« AnteriorContinuar »
DIED FEBRUARY 16, 1857.
ALOFT upon an old basaltic
In vain, in vain beneath his feet we flung The reddening roses! All in vain we pour'd
The golden wine, and round the shining board
Sent the toast circling, till the rafters rung
With the thrice-tripled honors of the
Scarce the buds wilted and the voices
Ere the pure light that sparkled in his
Which, scalp'd by keen winds that de- Bright as auroral fires in Southern skies,
fend the Pole,
Faded and faded! And the brave young
That the relentless Arctic winds had
Of all its vital heat, in that long quest For the lost captain, now within his breast
More and more faintly throbb'd. His was the victory; but as his grasp Closed on the laurel crown with eager clasp,
Death launch'd a whistling dart; And ere the thunders of applause were
His bright eyes closed for ever on the sun! Too late, too late the splendid prize he won In the Olympic race of Science and of Art!
Like to some shatter'd berg that, pale and lone,
Drifts from the white North to a tropic zone,
And in the burning day
He needs no tears, who lived a noble life; We will not weep for him who died so well,
But we will gather round the hearth, and tell
The story of his strife;
Such homage suits him well,
Better than funeral pomp or passing
What tale of peril and self-sacrifice!
With hunger howling o'er the wastes of
No grander episode doth chivalry hold
In all its annals, back to Charlemagne, Than that lone vigil of unceasing pain,
Night lengthening into months, the rav- Faithfully kept through hunger and
Crunching the massive ships, as the white bear
Crunches his prey. The insufficient share Of loathsome food,
The lethargy of famine, the despair Urging to labor, nervelessly pursued, Toil done with skinny arms, and faces hued
Like pallid masks, while dolefully behind. Glimmer'd the fading embers of a mind! That awful hour, when through the pros
Delirium stalk'd, laying his burning hand Upon the ghastly foreheads of the crew. The whispers of rebellion, faint and few At first, but deepening ever till they grew
Into black thoughts of murder; such the throng
Of horrors bound the hero. High the song Should be that hymns the noble part he play'd!
Sinking himself, yet ministering aid
To all around him. By a mighty will Living defiant of the wants that kill, Because his death would seal his comrades' fate;
Cheering with ceaseless and inventive
Those Polar waters, dark and desolate.
He stands, until Spring, tardy with relief,
Unlocks the icy gate,
And the pale prisoners thread the world
To the steep cliffs of Greenland's pastoral shore
Bearing their dying chief.
Time was when he should gain his spurs of gold
From royal hands, who woo'd the knightly state;
The knell of old formalities is toll'd,
By the good Christian knight, ELISHA KANE!
DIED AUGUST 15, 1880.
AND oh, to think the sun can shine,
The birds can sing, the flowers can bloom, And she, whose soul was all divine, Be darkly mouldering in the tomb; That o'er her head the night-wind sighs,
And the sad cypress droops and moans; That night has veiled her glorious eyes,
And silence hushed her heavenly tones;
That those sweet lips no more can smile,
That floated round her royal head;
Roll on, gray earth and shining star,
EPITAPH ON THE LADY MARY VILLIERS.
THE Lady Mary Villiers lies
Under this stone: With weeping eyes
To IDYLLS OF THE KING.
THESE to His memory-since he held them dear,
Perchance as finding there unconsciously
And indeed He seems to me Scarce other than my own ideal knight, 'Who reverenced his conscience as his king;
Whose glory was redressing human wrong; Who spake no slander, no, nor listen'd to it:
Who loved one only, and who clave to her-"
Her-over all whose realms to their last isle,
Commingled with the gloom of imminent
The shadow of His loss drew like eclipse, Darkening the world. We have lost him:
he is gone:
We know him now: all narrow jealousies
With what sublime repression of himself,
Of wing'd ambitions, nor a vantage
For pleasure; but thro' all this tract of
Wearing the white flower of a blameless life,
Before a thousand peering littlenesses,
In that fierce light which beats upon a throne,
And blackens every blot: for where is he,
Or how should England, dreaming of his sons,
Hope more for these than some inherit
Of such a life, a heart, a mind as thine,
Thou noble Father of her Kings to be, Laborious for her people and her poorVoice in the rich dawn of an ampler dayFar-sighted summoner of War and Waste To fruitful strifes and rivalries of peaceSweet Nature gilded by the gracious gleam Of letters, dear to Science, dear to Art, Dear to thy land and ours, a Prince indeed,
Beyond all titles, and a household name, Hereafter, thro' all times, Albert the Good?
Break not, O woman's heart, but still endure;
Break not, for thou art Royal, but endure, Remembering all the beauty of that star Which shone so close beside Thee, that ye made
One light together, but has pass'd, and leaves The Crown a lonely splendor.
May all love, His love, unseen but felt, o'ershadow Thee,
The love of all Thy sons encompass Thee, The love of all Thy daughters cherish
The love of all Thy people comfort Thee, Till God's love set Thee at his side again.
You lay a wreath on murder'd Lincoln's bier,
You, who with mocking pencil wont to
Broad for the self-complaisant British sneer,
His length of shambling limb, his furrow'd face,
His gaunt, gnarl'd hands, his unkempt, bristling hair,
His garb uncouth, his bearing ill at ease, His lack of all we prize as debonair,
Of power or will to shine, of art to please;
You, whose smart pen back'd up the pencil's laugh,
Judging each step as though the way
Reckless, so it could point its paragraph, Of chief's perplexity or people's pain,
Beside this corpse, that bears for windingsheet
The Stars and Stripes he lived to rear
Between the mourners at his head and feet, Say, scurrile jester, is there room for you? Yes: he had lived to shame me from my
To lame my pencil and confute my pen; To make me own this hind of princes peer, This rail-splitter, a true-born king of
My shallow judgment I had learn'd to rue, Noting how to occasion's height he rose ; How his quaint wit made home-truth seem
How, iron-like, his temper grew by blows;
How humble, yet how hopeful he could be;
How in good fortune and in ill the same; Nor bitter in success, nor boastful he,
Thirsty for gold, nor feverish for fame.
He went about his work, such work as few Ever had laid on head and heart and hand,
As one who knows, where there's a task to do,
Man's honest will must Heaven's good grace command;
Who trusts the strength will with the burden grow,
That God makes instruments to work his will,
If but that will we can arrive to know,
The rapid that o'erbears the boatman's toil,
The prairie hiding the mazed wanderer's tracks,
The ambush'd Indian, and the prowling bear,
Such were the deeds that help'd his youth to train :
Rough culture, but such trees large fruit may bear,
If but their stocks be of right girth and grain.
So he grew up, a destined work to do,
Ill fate, ill feeling, ill report lived through, And then he heard the hisses change to
The taunts to tribute, the abuse to praise, And took both with the same unwaver
Till, as he came on light, from darkling days,
And seem'd to touch the goal from where he stood,
A felon hand, between the goal and him, Reach'd from behind his back, a trigger
And those perplex'd and patient eyes were dim,
Those gaunt, long-laboring limbs were laid to rest.
The words of mercy were upon his lips, Forgiveness in his heart and on his pen,
Nor tamper with the weights of good When this vile murderer brought swift