Page images
PDF
EPUB

154

THE DIAL OF FLOWERS.

THE DIAL OF FLOWERS.

" This dial was, I believe, formed by Linnæus, and marked the hours by the opening and closing, at regular intervals, of the flowers arranged in it."

'Twas a lovely thought to mark the hours,

As they floated in light away,
By the opening of the folding lowers

That laugh to the summer's day.
Thus had each moment its own rich hue

And its graceful cup or bell,
In whose coloured vase might sleep the dew,

Like a pearl in ocean shell.
To such sweet signs might the time have flowed

In golden current on,
Ere from the garden, man's first abode,

The glorious guests were gone.
So might the days have been brighty told-

Those days of song and dreams –
When shepherds gathered their flocks of old,

By the blue Arcadian streams.
So in those isles of delight, that rest

Far off in a breezeless main,
Which many a bark, with a weary guest,

Hath sought, but still in vain.
Yet is not life, in its real flight,

Marked thus-even thus-on earth,
By the closing of one hope's delight,

And another's, gentle birth?
Oh! let us live, so that flower by flower,

Shutting in turn, may leave
A lingerer still for the sunset hour,

A charm for the shaded eve.

THE PARTING SHIP.

155

THE PARTING SHIP.

" A glittering ship that hath the plain “Of ocean for her own domain."

Wordsworth.

Go in thy glory o'er the ancient Sea,

Take with thee gentle winds thy sails to swell;
Sunshine and joy upon thy streamers be-

Fare thee well, bark, farewell !
Proudly the flasbing billow thou hast cleft,

The breeze yet follows thee with cheer and song ;
Who now of storms hath dream or memory left?

And yet the deep is strong! But

thou triumphing, while still the smiles of summer tremble on the water's breast ! Thou shalt be greeted by a thousand isles, In lone, wild

beauty drest.
To thee a welcome, breathing o'er the tide,

The genii groves of Araby shall pour ;
Waves that unfold the pearl, shall bathe thy side,

On the old Indian shore.
Oft shall the shadow of the palm tree lie

('er glassy bays wherein thy sails are furled, And its leaves whisper, as the wind sweeps by,

Tales of the elder world.
Oft shall the burning stars of southero skies,

On the mid-ocean see thee chained in sleep,
A lonely home for human thoughts and ties,

Between the heavens and deep!
Blue seas that roll on gorgeous coasts renowned,

By night shall sparkle where thy prow nakes way i Strange creatures of the abyss that none may sound,

In thy broad wake shall play.
From hills unknown, in mingled joy and fear,

Free dusky tribes shall pour, tby flag to mark ;-
Blessings go with thee on thy lone career!

Hail, and farewell, thou bark!

156

THE PENITENT'S OFFERING.

[ocr errors]

A long farewell!- Thou wilt not bring us back

All whom thou bearest far from home and hearth,
Many are thine whose steps no more shall track

Their own sweet native earth!
Some wilt thou leave beneath the plantain's shade

Where through the foliage Indian suns look bright;
Some in the snows of wintry regions laid,

By the cold northern light:
And some far down below the sounding wave-

Still shall they lie, though tempests o'er them sweep;
Never
may

flower be strown above their grave,
Never may sister weep!
And though-the billow's queen-even thy proud form,

On our glad sight no more perchance may swell;
Let God alike is in the calm and storm

Fare thee well, bark! farewell!

THE PENITENT'S OFFERING.

(St. Luke vii. 37. 38.]

Thou, that with pallid cheek,

And eyes in sadness meek,
And faded locks that humbly swept the ground,

From their long wanderings won,

Before the All-healing Son,
Didst bow thee to the earth, oh lost and found !

When thou wouldst bathe his feet,

With odours richly sweet,
And many a shower of woman's burning tears,

And dry them with that hair,

Brought low the dust to wear
From the crowded beauty of its festal year.

Did he reject thee then,

While the sharp scorn of men
On thy once bright and stately head was cast ?

No, from the Saviour's mien,

A solemn light serene,
Bore to thy soul the peace of God at last !

THE IMAGE OF LAVA.

157

66

[ocr errors]

For thee, their smiles no more

Familiar faces wore,
Voices, once kind, had learned the stranger's tone,

Who raised thee up, and bound

Thy silent spirit's wound?
He, from all guilt the stainless, He alone!

But which, oh erring child !

From home so long beguiled,
Which of thine offerings won those words of Heaven,

That o'er the bruised reed

Condemned of earth to bleed,
lo music passed“ “ Thy sins are all forgiven ?"

Was it that perfume fraught

With balm and incense brought
From the sweet woods of Araby the blest ?

Or that fast flowing rain

Of tears, which not in vain
To Him who scorned not tears, thy woes confessed?

No, not by these restored

Unto thy Father's board,
Thy peace, that kindled joy in Heaven was made;

But costlier in his eyes,

By that best sacrifice,
Thy heart, thy full deep heart before Him laid.

THE IMAGE OF LAVA.*

Thou thing of years departed!

Wbat ages have gone by,
Since here the mournful seal was set

By Love and Agony !
Temple and tower have moulder'd,

Empires from earth have pass'd-
And woman's heart hath left a trace

Those glories to outlast !

* The impression of a woman's form, with an infant clasped to her bosom, found at the first uncovering of Pompeii. VOL. II.

14

158

THE IMAGE OF LAVA.

And childhood's fragile image

Thus fearfully enshrined,
Survives the fond memorials rais'd

By conquerors of mankind !
Babe! wert thou calmly slumbering

Upon thy mother's breast,
When suddenly the fiery tomb

Shut round each gentle guest ?

A strange dark fate o'ertook you.

Fair babe and loving heart !
One moment of a thousand pangs-

Yet better than to part!
Haply of that fond bosom

On ashes here impress'd,
Thou wert the only treasure, child ?

Whereon a hope might rest.
Perchance all vainly lavish'd

Its other love had been,
And where it trusted, nought remain'd

But thorns whereon to lean !

Far better then to perish,

Thy form within its clasp,
Than live and lose thee, precious one!

From that impassion'd grasp!
Oh! I could pass all relics

Left by the pomps of old,
To gaze on this rude monument,
Cast in affection's mould !

Love, human love! what art thou?

Thy print upon the dust
Outlives the cities of renown,

Wherein the mighty trust!

Immortal, oh! immortal,

Thou art, whose earthly glow
Hath given these ashes holiness-

It must, it must be so !

« PreviousContinue »