A light and joyous figure, one that seems
As if the air were her own element;
Begirt with cheerful thoughts, and bringing back
Old days, when nymphs upon Arcadian plains
Made musical the wind, and in the sun
Flashed their bright cymbals and their whitest hands.
These were the days of poetry—the woods
Were haunted with sweet shadows; and the caves,
Odorous with moss, and lit with shining spars,
Were homes where Naiads met some graceful youth
Beneath the moonlit heaven—all this is past;
Ours is a darker and a sadder age;
Heaven help us through it!—'tis a weary world
The dust and ashes of a happier time.
Fair lake, thy lovely and thy haunted shore
Hath only echoes for the poet's lute;
None may tread there save with unsandalled foot,
Submissive to the great who went before,
Filled with the mighty memories of yore.
And yet how mournful are the records there—
Captivity, and exile, and despair,
Did they endure who now endure no more.
The patriot, the woman, and the bard,
Whose names thy winds and waters bear along;
What did the world bestow for their reward
But suffering, sorrow, bitterness, and wrong?—
Genius!—a hard and weary lot is thine—
The heart thy fuel—and the grave thy shrine.
Jane Cross Simpson of Glasgow published poems in the mid-1830s in the
Edinburgh Literary Journal and literary annuals such as Friendship's Offering and
the Juvenile Forget-Me-Not using the pseudonym “Gertrude.” A book of
poems, April Hours, came out in 1838, followed by Woman's History (1848)
and Linda; or Beauty and Genius: a Metrical Romance (1859). She was also the
author of a book of tales and sketches for children entitled The Piety of Daily
Life (1836) and of hymns, some of which were published in Lyra Britannica
(1867) and in the Scottish Evangelical Hymnal (1878). Her best-known hymn
is “Go, When the Morning Shineth.”