shore.
Yet down the wave there beams afar
The fire of thy dear altar, Hope!
And, while I view thy cheering star,
With hell’s dark powers I yet may cope.
Oh yes! though down the lurid wave
They try to drag my shrinking soul -
Though round remorse and vengeance rave.
And shame’s black tides in fury roll -
Be thine the smile, dear Eily, still
To light my path with gentle ray;
And not the banded powers of ill
Again shall lead my soul astray.
And when kind heaven shall cease to frown -
When this dire cloud of death is past -
Before thy feet I’ll throw me down,
In tears of speechless rapture cast [246]
And thoughts that now in gloom must sleep.
From forth my burning soul shall flow,
As rills from frozen Winter leap
To hail the Summer’s golden glow.

HARDRESS CREGAN TO ANNE CHUTE
I dreamed last night that, pillow’d on thy breast,
I heard thee sing a sad yet pleasing strain -
How pride once severed hearts that love possessed,
And how, at length, in tears they met again;
And o’er the maiden’s high and polished brow
The blush of conscious beauty went and came.
And on the youth’s had deeply graven now
Proud thoughts, and high their characters of
flame.
Upon thy breast my soul’s subsiding waves
Sank like the billows on a velvet shore -
My troubled spirit knew a moment’s rest,
And fondly deemed its earthly sorrows o’er. [246]
But then I woke to weep. Oh I why, my love,
Didst thou so coldly rend our souls apart!
From thy sweet altar sternly why remove
The faithful worship of a fervent heart?
And canst thou find in all thy youthful pride,
Enthroned the queen of Beauty’s starry ring,
A joy like that when once we side by side
All the sweet eve would smile, and sigh, and sing?
Ah I once thine eyes were not so cold to me,
And when I trembled as I kissed thee then,
My happy sighs were echoed back by thee,
And thy lips trembled upon mine again.
Though sages paint thy sex to faithless be,
Alas! I mocked them in too trusting youth;
I came and knelt adoringly to thee.
Oh I bitter wisdom! now I know their truth.
But since my guiding stars - thy gentle eyes -
Withdrew their lustre from my darken’d way.
Though many lovely orbs might o’er me rise,
I trusted never their delusive ray.
Well I you forsook me without cause assigned
By you, or giv’n, the angels know, by me -
Henceforth the cold, calm, loveless joys of mind
Alone on earth my spirit’s stay shall me. [247]
Go, and be happy in another’s arms;
Forget our loves - the first with both - and tell
Thy fav’rite, smiling, how thy fickle charms
Darken’d my soul for ever. Fare thee well!

KYRIE ELEISON
Life and death are in Thy hand,
Lord, have mercy!
The blight came down at Thy command,
Christ, have mercy!
The famme pang and fever pain
Tear the nation’s heart in twain -
Human aid is sought in vain -
Parce nobis, Domine!

Loud, more loud, their footsteps fall.
Lord, have mercy!
Heaven is one vast funeral pall,
Christ, have mercy!
Twin destroyers, hand in hand,
They stalk along the blasted land -
Who before their frown shall stand?
Parce nobis, Domine!

Without a grave, like weeds to lie,
Lord, have mercy!
Despairing thousands wait to die,
Christ, have mercy!
The famished infant vainly cries -
Its mother dead beside it lies -
Let our anguish pierce the skies -
Parce nobis, Domine! [274]

Outcast of the nations, long,
Lord, have mercy!
We bear a foreign tyrant’s wrong,
Christ, have mercy!
Black our fearful crime must be,
With triple scourges lashed by Thee -
Famine, Plague, and Slavery -
Parce nobis, Domine!

Oh! if torture might atone,
Lord, have mercy!
With tears of blood before Thy throne,
Christ, have mercy!
Six hundred years we toil in chains;
We sow, but aliens reap our plains:
The life is frozen in our veins -
Parce nobis, Domine!
Disarmed and bleeding, here apart,
Lord, have mercy!
A vulture preys upon our heart,
Christ, have mercy!
Oh! bitter is our Helot doom -
In life no joy, in death no tomb -
Despair and vengeance rule the gloom - [275]
Parce nobis, Domine!

Without a prayer or passing bell,
Lord, have mercy!
The shroudless armies hourly swell,
Christ, have mercy!
The dying, ghastlier than the dead,
With blanchèd lips have vainly said,
”Give us this day our daily bread “ -
Parce nobis, Domine!

Woe! woe! to feel the life-blood freeze,
Lord, have mercy!
Fruitlessly, by slow degrees,
Christ, have mercy!
Oh I had we fallen on the plain
In rapid battle swiftly slain,
We had not perished thus in vain -
Parce nobis, Domine!

The grave shall wider, deeper grow,
Lord, have mercy!
My soul forebodes a darker woe,
Christ, have mercy!
No food on earth - no health in air -
The sword were mercy to despair.
Avenger! when thine arm is bare,
Parce nobis, Domine! [276]

Their God is wroth, our foemen say;
Lord, have mercy!
Our Father! turn Thine ire away;
Christ, have mercy!
Bid thine angel cease to slay -
Have mercy, Heaven, on feeble clay -
Hear Thy stricken people pray
Parce nobis, Domine!

Before the isle is all a grave,
Lord, have mercy!
Arise! mysterious God, and save;
Christ, have mercy!
But if the pestilential sun
Must see us wither, one by one.
Thy hand hath made -
Thy will be done -
Parce nobis, Domine!

LINES ON THE DEATH OF HIS INFANT DAUGHTER, KATIE
Dear baby-daughter! in tbe light divine
No angel waves a purer wing than thine.
Soon may my sorrows, like thy days, be o’er -
Soon may I see, love, wonder and adore,
Gazing on God with thee for evermore!

COME WITH ME O’ER OHIO
Come with me o’er Ohio,
Among the vines of Indiana,
Or nearer to the tropic glow,
Its gorgeous plumes and vast banana,
Its teeming vales and waters rife,
Rich foliage, shining fruits abundant,
Superfluous springs of fiery life.
From nature’s burning heart redundant.
Desert a land of corse and slave.
Of pauper woe and tinsel splendour ;
Poor Eire now is all a grave,
And gone the few who dared defend her.
For her they freely perilled all,
And braved the darkest fate serenely,
But when “God’s Truth” shall lift their pall,
Their wreath for aye shall bourgeon greenly.
Behold a newer world reveal
For us her bosom rich and ample.
Whereon, dear girl, the gory heel
Of British greed shall never trample.
Not there shall loom her dungeon bars -
Her “Felon Flag” no more shall blast us;
But Freedom’s sign of clustered Stars,
A glorious omen, glitter past us. [328]
And from the soft, luxuriant soil
Spontaneous flowers shall spring between us,
And plenty bless the joyful toil
Of Ceres minist’ring to Venus.
With armèd hand, at break of day,
I’;l climb for thee the mountain eyrie;
And chase till noon the antlered prey
Through sounding wood and waving prairie.
And health shall keener zest afford
Than cups of gold to every trifle
That decks our simple cottage board -
The casual spoil of net or rifle.

There is a love the poets dream
In cloudland’s flow’ry realms ideal;
But that which springs from true esteem
Alone is lasting, deep, and real.
I saw thee, cheerful, bold, and calm.
Subdue the tear that fain had risen -
Each word and gesture pouring balm
Upon the wounded hearts in prison.
I saw thee daily bravely bear
The tasks that make a sister’s duty;
And never woman seems so fair
As when Affection lights up Beauty.
And well I know thy gentle breast
Has felt, with maiden intuition.
That luxury’s ignoble rest
Is far beneath our destined mission.

We leave the slave’s, the trickster’s whine,
The bigots howl, the rage of faction,
To fell the oak, and plant the vine,
And live in earnest useful action.
Bring not grey Europe’s silk or gems,
A candid soul is ample dowry
Where Freedom laughs at diadems.
Beside the thunder-toned Missouri.
Ten thousand herds approach her rills -
A thousand verdurous valleys feed ’em -
Her torrents, from a thousand hills,
Rush in delirious joy of freedom.
Around our forest cottage door.
The grape, untrained, shall fondly cluster,
And fling at eve, thy bosom o’er,
A sunset flush of wine-rich lustre.

’Tis night, and hark the mighty floods
Upon their march to ocean singing -
The wild winds harping through the woods,
Or distant signal-rifles ringing;
And lo! a thousand prairie colts,
In trampling charge around their leader,
Rush onward like the thunderbolts
Among the crashing trunks of cedar.
And when we seek the Maker’s throne -
Our temple-roof the zenith o’er us -
Our organ-psalm shall be the tone
Of Nature’s universal chorus: [330]

And loud o’er all life-symphonies
The awful, everlasting thunder
Of Erie-Falls, as when the seas,
Up-bursting, smote our globe asunder!
And thou shalt kneel as knelt thy sires -
Thy valiant sires - in arms before Him;
While I with faith, through penal fires
Two hundred years intact, adore Him.

Let gloomy bigots rave, and seek
Their neighbours’ souls to hell ward hustle -
The nine choired Heaven is not a clique -
The Lord of Hosts is not a Russell.
But we shall teach, all lore above,
The youthful heart to Truth aspirant.
Of God and man sublimest love.
And mortal hate to knave and tyrant.
For he blasphemes the bounteous God
His likeness in the soul who lessens.
And strives to quench, with chain and rod,
Immortal Freedom’s holy essence.
And may it be, in later time,
If thy dear voice o’er ocean called him,
His gallant heart might seek our clime,
Who suffers now in distant thraldom.

Oh! how that heart would bound to find
Above our happy home, before him,
The starry symbol, on the wind,
Of God’s eternal banner o’er him! [331]
And when the hour, predestined, tolls,
That freezes life’s diminished fountains,
We’ll see descend, with tranquil souls.
Our lost sun o’er the Bocky Mountains.
Come! let us fly to Freedom’s sky,
Where love alone hath power to bind us,
There honoured live, lamented die,
And leave a spotless name behind us!

March 1st, 1851.

 

Note: The above selection has been made by the editor of Ricorso in reading through the copy available at Internet Archive in read [pdf.] and text [html] formats - online.

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