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THE KNIGHT OF ST. JOHN.
Ere down yon blue Carpathian hills
The sun shall sink again! Farewell to life and all its ills,
Farewell to cell and chain.
These prison shades are dark and cold,—
But, darker far than they, The shadow of a sorrow old
Is on my heart alway.
For since the day when Warkworth wood
Closed o'er my steed and I,
A weed cast out to die,—
When, looking back in sunset light,
I saw her turret gleam,
Her sign of farewell stream,
Like one who from some desert shore
And, vainly longing, gazes o'er
So from the desert of my fate
I gaze across the past; Forever on life's dial-plate
The shade is backward cast!
I've wandered wide from shore to shore,
I've knelt at many a shrine; And bowed me to the rocky floor
Where Bethlehem's tapers shine;
And by the Holy Sepulchre
I've pledged my knightly sword
To Christ, his blessed Church, and her,
Oh, vain the vow, and vain the strife!
How vain do all things seem! My soul is in the past, and life
To day is but a dream!
In vain the penance strange and long,
And hard for flesh to bear;
And sackcloth shirt of hair.
The eyes of memory will not sleep,—
Its ears are open still;
Against my feeble will.
And still the loves and joys of old
Do evermore uprise;
The shine of loving eyes!
Ah me! upon another's breast
Those golden locks recline; I see upon another rest
The glance that once was mine!
"O faithless Priest! — O perjured knight!"
I hear the Master cry; "Shut out the vision from thy sight,
Let Earth and Nature die!
"The Church of God is now thy spouse,
Then let the burden of thy Tows
In vain! This heart its grief must know,
Till life itself hath ceased,
The lover and the priest!
O pitying Mother! souls of light,
And saints, and martyrs old! Pray for a weak and sinful knight,
A suffering man uphold.
Then let the Paynim work his will,
And death unbind my chain,
The sun shall fall a;*ain.
THE HOLY. LAND.
I Uave not felt o'er seas of sand,
The rocking of the desert bark;
By Hebron's palm-trees cool and dark;
On dust where Job of old has lain, Nor dreamed beneath its canvas wall,
The dream of Jacob o'er again.
One vast world-page remains unread;
How shine the stars in Chaldea's sky, How sounds the reverent pilgrim's tread,
How beats the heart with God so nigh! — How round gray arch and column lone
The spirit of the old time broods, And sighs in all the winds that moan
Along the sandy solitudes!
In thy tall cedars, Lebanon,
I have not heard the nations' cries,
"Where buried Tyre in ruin lies.
In Tadmor's temples of decay,
The waste where Memnon's empire lay.
Nor have I, from thy hallowed tide,
O, Jordan! heard the low lament, Like that sad wail along thy side,
Which Israel's mournful prophet sent! Nor thrilled within that grotto lone,
Where deep in night, the Bard of Kings Felt hands of fire direct his own,
And sweep for God the conscious strings.
I have not climbed to Olivet,
Nor laid me where my Saviour lay,
By angel eyes unwept away;
The garden where His prayer and groan, Wrung by His sorrow and our crime,
Rose to One listening ear alone.
I have not kissed the rock-hewn grot,
Where in His Mother's arms He lay, Nor knelt upon the sacred spot
Where last His footsteps pressed the clay; Nor looked on that sad mountain head,
Nor smote my sinful breast, where wide His arras to fold the world He spread,
And bowed His head to bless — and died!