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The merry Homes of England!
Around their hearths by night,
What gladsome looks of household love
Meet, in the ruddy light!
There woman's voice flows forth in song,
Or childhood's tale is told,
Or lips move tunefully along
Some glorious page of old.
The blessed Homes of England!
How softly on their bowers
Is laid the holy quietness
That breathes from Sabbath-hours !
Solemn, yet sweet, the church-bell's chime
Floats thro' their woods at morn ;
All other sounds, in that still time,
Of breeze and leaf are born.
The Cottage Homes of England!
By thousands on her plains,
They are smiling o'er the silvery brooks,
And round the hamlet-fanes.
Thro' glowing orchards forth they peep,
And fearless there the lowly sleep,
The free, fair Homes of England!
May hearts of native proof be rear'd
To guard each hallow'd wall!
green for ever be the groves,
And bright the flowery sod,
Where first the child's glad spirit loves
Its country and its God !*
* Originally published in Blackwood's Magazine.
THE SICILIAN CAPTIVE.
-I have dreamt thou wert
A captive in thy hopelessness; afar
From the sweet home of thy young infancy,
Whose image unto thee is as a dream
Of fire and slaughter; I can see thee wasting,
Sick for thy native air.
L. E. L.
THE champions had come from their fields of war,
Over the crests of the billows far,
They had brought back the spoils of a hundred shores, Where the deep had foam'd to their flashing oars.
They sat at their feast round the Norse-king's board, By the glare of the torch-light the mead was pour'd, The hearth was heap'd with the pine-boughs high, And it flung a red radiance on shields thrown by.
The Scalds had chaunted in Runic rhyme,
Their songs of the sword and the olden time,
And a solemn thrill, as the harp-chords rung,
Had breath'd from the walls where the bright spears
But the swell was gone from the quivering string,
They had summen'd a softer voice to sing,
And a captive girl, at the warriors' call,
Stood forth in the midst of that frowning hall.
Lonely she stood :-in her mournful eyes
Stately she stood-tho' her fragile frame
Seem'd struck with the blight of some inward flame,
And her proud pale brow had a shade of scorn,
Under the waves of her dark hair worn.
And a deep flush pass'd, like a crimson haze, O'er her marble cheek by the pine-fire's blaze; No soft hue caught from the south-wind's breath, But a token of fever, at strife with death.
She had been torn from her home away,
And brought to die of the burning dreams
That haunt the exile by foreign streams.
They bade her sing of her distant land--
She held its lyre with a trembling hand,
Faint was the strain, in its first wild flow,
But it swell'd into deeper power ere long,
As the breeze that swept over her soul grew strong.