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_No. 11 Waltz Chorus_
When the summer moon is beaming On the stirless waters dreaming, And the keen grey summits gleaming, Through a silver starry haze; In our homes to strains entrancing To the steps, the quickly glancing Steps of youths and maidens dancing, Maidens light of foot as fays.
Then the waltz, whose rhythmic paces Make melodious happy places, Brings a brightness to young faces, Brings a sweetness to the eyes.
Sounds that move us like enthralling Accents, where the runnel falling, Sends out flute-like voices calling, Where the sweet wild moss-bed lies.
_No. 12 Ballad--Tenor_
When twilight glides with ghostly tread Across the western heights, And in the east the hills are red With sunset's fading lights; Then music floats from cot and hall Where social circles met, By sweet Euterpe held in thrall-- Their daily cares forget.
What joy it is to watch the shine That hallows beauty's face When woman sings the strains divine, Whose pa.s.sion floods the place!
Then how the thoughts and feelings rove At song's inspiring breath, In homes made beautiful by love, Or sanctified by death.
What visions come, what dreams arise, What Edens youth will limn, When leaning over her whose eyes Have sweetened life for him!
For while she sings and while she plays, And while her voice is low, His fancy paints diviner days Than any we can know.
_No. 13 Drinking Song (Men's voices only)_
But, hurrah! for the table that heavily groans With the good things that keep in the life: When we sing and we dance, and we drink to the tones That are masculine, thorough and blithe.
Good luck to us all! Over walnuts and wine We hear the rare songs that we know Are as brimful of mirth as the spring is of shine, And as healthy and hearty, we trow.
Then our gla.s.ses we charge to the ring of the stave That the flush to our faces doth send; For though life is a thing that winds up with the grave, We'll be jolly, my boys, to the end.
Yes, jolly, my boys, to the end!
_No. 14 Recitative--Ba.s.s_
When far from friends, and home, and all the things That bind a man to life, how dear to him Is any old familiar sound that takes Him back to spots where Love and Hope In past days used to wander hand in hand Across high-flowered meadows, and the paths Whose borders shared the beauty of the spring, And borrowed splendour from autumnal suns.
_No. 15 Chorus (The voices accompanied only by the violins playing_ "Home, Sweet Home".)
Then at sea, or in wild wood, Then ash.o.r.e or afloat, All the scenes of his childhood Come back at a note; At the turn of a ballad, At the tones of a song, Cometh Memory, pallid And speechless so long; And she points with her finger To phantom-like years, And loveth to linger In silence, in tears.
_No. 16 Solo--Ba.s.s_
In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go, Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow; In the yellow flame of evening, at the setting of the day, Sounds that lighten, fall, and lighten, flicker, faint, and fade away; What they are, behold, we know not, but their honey slakes and slays Half the want which whitens manhood in the stress of alien days.
Even as a wondrous woman, struck with love and great desire, Hast thou been to us, EUTERPE, half of tears and half of fire; But thy joy is swift and fitful, and a subtle sense of pain Sighs through thy melodious breathings, takes the rapture from thy strain.
In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go.
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow.
_No. 17 Recitative--Soprano_
And thus it is that Music manifold, In fanes, in Pa.s.sion's sanctuaries, or where The social feast is held, is still the power That bindeth heart to heart; and whether Grief, Or Love, or Pleasure form the link, we know 'Tis still a bond that makes Humanity, That wearied ent.i.ty, a single whole, And soothes the trouble of the heart bereaved, And lulls the beatings in the breast that yearns, And gives more gladness to the gladdest things.
_No. 18 Finale--Chorus_
Now a vision comes, O brothers, blended With supremest sounds of harmony-- Comes, and shows a temple, stately, splendid, In a radiant city by the sea.
Founders, fathers of a mighty nation, Raised the walls, and built the royal dome, Gleaming now from lofty, lordly station, Like a dream of Athens, or of Rome!
And a splendour of sound, A thunder of song, Rolls sea-like around, Comes sea-like along.
The ringing, and ringing, and ringing, Of voices of choristers singing, Inspired by a national joy, Strike through the marvellous hall, Fly by the aisle and the wall, While the organ notes roam From bas.e.m.e.nt to dome-- Now low as a wail, Now loud as a gale, And as grand as the music that builded old Troy.
Another battle! and the sounds have rolled By many a gloomy gorge and wasted plain O'er huddled hills and mountains manifold, Like winds that run before a heavy rain When Autumn lops the leaves and drooping grain, And earth lies deep in brown and cloudy gold.
My brothers, lo! our grand old England stands, With weapons gleaming in her ready hands, Outside the tumult! Let us watch and trust That she will never darken in the dust And drift of wild contention, but remain The hope and stay of many troubled lands, Where so she waits the issue of the fight, Aloof; but praying "G.o.d defend the Right!"
[End of Early Poems, 1859-70.]
OTHER POEMS, 1871-82
Adam Lindsay Gordon
At rest! Hard by the margin of that sea Whose sounds are mingled with his n.o.ble verse Now lies the sh.e.l.l that never more will house The fine strong spirit of my gifted friend.
Yea, he who flashed upon us suddenly, A shining soul with syllables of fire, Who sang the first great songs these lands can claim To be their own; the one who did not seem To know what royal place awaited him Within the Temple of the Beautiful, Has pa.s.sed away; and we who knew him sit Aghast in darkness, dumb with that great grief Whose stature yet we cannot comprehend; While over yonder churchyard, hea.r.s.ed with pines, The night wind sings its immemorial hymn, And sobs above a newly-covered grave.
The bard, the scholar, and the man who lived That frank, that open-hearted life which keeps The splendid fire of English chivalry From dying out; the one who never wronged A fellow man; the faithful friend who judged The many, anxious to be loved of him By what he saw, and not by what he heard, As lesser spirits do; the brave, great soul That never told a lie, or turned aside To fly from danger--he, as I say, was one Of that bright company this sin-stained world Can ill afford to lose.
They did not know, The hundreds who had read his st.u.r.dy verse And revelled over ringing major notes, The mournful meaning of the undersong Which runs through all he wrote, and often takes The deep autumnal, half-prophetic tone Of forest winds in March; nor did they think That on that healthy-hearted man there lay The wild specific curse which seems to cling Forever to the Poet's twofold life!
To Adam Lindsay Gordon, I who laid Two years ago on Lionel Michael's grave A tender leaf of my regard; yea, I Who culled a garland from the flowers of song To place where Harpur sleeps; I, left alone, The sad disciple of a shining band Now gone--to Adam Lindsay Gordon's name I dedicate these lines; and if 'tis true That, past the darkness of the grave, the soul Becomes omniscient, then the bard may stoop From his high seat to take the offering, And read it with a sigh for human friends, In human bonds, and grey with human griefs.
And having wove and proffered this poor wreath, I stand to-day as lone as he who saw At nightfall, through the glimmering moony mist, The last of Arthur on the wailing mere, And strained in vain to hear the going voice.