Those Shandon bells, those Shandon bells!
Whose deep, sad tone now sobs, now swells—
Who comes to seek this hallowed ground,
And sleep within their sacred sound?
’Tis one who heard these chimes when young,
And who in age their praises sung,
Within whose breast their music made
A dream of home where’er he strayed.
And, oh! if bells have power to-day
To drive all evil things away,
Let doubt be dumb, and envy cease—
And round his grave reign holy peace.
True love doth love in turn beget,
And now these bells repay the debt;
Whene’er they sound, their music tells
Of him who sang sweet Shandon bells!
May 30, 1866.
YOUTH AND AGE.
To give the blossom and the fruit
The soft warm air that wraps them round,
Oh! think how long the toilsome root
Must live and labour ’neath the ground.
To send the river on its way,
With ever deepening strength and force,
Oh! think how long ’twas let to play,
A happy streamlet, near its source.
I’ll heed no more the poet’s lay—
His false-fond song shall charm no more—
My heart henceforth shall but adore
The real, not the misnamed May.
Too long I’ve knelt, and vainly hung
My offerings round an empty name;
O May! thou canst not be the same
As once thou wert when Earth was young.
Thou canst not be the same to-day—
The poet’s dream—the lover’s joy:—
The floral heaven of girl and boy
Were heaven no more, if thou wert May.
If thou wert May, then May is cold,
And, oh! how changed from what she has been—
Then barren boughs are bright with green,
And leaden skies are glad with gold.
And the dark clouds that veiled thy moon
Were silvery-threaded tissues bright,
Looping the locks of amber light
That float but on the airs of June.
O June! thou art the real May;
Thy name is soft and sweet as hers
But rich blood thy bosom stirs,
Her marble cheek cannot display.
She cometh like a haughty girl,
So conscious of her beauty’s power,
She now will wear nor gem nor flower
Upon her pallid breast of pearl.
And her green silken summer dress,
So simply flower’d in white and gold,
She scorns to let our eyes behold,
But hides through very wilfulness:
Hides it ’neath ermined robes, which she
Hath borrowed from some wintry quean,
Instead of dancing on the green—
A village maiden fair and free.
Oh! we have spoiled her with our praise,
And made her froward, false, and vain;
So that her cold blue eyes disdain
To smile as in the earlier days.
Let her beware—the world full soon
Like me shall tearless turn away,
And woo, instead of thine, O May!
The brown, bright, joyous eyes of June.