Page images


[“The manner in which the WALDENSES and heretics disseminated their principles among the CATHOLIC gentry, was by carrying with them a box of trinkets, or articles of dress. Having entered the houses of the gentry, and disposed of some of their goods, they cautiously intimated that they had commodities far more valuable than these — inestimable jewels, which they would show if they could be protected from the clergy. They would then give their purchasers a bible or testament; and thereby many were deluded into heresy." R. Saccho.] “Oh, lady fair, these silks of mine are beautiful and rare — The richest web of the Indian loom, which beauty's queen might

wear ; And my pearls are pure as thy own fair neck, with whose

radiant light they vie ; I have brought them with me a weary way, — will my gentle

lady buy ?” And the lady smiled on the worn old man through the dark and

clustering curls, Which veiled her brow as she bent to view his silks and glitter

ing pearls ; And she placed their price in the old man's hand, and lightly

turned away, But she paused at the wanderer's earnest call — “My gentle

lady, stay !”

“Oh, lady fair, I have yet a gem which a purer lustre flings, Than the diamond flash of the jewelled crown on the lofty brow

of kings — A wonderful pearl of exceeding price, whose virtue shall not decay, Whose light shall be as a spell to thee and a blessing on thy

way !”

The lady glanced at the mirroring steel where her form of grace

was seen, Where her eye shone clear, and her dark locks waved their

clasping pearls between ;Bring forth thy pearl of exceeding worth, thou traveller grey

and old — And name the price of thy precious gem, and my page shall

count thy gold. The cloud went off from the pilgrim's brow, as a small and

meagre book, Unchased with gold or gem of cost, from his folding robe he

took! “ Here, lady fair, is the pearl of price, may it prove as such to

thee! Nay — deep thy gold — I ask it not, for the word of God is


The hoary traveller went his way, but the gift he left behind Hath had its pure and perfect work on that high-born maiden's

mind, And she hath turned from the pride of sin to the lowliness of

truth, And given her human heart to God in its beautiful hour of

youth !

And she hath left the grey old halls, where an evil faith had

power, The courtly knights of her father's train, and the maidens of

her bower ; And she hath gone to the Vaudois vales by lordly feet untrod, Where the poor and needy of earth are rich in the perfect love

of God!


Not always as the whirlwind's rush

On Horeb's mount of fear,
Not always as the burning bush

To Midian's shepherd seer,
Nor as the awful voice which came

To Israel's prophet bards,
Nor as the tongues of cloven flame,

Nor gift of fearful words —

Not always thus, with outward sign

Of fire or voice from Heaven,
The message of a truth divine,

The call of God is given !
Awaking in the human heart

Love for the true and right -
Zeal for the Christian's “better part,"

Strength for the Christian's fight.

Nor unto manhood's heart alone

The holy influence steals : *
Warm with a rapture not its own,

The heart of woman feels !
As she who by Samaria's wall

The Saviour's errand sought-
As those who with the fervent Paul

And meek Aquila wrought :

Or those meek ones whose martyrdom

Rome's gathered grandeur saw :
Or those who in their Alpine home

Braved the Crusader's war,

When the green Vaudois, trembling, heard,

Through all its vales of death,
The martyr's song of triumph poured

From woman's failing breath.

And gently, by a thousand things

Which o'er our spirits pass,
Like breezes o’er the harp's fine strings,

Or vapors o'er a glass,
Leaving their token strange and new

Of music or of shade,
The summons to the right and true

And merciful is made.

Oh, then, if gleams of truth and light

Flash o’er thy waiting mind, Unfolding to thy mental sight

The wants of human kind ;
If brooding over human grief,

The earnest wish is known
To soothe and gladden with relief

An anguish not thine own :

Though heralded with nought of fear,

Or outward sign, or show :
Though only to the inward ear

It whispers soft and low;
Though dropping, as the manna fell,

Unseen, yet from above,
Noiseless as dew-fall, heed it well —

Thy Father's call of love !


STAND still, my soul, in the silent dark

I would question thee,
Alone in the shadow drear and stark

With God and me!

What, my soul, was thy errand here ?

Was it mirth or ease,
Or heaping up dust from year to year?

“Nay, none of these ! ”

Speak, soul, aright in His holy sight

Whose eye looks still
And steadily on thee through the night :

“To do his will ! ”

What hast thou done, oh soul of mine

That thou tremblest so ? Hast thou wrought His task, and kept the line

He bade thee go ?

What, silent all ! - art sad of cheer ?

Art fearful now ?
When God seemed far and men were near

How brave wert thou ?

Aha! thou tremblest ! — well I see

Thou ’rt craven grown.
Is it so hard with God and me

To stand alone ? —

« PreviousContinue »