Page images
PDF
EPUB

Oft did he stoop a listening ear,

Sweep round an anxious eye,-
No bark or axe-blow could he hear,

No human trace descry.
His sinuous path, by blazes, wound
Among trunks group'd in myriads round;

Through naked boughs, between Whose tangled architecture, fraught With many a shape grotesquely wrought,

The hemlock's spire was seen.

An antler'd dweller of the wild

Had met his eager gaze,
And far his wandering steps beguiled

Within an unknown maze;
Stream, rock, and run-way he had crossid,
Unheeding, till the marks were lost

By which he used to roam;
And now, deep swamp and wild ravine
And rugged mountain were between

The hunter and his home.

A dusky haze, which slow had crept

On high, now darken'd there,
And a few snow-flakes fluttering swept

Athwart the thick grey air,
Faster and faster, till between
The trunks and boughs, a mottled screen

Of glimmering motes was spread, That tick'd against each object round With gentle and continuous sound,

Like brook o'er pebbled bed.

The laurel tufts, that drooping hung

Close rollid around their stems, And the sear beech-leaves still that clung,

Were white with powdering gems.

But, hark ! afar a sullen moan
Swell'd out to louder, deeper tone,

As surging near it pass'd,
And, bursting with a roar and shock
That made the groaning forest rock,

On rush'd the winter blast.

As o'er it whistled, shriek’d, and hiss'd,

Caught by its swooping wings,
The snow was whirl'd to eddying mist,

Barb'd, as it seem'd, with stings;
And now 'twas swept with lightning flight
Above the loftiest hemlock's height,

Like drifting smoke, and now
It hid the air with shooting clouds,
And robed the trees with circling shrouds,

Then dash'd in heaps below.
Here, plunging in a billowy wreath,

There, clinging to a limb,
The suffering hunter gasp'd for breath,

Brain reel’d, and eye grew dim;
As though to 'whelm him in despair,
Rapidly changed the blackening air

To murkiest gloom of night,
Till naught was seen around, below,
But falling flakes and mantled snow,

That gleam'd in ghastly white.

At

every blast an icy dart Seem'd through his nerves to fly, The blood was freezing to his heart

Thought whisper'd he must die.
The thundering tempest echo'd death,
He felt it in his tighten'd breath ;

Spoil, rifle, dropp'd, and slow
As the dread torpor crawling came
Along his staggering, stiffening frame,
He sunk upon the snow.

Reason forsook her shatter'd throne,-

He deem'd that summer-hours Again around him brightly shone

In sunshine, leaves, and flowers;
Again the fresh, green forest-sod,
Rifle in hand, he lightly trod, -

He heard the deer's low bleat ;
Or, couch'd within the shadowy nook,
He drank the crystal of the brook

That murmur'd at his feet.

It changed ;-his cabin roof o'erspread,

Rafter, and wall, and chair,
Gleam'd in the crackling fire, that shed

Its warmth, and he was there;
· His wife had clasp'd his hand, and now
Her gentle kiss was on his brow,

His child was prattling by, The hound crouch'd, dozing, near the blaze, And through the pane's frost-pictured haze

He saw the white drifts fly.

That pass'd ;-before his swimming sight

Does not a figure bound,
And a soft voice, with wild delight,

Proclaim the lost is found ?
No, hunter, no! 'tis but the streak
Of whirling snow—the tempest's shriek-

No human aid is near !
Never again that form will meet
Thy clasp'd embrace-those accents sweet

Speak music to thine ear.

Morn broke ;--away the clouds were chased,

The sky was pure and bright, And on its blue the branches traced

Their webs of glittering white,

Its ivory roof the hemlock stoop'd,
The pine its silvery tassel droop'd,

Down bent the burden'd wood,
And, scatter'd round, low points of green,
Peering above the snowy scene,

Told where the thickets stood.

In a deep hollow, drifted high,

A wave-like heap was thrown,
Dazzlingly in the sunny sky

A diamond blaze it shone;
The little snow-bird, chirping sweet,
Dotted it o'er with tripping feet;

Unsullied, smooth, and fair,
It seem'd, like other mounds, where trunk
And rock amid the wreaths were sunk,

But, oh, the dead was there.

Spring came with wakening breezes bland,

Soft suns and melting rains,
And, touch'd by her Ithuriel wand,

Earth bursts its winter-chains.
In a deep nook, where moss and grass
And fern-leaves wove a verdant mass,

Some scatter'd bones beside,
A mother, kneeling with her child,
Told by her tears and wailings wild

That there the lost had died.

ST. VALENTINE'S DAY.

MARY ELIZA ROGERS.

[Miss Rogers is favourably known to the public as the authoress of a very charming work, entitled “ Domestic Life in Palestine,”' which is now in the second edition. The Spectator describes it as being " entertaining as a novel, and full of that rich flavour of personal knowledge which one finds only in books that record in a volume the observation of years." Her other work, "My Vis-àVis, and other Poems," is a pleasant volume of light and sparkling verse, well calculated to while away a weary half-hour, and likely to divert many of her own sex by its thorough analyzation of the mysteries of courtship.]

I Think if old Saint Valentine but knew
The

way his fête-day's now commemorated, And if the strange productions met his view,

That fill our picture-shops, at any rate he'd
Be much amused, and no doubt marvel too,

At fame he surely scarce anticipated;
A fame as great as any of the sages
Of Greece or Rome, or of the Middle Ages.

I wonder what liis saintship had to do

With flaming hearts, or with the cooing dove, With little bows and arrows, and the true

Entangled lover's knot (fit type of love),
With chubby flying cupids, peeping through

The leaves of roses, or through clouds above,
Daintily sketch'd on paper with lace edges,
To be perhaps of timid love the pledges.

The sacred Nine by many a youthful poet.

Will be invoked, and many a wasted quire Of cream-laid note paper will serve to show it,

Cover'd with scraps of wild poetic fire And bursts of eloquence,-no doubt you know it

By observation or experience dire, What crooked stanzas will be perpetrated By bards and rhymesters uninitiated !

They'll scarce improve upon the doggrel verse

That tells of “roses red and violets blue," And ends by saying, in a style most terse,

That the carnation's sweet, and so are you," I have seen modern rhymes that are much worse,

But then I have seen better, it is true,

« PreviousContinue »