Enchanted Embers.

When bright flames flicker o’er the burning coal,1
And throw gaunt shadows on the dusky walls,2
And my black cat sits by the mouse’s hole3
With two round glaring eyes like fiery balls,4
Then in your ruddy, sympathetic blaze5
I see old friends and live in other days6
Live o’er again a time that was to this7
As sunny summer is to winter’s cold,8
Or as long troubles are compared with bliss9
Enchanted embers—the dear time of old,10
What now is out of reach I’ll wish it here,11
And that which cannot be deem doubly dear.12
See, from your dreamy glamour in the grate13
Start the quaint pictures of my boyhood’s prime ;14
I swing again upon the farmer’s gate,15
And hear the sheep bells, and the evening chime16
Floating o’er gabled roofs with drowsy hum,17
And telling of the happy days to come.18
Days that have come, alas !  without the joy,19
Without the golden hours, without the wealth,20
And all the sweets I dreamt of when a boy21
Full of fond hopes, and bright with rosy health,22
I did not think of weary ways beset23
With sickness, sadness, and continual fret.24
I did not think on’t then, nor will I now,25
Although ’twill come with sunlight on the morrow26
Thy aid, forgetfulness !  O teach me how27
To banish all remorseful thoughts of sorrow ;28
O let not penury have power to craze,29
And keep calamity from out your blaze.30
Ah !  now I see the house where I was born,31
The sleepy village, and the pebbled brook ;32
The meadow pathway, daisy-edged and worn,33
The busy mill, and many a woodland nook34
Where I have lain whole hours, ’neath oak trees hoary,35
Deep in the spell of some fantastic story.36
Dim legends that of chivalry do tell,37
Of Arthur bold, and of the Red Cross Knight38
Who overcame the power of magic spell,39
And with the fearful Dragon fiend did fight,40
For love of that fair lady Una hight,41
And for the love of Errantry’s bright light.42
Why mingle in imaginary strife ?43
Why dream of poets and of old world lore ?44
Of honeyed peace and simple country life,45
To make the city duller than before ?46
No, let us not repine in murky weather,47
The sun will shine again and gild the heather.48
Yet, mystic flowers of romance have grown49
To mandrakes, and no more are friends of mine ;50
The veil is ta’en away, and truth hath thrown51
The root of hemlock in the fairy wine,52
And what was once a solace now destroys,53
So the rude Real slays all Fancy’s joys.54
Ah !  . . . Hedges are just washed with April rain,55
And shimmer softly in the noonday light,56
Could shadows chase each other o’er the plain,57
Coming and gliding by in dreamy flight,58
And trembling leaves, with swelling buds between,59
Make up a charm of blushing white and green.60
And now ’tis summer, and sweet gossamer61
Is hung from twig to twig for elves to swing62
By moonlight when rude feet are not astir,63
When bright Titania bids her birdie sing ;64
When Oberon cheers the happy band, and when65
Puck tells of all his gambols among men.66


I see a cozy room with ivy sprays67
That tap the panes and through the window peep,68
And on the hearthrug, where a kitten plays,69
A boy sets up tin soldiers half asleep.70
The cricket chirps, and a tall brown clock71
Conducts the kettle’s song with steady knock.72


E’en now I cannot tell you what I see73
It is too full of hazy joy to preach ;74
If heart throbs and big tears could speak for me,75
Then I should be more eloquent in speech :76
Oh !  cherished home, and friends true to the core,77
I never knew how dear ye were before !78