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With yearning throes, which nothing can impart
But Nature's majesty, remote from man!
In kindred raptures, I have borne my part;
The Pyrenean mountains loved to scan,
And from the crest of Alps peruse the mighty plan.
”T is ecstasy “to brood o'er flood and fell,”
“To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,"
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flocks that never need a fold;
Alone o'er steeps, and foaming falls to lean ;-
This is not solitude !- 't is but to hold
Converse with Nature's God, and see His stores unrolled.
Forget we not the Artist in the art,
Nor overlook the Giver in the grace;
Say, what is Nature, but that little part
Which man's imperfect vision can embrace
Of the stupendous whole, which fills all space;
The work of Him by whom all space is bound !
Shall Raphael's pencil Raphael's self efface?
Shall Handel's self be lost in Handel's sound?
Or, shall not Nature's God in Nature's works be found?
But Harold “through sin's labyrinth has run,"
Nor “made atonement when he did amiss ;"
And does the memory of that evil done
Disturb his spirit, or obscure his bliss ?
'T is just ; 't is Harold's due-yet let not this
Press heavier on his heart than heaven ordains;
What mortal lives, not guilty nor remiss ?
What breast that has not felt remorse's pains ?
What human soul so pure, but marked by sin's sad stains?
And can this helpless thing, pollute, debased,
Its own disfigured nature e'er reform?
Say, can the sculptured marble, once defaced,
Restore its lineament, renew its form?
That can the sculptor's hand alone perform,
Else must the marred and mutilated stone
For ever lie imperfect and deform ;-
So man may sin and wail, but not atone ;
That restorative power belongs to God alone.
Yet is atonement made:- Creation's Lord
Deserts not thus the work his skill devised;
Man, not his creature only, but his ward,
Too dearly in his Maker's eye is prized,
Than thus to be abandoned and despised.
Atonement is the Almighty's richest dole,
And ever in the mystic plan comprised,
To mend the foul defacements of the soul,
Restore God's likeness lost, and make the image whole.
Oh! “if, as holiest men have deemed there be,
A land of souls beyond death’s sable shore,”
How would quick-hearted Harold burn to see
The much-loved objects of his life once more,
And Nature's new sublimities explore
In better worlds !- Ah! Harold, I conjure,
Speak not in ifs ;— to him whom God hath taught,
If aught on earth, that blessed truth is sure;
All-gracious God, to quiet human thought,
Has pledged his sacred word, and demonstration brought.
Did Babylon, in truth, by Cyrus fall?
Is 't true that Persia stained the Grecian land?
Did Philip's son the Persian host enthrall ?
Or Cæsar's legions press the British strand ?
Fell Palestine by Titus' sword and brand ?-
Can Harold to such facts his faith entrust?
Then let him humbly learn, and understand ;-
“ Then Christ is risen from the dead!”- the first Dear pledge of mortal frames yet mouldering in the dust.
But Harold “will not look beyond the tomb,"
And thinks " he may not hope for rest before ;"
Fie! Harold, fie! unconscious of thy doom,
The nature of thy soul thou know'st not more;
Nor know'st thy lofty mind, which loves to soar;
Thy glowing spirit, and thy thoughts sublime,
Are foreign to this flat and naked shore,
And languish for their own celestial clime,
Far in the bounds of space,— beyond the bounds of time.
There must thou surely live-- and of that life
Ages on ages shall no part exhaust:
But with renewed existence ever rife,
No more in dark uncertainty be tost,
When once the teeming barrier is crossed;
(The birth of mortals to immortal day)-
O let not then this precious hour be lost,
But humbly turn to Him who points the way
To ever-during youth, from infinite decay !
Such, such the prospect,—such the glorious boon,
The last great end in Heaven's supreme design;
Deem not thy cloud continuous, for soon
Must truth break in upon a soul like thine,
Yearning, unconscious, for the light divine;
Oh! hear the gracious word to thee addressed
By Him, thy Lord, almighty and benign-
“Come unto me, all ye by care oppressed ! Come to my open arms, and I will give you rest!"
Would thou hadst loved through Judah's courts to stray;
Would Sion Hill Parnassus' love might share;
What joy to hear thy muse's potent lay
The sacred honours of that land declare,
And all that holy scene engage her care;
Where poets harped ere Homer's shell was strung,
Where heavenly wisdom poured her treasures rare,
Long, long ere Athens woke to Solon's song,
And truth-inspired seers of after ages sung.
But, thanks for what we have; and for the more
Thy muse doth bid the listening ear attend,
Nor vainly bids those whom she charmed before;
Oh! let not then this humble verse offend,
Her skill can judge the speaking of a friend;
Not zeal presumptuous prompts the cautious strain,
But Christian zeal, that would to all extend
The cloudless ray and steady calm that reign,
Where evangelic truths their empire due maintain.
Gleamings of poetry,-- if I may give
That name of beauty, passion, and of grace,
To the wild thoughts that in a star-lit hour,
In a pale twilight, or a rosebud morn,
Glance o'er my spirit,-- thoughts that are like light,
Or love, or hope, in their effects.
It spread beneath the summer sky,
A green turf, as just meet
For lilies and blue violets,
And moonlight fairies' feet.
And in the midst a rose tree grew,
Covered with buds and flowers,
A crimson cloud of breath and bloom,
Like that of evening hours.
I watched the beauty of that rose,
Its June-touched bloom, its love-sweet breath, When suddenly, I marked how dark
Its shadow fell beneath.
Clings darkness to—I sadly thought
The fair in form, the fresh in hue?
Alas! there's not that thing on earth
So bright, but has its shadow too!
The wall-flower—the wall-flower!
How beautiful it blooms !
It gleams above the ruined tower,
Like sunlight over tombs ;
It sheds a halo of repose
Around the wrecks of time ;To beauty give the flaunting rose,
The wall-flower is sublime.
Flower of the solitary place!
Grey Ruin's golden crown!
That lendest melancholy grace
To haunts of old renown;
Thou mantlest o'er the battlement,
By strife or storm decayed;
And fillest up each envious rent
Time's canker-tooth hath made.
Thy roots outspread the ramparts o’er,
Where, in war's stormy day,
The Douglases stood forth of yore,
In battle's grim array:
The clangour of the field has fled;
The beacon on the hill
No more through midnight blazes red, -
But thou art blooming still.
Whither hath fled the choral band
That filled the abbey's nave?
Yon dark sepulchral yew-trees stand
O'er many a level grave;
In the belfry's crevices, the dove
brood nurseth well, Whilst thou, lone flower! dost shed above
A sweet decaying smell.