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Life ever seems as from its present site
It aimed to lure us. Mountains of the past
It melts, with all their crags and caverns vast,
Into a purple cloud! Across the night
Which hides what is to be, it shoots a light
All rosy with the yet unrisen dawn.
Not the near daisies, but yon distant height
Attracts us, lying on this emerald lawn.
And always, be the landscape what it may-
Blue, misty hill, or sweep of glimmering plain-
It is the eye's endeavor still to gain
The fine, faint limit of the bounding day.
God, haply, in this mystic mode, would fain
Hint of a happier home, far, far away!
It may be through some foreign grace,
And unfamiliar charm of face;
It may be that across the foam
Which bore her from her childhood's home,
By some strange spell, my Katie brought,
Along with English creeds and thought-
Entangled in her golden hair-
Some English sunshine, warmth, and air !
I cannot tell,—but here to-day,
A thousand billowy leagues away
From that green isle whose twilight skies
No darker are than Katie's eyes,
She seems to me, go where she will,
An English girl in England still !
I meet her on the dusty street,
And daisies spring about her feet;
Or, touched to life beneath her tread,
An English cowslip lifts its head;
And, as to do her grace, rise up
The primrose and the buttercup !
I roam with her through fields of cane,
And seem to stroll an English lane,
Which, white with blossoms of the May,
Spreads its green carpet in her way!
As fancy wills, the path beneath
Is golden gorse, or purple heath:
And now we hear in woodlands dim
Their unarticulated hymn,
Now walk through rippling waves of wheat,
Now sink in mats of clover sweet,
Or see before us from the lawn
The lark go up to greet the dawn!
All birds that love the English sky
Throng round my path when she is by:
The blackbird from a neighboring thorn
With music brims the cup of morn,
And in a thick, melodious rain
The mavis pours her mellow strain !
But only when my Katie's voice
Makes all the listening woods rejoice,
I hear—with cheeks that flush and pale-
The passion of the nightingale !
Whose was the hand that painted thee, O Death !
In the false aspect of a ruthless foe,
Despair and sorrow waiting on thy breath,-
O gentle Power! who could have wronged thee so?
Thou rather should'st be crowned with fadeless flowers,
Of lasting fragrance and celestial hue;
Or be thy couch amid funereal bowers,
But let the stars and sunlight sparkle through.
So, with these thoughts before us, we have fixed
And beautified, O Death! thy mansion here,
Where yloom and gladness-grave and garden-mixed,
Make it a place to love, and not to fear.
Heaven! shed thy most propitious dews around!
Ye holy stars! look down with tender eyes,
And gild and guard and consecrate the ground
Where we may rest, and whence we pray to rise.
PAUL HAMILTON HAYNE has been justly called the “ Laureate of the South.” He was born at Charleston, and being left an orphan by the death of his father, Lieutenant Hayne of the Navy, he was reared and educated by his uncle, Robert Young Hayne. His fortune was ample, but he studied law although he never practised. He became editor of “Russell's Magazine ” and a contributor to the “ Southern Literary Messenger.” His genius and lovely nature made him a favorite with all of his companions, among whom were notably William Gilmore Simms and Henry Timrod.
During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate Army; his entire property, the inheritance of several generations, was destroyed in the bombardment of Charleston. From 1865 till his death he resided at “Copse Hill,” a small cottage home in the pine hills near Augusta, Georgia, "keeping the wolf from the door only by the point of his pen," dearly honored and loved by all who knew him or his poems.
His son, William H. Hayne, is also a poet of much abil. ity, and has published a volume of “ Sylvan Lyrics.”
WORKS, Poems ; containing Sonnets, Avolio, Ly Lise of Robert Young Hayne (1878). rics, Mountain of the Lovers. Preceded by Life of Hugh Swinton Legaré (1878). a Sketch of the Poet by Mrs. M. J. Preston (1882).
University of Texas (Main Building), Austin, Texas.
“ There is no poet in America who has written more lovingly or discriminatingly about nature in her ever varying aspects. We are sure that in his loyal allegiance to her, he is not a whit behind Wordsworth, and we do not hesitate to say that he has often a grace that the old Lake-poet lacks.”—Mrs. Preston.
“Hayne has the lyric gift, and his shorter poems have a ring and richness that recall the glories of the Elizabethan period;
each shows the same careful and artistic workmanship.”—Collier.
(From Poems, 1882.*)
A golden pallor of voluptuous light
Filled the warm southern night;
The moon, clear orbed, above the sylvan scene
Moved like a stately Queen, ·
So rife with conscious beauty all the while,
What could she do but smile
At her own perfect loveliness below,
Glassed in the tranquil flow
Of crystal fountains and unruffled streams?
Half lost in waking dreams,
As down the loneliest forest dell I strayed,
Lo! froin a neighboring glade,
Flashed through the drifts of moonshine, swiftly came
A fairy shape of flame.
It rose in dazzling spirals overhead,
Whence, to wild sweetness wed,
Poured marvellous melodies, silvery trill on trill;
The very leaves grew still
On the charmed trees to hearken; while, for me,
Heart-thrilled to ecstasy,
I followed-followed the bright shape that flew,
Still circling up the blue,
*By permission of the Lothrop Publishing Co., Boston; as also the others following.