Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mary Prideaux Jenkin

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

Before the old grey fane,
In memory of our dead,
Wreath upon wreath we lay
But did I say, our dead?

When night’s dim curtain falls
Across the shadowed grass,
With eager, hasting feet
Somehow, I think they pass

Before the old church door,
And with dear love-lit eyes
They stand and gaze awhile,
Where dear remembrance lies.

And we whose dead they are
Perchance in slumber, see
A loved, remembered face,
And bless dear memory.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

The temple is old
And the lights burn long,
But soft and low
Comes the evensong.

And the temple bells
From the crumbling walls,
Ring strangely sweet,
As the twilight falls.

Ring strangely sweet,
For one who waits
The warning clang
Of the closing gates;

Who sings alone
The vesper hymn,
While the temple’s lights
Burn low and dim.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

When the organ plays I forget life’s pain,
And all of its troubled way;
And I vision a stretch of endless shore
‘Neath the sky of an endless day.

When the deep notes throb with triumphant swell,
I think of the jasper walls
Of that beautiful city that stands four square,
Where no shadow of night ever falls.

In its softest tones I hear again
Dear voices that death has stilled,
And feel again the tender clasp
Of hands that of old have thrilled.

On its joyous notes my soul soars out
Till it reaches that endless of days;
And faces I loved press close up to mine,
And smile—when the organ plays.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

Ring out, Cathedral bells,
Ring out at morn for me,
And tell my waiting heart
This life is but a part
Of life that is to be.

Ring on, ye peaceful bells,
While day’s noon passeth still,
Lest we forget,
‘Midst all life’s fret,
To do the Master’s will.

Ring softly, evening bells,
Ring at the long day’s close,
Ere eyes that weep
Shall close in sleep,
Ring for their deep repose.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

God builded Himself a temple,
And He alone kept the key;
My heart was the temple’s altar,
The priesthood He trusted to me.

And what of the temple He builded,
What doth the builder see?
Are the temple’s precincts holy?
Is it incense—sanctity?

Are the lights on its altar burning,
Or have they flickered low?
Is God in His temple at morning?
Is He there at even-glow?

Is the praise God hears in His temple
Acceptable in His sight?
Are there glad Te Deums at morning?
Are there vespers sweet—at night?

What doth He find on the altar
When He cometh there each day?
Doth He say the offering pleaseth,
Or doth He turn away?

What of the night that cometh,
When He genjly sealeth the door?
What of the morning breaking
When He entereth in—no more?

When the temple is wrapped in silence
And the altar fires are dead;
What of the priest of the temple
Who, too, from the altar hath fled?

Lord God, who hast builded this temple,
When Thou comest to seal the door,
May’st Thou find in its Holy of Holies,
Love that is Thine evermore.

Whilst the shadows grow grey and lengthen
Round the windows barred and fast
And the altar is forgotten
As the silent years steal past,

Let the fragrance of incense linger,
About the fast closed door
Whilst the passing years spread slowly
Their dust on the temple’s floor.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

We are but ships within the bay
Preparing for the sailing day,
Some hourly leave midst smiles and tears
(The tribute of the waiting years).
They carry to the distant shore
A cargo full of precious store.
Ah, how we watch till gathering night
Has hidden these loved ships from sight.
And we must sail some time, as they,
We waiting ships within the bay.

Of all the ships that to and fro
At anchor ride, one ship I know.
Its hold is full of precious store,
Though seas be rough and waves may roar
Serene it floats within life’s bay.
Ah, may its sailing long delay
Down the years, oh, may I see
This brother ship, so dear to me,
Stay on at sunset, longer stay,
The others leave, sail not away.

Oh, other ships within the bay,
Who wait with me the sailing day;
Help me to gather for my hold
These treasures better far than gold.
For we must work while yet ‘tis day,
Or empty ships must sail away
To drift upon an unknown tide
(An empty ship no storm could ride).
So would I load that when I sail
My ship shall weather life’s last gale.

What carry you, who wait with me
The captain’s word, “Put out to sea”—
The cargo better far than gold?
Sail not, sail not, with empty hold.
Fill, fill your ships, without delay,
The night may find you on your way,
No loading while we cross the bar;
The ships lie still, no work must mar
The sailing o’er that strange, strong tide,
That ocean new, so vast and wide.

Oh, waiting ships within the bay,
Be ready for your sailing day.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

This, of earth’s music, I have heard:
The sound of wind, through ripened corn,
That gently swayed each golden head
And kissed the vagrant poppies red,
Upon a summer morn.

The murmuring of the restless waves,
That fringe a silvered moonlit sea;
Across whose magic pathway lay
Forgotten dreams of yesterday,
The moonbeams gave to me.

The liquid notes of music sweet
(When night is past and day new born)
When from a branch of some tall tree
A blackbird sings melodiously,
His welcome to the morn.

The gentle cadence of a brook,
That rippled through the quiet shade;
And wooed to life from many a plot,
A tender, blue forget-me-not.
To hear the song it made.

The wondrous music of the storm
(The restless spirit’s dear delight),
Thunder’s reverberating roar
Across a bleak and sullen moor,
Wild music of the night.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

Oh! Christmas lilies, pure and white and holy,
Your radiant beauty seems too fair for earth;
What heaven-born incense to the Meek and Lowly
You offer while we celebrate His birth.

Your radiance, lilies white, is of that city
Whose light is not of sun, or moon, or star;
He fashioned you who sent the Christ in pity,
In all your waxen beauty—His you are.

Oh ! fragrant lilies, to the One so lowly,
Whate’er of change the passing years shall bring,
At Christmastide breathe incense pure and holy,
While carols sweet ascend to heaven’s King.

Through coming years, while dark’ning shadows creeping,
Hide all our dearest, one by one, from sight,
With Him who hath the lilies in His keeping,
At eventide, for us, it shall be light.


printed Caxton Press

(On the Gift of the Gods)
by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

An empty soul, ah the gods all sigh,
What gift shall be meet as it speedeth by;
Lest earth’s joys it also miss.

Let the outward form be of matchless grace,
Let the soul be hid by a flawless face;
Let the gift of the gods be this.

A perfect soul—once again they spake.
What gift have the gods that this soul can take,
A gift that is good—to earth.

Lest the touch of earth should dim its fire,
Let the casket be such that none desire,
Let this be our gift at its birth.


printed Caxton Press


by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

Old rock, as you stand grey and rugged
There on the Sumner shore,
What are the waves all asking
Down at your side evermore.
Do they ask of the ships, the grey grey ships
Do they ask of the ships that rode
Out on the tide, when the moon was high,
The ships with the goodly load.

Where are the feet, boy feet; do they say
The brown boy feet that played
There by your rock pools cool and dark
Where are the feet that strayed
Down by your side where the seaweed clings?
Old rock, do your hear them still?
Is it a dirge for the crosses white
Set on a far, lone hill?

A dirge for the hands so still beneath,
For the feet that will climb no more
Your rugged sides, as in boyish glee
They did, in days of yore.
Is it a requiem, sad and low
For the brave whose sun is set;
Is it for these, for these, old rock
The waves seem calling yet.

What is the count of the years, old rock,
Of those hills purple-shadowed in hue;
Can you number the golden daybreaks
They have welcomed in, with you.
Which of you, watching the sunset
There in the western sky
Back in some silence unbroken,
First heard a sea-bird’s cry.

Or watched you the breakers lashing
A wild and wind-swept shore,
While the lightning’s fiery fingers
Drew thunder’s echoing roar;
And the rain beat down on a foreshore
Where the seaweed rested high;
Was it out of a blackened storm-cloud
You heard the bird’s lone cry.

Old rock, when the sunset has faded
And you watch with the evening star,
Do you hear the night wind moaning
Out on the Sumner bar.
When the waves come silently creeping
Over your dim cavern floor
What are they seeking and seeking
Seeking, old rock, evermore.

For ever the shadows lengthen,
And the western sky grows cold,
And ever the waves come creeping
Yet never their tale is told.
Till cometh that strange new daybreak
When the night shall no more be
And the voice of the waves is silent
And there shall be no more sea.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

City so fair, would that I had
A speaking pen to tell
Some of thy beauty to the world,
Dear place I love so well.

Could I but paint for fancy’s realm
Thine Avon as it flows,
Rippling so softly on its way
To where the wild mint grows:

Where willows with long slender arms
Hide lovely nooks from sight;
Or whisper to the flowing tide
A lingering, sweet “Good-night.”

Here, avenues of noble trees,
There, poplars tall that grow,
The age-old sentinels that guard
Thy river’s ebb and flow.

Spirit of beauty, thou art here,
Grassing each cool retreat;
We see the touches of thy hand,
The imprints of thy feet.

Here time with mossy finger paints
The passing of each hour
And silently with ivy drapes
Each old grey wall and tower.

Here, too, doth smiling Nature stand
In waiting on her queen;
In now an autumn tinted robe,
Now velvet gown of green.

One robe has she, of purest white,
Bejewelled, dazzling, rare;
Others with many flowers bedecked,
But all surpassing fair.

And ever here her sweet voice tells
In dulcet tones and low,
Of that far city, all unchanged.
While seasons come and go.

That city, beautiful and fair,
With golden streets and wide,
That river, ever flowing clear,
That wondrous crystal tide.

The tree of life on either side
There casts its pleasant shade,
And on that river’s cool banks grow
The flowers time cannot fade.

And ever when night’s curtain hides
The gilded, glowing west,
I think of where there is no night,
The City of the Blest.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

Ring out, ring out adieu, sweet bells
To all the old year’s sorrow;
And welcome in, with merry peal,
The New Year, fresh to-morrow.

Ring out, ring out all memories
Of darksome days and hours;
Ring in a year with fairer skies
And pathways strewn with flowers.

Ring, softly ring, a last “Good-bye”
To loved the year has taken;
Ring in a promise of that morn
When those who sleep shall waken.

Ring, ring sweet bells, a peal of hope,
No echo leave of sadness;
And hearts the old year filled with grief
The New Year fill with gladness.


printed Caxton Press

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

“You'll write,” we say, “you'll write.”
As through a mist of tears
We say the last “Goodbye”
And turn to face—the years.

Or with fast beating heart
We watch the coming train;
And clasping loved ones close,
Cry “Welcome home again.”

Life brings to most of us
Some meeting—some farewell,
When all our world revolves
Around the clanging bell.

So, 'neath the station's lights
Recall our human tie,
And say “God comfort those
For whom it rings 'Goodbye.' ”

The New Zealand Railways Magazine,
Volume 9, Issue 4
July 2, 1934.)

by Mary Prideaux Jenkin

Oh! There's the Express just going out;
See all the porters rushing about;
Look at the smoke, and just see the steam!
Look at the passengers—my! what a stream!
Come on the platform,—oh what a crush!
There goes the whistle—how people rush.
All aboard now—hear the old bell
Ah, now its off—puff puff—well well.

The New Zealand Railways Magazine,
Volume 9, Issue 8
November 1, 1934

Mary Prideaux Jenkin nee Hay
born 15 December 1883 at Christchurch , NZ-
died 28 September 1849 at Christchurch, NZ

portrait photographs of Mamie by an unknown photographer/s
others by AGR

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