To Henry C. Montgomery, of Ballyhackmore

Good friend and true, who, for the gifts and knowledge
That stead you well amid the clang and strife,
Are less in debt to yonder younger College
Than to the University of Life.

Take, at this time that opens the heart's fountains,
Take, at this Yuletide, from across the seas,
The greetings of the meres and of the mountains,
And of your friends who are the guests of these.

Nay, ere my rhyme, that must not halt or tarry,
Flits through the snowstorm like a battered dove,
My little firstborn daughter bids it carry,
To her big, bearded playfellow, her love.

Wild roars the blizzard. Wilder tempest rages
In Man's fierce breast, and hides from the world's eyes
The truthtellers and lightgivers and sages
That live when hatred and when fury dies.

In this ill day, what good wish shall I send you?
Vain, when our fate yet hangs in quivering doubt,
To ask that all felicity attend you,
And bid you to forget the woe without!

I can but pray that in some happier morrow,
You, and we also, gazing from afar,
May look back on this vast, life-blinding sorrow
As on the occultation of a star —

A fixed star, briefly hidden by the passing
Of a reposeless orb of blood-red glow:
Then bursting forth, where Night's bright hosts were massing,
To pour its glory undimmed, as long ago.
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