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.
Poor and inadequate the shadow-play
Of gain and loss, of waking and of dream,
Against life's solemn background needs must seem
At this late hour. Yet, not unthankfully,
I call to mind the fountains by the way,
The breath of flowers, the bird-song on the spray,
Dear friends, sweet human loves, the joy of giving
And of receiving, the great boon of living
In grand historic years when Liberty
Had need of word and work, quick sympathies
For all who fail and suffer, song's relief,
Nature's uncloying loveliness; and chief,
The kind restraining hand of Providence,
The inward witness, the assuring sense
Of an Eternal Good which overlies
The sorrow of the world, Love which outlives
All sin and wrong, Compassion which forgives
To the uttermost, and Justice whose clear eyes
Through lapse and failure look to the intent,
And judge our frailty by the life we meant.
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.
A Welcome To Lowell
Take our hands, James Russell Lowell,
Our hearts are all thy own;
To-day we bid thee welcome
Not for ourselves alone.
In the long years of thy absence
Some of us have grown old,
And some have passed the portals
Of the Mystery untold;
For the hands that cannot clasp thee,
For the voices that are dumb,
For each and all I bid thee
A grateful welcome home!
For Cedarcroft's sweet singer
To the nine-fold Muses dear;
For the Seer the winding Concord
Paused by his door to hear;
For him, our guide and Nestor,
Who the march of song began,
The white locks of his ninety years
Bared to thy winds, Cape Ann!
For him who, to the music
Her pines and hemlocks played,
Set the old and tender story
Of the lorn Acadian maid;
For him, whose voice for freedom
Swayed friend and foe at will,
Hushed is the tongue of silver,
The golden lips are still!
For her whose life of duty
At scoff and menace smiled,
Brave as the wife of Roland,
Yet gentle as a Child.
And for him the three-hilled city
Shall hold in memory long,
Those name is the hint and token
Of the pleasant Fields of Song!
For the old friends unforgotten,
For the young thou hast not known,
I speak their heart-warm greeting;
Come back and take thy own!
From England's royal farewells,
And honors fitly paid,
Come back, dear Russell Lowell,
To Elmwood's waiting shade!
Come home with all the garlands
That crown of right thy head.
I speak for comrades living,
I speak for comrades dead!
THE SUMMER warmth has left the sky,
The summer songs have died away;
And, withered, in the footpaths lie
The fallen leaves, but yesterday
With ruby and with topaz gay.
The grass is browning on the hills;
No pale, belated flowers recall
The astral fringes of the rills,
And drearily the dead vines fall,
Frost-blackened, from the roadside wall.
Yet through the gray and sombre wood,
Against the dusk of fir and pine,
Last of their floral sisterhood,
The hazel’s yellow blossoms shine,
The tawny gold of Afric’s mine!
Small beauty hath my unsung flower,
For spring to own or summer hail;
But, in the season’s saddest hour,
To skies that weep and winds that wail
Its glad surprisals never fail.
O days grown cold! O life grown old
No rose of June may bloom again;
But, like the hazel’s twisted gold,
Through early frost and latter rain
Shall hints of summer-time remain.
And as within the hazel’s bough
A gift of mystic virtue dwells,
That points to golden ores below,
And in dry desert places tells
Where flow unseen the cool, sweet wells,
So, in the wise Diviner’s hand,
Be mine the hazel’s grateful part
To feel, beneath a thirsty land,
The living waters thrill and start,
The beating of the rivulet’s heart!
Sufficeth me the gift to light
With latest bloom the dark, cold days;
To call some hidden spring to sight
That, in these dry and dusty ways,
Shall sing its pleasant song of praise.
O Love! the hazel-wand may fail,
But thou canst lend the surer spell,
That, passing over Baca’s vale,
Repeats the old-time miracle,
And makes the desert-land a well.
The gulf of seven and fifty years
We stretch our welcoming hands across;
The distance but a pebble's toss
Between us and our youth appears.
For in life's school we linger on
The remnant of a once full list;
Conning our lessons, undismissed,
With faces to the setting sun.
And some have gone the unknown way,
And some await the call to rest;
Who knoweth whether it is best
For those who went or those who stay?
And yet despite of loss and ill,
If faith and love and hope remain,
Our length of days is not in vain,
And life is well worth living still.
Still to a gracious Providence
The thanks of grateful hearts are due,
For blessings when our lives were new,
For all the good vouchsafed us since.
The pain that spared us sorer hurt,
The wish denied, the purpose crossed,
And pleasure's fond occasions lost,
Were mercies to our small desert.
'T is something that we wander back,
Gray pilgrims, to our ancient ways,
And tender memories of old days
Walk with us by the Merrimac;
That even in life's afternoon
A sense of youth comes back again,
As through this cool September rain
The still green woodlands dream of June.
The eyes grown dim to present things
Have keener sight for bygone years,
And sweet and clear, in deafening ears,
The bird that sang at morning sings.
Dear comrades, scattered wide and far,
Send from their homes their kindly word,
And dearer ones, unseen, unheard,
Smile on us from some heavenly star.
For life and death with God are one,
Unchanged by seeming change His care
And love are round us here and there;
He breaks no thread His hand has spun.
Soul touches soul, the muster roll
Of life eternal has no gaps;
And after half a century's lapse
Our school-day ranks are closed and whole.
Hail and farewell! We go our way;
Where shadows end, we trust in light;
The star that ushers in the night
Is herald also of the day!
I write my name as one,
On sands by waves o'errun
Or winter's frosted pane,
Traces a record vain.
Oblivion's blankness claims
Wiser and better names,
And well my own may pass
As from the strand or glass.
Wash on, O waves of time!
Melt, noons, the frosty rime!
Welcome the shadow vast,
The silence that shall last!
When I and all who know
And love me vanish so,
What harm to them or me
Will the lost memory be?
If any words of mine,
Through right of life divine,
Remain, what matters it
Whose hand the message writ?
Why should the "crowner's quest"
Sit on my worst or best?
Why should the showman claim
The poor ghost of my name?
Yet, as when dies a sound
Its spectre lingers round,
Haply my spent life will
Leave some faint echo still.
A whisper giving breath
Of praise or blame to death,
Soothing or saddening such
As loved the living much.
Therefore with yearnings vain
And fond I still would fain
A kindly judgment seek,
A tender thought bespeak.
And, while my words are read,
Let this at least be said:
"Whate'er his life's defeatures,
He loved his fellow-creatures.
"If, of the Law's stone table,
To hold he scarce was able
The first great precept fast,
He kept for man the last.
"Through mortal lapse and dulness
What lacks the Eternal Fulness,
If still our weakness can
Love Him in loving man?
"Age brought him no despairing
Of the world's future faring;
In human nature still
He found more good than ill.
"To all who dumbly suffered,
His tongue and pen he offered;
His life was not his own,
Nor lived for self alone.
"Hater of din and riot
He lived in days unquiet;
And, lover of all beauty,
Trod the hard ways of duty.
"He meant no wrong to any
He sought the good of many,
Yet knew both sin and folly, --
May God forgive him wholly!"
Thrice welcome from the Land of Flowers
And golden-fruited orange bowers
To this sweet, green-turfed June of ours!
To her who, in our evil time,
Dragged into light the nation's crime
With strength beyond the strength of men,
And, mightier than their swords, her pen!
To her who world-wide entrance gave
To the log-cabin of the slave;
Made all his wrongs and sorrows known,
And all earth's languages his own,--
North, South, and East and West, made all
The common air electrical,
Until the o'ercharged bolts of heaven
Blazed down, and every chain was riven!
Welcome from each and all to her
Whose Wooing of the Minister
Revealed the warm heart of the man
Beneath the creed-bound Puritan,
And taught the kinship of the love
Of man below and God above;
To her whose vigorous pencil-strokes
Sketched into life her Oldtown Folks;
Whose fireside stories, grave or gay,
In quaint Sam Lawson's vagrant way,
With old New England's flavor rife,
Waifs from her rude idyllic life,
Are racy as the legends old
By Chaucer or Boccaccio told;
To her who keeps, through change of place
And time, her native strength and grace,
Alike where warm Sorrento smiles,
Or where, by birchen-shaded isles,
Whose summer winds have shivered o'er
The icy drift of Labrador,
She lifts to light the priceless Pearl
Of Harpswell's angel-beckoned girl!
To her at threescore years and ten
Be tributes of the tongue and pen;
Be honor, praise, and heart-thanks given,
The loves of earth, the hopes of heaven!
Ah, dearer than the praise that stirs
The air to-day, our love is hers!
She needs no guaranty of fame
Whose own is linked with Freedom's name.
Long ages after ours shall keep
Her memory living while we sleep;
The waves that wash our gray coast lines,
The winds that rock the Southern pines,
Shall sing of her; the unending years
Shall tell her tale in unborn ears.
And when, with sins and follies past,
Are numbered color-hate and caste,
White, black, and red shall own as one
The noblest work by woman done.
The autumn-time has come;
On woods that dream of bloom,
And over purpling vines,
The low sun fainter shines.
The aster-flower is failing,
The hazel's gold is paling;
Yet overhead more near
The eternal stars appear!
And present gratitude
Insures the future's good,
And for the things I see
I trust the things to be;
That in the paths untrod,
And the long days of God,
My feet shall still be led,
My heart be comforted.
O living friends who love me!
O dear ones gone above me!
Careless of other fame,
I leave to you my name.
Hide it from idle praises,
Save it from evil phrases:
Why, when dear lips that spake it
Are dumb, should strangers wake it?
Let the thick curtain fall;
I better know than all
How little I have gained,
How vast the unattained.
Not by the page word-painted
Let life be banned or sainted:
Deeper than written scroll
The colors of the soul.
Sweeter than any sung
My songs that found no tongue;
Nobler than any fact
My wish that failed of act.
Others shall sing the song,
Others shall right the wrong, --
Finish what I begin,
And all I fail of win.
What matter, I or they?
Mine or another's day,
So the right word be said
And life the sweeter made?
Hail to the coming singers!
Hail to the brave light-bringers!
Forward I reach and share
All that they sing and dare.
The airs of heaven blow o'er me;
A glory shines before me
Of what mankind shall be, --
Pure, generous, brave, and free.
A dream of man and woman
Diviner but still human,
Solving the riddle old,
Shaping the Age of Gold!
The love of God and neighbor;
An equal-handed labor;
The richer life, where beauty
Walks hand in hand with duty.
Ring, bells in unreared steeples,
The joy of unborn peoples!
Sound, trumpets far off blown,
Your triumph is my own!
Parcel and part of all,
I keep the festival,
Fore-reach the good to be,
And share the victory.
I feel the earth move sunward,
I join the great march onward,
And take, by faith, while living,
My freehold of thanksgiving.
What The Voice Said
MADDENED by Earth's wrong and evil,
'Lord!' I cried in sudden ire,
'From Thy right hand, clothed with thunder,
Shake the bolted fire!
'Love is lost, and Faith is dying;
With the brute the man is sold;
And the dropping blood of labor
Hardens into gold.
'Here the dying wail of Famine,
There the battle's groan of pain;
And, in silence, smooth-faced Mammon
Reaping men like grain.
''Where is God, that we should fear Him?'
Thus the earth-born Titans say
'God! if Thou art living, hear us!'
Thus the weak ones pray.'
'Thou, the patient Heaven upbraiding,'
Spake a solemn Voice within;
'Weary of our Lord's forbearance,
Art thou free from sin?
'Fearless brow to Him uplifting,
Canst thou for His thunders call,
Knowing that to guilt's attraction
Evermore they fall?
'Know'st thou not all germs of evil
In thy heart await their time?
Not thyself, but God's restraining,
Stays their growth of crime.
'Couldst thou boast, O child of weakness!
O'er the sons of wrong and strife,
Were their strong temptations planted
In thy path of life?
'Thou hast seen two streamlets gushing
From one fountain, clear and free,
But by widely varying channels
Searching for the sea.
'Glideth one through greenest valleys,
Kissing them with lips still sweet;
One, mad roaring down the mountains,
Stagnates at their feet.
'Is it choice whereby the Parsee
Kneels before his mother's fire?
In his black tent did the Tartar
Choose his wandering sire?
'He alone, whose hand is bounding
Human power and human will,
Looking through each soul's surrounding,
Knows its good or ill.
'For thyself, while wrong and sorrow
Make to thee their strong appeal,
Coward wert thou not to utter
What the heart must feel.
'Earnest words must needs be spoken
When the warm heart bleeds or burns
With its scorn of wrong, or pity
For the wronged, by turns.
'But, by all thy nature's weakness,
Hidden faults and follies known,
Be thou, in rebuking evil,
Conscious of thine own.
'Not the less shall stern-eyed Duty
To thy lips her trumpet set,
But with harsher blasts shall mingle
Wailings of regret.'
Cease not, Voice of holy speaking,
Teacher sent of God, be near,
Whispering through the day's cool silence,
Let my spirit hear!
So, when thoughts of evil-doers
Waken scorn, or hatred move,
Shall a mournful fellow-feeling
Temper all with love.
Within The Gate
L. M. C.
We sat together, last May-day, and talked
Of the dear friends who walked
Beside us, sharers of the hopes and fears
Of five and forty years,
Since first we met in Freedom's hope forlorn,
And heard her battle-horn
Sound through the valleys of the sleeping North,
Calling her children forth,
And youth pressed forward with hope-lighted eyes,
And age, with forecast wise
Of the long strife before the triumph won,
Girded his armor on.
Sadly, ass name by name we called the roll,
We heard the dead-bells toll
For the unanswering many, and we knew
The living were the few.
And we, who waited our own call before
The inevitable door,
Listened and looked, as all have done, to win
Some token from within.
No sign we saw, we heard no voices call;
The impenetrable wall
Cast down its shadow, like an awful doubt,
On all who sat without.
Of many a hint of life beyond the veil,
And many a ghostly tale
Wherewith the ages spanned the gulf between
The seen and the unseen,
Seeking from omen, trance, and dream to gain
Solace to doubtful pain,
And touch, with groping hands, the garment hem
Of truth sufficing them,
We talked; and, turning from the sore unrest
Of an all-baffling quest,
We thought of holy lives that from us passed
Hopeful unto the last,
As if they saw beyond the river of death,
Like Him of Nazareth,
The many mansions of the Eternal days
Lift up their gates of praise.
And, hushed to silence by a reverent awe,
Methought, O friend, I saw
In thy true life of word, and work, and thought
The proof of all we sought.
Did we not witness in the life of thee
And feel, when with thee, that thy footsteps trod
An everlasting road?
Not for brief days thy generous sympathies,
Thy scorn of selfish ease;
Not for the poor prize of an earthly goal
Thy strong uplift of soul.
Than thine was never turned a fonder heart
To nature and to art
In fair-formed Hellas in her golden prime,
Thy Philothea's time.
Yet, loving beauty, thou couldst pass it by,
And for the poor deny
Thyself, and see thy fresh, sweet flower of fame
Wither in blight and blame.
Sharing His love who holds in His embrace
The lowliest of our race,
Sure the Divine economy must be
Conservative of thee!
For truth must live with truth, self-sacrifice
Seek out its great allies;
Good must find good by gravitation sure,
And love with love endure.
And so, since thou hast passed within the gate
Whereby awhile I wait,
I give blind grief and blinder sense the lie
Thou hast not lived to die!
At morn I prayed, 'I fain would see
How Three are One, and One is Three;
Read the dark riddle unto me.'
I wandered forth, the sun and air
I saw bestowed with equal care
On good and evil, foul and fair.
No partial favor dropped the rain;
Alike the righteous and profane
Rejoiced above their heading grain.
And my heart murmured, 'Is it meet
That blindfold Nature thus should treat
With equal hand the tares and wheat?'
A presence melted through my mood,--
A warmth, a light, a sense of good,
Like sunshine through a winter wood.
I saw that presence, mailed complete
In her white innocence, pause to greet
A fallen sister of the street.
Upon her bosom snowy pure
The lost one clung, as if secure
From inward guilt or outward lure.
'Beware!' I said; 'in this I see
No gain to her, but loss to thee
Who touches pitch defiled must be.'
I passed the haunts of shame and sin,
And a voice whispered, 'Who therein
Shall these lost souls to Heaven's peace win?
'Who there shall hope and health dispense,
And lift the ladder up from thence
Whose rounds are prayers of penitence?'
I said, 'No higher life they know;
These earth-worms love to have it so.
Who stoops to raise them sinks as low.'
That night with painful care I read
What Hippo's saint and Calvin said;
The living seeking to the dead!
In vain I turned, in weary quest,
Old pages, where (God give them rest!)
The poor creed-mongers dreamed and guessed.
And still I prayed, 'Lord, let me see
How Three are One, and One is Three;
Read the dark riddle unto me!'
Then something whispered, 'Dost thou pray
For what thou hast? This very day
The Holy Three have crossed thy way.
'Did not the gifts of sun and air
To good and ill alike declare
The all-compassionate Father's care?
'In the white soul that stooped to raise
The lost one from her evil ways,
Thou saw'st the Christ, whom angels praise!
'A bodiless Divinity,
The still small Voice that spake to thee
Was the Holy Spirit's mystery!
'O blind of sight, of faith how small!
Father, and Son, and Holy Call
This day thou hast denied them all!
'Revealed in love and sacrifice,
The Holiest passed before thine eyes,
One and the same, in threefold guise.
'The equal Father in rain and sun,
His Christ in the good to evil done,
His Voice in thy soul;--and the Three are One!'
I shut my grave Aquinas fast;
The monkish gloss of ages past,
The schoolman's creed aside I cast.
And my heart answered, 'Lord, I see
How Three are One, and One is Three;
Thy riddle hath been read to me!'
How has New England's romance fled,
Even as a vision of the morning!
Its rites foredone, its guardians dead,
Its priestesses, bereft of dread,
Waking the veriest urchin's scorning!
Gone like the Indian wizard's yell
And fire-dance round the magic rock,
Forgotten like the Druid's spell
At moonrise by his holy oak!
No more along the shadowy glen
Glide the dim ghosts of murdered men;
No more the unquiet churchyard dead
Glimpse upward from their turfy bed,
Startling the traveller, late and lone;
As, on some night of starless weather,
They silently commune together,
Each sitting on his own head-stone
The roofless house, decayed, deserted,
Its living tenants all departed,
No longer rings with midnight revel
Of witch, or ghost, or goblin evil;
No pale blue flame sends out its flashes
Through creviced roof and shattered sashes!
The witch-grass round the hazel spring
May sharply to the night-air sing,
But there no more shall withered hags
Refresh at ease their broomstick nags,
Or taste those hazel-shadowed waters
As beverage meet for Satan's daughters;
No more their mimic tones be heard,
The mew of cat, the chirp of bird,
Shrill blending with the hoarser laughter
Of the fell demon following after!
The cautious goodman nails no more
A horseshoe on his outer door,
Lest some unseemly hag should fit
To his own mouth her bridle-bit;
The goodwife's churn no more refuses
Its wonted culinary uses
Until, with heated needle burned,
The witch has to her place returned!
Our witches are no longer old
And wrinkled beldames, Satan-sold,
But young and gay and laughing creatures,
With the heart's sunshine on their features;
Their sorcery--the light which dances
Where the raised lid unveils its glances;
Or that low-breathed and gentle tone,
The music of Love's twilight hours,
Soft, dream-like, as a fairy's moan
Above her nightly closing flowers,
Sweeter than that which sighed of yore
Along the charmed Ausonian shore!
Even she, our own weird heroine,
Sole Pythoness of ancient Lynn,'
Sleeps calmly where the living laid her;
And the wide realm of sorcery,
Left by its latest mistress free,
Hath found no gray and skilled invader.
So--perished Albion's 'glammarye,'
With him in Melrose Abbey sleeping,
His charmed torch beside his knee,
That even the dead himself might see
The magic scroll within his keeping.
And now our modern Yankee sees
Nor omens, spells, nor mysteries;
And naught above, below, around,
Of life or death, of sight or sound,
Whate'er its nature, form, or look,
Excites his terror or surprise,
All seeming to his knowing eyes
Familiar as his 'catechise,'
Or 'Webster's Spelling-Book.'
The Dream Of Pio Nono
IT chanced that while the pious troops of France
Fought in the crusade Pio Nono preached,
What time the holy Bourbons stayed his hands
(The Hur and Aaron meet for such a Moses),
Stretched forth from Naples towards rebellious Rome
To bless the ministry of Oudinot,
And sanctify his iron homilies
And sharp persuasions of the bayonet,
That the great pontiff fell asleep, and dreamed.
He stood by Lake Tiberias, in the sun
Of the bright Orient; and beheld the lame,.
The sick, and blind, kneel at the Master's feet,
And rise up whole. And, sweetly over all,
Dropping the ladder of their hymn of praise
From heaven to earth, in silver rounds of song,
He heard the blessed angels sing of peace,
Good-will to man, and glory to the Lord.
Then one, with feet unshod, and leathern face
Hardened and darkened by fierce summer suns
And hot winds of the desert, closer drew
His fisher's haick, and girded up his loins,
And spake, as one who had authority:
'Come thou with me.'
Lakeside and eastern sky
And the sweet song of angels passed away,
And, with a dream's alacrity of change,
The priest, and the swart fisher by his side,
Beheld the Eternal City lift its domes
And solemn fanes and monumental pomp
Above the waste Campagna. On the hills
The blaze of burning villas rose and fell,
And momently the mortar's iron throat
Roared from the trenches; and, within the walls,
Sharp crash of shells, low groans of human pain,
Shout, drum beat, and the clanging larum-bell,
And tramp of hosts, sent up a mingled sound,
Half wail and half defiance. As they passed
The gate of San Pancrazio, human blood
Flowed ankle-high about them, and dead men
Choked the long street with gashed and gory piles,—
A ghastly barricade of mangled flesh,
From which, at times, quivered a living hand,
And white lips moved and moaned. A father tore
His gray hairs, by the body of his son,
In frenzy; and his fair young daughter wept
On his old bosom. Suddenly a flash
Clove the thick sulphurous air, and man and maid
Sank, crushed and mangled by the shattering shell.
Then spake the Galilean: 'Thou hast seen
The blessed Master and His works of love;
Look now on thine! Hear'st thou the angels sing
Above this open hell? Thou God's high-priest!
Thou the Vicegerent of the Prince of Peace!
Thou the successor of His chosen ones!
I, Peter, fisherman of Galilee,
In the dear Master's name, and for the love
Of His true Church, proclaim thee Antichrist,
Alien and separate from His holy faith,
Wide as the difference between death and life,
The hate of man and the great love of God!
Hence, and repent!'
Thereat the pontiff woke,
Trembling, and muttering o'er his fearful dream.
'What means he?' cried the Bourbon. 'Nothing more
Than that your majesty hath all too well
Catered for your poor guests, and that, in sooth,
The Holy Father's supper troubleth him,'
Said Cardinal Antonelli, with a smile.
The Men Of Old
WELL speed thy mission, bold Iconoclast!
Yet all unworthy of its trust thou art,
If, with dry eye, and cold, unloving heart,
Thou tread'st the solemn Pantheon of the Past,
By the great Future's dazzling hope made blind
To all the beauty, power, and truth behind.
Not without reverent awe shouldst thou put by
The cypress branches and the amaranth blooms,
Where, with clasped hands of prayer, upon their tombs
The effigies of old confessors lie,
God's witnesses; the voices of His will,
Heard in the slow march of the centuries still!
Such were the men at whose rebuking frown,
Dark with God's wrath, the tyrant's knee went down;
Such from the terrors of the guilty drew
The vassal's freedom and the poor man's due.
St. Anselm (may he rest forevermore
In Heaven's sweet peace!) forbade, of old, the sale
Of men as slaves, and from the sacred pale
Hurled the Northumbrian buyers of the poor.
To ransom souls from bonds and evil fate
St. Ambrose melted down the sacred plate, —
Image of saint, the chalice, and the pix,
Crosses of gold, and silver candlesticks.
'Man is worth more than temples!' he replied
To such as came his holy work to chide.
And brave Cesarius, stripping altars bare,
And coining from the Abbey's golden hoard
The captive's freedom, answered to the prayer
Or threat of those whose fierce zeal for the Lord
Stifled their love of man, — 'An earthen dish
The last sad supper of the Master bore:
Most miserable sinners! do ye wish
More than your Lord, and grudge His dying poor
What your own pride and not His need requires?
Souls, than these shining gauds, He values more;
Mercy, not sacrifice, His heart desires!'
O faithful worthies! resting far behind
In your dark ages, since ye fell asleep,
Much has been done for truth and human-kind;
Shadows are scattered wherein ye groped blind;
Man claims his birthright, freer pulses leap
Through peoples driven in your day like sheep;
Yet, like your own, our age's sphere of light,
Though widening still, is walled around by night;
With slow, reluctant eye, the Church has read,
Skeptic at heart, the lessons of its Head;
Counting, too oft, its living members less
Than the wall's garnish and the pulpit's dress;
World-moving zeal with power to bless and feed
Life's fainting pilgrims, to their utter need,
Instead of bread, holds out the stone of creed;
Sect builds and worships where its wealth and pride
And vanity stand shrined and deified,
Careless that in the shadow of its walls
God's living temple into ruin falls.
We need, methinks, the prophet-hero still,
Saints true of life, and martyrs strong of will,
To tread the land, even now, as Xavier trod
The streets of God, barefoot, with his bell,
Proclaiming freedom in the name of God,
And startling tyrants with the fear of hell!
Soft words, smooth prophecies, are doubtless well;
But to rebuke the age's popular crime,
We need the souls of fire, the hearts of that old time!
Oh, thicker, deeper, darker growing,
The solemn vista to the tomb
Must know henceforth another shadow,
And give another cypress room.
In love surpassing that of brothers,
We walked, O friend, from childhood's day;
And, looking back o'er fifty summers,
Our footprints track a common way.
One in our faith, and one our longing
To make the world within our reach
Somewhat the better for our living,
And gladder for our human speech.
Thou heard'st with me the far-off voices,
The old beguiling song of fame,
But life to thee was warm and present,
And love was better than a name.
To homely joys and loves and friendships
Thy genial nature fondly clung;
And so the shadow on the dial
Ran back and left thee always young.
And who could blame the generous weakness
Which, only to thyself unjust,
So overprized the worth of others,
And dwarfed thy own with self-distrust?
All hearts grew warmer in the presence
Of one who, seeking not his own,
Gave freely for the love of giving,
Nor reaped for self the harvest sown.
Thy greeting smile was pledge and prelude
Of generous deeds and kindly words;
In thy large heart were fair guest-chambers,
Open to sunrise and the birds;
The task was thine to mould and fashion
Life's plastic newness into grace
To make the boyish heart heroic,
And light with thought the maiden's face.
O'er all the land, in town and prairie,
With bended heads of mourning, stand
The living forms that owe their beauty
And fitness to thy shaping hand.
Thy call has come in ripened manhood,
The noonday calm of heart and mind,
While I, who dreamed of thy remaining
To mourn me, linger still behind,
Live on, to own, with self-upbraiding,
A debt of love still due from me,--
The vain remembrance of occasions,
Forever lost, of serving thee.
It was not mine among thy kindred
To join the silent funeral prayers,
But all that long sad day of summer
My tears of mourning dropped with theirs.
All day the sea-waves sobbed with sorrow,
The birds forgot their merry trills
All day I heard the pines lamenting
With thine upon thy homestead hills.
Green be those hillside pines forever,
And green the meadowy lowlands be,
And green the old memorial beeches,
Name-carven in the woods of Lee.
Still let them greet thy life companions
Who thither turn their pilgrim feet,
In every mossy line recalling
A tender memory sadly sweet.
O friend! if thought and sense avail not
To know thee henceforth as thou art,
That all is well with thee forever
I trust the instincts of my heart.
Thine be the quiet habitations,
Thine the green pastures, blossom-sown,
And smiles of saintly recognition,
As sweet and tender as thy own.
Thou com'st not from the hush and shadow
To meet us, but to thee we come,
With thee we never can be strangers,
And where thou art must still be home.
On A Prayer-Book, With Its Frontispiece, Ary Scheffer’s
O ARY SCHEFFER! when beneath thine eye,
Touched with the light that cometh from above,
Grew the sweet picture of the dear Lord's love,
No dream hadst thou that Christian hands would tear
Therefrom the token of His equal care,
And make thy symbol of His truth a lie!
The poor, dumb slave whose shackles fall away
In His compassionate gaze, grubbed smoothly out,
To mar no more the exercise devout
Of sleek oppression kneeling down to pray
Where the great oriel stains the Sabbath day!
Let whoso can before such praying-books
Kneel on his velvet cushion; I, for one,
Would sooner bow, a Parsee, to the sun,
Or tend a prayer-wheel in Thibetar brooks,
Or beat a drum on Yedo's temple-floor.
No falser idol man has bowed before,
In Indian groves or islands of the sea,
Than that which through the quaint-carved Gothic door
Looks forth, — a Church without humanity!
Patron of pride, and prejudice, and wrong, —
The rich man's charm and fetich of the strong,
The Eternal Fulness meted, clipped, and shorn,
The seamless robe of equal mercy torn,
The dear Christ hidden from His kindred flesh,
And, in His poor ones, crucified afresh!
Better the simple Lama scattering wide,
Where sweeps the storm Alechan's steppes along,
His paper horses for the lost to ride,
And wearying Buddha with his prayers to make
The figures living for the traveller's sake,
Than he who hopes with cheap praise to beguile
The ear of God, dishonoring man the while;
Who dreams the pearl gate's hinges, rusty grown,
Are moved by flattery's oil of tongue alone;
That in the scale Eternal Justice bears
The generous deed weighs less than selfish prayers,
And words intoned with graceful unction move
The Eternal Goodness more than lives of truth and love.
Alas, the Church! The reverend head of Jay,
Enhaloed with its saintly silvered hair,
Adorns no more the places of her prayer;
And brave young Tyng, too early called away,
Troubles the Haman of her courts no more
Like the just Hebrew at the Assyrian's door;
And her sweet ritual, beautiful but dead
As the dry husk from which the grain is shed,
And holy hymns from which the life devout
Of saints and martyrs has wellneigh gone out,
Like candles dying in exhausted air,
For Sabbath use in measured grists are ground;
And, ever while the spiritual mill goes round,
Between the upper and the nether stones,
Unseen, unheard, the wretched bondman groans,
And urges his vain plea, prayer-smothered, anthem-drowned!.
O heart of mine, keep patience!
As from the Mount of Vision, I behold,
Pure, just, and free, the Church of Christ on earth;
The martyr's dream, the golden age foretold!
And found, at last, the mystic Graal I see,
Brimmed with His blessing, pass from lip to lip
In sacred pledge of human fellowship;
And over all the songs of angels hear;
Songs of the love that casteth out all fear;
Songs of the Gospel of Humanity!
Lo! in the midst, with the same look He wore,
Healing and blessing on Genesaret's shore,
Folding together, with the all-tender might
Of His great love, the dark hands and the white,
Stands the Consoler, soothing every pain,
Making all burdens light, and breaking every chain.
MASSACHUSETTS BAY, 1760.
THE robins sang in the orchard, the buds into
Little of human sorrow the buds and the robins
Sick, in an alien household, the poor French
Into her lonesome garret fell the light of the April
Through the dusty window, curtained by the spider's
warp and woof,
On the loose-laid floor of hemlock, on oaken ribs
The bedquilt's faded patchwork, the teacups on the
The wheel with flaxen tangle, as it dropped from
her sick hand.
What to her was the song of the robin, or warm
As she lay in the trance of the dying, heedless of
sound or sight?
Done was the work of her bands, she had eaten her
The world of the alien people lay behind her dim
But her soul went back to its child-time; she saw
the sun o'erflow
With gold the Basin of Minas, and set over
The low, bare flats at ebb-tide, the rush of the sea
Through inlet and creek and river, from dike to
The gulls in the red of morning, the fish-hawk's
rise and fall,
The drift of the fog in moonshine, over the dark
She saw the face of her mother, she heard the song
And far off, faintly, slowly, the bell for vespers
By her bed the hard-faced mistress sat, smoothing
the wrinkled sheet,
Peering into the face, so helpless, and feeling the
With a vague remorse atoning for her greed and
By care no longer heeded and pity too late for use.
Up the stairs of the garret softly the son of the
Leaned over the head-board, covering his face with
his hands, and wept.
Outspake the mother, who watched him sharply,
with brow a-frown
'What! love you the Papist, the beggar, the
charge of the town?'
Be she Papist or beggar who lies here, I know
and God knows
I love her, and fain would go with her wherever
'O mother! that sweet face came pleading, for
love so athirst.
You saw but the town-charge; I knew her God's
angel at first.'
Shaking her gray head, the mistress hushed down
a bitter cry;
And awed by the silence and shadow of death
She murmured a psalm of the Bible; but closer
the young girl pressed,
With the last of her life in her fingers, the cross
to her breast.
'My son, come away,' cried the mother, her voice
'She is joined to her idols, like Ephraim; let her
But he knelt with his hand on her forehead, his
lips to her ear,
And he called back the soul that was passing
'Marguerite, do you hear?'
She paused on the threshold of Heaven; love, pity,
Wistful, tender, lit up for an instant the cloud of
With his heart on his lips he kissed her, but never
her cheek grew red,
And the words the living long for he spake in the
ear of the dead.
And the robins sang in the orchard, where buds to
Of the folded hands and the still face never the
The Swan Song Of Parson Avery
When the reaper's task was ended, and the summer wearing late,
Parson Avery sailed from Newbury, with his wife and children eight,
Dropping down the river-harbor in the shallop 'Watch and Wait.'
Pleasantly lay the clearings in the mellow summer-morn,
With the newly planted orchards dropping their fruits first-born,
And the home-roofs like brown islands amid a sea of corn.
Broad meadows reached out 'seaward the tided creeks between,
And hills rolled wave-like inland, with oaks and walnuts green;-
A fairer home, a-goodlier land, his eyes had never seen.
Yet away sailed Parson Avery, away where duty led,
And the voice of God seemed calling, to break the living bread
To the souls of fishers starving on the rocks of Marblehead.
All day they sailed: at nightfall the pleasant land-breeze died,
The blackening sky, at midnight, its starry lights denied,
And far and low the thunder of tempest prophesied.
Blotted out were all the coast-lines, gone were rock, and wood, and sand;
Grimly anxious stood the skipper with the rudder in his hand,
And questioned of the darkness what was sea and what was land.
And the preacher heard his dear ones, nestled round him, weeping sore,
'Never heed, my little children! Christ is walking on before;
To the pleasant land of heaven, where the sea shall be no more.'
All at once the great cloud parted, like a curtain drawn aside,
To let down the torch of lightning on the terror far and wide;
And the thunder and the whirlwind together smote the tide.
There was wailing in the shallop, woman's wail and man's despair,
A crash of breaking timbers on the rocks so sharp and bare,
And, through it all, the murmur of Father Avery's prayer.
From his struggle in the darkness with the wild waves and the blast,
On a rock, where every billow broke above him as it passed,
Alone, of all his household, the man of God was cast.
There a comrade heard him praying, in the pause of wave and wind
'All my own have gone before me, and I linger just behind;
Not for life I ask, but only for the rest Thy ransomed find!
'In this night of death I challenge the promise of Thy word!-
Let me see the great salvation of which mine ears have heard!-
Let me pass from hence forgiven, through the grace of Christ, our Lord!
'In the baptism of these waters wash white my every sin,
And let me follow up to Thee my household and my kin!
Open the sea-gate of Thy heaven, and let me enter in!'
When the Christian sings his death-song, all the listening heavens draw near,
And the angels, leaning over the walls of crystal, hear
How the notes so faint and broken swell to music in God's ear.
The ear of God was open to His servant's last request;
As the strong wave swept him downward the sweet hymn upward pressed,
And the soul of Father Avery went, singing, to its rest.
There was wailing on the mainland, from the rocks of Marblehead;
In the stricken church of Newbury the notes of prayer were read;
And long, by board and hearthstone, the living mourned the dead.
And still the fishers outbound, or scudding from the squall,
With grave and reverent faces, the ancient tale recall,
When they see the white waves breaking on the Rock of Avery's Fall!
ALL grim and soiled and brown with tan,
I saw a Strong One, in his wrath,
Smiting the godless shrines of man
Along his path.
The Church, beneath her trembling dome,
Essayed in vain her ghostly charm:
Wealth shook within his gilded home
With strange alarm.
Fraud from his secret chambers fled
Before the sunlight bursting in:
Sloth drew her pillow o'er her head
To drown the din.
'Spare,' Art implored, 'yon holy pile;
That grand, old, time-worn turret spare;'
Meek Reverence, kneeling in the aisle,
Cried out, 'Forbear!'
Gray-bearded Use, who, deaf and blind,
Groped for his old accustomed stone,
Leaned on his staff, and wept to find
His seat o'erthrown.
Young Romance raised his dreamy eyes,
O'erhung with paly locks of gold, —
'Why smite,' he asked in sad surprise,
'The fair, the old?'
Yet louder rang the Strong One's stroke,
Yet nearer flashed his axe's gleam;
Shuddering and sick of heart I woke,
As from a dream.
I looked: aside the dust-cloud rolled,
The Waster seemed the Builder too;
Upspringing from the ruined Old
I saw the New.
'T was but the ruin of the bad, —
The wasting of the wrong and ill;
Whate'er of good the old time had
Was living still.
Calm grew the brows of him I feared;
The frown which awed me passed away,
And left behind a smile which cheered
Like breaking day.
The grain grew green on battle-plains,
O'er swarded war-mounds grazed the cow;
The slave stood forging from his chains
The spade and plough.
Where frowned the fort, pavilions gay
And cottage windows, flower-entwined,
Looked out upon the peaceful bay
And hills behind.
Through vine-wreathed cups with wine once red,
The lights on brimming crystal fell,
Drawn, sparkling, from the rivulet head
And mossy well.
Through prison walls, like Heaven-sent hope,
Fresh breezes blew, and sunbeams strayed,
And with the idle gallows-rope
The young child played.
Where the doomed victim in his cell
Had counted o'er the weary hours,
Glad school-girls, answering to the bell,
Came crowed with flowers.
Grown wiser for the lesson given,
I fear no longer, for I know
That, where the share is deepest driven,
The best fruits grow.
The outworn rite, the old abuse,
The pious fraud transparent grown,
The good held captive in the use
Of wrong alone, —
These wait their doom, from that great law
Which makes the past time serve to-day;
And fresher life the world shall draw
From their decay.
Oh, backward-looking son of time!
The new is old, the old is new,
The cycle of a change sublime
Still sweeping through.
So wisely taught the Indian seer;
Destroying Seva, forming Brahm,
Who wake by turns Earth's love and fear,
Are one, the same.
Idly as thou, in that old day
Thou mournest, did thy sire repine;
So, in his time, thy child grown gray
Shall sigh for thine.
But life shall on and upward go;
Th' eternal step of Progress beats
To that great anthem, calm and slow,
Which God repeats.
Take heart! the Waster builds again, —
A charmëd life old Goodness hath;
The tares may perish, but the grain
Is not for death.
God works in all things; all obey
His first propulsion from the night:
Wake thou and watch! the world is gray
With morning light!
The Prayer Of Agassiz
On the isle of Penikese,
Ringed about by sapphire seas,
Fanned by breezes salt and cool,
Stood the Master with his school.
Over sails that not in vain
Wooed the west-wind's steady strain,
Line of coast that low and far
Stretched its undulating bar,
Wings aslant along the rim
Of the waves they stooped to skim,
Rock and isle and glistening bay,
Fell the beautiful white day.
Said the Master to the youth
'We have come in search of truth,
Trying with uncertain key
Door by door of mystery;
We are reaching, through His laws,
To the garment-hem of Cause,
Him, the endless, unbegun,
The Unnamable, the One
Light of all our light the Source,
Life of life, and Force of force.
As with fingers of the blind,
We are groping here to find
What the hieroglyphics mean
Of the Unseen in the seen,
What the Thought which underlies
Nature's masking and disguise,
What it is that hides beneath
Blight and bloom and birth and death.
By past efforts unavailing,
Doubt and error, loss and failing,
Of our weakness made aware,
On the threshold of our task
Let us light and guidance ask,
Let us pause in silent prayer!'
Then the Master in his place
Bowed his head a little space,
And the leaves by soft airs stirred,
Lapse of wave and cry of bird,
Left the solemn hush unbroken
Of that wordless prayer unspoken,
While its wish, on earth unsaid,
Rose to heaven interpreted.
As, in life's best hours, we hear
By the spirit's finer ear
His low voice within us, thus
The All-Father heareth us;
And His holy ear we pain
With our noisy words and vain.
Not for Him our violence
Storming at the gates of sense,
His the primal language, His
The eternal silences!
Even the careless heart was moved,
And the doubting gave assent,
With a gesture reverent,
To the Master well-beloved.
As thin mists are glorified
By the light they cannot hide,
All who gazed upon him saw,
Through its veil of tender awe,
How his face was still uplit
By the old sweet look of it.
Hopeful, trustful, full of cheer,
And the love that casts out fear.
Who the secret may declare
Of that brief, unuttered prayer?
Did the shade before him come
Of th' inevitable doom,
Of the end of earth so near,
And Eternity's new year?
In the lap of sheltering seas
Rests the isle of Penikese;
But the lord of the domain
Comes not to his own again
Where the eyes that follow fail,
On a vaster sea his sail
Drifts beyond our beck and hail.
Other lips within its bound
Shall the laws of life expound;
Other eyes from rock and shell
Read the world's old riddles well
But when breezes light and bland
Blow from Summer's blossomed land,
When the air is glad with wings,
And the blithe song-sparrow sings,
Many an eye with his still face
Shall the living ones displace,
Many an ear the word shall seek
He alone could fitly speak.
And one name forevermore
Shall be uttered o'er and o'er
By the waves that kiss the shore,
By the curlew's whistle sent
Down the cool, sea-scented air;
In all voices known to her,
Nature owns her worshipper,
Half in triumph, half lament.
Thither Love shall tearful turn,
Friendship pause uncovered there,
And the wisest reverence learn
From the Master's silent prayer.
A sound as if from bells of silver,
Or elfin cymbals smitten clear,
Through the frost-pictured panes I hear.
A brightness which outshines the morning,
A splendor brooking no delay,
Beckons and tempts my feet away.
I leave the trodden village highway
For virgin snow-paths glimmering through
A jewelled elm-tree avenue;
Where, keen against the walls of sapphire,
The gleaming tree-bolls, ice-embossed,
Hold up their chandeliers of frost.
I tread in Orient halls enchanted,
I dream the Saga's dream of caves
Gem-lit beneath the North Sea waves!
I walk the land of Eldorado,
I touch its mimic garden bowers,
Its silver leaves and diamond flowers!
The flora of the mystic mine-world
Around me lifts on crystal stems
The petals of its clustered gems!
What miracle of weird transforming
In this wild work of frost and light,
This glimpse of glory infinite!
This foregleam of the Holy City
Like that to him of Patmos given,
The white bride coming down from heaven!
How flash the ranked and mail-clad alders,
Through what sharp-glancing spears of reeds
The brook its muffled water leads!
Yon maple, like the bush of Horeb,
Burns unconsumed: a white, cold fire
Rays out from every grassy spire.
Each slender rush and spike of mullein,
Low laurel shrub and drooping fern,
Transfigured, blaze where'er I turn.
How yonder Ethiopian hemlock
Crowned with his glistening circlet stands!
What jewels light his swarthy hands!
Here, where the forest opens southward,
Between its hospitable pines,
As through a door, the warm sun shines.
The jewels loosen on the branches,
And lightly, as the soft winds blow,
Fall, tinkling, on the ice below.
And through the clashing of their cymbals
I hear the old familiar fall
Of water down the rocky wall,
Where, from its wintry prison breaking,
In dark and silence hidden long,
The brook repeats its summer song.
One instant flashing in the sunshine,
Keen as a sabre from its sheath,
Then lost again the ice beneath.
I hear the rabbit lightly leaping,
The foolish screaming of the jay,
The chopper's axe-stroke far away;
The clamor of some neighboring barn-yard,
The lazy cock's belated crow,
Or cattle-tramp in crispy snow.
And, as in some enchanted forest
The lost knight hears his comrades sing,
And, near at hand, their bridles ring,--
So welcome I these sounds and voices,
These airs from far-off summer blown,
This life that leaves me not alone.
For the white glory overawes me;
The crystal terror of the seer
Of Chebar's vision blinds me here.
Rebuke me not, O sapphire heaven!
Thou stainless earth, lay not on me,
Thy keen reproach of purity,
If, in this August presence-chamber,
I sigh for summer's leaf-green gloom
And warm airs thick with odorous bloom!
Let the strange frost-work sink and crumble,
And let the loosened tree-boughs swing,
Till all their bells of silver ring.
Shine warmly down, thou sun of noontime,
On this chill pageant, melt and move
The winter's frozen heart with love.
And, soft and low, thou wind south-blowing,
Breathe through a veil of tenderest haze
Thy prophecy of summer days.
Come with thy green relief of promise,
And to this dead, cold splendor bring
The living jewels of the spring!
One day, along the electric wire
His manly word for Freedom sped;
We came next morn: that tongue of fire
Said only, 'He who spake is dead!'
Dead! while his voice was living yet,
In echoes round the pillared dome!
Dead! while his blotted page lay wet
With themes of state and loves of home!
Dead! in that crowning grace of time,
That triumph of life's zenith hour!
Dead! while we watched his manhood's prime
Break from the slow bud into flower!
Dead! he so great, and strong, and wise,
While the mean thousands yet drew breath;
How deepened, through that dread surprise,
The mystery and the awe of death!
From the high place whereon our votes
Had borne him, clear, calm, earnest, fell
His first words, like the prelude notes
Of some great anthem yet to swell.
We seemed to see our flag unfurled,
Our champion waiting in his place
For the last battle of the world,
The Armageddon of the race.
Through him we hoped to speak the word
Which wins the freedom of a land;
And lift, for human right, the sword
Which dropped from Hampden's dying hand.
For he had sat at Sidney's feet,
And walked with Pym and Vane apart;
And, through the centuries, felt the beat
Of Freedom's march in Cromwell's heart.
He knew the paths the worthies held,
Where England's best and wisest trod;
And, lingering, drank the springs that welled
Beneath the touch of Milton's rod.
No wild enthusiast of the right,
Self-poised and clear, he showed alway
The coolness of his northern night,
The ripe repose of autumn's day.
His steps were slow, yet forward still
He pressed where others paused or failed;
The calm star clomb with constant will,
The restless meteor flashed and paled.
Skilled in its subtlest wile, he knew
And owned the higher ends of Law;
Still rose majestic on his view
The awful Shape the schoolman saw.
Her home the heart of God; her voice
The choral harmonies whereby
The stars, through all their spheres, rejoice,
The rhythmic rule of earth and sky.
We saw his great powers misapplied
To poor ambitions; yet, through all,
We saw him take the weaker side,
And right the wronged, and free the thrall.
Now, looking o'er the frozen North,
For one like him in word and act,
To call her old, free spirit forth,
And give her faith the life of fact,--
To break her party bonds of shame,
And labor with the zeal of him
To make the Democratic name
Of Liberty the synonyme,--
We sweep the land from hill to strand,
We seek the strong, the wise, the brave,
And, sad of heart, return to stand
In silence by a new-made grave!
There, where his breezy hills of home
Look out upon his sail-white seas,
The sounds of winds and waters come,
And shape themselves to words like these.
'Why, murmuring, mourn that he, whose power
Was lent to Party over-long,
Heard the still whisper at the hour
He set his foot on Party wrong?
'The human life that closed so well
No lapse of folly now can stain
The lips whence Freedom's protest fell
No meaner thought can now profane.
'Mightier than living voice his grave
That lofty protest utters o'er;
Through roaring wind and smiting wave
It speaks his hate of wrong once more.
'Men of the North! your weak regret
Is wasted here; arise and pay
To freedom and to him your debt,
By following where he led the way!'
The Dole Of Jarl Thorkell
THE land was pale with famine
And racked with fever-pain;
The frozen fiords were fishless,
The earth withheld her grain.
Men saw the boding Fylgja
Before them come and go,
And, through their dreams, the Urdarmoon
From west to east sailed slow.
Jarl Thorkell of Thevera
At Yule-time made his vow;
On Rykdal's holy Doom-stone
He slew to Frey his cow.
To bounteous Frey he slew her;
To Skuld, the younger Norn,
Who watches over birth and death,
He gave her calf unborn.
And his little gold-haired daughter
Took up the sprinkling-rod,
And smeared with blood the temple
And the wide lips of the god.
Hoarse below, the winter water
Ground its ice-blocks o'er and o'er;
Jets of foam, like ghosts of dead waves,
Rose and fell along the shore.
The red torch of the Jokul,
Aloft in icy space,
Shone down on the bloody Horg-stones
And the statue's carven face.
And closer round and grimmer
Beneath its baleful light
The Jotun shapes of mountains
Came crowding through the night.
The gray-haired Hersir trembled
As a flame by wind is blown;
A weird power moved his white lips,
And their voice was not his own.
'The AEsir thirst!' he muttered;
'The gods must have more blood
Before the tun shall blossom
Or fish shall fill the flood.
'The AEsir thirst and hunger,
And hence our blight and ban;
The mouths of the strong gods water
For the flesh and blood of man!
'Whom shall we give the strong ones?
Not warriors, sword on thigh;
But let the nursling infant
And bedrid old man die.'
'So be it!' cried the young men,
'There needs nor doubt nor parle.'
But, knitting hard his red brows,
In silence stood the Jarl.
A sound of woman's weeping
At the temple door was heard,
But the old men bowed their white heads,
And answered not a word.
Then the Dream-wife of Thingvalla,
A Vala young and fair,
Sang softly, stirring with her breath
The veil of her loose hair.
She sang: 'The winds from Alfheim
Bring never sound of strife;
The gifts for Frey the meetest
Are not of death, but life.
'He loves the grass-green meadows,
The grazing kine's sweet breath;
He loathes your bloody Horg-stones,
Your gifts that smell of death.
'No wrong by wrong is righted,
No pain is cured by pain;
The blood that smokes from Doom-rings
Falls back in redder rain.
'The gods are what you make them,
As earth shall Asgard prove;
And hate will come of hating,
And love will come of love.
'Make dole of skyr and black bread
That old and young may live;
And look to Frey for favor
When first like Frey you give.
'Even now o'er Njord's sea-meadows
The summer dawn begins
The tun shall have its harvest,
The fiord its glancing fins.'
Then up and swore Jarl Thorkell
'By Gimli and by Hel,
O Vala of Thingvalla,
Thou singest wise and well!
'Too dear the AEsir's favors
Bought with our children's lives;
Better die than shame in living
Our mothers and our wives.
'The full shall give his portion
To him who hath most need;
Of curdled skyr and black bread,
Be daily dole decreed.'
He broke from off his neck-chain
Three links of beaten gold;
And each man, at his bidding,
Brought gifts for young and old.
Then mothers nursed their children,
And daughters fed their sires,
And Health sat down with Plenty
Before the next Yule fires.
The Horg-stones stand in Rykdal;
The Doom-ring still remains;
But the snows of a thousand winters
Have washed away the stains.
Christ ruleth now; the Asir
Have found their twilight dim;
And, wiser than she dreamed, of old
The Vala sang of Him
In Remembrance Of Joseph Sturge
In the fair land o'erwatched by Ischia's mountains,
Across the charmed bay
Whose blue waves keep with Capri's silver fountains
A king lies dead, his wafer duly eaten,
His gold-bought masses given;
And Rome's great altar smokes with gums to sweeten
Her foulest gift to Heaven.
And while all Naples thrills with mute thanksgiving,
The court of England's queen
For the dead monster so abhorred while living
In mourning garb is seen.
With a true sorrow God rebukes that feigning;
By lone Edgbaston's side
Stands a great city in the sky's sad raining,
Bareheaded and wet-eyed!
Silent for once the restless hive of labor,
Save the low funeral tread,
Or voice of craftsman whispering to his neighbor
The good deeds of the dead.
For him no minster's chant of the immortals
Rose from the lips of sin;
No mitred priest swung back the heavenly portals
To let the white soul in.
But Age and Sickness framed their tearful faces
In the low hovel's door,
And prayers went up from all the dark by-places
And Ghettos of the poor.
The pallid toiler and the negro chattel,
The vagrant of the street,
The human dice wherewith in games of battle
The lords of earth compete,
Touched with a grief that needs no outward draping,
All swelled the long lament,
Of grateful hearts, instead of marble, shaping
His viewless monument!
For never yet, with ritual pomp and splendor,
In the long heretofore,
A heart more loyal, warm, and true, and tender,
Has England's turf closed o'er.
And if there fell from out her grand old steeples
No crash of brazen wail,
The murmurous woe of kindreds, tongues, and peoples
Swept in on every gale.
It came from Holstein's birchen-belted meadows,
And from the tropic calms
Of Indian islands in the sunlit shadows
Of Occidental palms;
From the locked roadsteads of the Bothniaii peasants,
And harbors of the Finn,
Where war's worn victims saw his gentle presence
Come sailing, Christ-like, in,
To seek the lost, to build the old waste places,
To link the hostile shores
Of severing seas, and sow with England's daisies
The moss of Finland's moors.
Thanks for the good man's beautiful example,
Who in the vilest saw
Some sacred crypt or altar of a temple
Still vocal with God's law;
And heard with tender ear the spirit sighing
As from its prison cell,
Praying for pity, like the mournful crying
Of Jonah out of hell.
Not his the golden pen's or lip's persuasion,
But a fine sense of right,
And Truth's directness, meeting each occasion
Straight as a line of light.
His faith and works, like streams that intermingle,
In the same channel ran
The crystal clearness of an eye kept single
Shamed all the frauds of man.
The very gentlest of all human natures
He joined to courage strong,
And love outreaching unto all God's creatures
With sturdy hate of wrong.
Tender as woman, manliness and meekness
In him were so allied
That they who judged him by his strength or weakness
Saw but a single side.
Men failed, betrayed him, but his zeal seemed nourished
By failure and by fall;
Still a large faith in human-kind he cherished,
And in God's love for all.
And now he rests: his greatness and his sweetness
No more shall seem at strife,
And death has moulded into calm completeness
The statue of his life.
Where the dews glisten and the songbirds warble,
His dust to dust is laid,
In Nature's keeping, with no pomp of marble
To shame his modest shade.
The forges glow, the hammers all are ringing;
Beneath its smoky vale,
Hard by, the city of his love is swinging
Its clamorous iron flail.
But round his grave are quietude and beauty,
And the sweet heaven above,--
The fitting symbols of a life of duty
Transfigured into love!
The Hermit Of Thebaid
O strong, upwelling prayers of faith,
From inmost founts of life ye start,-
The spirit's pulse, the vital breath
Of soul and heart!
From pastoral toil, from traffic's din,
Alone, in crowds, at home, abroad,
Unheard of man, ye enter in
The ear of God.
Ye brook no forced and measured tasks,
Nor weary rote, nor formal chains;
The simple heart, that freely asks
In love, obtains.
For man the living temple is
The mercy-seat and cherubim,
And all the holy mysteries,
He bears with him.
And most avails the prayer of love,
Which, wordless, shapes itself in needs,
And wearies Heaven for naught above
Our common needs.
Which brings to God's all-perfect will
That trust of His undoubting child
Whereby all seeming good and ill
And, seeking not for special signs
Of favor, is content to fall
Within the providence which shines
And rains on all.
Alone, the Thebaid hermit leaned
At noontime o'er the sacred word.
Was it an angel or a fiend
Whose voice be heard?
It broke the desert's hush of awe,
A human utterance, sweet and mild;
And, looking up, the hermit saw
A little child.
A child, with wonder-widened eyes,
O'erawed and troubled by the sight
Of hot, red sands, and brazen skies,
''What dost thou here, poor man? No shade
Of cool, green palms, nor grass, nor well,
Nor corn, nor vines.' The hermit said
'With God I dwell.
'Alone with Him in this great calm,
I live not by the outward sense;
My Nile his love, my sheltering palm
The child gazed round him. 'Does God live
Here only?-where the desert's rim
Is green with corn, at morn and eve,
We pray to Him.
'My brother tills beside the Nile
His little field; beneath the leaves
My sisters sit and spin, the while
My mother weaves.
'And when the millet's ripe heads fall,
And all the bean-field hangs in pod,
My mother smiles, and, says that all
Are gifts from God.'
Adown the hermit's wasted cheeks
Glistened the flow of human tears;
'Dear Lord!' he said, 'Thy angel speaks,
Thy servant hears.'
Within his arms the child he took,
And thought of home and life with men;
And all his pilgrim feet forsook
The palmy shadows cool and long,
The eyes that smiled through lavish locks,
Home's cradle-hymn and harvest-song,
And bleat of flocks.
'O child!' he said, 'thou teachest me
There is no place where God is not;
That love will make, where'er it be,
A holy spot.'
He rose from off the desert sand,
And, leaning on his staff of thorn,
Went with the young child hand in hand,
Like night with morn.
They crossed the desert's burning line,
And heard the palm-tree's rustling fan,
The Nile-bird's cry, the low of kine,
And voice of man.
Unquestioning, his childish guide
He followed, as the small hand led
To where a woman, gentle-eyed,
Her distaff fed.
She rose, she clasped her truant boy,
She thanked the stranger with her eyes;
The hermit gazed in doubt and joy
And dumb surprise.
And to!-with sudden warmth and light
A tender memory thrilled his frame;
New-born, the world-lost anchorite
A man became.
'O sister of El Zara's race,
Behold me!-had we not one mother?'
She gazed into the stranger's face
'Thou art my brother!'
'And when to share our evening meal,
She calls the stranger at the door,
She says God fills the hands that deal
Food to the poor.'
'O kin of blood! Thy life of use
And patient trust is more than mine;
And wiser than the gray recluse
This child of thine.
'For, taught of him whom God hath sent,
That toil is praise, and love is prayer,
I come, life's cares and pains content
With thee to share.'
Even as his foot the threshold crossed,
The hermit's better life began;
Its holiest saint the Thebaid lost,
And found a man!
The Brother Of Mercy
Piero Luca, known of all the town
As the gray porter by the Pitti wall
Where the noon shadows of the gardens fall,
Sick and in dolor, waited to lay down
His last sad burden, and beside his mat
The barefoot monk of La Certosa sat.
Unseen, in square and blossoming garden drifted,
Soft sunset lights through green Val d'Arno sifted;
Unheard, below the living shuttles shifted
Backward and forth, and wove, in love or strife,
In mirth or pain, the mottled web of life
But when at last came upward from the street
Tinkle of bell and tread of measured feet,
The sick man started, strove to rise in vain,
Sinking back heavily with a moan of pain.
And the monk said, ''T is but the Brotherhood
Of Mercy going on some errand good
Their black masks by the palace-wall I see.'
Piero answered faintly, 'Woe is me!
This day for the first time in forty years
In vain the bell hath sounded in my ears,
Calling me with my brethren of the mask,
Beggar and prince alike, to some new task
Of love or pity,--haply from the street
To bear a wretch plague-stricken, or, with feet
Hushed to the quickened ear and feverish brain,
To tread the crowded lazaretto's floors,
Down the long twilight of the corridors,
Midst tossing arms and faces full of pain.
I loved the work: it was its own reward.
I never counted on it to offset
My sins, which are many, or make less my debt
To the free grace and mercy of our Lord;
But somehow, father, it has come to be
In these long years so much a part of me,
I should not know myself, if lacking it,
But with the work the worker too would die,
And in my place some other self would sit
Joyful or sad,--what matters, if not I?
And now all's over. Woe is me!'--'My son,'
The monk said soothingly, 'thy work is done;
And no more as a servant, but the guest
Of God thou enterest thy eternal rest.
No toil, no tears, no sorrow for the lost,
Shall mar thy perfect bliss. Thou shalt sit down
Clad in white robes, and wear a golden crown
Forever and forever.'--Piero tossed
On his sick-pillow: 'Miserable me!
I am too poor for such grand company;
The crown would be too heavy for this gray
Old head; and God forgive me if I say
It would be hard to sit there night and day,
Like an image in the Tribune, doing naught
With these hard hands, that all my life have wrought,
Not for bread only, but for pity's sake.
I'm dull at prayers: I could not keep awake,
Counting my beads. Mine's but a crazy head,
Scarce worth the saving, if all else be dead.
And if one goes to heaven without a heart,
God knows he leaves behind his better part.
I love my fellow-men: the worst I know
I would do good to. Will death change me so
That I shall sit among the lazy saints,
Turning a deaf ear to the sore complaints
Of souls that suffer? Why, I never yet
Left a poor dog in the strada hard beset,
Or ass o'erladen! Must I rate man less
Than dog or ass, in holy selfishness?
Methinks (Lord, pardon, if the thought be sin!)
The world of pain were better, if therein
One's heart might still be human, and desires
Of natural pity drop upon its fires
Some cooling tears.'
Thereat the pale monk crossed
His brow, and, muttering, 'Madman! thou art lost!'
Took up his pyx and fled; and, left alone,
The sick man closed his eyes with a great groan
That sank into a prayer, 'Thy will be done!'
Then was he made aware, by soul or ear,
Of somewhat pure and holy bending o'er him,
And of a voice like that of her who bore him,
Tender and most compassionate: 'Never fear!
For heaven is love, as God himself is love;
Thy work below shall be thy work above.'
And when he looked, lo! in the stern monk's place
He saw the shining of an angel's face!
. . . . .
The Traveller broke the pause. 'I've seen
The Brothers down the long street steal,
Black, silent, masked, the crowd between,
And felt to doff my hat and kneel
With heart, if not with knee, in prayer,
For blessings on their pious care.'
Reader wiped his glasses: 'Friends of mine,
I'll try our home-brewed next, instead of foreign wine.'
Randolph Of Roanoke
O Mother Earth! upon thy lap
Thy weary ones receiving,
And o'er them, silent as a dream,
Thy grassy mantle weaving,
Fold softly in thy long embrace
That heart so worn and broken,
And cool its pulse of fire beneath
Thy shadows old and oaken.
Shut out from him the bitter word
And serpent hiss of scorning;
Nor let the storms of yesterday
Disturb his quiet morning.
Breathe over him forgetfulness
Of all save deeds of kindness,
And, save to smiles of grateful eyes,
Press down his lids in blindness.
There, where with living ear and eye
He heard Potomac's flowing,
And, through his tall ancestral trees,
Saw autumn's sunset glowing,
He sleeps, still looking to the west,
Beneath the dark wood shadow,
As if he still would see the sun
Sink down on wave and meadow.
Bard, Sage, and Tribune! in himself
All moods of mind contrasting, -
The tenderest wail of human woe,
The scorn like lightning blasting;
The pathos which from rival eyes
Unwilling tears could summon,
The stinging taunt, the fiery burst
Of hatred scarcely human!
Mirth, sparkling like a diamond shower,
From lips of life-long sadness;
Clear picturings of majestic thought
Upon a ground of madness;
And over all Romance and Song
A classic beauty throwing,
And laurelled Clio at his side
Her storied pages showing.
All parties feared him: each in turn
Beheld its schemes disjointed,
As right or left his fatal glance
And spectral finger pointed.
Sworn foe of Cant, he smote it down
With trenchant wit unsparing,
And, mocking, rent with ruthless hand
The robe Pretence was wearing.
Too honest or too proud to feign
A love he never cherished,
Beyond Virginia's border line
His patriotism perished.
While others hailed in distant skies
Our eagle's dusky pinion,
He only saw the mountain bird
Stoop o'er his Old Dominion!
Still through each change of fortune strange
Racked nerve, and brain all burning,
His loving faith in Mother-land
Knew never shade of turning;
By Britain's lakes, by Neva's tide,
Whatever sky was o'er him,
He heard her rivers' rushing sound,
Her blue peaks rose before him.
He held his slaves, yet made withal
No false and vain pretences,
Nor paid a lying priest to seek
For Scriptural defences.
His harshest words of proud rebuke,
His bitterest taunt and scorning,
Fell fire-like on the Northern brow
That bent to him in fawning.
He held his slaves; yet kept the while
His reverence for the Human;
In the dark vassals of his will
He saw but Man and Woman!
No hunter of God's outraged poor
His Roanoke valley entered;
No trader in the souls of men
Across his threshold ventured.
And when the old and wearied man
Lay down for his last sleeping,
And at his side, a slave no more,
His brother-man stood weeping,
His latest thought, his latest breath,
To Freedom's duty giving,
With failing tongue and trembling hand
The dying blest the living.
Oh, never bore his ancient State
A truer son or braver!
None trampling with a calmer scorn
On foreign hate or favor.
He knew her faults, yet never stooped
His proud and manly feeling
To poor excuses of the wrong
Or meanness of concealing.
But none beheld with clearer eye
The plague-spot o'er her spreading
None heard more sure the steps of Doom
Along her future treading.
For her as for himself he spake,
When, his gaunt frame upbracing,
He traced with dying hand 'Remorse!'
And perished in the tracing.
As from the grave where Henry sleeps,
From Vernon's weeping willow,
And from the grassy pall which hides
The Sage of Monticello,
So from the leaf-strewn burial-stone
Of Randolph's lowly dwelling,
Virginia! o'er thy land of slaves
A warning voice is swelling!
And hark! from thy deserted fields
Are sadder warnings spoken,
From quenched hearths, where thy exiled sons
Their household gods have broken.
The curse is on thee, - wolves for men,
And briers for corn-sheaves giving!
Oh, more than all thy dead renown
Were now one hero living!
OUR fellow-countrymen in chains!
Slaves, in a land of light and law!
Slaves, crouching on the very plains
Where rolled the storm of Freedom's war!
A groan from Eutaw's haunted wood,
A. wail where Camden's martyrs fell,
By every shrine of patriot blood,
From Moultrie's wall and Jasper's well!
By storied hill and hallowed grot,
By mossy wood and marshy glen,
Whence rang of old the rifle-shot,
And hurrying shout of Marion's men!
The groan of breaking hearts is there,
The falling lash, the fetter's clank!
Slaves, slaves are breathing in that air
Which old De Kalb and Sumter drank!
What, ho! our countrymen in chains!
The whip on woman's shrinking flesh!
Our soil yet reddening with the stains
Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh!
What! mothers from their children riven!
What! God's own image bought and sold!
Americans to market driven,
And bartered as the brute for gold!
Speak! shall their agony of prayer
Come thrilling to our hearts in vain?
To us whose fathers scorned to bear
The paltry menace of a chain;
To us, whose boast is loud and long
Of holy Liberty and Light;
Say, shall these writhing slaves of Wrong
Plead vainly for their plundered Right?
What! shall we send, with lavish breath,
Our sympathies across the wave,
Where Manhood, on the field of death,
Strikes for his freedom or a grave?
Shall prayers go up, and hymns be sung
For Greece, the Moslem fetter spurning,
And millions hail with pen and tongue
Our light on all her altars burning?
Shall Belgium feel, and gallant France,
By Vendome's pile and Schoenbrun's wall,
And Poland, gasping on her lance,
The impulse of our cheering call?
And shall the slave, beneath our eye,
Clank o'er our fields his hateful chain?
And toss his fettered arms on high,
And groan for Freedom's gift, in vain?
Oh, say, shall Prussia's banner be
A refuge for the stricken slave?
And shall the Russian serf go free
By Baikal's lake and Neva's wave?
And shall the wintry-bosomed Dane
Relax the iron hand of pride,
And bid his bondmen cast the chain
From fettered soul and limb aside?
Shall every flap of England's flag
Proclaim that all around are free,
From farthest Ind to each blue crag
That beetles o'er the Western Sea?
And shall we scoff at Europe's kings,
When Freedom's fire is dim with us,
And round our country's altar clings
The damning shade of Slavery's curse?
Go, let us ask of Constantine
To loose his grasp on Poland's throat;
And beg the lord of Mahmoud's line
To spare the struggling Suliote;
Will not the scorching answer come
From turbaned Turk, and scornful Russ
'Go, loose your fettered slaves at home,
Then turn, and ask the like of us!'
Just God! and shall we calmly rest,
The Christian's scorn, the heathen's mirth,
Content to live the lingering jest
And by-word of a mocking Earth?
Shall our own glorious land retain
That curse which Europe scorns to bear?
Shall our own brethren drag the chain
Which not even Russia's menials wear?
Up, then, in Freedom's manly part,
From graybeard eld to fiery youth,
And on the nation's naked heart
Scatter the living coals of Truth!
Up! while ye slumber, deeper yet
The shadow of our fame is growing!
Up! while ye pause, our sun may set
In blood, around our altars flowing!
Oh! rouse ye, ere the storm comes forth,
The gathered wrath of God and man,
Like that which wasted Egypt's earth,
When hail and fire above it ran.
Hear ye no warnings in the air?
Feel ye no earthquake underneath?
Up, up! why will ye slumber where
The sleeper only wakes in death?
Rise now for Freedom! not in strife
Like that your sterner fathers saw,
The awful waste of human life,
The glory and the guilt of war:'
But break the chain, the yoke remove,
And smite to earth Oppression's rod,
With those mild arms of Truth and Love,
Made mighty through the living God!
Down let the shrine of Moloch sink,
And leave no traces where it stood;
Nor longer let its idol drink
His daily cup of human blood;
But rear another altar there,
To Truth and Love and Mercy given,
And Freedom's gift, and Freedom's prayer,
Shall call an answer down from Heaven!
The Angels Of Buena Vista
Speak and tell us, our Ximena, looking northward far away,
O'er the camp of the invaders, o'er the Mexican array,
Who is losing? who is winning? are they far or come they near?
Look abroad, and tell us, sister, whither rolls the storm we hear.
Down the hills of Angostura still the storm of battle rolls;
Blood is flowing, men are dying; God have mercy on their souls!
'Who is losing? who is winning?' Over hill and over plain,
I see but smoke of cannon clouding through the mountain rain.'
Holy Mother! keep our brothers! Look, Ximena, look once more.
'Still I see the fearful whirlwind rolling darkly as before,
Bearing on, in strange confusion, friend and foeman, foot and horse,
Like some wild and troubled torrent sweeping down its mountain course.'
Look forth once more, Ximena! 'Ah! the smoke has rolled away;
And I see the Northern rifles gleaming down the ranks of gray.
Hark! that sudden blast of bugles! there the troop of Minon wheels;
There the Northern horses thunder, with the cannon at their heels.
'Jesu, pity I how it thickens I now retreat and now advance!
Bight against the blazing cannon shivers Puebla's charging lance!
Down they go, the brave young riders; horse and foot together fall;
Like a ploughshare in the fallow, through them ploughs the Northern ball.'
Nearer came the storm and nearer, rolling fast and frightful on!
Speak, Ximena, speak and tell us, who has lost, and who has won?
Alas! alas! I know not; friend and foe together fall,
O'er the dying rush the living: pray, my sisters, for them all!
'Lo! the wind the smoke is lifting. Blessed Mother, save my brain!
I can see the wounded crawling slowly out from heaps of slain.
Now they stagger, blind and bleeding; now they fall, and strive to rise;
Hasten, sisters, haste and save them, lest they die before our eyes!
'O my hearts love! O my dear one! lay thy poor head on my knee;
Dost thou know the lips that kiss thee? Canst thou hear me? canst thou see?
O my husband, brave and gentle! O my Bernal, look once more
On the blessed cross before thee! Mercy! all is o'er!'
Dry thy tears, my poor Ximena; lay thy dear one down to rest;
Let his hands be meekly folded, lay the cross upon his breast;
Let his dirge be sung hereafter, and his funeral masses said;
To-day, thou poor bereaved one, the living ask thy aid.
Close beside her, faintly moaning, fair and young, a soldier lay,
Torn with shot and pierced with lances, bleeding slow his life away;
But, as tenderly before him the lorn Ximena knelt,
She saw the Northern eagle shining on his pistol-belt.
With a stifled cry of horror straight she turned away her head;
With a sad and bitter feeling looked she back upon her dead;
But she heard the youth's low moaning, and his struggling breath of pain,
And she raised the cooling water to his parching lips again.
Whispered low the dying soldier, pressed her hand and faintly smiled;
Was that pitying face his mother's? did she watch beside her child?
All his stranger words with meaning her woman's heart supplied;
With her kiss upon his forehead, 'Mother!' murmured he, and died!
'A bitter curse upon them, poor boy, who led thee forth,
From some gentle, sad-eyed mother, weeping, lonely, in the North!'
Spake the mournful Mexic woman, as she laid him with her dead,
And turned to soothe the living, and bind the wounds which bled.
'Look forth once more, Ximena!' Like a cloud before the wind
Rolls the battle down the mountains, leaving blood and death behind;
Ah! they plead in vain for mercy; in the dust the wounded strive;
'Hide your faces, holy angels! O thou Christ of God, forgive!'
Sink, O Night, among thy mountains! let the cool, gray shadows fall;
Dying brothers, fighting demons, drop thy curtain over all!
Through the thickening winter twilight, wide apart the battle rolled,
In its sheath the sabre rested, and the cannon's lips grew cold.
But the noble Mexic women still their holy task pursued,
Through that long, dark night of sorrow, worn and faint and lacking food.
Over weak and suffering brothers, with a tender care they hung,
And the dying foeman blessed them in a strange and Northern tongue.
Not wholly lost, O Father! is this evil world of ours;
Upward, through its blood and ashes, spring afresh the Eden flowers;
From its smoking hell of battle, Love and Pity send their prayer,
And still thy white-winged angels hover dimly in our air!
The New Wife And The Old
Dark the halls, and cold the feast,
Gone the bridemaids, gone the priest.
All is over, all is done,
Twain of yesterday are one!
Blooming girl and manhood gray,
Autumn in the arms of May!
Hushed within and hushed without,
Dancing feet and wrestlers' shout;
Dies the bonfire on the hill;
All is dark and all is still,
Save the starlight, save the breeze
Moaning through the graveyard trees,
And the great sea-waves below,
Pulse of the midnight beating slow.
From the brief dream of a bride
She hath wakened, at his side.
With half-uttered shriek and start,-
Feels she not his beating heart?
And the pressure of his arm,
And his breathing near and warm?
Lightly from the bridal bed
Springs that fair dishevelled head,
And a feeling, new, intense,
Half of shame, half innocence,
Maiden fear and wonder speaks
Through her lips and changing cheeks.
From the oaken mantel glowing,
Faintest light the lamp is throwing
On the mirror's antique mould,
High-backed chair, and wainscot old,
And, through faded curtains stealing,
His dark sleeping face revealing.
Listless lies the strong man there,
Silver-streaked his careless hair;
Lips of love have left no trace
On that hard and haughty face;
And that forehead's knitted thought
Love's soft hand hath not unwrought.
'Yet,' she sighs, 'he loves me well,
More than these calm lips will tell.
Stooping to my lowly state,
He hath made me rich and great,
And I bless him, though he be
Hard and stern to all save me!'
While she speaketh, falls the light
O'er her fingers small and white;
Gold and gem, and costly ring
Back the timid lustre fling,-
Love's selectest gifts, and rare,
His proud hand had fastened there.
Gratefully she marks the glow
From those tapering lines of snow;
Fondly o'er the sleeper bending
His black hair with golden blending,
In her soft and light caress,
Cheek and lip together press.
Ha!-that start of horror! why
That wild stare and wilder cry,
Full of terror, full of pain?
Is there madness in her brain?
Hark! that gasping, hoarse and low,
'Spare me,-spare me,-let me go!'
God have mercy!-icy cold
Spectral hands her own enfold,
Drawing silently from them
Love's fair gifts of gold and gem.
'Waken! save me!' still as death
At her side he slumbereth.
Ring and bracelet all are gone,
And that ice-cold hand withdrawn;
But she hears a murmur low,
Full of sweetness, full of woe,
Half a sigh and half a moan
'Fear not! give the dead her own!'
Ah!-the dead wife's voice she knows!
That cold hand whose pressure froze,
Once in warmest life had borne
Gem and band her own hath worn.
'Wake thee! wake thee!' Lo, his eyes
Open with a dull surprise.
In his arms the strong man folds her,
Closer to his breast he holds her;
Trembling limbs his own are meeting,
And he feels her heart's quick beating
'Nay, my dearest, why this fear?'
'Hush!' she saith, 'the dead is here!'
'Nay, a dream,-an idle dream.'
But before the lamp's pale gleam
Tremblingly her hand she raises.
There no more the diamond blazes,
Clasp of pearl, or ring of gold,-
'Ah!' she sighs, 'her hand was cold!'
Broken words of cheer he saith,
But his dark lip quivereth,
And as o'er the past he thinketh,
From his young wife's arms he shrinketh;
Can those soft arms round him lie,
Underneath his dead wife's eye?
She her fair young head can rest
Soothed and childlike on his breast,
And in trustful innocence
Draw new strength and courage thence;
He, the proud man, feels within
But the cowardice of sin!
She can murmur in her thought
Simple prayers her mother taught,
And His blessed angels call,
Whose great love is over all;
He, alone, in prayerless pride,
Meets the dark Past at her side!
One, who living shrank with dread
From his look, or word, or tread,
Unto whom her early grave
Was as freedom to the slave,
Moves him at this midnight hour,
With the dead's unconscious power!
Ah, the dead, the unforgot!
From their solemn homes of thought,
Where the cypress shadows blend
Darkly over foe and friend,
Or in love or sad rebuke,
Back upon the living look.
And the tenderest ones and weakest,
Who their wrongs have borne the meekest,
Lifting from those dark, still places,
Sweet and sad-remembered faces,
O'er the guilty hearts behind
An unwitting triumph find.
THE suns of eighteen centuries have shone
Since the Redeemer walked with man, and made
The fisher's boat, the cavern's floor of stone,
And mountain moss, a pillow for His head;
And He, who wandered with the peasant Jew,
And broke with publicans the bread of shame,
And drank with blessings, in His Father's name,
The water which Samaria's outcast drew,
Hath now His temples upon every shore,
Altar and shrine and priest; and incense dim
Evermore rising, with low prayer and hymn,
From lips which press the temple's marble floor,
Or kiss the gilded sign of the dread cross He bore.
Yet as of old, when, meekly 'doing good,'
He fed a blind and selfish multitude,
And even the poor companions of His lot
With their dim earthly vision knew Him not,
How ill are His high teachings understood!
Where He hath spoken Liberty, the priest
At His own altar binds the chain anew;
Where He hath bidden to Life's equal feast,
The starving many wait upon the few;
Where He hath spoken Peace, His name hath been
The loudest war-cry of contending men;
Priests, pale with vigils, in His name have blessed
The unsheathed sword, and laid the spear in rest,
Wet the war-banner with their sacred wine,
And crossed its blazon with the holy sign;
Yea, in His name who bade the erring live,
And daily taught His lesson, to forgive!
Twisted the cord and edged the murderous steel;
And, with His words of mercy on their lips,
Hung gloating o'er the pincer's burning grips,
And the grim horror of the straining wheel;
Fed the slow flame which gnawed the victim's limb,
Who saw before his searing eyeballs swim
The image of their Christ in cruel zeal,
Through the black torment-smoke, held mockingly to him!
The blood which mingled with the desert sand,
And beaded with its red and ghastly dew
The vines and olives of the Holy Land;
The shrieking curses of the hunted Jew;
The white-sown bones of heretics, where'er
They sank beneath the Crusade's holy spear;
Goa's dark dungeons, Malta's sea-washed cell,
Where with the hymns the ghostly fathers sung
Mingled the groans by subtle torture wrung,
Heaven's anthem blending with the shriek of hell!
The midnight of Bartholomew, the stake
Of Smithfield, and that thrice-accursed flame
Which Calvin kindled by Geneva's lake;
New England's scaffold, and the priestly sneer
Which mocked its victims in that hour of fear,
When guilt itself a human tear might claim, —
Bear witness, O Thou wronged and merciful One!
That Earth's most hateful crimes have in Thy name been done!
Thank God! that I have lived to see the time
When the great truth begins at last to find
An utterance from the deep heart of mankind,
Earnest and clear, that all Revenge is Crime,
That man is holier than a creed, that all
Restraint upon him must consult his good,
Hope's sunshine linger on his prison wall,
And Love look in upon his solitude.
The beautiful lesson which our Saviour taught
Through long, dark centuries its way hath wrought
Into the common mind and popular thought;
And words, to which by Galilee's lake shore
The humble fishers listened with hushed oar,
Have found an echo in the general heart,
And of the public faith become a living part.
Who shall arrest this tendency? Bring back
The cells of Venice and the bigot's rack?
Harden the softening human heart again
To cold indifference to a brother's pain?
Ye most unhappy men! who, turned away
From the mild sunshine of the Gospel day,
Grope in the shadows of Man's twilight time,
What mean ye, that with ghoul-like zest ye brood,
O'er those foul altars streaming with warm blood,
Permitted in another age and clime?
Why cite that law with which the bigot Jew
Rebuked the Pagan's mercy, when he knew
No evil in the Just One? Wherefore turn
To the dark, cruel past? Can ye not learn
From the pure Teacher's life how mildly free
Is the great Gospel of Humanity?
The Flamen's knife is bloodless, and no more
Mexitli's altars soak with human gore,
No more the ghastly sacrifices smoke
Through the green arches of the Druid's oak;
And ye of milder faith, with your high claim.
Of prophet-utterance in the Holiest name,
Will ye become the Druids of our time!
Set up your scaffold-altars in our land,
And, consecrators of Law's darkest crime,
Urge to its loathsome work the hangman's hand?
Beware, lest human nature, roused at last,
From its peeled shoulder your encumbrance cast,
And, sick to loathing of your cry for blood,
Rank ye with those who led their victims round
The Celt's red altar and the Indian's mound,
Abhorred of Earth and Heaven, a pagan brotherhood!
NIGHT on the city of the Moor!
On mosque and tomb, and white-walled shore,
On sea-waves, to whose ceaseless knock
The narrow harbor gates unlock,
On corsair's galley, carack tall,
And plundered Christian caraval!
The sounds of Moslem life are still;
No mule-bell tinkles down the hill;
Stretched in the broad court of the khan,
The dusty Bornou caravan
Lies heaped in slumber, beast and man;
The Sheik is dreaming in his tent,
His noisy Arab tongue o'erspent;
The kiosk's glimmering lights are gone,
The merchant with his wares withdrawn;
Rough pillowed on some pirate breast,
The dancing-girl has sunk to rest;
And, save where measured footsteps fall
Along the Bashaw's guarded wall,
Or where, like some bad dream, the Jew
Creeps stealthily his quarter through,
Or counts with fear his golden heaps,
The City of the Corsair sleeps!
But where yon prison long and low
Stands black against the pale star-glow,
Chafed by the ceaseless wash of waves,
There watch and pine the Christian slaves;
Rough-bearded men, whose far-off wives
Wear out with grief their lonely lives;
And youth, still flashing from his eyes
The clear blue of New England skies,
A treasured lock of whose soft hair
Now wakes some sorrowing mother's prayer;
Or, worn upon some maiden breast,
Stirs with the loving heart's unrest!
A bitter cup each life must drain,
The groaning earth is cursed with pain,
And, like the scroll the angel bore
The shuddering Hebrew seer before,
O'erwrit alike, without, within,
With all the woes which follow sin;
But, bitterest of the ills beneath
Whose load man totters down to death,
Is that which plucks the regal crown
Of Freedom from his forehead down,
And snatches from his powerless hand
The sceptred sign of self-command,
Effacing with the chain and rod
The image and the seal of God;
Till from his nature, day by day,
The manly virtues fall away,
And leave him naked, blind and mute,
The godlike merging in the brute!
Why mourn the quiet ones who die
Beneath affection's tender eye,
Unto their household and their kin
Like ripened corn-sheaves gathered in?
O weeper, from that tranquil sod,
That holy harvest-home of God,
Turn to the quick and suffering, shed
Thy tears upon the living dead!
Thank God above thy dear ones' graves,
They sleep with Him, they are not slaves.
What dark mass, down the mountain-sides
Swift-pouring, like a stream divides?
A long, loose, straggling caravan,
Camel and horse and armëd man.
The moon's low crescent, glimmering o'er
Its grave of waters to the shore,
Lights up that mountain cavalcade,
And gleams from gun and spear and blade
Near and more near! now o'er them falls
The shadow of the city walls.
Hark to the sentry's challenge, drowned
In the fierce trumpet's charging sound!
The rush of men, the musket's peal,
The short, sharp clang of meeting steel!
Vain, Moslem, vain thy lifeblood poured
So freely on thy foeman's sword!
Not to the swift nor to the strong
The battles of the right belong;
For he who strikes for Freedom wears
The armor of the captive's prayers,
And Nature proffers to his cause
The strength of her eternal laws;
While he whose arm essays to bind
And herd with common brutes his kind
Strives evermore at fearful odds
With Nature and the jealous gods,
And dares the dread recoil which late
Or soon their right shall vindicate.
'T is done, the hornëd crescent falls!
The star-flag flouts the broken walls!
Joy to the captive husband! joy
To thy sick heart, O brown-locked boy!
In sullen wrath the conquered Moor
Wide open flings your dungeon-door,
And leaves ye free from cell and chain,
The owners of yourselves again.
Dark as his allies desert-born,
Soiled with the battle's stain, and worn
With the long marches of his band
Through hottest wastes of rock and sand,
Scorched by the sun and furnace-breath
Of the red desert's wind of death,
With welcome words and grasping hands,
The victor and deliverer stands!
The tale is one of distant skies;
The dust of half a century lies
Upon it; yet its hero's name
Still lingers on the lips of Fame.
Men speak the praise of him who gave
Deliverance to the Moorman's slave,
Yet dare to brand with shame and crime
The heroes of our land and time, —
The self-forgetful ones, who stake
Home, name, and life for Freedom's sake.
God mend his heart who cannot feel
The impulse of a holy zeal,
And sees not, with his sordid eyes,
The beauty of self-sacrifice!
Though in the sacred place he stands,
Uplifting consecrated hands,
Unworthy are his lips to tell
Of Jesus' martyr-miracle,
Or name aright that dread embrace
Of suffering for a fallen race!
O Dearly loved!
And worthy of our love! No more
Thy aged form shall rise before
The bushed and waiting worshiper,
In meek obedience utterance giving
To words of truth, so fresh and living,
That, even to the inward sense,
They bore unquestioned evidence
Of an anointed Messenger!
Or, bowing down thy silver hair
In reverent awfulness of prayer,
The world, its time and sense, shut out
The brightness of Faith's holy trance
Gathered upon thy countenance,
As if each lingering cloud of doubt,
The cold, dark shadows resting here
In Time's unluminous atmosphere,
Were lifted by an angel's hand,
And through them on thy spiritual eye
Shone down the blessedness on high,
The glory of the Better Land!
The oak has fallen!
While, meet for no good work, the vine
May yet its worthless branches twine,
Who knoweth not that with thee fell
A great man in our Israel?
Fallen, while thy loins were girded still,
Thy feet with Zion's dews still wet,
And in thy hand retaining yet
The pilgrim's staff and scallop-shell
Unharmed and safe, where, wild and free,
Across the Neva's cold morass
The breezes from the Frozen Sea
With winter's arrowy keenness pass;
Or where the unwarning tropic gale
Smote to the waves thy tattered sail,
Or where the noon-hour's fervid heat
Against Tahiti's mountains beat;
The same mysterious Hand which gave
Deliverance upon land and wave,
Tempered for thee the blasts which blew
Ladaga's frozen surface o'er,
And blessed for thee the baleful dew
Of evening upon Eimeo's shore,
Beneath this sunny heaven of ours,
Midst our soft airs and opening flowers
Hath given thee a grave!
His will be done,
Who seeth not as man, whose way
Is not as ours! 'T is well with thee!
Nor anxious doubt nor dark dismay
Disquieted thy closing day,
But, evermore, thy soul could say,
'My Father careth still for me!'
Called from thy hearth and home,--from her,
The last bud on thy household tree,
The last dear one to minister
In duty and in love to thee,
From all which nature holdeth dear,
Feeble with years and worn with pain,
To seek our distant land again,
Bound in the spirit, yet unknowing
The things which should befall thee here,
Whether for labor or for death,
In childlike trust serenely going
To that last trial of thy faith!
Oh, far away,
Where never shines our Northern star
On that dark waste which Balboa saw
From Darien's mountains stretching far,
So strange, heaven-broad, and lone, that there,
With forehead to its damp wind bare,
He bent his mailed knee in awe;
In many an isle whose coral feet
The surges of that ocean beat,
In thy palm shadows, Oahu,
And Honolulu's silver bay,
Amidst Owyhee's hills of blue,
And taro-plains of Tooboonai,
Are gentle hearts, which long shall be
Sad as our own at thought of thee,
Worn sowers of Truth's holy seed,
Whose souls in weariness and need
Were strengthened and refreshed by thine.
For blessed by our Father's hand
Was thy deep love and tender care,
Thy ministry and fervent prayer,--
Grateful as Eshcol's clustered vine
To Israel in a weary land.
And they who drew
By thousands round thee, in the hour
Of prayerful waiting, hushed and deep,
That He who bade the islands keep
Silence before Him, might renew
Their strength with His unslumbering power,
They too shall mourn that thou art gone,
That nevermore thy aged lip
Shall soothe the weak, the erring warn,
Of those who first, rejoicing, heard
Through thee the Gospel's glorious word,--
Seals of thy true apostleship.
And, if the brightest diadem,
Whose gems of glory purely burn
Around the ransomed ones in bliss,
Be evermore reserved for them
Who here, through toil and sorrow, turn
Many to righteousness,
May we not think of thee as wearing
That star-like crown of light, and bearing,
Amidst Heaven's white and blissful band,
Th' unfading palm-branch in thy hand;
And joining with a seraph's tongue
In that new song the elders sung,
Ascribing to its blessed Giver
Thanksgiving, love, and praise forever!
And though the ways of Zion mourn
When her strong ones are called away,
Who like thyself have calmly borne
The heat and burden of the day,
Yet He who slumbereth not nor sleepeth
His ancient watch around us keepeth;
Still, sent from His creating hand,
New witnesses for Truth shall stand,
New instruments to sound abroad
The Gospel of a risen Lord;
To gather to the fold once more
The desolate and gone astray,
The scattered of a cloudy day,
And Zion's broken walls restore;
And, through the travail and the toil
Of true obedience, minister
Beauty for ashes, and the oil
Of joy for mourning, unto her!
So shall her holy bounds increase
With walls of praise and gates of peace
So shall the Vine, which martyr tears
And blood sustained in other years,
With fresher life be clothed upon;
And to the world in beauty show
Like the rose-plant of Jericho,
And glorious as Lebanon!
WITH A COPY OF WOOLMAN'S JOURNAL.
Maiden! with the fair brown tresses
Shading o'er thy dreamy eye,
Floating on thy thoughtful forehead
Cloud wreaths of its sky.
Youthful years and maiden beauty,
Joy with them should still abide,--
Instinct take the place of Duty,
Love, not Reason, guide.
Ever in the New rejoicing,
Kindly beckoning back the Old,
Turning, with the gift of Midas,
All things into gold.
And the passing shades of sadness
Wearing even a welcome guise,
As, when some bright lake lies open
To the sunny skies,
Every wing of bird above it,
Every light cloud floating on,
Glitters like that flashing mirror
In the self-same sun.
But upon thy youthful forehead
Something like a shadow lies;
And a serious soul is looking
From thy earnest eyes.
With an early introversion,
Through the forms of outward things,
Seeking for the subtle essence,
And the bidden springs.
Deeper than the gilded surface
Hath thy wakeful vision seen,
Farther than the narrow present
Have thy journeyings been.
Thou hast midst Life's empty noises
Heard the solemn steps of Time,
And the low mysterious voices
Of another clime.
All the mystery of Being
Hath upon thy spirit pressed,--
Thoughts which, like the Deluge wanderer,
Find no place of rest:
That which mystic Plato pondered,
That which Zeno heard with awe,
And the star-rapt Zoroaster
In his night-watch saw.
From the doubt and darkness springing
Of the dim, uncertain Past,
Moving to the dark still shadows
O'er the Future cast,
Early hath Life's mighty question
Thrilled within thy heart of youth,
With a deep and strong beseeching
What and where is Truth?
Hollow creed and ceremonial,
Whence the ancient life hath fled,
Idle faith unknown to action,
Dull and cold and dead.
Oracles, whose wire-worked meanings
Only wake a quiet scorn,--
Not from these thy seeking spirit
Hath its answer drawn.
But, like some tired child at even,
On thy mother Nature's breast,
Thou, methinks, art vainly seeking
Truth, and peace, and rest.
O'er that mother's rugged features
Thou art throwing Fancy's veil,
Light and soft as woven moonbeams,
Beautiful and frail
O'er the rough chart of Existence,
Rocks of sin and wastes of woe,
Soft airs breathe, and green leaves tremble,
And cool fountains flow.
And to thee an answer cometh
From the earth and from the sky,
And to thee the hills and waters
And the stars reply.
But a soul-sufficing answer
Hath no outward origin;
More than Nature's many voices
May be heard within.
Even as the great Augustine
Questioned earth and sea and sky,
And the dusty tomes of learning
And old poesy.
But his earnest spirit needed
More than outward Nature taught;
More than blest the poet's vision
Or the sage's thought.
Only in the gathered silence
Of a calm and waiting frame,
Light and wisdom as from Heaven
To the seeker came.
Not to ease and aimless quiet
Doth that inward answer tend,
But to works of love and duty
As our being's end;
Not to idle dreams and trances,
Length of face, and solemn tone,
But to Faith, in daily striving
And performance shown.
Earnest toil and strong endeavor
Of a spirit which within
Wrestles with familiar evil
And besetting sin;
And without, with tireless vigor,
Steady heart, and weapon strong,
In the power of truth assailing
Every form of wrong.
Guided thus, how passing lovely
Is the track of Woolman's feet!
And his brief and simple record
How serenely sweet!
O'er life's humblest duties throwing
Light the earthling never knew,
Freshening all its dark waste places
As with Hermon's dew.
All which glows in Pascal's pages,
All which sainted Guion sought,
Or the blue-eyed German Rahel
Beauty, such as Goethe pictured,
Such as Shelley dreamed of, shed
Living warmth and starry brightness
Round that poor man's head.
Not a vain and cold ideal,
Not a poet's dream alone,
But a presence warm and real,
Seen and felt and known.
When the red right-hand of slaughter
Moulders with the steel it swung,
When the name of seer and poet
Dies on Memory's tongue,
All bright thoughts and pure shall gather
Round that meek and suffering one,--
Glorious, like the seer-seen angel
Standing in the sun!
Take the good man's book and ponder
What its pages say to thee;
Blessed as the hand of healing
May its lesson be.
If it only serves to strengthen
Yearnings for a higher good,
For the fount of living waters
And diviner food;
If the pride of human reason
Feels its meek and still rebuke,
Quailing like the eye of Peter
From the Just One's look!
If with readier ear thou heedest
What the Inward Teacher saith,
Listening with a willing spirit
And a childlike faith,--
Thou mayst live to bless the giver,
Who, himself but frail and weak,
Would at least the highest welfare
Of another seek;
And his gift, though poor and lowly
It may seem to other eyes,
Yet may prove an angel holy
In a pilgrim's guise.
ROBERT RAWLIN!--Frosts were falling
When the ranger's horn was calling
Through the woods to Canada.
Gone the winter's sleet and snowing,
Gone the spring-time's bud and blowing,
Gone the summer's harvest mowing,
And again the fields are gray.
Yet away, he's away!
Faint and fainter hope is growing
In the hearts that mourn his stay.
Where the lion, crouching high on
Abraham's rock with teeth of iron,
Glares o'er wood and wave away,
Faintly thence, as pines far sighing,
Or as thunder spent and dying,
Come the challenge and replying,
Come the sounds of flight and fray.
Well-a-day! Hope and pray!
Some are living, some are lying
In their red graves far away.
Straggling rangers, worn with dangers,
Homeward faring, weary strangers
Pass the farm-gate on their way;
Tidings of the dead and living,
Forest march and ambush, giving,
Till the maidens leave their weaving,
And the lads forget their play.
'Still away, still away!'
Sighs a sad one, sick with grieving,
'Why does Robert still delay!'
Nowhere fairer, sweeter, rarer,
Does the golden-locked fruit bearer
Through his painted woodlands stray,
Than where hillside oaks and beeches
Overlook the long, blue reaches,
Silver coves and pebbled beaches,
And green isles of Casco Bay;
Nowhere day, for delay,
With a tenderer look beseeches,
'Let me with my charmed earth stay.'
On the grain-lands of the mainlands
Stands the serried corn like train-bands,
Plume and pennon rustling gay;
Out at sea, the islands wooded,
Silver birches, golden-hooded,
Set with maples, crimson-blooded,
White sea-foam and sand-hills gray,
Stretch away, far away.
Dim and dreamy, over-brooded
By the hazy autumn day.
Gayly chattering to the clattering
Of the brown nuts downward pattering,
Leap the squirrels, red and gray.
On the grass-land, on the fallow,
Drop the apples, red and yellow;
Drop the russet pears and mellow,
Drop the red leaves all the day.
And away, swift away,
Sun and cloud, o'er hill and hollow
Chasing, weave their web of play.
'Martha Mason, Martha Mason,
Prithee tell us of the reason
Why you mope at home to-day
Surely smiling is not sinning;
Leave, your quilling, leave your spinning;
What is all your store of linen,
If your heart is never gay?
Come away, come away!
Never yet did sad beginning
Make the task of life a play.'
Overbending, till she's blending
With the flaxen skein she's tending
Pale brown tresses smoothed away
From her face of patient sorrow,
Sits she, seeking but to borrow,
From the trembling hope of morrow,
Solace for the weary day.
'Go your way, laugh and play;
Unto Him who heeds the sparrow
And the lily, let me pray.'
'With our rally, rings the valley,--
Join us!' cried the blue-eyed Nelly;
'Join us!' cried the laughing May,
'To the beach we all are going,
And, to save the task of rowing,
West by north the wind is blowing,
Blowing briskly down the bay
Come away, come away!
Time and tide are swiftly flowing,
Let us take them while we may!
'Never tell us that you'll fail us,
Where the purple beach-plum mellows
On the bluffs so wild and gray.
Hasten, for the oars are falling;
Hark, our merry mates are calling;
Time it is that we were all in,
Singing tideward down the bay!'
'Nay, nay, let me stay;
Sore and sad for Robert Rawlin
Is my heart,' she said, 'to-day.'
'Vain your calling for Rob Rawlin
Some red squaw his moose-meat's broiling,
Or some French lass, singing gay;
Just forget as he's forgetting;
What avails a life of fretting?
If some stars must needs be setting,
Others rise as good as they.'
'Cease, I pray; go your way!'
Martha cries, her eyelids wetting;
'Foul and false the words you say!'
'Martha Mason, hear to reason!--
Prithee, put a kinder face on!'
'Cease to vex me,' did she say;
'Better at his side be lying,
With the mournful pine-trees sighing,
And the wild birds o'er us crying,
Than to doubt like mine a prey;
While away, far away,
Turns my heart, forever trying
Some new hope for each new day.
'When the shadows veil the meadows,
And the sunset's golden ladders
Sink from twilight's walls of gray,--
From the window of my dreaming,
I can see his sickle gleaming,
Cheery-voiced, can hear him teaming
Down the locust-shaded way;
But away, swift away,
Fades the fond, delusive seeming,
And I kneel again to pray.
'When the growing dawn is showing,
And the barn-yard cock is crowing,
And the horned moon pales away
From a dream of him awaking,
Every sound my heart is making
Seems a footstep of his taking;
Then I hush the thought, and say,
'Nay, nay, he's away!'
Ah! my heart, my heart is breaking
For the dear one far away.'
Look up, Martha! worn and swarthy,
Glows a face of manhood worthy
'Robert!' 'Martha!' all they say.
O'er went wheel and reel together,
Little cared the owner whither;
Heart of lead is heart of feather,
Noon of night is noon of day!
Come away, come away!
When such lovers meet each other,
Why should prying idlers stay?
Quench the timber's fallen embers,
Quench the recd leaves in December's
Hoary rime and chilly spray.
But the hearth shall kindle clearer,
Household welcomes sound sincerer,
Heart to loving heart draw nearer,
When the bridal bells shall say:
'Hope and pray, trust alway;
Life is sweeter, love is dearer,
For the trial and delay!'
TO WILLIAM BRADFORD.
As they who watch by sick-beds find relief
Unwittingly from the great stress of grief
And anxious care, in fantasies outwrought
From the hearth's embers flickering low, or caught
From whispering wind, or tread of passing feet,
Or vagrant memory calling up some sweet
Snatch of old song or romance, whence or why
They scarcely know or ask,--so, thou and I,
Nursed in the faith that Truth alone is strong
In the endurance which outwearies Wrong,
With meek persistence baffling brutal force,
And trusting God against the universe,--
We, doomed to watch a strife we may not share
With other weapons than the patriot's prayer,
Yet owning, with full hearts and moistened eyes,
The awful beauty of self-sacrifice,
And wrung by keenest sympathy for all
Who give their loved ones for the living wall
'Twixt law and treason,--in this evil day
May haply find, through automatic play
Of pen and pencil, solace to our pain,
And hearten others with the strength we gain.
I know it has been said our times require
No play of art, nor dalliance with the lyre,
No weak essay with Fancy's chloroform
To calm the hot, mad pulses of the storm,
But the stern war-blast rather, such as sets
The battle's teeth of serried bayonets,
And pictures grim as Vernet's. Yet with these
Some softer tints may blend, and milder keys
Relieve the storm-stunned ear. Let us keep sweet,
If so we may, our hearts, even while we eat
The bitter harvest of our own device
And half a century's moral cowardice.
As Nurnberg sang while Wittenberg defied,
And Kranach painted by his Luther's side,
And through the war-march of the Puritan
The silver stream of Marvell's music ran,
So let the household melodies be sung,
The pleasant pictures on the wall be hung--
So let us hold against the hosts of night
And slavery all our vantage-ground of light.
Let Treason boast its savagery, and shake
From its flag-folds its symbol rattlesnake,
Nurse its fine arts, lay human skins in tan,
And carve its pipe-bowls from the bones of man,
And make the tale of Fijian banquets dull
By drinking whiskey from a loyal skull,--
But let us guard, till this sad war shall cease,
(God grant it soon!) the graceful arts of peace
No foes are conquered who the victors teach
Their vandal manners and barbaric speech.
And while, with hearts of thankfulness, we bear
Of the great common burden our full share,
Let none upbraid us that the waves entice
Thy sea-dipped pencil, or some quaint device,
Rhythmic, and sweet, beguiles my pen away
From the sharp strifes and sorrows of to-day.
Thus, while the east-wind keen from Labrador
Sings it the leafless elms, and from the shore
Of the great sea comes the monotonous roar
Of the long-breaking surf, and all the sky
Is gray with cloud, home-bound and dull, I try
To time a simple legend to the sounds
Of winds in the woods, and waves on pebbled bounds,--
A song for oars to chime with, such as might
Be sung by tired sea-painters, who at night
Look from their hemlock camps, by quiet cove
Or beach, moon-lighted, on the waves they love.
(So hast thou looked, when level sunset lay
On the calm bosom of some Eastern bay,
And all the spray-moist rocks and waves that rolled
Up the white sand-slopes flashed with ruddy gold.)
Something it has--a flavor of the sea,
And the sea's freedom--which reminds of thee.
Its faded picture, dimly smiling down
From the blurred fresco of the ancient town,
I have not touched with warmer tints in vain,
If, in this dark, sad year, it steals one thought
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Her fingers shame the ivory keys
They dance so light along;
The bloom upon her parted lips
Is sweeter than the song.
O perfumed suitor, spare thy smiles!
Her thoughts are not of thee;
She better loves the salted wind,
The voices of the sea.
Her heart is like an outbound ship
That at its anchor swings;
The murmur of the stranded shell
Is in the song she sings.
She sings, and, smiling, hears her praise,
But dreams the while of one
Who watches from his sea-blown deck
The icebergs in the sun.
She questions all the winds that blow,
And every fog-wreath dim,
And bids the sea-birds flying north
Bear messages to him.
She speeds them with the thanks of men
He perilled life to save,
And grateful prayers like holy oil
To smooth for him the wave.
Brown Viking of the fishing-smack!
Fair toast of all the town!--
The skipper's jerkin ill beseems
The lady's silken gown!
But ne'er shall Amy Wentworth wear
For him the blush of shame
Who dares to set his manly gifts
Against her ancient name.
The stream is brightest at its spring,
And blood is not like wine;
Nor honored less than he who heirs
Is he who founds a line.
Full lightly shall the prize be won,
If love be Fortune's spur;
And never maiden stoops to him
Who lifts himself to her.
Her home is brave in Jaffrey Street,
With stately stairways worn
By feet of old Colonial knights
And ladies gentle-born.
Still green about its ample porch
The English ivy twines,
Trained back to show in English oak
The herald's carven signs.
And on her, from the wainscot old,
Ancestral faces frown,--
And this has worn the soldier's sword,
And that the judge's gown.
But, strong of will and proud as they,
She walks the gallery floor
As if she trod her sailor's deck
By stormy Labrador.
The sweetbrier blooms on Kittery-side,
And green are Elliot's bowers;
Her garden is the pebbled beach,
The mosses are her flowers.
She looks across the harbor-bar
To see the white gulls fly;
His greeting from the Northern sea
Is in their clanging cry.
She hums a song, and dreams that he,
As in its romance old,
Shall homeward ride with silken sails
And masts of beaten gold!
Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair,
And high and low mate ill;
But love has never known a law
Beyond its own sweet will!
Questions Of Life
A bending staff I would not break,
A feeble faith I would not shake,
Nor even rashly pluck away
The error which some truth may stay,
Whose loss might leave the soul without
A shield against the shafts of doubt.
And yet, at times, when over all
A darker mystery seems to fall,
(May God forgive the child of dust,
Who seeks to know, where Faith should trust!)
I raise the questions, old and dark,
Of Uzdom's tempted patriarch,
And, speech-confounded, build again
The baffled tower of Shinar's plain.
I am: how little more I know!
Whence came I? Whither do I go?
A centred self, which feels and is;
A cry between the silences;
A shadow-birth of clouds at strife
With sunshine on the hills of life;
A shaft from Nature's quiver cast
Into the Future from the Past;
Between the cradle and the shroud,
A meteor's flight from cloud to cloud.
Thorough the vastness, arching all,
I see the great stars rise and fall,
The rounding seasons come and go,
The tided oceans ebb and flow;
The tokens of a central force,
Whose circles, in their widening course,
O'erlap and move the universe;
The workings of the law whence springs
The rhythmic harmony of things,
Which shapes in earth the darkling spar,
And orbs in heaven the morning star.
Of all I see, in earth and sky,--
Star, flower, beast, bird,--what part have I?
This conscious life,--is it the same
Which thrills the universal frame,
Whereby the caverned crystal shoots,
And mounts the sap from forest roots,
Whereby the exiled wood-bird tells
When Spring makes green her native dells?
How feels the stone the pang of birth,
Which brings its sparkling prism forth?
The forest-tree the throb which gives
The life-blood to its new-born leaves?
Do bird and blossom feel, like me,
Life's many-folded mystery,--
The wonder which it is to be?
Or stand I severed and distinct,
From Nature's 'chain of life' unlinked?
Allied to all, yet not the less
Prisoned in separate consciousness,
Alone o'erburdened with a sense
Of life, and cause, and consequence?
In vain to me the Sphinx propounds
The riddle of her sights and sounds;
Back still the vaulted mystery gives
The echoed question it receives.
What sings the brook? What oracle
Is in the pine-tree's organ swell?
What may the wind's low burden be?
The meaning of the moaning sea?
The hieroglyphics of the stars?
Or clouded sunset's crimson bars?
I vainly ask, for mocks my skill
The trick of Nature's cipher still.
I turn from Nature unto men,
I ask the stylus and the pen;
What sang the bards of old? What meant
The prophets of the Orient?
The rolls of buried Egypt, hid
In painted tomb and pyramid?
What mean Idumea's arrowy lines,
Or dusk Elora's monstrous signs?
How speaks the primal thought of man
From the grim carvings of Copan?
Where rests the secret? Where the keys
Of the old death-bolted mysteries?
Alas! the dead retain their trust;
Dust hath no answer from the dust.
The great enigma still unguessed,
Unanswered the eternal quest;
I gather up the scattered rays
Of wisdom in the early days,
Faint gleams and broken, like the light
Of meteors in a northern night,
Betraying to the darkling earth
The unseen sun which gave them birth;
I listen to the sibyl's chant,
The voice of priest and hierophant;
I know what Indian Kreeshna saith,
And what of life and what of death
The demon taught to Socrates;
And what, beneath his garden-trees
Slow pacing, with a dream-like tread,--
The solemn-thoughted Plato said;
Nor lack I tokens, great or small,
Of God's clear light in each and all,
While holding with more dear regard
The scroll of Hebrew seer and bard,
The starry pages promise-lit
With Christ's Evangel over-writ,
Thy miracle of life and death,
O Holy One of Nazareth!
On Aztec ruins, gray and lone,
The circling serpent coils in stone,--
Type of the endless and unknown;
Whereof we seek the clue to find,
With groping fingers of the blind!
Forever sought, and never found,
We trace that serpent-symbol round
Our resting-place, our starting bound
Oh, thriftlessness of dream and guess!
Oh, wisdom which is foolishness!
Why idly seek from outward things
The answer inward silence brings?
Why stretch beyond our proper sphere
And age, for that which lies so near?
Why climb the far-off hills with pain,
A nearer view of heaven to gain?
In lowliest depths of bosky dells
The hermit Contemplation dwells.
A fountain's pine-hung slope his seat,
And lotus-twined his silent feet,
Whence, piercing heaven, with screened sight,
He sees at noon the stars, whose light
Shall glorify the coining night.
Here let me pause, my quest forego;
Enough for me to feel and know
That He in whom the cause and end,
The past and future, meet and blend,--
Who, girt with his Immensities,
Our vast and star-hung system sees,
Small as the clustered Pleiades,--
Moves not alone the heavenly quires,
But waves the spring-time's grassy spires,
Guards not archangel feet alone,
But deigns to guide and keep my own;
Speaks not alone the words of fate
Which worlds destroy, and worlds create,
But whispers in my spirit's ear,
In tones of love, or warning fear,
A language none beside may hear.
To Him, from wanderings long and wild,
I come, an over-wearied child,
In cool and shade His peace to find,
Lice dew-fall settling on my mind.
Assured that all I know is best,
And humbly trusting for the rest,
I turn from Fancy's cloud-built scheme,
Dark creed, and mournful eastern dream
Of power, impersonal and cold,
Controlling all, itself controlled,
Maker and slave of iron laws,
Alike the subject and the cause;
From vain philosophies, that try
The sevenfold gates of mystery,
And, baffled ever, babble still,
Word-prodigal of fate and will;
From Nature, and her mockery, Art;
And book and speech of men apart,
To the still witness in my heart;
With reverence waiting to behold
His Avatar of love untold,
The Eternal Beauty new and old!
The Vision Of Echard
The Benedictine Echard
Sat by the wayside well,
Where Marsberg sees the bridal
Of the Sarre and the Moselle.
Fair with its sloping vineyards
And tawny chestnut bloom,
The happy vale Ausonius sunk
For holy Treves made room.
On the shrine Helena builded
To keep the Christ coat well,
On minster tower and kloster cross,
The westering sunshine fell.
There, where the rock-hewn circles
O'erlooked the Roman's game,
The veil of sleep fell on him,
And his thought a dream became.
He felt the heart of silence
Throb with a soundless word,
And by the inward ear alone
A spirit's voice he heard.
And the spoken word seemed written
On air and wave and sod,
And the bending walls of sapphire
Blazed with the thought of God.
'What lack I, O my children?
All things are in my band;
The vast earth and the awful stars
I hold as grains of sand.
'Need I your alms? The silver
And gold are mine alone;
The gifts ye bring before me
Were evermore my own.
'Heed I the noise of viols,
Your pomp of masque and show?
Have I not dawns and sunsets
Have I not winds that blow?
'Do I smell your gums of incense?
Is my ear with chantings fed?
Taste I your wine of worship,
Or eat your holy bread?
'Of rank and name and honors
Am I vain as ye are vain?
What can Eternal Fulness
From your lip-service gain?
'Ye make me not your debtor
Who serve yourselves alone;
Ye boast to me of homage
Whose gain is all your own.
'For you I gave the prophets,
For you the Psalmist's lay
For you the law's stone tables,
And holy book and day.
'Ye change to weary burdens
The helps that should uplift;
Ye lose in form the spirit,
The Giver in the gift.
'Who called ye to self-torment,
To fast and penance vain?
Dream ye Eternal Goodness
Has joy in mortal pain?
'For the death in life of Nitria,
For your Chartreuse ever dumb,
What better is the neighbor,
Or happier the home?
'Who counts his brother's welfare
As sacred as his own,
And loves, forgives, and pities,
He serveth me alone.
'I note each gracious purpose,
Each kindly word and deed;
Are ye not all my children?
Shall not the Father heed?
'No prayer for light and guidance
Is lost upon mine ear
The child's cry in the darkness
Shall not the Father hear?
'I loathe your wrangling councils,
I tread upon your creeds;
Who made ye mine avengers,
Or told ye of my needs;
'I bless men and ye curse them,
I love them and ye hate;
Ye bite and tear each other,
I suffer long and wait.
'Ye bow to ghastly symbols,
To cross and scourge and thorn;
Ye seek his Syrian manger
Who in the heart is born.
'For the dead Christ, not the living,
Ye watch His empty grave,
Whose life alone within you
Has power to bless and save.
'O blind ones, outward groping,
The idle quest forego;
Who listens to His inward voice
Alone of Him shall know.
'His love all love exceeding
The heart must needs recall,
Its self-surrendering freedom,
Its loss that gaineth all.
'Climb not the holy mountains,
Their eagles know not me;
Seek not the Blessed Islands,
I dwell not in the sea.
'Gone is the mount of Meru,
The triple gods are gone,
And, deaf to all the lama's prayers,
The Buddha slumbers on.
'No more from rocky Horeb
The smitten waters gush;
Fallen is Bethel's ladder,
Quenched is the burning bush.
'The jewels of the Urim
And Thurnmim all are dim;
The fire has left the altar,
The sign the teraphim.
'No more in ark or hill grove
The Holiest abides;
Not in the scroll's dead letter
The eternal secret hides.
'The eye shall fail that searches
For me the hollow sky;
The far is even as the near,
The low is as the high.
'What if the earth is hiding
Her old faiths, long outworn?
What is it to the changeless truth
That yours shall fail in turn?
'What if the o'erturned altar
Lays bare the ancient lie?
What if the dreams and legends
Of the world's childhood die?
'Have ye not still my witness
Within yourselves alway,
My hand that on the keys of life
For bliss or bale I lay?
'Still, in perpetual judgment,
I hold assize within,
With sure reward of holiness,
And dread rebuke of sin.
'A light, a guide, a warning,
A presence ever near,
Through the deep silence of the flesh
I reach the inward ear.
'My Gerizim and Ebal
Are in each human soul,
The still, small voice of blessing,
And Sinai's thunder-roll.
'The stern behest of duty,
The doom-book open thrown,
The heaven ye seek, the hell ye fear,
Are with yourselves alone.'
. . . . .
A gold and purple sunset
Flowed down the broad Moselle;
On hills of vine and meadow lands
The peace of twilight fell.
A slow, cool wind of evening
Blew over leaf and bloom;
And, faint and far, the Angelus
Rang from Saint Matthew's tomb.
Then up rose Master Echard,
And marvelled: 'Can it be
That here, in dream and vision,
The Lord hath talked with me?'
He went his way; behind him
The shrines of saintly dead,
The holy coat and nail of cross,
He left unvisited.
He sought the vale of Eltzbach
His burdened soul to free,
Where the foot-hills of the Eifel
Are glassed in Laachersee.
And, in his Order's kloster,
He sat, in night-long parle,
With Tauler of the Friends of God,
And Nicolas of Basle.
And lo! the twain made answer
'Yea, brother, even thus
The Voice above all voices
Hath spoken unto us.
'The world will have its idols,
And flesh and sense their sign
But the blinded eyes shall open,
And the gross ear be fine.
'What if the vision tarry?
God's time is always best;
The true Light shall be witnessed,
The Christ within confessed.
'In mercy or in judgment
He shall turn and overturn,
Till the heart shall be His temple
Where all of Him shall learn.'
NOT with the splendors of the days of old,
The spoil of nations, and barbaric gold;
No weapons wrested from the fields of blood,
Where dark and stern the unyielding Roman stood,
And the proud eagles of his cohorts saw
A world, war-wasted, crouching to his law;
Nor blazoned car, nor banners floating gay,
Like those which swept along the Appian Way,
When, to the welcome of imperial Rome,
The victor warrior came in triumph home,
And trumpet peal, and shoutings wild and high,
Stirred the blue quiet of the Italian sky;
But calm and grateful, prayerful and sincere,
As Christian freemen only, gathering here,
We dedicate our fair and lofty Hall,
Pillar and arch, entablature and wall,
As Virtue's shrine, as Liberty's abode,
Sacred to Freedom, and to Freedom's God!
Far statelier Halls, 'neath brighter skies than these,
Stood darkly mirrored in the Ægean seas,
Pillar and shrine, and life-like statues seen,
Graceful and pure, the marble shafts between;
Where glorious Athens from her rocky hill
Saw Art and Beauty subject to her will;
And the chaste temple, and the classic grove,
The hall of sages, and the bowers of love,
Arch, fane, and column, graced the shores, and gave
Their shadows to the blue Saronic wave;
And statelier rose, on Tiber's winding side,
The Pantheon's dome, the Coliseum's pride,
The Capitol, whose arches backward flung
The deep, clear cadence of the Roman tongue,
Whence stern decrees, like words of fate, went forth
To the awed nations of a conquered earth,
Where the proud Caesars in their glory came,
And Brutus lightened from his lips of flame!
Yet in tire porches of Athena's halls,
And in the shadow of her stately walls,
Lurked the sad bondman, and his tears of woe
Wet the cold marble with unheeded flow;
And fetters clanked beneath the silver dome
Of the proud Pantheon of imperious Rome.
Oh, not for him, the chained and stricken slave,
By Tiber's shore, or blue Ægina's wave,
In the thronged forum, or the sages' seat,
The bold lip pleaded, and the warm heart beat;
No soul of sorrow melted at his pain,
No tear of pity rusted on his chain!
But this fair Hall to Truth and Freedom given,
Pledged to the Right before all Earth and Heaven,
A free arena for the strife of mind,
To caste, or sect, or color unconfined,
Shall thrill with echoes such as ne'er of old
From Roman hall or Grecian temple rolled;
Thoughts shall find utterance such as never yet
The Propylea or the Forum met.
Beneath its roof no gladiator's strife
Shall win applauses with the waste of life;
No lordly lictor urge the barbarous game,
No wanton Lais glory in her shame.
But here the tear of sympathy shall flow,
As the ear listens to the tale of woe;
Here in stern judgment of the oppressor's wrong
Shall strong rebukings thrill on Freedom's tongue,
No partial justice hold th' unequal scale,
No pride of caste a brother's rights assail,
No tyrant's mandates echo from this wall,
Holy to Freedom and the Rights of All!
But a fair field, where mind may close with mind,
Free as the sunshine and the chainless wind;
Where the high trust is fixed on Truth alone,
And bonds and fetters from the soul are thrown;
Where wealth, and rank, and worldly pomp, and might,
Yield to the presence of the True and Right.
And fitting is it that this Hall should stand
Where Pennsylvania's Founder led his band,.
From thy blue waters, Delaware!— to press
The virgin verdure of the wilderness.
Here, where all Europe with amazement saw
The soul's high freedom trammelled by no law;
Here, where the fierce and warlike forest-men
Gathered, in peace, around the home of Penn,
Awed by the weapons Love alone had given
Drawn from the holy armory of Heaven;
Where Nature's voice against the bondman's wrong
First found an earnest and indignant tongue;
Where Lay's bold message to the proud was borne;
And Keith's rebuke, and Franklin's manly scorn!
Fitting it is that here, where Freedom first
From her fair feet shook off the Old World's dust,
Spread her white pinions to our Western blast,
And her free tresses to our sunshine cast,
One Hall should rise redeemed from Slavery's ban,
One Temple sacred to the Rights of Man!
Oh! if the spirits of the parted come,
Visiting angels, to their olden home;
If the dead fathers of the land look forth
From their fair dwellings, to the things of earth,
Is it a dream, that with their eyes of love,
They gaze now on us from the bowers above?
Lay's ardent soul, and Benezet the mild,
Steadfast in faith, yet gentle as a child,
Meek-hearted Woolman, and that brother-band,
The sorrowing exiles from their 'Father land,'
Leaving their homes in Krieshiem's bowers of vine,
And the blue beauty of their glorious Rhine,
To seek amidst our solemn depths of wood
Freedom from man, and holy peace with God;
Who first of all their testimonial gave
Against the oppressor, for the outcast slave,
Is it a dream that such as these look down,
And with their blessing our rejoicings crown?
Let us rejoice, that while the pulpit's door
Is barred against the pleaders for the poor;
While the Church, wrangling upon points of faith,
Forgets her bondsmen suffering unto death;
While crafty Traffic and the lust of Gain
Unite to forge Oppression's triple chain,
One door is open, and one Temple free,
As a resting-place for hunted Liberty!
Where men may speak, unshackled and unawed,
High words of Truth, for Freedom and for God.
And when that truth its perfect work hath done,
And rich with blessings o'er our land hath gone;
When not a slave beneath his yoke shall pine,
From broad Potomac to the far Sabine:
When unto angel lips at last is given
The silver trump of Jubilee in Heaven;
And from Virginia's plains, Kentucky's shades,
And through the dim Floridian everglades,
Rises, to meet that angel-trumpet's sound,
The voice of millions from their chains unbound;
Then, though this Hall be crumbling in decay,
Its strong walls blending with the common clay,
Yet, round the ruins of its strength shall stand
The best and noblest of a ransomed land —
Pilgrims, like these who throng around the shrine
Of Mecca, or of holy Palestine!
A prouder glory shall that ruin own
Than that which lingers round the Parthenon.
Here shall the child of after years be taught
The works of Freedom which his fathers wrought;
Told of the trials of the present hour,
Our weary strife with prejudice and power;
How the high errand quickened woman's soul,
And touched her lip as with a living coal;
How Freedom's martyms kept their lofty faith
True and unwavering, unto bonds and death;
The pencil's art shall sketch the ruined Hall,
The Muses' garland crown its aged wall,
And History's pen for after times record
Its consecration unto Freedom's God!