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31. Songs For Music



SERENADE.


I would not have you wake for me,
Fair lady, though I love you!
And though the night is warm, and all
The stars are out above you;
And though the dew's so light it could
Not hurt your little feet,
And nightingales in yonder wood
Are singing passing sweet.

Yet may my plaintive strain unite
And mingle with your dreaming,
And through the visions of the night
Just interweave my seeming.
Yet no! sleep on with fancy free
In that untroubled breast;
No song of mine, no thought of me,
Deserves to break your rest!




MAIDEN WITH THE GIPSY LOOK.


Maiden with the gipsy look,
Dusky locks and russet hue,
Open wide thy Sybil's book,
Tell my fate and tell it true;
Shall I live? or shall I die?
Timely wed, or single be?
Maiden with the gipsy eye,
Read my riddle unto me!

Maiden with the gipsy face,
If thou canst not tell me all,
Tell me thus much, of thy grace,
Should I climb, or fear to fall?
Should I dare, or dread to dare?
Should I speak, or silent be?
Maiden with the gipsy hair,
Read my riddle unto me!

Maiden with the gipsy hair,
Deep into thy mirror look,
See my love and fortune there,
Clearer than in Sybil's book:
Let me cross thy slender palm,
Let me learn my fate from thee;
Maiden with the gipsy charm,
Read my riddle unto me.




AH! WOULD I COULD FORGET.


The whispering water rocks the reeds,
And, murmuring softly, laps the weeds;
And nurses there the falsest bloom
That ever wrought a lover's doom.
Forget me not! Forget me not!
Ah! would I could forget!
But, crying still, "Forget me not,"
Her image haunts me yet.

We wander'd by the river's brim,
The day grew dusk, the pathway dim;
Her eyes like stars dispell'd the gloom,
Her gleaming fingers pluck'd the bloom.
Forget me not! Forget me not!
Ah! would I could forget!
But, crying still, "Forget me not,"
Her image haunts me yet.

The pale moon lit her paler face,
And coldly watch'd our last embrace,
And chill'd her tresses' sunny hue,
And stole that flower's turquoise blue.
Forget me not! Forget me not!
Ah! would I could forget!
But, crying still, "Forget me not,"
Her image haunts me yet.

The fateful flower droop'd to death,
The fair, false maid forswore her faith;
But I obey a broken vow,
And keep those wither'd blossoms now!
Forget me not! Forget me not!
Ah! would I could forget!
But, crying still, "Forget me not,"
Her image haunts me yet.

Sweet lips that pray'd--"Forget me not!"
Sweet eyes that will not be forgot!
Recall your prayer, forego your power,
Which binds me by the fatal flower.
Forget me not! Forget me not!
Ah! would I could forget!
But, crying still, "Forget me not,"
Her image haunts me yet.




MADRIGAL.


Life is full of trouble,
Love is full of care,
Joy is like a bubble
Shining in the air,
For you cannot
Grasp it anywhere.

Love is not worth getting,
It doth fade so fast.
Life is not worth fretting
Which so soon is past;
And you cannot
Bid them longer last.

Yet for certain fellows
Life seems true and strong;
And with some, they tell us,
Love will linger long;
Thus they cannot
Understand my song.




THE ELLEREE.[7]

A SONG OF SECOND SIGHT.


Elleree! O Elleree!
Seeing what none else may see,
Dost thou see the man in grey?
Dost thou hear the night hounds bay?
Elleree! O Elleree!
Seventh son of seventh son,
All thy thread of life is spun,
Thy little race is nearly run,
And death awaits for thee!

Elleree! O Elleree!
Coronach shall wail for thee;
Get thee shrived and get thee blest,
Get thee ready for thy rest,
Elleree! O Elleree!
That thou owest quickly give,
What thou ownest thou must leave,
And those thou lovest best shall grieve,
But all in vain for thee!

"Bodach Glas!"[8] the chieftain said,
"All my debts but one are paid,
All I love have long been dead,
All my hopes on Heaven are stay'd,
Death to me can bring no dole;"
Thus the Elleree replied;--
But with ebbing of the tide
As sinks the setting sun he died;--
May Christ receive his soul!

[Footnote 7: "Elleree" is the name of one who has the gift of second sight.]

[Footnote 8: "Bodach Glas," the Man in Grey, appears to a Highland family with the gift of second sight, presaging death.]




OTHER STARS.


The night is dark, and yet it is not quite:
Those stars are hid that other orbs may shine;
Twin stars, whose rays illuminate the night,
And cheer her gloom, but only deepen mine;
For these fair stars are not what they do seem,
But vanish'd eyes remember'd in a dream.

The night is dark, and yet it brings no rest;
Those eager eyes gaze on and banish sleep;
Though flaming Mars has lower'd his crimson crest,
And weary Venus pales into the deep,
These two with tender shining mock my woe
From out the distant heaven of long ago.

The night is dark, and yet how bright they gleam!
Oh! empty vision of a vanish'd light!
Sweet eyes! must you for ever be a dream
Deep in my heart, and distant from my sight?
For could you shine as once you shone before,
The stars might hide their rays for evermore!




FADED FLOWERS.


My love she sent a flower to me
Of tender hue and fragrance rare,
And with it came across the sea
A letter kind as she was fair;
But when her letter met mine eyes,
The flower, the little flower, was dead:
And ere I touched the tender prize
The hues were dim, the fragrance fled.

I sent my love a letter too,
In happy hope no more to roam;
I bade her bless the vessel true
Whose gallant sails should waft me home.
But ere my letter reach'd her hand,
My love, my little love, was dead,
And when the vessel touch'd the land,
Fair hope for evermore had fled.




SPEED WELL.


What time I left my native land,
And bade farewell to my true love,
She laid a flower in my hand
As azure as the sky above.
"Speed thee well! Speed well!"
She softly whispered, "Speed well!
This flower blue
Be token true
Of my true heart's true love for you!"

Its tender hue is bright and pure,
As heav'n through summer clouds doth show,
A pledge though clouds thy way obscure,
It shall not be for ever so.
"Speed thee well! Speed well!"
She softly whisper'd, "Speed well!
This flower blue
Be token true
Of my true heart's true love for you!"

And as I toil through help and harm,
And whilst on alien shores I dwell,
I wear this flower as a charm,
My heart repeats that tender spell:
"Speed thee well! Speed well!"
It softly whispers, "Speed well!
This flower blue
Be token true
Of my true heart's true love for you!"




HOW MANY YEARS AGO?


How many years ago, love,
Since you came courting me?
Through oak-tree wood and o'er the lea,
With rosy cheeks and waistcoat gay,
And mostly not a word to say,--
How many years ago, love,
How many years ago?

How many years ago, love,
Since you to Father spoke?
Between your lips a sprig of oak:
You were not one with much to say,
But Mother spoke for you that day,--
How many years ago, love,
How many years ago?

So many years ago, love,
That soon our time must come
To leave our girl without a home;--
She's like her mother, love, you've said:
--At her age I had long been wed,--
How many years ago, love,
How many years ago?

For love of long-ago, love,
If John has aught to say,
When he comes up to us to-day,
(A likely lad, though short of tongue,)
Remember, husband, we were young,--
How many years ago, love,
How many years ago?




"WITH A DIFFERENCE."


I'm weary waiting here,
The chill east wind is sighing,
The autumn tints are sere,
The summer flowers are dying.
The river's sullen way
Winds on through vacant meadows,
The dying light of day
Strives vainly with the shadows.

A footstep stirs the leaves!
The faded fields seem brighter,
The sunset gilds the sheaves,
The low'ring clouds look lighter.
The river sparkles by,
Not all the flowers are falling,
There's azure in the sky,
And thou, my love, art calling.




THE LILY OF THE LAKE.


Over wastes of blasted heather,
Where the pine-trees stand together,
Evermore my footsteps wander,
Evermore the shadows yonder
Deepen into gloom.
Where there lies a silent lake,
No song-bird there its thirst may slake,
No sunshine now to whiteness wake
The water-lily's bloom.

Some sweet spring-time long departed,
I and she, the simple-hearted,
Bride and bridegroom, maid and lover,
Did that gloomy lake discover,
Did those lilies see.
There we wandered side by side.
There it was they said she died.
But ah! in this I know they lied!
She will return to me!

Never, never since that hour
Has the lake brought forth a flower.
Ever harshly do the sedges
Some sad secret from its edges
Whisper to the shore.
Some sad secret I forget.
The lily though will blossom yet:
And when it blooms I shall have met
My love for evermore.




FROM FLEETING PLEASURES.

A REQUIEM FOR ONE ALIVE.


From fleeting pleasures and abiding cares,
From sin's seductions and from Satan's snares,
From woes and wrath to penitence and prayers,
Veni in pace!

Sweet absolution thy sad spirit heal;
To godly cares that end in endless weal,
To joys man cannot think or speak or feel,
Vade in pace!

From this world's ways and being led by them,
From floods of evil thy youth could not stem,
From tents of Kedar to Jerusalem,
Veni in pace!

Blest be thy worldly loss to thy soul's gain,
Blest be the blow that freed thee from thy chain,
Blest be the tears that wash thy spirit's stain,
Vade in pace!

Oh, dead, and yet alive! Oh, lost and found!
Salvation's walls now compass thee around,
Thy weary feet are set on holy ground.
Veni in pace!

Death gently garner thee with all the blest,
In heavenly habitations be thou guest;
To light perpetual and eternal rest,
Vade in pace!




THE RUNAWAY'S RETURN.


It was on such a night as this,
Some long unreal years ago,
When all within were wrapp'd in sleep,
And all without was wrapp'd in snow,
The full moon rising in the east,
The old church standing like a ghost,
That, shivering in the wintry mist,
And breathless with the silent frost,
A little lad, I ran to seek my fortune on the main;
I marvel now with how much hope and with how little pain!

It is of such a night as this,
In all the lands where I have been,
That memory too faithfully
Has painted the familiar scene.
By all the shores, on every sea,
In luck or loss, by night or day,
My highest hope has been to see
That home from which I ran away.
For this I toil'd, to this I look'd through many a weary year,
I marvel now with how much hope, and with how little fear.

On such a night at last I came,
But they were dead I loved of yore.
Ah, Mother, then my heart felt all
The pain it should have felt before!
I came away, though loth to come,
I clung, and yet why should I cling?
When all have gone who made it home,
It is the shadow, not the thing.
A homeless man, once more I seek my fortune on the main:
I marvel with how little hope, and with what bitter pain.




FANCY FREE.

A GIRL'S SONG.


With bark and bound and frolic round
My dog and I together run;
While by our side a brook doth glide,
And laugh and sparkle in the sun.
We ask no more of fortune's store
Than thus at our sweet wills to roam:
And drink heart's ease from every breeze
That blows about the hills of home.
As, fancy free,
With game and glee,
We happy three
Dance down the glen.

And yet they say that some fine day
This vagrant stream may serve a mill;
My doggy guard a master's yard;
My free heart choose another's will.
How this may fare we little care,
My dog and I, as still we run!
Whilst by our side the brook doth glide,
And laugh and sparkle in the sun.
For, fancy free,
With game and glee,
We happy three
Dance down the glen.




MY LOVE'S GIFT.


You ask me what--since we must part--
You shall bring home to me;
Bring back a pure and faithful heart,
As true as mine to thee.
I ask not wealth nor fame,
I only ask for thee,
Thyself--and that dear self the same--
My love, bring back to me!

You talk of gems from foreign lands,
Of treasure, spoil, and prize.
Ah, love! I shall not search your hands,
But look into your eyes.
I ask not wealth nor fame,
I only ask for thee,
Thyself--and that dear self the same--
My love, bring back to me!

You speak of glory and renown,
With me to share your pride,
Unbroken faith is all the crown
I ask for as your bride.
I ask not wealth nor fame,
I only ask for thee,
Thyself--and that dear self the same--
My love, bring back to me!

You bid me with hope's eager gaze
Behold fair fortune come.
I only dream I see your face
Beside the hearth at home.
I ask not wealth nor fame,
I do but ask for thee!
Thyself--and that dear self the same--
May God restore to me!




ANEMONES.


If I should wish hereafter that your heart
Should beat with one fair memory of me,
May Time's hard hand our footsteps guide apart,
But lead yours back one spring-time to the Lea.
Nodding Anemones,
Wind-flowers pale,
Bloom with the budding trees,
Dancing to every breeze,
Mock hopes more fair than these,
Love's vows more frail.

For then the grass we loved grows green again,
And April showers make April woods more fair;
But no sun dries the sad salt tears of pain,
Or brings back summer lights on faded hair,
Nodding Anemones,
Wind-flowers pale,
Bloom with the budding trees,
Dancing to every breeze,
Mock hopes more frail than these,
Love's vows more frail.




AUTUMN LEAVES.


The Spring's bright tints no more are seen,
And Summer's ample robe of green
Is russet-gold and brown;
When flowers fall to every breeze
And, shed reluctant from the trees,
The leaves drop down.

A sadness steals about the heart,
--And is it thus from youth we part,
And life's redundant prime?
Must friends like flowers fade away,
And life like Nature know decay,
And bow to time?

And yet such sadness meets rebuke,
From every copse in every nook
Where Autumn's colours glow;
How bright the sky! How full the sheaves!
What mellow glories gild the leaves
Before they go.

Then let us sing the jocund praise,
In this bright air, of these bright days,
When years our friendships crown;
The love that's loveliest when 'tis old--
When tender tints have turned to gold
And leaves drop down.