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Title: Verses of Feeling and Fancy

Author: William M. MacKeracher

Release date: September 9, 2011 [eBook #37367]
Most recently updated: January 8, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Al Haines






Wm. M. MacKeracher


Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety by Wm. Drysdale & Co., in the office of the Minister of Agriculture.





Worthless, the man who works—he knows not why,
    Whom naught inspires to his puny plan,
Who seeming plays his part instinctively:
    Soulless, and falsely designated "man."

Wicked, who works from wish of worldly gain,—
    His soul surrendered to th'accursèd lust
Of pleasure partial, briefly to remain,
    Of treasure liable to moth and rust.

Foolish and vain is he whose motive—fame,
    Ruled by desire of honor and renown;
And fondly courting Fortune's fickle Dame,—
    To-day she smiles, to-morrow she will frown.

But virtuous, noble, prompted from above,
    Preluding now the perfect life again,
Is he, whose only inspiration, love,
    Love to his God and to his fellow-men.

For love is naught but God's own nature, given,
    In partial measure, down to man to come;
The sole delight of earth, the key to heaven;
    Of all the virtues, centre, source, and sum.

The Old Year.

The old year is dying,
Its last hour is hieing
    Over the verge;
The night winds are plying,
And are mournfully sighing
    Its funeral dirge.

And now, in its even,
While its spirit is riven
    Through the bright zone,
Beyond the heaven
To whence it was given—
    To the unknown.

Its sadness in ending
Like a cloud is descending
    Over my soul,
And the thoughts that are pending
With the low winds are blending,
    Helping their dole.

A year of existence
Has passed to the distance
    Ne'er to return:
To the right was resistance,
From duty desistance,
    Nor would I learn.

But duty neglected
And virtue rejected
    We may amend;
Then why be dejected?—
So sorely affected?
    Whence does it tend?

Is it that pleasure
In liberal measure
    I have not known?
Ah! rapturous pleasure
In memory I treasure,
    But—it is flown.

Opportunity wasted,
Though far we have passed it,
    We may retrieve;
But beakers once tasted
Of bliss while they lasted
    Bitterness leave.

A Summer Evening Scene in Chateauguay


Often, when the sun is sinking
    O'er the mountain's glowing crest,
When the earth and heaven are linking
    In that bond of peaceful rest;
Then, the weary city spurning,
    On this grand repose I gaze,
And my mind, in fancy turning,
    Dwells on scenes of childhood's days.

And I float upon the river
    At the selfsame time of day,
When the sparkling waters quiver
    'Neath the slanting evening ray.
Day's harsh memories forsaking
    With its jarring and its jest,
For the soul is but awaking
    As the day is lulled to rest.

Glimpse of even's glory getting
    As the summer sun serene,
In his softened splendour setting,
    Gilds the spires of Ste. Martine;
Glimmers through the silent bushes,
    Glances on the birchen stems;
Casts perchance his fitful blushes
    On the paddle, dripping gems.

And the hue of gold is deeper
    On the cornfields by the stream;
And the sickle of the reaper
    Flashes brightly in his beam.
And the fruits, of late commencing
    To indue their glowing tint,
Richest beauty are enhancing
    As they catch his gentle glint.

Now he greets the gaudy dresses
    Of the lightsome Gallic maids,
Rivals through their raven tresses
    Eyes of jet beneath their braids
As the peasant party gathers
    Gaily for the sportive dance,
As of old have done their fathers
    In the sunny vales of France.

But the night is falling thicker,
    And the twilight soon will cease,
So I paddle on the quicker
    Past where Beauty reigns with Peace;
Where the little brooks deliver
    Water laughing in its glee,
Or the murky English River
    Mingles with the Chateauguay.

Lines written on a Sabbath Morning.

The snow lies pure and peaceful on the ground,
    Serenely smiles the azure sky o'erhead:
The Sabbath spirit dwells on all around,
    And weekly toils and discords all are fled.

But, ah! my soul is filled with worldly thought,
    My God, 'tis filled with thoughts of self and sin:
With seeming care and trouble it is fraught,
    And peaceless discontentment reigns within.

Send down from heaven the Spirit of Thy love,
    Its soothing influence in my soul instil;
Uplift my worldly thoughts to things above,
    Subserve my wishes to Thy better will.

Reflections on a tree in Autumn.

The tree, with its leaves in luxuriance shading
    My path in the tune-yielding time of the year,
Now sighs in its dirge, while its foliage, fading,
    Descends to its sepulchre withered and sere.

And yet I regard it with feelings the fonder,
    With feelings of mingled compassion and pain,
As in pity I gaze on its branches, and ponder
    Of once fragrant beauty what fragments remain.

For that barren tree with adornment so fleeting,
    That blows in the autumn wind bleak and forlorn,
Bespeaks the sad state of a heart that is beating,
    Bereft of the pleasures that once it has borne.

A Parting.

Has the last farewell been spoken?
Have I ta'en the parting token
    From thy lips so sweet?
Has their last soft word been spoken
    Till again we meet?

Why is not thy hand extended?
Is my maiden queen offended?
    Or does she forget?
No! my queen is not offended,
    She is kindly yet.

For her eye is softly beaming,
And with tenderness is teeming,
    Gentle as the dove's:
With a holy light is beaming—
    Dare I call it love's?

But the time is fast advancing;
From the heaven of its glancing
    I must rend my heart:
Treacherous Time is fast advancing,
    And I must depart.

Ah! the pain the parting brings me!
As a serpent's fang it stings me,
    Leaves me almost dead:
Ah! the faintness that it brings me
    With the future fled!

'Tis a darkened night of sorrow,
Waiting for the light of morrow;
    Thus it seems to me:
'Tis a night of pain and sorrow
    While I want for thee.

Two long weeks of weary waiting,
All my happiness belating;
    When will they be o'er?
Two long weeks of woful waiting
    E'er I see thee more.

Sonnet to Shelley.

Divinely strong and beautiful in soul!
    With more than melody of mortal voice!
The free thy spirit's majesty extol,
    When Liberty is made thy Muse's choice.
And then how pure and pleasing is thy song,
    When Beauty—goddess of thy mind—its theme!
But most to thee those sweet, sad strains belong,
    Where Truth we find through musing's fitful dream:
And trace Uncertainty and how it gropes
    Through this and time to come with faltering feet,
And vanity of Pleasure, and the Hopes
    Which Fear enfeebles and the Fates defeat:
Strains oft as if at thy once-sung desire
    The wild west wind had ta'en thee for its lyre.


Oh! why should sorrow wound the heart,
    And rob the soul of rest?
Why is misfortune's bitter dart
    Allowed to pierce the breast?

We dare not ask; 'tis heaven's decree,
    While faring here below,
Man's bark is tossed upon the sea
    Of trouble, grief and woe.

But Mercy holdeth forth a light
    Upon the waves to shine,
And cheer him in the darkest night,—
    The star of Hope divine.

Enabled thus, he looks before,
    And sees, Oh! joyful sight!
The waves subside, the storm is o'er,
    The sky is clear and bright.

What comfort 'tis when cares annoy
    To know they are from One
Whose hand dispenses peace and joy
    As well as grief and pain.

Then cherish hope, despondent heart,
    With strength renew the fight;
And God will gladness yet impart,
    Thy darkness turn to light.

The dreary winter soon is done,
    And then—the month of May!
The clouds, which now obscure the sun,
    Will soon have passed away.

Sonnet to Dr. Macvicar.

Stay of the church and pillar of the state!
    Who alway did'st to wrong thy voice oppose,
    And strong hast striven corruption to expose,
And, jealous ever for thy country's fate,
Her virtues to preserve inviolate.
    Much to thy power the platform, pulpit owes,
    Thy pen has held the Right and quelled her foes:
A man withal thou art, and truly great.
And, true to thy convictions, firm thou hast
    In these last troublous times maintained thy stand,
And boldly at thy post hast faced the blast,
    That threatens still the ship of state to strand,
And shown thy resolution to the last
    To serve thy God, thy sovereign, and thy land.

Ah! Happy was I Yesternight.

Ah! happy was I yesternight
    I trod the paths of love
Within Elysian fields of bliss,
    Enchanted bowers above.

A heavenly maiden by my side,
    So wondrous fair that e'en
Surrounding nature shared her charms,
    Imparted to the scene.

By smiling water-brooks we strolled,
    And joyous woods among,
Whose every grove re-echoed tune
    From birds that gaily sung.

We breathed the breath of fragrant flowers,
    That filled the scented air;
The gentle zephyr fanned our cheeks,
    And waved her silken hair.

We glided on through glassy glades,
    Where, in the golden glow,
Fantastic forms by fancy framed
    Were flitting to and fro.

She seeming spake, but 'twas not speech,
    The words were notes of love,—
Soft, silver sounds, as though they fell
    Strains from the harps above.

The passing rapture of the hour
    'Tis folly to recall;
All, all around was paradise,
    And she was queen of all.

We parted: broken was the spell;
    The blissful dream was o'er;
I stood upon the city street,
    Before her father's door.

What though I wildly walked the hills,
    Nor any respite found!
My thoughts as ghastly and as dark
    As were the shades around.

What though since then in Stygian gloom
    My soul to grope is given!
Can earth be else but dull to him,
    Who once has tasted heaven?

Sonnet to Asterie.

I was enveloped in black clouds of woe,
    Woven o'er my vision by dark-veiled Despair;
    I breathed the poison of the midnight air,
And 'neath its dank oppression wasted low.
I staggered wildly in the gloom at first;
    And prayed in anguish that it be removed;
    Then cursed the day I saw thee—saw and loved,
And ceased to hope the clouds would be dispersed.
At last that Heavenly Love that rules the night
    Removed thine orbit nearer to the earth,
And filled my soul with rapturous delight;
    And in the place of that devouring dearth,
When I can see, though distant still, thy light,
    Blest Happiness from Hope receives her birth.

Vain Transient World.

Vain transient World, what charms are thine?
    And what do mortals in thee see,
That they should worship at thy shrine,
    And sacrifice their all to thee?

Thy brightest gifts, thy happiest hours
    Fly past on pinions of the wind;
They fade like blooms upon the flowers,
    And leave a painful want behind.

Thou art a road, though not of space,
    Which rich and poor alike must tread;
Thy starting point we cannot trace,
    Thine end—the country of the dead.

A pathway paved with want and woe,
    With pleasures painful, incomplete;
Like stones upon the way below,
    Which wound the weary pilgrim's feet.

Thou'rt hedged with visions of despair,
    With words of hate, with looks of scorn;
Like wayside thorns which pierce and tear
    The fainting traveller weak and worn.

Relentless odium's bitter ill,
    Cold disregard thy ways infest;
Like wintry blasts that chill and kill
    The very heart within the breast.

Fragment of a Hymn.

God of mercy without measure!
    God of all-embracing love!
Show'ring in Thy gracious pleasure
    Countless blessings from above;
Bounteous benefits bestowing
    In a kind, continuous course,
Favour from Thee ever flowing,
    As a stream from ocean source.

Grateful praise my aspiration;
    Pardon my presumptuous pen;
And accept my poor oblation,
    And forgive its feeble strain;
Thou to whom such praise is given,
    Too divine for mortal ears,
In the angel choirs of heaven
    And the music of the spheres.

Prayer for Submission.

How often, Lord, when 'tis Thy will
    To use the chastening rod,
My soul, possessed of passions ill,
    Rebels against its God!
Denies that Justice reigns in heaven,
    Doth His decrees pervade;
And loathes the blessings He hath given,
    The creatures He hath made!

Do thou the spirit me instil
    Of sweet submission, Lord,
And teach me to Thy sovereign will
    In meekness to accord;
Like Him who felt affliction's fire,
    But never did repine;
And bore the cross at Thy desire,
    When harder far than mine.

Enough, it is my King's command!
    What more do I require?
Yet what is from a father's hand
    Can but to good conspire.
And all Thy workings are inwove
    In Thine eternal plan,
Which wills the welfare in Thy love,
    And works the weal of man.

Sonnet to ———.

Journeying through a desert, waste and drear,
    Exhausted and disheartened by his way,
    So hard and parched, unchanged from day to day,
Saw the lone traveller an oasis near,
In which a tender flower did appear,
    Endued with beauty and with fragrance sweet,
    Known not to scorching winds nor blighting heat;
And gazing on it, it imparted cheer.
The traveller trod the weary sands of Time,
    Entering thy home delightful peace he found;
Radiant with youthful beauty half divine,
    On him thine angel face with sunbeams crowned
Smiled, and that artless, beaming smile of thine
    Sped to his soul that with new life did bound.

The Song of the Summer Cloud.

I am arrayed in light and shade,
    A free-born spirit of air;
A fanciful theme like a twilight dream,
    Or a maiden young and fair.

And now I float like a phantom boat
    With a vague and varying hue,
Fading from sight in the beams of light
    On an ocean clear and blue.

And now I am wooed by the wind so rude,
    As he rushes in fury past,
Who his bride doth crown with a darkening frown
    As I ride in the car of the blast.

And down I pour 'mid the thunder's roar
    While the lightnings gleam and glare,
Till the floods resound as they burst their bound
    And laugh at what man can dare.

And now he is flown and has left me alone
    To brood in bereavement and woe,
And I hang like a pall while the rain-drops fall
    Like tear-drops steady and slow.

But again he returns when my gloom he discerns,
    And subdues his dark spirit of storms;
And the shower descends while the rainbow blends
    And the sunshine brightens and warms.


(Written in Winter.)

All clad in rich hiemal robes
    By blasts of Boreas plied,
The sovereign City of the North
    Sits in majestic pride;
Beside St. Lawrence' noble stream,
    Hard by his hidden tide,
She sits, and rears her head aloft
    Upon Mount Royal's side.

A crown she wears of richest gems,
    Of purest crystal bright,
That sparkle like a maiden's eyes
    Which dazzle with delight;
Not gems that glitter best beneath
    The courtly lamps by night;
But those whose brilliancy appears
    By morning's purer light.

Her sceptre is not mineral
    Up-gathered from the dust,
Nor gold, nor silver, long profaned
    By man's accursèd lust,
Nor substance base enough to feel
    The vitiating rust,
But is a crystalled branch of oak
    Just riven by the gust.

"I sit a queen," she proudly says,
    "From the Atlantic Main
To where the Rockies to the sky
    Their shaggy summits strain,
From where St. Lawrence speeds along
    The ocean wave to gain
To where in darkness sleeps the heaven,
    Unwaked by Phoebus' wain."

The Fever Burns from Morn till Eve.

NOTE.—The following is an attempt to render in verse the passionate words of a young officer in the Indian service, who had fallen a prey to the ravages of the fever.

The fever burns from morn till eve;
    I toss upon my bed;
And none but heavy hands relieve
    My aching, heated head.

Harsh voices of hard-hearted men
    Attempt to sympathize;
But sympathy is worthless when
    Love gives it not its rise.

Could thy soft hand but soothe my brain,
    Thy voice to mine reply,
'Twere rapture then to toss in pain,
    'Twere rapture e'en—to die!

Oh! the Sickening Sensation!

    Oh! the sickening sensation!—
    Oh! the burning agitation
            In my soul!
    Oh! the awful desolation
            Of my soul!
    And my breast is sore with sighing.
    Comfort to myself denying—
Comfort and relief denying to my soul distrest and sore;
    While that worst of all diseases
    With a pain that naught appeases
            Ever burns—
    While a pain that grimly pleases
            Alway burns,
    Kindled by thy bright eye's beaming,
    By thy brilliant, blue eye's beaming,
When I saw thee, saw and loved thee on that fatal eve of yore;
    And anon it has been living,
    And a blissful sadness giving
            While with thee,—
    Mingled bliss and sadness giving
            While with thee;
    But, ah! now its woful waging,
    Laying waste with cruel raging
This my heart, as with a vulture gnawing at its very core!
    Would kind angels waft me to thee!—
    Waft me for one moment to thee!
    Let me gaze one moment on thee!—
    But one blissful moment on thee!—
Satisfy this languid longing for the one whom I adore!
Oh! to quench this lethal longing for the one whom I adore!

The Noble Woman.

A woman on an empire's throne
    Has sat in queenly pride,
And swayed the sceptre of her power
    O'er land and ocean wide:
A crown of gold adorned the head
    That held a nation's fate,
And courtly knights and princely peers
    Did on her bidding wait.

A woman too in ancient days
    Has borne the warrior's brand,
And by heroic deed performed
    Has saved her native land.
She too has sung inspiring songs,
    And told entrancing tales;
Has softened and has swayed the mind
    Where bolder genius fails.

But nobler far than thronèd queen,
    Or heroine of fame,
Or she who by her potent pen
    Has won illustrious name,
Is she who seeks the needy out,
    Nor scorns the wretched's door,
But, with compassion Christlike, loves
    To help the humble poor.

To a Star.

Dreary and dismal and dark
    Is the night of life to me,
With nothing but clouds in the heaven above,
Cruelly hiding the star that I love,
    Whose radiance was rapture to see.

While the blasts from the cold frozen North
    Are biting right in to my soul—
While the pitiless blasts from the bleak, barren shore
Of the crystalline ocean incessantly roar,
    And the tempests that sweep from the pole.

Oh! the gloom of the dark, dreary night,
    Concealing the star that I love!
Oh! how bitter the anguish, bereft of its beam!
While the beings around me are such that I seem
    In a dungeon of demons to move.

Oh! when will the clouds clear away?
    And brighten the heaven above?
Oh! when to the starry-lit realm of the sky
In a golden car of thy beams shall I fly
    To live with the star that I love?

Veni, Vidi, Victus sum.

to ———.

Hither led by fancy's hand,
Once again I seem to stand
In that hall in which this eye,
Blind before to beauty's ray,
Lighted up in ecstasy
Instantly it gazed on thee;
Here too was it where this heart,
Previous proof to Cupid's dart,
In thy presence trembled, fell;
Fearful, fluttered 'neath thy spell;
All so sudden, so complete,
Chronicled in words 'twere meet
Such as Cæsar's famous three,
Which will well apply to me,
If the classic clause become,—
Veni, vidi, victus sum.

To my Couch.

        When the toils of the day are done,
        When its trials and cares are o'er;
When the forces of mind and body are run,
                And the heart is sore;

        How welcome to me is thy rest—
        The breath of approaching peace,
Which soothes the soul with a prospect blest
                Of sweet release!

        May my life be such that so
        At its even this comfort I'll have!
For sleep is the symbol of death, and thou
                Art the sign of the grave.


Parted cruelly from thee,
What, Oh! what is life to me?

'Tis the morn without the lark;
It is wine without its spark.

Christmas time without its glee;
Music without harmony.

New Year's eve devoid of mirth;
Winter night without the hearth.

'Tis a day without the light;
'Tis a moonless, starless night.

Thorn-bush, barren of its leaf;
Weeping, without its relief.

'Tis a fire, but unconsuming;
Poisonous plant, but never blooming.

Ship becalmed, without its peace;
Death, without its sweet release.

Treasured Memories.

The playful way thy wanton hair
    Was tossing in the wind;
Thy girlish, vain vexation
    Is treasured in my mind.

Held in my heart each sacred spot,
    O'er which we roamed at will:
The rose that bloomed upon thy breast
    Blooms in my memory still.

Still do I see thy sunny smile,
    In sportive dimples traced,
Like truant beams of morning light
    By flitting fairies chased.

Thy merry, maiden laughter still
    Is ringing in my ear,
As silver streams in sylvan shades
    Make music sweet to hear.

To ———

Fair one! embodiment of Loveliness!
Angelic beauty beams upon thy countenance,
And from its image of Lucretian purity
Thine inborn virtue shines divinely forth.

Thy sparkling eyes of bright cerulean blue,
Rich sapphire gems, flash with Arcadian artlessness,
Impelling Cupid's arrows, passion-fraught,
Discharged from bow of myrtle 'gainst my heart,
Which throbs and flutters, quivering from the thrust.

To an Umbrella.

Thou art the belonging blest
Of the maid I love the best:
Gardened in some tropic grove,
Nurtured by the powers above,
Was thy wood so rich and rare
For her hand so small and fair;
Deftly carved by cunning craft
For her hold thy finished haft;
And thy silken folds so soft,
Where the gentle breezes waft
Fragrance from the clustered vines,
Where the sun so warmly shines,
Where the skies of purest hue
Bend above in deepest blue,
There so soft and fine were wove,
Woven only for my love.
But it is not that thy haft
Carved is by cunning craft
Of a wood so rich and rare,
That thy folds are soft and fair,
Vying only with her hair;
Not for this that I addrest
Thee in song, and called thee blest
But what thou for her hast done:
Shaded from the scorching sun
On the burning summer day
'Neath thy silken canopy;
Sheltered from the falling rain,
Lest her hallowed cheek it stain;
Shielded from the stormy blast,
As it hurried wildly past.
Surely thou art blest for such.—
Oh! that I might do as much!

E'en the fair Orb.

to ———.

E'en the fair orb on which I gaze
Suggests thy radiance by its rays:
That silvery, soft, and dreamy light,
So soft, and yet so beauteous bright,
Falling in glowing tints so faint,—
The hues which artists love to paint;
Around whose sphere the fancies claim
That angels float, and fan the flame:
The lover's choice, it doth belong
To lover's lute and poet's song.
That light, though native to the skies,
Is all reflected in thine eyes.

To Burns.

Suggested on returning home for my holidays by an old portrait of the poet, which hangs in my room.

Old friend!—I always loved thee;
    In childhood's early days,
Delighted I would listen
    With laughter to thy lays.

And better still I loved thee,
    To riper boyhood grown;
Because thou wert the pride of
    The land that's part my own.

But with devotion deepened
    I greet thee now anew,
Of love, because thou singest
    So simple, sweet, and true.

Could I but mention but thy Name;

Could I but strike—a sweeter note
Than all from virgin choirs that float,
    Or harps with cords of gold;
A note more soft and more sublime
Than she, the sweetest of the Nine,
    Euterpe's strains unfold!

The note which even now I hear
(For angels breathe it in my ear)
    But never dared to raise—
Could I but mention but thy name,
To whom I owe this sacred flame
    And love's inspired lays!

Ah! then, methinks, when I should hear
My Muse employ that word so dear;
    When thoughts of thee inspire;
In sweeter strains my song should swell
Than e'er from harp of Orpheus fell
    Or Phoebus' full-stringed lyre!

Lines written in an Album.

With beauty and grace that greet the eye,
    How pleasing 'tis to trace,
Within, the beauty of holiness,—
    That higher, heavenly grace!

Scene in the Trojan War.

(Translated from Homer.)

And when th'opposing ranks in conflict closed,
Shield rang on shield and rattled lance on lance,
And clashed the might of brazen mailèd men.
And 'midst the din of steel encount'ring steel
The exultation and the groans arose
Of warriors slaying, warriors being slain;
And soon the earth flowed red with heroes' blood,
And such the raging of the mingled host
As wintry torrents, bursting from the hills,
Hurl in one basin their impetuous flood,
From mighty springs within the hollow rock;
And the lone shepherd hears the distant roar.


(Written in Winter.)

By thee, fair City, is Mount Royal based,
Which, though its inward fires are extinct,
Seems—in the flush of morning, indistinct,
When misty shadows are across it chased,
Over its flaky bosom pure and white,
Which glows and glistens in the early light,—
Seems moved with passion. 'Neath it thou art traced,
In winter's jewelled brilliancy arrayed,
With sparkling spire and glassy dome displayed:
A gem-wrought girdle on a maiden's waist.

"Our Father."

Father! How precious is that name to me!
Name rendered sacred e'en by earthly ties,
How full of vaster meaning when applied
To Him high-dwelling in the heavenly home!
How much of love it whispers to the soul!—
Of that true, pure, and unimpassioned love—
That lasting love which father bears to son!
It speaks of kindly interest, fond regard,
And anxious care, the offspring of that love.
Its sound assures of guidance in the right,
Of readiness to guard from what is ill,
Of willingness to grant supporting aid,
Of gracious blessings and of bounteous gifts.
And then, unlike a father here below,
The heavenly Father's favour and his help
Are unrestricted in their exercise—
His store unbounded, power infinite.
And while an earthly parent soon must go,
He ever lives and ever is the same.

Sometimes my Heart by cruel Care Opprest.

to ———

Sometimes my heart by cruel care opprest
Faints from the weight of woe upon my breast,
My soul embittered far beyond belief;—
As damned one, drinking galling draughts of grief,
Which boils and burns within without relief,
While fervid flames inflict the wounds unhealed,
With hellish horrors not to man revealed;
When Peace and Joy seem wrapt in sable shrouds,
And young Hope's heaven is black with lowering clouds
'Tis then thy vision comes before my view,
'Tis then I see those beaming eyes of blue,
And hear thy gentle voice in accents kind,
And see thy cheerful smile before my mind;
And taking heart, I battle on anew;
And thank my God for sending to my soul
    His own blest, soothing balm of peace again,
Who sometimes still as in the days of old
    By angels sends His blessings down to men.

The Prayer of the Penitent Profligate.

Lord, I am weak and worthless, better fit
To grovel in the dust, a worm of earth,
Than wear Thy holy image, which I do
But daily with defilement desecrate.
Long-suffering God! in mercy infinite!
That thou did'st not long since have cut me off,
But still dost keep me in the place of hope!
Weak, worthless, wicked is this heart of mine,
But Thou, O Lord, art all in all to me,
For Thou art strong, Thy power is supreme,
The God of might, from Thee all strength is sprung;
And Thou hast vanquished man's great Enemy,
And by Thy strength I too may vanquish him,
And thus be worthy, washed from sin, to wear
The holy image of my Maker, God.
Then Lord, O Lord, give unto me Thy strength;
I know Thou wilt, for Thou hast promised it:
Omnipotent, Thy name; and love, Thine attribute!

God in Nature.

We see our Father's hand in all around;
    In summer's sun, and in cold winter's snow,
In leafy wood, on grassy-covered ground,
    In showers that fall and icy blasts that blow.
And when we see the light'ning's flash, and hear
    The thunder's roar, majestically grand,
A heavenly voice says, "Christian, do not fear,
    'Tis but the working of thy Father's hand."

Reflections of a Jacobite.

Mourn, mourn, ye spirits of the brave, for glories passed away;
Mourn that the sceptre of your king should own a stranger's sway;
Mourn that the crown, which graced his brow by sovereign right divine,
Should e'er in regal mockery adorn an upstart line.

But mourn the more that those, who boast your blood within their veins,
To such reproaches should submit while any drop remains,
That those, whose names are heroes' names, transmitted from the free,
The subjects of a foreign lord, in cherished chains should be.

Oh! for the days when life was naught except for what it prized!—
When virtue, honour, truth, and right inspired and advised!—
When men such loyalty and love to king and country bore!—
The grand old days of chivalry!—alas! they are no more!

The Oath of the French Loyalist.

I swear by the holy Virgin,
    I swear by her Son divine,
I swear by the throne of the Mighty,
    I swear by the hope that is mine;
I swear by the youth and innocence,
    By the beauty that has been,
I swear by the sacred ashes,
    By the blood of the martyred queen.

That I will avenge the outrage,
    So infamous, vile, and base,
The brutal and foul inhumanity,
    That darkens my land with disgrace;
Or meet like a noble gentleman
    The fate that my sovereign has met,
And die for my country's honour,
    For my queen,—Marie Antoinette.

Scotland: A Jacobite's Lament.

Where are those days, O Caledon,
    So glorious and bright,
In which thy star resplendent shone
    With passing lustrous light?
Alas! alas! those happier days
    Are shrouded in the past,
Thy glory was like that of Greece,
    Too bright it shone to last.

Where are those knightly heroes bold,
    Those champions of the right,
That bore the shield and couched the lance
    So valiant in the fight?
Whether for king and country's weal
    In freedom's cause they strove,
Or courted glory and renown
    To win their lady-love.

The Wallace nobly lived and died
    To save his land from shame,
The royal Bruce as nobly fought
    Her freedom to reclaim.
How would their generous hearts have mourned
    Could they have pierced the veil,
And, peering into future years,
    Have read thy woful tale!

Then patriots raised the royal flag
    Around the noble Graemes,
And dyed the heather with their blood
    For Scotland and King James.
A wreath of honour nobly won
    Encircled then thy brow;
How is that garland, once so green,
    So sadly faded now?

Now mercenary lust hath ta'en
    The place of chivalry,
And that devoted Faith of yore
    Is gone for bigotry.
What wonder then that to my eye
    The tear will sometimes start?
What wonder that the clouds of grief
    Hang heavy o'er my heart?

The Orphan Maid of Glencoe.

NOTE:—The tale is told a few years after the massacre of Glencoe, by a wandering bard, who had formerly been piper to MacDonald of Glencoe, but had escaped the fate of his kinsmen.

I tell a tale of woful tragedy,
Resulting from that fearful infamy;
That unsurpassed, unrivalled treachery,
That merciless, that beastlike butchery.

    Upon the evening calm and bright,
    That followed on the fatal night,
    Just as the sun was setting red
    Behind Benmore's sequestered head,
    And weeping tears of yellow light,
    That, streaming down, bedimmed his sight,
    As he prepared to make his grave
    Beneath the deep Atlantic wave;
    I stood and viewed with starting tears
    The silent scene of glorious years,
    And thought me on my former pride,
    As when I marched my chief beside,
    Before my clansmen strong and bold—
    Returning to our mountain hold,
    Victorious in the bloody close,
    And weighed with spoils of vanquished foes—
    And filled the rocky glens around
    With peals of wild, triumphant sound.
    But when I saw the bloody stains,
    And gazed upon the black remains,
    And thought upon my murdered chief,
    For rage I quick forgot my grief;
    And deeply vowed of vengeance then
    Upon the cursed Campbell men.
    But then, alas! how vain my vow!
    Where were Lochaber's warriors now?
    When thus to bitter grief returned,
    Adown the valley I discerned
    A figure, and my fading eye
    A female form could just descry,
    Who onward came in fleet career,
    Swiftly as speed the frighted deer.
    Her gait and garb so light and wild
    Bespoke the maid the mountain's child;
    Her auburn tresses waved behind,
    Bespread luxuriant on the wind;
    And from her soft and deep blue eye,
    In colour like the midnight sky,
    There beamed a clear and beauteous light
    As from the blue of northern night;
    And to my side young Janet ran,—
    The pride and flower of the clan.
    With direful thoughts and faces dazed
    We one upon the other gazed.
    Nothing she spake, but turning 'round
    In silence sought the cumbered ground.
    A bitter cry the maiden gave
    As she approached the open grave;
    And as among its ways she went,
    She wailed this mournful, wild lament.

Where, where is the beauty that once I could scan?
And where is the power and pride of my clan?
Ah! gloomy to-day is the vale of Glencoe!
And the house of Ian Abrach is humbled and low.

The bright spot of my childhood is reft of its light!
Dark, dark are the scenes it presents to my sight!
And the homes of its people have shared in its fate,
And its children are murdered through malice and hate.

Yes, the warm Highland heart, that had prompted the host
With the other to vie in regaling them most,
By the hand of the stranger, the wolf in the fold,
When the feasting is over lies lifeless and cold.

And the youth that had cheerfully led in the chase,
Whose mind never dreamed of dishonour so base,
And who weary that night had retired to rest,
Awoke with the treacherous steel in his breast.

And the damsel, bewildered with witcheries wove,
Elated with flattery, fêted with love,
In the height of her maidenly beauty and joy,
Having lain down to dream, was awakened to die.

And not even the babe that reposed on the breast
In its innocent peace was permitted to rest.
Prophetic and awful, the curses of guilt,
Are the cryings of children whose blood has been spilt!

And there lies the chieftain, beloved and revered,
His rule it was just, nor in conflict he feared;
He was butchered at night by the villainous foe,
And discoloured with blood in his couch in the snow.


My father! my father! Why here dost thou lie?
Arouse thee, dear father, arouse thee, 'tis I!
Why dost thou not answer? My God! it is so!
And his lips are as cold and as white as the snow.

Thou wilt lead not again in the field or the chase,
Nor clasp thy dear Janet in loving embrace.
Ah! dreary and barren life's desert to me!
Kind heavenly Father, O take me to Thee.


And, O heaven for strength! And my mother!—Thy hand
Too is cold, and discoloured with death's pallid brand;
And thine eye, which had beamed with thy love as thou smiled,
Is fixed on the welkin both wanly and wild.

And hushed are the tones of that motherly voice,
In whose kind commendation I used to rejoice.
Alas! I am lonely without thee to cheer;
Do thou, gentle Mother of Jesus, be near!


I am fatherless, motherless—Ronald!—my God!—
Thy sepulchre too is the snow-covered sod!
My Ronald, my hero, the king of my heart!
O Christ, Thou hast power, do Thou life re-impart!

The sisters of old were made glad at Thy will,
But my lover lies breathless and motionless still.
Can naught else restore warmth to the frame of the dead?
Not my passion's embrace, nor the hot tears I shed?

But, alas! my Narcissus is lifeless at length,
For ever laid low his Herculean strength,
And that manly bosom, that throbbed with the sway
Of a heart true and noble, is silent for aye.

Yet he looks like a prince, as he lies in repose
On his marble-white tomb, and o'er-wreathed with snows.
The snow too is thy shroud, and thy funeral chant
Is the wail of a maiden lamenting thy want.

O Ronald, so generous, noble, and true,
How unworthy thy loved one! how deeply I rue
My pride, my caprice, and the preference shown—
But now thou art dead, and the damned one is flown.

How deeply he loved! and how zealously wooed!
My God! 'tis beside where our cottage late stood!
He could have escaped, but alone would not fly,
And—aha!—for my safety, for me did he die.

    Aha! aha! the maiden cried,
    Aha! aha! the rocks replied;
    'Twas carried weird upon the wind,
    And wildly woke the hills behind;
    It smote the birds upon the wing,
    They fled afar, and ceased to sing;
    It pierced my heart that still its blight
    It bears upon it day and night;
    Still when the eventime is nigh
    I hear the maiden's withering cry,
    And see her spectral shadow by,
    Which stays and haunts my restless dreams,
    Disturbed by those heart-rending screams.
    Aha! she cried, and down the glen
    She madly took her way again.

    Through shadowy vale, o'er shaggy hill
    Young Janet wanders frantic still,
    Watched and sustained from year to year
    By pity of the mountaineer,
    Who knows the story of her woe,
    And curses deep her kindred's foe;
    And on from year to year the same
    She wildly calls on Ronald's name.

A Parody

Once upon a midnight dreary, as I sauntered weak and weary
    From a jovial fellow-student's room upon another floor;
As I sauntered, sadder, sicker, suddenly I heard a snicker,
    And the lights began to flicker, and right out went three or four.
"Some infernal trick!" I muttered, as I neared my chamber door;
                "I won't stand this any more."

Ah! distinctly I remember, it was in my first September,
    And each night-attired member fled like ghost upon the floor.
Lamp I vainly sought to borrow, though I threatened on the morrow
    They would catch it to their sorrow, they would catch it sad and sore—
I would have them on the morrow the dread Faculty before—
                Fearful here for evermore.

And the hushed and humorous talking, and the doors' successive locking
Filled me—thrilled me with fantastic terrors often felt before;
So that now to still the beating of my heart I stood repeating
"'Tis some prank they are repeating that they played the night before,
"Sewn, perchance, my couch's covering, firmly fixed my chamber door,
                "Effigy upon my floor."

Then toward my chamber turning, for my wonted slumber yearning,
Straightway I could hear them laughing somewhat louder than before;
"Surely," said I, "surely that is ominous, foreboding that is,
"Let me see, then, what the rat is, and this mystery explore—
"I'll discover what the rat is, and this mystery explore;
                "For methinks 'tis something more."

Open then I flung the portal, and—oh! miserable mortal!
Down there fell a pan of water in a most tremendous pour;
Not the least cessation made it, not a second stopped or stayed it;
But before I could evade it, down it fell from off the door—
Fell,—and with its icy current chilled me to the very core;
                This there was, what could be more?

Deep into the darkness staring, long I stood there thundering, tearing;
Shouting, threatening threats no mortal ever dared to threat before;
And my face was wild and ashen, and to aggravate my passion,
Each, in an insulting fashion, thrust his head from out his door;
And the worst of all the wretches met me with a mocking roar,
                Asking,—Had I got to shore?

Instantly my speech grew stronger; I could stand it now no longer;
"Cur," said I, "or madman, my forgiveness now implore,
"For my patience now is sapping, and the truth is this is capping
"What too often has been happing, what in future shall be o'er,
"Now most humbly my forgiveness I demand that you implore.
                But he answered, "Nevermore."

And the wretches, unremitting, still are sitting, still are sitting—
Sitting each successive session on the freshmen as of yore:
Who, with burning indignation, and with angry imprecation,
Undergo initiation to this school of modern lore,
And the rackets now resounding through this school of life; and lore
                Shall be silenced—nevermore.

Tomakewaw,—A Parody.

"Give me of your fruit, banana!
Of your yellow fruit, banana!
Growing on the tropic islands,
Fertile islands in the ocean;
I a little trick will play me,
Play it on the darkened staircase,
Where no light has late been burning,
Where the students walk in darkness,
Walk on foot, perchance on shin-bones!"
"Lay aside your fruit, banana!
Quickly lay your fruit aside you,
For the eventime is coming,
When the stairs are wrapt in darkness;
And I've yet to waft me distant,
Many leagues o'er land and ocean,
To a famous school of learning,
In the land of the pale faces,
In the city of the mountain!"
    Thus aloud cried Tomakewaw,
Chief of all the imps of darkness,
On an island in the ocean,
In the wide Pacific Ocean.
And the tall tree shook its branches,
Shook with mirth its ladened branches,
Saying with a burst of laughter,
"Take my fruit, O Tomakewaw!"
    Then its fruit he picked with gladness,
Gathered it with exultation,
Sped across the wide Pacific,
Over mountain, over prairie,
To the shores of the great river,
To the banks of the St. Lawrence,
To the city of the mountain.
Here within the school of learning,
Sought he out a student's chamber,
Where he peeled the fruit delicious,
Cleft the yellow rind asunder,
Ate the fruit—but saved the peeling.
And he then with quiet movements,
Took up the banana peeling,
Issued out into the darkness,
Noiseless glided through the passage,
Till he reached the darkened staircase,
Where, upon the topmost step he
Placed with care the oily peeling,
Placed the smooth banana peeling.
Later on we have "The Sailing."

The Principal's Ash-Barrel.

In a notable college the story is told—
'Twill bear repetition, although somewhat old—
That, at some unauthenticate date in the past
(I think 'twas the month or the year before last),
The Principal brought a complaint 'gainst the Steward
Concerning a matter he long had endured:
He deposed that the former—the cause of the quarrel—
Had neglected to see to his scavenger-barrel,
And requested the Faculty grave and sedate
To sit and consider the point in debate,
Which this reverend body would straightway have done
Had not a professor objection begun
By insisting that such an undignified act
To the Faculty was not becoming, in fact,
That he, for his part, refused to comply
With the purpose the Principal wished to apply,
Considering it 'neath both his place and apparel
To sit upon anyone's scavenger-barrel.