Page images
PDF
EPUB

Far-called our navies melt away
On dune and headland sinks the fire
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe
Such boasting as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

AMEN.

O, WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL

BE PROUD?

BY WILLIAM KNOX

The following poem was a particular favorite with Abraham Lincoln. It was first shown to him when a young man by a friend, and afterwards he cut it from a newspaper and learned it by heart. He said to a friend, “I would give a great deal to know who wrote it, but have never been able to ascertain." He did afterwards learn the name of the author.

0, why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.

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

The infant a mother attended and loved,
The mother that infant's affection who proved,
The father that mother and infant who blest,
Each, all, are away to that dwelling of rest.

The maid on whose brow, on whose cheek, in whose

eye, Shone beauty and pleasure, - her triumphs are by; And alike from the minds of the living erased Are the memories of mortals who loved her and praised.

The head of the king, that the sceptre hath borne; The brow of the priest, that 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 up the

steep; The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread, Have faded away like the grass that we tread.

So the multitude goes, like the flower or weed,
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told.

For we are the same our fathers have been;
We see the same sights our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, we see the same sun,
And run the same course our fathers have run.

The thoughts we are thinking our fathers did think;
From the death we are shrinking our fathers did shrink;
To the life we are clinging our fathers did cling,
But it speeds from us all like the bird on the wing.

They loved, but the story we cannot unfold;
They scorned, - but the heart of the haughty is cold;
They grieved, — but no wail from their slumbers will

come; They joyed, — but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.

They died, - ah! they died; — we, things that are

now, That walk on the turf that lies over their brow, And make in their dwelling a transient abode, Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage

road.

Yea, hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain:
And the smile and the tear, and the song and the

dirge,
Still follow each other like surge upon surge.

'T is the wink of an eye; 't is the draught of a breath
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud;
O, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?

THE OLD FAMILIAR FACES

BY CHARLES LAMB

I have had playmates, I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful schooldays;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a Love once, fairest among women:
Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her, -
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man
Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

Ghost-like I paced round the haunts of my childhood,
Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse,
Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling?
So might'we talk of the old familiar faces.

How some they have died, and some they have left me,
And some are taken from me; all are departed;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

THE ARROW AND THE SONG

BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

« PreviousContinue »