Poems and Songs

Ella with the Shining Hair

Henry Kendall

THROUGH many a fragrant cedar grove
    A darkened water moans;
And there pale Memory stood with Love
    Amongst the moss-green stones.

The shimmering sunlight fell and kissed
    The grasstree’s golden sheaves;
But we were troubled with a mist
    Of music in the leaves.

One passed us, like a sudden gleam;
    Her face was deadly fair.
“Oh, go,” we said, “you homeless Dream
    Of Ella’s shining hair!

“We halt, like one with tired wings,
    And we would fain forget
That there are tempting, maddening things
    Too high to clutch at yet!

“Though seven Springs have filled the Wood
    With pleasant hints and signs,
Since faltering feet went forth and stood
    With Death amongst the pines.”

From point to point unwittingly
    We wish to clamber still,
Till we have light enough to see
    The summits of the hill.

“O do not cry, my sister dear,”
    Said beaming Hope to Love,
“Though we have been so troubled here
    The Land is calm above;

“Beyond the regions of the storm
    We’ll find the golden gates,
Where, all the day, a radiant Form,
    Our Ella, sits and waits.”

And Memory murmured: “She was one
    Of God’s own darlings lent;
And Angels wept that she had gone,
    And wondered why she went.

“I know they came, and talked to her,
    Through every garden breeze,
About eternal Hills of Myrrh,
    And quiet Jasper Seas.

“For her the Earth contained no charms;
    All things were strange and wild;
And I believe a Seraph’s arms
    Caught up the sainted Child.”

And Love looked round, and said: “Oh, you
    That sit by Beulah’s streams,
Shake on this thirsty life the dew
    Which brings immortal dreams!

“Ah! turn to us, and greet us oft
    With looks of pitying balm,
And hints of heaven, in whispers soft,
    To make our troubles calm.

“My Ella with the shining hair,
    Behold, these many years,
We’ve held up wearied hands in prayer;
    And groped about in tears.”

But Hope sings on: “Beyond the storm
    We’ll find the golden gates
Where, all the day, a radiant Form,
    Our Ella, sits and waits.”

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