Sweet star, of seraph brightness,
That for a transient day
Shed o'er our souls such lightness,
And then withdrew the ray!
O, with immortal lustre
Thou 'rt sparkling brightly now
Amid the gems that cluster
Around Jehovah's brow!
Yet many hearts are keeping
Lone vigils o'er thy grave,
Where all the hopes are sleeping
Which thy young promise gave.
The sleep which knows no waking
Hath closed thy sweet blue eyes,
And while our hearts are breaking
We glance toward the skies.
Ah! there a hope is given
That bids us dry the tear;
That bright star in the heaven,
With beams so wondrous clear;--
'Tis Ellen's 'distant Aidenn,'
Far in the realms above,
And those clear rays are laden
With her pure spirit's love.
The Dying Queen
"I would meet death awake."
The strength that bore her on for years
Was ebbing fast away,
And o'er the pale and lifep;worn face,
Death's solemn shadows lay.
With tender love and gentle care,
Friends gathered round her bed,
And for her sake each footfall hushed
The echoes of its tread.
They knew the restlessness of death
Through every nerve did creep,
And carefully they tried to lull
The dying Queen to sleep.
In vain she felt Death's icy hand
Her failing heart-strings shake;
And, rousing up, she firmly said,
"I'd meet my God awake."
Awake, I've met the battle's shock,
And born the cares of state;
Nor shall I take your lethean cup,
And slumber at death's gate.
Did I not watch with eyes alert,
The path where foes did tend;
And shall I veil my eyes with sleep,
To meet my God and friend?
Nay, rather from my weary lids,
This heavy slumber shake,
That I may pass the mystic vale,
And meet my God awake.
They heard the South wind sighing
A murmur of the rain;
And they knew that Earth was longing
To see them all again.
While the snow-drops still were sleeping
Beneath the silent sod;
They felt their new life pulsing
Within the dark, cold clod.
Not a daffodil nor daisy
Had dared to raise its head;
Not a fairhaired dandelion
Peeped timid from its bed;
Though a tremor of the winter
Did shivering through them run;
Yet they lifted up their foreheads
To greet the vernal sun.
And the sunbeams gave them welcome.
As did the morning air
And scattered o'er their simple robes
Rich tints of beauty rare.
Soon a host of lovely flowers
From vales and woodland burst;
But in all that fair procession
The crocuses were first.
First to weave for Earth a chaplet
To crown her dear old head;
And to beautify the pathway
Where winter still did tread.
And their loved and white haired mother
Smiled sweetly 'neath the touch,
When she knew her faithful children
Were loving her so much.
Bury Me In A Free Land
Make me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill;
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.
I could not rest if around my grave
I heard the steps of a trembling slave;
His shadow above my silent tomb
Would make it a place of fearful gloom.
I could not rest if I heard the tread
Of a coffle gang to the shambles led,
And the mother's shriek of wild despair
Rise like a curse on the trembling air.
I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.
I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.
If I saw young girls from their mother's arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.
I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother a slave.
I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves.
A Little Child Shall Lead Them
Only a little scrap of blue
Preserved with loving care,
But earth has not a brilliant hue
To me more bright and fair.
Strong drink, like a raging demon,
Laid on my heart his hand,
When my darling joined with others
The Loyal Legion band.
But mystic angels called away
My loved and precious child,
And o'er life's dark and stormy way
Swept waves of anguish wild.
This badge of the Loyal Legion
We placed upon her breast,
As she lay in her little coffin
Taking her last sweet rest.
To wear that badge as a token
She earnestly did crave,
So we laid it on her bosom
To wear it in the grave.
Where sorrow would never reach her
Nor harsh words smite her ear;
Nor her eyes in death dimmed slumber
Would ever shed a tear.
"What means this badge?" said her father,
Whom we had tried to save;
Who said, when we told her story,
"Don't put it in the grave."
We took the badge from her bosom
And laid it on a chair;
And men by drink deluded
Knelt by that badge in prayer.
And vowed in that hour of sorrow
From drink they would abstain;
And this little badge became the wedge
Which broke their galling chain.
And lifted the gloomy shadows
That overspread my life,
And flooding my home with gladness,
Made me a happy wife.
And this is why this scrap of blue
Is precious in my sight;
It changed my sad and gloomy home
From darkness into light.
Wail, winds of summer, as ye sweep
The arching skies;
O, let your echoes swell with deep,
Old ocean, with a heavy surge,
Cold, black and drear,
Roll thou the solemn note of dirge
On Europe's ear!
Sweet stars, that calmly, purely bright,
Look down below,
O, pity with your eyes of light
A Nation's woe!
Thou source of day, that rollest on
Though tempests frown,
Thou mind'st us of another sun
That has gone down!
Gone down,--no more may mortal eye
Its face behold!
Gone down,--yet leaving on the sky
A tinge of gold!
Ah, yes! Columbia, pause to hear
The note of dread;
'Twill smite like iron on the ear;--
Our Clay is dead!
Our Clay; the patriot, statesman, sage,
The Nation's pride,
With giant minds of every age
That form of manliness and strength
In Senate hall,
Is lying at a fearful length
Beneath the pall!
That voice of eloquence no more
Suspends the breath;
Its matchless power to charm is o'er--
'Tis hushed in death!
Thrice noble spirit! can we bow,
And kiss the rod?
With resignation yield thee now
Back to thy God?
And where, where shall we turn to find
Now thou 'rt at rest,
A soul so lofty, just and kind,
As warmed thy breast?
We bear thee, with a flood of tears,
Unto thy tomb;
There thou must sleep till rolling years
Have met their doom!
But thy bright fame and memory
Shall send a chime
From circling ages down to the
O, may thy mantle fall on some
Of this our day,
And shed upon the years to come
A happy ray!
Come To Me When I'M Dying
Come to me when I'm dying;
Gaze on my wasted form,
Tired with so long defying
Life's ever-rushing storm.
Come, come when I am dying,
And stand beside my bed,
Ere yet my soul is flying,
And I am cold and dead.
Bend low and lower o'er me,
For I've a word to say
Though death is just before me,
Ere I can go away.
Now that my soul is hovering
Upon the verge of day,
For thee I'll lift the covering
That veils its quivering ray.
O, ne'er had I thus spoken
In health's bright, rosy glow!
But death my pride hath broken,
And brought my spirit low.
Though now this last revealing
Quickens life's curdling springs,
And a half-timid feeling
Faint flushes o'er me flings.
Bend lower yet above me,
For I would have thee know
How passing well I love thee,
And joy to tell thee so.
This love, so purely welling
Up in this heart of mine,
O, hath it e'er found dwelling
Within thy spirit's shrine?
I've prayed my God, in meekness,
To give me some control
Over this earthly weakness
That so enthralled my soul;
And now my soul rejoices
While sweetly-thrilling strains,
From low, harmonious voices,
Soothe all my dying pains.
They sing of the Eternal,
Whose throne is far above,
Where zephyrs softly vernal
Float over bowers of love;
Of hopes and joys, earth-blighted,
Blooming 'neath cloudless skies,
Of hearts and souls united
In love that never dies.
'Tis there, 'tis there I'll meet thee
When life's brief day is o'er;
O, with what joy to greet thee
On that eternal shore!
Farewell! for death is chilling
My pulses swift and fast;
And yet in God I'm willing
This hour should be my last.
Sometimes, when day declineth,
And all the gorgeous west
In gold and purple shineth,
Go to my place of rest;
And if thy voice in weeping,
Is borne upon the air,
Think not of me as sleeping;
All cold and silent there:--
But turn, with glances tender,
Toward a shining star,
Whose rays with chastened splendor
Fall on thee from afar.
And know the blissful dwelling
Where I am waiting thee,
When Jordan fiercely swelling
Shall set thy spirit free.
When the frost-king clothed the forests
In a flood of gorgeous dyes,
Death called little dark-browed Martha
To her mansion in the skies.
'Twas a calm October Sabbath
When the bell with solemn sound
Knelled her to her quiet slumbers
Low down in the darksome ground.
Far away, where sun and summer
Reign in glory all the year,
Was the land she left behind her,
To her simple heart so dear.
There a mother and a brother,
Meeting oft at close of day,
Spoke in tender, tearful whispers
Of the loved one far away.
'I am thinking,' said the mother,
'How much Martha'll get to know,
And how smart and bright 'twill make her,
Travellin' round the country so.
'Spect she'll be a mighty lady,
Shinin' jewels in her ears;
But I hope she won't forget us,--
Dat is what dis poor heart fears.'
''Deed she won't,' then spoke the brother,
'Martha'll love us just as well
As before she parted from us,--
Trust me, mammy, I can tell.'
Then he passed a hand in silence
O'er his damp and swarthy brow,
Brushed a tear from off the eyelid,--
'O that she were with us now!'
'Pshaw! don't cry, Lem,' said the mother,
'There's no need of that at all;
Massa said he'd bring her to us
When the nuts began to fall.
The pecans will soon be rattling
From the tall plantation trees,
She'll be here to help us pick them,
Brisk and merry as you please.'
Thus they talked, while she they waited
From the earth had passed away;
Walked no more in pleasant places,
Saw no more the light of day;
Knew no more of toilsome labor,
Spiteful threats or angry blows;
For the Heavenly One had called her
Early from a life of woes.
Folded we the tiny fingers
On the cold, unmoving breast;
Robed her in a decent garment,
For her long and dreamless rest;
And when o'er the tranquil Sabbath
Evening's rays began to fall,
Followed her with heavy footsteps
To the home that waits us all.
As we paused beside the churchyard,
Where the tall green maples rise,
Strangers came and viewed the sleeper,
With sad wonder in their eyes;
While my thoughts flew to that mother,
And that brother far away:
How they'd weep and wail, if conscious
This was Martha's burial day!
When the coffin had been lowered
Carefully into the ground,
And the heavy sods fell on it
With a cold and hollow sound,
Thought I, as we hastened homewards,
By the day's expiring light,
Martha never slept so sweetly
As she'll sleep this Sabbath night.
Then And Now
"Build me a nation," said the Lord.
The distant nations heard the word,
Build me a nation true and strong,
Bar out the old world's hate and wrong;
For men had traced with blood and tears
The trail of weary wasting years,
And torn and bleeding martyrs trod
Through fire and torture up to God.
While in the hollow of his hand
God hid the secret of our land,
Men warred against their fiercest foes,
And kingdoms fell and empires rose,
Till, weary of the old world strife,
Men sought for broader, freer life,
And plunged into the ocean's foam
To find another, better home.
And, like a vision fair and bright
The new world broke upon their sight.
Men grasped the prize, grew proud and strong,
And cursed the land with crime and wrong.
The Indian stood despoiled of lands,
The Negro bound with servile bands,
Oppressed through weary years of toil,
His blood and tears bedewed the soil.
Then God arose in dreadful wrath,
And judgment streamed around his path;
His hand the captive's fetters broke,
His lightnings shattered every yoke.
As Israel through the Red sea trod,
Led by the mighty hand of God,
They passed to freedom through a flood,
Whose every wave and surge was blood.
And slavery, with its crime and shame,
Went down in wrath and blood and flame
The land was billowed-o'er with graves
Where men had lived and died as slaves.
Four and thirty years -- what change since
Beings once chattles now are men;
Over the gloom of slavery's night,
Has flashed the dawn of freedom's light.
To-day no mother with anguish wild
Kneels and implores that her darling child
Shall not be torn from her bleeding heart,
With its quivering tendrils rent apart.
The father may soothe his child to sleep,
And watch his slumbers calm and deep.
No tyrant's tread will disturb his rest
Where freedom dwells as a welcome guest.
His walls may be bare of pictured grace,
His fireside the lowliest place;
But the wife and children sheltered there
Are his to defend and guard with care.
Where haughty tyrants once bore rule
Are ballot-box and public school.
The old slave-pen of former days
Gives place to fanes of prayer and praise.
To-night we would bring our meed of praise
To noble friends of darker days;
The men and women crowned with light,
The true and tried in our gloomy night.
To Lundy, whose heart was early stirred
To speak for freedom an earnest word;
To Garrison, valiant, true and strong,
Whose face was as flint against our wrong.
And Phillips, the peerless, grand and brave,
A tower of strength to the outcast slave.
Earth has no marble too pure and white
To enrol his name in golden light.
Our Douglass, too, with his massive brain,
Who plead our cause with his broken chain,
And helped to hurl from his bloody seat
The curse that writhed and died at his feet.
And Governor Andrew, who, looking back,
Saw none he despised, though poor and black;
And Harriet Beecher, whose glowing pen
Corroded the chains of fettered men.
To-night with greenest laurels we'll crown
North Elba's grave where sleeps John Brown,
Who made the gallows an altar high,
And showed how a brave old man could die.
And Lincoln, our martyred President,
Who returned to his God with chains he had rent.*
And Sumner, amid death's icy chill,
Leaving to Hoar his Civil Rights Bill.
And let us remember old underground,
With all her passengers northward bound,
The train that ran till it ceased to pay,
With all her dividends given away.
Nor let it be said that we have forgot
The women who stood with Lucretia Mott;
Nor her who to the world was known
By the simple name of Lucy stone.
A tribute unto a host of others
Who knew that men though black were brothers,
Who battled against our nation's sin,
Whose graves are thick whose ranks are thin.
Oh, people chastened in the fire,
To nobler, grander things aspire;
In the new era of your life,
Bring love for hate, and peace for strife;
Upon your hearts this vow record
That ye will build unto the Lord
A nobler future, true and grand,
To strengthen, crown and bless the land.
A higher freedom ye may gain
Than that which comes from a riven chain;
Freedom your native land to bless
With peace, and love and righteousness,
As dreams that are past, a tale all told,
Are the days when men were bought and sold;
Now God be praised from sea to sea,
Our flag floats o'er a country free.