I see the grass-grown lane we trod of old, Dear father, sainted mother! while The Sabbath sun looked down with loving smile, And touched the hills and streams with rippling gold.
I hear your voices as ye talked, what time In childish pride I walked before, and thought This world a paradise, and Earth full-fraught With blessedness and love,—a summer clime
Of changeless beauty!—Ah! those streams flow on, Blue are those skies, as green the woods, as still The Sabbath hush that foldeth vale and hill In sweet embrace, but ye, beloved, are gone!
She sleeps in stranger dust.—He, old and lone, Long waited by the river, staff in hand, Till a voice called him, and he sought that land Where age takes on fresh youth to change unknown.
And we are parted, brothers, sisters dear— Alas, the band is broken!—One by one Ye left the hill-side green,—the Sabbath sun Finds those old paths to-day, forsaken, drear.
And Mem'ry paints me yet another scene— A home, love-lighted by an earnest eye— A home, of fellowship so pure, so high. I pause, and ask myself, have such things been?—
Or have I dreamed?—Was it a blessed dream?— A dream of peace, and rest, and hallowed calm,— The skies all sunshine, and the air all balm,— The tranquil hours aglow with Heaven's own beam?—
A dream?—a dream?—the long, long, clouded day That ended in a longer, sadder night, When, in my home went out that blessed light, And Love from its hushed chambers passed away?
O no!—oh no! 'Tis but the old, old tale Of human bliss and human agony,— Of morning's joy-bells ringing full and free,— And evening's hollow winds and funeral wail!
Yet thou art left me, Sabbath! In thy light I sit and muse, this sweet, June morning, till The past, with all its varied scenes of good and ill, Fades from my thought—fades, with the bliss and blight,
The short-lived transports of those buried years,— The summer flowers I gathered with such pains,— The gold I hoarded in slow-gathered grains,— All lost,—the summer chilled by Autumn's tears,—
The long, lone, flowerless autumn—when the sun, Hurled from his zenith, shivered cold and pale On the horizon's verge—the funeral wail O! tempest-burdened winds through forests dim,
And desolate, and drear,—all pass away This morn, O Sabbath, in thy hallowed light, And, glancing far beyond the infinite Of thy blue heavens, where a clearer day
Lights the Eternal hills, I seem to see The Heavenly City, whence the radiant gleam Of a fair Temple, and a crystal stream Of living water wanders down to me
In changeless light! O Home!—O Rest!-O Heaven! Thus to thy hallowed calm I'd look away, Sabbath of God!—Eternal Sabbath day! Till to my soul thy tranquil rest is given.
THE EYE THAT NEVER SLEEPS
When the heavy, midnight shadows Gather o'er a slumbering world, And the banner folds of darkness Are in gloomy pomp unfurled,— Think, lone watcher, pale and tearful, In thy sad, unpitied lot, By the death couch waking, weeping, There is One who slumbers not!— One who, though no mourning brother Share thy vigils lone and drear, Loving, pitying, as no other Loves or pities, watches near!
When the waves, o'erwrought by tempest, Lift their strong arms to the skies, And amid the inky darkness Shrieks of winds and waters rise,— Mariner, 'mid doubt and danger, Wildly tossed upon the deep, Think, o'er all in power presiding There is One who does not sleep— One who holds the risen tempest In obedience to His will, Who, to still its wildest fury, Need but whisper—"Peace, be still"
When, weighed down by heavy anguish, Waking, sad, at midnight lone, Sorrowing mourner, thou dost languish For affection's missing tone,— When thy heart o'er buried treasures In its uncheered misery weeps, Think, that gently watching o'er thee, Is an eye that never sleeps! And, above the mournful shadows, Lift thy heart so lone and riven, Up to Him who 'mid thy sorrows Wooes thee still to hope and Heaven
BY AND BY
God will not let His bright gifts die If I may not sing my songs just now I shall sing them by and by
A young man with a Poet's soul, And a Poet's kindling eye— Dark, dreamy, full of unvoiced thought— And forehead calm and high, Toiled wearily at his heavy task Till his soul grew sick with pain, And the pent up fires that burned within Seemed withering heart and brain
"Work, work, work!" he murmured low, Glancing up at the golden west— Work, with the sunset heavens aglow By the hands of angels dressed, Work for this perishing, human clay, While the soul, like a prisoned bird, Flutters its helpless wings always By passionate longings stirred
"I hear in the wandering zephyr's song Tones that no others hear, And alien melodies all day long Are murmuring in my ear,— Phantoms of beauty in cloud and flower Haunt me where'er I stray, And flit thro' the green of the summer bower, At the close of each toil spent day
"There are voices that sigh in the wind's low sigh, Or wail in the tempest's roar,— That sing in the brooklets that wander by, Or sob along ocean's shore;— I hear them ever, yet may not stay, To list to the rhythmic strain; And the unvoiced melodies die away, Never to come again.
"Something I see in the lightning's flash That my fellows may not see, And something hear in the thunder's crash, That cometh alone to me;— But the glory fades ere I gather it in, And fix it in brain or heart; And the strains I caught thro' the elements' din, Are lost in Toil's crowded mart.
"O haunting strains of unuttered song! O tenderest melodies lost! O sweet, stray notes of the heavenly throng On the wing of the tempest tossed! O spirit-harp that, untouched, untuned, To each subtle influence thrills, As thrills some wild, Aeolian harp, To the breezes that sweep the hills!—
"I thirst, I pant, to be free to list To the voices that call to me, From flood and fountain, from vale and height, From forest, and shore, and sea,— To gaze on the Beauty whose subtle fire Breaks on me thro' Nature's eyes, And pour from the strings of my unused lyre All tenderest harmonies!"
Ah, thirsty spirit! the day will come, When, the sway of this mortal o'er, Thou shall strike thy lyre with a fearless hand On a brighter, calmer shore; For God, who giveth the breath of Song, Will not let His bright gifts die; And though thy harp-strings be silent long, Thou shalt waken them by and by.
Aye! and the Music that seemeth lost Shall linger in Memory's cells, As lingers along the Alpine heights The echo of vesper-bells;— Not lost, but waiting the freer pulse Of the life thou yet shalt know, To blend with the tides of enraptured song That the Heavenly heights o'erflow.
And the Beauty that, lost to thee, seemeth now Sealed in thy heart shall stay, As the sun-ray sealed in the diamond's heart, Burns on with unchanging ray, Then take with gladness the joy that steals The sting of thy toil away, And wait in hope for the higher joy That shall crown thee another day.
THE ONE REFUGE.
Storms gather o'er thy path, Christian!—the sullen, tempest-darkened sky Grows lurid with the elemental wrath,— Say, whither wilt thou fly?
God is my Refuge!—let the tempests come, They will but speed me sooner to my home!
Night lowers in sullen gloom, Christian!—a long, dark night awaiteth thee, Dreary as Egypt's night of fear and doom,— Where will thy hiding be?
God is my refuge!—in the dreary night In Him I dwell, and have abundant light!
Thine is a lonely way, Christian!—and dangers all thy path infest; Pitfalls and snares crowd all thy doubtful way,— Where is thy place of rest?
God is my Refuge!—safe in Him I move, And feel no fear, kept by sustaining Love.
The grave—that dreary place, Christian, the lonely dwelling in the dust Awaits thee; 'tis the doom of all thy race,— Where, then, shall be thy trust?
God is my refuge! Sweet will be my rest On the dear pillow that my Saviour pressed!
Alas!—that dreamless sleep— Christian, its chains are strong, and hard to break; All thy belov'd sleep on in silence deep, And dost thou hope to wake?
God is my refuge! I shall wake and sing— "O grave! where is thy vict'ry?—death thy sting?"
He sleeps where the billow Lifts high its white crest O'er his lone, sea-weed pillow On Ocean's dark breast; No shroud is around him, No flowers bloom above, No mourners surround him With grief-drops of love.
But the limitless ocean His requiem sings, As, with tireless motion, The green billow springs Toward the infinite heaven, Blue, bending above, Where angels are watching His slumbers in love.
Oh! boundless his tomb is, Far-reaching, sublime, Stretching forth in immenseness To every clime; Thus boundless his love was, On every side Spreading freely wherever Man sorrowed or died.
Sleep, Judson! no grave-dust Shall rest on thy head, In sunlight or starlight No marble shall shed Its shadow sepulchral Above thee,—no tomb Save Earth's grandest and vastest, May give to thee room!
Man marks not thy pillow With yew-tree or stone; But God, o'er the billow, Keeps watch of His own; And glorious thy rising, O crowned one, will be, When Jehovah shall summon His dead from the sea!
SHALL BE FREE.
"ALL PERSON'S HELD AS SLAVES, within said designated States and parts of States, ARE, AND HENCEFORWARD SHALL BE FREE!" —Proclamation of Emancipation, Jan. 1st, 1863.
"Shall be free! shall be free!"—lo, the strong winds have caught it, And borne it from hill top to hill top afar, And echo to answering echo has taught it, Through the din of the conflict, the thunder of war! It has flashed like the lightning from ocean to ocean, Across the black face of the skies it has blazed, And strong men have thrilled with unwonted emotion, And shouted for joy as they listened and gazed!
"Shall be free! shall be free!"—the poor, manacled "chattel" Has caught the sweet word amid fetters and blows; It has burst on his ear through the tumult of battle, Through the shoutings of friends and the cursings of foes; And lifting his poor, fettered hands up to heaven, He has joined in the song that ascended to God; Or, kneeling in trembling rapture, has given Thanksgiving to Him who has broken the rod!
"Shall be free! shall be free!"—there are ears that have listened, There are lips that have prayed through long, agonized years, There are eyes that with hope's fitful radiance have glistened Yet, as hope was deferred, have grown heavy with tears Joy! joy!—thou hast heard it at last, lonely weeper, Look up, for the prayer of thy anguish is heard. Look up, ye bruised spirits, for God is your keeper, And the heart of His boundless compassion is stirred.
"Shall be free! shall be free!"—O Humanity, listen The Dawn that long since on the pale "Watcher" shone Now higher, and brighter, and clearer has risen, As the Day star rides on toward the glories of noon. Those words that rang out from the isles of the ocean, Sarmatia has echoed from mountain to sea And America, from her red field of commotion, He echoes the same stirring words—"Shall be free!"
Hark!—all the wild air is astir with the tempest! The swift lightnings leap in red arrows on high! Winds shriek to mad winds, and the hoarse thunder answer As it ploughs its dread path through the shuddering sky! There are hisses of serpents, and howlings of demons, And moanings of anguish by land and by sea, But, clearer than angel tones, high o'er the tumult, Rings out the glad utterance—"they shall be free!"
And lo! dimly seen, on the crest of the billow Lashed white by the storm, undismayed and serene, Moves that form that once bent o'er the sufferer's pillow, And touched the dim eyes till strange glories were seen And sweetly, to ears that will patiently listen, That voice which spake "peace" to turbulent sea, Now speaks through the roar of the tempest uprisen, In tones unmistakable,—"THEY SHALL BE FREE!"
AFTER FIFTY YEARS
A MOTHER'S ADDRESS TO HER FAMILY ON HER GOLDEN-WEDDING DAY.
Just fifty years, my daughters, Just fifty years, my son, Since your sire and I together The march of life begun. It does not seem so long ago As half a hundred years, Since hand in hand we started out, To face life's toils and tears.
And toils, and tears, too, we have met; Yet sunbeams oft have come— Many and beautiful, and bright— To cheer our happy home; Sweet infant faces, thro' the years, Are smiling back to me; And, God be praised, each precious one Still at my side I see!
Yet ye are changed, my children three, Your baby-bloom is gone; And you are growing old, I see, Grey hairs are coming on; Yet when I, musing, close my eyes, I see you as you were In those old years when cloudless skies Dropped sunshine on your hair.
The patter of your busy feet Still rings upon the floor, And song, and jest, and laughter sweet Float round me as of yore;— Yet when I open eager eyes, To watch your pastimes gay, Your children's faces round me rise— Yourselves have done with play.
And there was one—a little one— Who slumbered on my breast— I loved and cherished as my own, That dove that sought your nest; And she is here,—I see her face Among my own to-day;— Thank God for all the loves I trace, Along life's devious way!
And yet there's one we miss to-day,— The last to quit our side,— The one who wandered far away The day she was a bride. Were she but here, our chain of love No missing link would show, And every face we called our own Would still around us glow.
Well, half a century is, I know, A long, long stretch of time; And truly once we deemed it so, When we were in our prime. But as we've glided down the years They've shorter seemed to grow, And now, how brief the time appears Since fifty years ago!
And, husband, you and I have changed Since that old wedding day;— I viewed you then with partial eyes— "Fond, girlish eyes" you'd say;— But were my eyes as keen as then, And I allowed to scan The handsomest of handsome men, You still would be the man.
The man of men!—'twas so I thought Just fifty years ago, When you and I joined hands for life; And yet, I did not know Half—half as well as I do now, How dear you were that day; And ever dearer still you've grown As years have rolled away!
And still this fiftieth wedding-day I have thee by my side— An old man, weary, bent, and grey, My tall tree tempest tried. And yet I do aver that thou Art fairer in my sight, As in thy face I gaze just now, Than on our wedding night!
And husband—oh, the best of all, We'll soon be young again, And free to tread with buoyant feet A brighter, holier plain;— We'll soon have done with pain and age, And weariness and strife, Soon end our earthly pilgrimage In new, exultant life.
For you and I, dear, have a home— A mansion of our own— Where change and blight can never come, And sorrow is unknown; And soon we're going to enter in, And with our Lord sit down,— Heirs of His glory and His bliss, His kingdom and His crown!
Many we love have thither gone, And soon we'll be there too,— And, children, you will follow on, We shall look out for you Oh, may we, in that blessed throng Of saved ones robed in white, Not miss a single dear loved face That smiles on ours to night!
Just fifty years of wedded life In the dear past I see, Before us spreads—not fifty years— But all Eternity And while, 'mid ever deepening bliss, The tranquil ages glide, Still, hand in hand and heart in heart, With Christ we shall abide!
THE EARTH VOICE AND ITS ANSWER
I plucked a fair flower that grew In the shadow of summer's green trees— A rose petalled flower, Of all in the bower, Best beloved of the bee and the breeze I plucked it, and kissed it, and called it my own— This beautiful, beautiful flower That alone in the cool, tender shadow had grown, Fairest and first in the bower
Then a murmur I heard at my feet— A pensive and sorrowful sound, And I stooped me to hear, While tear after tear Rained down from my eyes to the ground, As I, listening, heard This sorrowful word, So breathing of anguish profound:—
"I have gathered the fairest and best, I have gathered the rarest and sweetest, My life-blood I've given As an off'ring to Heaven In this flower, of all flowers the completest Through the long, quiet night, With the pale stars in sight,— Through the sun-lighted day Of the balm-breathing May, I have toiled on, in silence, to bring To perfection this beautiful flower, The pride of the blossoming bower— The queenliest blossom of spring.
"But I am forgotten;—none heed Me—the brown soil where it grew, That drank in by day The sun's blessed ray, And gathered at twilight the dew;— That fed it by night and by day With nectar drops slowly distilled In the secret alembic of earth, And diffused through each delicate vein Till the sunbeams were charmed to remain, Entranced in a dream of delight, Stealing in with their arrows of light Through the calyx of delicate green, The close-folded petals between, Down into its warm hidden heart— Until, with an ecstatic start At the rapture, so wondrous and new, That throbbed at its innermost heart, Wide opened the beautiful eyes, And lo! with a sudden surprise Caught the glance of the glorious sun— The ardent and worshipful one— Looking down from his heavenly place, And the blush of delighted surprise Remained in its warm glowing dyes, Evermore on that radiant face
"Then mortals, in worshipful mood, Bent over my wonderful flower, And called it 'the fairest,' The richest, the rarest, The pride of the blossoming bower But I am forgotten. Ah me! I, the brown soil where it grew, That cherished and nourished The stem where it flourished, And fed it with sunshine and dew
"O Man! will it always be thus?— Will you take the rich gifts that are given By the tireless workers of earth, By the bountiful Father in heaven, And, intent on the worth of the gift, Never think of the maker, the giver?— Of the long patient effort,—the thought That secretly grew in the brain Of the Poet to measure and strain, Till it burst on your ear, richly fraught With the rapturous sweetness of song?—
What availeth it, then, that ye toil, You, thought's patient producers, to be Unloved and unprized, Trodden down and despised By those whom you toil for, like me— Forgotten and trampled like me?—"
Then my heart made indignant reply, In spite of my fast falling tears— In spite of the wearisome years Of toil unrequited that lay In the track of the past, and the way Thorn-girded I'd trod in those years—
"So be it, if so it must be!— May I know that the thing I so patiently bring From the depths of the heart and the brain, A creature of beauty goes forth, Midst the hideous phantoms that press And crowd the lone paths of this work-weary life, Midst the labor and care, the temptation and strife, To gladden and comfort and bless!
"So be it, if so it must be!— May I know that the thing I so patiently bring From the depths of the heart and the brain, Goes forth with a conquerors might, Through the gloom of this turbulent world, Potent for truth and for right, Where truth has so often been hurled 'Neath the feet of the throng— The hurrying, passionate throng!—
"What matter though I be forgot, Since toil is itself a delight?— Since the power to do, To the soul that is true, Is the uttered command of the Lord To labor and faint not, but still To pursue and achieve, And ever believe. That ACHIEVEMENT ALONE IS REWARD!"
BEYOND THE SHADOWS.
Thou hast entered the land without shadows, Thou who, 'neath the shadow, so long Hast sat with thy white hands close-folded, And lips that could utter no song; Through a rift in the cloud, for an instant, Thine eyes caught a glimpse of that shore, And Earth with its gloom was forgotten, And Heaven is thine own evermore!
We see not the glorious vision, Nor the welcoming melodies hear, That, from bowers of beauty Elysian, Float tenderly sweet to thine ear; Round us, lie Earth's desolate midnight, Her winter-plains bare and untrod,— Round thee, is the glad, morning sunlight That beams from the City of God!
Our eyes have grown heavy with weeping,— Thine, "the King in his beauty" behold And thou leanest thy head on His bosom, Like him, the beloved, of old; The days of thy weeping are ended, Thy sorrow and suffering done, And angels thy flight have attended To the side of the Crucified One.
On thy hearth-stone the ashes are fireless, In thy dark home the lights never burn, In thy garden the sweet flowers have perished, To thy bower no song-birds return! Yet a mansion of bliss glory-lighted, Where anguish and death are unknown, Where beauty and bloom are unblighted, Henceforth is forever thine own!
Oh! joy for thee, glorified spirit! With Jesus forever to be, And with sinless and sainted companions The bliss of His Paradise see! Joy, joy!—for thy warfare is finished, Thy perilous journeying o'er, And, above the deep gloom of Earth's shadows, Thou art dwelling in Light evermore!
AUTUMN AND WINTER.
Beautiful Autumn is dead and gone— Weep for her! Calm, and gracious, and very fair, With sunny robe and with shining hair, And a tender light in her dreamy eye, She came to earth but to smile and die— Weep for her!
Nay, nay, I will not weep! She came with a smile, And tarried awhile, Quieting Nature to sleep;— Then went on her way O'er the hill-tops grey, And yet—and yet, she is dead, you say! Nay!—she brought us blessings, and left us cheer, And alive and well shell return next year!— Why should I weep?
Desolate Winter has come again— Frown on him! He comes with a withering breath, With a gloomy scowl, With a shriek and a howl, Freezing Nature to death! He stamps on the hills, He fetters the rills, And every hollow with snow he fills! Frown on the monster grim and old, With snowy robes and with fingers cold, And a gusty breath!
Nay, nay! I shall give him a smile!— For I know by the sleet, And the snow in the street, He has come to tarry awhile. Ho, for the sleigh-bells merrily ringing! Ho, for the skaters joyously singing— Over the ice-fields gliding, swinging!— So let the Winter-king whiten the plain! Fetter the fountains and frost the pane, His greeting shall be— Not a frown from me, But a smile—a smile!
Good night! good night!—the golden day Has veiled its sunset beam, And twilight's star its beauteous ray Has mirrored in the stream;— Low voices come from vale and height, And murmur soft, good night! good night!
Good night!—the bee with folded wings Sleeps sweet in honeyed flowers, And far away the night-bird sings In dreamy forest bowers, And slowly fades the western light In deepening shade,—good night! good night!
Good night! good night!—in whispers low The ling'ring zephyr sighs, And softly, in its dreamy flow, The murm'ring brook replies; And, where yon casement still is bright, A softer voice has breathed good-night!
Good night!—as steals the cooling dew Where the young violet lies, E'en so may slumber steal anew To weary human eyes, And softly steep the aching sight In dewy rest—good night! good night!
OUR COUNTRY; —OR,— A CENTURY OF PROGRESS.
Over the waves of the Western sea, Led by the hand of Hope she came— The beautiful Angel of Liberty— When the sky was red with the sunset's flame,— Came to a rocky and surf-beat shore, Lone, and wintry, and stern, and wild, The waves behind her, and wastes before, And the Angel of Liberty, pausing, smiled.
"Here, O Sister, shall be our rest!" Softly she sang, and the waters shone While a mellower radiance flushed the west, Lingering mountain and vale upon;— Sweetly the murmurous melody blent With flow of rivers and woodland song, And wandering breezes that singing went, Joyously wafted the notes along.
Acadia lifted her mist-wreathed brow, Westerly gazing with eager eye, And lakes that sat in the sunset glow Flashed back upon her in glad reply;— On, with every murmuring stream, On, with every wandering breeze, Floated the strain through the New World's dream, Till it died on the far Pacific seas.
* * *
Many a season came and went,— Many a changeful year sped by,— Many a forest its proud head bent,— Many a valley looked up to the sky; Patient Labor and bold Emprise, Art, Invention, Science, Skill, Each for each 'neath those northern skies Toiled together with earnest will.
Up the mountain, and down the glen, And far away to the level West, Hosts of dauntless, unwearied men Onward ever with firm foot pressed; The blue axe gleamed in the wintry light, And forests melted like mist away, Through virgin soils went the ploughshare bright. And harvests brightened the summer day.
Learning gathered around her feet Listening crowds of aspiring youth; Meek Religion with accents sweet Guided her vot'ries in ways o' truth; Countless church-spires pierced the skies, Countless temples of Science wooed To thought's arena of high emprise An eager, emulous multitude.
White sails dotted the waters blue, Hamlets smiled amid valleys green, Populous cities sprang and grew Where swamp and wilderness erst were seen; Fleet as the tempest the iron-steed Shook the hills with his thunderous tread; From shore to shore, with the lightning's speed, Couriers electric man's errands sped.
Then kindred States that had stood apart Stretched to each other fraternal hands, And, each to all, with a loyal heart, Bound themselves with enduring bands;— Then the Angel of Liberty smiled once more, Softly singing—"O Lands, well done!" And the strains were wafted from shore to shore To the far-off climes of the setting sun.
"Here, O Sister, shall be our rest!" —Again the beautiful Angel sung— Long, oh long, shall these climes be blessed, Free and fetterless, brave and young, If only loyal to Him who reigns Over all nations the Lord Most-High, Monarch of Heaven's serene domains, Ruler of all things below the sky.
"Bow to His service, O young, bright lands! Give Him the bloom of your joyous youth! Lift to Him alway adoring hands! Worship Him ever in love and truth! So shall ye still, as the glad years rise, Ever more stable and glorious be, Heir of all loftiest destinies, HOPE OF HUMANITY! HOME OF THE FREE!"
JESUS THE SOULS REST.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
I gave myself to Jesus In my sunny childhood's years, When on my young, unsullied cheek There lay no trace of tears; I little knew what gift I gave, Nor yet what gift I took; For life without and life within Were each a sealed-up book.
But soon enough unfolding years Brought sorrow, toil, and pain,— Brought disappointment's burning tears, And yearnings wild and vain; And then I learned what precious Gift In Jesus I received In that still hour of childish trust, When my young heart believed.
'Twas then I knew what arm unseen Was round me 'mid the strife, The blighted hope, the toil uncheered, The cold, rude storms of life; And when the reeds on which I leaned All failed me one by one, I clasped my pierced and bleeding hands, And wept, but not alone.
For He was near me midst the strife, And, leaning on His arm, I trod the thorny paths of life, Safe sheltered from all harm; The while He whispered to my heart, "I gave my life for thee! Then, heavy laden as thou art, Cast all thy care on me!"
"On me! ON ME!"—oh, gentle word!— O Sympathy divine!— O Fount of joy, how deeply stirred, Within this heart of mine!— O cool, sweet Waters, how ye stilled The fever of my brain,— And soothed the heart-strings that had thrilled With agonizing pain!
My own,—My Rock!—the heavy tide May beat in uproar dread, Calmly 'gainst its unmoving side I rest my weary head;— For well I know how deep it strikes Beneath the raging flood— My Soul's firm Anchor 'mid the strife, My Refuge and my God!
THE BEAUTIFUL ARTIST.
There's a beautiful Artist abroad in the world, And her pencil is dipped in heaven,— The gorgeous hues of Italian skies, The radiant sunset's richest dyes, The light of Aurora's laughing eyes, Are each to her pictures given.
As I walked abroad yestere'en, what time The sunset was fairest to see, I saw where her wonderful brush had been Over a maple tree—half of it green— And the fairiest col'ring that ever was seen She had left on that maple tree.
There was red of every possible hue, There was yellow of every dye, From the faintest straw-tint to orange bright, Fluttering, waving, flashing in light, With the delicate, green leaves still in sight, Peeping out at the sunset sky.
She had touched the beech, and the scraggy thing. In a bright new suit was dressed; Very queer, indeed, it looked to me, The sober old beech tree thus to see, So different from what he used to be, Rigged out in a holiday vest.
Red, and russet, and green, and grey— He had little indeed of gold— For the beech was never known to be gay, Being noted a very grave tree alway, Never flaunting out in a fanciful way Like other trees, we are told.
But the beautiful artist had touched him off With an extra tint or so; And he held his own very well with the rest, On which, I am sure, she had done her best, Dressing each in the fairiest kind of a vest, Till the forest was all aglow.
There were the willow that grew by the brook, And the old oak on the hill; The graceful elm tree down in the swale, The birch, the ash, and the bass-wood pale, The orchard trees clustering over the vale, And weeds that fringed the rill.
One, she had gilt with a flood of gold, And one, she had tipped with flame; One, she had dashed with every hue That the laughing sunset ever knew, And one—she had colored it through and through Russet, all sober and tame.
Now this beautiful artist will only stay A very few days, and then, She will finish her gorgeous pictures all, And hurry away ere the gusty squall Ruins her work, and the sere leaves fail Darkly in copse and glen.
Then welcome these pictures, so soon to fade, While they're fresh, and bright, and new, For a frosty night, and a gusty day, And a withering blight are not far away, So enjoy the beautiful while you may, It was given, good friend, for you!
"LET US PRAY"
[Footnote: A precious memory is associated with these words. The voice that uttered them is silent now but the solemnity of their utterance has not passed away. The [below] is a feeble attempt to give it something like permanency.]
Bow the head in supplication, Lowly, penitent, sincere, Worthiest of adoration, God, the Holy One is here!— Here, while through the open casement Gently beams the rising day, While, in contrite self abasement, Rev'rently we kneel and pray!
Let us pray!—we're weak and weary, Faint of heart and slow of limb, Over mountains dark and dreary Lies our pathway—narrow, dim, Thorn beset and demon-haunted, Steep and slipp'ry is the way, Would we tread it all undaunted, Firm of footstep?—let us pray!
Let us pray!—on every spirit, Secret, solemn records lie, Of transgression and demerit, On'y seen by God's pure eye,— Secret sins, desires unholy, Thoughts impure that once held sway,— Oh, in penitence most lowly, Deeply contrite, let us pray!
Let us pray!—we need forgiveness,— Strength and patience to endure,— For our arduous labors fitness,— Spirits consecrate and pure, Shelter need when storms are round us,— Bread of Heavenly life each day,— Help when hidden snares surround us,— Guidance always—let us pray!
RICH AND POOR
Old Aleck, the weaver, sat in the nook Of his chimney, reading an ancient book, Old, and yellow, and sadly worn, With covers faded, and soiled, and torn;— And the tallow candle would flicker and flare As the wind, which tumbled the old man's hair, Swept drearily in through a broken pane, Damp and chilling with sleet and rain.
Yet still, unheeding the changeful light, Old Aleck read on and on that night; Sometimes lifting his eyes, as he read, To the cob-webb'd rafters overhead;— But at length he laid the book away, And knelt by his broken stool to pray; And something, I fancied, the old man said About "treasures in Heaven" of which he'd read.
A wealthy merchant over the way Sat in his lamp-light's steady ray, Where many a volume richly bound And heavily gilded was lying round. One, with glittering clasps was there, Embossed, and pictured, and wondrous fair; But the printed words were the very same As those I read by the flickering flame That gave me light as I stooped to look Into the old man's tattered book, And I knew by the page's spotless white, No hand had opened it yet to the light.
"Treasures In Heaven"!—what, rich man, heir To countless thousands, your thoughts are—where? With these he read of?—No; ah, no!— Over the storm-vexed waters they go, Where stout ships buffet the blast to-night, With never a glimmering star in sight!
Day fretted the east with its stormy gold, But the turbulent ocean raged and rolled, And dashed on many a rock girt shore The wrecks of ships that would sail no more,— Lifting, at times, to the topmost wave Ghastly faces no hand could save,— And then, far down with his treasures vain, Burying each in the depths again.
And the merchant looked from his mansion fair, Over the ocean, with troubled air; And thought of his treasures, in one short night Whelmed in the deep by the tempest's might;— Ah,—I knew by that pale brow's deepening gloom, That he owned no treasure beyond the tomb.
Day fretted the east with its stormy gold, Creeping slow through a casement old, And stealing sadly with faint, cold ray Into the hut where the old man lay. White and still was the scattered hair, And the hands were crossed with a reverent air;— Calm and stirless the eyelids lay, Pale as marble and cold as clay, But the lips were tenderly wreathed, the while, With the beautiful light of a saintly smile; And I knew he had passed from that desolate room To a fadeless treasure beyond the tomb.
THREE YEARS OLD.
A light departed from the hearth of home, Leaving a shadow where its radiance shone,— A flower just bursting into life and bloom, Lopped from its stem, the bower left sad and lone,— A golden link dropped from love's precious chain,— Gem from affection's sacred casket riven,— Of music's richest tones a missing strain,— A bird-note hushed in the blue summer heaven!
That light is gathered to its Source again, Though long its radiance will be missed on earth, That flower, transplanted to a sunnier plain, Bloometh immortal where no blight has birth; That missing link gleams in Love's chain above,— That lost gem sparkles on the Saviour's breast,— That music-uttrance, tuned to holier love, Swells richly 'mid the anthems of the blest. Thank God! there's nothing lost! A little while, And what ye miss will be your own again E'en the dear clay once more will on you smile With life immortal throbbing in each vein Tis well to leave your treasure with the Lord— With One so tender your beloved to see,— Back to the Source of life a life restored— Then where your treasure is let your affections be!
Balmy morning! blessed morning! Dew-drops bright All the emerald glade adorning In thy light— In thy golden glowing beam With an ever-changeful gleam Flashing sparkling deeply glowing Varying tints of beauty showing Everywhere Radiant are In thy welcome light!
Balmy morning! blessed morning! Flowers look up, With a precious, pearly off'ring, In each cup— Dewy off'ring gleaned by night, As a tribute to the light,— Far more precious than the gem Of a monarch's diadem, Is the gift Which they lift To thy welcome light!
Balmy morning! blessed morning! Sounds of mirth, From the vocal vales ascending, Hail thy birth. Happy birds in echoing bowers, Waken all their tuneful powers, And spontaneous music springs From all animated things,— Verdant hills, Tuneful rills, Joyful greet thy light!
Balmy morning! blessed morning! How serene, In thy calm and cloudless dawning Smiles the scene! Even man, by care oppressed, Feels thy gladness thrill his breast, Hails thee as a source of bliss, Precious in a world like this, Gratefully Blessing thee— Welcome, morning light!
Oh, take me where the wild flowers bloom!
Oh, take me where the wild flowers bloom! I'm dying, mother dear! And shades of ever deepening gloom Are round, and o'er me here,— The city's din is in my ear, Its glitter mocks my eye,— Oh, take me where the skies are clear. And the hills are green, to die!
I do not dread the shadowy vale, The river deep and chill,— For, leaning on my Saviour's arm, My soul shall fear no ill,— But oh, to pass from Earth away Where skies are blue above, Where glad birds sing, and streamlets play, And soft winds breathe of love!
And oh, within these fevered hands, To clasp my flowers again! To lay them on my weary breast, And round my throbbing brain! Then, feel the South wind o'er me pass As long ago it swept, When, 'mid the scented summer grass, I laid me down and slept!
Oh, ever, in my fevered dreams, The fountain's play I hear,— The sighing winds, the rippling streams, The robin's music clear,— Old pleasant sounds are in my ear, Sweet visions meet my eye— Oh take me, take me, mother dear, To the summer hills, to die!
Tearing up the stubborn soil, Trudging, drudging, toiling, moiling, Hands, and feet, and garments soiling— Who would grudge the ploughman's toil? Yet there's lustre in his eye, Borrowed from yon glowing sky, And there's meaning in his glances That bespeak no dreamer's fancies; For his mind has precious lore Gleaned from Nature's sacred store.
Toiling up yon weary hill, He has worked since early morning, Ease, and rest, and pleasure scorning, And he's at his labor still, Though the slanting, western beam Quivering on the glassy stream, And yon old elm's lengthened shadow Flung athwart the verdant meadow, Tell that shadowy twilight grey Cannot now be far away.
See! he stops and wipes his brow,— Marks the rapid sun's descending— Marks his shadow far-extending— Deems it time to quit the plough. Weary man and weary steed Welcome food and respite need 'Tis the hour when bird and bee Seek repose, and why not he? Nature loves the twilight blest, Let the toil worn ploughman rest
Ye, who nursed upon the breast Of ease and pleasure enervating, Ever new delights creating, Which not long retain their zest Ere upon your taste they pall, What avail your pleasures all? In his hard, but pleasant labor, He, your useful, healthful neighbor, Finds enjoyment, real, true, Vainly sought by such as you
Nature's open volume lies, Richly tinted, brightly beaming, With its varied lessons teeming, All outspread before his eyes. Dewy glades and opening flowers, Emerald meadows, vernal bowers, Sun and shade, and bird and bee, Fount and forest, hill and lea,— All things beautiful and fair, His benignant teachers are
Tearing up the stubborn soil, Trudging, drudging, toiling, moiling, Hands, and feet, and garments soiling— Who would grudge the ploughman's toil? Yet 'tis health and wealth to him, Strength of nerve, and strength of limb, Light and fervor in his glances, Life and beauty in his fancies, Learned and happy, brave and free, Who so proud and blest as he?
"HE HATH DONE ALL THINGS WELL."
AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED TO A DEAR FRIEND ON THE DEATH OF A BELOVED FATHER.
The dawn-light wakes, and brightens to the day, And the slow sun climbs the far eastern skies, Then, down the western slopes pursues his way, Till shadows deepen and the twilight dies;— And still I muse, and wait, and list in vain For feet that never, never will return,— For loving words I may not hear again, Howe'er with ear attent I wait and yearn.
O love that never wavered, never changed! How shall I miss thee as the years go by? O tenderest heart that could be estranged!— O fount that age and suffring could not dry!— O guiding hand to earliest thought endeared— O hand that after clung so long to me!— O patient Father, honored, loved, revered! How shall I hear life's burden wanting thee?
Be still, fond heart!—another Father, thine— Both his and thine—still on thee bends His eye; Thou canst not walk alone, for Love Divine, Unseen, yet near, each starting tear will dry. Lean on the strong, true breast, of Love more deep, More constant far than earthly love may be, Who gently soothed his pain, and gave him sleep, And shall enfold, uplift, and comfort thee!
So lay thy burden in His hands, and rest! Thy Lord hath fathomed every earthly woe; With patient feet Earth's thorniest pathway pressed, And left the tomb with Heaven's light aglow;— For, what them seest not now, some other day, In lands unreached by sorrow's dreary knell, Thou in His light shalt read, and meekly say, "E'en so, dear Lord, Thou hast done all things well."
"For he looked for a city that hath foundations, whose Maker and Builder is God."
Somewhere, I know, there waits for me A home that mocks the pomp of Earth, Eye hath not seen its majesty, Nor heart conceived its priceless worth,— Talk not of crystal, gems, or gold, Or towers that flame in changeless light, Imagination, weak and cold, Faints far below the unmeasured height! And through its open doors for aye, As ages after ages glide, Without a moment's pause or stay, Flows grandly in the living tide— Brothers, redeemed ones, pressing home From every clime, from every shore, Beneath that fair celestial dome Meet to be parted nevermore!
Somewhere, I know, there waits for me A holy, tranquillized repose, Calmer than summer noontides be, Softer than twilight's tenderest close— Peace, deeper than the peace that stole O'er the vexed Galilean flood, When One, Almighty to control, Breathed o'er it the still "peace" of God. To break that calm, no throbbing pain May ever come, no chilling fears, No hopes unreached, no yearnings vain, No love-light quenched in sorrow's tears; But, while eternal ages glide, That hallowed peace without alloy Shall still increase, and still abide, A deepening fount of holiest joy.
Somewhere, I know, there wait for me Sweet tones that wander back betimes Through the charmed gates of Memory, Like far-off swell of Sabbath chimes; And fair, sweet faces, dimly seen In the uncertain light of dreams, And glances, tender and serene As star-beams mirrored soft in streams;— They wait for me who long have missed, From the lone paths I since have pressed, The hands I clasped, the lips I kissed, The loves that life's young morning blessed,— Wait long, while still, through mist and tears I darkly wend my pilgrim way, Until for me the dawn appears And night gives place to perfect day
Somewhere, I know, in brighter lands, ONE waits—"the Fairest of the Fair"— With loving words and gentle hands, To welcome all who gather there. "Father, I will," we heard Him say, "That those whom thou hast given me Be with me where I am, that they My glory evermore may see!" And there, without a veil between, The sweetness of His face to hide, Him whom I've loved yet never seen, I shall behold well satisfied— And, viewing Him, shall sweetly be Transformed into His image bright, And through a glad Eternity Walk in His love's unclouded light!
Landward the tide setteth buoyantly breezily,— Landward the waves ripple sparkling and free,— Ho, the proud ship, like a thing of life, easily, Gracefully sweeps o'er the white-crested sea! In from the far-away lands she is steering now, Straight for her anchorage, fearless and free,— Lo, as I gaze, how she seems to be nearing now, Sun-lighted shores, a still haven, and me!
Landward the tide setteth!—mark my proud argosy As the breeze flutters her pennons of snow, Wafting from far the glad mariner's melody O'er the blue waters in rhythmical flow! Tell me, oh, soul of mine, what is the freightage fair 'Neath her white wings that she beareth to thee? Treasures of golden ore, gems from Golconda's shore, Lo, she is bringing me over, the sea!
* * * * *
Seaward the tide setteth hoarsely and heavily,— Seaward the tide setteth steady and stern;— Oh, my proud ship!—she has missed the still haven! see, Baffled and drifting, far out she is borne!— Far from the shore, and the weak arms that helplessly, Wildly, are stretched toward the lessening sail!— Far, far from shore, and the white hands that hopelessly Flutter in vain in the loud shrieking gale!
Seaward the tide setteth—oh my rich argosy, Freighted with treasures ungrasped and unwon!— Oh, the dark rocks!—the dread crash!—the fierce agony!— And seaward more madly the tide rushes on! Gems and red gold won from Earth's richest treasury Straw the dark floor of the pitiless sea, Buried for aye—and my wealth-freighted argosy Fades like the mist from the ocean and me!
Eloise! Eloise! It is morn on the seas, And the waters are curling and flashing; And our rock-sheltered seat, Where the waves ever beat With a cadenced and rhythmical dashing, Is here—just here, But I miss thee, dear! And the sun-beams around me are flashing O seat, by the lonely sea, O seat, that she shared with me, Thou art all unfilled to day! And the plaintive, grieving main Hath a moan of hopeless pain That it had not yesterday.
Eloise! Eloise! It is noon; and the breeze Through the shadowy woodland is straying; And our green, mossy seat, Where the flowers kissed thy feet While the zephyrs around thee were playing, Is here—just here; But I miss thee, dear! And the breezes around me are straying. O seat, by the greenwood tree, O seat, that she shared with me, Thou art all unfilled to-day! And the sighing, shivering leaves Have a voice like one that grieves That they had not yesterday.
Eloise! Eloise! It is eve; and the trees With the gold of the sunset are glowing; And our low, grassy seat, With the brook at its feet Ever singing, and rippling, and flowing, Is here—just here; But I miss thee, dear! And the sunset is over me glowing. O seat, by the brooklet free, O seat, that she shared with me, Thou art all unfilled to-day! And the brook, to me alone, Hath a tender, grieving tone, That it had not yesterday.
Eloise! Eloise! It is night on the seas, And the winds and the waters are sleeping; And the seat where we prayed, 'Neath our home's blessed shade, With the soft shadows over us creeping, Is here-just here; But I miss thee, dear! And the drear night around me is sleeping. O seat, where she prayed of yore, O seat, where she prays no more, I am kneeling alone to-night! And the stern, unyielding grave Will restore not the gift I gave To its bosom yesternight.
No martyr-blood hath ever flowed in vain!— No patriot bled, that proved not freedom's gain! Those tones, which despots heard with fear and dread From living lips, ring sterner from the dead; And he who dies, lives, oft, more truly so Than had he never felt the untimely blow.
And so with him thus, in an instant, hurled From earthly hopes and converse with the world. Each trickling blood-drop shall, with sudden power Achieve the work of years in one short hour, And his faint death-sigh more strong arms unite In stern defence of Freedom and of Right, Than all he could have said by word or pen, In a whole life of threescore years and ten!
Dead! fell assassin! did you think him dead, When, with unmurmuring lips, he bowed his head, While round him bent pale, stricken-hearted men? Never more grandly did he live than then! Never that voice had such unmeasured power To fire men's souls, as in that solemn hour, When, on a startled world's affrighted ear, "E'er so with tyrants!" rang out wildly clear. And the red bolt that pierced his quiv'ring brain Maddened a million hearts with burning pain!
Dead?—frenzied demon of the lash and whip, What time you let your dogs of ruin slip At his unguarded throat with raurd'rous cry, And passion-howl of rage and agony?— Nay:—in that deathful hour, from shore to shore, Men heard his voice who never heard before; And, pale with horror by his bloody clay, Vowed from that hour his mandate to obey,— Nor rest till all your fiends of Crime and Lust, 'Neath Freedom's heel, lie weltering in the dust!
Dead? dead?—Nay!—'tis not thus that good men die! Tis thus they win fame's immortality! Thus does their every utt'rance grow sublime,— A voice of power,—a watchword for all time!— And the dead arm a mightier scepter sways, Than his, who, living, half a world obeys!
Sleep, uncorrupted Patriot! faithful one! Friend of the friendless! Freedom's martyred son! Henceforth no land shall call thee all its own,— The World, Humanity, the bruised and lone,— The oppressed and burdened ones of every clime Shall claim thee theirs, and bless thee thro' all time, And "are, and shall be free!" from shore to shore Speed grandly on till serfdom is no more, And gentle brotherhood our sorrowing race Link man to man in warm and true embrace!
"For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield."
Like the dew-drops that fall Through the chill, midnight hours, Unheeded by all, On the close-folded flowers,— E'en so, on thy chosen, Grief stricken that bend, Thy tenderest blessings In silence descend.
Like the showers that moisten The tree's shrivelled root, And quicken its branches To flower and fruit, E'en thus, on thy people Descend from above, In richest abundance The showers of thy love
Like the glad light that never Our sad Earth forsakes, But, as day fadeth, ever In the star beam awakes, So certain and constant, So rich and unspent, Thy blessings unstinted From Heaven are sent.
Like the waters that fail not Their course to fulfil, Like the wind's tireless pinions That never are still, Like the day in its rising, The night in its fall, Thus constant thy blessing, Great Father of all!
THE SILENT MESSENGER
I sat beside a bed of pain, And all the muffled hours were still; The breeze that bent the summer grain, Scarce sighed along the pine-clad hill; The pensive stars, the silvery moon Seemed sleeping in a sea of calm. And all the leafy bowers of June Were steeped in midnight's dewy balm.
She seemed to sleep, for lull of pain Had calmed the fevered pulse a while, But, as I watched, she woke again, With wondering glance and eager smile. The pale lips moved as if to speak, The thin hand trembled in my own, Then, with a sigh for words too weak, The eyelids closed, and she was gone.
Gone! gone!—but where, or how, or when? I had not seen or form or face; Unmarked God's messenger had been Beside me in that sacred place— No sound of footsteps as he came, No gleam of glory as he went, Swift as the lightning's arrowy flame, Still as the dew the flowers that bent.
Yet she had heard the coming feet, Had seen the glory of that face, And, with unuttered raptures sweet, Had sprung to welcome his embrace As the swift arrow leaves the string,— As the glad lark ascends the sky;— And 'neath that soft o'ershadowing wing, Swept past the radiant spheres on high.
O track of light! O car of flame! The calm sky bears no trace of you; The tranquil orbs sleep on the same, In heaven's unclouded fields of blue; And yet, upon this placid clay, There lingers still that radiance blest,— Sweet token that her untracked way Led up to bowers of heavenly rest!
UNDER THE SNOW
Over the mountains, under the snow Lieth a valley cold and low, 'Neath a white, immovable pall, Desolate, dreary, soulless all, And soundless, save when the wintry blast Sweeps with funeral music past.
Yet was that valley not always so, For I trod its summer-paths long ago; And I gathered flowers of fairest dyes Where now the snow-drift heaviest lies; And I drank from rills that, with murmurous song, Wandered in golden light along Through bowers, whose ever-fragrant air Was heavy with perfume of flowrets fair,— Through cool, green meadows where, all day long, The wild bee droned his voluptuous song; While over all shone the eye of Love In the violet-tinted heavens above.
And through that valley ran veins of gold, And the rivers o'er beds of amber rolled;— There were pearls in the white sands thickly sown, And rocks that diamond-crusted shone;— All richest fruitage, all rarest flowers, All sweetest music of summer-bowers, All sounds the softest, all sights most fair, Made Earth a paradise everywhere.
Over the mountains, under the snow Lieth that valley cold and low; There came no slowly-consuming blight, But the snow swept silently down at night, And when the morning looked forth again, The seal of silence was on the plain; And fount and forest, and bower and stream, Were shrouded all from his pallid beam.
And there, deep-hidden under the snow, Is buried the wealth of the long-ago— Pearls and diamonds, veins of gold, Priceless treasures of worth untold, Harps of wonderful sweetness stilled While yet the air was with music filled,— Hands that stirred the resounding string To melodies such as the angels sing,— Faces radiant with smile and tear That bent enraptured the strains to hear,— And high, calm foreheads, and earnest eyes That came and went beneath sunset skies.
There they are lying under the snow, And the winds moan over them sad and low. Pale, still faces that smile no more, Calm, dosed eyelids whose light is o'er, Silent lips that will never again, Move to music's entrancing strain, White hands folded o'er marble breasts, Each under the mantling snow-drift rests; And the wind their requiem sounds o'er and o'er, In the oft-repeated "no more—no more"
"No more—no more!" I shall ever hear That funeral dirge in its meanings drear, But I may not linger with faltering tread Anear my treasures—anear my dead. On, through many a thorny maze, Up slippery rocks, and through tangled ways, Lieth my cloud-mantled path, afar From that buried vale where my treasures are.
But there bursts a light through the heavy gloom, From the sun-bright towers of my distant home; And fainter the wail of the sad "no more" Is heard as slowly I near that shore; And sweet home-voices come soft and low, Half drowning that requiem's dirge-like flow.
I know it is Sorrow's baptism stern That hath given me thus for my home to yearn,— That has quickened my ear to the tender call That down from the jasper heights doth fall,— And lifted my soul from the songs of Earth To music of higher and holier birth, Turning the tide of a yearning love To the beautiful things that are found above;— And I bless my Father, through blinding tears, For the chastening love of departed years,— For hiding my idols so low—so low— Over the mountains, under the snow.
Sleep, gentle, mysterious healer, Come down with thy balm-cup to me! Come down, O thou mystic revealer Of glories the day may not see! For dark is the cloud that is o'er me, And heavy the shadows that fall, And lone is the pathway before me, And far-off the voice that doth call— Faintly, yet tenderly ever, From over the dark river, call.
Let me bask for an hour in the sun-ray That wraps him forever in light; Awhile tread his flowery pathway Through bowers of unfailing delight;— Again clasp the hands I lost sight of In the chill mist that hung o'er the tide, What time, with the pale, silent boatman, I saw him away from me glide— Out into the fathomless myst'ry, All silent and tranquillized, glide!
Let me look in those eyes so much brighter For the years they have gazed on the Son,— On that pure brow grown purer and whiter In the smile of God's glorified One;— Let me rest for a while with closed eyelids, On the bank of Life's river, to hear The song he has learned since he left me, Breathed tenderly sweet in my ear— The song he has learned of the angels And saved ones, breathed soft in my ear!
Thou canst not?—what! hast thou not entered The gates of yon city of light?— Not walked in the flower-bordered pathway Of the saved ones in raiment of white?— Never stood on the bank of Life's River, Where gather the glorified throng? Or glowed with emotion ecstatic 'Neath the swell of their rapturous song— That song he has learned since he left me, The redeemed ones' exultant, new song?
O Saviour, the wounded heart's Healer! I turn from my sorrow to thee, The gracious and tender Revealer Of glories thy ransomed shall see! They will pass—the dark cloud that is o'er me, The shadows that darken my sky, And the desolate pathway before me Will lead to thy mansions on high;— And with _him I shall rest in thy presence, Forever and ever on high!
FOUNT OF BLISS
"Yea I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
Love of God!—amazing love! Height, above all other height, Depth no creature thought can prove, Boundless, endless, infinite! Howsoe'er I sink or rise, Stretch my powers beyond, abroad, Pierce the depths or climb the skies, Find I still the love of God— Fount of bliss, exhaustless, free, Evermore unsealed for me!
Love of Christ!—amazing love! Vast as His eternity; Theme of angel-tongues above, Theme of souls redeemed like me! Outward to creation's bound, Up to Heaven's serenest height, Universal space around, Swells the chorus day and night— Fount of bliss, exhaustless, free, Evermore unsealed for me!
Oh, these tongues that falter so When we sing of love like this! Oh, these songs that, faint and low, More than half their sweetness miss! Saviour, lift our music higher Till the notes to rapture spring! Touch our lips with hallowed fire From thine altar while we sing— Fount of bliss, exhaustless, free, Evermore unsealed for me!
AWAY TO THE HILLS
A HOLIDAY SONG.
Away to the hills, away!— There is health in the summer air;— The rustling bough, and the bending spray, And the breath of flowers are there— The honey-bee's hum and the wild bird's song, And sunshine and summer winds all day long!
Away to the hills, away! There are peace and calmness there— White cloudlets floating in light all day Through the blue transparent air,— Rose-tinted mornings and noontides rare, And sunsets of crimson and gold are there!
Away to the hills, away! From your weariness and care— From toil that has held on with tyrant sway, To quiet and calmness there; And bask in the beauty and bloom that fills The cool, sweet depths of the summer hills!
FLOWERS BY A GRAVE
Alien blossoms! tell me why Seek ye such a lonely place, Thus to bloom, and droop, and die Far away from all your race?
Wherefore, from the sunny bowers Where your beauteous kindred bloom, Have ye come, O banished flowers! Thus to decorate a tomb?
"Mortal, dost thou question why Thus beside the grave we bloom? Why we hither come to die, Aliens from our garden-home?
"'Twas Affection's gentle hand Placed us thus her dead so near;— Tis at weeping Love's command That we breathe our fragrance here.
"Ask not why we wither here, Thou who ne'er hast tasted woe, Who hast never felt the tear Of bereaved affection flow,—
"Ask not, till thy household band By death's cruel stroke is riven, Till some bright bird'scapes thy hand— Then thy answer will be given!"
"THREE FOR THREE."
"Giving up three for one!"—mother, You said in the long ago, When father, yourself, and John, mother, I left, o'er the deep to go. "Giving up three for one!"—mother, You said, and it sank in my heart; For tho' strong was my love for the one, mother, It was hard from the three to part.
But to-day, as I sit alone, mother, Rocking my little one's bed— (Not Winnie's bed, dear, but her brother's—) I am thinking of what you said; And a sweet thought glads my heart, mother— Can you guess what the thought can be? 'Tis, that tho' I'd but one in the start, mother, Yet now I have three for three.
Yes, three for three, my mother, God is good to your wandering child, So far from her father and brother, And you, in this western wild! And tho' her heart oftentimes yearneth For its loved ones over the sea, Yet ever it gratefully turneth To its home-ties—three for three.
Aye, three for three, sweet mother, Say, am I not happy to-day? Tho' something must ever be wanting, While far from you all away;— Then thank the dear Lord, my mother, Who, afar o'er the lonely sea, Is blessing your absent daughter, With home ties—three for three!
"Now is the accepted time."
Now, sinner, now! Not in the future, when thy longed-for measure Thou hast attained, of fame, or power, or pleasure, When thy full coffers swell with hoarded treasure, Not then, but now. God's time may not be thine. When thou art willing, His Spirit may have taken flight forever, No more thy soul with keen conviction filling, Softening thy spirit to repentance never,— Now, sinner, now!
Now, Christian, now! Look round, and see what souls are daily dying; List!—everywhere the voice of human crying Smiteth the ear;—the moan, the plaint, the sighing, Come even now. Rise! gird thyself;—go forth where sorrow weepeth And ease the pang. Where sin holds guilty revel, Go tell of God! Where man securely sleepeth On ruin's verge, go, warn him of the evil Now, Christian, now!
Now, sinner, now! Day waneth fast! The noon is spent! To-morrow Is God's, not thine!—and dost thou hope to borrow An hour from doom, when bursts the cloud of sorrow That darkens now? Nay; the red bolt, e'en now, vindictive flashes The thunder rolls nearer, and still more near! Hourly the tide of wrath more sternly dashes On ruin's rocks!—oh, that thou wouldst but Now, sinner, now!
Now, Christian, now Gather thy sheaves—the harvest time is hasting Gather thy sheaves—the precious grain is wasting! Too many hours Earth's cup of nectar tasting Thou'st wasted now! Up, up!—the Master's coining steps already Echoing adown the steeps of heaven are heard! The angel-reapers, with firm hand and steady, Stand, dim-descried, waiting the signal-word Now, Christian, now!
The glorious sun, behind the western hills, Slowly, in gorgeous majesty, retires, Flooding the founts and forests, fields and rills, With the reflection of his golden fires. How beauteous all, how calm, how still! Yon star that trembles on the hill, Yon crescent moon that raises high Her beamy horns upon the sky, Seem bending down a loving glance From the unclouded skies, On the green Earth that far away In solemn beauty lies;— And, like sweet Friendship in affliction's hour, Grow brighter still the more the shadows lower.
SWEET EVENING BELLS
Soft evening bells!—sweet evening bells! O'er vale and plain your music swells, And far away The echoes play O'er shaggy mount and forest grey; And every rock its secret tells To your soft chime, sweet evening bells!
Soft evening bells!—sweet evening bells! Now twilight drapes the woodland dells, And shadows lie On the closed eye Of flowers that dream beneath the sky; Yet fainter, sweeter, tenderer swells Your dying chime, sweet evening bells!
O evening bells!—sweet evening bells! With every note that sinks and swells, Sadly and slow The warm tears flow In pensive pleasure more than woe, As Mem'ry wakes her witching spells, 'Neath your soft chime, sweet evening bells!
Thou hast marked the lonely river, On whose waveless bosom lay Some deep mountain-shadow ever, Dark'ning e'en the ripples' play— Didst thou deem it had no murmur Of soft music, though unheard? Deem that, 'neath the quiet surface, The calm waters never stirred?
Thou hast marked the pensive forest, Where the moonbeams slept by night, While the elm and drooping willow Sorrowed in the misty light— Didst thou think those depths so silent Held no fount of tender song That awoke to hallowed utt'rance As the hushed hours swept along?
So, the heart hath much of music, Deep within its fountains lone, Very passionate and tender, Never shaped to human tone! Dream not that its depths are silent, Though thou ne'er hast stooped to hear; Haply, even thence some music Floats to the All-Hearing ear!
Onward, still on!—though the pathway be dreary,— Though few be the fountains that gladden the way,— Though the tired spirit grow feeble and weary, And droop in the heat of the toil-burdened day; Green in the distance the hills of thy Canaan Lift their bright heads in a tenderer light, Where the full boughs with rich fruits overladen Spread their luxurious treasures in sight.
Onward, still onward!—around us are falling Lengthening shadows as daylight departs; Up from the past mournful voices are calling, Often we pause with irresolute hearts. Wherefore look backward?—the flower thou didst gather Wounded thy hand with the thorn it concealed,— Onward, and stay not!—the voice of thy Father Calls thee to glory and bliss unrevealed.
Onward!-Earth's radiance fadeth,—the glory That gilded her brow when the noon was in prime Faileth each hour, and the chill mist is hoary! Gathering thick on the dim shores of time. Yet as the stars come out brighter and clearer While the day faints in the slow-fading west, So do the home-lights grow larger and nearer, Clearer the ray on the hills of thy rest.
Onward, and stay not!—the fountain, the flower, Toward which thou'rt pressing with wearying haste. Are but the mirage that floats for an hour, Glowing and green o'er the desolate waste; Yet from the distance come tender home-melodies Borne from the Summer-land over the flood, Lovingly wooing thee homeward and Heavenward To the sweet rest of thy Saviour and God.
Do the dancing leaves of summer To the time of buds look back?— Does the river moan regretful For the brooklet's mountain-track? Does the ripened sheaf of summer, Heavy with precious grain, Ask for its hour of blossom, And the breath of Spring again?
Does the golden goblet, brimming With the precious, ruby wine, Look back with weary longing To the damp and dusky mine? Is the sparkling coin, that beareth A monarch's image, fain To seek the glowing furnace, Where they purged its dross again?
Would the chiselled marble gather Its rubbish back once more. And lie down, undistinguished, In the rough rock as before? Does the costly diamond, blazing On that crowned and queenly one, Look back with sorrowful gazing To the coarse unpolished stone?
And shall man, the grandly gifted, Earth's monarch, tho' Earth's son, Turn back to court the shadows Of existence scarce begun? Nay; with strong arm and helpful To aid the world's great lack, Press on, nor pause a moment, Supinely to look back!
Where the willow weepeth By a fountain lone,— Where the ivy creepeth O'er a mossy stone,— With pale flowers above her, In a quiet dell. Far from those who love her, Slumbers Minniebel.
There thy bed I made thee, By that fountain side, And in anguish laid thee Down to rest, my bride! Tenderest and fairest, Who thy worth may tell! Flower of beauty rarest, Saintly Minniebel!
Weary years have borrowed From my eye its light, Time my cheek has furrowed, And these locks are white; But my heart will ever Mid its memories dwell, Fondly thine forever, Angel Minniebel!
Weary of dreaming what never comes true, Weary of thinking what never is new, Of endeav'ring, yet never succeeding to do.
Weary of walking the dusty, old ways, Weary of saying what every one says, Weary of singing old, obsolete lays.
Weary of laughing, to make others laugh, Weary of gleaning for nothing but chaff, Of giving the whole, and receiving but half.
Weary of making, so shortly to mend, Weary of patching, to turn round and rend, Weary of earning only to spend.
Weary of weeping when tears are so cheap, Weary of waking when longing to sleep, Of giving what nobody wishes to keep.
Weary of drinking to thirst ere I've done, Weary of eating what satisfies none, Weary of doing what still is undone.
Weary of glitter without any gold, Weary of ashes grown fireless and cold, Weary!—the half of it cannot be told!
THE BODY TO THE SOUL
RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO AN OVERWORKED STUDENT.
O tyrant soul of mine, What's the use Of this never-ceasing toil, Of this struggle, this turmoil, This abuse Of the body and the brain, Of this labor and this pain, Of this never-ceasing strain On the cords that bind us twain Each to each?
O tyrant soul of mine, Is it well Thus to waste and wear away The poor, fragile walls of clay Where you dwell? Was I made your slave to be— I the abject, you the free, That you task me ceaselessly?— Tyrant soul, come, answer me, Is it well?
O tyrant soul of mine, Don't you know That in slow, but sure decay, I am wasting day by day, While you grow None the better for the strain On my nerves and on my brain, For my head's incessant pain, And my sick heart's longings vain For repose?
O tyrant soul of mine, God, the good, Joined together you and me In a wondrous unity, That we should Work together,-not that I, You degrade and stupefy, Nor that you His laws defy By maltreating ceaselessly Hapless me!
O tyrant soul of mine, By and by, Weary of your cruel reign, Quite worn out with toil and pain, I shall die Then, when I have passed away, And you're asked whose hand did slay Your companion of the clay, Much I wonder what you'll say, Soul of mine!
"Go thy way, and when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee."
* * * * *
"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."
Not yet, not yet, O Saviour, Although thou callest me In life's unclouded morning Why should I follow thee? The world and all its pleasures Outspread before me lie, When I have grasped its treasures I'll hear thee, by and by.
Not yet, not yet, O Saviour!— True, thou hast called me long, Yet, almost more than ever, I love the world's glad song! Say not the years are hasting With rapid footsteps by,— Say not life's sands are wasting, But call me by and by!
Not yet, not yet, O Saviour! I have no time to stay; The goal tow'rd which I hasten Is now not far away. Another day—and haply The triumph I shall see, And grasp my crown of vic'try,— Then, I will call for thee!
* * *
No more, no more, O sinner, The Saviour's call is o'er! The door is shut forever, To be unclosed no more!— So late the hour and lonely, So dark the night and drear, And He who called thee only To bless thee, will not hear!
Past is the harvest-gladness, The summer-bloom is o'er, Thy sun has set in sadness, To rise-oh, nevermore! So late the hour and lonely, So dark the night and drear, And He who called thee only To bless thee, will not hear!
Lightly the shadows Play through the trees, Green are the meadows, Soft is the breeze,— June's early roses, Pensive and sweet, Droop where reposes Lost Marguerite!
Meeting thee never In the green bowers,— Missing thee ever 'Mid the fresh flowers,— Till the long hours die— Hours once so fleet— Hopelessly wait I, Lost Marguerite!
Day has grown weary In the blue sky, Summer is dreary, Melodies die; Lowly the willow Droopeth to meet And kiss thy pillow, Lost Marguerite!
Flower the fairest Of sweet summer time, Rosebud the rarest Plucked ere its prime, Mine to weep ever Where the wares beat, Meeting thee never, Lost Marguerite!
"COME UNTO ME."
Weary soul, by care oppressed, Wouldst thou find a place of rest? Listen, Jesus calls to thee, Come, and find thy rest in me!
Hungry soul, why pine and die With exhaustless stores so nigh? Lo, the board is spread for thee, Come, and feast to-day with me!
Thirsty soul, earth's sweetest rill Mocks thee with its promise still; Hark, the Saviour calls to thee, Here is water, come to me!
Homeless soul, thy path is drear, Angry tempests gather near, Night is darkening over thee, Here is shelter, come to me!
Heavenly bread and heavenly wine, Living waters, all are mine!— Mine they are, and thine may be, Weary wand'rer, come to me!
"I WILL NOT LET THEE GO."
Nay, I will not let thee go, Though the midnight glideth slow,— Though the darkness deep and long Dim the sight and hush the song, On thy tender, faithful breast, Find I still my perfect rest— Soothing sweet for keenest woe— And I will not let thee go!
Nay, I will not let thee go, Though the morn's enkindling glow Flame along the mountain-height. Flooding all the hills with light; What can morning bring to me, Tender Shepherd, wanting thee? What its songs but sobs of woe? Nay, I will not let thee go!
Nay, I will not let thee go, Though the day no shadows know; Though, the sky's serene to dim, Lower no storm-cloud dark and grim; Whom have I in Heaven but thee?— What beside hath earth for me?— Thou, the only trust I know,— Nay, I will not let thee go!
Let thee go?—my Saviour, nay Thou my night's unfailing day, Thou my dawning's tenderest gleam, Thou my noonday's richest beam,— Night is day if thou art near, Day without thee, joyless, drear,— Wanting thee, all bliss were woe,— Nay, I will not let thee go!
Written for the Alumni of Albion College, Michigan; and sung at their last re-union, June, 1881.
The gliding years have rolled along, And once again we come, With greeting hand and choral song, To our old college-home;— Sweet college-home! dear college-home! We gladly gather here, Old friends to greet, Old faces meet, And sing our songs of cheer!
A welcome true for those we meet, For those we miss, a sigh; Of some we ne'er again may greet, We speak with tearful eye; Some rest with God, whose feet once trod These halls with ours of yore; And some there are Who wander far On many a distant shore!
God, bless and keep the ones who roam, And us who meet again; And lit us each for that bright home Where comes no parting pain;— Oh, aid us still, thro' good or ill Still earnest for the right, With spirits true, To dare and do, With Heaven and thee in sight!
And as the lingering years go by, And changeful seasons come, Still let thine eye rest lovingly On this old college-home;— Sweet college-home! dear college-home! We gladly gather here, Old friends to meet, Old faces greet, And sing our songs of cheer!
ONE BY ONE
One by one, ye are passing, beloved, Out of the shadow into the light. One by one, Are your tasks all done. Ended the toil, and the swift race run. Child and maiden, mother and sire, Sister and brother, Ye follow each other, Out of the darkness where we stand weeping, Weary and faint with our virgil-keeping, Into die summer-land, peaceful and bright!
One by one, ye are passing, beloved, Out of the darkness round us that lies— One by one, Gliding on alone, Hearing nor heeding our plaint and moan. Friend and lover, the fondest, best, Most tender and true, Ye pass from our view, Out of the night that enfolds us ever, Out of the mists where we moan and shiver; Into the joy-light of sunniest skies!
One by one, we are hasting, beloved, Out of the midnight into the day. One by one, Are our tasks all done, And the race that is set us with swift feet run. Loved and parted ones, still our own, Nearing you ever We press toward the river. Over whose waters ye passed on before us, Shortly to join in your rapturous chorus, And swell the hosannas of Heaven for aye!
One by one, ye are greeting, beloved, Those whom you left for a while in tears. One by one Is the bright goal won By those ye lost sight of at set of sun. Child and maiden, mother and sire, Sister and brother, Ye're greeting each other, Up where the holy ones round you are singing, Up where the new song of Heaven is ringing, Never to part through eternity's years!
God so loved me that He gave Jesus for my sins to die; Jesus loved me in the grave, Jesus loves me still on high,— Father-love and Saviour-love, Mine on earth and mine above!
Love, from highest heights that stooped,— Love, to deepest depths that came,— Love, that 'neath my burden drooped,— Bore my anguish and my shame— Died, that I may never die,— Living, lifts me to the sky!
Love, the arm that reached me first,— Love, the hand that raised me up,— Love, my prison-bars that burst,— Love, that filled my brimming cup— Filled it full of Heavenly wine— Filled, and blessed, and made it mine!
Love, the holy, cleansing fount Where I wash my garments white,— Love, my Tabor, hallowed mount, Where I stand with Him in sight,— Love, my watch-tower, till the day Chase all earth-born mists away!
AN EVENING HYMN
"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety"
The tranquil hours steal by On drowsy wings and slow, And over all the peaceful sky The stars of evening glow.
No gathering clouds I see, I hear no rising blast, I fold my tired hands restfully, As though all storms were past.
Yet, whether so or not, O Lord, thou knowest best! This night, let every anxious thought And trembling fear have rest
This night I will lie down In peace beneath thine eye, Nor heed what ills unseen may frown, Since thou art ever nigh.
I will lie down and sleep, From every terror free; Nor wake to tremble or to weep, Secure, O Lord, with thee!
'Tis but to fold the arms in peace, To close the tear-dimmed, aching eye, From sin and suffering to cease, And wake to sinless life on high.
'Tis but to leave the dusty way Our pilgrim feet so long have pressed, And passon angel-wings away, Forever with the Lord to rest.
'Tis but with noiseless step to glide Behind the curtain's mystic screen That from our mortal gaze doth hide The glories of the world unseen.
Tis but to sleep a passing hour, Serene as cradled infants sleep; Then wake in glory and in power, An endless Sabbath day to keep.
I SHALL BE SATISFIED
I shall be satisfied when I awaken In thy dear likeness, my King and my Lord,— When the dark prison of death shall be shaken, And the freed spirit comes forth at thy word!— I shall be satisfied, Saviour, be satisfied, Wearing thy likeness and near to thy side! Sinless and sorrowless, robed in thy righteousness, What can I ask for in glory beside?
I shall be satisfied loving thee ever, Hearing thy accents and sharing thy joy, Fearing nor change nor estrangement to sever Me from my Lord and His blissful employ!— Satisfied, satisfied, evermore satisfied, Wearing thy likeness and near to thy side! Sinless and sorrowless, robed in thy righteousness, What can I ask for in glory beside?
I shall be satisfied when I behold thee, I shall be like thee, my Saviour and King! And, in the radiance that will enfold thee, I shall enfolded be, too, while I sing— Lo, I am satisfied, Saviour, am satisfied, Wearing thy likeness and near thy side! Sinless and sorrowless, robed in thy righteousness, What can I ask for in glory beside!
AT THE GRAVE OF A YOUNG MOTHER
A transient day, A troubled night, The swift decay, The certain blight, And death and dust;—
And are these all?— Nay: those are past; And she who sleeps Shall wake at last Among the just!
GO, DREAM NO MORE
Go, dream no more of a sun-bright sky With never a cloud to dim!— Thou hast seen the storm in its robes of night, Them hast felt the rush of the whirlwind's might, Thou hast shrunk from the lightning's arrowy flight, When the Spirit of Storms went by!
Go, dream no more of a crystal sea Where never a tempest sweeps!— For thy riven bark on a surf-beat shore, Where the wild winds shriek, and the billows roar, A shattered wreck to be launched no more, Will mock at thy dream and thee!
Go, dream no more of a fadeless flower With never a cankering blight'— For the queenliest rose in thy garden bed, The pride of the morn, ere the noon is fled, With the worm at its heart, withers cold and dead In the Spoiler s fearful power!
Go, dream no more—for the cloud will rise, And the tempest will sweep the sea, Yet grieve not thou, for beyond the. strife, The storm and the gloom with which Earth is rife, Gleam out the light of a calmer life, And the glow of serener skies!
Come home! come home! O loved and lost, we sigh Thus, ever, while the weary days go by, And bring thee not. We miss thy bright, young face, Thy bounding step, thy form of girlish grace, Thy pleasant, tuneful voice,— We miss thee when the dewy evening hours Come with their coolness to our garden, bowers,— We miss thee when the warbler's tuneful lay Welcomes the rising glories of the day And all glad things rejoice!
Come home!—the vine that climbs our cottage eaves, Hath a low murmur 'mid its glossy leaves When the south wind sweeps by, that seems to be Too deeply laden with sad thoughts of thee— Of thee, our absent one!— The roses blossom, and their beauties die, And the sweet violet opes its pensive eye By thee unseen; and from the old, beech tree Thy robin pours his song unheard by thee, Dally at set of sun!
Dearest, come home! Thy harp neglected lies, Breathing no more its wonted melodies; Thy favourite books, unopened, in their case, Just as thy hands arranged them, keep their place, And vacant is thy seat Beside the hearth. At the still hour of prayer Thou com'st no more with quiet, reverent air; And when, around the social board, each face Brings its warm welcome, there's one vacant place— One smile we may not meet.
Come home!—thy home was never wont to be A place where clouds might rest; yet, wanting thee, All pleasant scenes have dull and tasteless grown, And shadows lower-shadows, erewhile unknown Of ever-deepening gloom. The halls where erst thy happy childhood played, The pleasant garden by thy fair hands made, The bower thy sunny presence made so fair, Are all unchanged,—yet grief is everywhere;— Dear one, come home!
Come home?—come home?—alas, what have I said? Beyond the stars, beloved, thy feet have sped! No more to press these garden paths with mine, Or walk beside my own at day's decline— No more—no more to come To these old summer haunts! But I shall stay A little while; and then, at fall of day, I, too, like thee, shall sleep, and wake to see Thy Lord and mine, and so shall ever be With Him and thee at home!
BE IN EARNEST
Be in earnest, Christian toilers, Life is not the summer, dream Of the careless, child that gathers Daisies in the noontide beam! It hath conflict, it hath danger, It hath sorrow, toil, and strife; Yet the weak alone will falter In the battle-field of life.
There are burdens you may lighten, Toiling, struggling ones may cheer, Tear-dimmed eyes that you may brighten, Thorny paths that you may clear;— Erring ones, despised, neglected, You may lead to duty back,— Beacon-lights to be erected, All along life's crowded track.
There are wrongs that must be righted, Sacred rights to be sustained, Truths, though trampled long and slighted, 'Mid the strife to be maintained;— Heavy, brooding mists to scatter— Mists of ignorance and sin,— Walls of adamant to shatter, Thus to let God's sunlight in.
Boundless is the field and fertile, Let the ploughshare deep be driven; So, at length, the plenteous harvest Shall look smiling up to heaven! Sow the seed at early morning, Nor at evening stay thy hand; Precious fruits, the earth adorning, Shall at length around thee stand
Be in earnest, Christian toilers, Life is not the summer-dream Of the careless child that gathers Daisies in the noontide beam! Life hath conflict, toil, and danger,— It hath sorrow, pain, and strife,— Yet the weak alone will falter In the battle-field of life!
We met one fresh June-morn, Chlodine, Where two roads came together; I'd travelled far through storm and rain, And you, through pleasant weather. I loved you for the light, Chlodine, Of summer all around you,— I loved you foil the sweet June-flowers, Whose dewy garlands bound you!
You loved me not, Chlodine, because The storms had beat upon me; Because there was no breath of flowers, No summer sunshine on me;— You could not see, Chlodine, that deep Within my soul were growing Fresh flowers that evermore would keep The fragrance of their blowing.
And so we parted—you and I— Your ways all fresh and flowering; Mine, rocky steeps up mountains high, 'Neath skies with tempests lowering; And yet the sunshine spoilt your flowers,— Mine, bitter grief-drops nourished, And while yours withered day by day, Mine bloomed the more, and flourished
And now we're met again, Chlodine, You love me for my flowers, Their perfume scenting all the air. Like breath of Eden-bowers;— I love you not, Chlodine, alas! You're changed since those old mornings, Your regal summer-robes are lost, With all their rare adornings!
We stand together side by side, And yet, at farthest, never, Before stretched out so far and wide The distance that did sever Us, as to-day it does, Chlodine, Though hand touch hand in greeting, And never again shall we know, Chlodine, Another June-day meeting.
THE BIRD AND THE STORM-CLOUD
Little bird, is that thy sphere, Yonder threat'ning cloud so near? Sunbeams blaze along its brow, Yet what darkness reigns below! There the sullen thunder mutt'ring, Wrathful sounds is sternly utt'ring;— There the red-eyed lightning gleameth, Where no more the sunlight beameth, And the strong wind, fiercely waking, Wings of fearful might is taking;— Creature of the calmer air, Wherefore art thou soaring there?
Wert thou weary of the vale, With its blossom-scented gale?— Weary of thy breezy bowers?— Weary of thy wild-wood flowers?— Weary of thy wind-rocked nest In the bright, green willow's breast?— Didst thou sigh, on daring wing, Up in heaven's blue depths to sing?— Claim with storms companionship, And in clouds thy free wings dip?— And, where rushing winds are strong, Pour thy melody of song?
Bird, thy wing is all too weak Such adventurous heights to seek; In the bower thou seem'dst to be Trembling with timidity; Now, with proud, unshrinking glance Thou art daring yon expanse, And, with wild, exultant singing, Upward thy free flight art winging;— Creature of the calmer air, Wherefore art thou sporting there?
Bird, that cannot be thy sphere, Yonder threatening cloud so near!— With thy bright, unfearing eye, Wherefore seek that troubled sky? Ah! a hand is o'er thee spread, To defend thy beauteous head; Sheltering arms are round thee cast, 'Mid the lightning and the blast; God doth shield thee, and shall He Thine, and not my guardian be?
No: He, who guards thy fragile form Midst the dread, o'erwhelming storm, Will His kind protection spread O'er His child's defenceless head,— Temper every blast severe,— Mingle hope with every fear,— Pour into the bleeding heart Balm for sorrow's keenest smart, And will gift the feeblest form With a might to brave each storm!
Bird, thou well mayst soar and sing High in heaven on raptured wing! Thou hast never learned to fear Blighting change, in thy bright sphere; 'Tis to us, and us alone, Faith's mysterious might is known: We, that tremble at the blast, Shall o'ersweep the storms at last! Though around us tempests lower, We shall know our triumph-hour; And on glad exultant wing Soar, and with the angels sing
"Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?"
I stood where ocean lashed the sounding shore With his unresting waves, and gazed far out Upon the billowy strife. I saw the deep Lifting his watery arms to grasp the clouds, While the black clouds stooped from the sable arch Of the storm-darkened heavens, and deep to deep Answered responsive in the ceaseless roar Of thunders and of floods.
"Here, then, I am alone, And this is solitude, "I murmured low, As in the presence of the risen storm I bowed my head abashed. "Alone?"— The echoing concave of the skies replied,— "Alone?"—the waves responded, and the winds In hollow murmurs answered back—"Alone?"
"Thou canst not be alone, for God is here! Yon mighty waste of waters, whose deep voice Goes up unceasingly to heaven, He holds E'en as a drop within His hollow hand! He makes His dark pavillion stormy clouds; The winds and thunders are His uttered voice; And the red flames that blaze athwart the sky Are but the lightnings of His awful glance!"
* * * *
I stood at eve, where, high in upper air, A mountain reared its solitary head, Bathing its forehead in the ruddy light Of cloudless sunset. Like a snowy veil The white mist gathered o'er the distant plain, While, over all, the sunset heavens shone In burning glory, and the blushing West Gathered all gorgeous hues into a wreath Of wondrous radiance to twine around The temples of her monarch, ere he sought The chambers of his rest.
Full-orbed the moon Rode slowly up the east; while, one by one, Spirits of night lighted the lamps of heaven. "This is to be alone!"—I whispered low, For nature's solemn beauty had a spell To awe my soul to silence.
"What, alone?"— Murmured the mountain wind, as round my brow It waved its rustling pinions. "What, alone?"— Low voices questioned from the sighing pines,— "Alone?"—the stars repeated to my soul— "In the Eternal's presence, canst thou stand, While, from above, His awful glories look,— While all, around, beneath thee, and within, Attest His presence, and thus idly deem Thou art alone? No; thou art not alone, For God is here!"
* * * *
It was a summer noon. The soft, south wind made music 'mid the boughs Of the cool forest, whence glad bursts, of song Floated unceasing. On a mossy bank Starred with pale flowers, I laid me down to rest, Yet not to slumber. Tenderly, the sky Glanced like a loving spirit through the leaves; And, ever and anon, like fleecy gold, The yellow sunbeams dropped amid the gloom Startling the shadows. Twas a hallowed scene! Each waving leaf seemed Instinct with glad life, And every sound was richly freighted with The wealth of harmony.
"Is this to be alone?" I inly questioned, yet my secret soul Needed from Nature no responsive voice; For my whole being, with a thrill of joy. Replied;—"In all the universe of God, There is no solitude!"
O soul of mine, Joy in thy wealth of being!—in the power To grasp the Infinite where'er thou turn'st;— To see Him, feel Him near, yet most of all, Him to adore and love;—to hear His voice In every breeze, in every gentle chime Of the sweet waters, in the song of birds, The hum of insects, and all deeper tones Of Nature's wondrous music;—yet, far more, To recognize His Spirit's gentle voice Unto thy spirit, whisp'ring tenderly— "I am thy Father, thy Redeemer, thine Amid the devious paths that checker earth, And thine in Heaven!"
THE STRAY LAMB.
A GRANDMOTHER'S STORY.
We had finished our pitiful morsel, And both sat in silence a while; At length we looked up at each other. And I said, with the ghost of a smile,— "Only two little potatoes And a very small crust of bread— And then?"—"God will care for us, Lucy!" John, quietly answering, said.
"Yes, God will provide for us, Lucy!" He said, after musing a while— I'd been quietly watching his features With a feeble attempt at a smile— "For, 'trust in the Lord, and do good,' Our Father in Heaven has said, 'So shalt thou dwell in the land, And verily thou shalt be fed!'"
Scarcely the words had he spoken, When a faint, little tap at the door Surprised us,—for all the long morning The rain had continued to pour. I am sure I shall never remember The pelting and pitiless rain Of that desolate day in November, Without a dull heart-throb of pain.
For work had grown scarcer and scarcer, Till there seemed not a job to be done; We had paid out our very last sixpence, And of fuel and food we had none. John had tried—no one ever tried harder— For work, but his efforts were vain; And I wondered all faith had not failed him That morning when out in the rain.
"Come in!" said John, speaking quite softly. And opening the door a small space, For there stood a thin, little beggar With such a blue, pitiful face! "O sir, if you please sir, I'm hungry, Do give me a small bit of bread!" "Come in, then, you poor, little woman, I am sure you are freezing!" John said.
We each caught a hand cold and dripping, And drew the poor trembler in; But she sank at our feet like a baby, Half-frozen, and drenched to the skin. John ran for our last bit of fuel; And I, to an old box, where lay Our own little Maggie's warm clothing,— Our Maggie—dead many a day!
I tore off her old, dripping tatters, And rubbed her blue, shivering form; And then put those precious clothes on her, And made her all glowing and warm. "O ma'am, if you please, I'm so hungry!" Again the dear innocent said; So John brought our two cold potatoes And our one little morsel of bread.
"Here, take this,"—he said; and she snatched it, And ate till the last bit was done; And we two looked on, never grudging Our all to the famishing one. I looked up a half-minute after, But John had slipped out in the rain; And the wind was still howling and raging Like some great, cruel monster in pain.
Soon the pale, little eyelids grew heavy, And I watched till the weary one slept;— Then I, a poor weak-hearted woman, Held her closer, and oh, how I wept! With our fire all burned out to black ashes,— Our very last bit of food gone,— Poor John, too, out facing the tempest,— And I left there shiv'ring alone!
But the little, warm head on my bosom Seemed so strangely like hers that I lost; And the soft, little hands I was holding, So like the dear hands that I crossed In their last quiet rest,—and those garments— Ah, those garments!—I mused till it seemed, I had got back my own little Maggie;— And then, for long hours. I dreamed.
* * * *
"Why Lucy, my girl, you are sleeping!— Come, rouse up, and get us some tea!"— It was John, who'd returned, and was speaking— "Poor wife, you're as cold as can be! See, here are some coals for the firing; And here is a nice loaf of bread,— A steak, and a morsel of butter, Some tea and some sugar"—he said. "Nay now, do not ask any questions!— Let me just lay this lammie in bed, And when we have had a nice supper, I'll tell you, dear, all how it sped."
And so, when the supper was over— That supper!—I'll never forget The warm, glowing fire—oh, so cozy— I can see every coal of it yet— We knelt down, and John thanked the dear Father For all He had sent us that day;— Yes: e'en for thee dear, pretty baby His own little lamb gone astray!
And then, in a few words, John told me Of his desperate walk in the storm— Every minute believing, expecting, That God would His promise perform;— Of the merchant up town who had hailed him, (One of his men being sick,) And hired him to run of a message; And, because he'd been trusty and quick, Had trebled his wages, and told him To come the next morning again; "Just because," added John, softly laughing, "I'd been willing to work in the rain!"
Well, long ere the morning dawned on us, The child had grown frantic with pain; And for many long days she lay moaning With the fever that burned in her brain. Every morning John prayed by her pillow, Then went to his work; and I stayed, And kept my sad watch the long day through, And at night he returned to my aid.
At length the fierce struggle was over, She lived, and we both were content, For we knew God had given her to us— His lamb, through the wintry storm sent The fever had burned every record Of home and friends out of her mind; And though we sought long, yet we never Any traces of either could find.
And so she grew up by our fireside, And we called her—not Maggie—oh no!— That name we had laid up in Heaven, And no one must wear it below!— But we just called her, Pet; and her husband Calls her nothing but Pet to this day:— She's a grown woman now, and a mother, How swiftly the years glide away!