When the Mayflower moor’d below,
When the sea around was black with storms, And white the shore with snow.
The mists, that wrapp’d the Pilgrim’s sleep, Still brood upon the tide;
And his rocks yet keep their watch by the deep, To stay its waves of pride.
But the snow-white sail, that he gave to the gale When the heavens look’d dark, is gone;– As an angel’s wing, through an opening cloud, Is seen, and then withdrawn.
The Pilgrim exile,–sainted name!
The hill, whose icy brow
Rejoiced when he came, in the morning’s flame, In the morning’s flame burns now.
And the moon’s cold light, as it lay that night On the hill-side and the sea,
Still lies where he laid his houseless head;– But the Pilgrim,–where is he?
The Pilgrim Fathers are at rest.
When summer’s throned on high,
And the world’s warm breast is in verdure dress’d Go, stand on the hill where they lie.
The earliest ray of the golden day On that hallow’d spot is cast;
And the evening sun, as he leaves the world, Looks kindly on that spot last.
The Pilgrim _spirit_ has not fled;
It walks in the noon’s broad light; And it watches the bed of the glorious dead, With their holy stars, by night.
It watches the bed of the brave who have bled, And shall guard this ice-bound shore,
Till the waves of the bay, where the Mayflower lay, Shall foam and freeze no more.
* * * * *
=_James G. Percival, 1786-1856._= (Manual, p. 515.)
=_328._= THE CORAL GROVE.
Deep in the wave is a coral grove,
Where the purple mullet and gold-fish rove; Where the sea-flower spreads its leaves of blue, That never are wet with the falling dew, But in bright and changeful beauty shine, Far down in the green and glassy brine. The floor is of sand, like the mountain drift, And the pearl-shells spangle the flinty snow; From coral rocks, the sea-plants lift
Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow; The water is calm and still below,
For the winds and waves are absent there, And the sands are bright as the stars that glow In the motionless fields of upper air.
There, with its waving blade of green, The sea-flag streams through the silent water, And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen To blush like a banner bathed in slaughter. There, with a light and easy motion,
The fan-coral sweeps through the clear, deep sea, And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean Are bending like corn on the upland lea, And life, in rare and beautiful forms,
Is sporting amid those bowers of stone.
* * * * *
=_Richard H. Dana, 1787-._= (Manual, pp. 501, 504, 514.)
From “The Buccaneer.”
A sweet, low voice, in starry nights, Chants to his ear a ‘plaining song;
Its tones come winding up the heights, Telling of woe and wrong;
And he must listen, till the stars grow dim, The song that gentle voice doth sing to him.
O, it is sad that aught so mild
Should bind the soul with bands of fear; That strains to soothe a little child The man should dread to hear!
But sin hath broke the world’s sweet peace, unstrung The harmonious chords to which the angels sung.
* * * * *
But he no more shall haunt the beach, Nor sit upon the tall cliff’s crown, Nor go the round of all that reach,
Nor feebly sit him down,
Watching the swaying weeds; another day, And he’ll have gone far hence that dreadful way.
To-night the charmed number’s told. “Twice have I come for thee,” it said. “Once more, and none shall thee behold. Come, live one, to the dead!”
So hears his soul, and fears the coming night, Yet sick and weary of the soft, calm light.
Again he sits within that room;
All day he leans at that still board; None to bring comfort to his gloom,
Or speak a friendly word.
Weakened with fear, lone, haunted by remorse, Poor, shattered wretch, there waits he that pale horse.
* * * * *
=_Richard Henry Wilde, 1789-._= (Manual, pp. 521, 501.)
=_330._= MY LIFE IS LIKE THE SUMMER ROSE.
My life is like the summer rose
That opens to the morning sky,
But, ere the shades of evening close, Is scattered on the ground to die;
Yet on that rose’s humble bed
The softest dews, of night are shed, As if she wept such waste to see;
But none shall drop a tear for me.
My life is like the autumn leaf
That trembles in the moon’s pale ray; Its hold is frail, its state is brief,
Restless, and soon to pass away;
But when that leaf shall fall and fade, The parent tree will mourn its shade,
The winds bewail the leafless tree; But none shall breathe a sigh, for me.
My life is like the print which feet Have left on Tampa’s desert strand;
Soon as the rising tide shall beat, Their track will vanish from the sand; Yet, as if grieving to efface
All vestige of the human race,
On that lone shore loud moans the sea; But none shall thus lament for me.
* * * * *
=_James A. Hillhouse, 1789-1844._= (Manual, p. 487.)
_Hadad._ Confide in me.
I can transport thee, O, to a paradise To which this Canaan is a darksome span. Beings shall welcome, serve thee, lovely as angels; The elemental powers shall stoop, the sea Disclose her wonders, and receive thy feet Into her sapphire chambers; orbed clouds Shall chariot thee from zone to zone, while earth, A dwindled, islet, floats beneath thee. Every Season and clime shall blend for thee the garland. The Abyss of time shall cast its secrets, ere The flood marred primal nature, ere this orb Stood in her station. Thou shalt know the stars, The houses of eternity, their names,
Their courses, destiny–all marvels high.
_Tam._ Talk not so madly.
* * * * *
From “The Judgment.”
As, when from some proud capital that crowns Imperial Ganges, the reviving breeze
Sweeps the dank mist, or hoary river fog Impervious mantled o’er her highest towers, Bright on the eye rush Bramah’s temples, capp’d With spiry tops, gay-trellised minarets, Pagods of gold, and mosques with burnish’d domes, Gilded, and glistening in the morning sun, So from the hill the cloudy curtains roll’d, And, in the lingering lustre of the eve, Again the Saviour and his seraphs shone. Emitted sudden in his rising, flash’d
Intenser light, as toward the right hand host Mild turning, with a look ineffable,
The invitation he proclaim’d in accents Which on their ravish’d ears pour’d thrilling, like The silver sound of many trumpets, heard Afar in sweetest jubilee: then, swift
Stretching his dreadful sceptre to the left, That shot forth horrid lightnings, in a voice Clothed but in half its terrors, yet to them Seem’d like the crush of heaven, pronounced the doom. The sentence utter’d as with life instinct, The throne uprose majestically slow;
Each angel spread his wings; in one dread swell Of triumph mingling as they mounted, trumpets And harps, and golden lyres, and timbrels sweet, And many a strange and deep-toned instrument Of heavenly minstrelsy unknown on earth, And angels’ voices, and the loud acclaim Of all the ransom’d like a thunder shout, Far through the skies melodious echoes roll’d And faint hosannas distant climes return’d.
* * * * *
=_John M. Harney, 1789-1855._=
From “Crystallina: a Fairy Tale.”
On the stormy heath a ring they form; They place therein the fearful maid,
And round her dance in the howling storm. The winds beat hard on her lovely head: But she clasped her hands, and nothing said.
O, ’twas, I ween, a ghastly sight
To see their uncouth revelry.
The lightning was the taper bright, The thunder was the melody,
To which they danced with horrid glee.
The fierce-eyed owl did on them scowl, The bat played round on leathern wing, The coal-black wolf did at them howl,
The coal-black raven did croak and sing, And o’er them flap his dusky wing.
An earthquake heaved beneath their feet, Pale meteors revelled in the sky,
The clouds sailed by like a routed fleet, The night-winds shrieked as they passed by, The dark-red moon was eclipsed on high.
[Footnote 79: One of the earliest poets of the West, but a native of Delaware.]
* * * * *
=_Charles Sprague, 1791-._= (Manual, p. 514.)
=_334._= THE NEWSPAPER.
Turn to the Press–its teeming sheets survey, Big with the wonders of each passing day; Births, deaths, and weddings, forgeries, fires, and wrecks, Harangues and hailstorms, brawls and broken necks; Where half-fledged bards, on feeble pinions, seek An immortality of near a week;
Where cruel eulogists the dead restore, In maudlin praise, to martyr them once more; Where ruffian slanderers wreak their coward spite, And need no venomed dagger while they write.
* * * * *
Yet, sweet or bitter, hence what fountains burst, While still the more we drink the more we thirst. Trade hardly deems the busy day begun
Till his keen eye along the page has run; The blooming daughter throws her needle by, And reads her schoolmate’s marriage with a sigh; While the grave mother puts her glasses on, And gives a tear to some old crony gone. The preacher, too, his Sunday theme lays down. To know what last new folly fills the town. Lively or sad, life’s meanest, mightiest things, The fate of fighting cocks, or fighting kings– Nought comes amiss; we take the nauseous stuff, Verjuice or oil, a libel or a puff.
* * * * *
=_Lydia H. Sigourney, 1791-1865._= (Manual, pp. 484, 523.)
=_335._= THE WIDOW AT HER DAUGHTER’S BRIDAL.
Deal gently, thou whose hand hath won The young bird from its nest away,
Where, careless, ‘neath a vernal sun, She gayly carolled day by day;
The haunt is lone, the heart must grieve, From where her timid wing doth soar
They pensive lisp at hush of eve,
Yet hear her gushing song no more.
Deal gently with her; thou art dear, Beyond what vestal lips have told,
And, like a lamb from fountains clear, She turns, confiding, to thy fold.
She round thy sweet, domestic bower The wreath of changeless love shall twine, Watch for thy step at vesper hour,
And blend her holiest prayer with thine.
Deal gently, thou, when, far away,
‘Mid stranger scenes her foot shall rove, Nor let thy tender care decay;
The soul of woman lives in love.
And shouldst thou, wondering, mark a tear, Unconscious, from her eyelids break,
Be pitiful, and soothe the fear
That man’s strong heart may ne’er partake.
A mother yields her gem to thee,
On thy true breast to sparkle rare; She places ‘neath thy household tree
The idol of her fondest care;
And, by thy trust to be forgiven
When judgment wakes in terror wild, By all thy treasured hopes of heaven,
Deal gently with the widow’s child.
* * * * *
=_William O. Sutler, 1793-._=
From “The Boatman’s Horn.”
O Boatman, wind that horn again;
For never did the listening air
Upon its lambent bosom bear
So wild, so soft, so sweet a strain. What though thy notes are sad and few,
By, every simple boatman blown?
Yet is each pulse to nature true,
And melody in every tone.
How oft, in boyhood’s joyous day,
Unmindful of the lapsing hours,
I’ve loitered on my homeward way,
By wild Ohio’s bank of flowers,
While some lone boatman from the deck Poured his soft numbers to that tide,
As if to charm from storm and wreck The boat where all his fortunes ride!
Delighted Nature drank the sound,
Enchanted Echo bore it round
In whispers soft and softer still, From hill to plain, and plain to hill.
[Footnote 80: A native of Kentucky; a favorite Western poet; at one time prominent as a politician.]
* * * * *
=_337._= THE BATTLE-FIELD OF RAISIN.
The battle’s o’er; the din is past;
Night’s mantle on the field is cast; The Indian yell is heard no more;
The silence broods o’er Erie’s shore. At this lone hour I go to tread
The field where valor vainly bled; To raise the wounded warrior’s crest,
Or warm with tears his icy breast; To treasure up his last command,
And bear it to his native land.
It may one pulse of joy impart
To a fond mother’s bleeding heart, Or, for a moment, it may dry
The tear-drop in the widow’s eye.
Vain hopes, away! The widow ne’er
Her warrior’s dying wish shall hear. The passing zephyr bears no sigh;
No wounded warrior meets the eye;
Death is his sleep by Erie’s wave; Of Raisin’s snow we heap his grave.
How many hopes lie buried here–
The mother’s joy, the father’s pride, The country’s boast, the foeman’s fear, In ‘wildered havoc, side by side!
Lend me, thou silent queen of night, Lend me a while thy waning light,
That I may see each well-loved form That sank beneath the morning storm.
* * * * *
=_William Cullen Bryant, 1794-._= (Manual, pp. 487, 524.)
From his “Poems.”
=_338._= LINES TO A WATER FOWL.
Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler’s eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, As, darkly seen against the crimson sky, Thy figure floats along.
Seek’st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide, Or where the rocking billows rise and sink On the chafed ocean side?
There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,– The desert and illimitable air,–
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere, Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end,
Soon shalt thou find a summer home and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend Soon, o’er thy sheltered nest.
Thou’rt gone; the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, And shall not soon depart.
He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone, Will lead my steps aright.
* * * * *
From “The Antiquity of Freedom.”
=_339._= FREEDOM IRREPRESSIBLE.
O Freedom, thou art not, as poets dream, A fair, young girl, with light and delicate limbs, And wavy tresses gushing from the cap
With which the Roman master crowned his slave When he took off the gyves. A bearded man, Armed to the teeth, art thou; one mailed hand Grasps the broad shield, and one the sword; thy brow, Glorious in beauty though it be, is scarred With tokens of old wars; thy massive limbs Are strong with struggling. Power at thee has launched His bolts, and with his lightnings smitten thee. They could not quench the life thou hast from heaven. Merciless power has dug thy dungeon deep, And his swart armorers, by a thousand fires, Have forged thy chain; yet, while he deems thee bound, The links are shivered, and the prison walls Fall outward; terribly thou springest forth, As springs the flame above a burning pile, And shoutest to the nations, who return Thy shoutings, while the pale oppressor flies.
* * * * *
=_340._= COMMUNION WITH NATURE, SOOTHING.
To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language: for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile, An eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house. Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;– Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around– Earth and her waters, and the depths of air,– Comes a still voice. Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground. Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock, And to the sluggish clod which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
* * * * *
As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron, and maid, And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed man,– Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, that moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
* * * * *
=_341._= THE LIVING LOST.
Matron! the children of whose love,
Each to his grave, in youth had passed, and now the mould is heaped above
The dearest and the last!
Bride! who dost wear the widow’s veil Before the wedding flowers are pale!
Ye deem the human heart endures
No deeper, bitterer grief than yours.
Yet there are pangs of keener wo,
Of which the sufferers never speak, Nor to the world’s cold pity show
The tears that scald the cheek,
Wrung from their eyelids by the shame And guilt of those they shrink to name, Whom once they loved with cheerful will, And love, though fallen and branded, still.
Weep, ye who sorrow for the dead;
Thus breaking hearts their pain relieve; And reverenced are the tears ye shed.
And honored ye who grieve.
The praise of those who sleep in earth, The pleasant memory of their worth,
The hope to meet when life is past, Shall heal the tortured mind at last.
But ye, who for the living lost
That agony in secret bear,
Who shall with soothing words accost The strength of your despair?
Grief for your sake is scorn for them Whom ye lament, and all condemn;
And o’er the world of spirits lies A gloom from which ye turn your eyes.
* * * * *
=_342._= THE SONG OF THE SOWER.
Brethren, the sower’s task is done. The seed is in its Winter bed.
Now let the dark-brown mould be spread, To hide it from the sun,
And leave it to the kindly care
Of the still earth and brooding air. As when the mother, from her breast,
Lays the hushed babe apart to rest, And shades its eyes, and waits to see
How sweet its waking smile will be. The tempest now may smite, the sleet
All night on the drowned furrow beat, And winds that from the cloudy hold
Of winter, breathe the bitter cold, Stiffen to stone the yellow-mould,
Yet safe shall lie the wheat;
Till, out of heaven’s unmeasured blue, Shall walk again the genial year,
To wake with warmth, and nurse with dew, The germs we lay to slumber here.
O blessed harvest yet to be!
Abide thou with the love that keeps, In its warm bosom tenderly,
The life which wakes, and that which sleeps. The love that leads the willing spheres Along the unending track of years,
And watches o’er the sparrow’s nest, Shall brood above thy winter rest,
And raise thee from the dust, to hold Light whisperings with the winds of May; And fill thy spikes with living gold,
From Summer’s yellow ray.
Then, as thy garners give thee forth, On what glad errands shalt thou go,
Wherever, o’er the waiting earth,
Roads wind, and rivers flow!
The ancient East shall welcome thee To mighty marts beyond the sea;
And they who dwell where palm-groves sound To summer winds the whole year round,
Shall watch, in gladness, from the shore, The sails that bring thy glistening store.
* * * * *
=_343._= THE PLANTING OF THE APPLE-TREE.
Come, let us plant the apple-tree!
Cleave the tough greensward with the spade; Wide let its hollow bed be made;
There gently lay the roots, and there Sift the dark mould with kindly care,
And press it o’er them tenderly,
As, round the sleeping infant’s feet, We softly fold the cradle-sheet:
So plant we the apple-tree.
What plant we in the apple-tree?
Buds, which the breath of summer days Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs, where the thrush with crimson breast Shall haunt and sing and hide her nest. We plant upon the sunny lea
A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower,
When we plant the apple-tree.
What plant we in the apple-tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs, To load the May-wind’s restless wings,
When, from the orchard-row, he pours Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee;
Flowers for the sick girl’s silent room; For the glad infant, sprigs of bloom,
We plant with the apple-tree.
What plant we in the apple-tree?
Fruits that shall swell in sunny June, And redden in the August noon,
And drop as gentle airs come by
That fan the blue September sky;
While children, wild with noisy glee, Shall scent their fragrance as they pass, And search for them the tufted grass
At the foot of the apple-tree.
And when above this apple-tree
The winter stars are quivering bright, And winds go howling through the night, Girls, whose young eyes o’erflow with mirth, Shall peel its fruit by cottage-hearth, And guests in prouder homes shall see, Heaped with the orange and the grape,
As fair as they in tint and shape, The fruit of the apple-tree.
The fruitage of this apple-tree,
Winds, and our flag of stripe and star, Shall bear to coasts that lie afar,
Where men shall wonder at the view, And ask in what fair groves they grew;
And they who roam beyond the sea, Shall look, and think of childhood’s day, And long hours passed in summer play
In the shade of the apple-tree.
Each year shall give this apple-tree A broader flush of roseate bloom,
A deeper maze of verdurous gloom,
And loosen, when the frost-clouds lower, The crisp brown leaves in thicker shower; The years shall come and pass, but we
Shall hear no longer, where we lie, The summer’s songs, the autumn’s sigh, In the boughs of the apple-tree.
And time shall waste this apple tree. Oh, when its aged branches throw
Thin shadows on the sward below,
Shall fraud and force and iron-will Oppress the weak and helpless still?
What shall the tasks of mercy be, Amid the toils, the strifes, the tears
Of those who live when length of years Is wasting this apple-tree?
“Who planted this old apple-tree?”
The children of that distant day
Thus to some aged man shall say;
And gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them: “A poet of the land was he.
Born in the rude, but good, old times; ‘Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes On planting the apple-tree.”
* * * * *
=_Maria Brooks, 1795-1845._= (Manual, p. 523.)
The bard has sung, God never formed a soul Without its own peculiar mate, to meet Its wandering half, when ripe to crown the whole Bright plan of bliss, most heavenly, most complete!
But thousand evil things there are that hate To look on happiness: these hurt, impede, And, leagued with time, space, circumstance, and fate, Keep kindred heart from heart, to pine, and pant, and bleed.
And as the dove to far Palmyra flying, From where her native founts of Antioch beam, Weary, exhausted, longing, panting, sighing, Lights sadly at the desert’s bitter stream;
So, many a soul, o’er life’s drear desert faring, Love’s pure, congenial spring unfound, unquaffed, Suffers, recoils, then thirsty and despairing Of what it would, descends, and sips the nearest draught.
* * * * *
=_Joseph Rodman Drake, 1795-1820._= (Manual, p. 517.)
From “The Culprit Fay.”
=_345._= THE FAY’S DEPARTURE.
* * * * *
The moon looks down on old Crow-nest, She mellows the shades, on his shaggy breast, And seems his huge grey form to throw
In a silver cone on the wave below; His sides are broken by spots of shade, By the walnut bough and the cedar made, And through their clustering branches dark Glimmers and dies the fire-fly’s spark– Like starry twinkles that momently break, Through the rifts of the gathering tempest’s rack.
The stars are on the moving stream,
And fling, as its ripples gently flow, A burnished length of wavy beam
In an eel-like, spiral line below; The winds are whist, and the owl is still, The bat in the shelvy rock is hid.
And naught is heard on the lonely hill But the cricket’s chirp, and the answer shrill Of the gauze-winged katy-did;
And the plaint of the wailing whip-poor-will, Who mourns unseen, and ceaseless sings, Ever a note of wail and woe,
Till morning spreads her rosy wings, And earth and sky in her glances grow.
The moth-fly, as he shot in air,
Crept under the leaf, and hid her there; The katy-did forgot its lay,
The prowling gnat fled fast away,
The fell mosquito checked his drone And folded his wings till the Fay was gone, And the wily beetle dropped his head,
And fell on the ground as if he were dead; They crouched them close in the darksome shade, They quaked all o’er with awe and fear, For they had felt the blue-bent blade,
And writhed at the prick of the elfin spear; Many a time on a summer’s night.
When the sky was clear, and the moon was bright, They had been roused from the haunted ground, By the yelp and bay of the fairy hound; They had heard the tiny bugle-horn,
They had heard the twang of the maize-silk string, When the vine-twig bows were tightly drawn, And the nettle shaft through air was borne, Feathered with down of the hum-bird’s wing. And now they deemed the courier-ouphe,
Some hunter sprite of the elfin ground; And they watched till they saw him mount the roof That canopies the world around;
Then glad they left their covert lair, And freaked about in the midnight air.
* * * * *
=_Fitz-Greene Halleck, 1795-1869._= (Manual, p. 515.)
=_346._= MARCO BOZZARIS.
At midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent, Should tremble at his power;
In dreams, through camp and court he bore The trophies of a conqueror;
In dreams his song of triumph heard; Then wore his monarch’s signet ring:
Then pressed that monarch’s throne–a king; As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing,
As Eden’s garden bird.
At midnight, in the forest shades,
Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band, True as the steel of their tried blades, Heroes in heart and hand.
There had the Persian thousands stood, There had the glad earth drunk their blood On old Platoea’s day;
And now there breathed that haunted air The sons of sires that conquer’d there, With arm to strike and soul to dare,
As quick, as far as they.
An hour pass’d on–the Turk awoke;
That bright dream was his last;
He woke to hear his sentries shriek, “To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!” He woke–to die, midst flame, and smoke, And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke, And death-shots, falling thick and fast As lightnings from the mountain-cloud;
And heard, with voice as trumpet loud, Bozzaris cheer his band:
“Strike–till the last arm’d foe expires; Strike–for your altars and your fires; Strike–for the green graves of your sires: God, and your native land!”
They fought–like brave men, long and well; They piled that ground with Moslem slain; They conquer’d–but Bozzaris fell,
Bleeding at every vein.
His few surviving comrades saw–
His smile when rang their proud hurrah, And the red field was won:
Then saw in death his eyelids close Calmly, as to a night’s repose
Like flowers at set of sun.
Come to the bridal chamber, Death!
Come to the mother’s, when she feels, For the first time, her first-born’s breath; Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence, are broke, And crowded cities wail its stroke;
Come in consumption’s ghastly form, The earthquake shock, the ocean storm;
Come when the heart beats high and warm, With banquet-song, and dance, and wine; And thou art terrible: the tear,
The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier, And all we know, or dream, or fear,
Of agony, are thine.
But to the hero, when his sword
Has won the battle for the free,
Thy voice sounds like a prophet’s word; And in its hollow tones are heard
The thanks of millions yet to be. Come, when his task of fame is wrought– Come, with her laurel-leaf blood-bought– Come, in her crowning hour–and then
Thy sunken eye’s unearthly light
To him is welcome as the sight
Of sky and stars to prison’d men: Thy grasp is welcome as the hand
Of brother in a foreign land;
Thy summons welcome as the cry
That told the Indian isles were nigh, To the world-seeking Genoese;
When the land-wind from woods of palm, And orange-groves, and fields of balm,
Blew o’er the Haytian seas.
Bozzaris! with the storied brave
Greece nurtured in her glory’s time, Rest thee–there is no prouder grave,
E’en in her own proud clime.
Site wore no funeral weeds for thee, Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume, Like torn branch, from death’s leafless tree, In sorrow’s pomp and pageantry,
The heartless luxury of the tomb: But she remembers thee as one
Long loved and for a season gone,
For thee her poet’s lyre is wreathed, Her marble wrought, her music breathed: For thee she rings the birth-day bells; Of thee her babes’ first lisping tells, For thine, her evening prayer is said
At palace couch, and cottage bed;
Her soldier, closing with the foe, Gives for thy sake a deadlier blow;
His plighted maiden, when she fears For him, the joy of her young years,
Thinks of thy fate, and checks her tears. And she, the mother of thy boys,
Though in her eye and faded cheek
Is read the grief she will not speak, The memory of her buried joys,
And even she who gave thee birth,
Will by their pilgrim-circled hearth, Talk of thy doom without a sigh:
For thou art Freedom’s now, and Fame’s, One of the few, the immortal names,
That were not born to die.
* * * * *
=_347._= THE BROKEN MERCHANT.
Fanny! ’twas with her name my song began; ‘Tis proper and polite her name should end it; If in my story of her woes, or plan
Or moral can be traced, ’twas not intended; And if I’ve wronged her, I can only tell her I’m sorry for it–so is my bookseller.
* * * * *
Her father sent to Albany a prayer
For office, told how fortune had abused him, And modestly requested to be mayor–
The council very civilly refused him; Because, however much they might desire it, The “public good,” it seems, did not require it.
Some evenings since, he took a lonely stroll Along Broadway, scene of past joys and evils; He felt that withering bitterness of soul, Quaintly denominated the “blue devils;” And thought of Bonaparte and Belisarius, Pompey, and Colonel Burr, and Caius Marius.
And envying the loud playfulness and mirth. Of those who passed him, gay in youth and hope, He took at Jupiter a shilling’s worth
Of gazing, through the showman’s telescope; Sounds as of far-off bells came on his ears, He fancied ’twas the music of the spheres.
He was mistaken, it was no such thing, ‘Twas Yankee Doodle, played by Scudder’s band; He muttered, as he lingered listening,
Something of freedom and our happy land; Then sketched, as to his home he hurried fast, This sentimental song–his saddest and his last.
* * * * *
=_John G.C. Brainard, 1796-1828._= (Manual, p. 523.)
From Lines “To the Connecticut River.”
=_348._= THE PAST AND THE PRESENT.
From that lone lake, the sweetest of the chain, That links the mountain to the mighty main, Fresh from the rock and swelling by the tree, Rushing to meet, and dare, and breast the sea– Fair, noble, glorious river! in thy wave The sunniest slopes and sweetest pastures lave; The mountain torrent, with its wintry roar, Springs from its home and leaps upon thy shore: The promontories love thee–and for this Turn their rough cheeks, and stay thee for thy kiss.
* * * * *
Dark as the forest leaves that strew the ground, The Indian hunter here his shelter found; Here cut his bow and shaped his arrows true, Here built his wigwam and his bark canoe, Speared the quick salmon leaping up the fall, And slew the deer without the rifle-ball.
* * * * *
What Art can execute, or Taste devise, Decks thy fair course and gladdens in thine eyes– As broader sweep the bendings of thy stream, To meet the southern sun’s more constant beam. Here cities rise, and sea-washed commerce hails Thy shores and winds with all her flapping sails, From Tropic isles, or from the torrid main– Where grows the grape, or sprouts the sugar-cane– Or from the haunts where the striped haddock play, By each cold northern bank and frozen bay. Here, safe returned from every stormy sea, Waves the striped flag, the mantle of the free– That star-lit flag, by all the breezes curled Of yon vast deep whose waters grasp the world.
* * * * *
=_Robert C. Sands, 1799-1832._= (Manual, p. 504.)
=_349._= HISTORICAL REMINISCENCES.
Eve o’er our path is stealing fast:
Yon quivering splendors are the last The sun will fling, to tremble o’er
The waves that kiss the opposing shore; His latest glories fringe the height
Behind us, with their golden light.
* * * * *
Yet should the stranger ask what lore Of by-gone days, this winding shore,
Yon cliffs, and fir-clad steeps, could tell If vocal made by Fancy’s spell,
The varying legend might rehearse
Fit themes for high romantic verse.
O’er yon rough heights and moss-clad sod Oft hath the stalwart warrior trod;
Or peered with hunter’s gaze, to mark The progress of the glancing bark.
Spoils, strangely won on distant waves. Have lurked in yon obstructed caves.
When the great strife for Freedom rose, Here scouted oft her friends and foes,
Alternate, through the changeful war, And beacon-fires flashed bright and far; And here, when Freedom’s strife was won, Fell, in sad feud, her favored son;–
Her son,–the second of the band,
The Romans of the rescued land.
Where round yon capes the banks descend, Long shall the pilgrim’s footsteps bend; There, mirthful hearts shall pause to sigh There, tears shall dim the patriot’s eye.
There last he stood. Before his sight Flowed the fair river, free and bright; The rising Mart, and isles and bay,
Before him in their glory lay,–
Scenes of his love and of his fame,– The instant ere the death-shot came.
* * * * *
=_George W. Doane, 1799-1859._= (Manual, p. 523.)
Softly now the light of day
Fades upon my sight away;
Free from care, from labor free,
Lord, I would commune with thee.
Thou, whose all-pervading eye
Nought escapes, without, within,
Pardon each infirmity,
Open fault, and secret sin.
Soon for me the light of day
Shall forever pass away;
Then, from sin and sorrow free,
Take me, Lord, to dwell with thee!
Thou who sinless, yet hast known
All of man’s infirmity;
Then, from thy eternal throne,
Jesus, look with pitying eye.
* * * * *
=_George P. Morris, 1801-1864._= (Manual, p. 523.)
=_351._= HIGHLANDS OF THE HUDSON.
Where Hudson’s wave o’er silvery sands Winds through the hills afar,
Old Crow-nest like a monarch stands, Crowned with, a single star.
And there amid the billowy swells
Of rock-ribbed, cloud-capped earth, My fair and gentle Ida dwells,
A nymph of mountain birth.
The snow-flake that the cliff receives– The diamonds of the showers–
Spring’s tender blossoms, buds, and leaves– The sisterhood of flowers–
Morn’s early beam, eve’s balmy breeze– Her purity define;–
But Ida’s dearer far than these
To this fond breast of mine.
* * * * *
=_George D. Prentice, 1802-1869._= (Manual, p. 487.)
From “The Mammoth Cave.”
=_352._= CONTRAST OF NATURE WITHOUT.
All day, as day is reckoned on the earth, I’ve wandered in these dim and awful aisles, Shut from the blue and breezy dome of heaven, … And now
I’ll sit me down upon yon broken rock, To muse upon the strange and solemn things Of this mysterious realm.
All day my steps
Have been amid the beautiful, the wild, The gloomy, the terrific; crystal founts Almost invisible in their serene
And pure transparency, high pillared domes With stars and flowers, all fretted like the halls Of Oriental monarchs–rivers dark,
And drear, and voiceless, as Oblivion’s stream, That flows through Death’s dim vale of silence,–gulfs All fathomless, down which the loosened rock Plunges, until its far-off echoes come
Fainter and fainter, like the dying roll Of thunders in the distance.
Are all the thousand snow-white gems that lie In these mysterious chambers, gleaming out Amid the melancholy gloom, and wild
These rocky hills and cliffs, and gulfs, but far More beautiful and wild, the things that greet The wanderer in our world of light–the stars Floating on high, like islands of the blest,– The autumn sunsets glowing like the gate Of far-off Paradise; the gorgeous clouds On which the glories of the earth and sky Meet, and commingle; earth’s unnumbered flowers, All turning up their gentle eyes to heaven; The birds, with bright wings glancing in the sun, Filling the air with rainbow miniatures; The green old forests surging in the gale; The everlasting mountains, on whose peaks The setting sun burns like an altar-flame.
* * * * *
=_Charles Constantine Pise, 1802-1866._= (Manual, p. 532.)
From “The Pleasures of Religion.”
=_353._= THE RAINBOW.
Mark, o’er yon wild, as melts the storm away, The rainbow tints their various hues display; Beauteous, though faint, though deeply shaded, bright, They span the clearing heavens, and charm the sight. Yes, as I gaze, methinks I view–the while, Hope’s radiant form, and Mercy’s genial smile. Who doth not see, in that sweet bow of heaven, Circling around the twilight hills of even, Religion’s light, which o’er the wilds of life Shoots its pure rays through misery and strife; Soothes the lone bosom, as it pines in woe, And turns to heaven this barren world below? O, what were man, did not her hallowed ray Disperse, the clouds that thicken on his way! A weary pilgrim, left in cheerless gloom, To grope his midnight journey to the tomb; His life a tempest, death, a wreck forlorn, In sorrow dying, as in sorrow born.
* * * * *
From “The Tourist”
=_354._= VIEW AT GIBRALTAR.
And from this height, how beauteous to survey The neighboring shores, the bright cerulean bay: Myriads of sails are swelling on the deep, And oars, in myriads, through the waters sweep. Behold, in peace, all nations here unite, Their various pennons streaming to the sight: The red cross glows, the Danish crown appears, The half-moon rises, and the lion rears, But mark, bold-towering o’er the conscious wave, The starry banners of my country brave, Stream like a meteor to the wooing breeze, And float all-radiant o’er the sunny seas! Hail, native flag! for ever mayst thou blow– Hope to the friend, and terror to the foe! Again I hail thee, Calpe! on thy steep
I wandered high, and gazed upon the deep! Nature’s best fortress, which no warlike foe, No martial scheme, can ever overthrow.
Art, too, had added strength, and given a grace That smooths the rugged aspect of thy face. What wondrous halls along the mountain made! What trains of cannon in those halls arrayed! They frown imperious from their lofty state, Prepared around to deal the scourge of fate.
* * * * *
=_Elijah P. Lovejoy, 1802-1816._=
From “Lines to my Mother.”
There is a fire that burns on earth, A pure and holy flame;
It came to men from heavenly birth, And still it is the same
As when it burned the chords along That bore the first-born seraph’s song; Sweet as the hymn of gratitude
That swelled to Heaven when “all was good.” No passion in the choirs above
Is purer than a mother’s love.
* * * * *
My mother! I am far away
From home, and love, and thee;
And stranger hands may heap the clay That soon may cover me;
Yet we shall meet–perhaps not here, But in yon shining, azure sphere;
And if there’s aught assures me more, Ere yet my spirit fly,
That Heaven has mercy still in store For such a wretch as I,
‘Tis that a heart so good as thine Must bleed, must burst, along with mine.
And life is short, at best, and time Must soon prepare the tomb;
And there is sure a happier clime
Beyond this world of gloom.
And should it be my happy lot,
After a life of care and pain,
In sadness spent, or spent in vain, To go where sighs and sin are not,
‘Twill make the half my heaven to be, My mother, evermore with thee.
[Footnote 81: Born in Maine, but lived at the West; was editor of a religions newspaper, which early assailed slavery as wrong; lost his life in defending his press against a mob at Alton, Illinois, July, 1836.]
* * * * *
=_Edward Coate Pinkney, 1802-1828_.= (Manual, p. 521.)
=356=. A HEALTH.
I fill this cup to one made up of loveliness alone; A woman, of her gentle sex the seeming paragon, To whom the better elements and kindly stars have given A form so fair, that, like the air, ’tis less of earth than heaven.
Her every tone is music’s own, like those of morning birds; And something more than melody dwells ever in her words. The coinage of her heart are they, and from her lips each flows, As one may see the burdened bee forth issue from the rose.
Affections are as thoughts to her, the measures of her hours; Her feelings have the fragrance and the freshness of young flowers; And lovely passions, changing oft, so fill her, she appears The image of themselves by turns, the idol of past years.
Of her bright face, one glance will trace a picture on the brain, And of her voice, in echoing hearts a sound must long remain; But memory such as mine of her, so very much, endears When death is nigh, my latest sigh will not be life’s, but hers.
I fill this cup to one made up of loveliness alone, A woman, of her gentle sex, the seeming paragon. Her health! and would on earth there stood some more of such a frame, That life might be all poetry, and weariness a name.
* * * * *
=_Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-._= (Manual, pp. 478, 503, 531.)
=357.= HYMN SUNG AT THE COMPLETION OF THE CONCORD MONUMENT.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may their deed redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, or leave their children free, Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
* * * * *
From “May Day.”
=_358._= DISAPPEARANCE OF WINTER.
Not for a regiment’s parade,
Nor evil laws or rulers made,
Blue Walden rolls its cannonade,
But for a lofty sign
Which the Zodiac threw,
That the bondage-days are told,
And waters free as winds shall flow. Lo! how all the tribes combine
To rout the flying foe.
See, every patriot oak-leaf throws His elfin length upon the snows,
Not idle, since the leaf all day
Draws to the spot the solar ray,
Ere sunset quarrying inches down,
And half-way to the mosses brown;
While the grass beneath the rime
Has hints of the propitious time,
And upward pries and perforates
Through the cold slab a thousand gates, Till the green lances peering through
Bend happy in the welkin blue,
* * * * *
The ground-pines wash their rusty green, The maple-tops their crimson tint,
On the soft path each track is seen, The girl’s foot leaves its neater print. The pebble loosened from the frost
Asks of the urchin to be tost.
In flint and marble beats a heart, The kind Earth takes her children’s part, The green lane is the school-boy’s friend, Low leaves his quarrel apprehend,
The fresh ground loves his top and ball, The air rings jocund to his call,
The brimming brook invites a leap, He dives the hollow, climbs the steep.
The youth reads omens where he goes, And speaks all languages, the rose.
The wood-fly mocks with tiny noise The far halloo of human voice;
The perfumed berry on the spray
Smacks of faint memories far away. A subtle chain of countless rings
The next unto the farthest brings, And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form.
* * * * *
From “Voluntaries II.”
=_359._= INSPIRATION OF DUTY.
In an age of joys and toys,
Wanting wisdom, void of right,
Who shall nerve heroic boys
To hazard all in Freedom’s fight,– Break shortly off their jolly games,
Forsake their comrades gay,
And quit proud homes and youthful dames, For famine, toil, and fray?
Yet on the nimble air benign
Speed nimbler messages,
That waft the breath of grace divine To hearts in sloth and ease.
So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When duty whispers low, _Thou must_, The youth replies, _I can_.
* * * * *
Stainless soldier on the walls,
Knowing this,–and knows no more,– Whoever fights, whoever falls
Justice conquers evermore,
Justice after as before.–
* * * * *
=_Thomas C. Upham, 1799-1873._=
=_360._= ON A SON LOST AT SEA.
Boy of my earlier days and hopes! Once more, Dear child of memory, of love, of tears! I see thee, as I saw in days of yore,
As in thy young, and in thy lovely, years.
The same in youthful look, the same in form; The same the gentle voice I used to hear; Though many a year hath passed, and many a storm Hath dashed its foam around thy cruel bier.
Deep in the stormy ocean’s hidden cave Buried, and lost to human care and sight, What power hath interposed to rend thy grave? What arm hath brought thee thus to life and light?
I weep,–the tears my aged cheek that stain, The throbs that once more swell my aching breast, Embodying one of anxious thought and pain, That wept and watched around that place of rest.
O leave me not, my child! Or, if it be, That coming thus, thou canst not longer stay, Yet shall this kindly visit’s mystery
Give rise to hopes that never can decay.
Dear cherished image from thy stormy bed! Child of my early woe, and early joy!
‘Tis thus at last the sea shall yield her dead, And give again my loved, my buried boy.
[Footnote 82: A philosophical and religious writer of much merit and earnestness; author of a volume of poems; for a long time professor of moral and mental philosophy in Bowdoin College. A native of New Hampshire.]
* * * * *
=_Jacob Leonard Martin, 1803-1848._=
=_361_=. THE CHURCH OF SANTA CROCE, FLORENCE.
Tomb of the mighty dead, illustrious shrine, Where genius, in the majesty of death,
Reposes solemn, sepulchred beneath, Temple o’er every other fane divine!
Dark Santa Croce, in whose dust recline Their mouldering relics whose immortal wreath. Blooms on, unfaded by Time’s withering breath, In these proud ashes what a prize is thine! Sure it is holy ground I tread upon;
Nor do I breathe unconsecrated air, As, rapt, I gaze on each undying name.
These monuments are fragments of the throne Once reared by genius on this spot so fair, When Florence was the seat of arts and early fame.
[Footnote 83: A native of North Carolina; best known in political life, but meritorious in literature.]
[Footnote 84: In this church repose Galileo, Michael Angelo, Alfieri, and other illustrious Italians.]
* * * * *
=_Geo. W. Bethune, 1803-1862._= (Manual, p. 487.)
=_362._= MYTHOLOGY GIVES PLACE TO CHRISTIANITY.
Hushed is their song; from long-frequented grove, Pale Memory, are thy bright-eyed daughters gone; No more in strains of melody and love,
Gush forth thy sacred waters, Helicon; Prostrate on Egypt’s plain, Aurora’s son, God of the sunbeam and the living lyre, No more shall hail thee with mellifluous tone; Nor shall thy Pythia, raving from thy fire, Speak of the future sooth to those who would inquire.
No more at Delos, or at Delphi now,
Or e’en at mighty Ammon’s Lybian shrine, The white-robed priests before the altar bow, To slay the victim and to pour the wine, While gifts of kingdoms round each pillar twine; Scarce can the classic pilgrim, sweeping free From fallen architrave the desert vine. Trace the dim names of their divinity– Gods of the ruined temples, where, oh where! are ye?
The Naiad bathing in her crystal spring, The guardian Nymph of every leafy tree, The rushing Aeolus on viewless wing,
The flower-crowned Queen of every cultured lea, And he who walked, with monarch-tread, the sea, The awful Thunderer, threatening them aloud, God! were their vain imaginings of Thee, Who saw Thee only through the illusive cloud That sin had flung around their spirits, like a shroud.
As fly the shadows of uncertain night, On misty vapors of the early day,
When bursts o’er earth the sun’s resplendent light– Fantastic visions! they have passed away, Chased by the purer Gospel’s orient ray. My soul’s bright waters flow from out thy throne, And on my ardent breast thy sunbeam’s play; Fountain of thought! True Source of light! I own In joyful strains of praise, thy sovereign power alone.
O breathe upon my soul thy Spirit’s fire, That I may glow like seraphim on high, Or rapt Isaiah kindling o’er his lyre;
And sent by Thee, let holy Hope be nigh, To fill with prescient joy my ravished eye, And gentle Love; to tune each jarring string Accordant with the heavenly harmony;
Then upward borne, on Faith’s aspiring wing, The praises of my God to listening earth, I sing.
* * * * *
=_Charles Fenno Hoffman, 1806-._= (Manual, pp. 487, 505, 519.)
From “The Vigil of Faith.”
=_363._= THE RED MAN’S HEAVEN.
White man! I say not that they lie
Who preach a faith so dark and drear, That wedded hearts in yon cold sky
Meet not as they were mated here. But scorning not thy faith, thou must
Stranger, in mine have equal trust,– The Red man’s faith, by Him implanted, Who souls to both our bodies granted.
Thou know’st in life we mingle not; Death cannot change our different lot! He who hath placed the White man’s heaven Where hymns in vapory clouds are chanted, To harps by angel fingers play’d,
Not less on his Red children smiles, To whom a land of souls is given,
Where in the ruddy West array’d. Brighten our blessed hunting isles.
* * * * *
Those blissful ISLANDS OF THE WEST!
I’ve seen, myself, at sunset time, The golden lake in which they rest;
Seen, too, the barks that bear The Blest, Floating toward that fadeless clime:
First dark, just as they leave our shore, Their sides then brightening more and more, Till in a flood of crimson light
They melted from my straining sight. And she who climb’d the storm-swept steep, She who the foaming wave would dare,
So oft love’s vigil here to keep,– Stranger, albeit thou think’st I dote, I know, I know she watches there!
Watches upon that radiant strand, Watches to see her lover’s boat
Approach The Spirit-Land.
He ceased, and spoke no more that night, Though oft, when chillier blew the blast, I saw him moving in the light
The fire, that he was feeding, cast; While I, still wakeful, ponder’d o’er
His wondrous story more and more. I thought, not wholly waste the mind
Where Faith so deep a root could find, Faith which both love and life could save, And keep the first, in age still fond. Thus blossoming this side the grave
In steadfast trust of fruit beyond. And when in after years I stood
By INCA-PAH-CHO’S haunted water, Where long ago that hunter woo’d
In early youth its island daughter, And traced the voiceless solitude
Once witness of his loved one’s slaughter– At that same season of the leaf
In which I heard him tell his grief,– I thought some day I’d weave in rhyme, That tale of mellow autumn time.
* * * * *
=_William Gilmore Simms, 1806-1870._= (Manual, pp. 523, 490, 510.)
From “The Cassique of Accabee.”
=_364._= NATURE INSPIRES SENTIMENT.
It was a night of calm. O’er Ashley’s waters Crept the sweet billows to their own soft tune, While she, most bright of Keawah’s fair daughters, Whose voice might spell the footsteps of the moon, As slow we swept along,
Poured forth her own sweet song– A lay of rapture not forgotten soon.
Hushed was our breathing, stayed the lifted oar, Our spirits rapt, our souls no longer free, While the boat, drifting softly to the shore, Brought us within the shades of Accabee. “Ah!” sudden cried the maid,
In the dim light afraid,
“‘Tis here the ghost still walks of the old Yemassee.”
And sure the spot was haunted by a power To fix the pulses in each youthful heart; Never was moon more gracious in a bower, Making delicious fancy-work for art,
Weaving so meekly bright
Her pictures of delight,
That, though afraid to stay, we sorrowed to depart.
“If these old groves are haunted”–sudden then, Said she, our sweet companion,–“it must be By one who loved, and was beloved again, And joy’d all forms of loveliness to see:– Here, in these groves they went,
Where love and worship, blent, Still framed the proper God for each idolatry.
“It could not be that love should here be stern, Or beauty fail to sway with sov’reign might; These from so blessed scenes should something learn, And swell with tenderness, and shape delight: These groves have had their power,
And bliss, in by-gone hour,
Hath charm’d with sight and song the passage of the night.”
“It were a bliss to think so;” made reply Our Hubert–“yet the tale is something old, That checks us with denial;–and our sky, And these brown woods that, in its glittering fold, Look like a fairy clime,
Still unsubdued by time,
Have evermore the tale of wrong’d devotion told.”
“Give us thy legend, Hubert;” cried the maid;– And, with down-dropping oars, our yielding prow Shot to a still lagoon, whose ample shade Droop’d from the gray moss of an old oak’s brow: The groves, meanwhile, lay bright,
Like the broad stream, in light, Soft, sweet as ever yet the lunar loom display’d.
* * * * *
=_Nathaniel Parker Willis, 1807-1867._= (Manual, pp. 504, 519.)
From the “Sacred Poems.”
=_365._= HAGAR IN THE WILDERNESS.
* * * * *
The morning pass’d, and Asia’s sun rose up In the clear heaven, and every beam was heat. The cattle of the hills were in the shade, And the bright plumage of the Orient lay On beating bosoms in her spicy trees.
It was an hour of rest; but Hagar found No shelter in the wilderness, and on
She kept her weary way, until the boy Hung down his head, and open’d his parch’d lips For water; but she could not give it him. She laid him down beneath the sultry sky,– For it was better than the close, hot breath Of the thick pines,–and tried to comfort him,– But he was sore athirst, and his blue eyes Were dim and bloodshot, and he could not know Why God denied him water in the wild.
She sat a little longer, and he grew Ghastly and faint, as if he would have died. It was too much for her, she lifted him, And bore him further on, and laid his head Beneath the shadow of a desert shrub;
And, shrouding up her face, she went away, And sat to watch where he could see her not, Till he should die; and watching him, she mourned:
“God stay thee in thine agony, my boy! I cannot see thee die; I cannot brook
Upon thy brow to look,
And see death settle on my cradle-joy. How have I drunk the light of thy blue eye! And could I see thee die?
“I did not dream of this when thou wert straying, Like an unbound gazelle, among the flowers; Or wearing rosy hours,
By the rich gush of water-sources playing, Then sinking weary to thy smiling sleep, So beautiful and deep.
“O, no! and when I watch’d by thee the while, And saw thy bright lip curling in thy dream, And thought of the dark stream
In my own land of Egypt, the far Nile, How pray’d I that my father’s land might be An heritage for thee!
“And now the grave for its cold breast hath won thee, And thy white, delicate limbs the earth will press; And, O, my last caress
Must feel thee cold, for a chill hand is on thee. How can I leave my boy, so pillow’d there Upon his clustering hair!”
She stood beside the well her God had given To gush in that deep wilderness, and bathed The forehead of her child until he laugh’d In his reviving happiness, and lisp’d
His infant thought of gladness at the sight Of the cool plashing of his mother’s hand.
* * * * *
=_366._= UNSEEN SPIRITS.
The shadows lay along Broadway,–
‘Twas near the twilight tide,–
And slowly there, a lady fair
Was waiting in her pride.
Alone walked she, yet viewlessly
Walked spirits at her side.
Peace charmed the street beneath her feet, And honor charmed the air,
And all astir looked kind on her,
And called her good as fair;
For all God ever gave to her,
She kept with chary care.
She kept with care her beauties rare, From lovers warm and true;
For her heart was cold to all but gold, And the rich came not to woo.
Ah, honored well, are charms to sell, When priests the selling do!
Now, walking there, was one more fair– A slight girl, lily pale,
And she had unseen company
To make the spirit quail;
‘Twixt want and scorn, she walked forlorn, And nothing could avail.
No mercy now can clear her brow
For this world’s peace to pray;
For, as love’s wild prayer dissolved in air, Her woman’s heart gave way,
And the sin forgiven by Christ in heaven By man is cursed alway.
* * * * *
=_Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-._= (Manual, pp. 503, 505, 519, 531.)
=_367._= LINES TO RESIGNATION.
There is no flock, however watched and tended But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howso’er defended, But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying, And mournings for the dead;
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying, Will not be comforted!
Let us be patient! these severe afflictions Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors; Amid these earthly damps,
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers May be heaven’s distant lamps.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition. This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian, Whose portal we call Death.
She is not dead,–the child of our affection,– But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection, And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister’s stillness and seclusion, By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin’s pollution, She lives, whom we call dead.
Day after day we think what she is doing In those bright realms of air;
Year after year, her tender steps pursuing, Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken The bond which nature gives,
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken, May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her; For when with raptures wild
In our embraces we again enfold her, She will not be a child;
But a fair maiden, in her Father’s mansion, Clothed with celestial grace;
And beautiful with all the soul’s expansion Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion And anguish long suppressed,
The swelling heart heaves, moaning like the ocean, That cannot be at rest,–
We will be patient, and assuage the feeling We may not wholly stay;
By silence sanctifying, not concealing, The grief that must have way.
* * * * *
From “The Seaside and The Fireside.”
=_368._= THE WEDDING; THE LAUNCH; THE SHIP.
The prayer is said,
The service read,
The joyous bridegroom bows his head; And in tears the good old Master
Shakes the brown hand of his son,
Kisses his daughter’s glowing cheek In silence, for he cannot speak,
And ever faster
Down his own the tears begin to run. The worthy pastor–
The Shepherd of that wandering flock, That has the ocean for its wold,
That has the vessel for its fold,
Leaping ever from rock to rock–
Spake, with accents mild and clear, Words of warning, words of cheer,
But tedious to the bridegroom’s ear.
* * * * *
Then the Master,
With a gesture of command,
Waved his hand;
And at the word,
Loud and sudden there was heard,
All around them and below,
The sound of hammers, blow on blow, Knocking away the shores and spurs.
And see! she stirs!
She starts,–she moves,–she seems to feel The thrill of life along her keel,
And, spurning with her foot the ground, With one exulting, joyous bound,
She leaps into the ocean’s arms!
And lo! from the assembled crowd
There rose a shout, prolonged and loud, That to the ocean, seemed to say,–
“Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray, Take her to thy protecting arms,
With all her youth and all her charms!” How beautiful she is! How fair
She lies within those arms, that press Her form with many a soft caress
Of tenderness and watchful care!
Sail forth into the sea, O ship!
Through wind and wave, right onward steer! The moistened eye, the trembling lip,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear.
Sail forth into the sea of life,
O gentle, loving, trusting wife,
And safe from all adversity
Upon the bosom of that sea
Thy comings and thy goings be!
For gentleness and love and trust
Prevail o’er angry wave and gust;
And in the wreck of noble lives
Something immortal still survives!
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O Union strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what master laid thy keel, What workman wrought thy ribs of steel, Who made each mast, and sail, and rope, What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope! Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
‘Tis of the wave and not the rock; ‘Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest-roar, In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea! Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee, Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, Our faith triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee,–are all with thee.
* * * * *
=_369._= SONG OF THE MOCKING-BIRD, AT SUNSET.
Softly the evening came. The sun, from the western horizon, Like a magician, extended his golden wand o’er the landscape; Twinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together. Hanging between two skies, a cloud with edges of silver, Floated the boat, with its dripping oars, on the motionless water.
Filled was Evangeline’s heart with inexpressible sweetness. Touched by the magic spell, the sacred fountains of feeling Glowed with the light of love, as the skies and waters around her.
Then from a neighboring thicket the mocking-bird, wildest of singers,
Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o’er the water, Shook from his little throat such floods of delirious music, That the whole air and the woods and the waves seemed silent to listen.
Plaintive at first were the tones and sad; then soaring to madness, Seemed they to follow or guide the revel of frenzied Bacchantes. Single notes were then heard, in sorrowful, low lamentation; Till, having gathered them all, he flung them abroad in derision, As when, after a storm, a gust of wind through the tree-tops Shakes down the rattling rain in a crystal shower on the branches.
With such a prelude as this, and hearts that throbbed with emotion,
Slowly they entered the Teche, where it flows through the green Opelousas,
And through the amber air, above the crest of the woodland, Saw the column of smoke that arose from a neighboring dwelling;– Sounds of a horn they heard, and the distant lowing of cattle.
* * * * *
From “The Song of Hiawatha.”