by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the Castle Rhine,
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden
Stars, that in the earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we do read our history
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery,
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
Wonderous truths, and manifold as wonderous,
God has written in those stars above;
But not less in the bright flowers under us
Stands the revelation of his love.
Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours;
Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.
And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part
Of the self-same, universal being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
Blossoms flaunting the bright of day,
Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds that open only to decay.
Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gayly in the golden light;
Large desires, with most uncertain isssues,
Tender wishes, blossoming at night!
These in flowers and men are more than seeming;
Workings are they of the self-same powers,
Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeith in himself and in the flowers.
Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born;
Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;
Not alone in Spring's armorial beaing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field,
But in the arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;
Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink;
Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone,
But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone.
In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers,
Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers;
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
And with child-like, credulous affection
We behold their tender buds expand;
Emblems of our own great resurrection.
Emblems of the bright and better land.
CURFEW MUST NOT RING TONIGHT
by Rose Hartwick Thorpe (1850-1939)
Slowly England's sun was setting oe'r the hilltops
Filling all the land with beauty at the close of one sad day;
And its last rays kissed the forehead of a man and maiden fair,--
He with steps so slow and weary; she with sunny, floating hair;
He with bowed head, sad and thoughtful, she, with lips all cold
Struggling to keep back the murmur, "Curfew must not ring to-night!"
"Sexton," Bessie's white lips faltered,
pointing to the prison old,
With its walls tall and gloomy, moss-grown walls dark, damp and
"I've a lover in the prison, doomed this very night to die
At the ringing of the curfew, and no earthly help is nigh.
Cromwell will not come till sunset;" and her lips grew strangely
As she spoke in husky whispers, "Curfew must not ring to-night!"
"Bessie," calmly spoke the sexton (every
word pierced her young heart
Like a gleaming death-winged arrow, like a deadly poisoned dart),
"Long, long years I've rung the curfew from that gloomy, shadowed
Every evening, just at sunset, it has tolled the twilight hour.
I have done my duty ever, tried to do it just and right:
Now I'm old, I will not miss it. Curfew bell must ring to-night!"
Wild her eyes and pale her features, stern and
white her thoughtful brow,
As within her secret bosom, Bessie made a solemn vow.
She had listened while the judges read, without a tear or sigh,
"At the ringing of the curfew, Basil Underwood must "die.
And her breath came fast and faster, and her eyes grew large and
One low murmur, faintly spoken. "Curfew must not ring to-night!"
She with quick step bounded forward, sprang within
the old church-door,
Left the old man coming slowly, paths he'd trod so oft before.
Not one moment paused the maiden, But with eye and cheek aglow,
Staggered up the gloomy tower, Where the bell swung to and fro;
As she climbed the slimy ladder, On which fell no ray of light,
Upward still, her pale lips saying, "Curfew shall not ring
She has reached the topmost ladder, o'er her hangs
the great dark bell;
Awful is the gloom beneath her, like the pathway down to hell.
See! the ponderous tongue is swinging; 'tis the hour of curfew now,
And the sight has chilled her bosom, stopped her breath, and paled
Shall she let it ring? No, never! Her eyes flash with sudden light,
As she springs, and grasps it firmly: "Curfew shall not ring
Out she swung,-- far out. The city Seemed a speck
of light below,--
There twixt heaven and earth suspended, As the bell swung to and
And the sexton at the bell-rope, old and deaf, heard not the bell,
Sadly thought that twilight curfew rang young Basil's funeral knell.
"Still the maiden, clinging firmly, quivering lip and fair
Stilled her frightened heart's wild throbbing: "Curfew shall
not ring tonight!"
It was o'er, the bell ceased swaying; and the maiden
stepped once more
Firmly on the damp old ladder, where, for hundred years before,
Human foot had not been planted. The brave deed that she had done
Should be told long ages after. As the rays of setting sun
Light the sky with golden beauty, aged sires, with heads of white,
Tell the children why the curfew did not ring that one sad night.
O'er the distant hills comes Cromwell. Bessie sees
him; and her brow,
Lately white with sickening horror, has no anxious traces now.
At his feet she tells her story, shows her hands, all bruised and
And her sweet young face, still hagggard, with the anguish it had
Touched his heart with sudden pity, lit his eyes with misty light.
"Go! your lover lives," said Cromwell. "Curfew shall
not ring to-night!"
Wide they flung the massive portals, led the prisoner
forth to die,
All his bright young life before him. Neath the darkening English
Bessie came, with flying footsteps, eyes aglow with lovelight sweet;
Kneeling on the turf beside him, laid his pardon at his feet.
In his brave, strong arms he clasped her, kissed the face upturned
Whispered, "Darling, you have saved me, curfew will not ring
THE GYPSY'S WARNING
Trust him not, oh gentle lady
Though his voice be low and sweet
Heed him not who kneels before thee
Pleading gently at thy feet
For thy life is in its morning
Blot not this thy happy lot
Trust him not, oh gentle lady
Gentle lady, trust him not.
Lady, once there lived a maiden
Pure and sweet and as thou art fair
He wooed, he wooed and won her
Filled her gentle heart with care.
But he heeded not her weeping
He cared not her life to save
Soon she perished and now she's sleeping
In the cold and silent grave.
Trust him not, oh gentle lady,
'Though he speaks with accents sweet.
For his heart is oh, so wicked
And is filled with all deceit
He will bring only heartbreak
'Though he seems so good and mild
Lady in the church yard yonder
Sleep this gypsy's only child.
Additional lyrics and bagpipe arrangement:
THE WEEPING WILLOW
Down by the Weeping Willow,
Where the flowers sweetly bloom
There lies my own fond lily
A sleeping in her tomb.
One night as the moon shone brightly,
And the sea winds gently blew
A jealous-hearted lover
Down to her cabin flew.
Saying, "Love let us go a walking
Way down the forest way.
And as we walk we'll ponder
And name our wedding day."
As they walked she talked of their future,
But he said you've been untrue
She said, "No, no, darling Edward,
Because I love only you."
"Now down on this isle I have you,
Where no one can hear your cries."
And deep into her bosom
He plunged a fearful knife.
"I fondly forgive you, Edward,
With my last and dying breath
For I have never deceived you
And she closed her eyes in death."