Page images
PDF
EPUB

102

THE DISSATISFIED SPIRIT.

clear, ringing tones, fraught with the music of a mirthful heart. On the instant, there came a rustling sound from the massive foliage. A pair of beautiful wings broke thence, and balanced for a moment above, then descended, hovering about the head of the child, as though bestowing some wordless blessing, and finally spread themselves for flight. The bird paused where the laborer rested at noontide, and the eye of the strong man brightened as he wiped the sweat away, and leaned against the rugged bark of the meadow-tree, yielding himself up to the delicious influence of its music. Then it flew to the casement of the invalid, and thence to the roof-tree of the cotter, and thence it still pursued its way, kindly and lovingly, pausing to warble a moment even by the barred window of the criminal. For many a day the bird-embodied spirit was happy and contented, and believed itself sent upon earth but for the purpose of winning men, by such small, sweet efforts, from sorrow.

But, as it nestled one night in the foliage of the forest tree, there came a sad misgiving to trouble it. It had heard of a nobler mission than it had yet dared to contemplate. It had looked into a path toilsome and difficult to walk in, strewn with thorns and beset with dangers, but yet glorious in that it had been trodden by a holy One, who had linked it to heaven. The timid spirit trembled as it thought, and folded its soft pinions over its breast,

and strove to recollect all the good it had done that day. It thought how it had softened the nature of the sinful, and dropped balm into the bosom of the sorrowing; but it could not shut down the high aspirations which were swelling within it. It knew well that the spirit of the little bird was not like itself, an emanation from the Deity. When the song was hushed and the plumage drooped, that spirit would go downward to the earth; but the living soul, born of the breath of the Almighty, could not so perish. Should it fling aside its loftier gifts, and take upon itself the mission (sweet and beautiful though that mission might be) of the soulless bird ? "Ah, no!” thought the pretty warbler, while its wings seemed swelling to eagle's pinions, “the air is full of birds, the world is ringing with melody. It is delightful to swell the carefree chorus; but there is a higher, nobler mission still.” As its breast heaved with these new emotions, a soft sound, as of a lute, stole up from a neighboring grove, and an exquisitely modulated voice, with deep earnestness, clothed its secret thoughts in words :“I waste no more in idle dreams my life, my soul away; I wake to know my better self, I wake to watch and pray. Thought, feeling, time, on idols vain I've lavished all too long; Henceforth to holier purposes I pledge myself, my song. O, still within the inner veil, upon the spirit's shrine, Still unprofaned evil, burns the one pure spark divine Which God has kindled in us all; and be it mine to tend, Henceforth, with vestal thought and care, the light that lamp may

lend.

O

104

THE DISSATISFIED SPIRIT.

I know my soul is strong and high, if once I give it sway;
I feel a glorious power within, though light I seem, and gay.
O laggard soul! unclose thine eyes; no more in luxury soft
Of joy ideal waste thyself! Awake, and soar aloft ;
Unfurl this hour those falcon wings which thou dost fold too long,
Raise to the skies thy lightning gaze, and sing the loftiest song."

The song ceased, and the struggling, God-born spirit looked down on the cold earth; and not forgetting toil, and suffering, and weariness, not forgetting the degradation of sin, and the constant wrestling of the higher with the baser nature, exclaimed, with deep enthusiasm, “ What a sublime thing to be a man!”

A songster was missed from the woodland, and that same day knelt one in prayer; and then, humble but strong, and happier far than butterfly or bird, went cheerfully forth on man's great mission

TO DO GOOD.

MAY MORNING,

The bright May morning's come again

With balmy air and showers,
And through the wood and in the glen

Is borne the breath of flowers.

And music floats upon the air,

And sighs along the plain ;
The feathered songsters every where

Pour forth their gladsome strain.

Maidens and youths, come, hail the morn,

The birth of winsome May; Come, twine ye garlands to adorn

Your brows this bright spring day.

Blue violets are over all the plain,

And cowslips by the brook
Come, gather for love's fairy chain

From every dell and nook.

And as ye twine your fragrant wreath

And sing your merry lay, Let each young, thrilling bosom breathe

A welcome to sweet May.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »