MAN OF UZ,
MRS. L. H. SIGOURNEY.
HARTFORD WILLIAMS, WILEY & WATERMAN.
Entered according to Act or Congress, in the Year 1862, by
MRS. L. H. SIGOURNEY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.
The arrogance of attempting a parody on the most ancient and sublime poem in the Inspired Volume, is not mine. The great pleasure enjoyed in its perusal from early years, had occasionally prompted metrical imitations of isolated passages. These fragmentary effusions, recently woven together, are here presented, with the hope that as wandering streams are traced to their original fountain, some heart may thus be led to the history of the stricken and sustained Patriarch, with more studious research, purer delight, or a deeper spirit of devotion.
L. H. S.
Hartford, Conn., November 5th, 1862.
Page. Preface, 3
The Man of Uz, 9
THE RURAL LIFE IN NEW ENGLAND,
Canto First, 59 Canto Second, 91 Canto Third, 109
Rev. Dr. T. M. Cooley, 147 Madam Olivia Phelps, 149 Martha Agnes Bonner, 151 Madam Whiting, 153 Denison Olmsted, LL.D. 155 Herbert Foss, 157 Mrs. Charles N. Cadwallader, 159 Rev. Dr. James W. Alexander, 161 Mrs. Joseph Morgan, 163 Alice Beckwith, 165 Mary Shipman Deming, 167
Rev. Dr. F. W. Hatch, 169 Mrs. Payne, 171 Mrs. Mary Mildenstein Robertson, 173 Madam Williams, 175 Mr. Samuel Ogden, 177 Mr. George Beach, 179 Miss Margaret C. Brown, 181 Miss Frances Wyman Tracy, 183 Deacon Normand Smith, 185 Mrs. Helen Tyler Beach, 187 Mrs. Elizabeth Harris, 189 Miss Anna M. Seymour, 191 Caleb Hazen Talcott, 193
Miss Jane Penelope Whiting, 195 Miss Anna Freeman, 197 Madam Pond, 199 Annie Seymour Robinson, 201 Mrs. Georgiana Ives Comstock, 203 Wentworth Alexander, 206 Mrs. Harvey Seymour, 208 Mrs. Frederick Tyler, 211 Miss Laura Kingsbury, 213 Govenor and Mrs. Trumbull, 214 Mrs. Emily Ellsworth, 218 Rev. Dr. Stephen Jewitt, 220 Miss Delia Woodruff Godding, 222 Miss Sara K. Taylor, 224 Mr. John Warburton, 226 Rev. Henry Albertson Post, 228 Miss Caroline L. Griffin, 230 Mr. Normand Burr, 232 Hon. Thomas S. Williams, 234 Col. H. L. Miller, 237
Col. Samuel Colt, 239 Madam Hannah Lathrop, 242 Henrietta Selden Colt, 244 The Little Brothers, 247 Mr. D. F. Robinson, 249 Mr. Samuel Tudor, 251 Henry Howard Comstock, 254 Rev. Dr. David Smith, 256 Miss Emily B. Parish, 258 Harriet Allen Ely, 260 Miss Catharine Ball, 261 Mrs. Morris Collins, 263 Mrs. Margaret Walbridge, 265 The Brothers Buell, 267 Mr. Phillip Ripley, 269 Richard Ely Collins, 271 Miss Elizabeth Brinley, 273 Mr. John A. Taintor, 275
THE MAN OF UZ.
A JOYOUS FESTIVAL.— The gathering back Of scattered flowrets to the household wreath. Brothers and sisters from their sever'd homes Meeting with ardent smile, to renovate The love that sprang from cradle memories And childhood's sports, and whose perennial stream Still threw fresh crystals o'er the sands of life. —Each bore some treasured picture of the past, Some graphic incident, by mellowing time Made beautiful, while ever and anon, Timbrel and harp broke forth, each pause between. Banquet and wine-cup, and the dance, gave speed To youthful spirits, and prolong'd the joy.
* * * * *
The patriarch father, with a chasten'd heart Partook his children's mirth, having God's fear Ever before him. Earnestly he brought His offerings and his prayers for every one Of that beloved group, lest in the swell And surging superflux of happiness They might forget the Hand from whence it came, Perchance, displease the Almighty. Many a care Had he that wealth creates. Not such as lurks In heaps metallic, which the rust corrodes, But wealth that fructifies within the earth Whence cometh bread, or o'er its surface roves In peaceful forms of quadrupedal life That thronging round the world's first father came To take their names, 'mid Eden's tranquil shades, Ere sin was born. Obedient to the yoke, Five hundred oxen turn'd the furrow'd glebe Where agriculture hides his buried seed Waiting the harvest hope, while patient wrought An equal number of that race who share The labor of the steed, without his praise. —Three thousand camels, with their arching necks, Ships of the desert, knelt to do his will, And bear his surplus wealth to distant climes, While more than twice three thousand snowy sheep Whitened the hills. Troops of retainers fed These flocks and herds, and their subsistence drew From the same lord,—so that this man of Uz Greater than all the magnates of the east, Dwelt in old time before us. True he gave, And faithfully, the hireling his reward, Counting such justice 'mid the happier forms Of Charity, which with a liberal hand He to the sad and suffering poor dispensed. Eyes was he to the blind, and to the lame Feet, while the stranger and the traveller found Beneath, the welcome shelter of his roof The blessed boon of hospitality.
To him the fatherless and widow sought For aid and counsel. Fearlessly he rose For those who had no helper. His just mind Brought stifled truth to light, disarm'd the wiles Of power, and gave deliverance to the weak. He pluck'd the victim from the oppressor's grasp, And made the tyrant tremble. To his words Men listened, as to lore oracular, And when beside the gate he took his seat The young kept silence, and the old rose up To do him honor. After his decree None spake again, for as a prince he dwelt Wearing the diadem of righteousness, And robed in that respect which greatness wins When leagued with goodness, and by wisdom crown'd. The grateful prayers and blessings of the souls Ready to perish, silently distill'd Upon him, as he slept. So as a tree Whose root is by the river's brink, he grew And flourish'd, while the dews like balm-drops hung All night upon his branches. Yet let none Of woman born, presume to build his hopes On the worn cliff of brief prosperity, Or from the present promise, predicate The future joy. The exulting bird that sings Mid the green curtains of its leafy nest His tuneful trust untroubled there to live, And there to die, may meet the archer's shaft When next it spreads the wing. The tempest folds O'er the smooth forehead of the summer noon Its undiscover'd purpose, to emerge Resistless from its armory, and whelm In floods of ruin, ere the day decline.
* * * * *
Lightning and sword! Swift messengers, and sharp, Reapers that leave no gleanings. In their path Silence and desolation fiercely stalk. —O'er trampled hills, and on the blood-stain'd plains There is no low of kine, or bleat of flocks, The fields are rifled, and the shepherds slain.
The Man of Uz, who stood but yestermorn Above all compeers,—clothed with wealth and power, To day is poorer than his humblest hind. A whirlwind from the desert! All unwarn'd Its fury came. Earth like a vassal shook. Majestic trees flew hurtling through the air Like rootless reeds. There was no time for flight. Buried in household wrecks, all helpless lay Masses of quivering life. Job's eldest son That day held banquet for their numerous line At his own house. With revelry and song, One moment in the glow of kindred hearts The lordly mansion rang, the next they lay Crush'd neath its ruins. He,—the childless sire, Last of his race, and lonely as the pine That crisps and blackens 'neath the lightning shaft Upon the cliff, with such a rushing tide The mountain billows of his misery came, Drove they not Reason from her beacon-hold? Swept they not his strong trust in Heaven away?
List,—list,—the sufferer speaks. "The Lord who gave Hath taken away,—and blessed be His name."
Oh Patriarch!—teach us, mid this changeful life Not to mistake the ownership of joys Entrusted to us for a little while, But when the Great Dispenser shall reclaim His loans, to render them with praises back, As best befits the indebted. Should a tear Moisten the offering, He who knows our frame And well remembereth that we are but dust, Is full of pity. It was said of old Time conquer'd Grief. But unto me it seems That Grief overmastereth Time. It shows how wide The chasm between us, and our smitten joys And saps the strength wherewith at first we went Into life's battle. We perchance, have dream'd That the sweet smile the sunbeam of our home The prattle of the babe the Spoiler seiz'd, Had but gone from us for a little while,— And listen'd in our fallacy of hope At hush of eve for the returning step That wake the inmost pulses of the heart To extasy,—till iron-handed Grief Press'd down the nevermore into our soul, Deadening us with its weight. The man of Uz As the slow lapse of days and nights reveal'd The desolation of his poverty Felt every nerve that at the first great shock Was paralyzed, grow sensitive and shrink As from a fresh-cut wound. There was no son To come in beauty of his manly prime With words of counsel and with vigorous hand To aid him in his need, no daughter's arm To twine around him in his weariness, Nor kiss of grandchild at the even-tide Going to rest, with prayer upon its lips.
Still a new trial waits. The blessed health Heaven's boon, thro' which with unbow'd form we bear Burdens and ills, forsook him. Maladies Of fierce and festering virulence attack'd His swollen limbs. Incessant, grinding pains Laid his strength prostrate, till he counted life A loathed thing. Dire visions frighted sleep That sweet restorer of the wasted frame, And mid his tossings to and fro, he moan'd Oh, when shall I arise, and Night be gone!
Despondence seized him. To the lowliest place Alone he stole, and sadly took his seat In dust and ashes. She, his bosom friend The sharer of his lot for many years, Sought out his dark retreat. Shuddering she saw His kingly form like living sepulchre, And in the maddening haste of sorrow said God hath forgotten. She with him had borne Unuttered woe o'er the untimely graves Of all whom she had nourished,—shared with him The silence of a home that hath no child, The plunge from wealth to want, the base contempt Of menial and of ingrate;—but to see The dearest object of adoring love Her next to God, a prey to vile disease Hideous and loathsome, all the beauty marred That she had worshipped from her ardent youth Deeming it half divine, she could not bear, Her woman's strength gave way, and impious words In her despair she uttered. But her lord To deeper anguish stung by her defect And rash advice, reprovingly replied Pointing to Him who meeteth out below Both good and evil in mysterious love, And she was silenced. What a sacred power Hath hallow'd Friendship o'er the nameless ills That throng our pilgrimage. Its sympathy, Doth undergird the drooping, and uphold The foot that falters in its miry path. It grows more precious, as the hair grows grey. Time's alchymy that rendereth so much dross Back for our gay entrustments, shows more pure The perfect essence of its sanctity, Gold unalloyed. How doth the cordial grasp, Of hands that twined with ours in school days, now Delight us as our sunbeam nears the west, Soothing, perchance our self-esteem with proofs That 'mid all faults the good have loved us still, And quickening with redoubled energy To do or suffer. The three friends of Job Who in the different regions where they dwelt Teman, and Naamah and the Shuhite land, Heard tidings of his dire calamity, Moved by one impulse, journey'd to impart Their sorrowing sympathy. Yet when they saw Him fallen so low, so chang'd that scarce a trace Remained to herald his identity Down by his side upon the earth, they sate Uttering no language save the gushing tear,— Spontaneous homage to a grief so great.
* * * * *
Oh Silence, born of Wisdom! we have felt Thy fitness, when beside the smitten friend We took our place. The voiceless sympathy The tear, the tender pressure of the hand Interpreted more perfectly than words The purpose of our soul. We speak to err, Waking to agony some broken chord Or bleeding nerve that slumbered. Words are weak, When God's strong discipline doth try the soul; And that deep silence was more eloquent Than all the pomp of speech. Yet the long pause Of days and nights, gave scope for troubled thought And their bewildered minds unskillfully Launching all helmless on a sea of doubt Explored the cause for which such woes were sent, Forgetful that this mystery of life Yields not to man's solution. Passing on From natural pity to philosophy That deems Heaven's judgments penal, they inferr'd Some secret sin unshrived by penitence, That drew such awful visitations down. While studying thus the wherefore, with vain toil Of painful cogitation, lo! a voice Hollow and hoarse, as from the mouldering tomb,
"Perish the day in which I saw the light! The day when first my mother's nursing care Sheltered my helplessness. Let it not come Into the number of the joyful months, Let blackness stain it and the shades of death Forever terrify it. For it cut Not off as an untimely birth my span, Nor let me sleep where the poor prisoners hear No more the oppressor, where the wicked cease From troubling and the weary are at rest. Now as the roar of waves my sorrows swell, And sighs like tides burst forth till I forget To eat my bread. That which I greatly feared Hath come upon me. Not in heedless pride Nor wrapped in arrogance of full content I dwelt amid the tide of prosperous days, And yet this trouble came." With mien unmoved The Temanite reprovingly replied: "Who can refrain longer from words, even though To speak be grief? Thou hast the instructor been Of many, and their model how to act. When trial came upon them, if their knees Bow'd down, thou saidst, "be strong," and they obey'd. But now it toucheth thee and thou dost shrink, And murmuring, faint. The monitor forgets The precepts he hath taught. Is this thy faith, Thy confidence, the uprightness of thy way? Whoever perish'd being innocent? And when were those who walk'd in righteous ways Cut off? How oft I've seen that those who sow The seeds of evil secretly, and plow Under a veil of darkness, reap the same.
* * * * *
In visions of the night, when deepest sleep Falls upon men, fear seiz'd me, all my bones Trembled, and every stiffening hair rose up. A spirit pass'd before me, but I saw No form thereof. I knew that there it stood, Even though my straining eyes discern'd it not. Then from its moveless lips a voice burst forth, "Is man more just than God? Is mortal man More pure than He who made him? Lo, he puts No trust in those who serve him, and doth charge Angels with folly. How much less in them Dwellers in tents of clay, whose pride is crush'd Before the moth. From morn to eve they die And none regard it." So despise thou not The chastening of the Almighty, ever just, For did thy spirit please him, it should rise More glorious from the storm-cloud, all the earth At peace with thee, new offspring like the grass Cheering thy home, and when thy course was done Even as a shock of corn comes fully ripe Into the garner should thy burial be Beldv'd and wept of all."
Mournful arose The sorrowful response. "Oh that my grief Were in the balance laid by faithful hands And feeling hearts. To the afflicted soul Friends should be comforters. But mine have dealt Deceitfully, as fails the shallow brook When summer's need is sorest. Did I say Bring me a gift? or from your flowing wealth Give solace to my desolate penury? Or with your pitying influence neutralize My cup of scorn poured out by abject hands? That thus ye mock me with contemptuous words And futile arguments, and dig a pit In which to whelm the man you call a friend? Still darkly hinting at some heinous sin Mysteriously concealed? Writes conscious guilt No transcript on the brow? Hangs it not out Its signal there, altho' it seem to hide 'Neath an impervious shroud? Look thro' the depths Of my unshrinking eye, deep, deep within. What see ye there? what gives suspicion birth? As longs the laborer for the setting sun, Watching the lengthening shadows that foretell The time of rest, yet day by day returns To the same task again, so I endure Wearisome nights and months of burdening woe. I would not alway live this loathed life Whose days are vanity. Soon shall I sleep Low in the dust, and when the morning comes And thro' its curtaining mists ye seek my face I shall not be."
* * * * *
Earnest the Shuhite spake, "How long shall these thy words, like eddying winds Fall empty on the ear? Doth God pervert Justice and judgment? If thy way was pure, Thy supplication from an upright heart He would awake and make thy latter end More blest than thy beginning. For inquire Of ancient times, of History's honor'd scroll And of the grey-hair'd fathers, if our words Seem light, we who were born but yesterday. Ask them and they shall teach thee, as the rush, Or as the flag forsaken of the pod, So shall the glory of the hypocrite Fade in its greenness. Tho' his house may seem Awhile to flourish, it shall not endure. Even tho' he grasp it with despairing strength It shall deceive his trust and pass away, As fleets the spider's filmy web. Behold God will not cast away the perfect man Nor help the evil doer."
* * * * *
In low tones, Sepulchral, and with pain, the sufferer spake, "I know that this is truth, but how can man Be just with God? How shall he dare contend With Him who stretches out the sky and treads Upon the mountain billows of the sea, And sealeth up the stars? Array'd in strength, He passeth by me, but I see Him not. I hear His chariot-wheels, yet fear to ask Where goest Thou? If I, indeed, were pure, And perfect, like the model ye see fit To press upon me with your sharpest words, I would not in mine arrogance arise And reason with Him, but all humbly make Petition to my Judge. If there were one To shield me from His terrors, and to stand As mediator, I might dare to ask Why didst Thou give this unrequested boon Of life, to me, unhappy? My few days Are swifter than a post. As the white sail Fades in the mist, as the strong eagle's wing Leaves no receding trace, they flee away, They see no good. Hath not Thy mighty hand Fashion'd and made this curious form of clay, Fenc'd round with bones and sinews, and inspired By a mysterious soul? Oh be not stern Against Thy creature, as the Lion marks His destin'd prey. Relent and let me take Comfort a little, ere I go the way Whence I return no more, to that far land Of darkness and the dreary shades of death."
* * * * *
Scarce had he ceas'd ere Zophar's turbid thoughts Made speed to answer. "Shall a tide of talk Wash out transgression? If thou choose to set The truth at nought, must others hold their peace? Hast thou not boasted that thy deeds and thoughts Were perfect in the almighty Maker's sight? Canst thou by searching find out God? Behold Higher than heaven it is, what canst thou do? Deeper than deepest hell, what canst thou know? Why wilt thou ignorantly deem thyself Unblamed before Him? Oh that He would speak, And put to shame thine arrogance. His glance Discerns all wickedness, all vain pretence To sanctity and wisdom. Were thine heart Rightly prepared, and evil put away From that and from thy house, then shouldst thou lift Thy spotless face, clear as the noon-day sun Stedfast and fearless. Yea, thou shouldst forget Thy misery, as waters that have past Away forever. Thou shouldst be secure And dig about thee and take root, and rest, While those who scorn thee now, with soul abased, Should make their suit unto thee. But the eyes Of wicked men shall fail, and as the groan Of him who giveth up the ghost, shall be Their frustrate hope." Dejectedly, as one Who wearied in a race, despairs to reach The destined goal, nor yet consents to leave His compeers masters of an unwon field. Job said,— "No doubt ye think to have attained Monopoly of knowledge, and with you Wisdom shall die. This modesty of creed Befits ye well. Yet what have ye alledg'd Unheard before? what great discoveries made? Who knoweth not such things as ye have told? Despised am I by those who call'd me friend In prosperous days. Like a dim, waning lamp About to be extinguished am I held By the dull minds of those who dwell at ease. Weak reasoners that ye are, ye have essay'd To speak for God. Suppose ye He doth need Such advocacy? whose creative hand Holdeth the soul of every living thing, And breath of all mankind? He breaketh down, And who can build again? Princes and kings Are nothing in his sight. Disrobed of power Ceaseless they wander and He heedeth not. Those whom the world have worship'd seem as fools. He lifteth up the nations at His will, Or sweeps them with his lightest breath away Like noteless atoms. Silence is for you The truest wisdom. Creatures that ye count Inferior to yourselves, who in thin air Spread the light wing, or thro' the waters glide, Or roam the earth, might teach if ye would hear And be instructed by them. Hold your peace! Even tho' He slay me I will trust in Him For He is my salvation, He alone; At whose dread throne no hypocrite shall dare To stand, or answer. Man, of woman born Is of few days, and full of misery. Forth like a flower he comes, and is cut down, He fleeth like a shadow. What is man That God regardeth him? The forest tree Fell'd by the woodman may have hope to live And sprout again, and thro' the blessed touch Of waters at the root put forth new buds And tender branches like a plant. But man Shorn of his strength, doth waste away and die, He giveth up the ghost and where is he? As slides the mountain from its heaving base Hurling its masses o'er the startled vale, As the rent rock resumes its place no more, As the departed waters leave no trace Save the groov'd channels where they held their course Among the fissur'd stones, his form of dust With its chang'd countenance, is sent away And all the honors that he sought to leave Behind him to his sons, avail him not." He ceas'd and Eliphaz rejoin'd, "A man Of wisdom dealeth not in empty words That like the east wind stirs the unsettled sands To profitless revolt. Thou dost decry Our speech and proudly justify thyself Before thy God. He to whose searching eye Heavens' pure immaculate ether seems unclean. Ask of tradition, ask the white hair'd men Much older than thy father, since to us Thou deign'st no credence. Say they not to thee, All, as with one consent, the wicked man Travaileth with fruitless pain, a dreadful sound Forever in his ears; the mustering tramp Of hostile legions on the distant cloud, A far-off echo from the woe to come? Such is his lot who sinfully contends Against the just will of the Judging One, Lifting his puny arm in rebel pride And rushing like a madman on his doom. The wealth he may have gathered shall dissolve And turn to ashes mid devouring flame. His branch shall not be green, but as the vine Casteth her unripe grapes, as thro' the leaves Of rich and lustrous hue, the olive buds Untimely strew the ground, shall be his trust Who in the contumacy of his pride Would fain deceive both others and himself." To whom, the Man of Uz,— "These occult truths If such ye deem them, I have heard before; Oh miserable comforters! I too Stood but your soul in my soul's stead, could heap Vain, bitter words, and shake my head in scorn. But I would study to assuage your pain, And solace shed upon your stricken hearts With balm-drops of sweet speech. Yet, as for me, I speak and none regard, or drooping sit In mournful silence, and none heed my woe. They smite me on the cheek reproachfully, And slander me in secret, though my cause And witness rest with the clear-judging Heaven. My record is on high. Oh Thou, whose hand Hath thus made desolate all my company, And left me a poor, childless man—behold They who once felt it pride to call me friend, Make of my name a by-word, which was erst Like harp or tabret to their venal lip. Mine eye is dim with grief, my wasted brow Furrow'd with wrinkles. Soon I go the way Whence I shall not return. The grave, my house, Is ready for me. In its mouldering clay My bed I make, and say unto the worm Thou art my sister." With unpitying voice Not comprehending Job, the Shuhite spake. "How long ere thou shalt make an end of words So profitless and vain? Thou dost account Us vile as beasts. But shall the stable earth With all its rocks and mountains be removed For thy good pleasure? See, the light forsake The wicked man. Darkness and loneliness Enshroud his dwelling-place. His path shall be Mid snares and traps, and his own counsel fail To guide him safely. By the heel, the gin Shall seize him, and the robber's hand prevail To rifle and destroy his treasure hoard. Secret misgivings feed upon his strength, And terrors waste his courage. He shall find In his own tabernacle no repose, Nor confidence. His withering root shall draw No nutriment, and the unsparing ax Cut off his branches. From a loathing world He shall be chased away, and leave behind No son or nephew to bear up his name Among the people. No kind memories Shall linger round his ashes, or refresh The bearts of men. They who come after him Shall be astonish'd at his doom, as they Who went before him, view'd it with affright. Such is the lot of those who know not God Or wickedly renounce Him."
Earnestly Replied the suffering man, "Ye vex my soul And break it into pieces. These ten times Have ye reproach'd me, without sense of shame Or touch of sympathy. If I have err'd As without witness ye essay to prove 'Tis my concern, not yours. But yet, how vain To speak of wrong, or plead the cause of truth Before the unjust. Can ye not understand God in his wisdom hath afflicted me? Ilis hand hath reft away my crown and stripp'd Me of my glory. Kindred blood vouchsafes No aid or solace in my deep distress. Estrang'd and far away, like statues cold Brethren and kinsfolk stand. Familiar friends Frown on me as a stranger. They who dwell In my own house and eat my bread, despise me. I call'd my own tried servant, but he gave No answer or regard. My maidens train'd For household service, to perform my will Count me an alien;—even with my wife My voice hath lost its power. Young children rise And push away my feet and mock my words. Yea, the best loved, most garner'd in my heart Do turn against me as a thing abhorr'd. Have pity, pity on me, oh my friends! The hand of God hath smitten me.
I know That my Redeemer liveth, and shall stand At last upon the earth, and though in death Worms shall destroy this body, in my flesh Shall I see God."
* * * * *
This glorious burst of faith Springing from depths of misery and pain Awed them a moment, like the lightning's flash, Cleaving the cloud. But gathering strength again, They sought the conflict. "Thou, who art so wise, Hast thou not learn'd how baseless is the joy And boasting of the hypocrite? His head Up to the heavens in excellence and pride May seem to mount, yet shall he swiftly fall Leaving no trace. Though still he toils to keep His sin a secret from his fellow-men, Like a sweet, stolen morsel, hiding it Under his tongue, yet shall the veil be rent. God's fearful judgments shall make evident What he hath done in darkness. Vipers' tongues And the dire poison of the asp, shall be His recompense. Terrors shall strike him through, An inward fire of sharp remorse, unblown By mortal hand, shall on his vitals feed, And all his strength consume. His wealth shall fleet, And they who trusted to become his heirs Embrace a shadow, for his goods shall flow Away, as the false brook forsakes its sands. This is the portion of the hypocrite, The heritage appointed him by God."
* * * * *
To Zophar answered Job,— "Hear ye my speech, And when 'tis done, mock on. Not unto man Is my complaint. For were it so, my heart Would sink in darker depths of hopeless woe. Say ye that earth's 'prosperity' rewards The righteous man? Why do the wicked live, Grow old, and magnify themselves in power? Their offspring flourish round them, their abodes Are safe from fear. Their cattle multiply And widely o'er the hills and pastures green Wander their healthful herds. Forth like a flock They send their little ones, with dance and song, Tabret and harp. They spend their days in wealth And sink to slumber in the quiet grave. Yet unto God they said, Depart from us, For we desire no knowledge of thy ways. Why should we serve the Almighty? Who is he? And what our profit if we pray to Him?
Close by these impious ones lies down to sleep, One in the strength and glory of his prime, Whom sorrow never touch'd, nor age impair'd; And still another, wan misfortune's child, Nurtur'd in bitterness, who never took His meat with pleasure. Side by side they rest On Death's oblivious pillow. Do ye say Their varied lot below, mark'd their deserts? In retribution just?
* * * * *
But as for you With eyes so sharp for your own selfish ends, Who by the wayside ask where'er ye go, "Where is the dwelling of the prince? and seek Gain more than godliness, I know full well Your deep contempt for one too poor to bribe Your false allegiance, and the unkind device Ye wrongfully imagine. Will ye teach Knowledge to God? Doth He not wisely judge The highest? and reserve the sons of guilt For the destruction that awaiteth them?"
* * * * *
In quick rejoinder, Eliphaz replied, "What is thy fancied goodness in the sight Of the Almighty? Is it gain to Him If thou art righteous? Would it add to Him Gladness or glory, that thy ways should be What thou call'st perfect? Rather turn thine eyes Upon the record of thy sins, and see Their countless number. Hast thou taken a pledge From thy poor brother's hand? or reft away The garment from the shivering? or withheld Bread from the hungry? or the widow sent Empty away? not given the weary soul What it implored? nor bound the broken arm Of the forsaken fatherless? For this Have snares beset thee? and a secret fear Dismay'd thy spirit? and a rayless night Shut over thee? Look to the height of heaven, Above the utmost star. Is not God there? Think'st thou that aught can intercept His sight Or bar His righteous judgment? He who makes The thickest clouds His footstool, when He walks Upon the circuit of the highest heavens? Acquaint thyself with Him and be at peace, Return to Him, and He shall build thee up. Take thou His precepts to thine inmost heart That thy lost blessings may revisit thee. Put far away thy foster'd sins, and share The swelling flood-tide of prosperity. Thou shalt have silver at thy will, and gold, The gold of Ophir in thy path shall lie As stones that pave the brooks. Make thou thy prayer, And pay thy vows, and He will hear thy voice And give thee light, and thy desires confirm: For He will save the humble and protect The innocent and still deliver those Whose hands are pure."
To whom, the Man of Uz,
"Oh that I knew where I might find my Judge, That I might press even to His seat, and plead My cause before Him. Would He strike me dumb With His great power? Nay,—rather would he give Strength to the weakness that would answer Him. Lo! I go forward,—but He is not there,— And backward, yet my eyes perceive Him not. On the left hand, His works surround me still, But He is absent,—on the right, I gaze, Yet doth He hide Himself. But well He knows My way, and when the time of trial's o'er, And the refining fire hath purg'd the dross, I shall come forth as gold. My feet have kept The path appointed, nor from His commands Unduly swerved, for I have prized His word More than my needful food. Yet He performs What His wise counsel hath decreed for me, Though sometimes sinks my soften'd heart beneath The terror of His stroke. There are, who seize With violence whate'er their eyes desire; Gorging themselves upon the stolen flock And leaving desolate the rifled hut Of the defenceless. Solitary ones Hide from their robberies, for forth they go Into the wilderness, their prey to hunt Like ravening beasts. There are, who watch to slay, Rising before the dawn, or wrapp'd in night Roaming with stealthy footstep, as a thief, To smite their victims, while the wounded groan Struck by their fatal shaft. There are, who do Such deeds of utter darkness as detest The gaze of day. Muffling their face, they dig Their way to habitations where they leave Shame and dishonor. Though He seem to sleep, God's eye is on their ways. A little while They wrap themselves in secret infamy, Or proudly flourish,—but as the tall tree Yields in a moment to the wrecking blast, As 'neath the sickle falls the crisping corn, Shall they be swept away, and leave no trace."
* * * * *
Bildad, the Shuhite, rose in act to speak.
"Dominion is with God, and fear. He makes Peace in his own high places. Dost thou know The number of His armies? Or on whom His light ariseth not? How then can man Be justified with God? or he be pure Born of a woman. Lo! the cloudless Moon, And yon unsullied stars, are in His sight Dim and impure. Can man who is a worm Be spotless with his Maker?" Hark, the voice Of the afflicted man: "How dost thou help Him that is powerless? how sustain the arm That fails in strength? how counsel him who needs Wisdom? and how declare the righteous truth Just as it is? To Him who reads the soul, Hades is naked, and the realms of Death Have naught to cover them. This pendent Earth Hangs on his word,—in gathering clouds he binds The ponderous waters, till at his command They rend their filmy prison. Day and night Await his nod to run their measured course. Heaven's pillars and its everlasting gates Tremble at his reproof. The cleaving sea And man's defeated pride confess his power. Yet the same Hand that garnisheth the skies Disdaineth not to fashion and sustain The crooked serpent. But how small a part Of all its works are understood by us Dim dwellers in this lowly vestibule, And by the thunders of mysterious power Still held in awe. As the Eternal lives Who hath bow'd down my soul, as long as breath Inspires this mortal frame, these lips shall ne'er Utter deceit, nor cast away the wealth Of a good conscience. While I live I'll hold Fast mine integrity,—nor justify The slanderous charges of a secret guilt Ye bring against me. For what is the gain Of the base hypocrite when God shall take Away his perjured soul? Yourselves have seen How often in this life the wicked taste Of retribution. The oppressor bears Sway for a while,—but look!—the downfall comes. His offspring shall not flourish, nor his grave Be wet with widow's tears. The unjust rich man Heapeth up silver for a stranger's hand, He hoardeth raiment with a miser's greed To robe he knows not who, though he himself Had grudg'd to wear it. Boastfully he builds A costly mansion to preserve his name Among the people. But like the slight booth, Brief lodge of summer, shall it pass away. Terrors without a cause, disable him And drown his courage. Like a driven leaf Before the whirlwind, shall he hasten down To a dishonor'd tomb. Men shall rejoice, And clap their hands, and hiss him from his place When he departs. Surely, there is a vein For silver, and a secret bed for gold Which man discovers. Where the iron sleeps In darkest chambers of the mine he knows, And how the brass is molten. But a Mind Deeper than his, close-hidden things explores, Searching out all perfection. Earth unveils The mystic treasures of her matron breast, Bread for her children, gems like living flame, Sapphires, whose azure emulates the skies, And dust of gold. Yet there's a curtain'd path Which the unfettered denizens of air Have not descried, nor even the piercing eye Of the black vulture seen. The lion's whelps In their wide roaming, nor their fiercer sire Have never trod it. There's a Hand that bares The roots of mountains at its will, and cuts Through rifted rocks a channel, where the streams And rivers freely flow—an Eye that scans Each precious thing. But where doth Wisdom dwell? And in what curtain'd chamber was the birth Of Understanding? The great Sea uplifts Its hand in adjuration, and declares "'Tis not with me," and its unfathom'd deep In subterranean thunders, echoing cry "No, not with me." Offer ye not for them Silver, or Ophir's gold, nor think to exchange Onyx, or sapphire, or the coral branch Or crystal gem where hides imprison'd light, Nor make ye mention of the precious pearl Or Ethiopian topaz, for their price Transcendeth rubies, or the dazzling ray Of concentrated jewels. In what place Are found these wondrous treasures? Who will show Their habitation? which alike defies The ken of those who soar, or those who delve In cells profound. Death and destruction say, From their hoarse caverns, "We have heard their fame But know them not." Lo! He who weighs the winds Measures the floods, controls the surging sea And points the forked lightnings where to play, He, unto whom all mysteries are plain All secrets open, all disguises clear, Saith unto man the questioner,— "Behold The fear of God is wisdom, and to break The sway of evil and depart from sin Is understanding." Anguish wrings my soul As in my hours of musing I restore The picture of my lost prosperity, When round my side my loving children drew And from my happy home my steps were hail'd Where'er I went. The fatherless and poor, And he who had no helper, welcomed me As one to right their wrongs, and pluck the spoil From the oppressor's teeth. Pale widows raised The glistening eye of gratitude, and they Whose sight was quench'd, at my remembered tones Pour'd blessings on me. Overflowing wealth Brought me no titles that I held so dear As father of the poor, and comforter Of all who mourn. When in the gate I sate The nobles did me honor, and the wise Sought counsel of me. To my words the young Gave earnest heed, the white-hair'd men stood up, And princes waited for my speech, as wait The fields in summer for the latter rain. But now, the children of base men spring up And push away my feet, and make my name A bye-word and a mockery, which was erst Set to the harp in song. Because my wealth God hath resumed, they who ne'er dared to claim Equality with even the lowest ones Who watch'd my flock, they whom my menials scorned, Dwellers in hovels, feeding like the brutes On roots and bushes of the wilderness, Despise me, and in mean derision cast Marks of abhorrence at the fallen chief Whom erst they fear'd. Unpitied I endure Sickness and pain that ope the narrow house Where all the living go. My soul dissolves And flows away as water—like the owl In lone, forgotten cavern I complain, For all my instruments of music yield But mournful sounds, and from my organ comes A sob of weeping. I appeal to Him Who sees my ways, and all my steps doth count, If I have walk'd with vanity or worn The veil of falsehood, or despised to obey The law of duty; if I basely prowl'd With evil purpose round my neighbor's door, Or scorn'd my humblest menial's cause to right When he contended with me, and complain'd, Framed as he was of the same clay with me By the same Hand Divine; or shunn'd to share Even my last morsel with the hungry poor, Or shield the uncovered suppliant with the fleece Of my own cherish'd flock. If ere I made Fine gold my confidence, or lifted up My heart in pride, because my wealth was great, Or when I saw the glorious King of Day Gladdening all nations, and the queenly Moon Walking in brightness, was enticed to pay A secret homage,—'twere idolatry Unpardonably great. If I rejoiced In the affliction of mine enemy Or for his hatred breathed a vengeful vow When trouble came upon him,—if I closed The inhospitable door against the foot Of stranger, or of traveller,—or withheld Full nutriment from any who abode Within my tabernacle,—or refused Due justice even to my own furrow'd field, Then let my harvest unto thistles turn, And rootless weeds o'ertop the beardless grain."
* * * * *
Then ceased the Man of Uz, like one o'erspent, Feeling the fallacy of argument With auditors like these, his thoughts withdrew Into the shroud of silence, and he spake No more unto them, standing fix'd and mute, Like statued marble. Then, as none replied, A youthful stranger rose, and while he stretch'd His hand in act to speak, and heavenward raised His clear, unshrinking brow, he worthy seem'd To hold the balance of that high debate. Still, an indignant warmth, with energy Of fervid eloquence his lips inspired.
—"I said that multitude of days should bring Wisdom to man, and so gave earnest heed To every argument. And lo! not one Of all your speeches have convicted Job, Or proved your theory that woes like his Denote a secret guilt. I listened still With that respect which youth doth owe to age, And till ye ceased to speak, refrain'd to show Mine own opinion. But there is a breath From the Almighty, that gives life to thought, And in my soul imprison'd utterance burns Like torturing flame. So, will I give it vent Though I am young in years, and ye are old, And should be wise. I will not shun to uphold The righteous cause, nor will I gloze the wrong With flattering titles, lest the kindling wrath Of an offended Maker, sweep me hence.
Hearken, O Job, I pray thee, to my words For they are words of truth. Thou hast assumed More perfect innocence than appertains To erring man, and eager to refute False accusation hast contemn'd the course Of the All-Merciful. Why shouldst thou strive With Him whose might of wisdom ne'er unveils Its mysteries to man? Yet doth He deign Such hints and precepts as the docile heart May comprehend. Sometimes in vision'd sleep, His Spirit hovereth o'er the plastic mind Sealing instruction. Or a different voice Its sterner teaching tries. His vigor droops, Strong pain amid the multitude of bones Doth revel, till his soul abhorreth meat. His fair flesh wastes, and downward to the pit He hourly hastens. Holy Sympathy May aid to uphold him in its blessed arms Kindly interpreting the Will Divine, With angel tenderness. But if the God Whose gracious ear doth hear the sigh of prayer Baptized with dropping tears—perceives the cry Of humbled self-abasing penitence, He casts away the scourge—the end is gained. Fresh as a child's, the wither'd flesh returns, And life, and health, and joy, are his once more. With discipline like this, He often tries The creatures He hath made, to crush the seeds Of pride, and teach that lowliness of soul Befitting them, and pleasing in His sight.
* * * * *
Oh Man of Uz—if thou hast aught to add Unto thy argument—I pray thee, speak! Fain would I justify thee. Is it well To combat Him who hath the right to reign? Or even to those who fill an earthly throne And wear a princely diadem, to say, Ye are unjust? But how much less to Him The fountain of all power, who heedeth not Earth's vain distinctions, nor regards the rich More than the poor, for all alike are dust And ashes in His sight. Is it not meet For those who bear His discipline, to say I bow submissive to the chastening Hand That smites my inmost soul? Oh teach me that Which through my blindness I have failed to see, For I have sinn'd, but will offend no more. Say, is it right, Oh Job, for thee to hold Thyself superior to the All-Perfect Mind? If thou art righteous what giv'st thou to Him Who sits above the heavens? Can He receive Favor from mortals? Open not thy mouth To multiply vain words, but rather bow Unto the teaching of His works that spread So silently around. His snows descend And make the green Earth hoary. Chains of frost Straighten her breadth of waters. Dropping rains Refresh her summer thirst, or rending clouds Roll in wild deluge o'er her. Roaming beasts Cower in their dens affrighted, while she quakes Convuls'd with inward agony, or reels Dizzied with flashing fires. Again she smiles In her recovered beauty, at His will, Maker of all things. So, He rules the world, With wrath commingling mercy. Who may hope With finite mind to understand His ways, So excellent in power, in wisdom deep, In justice terrible, respecting none Who pride themselves in fancied wisdom." Hark! On the discursive speech a whirlwind breaks, Tornadoes shake the desert, thunders roll And from the lightning's startled shrine, a voice! The voice of the Eternal. "Who is this That darkeneth knowledge by unmeaning words? Gird up thy loins and answer. Where wert thou When the foundations of the earth were laid? Who stretch'd the line, and fix'd the corner-stone, When the bright morning-stars together sang And all the hosts that circle round the Throne Shouted for joy? Whose hand controll'd the sea When it brake forth to whelm the new-fram'd world? Who made dark night its cradle and the cloud Its swaddling-band? commanding "Hitherto Come, but no further. At this line of sand Stay thy proud waves." Hast thou call'd forth the morn From the empurpled chambers of the east, Or bade the trembling day-spring know its place? Have Orion's depths been open'd to thy view? And hast thou trod his secret floor? or seen The gates of Death's dark shade? Where doth light dwell? And ancient Darkness, that with Chaos reign'd Before Creation? Dost thou know the path Unto their house, because thou then wert born? And is the number of thy days so great? Show me the treasure-house of snows. Unlock The mighty magazines of hail, that wait The war of elements. Who hath decreed A water-course for embryo fountain springs? Mark'd out the lightning's path and bade the rain O'erlook not in its ministries the waste And desolate plain, but wake the tender herb To cheer the bosom of the wilderness. Tell me the father of the drops of dew, The curdling ice, and hoary frost that seal The waters like a stone, and change the deep To adamant. Bind if thou canst, the breath And balmy influence of the Pleiades. Bring forth Mazzaroth in his time, or guide Arcturus, with his sons. Canst thou annul The fix'd decree that in their spheres detain The constellations? Will the lightnings go Forth on thine errands, and report to thee As loyal vassals? Who in dying clay Infused the immortal principle of mind, And made them fellow-workers? If thou canst Number the flying clouds, and gather back Their falling showers, when parch'd and cleaving earth Implores their charity. Wilt hunt the prey With the stern forest-king? or dare invade The darkened lair where his young lions couch Ravenous with hunger? Who the ravens feeds When from the parent's nest hurl'd out, they cry And all forsaken, ask their meat from God? Know'st thou the time when the wild goats endure The mother-sorrow? how their offspring grow Healthful and strong, uncared for, and unstall'd? Who made the wild ass like the desert free, Scorning the rein, and from the city's bound Turning triumphant to the wilderness? Lead to thy crib the unicorn, and bind His unbow'd sinews to the furrowing plough, And trust him if thou canst to bring thy seed Home to the garner. Who the radiant plumes Gave to the peacock? or the winged speed That bears the headlong ostrich far beyond The baffled steed and rider? not withheld By the instinctive tenderness that chains The brooding bird, she scatters on the sands Her unborn hopes, regardless though the foot May trampling crush them. Hast thou given the Horse His glorious strength, and clothed his arching neck With thunder? At the armed host he mocks,— The rattling quiver, and the glittering spear. Prancing and proud, he swalloweth the ground With rage, and passionate desire to rush Into the battle. At the trumpet's sound, And shouting of the captains, he exults, Drawing the stormy terror with delight Into his fearless spirit. Doth the Hawk In her migrations counsel ask of Thee? Mounts the swift Eagle up at thy command? Making her nest among the star-girt cliffs, And thence undazzled by the vertic sun Scanning the molehills of the earth, or motes That o'er her bosom move. Say,—wilt thou teach Creative Wisdom? or contend with Him The Almighty,—ordering all things at His will?"
* * * * *
Then there was silence, till the chastened One Murmured as from the dust, "Lo, I am vile! What shall I answer thee?—I lay my hand Upon my mouth. Once have I dared to speak, But would be silent now, forevermore."
—Yet still, in thunder, from the whirlwind's wing, Jehovah's voice demanded,— "Wilt thou dare To disannul my judgments? and above Unerring wisdom, and unbounded power Exalt thine own? Hast thou an arm like mine? Array thyself in majesty, and look On all the proud in heart, and bring them low,— Yea, deck thyself with glory, cast abroad The arrows of thine anger, and abase The arrogant, and send the wicked down To his own place, sealing his face like stone Deep in the dust; for then will I confess Thy might, and that thine own right hand hath power To save thyself. Hast seen my Behemoth, Who on the grassy mountains finds his food? And 'neath the willow boughs, and reeds, disports His monstrous bulk? His bones like brazen bars, His iron sinews cased in fearful strength Resist attack! Lo! when he slakes his thirst The rivers dwindle, and he thinks to draw The depths of Jordan dry. Wilt cast thy hook And take Leviathan? Wilt bind thy yoke Upon him, as a vassal? Will he cringe Unto thy maidens? See the barbed spear The dart and the habergeon, are his scorn. Sling-stones are stubble, keenest arrows foil'd, And from the plaited armor of his scales The glittering sword recoils. Where he reclines, Who is so daring as to rouse him up, With his cold, stony heart, and breath of flame? Or to the cavern of his gaping jaws Thick set with teeth, draw near? The Hand alone That made him can subdue his baleful might."
* * * * *
Jehovah ceas'd,—for the Omniscient Eye That scans the inmost thought of man, discern'd Its work completed in that lowliness Of deep humility which fits the soul For heavenly intercourse, and renovates The blessed image of obedient love That Eden forfeited. Out of the depths Of true contrition sigh'd a trembling tone In utter abnegation, "I repent! In dust and ashes. I abhor myself." —Thus the returning prodigal who cries Unclothed and empty, "Father! I have sinn'd, And am not worthy to be called thy son," Finds full forgiveness, and a free embrace, While the best robe his shrinking form enfolds.
But with this self-abasement toward his God Job mingled tenderest regard for man. No longer with indignant warmth he strove Against his false accusers, or retained Rankling remembrance of the enmity That vexed his wounded soul With earnest prayers And offerings, he implored offended Heaven To grant forgiveness to those erring friends, Paying with love the alienated course Of their misguided minds. Heaven heard his voice, And with that intercession sweet, return'd The sunbeams of his lost prosperity. Back came his buried joys. They had no power To harm a soul subdued. The refluent tide Of wealth swept o'er him. On his many hills Gathered the herds, and o'er his pastures green Sported the playful lambs. The tuneful voice Of children fill'd his desolate home with joy, And round his household board their beauty gleam'd, Making his spirit glad. So full of days, While twice our span of threescore years and ten, Mark'd out its silvery chronicle of moons Still to his knee his children's children climb'd To hear the wisdom he had learned of God Through the strong teaching both of joy and woe.
* * * * *
Nor had this sublunary scene alone, Witness'd his trial. Doubt ye not that forms To earth invisible were hovering near With the sublime solicitude of Heaven. For he, the bold, bad Spirit, in his vaunting pride Of impious revolt, had dared to say Unto the King of Kings, "Stretch forth thy hand And take away all that he hath, and Job Will curse Thee to Thy face." Methinks we hear An echo of angelic harmony From that blest choir who struck their harps with joy That from the Tempter's ordeal he had risen An unhurt victor. Round the Throne they pour'd Their gratulations that the born of clay Tho' by that mystery bow'd which ever veils The inscrutable counsels of the All-Perfect One, Might with the chieftain of the Rebel Host Cope unsubdued and heavenward hold his way.
THE RURAL LIFE IN NEW-ENGLAND.
It may be thought that the following poem, especially its opening Canto is too minute and circumstantial in its descriptions. Yet the habitudes of a past and peculiar generation, fast fading from remembrance, are worthy of being preserved, though little accordant with romance, perhaps with poetry. So rapid has been our progress as a people, that dimness gathers over the lineaments of even our immediate ancestry. Yet traits at one period despised, or counted obsolete, may at another be diligently sought after and re-juvenated.
It has been observed that nations reaching their zenith, regard with more complacency their rising morn, than the approaching west. France, notwithstanding the precision given to her language by Richilieu, and the Academy, turns back affectionately to her Troubadours and Trouvires, to the long-drawn, scarce-readable "Romance of the Rose," and the itinerant Chronicles of Froissart. England is not indifferent to Anglo-Saxon traditions, or the customs of her Norman dynasty.
A time may arrive when our posterity will not scorn to be reminded of the primitive usages of their rural fathers. To that time, and to unborn readers, this simple poem is dedicated.
L. H. S.
THE RURAL LIFE IN NEW-ENGLAND.
Peaceful is the rural life, made strong by healthful industry, Firm in love of the birth-land, and the laws that govern it, Calm through moderated desires and a primitive simplicity, Walking filially with Nature as the Patriarchs walked with God. Such have I beheld it in my native vales, green and elm-shaded. Such hath it been depicted in their legends who went before me; What therefore, I have seen and heard, declare I unto you In measures artless and untuneful. Fearless of hardship, In costume, as in manners, unadorn'd and homely Were our ancestral farmers, the seed-planters of a strong nation. Congenial were their wives, not ashamed of the household charge, Yoke-fellows that were help-meets, vigorous and of a good courage; Revolting not at life's plain intent, but its duties discharging Patiently, lovingly, and with true faith looking upward. Thence came the rudiments of an inflexible people Whose praise is in themselves. Hail to the ancient farmer! Broad-shouldered as Ajax—deep-chested through commerce with free air, Not enervated by luxury, nor care-worn with gold-counting, Content with his lot, by pride and envy unvisited. Muscular was his arm, laying low the kings of the forest, Uncouth might be his coat, and his heavy shoes, Vestris flouted, At the grasp of his huge hand, the dainty belle might have shuddered. Yet blessings on his bronzed face, and his warm, honest heart, Whose well-rooted virtues were the strength and stay of republics.
* * * * *
True independence was his, earth and sky being his bankers, Bills drawn on them, endorsed by toil were never protested. Bathed in vernal dews was his glistening plough-share, Birds, newly-returned, the merry nest-builders, bade him good morrow, Keenly wrought his scythe in summer, where fell the odorous clover, Clear was his song at autumn-husking, amid piles of golden corn. Winter saw him battling the drifted snows, with his oxen, Bearing to the neighboring town, fuel that gladden'd the hearth-stone. Deep in undisturbed beds then slept the dark-featured anthracite, Steam not having armed itself to exterminate the groves, Lavishly offering them as a holocaust to winged horses of iron, Like Moloch, cruel god, dooming the beautiful to the flame.
* * * * *
Independent was the farmer, the food of his household being sure; With the fields of waving grain; with the towering tassell'd maize; With the herds, moving homeward, bearing their creamy nectar; He saw, and gather'd it, giving thanks to the bountiful Father. Among the lambs sporting in green pastures, among the feathery people, Among the fruit-laden branches, he beheld it also; Under the earth, on the earth, in the air, ripen'd his threefold crop. Swelling in the cluster'd vine, and the roots of the teeming garden, The Garden—precious spot! which God deign'd to bless at the beginning, Placing therein Man, made after his own glorious image, To dress it and to keep it. Hail, to the ancient farmer, Naught to him the fall of stocks that turns pale the speculator, Naught to him the changes of trade, wrinkling the brow of the merchant, Naught to him, the light weight, or exorbitant price of the baker; Sure was his bread, howsoe'er the markets might fluctuate, Sweet loaves of a rich brown, plentifully graced his table, Made by the neat hand of wife or daughter, happy in healthful toil. Skilfully wrought the same hands, amid the treasures of the dairy, Rich cheeses, and masses of golden butter, and bowls of fragrant milk Not doled out warily, as by city dames, but to all, free and flowing; Woman's right it was, to crown the board with gifts of her own preparing; Rights not disputed, not clamored for in public assemblies, But conceded by approving Love, whose manliness threw around her A cherishing protection, such as God willed in Paradise.
* * * * *
Dense was the head of the Maple, and in summer of a lustrous green, Yet earliest in autumn, among all trees of the forest, To robe itself in scarlet, like a cardinal going to conclave. Subjected was it in spring, to a singular phlebetomy; Tubes inserted through its bark, drew away the heart's sweet blood, Pore after pore emptying itself, till the great arteries were exhausted. Fires then blazed amid the thickets, like the moveable camp of the gipsies, And in boiling kettles, fiercely eddying, struggled the caloric, With gases, and the saccharine spirit, until the granulated sugar, Showed a calm, brown face, welcome to the stores of the housewife; Moulded also into small cakes, it formed the favorite confection Of maiden and swain, during the long evenings of courtship.
* * * * *
Gamboling among wild flowers, gadded the honey-bee, Bending down their innocent heads, with a buzzing lore of flattery, Beguiling them of their essences, which with tireless alacrity, Straightway deposited he in his cone-roof'd banking-house, Subtle financier—thinking to take both dividend and capital. But failing in his usury, for duly cometh the farmer, Despoiling him of his hoard, yea! haply of his life also. Stern was the policy of the olden times, to that diligent insect, Not skill'd like our own, to confiscate a portion of his earnings, Leaving life and limb unscathed for future enterprise. Welcome were the gifts of that winged chemist to a primitive people. Carefully cloistered in choice vases, was the pure, virgin honey, Sacred to honor'd guests, or a balm to the sore-throated invalid. Dealt out charily, was the fair comb to the gratified little ones, Or, to fermentation yielded, producing the spirited metheglin. Not scorn'd by the bee-masters, were even those darken'd hexagons Where slumber'd the dead like the coral-builders in reefy cell. Even these to a practical use devoted the clear-sighted matron, Calling forth from cavernous sepulchres cheerful light for the living. Cleansed and judiciously mingled with an oleagenous element, Thus drew she from the mould, waxen candles, whose gold-tinted beauty Crown'd proudly the mantel-piece, reserved for bettermost occasions. Unheard of, then, was the gas, with briliant jet and gorgeous chandelier, Nor hunted they from zone to zone, with barbed harpoon the mighty whale, Making the indignant monarch of ocean, their flambeau and link-boy: For each household held within itself, its own fountain of light. Faithful was the rural housewife, taking charge of all intrusted things, Prolonging the existence of whatever needed repair, Requiring children to respect the property of their parents, Not to waste or destroy, but be grateful for food and clothing; Teaching them industry, and the serious value of fleeting time, Strict account of which must be rendered to the Master and Giver of Life. Prudence was then held in esteem and a laudable economy Not jeered at by miserly names, but held becoming in all, For the poor, that they might avoid debt; and the rich that they might be justly generous.
* * * * *
Ho! for the flax-field, with its flower of blue and leaf freshly green,— Ho! for the snowy fleece, which the quiet flock yield to their master,— Woman's hand shall transmute both, into armor for those she loves, Wrapping her household in comfort, and her own heart in calm content. Hark! at her flaxen distaff cheerily singeth the matron, Hymns, that perchance, were mingled with her own cradle melodies. Back and forth, at the Great Wheel, treadeth the buxom damsel, Best form of calisthenics, exercising well every muscle Regularly and to good purpose, filling the blue veins with richer blood. Rapidly on the spindle, gather threads from the pendent roll, Not by machinery anatomized, till stamina and staple fly away, But with hand-cards concocted, and symmetrically formed, Of wool, white or grey, or the refuse flax smoothed to a silky lustre, It greeteth the fingers of the spinner. In this Hygeian concert Leader of the Orchestra, was the Great Wheel's tireless tenor, Drowning the counter of the snapping reel, and the quill-wheels fitful symphony, Whose whirring strings, yielded to children's hands, prepare spools for the shuttle. At intervals, like a muffled drum, sounded the stroke of the loam, Cumbrous, and filling a large space, with its quantity of timber, Obedient only to a vigorous arm, which in ruling it grew more vigorous. From its massy beam were unrolled, fabrics varied and substantial, Linen for couch and table, and the lighter garniture of summer, Frocks of a flaxen color for the laborer, or striped with blue for the younglings; Stout garments in which man bides the buffet of wintry elements. From the rind of the stately butternut, drew they a brown complexion, Or the cerulean borrowed from the tint of the southern indigo. Thus rustic Industry girded itself, amid household music, As History of old, set her fabulous legends to the harp. Ears trained to the operas of Italy, would find discordance to be mocked at, But the patriot heard the ring of gold in the coffers of his country, Not sent forth to bankruptcy, for the flowery silks of France; While the listening christian caught the strong harmonies of a peaceful Land, Giving praise to Jehovah. Lo! at the winter evening In these uncarpeted dwellings, what a world of comfort! Large hickory logs send a dancing flame up the ample chimney, Tinging with ruddy gleam, every face around the broad hearth-stone. King and patriarch, in the midst, sitteth the true-hearted farmer. At his side, the wife with her needle, still quietly regardeth the children. Sheltered in her corner-nook, in the arm-chair, the post of honor, Calm with the beauty of age, is the venerable grandmother. Clustering around her, watching the stocking that she knits, are the little ones, Loving the stories that she tells of the days when she was a maiden, Stories ever mix'd with lessons of a reverent piety. Manna do they thus gather to feed on, when their hair is hoary. Stretch'd before the fire, is the weary, rough-coated house-dog, Winking his eyes, full of sleep, at the baby, seated on his shoulder, Proudly watching his master's darling, and the pet of the family, As hither and thither on its small feet it toddles unsteadily.
On the straight-back'd oaken settle, congregate the older children. Work have they, or books, and sometimes the weekly newspaper, Grey, on coarse, crumpled paper, and borrowed from house to house, Small-sized, yet precious, and read through from beginning to end, Bright, young heads circling close, peering together over its columns. Now and then, furtive glances reconnoitre the ingle-side, Where before a bed of coals, rows of red apples are roasting, Spitting out their life-juices spitefully, in unwilling martyrdom. Finished, and drawn back, the happy group wait a brief interval, Thinking some neighbor might chance to come in and bid them good even, Heightening their simple refection, for whose sake would be joyously added The mug of sparkling cider passed temperately from lip to lip, Sufficient and accepted offering of ancient, true-hearted hospitality. Thus in colonial times dwelt they together as brethren, Taking part in each others' concerns with an undissembled sympathy.
But when the tall old clock told out boldly three times three, Thrice the number of the graces, thrice the number of the fates, The full number of the Muses, the hour dedicated to Morpheus, At that curfew departed the guest, and all work being suspended, Laid aside was the grandmother's knitting-bag, for in its cradle Rock'd now and then by her foot, already slumbered the baby. Then, ere the fading brands were covered with protecting ashes, Rose the prayer of the Sire, amid his treasured and trusted ones, Rose his thanks for past blessings, his petitions for the future, His committal of all care to Him who careth for his creatures, Overlooking nothing that His bountiful Hand hath created.
Orderly were the households of the farmer, not given to idle merriment, Honoring the presence of parents, as of tutelary spirits. To be obedient and useful were the first lessons of the young children, Well learned and bringing happiness, that ruled on sure foundations, Respect for authority, being the initial of God's holy fear. Modern times might denounce such a system as tyrannical, Asking the blandishments of indulgence, and a broader liberty; Leaving in perplexing doubt, the mind of the infant stranger Whether to rule or to be ruled he came hither on his untried journey, Rearing him in headstrong ignorance, revolting at discipline, Heady, high-minded, and prone to speak evil of dignities.
Welcome was Winter, to the agriculturist of olden times, Then, while fruitful Earth, with whom he was in league, held her sabbath, Knowledge entered into his soul. At the lengthened evening, Read he in an audible voice to his listening family Grave books of History, or elaborate Theology, Taxing thought and memory, but not setting fancy on tiptoe Teaching reverence for wise men, and for God, the Giver of Wisdom. Not then had the era arrived, when of making books there is no end. Painfully the laboring press, brought forth like the kingly whale One cub at a time, guiding it carefully over the billows, Watching with pride and pleasure, its own wonderful offspring. A large, fair volume, was in those days, as molten gold, Touched only with clean hands, and by testators willed to their heirs.
* * * * *
Winter also, brought the school for the boys,—released from farm-labor. Early was the substantial breakfast, in those short, frosty mornings, That equipped in season, might be the caravan for its enterprise, Punctuality in those simple times being enrolled among the virtues. There they go! a rosy group, bearing in small baskets their dinner; Plunging thro' all snow-drifts, the boys,—on all ices sliding the girls, Yet leaving not the straight path, lest tardy should be their arrival. Lone on the bleak hill-side, stood the unpainted village school-house, Winds taking aim at it like a target, smoke belching from its chimney, Bare to the fiery suns of summer, like the treeless Nantucket. Desks were ranged under the windows where on high benches without backs Sate the little ones, their feet vainly reaching toward the distant floor, Commanded everlastingly to keep still and to be still, As if immobility were the climax of all excellence; Hard lesson for quick nerves, and eyes searching for something new. Nature endowed them with curiosity, but man wiser than she Calling himself a teacher, would fain stiffen them into statues. No bright visions of the school-palaces of future days With seats of ease, and carpets, and pianos, and pictured walls, And green lawns, pleasantly shaded, stretching wide for play, And knowledge fondling her pets, and unveiling her royal road, Gleam'd before them as Eden, kindling smiles on their thoughtful faces.
Favor'd were the elder scholars with more congenial tasks: Loudly read they in their classes, glorying in the noise they made, Busily over the slates moved the hard pencils, with a grating sound, Diligently on coarse paper wrote they, with quill pens, bushy topp'd, Blessed in having lived, ere the metallic stylus was invented. Rang'd early around the fire, have been their frozen inkstands, Where in rotation sits each scholar briefly, by the master's leave, Roasting on one side, and on the other a petrefaction, Keen blasts through the crevices delighting to whistle and mock them. Patient were the children, not given to murmuring or complaining, Learning through privation, lessons of value for a future life, Subjection, application, and love of knowledge for itself alone. On a high chair, sate the solemn Master, watchful of all things, Absolute was his sway and in this authority he gloried, Conforming it much to the Spartan rule, and the code of Solomon, Showing no mercy to idleness, or wrong uses of the slippery tongue: Yet to diligent students kind, and of their proficiency boastful, Exhibiting their copy-books, to committee-man and visitant, Or calling out the declaimers, in some stentorian dialogue. Few were the studies then pursued, but thoroughness required in all, Surface-work not being in vogue, nor rootless blossoms regarded. Especially well-taught was the orthography of our copious language, False spelling being as a sin to be punished by the judges. In this difficult attainment the master sometimes accorded A form of friendly conflict sought with ardor as a premium, Stirring the belligerent element, ever strong in boyish natures. Forth came at close of the school-day, two of reproachless conduct, Naming first the best spellers, they proceeded to choose alternately, Till all, old and young, ranging under opposite banners, Drawn up as in battle array, each other stoutly confronted. Rapidly given out by the leaders to their marshall'd forces, Word by word, with its definition, was the allotted lesson, Vociferously answered from each side like discharges of artillery; Fatal was the slightest mistake, fatal even pause or hesitation, Doubt was for the vanquished, to deliberate was to be lost. Drooping with disgrace down sate each discomfited pupil, Bravely stood the perfect, the most unbroken line gaining the victory. Not unboastful were the conquerers, cheered with shouts on their homeward way, Crest-fallen were the defeated, yet eager for a future contest. Strong elements thus enlisted, gave new vigor to mental toil, As the swimmer puts forth more force till the rapids are overpast. Dear to the persevering, were those schools of the olden time, Respected were the teachers, who with majestic austerity, Dispensed without favoritism, a Lacedamonian justice. Learning was not then loved for luxury, like a lady for her gold, But testing her worshippers by trial, knew who sought her for herself.
* * * * *
Not given to frequent feasting was the home-bred farmer of New England, Parties, and the popular lectures swelled not his code of enjoyments. One banquet, climax of his convivial delight, was the yearly thanksgiving, Substituted by puritan settlers for the Christmas of the Mother-Clime, Keeping in memory the feast of ingathering, of the Ancient Covenant People; Drear November was its appointed season, when earth's bounty being garnered, Man might rest from his labors, and praise the Lord of the Harvest. Such was its original design, but the tendencies of Saxonism, Turn'd it more to eating and drinking, than devotional remembrance. Yet blessed was the time, summoning homeward every wanderer: Back came the city apprentice, and from her service place the damsel, Back came the married daughter to the father's quiet hearth-stone, Wrapped warmly in her cloak is a babe, its eyes full of wonder,— Hand in hand, walked the little ones, bowing low before the grandparents, Meekly craving their blessing, for so had they been piously taught. Back to the birth-spot, to the shadow of their trees ancestral, Came they like joyous streams, to their first untroubled fountain, Knowing better how to prize it, from the rocks that had barred their course. In primitive guise, journeyed homeward those dispersed ones. Rare, in these days, was the carriage, or stage-coach for the traveller; Roads, unmacadamized, making rude havoc of delicate springs. Around the door, horses gather with the antique side-saddle and pillion, Led thence to the full barn, while their riders find heartfelt welcome.
Then all whom culinary cares release, hasten to the House of Worship, Religion being invoked to sanction the rejoicing of the fathers. Plain was the village-church, a structure of darkened wood, Having doors on three sides, and flanked by sheds for the horses, Guiltless of blackening stove-pipe, or the smouldering fires of the furnace. Assaulted oft were its windows, by the sonorous North-Western, Making organ-pipes in the forest, for its shrill improvisations Patient of cold, sate the people, each household in its own square pew, Palisaded above the heads of the children, imprisoning their roving eyes. Patiently sate the people, while from 'neath the great sounding-board, The preacher unfolded his sermon, like the many-headed cauliflower. Grave was the good pastor, not prone to pamper animal appetites, But mainly intent to deal with that which is immortal. Prolix might he have been deemed, save by the flock he guided, Who duteously accounted him but a little lower than the angels.
As solemn music to the sound of his monotonous periods Listened attentively the young, until he slowly enunciated Fifteenthly, in the division of his elaborate discourse. Then gadded away their busy thoughts to the Thanksgiving dinner, Visioning good things to come.
At length, around the table, Duly bless'd by the Master of the feast, they cheerily assemble. Before him, as his perquisite, and prerogative to carve. In a lordly dish smokes the huge, well-browned Turkey, Chickens were there, to whose innocent lives Thanksgiving is ever a death-knell; Luscious roasters from the pen, the large ham of a red complexion, Garnish'd and intermingled with varied forms of vegetable wealth. Ample pasties were attached, and demolished with dexterity, Custards and tarts, and compounds of the golden-faced pumpkin, Prime favorite, without whose aid, scarcely could New England have been thankful. Apples, with plump, waxen cheeks, chestnuts, and the fruit of the hickory, Bisected neatly, without fragment, furnished the simple dessert, Finale to that festival where each guest might be safely merry. Hence, by happy-hearted children, was it hailed as the pole-star, Toward which Memory looked backward six months, and Hope forward for six to come, Dating reverently from its era, as the Moslem from his Hegira. Hymen also hailed it as his revenue, and crowning time; Bachelors wearied with the restraints that courtship imposes, Longed for it, as the Israelite for the jubilee of release, And many a householder, in his family-bible marked its date As the day of his espousals, and of the gladness of his heart.
* * * * *
Content was the life of agriculture, in unison with that wisest prayer "Thy will be done." Wisest, because who, save the Eternal Knoweth what is best for man, walking ignorantly among shadows, Himself a shadow, not like Adam our father in Paradise, Rightly naming all things, but calling evil, good, and good, evil, Blindly blaming the discipline that might bless him ever-lastingly, And embracing desires, that in their bosom hide the dagger of Ehud. Asketh he for honor? In its train are envyings and cares; "Wealth? It may drown the soul in destruction and perdition; Power? Lo! it casteth on some lone St. Helena to die: Surely, safest of all petitions, is that of our blessed Saviour,— "Not my will hut Thine."
* * * * *
Thus, as it was in the days before us, Rural life in New-England, with its thrift, and simplicity, Minutely have I depicted, not emulous of embellishment. More of refinement might it boast when our beautiful birth-clime, From the colonial chrysalis emerging, spread her wing among the nations. Then rose an aristocracy, founded not on wealth alone That winds may scatter like desert sands, or the floods wash away, But on the rock of solid virtue, where securely anchors the soul.
* * * * *
Mid its cultured acres rose gracefully a dwelling of the better class, Large, but not lofty, its white walls softened by surrounding shades, Fresh turf at its feet like velvet, green boughs bannering its head, Bannering, and dropping music, till the last rustle of the falling leaves. There, still in her comely prime, dwelt the lady of the mansion. Moderate would her fortune be held in these days that count by millions, Yet rich was she, because having no debts, what seemed to be hers, was so; Rich, in having a surplus for the poor, which she gladly imparted; Rich too, through Agriculture, pursued less from need than habit. Habit mingled with satisfaction, and bringing health in its train. Early widowhood had touched her brow with sadness such as time bringeth, Yet in her clear eye was a fortitude, surmounting adversity. Busy were her maidens, and happy, their right conduct kindly approved, Busy also the swains thro' whose toil her fields yielded increase, Respect had she for labor; knowing both what to require, and when it was well performed, Readily rendering full wages, with smiles and words of counsel, Accounting those who served her, friends, entitled to advice and sympathy. Thus, looking well to the ways of her household, and from each expecting their duty, Wisely divided she her time, and at intervals of leisure, Books allured her cultured mind through realms of thought and knowledge.
* * * * *
But the deepest well-spring of her joys, not yet hath been unfolded, A fountain where care and sorrow forgot both their name and nature. Two little daughters, like olive plants, grew beside that fountain, One, with dark, deepset eyes, and wealth of raven tresses, The other gleaming as a sunbeam, through her veil of golden hair, With a glance like living sapphire, making the beholder glad. Clinging to the sweet mother's hand, smiling when she smiled, If she were sad, grieving also, they were her blessed comforters, Morn and Even were they styled by admiring, fanciful visitants, So "the evening and the morning, were to her soul the first day," After the heavy midnight of her weeping and widowhood.
Side by side, in sweet liberty hither and thither roamed those little ones, Hunting violets on the bank, tasting cheese curds in the dairy, Seeking red and white strawberries, as ripening they ran in the garden beds, To fill the small basket for their mother, covering the fruit with rose-buds, Peering archly to see if she would discover what was lurking beneath. Gamboling with the lambs, shouting as the nest-builders darted by, Sharing in the innocence of one, and catching song from the other.
Nighty on the same snowy pillow, were laid their beautiful heads, The same morning beam kiss'd away their lingering slumbers, The first object that met their waking eye, was the bright, sisterly smile. One impulse moved both hearts, as kneeling by their little bed, Breathed forth from ruby lips, "Our Father, who art in Heaven!" Simple homage, meekly blending in a blessed stream of incense.
Forth went they among the wild flowers, making friendship with the dragon-fly, With the ant in her circling citadel, with the spider at her silk-loom, Talking to the babbling brook, speaking kindly to the uncouth terrapin, And frog, who to them seem'd dancing joyously in watery halls. Like the chirping of the wood-robin murmured their tuneful voices, Or rang out in merry laughter, gladdening the ear of the Mother, Who when she heard it afar off, laughed also, not knowing wherefore.
Thus, in companionship with Nature, dwelt they, growing each day more happy, Loving all things that she cherish'd, and loved by her in return. Yet not idly pass'd their childhood, in New England's creed that were heresy, Promptly, as strength permitted, followed they examples of industry, Lovingly assisting the Mother wherever her work might be. Surprising was it to see what their small hands could accomplish, Without trespassing on the joy of childhood, that precious birthright of life. Diligently wrought they in summer, at the dame's school with plodding needle, Docile at their lessons in winter, stood they before the Master: Yet learning most from Home and Mother, those schools for the heart, Befitting best that sex, whose sphere of action is in the heart. Attentive were they to the Parents' rule, and to the open book of Nature, Teachers, whose faithful pupils shall be wise towards God.
* * * * *
Different were the two daughters, though to the same discipline subjected. Grave was the elder born and thoughtful, even beyond her years, Night upon her tresses, but the star of morning in her heart. Exceeding fair was the younger, and witty, and full of grace, Winning with her sunny ringlets, the notice of all beholders. Different also were their temperaments, one loving like the Violet Shaded turf, where the light falls subdued through sheltering branches, The other, as the Tulip, exulting in the lustrous noontide, And the prerogatives of beauty, to see, and to be seen. Sweet was it to behold them, when the sun grew low in summer, Riding gracefully through the green-wood, each on her ambling palfrey, One, white as milk, and the other like shining ebony, For so in fanciful love had the Mother selected for her darlings. Sweet was it to mark them, side by side, in careless beauty, Looking earnestly in each others' faces, thought playfully touching thought.
* * * * *
Chief speaker was Miranda, ever fearless and most fluent. "Tired am I of always seeing the same dull, old scenes. I wish the rail-fences would tumble down, and the sprawling apple-trees,— And the brown farm-houses take unto themselves wings and fly away, Like the wild-geese in autumn, if only something might be new. There's the Miller forever standing on that one same spot of ground, Watching his spouting wheel, when there's water, and when there is none, Grumbling, I suppose, at home, to his spiritless wife and daughters. I like not that fusty old Miller, his coat covered with meal, Ever tugging at bags, and shoveling corn into the hopper." Discreetly answer'd Bertha, and the lively one responded, Lively, and quick-sighted, yet prone to be restless and unsatisfied, "Counting rain-drops as they fall, one by one, from sullen branches. Seeing silly lambkins leap, and the fan-tail'd squirrels scamper, What are such things to me? Stupid Agriculture I like not, Soap-making, and the science of cheese-tubs, what are they to me? The chief end of life with these hinds and hindesses, Is methinks, to belabor their hands, till they harden like brick-bats."
* * * * *
"Look, look, Miranda, dearest! The new moon sweetly rising Holdeth forth her silver crescent, which the loyal stars perceiving, Gather gladly to her banner, like a host around their sovereign. Let us find the constellations that our good Instructor taught us. Remember you not yesterday, when our lesson was well-render'd, How with unwonted flattery he call'd us his Hesperus and Aurora?"
* * * * *
"These hum-drum teachings tire me, I'm disgusted with reciting And repeating, day by day, what I knew well enough before." Then quickening briskly her startled steed with the riding-whip, She darted onward through the forest, reaching first their own abode.
At night, when they retired, ere the waning lamp was extinguished, That good time for talking, when heart to heart discloseth What the work or the pride of day, might in secrecy have shrouded, Said Miranda, "I have seen our early play-mate, Emilia, From a boarding-school return'd, all accomplished, all delightful, So changed, so improved, her best friends might scarcely know her. Why might not I be favor'd with similar advantages? Caged here, year by year, with wings beating the prison-door; I would fain go where she went. If overruled I shall be wretched. I must go, Bertha, yes! No obstacle shall withhold me."
* * * * *
"Oh Miranda! Our Mother! In your company is her solace. In your young life she liveth, at your bright smile, ever smileth, Such power have you to cheer her. What could she do without you When the lengthen'd eve grows lonely, and the widow sorrow presseth?" "Oh persuade her!" she cried, with an embrace of passionate fervor, "Persuade her, Bertha! and I'll be your bond-servant forever."
* * * * *
Seldom had a differing purpose ruffled long those sisterly bosoms. Wakeful lay Bertha, the silent tear for her companion, While frequent sighs swelling and heaving the snowy breast of Miranda, Betray'd that troubled visions held her spirit in their custody.
* * * * *
Like twin streamlets had they been, from one quiet fountain flowing, Stealing on through fringed margins, anon playfully diverging, Yet to each other as they wander'd, sending messages through whispering reeds, Then returning and entwining joyously, with their cool chrystalline arms.
* * * * *
But who that from their source marketh infant brooklets issue, Like sparkling threads of silver, wending onward through the distance Can foretell which will hold placid course among the vallies, Content with silent blessings from the fertile soil it cheereth, Or which, mid rocky channels contending and complaining, Now exulting in brief victory, then in darken'd eddies creeping, Leaps its rampart and is broken on the wheel of the cataract.
* * * * *
Generous is the love and holy that springeth from gratitude; Rooting not in blind instinct, grasping not, exacting not, Remembering the harvest on which it fed, and the toil of the harvester; Fain would it render recompense according to what it hath received, Or falling short, weepeth. As the leaf of the white Lily Bendeth backward to the stalk whence its young bud drew nutrition, So turneth the Love of Gratitude, with eye undimm'd and fervent, To parent, friend, teacher, benefactor, bountiful Creator. Sympathies derived from such sources ever sacredly cherishing; Daughter of Memory, inheriting her mother's immortality, Welcome shall she find among angels, where selfish love may not enter.