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Gone! gone! the bells toll on,
But still the death-news seems to stun:
The sudden loss, the warning brief,
Bids wonder mingle with our grief !
Like fearful heralds sent to know
If life's defeat were true or no,
Our startled thoughts went forth to meet
Dark rumour in the busy street,
And less lamenting, than dismayed,
Our frozen tears were strangely stayed.
What-He, whose busy brain had planned
So much for his adopted land-
He, who had yet scarce turned the page
Dating past youth to middle age,
The counsellor of wisdom proved,
The chosen of a Queen beloved,
In prime of life and princely rank,
Gone ?-gone : fill up the blank !
Gone! Even now, to wintry gales
The foreign ships have spread their sails,
Bringing the beauty and the boast
Of other realms to Britain's coast.
The busy rout of lading past,
The shifting cargoes all made fast,
Freed from the shouting and the din,
The motley treasures rest within.
Tasks toiled at with a loving pain,
The anxious work of hand and brain,
Lie buried in each silent hold :
Rich stuffs, and carcanets of gold,
And cereal things, whose gathered store
Competing greets our fertile shore,
And sculptured statues, soon to rise
Like apparitions on our eyes,
And complicated wheels, which rest
In muffled coverings, strangely drest,
Till the bright slave of human skill,
Set free to work his master's will,
With whirring hum, and dim low moan,
Some wondrous motive-power makes know
These come :—He schemed their meeting here: To Him that rivalry was dear : His tourney of the arts of peace, The world's production and increase.
These come and, with them, many a man
Of earnest thought and active plan :
His voice should praise,–His smile should thank,-
Gone! gone! fill up the blank !
Gone! A murmur thrills the deep;
The earth lies in perturbéd sleep;
Hot tumults fill the lands afar
With restless chance of coming war;
And England's gallant sons depart-
Brief preface to their hurried start ;
Marchings and gatherings to and fro,
And sobs repressed, of woman's woe,
With lingering watch of crowded decks
Till white sails fade to cloud-like specks ;
And shouts that, following with the brave,
Roll in dim echoes o'er the wave.
Where's He who took such proud delight
In his adopted country's might,
Who bade “God speed !” with kind farewell
To those who fought, and those who fell,
When, bound for Balaclava's shore,
They marshalled by the palace door ?
His loyal heart no more shall hear
The readying word—the martial cheer;
The boasting of a people free,
“ Victoria and victory,"
No more shall thrill that clay-cold breast;
Nor bugle-call shall break his rest;
Nor steel-ciad horseman's measured clank ;
Gone! gone! fill up the blank !
Gone! The light new-fallen snow
Scarce hides, as yet, the purple glow
On Scottish mountains far away,
Where He made summer holiday.
Real holiday! The pomps forgot,
And cumber of a Royal lot ;
Glad useful leisure to employ
In simpler life, and homelier joy.
The summer shall return again
Though wintry winds not sweep the glen-
The mavis rear her tuneful brood
In thickets of the vernal wood-
The cold grey lake in glory shine
With jewelled hues when suns decline-
Or ripple in the morning bright,
As though it smiled to see the light !
But where the last year's primrose blew
A widow's tears may drop for dew;
And where the birch its tassels hung
The coronach may now be sung;
For summer's warmth nor autumn's glow
Shall chase away the sense of woe,
Nor spring make glad that lone lake's bank,
Gone ! gone ! fill up the blank !
Gone! gone! With trenibling moan
That note of mourning dieth down,
And silvery Christmas chimes begin,
And joy-bells ring the New Year in.
The gather'd groups of gladness stand
In many a home throughout the land,
And one sweet phrase, from door to door,
Is eloquent to rich and poor:
“A merry Christmas," still we hear,
And “Happy be the coming year!”,
But in the highest home of all
A bitter silence now must fall,
And sobbing hearts shall yearn in vain
To bring the Old Year back again.
Oh! then and now-last year and this—
Father and Friend whose gifts they miss,
Husband whose kind and noble face
Hath vanish'd from the vacant place,
What thoughts, what prayers, can lesser make
The anguish suffer'd for thy sake ?
The Widow's wintry coif is there !
Its snowdrift hides her shining hair,-
And men may weep who now behold,
Remeinbering all its bands of gold
In her youth's high triumphal day,
Lit by the unexpected ray
Which still its gentle halo shows
Where Leslie's magic canvas glows; 1
When deck’d, with sceptre and with globe,
And glittering in Dalmatian robo,
The girlish form knelt gently down,
To rise the wearer of a crown;
And o'er that spot where, old and good,
The mild Ecclesiastic stood,
To give, with his religious hand,
Her consecration of command,
And while reverberate shouts that hailed
England's new monarch, yet prevailed,
A sunbeam like a glory fell
From Gothic arch and pinnacle,
As though it were God's blessing shed
Upon that reverent youthful head.
i Leslie's picture of the Coronation represents an actual fact, in the management of the light which streanis down on the Coronation group. The morning, which had been fitful and cloudy, suddenly brightened at that moment, and the Queen's fair bajr looked as if a halo hud fallen on it.
Bowed is that head !-bowed low once more !
But not as in the days of yore;
Not with the future opening bright
A dream of splendour to her sight;
Not where the shouting lieges crowd ;
Alone-in grief-her head is bowed.
Her sad eyes watch the fire-light gleams;
Her weary soul hath humbler dreams;
Roaming from Osborne's seagirt bowers,
By royal Windsor's moated towers,
To vaults where flowers lie, dark and dank :-
Gone! gone ! fill up the blank !
She kneels. The God who sent the gain,
Hath sent the loss—decreed the pain.
She prays—as when that ray was born
Which lit her coronation morn;
And who shall doubt the blessing falls,
Though light forsake the cheerless walls !
That God who gives and takes away
Best knows how hard it is to say,
“Thy will be done,” at His command ;
Or see the working of His hand
When, sweeping with a storm of loss
The garden of our hopes across,
He makes our Paradise of good
A desert and a solitude.
Oh! path with mourning ashes strown,
Oh! track that we must tread alone,
Hast thou indeed the selfsame bourne
As that from which our feet must turn ?
Whose long glad vista seemed to show,
Set in a misty golden glow,
Calm violet clouds beyond whose veil
The stars, up-gliding clear and pale,
Grew brighter as our failing day
In those soft shadows died away,
Earth's darkness but a prelude given
To harmonies of light in heaven!
That aspect of sweet life must change;
Our souls keep watch where all is strange;
In the new path so chill and drear,
When the strength falters, who shall cheer ?
From the lone track so blank and wide,
If the feet wander, who shall guide ?
What fountain for our thirst shall pour,
Since the dull gravestone covers o'er
That well of love, whereat we drank ?
Gone! gone! fill up the blank !
1 Her Majesty and the young Princesses sent wreaths of flowers from Osborne, to place on the coffin of the limented Prince Consort.
Oh! hush the wild lament: God heeds
The Widow's and the Orphan's needs :
And she is what she still hath been,
A woman true-but first a Queen:
The sceptre fills no faltering hold,
No weakling wears the crown of gold,
The grieving eyes their tears repress,
The sore heart strives with its distress,
Because she will not sit and moan,
For England's sake, on England's throne.
Old men remember yet the day,
When pale, the fair majestic clay
Of Britain's hope and Coburg's bride,
Her royal infant at her side,
Lay stretched upon the painful bed,
The mother and the baby dead,
Mute, after nature's lingering strife,
A double death for double life,
That golden link, the marriage vow,-
The Widower then-the Widow now,-
Saw shivered, as by lightning's stroke;
Nor drifted when Hope's anchor broke !
And fain the kingly Mourner's heart
Would comfort, now, to hers impart;
The love her earliest childhood knew,
Still yearns to prove what love can do ;
And the grave thoughtful brow is made
Yet sadder by Her sorrow's shade.
Nor lacks there pitying speech from one
Called when her reign was but begun ; 2
Who counts, like her, with tearful gaze,
Those threaded pearls, her happiest days.
Noble and gentle, fit to be
Consoler in calamity;
Robed, like her Queen, in widow's weeds,
She ministers to sorrow's needs ;
Speaks to the living of the dead,
With tender tears, not lightly shed;
And of the holy hopes that keep
Their vigil where our lost ones sleep,
Till grieving souls God's mercy thank,
And with His love fill up the blank.
So let this sorrow rest with Him
Who, only, maketh eyes less dim,
* It is scarcely necessary to remind a younger generation of the awful tragedy enacted at Claremont, when the Princess Charlotte of England, wife of the present King of the Belgians, perished with her babe, immediately after her confinement.
? Her Grace the Duchess Dowager of Sutherland, Mistress of the Robes to her Majesty at a very early period of her reign,