« PreviousContinue »
The gorgeous sky is loud
With the ringing voice of mirth, And the sounds of joy have overflowed
This fair and fruitful earth :
Would ye not look once more
On the scene of bliss and bloom Ye left for a land where joy is o'er,
The dark and dreary tomb?
Ye answer not! The flowers
Of spring are glancing fair, Nursed by the warm and welcome showers
That southern breezes bear;
The wild bird's mellow song,
From her leafy solitude,
The green and sunlit wood;
All, all around us seems
Without a taint of woe,
To the sinless hermit show:
Joy is over the earth,
Joy is over the sky, Would ye not mix with the sons of mirth,
And the festal revelry?
What, silent still ? May none
Of these things win your praise ? Not the smiling earth, nor the glittering sun,
Nor the wild birds' sweetest lays ?
The friends ye prized of old,
May not they your greeting crave; Or waxeth the hand of friendship cold
In the chill and cheerless grave ?
Long ye not yet to press
To your hearts each once loved form, Or reck
less of love's embrace Than the clasp of the slimy worm ?
Arise! arise! for they
Invite to the banquet hall; Rend, then, your mouldering shrouds away,
And burst the charnel's thrall !
Ye linger! Sleep ye yet
In the narrow house of fear ? The feast is spread, and the guests are met,
But still ye come not here!
The young, the fair, are sped
To the banquet in their pride; The wine is sparkling ruby red,
O'er the goblet's jewelled side;
The song of pleasure rings
From joyous hearts on high, And the minstrel wakes the golden strings
Of his lyre to melody;
Would ye not know the mirth
That lights each burning soul? Then shake off the weary weight of earth,
And spurn the grave's control !
Still silent! Then 'tis vain
back To pass the bourne of death again,
And retrace life's shining track.
As the rainbow is consumed,
And vanisheth away,
To fade from the light of day;
To sink in that dark sea,
When fear and hope are o'er,
Broods o'er a tideless shore:
Slumber then, yet, ye
dead!. Till the hour when earth and sky Shall echo the angel's voice of dread,
And the tyrant Death must die!
PROGRESS! progress! all things cry;
Progress, Nature's golden rule; Nothing tarries 'neath the sky;
Learn in Nature's wondrous school: Earth from chaos sprang sublime,
Broad-armed oaks from acorns grow, Insects, labouring, build in time
Mighty islands from below; Press we on thro' good and ill, Progress be our watchword still.
Rough may be the mountain-road
Leading to the heights of Mind; Climb, and reach Truth's bright abode :
Dull the souls that grope behind. Science, learning, yield their prize;
Faint not in the noble chase, He who aims not to be wise
Sinks unworthy of his race; He who fights shall vanquish ill; Progress be our watchword still.
Broad the tract that lies before us;
Never mourn the days of old,
Past is iron_future gold!
fetters shake till free;
Work your own high destiny :
Nothing of that magic word;
'Tis the spirit's conquering sword !
Which should flash around the earth,
Tis a word of heavenly birth;
THE FAIRY THORN.
SAMUEL FERGUSON, M.R.I.A. (Mr. Samuel Ferguson is a native of Belfast, a Queen's counsel, and one of the leaders of the Irish North East Circuit. His reputation as a poet of the very highest order has long been established; his poetry is distinguished for its vigour and tenderness, the truthful minuteness of its descriptive passages, the fertility of its imagery, and its exquisite finish generally. As a translator he is known most favourably for the efficient way in which he has cast the rude materials of Irish historical and romantic story into forms not un worthy of their really heroic character. About twenty years since Mr. Ferguson contributed pretty largely to “Blackwood" and "The Dublin University Magazine," and he still contributes occasional papers on archæological subjects to the transactions and proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, of which he is a member.' The University of Dublin has lately conferred on him the honorary degree
of Doctor of Laws. Mr. Ferguson is now a resident of Dublin. We are glad to find that a new edition of his collected writings has recently been published by Messrs. Bell & Daldy, London.] “Get up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning
wheel; For your father's on the hill, and your mother is
up above the crags, and we'll dance a highland
Around the fairy thorn on the steep."
Three merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green; And Anna laid the rock and the weary wheel aside,
The fairest of the four, I ween. They're glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve,
Away in milky wavings of neck and ankle bare ; The heavy-sliding stream in its sleepy song they leave,
And the crags in the ghostly air : And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go, The maids along the hill-side have ta’en their fearless
way, Till they come to where the rowan-trees in lonely
Beside the Fairy Hawthorn grey. The hawthorn stands between the ashes tall and slim, Like matron with her twin grand-daughters at her
knee; The rowan berries cluster o'er her low head
In ruddy kisses sweet to see. The merry
maidens four have ranged them in a row, Between each lovely couple a stately rowan-stem; And away in mazes wavy, like skimming birds they