The Sinless Child Part 3
As years passed on, no wonder, each
An inward grace revealed;
For where the soul is peace and love,
It may not be concealed.
They stamp a beauty on the brow,
A softness on the face,
And give to every wavy line
A tenderness and grace.
Long golden hair in many curls
Waved o'er young Eva's brow;
Imparting depth to her soft eye,
And pressed her neck of snow:
Her cheek was pale with lofty thought,
And calm her maiden air;
And all who heard her birdlike voice,
Felt harmony was there.
For winning were her household ways,
Her step was prompt and light,
To save her mother's weary tread,
Till came the welcome night;
And though the toil might useless be,
The housewife's busy skill,
Enough for Eva that it bore
Inscribed a mother's will;
All humble things exalted grow
By sentiment impressed—
The love that bathes the way-worn feet,
Or leans upon the breast;
For love, whate'er the offering be,
Lives in a hallowed air,
And holy hearts before its shrine,
Alone may worship there.
Young Eva's cheek was lily pale,
Her look was scarce of earth,
And doubtingly the mother spoke,
Who gave to Eva birth.
'O Eva, leave thy thoughtful ways,
And dance and sing, my child;
Thy pallid cheek is tinged with blue,
Thy words are strange and wild.
Thy father died—a widow left,
An orphan birth was thine,
I longed to see thy infant eyes
Look upward into mine.
I hoped upon thy sweet young face,
Thy father's look to see;
But Eva, Eva, sadly strange
Are all thy ways to me.
While yet a child, thy look would hold
Communion with the sky;
Too tranquil is thy maiden air,
The glances of thine eye
Are such as make me turn away,
E'en with a shuddering dread,
As if my very soul might be
By thy pure spirit read.'
Slow swelled a tear from Eva's lid,
She kissed her mother's cheek,
She answered with an earnest look,
And accents low and meek:—
'Dear mother, why should mortals seek
Emotions to conceal?
As if to be revealed were worse
Than inwardly to feel.
The human eye I may not fear,
It is the light within,
That traces on the growing soul
All thought, and every sin.
That mystic book, the human soul,
Where every trace remains,
The record of all thoughts and deeds,
The record of all stains.
Dear mother! in ourselves is hid
The holy spirit-land,
Where thought, the flaming cherub, stands
With its relentless brand;
We feel the pang when that dread sword
Inscribes the hidden sin,
And turneth everywhere to guard
The paradise within.'
'Nay, Eva, leave these solemn words,
Fit for a churchman's tongue,
And let me see thee deck thy hair,
A maiden blithe and young.
When others win admiring eyes,
And looks that speak of love,
Why dost thou stand in thoughtful guise?
Why cold and silent move?
Thy beauty sure should win for thee
Full many a lover's sigh,
But on thy brow there is no pride,
Nor in thy placid eye.
Dear Eva! learn to look and love,
And claim a lover's prayer,
Thou art too cold for one so young,
So gentle and so fair.'
'Nay, mother! I must be alone,
With no companion here,
None, none to joy when I am glad,
With me to shed a tear:
For who will clasp a maiden's hand
In grot or sheltering grove,
If one unearthly gift debar
From sympathy and love!
Such gift is mine, the gift of thought,
Whence all will shrink away,
E'en thou from thy poor child dost turn,
With doubting and dismay.
And who shall love, and who shall trust,
Since she who gave me birth,
Knows not the child that prattled once
Beside her lonely hearth?
I would I were, for thy dear sake,
What thou wouldst have me be;
Thou dost not comprehend the bliss
That's given unto me;
That union of the thought and soul
With all that's good and bright,
The blessedness of earth and sky,
The growing truth and light.
That reading of all hidden things
The mystery of life,
Its many hopes, its many fears,
The sorrow and the strife.
A spirit to behold in all,
To guide, admonish, cheer,
For ever in all time and place,
To feel an angel near.'
'Dear Eva! lean upon my breast,
And let me press thy hand,
That I may hear thee talk awhile
Of thy own spirit-land.
And yet I would the pleasant sun
Were shining in the sky,
The blithe birds singing through the air,
And busy life, were by.
For when in converse, like to this,
Thy low, sweet voice I hear,
Strange shudderings o'er my senses creep,
Like touch of spirits near.
How fearful grow familiar things,
In silence and the night,
The cricket piping in the hearth,
Half fills me with affright!
I hear the old trees creak and sway,
And shiver in the blast;
I hear the wailing of the wind,
As if the dead swept past.
Dear Eva! 'tis a world of gloom,
The grave is dark and drear,
We scarce begin to taste of life
Ere death is standing near.'
Then Eva kissed her mother's cheek,
And looked with saddened smile,
Upon her terror-stricken face,
And talked with her the while;
And O! her face was pale and sweet,
Though deep, deep thought was there,
And sadly calm her low-toned voice
For one so young and fair.
'Nay, mother, everywhere is hid
A beauty and delight,
The shadow lies upon the heart,
The gloom upon the sight;
Send but the spirit on its way
Communion high to hold,
And bursting from the earth and sky,
A glory we behold!
And did we but our primal state
Of purity retain,
We might, as in our Eden days,
With angels walk again.
And memories strange of other times
Would break upon the mind,
The linkings, that the present join,
To what is left behind.
The little child at dawn of life
A holy impress bears,
The signet-mark by Heaven affixed
Upon his forehead wears;
And naught that impress can efface,
Save his own wilful sin,
Which first begins to draw the veil
That shuts the spirit in.
And one by one his lights decay,
His visions tend to earth,
Till all those holy forms have fled
That gathered round his birth;
Or dim and faintly may they come,
Like memories of a dream.
Or come to blanch his cheek with fear,
So shadow-like they seem.
And thus all doubtingly he lives
Amid his gloomy fears,
And feels within his inmost soul,
Earth is a vale of tears:
And scarce his darkened thoughts may trace
The mystery within;
For faintly gleams the spirit forth
When shadowed o'er by sin.
Unrobed, majestic, should the soul
Before its God appear,
Undimmed the image He affixed,
Unknown to doubt or fear;
And open converse should it hold,
With meek and trusting brow;
Such as man was in Paradise,
He may be even now.
But when the deathless soul is sunk
To depths of guilt and wo,
It then a dark communion holds
With spirits from below.'
And Eva shuddered as she told
How every heaven-born trace
Of goodness in the human soul
Might wickedness efface.
Alas! unknowing what he doth,
A judgment-seat man rears,
A stern tribunal throned within,
Before which he appears;
And conscience, minister of wrath,
Approves him or condemns;
He knoweth not the fearful risk,
Who inward light contemns.
'O veil thy face, pure child of God,'
With solemn tone she said,
'And judge not thou, but lowly weep,
That virtue should be dead!
Weep thou with prayer and holy fear,
That o'er thy brother's soul,
Effacing life, and light, and love,
Polluting waves should roll.
Weep for the fettered slave of sense,
For passion's minion weep!
For him who nurtureth the worm,
In death that may not sleep;
And tears of blood, if it may be,
For him, who plunged in guilt,
Perils his own and victim's soul,
When human blood is spilt.
For him no glory may abide
In earth or tranquil sky;
Fearful to him the human face,
The searching human eye.
A light beams on him everywhere;
Revealing in its ray,
An erring, terror-stricken soul,
Launched from its orb away.
Turn where he will, all day he meets
That cold and leaden stare;
His victim, pale, and bathed in blood,
Is with him everywhere;
He sees that shape upon the cloud,
It glares from out the brook,
The mist upon the mountain side,
Assumes that fearful look.
He sees, in every simple flower,
Those dying eyes gleam out;
And starts to hear a dying groan,
Amid some merry shout.
The phantom comes to chill the warmth,
Of every sunlight ray,
He feels it slowly glide along,
Where forest shadows play.
And when the solemn night comes down,
With silence dark and drear,
His curdling blood and rising hair
Attest the victim near.
With hideous dreams and terrors wild,
His brain from sleep is kept,
For on his pillow, side by side,
A gory form hath slept.'
'O Eva, Eva, say no more,
For I am filled with fear;
Dim shadows move along the wall;
Dost thou not see them here?—
Dost thou not mark the gleams of light,
The shadowy forms move by?'
'Yes, mother, beautiful to see!
And they are always nigh.
O, would the veil for thee were raised
That hides the spirit-land,
For we are spirits draped in flesh,
Communing with that band;
And it were weariness to me,
Were only human eyes
To meet my own with tenderness,
In earth or pleasant skies.'
AN acorn fell from an old oak tree,
And lay on the frosty ground
'O, what shall the fate of the acorn be!'
Was whispered all around,
By low-toned voices, chiming sweet,
Like a floweret's bell when swung
And grasshopper steeds were gathering fleet,
And the beetl's hoofs up-rung—
For the woodland Fays came sweeping past
In the pale autumnal ray,
Where the forest leaves were falling fast,
And the acorn quivering lay;
They came to tell what its fate should be,
Though life was unrevealed;
For life is holy mystery,
Where'er it is conceal'd.
They came with gifts that should life bestow'
The dew and the living air—
The bane that should work its deadlv wo—
Was found with the Fairies there.
In the gray moss-cup was the mildew brought,
And the worm in the rose-leaf roll'd,
And many things with destruction fraught,
That its fate were quickly told.
But it needed not; for a blessed fate
Was the acorn's doomed to be—
The spirits of earth should its birth-time wait,
And watch o'er its destiny.
To a little sprite was the task assigned
To bury the acorn deep,
Away from the frost and searching wind,
When they through the forest sweep.
I laughed outright at the small thing's toil,
As he bow'd beneath the spade,
And he balanced his gossamer wings the while
To look in the pit he made.
A thimble's depth it was scarcely deep,
When the spade aside he threw,
And roll'd the acorn away to sleep
In the hush of dropping dew.
The spring-time came with its fresh, warm air,
And its gush of woodland song;
The dew came down, and the rain was there,
And the sunshine rested long;
Then softly the black earth turn'd aside,
The old leaf arching o'er,
And up, where the last year's leaf was dried,
Came the acorn-shell once more.
With coil'd stem, and a pale green hue,
It look'd but a feeble thing;
Then deeply its roots abroad it threw,
Its strength from the earth to bring.
The woodland sprites are gathering round,
Rejoiced that tile task is done—
That another life from the noisome ground
Is up to the pleasant sun.
The young child pass'd with a careless tread,
And the germ had well-nigh crush'd,
But a spider, launch'd on her airy thread,
The cheek of the stripling brush'd.
He little knew, as he started back,
How the acorn's fate was hung
On the very point in the spider's track
Where the web on his cheek was flung.
The autumn came, and it stood alone,
And bow'd as the wind pass'd by—
The wind that utter'd its dirge-like moan
In the old oak sere and dry;
And the hollow branches creak'd and sway'd
But they bent not to the blast,
For the stout oak tree, where centuries play'd
Was sturdy to the last.
A schoolboy beheld the lithe young shoot,
And his knife was instant out,
To sever the stalk from the spreading root,
And scatter the buds about;
To peel the bark in curious rings,
And many a notch and ray,
To beat the air till it whizzing sings,
Then idly cast away.
His hand was stay'd; he knew not why:
'Twas a presence breathed around—
A pleading from the deep-blue sky,
And up from the teeming ground.
It told of the care that had lavish'd been
In sunshine and in dew—
Of the many things that had wrought a screen
When peril around it grew.
It told of the oak that once had bow'd,
As feeble a thing to see;
But now, when the storm was raging loud,
It wrestled mightily.
There's a deeper thought on the schoolboy's brow,
A new love at his heart,
And he ponders much, as with footsteps slow
He turns him to depart.
Up grew the twig, with a vigour bold,
In the shade of the parent tree,
And the old oak knew that his doom was told,
When the sapling sprang so free.
Then the fierce winds came, and they raging tore
The hollow limbs away;
And the damp moss crept from the earthy floor
Around the trunk, time-worn and gray.
The young oak grew, and proudly grew,
For its roots were deep and strong;
And a shadow broad on the earth it threw,
And the sunlight linger'd long
On its glossy leaf, where the flickering light
Was flung to the evening sky;
And the wild bird came to its airy height,
And taught her young to fly.
In acorn-time came the truant boy,
With a wild and eager look,
And he mark'd the tree with a wondering joy,
As the wind the great limbs shook.
He look'd where the moss on the north side grew,
The gnarled arms outspread,
The solemn shadow the huge tree threw,
As it tower'd above his head:
And vague-like fears the boy surround,
In the shadow of that tree;
So growing up from the darksome ground,
Like a giant mystery.
His heart beats quick to the squirrel's tread
On the withered leaf and dry,
And he lifts not up his awe-struck head
As the eddying wind sweeps by.
And regally the stout oak stood,
In its vigour and its pride;
A monarch own'd in the solemn wood,
With a sceptre spreading wide—
No more in the wintry blast to bow,
Or rock in the summer breeze;
But draped in green, or star-like snow,
Reign king of the forest trees.
And a thousand years it firmly grew,
And a thousand blasts defied;
And, mighty in strength, its broad arms threw
A shadow dense and wide.
It grew where the rocks were bursting out
From the thin and heaving soil—
Where the ocean's roar, and the sailor's shout,
Were mingled in wild turmoil—
Where the far-off sound of the restless deep
Came up with a booming swell;
And the white foam dash'd to the rocky steep,
But it loved the tumult well.
Then its huge limbs creak'd in the midnight air,
And joined in the rude uproar:
For it loved the storm and the lightning's glare,
And the sound of the breaker's roar.
The bleaching bones of the seabird's prey
Were heap'd on the rocks below;
And the bald-head eagle, fierce and gray,
Look'd off from its topmost bough.
Where its shadow lay on the quiet wave
The light boat often swung,
And the stout ship, saved from the ocean-grave,
Her cable round it flung.
Change came to the mighty things of earth—
Old empires pass'd away;
Of the generations that had birth,
O Death! where, where were they?
Yet fresh and green the brave oak stood,
Nor dreamed it of decay,
Though a thousand times in the autumn wood
Its leaves on the pale earth lay.
A sound comes down in the forest trees,
An echoing from the hill;
It floats far off on the summer breeze,
And the shore resounds it shrill.
Lo! the monarch tree no more shall stand
Like a watch-tower of the main—
The strokes fall thick from the woodman's hand,
And its falling shakes the plain.
The stout old oak—! ‘Twas a worthy tree,
And the builder marked it out;
And he smiled its angled limbs to see,
As he measured the trunk about.
Already to him was a gallant bark
Careering the rolling deep,
And in sunshine, calm, or tempest dark,
Her way she will proudly keep.
The chisel clinks, and the hammer rings,
And the merry jest goes round;
While he who longest and loudest sings
Is the stoutest workman found.
With jointed rib, and trunnel'd plank
The work goes gayly on,
And light-spoke oaths, when the glass they drank,
Are heard till the task is done.
She sits on the stocks, the skeleton ship,
With her oaken ribs all bare,
And the child looks up with parted lip,
As it gathers fuel there—
With brimless hat, the bare-foot boy
Looks round with strange amaze.
And dreams of a sailor's life of joy
Are mingling in that gaze.
With graceful waist and carvings brave
The trim hull waits the sea
And she proudly stoops to the crested wave,
While round go the cheerings three.
Her prow swells up from the yeasty deep,
Where it plunged in foam and spray;
And the glad waves gathering round her sweep
And buoy her in their play.
Thou wert nobly rear'd, O heart of oak!
In the sound of the ocean roar,
Where the surging wave o'er the rough rock broke
And bellow'd along the shore—
And how wilt thou in the storm rejoice,
With the wind through spar and shroud,
To hear a sound like the forest voice,
When the blast was raging loud!
With snow-white sail, and streamer gay,
She sits like an ocean-sprite,
Careering on in her trackless way,
In sunshine or dark midnight:
Her course is laid with fearless skill,
For brave hearts man the helm;
And the joyous winds her canvass fill
Shall the wave the stout ship whelm?
On, on she goes, where icebergs roll,
Like floating cities by;
Where meteors flash by the northern pole,
And the merry dancers fly;
Where the glittering light is backward flung
From icy tower and dome,
And the frozen shrouds are gaily hung
With gems from the ocean foam.
On the Indian se. was her shadow cast,
As it lay like molten gold,
And her pendant shroud and towering mast
Seem'd twice on the waters told.
The idle canvass slowly swung
As the spicy breeze went by,
And strange, rare music around her rung
From the palm-tree growing nigh.
O, gallant ship, thou didst bear with thee
The gay and the breaking heart,
And weeping eyes look'd out to see
Thy white-spread sails depart.
And when the rattling casement told
Of many a perill'd ship,
The anxious wife her babes would fold,
And pray with trembling lip.
The petrel wheeled in her stormy flight;
The wind piped shrill and high;
On the topmast sat a pale blue light,
That flickered not to the eye:
The black cloud came like a banner down,
And down came the shrieking blast;
The quivering ship on her beams is thrown,
And gone are helm and mast.
Helmless, but on before the gale,
She ploughs the deep-troughed wave:
A gurgling sound— a phrenzied wail—
And the ship hath found a grave.
And thus is the fate of the acorn told,
That fell from the old oak tree,
And the woodland Fays in the frosty mould
Preserved for its destiny.
The Sinless Child Part 4
'Then trim the lights, my strange, strange child,
And let the fagots glow;
For more of these mysterious things
I fear, yet long, to know.
I glory in thy lofty thought,
Thy beauty and thy worth,
But, Eva, I should love thee more,
Didst thou seem more like earth.'
A pang her words poor Eva gave,
And tears were in her eye,
She kissed her mother's anxious brow,
And answered with a sigh;
'Alas! I may not hope on earth
Companionship to find,
Alone must be the pure in heart,
Alone the high in mind!
We toil for earth, its shadowy veil
Envelops soul and thought,
And hides that discipline and life,
Within our being wrought.
We chain the thought, we shroud the soul,
And backward turn our glance,
When onward should the vision be,
And upward its advance.
I may not scorn the spirit's rights,
For I have seen it rise,
All written o'er with thought, thought, thought,
As with a thousand eyes!
The records dark of other years,
All uneffaced remain;
The unchecked wish forgotten long,
With its eternal stain.
Recorded thoughts, recorded deeds,
A character attest,
No garment hides the startling truth,
Nor screens the naked breast.
The thought, fore-shaping evil deeds,
The spirit may not hide,
It stands amid a searching light,
Which sin may not abide.
And never may the spirit turn
From that effulgent ray,
It lives for ever in the glare
Of an eternal day;
Lives in that penetrating light,
A kindred glow to raise,
Or every withering sin to trace
Within its scorching blaze.
Few, few the shapely temple rear,
For God's abiding place—
That mystic temple where no sound
Within the hallowed space
Reveals the skill of builder's hand;
Yet with a silent care
The holy temple riseth up,
And God is dwelling there.*
Then weep not when the infant lies
In its small grave to rest,
With scented flowers springing forth
From out its quiet breast;
A pure, pure soul to earth was given,
Yet may not thus remain;
Rejoice that it is rendered back,
Without a single stain.
Bright cherubs bear the babe away
With many a fond embrace,
And beauty, all unknown to earth,
Upon its features trace.
They teach it knowledge from the fount,
And holy truth and love;
The songs of praise the infant learns,
As angels sing above.'
The widow rose, and on the blaze
The crackling fagots threw—
And then to her maternal breast
Her gentle daughter drew.
'Dear Eva! when old Richard died,
In madness fierce and wild,
Why did he in his phrensy rave
About a murdered child!'
'Dear mother, I have something heard
Of Richard's fearful life,
Hints of a child that disappeared,
And of heart-broken wife—
If thou the story wilt relate,
A light will on me grow
That I shall feel if guilt were his
Or only common woe.'
The Story Of Old Richard.
'HE died in beggary and rags, friendless, and gray, and old;
Yet he was once a thriving man, light-hearted too, I'm told.
Dark deeds were whispered years ago,but nothing came to light;
He seemed the victim of a spell, that nothing would go right.
His young wife died, and her last words were breathed to him alone,
But 'twas a piteous sound to hear her faint, heart-rending moan.
Some thought, in dreams he had divulged a secret hidden crime,
Which she concealed with breaking heart, unto her dying time.'
'Ah, mother, tis a fearful thing,
When human bonds unite
Unwedded hearts, and they are doomed
For ever, day and night,
Companionship to hold,
Yet feeling every hour,
A beauty fading from the earth,
Thought losing half its power.'
'From that day forth he never smiled; morose and silent grown,
He wandered unfrequented ways, a moody man and lone.
The schoolboy shuddered in the wood, when he old Richard passed,
And hurried on, while fearful looks he o'er his shoulder cast.
And naught could lure him from his mood, save his own trusting boy,
Who climbed the silent father's neck, with ministry of joy;
That gentle boy, unlike a child, companions never sought,
Content to share his father's crust, his father's gloomy lot.
With weary foot and tattered robe, beside him, day by day,
He roamed the forest and the hill, and o'er the rough highway;
And he would prattle all the time of things to childhood sweet;
Of singing bird or lovely flower, that sprang beneath their feet.
Sometimes he chid the moody man, with childhood's fond appeal:—
'Dear father, talk to me awhile, how very lone I feel!
My mother used to smile so sad, and talk and kiss my cheek,
And sing to me such pretty songs; so low and gently speak.'
Then Richard took him in his arms with passionate embrace,
And with an aching tenderness he gazed upon his face;—
Tears rushed into his hollow eyes, he murmured soft and wild,
And kissed with more than woman's love the fond but frightened child.
He died, that worn and weary boy; and they that saw him die,
Said on his father's rigid brow was fixed his fading eye.
His little stiffening hand was laid within poor Richard's grasp;—
And when he stooped for one last kiss, he took his dying gasp.
It crazed his brain—poor Richard rose a maniac fierce and wild,
Who mouthed and muttered everywhere, about a murdered child.'
'And well he might,' young Eva said,
'For conscience day by day,
Commenced that retribution here,
That filled him with dismay.
A girl beguiled in her young years
From all of youthful joy,
And unto solitary life,
Is doomed her stricken boy.'
Nor was this all the widow said, for in his early youth,
There was a tale of love and wrong, of vows and perjured truth.
The storm I do remember well that brought the bones to light;
I was a maiden then myself, with curly hair and bright.
Unwedded , but a mother grown, poor Lucy pressed her child,
With blushing cheek and drooping lid, and lip that never smiled.
Their wants were few; but Richard's hand must buy them daily bread,
And fain would Lucy have been laid in silence with the dead.
For want, and scorn, and blighted fame, had done the work of years,
And oft she knelt in lowly prayer, in penitence and tears;
That undesired child of shame, brought comfort to her heart,
A childlike smile to her pale lip, by its sweet baby art.
And yet, as years their passage told, faint shadows slowly crept
Upon the blighted maiden's mind, and oft she knelt and wept
Unknowing why, her wavy form so thin and reed-like grew,
And so appealing her blue eyes, they tears from others drew.
Years passed away, and Lucy's child, a noble stripling grown,
A daring boy with chestnut hair, and eyes of changeful brown,
Had won the love of every heart, so gentle was his air,
All felt, whate'er might be his birth, a manly soul was there.
The boy was missing, none could tell where last he had been seen;
They searched the river many a day, and every forest screen;
But never more his filial voice poor Lucy's heart might cheer;
Lorn in her grief and dull with wo, she never shed a tear.
And every day, whate'er the sky, with head upon her knees,
And hair neglected, streaming out upon the passing breeze,
She sat beneath a slender tree that near the river grew,
And on the stream its pendent limbs their penciled shadows threw.
The matron left her busy toil, and called her child from play,
And gifts for the lone mourner there she sent with him away.
The boy with nuts and fruit returned, found in the forest deep,
A portion of his little store would for poor Lucy keep.
That tree, with wonder all beheld, its growth was strange and rare;
The wintry winds, that wailing passed, scarce left its branches bare,
And round the roots a verdant spot knew neither change nor blight,
And so poor Lucy's resting-place was always green and bright.
Some said its bole more rapid grew from Lucy's bleeding heart,
For, sighs from out the heart, 'tis said, a drop of blood will start.*
It was an instinct deep and high which led the Mother there,
And that tall tree aspiring grew, by more than dew or air.
The winds were hushed, the little bird scarce gave a nestling sound,
The warm air slept along the hill, the blossoms drooped around;
The shrill-toned insect hardly stirred the dry and crisped leaf;
The laborer laid his sickle down beside the bending sheaf.
A dark portentous cloud is seen to mount the eastern sky,
The deep-toned thunder rolling on, proclaims the tempest nigh!
And now it breaks with deafening crash, and lightning's livid glow;
The torrents leap from mountain crags and wildly dash below.
Behold the tree! its strength is bowed, a shattered mass it lies;
What brings old Richard to the spot, with wild and blood-shot eyes?
Poor Lucy's form is lifeless there, and yet he turns away,
To where a heap of mouldering bones beneath the strong roots lay.
Why takes he up with shrivelled hands, the riven root and stone,
And spreads them with a trembling haste upon each damp, gray bone.
It may not be, the whirlwind's rage again hath left them bare,
All bare, and mingled with the locks of Lucy's tangled hair.'
Of wife, and child, and friends bereft,
And all that inward light,
Which calmly guides the white-haired man,
Who listens to the right;
Old Richard laid him down to die,
Himself his only foe,
His baffled nature groaning out
Its weight of inward wo.
Oh there are wrongs that selfish hearts
Inflict on every side,
And swell the depths of human ill
Unto a surging tide,
And there are things that blight the soul,
As with a mildew blight,
And in the temple of the Lord
Put out the blessed light.
There are, who mindless God hath given,
To mark each human soul,
Distinctive laws, distinctive rights,
Its being to control,
Would, in their blind and selfish zeal,
Remove God's wondrous gift,
And, that their image might have place,
God's altar veil would lift:
They call it Love, forgetful they,
That 'twas this hallowed screen,
Concealing, half revealing too,
The seen and the unseen,
That first suggested deathless love,
The infinite in grace,
This inward and seraphic charm,
That floated o'er the face.
The Sinless Child Part 6
'Tis the summer prime, when the noiseless air
In perfumed chalice lies,
And the bee goes by with a lazy hum,
Beneath the sleeping skies:
When the brook is low, and the ripples bright,
As down the stream they go;
The pebbles are dry on the upper side,
And dark and wet below.
The tree that stood where the soil's athirst,
And the mulleins first appear,
Hath a dry and rusty-colored bark.
And its leaves are curled and sere;
But the dog-wood and the hazel bush,
Have clustered round the brook—
Their roots have stricken deep beneath,
And they have a verdant look.
To the juicy leaf the grasshopper clings,
And he gnaws it like a file,
The naked stalks are withering by,
Where he has been erewhile.
The cricket hops on the glistering rock,
Or pipes in the faded grass,
The beetle's wing is folded mute,
Where the steps of the idler pass.
The widow donned her russet robe,
Her cap of snowy hue,
And o'er her staid maternal form
A sober mantle threw;
And she, while fresh the morning light,
Hath gone to pass the day,
And ease an ailing neighbor's pain
Across the meadow way.
Young Eva closed the cottage-door;
And wooed by bird and flower,
She loitered on beneath the wood,
Till came the noon-tide hour.
The sloping bank is cool and green,
Beside the sparkling rill;
The cloud that slumbers in the sky,
Is painted on the hill.
The spirits poised their purple wings
O'er blossom, brook, and dell,
And lingered in the quiet nook,
As if they loved it well.
Young Eva laid one snowy arm
Upon a violet bank,
And pillowed there her downy cheek,
While she to slumber sank.
A smile is on her gentle lip,
For she the angels saw,
And felt their wings a covert make
As round her head they draw.
A maiden's sleep, how pure it is!
The innocent repose
That knows no dark nor troublous dream,
Nor love's wild waking knows!
A huntsman's whistle; and anon
The dogs come fawning round,
And now they raise the pendent ear,
And crouch along the ground.
The hunter leaped the shrunken brook,
The dogs hold back with awe,
For they upon the violet bank
The slumbering maiden saw.
A reckless youth was Albert Linne,
With licensed oath and jest,
Who little cared for woman's fame,
Or peaceful maiden rest.
Light things to him, were broken vows—
The blush, the sigh, the tear;
What hinders he should steal a kiss,
From sleeping damsel here?
He looks, yet stays his eager foot;
For, on that spotless brow,
And that closed lid, a something rests
He never saw till now;
He gazes, yet he shrinks with awe
From that fair wondrous face,
Those limbs so quietly disposed,
With more than maiden grace.
He seats himself upon the bank,
And turns his face away,
And Albert Linne, the hair-brained youth,
Wished in his heart to pray.
He looked within his very soul,
Its hidden chamber saw,
Inscribed with records dark and deep
Of many a broken law.
For thronging came his former life,
What once he called delight,
The goblet, oath, and stolen joy,
How palled they on his sight!
No more he thinks of maiden fair,
No more of ravished kiss.
Forgets he that pure sleeper nigh
Hath brought his thoughts to this!
Unwonted thought it was for him
Whose eager stirring life,
Panted for action and renown,
High deeds and daring strife;
Who scorning times of work-day zeal
When thought may power impart;
In manly pastime sought to quell,
The beatings of his heart.
Unwonted thought, unwonted calm,
Upon his spirit fell;
For he unwittingly had sought
Young Eva's hallowed dell,
And breathed that atmosphere of love.
Around her path that grew;
That evil from her steps repelled,
The good unto her drew.
Now Eva opes her child-like eyes,
And lifts her tranquil head;
And Albert, like a guilty thing,
Had from her presence fled.
But Eva marked his troubled brow,
His sad and thoughtful eyes,
As if they sought, yet shrank to hold
Their converse with the skies.
And all her kindly nature stirred,
She prayed him to remain;
Well conscious that the pure have power
To balm much human pain.
There mingled too, as in a dream,
About brave Albert Linne,
A real and ideal form.
Her soul had framed within.
And he whose ready jest had met
The worldling in her pride,
Felt all his reckless nature hushed,
By hallowed Eva's side;
And when she held her wavy hand,
And bade him stay awhile;
He looked into her sinless eyes,
And marked her child-like smile:
And that so pure and winning beamed,
So calm and holy too,
That o'er his troubled thoughts at once
A quiet charm it threw.
Light thought, light words were all forgot,
He breathed a holier air,
He felt the power of womanhood—
Its purity was there.
And soft beneath their silken fringe
Beamed Eva's dovelike eyes,
That seemed to claim a sisterhood,
With something in the skies.
Her gentle voice a part became
Of air, and brook, and bird,
And Albert listened, as if he
Such music only heard.
O Eva! thou the pure in heart,
Why falls thy trembling voice?
A blush is on thy maiden cheek,
And yet thine eyes rejoice.
Another glory wakes for thee,
Where'er thine eyes may rest;
And deeper, holier thoughts arise
Within thy peaceful breast.
Thine eyelids droop in tenderness,
New smiles thy lips combine,
For thou dost feel another soul
Is blending into thine.
Thou upward raisest thy meek eyes,
And it is sweet to thee;
To feel the weakness of thy sex,
Is more than majesty.
To feel thy shrinking nature claim
The stronger arm and brow;
Thy weapons, smiles, and tears, and prayers,
And blushes such as now.
A woman, gentle Eva, thou,
Thy lot were incomplete,
Did not all sympathies of soul
Within thy being meet.
But Faith was thine, the angel gift,
And Love untouched by earth,
For Albert was the crown affixed
To thine immortal birth;
And not for thee the heavy pangs
Of those, who, doomed by fate,
Learn, through the lapse of weary years,
To love, to watch, and wait.
Oh not for thee for such as thee,
To tremble with dismay,
Lest baser hands pollute thy crown,
And rieve its light away.
Oh not for thee, the anguished prayer,
The struggle long and late,
The pleading of the still small voice,
That bids thee trust and wait.
Thou didst o'er-step this fleeting space,
And grasp the higher world;
And angel-like thy pinions here,
Their glory half unfurled.
All evil to thy clear, calm eyes,
Was but of transient date.
'Tis not for such, like us to sit,
And weep, and love, and wait;
Wait with a vain and mournful gaze
For feet that linger long,
Wait for the voice more dear to us,
Than aught of mirth and song;
And grieving much, lest over-wronged,
The spirit lose its mate;
And sit in deathful solitude,
Alone, to watch and wait.
No, Eva, for those eyes, that brow,
That proud and manly air,
Have often mingled with thy dreams,
And with thine earnest prayer!
And how hast thou, all timidly,
Cast down thy maiden eye,
When visions have revealed to thee
That figure standing nigh!
Two spirits launched companionless
A kindred essence sought,
And one, in all its wanderings,
Of such as Eva thought.
The good, the beautiful, the true,
Should nestle in his heart,
Should lure him by her gentle voice,
To choose the better part.
And he that kindred being sought,
Had searched with restless care
For that true, earnest, woman-soul
Among the bright and fair—
He might not rest, he felt for him,
One such had been created,
Whose maiden soul in quietude
For his all meekly waited.
And oft when beaming eyes were nigh,
And beauty's lip was smiling,
And bird-like tones were breathing round
The fevered sense beguiling;
He felt this was not what he sought—
The soul such mockery spurned.
And evermore with aching zeal,
For that one being yearned.
And she whose loving soul went forth
Wherever beauty dwelt;
Who with the truthful and the good
A genial essence felt,
Oh! often in her solitude,
By her own soul oppressed,
She fain had nestled like a dove
Within one stronger breast.
Though higher, holier far than those
Who listening to her voice,
A something caught of better things,
That make the heart rejoice;
Yet teaching thus her spirit lone
Aweary would have knelt,
And learned with child-like reverence,
Where deeper wisdom dwelt.
And now that will of stronger growth,
That spirit firmer made,
Instinctive holds her own in check,
Her timid footsteps stayed;
And Eva in her maidenhood,
Half trembles with new fear,
And on her lip that strange, deep smile,
The handmaid of a tear.
Oh, Eva, child of life and light,
Did angel missions part,
When half way in its flight to God,
Was stayed thy maiden heart?
Thine eyes, that unarrested sought
Their kindred in the sky,
Now, with a gentle searchingness,
Read first brave Albert's eye.
And was their glance undimmed from thence?
Was heaven as near to thee?
Did folding pinions guard thee still,
Thou child of mystery?
Did no dim shadows from without
Darken thine inner light?
Didst thou in thy white meekness stand,
As ever, calm and bright?
Oh, human Love! thou seal of life,
Link to the good and true,
Strength to the fainting and infirm,
And youth's perpetual dew;
So oft art thou allied to tears,
To deep and hidden pain,
That in our weakness we are prone,
To deem thy mission vain:
Too much remembering of thy griefs,
Thy wildness and despair,
We seek to God with streaming eyes,
And agony of prayer.
Far better did we fold our hands,
The blessed boon above,
Nor, beeding incidental pangs,
Shield thus the gift of Love.
While doubting thus, a seraph stayed
His radiant course awhile;
And with a heavenly sympathy,
Looked on with beaming smile:
And thus his words of spirit-love
Trust and assurance brought,
And bade her where the soul finds birth,
To weakly question not.
'Content to feel—care not to know,
The sacred source whence LOVE arise—
Respect in modesty of soul,
This mystery of mysteries:
Mere mind with all its subtle arts,
Hath only learned when thus it gazed
The inmost veil of human hearts,
E'en to themselves must not be raised!'
But Eva doubted, questioned not,
Content to only feel,
The music of a manly voice,
Upon her senses steal—
To find one heart instinctive learn
The beatings of her own,
And read afar unuttered thought
Known unto his alone.
And firmer grew her heavenward life,
Thus with another blent;
They, twin-born souls, the wedded twain,
One in God's covenant:
And she in modesty of soul,
Received the seal and smiled;
The crowning grace of womanhood,
Upon the sinless child.
Her trusting hand fair Eva laid
In that of Albert Linne,
And for one trembling moment turned
Her gentle thoughts within.
Deep tenderness was in the glance
That rested on his face,
As if her woman-heart had found
Its own abiding place.
And evermore to him it seemed
Her voice more liquid grew,
'Dear youth, thy soul and mine are one;
One source their being drew!
And they must mingle evermore—
Thy thoughts of love and me,
Will, as a light, thy footsteps guide
To life and mystery.'
There was no sadness in her tone,
But Love unfathomed deep;
As from the centre of the soul,
Where the Divine may sleep:
Prophetic was the tone and look,
And Albert's noble heart,
Sank with a strange foreboding dread,
Lest Eva should depart.
And when she bent her timid eyes
As she beside him knelt,
The pressure of her sinless lips
Upon his brow he felt,
And all of earth, and all of sin,
Fled from her sainted side;
She, the pure virgin of the soul,
Ordained young Albert's bride.
Low were her sweet and heart-breathed words,
Low was her voice of prayer,
Balmy and gentle was her love,
Like dew in summer air;
And Love, unto the Infinite,
Like Eva's is allied,
We say of such, ''tis gone before,'
But not that it hath died.