Henry Kendall |
RIFTED mountains, clad with forests, girded round by gleaming pines,
Where the morning, like an angel, robed in golden splendour shines;
Shimmering mountains, throwing downward on the slopes a mazy glare
Where the noonday glory sails through gulfs of calm and glittering air;
Stately mountains, high and hoary, piled with blocks of amber cloud,
Where the fading twilight lingers, when the winds are wailing loud;
Grand old mountains, overbeetling brawling brooks and deep ravines,
Where the moonshine, pale and mournful, flows on rocks and evergreens.
Underneath these regal ridges - underneath the gnarly trees,
I am sitting, lonely-hearted, listening to a lonely breeze!
Sitting by an ancient casement, casting many a longing look
Out across the hazy gloaming - out beyond the brawling brook!
Over pathways leading skyward - over crag and swelling cone,
Past long hillocks looking like to waves of ocean turned to stone;
Yearning for a bliss unworldly, yearning for a brighter change,
Yearning for the mystic Aidenn, built beyond this mountain range.
Happy years, amongst these valleys, happy years have come and gone,
And my youthful hopes and friendships withered with them one by one;
Days and moments bearing onward many a bright and beauteous dream,
All have passed me like to sunstreaks flying down a distant stream.
Oh, the love returned by loved ones! Oh, the faces that I knew!
Oh, the wrecks of fond affection! Oh, the hearts so warm and true!
But their voices I remember, and a something lingers still,
Like a dying echo roaming sadly round a far off hill.
I would sojourn here contented, tranquil as I was of yore,
And would never wish to clamber, seeking for an unknown shore;
I have dwelt within this cottage twenty summers, and mine eyes
Never wandered erewhile round in search of undiscovered skies;
But a spirit sits beside me, veiled in robes of dazzling white,
And a dear one's whisper wakens with the symphonies of night;
And a low sad music cometh, borne along on windy wings,
Like a strain familiar rising from a maze of slumbering springs.
And the Spirit, by my window, speaketh to my restless soul,
Telling of the clime she came from, where the silent moments roll;
Telling of the bourne mysterious, where the sunny summers flee
Cliffs and coasts, by man untrodden, ridging round a shipless sea.
There the years of yore are blooming - there departed life-dreams dwell,
There the faces beam with gladness that I loved in youth so well;
There the songs of childhood travel, over wave-worn steep and strand -
Over dale and upland stretching out behind this mountain land.
``Lovely Being, can a mortal, weary of this changeless scene,
Cross these cloudy summits to the land where man hath never been?
Can he find a pathway leading through that wildering mass of pines,
So that he shall reach the country where ethereal glory shines;
So that he may glance at waters never dark with coming ships;
Hearing round him gentle language floating from angelic lips;
Casting off his earthly fetters, living there for evermore;
All the blooms of Beauty near him, gleaming on that quiet shore?
``Ere you quit this ancient casement, tell me, is it well to yearn
For the evanescent visions, vanished never to return?
Is it well that I should with to leave this dreary world behind,
Seeking for your fair Utopia, which perchance I may not find?
Passing through a gloomy forest, scaling steeps like prison walls,
Where the scanty sunshine wavers and the moonlight seldom falls?
Oh, the feelings re-awakened! Oh, the hopes of loftier range!
Is it well, thou friendly Being, well to wish for such a change?''
But the Spirit answers nothing! and the dazzling mantle fades;
And a wailing whisper wanders out from dismal seaside shades!
``Lo, the trees are moaning loudly, underneath their hood-like shrouds,
And the arch above us darkens, scarred with ragged thunder clouds!''
But the spirit answers nothing, and I linger all alone,
Gazing through the moony vapours where the lovely Dream has flown;
And my heart is beating sadly, and the music waxeth faint,
Sailing up to holy Heaven, like the anthems of a Saint.
Henry Kendall |
To her who, cast with me in trying days,
Stood in the place of health and power and praise;-
Who, when I thought all light was out, became
A lamp of hope that put my fears to shame;-
Who faced for love's sole sake the life austere
That waits upon the man of letters here;-
Who, unawares, her deep affection showed,
By many a touching little wifely mode;-
Whose spirit, self-denying, dear, divine,
Its sorrows hid, so it might lessen mine, -
To her, my bright, best friend, I dedicate
This book of songs. 'Twill help to compensate
For much neglect. The act, if not the rhyme,
Will touch her heart, and lead her to the time
Of trials past. That which is most intense
Within these leaves is of her influence;
And if aught here is sweetened with a tone
Sincere, like love, it came of love alone.
Henry Kendall |
TOWARDS the hills of Jamberoo
Some few fantastic shadows haste,
Uplit with fires
Like castle spires
Outshining through a mirage waste.
Behold, a mournful glory sits
On feathered ferns and woven brakes,
Where sobbing wild like restless child
The gusty breeze of evening wakes!
Methinks I hear on every breath
A lofty tone go passing by,
That whispers - ``Weave,
Though wood winds grieve,
The fadeless blooms of Poesy!''
A spirit hand has been abroad -
An evil hand to pluck the flowers -
A world of wealth,
And blooming health
Has gone from fragrant seaside bowers.
The twilight waxeth dim and dark,
The sad waves mutter sounds of woe,
But the evergreen retains its sheen,
And happy hearts exist below;
But pleasure sparkles on the sward,
And voices utter words of bliss,
And while my bride
Sits by my side,
Oh, where's the scene surpassing this?
Kiama slumbers, robed with mist,
All glittering in the dewy light
That, brooding o'er
The shingly shore,
Lies resting in the arms of Night;
And foam-flecked crags with surges chill,
And rocks embraced of cold-lipped spray,
Are moaning loud where billows crowd
In angry numbers up the bay.
The holy stars come looking down
On windy heights and swarthy strand,
And Life and Love -
The cliffs above -
Are sitting fondly hand in hand.
I hear a music inwardly,
That floods my soul with thoughts of joy;
Within my heart
That Time may still but ne'er destroy.
An ancient Spring revives itself,
And days which made the past divine;
And rich warm gleams from golden dreams,
All glorious in their summer shine;
And songs of half forgotten hours,
And many a sweet melodious strain,
Which still shall rise
Beneath the skies
When all things else have died again.
A white sail glimmers out at sea -
A vessel walking in her sleep;
Some Power goes past
That bends the mast,
While frighted waves to leeward leap.
The moonshine veils the naked sand
And ripples upward with the tide,
As underground there rolls a sound
From where the caverned waters glide.
A face that bears affection's glow,
The soul that speaks from gentle eyes,
And joy which slips
From loving lips
Have made this spot my Paradise!