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THE WORLD IN THE OPEN AIR.

159

THE WORLD IN THE OPEN AIR.

I have learned
To look on Nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth--but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Not harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue."

Wordsworth.

COME, while in freshness and dew it lies,
To the world that is under the free blue skies !
Leave ye man's home, and forget his care
There breathes no sigh on the dayspring's air.
Come to the woods in whose mossy dells,
A light all made for the poet dwells;
A light, coloured softly by tender leaves,
Whence the primrose a mellower glow receives.
The stock-dove is there in the beechen tree,
And the lulling tone of the honey bee ;
And the voice of cool waters mid feathery fern,
Shedding sweet sounds from some hidden urn.
There is life, there is youth, there is tameless mirth,
Where the streams, with the lilies they wear, have birth ;
There is peace where the alders are whispering low;
Come from man's dwellings, with all their wo?
Yes! we will come-We will leave behind
The homes and the sorrows of human kind;
It is well to rove where the river leads
His bright blue veia along sunny meads.
It is well through the rich wild woods to go,
And to pierce the haunts of the fawn and doe;
And to hear the gushing of gentle springs,
When the heart has been fretted by worldly stings ;
And to watch the colours that fit and pass
With insect wings through the wavy grass ;
And the silvery gleams o'er the ash tree's bark,
Borne in with the breeze through the foliage dark.

160

THE CAPTIVE KNIGHT.

Joyous and far shall our wanderings be,
As the flight of birds o'er the glittering sea ;
To the woods, to the dingles where violets blow,
We will bear no memory of earthly wo.
But if by the forest brook we meet
A line like the pathway of former feet ;
If midst the bills, in some lonely spot,
We reach the grey ruins of tower or cot;
If the cell where a hermit of old hath prayed,
Lift up its cross through the solemn shade ;
Or if some nook where the wild flowers wave,
Bear token sad of a mortal grave,
Doubt not but there will our steps be sta yed,
There our quick spirits awhile delayed;
There will thought fix our impatient eyes,
And win back our hearts to their sympatbies.

For what though the mountain and skies be fair,
Steeped in the soft hues of the summer air,
'Tis the soul of man, by its hopes and dreams,
That lights up all nature with living gleams.
Where it bath suffered and nobly striven,
Where it hath poured forth its vows to heaven,
Where to repose it hath brightly past,
O'er the green earth there is glory cast.
And by that soul amidst groves and rills,
And flocks that feed on a thousand hills,
Birds of the forest, and flowers of the sod,
We, only we, may be linked to God!

TROUBADOUR SONG.–THE CAPTIVE

KNIGHT.

'Twas a trumpet's pealing sound! And the Knight look'd down from the Paynim's tower, And a Christian host, in its pride and power,

Through the pass beneath him wound. Cease awhile, clarion ! clarion wild and shrill, Cease! let them hear the captive's voice, be still!

THE BRIDE'S FAREWELL.

161

" I knew 'twas a trumpet's note ! And I see my brethren's lances gleam, And their pennon wave, by the mountain's stream,

And their plumes to the glad wind float! Cease awhile clarion ! clarion wild and shrill, Cease! let them hear the captive's voice,-be still !

“ I am here, with my heavy chain !
And I look on a torrent, sweeping by,
And an eagle, rushing in the sky,

And a host to its battle plain!
Cease awhile clarion ! clarion wild and sbrill,
Cease ! let them hear the captive's voice-be still !

“ Must I pine in my fetters here !
With the wild wave's foam, and the free bird's flight,
And the tall spears glancing on my sight,

And the trumpet in mine ear?
Cease awhile clarion! 'clarion wild and shrill,
Cease! let them hear the captive's voice,-be still!

“ They are gone! they have all pass'd by!
They in whose wars I have borne my part,
They that I loved with a brother's beart,

They have left me here to die?
Sound again clarion ! clarion, pour thy blast,
Sound ! for the captive's dream of hope is past!"

THE BRIDE’S FAREWELL.

Why do I weep?-to leave the Vine,

Whose clusters o'er me bend,
The myrtle—yet, 0, call it mine!

The Aowers I love to tend :
-A thousand thoughts of all things dear,

Like shadows o'er me sweep,
I leave my sunny childhood here,

-Oh, therefore, let me weep! .
I leave thee, sister we have play'd

Through many a joyous hour,
When the silvery green or the olive shade
Hung dim o'er the fount and the bower!

162

THE VIGIL OF ARMS.

Yes, thou and I, by stream, by shore,

In song, in prayer, in sleep,
Have been as we may be no more

Sweet sister let me weep!
I leave thee, father!-Eve's bright moon

Must now light other feet,
With the gather'd grapes and lyre in tune,

Thy homeward steps to greet!
Thou in whose voice, to bless thy child,

Lay tones of love so deep,
Whose eye o'er all my youth hath smild,

I leave thee ! let me weep! !
Mother! I leave thee on thy heart

Pouring out joy and woe,
I have found that holy place of rest

Still changeless-yet I go!
Lips that have lullid me with your strain,

Eyes that have watch'd my sleep!
Will earth give love like yours again?

-Kind mother! let me weep!

THE VIGIL OF ARMS.*

A SOUNDING step was heard by night,

In a church were the mighty slept,
As a mail-clad youth, till morning's light,

'Midst the tombs his vigils kept.
He walked in dreams of Power and Fame,

He lifted a proud, bright eye,
For the hours were few that withheld his name

From the roll of Chivalry.

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* The candidate for knighthood was under the necessity of keeping watch, the night before his inauguration, in a church, and come pletely armed. This was called the Vigil of Arms.

THE VIGIL OF ARMS.

163

Down the moon-lit aisles he paced alone,

With a free and stately tread,
And the floor gave back a muffled tone

From the couches of the dead :
The silent many that round him lay

The crowned and helmed that were,
The haughty chiefs of the war-array-

Each in his sepulchre !
But no dim warning of Time or Fate

That youth's flushed hopes could chill,
He moved through trophies of buried state

With each proud pulse throbbing still.
He heard, as the wind through the chancel sung,

A swell of the trumpet's breath,
He looked to the banners on high that hung,

And not to the dust beneath.
And a royal masque of splendour seemed

Before him to unfold,
Through the solemn arches on it streamed,

With many a gleam of gold;
There were crested Knight and gorgeous Dame,

Glittering athwart the gloom,
And he followed till bis bold step came

To his Warrior-Father's tomb.
But there the still and shadowy night

Of the monumental stone,
And the holy sleep of the soft lamp's light,

That over its quiet shone,
And the image of that sire who died

In his noon-day of renown-
These bad a power unto which the pride

Of fiery life bowed down.
And a spirit from his early years

Carne back o'er bis thoughts to move,
Till his eye was filled with memory's tears,

And his heart with childhood's love!
And he looked, with a change in his softening glance,

To the armour'o'er the grave,
For there they bung, the shield and lance,
And the gauntlet

of the brave.
And the sword of many a field was there,

With its cross for the hour of need, When the Knight's bold war-cry hath sunk in prayer,

And the spear is a broken reed !

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