With altars of old sacrifice
The shore is set, in mournful wise
The mists upon the ocean brood;
Between the water and the air
The clouds are born that float and fare
Between the water and the wood.
Upon the grey sea never sail
Of mortals passed within our hail,
Where the last weak waves faint and flow;
We heard within the poplar pale
The murmur of a doubtful wail
Of voices loved so long ago.
We scarce had care to die or live,
We had no honey cake to give,
No wine of sacrifice to shed;
There lies no new path over sea,
And now we know how faint they be,
The feasts and voices of the dead.
Ah, flowers and dance! ah, sun and snow!
Glad life, sad life we did forego
To dream of quietness and rest;
Ah, would the fleet sweet roses here
Poured light and perfume through the drear
Pale year, and wan land of the west.
Sad youth, that let the spring go by
Because the spring is swift to fly,
Sad youth, that feared to mourn or love,
Behold how sadder far is this,
To know that rest is nowise bliss,
And darkness is the end thereof.
MARTIAL IN TOWN.
Last night, within the stifling train,
Lit by the foggy lamp o’erhead,
Sick of the sad Last News, I read
Verse of that joyous child of Spain,
Who dwelt when Rome was waxing cold,
Within the Roman din and smoke.
And like my heart to me they spoke,
These accents of his heart of old:-
“Brother, had we but time to live,
And fleet the careless hours together,
With all that leisure has to give
Of perfect life and peaceful weather,
“The Rich Man’s halls, the anxious faces,
The weary Forum, courts, and cases
Should know us not; but quiet nooks,
But summer shade by field and well,
But county rides, and talk of books,
At home, with these, we fain would dwell!
“Now neither lives, but day by day
Sees the suns wasting in the west,
And feels their flight, and doth delay
To lead the life he loveth best.”
So from thy city prison broke,
Martial, thy wail for life misspent,
And so, through London’s noise and smoke
My heart replies to the lament.
For dear as Tagus with his gold,
And swifter Salo, were to thee,
So dear to me the woods that fold
The streams that circle Fernielea!
APRIL ON TWEED.
As birds are fain to build their nest
The first soft sunny day,
So longing wakens in my breast
A month before the May,
When now the wind is from the West,
And Winter melts away.
The snow lies yet on Eildon Hill,
But soft the breezes blow.
If melting snows the waters fill,
We nothing heed the snow,
But we must up and take our will,—
A fishing will we go!