Page images
PDF
EPUB

And see ; those sable pines along the steep,
Are come to join thy requiem, gloomy deep!
Like stoled monks they stand and chant the dirge
Over the dead, with thy low beating surge.

DAY BREAK.

“ The Pilgrim they laid in a large upper chamber, whose window opened towards the sun-rising : the name of the chamber was Peace ; where he slept till break of day, and then he awoke and sang."-- The Pilgrim's Prngress.

Now, brighter than the host that all night long,
In fiery armor, far up in the sky
Stood watch, thou com'st to wait the morning's song,
Thou com'st to tell me day again is nigh,
Star of the dawning! Cheerful is thine eye ;
And yet in the broad day it must grow

dim.
Thou seem'st to look on me, as asking why

My mourning eyes with silent tears do swim ;
Thou bidd'st me turn to God, and seek my rest in Him.

Canst thou grow sad, thou say’st, as earth grows bright ?
And sigh, when little birds begin discourse
In quick, low voices, ere the streaming light
Pours on their nests, from out the day's fresh source?
With creatures innocent thou must perforce
A sharer be, if that thine heart be pure.
And holy hour like this, save sharp remorse,

Of ills and pains of life must be the cure,
And breathe in kindred calm, and teach thee to endure.

I feel its calm. But there's a sombrous hue,
Edging that eastern cloud, of deep, dull red ;
Nor glitters yet the cold and heavy dew;
And all the woods and hilltops stand outspread
With dusky lights, which warmth nor comfort shed.
Still-save the bird that scarcely lifts its song-
The vast world seems the tomb of all the dead--

The silent city emptied of its throng,
And ended, all alike, grief, mirth, love, hate, and wrong.

But

wrong, and hate, and love, and grief, and mirth,
Will quicken soon; and hard, hot toil, and strife,
With headlong purpose, shake this sleeping earth
With discord strange, and all that man calls life.
With thousand scattered beauties nature's rife;
And airs and woods and streams breathe harmonies :
Man weds not these, but taketh art to wife ;

Nor binds his heart with soft and kindly ties :-
He, feverish, blinded, lives, and, feverish, sated, dies.

It is because man useth so amiss
Her dearest blessings, Nature seemeth sad ;
Else why should she in such fresh hour as this
Not lift the veil, in revelation glad,
From her fair face?-It is that man is mad!
Then chide me not, clear star, that I repine
When nature grieves ; nor deem this heart is bad.

Thou look'st towards earth ; but yet the heavens are thine ; While I to earth am bound:- When will the heavens be mine?

If man would but his finer nature learn,
And not in life fantastic lose the sense
Of simpler things; could nature's features stern
Teach him be thoughtful, then, with soul intense
I should not yearn for God to take me hence,
But bear my lot, albeit in spirit bowed,
Remembering humbly why it is, and whence :

But when I see cold man of reason proud,
My solitude is sad—I'm lonely in the crowd.

But not for this alone, the silent tear
Steals to mine eyes, while looking on the morn,
Nor for this solemn hour : fresh life is near;
But all my joys !—they died when newly born.
Thousands will wake to joy ; while I, forlorn,
And like the stricken deer, with sickly eye
Shall see them pass. Breathe calm-my spirit's torn ;

Ye holy thoughts, lift up my soul on high! -
Ye hopes of things unseen, the far-off world bring nigh.

And when I grieve, 0, rather let it be
That I—whom nature taught to sit with her
On her proud mountains, by her rolling sea-
Who, when the winds are up, with mighty stir
Of woods and waters—feel the quickening spur
To my strong spirit ;—who, as my own child,
Do love the flower, and in the ragged bur

A beauty see—that I this mother mild
Should leave, and go with care, and passions fierce and wild !

How suddenly that straight and glittering shaft
Shot 'thwart the earth! In crown of living fire
Up comes the day! As if they conscious quaffed-
The sunny flood, hill, forest, city spire
Laugh in the wakening light.-Go, vain desire !
The dusky lights are gone; go thou thy way!
And pining discontent, like them, expire!

Be called my chamber, Peace, when ends the day;
And let me with the dawn, like Pilgrim, sing and pray.

INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY.

O LISTEN, man!
A voice within us speaks the startling word,
“Man, thou shalt never die !" Celestial voices
Hymn it around our souls: according harps,
By angel fingers touched when the mild stars
Of morning sang together, sound forth still
The

song our great immortality!
Thick, clustering orbs, and this our fair domain,
The tall, dark mountains, and the deep-toned seas,
Join in this solemn, universal song.
-0, listen, ye, our spirits ! drink it in
From all the air! 'Tis in the gentle moonlight;
"Tis floating in day's setting glories; night,
Wrapped in her sable robe, with silent step
Comes to our bed and breathes it in our ears;
Night and the dawn, bright day and thoughtful eve,
All time, all bounds, the limitless expanse,
As one vast, mystic instrument, are touched

By an unseen, living Hand, and conscious chords
Quiver with joy in this great jubilee:
-The dying hear it; and as sounds of earth
Grow dull and distant, wake their passing souls
To mingle in this heavenly harmony.

THE LITTLE BEACH-BIRD.
Tuou little bird, thou dweller by the sea,
Why takest thou its melancholy voice?

And with that boding cry

O'er the waves dost thou fly ?
O! rather, bird, with me

Through the fair land rejoice!
Thy flitting form comes ghostly dim and pale,
As driven by a beating storm at sea;

Thy cry is weak and scared,

As if thy mates had shared The doom of us : Thy wail

What does it bring to me? Thou call'st along the sand, and haunt'st the surge, Restless and sad : as if, in strange accord

With the motion and the roar

Of waves that drive to shore,
One spirit did ye urge-

The Mystery—the Word.
Of thousands, thou both sepulchre and pall,
Old ocean, art! A requiem o'er the dead,

From out thy gloomy cells

A tale of mourning tellsTells of man's wo and fall,

His sinless glory fled. Then turn thee, little bird, and take thy flight Where the complaining sea shall sadness bring

Thy spirit never more.

Come, quit with me the shore, For gladness and the light

Where birds of summer sing.

WILLIAM KNOX.

WILLIAM Knox, the author of “Songs of Israel,” and “ The Harp of Sion,” was born in humble life in Roxburgshire, in 1789, and died in Edinburgh in 1825. Some of his pieces evince fancy and feeling, and a fine command of poetical language.

MORTALITY.

Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud !
Like a fast flitting meteor, a fast flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave-
He passes from life to his rest in the grave.

The leaves of the oak and the willows shall fade,
Be scattered around, and together be laid ;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
Shall moulder to dust, and together shall lie.

The child whom a mother attended and loved,
The mother that infant's affection who proved,
The husband that mother and infant who blessed,
Each-all are away to their dwelling of rest.

The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye,
Shone beauty and pleasure-her triumphs are by;
And the men

emory of those who loved her and praised,
Are alike from the minds of the living erased.

The hand of the king who the sceptre hath borne,
The brow of the priest who the mitre hath worn,
The eye of the sage and the heart of the brave
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave.

The peasant whose lot was to sow and to reap,
The herdsman who climbed with his goats to the steep,
The beggar who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass that we tread.

« PreviousContinue »