The Light That Is Felt
A tender child of summers three,
Seeking her little bed at night,
Paused on the dark stair timidly.
'Oh, mother! Take my hand,' said she,
'And then the dark will all be light.'
We older children grope our way
From dark behind to dark before;
And only when our hands we lay,
Dear Lord, in Thine, the night is day,
And there is darkness nevermore.
Reach downward to the sunless days
Wherein our guides are blind as we,
And faith is small and hope delays;
Take Thou the hands of prayer we raise,
And let us feel the light of Thee!
We live by Faith; but Faith is not the slave
Of text and legend. Reason's voice and God's,
Nature's and Duty's, never are at odds.
What asks our Father of His children, save
Justice and mercy and humility,
A reasonable service of good deeds,
Pure living, tenderness to human needs,
Reverence and trust, and prayer for light to see
The Master's footprints in our daily ways?
No knotted scourge nor sacrificial knife,
But the calm beauty of an ordered life
Whose very breathing is unworded praise!--
A life that stands as all true lives have stood,
Firm-rooted in the faith that God is Good.
Outbound, your bark awaits you. Were I one
Whose prayer availeth much, my wish should be
Your favoring trad-wind and consenting sea.
By sail or steed was never love outrun,
And, here or there, love follows her in whom
All graces and sweet charities unite,
The old Greek beauty set in holier light;
And her for whom New England's byways bloom,
Who walks among us welcome as the Spring,
Calling up blossoms where her light feet stray.
God keep you both, make beautiful your way,
Comfort, console, and bless; and safely bring,
Ere yet I make upon a vaster sea
The unreturning voyage, my friends to me.
'The cross, if rightly borne, shall be
No burden, but support to thee;'
So, moved of old time for our sake,
The holy monk of Kempen spake.
Thou brave and true one! upon whom
Was laid the cross of martyrdom,
How didst thou, in thy generous youth,
Bear witness to this blessed truth!
Thy cross of suffering and of shame
A staff within thy hands became,
In paths where faith alone could see
The Master's steps supporting thee.
Thine was the seed-time; God alone
Beholds the end of what is sown;
Beyond our vision, weak and dim,
The harvest-time is hid with Him.
Yet, unforgotten where it lies,
That seed of generous sacrifice,
Though seeming on the desert cast,
Shall rise with bloom and fruit at last.
Hymn For The Opening Of Plymouth Church, St. Paul, Minnesota
All things are Thine: no gift have we,
Lord of all gifts, to offer Thee;
And hence with grateful hearts to-day,
Thy own before Thy feet we lay.
Thy will was in the builders' thought;
Thy hand unseen amidst us wrought;
Through mortal motive, scheme and plan,
Thy wise eternal purpose ran.
No lack Thy perfect fulness knew;
For human needs and longings grew
This house of prayer, this home of rest,
In the fair garden of the West.
In weakness and in want we call
On Thee for whom the heavens are small;
Thy glory is Thy children's good,
Thy joy Thy tender Fatherhood.
O Father! deign these walls to bless,
Fill with Thy love their emptiness,
And let their door a gateway be
To lead us from ourselves to Thee!
The Sisters - A Picture By Barry
The shade for me, but over thee
The lingering sunshine still;
As, smiling, to the silent stream
Comes down the singing rill.
So come to me, my little one,--
My years with thee I share,
And mingle with a sister's love
A mother's tender care.
But keep the smile upon thy lip,
The trust upon thy brow;
Since for the dear one God hath called
We have an angel now.
Our mother from the fields of heaven
Shall still her ear incline;
Nor need we fear her human love
Is less for love divine.
The songs are sweet they sing beneath
The trees of life so fair,
But sweetest of the songs of heaven
Shall be her children's prayer.
Then, darling, rest upon my breast,
And teach my heart to lean
With thy sweet trust upon the arm
Which folds us both unseen!
We May Not Climb The Heavenly Steeps
We may not climb the heavenly steeps
To bring the Lord Christ down;
In vain we search the lowest deeps
For Him who fills Heaven's throne.
But to the contrite spirit yet
A present help is He;
And faith has yet its Olivet,
And love its Galilee.
The healing of His seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain;
We touch Him in life's throng and press,
And we are whole again.
Through Him the first fond prayers are said,
Our lips of childhood frame;
The last low whispers of our dead
Are burdened with His Name.
O Lord and Saviour of us all,
Whate'er our name or sign,
We own Thy sway, we hear Thy call,
And form our lives by Thine.
We faintly hear, we dimly see,
In differing phrase we pray;
But, dim or clear, we own in Thee
The Life, the Truth, the Way.
O CHRIST of God! whose life and death
Our own have reconciled,
Most quietly, most tenderly
Take home thy star-named child!
Thy grace is in her patient eyes,
Thy words are on her tongue;
The very silence round her seems
As if the angels sung.
Her smile is as a listening child's
Who hears its mother's call;
The lilies of Thy perfect peace
About her pillow fall.
She leans from out our clinging arms
To rest herself in Thine;
Alone to Thee, dear Lord, can we
Our well-beloved resign.
O, less for her than for ourselves
We bow our heads and pray;
Her setting star, like Bethlehem's,
To Thee shall point the way!
Hymn, Sung At Christmas By The Scholars Of St. Helena’s Island, S.C.
OH, none in all the world before
Were ever glad as we!
We're free on Carolina's shore,
We're all at home and free.
Thou Friend and Helper of the poor,
Who suffered for our sake,
To open every prison door,
And every yoke to break!
Bend low Thy pitying face and mild,
And help us sing and pray;
The hand that blessed the little child,
Upon our foreheads lay.
We hear no more the driver's horn,
No more the whip we fear,
This holy day that saw Thee born
Was never half so dear.
The very oaks are greener clad,
The waters brighter smile;
Oh, never shone a day so glad
On sweet St. Helen's Isle.
We praise Thee in our songs to-day,
To Thee in prayer we call,
Make swift the feet and straight the way
Of freedom unto all.
Come once again, O blessed Lord!
Come walking on the sea!
And let the mainlands hear the word
That sets the islands free!
'Jove means to settle
Astraea in her seat again,
And let down his golden chain
An age of better metal.'
Ben Johnson 1615
O POET rare and old!
Thy words are prophecies;
Forward the age of gold,
The new Saturnian lies.
The universal prayer
And hope are not in vain;
Rise, brothers! and prepare
The way for Saturn's reign.
Perish shall all which takes
From labor's board and can;
Perish shall all which makes
A spaniel of the man!
Free from its bonds the mind,
The body from the rod;
Broken all chains that bind
The image of our God.
Just men no longer pine
Behind their prison-bars;
Through the rent dungeon shine
The free sun and the stars.
Earth own, at last, untrod
By sect, or caste, or clan,
The fatherhood of God,
The brotherhood of man!
Fraud fail, craft perish, forth
The money-changers driven,
And God's will done on earth,
As now in heaven;
O STATE prayer-founded! never hung
Such choice upon a people's tongue,
Such power to bless or ban,
As that which makes thy whisper Fate,
For which on thee the centuries wait,
And destinies of man!
Across thy Alleghanian chain,
With groanings from a land in pain,
The west-wind finds its way:
Wild-wailing from Missouri's flood
The crying of thy children's blood
Is in thy ears to-day!
And unto thee in Freedom's hour
Of sorest need God gives the power
To ruin or to save;
To wound or heal, to blight or bless
With fertile field or wilderness,
A free home or a grave!
Then let thy virtue match the crime,
Rise to a level with the time;
And, if a son of thine
Betray or tempt thee, Brutus-like
For Fatherland and Freedom strike
As Justice gives the sign.
Wake, sleeper, from thy dream of ease,
The great occasion's forelock seize;
And let the north-wind strong,
And golden leaves of autumn, be
Thy coronal of Victory
And thy triumphal song.
Lines From A Letter To A Young Clerical Friend
A STRENGTH Thy service cannot tire,
A faith which doubt can never dim,
A heart of love, a lip of fire,
O Freedom's God! be Thou to him!
Speak through him words of power and fear,
As through Thy prophet bards of old,
And let a scornful people hear
Once more Thy Sinai-thunders rolled.
For lying lips Thy blessing seek,
And hands of blood are raised to Thee,
And on Thy children, crushed and weak,
The oppressor plants his kneeling knee.
Let then, O God! Thy servant dare
Thy truth in all its power to tell,
Unmask the priestly thieves, and tear
The Bible from the grasp of hell!
From hollow rite and narrow span
Of law and sect by Thee released,
Oh, teach him that the Christian man
Is holier than the Jewish priest.
Chase back the shadows, gray and old,
Of the dead ages, from his way,
And let his hopeful eyes behold
The dawn of Thy millennial day;
That day when lettered limb and mind
Shall know the truth which maketh free,
And he alone who loves his kind
Shall, childlike, claim the love of Thee!
The Quaker Of The Olden Time
THE Quaker of the olden time!
How calm and firm and true,
Unspotted by its wrong and crime,
He walked the dark earth through.
The lust of power, the love of gain,
The thousand lures of sin
Around him, had no power to stain
The purity within.
With that deep insight which detects
All great things in the small,
And knows how each man's life affects
The spiritual life of all,
He walked by faith and not by sight,
By love and not by law;
The presence of the wrong or right
He rather felt than saw.
He felt that wrong with wrong partakes,
That nothing stands alone,
That whoso gives the motive, makes
His brother's sin his own.
And, pausing not for doubtful choice
Of evils great or small,
He listened to that inward voice
Which called away from all.
O Spirit of that early day,
So pure and strong and true,
Be with us in the narrow way
Our faithful fathers knew.
Give strength the evil to forsake,
The cross of Truth to bear,
And love and reverent fear to make
Our daily lives a prayer!
A Dream Of Summer
Bland as the morning breath of June
The southwest breezes play;
And, through its haze, the winter noon
Seems warm as summer's day.
The snow-plumed Angel of the North
Has dropped his icy spear;
Again the mossy earth looks forth,
Again the streams gush clear.
The fox his hillside cell forsakes,
The muskrat leaves his nook,
The bluebird in the meadow brakes
Is singing with the brook.
'Bear up, O Mother Nature!' cry
Bird, breeze, and streamlet free;
'Our winter voices prophesy
Of summer days to thee!'
So, in those winters of the soul,
By bitter blasts and drear
O'erswept from Memory's frozen pole,
Will sunny days appear.
Reviving Hope and Faith, they show
The soul its living powers,
And how beneath the winter's snow
Lie germs of summer flowers!
The Night is mother of the Day,
The Winter of the Spring,
And ever upon old Decay
The greenest mosses cling.
Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all His works,
Has left His hope with all!
The Wish Of To-Day
I ask not now for gold to gild
With mocking shine a weary frame;
The yearning of the mind is stilled,
I ask not now for Fame.
A rose-cloud, dimly seen above,
Melting in heaven's blue depths away;
Oh, sweet, fond dream of human Love
For thee I may not pray.
But, bowed in lowliness of mind,
I make my humble wishes known;
I only ask a will resigned,
O Father, to Thine own!
To-day, beneath Thy chastening eye
I crave alone for peace and rest,
Submissive in Thy hand to lie,
And feel that it is best.
A marvel seems the Universe,
A miracle our Life and Death;
A mystery which I cannot pierce,
Around, above, beneath.
In vain I task my aching brain,
In vain the sage's thought I scan,
I only feel how weak and vain,
How poor and blind, is man.
And now my spirit sighs for home,
And longs for light whereby to see,
And, like a weary child, would come,
O Father, unto Thee!
Though oft, like letters traced on sand,
My weak resolves have passed away,
In mercy lend Thy helping hand
Unto my prayer to-day!
ACROSS the sea I heard the groans
Of nations in the intervals
Of wind and wave. Their blood and bones
Cried out in torture, crushed by thrones,
And sucked by priestly cannibals.
I dreamed of Freedom slowly gained
By martyr meekness, patience, faith,
And lo! an athlete grimly stained,
With corded muscles battle-strained,
Shouting it from the fields of death!
I turn me, awe-struck, from the sight,
Among the clamoring thousands mute,
I only know that God is right,
And that the children of the light
Shall tread the darkness under foot.
I know the pent fire heaves its crust,
That sultry skies the bolt will form
To smite them clear; that Nature must
The balance of her powers adjust,
Though with the earthquake and the storm.
God reigns, and let the earth rejoice!
I bow before His sterner plan.
Dumb are the organs of my choice;
He speaks in battle's stormy voice,
His praise is in the wrath of man!
Yet, surely as He lives, the day
Of peace He promised shall be ours,
To fold the flags of war, and lay
Its sword and spear to rust away,
And sow its ghastly fields with flowers!
I wait and watch: before my eyes
Methinks the night grows thin and gray;
I wait and watch the eastern skies
To see the golden spears uprise
Beneath the oriflamme of day!
Like one whose limbs are bound in trance
I hear the day-sounds swell and grow,
And see across the twilight glance,
Troop after troop, in swift advance,
The shining ones with plumes of snow!
I know the errand of their feet,
I know what mighty work is theirs;
I can but lift up hands unmeet,
The threshing-floors of God to beat,
And speed them with unworthy prayers.
I will not dream in vain despair
The steps of progress wait for me
The puny leverage of a hair
The planet's impulse well may spare,
A drop of dew the tided sea.
The loss, if loss there be, is mine,
And yet not mine if understood;
For one shall grasp and one resign,
One drink life's rue, and one its wine,
And God shall make the balance good.
Oh power to do! Oh baffled will!
Oh prayer and action! ye are one.
Who may not strive, may yet fulfil
The harder task of standing still,
And good but wished with God is done!
THE Rabbi Ishmael, with the woe and sin
Of the world heavy upon him, entering in
The Holy of Holies, saw an awful Face
With terrible splendor filling all the place.
'O Ishmael Ben Elisha!' said a voice,
'What seekest thou? What blessing is thy choice?'
And, knowing that he stood before the Lord,
Within the shadow of the cherubim,
Wide-winged between the blinding light and him,
He bowed himself, and uttered not a word,
But in the silence of his soul was prayer
'O Thou Eternal! I am one of all,
And nothing ask that others may not share.
Thou art almighty; we are weak and small,
And yet Thy children: let Thy mercy spare!'
Trembling, he raised his eyes, and in the place
Of the insufferable glory, lo! a face
Of more than mortal tenderness, that bent
Graciously down in token of assent,
And, smiling, vanished! With strange joy elate,
The wondering Rabbi sought the temple's gate.
Radiant as Moses from the Mount, he stood
And cried aloud unto the multitude
'O Israel, hear! The Lord our God is good!
Mine eyes have seen his glory and his grace;
Beyond his judgments shall his love endure;
The mercy of the All Merciful is sure!'
Immortal Love, Forever Full
Immortal love, forever full,
Forever flowing free,
Forever shared, forever whole,
A never ebbing sea!
Our outward lips confess the name
All other names above;
Love only knoweth whence it came,
And comprehendeth love.
Blow, winds of God, awake and blow
The mists of earth away:
Shine out, O Light divine, and show
How wide and far we stray.
We may not climb the heavenly steeps
To bring the Lord Christ down;
In vain we search the lowest deeps,
For Him no depths can drown.
But warm, sweet, tender, even yet,
A present help is He;
And faith still has its Olivet,
And love its Galilee.
The healing of His seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain;
We touch Him in life’s throng and press,
And we are whole again.
Through Him the first fond prayers are said
Our lips of childhood frame,
The last low whispers of our dead
Are burdened with His Name.
O Lord and Master of us all,
Whate’er our name or sign,
We own Thy sway, we hear Thy call,
We test our lives by Thine.
The letter fails, the systems fall,
And every symbol wanes;
The Spirit over brooding all,
Eternal Love remains.
O HOLY FATHER! just and true
Are all Thy works and words and ways,
And unto Thee alone are due
Thanksgiving and eternal praise!
As children of Thy gracious care,
We veil the eye, we bend the knee,
With broken words of praise and prayer,
Father and God, we come to Thee.
For Thou hast heard, O God of Right,
The sighing of the island slave;
And stretched for him the arm of might,
Not shortened that it could not save.
The laborer sits beneath his vine,
The shackled soul and hand are free;
Thanksgiving! for the work is Thine!
Praise! for the blessing is of Thee!
And oh, we feel Thy presence here,
Thy awful arm in judgment bare!
Thine eye hath seen the bondman's tear;
Thine ear hath heard the bondman's prayer.
Praise! for the pride of man is low,
The counsels of the wise are naught,
The fountains of repentance flow;
What hath our God in mercy wrought?
Speed on Thy work, Lord God of Hosts!
And when the bondman's chain is riven,
And swells from all our guilty coasts
The anthem of the free to Heaven,
Oh, not to those whom Thou hast led,
As with Thy cloud and fire before,
But. unto Thee, in fear and dread,
Be praise and glory evermore.
SAINT PATRICK, slave to Milcho of the herds
Of Ballymena, wakened with these words:
'Arise, and flee
Out from the land of bondage, and be free!'
Glad as a soul in pain, who hears from heaven
The angels singing of his sins forgiven,
And, wondering, sees
His prison opening to their golden keys,
He rose a man who laid him down a slave,
Shook from his locks the ashes of the grave,
And outward trod
Into the glorious liberty of God.
He east the symbols of his shame away;
And, passing where the sleeping Milcho lay,
Though back and limb
Smarted with wrong, he prayed, 'God pardon him!'
So went he forth; but in God's time he came
To light on Uilline's hills a holy flame;
And, dying, gave
The land a saint that lost him as a slave.
O dark, sad millions, patiently and dumb
Waiting for God, your hour at last has come,
And freedom's song
Breaks the long silence of your night of wrong!
Arise and flee! shake off the vile restraint
Of ages; but, like Ballymena's saint,
The oppressor spare,
Heap only on his head the coals of prayer.
Go forth, like him! like him return again,
To bless the land whereon in bitter pain
Ye toiled at first,
And heal with freedom what your slavery cursed.
The Common Question
Behind us at our evening meal
The gray bird ate his fill,
Swung downward by a single claw,
And wiped his hooked bill.
He shook his wings and crimson tail,
And set his head aslant,
And, in his sharp, impatient way,
Asked, 'What does Charlie want?'
'Fie, silly bird!' I answered, 'tuck
Your head beneath your wing,
And go to sleep;'--but o'er and o'er
He asked the self-same thing.
Then, smiling, to myself I said
How like are men and birds!
We all are saying what he says,
In action or in words.
The boy with whip and top and drum,
The girl with hoop and doll,
And men with lands and houses, ask
The question of Poor Poll.
However full, with something more
We fain the bag would cram;
We sigh above our crowded nets
For fish that never swam.
No bounty of indulgent Heaven
The vague desire can stay;
Self-love is still a Tartar mill
For grinding prayers alway.
The dear God hears and pities all;
He knoweth all our wants;
And what we blindly ask of Him
His love withholds or grants.
And so I sometimes think our prayers
Might well be merged in one;
And nest and perch and hearth and church
Repeat, 'Thy will be done.'
Sad Mayflower! watched by winter stars,
And nursed by winter gales,
With petals of the sleeted spars,
And leaves of frozen sails!
What had she in those dreary hours,
Within her ice-rimmed bay,
In common with the wild-wood flowers,
The first sweet smiles of May?
Yet, 'God be praised!' the Pilgrim said,
Who saw the blossoms peer
Above the brown leaves, dry and dead,
'Behold our Mayflower here!'
'God wills it: here our rest shall be,
Our years of wandering o'er;
For us the Mayflower of the sea
Shall spread her sails no more.'
O sacred flowers of faith and hope,
As sweetly now as then
Ye bloom on many a birchen slope,
In many a pine-dark glen.
Behind the sea-wall's rugged length,
Unchanged, your leaves unfold,
Like love behind the manly strength
Of the brave hearts of old.
So live the fathers in their sons,
Their sturdy faith be ours,
And ours the love that overruns
Its rocky strength with flowers!
The Pilgrim's wild and wintry day
Its shadow round us draws;
The Mayflower of his stormy bay,
Our Freedom's struggling cause.
But warmer suns erelong shall bring
To life the frozen sod;
And through dead leaves of hope shall spring
Afresh the flowers of God!
The tree of Faith its bare, dry boughs must shed
That nearer heaven the living ones may climb;
The false must fail, though from our shores of time
The old lament be heard, 'Great Pan is dead!'
That wail is Error's, from his high place hurled;
This sharp recoil is Evil undertrod;
Our time's unrest, an angel sent of God
Troubling with life the waters of the world.
Even as they list the winds of the Spirit blow
To turn or break our century-rusted vanes;
Sands shift and waste; the rock alone remains
Where, led of Heaven, the strong tides come and go,
And storm-clouds, rent by thunderbolt and wind,
Leave, free of mist, the permanent stars behind.
Therefore I trust, although to outward sense
Both true and false seem shaken; I will hold
With newer light my reverence for the old,
And calmly wait the births of Providence.
No gain is lost; the clear-eyed saints look down
Untroubled on the wreck of schemes and creeds;
Love yet remains, its rosary of good deeds
Counting in task-field and o'erpeopled town;
Truth has charmed life; the Inward Word survives,
And, day by day, its revelation brings;
Faith, hope, and charity, whatsoever things
Which cannot be shaken, stand. Still holy lives
Reveal the Christ of whom the letter told,
And the new gospel verifies the old.
Calef In Boston, 1692
IN the solemn days of old,
Two men met in Boston town,
One a tradesman frank and bold,
One a preacher of renown.
Cried the last, in bitter tone:
'Poisoner of the wells of truth!
Satan's hireling, thou hast sown
With his tares the heart of youth!'
Spake the simple tradesman then,
'God be judge 'twixt thee and me;
All thou knowed of truth hath been
Once a lie to men like thee.
'Falsehoods which we spurn to-day
Were the truths of long ago;
Let the dead boughs fall away,
Fresher shall the living grow.
'God is good and God is light,
In this faith I rest secure;
Evil can but serve the right,
Over all shall love endure.
'Of your spectral puppet play
I have traced the cunning wires;
Come what will, I needs must say,
God is true, and ye are liars.'
When the thought of man is free,
Error fears its lightest tones;
So the priest cried, 'Sadducee!'
And the people took up stones.
In the ancient burying-ground,
Side by side the twain now lie;
One with humble grassy mound,
One with marbles pale and high,
But the Lord hath blest the seed
Which that tradesman scattered then,
And the preacher's spectral creed
Chills no more the blood of men.
Let us trust, to one is known
Perfect love which casts out fear,
While the other's joys atone
For the wrong he suffered here.
THE day's sharp strife is ended now,
Our work is done, God knoweth how!
As on the thronged, unrestful town
The patience of the moon looks down,
I wait to hear, beside the wire,
The voices of its tongues of fire.
Slow, doubtful, faint,they seem at first:
Be strong, my heart, to know the worst!
Hark! there the Alleghanies spoke;
That sound from lake and prairie broke,
That sunset-gun of triumph rent
The silence of a continent!
That signal from Nebraska sprung,
This, from Nevada's mountain tongue!
Is that thy answer, strong and free,
O loyal heart of Tennessee?
What strange, glad voice is that which calls
From Wagner's grave and Sumter's walls?
From Mississippi's fountain-head
A sound as of the hisoh's tread!
There rustled freedom's Charter Oak!
In that wild burst the Ozarks spoke!
Cheer answers cheer from rise to set
Of sun. We have a country yet!
The praise, O God, be thine alone!
Thou givest not for bread a stone;
Thou hast not led us through the night
To blind us with returning light;
Not through the furnace have we passed,
To perish at its mouth at last.
O night of peace, thy flight restrain!
November's moon, be slow to wane!
Shine on the freedman's cabin floor,
On brows of prayer a blessing pour;
And give, with full assurance blest,
The weary heart of Freedom rest!
FRIENDof the Slave, and yet the friend of all;
Lover of peace, yet ever foremost when
The need of battling Freedom called for men
To plant the banner on the outer wall;
Gentle and kindly, ever at distress
Melted to more than woman's tenderness,
Yet firm and steadfast, at his duty's post
Fronting the violence of a maddened host,
Like some-gray rock from which the waves are tossed!
Knowing his deeds of love, men questioned not
The faith of one whose walk and word were right;
Who tranquilly in Life's great task-field wrought,
And, side by side with evil, scarcely caught
A stain upon his pilgrim garb of white:
Prompt to redress another's wrong, his own
Leaving to Time and Truth and Penitence alone.
Such was our friend. Formed on the good old plan,
A true and brave and downright honest man!
He blew no trumpet in the market-place,
Nor in the church with hypocritic face
Supplied with cant the lack of Christian grace;
Loathing pretence, he did with cheerful will
What others talked of while their hands were still;
And, while 'Lord, Lord!' the pious tyrants cried,
Who, in the poor, their Master crucified,
His daily prayer, far better understood.
In acts than words, was simply doing good.
So calm, so constant was his rectitude,
That by his loss alone we know its worth,
And feel how true a man has walked with us on earth.
Hymns Of The Brahmo Somaj
The mercy, O Eternal One!
By man unmeasured yet,
In joy or grief, in shade or sun,
I never will forget.
I give the whole, and not a part,
Of all Thou gayest me;
My goods, my life, my soul and heart,
I yield them all to Thee!
We fast and plead, we weep and pray,
From morning until even;
We feel to find the holy way,
We knock at the gate of heaven
And when in silent awe we wait,
And word and sign forbear,
The hinges of the golden gate
Move, soundless, to our prayer!
Who hears the eternal harmonies
Can heed no outward word;
Blind to all else is he who sees
The vision of the Lord!
O soul, be patient, restrain thy tears,
Have hope, and not despair;
As a tender mother heareth her child
God hears the penitent prayer.
And not forever shall grief be thine;
On the Heavenly Mother's breast,
Washed clean and white in the waters of joy
Shall His seeking child find rest.
Console thyself with His word of grace,
And cease thy wail of woe,
For His mercy never an equal hath,
And His love no bounds can know.
Lean close unto Him in faith and hope;
How many like thee have found
In Him a shelter and home of peace,
By His mercy compassed round!
There, safe from sin and the sorrow it brings,
They sing their grateful psalms,
And rest, at noon, by the wells of God,
In the shade of His holy palms!
The Two Angels
God called the nearest angels who dwell with Him above:
The tenderest one was Pity, the dearest one was Love.
'Arise,' He said, 'my angels! a wail of woe and sin
Steals through the gates of heaven, and saddens all within.
'My harps take up the mournful strain that from a lost world swells,
The smoke of torment clouds the light and blights the asphodels.
'Fly downward to that under world, and on its souls of pain,
Let Love drop smiles like sunshine, and Pity tears like rain!'
Two faces bowed before the Throne, veiled in their golden hair;
Four white wings lessened swiftly down the dark abyss of air.
The way was strange, the flight was long; at last the angels came
Where swung the lost and nether world, red-wrapped in rayless flame.
There Pity, shuddering, wept; but Love, with faith too strong for fear,
Took heart from God's almightiness and smiled a smile of cheer.
And lo! that tear of Pity quenched the flame whereon it fell,
And, with the sunshine of that smile, hope entered into hell!
Two unveiled faces full of joy looked upward to the Throne,
Four white wings folded at the feet of Him who sat thereon!
And deeper than the sound of seas, more soft than falling flake,
Amidst the hush of wing and song the Voice Eternal spake:
'Welcome, my angels! ye have brought a holier joy to heaven;
Henceforth its sweetest song shall be the song of sin forgiven!'
The Worship Of Nature
The harp at Nature's advent strung
Has never ceased to play;
The song the stars of morning sung
Has never died away.
And prayer is made, and praise is given,
By all things near and far;
The ocean looketh up to heaven,
And mirrors every star.
Its waves are kneeling on the strand,
As kneels the human knee,
Their white locks bowing to the sand,
The priesthood of the sea!
They pour their glittering treasures forth,
Their gifts of pearl they bring,
And all the listening hills of earth
Take up the song they sing.
The green earth sends its incense up
From many a mountain shrine;
From folded leaf and dewy cup
She pours her sacred wine.
The mists above the morning rills
Rise white as wings of prayer;
The altar-curtains of the hills
Are sunset's purple air.
The winds with hymns of praise are loud,
Or low with sobs of pain, --
The thunder-organ of the cloud,
The dropping tears of rain.
With drooping head and branches crossed
The twilight forest grieves,
Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost
From all its sunlit leaves.
The blue sky is the temple's arch,
Its transept earth and air,
The music of its starry march
The chorus of a prayer.
So Nature keeps the reverent frame
With which her years began,
And all her signs and voices shame
The prayerless heart of man.
THE storm and peril overpast,
The hounding hatred shamed and still,
Go, soul of freedom! take at last
The place which thou alone canst fill.
Confirm the lesson taught of old —
Life saved for self is lost, while they
Who lose it in His service hold
The lease of God's eternal day.
Not for thyself, but for the slave
Thy words of thunder shook the world;
No selfish griefs or hatred gave
The strength wherewith thy bolts were hurled.
From lips that Sinai's trumpet blew
We heard a tender under song;
Thy very wrath from pity grew,
From love of man thy hate of wrong.
Now past and present are as one;
The life below is life above;
Thy mortal years have but begun
Thy immortality of love.
With somewhat of thy lofty faith
We lay thy outworn garment by,
Give death but what belongs to death,
And life the life that cannot die!
Not for a soul like thine the calm
Of selfish ease and joys of sense;
But duty, more than crown or palm,
Its own exceeding recompense.
Go up and on! thy day well done,
Its morning promise well fulfilled,
Arise to triumphs yet unwon,
To holier tasks that God has willed.
Go, leave behind thee all that mars
The work below of man for man;
With the white legions of the stars
Do service such as angels can.
Wherever wrong shall right deny
Or suffering spirits urge their plea,
Be thine a voice to smite the lie,
A hand to set the captive free!
Between The Gates
Between the gates of birth and death
An old and saintly pilgrim passed,
With look of one who witnesseth
The long-sought goal at last.
O thou whose reverent feet have found
The Master's footprints in thy way,
And walked thereon as holy ground,
A boon of thee I pray.
'My lack would borrow thy excess,
My feeble faith the strength of thine;
I need thy soul's white saintliness
To hide the stains of mine.
'The grace and favor else denied
May well be granted for thy sake.'
So, tempted, doubting, sorely tried,
A younger pilgrim spake.
'Thy prayer, my son, transcends my gift;
No power is mine,' the sage replied,
'The burden of a soul to lift
Or stain of sin to hide.
'Howe'er the outward life may seem,
For pardoning grace we all must pray;
No man his brother can redeem
Or a soul's ransom pay.
'Not always age is growth of good;
Its years have losses with their gain;
Against some evil youth withstood
Weak hands may strive in vain.
'With deeper voice than any speech
Of mortal lips from man to man,
What earth's unwisdom may not teach
The Spirit only can.
'Make thou that holy guide thine own,
And following where it leads the way,
The known shall lapse in the unknown
As twilight into day.
'The best of earth shall still remain,
And heaven's eternal years shall prove
That life and death, and joy and pain,
Are ministers of Love.'
A PIOUS magistrate! sound his praise throughout
The wondering churches. Who shall henceforth doubt
That the long-wished millennium draweth nigh?
Sin in high places has become devout,
Tithes mint, goes painful-faced, and prays its lie
Straight up to Heaven, and calls it piety!
The pirate, watching from his bloody deck
The weltering galleon, heavy with the gold
Of Acapulco, holding death in check
While prayers are said, brows crossed, and beads are told;
The robber, kneeling where the wayside cross
On dark Abruzzo tells of life's dread loss
From his own carbine, glancing still abroad
For some new victim, offering thanks to God!
Rome, listening at her altars to the cry
Of midnight Murder, while her hounds of hell
Scour France, from baptized cannon and holy bell
And thousand-throated priesthood, loud and high,
Pealing Te Deums to the shuddering sky,
'Thanks to the Lord, who giveth victory!'
What prove these, but that crime was ne'er so black
As ghostly cheer and pious thanks to lack?
Satan is modest. At Heaven's door he lays
His evil offspring, and, in Scriptural phrase
And saintly posture, gives to God the praise
And honor of the monstrous progeny.
What marvel, then, in our own time to see
His old devices, smoothly acted o'er, —
Official piety, locking fast the door
Of Hope against three million souls of men, —
Brothers, God's children, Christ's redeemed, — and then,
With uprolled eyeballs and on bended knee,
Whining a prayer for help to hide the key!
A railway conductor who lost his life in an accident on a Connecticut
railway, May 9, 1873.
CONDUCTOR BRADLEY, (always may his name
Be said with reverence!) as the swift doom came,
Smitten to death, a crushed and mangled frame,
Sank, with the brake he grasped just where he stood
To do the utmost that a brave man could,
And die, if needful, as a true man should.
Men stooped above him; women dropped their tears
On that poor wreck beyond all hopes or fears,
Lost in the strength and glory of his years.
What heard they? Lo! the ghastly lips of pain,
Dead to all thought save duty's, moved again
'Put out the signals for the other train!'
No nobler utterance since the world began
From lips of saint or martyr ever ran,
Electric, through the sympathies of man.
Ah me! how poor and noteless seem to this
The sick-bed dramas of self-consciousness,
Our sensual fears of pain and hopes of bliss!
Oh, grand, supreme endeavor! Not in vain
That last brave act of failing tongue and brain
Freighted with life the downward rushing train,
Following the wrecked one, as wave follows wave,
Obeyed the warning which the dead lips gave.
Others he saved, himself he could not save.
Nay, the lost life was saved. He is not dead
Who in his record still the earth shall tread
With God's clear aureole shining round his head.
We bow as in the dust, with all our pride
Of virtue dwarfed the noble deed beside.
God give us grace to live as Bradley died!
God's love and peace be with thee, where
Soe'er this soft autumnal air
Lifts the dark tresses of thy hair.
Whether through city casements comes
Its kiss to thee, in crowded rooms,
Or, out among the woodland blooms,
It freshens o'er thy thoughtful face,
Imparting, in its glad embrace,
Beauty to beauty, grace to grace!
Fair Nature's book together read,
The old wood-paths that knew our tread,
The maple shadows overhead,--
The hills we climbed, the river seen
By gleams along its deep ravine,--
All keep thy memory fresh and green.
Where'er I look, where'er I stray,
Thy thought goes with me on my way,
And hence the prayer I breathe to-day;
O'er lapse of time and change of scene,
The weary waste which lies between
Thyself and me, my heart I lean.
Thou lack'st not Friendship's spell-word, nor
The half-unconscious power to draw
All hearts to thine by Love's sweet law.
With these good gifts of God is cast
Thy lot, and many a charm thou hast
To hold the blessed angels fast.
If, then, a fervent wish for thee
The gracious heavens will heed from me,
What should, dear heart, its burden be?
The sighing of a shaken reed,--
What can I more than meekly plead
The greatness of our common need?
God's love,--unchanging, pure, and true,--
The Paraclete white-shining through
His peace,--the fall of Hermon's dew!
With such a prayer, on this sweet day,
As thou mayst hear and I may say,
I greet thee, dearest, far away!
Men said at vespers: 'All is well!'
In one wild night the city fell;
Fell shrines of prayer and marts of gain
Before the fiery hurricane.
On threescore spires had sunset shone,
Where ghastly sunrise looked on none.
Men clasped each other's hands, and said
'The City of the West is dead!'
Brave hearts who fought, in slow retreat,
The fiends of fire from street to street,
Turned, powerless, to the blinding glare,
The dumb defiance of despair.
A sudden impulse thrilled each wire
That signalled round that sea of fire;
Swift words of cheer, warm heart-throbs came;
In tears of pity died the flame!
From East, from West, from South and North,
The messages of hope shot forth,
And, underneath the severing wave,
The world, full-handed, reached to save.
Fair seemed the old; but fairer still
The new, the dreary void shall fill
With dearer homes than those o'erthrown,
For love shall lay each corner-stone.
Rise, stricken city! from thee throw
The ashen sackcloth of thy woe;
And build, as to Amphion's strain,
To songs of cheer thy walls again!
How shrivelled in thy hot distress
The primal sin of selfishness!
How instant rose, to take thy part,
The angel in the human heart!
Ah! not in vain the flames that tossed
Above thy dreadful holocaust;
The Christ again has preached through thee
The Gospel of Humanity!
Then lift once more thy towers on high,
And fret with spires the western sky,
To tell that God is yet with us,
And love is still miraculous!
To William Lloyd Garrison
CHAMPION of those who groan beneath
Oppression's iron hand:
In view of penury, hate, and death,
I see thee fearless stand.
Still bearing up thy lofty brow,
In the steadfast strength of truth,
In manhood sealing well the vow
And promise of thy youth.
Go on, for thou hast chosen well;
On in the strength of God!
Long as one human heart shall swell
Beneath the tyrant's rod.
Speak in a slumbering nation's ear,
As thou hast ever spoken,
Until the dead in sin shall hear,
The fetter's link be broken!
I love thee with a brother's love,
I feel my pulses thrill,
To mark thy Spirit soar above
The cloud of human ill.
My heart hath leaped to answer thine,
And echo back thy words,
As leaps the warrior's at the shine
And flash of kindred swords!
They tell me thou art rash and vain,
A searcher after fame;
That thou art striving but to gain
A long-enduring name;
That thou hast nerved the Afric's hand
And steeled the Afric's heart,
To shake aloft his vengeful brand,
And rend his chain apart.
Have I not known thee well, and read
Thy mighty purpose long?
And watched the trials which have made
Thy human spirit strong?
And shall the slanderer's demon breath
Avail with one like me,
To dim the sunshine of my faith
And earnest trust in thee?
Go on, the dagger's point may glare
Amid thy pathway's gloom;
The fate which sternly threatens there
Is glorious martyrdom!
Then onward with a martyr's zeal;
And wait thy sure reward
When man to man no more shall kneel,
And God alone be Lord!
The Peace Autumn
THANK God for rest, where none molest,
And none can make afraid;
For Peace that sits as Plenty's guest
Beneath the homestead shade!
Bring pike and gun, the sword's red scourge,
The negro's broken chains,
And beat them at the blacksmith's forge
To ploughshares for our plains.
Alike henceforth our hills of snow,
And vales where cotton flowers;
All streams that flow, all winds that blow,
Are Freedom's motive-powers.
Henceforth to Labor's chivalry
Be knightly honors paid;
For nobler than the sword's shall be
The sickle's accolade.
Build up an altar to the Lord,
O grateful hearts of ours!
And shape it of the greenest sward
That ever drank the showers.
Lay all the bloom of gardens there,
And there the orchard fruits;
Bring golden grain from sun and air,
From earth her goodly roots.
There let our banners droop and flow,
The stars uprise and fall;
Our roll of martyrs, sad and slow,
Let sighing breezes call.
Their names let hands of horn and tan
And rough-shod feet applaud,
Who died to make the slave a man,
And link with toil reward.
There let the common heart keep time
To such an anthem sung
As never swelled on poet's rhyme,
Or thrilled on singer's tongue.
Song of our burden and relief,
Of peace and long annoy;
The passion of our mighty grief
And our exceeding joy!
A song of praise to Him who filled
The harvests sown in years,
And gave each field a double yield
To feed our battle-years!
A song of faith that trusts the end
To match the good begun,
Nor doubts the power of Love to blend
The hearts of men as one!
Long since, a dream of heaven I had,
And still the vision haunts me oft;
I see the saints in white robes clad,
The martyrs with their palms aloft;
But hearing still, in middle song,
The ceaseless dissonance of wrong;
And shrinking, with hid faces, from the strain
Of sad, beseeching eyes, full of remorse and pain.
The glad song falters to a wail,
The harping sinks to low lament;
Before the still unlifted veil
I see the crowned foreheads bent,
Making more sweet the heavenly air,
With breathings of unselfish prayer;
And a Voice saith: 'O Pity which is pain,
O Love that weeps, fill up my sufferings which remain!
'Shall souls redeemed by me refuse
To share my sorrow in their turn?
Or, sin-forgiven, my gift abuse
Of peace with selfish unconcern?
Has saintly ease no pitying care?
Has faith no work, and love no prayer?
While sin remains, and souls in darkness dwell,
Can heaven itself be heaven, and look unmoved on hell?'
Then through the Gates of Pain, I dream,
A wind of heaven blows coolly in;
Fainter the awful discords seem,
The smoke of torment grows more thin,
Tears quench the burning soil, and thence
Spring sweet, pale flowers of penitence
And through the dreary realm of man's despair,
Star-crowned an angel walks, and to! God's hope is there!
Is it a dream? Is heaven so high
That pity cannot breathe its air?
Its happy eyes forever dry,
Its holy lips without a prayer!
My God! my God! if thither led
By Thy free grace unmerited,
No crown nor palm be mine, but let me keep
A heart that still can feel, and eyes that still can weep.
'T is the noon of the spring-time, yet never a bird
In the wind-shaken elm or the maple is heard;
For green meadow-grasses wide levels of snow,
And blowing of drifts where the crocus should blow;
Where wind-flower and violet, amber and white,
On south-sloping brooksides should smile in the light,
O'er the cold winter-beds of their late-waking roots
The frosty flake eddies, the ice-crystal shoots;
And, longing for light, under wind-driven heaps,
Round the boles of the pine-wood the ground-laurel creeps,
Unkissed of the sunshine, unbaptized of showers,
With buds scarcely swelled, which should burst into flowers
We wait for thy coming, sweet wind of the south!
For the touch of thy light wings, the kiss of thy mouth;
For the yearly evangel thou bearest from God,
Resurrection and life to the graves of the sod!
Up our long river-valley, for days, have not ceased
The wail and the shriek of the bitter northeast,
Raw and chill, as if winnowed through ices and snow,
All the way from the land of the wild Esquimau,
Until all our dreams of the land of the blest,
Like that red hunter's, turn to the sunny southwest.
O soul of the spring-time, its light and its breath,
Bring warmth to this coldness, bring life to this death;
Renew the great miracle; let us behold
The stone from the mouth of the sepulchre rolled,
And Nature, like Lazarus, rise, as of old!
Let our faith, which in darkness and coldness has lain,
Revive with the warmth and the brightness again,
And in blooming of flower and budding of tree
The symbols and types of our destiny see;
The life of the spring-time, the life of the whole,
And, as sun to the sleeping earth, love to the soul!