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The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown ;
No traveller ever reached that blessed abode,
Who found not thorns and briars in his road.
The World may dance along the flowery plain
Cheered as they go by many a sprightly strain;
Where Nature has her mossy velvet spread,
With unshod feet they yet securely tread,
Admonished, scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of its end.
But he, who knew what human hearts would prove,
How slow to learn the dictates of his love,
That, hard by nature and of stubborn will,
A life of ease would make them harder still,
In pity to the souls his grace designed
To rescue from the ruin of mankind,
Called for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, “Go, spend them in the vale of tears.'
O balmy gales of soul-reviving air!
O salutary streams that murmur there !
These, flowing from the fount of grace above;
Those, breathed from lips of everlasting love;
The flinty soil indeed their feet annoys,
Chill blasts of trouble nip their springing joys,
An envious world will interpose its frown
To mar delights superior to its own,
And many a pang, experience still within,
Reminds them oftheir hated inmate, Sin ;
But ills of every shape and every name,
Transformed to blessing, miss their cruel aim;
And every moment's calm that soothes the breast,
Is given in earnest of eternal rest.
Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless wastel
No shepherds' tents within thy view appear,
But the chief Shepherd even there is near;
Thy tender sorrows and thy plaintive strain
Flow in a foreign land, but not in vain,
Thy tears all issue from a source divine,
And every drop bespeaks a Saviour thine—
So once in Gideon's fleece the dews were found,
And drought on all the drooping herbs around.
Obscurest night involved the sky,
The Atlantic billows roared,
When such a destined wretch as I,
Washed headlong from on board,
Of friends, of hope, of all bereft,
His floating home forever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast,
Than he with whom he went,
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast
With warner wishes sent :
He loved them both, but both in vain,
Nor him beheld, nor her again.
Not long beneath the whelming brin
Expert to swim, he lay ;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,
Or courage die away;
But waged with death a lasting strife,
Supported by despair of life.
He shouted : nor his friends had faile
To check the vessel's course,
But so the furious blast prevailed,
That, pitiless perforce,
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford;
And, such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,
Delayed not to bestow.
But he, they knew, nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.
Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn,
Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Alone could rescue them ;
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld:
And so long he, with unspent power,
His destiny repelled :
And ever as the minutes flew,
Entreated help, or cried—“Adieu !”