Page images
PDF
EPUB

And heaven rings forth its welcome jubilee.
The hills have caught the tidings from the sky,
Which o'er them bends in brightness; and the glens
Repeat the promise to re-echoing glens ;
The ocean with its music, myriad-voiced,
Bears on its heaving breast the rapturous sound
Of Hallelujah, and the morning stars
Sing welcome, and the sons of God again
Shout in their everlasting homes for joy.

Enough for thee, Ezekiel, to have caught
The echo of that music: when the harp
Of all creation, jarr'd too long by sin
And grating discords manifold, at last
Retuned and temper'd by the hand of God,
Shall yield to every breath of heaven, that sweeps
Across its countless and melodious strings,
Eternal songs of gratitude and love.

Hinton Martell, 1854.

JOHN BAPTIST.

αστηρ πρίν μεν έλαμπες ένι ζίοισιν εώος,

νύν δε θανών λάμπεις έσπερος εν φθιμένοις. .

Sort the summer sun is sinking through the saffron sky to

rest :

Soft the veil of sultry vapor trembles on the desert's

breast;

Golden, crimson, purple, opal lights and shadows, warp and

woof, Wrap the sands in change, and flush Machærus' battle

mented roof. Saying, “ 'Tis my last,” a captive rose from the cold dun

geon floor,

Clank'd the fetters with his rising, lean’d the grated lattice

o'er, Gaunt albeit in manhood's prime, as he through bitter toils

had pass'd,

“One look more on earthly sunsets ; my heart tells me,

'tis the last."

In his eye the fading sunlight linger'd on as loath to go, Light to light akin and kindling, brother-like; and to and

fro,

As the winds crept o'er the desert from the hills of Abarim, From his brow his unshorn tresses flutter'd in the twilight

dim.

Now and then a passing glory from the castle's banquet

hall, Where a thousand lamps bade thousand guests to royal

festival, Smote the topmost turret's ridges with a gleam of fitful

light, As the woven purple hangings, sail-like, caught the gales

of night: Now and then a gush of laughter; now and then a snatch

of song,

Seem'd to mock the prisoner's vigil, and to do his silence

wrong. Never a word spake he; but, gazing on the hills and skies

and stars,

Free in thought, as Arab ranger, maugre manacles and

bars, Lived again his life, its daybreak with no childish pastimes

boon, Morning, mid-day, and now evening, ere it well was after

noon.

Meet his early homestead : westward of that sea where

plies no skiff, On the bare bleak upland, nestling only to the rugged cliff, Far from all the noise of cities, far from all their idle mirth, Where God's voice was heard in whispers, and the heavens

were near to earth, There he grew, as grows the lonely pine upon the fore

land's crest,

Fronting tempests, northward, southward, sweep they east

or sweep they west, Wrapping round the rocks her roots like iron bands in

breadth and length, Here and there a moss or lichen shedding tenderness on

strength. Thus he grew: the child of age, no brother clasp'd in

equal arms,

No sweet sister throwing o'er him the pure magic of her

charms; Heir of all his father's ripe experience both of things and

men,

Ripen’d by the mellow suns that shine on threescore years

and ten;

Heir of all his saintly mother's burning concentrated love, Pent för decades and now loosen'd by a mandate from

above.

For the rest, no human friendship shared his fellowship

with God, Lonely like the lonely Enoch was the path his spirit trod : Meet for him whose fearless banner was ere-long aloft

unfurld, God's ambassador, Christ's herald, in a lapsed and guilty

world.

Gliding years pass’d on; and childhood grew to youth, and ·

youth to prime: Bodings fill’d the land, and rulers call’d the age a troublous

time.

Let it be

all time is troublous; and there is no crystal

sea

« PreviousContinue »