- on the ground, and immure thy sorrow; I will give freedom to mine in song!
Haunt thou the tomb, and deny the morrow;
I will go watch in the dawning long!
- I shall see them, and know their faces-- Tenderer, sweeter, and shining more;
Clasp the old self in the new embraces;
Gaze through their eyes' wide open door.
Loved ones, I come to you: see my sadness;
I am ashamed--but you pardon wrong!
Smile the old smile, and my soul's new gladness
Straight will arise in sorrow and song!
TO MY AGING FRIENDS.
It is no winter night comes down
Upon our hearts, dear friends of old;
- a May evening, softly brown, Whose wind is rather cold.
We are not, like yon sad-eyed West,
Phantoms that brood o'er Time's dust-hoard,
We are like yon Moon--in mourning drest,
But gazing on her lord.
Come nearer to the hearth, sweet friends,
Draw nigher, closer, hand and chair;
Ours is a love that never ends,
For God is dearest there!
We will not talk about the past,
We will not ponder ancient pain;
Those are but deep foundations cast
For peaks of soaring gain!
- waiting Dead, will warm our bones At our poor smouldering earthly fire;
- talk of wide-eyed living ones Who have what we desire.
O Living, ye know what is death--
We, by and by, shall know it too!
Humble, with bated, hoping breath,
We are coming fast to you!
CHRISTMAS SONG OF THE OLD CHILDREN.
Well for youth to seek the strong,
Beautiful, and brave!
- the old, who walk along Gently to the grave,
Only pay our court to thee, Child of all Eternity!
We are old who once were young,
And we grow more old;
Songs we are that have been sung,
Tales that have been told;
Yellow leaves, wind-blown to thee, Childhood of Eternity!
If we come too sudden near,
Lo, Earth's infant cries,
- our faces wan and drear Have such withered eyes!
Thou, Heaven's child, turn'st not away From the wrinkled ones who pray!
Smile upon us with thy mouth
And thine eyes of grace;
On our cold north breathe thy south.
Thaw the frozen face:
Childhood all from thee doth flow-- Melt to song our age's snow.
Gray-haired children come in crowds,
Thee, their Hope, to greet:
Is it swaddling clothes or shrouds
Hampering so our feet?
Eldest child, the shadows gloom: Take the aged children home.
We have had enough of play,
And the wood grows drear;
Many who at break of day
Companied us here--
They have vanished out of sight, Gone and met the coming light!
Fair is this out-world of thine,
But its nights are cold;
- the sun that makes it fine Makes us soon so old!
Long its shadows grow and dim-- Father, take us back with him!
He who by a mother's love
Made the wandering world his own,
Every year comes from above,
Comes the parted to atone, Binding Earth to the Father's throne.
Nay, thou comest every day!
No, thou never didst depart!
Never hour hast been away!
Always with us, Lord, thou art, Binding, binding heart to heart!
THE OLD CASTLE.
- brother knew well the castle old, Every closet, each outlook fair,
Every turret and bartizan bold,
Every chamber, garnished or bare. The brother was out in the heavenly air;
Little ones lost the starry way,
Wandered down the dungeon stair.
- brother missed them, and on the clay Of the dungeon-floor he found them all. Up they jumped when they heard him call!
He led the little ones into the day--
- and up to the sunshine gay, Up to the father's own door-sill--
In at the father's own room door,
There to be merry and work and play,
There to come and go at their will, Good boys and girls to be lost no more!