Transcribed by an anonymous volunteer from a book owned by David Price, email firstname.lastname@example.org
A LEAF FROM THE OLD FOREST.
POEMS BY JOHN D. COSSAR.
LONDON: SMART & ALLEN, LONDON HOUSE YARD, PATERNOSTER ROW. 1870.
A LEAF FROM THE OLD FOREST.
O bring me a leaf from the Old Forest, The forest of beauty and song; Where the Ettrick, through woods and fair meadows, Doth lead its sweet waters along.
O bring me a leaf from the Old Forest, A tuft from the glossy black pine; A leaf from the oak and high chestnut tree And a branch of green holly combine.
O bring me a leaf from the Old Forest, A token so sacred, O bring; 'Twill recall those bright scenes to remembrance, Old friendships around it will cling.
KING NIMAERA 15
LORD HENRY OF THE EDEN-SIDE 87
MY MOTHER'S DEATH 107
THE WORLD'S END 127
THE SABBATH DAY 133
BEAUTY ADORNED 141
WALTER (AN ACROSTIC) 157
THE ARRIVAL IN LEITH DOCKS ON A VISIT TO SCOTLAND 158
RECOLLECTIONS (TO SARAH) 161
A STOLEN KISS 162
THE ORPHAN BOY 166
A BRIGHT DAY, AFTER A SEASON OF DULL WEATHER 167
THE EVIL ONE 172
TO THE SPIRIT OF POETRY 177
BOYISH DAYS 180
MY SCHOOLMATES 184
THE DEPARTED YEAR 185
TO THE SNOWDROP 187
THE BEREAVEMENT (WRITTEN FOR S. L.) 191
IN FANCY BOUND 196
COUNTRY RAMBLES 198
THE OWL 200
MINNIE LEE (A PICTURE) 201
THE AIM OF LIFE 204
THE PRIMROSE 206
IN MOONLIGHT MET (TO L. A. A.) 208
A WAYWARD CHILD (TO K. N.) 209
A FLIRT (TO L. W.) 210
THE LITTLE ROGUE (TO H. B.) 211
A PRESENCE SWEET 213
ADDRESSED TO THE CRITIC.
Critics of art, connoisseurs of fair Fame, Who on her bulwarks stand, to guard the way Unto the courts wherein her favored dwell, Where they have gained admittance by the pass "True merit," which alone can bring them there; Thine is the power the unworthy to debar, To tell them that they are unfit to come To seek a standing near her honored throne. Away in sorrow the beseigers turn, Foiled in their effort, to more humble scenes, With showers of censure pouring round them fast, And shame in volleys flying on to them. These are thy missiles, and they lose no mark, But bear sore torture to the vanquished wretch, Until oblivion hides him from their power. Stay they to barter, then the task is vain; 'Tis but a weary while they can withstand The many darts sent with a fatal aim. I make me bold to speak a word with thee, Though better far my tongue had held its peace, And though my mission be a barren task, And woe betide me in the course I take. If ye my motive deem it good to ask, In form of motto, I will give it thus: "He who doth not to battle venture forth No trophy takes, as they who go to win." It is not meet that I should dare to judge If Merit tend me in the mission here; But I will trust that Honor may attend, And that ye will a fair decision give. I urge no claim to learning high and great, Nor kinship to the noble in descent, Nor hold a name to offer of renown; But from the ranks of secret come, unknown, And trust in time of fortune to advance, Then to behold thee in a happy mood. For men have moods which to their acts imply An impulse, which doth change the scenes in view From cheerful unto gloomy, or reverse; And critics, doubtless, are as other men, Prone to the changes which incite the throng.
TO THE SEER.
Time honored Seers, of every age bestowed The reverence of man; whose is the power To scan the future, and draw back the veil, That people of the present may behold The scenes and fates which lie secluded there; To tell strange stories of the time to come, The kind of life which is awaiting some; Whereat the heart doth shudder to behold What it shall be, of revel mirth propelled, Or bound in joys licentious and wild, Inoculate with sin of blackest hue, Verging on crime—yea, crime in hideous form, To crown the ruin of this hapless one. If any of this God-like race remain, Who pry the future with such wondrous skill, Pass on the pages of this book a glance, And tell if ye can see upon the time to come, Aught which is worthy in the art of rhyme; If from this rugged riplet ye can glean A flower or two which bear poetic worth; And if ye see the stream go gliding on In pleasant ways, through the far distance, spread On fertile banks, till it at length attain A fair and undisturbed flow, and give A beauty to the scenes which round it lie, Or if it ripple for a weary while, And die at length into a marshy waste, Give choice to say the former; for the voice Of him who doth a tiding good convey Is sweeter far than his which speaketh ill.
TO THE SAGE.
Ye sages, wise and good, or, if not good, Though wise, the more thy loss, attend and hear Awhile, though but a pensive ear ye lend, If ye will deign to hearken as I speak. More wont are ye to hear the well-tuned voice Of classic writer flow in brilliant thought, Poured from a noble mind, and deep and clear. Learned of the liberty I take, resolved, I come thy favor to seduce, and crave That ye will hearken with a patient heed Until my story hath been fully told. Spurn not a man because his years are few, Or that he seems a novice at the first; But lend a fair and an impartial heed, Till he can prove if aught which he can bring, Is fit to harbour for the worth it holds. The fame of all the great, first as a bud appears, And daily spreads till gay perfections shine; So must it ever be to those who rise; And thus I claim indulgence at thy hand. Raised with fair hope, I leave thee to the task, And trust that of a judgment wise and good Ye will declare a fair decision, such As Justice (ever just) would deem it right To give to one confiding for the truth. I hold no purpose dark, but proudly tell I long to bear the barrier down which stays The narrow path unto the hill of Fame, And win a way unto the lustrous heights, When, looking hence, behold the seat of toil, And they who labor, striving to ascend; And now in sweet reflection view once more The days of old, when the like toil was mine.
TO THE PEOPLE.
All ye who form, each in thy mite, the vast And countless chaos of humanity, Named, as of use, "The Public," I dispute No term as base or just, but join thereto An atom with the motley crowd, resigned, Of kings, and lords, and people, all as one, Who hold no claim as critic, seer, or sage, And spurn the name of Sloth as loathsome to The ear; who dwell within the pale, and breathe The air of this delirious age, when pomps And fashions rage throughout the land, and half Of all the people know not why they live, But live to feast on sensual delights, And deck the body with insipid show; When they who are not would be great and high; And, if their fortune doth not bear them on With the incessant speed they seek, then fraud Is called to aid, until the bubble bursts, Because the pressure is beyond the means; And they are cast, in anguish and despair, Unto the depths of ruin, there to lie With jeers of many pouring on to them. Unto the speech these times give slippery words, And to the tongue alike a flattering robe; That falsehood seems like unto sacred truth, And enmities the bonds of friendship seem. O rife Perfidity! O Vanity! O Pride! Great are thy ravages among This simple race, who for a lucre strive, And pomp, and gain, with an unquenched thirst; Whose hand is avaricious, and who hold No check upon it; but, to swell their store In overflowing barns, do from the poor Extort unjust and utmost usury, Nor scruple have to snatch the morsel from The widow's mouth, or leave the orphan bare. When kings and rulers do for glory pant, Till thousands of their fellow mortals fall, In dead or wounded, at a single blow Laid prostrate, thus to feed their evil lust, Their satiate thirst which can no limit know. Or it may be for one's offended pride, Or some imagined insult to avenge With the outpouring of a people's blood. Oh! it doth seem an awful thing indeed That the wild demon should so rage in man, And that the learning of the present age Should not advance his wisdom more than now; But that, with vengeance rising from his path, He should in heedless haste go driving on To the dark pits of torture called "Hell." Arise, ye slothful people! ye who live In the soft ways of luxury and ease; Awake and sit in mooted ease no more, But count the stern realities of life. Ye who in drowsy slumber have destroyed, Have slept all these fair golden hours away, Whose footprints are inscribed upon thy brow, Think of the marks of sin against thy name, And say if no reproach doth sting thy soul. For why was man created? I may deem It were for nobler purpose than to waste— To sin and loll in idleness away— The only life which he shall ever live, Save in the long and last eternity. Cast idle sloth and sinfulness away, All ye who are the people; and, methinks, When that is done, I see a nobler race Begin to crown the land with joy and love, And tranquil, sweet, and fair prosperity. Power is supreme, and power in unity Is thine, renown to give or keep, if ye Are of the few who walk in ways upright, (For it is joy to think there yet are some Who to their ways do give an earnest heed), Or with the crowd, who heed not how they go, But walk in blindness and in corrupt ways Unto a death which they will long to shun. Though foolish ye may deem me thus to come, And reason say this were a doubtful way To seek abroad for favor, yet it is Thy goodly favor which I come to ask; And I am but a novice, yet will hope Ye will not that withhold which seemeth just To give. Fair maidens, more than all, 'tis thine Approval which I long the most to gain. Ambition bids me rise, aspiring, bids Me seek from thee a word of favor, kind; For ye are more compassionate than man, And give your judgments in a softer way. If ye, and if the public, see it fit To render me a judgment good, then will My joy be full, and I shall strive anew; But, if ye give opposing judgment, then I yield my pen to better hands, and seek No more to speak, and from the quest of fame Return to calm seclusiveness again.
In the following Poem, the purpose of the Author shall be to shew that man is born to vicissitudes, and to censure the lewdness and frivolities to which he stoops.
To personate characters, time is represented by King Nimaera; birth, life, and death respectively by Kalim, Weemus, and Sero; while mankind is represented by Nimaera's subjects, and the world by his kingdom, heaven by "The Land of Bliss," and hell by "The Pit of Terrors."
Honor from the many nations, Honor from the scattered people, Honor much had King Nimaera. King Nimaera on his throne sat In his ancient power and greatness, In his modern pomp and splendor, With adornments full about him, With musicians ever by him, With advisers sitting round him, Till he needed of their wisdom; They were counted by the thousands, By the hundreds and the thousands. Sage-like was this King Nimaera; Furrowed was his brow with seasons; Hoary were his locks and silvery, Ran the sportive breezes through them, Tossed them up in endless frolic. Mutely sat the aged monarch Mid the many lights and shadows, Mid the many scenes and changes Which for ever came around him, Casting cursive glances on them, Smiling now at some adroitness, Frowning then at deeds of folly; And a mystic manner had he, Deep, and hidden, and mysterious, That the people could not fathom What he purposed for the future; Yet he loved this people fondly, And they fondly loved their monarch. In their sorrow he beheld them, And would comfort sometimes offer, As, in joy and mirth elated, He would sometimes bring them sadness. These were dealings mystic to them, Yet they were for good intended. Springtime saw him calm and gentle, Sweet and pleasing in his manner; In the Summer he was joyful, Light and gay as some fair maiden In the time she seeks a wooer. These were seasons of rejoicing, And he called musicians forward, Skilled in every art of music, That the songs of night and morning, And the blooming of the daytime, Came from every hill and valley; Every wind and zephyr laden With melodious floods of music. And in Autumn he came freely, With a hand in bounty flowing, Filling all the stores and garners With rich heaps of fruit the choicest, And with wine, and corn, and spices, That the heart of every subject Poured its thankful blessings on him. But in Winter he was gloomy, Dark, and dismal, and uncheerful, And sat brooding as in anger, Robed in garments dull and heavy; All gay vesture now forsaken, And all music now forbidden. Then the Winter turned and vanished As it came, unsought, uncherished, Now unmourned and unregretted; And the Spring again came dancing, Casting charms around profusely By the lanes, and woods, and waters, And brought music, mirth, and gladness, That the monarch heard the gay notes, And removed his sombre garments, And his frowns and dismal broodings, Donning in their stead right gladly His accustomed festal garments, And his manner bright and cheerful. Three great princes had Nimaera, Who held each a post of honor In the ruling of the kingdom, In the keeping of the subjects. Wisdom had they, and were vested Much in favor, much in honor; And a spirit moved within them, Guiding and directing always. 'Twas a spirit high and sacred, From the Maker of the kingdom, Who in pow'r set King Nimaera, And who watched for ever on it With an eye of keen discerning, To behold if Justice guarded Every action of the rulers. Kalim was a prince the foremost, Who brought people to the kingdom, Made them of a wondrous matter, Moulded, fashioned, and designed them, Limbs and bodies full of senses, Some with beauties and attractions, Comely in their forms and graces, Others wanting and imperfect, And repulsive in appearance. He conveyed them unto Weemus, Left them in his care for training, Heeding not how that was ordered, But returned without delaying, Backward to his own seclusion, Homeward to his mystic working; For his only thoughts resided, And his only glory rested, In the numbers he created, In their beauty of formation, Which in secret depths he fashioned. Weemus was a prince the second, Great among the princely chieftains; He was keeper of the subjects, Took them from the hands of Kalim Young and tender as a blossom, Fed the spirit in their bosom, Cared and kept them out of danger, Framed them unto firmer being, Led them unto good or evil, Led them on to pomp and glory, Rising out of great achievements, By these ways to wealth and grandeur, Scattered on their footpaths wisdom— Wisdom, knowledge, and discretion, Evils, vices, lust, and anger, As a sower scatters corn-seed; Let them gather as they listed Of the good or of the evil. They had powers of true discernment, To direct them as they gathered Which were good and which were evil, Written and engraved on records, Words of endless power and meaning; And a few the good selected, Gathered from a wise discretion; But the crowds were blind and heedless, Minded not the laws and records, Gathered freely of the evil, Wandered on in lusts and vices, Wandered on to spoil and plunder, Wandered on to want and sorrow, Misery, and pain, and anguish. Strange his dealings were and hidden; Oft would take the greatest boaster, Mighty in his own beholding, Who in pomp and riches loitered, In high seats of veneration, And would draw him downward, downward, Rob him of his pomp and splendor, Of his riches and his glory, Set him by the homeless beggar, Holden in the pangs of hunger, Gladly feeding on the morsels Given by the poor and humble, Who were once by him despised. Lone, and destitute, and humbled, Soon he learns his frail condition, And that he is only mortal. Or the unpretending stranger, From a poor and humble dwelling, And unknown among the people, Weemus oft would take and guide him High unto a seat of honor, To reside in noble mansions, Fame and praise for ever by him. Thuswise Weemus often acted, Fearless of rebuke or censure, And accounted not his reasons, Dealing ever as he listed. Sero was the third prince called; He was stern, and fierce, and warlike; Fear and terror walked before him In the sight of all the people, And his bearing was majestic; Quick and keen his glances darted, Like a strong man's arrow flying; And the people tried to shun him, To avoid the ways he haunted; And they trembled sadly, sorely, If he ever ventured near them. Yet beneath his hardened manner Dwelt a gentle spirit calmly; It was only to the wicked, To the evil and the sinful, That his terror was revealed. Sero from the hands of Weemus Took the people rudely, boldly, As directed by the spirit Which for ever ruled his actions. Old, and young, and middle-aged, Heedless of their years he took them, Heedless of their power or greatness, Heedless of their worth or beauty, Or of want or low attainments; Pious-minded, vain, and sinful, Fell alike to be removed. There were some who longed his coming To relieve them of their burden, And admit them to the bright realms Which he watched, and kept, and guarded, There to rest in peace and tranquil, Sheltered from the wars and tumults, From the storms, and fears, and terrors Which were ever raging freely Throughout all the lands of Weemus. They had seen in feeble vision— Seen a ray of future glory, Of the sweet and happy pleasures In this kingdom Sero guarded; Longed and panted for admission, Toiled and labored for a passport, Fought and battled for a title To this realm where trouble is not, Till they had become the victors, And were waiting now to enter. Throughout all Nimaera's kingdom Warning heralds Sero sent out To implore the heedless people, Raising thus their warning voices: "Turn, ye people, turn from evil, Know ye that the day is nearing For the long and weary journey Through dark valleys and wild passes To the lands of the hereafter. Be ye ready for departure, Robed and girded for the journey; For our guide, the princely Sero, Cometh; he is soon before you. If you are not waiting ready, He will not delay the journey, But will in the darkness leave you, Which ye cannot wander out of, From its terrors or its dangers, Till it take you to destruction, To an everlasting torment." Thus the warning heralds wandered, Oft complaining, oft imploring Unto all the erring people, Unto all the slothful numbers; But they were so bound in pleasures, Were in sin and lust so tangled, That they heeded not the warning— The kind words of warning spoken; Which were lost and vainly wasted, Were as mists upon a bulwark, Bearing with them no impression, Save unto a sorry number— But a few who heard and listened, And returned from evil doing Unto ways of truth and knowledge. And of Sero let me tell you. He was keeper of the passes Leading to the land of Wisdom— Wisdom, clothed in radiant glory; And unto the lands of Darkness— Darkness, clothed in every horror. With bewailing he was girded, To that band a key suspended; He was girded with rejoicing, To that band a key suspended. These were keys wherewith he opened, Opened he therewith the wickets, To allow the people entrance As the passport they presented. Just between the wickets sat he, Wide his dusky pinions spreading, One upon each entrance holding; And above him waved a banner, In its colors dull and dismal; Deep and solemn was the motto, Was the warning written on it; Thus it was in bold description— "Woe is for the evildoer; For the upright, joy and gladness." And a voice beside him echoed, In sonorous sounds and loudly, Tones of gladness, tones of sadness, "Hark ye, hark ye, all who wander, Woe is for the evildoer; For the upright, joy and gladness." In his right hand Sero wielded,— Brandished a terrific weapon, And it was a sword of terror; For the evil, but beholding, Trembled as an aspen leaflet, Shuddered as the ruined shudder. Wonder moved all the people While they listened to the sayings, To the wonders he unfolded Of the regions which he guarded. Thus he made his mystic sayings: "Through this wicket on my right hand Is a vale of noble grandeur, Placid and surpassing lovely, Which the pilgrim, as he enters, Hails with overflowing gladness. Seraphs from the holy regions— Oh, so sweet, and so inviting!— Meet him as he enters therein; Through the pleasant passes guide him, By the banks of streamlets gliding, With a constant music laden; Mellow light-beams on them dancing, Waltzing to the streamlet's music; Music soft and so melodious Rising from the groves around them; Groves of myrtle and of woodbine Full of odors rich and soothing, Rising from the flowery vials; Flowers which clothe the banks, adorning, Till the breezes hail their essence; Zephyrs soft, and fair, and gentle, Take these balmy odors with them, Throughout all the holy regions. Thus he wanders onward, onward, With his angel guides advancing, Wrapt in wonder and adorement, Raptured with the matchless beauty, Till a softer music cometh, Sweeter than the notes around him, On the distance flowing sweetly. Soon the strains come nearer, clearer, And he wonders why the music. 'Whence these songs of mirth and gladness?' Asketh thus his angel escort. 'Where and whence these sounds melodious? Whose are all these festive voices? What the cause of such rejoicing?' And the spirits answer thuswise: 'These are bands of angels singing In the happy land of Blessing, In the lofty halls of gladness. Seraphs from their golden harps draw Notes to swell the songs of gladness. These are songs of glad rejoicings For another pilgrim nearing,— One escaped the land of bondage. This the source of these rejoicings.' Ere this answer hath been spoken, Lo! before them rise the portals Of the holy land of Blessing. This the city he hath heard of In such sweet and wondrous stories, Whence he longed in patient waiting To arrive at, now before him. How enraptured he beholdeth All its dazzling brightness spreading, As he nearer comes and nearer To the haven of his journey, Thousand times ten thousands grander Than his brightest fancies thought of. Sparkling, bounding in its brightness, Comes the soft and cheering fair light, Rolling o'er the diamond bulwarks, Flowing through the golden portals, Like ten thousand fairy sunbeams. All the bulwarks are of diamond, And of purest gold the portals; Paved of brightest gems the courts are; Blended in a noble grandeur, Sapphire blocks and blocks of ruby, Emerald bars and bars of opal, Rows of amethyst and topaz, Sparkling in their golden framework. Lofty are the walls and mighty, Rising unto heights unmeasured, Mighty, strong beyond conception. Round the outer palisading Of the diamond walls are watching Many hosts from the Sabaoth Of the King of all these bright realms. Sleepless are their eyes and piercing, Terrible they are in battle; Nothing can uphold against them. They are clad in mail of pure white, Brilliant and of dazzling splendor; Helmets have they, white and burnished, Feathery white plumes in them waving; Brilliant also are their breastplates, And their shields, with 'Love' engraven On the front in golden letters, Are most gorgeous in beholding When the light streams full upon them; And destruction is the weapon They employ to guard the city; Awful is the havoc thereby To the foe who dares approach them. Now before the golden gateway, Which with massive bars is builded, Stands the pilgrim with his escort; And they sound a mighty trumpet, That the strains in thrilling grandeur Flow sonorous through the kingdom. Then behold the keeper cometh, Who the gateway ever keepeth, To unfold the golden barrings; And he throws the gate wide open, And the pilgrim enters therein Now into the holy regions. There a band of seraphs meet him, Chosen from the ranks around them, Guide him to the shining white throne, Where the King in glory sitteth. And the holy King says, 'Welcome, Welcome to you, pilgrim, brother!' And he bids an angel bring him— Bring him royal robes and robe him, Garments rich, and white, and lovely, And a golden crown to crown him. While the empyrean minstrels rising, All in flowing garments vested, Some with harps and some with timbrels, Some with lutes and some with trumpets, All in goodly order mingled, In the skill of gay perfection; Far the minstrel band extendeth Like a wilderness of grandeur. As a sea of flowing white waves Mingled up with diamond ripples; As the moon on sparkling waters, Comes the light from glowing beacons, Dancing on their crowns of glory, Far and near redounding, flowing In a thousand dazzling colors, Like unto a flood of crystal. Silent are they all and heedful While the leader on his tower stands, High amid the radiant brightness, Till his silver wand is raised; Then for music every trumpet, Every lute, and every timbrel, Every harp is strung and ready, And for songs wait all the voices. Lo! it falls, and floods melodious Flow from every voice united, Rise from every lute and timbrel, Stream from every harp and trumpet. Noble and majestic cadence, Full of might and full of sweetness; Like tremendous thunders rolling, Rumbling in their strength and grandeur; Sweet as nectar, which is poured From the cup which Juno holdeth. Far and near the echoes answer, From the vaults and arches flying, In the distant spaces rising Over thrones, and crowns, and mansions, Breaking o'er the vitreous white throne; Like a music-meteor falling, Casting down its charms around it, Ever softest, sweetest, fairest; Softly as the summer showereth, From its fragrant bosom, largely, Dews upon the sleeping meadow. This is honor to the pilgrim, Welcome to his seat of glory; Songs of joy that he is landed From the perils of the journey To be one for ever with them. Now beside the throne he standeth, In his bosom gladness flowing. He hath now been crowned and vested; And the King, arising, speaketh: 'Guide him to his seat of glory, To the mansion he hath gained.' Then, as magic fell amid them, Every voice is mute and silent, Every sound subdued resideth, Every strain on faltering pinion From its gaysome course alighteth; Still and peaceful is the white throng, Calmness, as in death, prevaileth. Now he sits enthroned amid them, And again the strains are wakened, Mighty as to storms of thunder Born as from the womb of calmness, Rising as from death released. Now his voice is with them mingled In the songs, and hymns, and anthems, Which shall evermore continue Throughout all this land of Blisses, Where is love the only bondage, Love the mighty power which holds them." Thuswise speaketh Sero, telling Of the land whereto the wicket On his right hand gives admission. But far different is the story Which he giveth of the regions, Whence the wicket on his left hand To the wanderer gives admission. Spoken thus his vivid brief is: "He, who by this wicket enters, Loseth hope and loseth courage, Meeteth gloomy fears and terrors, Misery and anguish rising In their wildest forms about him; And upon the distance looming Awful terrors, monsters hideous, Scenes and shadows dark and dreary. Now the stifled groan of murder,— Now the seething moan of anguish,— Now bewailings in bereavement, And lamentings of the ruined, Loud, and painful, and laborious, In an awful concert mingled, Flow upon his ear bewildered, As in toil he wanders weary In the crowd, yet lost and lonely, To the dreaded pit of terrors, And its dismal dens and dungeons, Damp, and stifled, and obnoxious, Burning with eternal anger And with lurid flames of vengeance. Lo! aghast, he starts in terror, And anon doth sink in anguish, Weeping for the talents wasted, And the warnings he despised; And for hope he looks and longeth In a deep and fervent longing, But it is a vain desire; Nothing but an awful doom sits Frowning on his pains and terrors. Onward, on he fast is driven, Through a rugged path and perilous; Rising on the hills above him, Roaring thunders roll and rumble, With a mighty noise and terror; All things at their greatness tremble. Sheets of flame, in livid fierceness, Sweep and fly in wildest swiftness; O'er the rugged heights ascending, Cast their lurid glares upon them, In their course revealing further Of the dangers hid in darkness. And beneath him gulphs are yawning, Greedy to devour, are gaping; Torrents deep within them roaring, Lashing up their foamy billows; With the laving of their forces All the pathway shakes and trembles. Brutes, in hungry anger raving, Prowl from dens, and caves, and caverns, Mingle with the ghosts and spectres, Lusting for a bloody surfeit. Reptiles, subtle and obnoxious, Crawl, and welter, and recoil them On the path in slimy matters, Reeking with a poisoned odor, Darting poisons to molest him. Arrows from the towers are flying, Shafts of flame and showers of fire, Sweeping on through clouds and vapors, Like unto a storm of hailstones Driven by a mighty tempest. Sadder and more bitter feelings, Deeper, darker fears betake him, As, above the groans around him, Coming from the pit of terrors, Bitter wailings, mournful cryings, Rise and fill the air with anguish. Now in view the dingy walls stand, In their black and dismal bearing, Of the gloomy pit of terrors; Gloomy, like a loathsome dungeon. Now before the gate he standeth, Worn, and weary, and dejected; And the lurid glares break through it Of the flames for ever burning; And he sees the shames, the tortures, And the writhing objects in them, Suffering and enduring anguish. They who once on bounty feasted, Now enclosed in pangs of hunger; They who were the poor's oppressors, Now oppressed and trodden under. Now destroyers are destroyed, Scoffers are with scoff betaken, And the lofty are made humble; And he shudders to behold them. Then an awful oath is spoken, Bidding to unbar the passage; And the burdened words are answered With another oath as fearful From the fierce and sullen keeper; And the creaking bars fly backward With a mighty clash of vengeance. Then the brazen gate is opened, And the poor deluded victim Thrust into the pit of horrors, All amid the foulsome vapors. Flies the postern close behind him, Back the bolts and bars are driven, Creaking with their heavy burden; And a motley throng surround him, Railing, scoffing, and abusing; Each devising of some evil To annoy, or taunt, or torture. Vengeance burneth black within him, And infernal wars are raging In him and in all the dwellers, One and one against another, Who are doomed through time eternal To this awful pit of terrors; Where the evil spirits harbour, Keep, and count their spoil and plunder, Gathered from among the people, Brought from many ruined cities, Gained in many depredations, By the hand of havoc aided." These are stories Sero telleth Of the happy land of Blisses, Of the dreaded pit of terrors, To the people of the kingdom, If perchance he may allure them By the wonders he revealeth Of the blisses of the former, Of the terrors of the latter. But through all Nimaera's kingdom Went a band of evil spirits, Tribunes of the Prince of Darkness, Went to aid his evil purpose; Pried and scouted every corner, Entered into all the dwellings, Came to tempt and to misguide them, Came to tempt Nimaera's people, Lead them on to lust and evil, Taught them how to rob and plunder, Taught them how to kill and murder, Put corruption in their wishes, Poisoned all their thoughts and reasons, Mingled madness in their pleasures, Blinded them with show and grandeur, Gave them longings and ambitions, That they lost their true discernment, As a man with wines confused Loses proper sense and caution. And they gave such sumptuous meetings, And they said such wondrous fair things— Things that ne'er before were heard of, That the dazzled people followed; And they reaped a mighty harvest, Leading, drawing as they listed; For this was a simple people, Credulous, and blind, and simple. Now the Maker of the kingdom, From his pure and dazzling white throne, Looked and saw the dreadful havoc Raging mid Nimaera's people, And it vexed him very sorely; For he loved the people fondly Who were wisely formed by Kalim: Bones, with matter moulded on them, Fraught with channels, watercourses, And red rivers running through them, From a mystic fountain rising, Flowing ever fast and constant, Giving and diffusing vigor Through the many wondrous members. Counsel took He to restore them From destruction's ruthless havoc, In an earnest consultation Saying ever and repeating, "We must save this ruined people; We must give them light and caution: Light, to shew their wayward goings; Caution, to direct them rightly." So a band of spirits went out, Builded with a holy ardour, Sped athrough the heights and spaces To Nimaera's kingdom, saying: "We will reason with this people; Reason boldly, turn and change them, Warn them of the evil spirits, Shew them thrones, and crowns, and mansions, As a trophy of repentance, Till they cannot fail but hear us, Till they turn in great rejoicing." Thus the spirits went and wandered, Talked and reasoned with the people, Shewing thrones, and crowns, and mansions, Using every power and effort To persuade them of the folly, Of the dangers they were choosing. They who heard the deep entreaties For a minute turned to listen; Felt the powers within them moving Striving to believe and follow. But, a little season longer, When the spirits passed from them, They returned unto the rapids, To the mighty stream of ruin Rolling onward to destruction; For they were so much enamoured By the cunning fascinations Which the evil spirits gave them That they lacked strength and courage, And they failed to turn and follow, Save a very little number, Who restrained their lusts and wishes, And gave heed unto the sayings Which the kindly spirits bore them, Gaining power, the more they harken'd, To withstand the evil spirits, And to baffle their endeavours. These went to the land of Blisses; But for one who Sero passed Through the wicket on his right hand, Going to the holy regions, Seven passed on his left hand, Going to the pit of terrors. Now that I have told you fairly, Shewing as is due to render Of the powers of King Nimaera And his three most favored princes, Giving Sero's own description Of the wonders of the regions Which lie hid within the wickets Which he ever proudly guardeth, Will you listen when I tell you,— Will you hearken to the stories I can give you of Nimaera, And his three most powerful princes, And their dealings with the people? I shall do my best to render Stories such as will entice you; Though my voice is low and feeble, Though my pen is slow and wayward, Never moving fair and fluent, As the spirit which directs it Would that it should move and tell you. They shall but be little stories, Gathered from the many records Which the people kept and courted In their halls, and towns, and cities.
Sailing o'er the sparkling waters, With accordant breezes favoured, Came a vessel homeward bearing, And a gladsome people on it. Sang they songs, and danced, and sported; Sadness was unknown amid them; Old, and young, and middle-aged Were they, and of divers stations. While their pleasures were the fullest, Sero saw their joys and pondered,— Pondered with his inward spirit: "Lo! they have an idle fancy, All their thoughts are gay and heedless, And they dream not of destruction, Think not of a danger nearing, Nor will hearken to the warnings Which are ever spoken to them. Ere another morn has wakened Shall their joys be turned to mourning. I will send, and turn, and change them." Said he to retainers by him, "Seest thou that fair-like vessel, And the mirthful crew upon it? Go, and captive make the number, And their spirits hither bring me; But their bodies can be portioned To the monsters of the ocean. Neptune I shall call and waken; He will lend me storms and tempests, Lightnings and mighty thunders, Which shall in the mission aid thee, Give an awful grandeur to it; Like the flowing of great banners, And as many torches blazing, And the sounds of drums and trumpets, Shall be storms, and flames, and thunder." So the mission goeth forthwith O'er the still and tranquil waters; And they waken slumbering Neptune, Who advanceth storms and tempests; And the waves rise up in anger, Foam and hiss in reckless fury; Thunders bellow martial music; Lightnings flash their vivid torchlight. Grand and mighty the procession! Neptune, in majestic pomp, came In his chariot, attended By a myriad mystic beings, To direct the storms and thunders, And to rule the foaming billows. Spake he thus unto the waters: "Ope your gates, ye billows, open, That great Sero's host may enter With the booty they have taken, And the bodies of their captives, Which shall in my caverns slumber, In my rocky halls and grottos." Then the mighty gates were opened; And they all went downward, down, Down into the dark, cold waters, With their cries and earnest prayers, Wailings bitter and lamentings. Woeful was the scene to witness: Children clinging to their mothers, Husbands in their wives' embraces, Brothers by their sisters holding, Others running wild and madly, Crying to their gods for succour; Every heart in very terror Quailing at the rising future. But these cries cannot be answered; They have sought too late for succour; For the gates are closed upon them, And the victors have their spirits, Bearing to their princely Sero, And their bodies are consigned To the halls of mighty Neptune. Then did Sero take the spirits As the mission brought them to him; And for every one which entered By the wicket on his right hand, Leading to the land of gladness, Seven by the other entered, Down into the pit of terrors.
Stood a fair and stately dwelling In the concourse of the people, Of the lofty of the people; Looked it on the smaller buildings Downward in a scornful manner; Proud was it of fine appearance, Proud the people who dwelt in it. There the arts of every nation Met with the united purpose To adorn and to give splendor To the chambers of this mansion, To its corridors and landings. Ottomans of downy velvet In the looms of Utrecht woven, Vases of Chinese production, Crystals, bright and burnished figures, Models made of gold and silver, Tapestry, and lace, and network, Carpets from the looms of Brussels, Woven into gaudy figures. In a certain gorgeous chamber, In apparel likewise gorgeous, Sat a mighty, pompous woman. Very high were her ideas Of her own expanded person, And her own unmeasured value; All the world would not contain them, They were so elate and soaring. Luxury and ease were round her, As she fancied to receive them; And a host of powdered servants Waited idly for her orders. Now she calls for an attendant, And doth give him orders thuswise: "'Not at home' shall be the answer Unto all who this day seek me, Save unto his highness Fashion; Ye shall give to him admission." State obeisance marks his exit, Ready for a plumper falsehood, Spoken to his lady's order. Soon a knock, which sounds familiar. Lo! it is the dunning trader, Who is sorely run to hold him From the stream of dangerous rumours; But the answer thus is told him— "Not at home, my lady is not." So the tradesman from her doorway, Empty-handed, homeward turns, Thinks not such a ready answer Is an utter fabrication. Sero, from his seat beholding, Saw this lounging lump of matter, Puffed up in pomp and splendor. He was moved to indignation, And said, in a scornful manner, "O blinded fool! O filthy pomp! Glory ye in dust and shadows? See ye not the wild delusions, Which ye cherish so and fondle, Through the darkness they are set in?" Said he to attendants by him, "Go ye to that stately chamber Where this pompous woman sitteth; Pass the trader in the doorway And the ready story-teller, Enter and lay hold upon her; Take the lusty look she weareth, Cast it to the winds that ramble, Racing through the hills and mountains; Take her great imaginations, Sift them in the seive of honor— Lo! they are as dross and ashes, And her pomps and giddy grandeur Scatter and disperse them likewise." So went Sero's servants forward, Did as had their chief commanded, Smote this pompous woman sorely— With the rod of sickness smote her; And the ruddy color left her, And those lofty airs and manners; Sickness and a ghastly pallor Came upon her limbs and forehead, And she hourly sank and wasted Till a spectre she resembled. Then the spirit fled the body, And was carried unto Sero; Sero through the wicket passed it To the pit of Long Damnation. What is now this pompous woman, And her great imagination? These have vanished like a shadow, As a myth or phantom figure; And that body, once so lusty, Is a mouldering lump of matter, Corruptible, and vile, and filthy.
In a miserable dwelling Sat a miserable old man Mid a heap of hoarded treasures, Buried in the walls and burrows; And it was his constant idol, And his brain was ever scheming How he might augment the numbers. Oft he turned the treasure over, Counting fondly and recounting; And he joyed to hear the jingle Of the yellow coins he counted. Threescore years had been devoted, Scraping of this gain together. He had fed on scanty portion, Grudging sorely every morsel; And had clothed himself in raiments Which a beggar scarce would stand in. He had never fed the hungry, And had never clothed the naked, That he might increase his riches. Sero in this hovel saw him Bending o'er his golden treasures; And he laughed derisive laughter, And sarcastic was his manner, As his servants he commanded To the miser's presence, saying, "Lo! our princely Sero wisteth Whence are all these hoarded riches,— If in scruple they were gathered. If ye long to take them with you When you leave this land of Weemus For the lands of the hereafter; If ye think to buy a passport To the land of Blisses with them, Ye are sadly much mistaken. This we deem as dross and worthless. Ye can never enter thereto Bearing such a burden with you. Ye must feed the hungry with it, And must clothe the naked wanderer, And employ it as a talent To be used for wiser purpose Than to hoard in walls and burrows, If ye long to be admitted To the tranquil land of Blisses." But the old man would not listen To the words of wisdom spoken; He was so engrossed in counting, And in adding to his riches. So the servant raised his weapon, Sorely therewith smote the miser,— With destruction did he smite him,— That he fell a lifeless clay-heap Down among the hoarded moneys; And his spirit was removed Unto Sero, and he opened Wide the wicket on his left hand, And it passed into the darkness, To the pit of gloom and terrors. Then the door was rudely opened Of this miserable dwelling By the people claiming kinship; And they scrambled for the riches, And in many quarrels sought them, Tending to the disuniting Of the sacred bonds of friendship; Brother against brother rising, Raging in a bitter conflict. Many, who received a portion, Went and squandered to his ruin All he had in lust and gambling, Till his life was sorely broken. When his riches had been pillaged, Then the body of the miser Was removed quick and coldly, Lowered in the grave and covered; But of they who followed with it, No one wept a tear of sorrow, No one mourned for his departure; But they gave attendance only,— That, stern duty had commanded. Thus the end was of the old man, Of the miserable miser.
In a wilderness of houses In the heart of a great city, Full of riches, full of plenty, And of people high and prosperous, Of its ancient greatness boasting, And its modern princely splendors; In a loathsome and a dark street, Foulsome odors rising from it, Rife and pregnant with diseases, Stood a hovel, foul and filthy; Lay a being, wane and wasted, On a straw heap in a corner; Scarce a rag to hide her person, Lice and vermin creeping on her; And beside her stood distraction, Woe, and want, and piercing hunger; And her look was wild and vacant, Like a spectre's, wandering madly. When the night came, it was laden Much with gloomy fear and sadness, And a trembling apprehension That the dawn would not approach her; And the morning was attended With but little hope or succour. Charity, in cold attendance, Came with many words and wishes; And, in fair and full pretending, Stood, and pitied, and regretted; But it gave a meagre pittance Or of comfort or appeasing, To withdraw the pangs of hunger, Or relieve her sunken spirit. But good Sero saw in pity. He beheld her calm endurance Of the anguish bearing on her; And he sent and took her spirit— Took it gently from the ruin, From the filth and the pollution; And he opened wide the wicket By his right hand, and conveyed it From the misery and anguish To the happy land of Blisses, To the land of peace and plenty.
With the burden of my stories I shall not detain you further, Lest ye weary to pursue them Through the dreary way they lead you. Let me further only mention, Sero's servants were engaged Ever seeking and conveying Subjects from the hands of Weemus To the watch-ward of their chieftain. Mute and mystic were their movements; Softly, and without observance, Passed they to the secret chamber,— Took from thence the hidden subject; From the lover's fond embraces Tore away his dearest treasure— She, to whom his life was wedded, Was for ever sworn betrothed; Went into the stately dwelling, And the lowly and the humble, Heedless of position took them; To the sacred courts of prayer, Where the Maker of the kingdoms Held communion with the people; And into the gay assemblies, To the scenes of mirth and gladness, Where were songs and revel dances, In a maddened fulness rising. Many widows left they mourning— Widows wailing, orphans weeping, In unmitigated sorrow, For the loss of near and dear ones. Hard and cruel seemed their dealings In the sight of all the people; For they could not learn the purpose Which, in all their acts, directed. Yet these were most wisely ordered; For the Maker of the kingdom, Of Nimaera's kingdom,—moved them— Moved, and guided, and informed them. Sero to the land of Blisses Passed all the just and lowly; They whose lives had been preserved From the soiling stains of evil; Who had lived in single purpose, Holy and uprightly always; Who had made oblations fitting, Praise and honor to the Founder Of Nimaera and his kingdom; And had made a full endeavour In obeying the commandments Which were written for their guidance; Who of charity gave freely Unto all the poor and needy, And, in giving, had no purpose Selfishly to further thereby. But unto the pit of terrors Evil and unrighteous people, All the lukewarm and the heedless Of the order of the statutes, All blasphemers and revilers, And all foul and filthy talkers, Liars, brawlers, and adulterers, They whose hands are stained in murder, All the proud and haughty boasters, All licentious and deceivers, They who are the poor's oppressors, Robbers and unjust receivers,— These for ever had their portion In the pit of gloom and terrors.
If ye wonder at its greatness And the grand and deep foundation Of the kingdom of Nimaera, We will take a tour and see it, Going unto every limit Where Nimaera great in power is, Where he holds his goodly council, Chief of all the powers beside him. From the womb of words it came forth, Out of chaos and of darkness, First in rude and wild confusion, Then arranged in goodly order; Lands and waters, woods and pastures, And with moving creatures peopled. First, behold the orbs above us, Which are ever sparkling brightly; Let us upward rise and see them— See their great and many wonders, With a wonder rising mountains Through the circuit they are set in. These are worlds like our own one, And have each their separate people, Laws, and customs, and strange dealings; And these worlds are ever turning, Moving round the orbs of splendor, Fixed, in the height of spaces, For a light and heat unto them. Now we wonder if these people Are by evil spirits haunted, Which incite them to rebellion, And destroy their God-like image; But we cannot solve the wonder, And must choose to sit in darkness. Then I guide you hence awayward From the sparkling of this system, From the sun's rebounding brightness, And the pale moon's ever-fair light, And the many colored star lights, Blended in a great profusion, To the limits of our world, Which we best can know and search in. First, unto the boundless ocean, By the billow which returneth Echo to great Neptune's call, Where the mermaid host sojourneth In his ancient rocky hall; Where Leviathan, the mighty Keeper of all Neptune's treasure, Roams around the rocky caverns In majestic state, exploring. Let us see these mighty waters When they rise in foaming billows, Swallowing towns, and ships, and people, Roaring like a mighty thunder; And, when they are still and peaceful, Like a plain of pasture spreading, Sleeping as a virgin sleepeth Ere vain love-dreams fill her bosom. Both these aspects are majestic, Grand, and pleasing, and inspiring. On a bark we will convey us Through the peering rocks and islands, Where the Summer brings its sunshine, And the Winter frost and snow-storms, For a season to the lone isles. Then unto the tropic regions, Where the proud sun pours its glory On the burning sandy deserts; Streams of brightness everlasting, Like ten thousand mountains blazing; And the khamsheens wild and fiercely Sweep in burning flakes along them, And torment the weary traveller Who is slowly wading through them, Thirsting for a cooling river. And 'tis there the wild tornado Riseth in its frame of terror, Wild, and fierce, and unrelenting. To the spreading woods and forests Of the black pine and the myrtle, Of the cedar and the red birch, Of the oak tree and the walnut, Of the tulip and mahogany, All in branchy webwork blended, That the light can hardly enter To remove the clouds of darkness In the vast and deep recesses; Where the lion and the tiger, Where the panther and the leopard, And the jaguar and hyaena, And the tan wolf and the ocelot, In the daytime hold their parley, And resort for wakeful slumbers, Till the dusky hand of black night Draweth down her curtain on them; Then they leave the sylvan passes To traverse the open valley, Prowling after luckless surfeit, Lurking by the lakes and rivers For the panting prey which cometh To allay its thirsty feelings At their sweet and cooling waters. There the owl at midnight whoopeth, And the lions roar majestic, And the many prowling wild brutes Raise such divers sounds and noises, That it gives a fearful grandeur To the scene at hours of midnight. To the rocky hills and mountains We will next direct our journey, Which with heathy robes are mantled, And whose heads are ever wearing Caps of snow of many ages. These are in adorning climates, Where the seasons bring their changes, Where comes hoary-headed white frost, And the plumy flakes of white snow, Showered around in bounty's largess, Lend the plains a pure white carpet, And the hills a dazzling wrapper, Which they don in princely grandeur, Till the herald voice resoundeth O'er the mountains, hills, and valleys, From the orient regions coming: "Haste ye, Winter, your departure, And remove those chill adornments, Fold those dreary garments quickly, And begone unto your own land; For our fairy queen approacheth, Comes our gentle queen to claim her Now the rule of this dominion. Hark how sweet the songs she bringeth! We shall give her welcome greetings." Now the peaceful vales and pastures All in beauty spread before us; And the fragrant kine are grazing, And the merry lambs run frisking Mid the perfumes of the meadow, From the odors of the Spring flowers; And the Cashet dove is cooing Love songs to its cherished mate; And the shepherd boy is wooing By the rustic cottage gate. There the swains, in nature's freedom, Pour their mirth around profusely; And the aged people fondly See the mirth they once partook of. Now, from scenes so sweet and pleasant, We must turn and journey onward; From the mountains' rugged grandeur, Where the chamois and the wild deer Roam in constant freedom over; Where the eagle soaring flyeth, Scouting with a keen beholding; And with thunders rolling by us, And with lightnings trouling round us, Seek for other scenes and fancies. Thence away unto the regions, Gliding o'er the restless billows, Through the howling storms and tempests, Unto scenes of snow and icelands, Where the blocks of ice are dancing Like huge hills amid the billows, And the snows are ever sleeping, And the frosts are ever biting; Where the bears go prowling wildly, Creeping from their icy caverns. There we find a nature also, And a people who enjoy it. But that we have made a survey Rudely of the different regions, And in visits on our journey Have discerned the varying customs Of the many different people Who take glory in their white skins, Or of others who, alikewise, Build their pride in skins of copper; Let us notice more minutely Scenes, and wonders, and behaviours On this kingdom of Nimaera, As they often come before us. So the little stream we follow, Rising from a rocky mountain, See it moving onward, onward, Gathering force, and power, and beauty, Till it gets a rolling river, Sweeping onward to the ocean, Watering many pleasant valleys, Cheering many a thirsty traveller. This is like a man who riseth From a humble life and hidden Unto power, and wealth, and wisdom, Gaining large and goodly influence, Giving, as he upward rises, Courage unto needy pilgrims, Help unto the homeless wanderer. These are of Nimaera's kingdom. But, as we have traced the river From its wild and rustic birthplace, Let us see the scenes beside it; And in wonder deep we ponder How all these things were created, And of the unbounded knowledge Of the Being great who made them. First we pass the lake which spreadeth Wide its bosom to the sunshine, Or unto the winds and tempests; By its mountain bulwarks guarded, Which for everlasting passion Keep the couch whereon it sleepeth. Then the sweet and happy village, Standing in the peaceful valley, Fraught of fondest recollections Of the happy days of childhood Unto many far departed, Toiling through the world's courses. There is simple joy and humble, And in unity the daytime And the tranquil of the night time Keep harmonious pleasures by it. Stand around it woods and pastures, Full of song, and peace, and plenty; O'er them softest winds are wafted, Sporting gently with the leaflets, Which unite in murmurs often, Seeming to reproach them thuswise: "Why came ye so near our pillows, To disturb the peaceful order Of our slumbers sweet and soothing?" In the east behold the gay orb Leave its cradle for rejoicing O'er its course in might and grandeur. On the west behold the pillow Where it lieth down to slumber. Next, as we go wandering onward From these rustic scenes and pleasing, Comes the city, overflowing With a motley population. There oft pestilence and sickness Pay each other salutation, And unite their fatal efforts To destroy in deadly numbers, Raging through the streets in darkness, And disguised in the daytime To betray the one who thinks not That his doom is yet so near him. There the harlot of the midnight Holdeth forth her deadly charmings To entice the blind and simple. He is simple who doth lend her Such a glance that lusts go after; He defiled that partaketh Of the couch she sheweth to him. Seek of wisdom, and refrain thee From the path whereon she lurketh; She will draw thy vigor from thee, And thy spirit to destruction. There is sin, in all its blackness, Spreading wide its vile infection. Like unto a thief it stealeth Through the crowded lanes and alleys; And appeareth, robed more gaily, Yet as hideous in its purpose, In the dwellings of the lofty, On their walks and promenadings. Here the young are led from virtue Unto every ill devising; As the lad who, in his anger, Curseth a reproving parent Daily wanders unto evil, Till his hand is raised to murder, Reeking in a brother's life-blood. Then of fear he is betaken, And a bloody spirit haunts him, Till his days are sadly ended Hanging on the loathsome gallows. Here is revel mirth and gladness, And gay scenes, where flock the simple. They are simple who, allured, Follow Pleasure's fleeting phantom. They are led deluded onward, Till it is a curse unto them, And they have not power to leave it. They are led to low desires, Craving unto lust and evil; As the drunkard and profaner, As the vile and the licentious Glory in plebian language, With their sharp tongues dipt in slander, And their words in curses flowing, Think not of their awful ending Till destruction comes upon them. Thus the gorgeous devil hieth To the grand and gay assemblies, And attend him many pages In their many-colored costumes; They are eager at enlisting,— Luring numbers to his bondage. Have you taken his temptation? Are you too an eager worker To allure the simple to him? Say how many souls are writhing In a long and sad destruction, Who pursued a better pathway Till you lured them to forego it. But I must not wander thuswise. We are now in the great city, Where the lofty and the lowly, And the sumptuous and the starving, Are within each other's shadows. There the merchant and the trader Tendeth each his own transactions; Some deal fairly, some deal falsely. And the judges sit dispensing Seeming justice to the people; But their judgments are corrupted, And they rule in wrong or favor. There is constant din and bustle; And the weary shopman standeth Day to day in close confinement; And the pallid seamstress sitteth For a long and tedious twelve hours Stitching, while her life is ebbing In a rapid current from her. Now awhile we see the playhouse, And the giddy hall of music, And the scenes exposed therein, Oft immodest and immoral. Next the nest of thieves and robbers, With their heaps of spoil and plunder, And their hidden laws and customs. Then we seek the house of prayer, Which is only weekly opened, Or which day to day inviteth Weary souls into its shadow, There to hold a sweet communion With the God who made and keeps them, Or the silent hours of midnight To employ in watchful prayer. As we come unto His presence Let us bow in holy reverence, As is ever due and fitting, To the God who there descendeth. Now behold the people gathered; They are all as one together, But their thoughts are widely parted. Some are earnest, true, and godly, Others wicked and regardless; Some are semi-sanctimonious, (Most obnoxious of deceivers.) Let us see their inward purpose. One doth offer true oblation— Praise and worship, as he seemeth; While the thoughts of one near by him Are among the world's pleasures; And another has come hither To give homage, style, and fashion; And another thinks of feasting (His great god is in his belly.) Suchlike is the varied purpose Of the lofty and the humble, Met together and commingled In this sacred house of prayer. Now we leave this hallowed building, And again the street we enter. There we meet a mournful number, In a mournful measuring treading, All in sombre garments vested; And in reverent awe we follow To the place where sculls of dead men And the framework of the body In the grave's deep stillness slumber,— Where the worms are ever feeding On the bodies fast decaying. There the mourners lay their burden In the cold grave, weeping on it Tears of anguish deep and bitter; And they heap the mould upon it, And return a little season, Till the time for their departure: Soon in death they also slumber. Let us always keep as sacred This still dwelling of our fathers, Whereto oft the lonely mourner, Oft the orphan and the widow, Come to weep a tear of sorrow On the cold ground which enshrineth The remains of dear ones parted Ever from their earthly presence. Now we leave the crowded city, With its mingled good and evil, With its noise, and din, and bustle, And the roll of laden waggon, And the mail cart, and the black van; And we pass a little onward, Down beside the pleasant river, To the fields of war and bloodshed, Where destruction's storm is raging, Where the valiant and the brave men All around are thickly falling— Falling as the leaves of Autumn, Trampled in the dust around them, Where they soon will be forgotten, Sleeping in the depth of ages. Gory red the river runneth, And the plains with blood are steaming— Boiling blood, which from the wounded Floweth, gushing fast and freely. Why is all this ruthless ravage, And this people fiercely warring? It is for a vain ambition, Or a little earthly matter Which they cannot settle better Than in war and deadly bloodshed, Or to gain an angry vengeance For some insult which appeareth To imagination hideous. Now we leave the sterner presence Of the earth and all its changes, And we take the wings of fancy, (Which is sister to poesy), Guided by the light of record Thereon mount, and fly, surveying, Far above the heights of knowledge. And we take a retrospective Of the ancient times and people, When was nature young and blooming, When our fathers were created, And within the blessed Eden Set to tend and to adorn it. Adam with his Eve beloved, Happy in their single nature, Thus brought forth to joy and pleasure, Innocent and sweet amusement, In attending on the fair wants Of the creatures set around them, Over which, in kingly greatness, They were made the head, the purpose Of these others in creation, From the unexplored chaos. Thence we come into the present. Age to age doth bring us onward Through the fickle term of nations And the changes of the people, Mid their tumults and their tranquils, As they stand in pomp and glory, Firm and faithful in their own strength, Till its frailty cometh on them And they are completely conquered,— Broken down in great destruction. O'er the waters of the deluge We come sailing onward, onward; And arrive with many records From the many downcast nations, From the people of all ages, First, and last, and intervening. And we pass the time allotted To the gods of superstition, When the world was set in darkness, In the fear of gods of fancy, Who held counsel on Olympus. There sat Jupiter, the greatest, On his ivory and gold throne, And communed with his advisers, Who were Juno, his betrothed, Fairest goddess of the council, Who gave from her depths of knowledge Good advisings to her chieftain. Then were Mars, the fierce and warlike, And Apollo, for the poets, With Diana, his twin sister, Who sat on the silent moonbeam, Chaste, enchanting in her meekness. Then stood Venus, rich in charmings, Goddess sole of love and beauty; And stood Mercury, the swiftest Bearer of the council's tidings. Then came Neptune, strong and mighty, Ruler of the storms and tempests; And the god of fire near him, Who was Vulcan, rude and ready. And to Vesta, Saturn's daughter, Were entrusted fires also, More refined and more celestial; While the number was completed By good Ceres, full of bounty, Keeper of the corns and harvests. Thus in council sat the great gods, Dealing fates unto the nations; So the simple people fancied. Now the flight of fancy over, She hath brought us safely homeward, To the spot we love the fondest. There we lay the many tokens Of the wondrous journey by us, And reflect now quaintly, calmly On the great things we have witnessed In this kingdom of Nimaera; And, before our thoughts are settled, We by votaries are surrounded From the courts of every people, From the throne of every nation, Who, in tongues that widely vary, And in words that sound so strangely, Give their mission, bear their record Of the throne of King Nimaera, Of his ancient power and greatness, Of his presence with the modern, With their people of the present. And to give its own conviction Shall the voice of every creature, Of the nobles of creation, All in one together mingle, From the feeble voice of old age To the lisping tongue of childhood. Grand shall be their mingled accents, Which in verity are rising, Telling likewise of Nimaera, Who their every purpose ruleth, Tends it in its first conception, Baffles wholly and destroys it, Or unto completion brings it, Bringeth out its faults or virtues, Shewing where its merit lieth. Then shall every beast that liveth, Every bird and every reptile, Every fish and every insect, Raise their own peculiar voices— (Terrible, or sweet, or puny); And will testify their own way Of the powers of King Nimaera, Who their being's fire feedeth, Gives them space for life and glory, With that limit ends their being; For no hidden spirit have they Image to the holy Maker. Now the grave shall yield its token, And the battle-field its relic, Stained in gore and kept in glory; And the caverns of the ocean Shall advance a token likewise, Opening wide their watery great doors, Shew the works of many ages By the hand of King Nimaera, With the wonders stored among them, Worked, and fashioned, and performed. Then the voice of stormy Winter, And the soft and pleasing fair notes Of the Springtime and the Summer, And the richly-laden Autumn, Shall a ready answer make us. And the mighty wind that bloweth, And the soothing and the soft breeze With a pensive murmur cometh— Cometh laden with responses From the trees of every forest (Every leaflet's tiny voice joined), From the fair and fertile valleys, From among the hills and mountains, With advisings to speak boldly Of the powers of King Nimaera; That in every race or ramble Has his throne been set around them, Built of wonders and composed Far amid the wilds and fertiles. Here and hence these heralds answer; Then they take their pinions swiftly, And are vanished ere we know them, Still to roam, and race, and ramble. Next the voices shall be blended Of the brooklets and great rivers, Of the ever-murmuring ocean, Of the wild and roaring thunders, Of the tempest howling terrors, Hailstones heavy and great snow-storms, And the flames of fire roaring; These shall boldly say their saying, That he is among them alway, That they have for ever known him, And their strength dependeth on him. Then the rocks in echoes answer— Answer to the roll of thunders, And the roaring of the ocean, In a myriad sounds replying, Own the powers of King Nimaera. Then the stars shall twinkle signs forth, Like the language of the speechless; And the sun in dazzling bright rays, And the moon with mellow fair beams, And the evening and the morning, And the noonday and the midnight, And the dew which gently falleth, And the raindrops and the vapors, And the mists on all the rivers, And the fleecy and the black clouds Shall inscribe their ready answers, And with mystic fingers write thus: "When our buoyant pinions take us High unto the outer heavens, Far beyond the eagle's soarings, Then we see Nimaera's wonders In all spaces that we visit On the earth or in the heavens, And, in every form that nears us, See his wondrous power and greatness; For his throne is firmly builded, Rising unto all the world." And they further shall inform us That some strange and mystic stories Have been spoken of Nimaera And his dealings with the people, Counted in the ancient numbers, Reckoned in the current courses. Now that we are well informed Of his throne, and power, and dealings, Let us hear the voice of Reason, Speaking lastly, yet abounding Much of wisdom and of foresight, Seeing, as a prophet, matters Hidden yet upon the future; And he tells us, "Yet a short time Stands the throne of King Nimaera; He but reigns a season longer, Then yields up his power and kingdom— Yields it to the hand which gave it; And he well hath filled his mission,— Ever faithful, ever constant. Now he steppeth from his high throne, Builded to the gates eternal, Which are quickly opened to him, And he joins the never ending. Then his kingdom is forgotten, And in flames as chaff consumed, Rolled away as clouds of vapor; Clouds of smoke and clouds of vapor, Flying with the roar of thunders, Terrible, and loud, and mighty, And with lurid lights illuming All the vast unfathomed chaos. Then comes gloom and dismal darkness, Falling over all the spaces, When the flames forget their burning. Now his people come for judgment, And they are in substance spirits, Born to everlasting being. Mighty is the Judge who sitteth, And His throne a sea of splendor. He gives justice without favor. He is good, and kind, and gentle. They whose lives have been directed Just, and upright, and unswerving From the ways of truth, shall see Him With a joy of sweetest measure. He is stern and firm in purpose. They whose lives have been of evil Tremble in His awful presence; For they see their doom engraven,— 'To the pit of Long Damnation,' Awful gloom and awful terrors."
LORD HENRY OF THE EDEN-SIDE.
The scene of this Poem is located on the banks of the Eden, a pleasant river in Cumberland. It is founded on facts, but the names and some other immaterial points are imaginary.
LORD HENRY OF THE EDEN-SIDE.
Roll, ye gentle waters, Rich in music laden; Know ye not of matters Hid in sorrow's deep den. Bloom, ye buxom beauties, By this Eden river; Thine a gem of duties To attend it ever. Spread, ye fruitful valleys, Drawing from it life-spring; Ye may cope with allies, And a victor's song sing.
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'Twas by this Eden of the northern land, Upon the fertile banks of the fair stream, Where nature's beauties to the noonday spread, And in the golden sunset sparkle more, As charm to charm is added ever new, Until the eye is weary to behold The bounty of the grandeur there contained, To watch the peaceful bosom of the stream Sparkle, as with a thousand diamonds set; While softly moving, as by inward life Inspired, to guide it in the bidden course, As it glides on and onward to the firth; While in its rural bed the silver trout Runs pouting freely, darts from stone to stone, As of that sport it never should be sore. And from the banks, amid the sylvan brake, A life of melody is rising here and there From wood-wild songsters, which their glory take To mete a measure ever sweet and fair; As though the task were for a victory, And each endeavoured to advance its notes In sweetest sounds and fairest melody. 'Tis sweetly soothing to the weary mind, Which here hath turned a little time for rest. Amid this scene the happy swains delight To dwell, and draw the vigor of their life With all the fulness nature can supply, And every morn awake to new delights Robust and hale, and of a healthy mind, And so go forth to labor, and to take The fulness of the land they labor on, And in the meadows feed their favored kine, So full and ready that they low and long The maid with pails to ease the milky load. Sweet is this scene in early hours when viewed, What time the rising sun comes proudly forth, Midway to east, between the south and north, And chases quick the lingering night away, Which, as a schoolboy, loiters on the way; Or in the tranquil of a closing day It is beheld in charms surpassing sweet, Just as the sun has done his bidden course, And goes to slumber in the favored west, Yet lingers long to take a parting look Upon the land which he shall leave behind, As seeming loth to wander from the scene, But, called of duty, moves at length away, And draws his train behind the distant hills, Till all is lost to the admiring gaze, Which feasted on the beauties to the last. For darkness comes with night, his paramour, And cast their shadows over all the land; And in their stilly presence creeps repose, And folds his arms around the lifeful sounds, Till all is hushed of nature into rest, And all the tuneful throng is mutely still, And comes no sound of labor from the hill. Then thrilling is the grandeur of the calm; The only sounds which come upon the ear, To tell the mind that life remaineth near, Are the soft murmurings of the silvery stream, The gentle winds which whisper to the trees As they go wandering in the border woods, Or now and then the screeching of an owl, The bleeting lamb, or distant watch-dog's howl.
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'Twas on this scene Lord Henry loved to dwell— A noble bearer of a noble name— Lured by the tranquil of a country home To muse upon the beauties of the land. 'Twas here the castle of his fathers stood— Time honored and of pleasing memories, Adorned of nature and of every art Which the devising of the mind can give To feed the fancy of admiring man. But in these pleasants soon there came a time When he got weary of the lonesome life, Which led him, day by day, in the same scenes, And did not still the longings of his soul. For now he felt the presence of a power Which all men feel, that moves the will at ease Unto a bondage which they fain would shun, Yet loving well the while the gentle guile Which bids the soul unto the presence sweet Of some fair maid, whose winning charms had wrought Well on the strongholds of a purposed heart, Until the entrance hath been fully made, And it is captive to her choosing will, And all the forms to wedlock which pertain. This mystic power incited on him more, Till he resolved to seek a maiden fair, And share with her the blessings of his home, And mete with her the measure of his life. Thus said the voice which whispered to his soul: "And she shall cheer me in the heavy hours, And give a spirit to my lonesome life; And she shall be a maiden, young, and fair, And gentle, and be termed the sweetest flower Of all the land for many measures round; And such a maiden I shall love, and serve, And honor, and revere, with all the love Which an admiring soul can give to one Who is the perfect image of his heart." And, ere a while, Lord Henry loved, and wooed, And wed a maiden of a worthy line, And led her gently to his country home, And used every power to make her glad, And loved and served her with a constant love, And had no mind to other than to her. For she was sweet, and fair, and gentle (more Than the bright picture he had fancied of); And they were happy in such tranquil joys, As day by day went fleeting on its course, And saw them still in one united love, And one to one the source of sweetest joy. These bore their record ere they passed away Of some distinguished pleasure to imply— A sweetness to the retrospective thought. She was his sole companion day and night. Oft he would lead her to the flowery lawn, And in the rosy bowers bedeck her hair, And watch the image of his soul repose In all her beauty 'neath a rosy crown; Amid the fragrance of the blooming eve, And the soft cadence from the sylvan towers, Beheld the heaving of her gentle breast, Moved by the passing of a peaceful breath, Until of love his soul would overflow; Then he would bend and lay his lips to hers, And pour a shower of mellow kisses there. Then he loved well to hear the harp reply— The silvery harp—unto her nimble touch, And shower its floods of melody away, To mingle with the songs of nature by; For it knew well the softness of her touch, And gladly gave its music in return. But more he loved than music of the harp, Or songs of many valleys in the Spring, When every fragment of the air is full Of song and all the arts of melody, To hear the sweetness of her full-tuned voice, Raised to the measure of some favored song; A life-like presence lending to the theme, Until the soul is fervent in return Of they who listen to its thrilling power. Then they would wander to the village oft, Now by the path along the bridge, and then Across the water by the ferry-boat; For the coy village is across the stream, Near on a line from where the castle stands, And nigh it well, that when the breeze accords, Or calm prevails, the sounds come floating o'er Of mirthful lads in gambol on the green, Or the part song of buxom damsel raised, Who lightly busies at her noonday task; Anon the chime of the church clock, which tells Another hour departed of the year. And all these sounds familiar to them come, And all the village holds them in respect, Which as they near the rustic boys will doff Their brown worn caps in manner rustic like, While dame and damsel pay a reverence meet Unto the lady they have learnt to love; For she is loved by all the people well, And held in honor as a God-sent friend,— Kind-hearted to the poor, and to the sick A double help and kindly comforter. In manner thus the seasons quickly pass, One after one,—the flowery Summer and The golden Autumn, with her bounty hand; Then, in the background, Winter, and again, When Spring, the early Summer; it was then, Her full time having come, the lady went Unto her chamber, and brought forth a child. And it was robed, and brought, and put into The father's hand, and he was very glad With the full joy which fills a father's heart, And went and kissed his wife, and bade Her speedy well, and all things seemed good; And in his ear a sweet, soft voice foretold: "Thine is a happy lot of years to come, All full of tranquil and domestic bliss; Thy paths are by the ways of harmony, And a fair train of love shall ever tend, With all her blessings largely to bestow, Upon thy head as dew in Summer night." Again he went unto his wife, to see How quickly she got well and how she fared For he was weary to be wanting her, And longed to see her graceful form again Come quickly here and there about his home. But lo! he saw the hand of sickness had Upon his loved one laid a ruthless hold, And that the lustre of her eye had gone, And that her voice had lost its brightest chords. Then day and night he watched her, and bestowed Of every tendence he could think to give, Which would allay the fever, or imply Relief awhile unto her aching head. But day and night he saw her further wane, Her life-stream ebbing every hour away; Until at last he saw her wane and die, Beheld her sink into the arms of death. Then woeful was the scene, to see him bend Upon the lifeless form in floods of woe, Whose bitter torrents overwhelmed long; And much he wept in full and heavy tears, Till they who saw it thought his heart would break; And for long hours he gazed upon her form, Nor could conceive that she was truly dead. And all the household wept, and many came To give him comfort, but he turned away, And could not hearken to their kindly words, And rose and left the house to wander out, And passed the old domestic at the door, Who dare not question where his master went. And to the woods he wandered. It was night, And long the warblers of the dale had sung Their last glad anthem to the dying day, And gone to slumber in the sylvan bowers Until the dawning of another morn. And on he wandered, but he knew not whence, For all his thoughts were maddened and confused. Then to the bower he came, where oft in time But lately gone he had his loved one led, And with the fairest flowers bedecked her hair. He paused awhile, and, with a heavy sigh, Spake to the flowers, "O ye fair flowers, receive The lamentations of a widowed heart. Thy gay perfections have no further charms; And those sweet odors are diffused now As fragrance is unto a wasted land, Since she who loved them has for ever gone." Then on he pressed into the deepest depths Of the still woods, his mournful story told In tears and sighs unto the woods and wilds; And they made answer in a murmur deep, Which ran from tree to tree adown the break; While from the stream a low lamenting came, And the clear heavens wept gentle tear-drops down, And every star seemed as a pitying eye— An eye of love with sparkling tear-drops full. And all around was mute, and the pale moon Came forth to take a survey of her realm, Parading in a calm majestic air From end to end, and casting here and there, Through the condenseness of the sylvan boughs, Her sidelong glances, which intrude the depths, And lay strange shadows wrangling on the ground. Then for a while he stood amazed amid The awful tremor of this death-like calm, And for a time his grief forgot its depth; For a calm wonder sat enthroned instead Upon his soul, which shewed the great, and good, And grand conception of the God who made The earth and heavens in order so profound. And, growing weary, there he sat him down Beneath the cover of a spreading tree; For it was many days since he had slept Or rested for his earnest watchfulness. He breathed a silent prayer that God would send Him comfort in and strength to bear the grief, Then drew his mantle o'er him, and remained Wrapt in the sadness of his mournful thoughts, Until the gentle arms of slumber closed Around him, and he slept a deep, soft sleep. And in the watches of the night there came A bright and wondrous vision on his mind. He dreamt that on a lovely eve he sat Beneath the shadow of a spreading tree, In adoration of the beauties round But heartsore with the burden of his woe; When the sweet fragments of a heavenly song Broke on his ear. He raised his eyes, and lo! Amid the tranquil heights above he saw Forth from the portals of the eternal gates Two angel forms descending unto him. Their garments were as white as Winter snow, And on their brows were sparkling crowns of gold, And they had wings as angels, and each held A banner in her hand, on which these words In golden letters were so strangely wrought: "'Tis peace, and love, and joy eternally Adorns the precincts of our blessed home." And bright their presence was as dazzling suns, Which send a radiance through the heavens wide. They now before him stood, and she who spake Was lovely to behold; her perfect form Was as the form of his departed one, Yet lovelier far; and the sweet voice did seem The same sweet voice he had been wont to hear. In fervent power, yet softly, thus she spake: "Dear Henry, rise and mourn no more for me, Since I am in a sweet eternity, And dwell in peace, and joy, and love, and songs, Which are for ever gladly rising there. Sweet were our days together spent below, But sweeter far they shall be when above We are united through unending days With her, an angel too, who was our babe, And who hath come to bear me presence here." Then by the hand she took him, and thus spake In kind and pleading words: "The laws of man Would hold and deem it just that, if a man In time of his prosperity forget To render to his God a full return Of thankfulness and praise, then he shall be In time of his adversity forgot. But God is more compassionate, and says That if a man turn from his heedless ways, And bear a true repentance, he shall live. Then I, the spirit of your once fond wife, Come from the realms of bliss, do thee adjure; Turn to thy God, and give Him worship due, And mourn not with a needless sorrow more. Then, but a season longer, ye shall come And join me in this never-ending bliss." Awe-struck and dumb the wondering Henry stood, And took communion from the Holy One; In adoration bound, he knew not whence To make an answer fit, and would have knelt, Like as before a God, to worship them. But, ere he knew, they had on pinions bright Resumed their course unto the regions whence He saw them come; and, with a wondering look, He watched them still ascend, until the gates Of heaven opened, and they entered in. Then it was morn, and Henry woke from sleep, And looked in wonder on the things around, And felt bewildered for a time to know How hither he had come, and whence the cause. Then fragments of the dream broke on his mind, And yet awhile the joys, the cares, the woes Came clear in their intensity, as when He had endured them in the days just gone. The chilly numbness from his limbs removed, He turned to wander homeward, being now Refreshed by sleep and more in spirit soothed, Reflecting long and deep on the stern truths And troubles tending on the lives of men. Then came the vision of the night before Clear as the waters of a Summer stream, And bore its beauties to his soul anew, Wherefrom he saw a lucent line ascend, Of comfort and of warning to his life, Bidding his soul to higher things ascend, As vapors rise—as vapors rise and flow— To seek the presence of the sunny heights, Sore of their sojourn in the sphere below; And thus reflected on his bygone days: "Ah me! ah me! my latter life hath been A sorry semblance of the lives of men, Who seek for pleasures in a barren land, And look for comfort in an empty urn, And lose the aim wherefore they live and die Amid the luring of deluding joys. O error bold! ye now thyself reveal Within the chaos of departed time, That she, my wife, received the honor due Unto my God, for she was as my God,— The idol I adored, my constant theme. Forget! forgive! I will return again Unto a nobler purpose, and will give Unto my God the reverence which is meet, And yet a cherished recollection hold, Because of her who hath departed, and Who came to warn me of my error here. Then in a future day I shall ascend, And share beside her an eternal joy." Again he thought, "But can the babe be dead? It which should be my only comfort now. But now I cannot murmur; I will say, 'God's will be done!' He knoweth what is good." In manner thus he pondered full and deep, Until the hall he reached, then entered in. And all the household wondered whence he came, For that their lord had been the night away, But none could ask him whither he had been; And when they told him that the child was dead, For it was sickly ere he wandered forth, He shed a silent tear, and calmly said, "Great are my woes, but I can bear them now." And 'twas the vision of the fallen night That stood a comfort to his spirit then; Yet he had hoped to see the child survive, And be a last lone comfort to his soul Of earthly kind. And they were glad to see That the full torrent of his grief had gone, And that a peaceful sadness moved him now. Then on the fifth day from her death it was, All due obsequies made, the castle gates Were opened, and emerged therefrom, in deep And sombre black, a mournful train, which bore Unto the grave the mother and the child. There in the ancients' tombs they were reposed Together, by the graves where many years Had slept his fathers in a silent sleep. The old church bell tolled mournfully, and all The village mourned, while many wept among The aged and the feeble, who had known The kindness of her way, and the full hand With which in trouble she had come to them. Then Henry rose, and left the well-loved spot, Nor could he brook to linger on the scene, Where had been spent so many happy hours With her he loved, and where she lived and died; But in a foreign land he sought a home, And there sojourned many years away.
MY MOTHER'S DEATH.
It is a mournful song I sing— A loving mother dead. Who can so hard a tiding bring, Or deeper sorrow bid.
Soft as an angel's breath, Swift as the wings of death, Through all the haunts of men, By lake and by river, Across forest and fen, Onward they sped, paused they never. By hamlet or hall, Mystic their pall, Hied as a spirit hidden from view, Faithless nor wavering, ever more true. Onward these words sped— "Your mother is dead." Quick as a dart, Piercing the heart, Bore they upon me; Reeling the blow sent me. Oh! for the woe lent me, How could I stand.
Was it the hand of God lifted the rod? Oh how hard does it seem, wonderful God! Mighty and marvellous, we but behold In wonder and awe Thy mysteries told— The work of Thy hand Throughout all the land, Bearing on mankind— Man frail and mortal. Dark and ambiguous, mighty and grand, All Thy works are; Thee, whom all the angels adore, Falling in prostration before Thy radiant throne. In beauty of state The archangels wait, Seeking Thy glory, Great God, alone. How shall we bend, Seeking to lend Humble adorance, worship before Thee? How shall we yield us meekly submissive Unto Thy will? So prone is the heart oft to rebel, Murmuring still; From morning until night, And From darkness until light, It doth rebel. Send, O Lord! the spirit of meekness, And dispel All turbulent thought And vainglory sought. We are but nought In the presence of Thy greatness.
O Lord! reach us Thy hand, rich in comfort and love; Our grief soothe, and raise us above The tide of woe in which we move; In this loss console us; sweet may Our mourning be; oh! let us say, "God hath removed her; He took her away." And, Lord, teach us In all things Thy wisdom to see. Thou wouldst not have us alway be Wandering this vale of misery.
Great had her sorrow been, Anguish and woe, Pouring their full fury, Bearing her low. But, in agony sore, The affliction she bore Meek as a child. Though every breath was in agony seethed, Yet not a murmur her parched lips breathed, So passively mild. All the earth's gladness Is but as sadness Unto her now. All its gay pleasures And its great treasures Are but as measures Empty and vain. Peace, peace in her soul Has fullest control.
Then the deliverer came, And, in the glorious name Of the great God, took her away High unto the regions of day. And, ere she yielded her breath Unto the angel of death, These were the last words she spoke— How sweetly from her lips they broke!— "Saviour, receive my spirit," Breathed in all the merit Of her Redeemer's love. He stood waiting above, Watching the angels move Unto His throne. And thus the angel came and went; But they who by the pillow bent Were not the power of vision lent To see the holy being sent Among them then, And moving when He passed away, Felt not the soft zephyrs lay Room for his wing, Heard not the heavenly throng Their glad anthem sing, Till the fulness of their song Made the high arches ring.
THE LAST FAREWELL.
Well I remember Her long, lingering look,— The last farewell I took, Returning from home. 'Twas early September, The cornfields looked yellow, And garden fruits mellow Were beginning to come. She came to the gate with me, And faltered, "Farewell!" But oh! it was a hard one; The silent tear fell Down from her eye. Merrily the birds sang, But in her heart rang A more sorrowful lay, As she saw me away, Watching the turn Where ripples the burn, Till I had gone past; And this was the last— The last of farewells. Oh how Time tells His wonderful power, So stern in the hour!
Low the flowing crops bent, With their fulness content; And many a sickle was sent Into the rustling fields, While the gay reaper wields The bounty which God yields In his goodness to man. But as I heard these reapers sing, Thought not Death's reaper would bring To me sorrow so soon; Thought not he would come and remove The one dearest object of love, The earth's greatest boon, From my presence away. Hallowed shall be that day, In memory alway Most dear unto me; For, though I did not see The angel of death near, She may have seen His sable garments peer From the long ranks of time, And heard his voice chime, "I shall come to bring thee Unto eternity." Dead! dead! Oh! bid My trembling heart be still. It cannot brook this ill; This strange and burdened truth It cannot bear. The brightness of my youth It chills to hear. Ah me! and has she gone, Who in sickness watched me long, Smoothed my pillow, hushed the throng, And said To childhood's fears, "Begone!" Who in error chid, And would gently bid A rising rage be still, Or check a stubborn will, In childhood seeming ill. I think I see her now (The smile upon her brow) Sit in the woody shade, Adown the rural glade, So full in song. And watch her fondled boy, With some much cherished toy, Run raptured long. Ah yes! too truly she hath gone. The vacant seat to fill There is none other, there is none To take her place. A mother lost Is ever most A home can bear. Can time never more That image restore? Has that voice gone to keep Its long silent sleep With the dead in the grave? She whom God hath said Should have reverence paid, Here on the earth, All of her birth, Called to give honor, Long life the donor, God hath said shall have. Dead, they all tell me. So strange, it doth seem Like a vision befel me— A wonderful dream, That I no more may breathe That name ever dear, Save in a mournful voice Hushed silent in fear.
Now the old church bell Tolls forth its death knell, Mournfully to tell The hour has come at last, In heavy sadness past, To bury the dead, And in silence bid. Then the mourners go, All mournfully slow, Every heart beating low The march of the dead. All with soft and gentle tread Unto the sepulchre sped, And humbly bent every head, Bearing to her last home the dead, In all the obsequies due; Every follower, in presence true, Many a well-known neighbour view, Paying his last meet respect Unto her who has gone, And whose remembrance shone Bright in the memory of them. Now through the old town they pace— The good old familiar place, Where often in time before She, in life's abounding store, Passed by many a friendly door. But now, how changed is the scene! She, cold in death's awful sheen, Is borne unto the still hallowed green. Every passer turns to see, And they say, "Who can it be?" And they ponder in the thought— One more unto death brought. Soon may we, too, soon be sought. But they who her in life knew Feel the truth more strangely true, And they take a sadder view Of the great loss to the few, Who received the bosom love Which her kind deeds went to prove. Now they tread in the hallowed ground, Where the sons of ages have found Together a home. And they pause by the chosen ground, And all, in a silence profound, Hear the words of comfort flow, In deep power, sadly and low, From the messenger of love, Appointed of God above To tell to His people peace, And from care a glad release; And his words of comfort are Sweeter to their hearts by far Than balm to a seething wound. And now they lay In the cold clay, To moulder away, All that is mortal of her. O grave! receive her; Ye have no terror, But to relieve her A world of woe. 'Tis but a season, Waiting in reason, She shall be there. She hath gone down corruptible, But shall rise incorruptible, Adorned and fair, When this grave which is closed Shall again be disclosed, And the Good Shepherd shall call Together unto Him all His people, faithful and good, Who in life steadfast have stood. O widower! weep not, And, orphans, lament not. Weep not by the cold grave, Long not that ye might have Her with you again; But let her remain Alone in the grave, In the peace of her last long abode. Far sweeter is death unto her now.
AFTER THE BURIAL.
All hath been finished now; And from the darkened brow Of the grave the people move, Pondering his own heart to prove, Each unto his home. While of the old dead's demesne Hallowed fancies come, Living and clear, urgent and fain, As they visit in thought again And again the place where remain Their fathers, the sons of many ages, Gathered from the ever-turning pages Of the volume of time, Like a long running rhyme— Old age and youth, Falsehood and truth, Beauty and pride Side unto side In that old churchyard, In the sacred guard Of hallowed rest. Then a behest Moveth the breast To be holy and meek, Lowly to seek Life unto life, Bearing through strife Unto the end, Trying to blend Love unto life.