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We led the bending beggar on his way,
(Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-grey)
Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt,
And on his tale with mute attention dwelt.
As in his script we dropt our little store,
And sighed to think that little was no more,
He breathed his prayer, “ Long may such goodness live!"
'Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give.
Angels, when Mercy's mandate winged their flight,
Had stopt to dwell with pleasure on the sight.
But hark! thro' those old firs, with sullen swell,
The church-clock strikes ! ye tender scenes, farewell !
It calls me hence, beneath their shade, to trace
The few fond lines that Time may soon efface.
On yon grey stone, that fronts the chancel-door,
Worn smooth by busy feet now seen no more,
Each eve we shot the marble thro' the ring,
When the heart danced, and life was in its spring;
Alas! unconscious of the kindred earth,
That faintly echoed to the voice of mirth.
The glow-worm loves her emerald-light to shed,
Where now the sexton rest his hoary head.
Oft, as he turned the greensward with his spade,
He lectured every youth that round him played ;
And, calmly pointing where our fathers lay,
Roused us to rival each, the hero of his day.
Hushed, ye fond flutterings, hush! while here alone
I search the records of each mouldering stone.
Guides of my life! Instructors of my youth !
Who first unveiled the hallowed form of Truth !
Whose every word enlightened and endeared ;
In age beloved, in poverty revered ;
In Friendship’s silent register ye live,
Nor ask the vain memorial Art can give.
But when the sons of peace, of pleasure sleep,
When only Sorrow wakes, and wakes to weep,
What spells entrance my visionary mind
With sighs so sweet, with transports so refined ?
Ethereal Power! who at the noon of night
Recall'st the far-fled spirit of delight;
From whom that musing, melancholy mood
Which charms the wise, and elevates the good ;
Blest Memory, hail! Oh grant the grateful Muse,
Her pencil dipt in Nature's living hues,
To pass the clouds that round thy empire roll,
And trace its airy precincts in the soul.
In the same hour the breath of life receiving,
They came together and were beautiful;
But, as they slumbered in their mother's lap,
How mournful was their beauty! She would sit,
And look and weep, and look and weep again ;
For Nature had but half her work achieved,
Denying, like a step-dame, to the babes
Her noblest gifts ; denying speech to one,
And to the other reason.
But at length
(Seven years gone by, seven melancholy years,)
Another came, as fair and fairer still ;
And then, how anxiously the mother watched
Till reason dawned and speech declared itself !
Reason and speech were his; and down she knelt,
Clasping her hands in silent ecstacy.
On the hill-side, where still their cottage stands, ('Tis near the upper falis in Lauterbrounn; For there I sheltered now, their frugal hearth Blazing with mountain-pine when I appeared, And there, as round they sate, I heard their story) On the hill-side, among the cataracts, In happy ignorance the children played ; Alike unconscious, through their cloudless day, Of what they had and had not; every where Gathering rock flowers; or, with their utmost might Loosening the fragment from the precipice, And, as it tumbled, listening for the plunge ; Yet, as by instinct, at the accustomed hour Returning ; the two eldest, step by step, Lifting along, and with the tenderest care, Their infant-brother.
Once the hour was past; And, when she sought, she sought and could not find And when she found—Where was the little one? Alas, they answered not; yet still she asked, Still in her grief forgetting.
With a scream, Such as an Eagle sends forth when he soars, A scream that through the woods scatters dismay,
The idiot-boy looked up into the sky,
And leaped and laugh aloud and leaped again ;
As if he wished to follow, in its flight,
Something just gone, and gone from earth to heaven ;
While he, whose every gesture, every look
Went to the heart, for from the heart it came,
He who nor spoke nor heard—all things to him,
Day after day, as silent as the grave,
(To him unknown the melody of birds,
Of waters—and the voice that should have soothed
His infant sorrows, singing him to sleep)
Fled to her mantle as for refuge there,
And, as at once o'ercome with fear and grief,
Covered his head and wept. A dreadful thought
Flashed thro' her brain. Has not some bird of prey,
Thirsting to dip his beak in innocent blood-
It must, it must be so !'—And so it was.
There was an Eagle that had long acquired
Absolute sway, the lord of a domain
Savage, sublime; nor from the hills alone
Gathering large tribute, but from every vale ;
Making the ewe, whene'er he deigned to stoop,
Bleat for the lamb. Great was the recompence
Assured to him who laid the tyrant low;
And near his nest, in that eventful hour,
Calmly and patiently, a hunter stood,
A hunter, as it chanced, of old renown,
And, as it chanced, their father.
In the South
A speck appeared, enlarging; and ere long,
As on his journey to the golden sun,
Upward He came, ascending through the clouds,
That, like a dark and troubled sea, obscured
The world beneath.—But what is in his grasp ?
Ha! 'tis a child-and may it not be ours?
I dare not, cannot; and yet why forbear,
When, if it lives, a cruel death awaits it?-
May He who winged the shaft when Tell stood forth,
And shot the apple from the youngling's head,
Grant me the strength, the courage !' As he spoke,
He aimed, he fired; and at his feet they fell,
The Eagle and the child-the child unhurt.
Tho', such the grasp, not even in death relinquished.
What strange, what fearful thing hath come to pass ? The ground is iron, and the skies are brass : Man, on the withering harvests, casts his eye, “ Give me your fruits in season, or I die;" The timely fruits implore their parent-Earth, “ Where is thy strength to bring us forth to birth ?" The Earth, all prostrate, to the Clouds complains “ Send to my heart your fertilizing rains ;" The Clouds invoke the Heavens—« Collect, dispense Through us your healing, quickening influence ;" The Heavens to Him that rules them raise their moan“ Command thy blessing, and it shall be done." - The Lord is in his temple :-hushed and still, The suppliant Universe awaits his will.
He speaks :--and to the clouds the Heavens dispense
With lightning speed, the genial influence:
The gathering, breaking clouds pour down the rains :
Earth drinks the bliss thro' all her eager veins.
From teeming furrows start the fruits to birth,
And shake their riches on the lap of Earth :
Man sees the harvests grow beneath his eye,
Turns, and looks up with rapture to the sky;
All that have breath and being then rejoice,
All Nature's voices blend in one great voice;
“ Glory to God, who thus Himself makes known !"
- When shall all tongues confess Him GOD ALONE?
Lord, as the rain comes down from heaven- the rain
That waters Earth, and turns not thence again,
But makes the tree to bud, the corn to spring,
And feeds and gladdens every living thing;
So come thy Gospel o'er a world destroyed,
In boundless blessings, and return not void :
So let it come, in universal showers,
To fill Earth's dreariest wilderness with flowers,
- With flowers of promise, fill the wild within
Man's heart, laid waste and desolate by sin :
Where thorns and thistles curse the infested ground,
Let the rich fruits of righteousness abouud;
And trees of life, for ever fresh and green,
Flourish, where only trees of death have been :
Let Truth look down from heaven, Hope soar above,
Justice and Mercy kiss, Faith work by Love;
Heralds the year of jubilee proclaim ;
Bow every knee at the Redeemer's name;
Nations new-born, their fathers' idols spurn;
The ransomed of the Lord with songs return;
Through realms, with darkness, thraldom, guilt o'erspread,
In light, joy, freedom, be the spirit shed.
Speak thou the word :—to Satan's power say,
“ Cease!" But to a world of pardoned sinners-—“ Peace !"
Thus, in thy grace, () God, Thyself make known, Then shall all tongues confess Thee GOD ALONE !
The rose was rich in bloom on Sharon's plain,
When a young mother, with her First-born, thence
Went up to Zion; for the boy was vow'd
Unto the Temple-service. By the hand
She led him, and her silent soul, the while
Oft as the dewy laughter of his eye
Met her sweet serious glance, rejoic'd to thiuk
That aught so pure, so beautiful, was hers,
To bring before her God.
So pass'd they on,
O'er Judah's hills; and wheresoe'er the leaves
Of the broad sycamore made sounds at noon,
Like lulling rain-drops, or the olive-boughs,
With their cool dimness, cross'd the sultry blue
Of Syria's heaven, she paus’d, that he might rest,