Page images



Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago,
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again!

Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending ;
I listened, -- motionless and still ;
And when I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.


“Why wouldst thou leave me, O gentle child ?
Thy home on the mountains is bleak and wild,
A straw-roofed cabin with lowly wall;
Mine is a fair and a pillared hall,
Where many an image of marble gleams,
And the sunshine of picture forever streams."

“O, green is the turf where my brothers play,
Through the long bright hours of the summer day;
They find the red cup-moss where they climb,
And they chase the bee o'er the scented thyme;

And the rocks where the heathflower blooms they

know, Lady, kind lady! O, let me go!'

s Content thee, boy! in my bower to dwell;
Here are sweet sounds which thou lovest well;
Flutes on the air in the stilly noon,
Harps which the wandering breezes tune;
And the silvery wood-note of many a bird,
Whose voice was ne'er in thy mountains heard.”

My mother sings, at the twilight's fall,
A song of the hills, far more sweet than all ;
She sings it under our own green tree,
To the babe half slumbering on her knee;
I dreamt last night of that music low,-
Lady, kind lady! O, let me go!”

“ Thy mother is gone from her cares to rest,
She hath taken the babe on her quiet breast
Thou wouldst meet her footstep, my boy, no more,
Nor hear her song at the cabin-door.
Come thou with me to the vineyards nigh,
And we'll pluck the grapes of the richest dye.”

“ Is my mother gone from her home away?
But I know that my brothers are there at play ;
I know they are gathering the foxglove's bell,
Or the long fern leaves by the sparkling well,
Or they launch their boats where the bright streams

Lady, kind lady! O, let me go !”

"Fair child! thy brothers are wanderers now, They sport no more on the mountain's brow;



They have left the fern by the spring's green side,
And the streams where the fairy barks were trie
Be thou at peace in thy brighter lot,
For thy cabin home is a lonely spot.”

“ Are they gone, all gone from the sunny hill ?
But the bird and the blue fly rove o'er it still,
And the red deer bound in their gladness free,
And the turf is bent by the singing bee,
And the waters leap, and the fresh winds blow,
Lady, kind lady! 0, let me go!”



You who dwell above the skies,
Free from human miseries;
You whom highest heaven embowers,
Praise the Lord with all your powers!
Angels, your clear voices raise !
Him you heavenly armies praise !
Sun, and moon with borrowed light,
All you sparkling eyes of night,
Waters hanging in the air,
Heaven of heavens, his praise declare!
His deservéd praise record,
His, who made you by his word, -
Made you evermore to last,
Set your bounds not to be past.
Let the earth his praise resound !
Monstrous whales, and seas profound,
Vapors, lightning, hail and snow,
Storms, which, when he bids them, blow;

Flowery hills, and mountains high,
Cedars, neighbors to the sky,
Trees, that fruit in season yield,
All the cattle of the field,
Savage beasts, all creeping things,
All that cut the air with wings;
You who awful sceptres sway,
You, inured to obey,
Princes, judges of the earth,
All, of high and humble birth;
Youth, and virgins, flourishing
In the beauty of your spring ;
You who bow with age's weight,
You who were but born of late;
Praise his name with one consent!
O, how great! how excellent!

PEACE OF MIND. - From Old English Poetry.

My mind to me a kingdom is;

Such perfect joy therein I find As far exceeds all earthly bliss

That God or nature hath assigned ; Though much I want that most

would have, Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

Content I live, this is my stay ;

I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;

Look what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo! this I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.



I see how plenty surfeits oft,

And hasty climbers soonest fall;
I see that such as sit aloft

Mishap doth threaten most of all;
These get with toil, and keep with fear;
Such cares my mind could never bear.

No princely pomp, nor wealthy store,

No force to win a victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,

No shape to win a lover's eye;

o none of these I yield as thrall,
For why? my mind despiseth all.

Some have too much, yet still they crave;

I little have, yet seek no more;
They are but poor, though much they have;

And I am rich with little store;
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I lend ; they pine, I live.

I laugh not at another's loss,

I grudge not at another's gain;
No worldly wave my mind can toss;

I brook that is another's bane.
I fear no foe, nor fawn no friend ;
I loathe not life, nor dread mine end.

My wealth is health and perfect ease;

My conscience clear my chief defence;
I never seek by bribes to please,

Nor by desert to give offence;
Thus do I live, thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!

I take no joy in earthly bliss;

I weigh not Cræsus' wealth a straw;

« PreviousContinue »