Page images
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

still her gray rocks tower above the sea That crouches at their feet, a conquered wave; 'Tis a rough land of earth, and stone, and tree,

Where breathes no castled lord or cabined slave; Where thoughts, and tongues, and hands are bold and free,

And friends will find a welcome, foes a grave; And where none kneel, save when to heaven they pray. Nor even then, unless in their own way.

Theirs is a pure republic, wild, yet strong,

A "fierce democracie," where all are true
To what themselves have voted-right or wrong-
And to their laws denominated blue;

(If red, they might to Draco's code belong;)

A vestal state, which power could not subdue, Nor promise win-like her own eagle's nest, Sacred-the San Marino of the West.

A justice of the peace, for the time being,

They bow to, but may turn him out next year; They reverence their priest, but disagreeing

In price or creed, dismiss him without fear; They have a natural talent for foreseeing

And knowing all things; and should Park appear

From his long tour in Africa, to show

The Niger's source, they'd meet him with-"We know."

They love their land, because it is their own,

And scorn to give aught other reason why; Would shake hands with a king upon his throne, And think it kindness to his majesty;

A stubborn race, fearing and flattering none.

Such are they nurtured, such they live and die: All-but a few apostates, who are meddling With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence, and peddling;

Or wandering through the southern countries, teaching
The ABC from Webster's spelling-book;
Gallant and godly, making love and preaching,

And gaining by what they call "hook and crook,"
And what the moralists call overreaching,

A decent living. The Virginians look
Upon them with as favourable eyes
As Gabriel on the devil in Paradise.

But these are but their outcasts. View them near

At home, where all their worth and pride is placed; And there their hospitable fires burn clear,

And there the lowliest farmhouse hearth is graced With manly hearts, in piety sincere,

Faithful in love, in honour stern and chaste, In friendship warm and true, in danger brave, Beloved in life, and sainted in the grave.

And minds have there been nurtured, whose control
Is felt even in their nation's destiny;

Men who swayed senates with a statesman's soul,
And looked on armies with a leader's eye;
Names that adorn and dignify the scroll,

Whose leaves contain their country's history,
And tales of love and war-listen to one
Of the Green-Mountaineer-the Stark of Bennington.

When on that field his band the Hessians fought,
Briefly he spoke before the fight began:
"Soldiers! those German gentlemen are bought

For four pounds eight and sevenpence per man, By England's king; a bargain, as is thought.

Are we worth more? Let's prove it now we can; For we must beat them, boys, ere set of sun, OR MARY STARK'S A WIDOW!" It was done.

Hers are not Tempe's nor Arcadia's spring,
Nor the long summer of Cathayan vales,
The vines, the flowers, the air, the skies, that fling
Such wild enchantment o'er Boccaccio's tales
Of Florence and the Arno; yet the wing

Of life's best angel, Health, is on her gales
Through sun and snow; and in the autumn time
Earth has no purer and no lovelier clime.

Her clear, warm heaven at noon-the mist that shrouds

Her twilight hills-her cool and starry eves, The glorious splendour of her sunset clouds,

The rainbow beauty of her forest leaves, Come o'er the eye, in solitude and crowds,

Where'er his web of song her poet weaves; And his mind's brightest vision but displays The autumn scenery of his boyhood's days.

And when you dream of woman, and her love;
Her truth, her tenderness, her gentle power;
The maiden listening in the moonlight grove,

The mother smiling in her infant's bower;
Forms, features, worshipped while we breathe or move,

Be by some spirit of your dreaming hour
Borne, like Loretto's chapel, through the air

To the green land I sing, then wake, you'll find them there.




"The good die first,

And they, whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
Burn to the socket."-WORDSWORTH.

GREEN be the turf above thee,

Friend of my better days!
None knew thee but to love thee,
Nor named thee but to praise.

Tears fell, when thou wert dying,
From eyes unused to weep,
And long where thou art lying,
Will tears the cold turf steep.


When hearts, whose truth was proven,
Like thine, are laid in earth,
There should a wreath be woven
To tell the world their worth

And I, who woke each morrow

To clasp thy hand in mine,
Who shared thy joy and sorrow,
Whose weal and woe were thine:

It should be mine to braid it
Around thy faded brow,
But I've in vain essayed it,
And feel I cannot now.


While memory bids me weep thee,
Nor thoughts nor words are free,
The grief is fixed too deeply

That mourns a man like thee.

« PreviousContinue »