« PreviousContinue »
SONNETS OF THE SOUTHLAND.
LAND of the pine and cypress, where the shades
Of tropic forests that no seasons know
Are wed to heralds from the realms of snow; Where blooms the laurel while the jessamine braids Its golden wreaths, and in dim everglades
Elegiac banners tremble to and fro;
Where dark palmettoes wave, and missletoe Gives waxen verdure when the summer fades; O land, wherein the mocker builds his nest
And chants his oracles, and loud adores,
Where silent marshes clasp the curving shores; Thou gracious land, give us the largess blest Of chosen souls who lean on Nature's breast
While in their ear her mysteries she pours.
A land of nameless graves where heroes sleep
In blue and gray; the sacred dust of those
grows, And never moistened eyes may come to weep. The dumb, cold earth doth hide their secrets deep;
Its sealed, unpitying lips will ne'er disclose
This mortal pathos which no mortal knows. Their God doth know, and he their souls will keep. The loosened hand-clasp aching hearts still miss,
And thoughts of North and South do vainly turn
Unto these battle-graves and vaguely yearn
As from the chamber lit by taper rays,
With hidden corners where the shadow plays,
Through starry spaces with a deep amaze,
So now a boundless vision meets thy gaze
Go forth in large resolve with giant stride,
Nor in the foulds of doubt thy talents hide. The dawn of Hope triumphant beams to-day, No gate, no caste, no creed shall bar its way.
God's purposes forever shall abide.
In vernal hedgerows blooms the eglantine
And opening fleecy bolls and ripening maize
Give wealthy glories to the summer days.
Upon a sheltered bank while fancy strays
Through purpling distances we lie and gaze,
And perfumed air and shimmering splendor lies
In feeless bounty 'neath benignant skies.
Who win to read them with anointed eyes.
A land of old renown on History's page,
Where storied Huguenot and Cavalier
Their missions blended; where without a peer Gay Chivalry doth boast his golden age; Where beauteous women and brave men engage Fond Memory's backward look and listening ear,
Though mingling sorrows start the ruthful tear For all that marred the Southland heritage. Yet sings its glory now with lute and lyre.
We bury but the dead. So let it be!
The Past is safe! With chastened gladness we Will bid its virtues still the heart inspire. Only the dross doth yield to furnace fire.
What ought to live hath immortality.
O Morning Land! From dreaming slumbers wake!
High noon approacheth with occasion rare,
For nobler victories now thy strength prepare, And every hindrance from thy shoulders shake. The magic sword of truth now boldly take,
More than Excalibur in might, and dare
To wrestle with all wrong, and overbear Each hindering foe, each chain of error break. Thy moral manhood prove by noble fight;
Chivalric graces still the world doth need
For peaceful conquests over pride and greed. Join then the tournament with armour bright, And win thine honors as a gentle knight;
So shall thou boast a Chivalry indeed.
Peace be within thy borders! May the rude
Trumpet of War no more with blast malign
Disturb thy groves of laurel and of pine, So verdant now in balmy quietude.
For thee my life I gladly would cast down,
And for thy love would pay Death's fatal price, Thou my sweet consolation and my crown,
Thou my despair, my hope, my Paradise.
May lofty motive lower aims preclude,
And Bethlehem's echoing song with cadence fine
Inspire thy steadfast soul with love devine And keep thee safe through fate's vicissitude. In benison my voice I gladly lend.
May peaceful homes and fireside pleasures be
Thy cherished tokens of felicity.
And give thee here my benedicite.
For thee, oh my unsullied, stainless goal,
I live to-day! and for one perfect kiss From thy warm lips I would give forth my soul
And life in worlds hereafter and in this.
For thee, from sin I would not even shrink,
For thee, I would not tremble before death, For thee I'd perish, if I once could sink
And die upon the perfume of thy breath.
Thou art my hope, my future, and my past,
Thou art my sweetest torture and delight, Thou art my only love, the first, the last,
Thou art my radiant dawn, my starry night.
Thou larger land! Home of us all thou art!
Happy to-day that now the Cavalier
And Huguenot with Puritan draw near, Hand clasped in hand and heart enlinked with
heart. Forgotten now be every vengeful smart,
And while we hold our native country dear,
May her wide bound proclaim in accents clear That all mankind doth hold inherent part In the All-Father's love, and so hath claim
To human brotherhood; that all who fill
God's family may share the birthright still.
In grateful songs of glory and good will.
Spurn not my passion that will e'er abide,
Boundless and vast and constant as the sea, But rather pity in thy conscious pride A love more strong than Death itself, for thee.
FRANCIS SALTUS SALTUS.
(Lines written on re-crossing the Rocky Mountains in winter after many years.
LONG years ago I wandered here,
Life's summer too.
All fair to view.
Truly the new is older than the old.
It hath but slept awhile, enwrapped in mist;
But waking earth the sunlight warm hath kissed, And all the hills are decked in robes of gold. Larger horisons now our eyes behold;
Delusive fogs no more our way resist,
The far-off future doth our hopes enlist
When God gives light in vain our ways we hide;
Our finite wills check not the ocean tide; Unto our wanderings truth can ne'er be bent But her straight bands of love and wisdom blent Our rapt obedient souls will safely guide.
Mary H. LEONARD. -For The Magazine of Poetry.
These scenes, in glowing colors drest,
Its world of hope.
On billowy slope.
And glistening crag in sunlit sky,
Were joys to me;
To choose, all free.
In careless bloom,
And sweet perfume.
TO MARIE B
For thee was always my awakening thought,
For thee the prayer that soothed me ere I slept, For thee the smiles that Hope but seldom brought,
For thee the many bitter tears I wept.