Ella with the Shining Hair

A poem by Henry Kendall

Through many a fragrant cedar grove
A darkened water moans;
And there pale Memory stood with Love
Amongst the moss-green stones.

The shimmering sunlight fell and kissed
The grasstree’s golden sheaves;
But we were troubled with a mist
Of music in the leaves.

One passed us, like a sudden gleam;
Her face was deadly fair.
“Oh, go,” we said, “you homeless Dream
Of Ella’s shining hair!

“We halt, like one with tired wings,
And we would fain forget
That there are tempting, maddening things
Too high to clutch at yet!

“Though seven Springs have filled the Wood
With pleasant hints and signs,
Since faltering feet went forth and stood
With Death amongst the pines.”

From point to point unwittingly
We wish to clamber still,
Till we have light enough to see
The summits of the hill.

“O do not cry, my sister dear,”
Said beaming Hope to Love,
“Though we have been so troubled here
The Land is calm above;

“Beyond the regions of the storm
We’ll find the golden gates,
Where, all the day, a radiant Form,
Our Ella, sits and waits.”

And Memory murmured: “She was one
Of God’s own darlings lent;
And Angels wept that she had gone,
And wondered why she went.

“I know they came, and talked to her,
Through every garden breeze,
About eternal Hills of Myrrh,
And quiet Jasper Seas.

“For her the Earth contained no charms;
All things were strange and wild;
And I believe a Seraph’s arms
Caught up the sainted Child.”

And Love looked round, and said: “Oh, you
That sit by Beulah’s streams,
Shake on this thirsty life the dew
Which brings immortal dreams!

“Ah! turn to us, and greet us oft
With looks of pitying balm,
And hints of heaven, in whispers soft,
To make our troubles calm.

“My Ella with the shining hair,
Behold, these many years,
We’ve held up wearied hands in prayer;
And groped about in tears.”

But Hope sings on: “Beyond the storm
We’ll find the golden gates
Where, all the day, a radiant Form,
Our Ella, sits and waits.”

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