« ПредишнаНапред »
Moved forth, and on the trembling child
His deep full eyes he fixed ;
And when he spoke, his accents mild
Were love and pity mixed.
« Fear not,” he said, “ I know of thee,
And thy strange mournful history;
Thy days, although a prince's son,
In one sad stream of sorrow run.
Thou hadst one friend—thy sainted mother,
But thy heart never found another.
Thy sire's despite, thy step-dame's hate
Have left thee lone and desolate ;
And young thou sail'st a stormy sea,
With noue, save God, to comfort thee :
And now, my child, with heart forlorn,
With limbs by cruel scourgings torn,
Thou leavest thy unnatural home
A houseless fugitive to roam,
Till thou canst find some narrow cell,
Where thou an anchorite may'st dwell,
And spend a holy lonely life,
Far from injustice, pain, and strife.
But pause—for not to thee is given
This easy lot by righteous heaven;
Nor should'st thou shrink or fly from trial,
That were a poor weak self-denial."
Then, too, the choir broke out-
6 Full soon, full soon the toil is done;
In faith and meekness hie thee on;
Banish repining doubt."
“ Aye-banish doubt," the grave man said ; “ Live like this saintly hero dead ;
A statesman bold and sage was he,
And high renowned for chivalry ;
And, aye, amid the careless court
He bore a thoughtful mind;
For holy solitude's resort
His soul in secret pined ; Yet not till duty's call had ceased, His mind, from wordly toils released, Was free to seek this calm recess Of self-chastising loneliness. So leave not thou thy high estate, Nor strive to escape thy cruel fate : Though now no influence thou may'st own, Yet heaven hath marked thee for a throne ; And hence thou canst not sinless flyi These mighty cares, these duties high ; Nor till thy realm is surely set, And peace and joy are firmly met, May'st thou thy perilous state resign For stern retirement's calm divine."
• And must I bear, so young and lorn,
My step-dame's hate, my father's scorn ?
And must I leave this blessed spot,
Nor live a hermit now?
How shall I bear my hard, hard lot,
O holy angel ! how !”
"Nay, nay, fair child, thou art not left
Alone, and of all aid bereft;
When harsh and cruel threats affray thee,
God's arm is aye at hand to stay thee ;
And angel bands around, above,
Watch all thy ways with sleepless love.
Keep thou thy faith still pure and bright,
Fight against sin a manful fight,
And thy clear eyes shall visions see,
To fill thy soul with holy glee.
All sights and sounds, by night and day,
Shall signs of heaven to thee convey;
The sunbeam, and the silver moon,
The gurgling fount, the breeze of noon,
The shadows flickering in the woods
Shall speak of seraph multitudes,
All bent to work their Lord's high will,
All bent to guard the good from ill.
And aye, or by the day divine,
Or by the deep midnight,
The air that circles thee shall shine
With calm supernal light."
“ But time runs slow, and life is long,
And wearier seems through pain and wrong,
While all flies swift and peaceful here;
O holy saint ! indulge my prayer !
I long to soar this world above,
Change grief for bliss, and hate for love-
All dull and gross my mortal birth,
All dim my ears and eyes,
I fain would leave the pains of earth
For joys of paradise.”
“ Fair pilgrim on life's thorny way,"
The calm majestic voice did say,
“ Life's years, to those who think aright,
Fly like a vision of the night.
The world's a shadow. Time, at best
A moment in the eternal rest.
Then grudge not thou the few years given
To fit thee for an endless heaven;
'Tis all too narrow for thy heart
To purge away its grosser part,
Nor could'st thou, but by God's high grace,
Behold his spotless dwelling-place.
Thou know'st how short the passing day,
How vast the morrow spreads away;
Remember this thy journey thorough,
Life is to-day-but death to-morrow.'
He ceased his solemn organ roll,
No longer swept the child's rapt soul;
But then the choir in order meet,
Ring out in tones serenely sweet,
Distinct and plain“ Remember, fair stranger, and with this check thy sorrow, Though to-day there be danger, there is safety to-morrow."
So swelled the strain.
The years rolled by-a calm decay
Had brought him to his dying day;
Not now a persecuted child ;
A holy recluse, meek and mild-
His childhood all in woes went by,
And after some brief sovereignty,
When his whole realm was surely set,
When peace and joy were firmly met,
With stedfast and unaltered mind,
His royal station he resigned,
And built a stately convent; there
To pass his holy life in prayer.
With joy he hears his awful doom,
Nor dreads the cold and silent tomb;
He sees a world beyond the skies,
Unkenned by all but saintliest eyes ;
Around him cherub forms appear,
Harmonious chantings soothe his ear;
He sinks in death to join on high
Heaven's angel-choired minstrelsy.
But then amid the silence deep
A solemn cadence seemed to sweep,
Sustained and strong, “ Remember, fair stranger, and with this check thy sorrow, Though to day there be danger, there is safety to-morrow.”
So fell the song.
Deep wonder fell on all around,
Who heard that strange seraphic sound ;
T'he features of the dead the while
Beamed with a calm and holy smile;
And when it ceased its echoes still
Seemed all the listening air to fill ;
And as they knelt, with awe amazed,
They knew that on a saint they gazed ;
For so majestic looked the dead,
They felt that he was blest ;
They placed a crown upon his head,
A staff upon his breast,
And the holy Church's prayers they said
As they bore him to his rest.
But ever with the anthem's tone
Blended a richness not its own ;
And in the organ's pealing swell,
Sounds more than mortal seemed to dwell ;
And brighter than the sun's bright smiles
Were flung athwart the cloistered aisles.
With pious pomp and stately song,
The slow procession moved along;