The Ocean, by Felicia Hemans

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
PSALM cvii. 23, 24.

He that in venturous barks hath been
A wanderer on the deep,
Can tell of many an awful scene,
Where storms for ever sweep.

For many a fair, majestic sight
Hath met his wandering eye,
Beneath the streaming northern light,
Or blaze of Indian sky.

Go! ask him of the whirlpool’s roar,
Whose echoing thunder peals
Loud, as if rushed along the shore
An army’s chariot wheels;

Of icebergs, floating o’er the main,
Or fixed upon the coast,
Like glittering citadel or fane,
‘Mid the bright realms of frost;

Of coral rocks, from waves below
In steep ascent that tower,
And fraught with peril, daily grow,
Formed by an insect’s power;

Of sea-fires, which at dead of night
Shine o’er the tides afar,
And make th’ expanse of ocean bright
As heaven, with many a star.

Oh God! thy name they well may praise,
Who to the deep go down,
And trace the wonders of thy ways,
Where rocks and billows frown.

If glorious be that awful deep,
No human power can bind,
What then art Thou, who bidst it keep
Within its bounds confined!

Let heaven and earth in praise unite,
Eternal praise to Thee,
Whose word can rouse the tempest’s might,
Or still the raging sea!

The Stars, by Felicia Hemans

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy-work.
PSALM xix. 1.

No cloud obscures the summer sky,
The moon in brightness walks on high,
And, set in azure, every star
Shines, like a gem of heaven, afar!

Child of the earth! oh! lift thy glance
To yon bright firmament’s expanse;
The glories of its realm explore,
And gaze, and wonder, and adore!

Doth it not speak to every sense
The marvels of Omnipotence?
Seest thou not there th’ Almighty name,
Inscribed in characters of flame?

Count o’er those lamps of quenchless light,
That sparkle through the shades of night;
Behold them!–can a mortal boast
To number that celestial host?

Mark well each little star, whose rays
In distant splendor meet thy gaze;
Each is a world by Him sustained,
Who from eternity hath reigned.

Each, shining not for earth alone,
Hath suns and planets of its own,
And beings, whose existence springs
From Him, th’ all-powerful King of kings.

Haply, those glorious beings know
Nor stain of guilt, nor tear of woe;
But raising still th’ adoring voice,
For ever in their God rejoice.

What then art thou, oh! child of clay!
Amid creation’s grandeur, say?
–E’en as an insect on the breeze,
E’en as a dew-drop, lost in seas!

Yet fear thou not!–the sovereign hand,
Which spread the ocean and the land,
And hung the rolling spheres in air,
Hath, e’en for thee, a Father’s care!

Be thou at peace!–th’ all-seeing eye,
Pervading earth, and air, and sky,
The searching glance which none may flee,
Is still, in mercy, turned on thee.

The Rivers, by Felicia Hemans

Go! trace th’ unnumbered streams, o’er earth
That wind their devious course,
That draw from Alpine heights their birth,
Deep vale, or cavern source.

Some by majestic cities glide,
Proud scenes of man’s renown,
Some lead their solitary tide,
Where pathless forests frown.

Some calmly roll in golden sands,
Where Afric’s deserts lie;
Or spread, to clothe rejoicing lands
With rich fertility.

These bear the bark, whose stately sail
Exulting seems to swell;
While these, scarce rippled by a gale,
Sleep in the lonely dell.

Yet on, alike, though swift or slow
Their various waves may sweep,
Through cities or through shades they flow
To the same boundless deep.

Oh! thus, whate’er our path of life,
Through sunshine or through gloom,
Through scenes of quiet or of strife,
Its end is still the tomb.

The chief, whose mighty deeds we hail,
The monarch throned on high,
The peasant in his native vale,
All journey on–to die!

But if Thy guardian care, my God!
The pilgrim’s course attend,
I will not fear the dark abode,
To which my footsteps bend.

For thence thine all-redeeming Son,
Who died, the world to save,
In light, in triumph, rose, and won
The victory from the grave!

The Sun, by Felicia Hemans

The Sun comes forth;–each mountain height
Glows with a tinge of rosy light,
And flowers, that slumbered through the night,
Their dewy leaves unfold;
A flood of splendor bursts on high,
And ocean’s breast reflects a sky
Of crimson and of gold.

Oh! thou art glorious, orb of day!
Exulting nations hail thy ray,
Creation swells a choral lay,
To welcome thy return;
From thee all nature draws her hues,
Thy beams the insect’s wings suffuse,
And in the diamond burn.

Yet must thou fade;–when earth and heaven
By fire and tempest shall be riven,
Thou, from thy sphere of radiance driven,
Oh Sun! must fall at last;
Another heaven, another earth,
Far other glory shall have birth,
When all we see is past.

But He, who gave the word of might,
“Let there be light”–and there was light,
Who bade thee chase the gloom of night,
And beam, the world to bless;–
For ever bright, for ever pure,
Alone unchanging shall endure,
The Sun of Righteousness!

The Rainbow, by Felicia Hemans

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
GENESIS ix. 13.

Soft falls the mild, reviving shower
From April’s changeful skies,
And rain-drops bend each trembling flower
They tinge with richer dyes.

Soon shall their genial influence call
A thousand buds to day,
Which, waiting but their balmy fall,
In hidden beauty lay.

E’en now full many a blossom’s bell
With fragrance fills the shade;
And verdure clothes each grassy dell,
In brighter tints arrayed.

But mark! what arch of varied hue
From heaven to earth is bowed?
Haste, ere it vanish, haste to view
The Rainbow in the cloud.

How bright its glory! there behold
The emerald’s verdant rays,
The topaz blends its hue of gold
With the deep ruby’s blaze.

Yet not alone to charm thy sight
Was given the vision fair;–
Gaze on that arch of colored light,
And read God’s mercy there.

It tells us that the mighty deep,
Fast by th’ Eternal chained,
No more o’er earth’s domains shall sweep,
Awful and unrestrained.

It tells that seasons, heat and cold,
Fixed by his sovereign will,
Shall, in their course, bid man behold
Seed-time and harvest still;

That still the flower shall deck the field,
When vernal zephyrs blow;
That still the vine its fruit will yield,
When autumn sun-beams glow.

Then, child of that fair earth! which yet
Smiles with each charm endowed,
Bless thou His name, whose mercy set
The Rainbow in the cloud!

Voice of Spring, by Felicia Hemans

I come, I come! ye have called me long;
I come o’er the mountains, with light and song.
Ye may trace my step o’er the waking earth
By the winds which tell of the violet’s birth,
By the primrose stars in the shadowy grass,
By the green leaves opening as I pass.

I have breathed on the South, and the chestnut-flowers
By thousands have burst from the forest bowers,
And the ancient graves and the fallen fanes
Are veiled with wreaths on Italian plains;
But it is not for me, in my hour of bloom,
To speak of the ruin or the tomb!

I have looked o’er the hills of the stormy North,
And the larch has hung all his tassels forth;
The fisher is out on the sunny sea,
And the reindeer bounds o’er the pastures free,
And the pine has a fringe of softer green,
And the moss looks bright, where my step has been.

I have sent through the wood-paths a glowing sigh,
And called out each voice of the deep blue sky,
From the night-bird’s lay through the starry time,
In the groves of the soft Hesperian clime,
To the swan’s wild note by the Iceland lakes,
When the dark fir-branch into verdure breaks.

From the streams and founts I have loosed the chain;
They are sweeping on to the silvery main,
They are flashing down from the mountain brows,
They are flinging spray o’er the forest boughs,
They are bursting fresh from their sparry caves,
And the earth resounds with the joy of waves.

A Name in the Sand, by Hannah Flagg Gould

Alone I walked the ocean strand;
A pearly shell was in my hand:
I stooped and wrote upon the sand
My name—the year—the day.
As onward from the spot I passed,
One lingering look behind I cast;
A wave came rolling high and fast,
And washed my lines away.

And so, methought, ’twill shortly be
With every mark on earth from me:
A wave of dark oblivion’s sea
Will sweep across the place
Where I have trod the sandy shore
Of time, and been, to be no more,
Of me—my day—the name I bore,
To leave nor track nor trace.

And yet, with Him who counts the sands
And holds the waters in His hands,
I know a lasting record stands
Inscribed against my name,
Of all this mortal part has wrought,
Of all this thinking soul has thought,
And from these fleeting moments caught
For glory or for shame.

The Last Rose of Summer, by Thomas Moore

‘Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered,
And fond ones are flown,
O! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

Lead, Kindly Light, by John Henry Newman

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’ encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on,
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on.
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on.
I loved the garish day; and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost a while.

Abide With Me, by Henry Francis Lyte

Abide with me! fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see:
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!

Home, Sweet Home, by John Howard Payne

‘Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.
Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! there’s no place like Home!

An exile from Home, splendour dazzles in vain;
O, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gaily, that came at my call,—
Give me them,—and the peace of mind, dearer than all!
Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! there’s no place like Home!

How sweet ’tis to sit ‘neath a fond father’s smile,
And the cares of a mother to soothe and beguile!
Let others delight ‘mid new pleasures to roam,
But give me, oh, give me, the pleasures of Home!
Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! there’s no place like Home!

To thee I’ll return, overburdened with care;
The heart’s dearest solace will smile on me there;
No more from that cottage again will I roam;
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like Home.
Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! there’s no place like Home!

Barnacles, by Sidney Lanier

My soul is sailing through the sea,
But the Past is heavy and hindereth me.
The Past hath crusted cumbrous shells
That hold the flesh of cold sea-mells
About my soul.
The huge waves wash, the high waves roll,
Each barnacle clingeth and worketh dole
And hindereth me from sailing!

Old Past, let go, and drop i’ the sea
Till fathomless waters cover thee!
For I am living, but thou art dead;
Thou drawest back, I strive ahead
The Day to find.
Thy shells unbind! Night comes behind;
I needs must hurry with the wind
And trim me best for sailing.