In Rugby Chapel

Early Service . . . in Winter Term. Oct. 1894

To that School Chapel – where enshrined there lies
    The heart that made all Schoolboy’s hearts a shrine
    For Honour, Purity, and Truth divine,—
Who enters—when the Winter Suns arise,
And the loud organ to the prayer replies,—
    May see, above the worshipper, line on line,
    Ranked like an army—such great glory shine
As brings a Cloud of Angels to the eyes;—

The Hosts of Heaven descend and re-ascend
    And make the place a bethel—down the nave
        The lightning-flash of praise from soul to soul
        Flames,—and we hear a solemn thunder roll,
    As, like the falling of a double wave,—
The youthful hosts unto “Our Father” bend.



The Heroic Engine-Driver

They who, with sight of death, see Duty clear,
    And feel that, leagued with Duty, none shall die,
    Then shape for Heaven our national destiny,
Then give us glimpses of the golden year.
When all, who hold Great Britain’s honour dear,
    Swift at the call for help, as helpers fly—
    Yea, in the face of odds, and to that cry
“Fool, save thyself!” will turn a deafened ear.

Hero! You saw Fate roaring down the way
But to your engine’s foot-plate dared to leap
    And loosed the brakes and turned the steam to full,
    You knew that Death should never disannul
Life’s willing sacrifice you wrought that day,
And gave our hearts your gallant heart to keep.



An Anniversary

June 24th. 1903

The lane is full of roses, elder bloom
    Freshens the air made fragrant by the hay,
    The cuckoo calls, she has not long to stay,
Her’s is the vagrant’s joy, the wanderer’s doom;
But sweeter is the elder’s sweet perfume –
    And riches is the wilding rose array,
    We have a king upon the throne today
To-day the sudden cloud has wrought no gloom.

Fly cuckoo fly, and tell to far off fields
    That . . . is our England now than then
        Peace in our houses – and peace with joined hands
        Across the water in our daughters lands
   While throned within the hearts of British men
A king brought back from death the sceptre wields.



The Greater Love

“To loving of the brethren add ye love;”
    So spake the Apostle Paul, and he saw
    A wider world unfold, a noble law
Whereby all sentient things that live and move
Claim right to human sympathy and prove
The circle of God’s caring has no flaw,
But like a mighty magnet still can draw
In one communion Earth to Heaven above.

And we who enter the Apostle’s mind
Feel once again the breath of Eden blow,
And once again renew our brotherhood
With creatures of the field and stream and wood,
And in our loving-kindness to all kind
Know that our hearts God’s heart of grace can know.

[Written by Canon Rawnsley for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Sept, 1903.]



To N. H. & V. H. R.

On their Wedding-Day, July 11th 1903.

From far-off springs these happy souls, as one
    Henceforth, shall flow together to the sea,
    The thorn shall bloom beside them, flower & tree
Bless them, and birds that feel the benison,
Tell by their song which way the stream has gone,
    The dews of dawn their constant gift shall be,
    And when night falls the wanderer on the lea
Shall find his way by guidance of their tone.

Yet oh! ye fountains, mingling in your joy
    Lest ye forget the far off double urn
        Whence ye were poured, let this your life-long race
        With memory of the fountain-head keep pace
    Till borne on wings of angels ye return
To Heaven your home – pure hearted girl & boy.




A Hero of the Mohegan

                  To Victor Rawlings
Victor well named! for Victors such as these
      Bear far Victoria honour o’er the seas.

We were forging down the Channel, with our engines beating fast
But our hearts were beating faster, we had left our friends behind,
The October sun set glorious, not a star was over east,
And the purple sea heaved grandly, and the breeze was faint and kind.

All the light from Start to Lizard flashed and twinkled o’er the wave,
Our island queen sat jewelled in her splendour far and near,
But one star of evil glittered that would guide us to our grave,
And straight toward the ‘Manacles’ our ? man seemed to steer.

With groans of a Leviathan in pain, we smote the rock
Leapt – and smote – and like a wounded thing, keeled over on our side,
God save us? All the life on board died – silent at the shock –
Then a cry – as if a thousand men for life and mercy cried.

But I grasped the nearest life-belt, and sprang upward to the deck,
Thought of home, and thought of father, and of Barmouth’s “Cliff of Light”,—
Heard the roaring of the breakers – knew the Mohegan a wreck,—
Prayed to God and clenched my teeth, and girt my life-belt taut and tight.

But above the noise of breakers, and the cries of drowning men,
Came a cry – Oh God! a lifebelt, – and I saw a shrouded face
Thro’ the darkness, – and I turned away. – Great Heaven forgive me then!
And I felt a voice say “Coward” – “What of Christ in such a case.”

Coward, – I a simple sailor from the shore of gallant Wales!
Coward, – I, to save my own poor life, and let a woman die!
So I tore the belt from off me, and I said, “if nought avails
We may meet and greet each other safe beyond – Good bye – Good bye”.

Then down into the darkness did I leap in bootless quest
For a belt, or for a life buoy, – but my heart was full of might,
Death was robbed of all its terrors, I had given her my best
And the trembling voice that thanked me seemed to fill the dark with light.

And I sprang again up deck-ward, saw the last boat leave the side,
Felt the great ship sinking under, knew the whirl pool that would be
Flung my body from the bulwarks, – struck out strong, with Hope for guide,
Swam – and felt God’s arms beneath me in the gully of the sea.

Did I save her, Sir you ask me? Nay I know not, all I know
Is, – I did but do my duty, as the simplest sailor may, –
Leave a woman to her drowning when you’ve got a line to throw!
It may do for other nations, – but it’s not the British way.

October 1898

A friend writes from Barmouth – We have just been talking with a young fellow, Victor Rawlings by name, a sailor on board the ill-fated ship Mohegan which was wrecked on the Manacles on the 14th October, a lad of about 18, and son of one of the Chemists here. At the last moment, just as the ship was sinking a poor woman came to him, asking if he could get her a life-belt. He said No, then called back and gave her his own. Speaking of it he said no fellow with a bit of a heart could keep a belt and leave her without. He went below in the darkness in search of another – then saw the last boat leaving the side – jumped overboard – swam to a boat, and was picked up.



Thanks to America. For Rudyard Kipling

March 1899

        You, with the west wind on your face!
            You with the star light in your hair!
    Breathe(?) from the coast, your gentlest and best
            To bring back life that we ill can spare;
        So shall he shine with added grace
        Star of Song for the white man’s race
            Nurse him tenderly, give him care.

        Sister bound with full blood-tie
            Bound far more by the bond of tongue,
    Your heart had failed when the Mayflower sailed
            And the seventy million world was young,
        If e’er on the deck had ceased the cry
        If the psalm of life that can never die
            And the song of hope that our Shakespeare sung.

        For the Poet lives when the world is dead,
            And the Poet sees when the world is blind,
    And the Poet hears when the changing years,
            Have deafened the sense of human kind,
        Wherefore, watch by the Singers led—
        Lovingly lift the fallen head—
            We loose the fetters that Death would bind.

        Not in vain shall your gift be given
            Daughter, sister, and friend in one
    This sweet deed for our Singers need
            Shall gleam in the starlight, shine in the sun
        His song that works in our hearts like leaven
        Shall bind on earth what is bound in Heaven
            And sound till brotherhood’s work be done.



Ode of Congratulation to Her Most Glorious Majesty Queen Victoria on Her
                       Diamond Jubilee from the Women of England

Oh Queen, in the pause(?) of the triumph, and gladness of heart,
    While the Sons, in all lands that proclaim thee, have honoured thy name
Shall the Daughters of Britain be silent, and not beat a part
                                     To tell forth thy refrain?

For the ladies in ? and honour most near to thy throne,
    Thou hast added ? light to the heads and the bosoms that shine,
For the girls in the cottage, whose eyes are their ? alone
                                      This jewel was thine.

That thou hast believed in the right of the marvellous dower
    God gave to the woman he fashioned, – her meekness and grace,—
That thou hast had trust in His Fatherly love to empower,
                                     Who set they place.

Great Queen! thou didst find in thy youth, – in the fulness of years
    Thou hast passed, that the spirit is stronger than flesh, or than blood,
Thou hast shown that the brightest gems which thy diadem bears,
                                    Is the will to be good.

And the Lily and Rose in thy court, they are growing to-day
    As the Lily and Rose in the gardens of England are, – pure, –
For this, when the names of earth’s wither away, –
                                     Thy name shall endure.

And thou, with the heart of a mother hast traded thine own,
    Thy self to all maidens example, of wives, the Queen-wife, –
In the souls of thy subjects, the seed from thy palace hast sown,
                                   The love of home life.

But most we remember today, as we think of thy years,
    How two generations of women may praise and adore
The God of thy Crown and thy life, that in every places
                                              Men honour them more.

For in thee and thy wisdom, thy sisters have seemed the more wise,
    And in thee, and the strength of thy heart, to command, and to will,
The daughters of England more queenly appear in men’s eyes
                                   But womanly still.

For now is the prison door opened, and now are glad feet
    Sat form in a room that is wider(?) for earth and for heaven,
More ? for service the hearts of all women must beat
                                   Since work has been given.

And now are the portals of knowledge set wide, – and the heart, –
    The heart of the woman, is braced with the sinews of mind
What benison Queen could the years of thy reigning impart
                                     More blest for mankind?

And how in a warm federation of help and of hands
    Are the sisters of labour made strong, in the shop and the mill, –
And now, like a net for Christ’s kingdom, is spread in all lands
                                 One woman’s Good will.

Shall thy daughters not rise up and thank thee, – thou mother to all –
    Shall the maidens, the high-borne and lowly, not meet on the green –
Shall the children not joyously gather from Cottage and Hall, –
                                   And sing for their Queen!

The Queen – and not only of men in their strength and their pride
    But Queen, – nursing-mother, – for all in their sickness and pain
Lo! the houses of health, with the doors of their welcome flung wide,
                                     Are fruit of her reign.

The Queen, – who alone in her gladness, – in sorrow alone, –
    Has endured, as they only endure, who can see God above,
Who has felt, that all hearts that are desolate cried to the throne
                                   And cheered them with love.

The Queen, – who in care for all others, is careless of loss,
    With eyes on the Life of the world; – for the world sacrificed,
The Queen, – who has taught us how crowned ones may carry the Cross
                                    And follow the Christ.

May 1897



In Memoriam: V.R.I. A Voice from the Colonies

Weighed down by more than fourscore years,
    She hath fulfilled the destined reign,
Her wearied brow henceforward nears
    The crown of light that knows no pain,
And forth she goes in Heaven to prove
The Queenliest thing below was Love.

Her empire is not bound by earth,
    Nor fenced by seas that roll between
All things that feel the Spirit’s birth
    Here and in Heaven, shall own her Queen,
For all her days, self-sacrificed,
The King she followed was the Christ.

There is no mother, maid nor wife,
    Who has not looked to her for grace,
No sufferer in the storm and strife,
    But seemed to see her pitying face,
And every sorrow in the land
Has felt the ? of her hand.

Wherefore, across her seven seas,
    The fine great nations joined in one –
As children round a father’s knees
    Crowd close when mother hence has gone –
Draw nearer for their grief and pray
The empire of her heart shall stay.



To Nansen – England’s Welcome

Nansen! from out of darkness and of pain,
    Fresh for new venture, vigorous and strong,
    How do we praise thee! we who waited long
Feared for thee, drifting o’er the Arctic plain
Prayed for thee, moonless(?) – prisoner of the chain
    Of unrelenting winter, – locked among
    The heartless berg’s inhospitable throng, –
Hoped against hope, to see thy face again.

Star of the North! as glad as dawn, that ends
    The phantom flicker of Auroral light
        Life from the dead, – triumphant thou dost come
    Heart of the North – our wide-world hearts unite,
The land that gave us Franklin, greeting sends
        And all Valhalla bids thee welcome home.




To the Two Last Survivors of Nansen’s Team of 28 Sledge Dogs Who Were
Shot, as Being of No Further use, on the Ice-Floe of Franz Josef Land

Somewhere, beyond the uttermost North land
    Where comes one encircled tern, nor cries the loom,(?)
    And through long silence icebergs shock and boom,
Fall the survivors of that faithful band,—
Who, until heart-break, stretched the reindeer strand,
    Striving with death, and battling ? with doom,
    Who ? earth’s secret from its Polar gloom,
And, knowing nought, obeyed their lord’s command.

They who faced cold and famine,—they who fed
    On food of fearful loathing,—they who still
        Leapt water channels, sprang through ice and snow,
Who, though their brothers, one by one fell dead,—
        Pushed on,—lie stark upon the lonely floe
    Dumb slaves of man’s inexorable evil.

Nov. 1896



The Dead Seal Children

Round Robben Isle the happy seabirds fly
    To bring their callow nestlings joy and food
    But never more, above the shining flood,—
With human face, and meek pathetic eye,—
The seal shall hasten to its infant’s cry.
    The very waves are red with shame and blood,—
    There, on the barren beach, a multitude
Of tender nurselings famish faint and die.

And somewhere in the cities of the West
    The gentle ladies, clad in shining fur,
        Go home,—too happy, warm, and blest, to feel,
But, as they clasp their infants to their breast,—
    Some pang within their bosom sure will stir,—
        Not vainly shall the motherless appeal.

Note—The Americans claimed that owing to the killing at sea of breeding females, vast numbers of seal pups were left to starve on the islands near Sakhalin. The British ? who have reported state that on Robben Island and the Pribylof Isles, 20,000 dead pups were counted.

February 1897


At the Nelson Column

Oh England, England! in this darker hour
    Of rival hosts, and grudges ill-concealed
    Canst thou forget the man who wrought the shield
Of seamanship, to be our Island’s dower?
And shall he stand, high pillared, on his tower,
    And speak no word to city, nor to field
    Bidding us know as long as hills(?) are steeled
And hearts are oak, the British flag has power?

Nay,—as we bring the palm or lay the wreath
    Between the Lions of the Lion brave
        We think, how his winged hounds of war
    Made England sovereign mistress of the wave
And sealed us unto Duty by his death
        Divinely timed at glorious Trafalgar.

Oct 21 1895



To Ranavalona: Queen of Madagascar

Shall England, with St. George for warrior knight
    Let the soft-tongued expedience of the hour
    Hush all her protest; shall she not empower
Justice and Peace to dare to do the right?
Is Europe armed alone with selfish might
    And, if her sons, deaf-eared, like cravens cower,
    Shall not the west,—with freedom for its dower,
By Angel-mediation stay the fight?

Ranavalona! though your island throne
    Sink,—and your seas run purple with your blood
        Because, till death you would the foe withstand,
The world shall know you put your trust alone
        In Him who holds the nations in His Hand
    Whose word is universal brotherhood.

May 29th 1895



He was the Best—therefore we set this here
    In old Llanilar’s Churchyard by the sea,
    He was the Best—whether of King’s degree
Arch-Druid, Bishop, Prophet, Priest or Seer.
For we have learned, thro’ centuries to revere
    The best of human hearts, where e’er they be;
    And so, we touch the letters tenderly,
And spell Calixtus name with reverent fear.

Best of the men who there, on Mona’s shore
    Ruled by the only Right—the Right divine
        Of Goodness—head and shoulders o’er them all!
        And long as Barmouth’s tides shall rise and fall
And granite keeps the solemn trust of yore
    We guard this treasure in Llanilar’s shrine.

Note—On an ancient granite monolith in Llanilar Church with the inscription “Calixti mourdo Regio” –Calixtus was the Latin form of the Greek word Kallistos – which means the Best.

Oct. 27th 1895



Honour to whom Honour is due

Take up this weather-beaten, mummied thing
Into its royal resting-place restore
    This head,—albeit a crown it never wore—
Of England’s fate and fortune, once ’twas King
Where Hate has wronged, let Love do honouring,
    Fair jewels once this battered casket bore
    Seal for its Country, Patriot to the Core,
Care for God’s truth,—and pain such care must bring.

The tongue, that now is dead, has left a voice
    To sing, and bid men still be conscience free,
        Those eyes, so blinded, flamed with fire to ban
False state ideals, false religion’s choice
    Ah when shall England know one great as he
        To keep her great.—Our greatest Puritan.

Oct. 1895



At an Archbishop’s Grave

With lamentation pomp of praise and prayer
    In great Augustine’s Abbey was he laid
    And from his tomb came forth a voice that said
“This man had all the Churches in his care
Tended Apyria’s sheep, who ? the scare
    Of Turk and Kurdish ?,—sent words of aid
    To those six ancient prelates sore betrayed
And tangled in the Sultan’s murderous share.”

There, as I stood beside his peaceful grave
    Methought of him,—that tender-hearted man,
        Who died but could not watch Armenia’s woes
        I wondered what dumb prison walls enclose
In Syrian wild that Patriarch Lion-brave
    Who voiced his people’s rights—??


To John Ruskin

    On his 78th birthday. February 8 1897

Now fades o’er Coniston the wreath of snow
    The ravens mate, the happy blackbirds sing
    The woodbine tufts uncoil, the snowdrops spring
And in the woods the purpling birches glow,
But ah! the winter fades not from that brow
    Wherever is set the seal of suffering
    For truths that eight-and-seventy winters bring
With toil and sorrow very few can know.

Great son of Derwentwater—for that mere
    Fired your young heart, and filled with love your eyes –
        Rest, as they only rest whose task is done!
We cannot rest, your clarion voice we hear
        Till for St. George the whole wide world be won
    And work be joy, and earth be Paradise.



Spring Crocuses at Murren

We are the Sun’s first couriers, and we know
    What grass shall clothe the mountain and the moor,
    What flowers shall bless the children of the poor
And set the humblest cottage a-glow.
How long before the herdsmen open throw
    Their chalet windows nd the frost-bound door,—
We people with white multitudes the moor,
And push our tender spear-heads through the snow.

And mortals, straying to our upland home,
    Where no bees murmur yet, and no birds sing
    Have marvelled at our boldness, and have said
How are these gentle creatures unafraid?
They have not learned how from God’s hand we come
    To speed with joy His message of the Spring.

Note—The spring creatures in the ? at Murren were a sight to see. Whenever the snow drifts had melted, the whole ground had bee, as if by magic, covered with a white carpet of what at distance appeared to be a living multitude of whitest crocuses. Thousands upon thousands of these tiny delicate creatures, open their cups into the shape of stars beneath the midday sun. Thousands upon thousands were seen pushing their white heads, like dainty spears of silver, through the snow.

20th June 1896



To Frances Power Cobbe

     On her 70th birthday, Dec. 4th 1902

Old friend whose soul is large enough to give
    Welcome to all that send compassion’s store,—
    True woman,—tender-hearted to the core,
But strong,—teaching us manlier how to strive;
December comes, and days are fugitive,
    Strength wanes, albeit the spirit wanes more,
    But this remains,—dark worlds you dared explore
Are brightening with the Love that still shall live.

Wherefore on this your solemn natal day—
    Tho’ all the griefs of four score summers gone—
        And sorrow of two worlds—and ? spite—
Are heavy on you,—this we dare to lay,—
    This added burden.—Thanks for work well done
        And prayers—a nation’s gift of warmth and light.



A Birthday Greeting: To Miss F. P. Cobbe – Dec 3rd 1892

Friend! when the hail fades fastest on the lea
    We know the sooner will the sun appear
    And on the eve of this, thy seventieth year
I send this greeting tenderly to thee.
Knowing such storms have blown, that eyes scarce see
    The heights of pain, when thou didst pursue
    The depths of sorrow, agony, and fear
From which thou camest to set dumb creatures free.

For thou hast dared, for those who could not speak,
    To tell the nation—still with cruel heart
        Of man, half-tamed(?) from ?, there dwells one
    Who, in God’s home, would play a devil’s part,
To give the stronger ?, would plague the weak
        Till Pity’s self, and mercy be undone.



At Hengwrt – The Guardian Cypress Trees

Friend! when I saw the lovely Cypress tower
    That stands, perpetual Guardian at thy gate
    Untouched by age, unhurt by storm of hate
Changeless alike in sun, or winter shower—
Then I bethought of that immortal dower,
    The lofty courage of thy lone estate
    The faithful Guardian ship, that will not bate
One jot of hope for England’s kindlier hour.

Its pleasing shelter, every bird may share
    Thro’ the long year, its bounty scatters free
        The eastern fruitage western earth has made
And thou, both East and West are in they care
        Love’s universal fruit, in sun and shade
    Is thine—no creature comes unhelped to thee.

Nov. 1895




October 21st 1894

Where guardian trees and cloistered laurels grow
    And, like a warder crying, “Who comes near”?
    The Cypress stands,—Old Hengwrt all the year
Gives greeting,—here in sight of ? glow,
In sound of Mawddach’s, and of ? flow,
    I feel the gleam of genial hearts, and hear
    The flood of wit and wisdom,—too sincere,
Too earnest far, for careless ear to know.

And here is love for all created things
    The wild-wood creature, on the garden walk
        Brings some soul—message,— every bird that flies
Bears heart communion on its tender wings,—
    And, if we pause, for question, in our talk,
        Almost with human voice, the stream replies.

With kindest regards to the ladies of Hengwrt.



At Hengwrt

       May 18th 1897

This is the song of my home.—
All the night thro’ in the valley below me is lowing of herds—
All the day thro’ in the woodland above me is music of birds—
    Sound of the rookery’s clanging applause,
    Cooing of cushat and chatter of daws.
    Quaver of chaffinch and clear throstle call
    Croak of the heron’s deep note over all.
Winds shake the mountains—they cannot distress me
Rains fill the fountains to cheer and to bless me
    Mists from the sea for the harvest’s
                                               with mellow gifts, come.

    Ah! best the song of my heart!
All the night thro’ in the valley below me, a voice that I hear—
All the day thro’ in the woodland above me, no presence to cheer—
    Sound of a footfall that cannot return—
    Sigh of a spirit that knows how I mourn.
    Crying, “have patience” with clear angel call
    And Death with his deep raven note over all,—
Winds shake the world,—but they cannot distress me—
Tears fill my eyes,—but they soothe and they bless me,
Mist from the far-away sea gathers tenderly,
                                                Let me depart.

Note—Miss Stayd died October 13th 1896.



A Christmas Holiday

The camels groaned in Chimham’s ancient hall,
    And all the weary talk was,—“sell and buy”—
    The sullen Roman soldier came to spy,
Or tax the cattle, crowding every stall;—
Far on the height, behind his crest of wall,
    Great Herod filled the night with revelry;—
    From Bethlehem’s slope, beneath the star-lit sky
Shepherd to shepherd sent his answering call.

The poor man worked,—the sick man made his feast,—
     And few could know,—it was a restless time,—
         What things the angels sang above the hills,
Our feared wealth and working has increased,
        But once a year the roaring world is still
    And labour learns to hear the Christmas Chime.

Note—Chimham – a celebrated caravanserai 4 miles out of Jerusalem, founded by Chimham son of Barzillai – probably the same which sheltered two travellers and their child when “there was no room in the house”—Stanley’s Jewish Church – Vol. 2, p. 161.



To the Old Folks of Keswick and Neighbourhood – Dec. 27th 1893.

In memory of Richard Mitchell – rope maker and boatman who died at Finkle Street,
Portinscale, Nov. 29th 1893 in his 93rd year.

Just beyond the Derwent, friends,
    Where the Viking huts were reared
And the road for Swinside bends
Lined and laboured – early – late
    One to humble fortune reared
One too proud to change his state.

We shall never see him more
    In his garden by the lane
In his boat beside the shore
He has crossed the silent flood
    He is free from care and pain
Richard Mitchell, grave and good.

Never more, this shower and sun
    Shall we watch him at his trade,
While the hemp to strength was spun
Pacing up and down “the walk”
    Where the best of ropes were made
He too busy for to talk.

For dark Death, with solemn shears,
    Cut at length his long life’s rope
With its two and ninety years
All the wisdom, all the store
    Of his memory and his hope
These are vanished evermore!

But at least he leaves behind
    Some remembrance of the days
Which endeared him to his kind.
Soul of honour! Heart of trust!
    Honest Mitchell! This is praise
That shall bloom when all is dusk.



    A Happier Christmas

      1896. A Christmas Hope for Armenia

Where once at Abgar’s royal wedding came
    The Word of Life to Anatolian hills
    The Word of Death and Murder throbs and thrills;
The great Cathedral reeks with blood and flame;
Poor maidens weep unutterable shame;
    Fair Christian mothers suffer the vile wills
    Of Kurd and Turk—The ? and famine tills,
None dare to ? the new-born Saviour’s name.

But when the bells of Christmas through our land
    Ring forth their echoes of the Heavenly strain
        And all the West shall wake to hear the chime
        God grant, the Angel of a happier time
For old Edessa, in our midst may stand,
    To bear to her the Word of Life again.



A New Year’s Greeting 1898

Stand not in sorrow! sorrow cannot save:—
    This atom of the immeasurable years
    Flung on the floor of Time, with all its fears
And hopes well winnowed, falls into the grave;
Tho’ labour wars at home, and o’er the wave
    Ring cries of those unconquered mountaineers,
    The Christmas music echoes in our ears,
We go to meet the morning, and are brave.

It dawns with dumb unquestionable face,—
    Thrones shake,—kings tremble wondering what shall be –
       Great armies muster – statesmen watch and wait;
        But this New Year, so full of silent fate,
    Comes charged by Love to set the nations free
With gift of unimaginable grace.

With best wishes from Crosthwaite Vicarage.




   Britain’s New Year Jan 1st 1900

She sees the life of half the nations crushed
    She hears the serpent hiss of whispering hate
    Mutter – “Behold this Britain that is great,
Reels, and from off her ancient throne is hushed.”
But still for right her banners are unfurled,
    For justice and her sons confederate
    And bruised and brave she doth her hour await,
With resolute calm she fronts a wondering world.

One hand – one heart – she greets the coming year,
    Knowing that deeper far within he soul
        Than greed of power, or ? deadly lust,
        Lies hunger to fulfil her Heavenly trust –
And claiming equal good for far and near,
    To bring fair Freedom to her ultimate goal.



A New Year’s Hope 1900

The death-year of the century comes with sound
    Of war and tumult, but from seas of blood
    And blight of battle springs desire for good
With peace on many a passionate field recrowned.
Faint not nor fear! Though clouds of hate have frowned
    And o’er her cradle dark the storm showers bend,
    This years shall feel the sun of brotherhood
And through her tears see rainbows upward bound.

For now, at last men know, that lust of gold
    And lust of war are brothers; new men hear,
        Even as they fight, their own hearts mocking them,
New love of God, as in the days of old,
        Shall seek once more the Babe of Bethlehem;
    New love of man shall bring earth’s glad new year.



At a Sowers Grave – Tyn y Ffynon – May 1897

Above his rest the thorn is white,
    Around his head the violet blows,
To hide his body out of sight,
    The close cotoneaster grows.

And here, with every springtides call,
    The fragrant shrubs their curlers wane
The lilac tops the garden wall
    To cast its sweetness o’er his grave.

And when, through heads of purple thrift
    The soft May breezes sigh no more,—
In silence, upward there will drift
    The sad sea music of the shore.

Here rest the wandering shy sea-bird,
    Here nests the throstle void of fear,
The cuckoo’s voice is earliest heard,
    The happy swift wheels latest, here,—

But he has done with birds and flowers,—
     Of sun, and sea he has no need,—
For, following now the Prince Sowers,
    He casts in other worlds his seed,—

And still the lilac bushes grow—
    The great sea calls,—the sky is blue,
And, in his place, his friends must sow,
    The Good, the Beautiful – the True.—



    By the Torrent Walk – near Dolgelley – May 18 1897

The quavering of the warbler’s throat,
    The blackbird’s song of glee,
The wooing of the cushat’s note,
    Are sounds enough for me.

But he who climbs the torrent walk
    On any morn in May,
May hear how Cader’s fountains talk,
    And what cloud-angels say.

Oh voice of mountain, voice of bird,
    One melody ye share,
A song by mortals seldom heard,
    Of life that knows no care.

And sometimes to a sad man’s heart
    Your power doth so appeal
That he forgets how large a part
    Grief bears to make us feel.

Oblivious of the human throes
    That mould our mortal span,—
Back, homeward, more content he goes,
    But less divine a man.



The Peace of Talyllyn

Shut from all harm, – the world outside,—
    Outside all sorrow and all sin,—
They scarce could wish for change, who died
    At quiet Talyllyn—

And I can well believe that they
    Who rest from toil on yonder hill,
When soul is soul, and clay is clay,
        Will linger with us still,—

Will see the gates of Heaven ajar,—
    And hear far off the Angel’s song,—
But say, here peace and goodness are,
    Here let us tarry long.

For here is stillness,—quiet lake,
    And quiet mountains—quiet fields—
Such healing here for hearts that ache
    As only nature yields.

So quiet,—if a cuckoo calls
    The shepherd stops to question why,—
And all the solid mountain wales
    Start at a young lamb’s cry.

But there is more at Talyllyn
    Thou hint that sometime pain shall cease,—
Here hill and valley fold us in
    To fill us with their peace.

May 15th 1897




At the Grasmere Rushbearing. In Praise of St. Oswald

When great Augustine, he whom Gregory sent
    To Ethelbert, beneath the Ebbsfleet oak,—
    Of Christ and for his mightier Kingdom spoke,—
And with his silver cross and litany went
To bear the Gospel to the men of Kent,—
    He little dreamed that here the village folk
    Already bowed beneath the Saviour’s yoke,
And, in their house of prayer, to Jesus bent.

We strew these rushes, emblem of the Spring
    And think of him who by the Eamont’s shore
        Taught Rome of Christ, the flower for all the world,—
    Of Kentigern, who set the Cross of yore,—
        But most, where Rotha’s stream is backward curled,
We thank our God for Oswald, – priest and king.

Note—The Grasmere Rushbearing – This interesting survival as some think of the Roman Floralia – takes place now in the octave of St. Oswald, to whom the Grasmere church is dedicated. It is sometimes forgotten that our British Church in the North with its teachers, Ninian and S. Kentigern and its memories of Herbert, Cuthbert and Oswald – was an ancient church before the landing of S. Augustine 1300 years ago.

It is believed that S. Ninian preached the gospel to the Roman soldiery, near Penrith by the banks of the Eamont where the church of Nine Kirks – or Ninian’s Kirk – preserves his name – circa 400 A.D.

Kentigern set up the Cross at Crosthwaite circa 553 A.D.



At the Royal Academy

May 1897

We move from room to room and over all
    Is sense of absent friends, and heavy loss.
    Where is the painter of “The ? ?”,
Or he who drew the Race and golden ball,
And pictured forth fair Daphne’s festival?
    Have we no need of preachers, and no dross
    To purge, no Christ before us with his Cross,
That thus no trumpet sounds along the wall.

The walls are dumb, our life has sunk so low
    That scarce a painter dare lift up his voice
        To call us to be patriots,—heroes,—none
        To urge us keep the name our father won,
And not a prophet sees the darkness grow
    Or bids the Child of morning make his choice.



To the Sillyman, Who is the Wise Man After All

By a treaty made at Ilorin, Niger territory, the Emir Saliman has declared all Rum and Gin that enters his territory shall be destroyed.

By treaty made at Ilorin
    The Emir Saliman declares
He will destroy all Rum and Gin
    That floods his country unawares.

This is good news indeed for some
    Who look on strong drink as a tiger,—
Let’s send all British Gin and Rum
    To go to glory, up the Niger.

They mock at Saliman and pronounce
    The Süli soft, and call him dreamer,
I wish our wise men had an ounce
    Of your good wit – most prudent Emir.



A Harvest Hymn

W. there as fellow-labourers together with God – beseech you that ye receive not the Gift of God in vain.

Sing now ye people, be joyful in your house of prayer,
    Summer is ended, the harvest time is past,—
                And our God who gave the soil,
                And His sons who gave their toil
Have worked as fellow-labourers and reap the fruit at last.

Great is the gift of the Keeper of earth’s granary
    Food for the millions who’d famish, and are fed
                For the workers in the mills
                And the cattle on the hills
And the ravens with their crying,—all look to One for bread.

Good is the will of the Spirit that is over us
    Dowering with glory the hands that till the earth
                The idler may not eat
                But the Maker of our meat
He turns our sweat to pearl drops,—and gives the toiler mirth.

Wherefore to-day, in the House of Prayer as Conquerors,
    Glad with the fruit of a warfare that was peace
                We rejoice, and pray Thee Lord
                Send the sickle for the sword
Let hate’s harvest lie ungathered – let the spoil of battle cease.

May 1897




To My Friends at Limnerslease

G.J & Mrs Watts. On the ninth anniversary of their wedding-day. Nov 20th 1898.

Friends, when tomorrow’s morning sun shall shine
    Thro’ fadeless firs, and quickening Surrey air,—
    Let this poor sonnet of remembrance bear
A whole life’s honour packed in every line,
And let it say, “Tho’ Autumn now decline
    To winter, age did never yet impair
    The hand that helped a nation by its care
The heart that worshipped at Truth’s inner shrine.”

Fear not, the tenth sweet year has come to prove
    Ye both have known the most eternal thing
        Between the sleep that was, and is to be,
    No Death can ever disavowed bring
Of Heaven’s great gift of immortality
God gives to thou who only live to love.




I am pure Faith. There’s not a lark that sings
    But shares this gift, when in the dewy nest
    She feels sweet life has still to give its best,
And waits the stirring of those tiny wings.

I am pure Faith. There’s not a bell that rings
    For marriage, but will have me for its guest;
    Faith in each other – only so is blest
The happy wedding happy wooing brings.

Faith in the marvellous future for all life;
    Faith in the love that being still must be;
    Faith in a happier earth, a surer heaven
Faith in the peace that yet shall crown all strife;
    Faith in the cross that leads to victory,
    And faith in Him whom God for us has given.

[The sonnets ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’ were written for the performance of “Phyllis” – Cantata, at St. Thomas’s Church Lower Crumpsall, Manchester, January 1896, by the Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick.]




I am sweet Hope. There’s not a seed on earth
    But has my nature, yearning for the light,
    Knowing the hours of patience and of night
Shall end in spring-tide, and blossom-mirth.

I am sweet Hope. The men who sail the Firth
    Cast with my hands their nets in bay and bight,
    I am sweet Hope – by me the heart does plight
Its troth; by me the little babes have birth.

Hope for the sure fulfilment of our days –
Hope for the time when hate shall sheathe the sword –
    Hope for a sober England, brave and just –
    Hope for the end of selfishness and lust –
When He the Saviour, whom the nations praise,
Shall find our souls at anchor on His Word.

[The sonnets ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’ were written for the performance of “Phyllis” – Cantata, at St. Thomas’s Church Lower Crumpsall, Manchester, January 1896, by the Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick.]




I am true Love. There’s not a lamb that cries,
    A dog that barks, but knows that love is kind;
    And feels far off the monument of the mind
That fits man’s soul for joy in Paradise.

I am true Love. The bird that homeward flies
    To warm its nestlings, knows me; yea the blind
    Mole in the meadow, village lord, and kind,
Have learned by me life’s full felicities.

I am true Love. When sin drove men apart,
I, still in mercy, did each wanderer dower;
    For I am he who calls men out of death
   And fills the soul with life’s divinest breath.
Wherefore I claim love’s emblems – and for flower
God’s rose – the love of Christs’ spear-wounded Heart.

[The sonnets ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’ were written for the performance of “Phyllis” – Cantata, at St. Thomas’s Church Lower Crumpsall, Manchester, January 1896, by the Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick.]



A Hymn in Memory of the Master of Balliol

“Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy Master from thy head to-day? And he said, yea, I knowest, hold ye your peace.”

When from the scholar’s side God called
    His Master, o’er the flood,
The heart, for loveliness, appalled,
    Felt silence only good.

So, from our head, today, is gone
    Our Master, – and we stand
By Jordan, silently alone,
    A mournful scholar band.

For us, no chariot-wheels of flame,
    On us, no mantle fell,
We turn forlorn the way we came,
    And face the torrent’s swell.

But in our hearts, the holy fire
    He kindled, still is bright,
Clad in the robe of his desire,
    We dare to do the right.

Great Spirit of the Living God
    Take to Thyself our head,
And in the paths of love he trod
    Oh! give us grace to tread.

Oct 1893




In Memory of Lord Leighton – President of the Royal Academy

Who died Jan 25th 1896, buried in St. Paul’s Feb. 3rd.

City of lilies, by the Arno’s tide,
    Thou hast remembered well six hundred years
    The glad procession, and the triumphant cheers
That went with Cimabue, in its pride,
To bear the Mother of the Crucified
    To Rucellai’s altar; now with tears
    Not soon to pass, thy heart in sorrow hears
That he who told thy triumphing had died.

For of thy sons a son, tho’ western born,
    He worked with Leonardo, had the fear
        Of mighty Raphael still before his eyes.
He mixed his colours with the golden morn,
    And, finding lack of gorgeous glory here,
He has gone forth, right glad, to Paradise.

The picture that first brought the President into notice, was that exhibited in the R.A. in 1885 which depicted procession passing through the streets of Florence, to the Church of Santa Maria Novella, with the picture of the Madonna by Cimabue, in such triumph as gained that quarter of the city the name it still retains – Borgo dei Allegri.




A Day of Kings

The Kaiser’s drive through the Lake District, August 14th 1895.

This is a day of Kings,—along the way,
    To meet the Kaiser,—our old kings of Song
    From Rydal Mount to Greta meadows throng;
Coleridge and Wordsworth,—he who knew, the stay
*Of states, was mind, not wealth,—who feared the day
    When men for gold,—not learning’s store—would long
    And the yard measure, not the sword be strong;
Southey, who dared unto his face gainsay.

**Europe’s mean-hearted tyrant.—And I see
Stand by his humble cot, on Chestnut hill
      ***Young Shelley. Hark! he cries for welcoming—
Great Kaiser know,—who sovereign lord would be,
    Must set his throne upon his vanquished will,
        And of himself,—for empire,—be the king.

*Wordsworth’s Sonnets
**Ode written during the Negotiations with Buonaparte – Jan 7 1812.
***Shelley’s Sonnet on Political Power.



Christ and the Coal Strike

Christ came walking adown the way,
    The broken cottage was open wide,
There, in her coffin, a young child lay,
    And pale for sorrow the mother cried,
    “Hadst Thou been here she had never died.”

The men were on strike, and the money was spent,
    The doctors said they could do no good,
So off with his pick, my master went,
    But he came back bruised, and covered with blood,
    He had dared, for his darling, to seek some food.

And the Christ, in pity He groaned a groan
    “Have the children hereabout asked for bread
And the hand of the fathers given a stone,—
    That now the fathers are stoned instead,
    And their own babes wither, and die unfed”?

Then Christ went on thro’ the wind and cold
    And the poor man crouched at an empty grate,
Cried “Sir be with us as once of old,—
    I starve, while our leaders in comfort prate,
    But dearer coal cannot mend my state.

And Christ made answer, “I too felt
    The cold, while others were warmed at the fire;
Thro’ all the centuries men have knelt
    To kiss my robe, they have not come higher
    To God,—Love’s warmth was my soul’s desire”.

And the Christ went thence to the meeting room,
    The Union leaders, they bade him in,
He heard their passionate fret and fume,
    With talk of coal-proprietor’s sin,
    And vows of vengeance, if money should win.

And He said, in a pause,—“Have ye never heard
    That all under God have equal rights
But they who follow great mammon for Lord
    Have equal wrongs, but unequal fights
    The Law of Service alone unites”.

Then the Christ He came to the Hall of debate,
    Where the grim coal-owners were talking loud,
He called the man from the empty grate,
    He brought the child in her coffin’s shroud,
    And he summoned outside a hungry crowd.

Rights of property,—owner’s choice,—
    Rights of Capital,—contracts free,—
Claims of manor, with lordly voice,
    Cries of coal coming over the sea
    Mingled with Mammon’s unholy glee.

But lo! in a hush,—out spake the Christ,
    “God who made it, He claims the coal
How shall labour be fairly priced
    And the broken heart of a land be whole
    Till Love for the Living have paid its toll”?

From the street of the city, from far-off glen,
    At the saying of Christ there came a sound,
And the great blast-furnaces roared “Amen”
    And a cheer ran thundering under-ground,
    And the factory wheels went humming round.

For Love of the Living to help the land,
    For love of the dying to keep alive,
The masters reached to the men a hand,—
    And the men their hands in return would give
    And Labour and Capital ceased to grieve.



The Star of Prayer

  Written on Morris’s tapestry in Exeter Chapel, Oxford.

They have forgot the star within the shade;
They have forgot the very gifts they bring;
Gold and the sword, and that rare fragrant thing
Which doth forbid our mortal flesh to fade.
And so, to this world’s root, the axe is laid;
A new tree sprouts for weakness now is King:
The flowers leap up, the birds thro’ roses sing,
And only now is sad the mother maid.

Yet one among them unforgetful stands
Who holds the gift that hath the greater power
A flame with unextinguishable fire.
His gentle feet have never hurt a flower
The star of prayer is bright within his hands,
Faith’s light for souls that onward still aspire.

June 5th 1890



The Triumph of the Innocents

There in the star-light underneath the moon
    The Star of all the stars was gently going
    And very soft the balmy air was blowing,
But, to her Babe sad Mary could not croon;—
And Joseph, with his basket and his shoon
    Slung o’er his shoulders, fearful and foreknowing
    Gazed backward never, for the cock was crowing,
The watch-dogs barked, the dawn would break too soon.

Then, as I gazed on that triumphant band
    Of infant victims, decked and sacrificed
    And saw how scatheless from the murder’s sword
        The happy throng did homage to the Lord
A child beside me took me by the hand
    And led me in its fearlessness to Christ.

On Holman Hunt’s Picture at Birmingham Art Gallery Feb. 7th 1897.