Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

Thou, unto whom the blind and lame,
The sorrowing and the sin sick came,
And from Thy very garment's hem
Drew life and healing unto them,
The burthen of Thy holy faith
Was love and life, not hate and death :
Man's demon ministers of Pain,

The fiends of his revenge, were sent

From Thy pure Gospel's element
To their dark home again.
Thy name is Love! What then is he

Who in that name the Gallows rears,
An awful altar, built to 'Thee
With sacrifice of blood and tears?
Oh, once again Thy healing lay

On the blind eyes which know Thee not, And let the light of thy pure day

Melt in upon his darkened thought. Soften his hard, cold heart, and show

The power which in forbearance lies, And let him feel that Mercy now

Is better than old sacrifice.

The unfelt rite at length was done

The prayer unheard at length was saidAn hour had passed :—the noon day sun

Smote on the features of the dead !
And he who stood the doomed beside,
Calm guager of the swelling tide
Of mortal agony and fear,
Heeding with curious eye and ear
Whate'er revealed the keen excess
Of man's extremest wretchedness :
And who, in that dark anguish, saw

An earnest of the victim's fate,
The vengeful terrors of God's law,

The kindlings of Eternal Hate-
The first drops of that fiery rain
Which beats the dark red realm of Pain,
Did he uplift bis earnest cries

Against the crime of Law, which gave

His brother to that fearful grave, Whereon Hope's moon-light never lies,

And Faith's white blossoms never wave To the soft breath of Memory's sighs ;Which sent a spirit marred and stained, By fiends of sin possessed, profaned, In madness and in blindness stark, Into the silent unknown dark ? No—from the wild and shrinking dread With which he saw the victim led

Beneath the dark veil which divides Ever the living from the dead,

And Nature's solemn secret hides, The man of prayer can only draw New reasons for his bloody Law; New faith in staying Murder's hand, By murder at that Law's command; New reverence for the Gallows-rope, As human nature's latest hope ; Last relic of the good old time, When Power found license for its crime, And held a writhing world in check By that fell cord about its neck; Stifled Sedition's rising shout, Choked the young breath of Freedom out, And timely checked the words which sprung From Heresy's forbidden tougue; While, in its noose of terror bound, The Church its cherished union found, Conforming, on the Moslem plan, The motley-colored mind of man, Not by the Koran and the Sword, But by the Bible and the Cord!

As on the White Sea's charmèd shore,

The Parsee sees his holy bill With dunnest smoke-clouds curtained o'er, Yet knows beneath them evermore

The low pale fire is quivering still; So, underneath its clouds of sin

The heart of man retaineth yet Gleams of its holy origin:

And half quenched stars that never set Dim colors of its faded bow,

And early beauty, linger there,
And o'er its wasted desert blow

Faint breathings of its morning air.
Oh! never yet upon the scroll
Of the sin-stained but priceless soul,

Hath Heaven inscribed « DESPAIR !"
Cast not the clouded gem away,
Quench not the dim but living ray-

My brother man, Beware! With that deep voice which, from the skies Forbade the Patriarch's sacrifice,

God's angel cries, FORBEAR !

Oh Thou ! at whose rebuke the grave
Back to warm life the sleeper gave,
Beneath whose sad and tearful glance
The cold and changed countenance
Broke the still horror of its trance,
And waking saw with joy above,
A brother's face of tenderest love;

Poetry has been to me its own “exceeding great reward ;' it has soothed my affliction; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments ; it has endeared solitude ; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.-COLERIDGE.

You cannot live for men, without living with them.

POEMS BY WILLIAM H. BURLEIGH.

«« THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S.”

PSALM XXIV.

Lord! the earth is thine,

And the fulness of the sea-
Heaps of gold, and gems that shine,
Flashing through the fashing brine,

All belong to Thee!
Underneath the yeasty waves,

Where the great sea-monsters roam, Thou hast hollowed wondrous caves

For their ocean home.
Where the huge Leviathan

Revels in his kingly might
Over beds of chrysolite,
Thou hast builded temples fairer-

Thou hast fashioned grottos rarer
Than the proudest works of man.

There uncounted treasures lie
Hidden deep from human eye;
Lustrous gems, whose radiant gleams

Sparkle aye in starry beams.
All the wonders of the sea,

All the gems that flash and shine

Underneath the ocean-brine, God! belong to Thee !

Hills arrayed in living green,

Where the sunshine loves to linger,
And the wind with wizard finger,
Trifles with the springing grass-

Waters singing as they pass, (Pauses none to intervene,)

With a low and pleasant tune,
All the leafy time of June
Valleys with the sunshine dancing

On their verdant slopes, and glancing Downward to their deepest beds

Forests, regally uplifting To the clouds their crowned heads-And the undulating plain Swaying with the swaying grainThese are Thine-and Thine the sky, With its gorgeous pageantry,

And its shadows ever shifting. Wait they all upon thy word, Nature's universal Lord!

Then to Thee, of life the Giver,
Praises be ascribed for ever!
Thine be thanks and adoration,
Thine be songs of exultation:

Thanks and songs for ever given-Every voice in concert sounding, Every heart with rapture bounding, All harmonious anthems blending, Louder swelling as ascending

Tribute of the earth to Heaven !

H. A. B.

Lord! the earth is thine,

And the fulness of the earth!
Thou, in sovereignty of will,
From thine everlasting hill,
Called the light--the voice Divine

O'er the formless void went forth,

And the darkness fled !
From the mass chaotic hurled
Rose to life this wond'rous world-
Suns and stars with constant force
And undeviating course

In their orbits sped.
Tree, and plant, and opening flower,

In their virgin beauty drest,
Heard the mandate, and Thy power

Instantly confessed.
All by Thee were called to birth,
Sole PROPRIETOR of Earth.
Thine is every living thing--

From the sluggish worm that crawls

O'er the dungeon's slimy walls,
To the forest's tameless king-
And the bird, whose rapid wing

Flashes in the glad sunshine,
As it soars aloft, to fling
Out upon the gales of spring

Cifts of song that seem divine-

Insect, beast, and bird are thine ! Formed by Thy creating hand, Heedful all to Thy command.

Deem not, Beloved! that the glow

Of love with youth will know decayFor though the wing of time may throw

A shadow o'er our way ;
The sunshine of a cloudless faith,

The calmness of a holy trust,
Shall linger in our hearts till Death

Consigns our - dust to dust!'' The fervid passion of our youth

The fervor of Affection's kissLove, born of purity and truth

All pleasant memories--
These still are ours, while looking back

Upon the Past with dewy eyes ;
Oh dearest! on Life's vanished track

How much of sunshine lies!

Men call us poor-it may be true

Amid the gay and glittering crowd-
We feel it, though our wants are few,

Yet envy not the proud.
The freshness of Love's early flowers,

Heart-sheltered through long years of want, Pure hopes and quiet joys are ours,

That wealth could never grant.

Something of beauty from thy brow,

Something of lightness from thy tread, Hath passed- yet thou art dearer now

Than when our vows were said. A softer beauty round thee gleams

Chastened by time, yet calmly bright; And from thine eye of hazel, beams

A deeper, tenderer light

An emblem of the love which lives

Through every change, as time departs; Which binds our souls in one, and gives

New gladness to our hearts ! Flinging a halo over life

Like that which gilds the life beyond ! Ah! well I know thy thoughts, dear wise !

To thoughts like these respond.

TO MY QUAKER COUSIN. Don't tell me of the feelings, the fine sensibilities, the hope and joy, and the true poetry of man's life being blunted by the increase of years! Why, I'll hate old age, if it is true! Make this, if thee pleases, no longer an apology for the laziness thee is guilty of when thee ceases to give us and every body the scintillations of thy poetical genius. It is not that thy days are in the yellow leaf,' but that they are days of downright- laziness !"

Extract from her letter. Yes, thou art right, sweet coz! I own

I am a lazy rhymer-very,–
And seldom gives my harp a tone

Of willing music, sad or merry;
Its strings are snapped, or out of tune,

And I myself am out of fashion,
For wailing ditties to the moon

Was never my peculiar passion. I never wet my thirsty lip

At Helicon's inspiring fountain, Nor even in fancy took a trip

To meet the Muses on their mountain. The voice of Fame is sweet enough,

Doubtless, for devotees who love her, But then her hill is quite too rough

And steep for me to clamber over.

[blocks in formation]

Lazy and uninspired, can I

Write for thee canzonet or sonnet? Or, smitten by thy beauty, try

To perpetrate a song upon it? No--though thy charms of face and form

Would madden, like a heavenly vision, When wine and love had rendered warm

Some dreamer of the fields Elysian!

But love dies not-the child of God

The soother of Life's many woes-
She scatters fragrance round the sod

Where buried hopes repose !
She leads us with her radiant hand

Earth's pleasant streams and pasture by, Still pointing to a better land

Of bliss beyond the sky!

No-though the wicked world should swear

Thou art the latest importation
From that bright realm where seraphs are

Bending for aye in adoration !
For beauty is at discount now

With the dull muse that weaves my numbers, Nor laughing eye, nor polished brow,

Gleams on her in her dreamless slumbers.

MARY HOWITT. Priestess of Nature! in the solemn woods

And by the sullen sea, whose ceaseless roar

Speaks of God's majesty for evermore, And where the cataracts dash their shattered floods Down to the iris.girdled gulfs which yawn

Eternally beneath, thy hand hath reared

Altars whereon no blood-stain hath appeared-
But there, at dewy eve, or kindling dawn,
Meek-hearted children, with their offerings

Of buds or bursting flowers, together kneel

In gladdest worship, till their spirits feel
A new and holier baptism; while the springs
Of joy are opened, and their waters flow
Forth to the laughing light, exulting as they go !

But, for the brightness of thy youth,

And for the chastened love I bear thee, And for thy gentleness and truth,

Which even thievish Time must spare thee, And for thy heart which overflows

With kindness for the wronged and lowly, And for thy guileless soul which glows

With tenderest feelings, pure and holyAnd for that fervent zeal for Right

Which burneth in thy bosom ever, And for that steadfast faith whose might

In perils's hour shall fail thee never

Shutting from the spirit's eye, Light and glory from on highThink of these—and falter not ! Toil-until the slave is brought

Up to light!

For human sympathies, which bring

True hearts around thee to adore theeFor these, dear coz! I kneel and Aling

The tribute of my song before thee. Others may sonnetize the spell

That lives within thy radiant glances, And lying bardlings boldly tell

That loveliness around thee dances; Vows may be offered thee in rhyme,

And worship paid in common metre But these will pass with passing time,

For beauty than the wind is feeter. Be mine the better task to find

For thee a tribute undegrading : Flowers from the garden of the mind,

Fragrant and pure, and never fadingGems from the mines of knowledge won,

Brighter than fancy ever paintedAn offering to lay upon

The altar of a heart untainted.

What though Hate Darkly scowls upon your path? Fear not ye the tyrant's wrath

Hope, and waitFor though long the strife endure, Freedom's triumph shall be sure Toil in faith, for God hath spoken, Every fetter shall be broken,

Soon or late.

Not in vain
Hath been heard your voice of warning-
Lo! a better day is dawning;

And again
Shall be heard, from sea to sea,
Loudest songs of jubilee,
Bursting from a franchised nation,
As it leaps in exultation

From the chain !

So, when the hand of Time hath reft

From face and form thy youthful graces, A tenderer beauty shall be left

To sanctisy their fading traces ;
A chastened radiance, born of Thought,

Around thy path shall then be shining, With more than earthly brightness fraught,

To gild and bless thy life's declining !

STANZAS,

THE FREEMAN. He worthy is of freedom-only he

Who claims the boon for all-and, strong in right,

Rebukes the proud oppressor by whose might The poor are crushed-for Truth hath made him free, And Love hath sanctified his liberty! When Tyranny his horrid head uprears,

And blasts the earth with pestilential breath,

Girded with righteousness and strong in faith, He stems the tide of wrong; nor scoffs, nor jeers, Nor ruffian threats, nor fierce mobocracy, Can daunt his soul, or turn him from the path

Where duty points. Not his the craven heart

That shrinks when tyrants bluster in their wrath ; But well in Freedom's strife he bears his part.

TO THE ABOLITIONISTS OF AMERICA:

Toil and pray! Groweth flesh and spirit faint ? Think of her who pours her plaint

All the dayHer-the wretched negro wife, Robbed of all that sweetens lifeHer—who weeps in anguish wild For the husband and the child

Torn away!

Nature's ties,
Binding heart with kindred heart,
Rent remorselessly apart-

Tears and sighs,
Shrieks and prayers unheeded given,
Calling out from earth to heaven-
All that speaks the slave's distress
All that in his cup doth press

Agonies

SOLITUDE.
The ceaseless hum of men—the dusty streets,

Crowded with multitudinous life-the din

Of toil and traffic-and the wo and sin, The dweller in the populous city meetsThese have I left to seek the cool retreats

Of the untrodden forest, where, in bowers

Builded by Nature's hand, inlaid with flowers, And roofed with ivy, on the mossy seats

Reclining, I can while away the hours
In sweetest converse with old books, or give
My thoughts to God-or fancies fugitive

Indulge, while over me their radiant showers Of rarest blossoms the old trees shake down,-And thanks to Him my meditations crown!

Wo and blight, Broken heart and palsied mind, Reason crushed and conscience blind,

Darkest night

ARCHY MOORE.

Ye may tread on the poor-but not long ! - As I stood upon the forecastle and looked to- But wo !--for the arm of a People is strong

Ye may torture the weak--while.ye dare ! wards the land, which soon seemed but a little streak

When nerved by revenge and despair ! in the horizon, and was fast sinking from our sight, I Let the fetter be tightened !—the sooner 'twill break! seemed to feel a heavy weight drop off me. The chains

Trample on!-and the sert shall more quickly awake! were gone. I felt myself a freeman; and as I watched the fast-receding shore, my bosom heaved with a

My country!- the land of my birth! proud scorn--a mingled feeling of safety and disdain.

Farewell to thy fetters and thee! -- « Farewell, my country!'—such were the thoughts The by-word of tyrants—the scorn of the earththat rose upon my mind, and pressed to find an utter.

A mockery to all shalt thou be! ance from my lips,— and such a country! A land Hurra! for the sea and its waves ! boasting to be the chosen seat of liberty and equal

Ye billows and surges-all hail ! rights, yet holding such a portion of her people in My brothers henceforth—for ye scorn to be slaves, hopeless, helpless, miserable bondage !:

s ye toss up your crests to the gale! 56. Farewell my country! Much is the gratitude Farewell to the land of the « charter and chain,"– and thanks I owe thee! Land of the tyrant and the

My path is away o'er the fetterless main! slave, farewell !' ove And welcome, welcome, ye bounding billows

A SUMMER MORNING IN THE COUNTRY. and foaming surges of the ocean ! Ye are the emblems and the children of liberty-I hail ye as my

How sweetly on the hill-side sleeps brothers !-for, at last, I too am free! - free!

The sunlight with its quickening rays !

The verdant trees that crown the steeps free !! "— Archy Moore, Vol. II. p. 146-7.

Grow greener in its quivering blaze : From my heel 'I have broken the chain!

While all the air that round us floats
I have shivered the yoke from my neck!

With subtile wing, breathes only life-
Free!-free!-as the plover that rides on the main- And, ringing with a thousand notes,
As the waters that dash o'er our deck!

The woods with song are rife.
In my bosom new feelings are born-

Why, this is Nature's holiday ! New hopes have sprung up in my path

She puts her gayest mantle onAnd I leave to my country defiance and scorn,

And, sparkling o'er their pebbly way, The curse of a fugitive's wrath!

With gladder shout the brooklets run ; My country ?-away!—for the gifts which she gave

The birds and breezes seem to give Were the whip and the fetter-the life of a slave!

A sweeter cadence to their songThank God! that a limit is set

A brighter life the insects live
To the reach of the tyrant's control!

That float in light along.
That the down-trodden serf may not wholly forget - The cattle on a thousand hills,"
The right and the might of his soul !

The fleecy flocks that dot the vale,
That though years of oppression may dim

All joy alike in life, that fills The fire on the heart's altar laid,

The air, and breathes in every gale! Yet, lit by the breath of Jehovah, like Him

And who that has a heart and eye
It lives, and shall live, undecayed !

To feel the bliss and drink it in,
Will the fires of the mountain grow feeble and die ? But pants, for scenes like these, to fly
Beware!—for the tread of the Earthquake is nigh! The city's smoke and din-
Proud Land !-there is vengeance in store

A sweet companionship to hold

With Nature in her forest-bowers,
For thy soul-crushing despots and thee-

And learn the gentle lessons told
When Mercy, grown faint, shall no longer implore,
But the day of thy recompense be-

By singing birds and opening flowers ?

Nor do they err who love her lore-
When thy cup with the mixture of wrath
Shall be full-the Avenger, in power,

Though books have power to stir my heart,

Yet Nature's varied page can more
Shall sweep like a tempest of fire o'er thy path,

Of rapturous joy impart !
Consuming the tree and the flower-
And thy mountains shall echo the shriek of despair,

No selfish joy-if Duty calls,
While the smoke of thy torment shall darken the air!

Not sullenly I turn from these

Though dear the dash of waterfalls, Wo! wo! to the forgers of chains,

The wind's low voice among the trees, Who trample the image of God :

Birds, flowers, and flocks—for God hath taught Calls for vengeance the blood of the bondman, which -Oh, keep, my heart! the lesson stillstains

His soul, alone, with bliss is fraught, The cursed and the verdureless sod!

Who heeds the Father's will !

« AnteriorContinuar »