MAY EVE

MAY EVE

My spirit’s sad tonight, bright queen, my soul is sad tonight,
Sad as the last shake-hands that parts a loved one from our sight;
Along the narrowing landscape the corncrake’s piping trill
Is the only murmur like my heart, that won’t be keeping still.

 Thy brow is wreathed with flowers, bright queen; along thy daisied path
The violet and the glad primrose fling forth a perfume bath;
The budded hawthorn blossoms as you laughingly pass on
All nature keeps high holiday, and I am sad alone.

 Alone, and with my sorrow! well, thank God I’m not too proud
To seek for sympathy among the “ignorant and loud;”
Like the rock that wears a blossom, if my tear put on a smile,
‘Tis only that the soul that bears has helped to raise the pile.

 God put me in a garden to sweat and not to sleep,
I marked how genius walked erect while cunning stooped to creep;
Put golden ear-rings in the fire, a god came out instead,
While genius fashioned diamonds, and died for want of bread.

 God put me in a garden, of flowers and joy and bliss
I saw hypocrisy come in and steal possession’s kiss;
Inconstancy shut up her eyes, and said ‘twas fore-ordained!
“The heart is free and fetterless,” and may not be enchained.

 God put me in a garden – the tree of knowledge there
Was grafted, pruned, transplanted and watched with zealous care;
I saw the snake beside me – I cried aloud for grace
The devil came and wrought the ill, before my shudd’ring face.

 And wan despair came o’er me – my heart grew cold and hard
Alternately with evil thoughts and good intents I warr’d;
And maelstrom-sucking selfishness, when winds and waves were rough,
Received me in its vortex, and suck me low enough!

 I will not say I hate the world – no, let me rather pray
That dew may fall and soften on this bright Eve of May;
That mammon from his treasure chest may take his heart, and give
To hungry mouths a meal they will remember while they live.
 

That vice may reign no longer, nor doubt itself mistrust,
That he who tramps the fatherless beneath him in the dust,
Whose brow the brand of Cain doth bear, may seek for love in time
The heart be humbled to the earth that panteth after crime. 

That God may rend the Devil’s chart, and conscience be our guide,
And virtue plant humility where heretofore was pride;
That worth may bloom upon the earth, and faith unshrinking shine,
This May Eve bring a blessing to more and hearts than mine.

 S.F.G. 30th April 1866

 

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