Page images
PDF
EPUB

How the armed warrior sate him down to hear

Of Peace and Truth,
And the proud ruler and his Creole dame,
Jewelled and gorgeous in her beauty came,

And fair and bright-eyed youth.

Oh, far away beneath New England's sky,

Even when a boy, Following my plough by Merrimack's green shore, His simple record I have pondered o'er

With deep and quiet joy.

And hence this scene, in sunset glory warm —

Its woods around, Its still stream winding on in light and shade, Its soft, green meadows and its upland glade —

To me is holy ground.

And dearer far than haunts where Genius keeps

His vigils still;
Than that where Avon's son of song is laid,
Or Vaucluse hallowed by its Petrarch's shade,

Or Virgil's laurelled hill.

To the grey walls of fallen Paraclete,

To Juliet's urn, Fair Arno and Sorrento's orange grove, Where Tasso sang, let young Romance and Love

Like brother pilgrims turn.

But here a deeper and serener charm

To all is given; And blessed memories of the faithful dead O'er wood and vale and meadow-stream have shed

The holy hues of Heaven!

TO JOHN PIERPONT.

Not as a poor requital of the joy

With which my childhood heard that lay of thine,

Which, like an echo of the song divine
At Bethlelem hreathed above the Holy Boy,

Bore to my ear the airs of Palestine,—
Not to the poet, but the man I bring
In friendship's fearless trust my offering:
How much it lacks I feel, and thou wilt see,
Yet well I know that thou hast deemed with me
Life all too earnest, and its time too short
For dreamy ease and Fancy's graceful sport;

And girded for thy constant strife with wrong,
Like Nehemiah fighting while he wrought

The broken walls of Zion, even thy song Hath a rude martial tone, a blow in every thought! THE CYPRESS TREE OF CEYLON.

[ibx Batuta, the celebrated Mussulman traveller of the fourteenth century, speaks of a Cypress tree in Ceylon, universally held sacred by the natives, the leaves of which were said to fall only at certain intervals, and he who had the happiness to find and eat one of them, was restored, at once, to youth and vigor. The traveller saw several venerable Jooees, or saints, sitting silent and motionless under the tree, patiently awaiting the falling of a leaf.]

Thet sat in silent watchfulness

The sacred cypress tree about,
And, from beneath old wrinkled brows

Their failing eyes looked out.
• *
Grey Age and Sickness waiting there

Through weary night and lingering day — , Grim as the idols at their side

And motionless as they.

Unheeded in the boughs above

The song of Ceylon's birds was sweet;

Unseen of them the island flowers
Bloomed brightly at their feet.

O'er them the tropic night-storm swept,
The thunder crashed on rock and hill;

The cloud-fire on their eye-balls blazed, *
Yet there they waited still!

What was the world without to them?

The Moslem's sunset-call — the dance
Of Ceylon's maids—the passing gleam

Of battle-flag and lance?

They waited for that falling leaf,

Of which the wandering Jogees sing:

Which lends once more to wintry age
The greenness of its spring.

Oh!—if these poor and blinded ones
In trustful patience wait to feel

O'er torpid pulse and failing limb
A youthful freshness steal;

Shall we, who sit beneath that Tree,
Whose healing leaves of life are shed

In answer to the breath of prayer
Upon the waiting head:

Not to restore our failing forms,

And build the spirit's broken shrine,

But, on the fainting Soul to shed
A light and life divine: »

Shall we grow weary in our watch,
And murmur at the long delay?

Impatient of our Father's time
And His appointed way?

Or, shall the stir of outward things
Allure and claim the Christian's eye,

When on the heathen watcher's ear
Their powerless murmurs die?

Alas! a deeper test of faith
Than prison cell or martyr's stake,

The self-abasing watchfulness
Of silent prayer may make.

We gird us bravely to rebuke
Our erring brother in the wrong:

And in the ear of Pride and Power
Our warning voice is strong.

Easier to smite with Peter's sword,

Than "watch one hour" in humbling prayer: Life's "great things," like the Syrian lord

Our hearts can do and dare.

But oh! we shrink from Jordan's skle,
From waters which alone can save:

And murmur for Abana's banks
And Pharpar's brighter wave.

Oh, Thou, who in the garden's shade
Didst wake Thy weary ones again,

Who slumbered at that fearful hour
Forgetful of thy pain;

Bend o'er us now, as over them,
And set our sleep-bound spirits free,

Nor leave us slumbering in the watch
Our souls should keep with Thee!

A DREAM OF SUMMER.

Bland as the morning breath of June

The southwest breezes play;
And, through its haze, the winter noon

Seems warm as summer's day.
The snow-plumed Angel of the North

Has dropped his icy spear;
Again the mossy earth looks forth,

Again the streams gush clear.

The fox his hill-side cell forsakes,
The muskrat leaves his nook,

The bluebird in the meadow brakes
Is singing with the brook.

« PreviousContinue »