Well, John never has lacked for employment, And we never have wanted a home; We never said nay to a beggar, Or refused one that asked it a crumb. Pet grew up a dear, loving woman— "God's light in our house," John would say— And when a good man came and took her, He took us, too, the very same day. But here she comes now with the baby, And grandmother never says nay; So here's a good bye to my story, For baby has come for a play!
STAY, MOTHER, STAY!
"Stay, mother, stay, for the storm is abroad, And the tempest is very wild; It's a fearful night with no ray of light, Oh stay with your little child!"
"Hush darling!" the mother, with white lips said— "Lie still till I come again, God's angels blest will watch o'er thy rest While I am abroad in the rain! Thy father, child?—oh, I quake with fear When I think where he may be, And I dare not stay till the dawn of day— I must hasten forth to see!"
Then the young child buried her tangled curls In the ragged counterpane, While the half-clad mother went forth alone In the blinding wind and rain.
Down many a narrow, slippery lane, Down many a long, dark street, Went that shivering form thro' the pelting storm Of wind, and rain, and sleet; Till, nearing a den where inebriate men, With Bacchanal oath and yell, And curse and jeer, spent the midnight drear, She reeled in the gloom and fell; For a prostrate form, in the pitiless storm And inky darkness, lay Helpless and prone on the pavement-stone, Across her desolate way.
She knelt alone by the fallen one, And murmured in accents low, A name, how dear to her girlhood's ear In the beautiful long ago! But no voice, no tone replied to her own, And the cold hand fell like lead; And her wailing cry brought back no reply, As she shrieked "he is dead!—he's dead!"
Aye, "dead!"—God pity thee, stricken wife! God pity thee, orphan child! Poor slave to wine, what a death was thine, In that wintry tempest wild!
We know not how long that wild, drunken song And those curses assailed her ear, But the morning-ray found its early way To one who no more could hear; For the faithful heart that had borne its part Awhile, through those watches lone, Had grown still it last as the pitiless blast Swept by her with wrathful tone;— But the rumseller-he slept quietly In his chamber of gilded pride, For little he cared how his victims fared, Or whether they lived or died!
Oh! the old, old strain with its old refrain, Of agony, death, and woe!— Oh! the bitter tears that, through all the years, Have been flowing, and ever flow! Must the ghastly tragedy never cease? Will Manhood never awake? And, by God's great might made strong for the right. Stand up for Humanity's sake, And wipe the horrible stain away From his country and his home— The dark, ensangnined, loathsome stain Of the merciless monster, Rum?
TIME FOR BED
"Time for bed!"—the weary day With its toils has passed away Sol has wrapped his forehead bright In the curtains of the night, And his glorious lamp again Lowered behind the western main Leaving all heaven's pure expanse Radiant with his parting glance
Just a few, faint stars are seen Ranged around the midnight queen— A select and glorious band Who alone may waiting stand Hound the monarch of the night, Bearing up their urns of light, Her majestic path to cheer Till the shadows disappear.
"Time for bed!" the folded flowers Hang their heads in forest bowers; Nestled in each downy nest Day's sweet songsters calmly rest; And the night-bird's plaintive hymn Echoes through the forest dim; Dew-drops on the birchen-bough In the star-beams sparkle now, Scarce a zephyr stirs the rose So profound is Earth's repose.
"Time for bed!" put by thy books, Learner, with thy studious looks;— Poet, lay the pen away, Candle-light will spoil thy lay;— Leave it till the morning hours Come with sunshine to the flowers,— Leave it till from shrub and tree Birds pour forth their minstrelsy,— Till the sun on wood and wold Turns the drops of dew to gold,— Till the bee comes forth to sip Nectar from the flow'rets lip,— Till the light-winged zephyrs wake Dancing ripples on the lake, And the cloudlets in the height Don their fleecy robes of white;— Then, with graceful Euterpe, Seek the spreading greenwood tree, And with joy, and light, and love, AH around thee and above, Tune thy lyre to praiseful mirth With all happy things of Earth!
"Time for bed!"—thou man of toil, Why consume the midnight oil?— Night was made for slumbers blest, Thou art weary, therefore rest!
"Time for bed!"—poor "Martha," thou Long enough hast labored now; All the day's bright hours are numbered, Yet art thou "with toiling cumbered." Lay that tedious work away Till the blest return of day,— Thou art care-worn and oppressed, Thou art weary "Martha," rest!
"Time for bed!"—shut up the stove, To its place the table move, Lay the books into their case, Wheel the sofa to its place, Wind the clock, brush up the floor, Close the shutters, lock the door, That will do—put out the light, Toil and trouble, all good night!
FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW
LINES FOR THE NEW YEAR
I hear the beat of the unresting tide On either shore as swiftly on I glide With eager haste the narrow channel o'er, Which links the floods behind with those before. I hear behind me as I onward glide, Faint, farewell voices blending with the tide, While from beyond, now near, now far away, Come stronger voices chiding each delay; And drowning, oft, with wild, discordant burst, The melancholy minor of the first
"Farewell! farewell!—ye leave us far behind you!"— Tis thus the bright-winged Hours sigh from the Past— "Ye leave us, and the coming ones will find you Still vainly dreaming they will ever last,— Still trifling with the gifts all fresh and glowing, Each in its turn will scatter in your way,— Still chasing airy phantoms, though well-knowing That, ere you grasp them, they will melt away— Farewell! farewell!"
"Haste! haste! haste!"— Thus from the Future the voices ring— "The air is balmy with breath of spring, The waters sleep in the morning light, The storms are hushed, and the skies are bright, Haste! haste! haste!
"Isles of beauty and bloom are here, Groves, whose leafage is never sere, Teeming harvests of boundless wealth, Peace, and plenty, and buoyant health— Haste! haste! haste!
"Joy-bells ring in the sunny air, Mirth and music are everywhere,— Bend to the oars, and away, away While the ripples dance and the breezes play— Haste! haste! haste!"
"Farewell! farewell!—ye leave us far behind you— Us, the lost Hours that would have blessed you so! Yet, as ye leave us, let our strains remind you That we, not empty-handed, Heavenward go. Records we bear of all the good we brought you,— Of all we offered,-all that ye refused,— Of all the lessons we in patience taught you,— Of wasted time, of privilege abused; To God's tribunal we those records bear, Sometime, remember, they will meet you there— Farewell! farewell!"
THE VOICE OF SPRING
I heard a voice—twas the voice of Spring, Up from the rivulets murmuring, Singing of freedom,—thus the lay On the breezes floated away— "Joy! joy!—the chains that bound us Now disappear, Sunlight pours its treasures round us, Warm, warm and clear, Onward, speeding onward To the bright main, Chainless, free, unfettered, Are we again!"
I heard a voice—'twas the voice of Spring, Out from the hill sides whispering, And a tender strain from the woodland lone Blended with it in murmurous tone— "Joy! joy!—the world is waking From her long rest,— Earth a glow of warmth is taking To her chill breast,— Tiny flower germs, hidden Long out of sight, Stealing forth unbidden, Seek the warm light!"
I heard a voice—'twas the voice of Spring, Over the waters wandering, As to the wilds came the song birds back, Singing still in their homeward track— "Joy! joy!—we're home returning To the free hills, From our long and far sojourning, Now, to the rills, To the echoing forest. Orchard and plain, With our old-time music, Speed we again!"
I heard a voice—'twas the voice of Spring,— Nature, all Nature awoke to sing; And every valley, and grove, and plain Had its share in the welcome strain:— "Joy! joy!—the chains are broken, Spring smiles again,— Joy for every blessed token Of her glad reign,— Joy on all the waters, Joy on each shore.— Sunlight, song, sweet odors, Welcome once more!"
HONOR TO LABOR
HONOR TO LABOR!—it giveth health; Honor to labor!—it bringeth wealth; Honor to labor!—our glorious land Displayeth its triumphs on every hand. It has smoothed the plains, laid the forests low, And brightened the vales with the harvest's glow,— Reared cities vast with their marts of trade, Where erst undisturbed lay the woodland shade,— Brought up from the depths of the teeming mine, Its treasured stores in the light to shine,— Sent Commerce forth on his tireless wings In search of all precious and goodly things— Forth to the ice-bound Northern seas, And to bright isles fanned by the Southern breeze, Where the Orange deepens its sunset dyes, And the Cocoa ripens 'neath glowing skies,— To the sunny islands of Austral climes,— To lands undreamt of in elder times,— Till every region, and clime, and zone, Has yielded its treasures to bless our own.
Honor to Labor!—it diveth deep To dim sea-caves where bright treasures sleep, And dareth with curious quest explore The ancient wonders of Ocean's floor. It fearless roams over Deserts vast, Where destruction rides on the Simoom's blast, And trackless sands have for ages frowned O'er cities in ancient song renowned. It climbs where the dazzling glaciers lie, Changeless and cold, 'neath a glowing sky, And leaves the trace of its triumphs proud Above the regions of storm and cloud.
The Ocean, once an untravelled waste, By feet adventurous never passed, Spread forth to the solemn skies alone Its restless waters to man unknown. Imagination, with eager quest, Went forth o'er its bosom with vague unrest, To loneliest regions devoid of light, Where dark Cimmerii dwelt in night,— Or peopled its realms, undiscovered, lone, With phantoms of horror and shapes unknown.
But Labor came, and with kindling glance Boldly he traversed the far expanse, Scatt'ring the shadows of ancient night, And lifting a glad New World to light. Now, a realm of life is the glorious Sea— A peopled realm of the bold and free— Where the proud ship glides like a thing of life, And laughs at the storms and the billows' strife,— Vast highway of nations, above whose deeps Commerce with tireless navies sweeps, And Life goes forth in its glad unrest, Buoyantly treading the waves' white crest.
Honor to Labor!—his strong right hand Old, frightful chasms has boldly spanned, And hung his teeming thoroughfares high 'Twixt rushing torrent and bending sky. He has harnessed Steam to the flying car, And sent it from ocean to ocean afar,— Pierced strong-ribbed mountains that barred his way, And oped through their caverns a broad highway,— Taught the lightning to carry his messages forth From West to East, and from South to North, And flash his thoughts through the depths profound Of Ocean, the Earth's circumference round,— Made Light his servant to do his will— With faultless pencil and subtlest skill Limning the features most dear in life, Of friend, or husband, or child, or wife, And compressing into a single hour The work of months of artistic power.
Honor to Labor!—with steady eye He has fearlessly traversed the midnight sky, And followed the mazy, perplexing dance Of planets and moons thro' the far expanse,— Their orbits, periods, weight and size, Studied with heedful and cautious eyes, And forced the haughty, imperial sun To answer his inquiries one by one. He has tracked the comet's erratic flight Through the silent star-fields of primal night,— Walked through the depths of old nebulae With flashing glance and with footstep free, And seen spin round him in wildering flight Systems and suns, while the infinite Of God's great universe stretched away Farther far than e'en thought might stray
"Honor to Labor!"—the mariner sings, As forth to the breezes his sails he flings;— "It has made us lords of the boundless deep— Fearlessly over the waves we sweep!"
"Honor to Labor!"—the traveller cries, As forth in the rushing tram he flies;— "We may rival the speed of the bird's swift wing As he joyously soars thro' the skies of Spring, And the fetterless wind on its pinions free, Is scarcely more fleet in its course than we!"
"Honor to Labor!"—the student cries, As he gazes around him with joyful eyes,— "Honor to Labor!—the teeming press Pours forth its treasures the world to bless! From the pictured pages where childhood's eye Findeth a world of bright imagery, To the massive tome 'mid whose treasures vast, Lie the time-dimmed records of ages past, We may wander, and revel, yet ever find Supplies exhaustless for heart and mind We may turn to the Past—to the ages fled— And converse hold with the gifted dead,— Old climes of historic fame explore, And gather the gems of their buried lore,— With Prophet-bards seek inspiring themes, Or muse alone by old fabled streams,— With the Poet take our enraptured flight, And woo the Muse on Parnassus' height,— Take fair Philosophy by the hand, And roam with her through her native land,— May win from the God-inspired of Earth Heavenly treasures of priceless worth,— Till the mental stores of all ages flown, And all gifted minds, we have made our own.".
Honor to Labor of body or mind, That hath for its object the good of mankind! The Farmer, who cheerily ploughs the soil, And gathers the fruit of his hopeful toil,— The strong Mechanic, whose manly brow Weareth of labor the healthful glow,— The bold Inventor, beneath whose hands The useful engine completed stands,— The Artist, who, with unrivalled skill, Creations of loveliness forms at will,— The Teacher, who sows in the minds of youth Seeds of precious undying truth,— The pale-faced Student, who, worn with toil, Consumes o'er his studies the midnight oil,— The man of Science, with earnest mind, Who toils to enlighten and bless mankind— To themselves, their race, and their country true. Honor, all honor, to such is due!
The night was dark and dreary, And the autumn-wind went by With a sound like Sorrow's wailing In its sadly mournful cry;— The yew trees, old and drooping, Shook in the angry blast, And the moon looked, pale and tearful, Through the clouds that hurried past.
In a dreary room and fireless, With mouldy walls and damp, A grey, old man was seated Beside a flickering lamp;— An old man, worn and wasted, With bent and shivering form, And haggard looks, sat trembling At the moaning of the storm.
The casements, old and creaking, Shook in the angry blast; And the pale, thin face grew paler, As the shrieking winds went past; For hovering fiends seemed clutching His treasures from his grasp, And unseen fingers tight'ning On his throat their icy clasp.
Again the strong wind rattled The broken window-pane, And the dying taper wavered In the rude blast yet again— For one brief instant wavered, Then paled its sickly light, And the shuddering wretch was shrouded In impenetrable night.
The dull, grey light of morning Illumed the mountain-height, And Earth lay, cold and shiv'ring, In the blanched, autumnal light, But a sunbeam struggled faintly Through the Miser's broken shed, And lit the pale, set features Of the still, unshrouded dead.
For there, alone, and trembling With the horrors of affright, He had met the king of terrors 'Mid the darkness of the night; And with gold enough to satiate A monarch's haughty pride, In fear, and rags, and misery Of want the wretch had died!
Broken! It's only a ring—a plain, old ring, Worn down to a thread almost— Fling it away—the useless thing! What value now can it boast?— Fling it away! Yet stay!—oh stay Ere you cast it away! There's a tale of the vanished years That ever will cling, To that broken ring, That hallows and endears— Oh stay! In vain!—in vain!—What matters it now That tenderest memories cling To that thread of gold so wasted and old— Who cares for a broken ring?— Fling it away!
Broken! It's only a vase—an old, stone vase— Ancient and out of style— That has stood for years in the chimney place, Provoking many a smile— Throw it away! Yet stay!—that vase Held honored place In the sight of prince and peer And the flowers it held Were gathered of old By the lovely and the dear!— Oh stay! In vain!—In vain!—What matters it now How honored was once its place! It is broken, and old, and the hearts are cold That cherished the old stone vase— Throw it away!
Broken! It's only a promise—as light as air— Though earnestly, solemnly given, Made to be broken—yet who should care?— Do you think it was heard in Heaven?— Break it to day! Yet stay!—that breath Is a blast of death To an innocent human heart! Unsay the word, For God has heard! And He taketh the wronged one's part—- Break it not to-day! In vain!—in vain!—What matters it now? It was only a breath—no more! A faithless promise—a traitor's vow— Such things have happened before— It's broken to-day!
Broken! It's only a heart—a human heart— That has throbbed for years and years, With the burning pain and the cruel smart Whose agony knows no tears— Cast it away' Yet stay!—oh stay! A father, grey And sorrowful, prayed for her long And a mother's love Bore to God above The tale of her poor childs wrong!— Cast it not away! In vain!—'Tis a story old and worn— This story of falsehood's art— Of the harsh world's withering blight and scorn,— Who cares for the broken heart That's been cast away?
"TO OUR PARENTS"
WRITTEN BY REQUEST, FOR A GOLDEN WEDDING
Full fifty years together— Father and mother dear— Through pleasant summer weather, Or wintry tempests drear,— Thro' sunshine and thro' shadow, Oft travel sore and tried, Yet strong to aid each other, You've journeyed side by side
A few brief years of climbing,— One glad, exultant glance At the sun bright world around you, At the smiling heaven's expanse,— And then, the slow descending Into the vale below, Where the light with shade is blending, And the deamy waters flow
Full fifty years of travel— Then, on your worn staves rest, And welcome home your children, And many an honored guest,— We come to give you greeting,— We come to bring you cheer,— To hail with glad rejoicing This fiftieth wedded year!
We know your hearts are asking For one who is not here— Whose voice was sweetest music, Whose smile was very dear, But the blessed Heaven that holds him Is very near to you, And the warm love that enfolds him, Enfolds his parents too.
Then let the tears we're shedding Have naught of grief's alloy;— And let this GOLDEN WEDDING Be one of tranquil joy. God bless our honored father God bless our mother dear! And a thousand, thousand welcomes To this fiftieth wedded year.
UNDER THE ROD
"Be Still, and know that I am God!"
Be silent, Soul!—though dark thy path and dreary, And wild with storm, yet what is that to thee? Though thou art faint, and desolate, and weary, Thy God hath willed thus,—so let it be! Murmurs the mountain oak when storms assail it, And warring tempests wildly shake its form? Firmer within the earth its root it striketh, And gathers strength and vigor from the storm.
Be silent, Soul!—the hand of God is on thee! And, as a skillful gard'ner, from the vine Doth lop away each worthless branch and barren, So He would lop each fruitless bough of thine. Ah! thou art earth-bound, prone, and lowly creeping, clinging to things too frail to be thy stay; Jesus, with watchful care His vineyard keeping, Would lift thee up to sunshine and the day.
Be silent, Soul!—thou'rt not thy own;—the Saviour With blood and anguish bought thee on the tree! Why murmur, then, that He should seek to make thee Holy, and pure, and fit with Him to be? This world is not thy home!—cease thy weak clinging To its frail reeds, O thou whose mansion blest Is where Life's river flows with ceaseless singing Through the fair Paradise where angels rest.
Be silent, Soul—in the great heavenly Temple, The Master-Builder hath a niche for thee; And thou must pass beneath His forming chisel, If thou a goodly, polished stone wouldst be. Bless God for every stroke that severs from thee The gross and earthy, bringing to the light The intrinsic worth His Spirit hath wrought in thee,— The gem His hand would polish and make bright
Be silent, Soul!—thy God is ever near thee, Whether thy path 'mid storm or sunshine lie,— Whether the morning's tender radiance cheer thee, Or rayless darkness veil the midnight sky! What matter though thy pathway lone and dreary Should all with weary, trembling feet be trod? Enough for thee to know, thy Lord is near thee, And the rough road leads up to Heaven and God!
THE WHITE STONE CANOE
AN INDIAN TRADITION; VERSIFIED FROM SCHOOLCRAFT
It was a day of festive-mirth, And bright the Indian wigwams shone, For 'twas a chieftain's bridal-day, And gladness dwelt in every tone; But ere the glow of sunset hours Upon the western hills was shed, Deep sadness rested on those bowers— The bride was numbered with the dead.
Days passed; and still beside her tomb The stricken lover bowed his head; And-nightly, through the forest's gloom The stars beheld him with his dead. In vain did grey-haired chieftains urge The youthful hunter to the chase;— He heard, yet heeded not their words, For grief had chained him to the place.
They laid his war-club by his side, His bow and arrows, too, they brought, And sang of glorious deeds of might That stately chiefs of yore had wrought; But listlessly he heard their songs, Flung back his bow with sullen pride, And by the silent grave sat down Where they had laid his youthful bride.
But pleasant memories came at length Of what he learned in boyhood's day, Of a bright path that led from earth O'er the blue mountains far away To the best land where spirits dwell, The home of GHEEZHA MONEDO,  Where parted loved ones meet again Beyond the reach of pain and woe.
Then from the ground the warrior rose, And bade the sleeping dust adieu, And started for the spirit-shore With the bright southern skies in view;— Forests, and hills, and vales, and streams, In his quick flight he left behind;— Earth's stores of rare and lovely things Had nought to charm the wand'rer's mind.
The snow, that lay upon the earth When he forsook his native hills, Had slowly melted from his path, And sought the bed of crystal rills; The woods assumed a gayer hue, The flowers put on the bloom of spring, The clear sky shone with brighter blue, And birds sped by on joyous wing.
By these blest signs the warrior knew That he was travelling aright; For old Tradition taught him so, And on he pressed with fresh delight. At length the shining path he spied Winding amid a beauteous grove, Up to the summit of a hill That rose the verdant plain above.
High on the summit stood a lodge To which this mystic pathway led;— Thither, with undeclining zeal And ardent hopes, the warrior sped. An old man met him at the door, With piercing eyes and long, white hair, Who took the wand'rer by the hand, And kindly bade him welcome there.
"I know thy quest!" the old man said, "Leave here thy arrows and thy bow; Thy body, too, thou must forsake— Thither thy soul alone can go. Thou seest yon gulf, and far away Beyond, a region bright and fair, Whose blue hills in the distance rise, Warrior, the land of souls is there'
"My lodge the gate of entrance is,— I'll guard whatever thou leav'st behind, And thou may'st hasten on thy way, A joyous spirit unconfined." Thus saying, the aged man withdrew; And the freed traveller sped away— As though his feet were changed to wings— Upon his fair, but shadowy way.
Shadowy indeed, for all he passed— Trees, plants, and flowers no substance wore, And birds and beasts were but the souls Of those that dwelt on earth before;— Yet birds swept by on joyous wing, And, pausing, gazed the timid deer With fearless look, as if to say, "We have no strife or bloodshed here!"
Onward he went, till, just before, A beauteous lake appeared in view; And at the water's edge he spied A snow-white, shining, stone canoe. Lightly the warrior sprang within, And grasped the paddle by his side; When turning, lo, beside him sat The spirit of his beauteous bride
She sat within a light canoe, And sweetly beckoned him away To a green isle that, like a gem, Amidst the sparkling waters lay; High leaped the waves, yet on they pressed, Wreath after wreath of foam they passed,— Thus gliding o'er the water's breast They reached the wished-for shore at last.
Together o'er those verdant plains, 'Mid fadeless flowers the lovers walked; And of their native hills and streams, And forest-homes, they freely talked. There were no storms, no chilling winds, No frost, no blight, to dim the flowers, But never-fading summer reigned Amid those calm and peaceful bowers.
None hungered there—no death, no pain, No blighted hope, no sleepless fear; No mourner sorrowed o'er the dead, And no bereaved one dropped a tear; Serenest skies were spread above, Bright flowers were blooming all around And every eye was filled with love, And music dwelt in every sound.
"Here let me stay!" the warrior cried, "On this secluded, happy shore; Here, with my loved and beauteous bride, Where bitter partings are no more!" Thus spake the youth, but, ere the words Had died away upon the breeze, There came a low, sweet spirit-voice Murm'ring among the sheltering trees.
"Warrior!"—thus spake the breezy voice— "Return unto thy native shore; Resume again thy mortal frame, And mingle with thy tribe once more. Listen to him who keeps the gate, And he will tell thee what to do; Obey his voice, return to earth, And virtue's pleasant paths pursue.
"Thy time to die has not arrived; But let each gloomy thought be still, Thy maiden waits thee on this shore, Subject no more to pain or ill! In never-fading youth arrayed. Here shall ye dwell in peace at last, When thou hast done thy work on earth, And life's brief wanderings are past.
"Return!—thou yet must lead thy tribe Through many a wild, adventurous scene; But when a good old age is reached, And thou their leader long hast been, Then will I call thee to thy rest In this bright island of the skies, Where thou mayst mingle with the blest, While long, succeeding ages rise!"
The chieftain woke—'twas fancy all, The bright revealings of a dream;— Around him still the forest stood Beneath the cold moon's placid beam. Up from the ground he proudly rose, Took up his war-club and his bow, Quelled in his soul the bitter floods Of disappointment and of woe,—
And, turning from the grave of her Who erst was all the world to him, He wiped away the gathering tears That made his eagle-glances dim; And with a proud, majestic step He slowly from the grave withdrew, Resolved to hope and labor on, With better prospects in his view
[Footnote 1: Merciful Spirit.]
(IN MEMORY OF A PUPIL)
Thou art but gone before— Gone to that unknown shore Toward which my feet are journeying swiftly on Thou hast but laid thy head First with the dreamless dead, I, too, shall come, and share thy rest anon.
Methinks 'twas sweet to die, Ere childhood's purity Had been polluted by sin's withering breath; Ere Care's pale, haggard mien Thy laughing eye had seen, Or thou hadst wept beside the bed of death!
We weep—yet thou art blest! We mourn—but thou'rt at rest! Well may we weep, yet, lost one, not for thee! Not that thy race is run, Thy brief life-journey done, And thou departed with thy Lord to be.
O no!—yet we may weep, That sin, so strong, so deep A root within our tempted souls should have; That we, with mortal fear, Still trembling, doubting here, Should cling to Earth in terror of the grave!
To Earth, whose very bloom Speaks of the dust, the tomb,— Whose fairest blossoms round our footsteps die,— Whose hopes are fraught with fears,— Whose smiles are washed with tears,— Whose sweetest songs are burdened with a sigh!
Sleep on, thou early blest! No cares can mar thy rest, No years of grief and trial are for thee; No blighted hopes, no fears, No wasted, sin-cursed years— Joy for thee, little one, thou'rt free-aye, free!
Now with the peaceful dead Lay we thy beauteous head, No mourner's dirge for thee shall chanted be! So may we rest at last, When all our toils are past, And rise to tune an angel's harp with thee!
'Twas a balmy day in Autumn, In the drowsy, dreamy Autumn, When from out the quiet woodland Sounds of rustling leaves came only— Leaves that floated softly earthward— And the streamlets had a murmur Such as wanders through our visions In the hushed and starry midnight— Low, soft murmur, full of music.
With the small hand of her darling Clasped in her's, there came a mother To an Artist—fondly asking For the picture of her pet-lamb— Winsome pet-lamb full of child-life, Full of merry, ringing laughter— Laughter that went up unceasing Like the happy chime of streamlets Singing thro' some mountain valley,— Like the bird-song in the forest In the time of early roses,— Like the tinkle of sweet waters Dripping o'er a marble fountain.
And the child's glad eyes grew brighter As she saw her own sweet image From its little case look smiling Back upon her radiant features— Saw the clustering curls fall softly Round the peach-blow neck and bosom,— Saw the lips, two tiny rose-buds, And the scarce-shown pearls that edged them,— And the quivering, laughing lashes Of the eager eyes were lifted In glad wonder, as she murmured "Oh, it's pretty!—ain't it, ma ma?"
Came another day in Autumn— Gloomy, sad, tempestuous Autumn— And from out the moaning forest Came the sound of rushing tempests As they dashed the sere leaves downward From the darkly tossing branches,— And the turbid streams were chafing With the rush of swollen waters That, in tones all hoarse and angry, To the rude winds made replying.
With the hot hand of her darling Clasped in hers, that same fond mother O'er a little couch was bending, Where her little lamb lay moaning In unquiet fevered slumbers. Oft the blue-veined lids would tremble O'er the half-veiled eyes, and sadly— Painfully the lips would quiver, As the sobbing breath came slowly From the scarcely heaving bosom
Ah! that little lamb was treading 'Mid the shadows of the valley!— And her spirit-ear, affrighted, Just had caught the nearer murmur Of the death-stream cold and sullen Haply, wond'ring at the darkness That was slowly settling round her.
But it passed, and o'er those features Slowly broke a smile, so holy That we deemed the angels gathered Round her in the gloomy valley. Then the life-light gently faded From those eyes, as fades the sunset From the peaceful summer heavens,— Stiller grew the little bosom,— And the sobbing breath grew fainter,— And the fading smile more sweetly Played around those lips, till slumber— Strange, deep slumber slowly settled In its marble stillness o'er her.
Ah!—that little tear-stained image Now, is all that's left thee, mother, Of thy little, dark-eyed daughter! Ever, as it smiles upon thee From its tiny case, how keenly Will thy heart-strings thrill with anguish. As that voice again comes to thee, And again those sweet lips murmur— "Oh it's pretty!—ain't it, ma-ma?"
"Whom have I in heaven but thee?"
'Twere nought to me, yon glorious arch of night, Decked with the gorgeous blazonry of heaven, If, to my faith, amid its splendors bright, No vision of the Eternal One were given; I could but view a dreary, soulless waste— A vast expanse of solitude unknown;— More cheerless for the splendors o'er it cast, For all its grandeur more intensely lone.
'Twere nought to me, this ever-changing scene Of earthly beauty, sunshine, and delight— The wood's deep shadows and the valley's green, Morn's tender glow, and sunset's splendors bright— Nought, if my Father smiled not from the sky, The cloud, the flower, the landscape, and the leaf; My soul would pine 'mid Earth's vain pageantry, And droop in hopeless orphanage and grief.
'Twere nought to me, the Ocean's far expanse, If His perfections were not mirrored there, Hopeless across the unmeasured waste I'd glance, And clasp my hands in anguish, not in prayer, Nought, Nature's anthem, ever swelling up From Nature's myriad voices, for the hymn Would breathe nor love, nor gratitude, nor hope, Robbed of the tones that speak to me of Him.
This wondrous universe, how less than nought Without my God—how desolate and drear! A mockery Earth with her vain splendors fraught— A gilded pageant every rolling sphere; The noonday sun with all his glories crowned, A sickly flame, would glimmer faint and pale; And all Earth's melodies, their sweetness drowned, Be but the utt'rance of a funeral wail!
Fair land of peace!—to Britain's rule and throne Adherent still, yet happier than alone, And free as happy, and as brave as free, Proud are thy children—justly proud, of thee!
Thou hast no streams renowned in classic lore, No vales where fabled heroes moved of yore, No hills where Poesy enraptured stood, No mythic fountains, no enchanted wood; But unadorned, rough, cold, and often stern, The careless eye to other lands might turn, And seek, where Nature's bloom is more intense, Softer delights to charm the eye of sense.
But we who know thee, proudly point the hand Where thy broad rivers roll serenely grand— Where, in still beauty 'neath our northern sky, Thy lordly lakes in solemn grandeur lie,— Where old Niagara's awful voice has given The flood's deep anthem to the ear of heaven Through the long ages of the vanished past, Through Summer's bloom, and Winter's angry blast— Nature's proud utterance of unwearied song, Now, as at first, majestic, solemn, strong, And ne'er to fail, till the archangel's cry Shall still the million tones of earth and sky, And send the shout to ocean's farthest shore— "Be hushed ye voices—time shall be no more!"
Few are the years that have sufficed to change This whole broad land by transformation strange; Once, far and wide, the unbroken forests spread Their lonely wastes, mysterious and dread— Forests, whose echoes never had been stirred By the sweet music of an English word,— Where only rang the red-browed hunter's yell, And the wolfs howl thro' the dark, sunless dell.
Now, fruitful fields and waving orchard-trees Spread their rich treasures to the summer breeze. Yonder, in queenly pride, a city stands, Whence stately vessels speed to distant lands;— Here smiles a hamlet thro' embowering green, And there, the statelier village-spires are seen;— Here, by the brook-side, clacks the noisy mill,
There, the white homestead nestles to the hill;— The modest school-house here flings wide its door To smiling crowds that seek its simple lore;— There, Learning's statelier fane of massive walls Wooes the young aspirant to classic halls; And bids him in her hoarded treasures find The gathered wealth of every gifted mind.
Here, too, we see, in primal freshness still, The cool, calm forest nodding on the hill; And o'er the quiet valley, clustering green, The tall trees linked in brotherhood serene, Fattening from year to year the soil below, Which shall in time with golden harvests glow; And yield more wealth to Labor's sturdy hands,
Than fabled Eldorado's yellow sands. Where once, with thundering din, in years by-gone, The heavy waggon labored slowly on Thro' dreary swamps by rudest causeways spanned, With shaggy cedars dark on either hand, Where wolves oft howled in nightly chorus drear, And boding owls mocked the lone traveller's fear,
Now, o'er the stable Rail the Iron-horse Sweeps proudly on in his exultant course, Bearing in his impetuous flight along, The freighted car with all its living throng, At speed which rivals in its onward flight, The bird's free wing thro' azure fields of light.
Wealth of the forest, treasures of the hills, Majestic rivers, fertilizing rills, Expansive lakes, rich vales, and sunny plains, Vast fields where yet primeval nature reigns, Exhaustless treasures of the teeming soil— These loudly call to enterprising Toil
Nor vainly call. From lands beyond the sea, Strong men have turned, O Canada, to thee,— Turned from their father's graves, their native shore, Smiling to scorn the flood's tempestuous roar, Gladly to find where broader, ampler room Allured their steps, a happy, Western home.
The toil-worn peasant looked with eager eyes O'er the blue waters, to those distant skies; Where no one groaned 'neath unrequited toil, Where the strong laborer might own the soil On which he stood; and, in his manhood's strength, Smile to behold his growing fields at length;— Where his brave sons might easily obtain The lore for which their father sighed in vain, And, in a few short seasons, take their stand Among the learned and gifted of the land,
Could ocean-barriers avail to keep That yearning heart in lands beyond the deep? No!—the sweet vision of a home—his own, Haunted his days of toil, his midnights lone; Till, gath'ring up his little earthly store, Boldly he sought this far-off Western shore, In a few years to realize far more Than in his wildest dreams he hoped before. We cannot boast those skies of milder ray, 'Neath which the orange mellows day by day, Where the Magnolia spreads its snowy flowers, And Nature revels in perennial bowers,— Here, Winter holds his long and solemn reign, And madly sweeps the desolated plain,— But Health and Vigor hail the wintry strife, With all the buoyant glow of happy life, And, by the blazing chimney's cheerful hearth, Smile at the blast 'mid songs and household mirth.
Here Freedom looks o'er all those broad domains, And hears no heavy clank of servile chains, Here man, no matter what his skin may be, May stand erect and proudly say "I'M FREE!" No crouching slaves cower in our busy marts, With straining eyes and anguish riven hearts!
The beam that gilds alike the palace walls And lowly hut, with genial radiance falls On peer and peasant,—but the lowliest here Walks in the sunshine, free as is a peer. Proudly he stands with muscles strong and free, The serf—the slave of no man, doomed to be. His own, the arm the heavy axe that wields,— His own, the hands that till the summer fields,— His own, the babes that prattle in the door,— His own, the wife that treads the cottage floor, All the sweet ties of life to him are sure, All the proud rights of MANHOOD are secure!
Fair land of peace' Oh mayest thou ever be, Even as now, the land of LIBERTY!— Treading serenely the bright upward road, Honored of nations and approved of God,— On thy fair brow emblazoned clear and bright, FREEDOM, FRATERNITY, AND EQUAL RIGHT!
"I LAID ME DOWN AND SLEPT"
(Ps. 3 5.)
Dark was the midnight hour, And wild with storm. Nor moon nor pitying star Gleamed through the inky darkness from afar; And Earth seemed reeling blindly to her doom, As reels some stout ship thro' the midnight gloom, What time the tempest and the waves have power.
I stood alone that night, And stretched my chill hands tow'rd the rayless sky, And heard the wrathful winds go shrieking by, And thought of one, whose weary feet from far Were journeying homeward thro' that night's wild war, Stricken with dire Consumption's deadly blight
"Oh! feeble, woman's hands Outstretched in anguish thro' the enshrouding dark, Ye cannot reach that far-off, struggling bark That seems so lashed and beaten by the storm; Ye cannot clasp that fever-stricken form, And lead him home across the cold, wet sands!
"But thou canst kneel and pray, Oh, burdened one!—Thy Father, through the night Can hear thy prayer!—Thy tears fall in His sight! Call e'er so faintly, He thy voice can hear! Then close the door, and pray;—thy Lord is near— Is near to thee, and near to him alway!"
Thus spake the voice of Love;— And, kneeling there, in God's own gracious ear I whispered all my anguish and my fear, Then laid me down, and slept, and saw no more The night's black pall, or heard the sullen roar Of battling storms that 'mid the darkness strove.
I slept, and woke at length, Strengthened, sustained. Another day, I knew That he had been sustained and strengthened too; And when, at length, his fevered hand I pressed, I blessed the love that so had brought him rest, And me, for added sorrows, added strength.
BRIGHT THOUGHTS FOR A DARK DAY
Will the shadows be lifted to-morrow?— Will the sunshine come ever again?— Will the clouds, that are weeping in sorrow, Their glorious beauty regain? Will the forest stand forth in its greenness?— The meadows smile sweet as before?— And the sky, in its placid sereneness, Bend lovingly o'er us once more?
Will the birds sing again as we heard them, Ere the tempest their gentle notes hushed?— Will the breeze float again in its freedom, Where lately its melody gushed? Will the beautiful angel of sunset Drape the heavens in crimson and gold, As the day-king serenely retireth, 'Mid grandeur and glory untold?
Yea; the clouds will be lifted to-morrow, From valley, and hill-top, and plain; And sunshine, and gladness, and beauty Will visit the landscape again;— The forest, the field, and the river Will bask in the joy-giving ray; And the angel of sunset, as ever, Will smile o'er the farewell of day.
For the longest day hastes to its ending,— The darkest night speeds to the day;— O'er thickest clouds, ever, the sunbeam Shines on with unfaltering ray;— Though thou walk amid shadows, thy Father Makes His word and his promises thine; And, whatever the storms that may gather, At length thro' the gloom He will shine!
THE DRUNKARD'S CHILD
A little child stood moaning At the hour of midnight lone, And no human ear was list'ning To the feebly wailing tone; The cold, keen blast of winter With funeral wail swept by, And the blinding snow fell darkly Through the murky, wintry sky.
Ah! desolate and wretched Was the drunkard's outcast child, Driven forth; amidst the horrors Of that night of tempests wild. The babe so fondly cherished Once 'neath a parent's eye, Now laid her down in anguish Midst the drifting snows to die!
"Papa!—papa!"—she murmured, "The night is cold and drear, And I'm freezing!—Oh, I'm freezing! In the storm and darkness here;— My naked feet are stiff'ning, And my little hands are numb,— Papa, can I not come to thee, And warm myself at home?
"Mamma! mamma!"—more wildly, The little suff'rer cried— Forgetting, in her anguish, How her stricken mother died— "Oh, take me to your bosom, And warm me on your breast, Then lay me down and kiss me, In my little bed to rest!"
Poor child!—the sleep that gathers Thy stiffened eyelids o'er, Will know no weary waking To a life of anguish more. Sleep on!—the snows may gather O'er thy cold and pulseless form— Thou art resting, calmly resting, In the wild, dark, midnight storm
THE NAMES OF JESUS
[Footnote: This poem is designed to form a part of a volume of strictly religious poetry, which the Author has in course of preparation; and is inserted here in deference to the expressed wish of a large number of friends. Its appearance here will not, however, prevent its appearing in its appropriate connection.]
I SING the NAMES of JESUS!—matchless names! Highest and holiest Earth or Heaven claims! By which alone we may approach to Him Before whose faintest ray the sun grows dim, And all the brightest glory of the skies Like twilight's feeble glimmer fades and dies.
MESSIAH, CHRIST!—God's high, Anointed One! The Eternal Father's well-beloved Son! On whom the mystic oil of Heaven was shed, What time, descending on His sacred head, The Consecrating Spirit from above Set Him apart to holiest deeds of love; Anointed Prophet, from that favored hour To teach His Father's will, to wield His power,— Anointed Priest, for His own people's sake, Himself a sacrifice for sin to make,— Anointed King, unrivalled and alone To reign on universal Empire's throne,— To whose high majesty and regal worth All crowns shall bend in Heaven and in Earth,— All Powers to Him their cheerful tribute bring, And all above, below, confess Him King.
OUR PASSOVER! 'Twas night on Egypt's coast, And all were hushed to rest save Israel's host;— They, silent, wakeful, harnessed as for flight, Each in his own hushed dwelling watched that night Through the slow, fateful hours of deepening gloom, The coming of God's Messenger of doom, Whose piercing eye, through the deep, awful shade By Judgment's stern uplifted pinions made, The blood-mark on each dwelling should descry Of the slain lamb, and, seeing, pass it by.
Thus, thus, O Soul! in that more awful hour When the last Judgment's darker shadows lower, And, swift and stern, God's messengers go forth To reap the harvest of this fated Earth,— If then, on thee is found no crimson stain Of God's own Lamb on bloody Calvary slain,— If thou art resting not beneath the blood Of that one sacrifice ordained of God, Where wilt thou fly?—where hide thyself away From the dread reck'ning of the Judgment day?— If resting 'neath the blood for sinners spilt, Look up!—the judge Himself has borne thy guilt' Justice and Judgement claim thy life in vain, Since Christ, thy Passover, Himself is slain!
IMMANUEL!—God with us. With us, O Soul! Of this brief utt'rance canst thou grasp the whole?— Nay, comprehend one attribute of God, The Maker, Sovereign, Him who at a nod Can hurl all worlds to wreck, and with a breath Can wake a Universe from night and death, And clothe in Beauty's robes of richest bloom Ten thousand worlds snatched from chaotic gloom?
If not, couldst grasp the thought that such as He, Clothed in frail, human flesh, a man should be? Of us and with us, veiled his dazzling ray Of awful Godhead, and at home in clay, A living, dying man? Heaven, Earth, and Hell The mystery fail to solve, Immanuel!— And yet, Faith lays her hand in thine, And whispers low,—"Immanuel is mine!"
But He has other Names, it may be less Bewildering in their deep mysteriousness, O'er which we oftener linger, which we bear Oftener to Heaven upon the breath of prayer,— Sweet, hallowed home-names,—dearer, it may be, Because first learned beside a mother's knee;— The tender names of Father, Brother, Friend,— Names that with all sweet recollections blend,— Names full of high significancy, given To Him who intercedes for us in Heaven.
FATHER!—dear name, to thought and feeling dear Thrice-precious ever in the Christian's ear! An earthly father, trials may estrange; THE EVERLASTING FATHER knows no change!— With tireless patience and unslumbering care, Watching wherever His earth-children are, Nor failing e'en the faintest cry to hear, By His weak children breathed into His ear.
BROTHER!—our Eldest, FIRST-BORN FROM THE DEAD, Of all the glorified the Living HEAD! Yet condescending to the youngest child, With tenderest looks and accents sweet and mild;— Who feels a wrong done to the feeblest one, Keenly, as though unto Himself 'twere done;— Who, sees no kindness to the humblest shown, But 'lisas though 'twere to Himself alone;— And who will judge the wrong, the kindness bless, With all a brother's truth and tenderness;— Nay, more: an earthly brother faints and dies, Or faithless oft, forgets affections ties;— His love, enduring as the eternal throne, No change, decay, or loss have ever known.
FRIEND!—there is music in that simple word, Which through all time the human heart has stirred. Earth cannot be a desert, joy-bereft, To any heart, if but one friend is left;— Yet friends oft change, and friendship proves a name, And death at last must ever quench its flame.
Yet He's a friend, than brother closer far;— One whose affection changes cannot mar;— One tempted, tried, and grieved, as you have been;— Long a lone wanderer through this world of sin;— Himself without a friend whose steadfast heart In His deep cup of anguish shared a part.
Friendless He knelt in dark Gethsamane;— Unfriended hung on Calvary's bloody tree;— And all for what?—His matchless love to prove For man, His enemy! O, matchless love!— O, wondrous Friendship!—O, unchanging Friend!— Who, loving thus, should love unto the end, That, evermore, the ransomed soul might rest Its weary head upon His faithful breast, And feel, 'mid all vicissitudes and pains, That one, true, constant, loving friend remains.
Friend, Brother, Father!—Could we ask for more? Yet these dear names exhaust not half the store. REDEEMER!—SAVIOUR!—Lo! a captive, bound With chains and fetters, wrapped in night profound, In helpless, hopeless bondage, dark I lay, When He, in pitying mercy, passed that way. He saw me hugging close my heavy chain, Loving my bonds, despite their bitter pain, Deaf to the music of the songs of Heaven, Blind to the light His pitying love had given, Sick unto death, yet boastful of my health, Clothed in foul rags, yet vaunting of my wealth.
Was that a thing to love or pity?—Nay!— Yet He did stoop, on me, His hand to lay; Touched my dark eyes, and lo! the light was mine; Ope'd my dull ears to harmony divine; Showed me my rags, my wretchedness, my grief, My deadly sickness, and then gave relief; Paid my full ransom-price, warmed, cleansed, and red, And clothed in spotless raiment, me He led Forth from the dungeon of impurity, To the pure air of heaven, made whole, set free! Henceforth my all in life or death is thine, And thou, Redeemer, Saviour,—thou art mine!
Nor yet, with these, the exultant song should cease; for this Redeemer is the PRINCE OF PEACE! To be redeemed by earthly Prince, would be High honor, lasting joy to him set free; Yet earthly princes, emulous of fame, Oft win their way to power by sword and flame, And leave the path by which they reach a throne, Red with slain victims in their rage o'erthrown, And rudely crushed beneath the maddened tread Of fiery Conquest, reckless of his dead.
But oh, how diff'rent is the Prince of Peace! He comes to bid the rage of conflict cease; He lifts His hand above the stormy sea Of human passion, surging wrathfully, And lo! its maddened waves in peace subside,— Hushed is the tempest-roar of power and pride,— The desert and the wilderness rejoice, And life awakes at His creative voice,— Peace spans with rainbow arch the weeping sky, And angels smile from their pure homes on high!
And yet our Prince is more. He is a PRIEST, In whom signs, symbols, offrings all have ceased; For, more than Priest, a SACRIFICE He stands, With streaming side, and bloody feet and hands, Bearing to Heaven, not blood of bullocks slain, Nor victims' ashes sprinkling the unclean, But His own blood, an offering to Heaven That God might thus be just and man forgiven, Himself, at once, Prince, Priest, and Sacrifice, Man mediatorial, Lord of Earth and Skies,— Angels in vain the myst'ry would explore, And men and angels mutually adore! Yet, as though these were not enough, we find Him stooping still, to meet the human mind, Under still other names His boundless grace And love to symbolize for Adams race.
See yonder flock upon the mountain bare Is there no hand to guide or tend them there? When the wild beast comes prowling from his den, Who will protect the helpless creatures then? Who, when the pastures fail, and springs are dry, Will lead them forth where greener pastures lie?
What pitiest thou the helpless flock?—so He, Thy watchful friend, in pity thinks of thee "I the GOOD SHEPHERD am, and ye the sheep, With tenderest care my little flock I keep, No ravenous beast shall prey upon my own, They know my voice, and follow me alone"
Is yonder sun a welcome sight to thee, As up the east he rides exultingly?— Do the hills wake to beauty as he comes, And valleys blush with countless opening blooms? Do the streams sparkle, and the woodlands ring With the sweet lays the happy warblers sing? He is a SUN, and where His radiance streams Beauty and gladness waken in His beams, The soul expands to perfect leaf and flower, And ripening fruitage waits the vintage hour,— Songs of rejoicing float upon the air, And 'neath His rays 'tis Summer everywhere.
Is yonder vine a pleasant, goodly thing, As upward still its laden branches spring, As its ripe clusters woo the longing sight To linger still with ever new delight? "I'm the TRUE VINE," saith Christ, "the branches ye,— The living Vine, abide ye still in me; Thus shall my life to every branch be given, Thus shall each branch bring forth the fruit of Heaven!"
See, yonder traveller in a desert land, Toils day by day o'er tracks of burning sand, A lurid sky above—beneath, around, The dreary desert spreads its wastes profound. With blistered feet, and aching, blood-shot eye, Long dimly strained some fountain to descry, Onward he toils, while hope, as days depart, Grows feebler, fainter, at his weary heart
On the horizon's verge he sees at length A shadowy line, and lo, his failing strength In a full tide returns!—His weary feet Speed gladly on, by courage rendered fleet: He gains the fount, he drinks, and toil and care, And dread and danger, all forgotten are!
So, to life's weary pilgrim, Christ is made In the drear desert a refreshing SHADE! A FOUNT OF LIVING WATER, never dry, To all the thirsty yielding full supply,— A WELL OF WATER ever springing up To Life Eternal—fount of joy and hope!
Student of nature! dost thou love, at morn, To tread where earliest flowers the wild adorn?— To view the lowly blossoms of the field, In shady nooks half-hidden, half-revealed— The wild rose, scenting all the dewy air, The graceful lily bending meekly there?
Then think as with admiring eye you trace Those meek, sweet dwellers in each lonely place, That He, of whom I sing well knowing how The heart to Natures lovely gifts, would bow, Would lead your thoughts with gentle, winning force Up from created Beauty to its Source
He is the ROSE OF SHARON—fairest flower That perfume breathed through Eden's hallowed bower The LILY OF THE VALLEY, pensive, fair, With heavenly sweetness flooding all the air,— Thrice sacred symbol, breathing evermore Of Him whom angels cease not to adore!
Thou man of Science, who, with practised eye And glance untiring sweep'st the starry sky, Speeding in thought along those trackless ways, Where planets burn and constellations blaze, Leaving uncounted worlds behind thee far,— Listen—"I am THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR !" He says—and does not thought more gladly stray, Where the meek herald of the rising day Sits like a peaceful vestal bearing high Her radiant urn on the soft eastern sky?— Thence, rising, seek the Morning Star of Heaven, Who to Night's myriad suns their light has given, And, bowing low Light's sacred Fount before, In wondering, reverential awe adore?
Soul, ever groping through the mists of time, To find the path which leads to the sublime, Still heights of God!—weak are thy steps and slow, Yet there's a path no fowl of heaven doth know,— No lion's whelp that secret way hath found,— No eagle marked it from the heights profound,— No human art, unhelped, discerned the road That leadeth up to happiness and God!
Yet, anxious Soul! dost thou not hear Him say, "Cease thy vain groping,—lo, I am the WAY,— The way to God,—the one unerring Way? All other paths will lend thy feet astray, I only, WISDOM, am the path that lies 'Twixt man and God the Sovereign of the skies!"
Seeker of Truth !—long hast thou striven to find This only boon that satisfies the mind Through Nature's stores the treasure hast thou sought; Hast traversed all the boundless fields of thought, Questioned the lonely night, the laughing day, The ocean-depths, the founts that ceaseless play, Old hoary mountains, cliffs, and caverns lone, Earth's secret depths—mysterious, unknown, Asked of the past, the present, future, striven To pierce the mysteries unrevealed of Heaven, Yet weary and unsatisfied remained, Longing for Truth, still far off, unattained,— That truth which satisfies the anxious quest, And with the attainment, bringeth perfect rest.
"I am the TRUTH!"—saith Christ,—O, wearied one! Tired of thy fruitless search beneath the sun, Accept this boon, so sacred, so divine, In simple trust, and all thou seek'st is thine— Truth that makes free,—that falsehood cannot dim,— In full completeness all made thine in Him!
Lover of life! say, what wouldst thou not give, To know that thou eternally shouldst live? Is Death a thing from which to shrink with dread? The dreary valley dost thou fear to tread? What wouldst thou give to pierce the unknown Dark That lies before thy feebly tossing bark. And know what anchor in that unknown sea, Or wreck disastrous, there awaiteth thee?
Dost trembling cling to this frail thread of life, Through pain, and doubt, and weariness, and strife, Rather than trust thy dimly groping hand Its hold to fasten on that unknown land Whence none return, its secrets to declare, And tell what bliss or rum waits thee there?
Well mayst thou cling to Earth, unless thy ear Opened has been, the voice from Heaven to hear,— To hear the Christ, amid Earth's wearying strife, Its toil and tumult, say "I am the LIFE!" "I am THE LIFE!"—oh, then, undo thy clasp On this frail-being, and with deathless grasp Lay hold on Him, in whom, by whom alone, The bliss of Life Eternal may be known!— Failing in this, how deep must be the gloom— The unpierced darkness of the lonely tomb!— In this succeeding, what exultant day O'er all thy future pours its blissful ray!
Is light a blessing?—He's the soul's clear LIGHT— The blessed DAY-STAR, scattering the night! Is peace the sweetest boon to mortals given?— Jesus is PEACE made manifest from Heaven! Is love the bond of life, beneath, above, In Earth, or Heaven?—His highest name is LOVE!
ROCK, REFUGE, REST. a SHIELD in conflict dire, Around His saints A WALL OF LIVING FIRE, STRENGTH, HOPE, REDEMPTION, RIGHTEOUSNESS divine; FAIREST AMONG TEN THOUSAND fair that shine On hills Of light by high archangels trod, Judah's stern LION, spotless LAMB OF GOD; THE SON OF GOD, THE SON OF MAN, THE BREAD OF LIFE, with which each heir of Heaven is fed; THE RESURRECTION from the dust of death; AUTHOR AND FINISHER of all our Faith; God's manifested thought—Eternal WORD By whom creation's eldest depths were stirred; ALPHA, OMEGA, FIRST, LAST, JEHOVAH, MAN! So ends my song just where my song began! JESUS!—"He saves His people from their sins!" Thus end all praises, where all praise begins!