poem – fountain’s abbey

NEVER more, when the day is o’er,
Will the lonely vespers sound;
No bells are ringing—no monks are singing,
When the moonlight falls around.

A few pale flowers, which in other hours
May have cheered the dreary mood;
When the votary turned to the world he had spurned,
And repined at the solitude.

Still do they blow ‘mid the ruins below,
For fallen are fane and shrine,
And the moss has grown o’er the sculptured stone
Of an altar no more divine.

Still on the walls where the sunshine falls,
The ancient fruit-tree grows;
And o’er tablet and tomb, extends the bloom
Of many a wilding rose.

Fair though they be, yet they seemed to me
To mock the wreck below;
For mighty the tower, where the fragile flower
May now as in triumph blow.

Oh, foolish the thought, that my fancy brought;
More true and more wise to say,
That still thus doth spring, some gentle thing,
With its beauty to cheer decay.

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poem – kate kearney

WHY doth the maiden turn away
From voice so sweet, and words so dear?
Why doth the maiden turn away
When love and flattery woo her ear?
And rarely that enchanted twain
Whisper in woman’s ear in vain.
Why doth the maiden leave the hall?
No face is fair as hers is fair,
No step has such a fairy fall,
No azure eyes like hers are there.

The maiden seeks her lonely bower,
Although her father’s guests are met;
She knows it is the midnight hour,
She knows the first pale star is set,
And now the silver moon-beams wake
The spirits of the haunted Lake.
The waves take rainbow hues, and now
The shining train are gliding by,
Their chieftain lifts his glorious brow,
The maiden meets his lingering eye.

The glittering shapes melt into night;
Another look, their chief is gone,
And chill and gray comes morning’s light,
And clear and cold the Lake flows on;
Close, close the casement, not for sleep,
Over such visions eyes but weep.

How many share such destiny,
How many, lured by fancy’s beam,
Ask the impossible to be,
And pine, the victims of a dream.

poem – hannibal’s oath

AND the night was dark and calm,
There was not a breath of air,
The leaves of the grove were still,
As the presence of death were there;

Only a moaning sound
Came from the distant sea,
It was as if, like life,
It had no tranquillity.

A warrior and a child
Pass’d through the sacred wood,
Which, like a mystery,
Around the temple stood.

The warrior’s brow was worn
With the weight of casque and plume,
And sun-burnt was his cheek,
And his eye and brow were gloom.

The child was young and fair,
But the forehead large and high,
And the dark eyes’ flashing light
Seem’d to feel their destiny.

They enter’d in the temple,
And stood before the shrine,
It stream’d with the victim’s blood,
With incense and with wine.

The ground rock’d beneath their feet,
The thunder shook the dome,
But the boy stood firm, and swore
Eternal hate to Rome.

There’s a page in history
O’er which tears of blood were wept,
And that page is the record
How that oath of hate was kept.

poem – the sheperd boy

LIKE some vision olden
Of far other time,
When the age was golden,
In the young world’s prime
Is thy soft pipe ringing,
O lonely shepherd boy,
What song art thou singing,
In thy youth and joy?

Or art thou complaining
Of thy lowly lot,
And thine own disdaining
Dost ask what thou hast not?
Of the future dreaming,
Weary of the past,
For the present scheming,
All but what thou hast.

No, thou art delighting
In thy summer home;
Where the flowers inviting
Tempt the bee to roam;
Where the cowslip bending,
With its golden bells,
Of each glad hour’s ending
With a sweet chime tells.

All wild creatures love him
When he is alone,
Every bird above him
Sings its softest tone.
Thankful to high Heaven,
Humble in thy joy,
Much to thee is given,
Lowly shepherd boy.

OH lone and lovely solitude,
Washed by the sounding sea;
Nature was in a poet’s mood,
When she created thee.

How pleasant in the hour of noon
To wander through the shade;
The soft and golden shade which June
Flings o’er thy inland glade:

The wild rose like a wreath above,
The ash-tree’s fairy keys,
The aspen trembling, as if love
Were whispered by the breeze;

These, or the beech’s darker bough,
For canopy o’er head,
While moss and fragile flowers below
An elfin pillow spread.

Here one might dream the hours away,
As if the world had not
Or grief, or care, or disarray,
To darken human lot.

Yet ’tis not here that I would dwell,
Though fair the place may be,
The summer’s favourite citadel:—
A busier scene for me!

I love to see the human face
Reflect the human mind,
To watch in every crowded place
Their opposites combined.

There’s more for thought in one brief hour
In yonder busy street,
Than all that ever leaf or flower
Taught in their green retreat.

Industry, intellect, and skill
Appear in all their pride,
The glorious force of human will
Triumphs on every side.

Yet touched with meekness, for on all
Is set the sign and seal
Of sorrow, suffering, and thrall,
Which none but own and feel;
The hearse that passes with its dead,
The homeless beggar’s prayer,
Speak words of warning, and of dread,
To every passer there.

Aye beautiful the dreaming brought
By valleys and green fields;
But deeper feeling, higher thought,
Is what the city yields.

poem – the sea shore

I SHOULD like to dwell where the deep blue sea
Rock’d to and fro as tranquilly,
As if it were willing the halcyon’s nest
Should shelter through summer its beautiful guest.
When a plaining murmur like that of a song,
And a silvery line come the waves along:
Now bathing—now leaving the gentle shore,
Where shining sea-shells lay scattered o’er.

And children wandering along the strand,
With the eager eye and the busy hand,
Heaping the pebbles and green sea-weed,
Like treasures laid up for a time of need.
Or tempting the waves with their daring feet,
To launch, perhaps, some tiny fleet:
Mimicking those which bear afar
The wealth of trade—and the strength of war.

I should love, when the sun-set reddened the foam,
To watch the fisherman’s boat come home,
With his well-filled net and glittering spoil:
Well has the noon-tide repaid its toil.
While the ships that lie in the distance away
Catch on their canvass the crimsoning ray;
Like fairy ships in the tales of old,
When the sails they spread were purple and gold.

Then the deep delight of the starry night,
With its shadowy depths and dreamy light:
When far away spreads the boundless sea,
As if it imaged infinity.
Let me hear the winds go singing by,
Lulling the waves with their melody:
While the moon like a mother watches their sleep,
And I ask no home but beside the deep.

poem – the funeral

MARK you not yon sad procession;
‘Mid the ruin’d abbey’s gloom,
Hastening to the worm’s possession,
To the dark and silent tomb!

See the velvet pall hangs over
Poor mortality’s remains;
We should shudder to discover
What that coffin’s space contains.

Death itself is lovely—wearing
But the colder shape of sleep;
Or the solemn statue bearing
Beauty that forbids to weep.

But decay—the pulses tremble
When its livid signs appear;
When the once-loved lips resemble
All we loathe, and all we fear.

Is it not a ghastly ending
For the body’s godlike form,
Thus to the damp earth descending,
Food and triumph to the worm?

Better far the red pile blazing
With the spicy Indian wood,
Incense unto heaven raising
From the sandal oil’s sweet flood.

In the bright pyre’s kindling flashes,
Let my yielded soul ascend;
Fling to the wild winds my ashes
‘Till with mother-earth they blend.

Not so,—let the pale urn keep them;
Touch’d with spices, oil, and wine;
Let there be some one to weep them;
Wilt thou keep that urn? Love mine!