« PreviousContinue »
Go, let oblivion's curtain fall
Upon the stage of men,
Nor with thy rising beams recall
Life's tragedy again.
Its piteous pageants bring not back,
Nor waken flesh upon the rack
Of pain anew to writhe;
Stretch'd in disease's shapes abhorr'd,
Or mown in battle by the sword,
beneath the scythe. Ev'n I am weary in yon skies
To watch thy fading fire; Test of all sumless agonies,
Bebold not me expire. My lips that speak thy dirge of deathTheir rounded gasp and girgling breath
To see thou shalt not boast. The eclipse of Nature spreads my pall,The majesty of Darkness shall
Receive my parting ghost!
This spirit shall return to Him
gave its heaven!y spark; Yet think not, Sun, it shall be dim
When thou thyself art dark!
No! it shall live again, and shine
In bliss unknown to beams of thine,
By Him recallid to breath,
Who captive led captivity,
Who robb’d the grave of Victory,-
And took the sting from Death!
Go, Sun, while Mercy holds me up
On Nature's awful waste,
To drink this last and bitter cup
Of grief that man shall taste-
Go, tell that night that bides thy face,
Thou saw'st the last of Adam's race,
On Earth's sepulchral clod,
The dark’ning universe defy
To quench his Immortality,
Or shake his trust in God!
THE evening was glorious, and light through the trees
Play'd in sunshine, the rain-drops, the birds, and the breeze;
The landscape, outstretching, in loveliness lay
On the lap of the year, in the beauty of May.
For the bright queen of spring, as she pass'd down the vale,
Left her robe on the trees, and her breath on the gale;
And the smile of her promise gave joy to the hours,
And fresh in her footsteps sprang herbage and flowers.
The skies, like a banner in sunset unrolld,
O’er the west threw their splendour of azure and gold;
But one cloud at a distance rose dense, and increas'd,
"Till its margin of black touch'd the zenith and east.
We gaz'd on these scenes, while around us they glow'd,
When a vision of beauty appeared on the cloud;
'Twas not like the sun, as at mid-day we view,
Nor the moon, that rolls lightly through star-light and blue;
Like a spirit it came in the van of a storm,
And the eye and the heart hailed its beautiful form;
For it look'd not severe, like an angel of wrath,
But its garments of brightness illumed its dark path.
In the hues of its grandeur sublimely it stood,
O'er the river, the village, the field, and the wood;
And river, field, village, and woodland grew bright,
As conscious they gave and afforded delight.
"'Twas the bow of Omnipotence, bent in His hand,
Whose grasp at creation the universe spann'd;
'Twas the presence of Gud, in a symbol sublime,
His vow from the flood to the exile of time;
Not dreadful as when in a wbirlwind he pleads,
When storms are his chariot, and lightning his steeds ;
The black cloud of vengeance his banner unfurld,
And thunder his voice to a guilt-stricken world;
In the breath of his presence, when thousands expire,
And seas boil with fury, and rocks burn with fire,
And the sword and the plague-spot with death strew thy,
And vultures and wolves are the graves of the slain.
Not such was that rainbow, that beautiful one !
Whose arch was refraction, its key-stone-the sun;
A pavillion it seem’d, with a deity graced,
And justice and mercy met there and embraced.
Awhile, and it sweetly bent over the gloom,
Like love o'er a death-couch, or hope o'er the tomb;
Then left the dark scene, whence it slowly retired,
As love had just vanished, or hope had expired.
I gazed not alone on that source of my song;
To all who beheld it these verses belong;
Its præsence to all was the path of the Lord !
Each full heart expanded, grew warm and adored.
Like a visit—the converse of friends-or a day,
That bow from my sight pass'd for ever away;
Like that visit, that converse, that day, to my beart,
Tbat bow from remembrance can never depart.
"Tis a picture in memory, distinctly defined,
With the strong and in perishing colours of mind:
A part of my being beyond my control,
Beheld on that cloud, and transcribed on my soul.
THE SACRIFICE OF ABRAHAM.
MORN breaketh in the East. The purple clouds
Are putting on their gold and violet,
To look the meeter for the sun's bright coming-
Sleep is upon the waters and the wind;
And nature, from the wary forest-leaf
To her majestic master, sleeps.
There is no mist upon the deep blue sky,
And the clear dew is on the blushing blossoms
Of crimson roses in a holy rest.
How hallowed is the hour of morning! meet,
Aye-beautifully meet, for the pure prayer.
The patriarch standeth at his tented door;
With bis white locks uncover'd. 'Tis his wont
To gaže upon the gorgeous orient;
And at that hour the awful majesty
Of man who talketh often with his God,
Is wont to come again and clothe his brow
As at his fourscore strength. But now, he seemeth
To be forgetful of his vig’rous frame,
And boweth to his staff as at the hour
Of noontide sultriness. And that bright sun-
He looketh at his pencil'd messengers
Coming in golden raiment, as if all
Were but a graven scroll of fearfulness.
Ah, he is waiting till it herald in
The hour to sacrifice his much lov'd son ! Light poureth on the world. And Sarah stands, Watching the steps of Abraham and her child Along the dewy sides of the far hills. And praying that her sunny boy faint not Would she have watch'd their path so silently, If she had known that he was going up, Evin in his fair hair'd beauty, to be slain As a white lamb for sacrifice ? They trod Together onward, patriarch and childThe bright sun throwing back the old man's shade In straight and fair proportions, as of one Whose years were freshly number'd. He stood up Even in his vig'rous strength, and like a tree Rooted in Lebanon, his frame bent not; His thin, white hairs had yielded to the wind, And left his brow uncoverd; and his face, Impress'd with the stern majesty of grief, Nerved to a solernn duty, now stood forth Like a rent rock, submissive, yet sublime. But the young boy-he of the laughing eye And ruby lip, the pride of life was on him. He seemed to drink the morning. Sun and dew, And the aroma of the spicy trees, And all that giveth the delicious east Its fitness for an Eden, stole like light Into his spirit, ravishing his thoughts With love and beauty. Every thing he met Buoyant or beautiful, the lightest wing Of bird or insect, or the palest dye Of the fresh flowers, won him from his path, And joyously broke forth his tiny shout As he flung back his silken hair, and sprung Away to some green spot, or clusťring vine, To pluck his infant trophies. Every tree And fragrant shrub was a new hiding-place, And he would crouch till the old man came by Then bound before him with his childish laugh Stealing a look behind him playfully, To see if he had made his father'smile. The sun rode on in beaven. The dew stole up From the fresh daughters of the earth, and heat Came like a sleep upon the delicate leaves, And bent them with the blossoms to their dreams. Still trod the patriarch on with that same step Firm and unfaltering, turning not aside
To seek the olive shades, or lave their lips
In the sweet waters at the Syrian wells,
W bose gusb hath so much music. Wearinese
Stole on the gentle boy, and he forgot
To toss the sunny hair from off his brow,
And spring for the fresh flowers on light wings,
As in the early morning; but he kept
Close by his father's side, and bent his head
Upon his bosom like a drooping bud,
Listing it not, save now and then to steal
A look up to the face whose sternness awed
His childishness to silence.
It was noon-
And Abraham on Moriah bow'd himself,
And buried up his face, and pray'd for strength.
He could not look upon his son and pray,
But with his hand upon the clustering curls
Of the fair, kneeling boy, he pray'd that God
Would nerve him for that hour. Oh man was made
For the stern conflict. In a mother's love
There is more tenderness; the thousand cords
Woven with every fibre of her heart,
Complain, like delicate barp-strings, at a breath ;
But love in man is one deep principle,
Which, like a root grown in a rifted rock,
Abides the tempest. He rose up, and laid
The wood upon the altar. All was done,
He stood a moment-and a deep, quick flush
Pass'd o'er his countenance; and then he nervd
His spirit with a bitter strength, and spoke
" Isaac! my only son”—The boy look'd up,
And Abraham turn’d his face away, and wept.
" Where is the lamb, my father?"-oh the tones,
The sweet, the thrilling music of a child !
How it doth agonize at such an hour !
It was the last, deep struggle--Abraham held
His lov'd, his beautiful, his only son,
And lifted up his arm, and call d on God
And lo! God's Angel staid him-and he fell
Upon his face and wept.