"And Cain talked with Abel, his brother."
The sun was rising on earth, sin-tainted, yet beautiful, Delicate gold-colored cloudlets in all their primeval beauty, Ushered the bright orb of day to his task well appointed, Like a bevy of beautifal girls in the court of their monarch, Or a regiment of soldiers all bright in new rose-colored armour. Two altars arose between earth and the cloud-speckled firmament; Cain walked in a stern and defiant advance to his altar, A recklessness flashed from his eyes, and passions unconquered, As he scornfully looked on the kneeling, worshipping Abel, Ay scornfully thus he addressed his young innocent brother:
"Look at my sacrifice, Abel, these glistening dew-colored roses, Those delicate lillies and mosses, these graceful arbutulas; Look at the golden brown tints of these fruits in their lusciousness; Look at the bright varied hues of these green leaves, closely encircling These rich scarlet blossoms, like yonder clouds, glorious and wonderful; Nothing on earth or in heaven could make fairer oblation. Abel, what have you carved on your altar, in that wild devotion By which you in vain seek to soften the anger of heaven? A circle, to show that your God is all near, is filling The seen and unseen with His incomprehensible presence.
Well, so let it be, then; I'll not contradict the illusion. One thing appears certain, that we have offended our Maker, Who visits unjustly on us the mistakes of our parents, As if we ever reached out our hands for fruit once forbidden. Shall we never be free from the thorns and the thistles upspringing? Why do you still try to follow the steps and voice of your Maker? And why still persist in slaying the white lambs of your meadows? Take of my beautiful flowers and despise all blood shedding."
"My brother," spoke Abel, "I love the dear innocent flowers. Are they not all, nearly all that is left us of Eden's fair glory, All but the singing of birds, the winds and the waters, wild music, All but the whispers of love and blessings of heart-broken parents; But you heard, my brother, as well as myself the commandment, Not to offer to heaven what we choose, but what God declareth Will shadow our Faith and sweet Hope in the promised atonement; And that terrible sin, those spots in our souls, my dear brother, Can never be cleansed by the lives of the beautiful flowers, Only by His, shadowed forth in the death of an innocent victim."
Then angrily answered Cain back to his young brother's pleading, "Abel, I have no patience with such mock humiliations, I have no need of a Saviour, I have no need of blood-shedding To wash out the stain of my own or my father's transgression. I for myself can make perfect and full restitution; Look at the smoke of your altar curling upward so clearly, Making white cloudlets on high in the blue of the firmament, While mine sweeps the ground that is cursed like the trail of the serpent: Why comes down the Maker of this blighted universe, asking Why art thou wroth, and why is thy countenance fallen?"
Stand I not here in the image of God, who created us? Have I not courage, and freedom, and strength above my inferiors? Did not our father give name to beast, bird, insect and reptile? Shall his children crouch down and kneel like the creature that crawleth? I will not obey this commandment, but I'll wreath up my altar With offerings of earth, with gold of the orange, and red of the roses, I'll not stain my hands with the blood of an innocent creature." So Cain turned away from his wondering brother; perhaps then little dreaming That on the next morrow he would become earth's first murderer; And, scorning the death of a lamb, take the life of a brother.
The Doom of Cain.
The Lord Said, "What hast thou done?"
Oh, erring Cain, What hast thou done? Upon the blighted earth I hear a melancholy wail resounding; Among the blades of grass where flowers have birth I hear a new-born tone mournfully sounding. It is thy brother's blood Crying aloud to God In helpless pain.
Unhappy Cain! Thou hast so loved to wreathe the clinging vine, And welcomed with pure joy the delicate fruit, Till thou hast felt a kindred feeling twine Around thy heart, grown with each fibrous root Of tree, or moss, or flower, Growing in field or bower, Or ripening grain.
But henceforth, Cain, When the bright gleaming of the rosy morn Proclaims another glorious summer day, Thou may'st walk forth to greet the earth newborn, And pluck the blushing roses on thy way; They at thy touch shall blight, Stricken with some strange might, Some dire pain.
In time to come, When thy fair child (for thou shalt have a son) Shall lay his little, soft, warm hands in thine, And say, "My father, growing neath the sun Are lovely flowers, trees and moss and vine; Here is rich soil and room For me; make bowers bloom Around our home."
Thy heart will shrink, And thou wilt hear the voice the Lord has heard, The voice of brother's blood speaking from earth, And each pulse of thy sad soul will be stirred, As he to whom the girl thou love'st gave birth Brings back with fearful truth The playmate of thy youth From the grave's brink.
For on no shore Shall fair earth yield unto thy stalwart arms; No, thou may'st dig, and prune, and plant in vain, And noxious worms and things of poisonous harms Shall not be banished at the will of Cane; Thou'lt set seed-bearing root, Thou'lt plant life-giving fruit No more, no more.
Depart! Depart! Ah no, not greater than the soul can bear, Did'st thou not always find whatever grain Thou cast, the same grew upward full and fair, Thou would'st not look upon the pure lamb slain, To faith true sacrifice Thou would'st not turn thine eyes; Go, till thine heart.
Our Poor Brethren.
"Our poor and penniless brethren, dispersed over land and sea." —Masonic Sentiment
They met in the festive hall, Lamps in their brightness shone, And merry music and mirth, Aided the feast of St. John. Men pledged the health of their Queen And of all the Royal band, The flags of a thousand years, The swords of their motherland.
Then mid the revelry came The sound of a mournful strain, Like a minor chord in music, A sweet but sad refrain; It rose on the heated air, Like a mourner's earnest plea, "Our poor and penniless brethren Dispersed over land and sea."
Poor and penniless brethren Scattered over the world, Want and misfortune and woe Round them fierce darts have hurled; Wandering alone upon mountains, Sick and fainting and cold, Lying heart-broken in prisons, Chained in an enemy's hold.
Dying in fields of combat, With none to answer back The masonic sign of distress, Left on the battle's track. Shipwrecked in foaming waters, Clinging to broken spars, Dying, this night of St. John, Mid the ocean and the stars.
Others with hunger faint—we Taste these rich and varied meats— Oppression gives them no home But dark and desolate streets. Oh, God of mercy, hear us, As we ask a boon for Thee, For poor and penniless brethren Dispersed over land and sea.
Poor and penniless brethren, Ah, in the Master's sight, We all lay claim to the title On this, our festival night. Lone pilgrims journeying on Towards light that points above, Treading the chequered earthworks Till we reach the land of love.
Work up to the landmark, brothers, We shall not always stay, The falling shadows warn us To work in the light of day. How often our footsteps turn Where a brother's form is hid, Oft we cast evergreen sprigs On a brother's coffin lid.
Thou, who dost give to each Some appointed post to hold, Teach us to cherish the weak, To give Thy silver and gold; To guard as a soldier guards Honor and Love's pure shrine, To give our lives for others, As Thou did'st for us give Thine.
To Masons all over the world Give wisdom to work aright, That they may gather in peace Their working tools at night. May love's star glitter o'er each, Amid darkness, storm or mist, As on this night of St. John, Our Blest Evangelist.
—"Throughout the day, I walk, My path o'ershadowed by vain dreams of him." —Italian Girl's Hymn to the Virgin.
Mother, gazing on thy son, He, thy precious only one, Look into his azure eyes, Clearer than the summer skies. Mark his course; on scrolls of fame Read his proud ancestral name; Pause! a cloud that path will dim, Thou hast dreamt vain dreams of him.
Young bride, for the altar crowned, Now thy lot with one is bound, Will he keep each solemn vow? Will he ever love as now? Ah! a dreamy shadow lies In the depths of those bright eyes; Time will this day's glory dim, Thou hast dreamt vain dreams of him.
Sister, has thy brother gone, To the fields where fights are won; Oh! it was an hour of pride When he was last by thy side; Thou dost see him coming back In the conqueror's proud track; Hush! the bayonets earthward turn, Dream vain dreams, he'll not return.
Woman, on the cottage green, Gazing at the sunset scene, Now the vintage toil is o'er, But the gleaner comes no more Through the fields of burnished corn; Lo! a peasant's bier is borne By the sparkling river's brim, Thou hast dreamt vain dreams of him.
Maiden, who in every prayer Breath'st a name thou dost not bear, Sing again thy lover's song; Yes, he will be back ere long, Back in all his manhood's pride, Back, but with another bride; Cease those bridal robes to trim, Thou hast dreamt vain dreams of him.
Earthly idols! how we mould Sand with fruit and clay with gold! How we cherish crumbling dust, Then lament our futile trust! Saviour, who on earth didst prove All the agony of love, Fit us for that brighter shore, Where they dream vain dreams no more.
The Forest River.
Amid the forest verdant shade, A peaceful river flowed: Wild flowers their home on its banks had made, The sunbeam's rays on its breast were laid, When the light of morning glowed.
By its marge the wolf had found a lair, He roamed through each lonely spot; That deep designer, the beaver, there Built his palace; the shaggy bear In the tall tree had his cot.
And voices sweet were heard on the bank Of the river's gentle flow; The whip-poor-will sang when the sun had sank, And the hum-drum bee to his home had shrank, When the wind of eve did blow.
The tree-frog joined with his sonorous call, The grasshopper chirped along, The dormice came out of their underground hole, The squirrels peeped over their pine-tree wall, To list to the revel song.
Nothing disturbed the murmur deep Of the river broad and fair; No one awoke it from peaceful sleep, Save when floating mice o'er its breast would creep, Or the rusty-coated bear.
One morn the sound of an axe was heard In the forest, dark and lone; Then started with fear the beasts disturbed, Their reign was broke at the woodman's word, And they scowled with anger on.
On the river's brink the emigrant's child Passed all his lonely hours, He laughed when he ruffled the bosom mild Of the flowing streamlet so bright and wild, As it bore his boon of flowers.
Soon the throng of the forest heard the horn Of the boat, the commerce boat; Then they started up from the brake and thorn, And hastening away by the light of the morn, They fled from cavern and moat.
And the bird peeped out of a pine tree tower, And shrank away at the sight, The humming-bird fled to his rose-hung bower, The bright bee curled himself snug in a flower, O'ertaken by fear and fright.
And the river which rolled for ages, still In a gentle flow unriven, Now bears on its bosom by man's proud will, By the arts of industry and skill, The blessings to mortals given.
Over its billows the steamboats tread, With their waters rushing high, Or the snowy sail to the wind is spread, As the noble bark on her way is sped To the crowded city nigh.
Oh river bright, we sail over thy breast, Once bearing wood runners wild; But the birds who built on the bank their nest, Have fled long ago to the boundless west, From thee and from man exiled.
Last Words of Sir Henry Lawrence.
"Let there be no fuss about me, bury me with my men."
The shades of death were gathering thick around a soldier's head, A war stained, dust strewn band of men gathered around his bed. "Comrade, good-bye; thank God your voice may cheer the dauntless brave When I, your friend and countryman, am resting in the grave. Hush, soldiers, hush, no word of thanks, it is little I have done For the glory of the land we love, toward the setting sun. I have but one request to make: When all is over, then Let there be no fuss about me, bury me with my men.
Heap up no splendid monument in memory of my clay, No tributary words to tell of one who's far away; It matters not to passers by where lies my crumbling dust, The cherubim and seraphim may have it in their trust; And bones of better men than I have bleached all cold and white Where scorching sunbeam goes by day and the prowling beast by night. Give me a few spare feet of earth away down in the glen, Breathing the words of faith and hope, bury me with the men.
Bury me with the men; when the fearful seige was gained, With British blood and British dead the Indian soil was stained. Poor Dugald lay that fearful night and never asked for aid, And Fraser, wounded, cheered us on, and Allan, dying, prayed, And brave Macdonald cheered the flag with his expiring breath. These are the men who jeopardised their lives unto the death, They drove the murderous Sepoys back, the wild wolf to his den; All honor to their noble hearts; bury me with my men.
Is it death that's coming nearer? how clammy grows my brow; Yes, I'm going home for promotion, the battle's over now. Comrades, I often fancy, how upon yon blessed shore, In that land of recognition, we may yet all meet once more. Colonel, we'll gather round you then, as in the days of old; Why do whisper, comrades, are my fingers growing cold? Oh, tell my brother-officers that I thought about them when I was going across the river; bury me with my men.
How very dark it's growing, I suppose it's nearly night; Well, I think we shall see England in the morning's ruddy light. And my mother and my sister surely I see them stand Upon the beach, and summer flowers waving in each hand; And sounds of joy and victory comes on the evening air. Colonel, if I go down home first, you'll come and see us there? Do I hear my comrades sighing? Where am I? ah, amen. Let there be no fuss about me, bury me with my men.
To the Birds.
Onward, sail on in your boundless flight, Neath shadowing skies and moonbeams bright, Kissing the clouds as it drops the rain, Touching the wall of the rainbow's fane; With your wings unfurled, your lyres strung, You sail where stars in their orbs are hung, Or for stranger lands where bright flow'rs spring, Ye have plumed the down and spread the wing.
We lay the strength of the forest down, We wear the robe and the shining crown, We tread down kings in our battle path, And voices fail at our gathered wrath; We touch; the numbers forget to pour, From the serpent's hiss to the lion's roar; But we may not tread the paths ye've trod, Though children of men and sons of God.
Ye haste, ye haste, but ye bring not back To waiting spirits the news we lack, Ye do not tell what it is to see The snow capped home of the thunder free, Ye do not speak of the worlds above, Ye tell no tales of the things we love, No height or breadth of the sunbeam's roof, You touch in your travels—terror proof.
You're strange in bright radience, wonderful; You're soft in your plumage, beautiful. Bold to bask in the clouds of even, Free in your flight to floors of heaven. Like dews that over the flowers spring, Like billows rolled over Egypt's king, You leave no track in the misty air, Or records of wonders that meet you there.
Hark! unto thee a voice doth speak, A voice of heavenly breath, And this, the solemn charge it gives, Be faithful unto death.
Faithful as stars in heaven's blue skies, Though dark clouds roll between, Or rocks that show their signal lights In tempest's wildest scene.
Faithful 'till death, which finally Shall close thy mortal strife, When thy reward shall surely be The crown of endless life.
Blest Ruler, at whose word The universe was stirred, And there was light; Look now with gracious love From Thy bright home above, Direct in every move, Each proved, Sir Knight.
In mysteries well skilled, Their hearts with courage filled, Behold they stand; Strengthen their faith in thee, Let hope their anchor be, And heaven-born charity Mark their command.
Endure with holy light Each suppliant, Sir Knight; May each one prove Faithful in watch and word; Strong the oppressed, to guard And win the just reward Of Faith and Love.