POEMS OF THE HEART AND HOME.
MRS. J. C. YULE (PAMELA S. VINING.)
In presenting this little book to her readers, the author is giving back to them in a collected form much that has previously been given them—anonymously, or under the nom-de-plume, first, of "Emillia," then of "Xenette," or, finally, under her true name either as Miss Vining or Mrs. Yule—and also, much that they have never before seen.
Some of these poems have been widely circulated, not only in Canada, but in the United States and Great Britain; and some appear for the first time in the pages of this book. They are offered solely upon their merits; and upon those alone they must stand or fall. Whatever there is in them calculated to stir the heart of our common Humanity, —to voice forth its joys or its sorrows,—to truly interpret its emotions,—or to give utterance to its aspirations and its hopes, will live; that which does not thus speak for Humanity, has no right to live; and the sooner it finds a merited oblivion the better for its author and the world.
These poems are essentially Canadian. They have nearly all been written on Canadian soil;-their themes and incidents—those that are not purely imaginary or suggested by current events in other countries—are almost wholly Canadian; and they are mainly the outgrowth of many and varied experiences in Canadian life.
To the author, there is hardly one that has not its little, local history, and that does not awaken reminiscences of some quiet Canadian home,—some rustic Canadian school-house,—some dreamy hour in the beautiful Canadian forests,—some morning or evening walk amidst Canadian scenery,—or some pleasant sail over Canadian waters.
They have been written under widely different circumstances; and, in great part, in brief intervals snatched from the arduous duties of teaching, or the more arduous ones of domestic life.
Of the personal experiences traceable through many of them, it is not necessary to speak. We read in God's word that "He fashioneth their hearts alike;" therefore there is little to be found in any human experience, that has not its counterpart, in some sort, in every other, and he alone is the true Poet who can so interpret his own, that they will be recognized as, in some sense, the real, or possible experiences of all.
Trusting that these unpretending lyrics may be able thus to touch a responsive chord in many hearts, and with a sincere desire to offer a worthy contribution to the literature of our new and prosperous country, they are respectfully submitted to the public by the AUTHOR
INGERSOLL, ONT., Aug., 1881.
Yes the weary Earth shall brighten
To a Day Lily
Living and Dying
Up the Nepigon
The Beech nut Gatherer
I will not Despair
The Assembly of the Dead
Littlewit and Loftus
To a Motherless Babe
The Caged Bird's Song
Crossing the Red Sea
The Wayside Elm
My Brother James and I
The World's Day
Our Nation's Birthday
Our Field is the World
Sault Ste Marie
Loved and Lost, or the Sky Lark and the Violet
The Gracious Provider
Rest in Heaven
The Old Church Choir
No other Name
Fellowship with Christ
The Cry of the Karens
'I am doing no good'
Hail, Risen Lord
Lines on the Death of a Young Mother
A Parting Hymn
The Dance of the Winds
Strike the Chords Softly
The Eye that Never Sleeps
By and By
The One Refuge
"Shall be Free"
After Fifty Years
The Earth voice and its Answer
Beyond the Shadows
Autumn and Winter
Our Country, or, A Century of Progress
Jesus, the Soul's Rest
The Beautiful Artist
"Let us Pray"
Rich and Poor
'He hath done all things we!'
The Silent Messenger
Under the Snow
Point of Bliss
Away to the Hills
Flowers by a Grave
Three for Three
Sweet Evening Bells
The Body to the Soul
Come unto Me
"I will not let thee go"
One by One
I shall be satisfied
At the Grave of a Young Mother
Go, Dream no More
Be in Earnest
The Bird and the Storm cloud
The Stray Lamb
Stay, Mother, Stay
Time for Bed
From the Old to the New
The Voice of Spring
Honour to Labor
To our Parents
Under the Rod
The White Stone Canoe
I laid me down and slept
Bright Thoughts for a Dark Day
The Drunkard's Child
The Names of Jesus
POEMS OF THE HEART AND HOME.
YES, THE WEARY EARTH SHALL BRIGHTEN.
Yes, the weary earth shall brighten— Brighten in the perfect day, And the fields that now but whiten, Golden glow beneath the ray! Slowly swelling in her bosom, Long the precious seed has lain,— Soon shall come the perfect blossom, Soon, the rich, abundant grain!
Long has been the night of weeping, But the morning dawns at length, And, the misty heights o'ersweeping, Lo, the sun comes forth in strength! Down the slopes of ancient mountains, Over plain, and vale, and stream, Flood, and field, and sparkling fountains, Speeds the warm rejoicing beam!
Think not God can fail His promise! Think not Christ can be denied! He shall see His spirit's travail— He shall yet be satisfied! Soon the "Harvest home" of angels Shall resound from shore to shore, And amid Earth's glad evangels, Christ shall reign for evermore!
TO A DAY LILY
What! only to stay For a single day? Thou beautiful, bright hued on Just to open thine eyes To the blue of the skies And the light of the glorious sun, Then, to fade away In the same rich ray, And die ere the day is done?
Bright thing of a day Thou hast caught a ray From Morn's jewelled curtain fold On thy burning cheek, And the ruby streak His dyed it with charms untold— And the gorgeous vest On thy queenly breast, Is dashed with her choicest gold.
A statelier queen Has never been seen, A lovelier never will be!— Nay, Solomon, dressed In his kingliest best, Was never a match for thee, O beautiful flower, O joy of an hour— And only an hour—for me!
An hour, did I say? Nay, loveliest, nay, Not thus shall I part with thee, But with subtle skill I shall keep thee still, Fadeless and fresh with me:— Through toil and duty, "A thing of beauty Forever" my own to be'
As with drooping head Amid thorns I tread, I shall see thee unfold anew, In the desert's dust, Where journey I must, Why beautiful form shall view, And visions of Home O'er my spirit will come, As thro' tear-drops I gaze on you'
LIVING AND DYING.
Living for Christ, I die;—how strange, that I, Thus dying, live,—and yet, thus living, die! Living for Christ, I die;-yet wondrous thought, In that same death a deathless life is wrought;— Living, I die to Earth, to self, to sin;— Oh, blessed death, in which such life I win!
Dying for Christ, I live!—death cannot be A terror, then, to one from death set free' Living for Christ, rich blessings I attain, Yet, dying for Him, mine is greater gain Life for my Lord, is death to sin and strife, Yet death for Him is everlas'ing life!
Dying for Christ, I live!—and yet, not I, But He lives in me, who did for me die. I die to live,—He lives to die no more, Who, in His death my own death-sentence bore "To live is Christ," if Christ within me reign, To die more blessed, since "to die is gain!"
UP THE NEPIGON.
How beautiful, how beautiful, Beneath the morning sky, In bridal veil of snowy mist, These dreamy headlands lie! How beautiful, in soft repose, Upon the water's breast, Steeped in the sunlight's golden calm, These fairy islets rest!
A Sabbath hush enfolds the hills, And broods upon the deep Whose music every hollow fills, And climbs each rocky steep, Now low and soft like love's own sigh, Now faint and far away, Now plaining to the answering pines, With melancholy lay.
Like white-winged birds, through azure depths, Above the restless tide, With snowy plume and golden crest, The fleecy cloudlets glide; Their dancing shadows fleck the deep, Or flit above the green Of emerald islands fast asleep 'Neath tranquil skies serene.
I watch the sunshine and the shade, The sparkle and the gleam, Till past and present seem to fade, And life becomes a dream— A fairy, fancy-tinted dream, A sun-bright; summer rest, In which I glide through shade and gleam Past islands of the blest
How beautiful! "How beautiful!" The quiet hills reply, And each responsive cliff gives back Its answer to the sky;— "How beautiful!" the waves repeat, And every cloudlet smiles, And writes its answer on the green Of countless summer isles.
'Tis past—this first, last, only look!— And now, away, away, To bear alone in Memory's book The sunshine of to-day; Yet oft, 'neath other skies than these, With other scenes in view, O isles of beauty, sunny seas, I shall remember you!
Christian, lookup? thy feet may slide; This is a slippery way! Yet One is walking by thy side Whose arm should be thy stay, Thou canst not see that blessed form, Nor view that loving smile With eager eyes thus earthward bent— Christian, look up a while!
Christian, look up!—what seest thou here To court thy anxious eyes? Earth is beneath thee, lone and drear, Above, thy native skies! Beneath, the wreck of faded bloom, The shadow, and the clod, The broken reed, the open tomb,— Above thee, is THY GOD!
Look up! thy head too long has been Bowed darkly toward the earth, Thou son of a most Royal Sire, Creature of kingly birth! What! dragging like a very slave Earth's heavy galling chain,— And struggling onward to the grave In weariness and pain?
What wouldst thou with this world?—thy home, Thy country is not here, 'Mid faded flowers, and perished bloom, And shadows dense and drear!— Thy home is where the tree of Life Waves high its fruitage blest, 'Mid bowers with fadeless beauties rife,— Look up, and claim thy rest!
Over my window in pencillings white, Stealthily traced in the silence of night— Traced with a pencil as viewless as air, By an artist unseen, when the star-beams were fair, Came wonderful pictures, so life-like and true That I'm filled with amaze as the marvel I view.
Like, and yet unlike the things I have seen,— Feathery ferns in the forest-depths green, Delicate mosses that hide from the light, Snow-drops, and lilies, and hyacinths white, Fringes, and feathers, and half-opened flowers, Closely-twined branches of dim, cedar bowers— Strange, that one hand should so deftly combine Such numberless charms in so quaint a design!
O wondrous creations of silence and night! I watch as ye fade in the clear morning light,— As ye melt into tear-drops and trickle away From the keen, searching eyes of inquisitive Day. While I gaze ye are gone, and I see you depart With a wistful regret lying deep in my heart,— A longing for something that will not decay, Or melt like these frost-flowers in tear-drops away,— A passionate yearning of heart for that shore Where beauty unfading shall last evermore; Nor, e'en as we gaze, from our vision be lost Like the beautiful things that are pencilled in frost!
THE BEECH-NUT GATHERER.
All over the earth like a mantle, Golden, and green, and grey, Crimson, and scarlet, and yellow, The Autumn foliage lay;— The sun of the Indian Summer Laughed at the bare old trees As they shook their leafless branches In the soft October breeze.
Gorgeous was every hill-side, And gorgeous every nook, And the dry, old log was gorgeous, Spanning the little brook; Its holiday robes, the forest Had suddenly cast to earth, And, as yet, seemed scarce to miss, them, In its plenitude of mirth.
I walked where the leaves the softest, The brightest, and goldenest lay, And I thought of a forest hill-side, And an Indian Summer day,— Of an eager, little child-face O'er the fallen leaves that bent, As she gathered her cup of beech nuts, With innocent content.
I thought of the small, brown fingers Gleaning them one by one, With the partridge drumming near her In the forest bare and dun, And the jet-black squirrel, winking His saucy, jealous eye At those tiny, pilfering fingers, From his sly nook up on high
Ah, barefooted little maiden With thy bonnetless, sun-burnt brow, Thou glean'st no more on the hill-side— Where art thou gleaning now? I knew by the lifted glances Of thy dark, imperious eye, That the tall trees bending o'er thee Would not shelter thee by and by.
The cottage by the brookside, With its mossy roof is gone;— The cattle have left the uplands, The young lambs left the lawn;— Gone are thy blue-eyed sister, And thy brother's laughing brow; And the beech-nuts He ungathered On the lonely hill-side now.
What have the returning seasons Brought to thy heart since then, In thy long and weary wand'rings In the paths of busy men?— Has the Angel of grief, or of gladness, Set his seal upon thy brow? Maiden, joyous or tearful, Where art thou gleaning now?
Up from the spirit-depths ringing, Softly your melody swells, Sweet as a seraphim's singing, Tender-toned memory-bells! The laughter of childhood, The song of the wildwood, The tinkle of streams through the echoing dell, The voice of a mother, The shout of a brother. Up from life's morning melodiously swell.
Up from the spirit-depths ringing Richly your melody swells, Sweet reminiscences bringing, Joyous-toned memory-bells!— Youth's beautiful bowers, Her dew-spangled flowers, The pictures which Hope of futurity drew,— Love's rapturous vision Of regions Elysian, In glowing perspective unfolding to view.
Up from the spirit-depths ringing, Sadly your melody swells, Tears with its mournful tones bringing, Sorrowful memory-bells! The first heart-link broken, The first farewell spoken, The first flow'ret crushed in life's desolate track,— The agonized yearning O'er joys unreturning, All, all with your low, wailing music come back.
Up from the spirit-depths ringing. Dirge-like your melody swells; But Hope wipes the tears that are springing, Mournful-toned memory-bells! Above your deep knelling Her soft voice is swelling, Sweeter than angel-tones, silvery clear, Singing:—in Heaven above, All is unchanging love, Mourner, look upward, thy home is not here!
I WILL NOT DESPAIR.
I will not despair while thou rulest the storm, Though the red lightning stream o'er the cloud's sable-breast, For I catch through the darkness bright gleams of thy form, And I know 'tis thy voice lulls the tempest to rest— The wild tempest to rest: Nor yet, though the shadows of deepening night, Hang over my path like the pall of despair; For one star through the gloom sends its hallowed light, And I know 'tis thy love smiling tenderly there, —Ah! tenderly there.
I will not despair, though the fountain that burst For me in life's desert be wasted and dry; For thy love was the fountain that cheered me at first, And again to its life-giving waters I fly— O Holiest, fly! No; I will not despair while thy hand points me on, Though flowerless and thorny the path where I roam. For a calm sunlight rests on the far hills beyond, And I know 'tis the radiance that streams from my home, —Home, beautiful home!
A PEN PICTURE FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Upon the plain of Dura stood an image great and high, With golden forehead broad and bright beneath the morning sky; All regal in its majesty and kingly in its mien, The grandest and most glorious thing the world had ever seen!
Full sixty cubits high in air the lordly head was reared, And robed in gold from head to foot the stately form appeared; Adown the breast six cubits broad, a flood of yellow gold, All deftly wrought with matchless skill, its shining tresses rolled.
And, fronting thus the rising sun, it sent back ray for ray— A golden flood of arrowy light—into-the face of day; While round its feet, in awe and dread, all Shinar stood amazed, And up into that radiant face with reverent wonder gazed.
Woke sackbut, psaltery, and harp, woke dulcimer and flute,— Then prone in dust fell prince and peer, in lowly worship mute! The wise, the gifted, and the great, the lordly and the base Before the image bent the knee, and bowed in dust the face.
Not all!—for lo, three princely men, with calm, unaltered mien, With unbowed heads and folded arms, gaze on the unhallowed scene! The golden image awes them not, nor yet the king's decree, They bow not at the idol's shrine, nor bend the servile knee.
"Wake, sackbut, psaltery, and harp—wake yet again!"—but nay, With calm, pale faces, sad and stern, they slowly turn away; The monarch's wrath, the furnace-flame, death, death,—they know it all— Yet all these horrors powerless are those high hearts to appal!
Haste, haste, obsequious minions, bear the tidings to your lord! Go, tell him there are some who dare to disobey his word; Men of the captive, Hebrew race, men high in place and power, Who scorn to bow their haughty necks at his command this hour!
"Go, bring them nigh!" the monarch cries, with fury in his face, "And set them here before my throne, these men of Hebrew race! Now, Shadrach, Meshach, answer me, and thou, Abednego, They tell me ye refuse to bow and worship!—is it so?
"But hearken: if, what time ye hear once more the pealing swell Of sackbut, psaltery, and harp, ye bend in homage—well; If not, the fiery furnace shall your quivering flesh devour! Then where's the God can rescue you from my avenging power?"
Then answered they, the captive three, in calm, respectful tone, While over each young, fearless brow faith's hallowed radiance shone, "Behold, our God is for us now—our God, O King! and He Is able to deliver us from the fierce flames and thee!
"Yea, and He will deliver us!—yet be it known to thee, O King, that could we truly know, that so it would not be, E'en then, we would not bow us down, or worship at the shrine Of this vain image thou hast reared, or any god of thine!"
"Now lead ye forth these haughty men!" the wrathful monarch cried, The while his face grew dark with rage and fury, so defied; "Yea, heat the furnace seven fold, and in the fiercest flame Blot out forever from the day each impious scorner's name!
"Ay, bind them well, ye mighty men, ye warriors stern and bold, And let your cords be very strong, your fetters manifold! For neither they nor He they trust shall foil my kingly ire, Or save them from the wrathful flame of this devouring fire!
"Now cast them in!—but, oh!—my men!—they fade like morning mist! Slain by the fierce, out-leaping flame no mortal may resist! My warriors bold!—alas, alas!—I did not will it so! Scathed by the fiery blast of death meant only for my foe!"
The king has risen to his feet!—what sight has fixed his gaze? What mean the wonder in his face, the look of blank amaze? And what the changed and falt'ring voice, as doubtfully he cries, "Tell me, ye counsellors of mine, ye ancient men and wise,
"Did we not cast, each firmly bound, into the fiercest flame, Three mortal men, for death designed, of Hebrew race and name? Three?—only three?—or do I dream? What sight is this I view?" And all his counsellors replied, "O monarch, it is true!"
"Yet now, amid the blinding flames, unbound, and calm, and free, Walking, with firm and steady step, the fiery waves, I see Not three, but four, and lo, the form of Him, the fourth I ween, Is like the Son of God, so calm, so gracious is His mien!"
Then to the furnace mouth drew near the monarch with his train— The baffled monarch, bowed and quelled, feeling how poor and vain Were all his boasted pomp and power, how impotent and Week The arm so void of strength that hour his mad revenge to wreak.
"Ho, Shadrach, Meshach, hasten ye! and thou, Abednego, Servants of God Most High, come forth!" the monarch cried; and lo, Without a touch or tinge of fire, or smell of scorching flame, Forth, from the glowing heat intense, God's faithful servants came!
O, servants of a heathen king! all vainly would ye trace Or hue, or stain, or smell of fire, on any form or face! Those comely locks of raven hair, smooth and unscorched, behold; Nor may ye find one trace of flame on any garment's fold!
Then cried the heathen king again—and, oh, how altered now The tone and utterance!—how changed the haughty lip and brow!— "Now blessed be the God who hath His angel sent to free His servants who have trusted Him, and changed the King's decree;
"Who gave their bodies to the flame, rather than once to swerve From their allegiance to the God whom they delight to serve! Therefore, let no one speak against this Glorious One and Just, Who saves, as none but He can save, the souls that in Him trust!"
Then calmly to their wonted toil, their worldly cares again, Unconscious of their deathless fame, went forth those dauntless men; Thrice blessed men! with whom, that day, their gracious Lord had walked, And lovingly, as friend with friend, of hallowed mysteries talked.
He walked with them amid the flames! Oh, to the paths we tread, The brighter, smoother, greener paths, with summer-flowers o'erspread, If but our weak hearts welcome Him, the same dear Lord will come, And walk with us through countless snares, till we arrive at home!
THE ASSEMBLY OF THE DEAD.
["Dr. Reid, a traveller through the highlands of Peru, is said to have found in the desert of Alcoama the dried remains of an assemblage of human beings, five or six hundred in number, men, women, and children, seated in a semicircle as when alive, staring into the burning waste before them. It would seem that, knowing the Spanish invaders were at hand, they had come hither with a fixed intention to die. They sat immoveable in that dreary desert, dried like mummies by the hot air, still sitting as if in solemn council, while over that Areopagus silence broods everlastingly."]
With dull and lurid skies above, And burning wastes around, A lonely traveller journeyed on Through solitudes profound; No wandering bird's adventurous wing Paused o'er that cheerless waste, No tree across those dreary sands A welcome shadow cast.
With scorching, pestilential breath The desert-blast swept by, And with a fierce, relentless glare The sun looked from on high; Yet onward still, though worn with toil, The eager wand'rer pressed, While hope lit up his dauntless eye, And nerved his fainting breast.
Why paused he in his onward course?— Why held his shuddering breath?— Why gazed he with bewildered eye, As on the face of death? Before him sat in stern array, All hushed as if in dread, Yet still, and passionless, and calm, A concourse of the dead!
Across the burning waste they stared With glazed and stony eye, As if strange fear had fixed erewhile Their gaze on vacancy; And woe and dread on every brow In changeless lines were wrought,— Sad traces of the anguish deep That filled their latest thought!
They seemed a race of other time, O'er whom the desert's blast, For many a long and weary age, In fiery wrath had passed; Till, scathed and dry, each wasted form Its rigid aspect wore, Unchanged, though centuries had passed The lonely desert o'er.
Was it the clash of foreign arms— Was it the invader's tread,— From which this simple-minded race In wildest terror fled,— Choosing, amid the desert-sands, Scorched by the desert's breath, Rather than by the invaders' steel, To meet the stroke of death?
And there they died—a free-born race— From their proud hills away, While round them in its lonely pride The far, free desert lay And there, unburied, still they sit, All statute like and cold, Free, e'en in death, though o'er their homes Oppression's tide has rolled!
O throbbing heart, be still! Canst thou not bear The heavy dash of Memory's troubled tide, Long sternly pent, but broken forth again, Sweeping all barriers ruthlessly aside, And leaving desolation in its train Where all was fair?
Fair, did I say?—Oh yes!— I'd reared sweet flowers Of steadfast hope, and quiet, patient trust, Above the wreck and ruin of my years;— Had won a plant of beauty from the dust, Fanned it with breath of prayer, and wet with tears Of loneliest hours!
O throbbing heart, be still! That cherished flower— Faith in thy God—last grown, yet first in worth, Will spring anew ere long—it is not dead, 'Tis only beaten to the breast of earth! Let the storm rage—be calm—'twill lift its head Some stiller hour!
LITTLEWIT AND LOFTUS.
John Littlewit, friends, was a credulous man. In the good time long ago, Ere men had gone wild o'er the latter-day dream Of turning the world upside down with steam, Or of chaining the lightning down to a wire, And making it talk with its tongue of fire.
He was perfectly sure that the world stood still, And the sun and moon went round;— He believed in fairies, and goblins ill, And witches that rode over vale and hill On wicked broom-sticks, studying still Mischief and craft profound.
"What a fool was John Littlewit!" somebody cries;— Nay, friend, not so fast, if you please! A humble man was John Littlewit— A gentle, loving man; He clothed the needy, the hungry fed, Pitied the erring, the faltering led, Joyed with the joyous, wept with the sad, Made the heart of the widow and orphan glad, And never left for the lowliest one An act of kindness and love undone;— And when he died, we may well believe God's blessed angels bore John Littlewit's peaceful soul away To the beautiful Heaven for which we pray, Where the tree of knowledge blooms for aye, And ignorance plagues no more.
Squire Loftus, friends, was a cultured man, You knew him-so did I: He had studied the "Sciences" through and through, Had forgotten far more than the ancients knew, Yet still retained enough To demonstrate clearly that all the old, Good, practical Bible-truths we hold Are delusion, nonsense, stuff!
He could show that the earth had begun to grow Millions and millions of ages ago; That man had developed up and out From something Moses knew nothing about,— Held with Pope that all are but parts of a whole Whose body is Nature, and God its Soul;— And, since he was a part of that same great whole, Then the soul of all Nature was also his soul;— Or, more plainly—to be not obscure or dim— That God had developed Himself in him:— That what is called Sin in mankind, is not so, But is just misdirection, all owing, you know, To defectiveness either of body or brain, Or both, which the soul is not thought to retain,— In the body it acts as it must, but that dead All stain from the innocent soul will have fled!
"How wise was Squire Loftus!" there's somebody cries;— Nay, friend, not so fast, if you please; His wisdom was that of the self-deceived fool Who quits the clear fount for the foul, stagnant pool, Who puts out his eyes lest the light he descry, Then shouts 'mid the gloom "how clear-sighted am I!" Who turns from the glorious fountain of Day, To follow the wild ignis fatuus' ray Through quagmire and swamp, ever farther astray, With every step that he takes.
But he died as he lived; and the desolate night He had courted and loved better far than the light, Grew more and more dark, till he passed from our sight, And what shall I say of him more?— Give me rather John Littlewit's questionless faith, To illume my lone path through the valley of death— The arm that he leaned on, the mansion of light That burst through the gloom on his kindling sight, And I'll leave the poor sceptic his lore!— Let me know only this—I was lost and undone, But am saved by the blood of the Crucified One, And I'm wise although knowing no more!
TO A MOTHERLESS BABE.
Why art thou here, little, motherless one,— Why art thou here in this bleak world alone? With that innocent smile on thy beautiful brow, What hath this stern world for such as thou?
Why art thou here in this world of unrest, Thou that of angels shouldst be the guest?— Oh, wild are the storms of this wintry clime, Dire are the ills that will meet thee in time! Lamb, with no shelter when tempests are near, Dove, with no resting place, why art thou here?
THE CAGED BIRD'S SONG.
RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO HIS PATRONESS AND FRIEND, BY THE LITTLE, BROWN SINGER HIMSELF.
Merrily! Merrily! Tschee! tschee! tschee! What can the meaning of these things be? Tiniest buds and leaflets green— Who shall tell me what these things mean? Merrily! Merrily! Tschee! tschee! tschee! Much I guess they were meant for me!
Tsu-ert! Tsu-ert! Tschee! tschee! tschee! So I shall eat them up you see Somebody, somewhere, is kindly stirred To think of me, a poor, brown bird!— Merrily! Merrily! Tschee! tschee! tschee! Somebody, somewhere, thinks of me!
Tsu-ert! Tsu-ert! Tschee! tschee! tschee! "A gentle lady?"—and can it be?— Say it again, 'tis a pleasant word, Thinking of me, your poor, brown bird!— Merrily! Merrily! Tschee! tschee! tschee! Bless the lady that thinks of me
Tsu-ert! Tsu-ert! Tschee: tschee! tschee! So I shall eat them up, you see! Hi, a nip here! and ho, a nip there! Bless me, mistress, how sweet they are! Merrily! Merrily! Tschee! tschee! tschee! Bless the lady who thinks of me!
Tsu-ert! Tsu-ert! Tschee! tschee! tschee! Merrily, merrily, let it be!— Hi, a nip here! and ho, a nip there! Over, under, everywhere! Merrily! Merrily! Tschee! tschee! tschee! Somebody, somewhere, thinks of me!
CROSSING THE RED SEA
Before them lay the heaving deep Behind, the foemen pressed; And every face grew dark with fear, And anguish filled each breast Save one, the Leader's, he, serene, Beheld, with dauntless mind, The restless floods before them seen. The foe that pressed behind. "Why hast thou brought us forth for this?" The people loudly cry;— "Were there no graves in Egypt's land, That here we come to die?" But calm and clear above the din Arose the prophet's word,— "Stand still! stand still!—and ye shall see The salvation of the Lord!"
"Fear not!—the foes whom now you see, Your eyes no more shall view!— Peace to your fears!—your fathers' God This day shall fight for you; For Egypt, in her haughty pride And stubbornness abhorred, This day, in bitterness shall learn, Jehovah is the Lord!"
He spake; and o'er the Red Sea's flood He stretched his awful wand, And lo! the startled waves retired, Abashed, on either hand; And like a mighty rampart rose To guard the narrow way Mysterious, that before the hosts Of ransomed Israel lay!
Oh! strange and solemn was the road Which they were called to tread, With myst'ries of the ancient deep Around their footsteps spread,— With ocean's unknown floor laid bare Before their wondering eyes, And the strange, watery wall that there On either hand did rise!
Yet fearlessly, with steadfast faith, Their Leader led them on; While, from behind, a heavenly light Through the dread passage shone;— Light for that lone and trembling band Gleamed out with radiance clear, While Egypt's host came groping on Through darkness dense and drear!
'Tis past; and on Arabia's coast The tribes of Israel stand, While fierce and fast Egyptia's host Approach that quiet strand;— Though darkness, like a funeral pall, Hangs o'er that dreary path, Still on they desperately press In bitterness and wrath.
Then slowly, once again, arose The Hebrew prophet's hand, And o'er the waiting deep outstretched Once more that awful wand;— The rushing waters closed in might Above that pathway lone, And Pharaoh, in his haughty pride, And all his hosts were gone!
Wail, Egypt, wail!—thy kingly crown Is humbled in the dust! And thou, though late, art forced to own That Israel's God is just! And thou, O Israel, lift thy voice In one triumphant song Of praise to Him in whom alone Thy feeble arm is strong!
THE WAY-SIDE ELM
Standing alone by the highway side, Stately, and stalwart, and tempest-tried, Staunch of body and strong of bough, Fronting the sky with an honest brow, King of the forest and field is he— Yon way side watcher—the old Elm tree.
When kindly Summer, with smile serene, Drapes branch and bough in her robe of green, Ever the joyous, wild birds come And sing 'mid the clustering leaves at home; Ever the soft winds, to and fro, Steal through the branches with music low, And golden sunbeams sparkle and play, And dance with shadows the livelong day.
Up to his forehead undimmed by time, The morning sun-ray is first to climb, With the tender touch of its earliest beam To break the spell of his dewy dream; And there the longest, when daylight dies, The rosy lustre of sunset lies, As loath to fade on the distant sea, Without an adieu to the old Elm tree.
And grand it is, when the wintry blast With shout and clamor is sweeping past, To watch the stately and stern old tree As he battles alone on the wintry lea, With leafy crown to the four winds cast, And stout arms bared to the ruffian blast; Or fiercely wrestles with wind and storm, Unbowed of forehead, unbent of form.
O proud old tree! O loneliest tree! Thy strong-limbed brothers have passed from thee;— One by one they've been swept away, And thou alone—of the centuries grey That have come and gone since thy hour of birth, And left their scars on the patient earth— Remainest to speak to the world and me Of hoarded secrets that dwell with thee.
What of thy birth-hour? what of thy prime? Who trod the wastes in that olden time? Who gathered flowers where thy shadows lay? Who sought thy coolness at noon of day? What warrior chieftains, what woodland maids, Looked up to thee from the dusky glades? Who warred and conquered, who lived and died In those far off years of the forest's pride?
No voice, no answer! So I, too, speak, Yet mine, as the insect's call, is weak To break thy silence, thou lonely tree, Or win a whispered reply from thee. Yet, teacher mine, thou hast taught my heart What soon from its records will not depart— A lesson of patience, a lesson of power, Of courage that fails not in danger's hour, Of calm endurance through winter's gloom, Of patient waiting for summer's bloom, And, heavenward gazing, through storm and night, Like thee to watch for the dawning light.
[Footnote: In the Grand River, at Brantford, July 30th, 1875, Miss Jessie Hamilton, adopted daughter of C.H. Waterous, Esq., Brantford, aged 14 years and 3 months, and Miss Ella E. Murton, only daughter of John W. Murton, Esq., Hamilton, aged 14 years.]
The morning dawned without a cloud, But evening came with pall and shroud,— With muffled step, and bated breath, And mournful whisperings of—death!
* * *
Young lips, that in the morning sung The summer's opening flowers among, Were hushed and cold;—young, laughing eyes, That met the dawn with sweet surprise, Were darkly sealed;—young feet, that pressed The dewy turf with glad unrest, Were cold and stirless, never more To tread the paths they trod before;— And they, who in the morning strayed In fawn-like freedom down the glade, In solemn, dreamless slumber lay, To wake no more, at fall of day!
O stern, remorseless, sullen Tide! O dark Flood, never satisfied! Couldst thou not pity, when, to thee Those young lambs sped so trustingly? Nay, nay;—the tempest's stormy wrath Spares not the lily in its path!— The tameless river will not rest, To heed the rose-leaf on its breast!— A moment, and the quiet shore Heard a low wail, and heard no more;— And then, with calm, unaltered mien, The river glided on serene— With what a weight of anguish fraught!— Unconscious of the woe it wrought.
"Dust unto dust!" O God, thy way Strange and mysterious seems to-day, As, in the darkness of the tomb, What but an hour ago was bloom And beauty, now we hide away, And leave to silence and decay! Aid us in lowliness to bow, And own how just and good art thou, And, though thou hidest still thy face, Trust the great love we may not trace!
MY BROTHER JAMES AND I
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF A BEREAVED BROTHER.
We were playmates long together, By the brook and on the hill, In the golden, summer weather, When the days were long and still; We were playmates in the firelight While the winter eyes went by, And we shared one couch at midnight— My brother James and I!
We were schoolmates, too, together, In the after years that came, And in toil, or task, or pleasure, Ours was still one heart, one aim; Hand in hand we struggled sunward Toward fair Science' temple high Aiding each the other onward— My brother James and I!
We were men at last together— Oh, the well remembered time, When we left the dear, old homestead In our early manhood's prime! Even then not disunited, Went we forth with courage high To one aim and effort plighted— My brother James and I!
But at length there came a shadow Dark with signs of change and blight Deep'ning silently but surely To a long and tearful night, And beside a lonely river That went darkly rushing by Parted we—but not forever— My brother James and I!
Not forever! not forever! Though the stream is dark and wide He is beck'ning to me ever From the sun lit, summer side, There the glory fadeth never, And I know that by and by We shall tread that shore together— My brother James and I!
"Work to-day in my vineyard!"
Hast thou, then, been called to labor In the vineyard of thy Lord, With the promise that, if faithful, Thou shall win a sure reward?— Look! the tireless sun is hasting Toward the zenith, and the day, Which in vanity thou'rt wasting, Speedeth rapidly away!
Lo! the field is white for harvest, And the laborers are few; Canst thou, then, oh, slothful servant! Find no work that thou canst do? Sitting idle in the vineyard! Sleeping, while the noon-day flies! Dreaming, while with every pulse-beat Some unsaved one droops and dies!
Waken! overburdened lab'rers, Fainting in the sultry ray, Cry against thee to the Master As thou dream'st the hours away Waken! patient angels bearing Home Earth's harvest, grieving see One by one the bright hours waning, And no sheaf secured by thee!
And at last, when toil is ended, And the blessed "Harvest home," By exulting angels chanted, Cheers the lab'rers as they come, What wilt thou do, slothful servant, With no gathered sheaf to bring? How canst thou stand, empty-handed, In the presence of thy King?
Lo! the field is white for harvest, And the laborers are few; Canst thou, then, oh, slothful servant. Find no work that thou canst do? Angels wait to bear the tidings Of some good that thou hast done; Then, to patient, earnest labor, Waken, ere the set of sun!
THE WORLD'S DAY.
Dark was the world when from the bowers Of forfeit Eden man went forth, With aching heart and blighted powers, To till the sterile soil of earth; Yet, even then, a glimmering light Faintly illumed the eastern skies, And, struggling through the mists of night, Beamed soft on Abel's sacrifice.
It shone on Abram's eager eyes Upon Moriah's lonely height, And Jacob, 'neath the midnight skies, In hallowed dreams beheld its light; And o'er Arabia's desert sand Where weary Israel wandered on, In doubt and fear toward Canaan's land, The hallowed dawning brighter shone.
Ages roll on 'mid deep'ning day, And prophet-bard and holy seer Watch eagerly the kindling ray, To see the blessed sun appear— Watch, till along the mountain-heights The long-expected radiance streams, And lo! a bloody Cross it lights, And o'er a blood-stained victim gleams!
And higher climbed the rising sun, And brighter glowed the joyous day, And Earth the bowed and weary one Kindled beneath the blessed ray A little while—then, dense and drear, Back rolled the heavy clouds of night, Till through the murky atmosphere Scarce stole a single gleam of light
Then Superstition piled her fires With slaughtered saints,—and dungeons lone Echoed the tortured victims' prayers, The stifled shriek, the smothered groan: Yet ever, Truth, through blood and tears, Pursued her dark, tempestuous way, And Faith illumed those stormy years, With promises of brighter day.
It came at last—through parted clouds The blessed sunlight burst once more, And a broad flood of glory swept O'er vale and plain, o'er sea and shore; Earth, from her wildering dream of tears, And blood and anguish, guilt and wrong— The long, dark, troubled dream of years— Awoke, and once again was strong.
Then crumbled thrones—then empires fell, As Science, Freedom, Truth, arose, And, shaking off their numbing spell, Closed in stern conflict with their foes: And onward still, with unbowed head, Faith's dauntless legions held their way, Marking with heaps of martyred dead The pathway that behind them lay.
And still that steady march is on, Through storm and gloom, through strife and tears. Still Faith points upward to the sun Whose glories brighten with the years— Whose steady light and heat at length Shall scatter every cloud away, And Truth, majestic in her strength, Shall stand complete in perfect day.
Brethren, go! the day is bright'ning As the sultry noon steals on, And the fields, already whit'ning, Tell of labor to be done.
There are toilsome days before you, Burdens that you may not shun, Clouds will gather darkly o'er you, Reeds will fail you one by one.
Yet go forth to strong endeavor, 'Neath the shadow of the cross; He who calls will leave you never,— Never let you suffer loss!
Go; the voices of the dying Float on every passing breeze; Tones of wild, imploring crying Come from lands beyond the seas!
Go where pain and sorrow languish, Go where Sin works strife and woe, Cleanse Earth's stain, and heal her anguish, Jesus calls you—brethren, go!
OUR NATION'S BIRTHDAY.
JULY 1ST, 1867.
Ring out your glad peals of rejoicing! Wake Music's enlivening strain! Let the sound float abroad o'er your waters, And echo through valley and plain; From the shores of the far-distant Fundy, To the lakes of the limitless West, Let the sound of a People's exulting Go forth in its joyous unrest!
For a great Christian Nation, this morning, From fragments disjointed made one, With the laws and the speech of old England, Looks up to the new-risen sun; And, scarce conscious as yet of her mission— Of the wealth of her young, earnest life— Starts out in the march of the nations, To a future with perils how rife!
Yet who shall not hope for that future— God's wide-open Book in her hand, With her sturdy and truth-loving yeomen, Her broad-spreading acres of land?— And who does not welcome the rising Of a new star of promise this morn, Whose beams shall illumine the darkness Of millions that yet are unborn?
Then hail we, in songs of rejoicing, Our father-land over the sea, Britannia, pride of the ocean, The home of the gallant and free!— Hail, Queen of dominions that girdle The world like an emerald zone, VICTORIA, Head of three Empires, Meek Sovereign of Earth's proudest throne!
And hail to our new-born Dominion! Hail, Canada, happy and blest! May thy flag ever wave o'er the freest, Most glorious clime of the West; Be freedom thy watchword, and Onward, Thy motto, still cherished and true, And ever abroad on the breezes Float thy time-honored "RED, WHITE AND BLUE."
OUR FIELD IS THE WORLD.
Our field is the world!—let us forth to the sowing, O'er valley and mountain, o'er desert and plain, Beside the still waters through cool meadows flowing, O'er regions unblest by the dew and the rain;— Let us scatter the seed, though in sorrow and weeping, Though fields should be verdureless, wintry, and bare, The Lord of the harvest hath still in His keeping Each seed as it falls, and will guard it with care.
Our field is the world!—let us forth to the reaping; The long day is waning, the eve draweth nigh; Faint omens of storm up the heavens are creeping, And the sigh of the tempest is heard in the sky;— The work-hour is brief, but the rest is forever, Then stay not for weariness, languor, or pain, But forth to the harvest with earnest endeavor, And gather with gladness the sheaves that remain.
Our field is the world!—let us forth to the gleaning, The stores may be small that our labors reward, Yet One from the height of His glory is leaning, Attent to behold what we do for the Lord;— Where, haply, some reaper has passed on with singing, O'erladen with sheaves for the garner above, May yet be some handfuls that wait for our bringing, To crown with completeness the stores of His love.
Our field is the world!—whether sowing or reaping, Or gleaning the handfuls that others have passed, Or waiting the growth of the seed that, with weeping, On rocky and desolate plains we have cast, Yet each for his toiling, and each for his mourning, Shall sometime rejoice when the harvest is done, And know, in the flush of Eternity's morning, That the toil, the reward, and the glory are one.
SAULT STE. MARIE
Laughing and singing With rhythmical flow, Leaping and springing, O light-hearted Sault!— Tossing up snowy hands In thy glad play, Shaking out dewy locks Bright with the spray,— Joyously ever Thy bright waters go, Yet wearying never, O beautiful Sault!
Kingly Superior Leaps to thy arms, And all his broad waters Are bright with thy charms; They sparkle, and glitter, And flash in their play, Chasing ripple and rainbow Away and away! Weary, I ween, Of his solemn repose, Gaily the mighty Flood Flashes and glows; And, buoyantly, brightly, Fleet-footed or slow, Doth dance with thee lightly, Unwearying Sault!
If I were a fairy I'd dance with thee too, Daily and nightly, Unfalt'ring and true;— In sunlight and starlight, In darkness and day, As free as the breezes, As glad in our play! We'd sing in the darkness, We'd laugh in the light, We'd whirl in the eddies At noonday and night,— We'd toss up the waters In sunshine, to see How they'd fling us back di'monds And gold in their glee;— Such amethysts, topazes, Rubies and pearls, As we'd strew o'er the tide In our innocent whirls, And never be lonely, Or weariness know— Ourselves, and us only— O light-hearted Sault!
Yet the dance is thine own, And the song and the glee, Thou dwellest alone, Untrammelled and free Our ships may not glide O'er thy bosom,—our feet May not trace out one path, Or explore one retreat! We may hollow our channels To left or to right, And glide on our way With thy gambols in sight, Yet this, and this only, Of thee we may know, Thou lone, but not lonely, Free, fetterless Sault!
Farewell, ye bright waters,— We part, and for aye!— My pathway leads on O'er the billows away;— These feet will grow weary In life's busy mart, These eyes be oft tear-dim, And heavy this heart; But thou wilt sing on In thy joyous unrest, Unchanging, unwearying, Buoyant and blest While the slow-footed centuries Glide on their way, And nations grow hoary, And sink in decay,— Thou, tireless and tameless, Unchecked in thy flow, Shalt sing on as ever, O beautiful Sault!
IN MEMORY OF THE REV. J. E. V.
Rest, brother, rest! Thy eyes no more shall weep O'er unhealed anguish and unconquered sin; Thy peaceful slumber, tranquilized and deep, Is marred no more by Earth's discordant din. Calm are the skies above thy quiet bed, And calm is Earth in Summer-glories dressed, And cool and sweet the fresh mould richly spread Above thy folded hands and peaceful breast.
Oh, could my voice thy placid slumber break, And win thee back to mortal scenes again,— Bid thee, unblamed, thy heavenly paths forsake, Once more to walk with me 'mid care and pain, I could not, dare not breathe the word, for thou Hast long enough toiled where the dark curse lies On all Earth's fairest fruitage;—brother, now Thou seest the "goodly land" with unveiled eyes!
Oh no! I would not breathe that word, though life For me be sadder for the smile I miss; For thou hast gained a home unreached by strife, Undimmed by tears—a home of changeless bliss! There, in sweet fellowship with angels blessed, And all the crowned and glorified above, In thy loved Saviour's longed-for presence rest, And bask forever in the light of LOVE!
LOVED AND LOST, —OR— THE SKY-LARK AND THE VIOLET.
Come down from thy dazzling sphere, Bird of the gushing song! Come down where the young leaves whisper low, While the breeze steals in with a murmurous flow, And the tender branches wave to and fro In the soft air all day long!
I have watched thy daring wing Cleaving the sun-bright air, Where the snowy cloud is asleep in light, Or dreamily floating in robes of white, While thy soul gushed forth in its song's free might, Till my spirit is dim with care.
For oh, I have loved thee well, Thou of the soaring wing!— And I fear lest the angels that sit on high, In the calm, still depths of the upper sky, Will love with a tenderer love than I, As they stoop to hear thee sing
Come down from the heights, my bird, And warble thy lays to me! I shall pine and droop in my grassy nook For the passionate song that my spirit shook, And the low, sad voice of the grieving brook Will murmur all night of thee!
I shall sit alone—alone, While the noontide hour steals by; And mournful the woodland's music will be,— Mournful the blue, calm heavens to me,— Mournful the glory on earth and sea,— And mournful the sunset sky!
O voice of exulting song!— O bright, unwavering eye!— O free wing soaring in fetterless flight Up to the Fountain of quenchless Light!— O, Earth that darken'st in sudden night, I shudder, and faint, and die!
From the dewy grass upspringing— From my wing the pearl-drops flinging— Upward, with exultant singing, Let me—let me fly! Sun, with gemmed and flashing banners, List my rapturous hosannas— As I mount, on circling wing, Higher, o'er the fragrant meadow,— O'er the forest's broken shadow,— O'er the hill-tops green and golden,— Where the ivied ruins olden Echo out with sudden gladness As I break their brooding sadness With the lays I sing!
Joy, joy!—I have caught the song Of the angels that sit above!— And warble in musical chorus alway Those notes that oftentimes earthward stray So tenderly sweet at the fall of day, What time the rose-bud's trembling spray Thrills with their lays of love!— Joy, joy!—I have caught the song Of bright ones that sit above!— And the far-off Earth's a forgotten thing, As I mount on free and fetterless wing, Up to the sun-fields where they sing, Drawn on by their soul of love!
Hush! is it a voice of Earth— Of the far-away Earth, I hear? Breathing of the fragrant meadow,— Of the drooping willow's shadow,— Of the breezes' gentle sighing,— Of the brooklet's low replying,— Of the blue, o'er-arching heaven,— Of the violet-curtained even,— Of the tender, dreamy starlight,— Of the hushed, majestic midnight?— And through all that murmur so sad and low, Meanings of passionate anguish flow, Till I feel a weight on my glancing wing Bearing me earthward while yet I sing, With its burden of heavy woe.
Bird, I am drooping in tears alone, Pressing my cheek 'gainst the cold, grey stone, And looking upward with aching eye, Through the tender depths of the morning sky;— But thy form fades out in that glorious sea That lieth so calmly 'twixt thee and me; A speck—it is lost in the azure deep! And I droop in the deepening gloom, and weep My sorrowful life away!
O voice of passionate song!— O bright, unwavering eye!— O free wing soaring in limitless flight Beyond the stretch of my aching sight! How the cold earth darkens in sudden night! How I shudder, and faint, and die!
Fainter and fainter—'tis heard no more— That plaintive strain from Earth's lessening shore— And I fling its weight from my fetterless wing, Higher and higher in heaven to sing, Afar from Earth's faded shore! I shall take my seat in the clouds, I shall sit beside the Sun,— I shall gaze with calm, unfaltering eye On the face of the radiant one! O glorious, kingly Sun!— O brightly beautiful one!— O Monarch, sitting serenely bright, In thy quenchless glory on heaven's height, I am upward drawn to thee!— And thy fiery spirit's ardent flame Is downward-drawn to me! Sun, with gemmed and flashing banners, List my rapturous hosannas, As I circle nearer,—nearer,— Where your rays burn brighter, clearer,— Up, on wings of strong desire, Higher still, and ever higher!
I droop by the cold, grey stone!— I faint in the smitten day!— I hear not the song of my own free bird Whose joyous music my glad heart stirred But yester-morn! I can see no more The humming-bird's wing as it flutters o'er The fragrant clover-bloom! The brook, with a far-off, sorrowful tone, Seemeth in measureless grief to moan As it hurrieth on its way— The breath of my lost perfume Floats on the wandering breeze, Over the meadow's perishing bloom, Over the cold, blue seas! I would not gather it back, I would not fill anew With love's pure incense my broken urn, For the lost can never more return From the sky's encompassing blue!
It is well!—I would not hang A weight on his fetterless wing; For was he not make for the sun-bright sky?— To face the glories that burn on high?— And I, to sit 'mid Earth's fading bloom, And waste my life in the faint perfume I fling to the thankless breeze?— Let him cleave the azure infinite!— Let him pour his soul out in song's free might!— Till the white-robed seraphs that dwell in light Shall stoop to hear him sing!— Be it mine to fade ere the day-beams die, And alone in the sighing grass to lie, With my dull face turned to the tearless sky, A faded, forgotten thing!
THE GRACIOUS PROVIDER.
"They need not go away!" the Master said, "Give ye to them." Ah, Lord, behold our store— These loaves, these fishes,—see, we have no more! How shall this fainting throng with these be fed? "Make them sit down!"—and the disciples sped To do His will. He blessed, and brake, and gave And as they ate, each heart grew strong and brave, Filled, till they craved no more, with hallowed bread. Thus, when our hearts grow faint, and stores are small, And thou demandest all that we possess, O, help us, Lord, to bring that little all, Knowing shouldst thou the gift accept and bless, Our worthless store, so changed and glorified, Ourselves shall feed, and fainting throngs beside.
REST IN HEAVEN
When tossed on time's tempestuous tide, By angry storms resistless driven, One hope can bid our fears subside— It is the hope of rest in Heaven.
With trusting heart we lift our eyes Above the dark clouds, tempest-driven, And view, beyond those troubled skies, The peaceful, stormless rest of Heaven.
No more to shed the exile's tears,— No more the heart by anguish riven,— No longer bent 'neath toilful years,— How sweet will be the rest of Heaven
Good night, good night!—the day Slowly has borne away, Music and light; Once more the starry train Sweeps over vale and plain, Soft falls the dews again— Good night-good night!
Day's weary toils are done, Set is the glorious sun, Faded the light;— Now, to the weary breast Ever a welcome guest,— Comes the sweet hour of rest— Good night—good night!
Evening's cool shadows lie Calmly o'er earth and sky; And, from the height Of the far, wooded hill, Sends the lone whip-poor-will, Softer and sweeter still, Plaintive good night.
Gently let slumber lie On every weary eye Tired of the light! E'en as the folded flowers Sleep in the forest bowers, Rest, through the silent hours— Good night—good night!
THE OLD CHURCH CHOIR
I am slowly treading the mazy track That leadeth, through sunshine and shadows, back— Through freshest meads where the dews yet cling As erst they did to each lowly thing, Where flowers bloom and where streamlets flow With the tender music of long ago— To the far-off past that, through mists of tears, In its spring time loveliness still appears, And wooes me back to the gleaming shore Of sunny years that return no more.
And to night, all weary, and sad, and lone, I return in thought to those bright years flown, Whose lingering sweetness, e'en yet, I feel Like the breath of flower-scents over me steal I am treading o'er mounds where the dead repose,— I am stirring the dust of life's perished rose,— I am rustling the withered leaves that lie Thick in the pathway of Memory,— And calling out from each lonely hill Echoes of voices forever still.
And I pause again where I stood of yore In the Sabbath light at an old church door, And, ling'ring a moment, I turn to view The green hills leaning against the blue As erewhile they stood in the golden calm Of morning's sunlight and breath of balm, With clustering verdure, and blossoming trees, And gush of bird song and hum of bees, And glancing shadows that came and went Of soft clouds high in the firmament, Floating away in their robes of white On snowy pinions through realms of light.
And I see again through the azure sky The same white cloudlets still floating by; And a greener line through the meadow shows Where a little streamlet still, singing, flows; And out from a woodland there floats again Of joyous warblers the old, sweet strain; While still, with serious, reverent air, Aged and young seek the house of prayer.
And with them I enter the narrow door That open stands as it stood of yore; And look up again at the windows tall,— At the narrow aisles and the naked wall,— At the high, straight pulpit with cushion red, And its worn, old Bible still open spread,— At the pews where, unhindered, the slant rays fall,— At the long, plain gallery over all Where maid and matron, and son and sire, Together sang in the old church-choir.
And again, as I listen, I seem to hear The strains of old, half-forgotten Mear, And solemn China, and grave Dundee, And stately Rockingham, calm and free, And rare Old-Hundred's majestic swell, And tender Hebron we loved so well, And tuneful Stonefield's melodies sweet, Bridgewater, Windham, and Silver-street, And rich St. Martin, and yet again Old Coronation's exultant strain, And sweet Devizes' slow, warbled tone, Resounding Lenox and Arlington, And gentle Boyleston, and many more Which Memory holds in her treasured store, That rise and fall on the tranquil air, As they did of old, in this house of prayer; Where, Sabbath by Sabbath, for many a year, Often and often we sang them here.
For many a year—but they all are flown, The band is broken, and hushed each tone, And voices that mingled in tuneful breath, Are silent now in the hush of death! Scattered like Autumn-leaves far and near Are those who clustered together here,— Gone, like flowers in the swift stream cast, Like wandering birds when the summer's past, Like perfume shed in the tempest's track, Never again to be gathered back!
I am thinking now of a young, fair face, A brow of beauty, a form of grace, The tender tones of whose sweet voice long Swelled richly forth in our Sabbath-song; But she laid her own, in a loved one's hand, And he led her forth to a distant land, Where a home, all radiant with love's pure beam, Fulfilled her girlhood's enraptured dream;— Yet she only pined 'neath the stranger's sky, And he brought her back to her own—to die!
The breath of Spring-time was on the plain, And flowers were bursting to life again, And birds were carolling full and free On the leafy boughs of the forest tree, When the sweetest voice in our tuneful throng Faltered and failed from our choral song, And we laid her down at her pure life's close, Peaceful and pale in her last repose.
The silvery Thames, as it glides along, Murmurs anear her its old, sweet song;— The tuneful robin sings still, as when He warbled for her in the woodland glen;— The star she loved, through the long, still night Keeps his old, calm watch 'mid the planets bright;— Her favorite flowers are still as fair As when twined 'mid the braids of her raven hair;— But the voice we missed in that far-off Spring Is only heard where the angels sing!
And yet another,—I see him now, With his manly bearing and noble brow— Who turned away from our old church-choir, To sing with the angels in worship higher —As an alien bird 'neath inclement skies Foldeth its pinions to earth and dies, So he, o'erwearied with life's unrest, Folded his mantle around his breast, And, meekly bowing his weary head, Went down to rest with the quiet dead, And long were the hearts that had loved him lone For the absent form and the missing tone!
There was still another. I yet behold That form as I saw it in days of old, As we stood in the calm of those Sabbath days, And mingled our voices in hymns of praise. —Ah! little we dreamed as we saw him there In his proud, young beauty, with brow so fair, And eye so lustrous, and tones so clear, That the cruel spoiler was then so near;— We dreamed it not, till we saw the light Of his clear eyes growing so strangely bright. And the flush of health on his cheek give place To the deadly hectic's burning trace!
There's a tranquil isle amid Southern seas— A fair isle, swept by no wintry breeze— Where the wandering zephyr through long, bright hours Gathers the perfume of orange bowers, And roses droop in the fragrant bloom Of their summer life o'er a nameless tomb, —In that nameless tomb he is laid to rest, And the dust of the stranger is on his breast, And the breath of the South sweeps its viewless lyre O'er another lost from our old church-choir
One dreamt of wealth on a distant shore, And he wandered far to return no more, For the deadly pestilence swept his path, And the strong man drooped 'neath its burning wrath, And he sleeps alone in the shining dust Whose golden promises mocked his trust!
By a lonely lake in the boundless West, Another reposes in dreamless rest,— And yet another—her pure life done— Slumbers far off toward the setting sun, And the youngest voice in our old church-choir Is to-day attuned to a seraph's lyre
That old church choir—I am standing lone Where we stood together in days by gone, But the tranquil air by no voice is stirred Save the lonely call of a distant bird. The grey, old church is no longer seen, But the rank grass over its site grows green, And, 'mid the tomb-stones, with sighing breath, The sad wind whispers of change and death
Hush! is it fancy?—or do I hear A far-off melody, faint yet clear, Of gentle voices, sweet tones of yore, Tenderly borne from an unseen shore? —Ah! loved, long parted, ye're joined once more In the Sabbath light of a changeless shore! And there, with never a jarring note, Your joyous anthems forever float In sweet accord with the seraph strains That sweep unchecked o'er celestial plains; And I long to rejoin you in regions higher, Loved ones, long lost from our old church-choir!
NO OTHER NAME
"For there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Jesus! the only name that's given, Through which salvation we may claim; This, this alone, we breathe to Heaven, For God accepts no other name.
No other name when skies are bright. And sunshine glows on field and flower; No other name when, dark as night, The heavy clouds tempestuous lower.
No other name when, drooping low, O'erburdened by sin's heavy load, The contrite spirit pines to know The way to hope, to Heaven, to God.
No other name when, like a flood, Temptations beat upon the soul; Faith, breathing that one name to God, The raging billows shall control.
In peace or conflict, toil or rest, In wealth or want, in praise or blame, Still wear it graven on thy breast, And, dying, plead no other name!
Two pictures, strangely beautiful, I hold In Mem'ry's chambers, stored with loving care Among the precious things I prized of old, And hid away with tender tear and prayer The first, an aged woman's placid face Full of the saintly calm of well spent years, Yet bearing in its pensive lines the trace Of weariness, and care, and many tears.
We sat together in our Sabbath-place, Through the hushed hours of many a holy day, And sweet it was to watch the gentle grace Of that bowed form with those who knelt to pray, And lifted face, when swelled the sacred psalm, And the rich promise of God's word was shed Upon her waiting heart like heavenly balm, And all our souls with angels' meat were fed.
There came a day when missing was that face,— The form so meekly bent in prayer was gone,— Those lifted eyes, so radiant with praise, Beyond the spheres in saintly beauty shone!— Another crowned one swelling Heaven's high train— Another loved one missed from our low shrine,— Hers, the rich wealth of Heaven's eternal gain,— A tearful trust, a tender memory, mine!
The other picture is a young, fair child— A gentle boy, with curls of clustered gold, And calm, dark eyes that seldom more than smiled As though his life had grown too grave and old— Too full of earnest thought, and anxious quest, And silent searchings after things unseen;— And yet, the quiet child seemed strangely blest, As one who inly feels Heaven's peace serene.
So close beside me, in his Sabbath-place, He sat or stood, my hand I might have laid Upon his rippling curls, or dropped a kiss Upon his fair, white forehead while he prayed. Frail, beauteous boy!—upon his little feet— Though all unheard by love's quick ear attent— E'en then Death's chilling waters sternly beat, And with his sweet child-hymns their murmurs blent.
One Sabbath day there was an empty seat— I could not see for blinding tears that hour— But by and by, where Living waters meet In God's fair Paradise, I saw my flower, And ceased to weep!-Henceforth with loving care, These precious pictures in my heart I shrine— Food for sweet thought, incentive to sweet prayer— My own, until I reach their home and mine!
FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST
To pray as Jesus prayed, When faithless brethren sleep,— To weep the ruin sin has made— The only ones that weep,— To bear the heavy cross,— To toil, yet murmur not,— To suffer pain, reproach, and loss,— Be such our earthly lot.
Yet oh, how richly blest The Master's cup to share,— The aching grief that wrung His breast,— His broken-hearted prayer,— If thus we may but gain One sheaf of golden wheat Gleaned from Earth's sultry harvest-plain, To lay at His dear feet!—
If thus we may but win One precious earthly gem Snatched from the mire of vice and sin, For His rich diadem!— Here, sorrow, patience, prayer; In Heaven, the rich reward! Here, the sharp thorns, the cross,—and there "Forever with the Lord"!
AN OLD LESSON IN A NEW DRESS.
"Here is a lantern, my little boy," Said a father to his child, "And yonder's a wood, a lonely wood, Tangled, and rough, and wild; And now, this night,—this very hour, Though gloomy and dark it be, By the single light of this lamp alone, You must cross the wild to me!
"I'll be on the farther side, my son, So follow the path you see, And at the end of this narrow way, Awaiting you, I will be!" Thus bidden, the child set out, but soon, With the gloomy waste ahead, Oppressed with terror and doubt he stopped, Shaking with fear and dread.
"Father!—father!—I cannot see!— The forest is thick and black, I'm sure there is danger ahead of me, Please, father, call me back!" But the father's voice through the gloomy wild, In answering accents said,— "Just keep in the light of your lamp, my child, And don't look too far ahead!"
Thus cheered, the child pressed trustingly on, Though trembling much with fear, For around, beyond, and overhead, The forest was dark and drear, And ever, to keep his courage up, To himself he softly said,— "He told me to keep in the light of my lamp, And not look too far ahead!"
At length the other side was gained, And lo, the father was there! To welcome his child from the dreary wild, Where darkness and danger were; And, "why did you fear, my son?" he said, "You had plenty of light, you see, Though it lit but a step at a time, enough To guide you safely to me!
"And besides, I was just ahead in the dark— Though you did not see me at all— To be sure that no evil or accident Should my darling child befall; Then remember, my son, in life's darkest ways The simple words that I said,— 'Just keep in the light of your lamp, my child, And not look too far ahead?'"
THE CRY OF THE KARENS
Lines written after hearing a returned missionary relate some of the traditions, and speak of the long-cherished hopes of this interesting people.
A voice from the distant East— A voice from a far-off shore— A voice from the perishing tribes of Earth Has wandered the blue seas o'er! It comes with a lingering cry, With a wail of anguish and pain,— "O brothers,—our brothers!—why Do we look for you still in vain?
"We are weary,—we droop,—we die! We grope in the deepening gloom! We look above with despairing eye! We drop in the yawning tomb! Our children stretch their hands Far over the waters blue, And vainly cry from our darkened lands— Alas, how long—for you!
"Brothers! do ye not keep Our law of the olden time, For which, through ages of woe, we weep In darkness, and sin, and crime? There are sails from the distant West Dotting our waters blue, And the feet of strangers our shores have pressed, But they came not, alas, from you!
"We know there's a God above, We know there's a land of rest,— But there's naught that whispers of pard'ning love To our spirits by guilt oppressed! We call to the earth below,— To the calm, unanswering heaven,— But no voice replies to our cry of woe That can tell us of sins forgiven!
"And yet we look and wait, With sorrowing hearts and sore, If haply we may behold, though late, Your sails from the western shore;— O, come with that precious word We lost in the far-off years, And tell us the voice of woe is heard, And God has beheld our tears!"
Alone, alone!—the night is very silent, Voiceless the stars are, and the pallid moon Through the unknown sends down no tone, no utt'rance To break the hush of midnight's solemn noon! I stretch my arms toward the unanswering heavens, 'Tis empty space,—no form, no shape is here! I call,—no answer to my cry is given, Powerless my voice falls on Night's leaden ear!
Alone, alone!—I thought the dead were near me,— The holy dead. E'en now, methought I heard Low tones whose music long ago did cheer me, That shadowy hands the parting branches stirred 'Twas but the night wind's mournful sigh above me,— 'Twas but the lonely streamlet's grieving tone, No voice comes back from those who once did love me,— No white hand beckons—I am all alone!
Alone?—not so! One sacred, unseen Presence Fills the far depths, broods round me and above, Enfolding all in His own Omnipresence, Pervading all with His unstinted love, In Him I live, and move, and have my being, My soul's deep yearnings all to Him are known, On me in kindness rests His eye all seeing, His arm upholds me,—I am not alone!
Thus early with the dead— Thou of the young, fair brow, the laughing eye, The light and joyous tread,— Mary, we little thought thou would'st be first to die!
A little while ago We saw thee first in girlhood's early bloom; Now thou art lying low, Thy pale hands crossed in slumber, silent in the tomb!
Ah me! 'tis hard to speak Of thee as of the dead—the pale, still dead!— 'Tis hard to think the b'eak, Stern blast of winter sweeps above thy low, cold bed!
* * * * *
Thus early with thy God! 'Twas a rich boon He sent whose loving voice Called thee to His abode, 'Mid the sweet bowers of Heaven forever to rejoice!
Mary! thy feet have passed The silent valley;—on thy placid brow Heaven's sunlight falls at last,— Thou'rt with God's shining ones—thyself an angel now!
Thank God! the dreary tomb Has lost its sting! The Saviour broke death's reign, Clothing with fadeless bloom Frail human dust! In Heaven, Mary, we'll meet again!
"I AM DOING NO GOOD!"
"I am doing no good!" said a little rill, As it rippled along at the foot of a hill, "I am doing no good with my babbling here, No one is listening,—no one is near!"
"'No good!—no good!'" said a violet blue, As it shook from its petals the sparkling dew, And opened its wondering, azure eyes To the soft, clear light of the morning skies.
"'No good?'"—said a willow tree, bending low To kiss the rivulet, "say not so! Daily and hourly I draw from thee The grace and beauty that dwell with me!" And the rustling reeds in the marge that stood Reproachfully murmured—"'no good!—no good!'" "'No good,' indeed!"—cried a dainty bird, And she sprang from her nest as the sound she heard, And fluttered her wings o'er the sorrowing stream, While her bright plumes flashed in the morning beam. "Peace, peace, my brook!"—and the young leaves stirred At the gushing notes of the happy bird— "Do you not nourish the dear beech tree That spreads its shelter for mine and me? You give yon wild rose its beauteous hue,— And yonder violet its tender blue,— And yonder willow its foliage fair,— And yonder lily its fragrance rare! The sun is gracious and kind, we think, But to you, my brooklet, we come to drink! His beams with glory and warmth are rife, But you afford us the cup of life! Gentle rivulet, cease to pine!— Sing, and be happy for me and mine!"
"And me!" said the lily, "and me!"—"and me!" Said violet, and rose-bud, and willow tree; And rustling reeds, and the gray, old beech Tossing his arms high out of reach,— Fluttering insect, and waving tree, Murmured and rustled "for me!"—"and me!"
Then the rivulet brightening, sped along, With a freer step and a gladder song, Through many a valley and meadow green Making her flowery foot-prints seen,— Deepening ever and broadening out, Greeting the hills with a joyous shout,— Greeting the rocks with a soft caress, And singing still in her joy's excess, Till her song swelled out to an anthem free, As she caught the flash of the distant Sea— The glorious Sea that, with answering tone, Welcomed his guest from the hill-side lone.
Then the Stream shook hands with the kingly main, And, glancing back to her source again, Beheld each place where her steps had been Glowing in tenderest, loveliest green,— Saw beauty and fruitfulness fresh and fair Wherever her gladdening footsteps were, And caught from the green hills far away The echo of many a woodland lay, And the perfume of many a wild flower borne On the scented wings of the dewy morn.
And then the rivulet understood That all along she'd been doing good;— That a rich green belt on Earth's sunny breast Was left to tell of her mission blest;— That Earth with lovelier flowers was rife For her calm footsteps and patient life;— That giving much, she had gathered more, Winning an ever-increasing store;— And, at length, unfettered, and strong, and free, A home she had found with the glorious Sea!
HAIL, RISEN LORD!
Hail, risen Lord, upon whose brow The crown of victory resteth now, Unfading as the sun! Hail, vanquisher of every foe, Of Sin, dread source of all our woe, And Death—the last undone!
Hail, risen Lord,—the empty grave Proclaims aloud thy power to save,— Thy high, victorious might! Hail, Lord of life, and peace, and love, On thy exalted throne above, In uncreated light!
Hail, risen Lord,—we bend the knee, And lift the adoring eye to thee, And yield thee worship meet!— And, while the angelic hosts on high Shout their hosannas through the sky, We breathe them at thy feet
For here, 'mid darkness, sin, and death, Our loudest praise is but a breath,— An infant's feeble sigh! Yet, haply, to thy gracious ear Our weak hosannas are as dear, As those that swell on high!
Hail, risen Lord,—exalted King, Well may the highest heavens ring With rapture's sweetest lays! Be ours to add our feeble sigh To the full chorus of the sky, In reverential praise!
ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG MOTHER
A voice missed by the dear home-hearth— A voice of music and gentle mirth— A voice whose lingering sweetness long Will float through many a Sabbath song, And many a hallowed, evening hymn, Tenderly breathed in the twilight dim! —But that missing voice, with a richer tone, Is heard in the anthems before the throne; And another voice and another lyre, Are added now to the angel-choir!
There's a missing face when the board is spread— There's a vacant seat at the table's head,— A watchful eye and a helpful hand That will come no more to that broken band. —But she sits to-day at the board above, In the tender light of a holier love; And the kindling eye and the beaming face At the feast on high hold a nobler place!
A form is missed in the hour of prayer, At the altar, now, there's an empty chair, Where one lonely pleader hath scarcely won Strength, e'en yet, for "Thy will be done!" —But that missing form in its saintly dress Of Christ's unsullied righteousness, Bows with worshipful accents sweet, Where angels bow at the Saviour's feet
A step is missed by the cradle bed Where an infant nestles its sleeping head— Smiling, perchance, in his baby rest, Deeming his pillow her gentle breast —But the feet that moved with a soundless tread In the calm still night by that cradle bed, Beyond the waters of death now stand Mid the fadeless flowers of the Heavenly land
O heart, sore pierced by the fatal dart— O, wounded, suffering, bleeding heart— More than all others doomed to miss The glance, the accent, the smile, the kiss,— Nothing is lost that you miss to day— Not even the beautiful, death cold clay But Jesus guards it with watchful eye, Soon to restore it no more to die, Clothed in the bloom of immortal life, The sinless mother, the sainted wife!
I saw how the patient Sun Hasted untiringly The self-same old race to run; Never aspiringly Seeking some other road Through the blue heaven Than the one path which God Long since had given;— And I said;—"Patient Sun, Teach me my race to run, Even as thine is done, Steadfastly ever; Weakly, impatiently Wandering never!"
I saw how the patient Earth Sat uncomplainingly, While, in his boisterous mirth, Winter disdainingly Mocked at her steadfast trust, That, from its icy chain, Spring her imprisoned dust Soon would release again;— And I said;—"Patient Earth, Biding thy hour of dearth, Waiting the voice of mirth Soon to re-waken, Teach me like thee to trust, Steadfast, unshaken!"
I saw how the patient Stream Hasted unceasingly, Mindless of shade or gleam, Onward increasingly,— Widening, deepening Its rocky bed ever, That it might thus take in River by river;— And I said,—"Patient Stream, Hasting through shade and gleam, Careless of noontide beam, Loitering never, So teach thou me to press Onward forever!"
I saw how the Holiest One Sat in the Heaven, Watching each earth-born son Sin-tossed and driven,— Watching war's mad'ning strife— Brother 'gainst brother, Reckless of love and life, Slaying each other;— And I said;—"Patient One, On thy exalted throne, Never impatient grown With our dark sinning, Though all its depth thou'st known From the beginning—
"Though thy fair Earth has been Blood-dyed for ages, Though in her valleys green, Carnage still rages, Thou, o'er whose brow serene, Calmest and Holiest! Angel has never seen, E'en toward Earth's lowliest, Shadows impatient sweep Teach me, like thee, to keep In my soul, still and deep, Wavering never, Patience—a steady light, Burning forever!"
A PARTING HYMN.
Father in Heaven, to thee, Guardian and friend, Lowly the suppliant knee Here would we bend!— Blessing thee ere we part, Each with a grateful heart, For all thy love doth send— Plenteous and free!
Thanks for thy hand outspread Ever in power O'er each defenceless head In danger's hour! Thanks for the light arid love, From thy full fount above— A rich and constant shower, O'er us still shed!
Go thou with us, we pray, Whom duties call To our high tasks away, Each one, and all,— Go, with thy Spirit's might, Go, with thy Gospel's light —Whatever may befall— With us alway
Now let thy blessing rest On us anew— Brother, and friend, and guest, Tried ones and true— Till, all Our pirtings o'er, Meeting, to part no more, In Heaven we renew Friendships so blest
THE DANCE OF THE WINDS
The Wind god, Eolus, sat one morn In his cavern of tempests, quite forlorn, He'd been ill of a fever a month and a day, And the sun had been having things all his own way, Pouring o'er earth such a torrent of heat That the meadows were dry as the trampled street, And people were panting, and ready to die Of the fire that blazed from the pitiless sky
But the King felt better that hot June day, So he said to himself "I will get up a play Among the children by way of a change, No doubt they are-feeling, like me, very strange At this dreary confinement—a month and more, And never once stirring at all out of door! It is terribly wearisome keeping so still— They all shall go out for a dance on the hill."
Then aloud he spake, and the dreary hall Re-echoed hoarsely his hollow call: "Ho! Boreas, Auster, Eurus, ho! And you, too, dainty-winged Zephyrus, go And have a dance on the hills to-day, And I'll sit here and enjoy your play."
Then Boreas started with such a roar That the King, his father, was troubled sore, And peevishly muttered within himself— "He'll burst his throat, the unmannerly elf!" But Auster, angry at seeing his brother Astart of him, broke away with another As fearful a yell from the opposite side Of the wind-cave, gloomy, and long, and wide.
One from the South, and one from the North, The rough-tempered brothers went shrieking forth; And faster, and faster, and faster still, They swept o'er valley, and forest, and hill. The clouds affrighted before them flew, From white swift changing to black or blue; But, failing to'scape the assailants' ire, Fell afoul of each other in conflict dire.
Now hot, now cold—what a strife was there! Till the crashing hailstones smote the air, And men and women in country and town Were hastily closing their windows down, And shutting doors with a crash and a bang, While the raindrops beat, and the hailstones rang, And the lightnings glared from the fiery eyes Of the furious combatants up in the skies, And burst in thunder-claps far and near, Making the timorous shake with fear.
Then Eolus with affright grew cold, For his blood, you'll remember, is thin and old, And his turbulent sons such an uproar made, That, watching the conflict, he grew afraid Lest in the rage of their desperate fight, The pair should finish each other outright. So he shouted to Eurus; "Away! away! Come up from the East by the shortest way, And try and part them; and you, too, go, Zephyrus!—why are you loitering so?"
Then away sped Eurus shrieking so loud That he startled a lazy, half-slumbering cloud, That fled before him white in the face, And dashed away at a furious pace. But he drove it fiercely betwixt the two, Who parted, and, scarce knowing what to do, Descended, and each from an opposite place Began to fling dirt in the other one's face.
Then round, and round, and round again, They raced and chased over valley and plain, Catching up, in their mischievous whirls, The hats of boys and the bonnets of girls,— Tossing up feathers, and leaves, and sticks, Knocking down chimneys, and scattering bricks, Levelling fences and pulling up trees, Till Eolus—oftentimes hard to please— Clapped his hands as his wine he quaffed, And laughed as he never before had laughed
Cried Eurus;—"Ho, ho!—so this furious fight Ends up in a romp and a frolic!—all right— I am in for a share!" Then away went he, And joined with a will in the boisterous glee, Till, out of breath, ere the sun went down, They all fell asleep in the forest brown.
A full hour afterwards, ambling along, Came dainty Zephyrus humming a song, And pausing—the truant—to kiss each flower That blushed in garden, or field, or bower. But no one was left to be merry with him, So he danced with the leaves till the light grew dim, And, as Twilight was going to sleep in the west, He, too, fell asleep on a rose's breast.
STRIKE THE CHORDS SOFTLY
Strike the chords softly with tremulous fingers, While, on the threshold of happiest years, For a brief moment fond memory lingers, Ere we go forth to life's conflicts and fears!
Strike the chords softly!—yet no, as we tarry, Swiftly the morning is gliding away; Weary ones droop 'neath the burdens they carry, Toiling ones faint in the heat of the day.
Let us not linger!—Earth's millions are crying "Come to us, aid us, we grope in the night! Come to us, aid us, we're perishing, dying— Give us, oh, give us, the heavenly Light!"
Let us not linger!—our brethren are calling,— "Aid us, the harvest increases each day;— Some have grown weary, alas, of their toiling!— Others have passed from their labors away."
Gracious Redeemer we go at thy bidding, Gladly encountering peril and loss; Take us—ourselves to thy work we are giving, Giveus—'tis more than we merit—thy cross!
I thought it pleasant when a manly sire Weary of foreign travel, at the door Of his own cottage left his dusty staff, And entering in, sat down with those he loved Beside the hearth of home;—and pleasant, too, When a fond mother, absent for a day, At eve returning, from the sunset hill That overlooked her cot, descried her boys Flying with joyous feet along the path To greet her coming; and, with clasping hands Of baby welcome, lead her through the gate Of her sweet home.
Pleasant I deemed it, too, When a young man, a wanderer for years From those he loved, at length sat down again With sire and mother in the twilight hour At home;—and when a gentle daughter, long From mother's kiss and father's blessing far, Heard once again their ne'er forgotten tones Giving her joyous welcome home again, I felt that life had few such joys as that. And yet, methought there was—canst tell me why— Thou, who in Earth alone hast found thy bliss?— A higher, sweeter, purer joy than those, When, free from sin and Earth's encumb'ring cares, A ransomed soul went home to be with Christ. I knew a man in life's strong; healthful prime— Aye more, the flush of youth was on his brow, And all his bounding pulses were astir With the great joy of work for God, while hope— Such hope as only Heaven-taught manhood fires To loftiest ambition—pointed down The radiant vista of the coming years To deeds immortal. But the Master called, And, in mid-race he heard—"Come home, my child!"— And paused, and listened in surprise and doubt.
"Come home my child!" Then, listening, I heard The pale lips murmur, while the head was bent In reverent submission—"Oh, so soon?— So soon, my Lord? Thou knowest there is much I fain would do for thee!—thy precious lambs To gather and to feed—thy sheep to lead In quiet pastures, and thy name beloved To herald forth, till Earth's remotest shore Shall thrill with rapture, and send up to thee The new-born utterance of love's great joy!"
"Come home, dear child!"—again the Master's voice— And eagerly he flung his robe aside, Ungirt his loins, and cast his sandals by; And while he sweetly sang—"I love the Lord!"— Entered the peaceful river, and went o'er, To be forever with the Lord he loved.
———————————I knew an aged man, Yet one scarce bent, with fresh, luxuriant hair So beautifully white, and clear, blue, loving eyes;— We almost worshipped that most princely man In his pure, patriarchal beauty. But one day A whisper came to him. It was so low We heard it not, nor knew till he was gone— Gone home! Our sun was set on earth, Yet risen in Heaven; and through our falling tears We saw our loved at home, thenceforth to be Forever with the Lord—Oh, highest bliss— Forever with his Lord!
Our mother slept At eve in a poor, earthly home. At dawn She stood upon the golden shore, a sainted one, A victor crowned. We wept, as well we might, When we looked down upon those folded hands Whose tender touch had often thrilled along Our baby temples,—those pale, patient hands That toiled for us what time sweet slumber lay On our young eyelids, and in sunny dreams We gathered wild flowers on the hill-side green, Or chased the butterfly 'mid orchard blooms, While she, till the night waned, toiled bravely on— Not for herself, but us, then knelt and prayed For each young sleeper, ere herself might sleep.
This morn she slept, and every line that grief Had ever left on her pale, settled face, And every furrow care had ever traced Upon her brow had faded in the calm Of that blest slumber. Did we softly tread, And hold our breath suspended, in vague fear Of breaking the sweet spell, or all too soon Rousing those tired feet to tread again Their round of daily toil?—or did we check Our rising grief, lest one o'er-lab'ring sob From hearts so full, should banish the sweet smile Which the glad vision of her Lord's dear face Had left upon her lips? It may be so,— And yet the hour of weeping was not long; For, 'mid the light by mortal eyes unpierced, We caught the gleam of her unsullied robe, And we rejoiced, beholding her at home!
A little babe, a tiny, broken bud, A snow-white, breathless lamb lay still and cold Upon its mother's knees. She did not weep— She did not pray; but with white, trembling lips And stony gaze looked down upon her child, And only moaned in gasping accents—"dead! My tender babe, my lamb, my own sweet boy!— Dead, silent, dead!"
Then sweet, as borne O'er silver seas, there came a voice that said, "Do not their angels evermore behold My Father's face in Heaven?"—and, swift as thought, Faith overswept the bounds of space, and caught A glimpse of her beloved on Jesus' breast Then tears gushed forth—a precious, healing flood— And the lips murmured—"Safe, oh, safe at home!— My bright boy waits at home, thank God, for me!"
Then let us ever when the righteous die Speak of them joyously as gone before; Not dead, but sweetly drawn within the veil To the blest home we're nearing—to the house Of Christ our Elder Brother, mansion fair, Prepared and set in order by His hand,— Their home, and ours to be; forevermore
I love thee, Sabbath morn!—I cannot say But 'tis because my father loved thee so,— Because my mother's care-worn face would grow So sweetly placid in thy peaceful ray;—
It may be, that is part of what endears Thee, Sabbath, to my soul; for memory stirs Old buried thoughts of his voice and of hers— Heard never more on Earth—till sudden tears
So sadly sweet well up, I bid them flow, They leave a Sabbath in the soul when past; As when the sky, by April clouds o'ercast, Shows fairer in the sun's returning glow.