Page images
PDF
EPUB

TO THE REFORMERS OF ENGLAND*

God bless ye, brothers ! — in the fight
Ye 're waging now, ye cannot fail,

For better is your sense of right
Than kingcraft's triple mail.

Than tyrant's law, or bigot's ban

More mighty is your simplest word;

The free heart of an honest man
Than crosier or the sword.

Go — let your bloated Church rehearse
The lesson it has learned so well;

It moves not with its prayer or curse
The gates of Heaven or hell.

Let the State scaffold rise again —
Did Freedom die when Russel died?

Forget ye how the blood of Vane
From earth's green bosom cried?

The great hearts of your olden time
Are beating with you, full and strong;

All holy memories and sublime
And glorious round ye throng.

* It can scarcely be necessary to say that the author refers to those who are seeking the reform of political evils in Great Britain, by peaceful and Christian means.

The bluff, bold men of Runnymede
Are with ye still in times like these;

The shades of England's mighty dead,
Your cloud of witnesses!

The truths ye urge are borne abroad

By every wind and every tide; The voice of Nature and of God

Speaks out upon your side.

The weapons which your hands have found Are those which Heaven itself has wrought,

Light, Truth, and Love ;— your battle ground The free, broad field of Thought.

No partial, selfish purpose breaks

The simple beauty of your plan, Nor lie from throne or altar shakes

Your steady faith in man.

The languid pulse of England starts
And bounds beneath your words of power;

The beating of her million hearts
Is with you at this hour!

Oh, ye who, with undoubting eyes,

Through present cloud and gathering storm,

Behold the span of Freedom's skies,
And sunshine soft and warm, —

Press bravely onward ! — not in vain
Your generous trust in human kind;

The good which bloodshed could not gain
Your peaceful zeal shall find.

Press on ! — the triumph shall be won
Of common rights and equal laws,

The glorious dream of Harrington,
And Sidney's good old cause.

Blessing the cotter and the crown,
Sweetening worn Labor's bitter cup;

And, plucking not the highest down,
Lifting the lowest up.

Press on ! — and we who may not share
The toil or glory of your fight,

May ask, at least, in earnest prayer,
God's blessing on the right!

THE QUAKER OF THE OLDEN TIME.

The Quaker of the olden time !—

How calm and firm and true,
Unspotted by its wrong and crime,

He walked the dark earth through!
The lust of power, the love of gain,

The thousand lures of sin
Around him, had no power to stain

The purity within.

With that deep insight which detects

All great things in the small,
And knows how each man's life affects

The spiritual life of all,
He walked by faith and not by sight,

By love and not by law;
The presence of the wrong or right

He rather felt than saw.

He felt that wrong with wrong partakes,

That nothing stands alone,
That whoso gives the motive, makes

His brother's sin his own.

And, pausing not for doubtful choice

Of evils great or small,
He listened to that inward voire

Which called away from all.

Oh! Spirit of that early day,

So pure and strong and true,
Be with us in the narrow way

Our faithful fathers knew.
Give strength the evil to forsake,

The cross of Truth to bear,
And love and reverent fear to make

Our daily lives a prayer!

THE REFORMER.

All grim and soiled and brown with tan,

I saw a Strong One, in his wrath, Smiting the godless shrines of man Along his path.

The Church beneath her trembling dome

Essayed in vain her ghostly charm: Wealth shook within his gilded homo With strange alarm.

Fraud from his secret chambers fled

Before the sunlight bursting in: Sloth drew her pillow o'er her head To drown the din.

"Spare," Art implored, "yon holy pile;

That grand, old, time-worn turret spare ;"
Meek Reverence, kneeling in the aisle,
Cried out, "Forbear!"

Grey-bearded Use, who, deaf and blind,
Groped for his old accustomed stone,
Leaned on his staff, and wept, to find
His seat o'erthrown.

Toung Romance raised his dreamy eyes,

O'erhung with paly locks of gold: "Why smite," he asked in sad surprise, "The fair, the old?"

« PreviousContinue »