Songs Of The Hours.

A poem by Susanna Moodie


Slowly I dawn on the sleepless eye,
Like a dreaming thought of eternity;
But darkness hangs on my misty vest,
Like the shade of care on the sleeper's breast;
A light that is felt--but dimly seen,
Like hope that hangs life and death between;
And the weary watcher will sighing say,
"Lord, I thank thee! 'twill soon be day;"
The lingering night of pain is past,
Morning breaks in the east at last.

Mortal!--thou mayst see in me
A type of feeble infancy,--
A dim, uncertain, struggling ray,
The promise of a future day!


Like a maid on her bridal morn I rise,
With the smile on her lip and the tear in her eyes;
Whilst the breeze my crimson banner unfurls,
I wreathe my locks with the purest pearls;
Brighter diamonds never were seen
Encircling the neck of an Indian queen!
I traverse the east on my glittering wing,
And my smiles awake every living thing;
And the twilight hour like a pilgrim gray,
Follows the night on her weeping way.
I raise the veil from the saffron bed,
Where the young sun pillows his golden head;
He lifts from the ocean his burning eye,
And his glory lights up the earth and sky.

Ah, I am like that dewy prime,
Ere youth hath shaken hands with time;
Ere the fresh tide of life has wasted low,
And discovered the hidden rocks of woe:
When like the rosy beams of morn,
Joy and gladness and love were born,
Hope divine, of heavenly birth,
And pleasure that lightens the cares of earth!


I come like an Eastern monarch dight
In my crown of beams, in my robe of light;
And nature droops at my ardent gaze,
And wraps the woods in a purple haze;
From my fiery glance the strong man shrinks,
Like a babe on the bosom of earth he sinks;
Yet cries, as he turns from the glowing ray,
"This is a glorious summer day!"

Such is manhood's fiery dower,
Passion's all-consuming power;
Glorious, beautiful, and bright,
But too dazzling to the sight!


Like the herald hope of a fairer clime,
The brightest link in the chain of time,
The youngest and loveliest child of day,
I mingle and soften each glowing ray;
Weaving together a tissue bright
Of the beams of day and the gems of night.--
I pitch my tent in the glowing west,
And receive the sun as he sinks to rest;
He flings in my lap his ruby crown,
And lays at my feet his glory down;
But ere his burning eyelids close,
His farewell glance the day-king throws
On Nature's face--till the twilight shrouds
The monarch's brow in a veil of clouds--
Oh then, by the light of mine own fair star,
I unyoke the steeds from his beamy car.
Away they start from the fiery rein,
With flashing hoofs, and flying mane,
Like meteors speeding on the wind,
They leave a glowing track behind,
Till the dark caverns of the night
Receive the heaven-born steeds of light!

While Nature broods o'er the soft repose
Of the dewy mead, and the half-shut rose,
Does not that lovely hour give birth
To thoughts more allied to heaven than earth?
When things that have been in perspective pass,
Like the sun's last rays over memory's glass;
When life's cares are forgot, when its joys are our own,
And the mild beams of faith round the future are thrown;
When all that awakened remorse or regret,
Like a stormy morn, has in splendour set;
When the sorrows of time and the hopes of heaven
Blend in the soul like the hues of even,
And the spirit looks back on this troubled scene
With a glance as bright as it ne'er had been!


I come, like Oblivion, to sweep away
The scattered beams from the car of day:
The gems which the evening has lavishly strown
Light up the lamps round my ebon throne.
Slowly I float through the realms of space,
Casting my mantle o'er Nature's face,
Weaving the stars in my raven hair,
As I sail through the shadowy fields of air.
All the wild fancies that thought can bring
Lie hid in the folds of my sable wing:
Terror is mine with his phrensied crew,
Fear with her cheek of marble hue,
And sorrow, that shuns the eye of day,
Pours out to me her plaintive lay.
I am the type of that awful gloom
Which involves the cradle and wraps the tomb;
Chilling the soul with its mystical sway;
Chasing the day-dreams of beauty away;
Till man views the banner by me unfurled,
As the awful veil of the unknown world;
The emblem of all he fears beneath
The solemn garb of the spoiler death!


Born with the sun, the fair daughters of time,
We silently lead to a lovelier clime,
Where the day is undimmed by the shadows of night,
But eternally beams from the fountain of light;
Where the sorrows of time and its cares are unknown
To the beautiful forms that encircle the throne
Of the mighty Creator! the First and the Last!
Who the wonderful frame of the universe cast,
And composed every link of the mystical chain
Of minutes, and hours, which are numbered in vain
By the children of dust, in their frantic career,
When their moments are wasted unthinkingly here,
Lavished on earth which in mercy were given
That men might prepare for the joys of heaven!--

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