« AnteriorContinuar »
And, making earth too great for heaven, She hides the Giver in the given.
From time and place and form apart,
“And so I find it well to come
“ Thy words are well, O friend," I said ;
“Yet rarely through the charmed repose
“Dream not, O friend, because I seek
Of old the fire-tongued miracle, But flamed o'er all the thronging host The baptisin of the Holy Ghost; Heart answers heart: in one desire The blending lines of prayer aspire ; •Where, in my name, meet two or three,' Our Lord hath said, “I there will be !' “So sometimes comes to soul and sense The feeling which is evidence That very near about us lies The realm of spiritual mysteries. The sphere of the supernal powers Impinges on this world of ours. The low and dark horizon lists, To light the scenic terror shifts ; The breath of a diviner air Blows down the answer of a prayer :That all our sorrow, pain, and doubt A great compassion clasps about, And law and goodness, love and force, Are wedded fast beyond divorce. Then duty leaves to love its task, The beggar Self forgets to ask ; With smile of trust and folded hands, The passive soul in waiting stands To feel, as flowers the sun and dew, The One true Life its own renew.
Repeating where His works were wrought The lesson that her Master taught, Of whom an elder Sibyl gave, The prophecies of Cumæ's cave! “I ask no organ's soulless breath To drone the themes of life and death, No altar candle-lit by day, No ornate wordsman's rhetoric-play, No cool philosophy to teach Its bland audacities of speech To doubled-tasked idolaters, Themselves their gods and worshippers, No pulpit hammered by the fist Of loud-asserting dogmatist, Who borrows for the hand of love The smoking thunderbolts of Jove. I know how well the fathers taught, What work the later schoolmen wrought; I reverence old-time faith and men, But God is near us now as then ; His force of love is still unspent, His hate of sin as imminent; And still the measure of our needs Outgrows the cramping bounds of creeds ; The manna gathered yesterday Already savors of decay ; Doubts to the world's child-heart unknown Question us now from star and stone; Too little or too much we know, And sight is swift and faith is slow; The power is lost to self-deceive With shallow forms of make-believe. We walk at high noon, and the bells Call to a thousand oracles, But the sound deafens, and the light Is stronger than our dazzled sight; The letters of the sacred Book Glimmer and swim beneath our look ; Still struggles in the Age's breast With deepening agony of quest The old entreaty : 'Art thou He, Or look we for the Christ to be ?' “God should be most where man is least; So, where is neither church nor priest, And never rag of form or creed To clothe the nakedness of need, — Where farmer-folk in silence meet, I turn my bell-unsummoned feet; I lay the critic's glass aside, I tread upon my lettered pride, And, lowest-seated, testify To the oneness of humanity; Confess the universal want, And share whatever Heaven may grant. He findeth not who seeks his own, The soul is lost that's saved alone. Not on one favored forehead fell
“So, to the calmly gathered thought The innermost of truth is taught, The mystery dimly understood, That love of God is love of good, And, chiefly, its divinest trace In Him of Nazareth's holy face ; That to be saved is only this, Salvation from our selfishness, From more than elemental fire, The soul's unsanctified desire, From sin itself, and not the pain That warns us of its chafing chain ; That worship's deeper meaning lies In mercy, and not sacrifice, Not proud humilities of sense And posturing of penitence, But love's unforced obedience ; That Book and Church and Day are given For man, not God, — for carth, not heaven, The blessed means to holiest ends, Not masters, but benignant friends ; That the dear Christ dwells not afar, The king of some remoter star, But flamed o'er all the thronging host The baptism of the Holy Ghost; Heart answers heart : in one desire The blending lines of prayer aspire ; • Where, in my name, meet two or three,' Our Lord hath said, “I there will be !'"
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
A PRAYER FOR LIFE.
Writ on the silent heavens in starry script,
Commissioned Angels of the new-born Faith, Earth's beauty asks a heart and tongue
To teach the immortality of Good, To give true love and praises to her worth ;
The soul's God-likeness, Sin's coeval death,
And Man's indissoluble Brotherhood.
Yet never an age, when God has need of him, For though her summer hills and vales might
Shall want its Man, predestined by that seem
' need, The fair creation of a poet's dream,
To pour his life in fiery word or deed, Ay, of the Highest Poet,
The strong Archangel of the Elohim ! Whose wordless rhythms are chanted by the
Earth's hollow want is prophet of his comgyrés
ing : Of constellate star-choirs,
In the low murmur of her famished cry, That with deep melody flow and overflow it, —
And heavy sobs breathed up despairingly, The sweet Earth, — very sweet, despite
Ye hear the near invisible humming The rank grave-smell forever drifting in Among the odors from her censers white
Of his wide wings that fan the lurid sky
Into cool ripples of new life and hope, Of wave-swung lilies and of wind-swung roses,
While far in its dissolving ether ope The Earth sad-sweet is deeply attaint with sin!
Deeps beyond deeps, of sapphire calm, to cheer The pure air, which encloses
With Sabbath gleams the troubled Now and Her and her starry kin, Still shudders with the unspent palpitating
Father ! thy will be done,
Holy and righteous One !
Though the reluctant years
May never crown my throbbing brows with
white, Of Earth's Titanic thunders.
Nor round my shoulders turn thegolden light
Fair and sad, Of my thick locks to wisdom's royal ermine : In sin and beauty, our beloved Earth
Yet by the solitary tears, Has need of all her sons to make her glad ;
Deeper than joy or sorrow,- by the thrill, Has need of martyrs to refire the hearth Higher than hope or terror, whose quick germen, Of her quenched altars, — of heroic men
In those hot tears to sudden vigor sprung, With Freedoin's sword, or Truth's supernal pen, Sheds, even now, the fruits of graver age, – To shape the worn-out mould of nobleness again. By the long wrestle in which inward ill And she has need of Poets who can string Fell like a trampled viper to the ground, Their harps with steel to catch the lightning's By all that lifts me o'er my outward peers fire,
To that supernal stage And pourherthunders from the clanging wire, Where soul dissolves the bonds by Nature To cheer the hero, mingling with his cheer,
bound, Arouse the laggard in the battle's rear,
Fall when I may, by pale disease unstrung, Daunt the stern wicked, and from discord wring
Or by the hand of fratricidal rage, . Prevailing harmony, while the humblest soul
I cannot now die young! Who keeps the tune the warder angels sing
ANONYMOUS In golden choirs above, And only wears, for crown and aureole, The glow-worm light of lowliest human THE GREENWOOD SHRIFT.
love, Shall fill with low, sweet undertones the
One the GEORGE MI. AND A DYING WOMAN IN WINDSOR FOREST. chasms
OUTSTRETCHED beneath the leafy shade Of silence, 'twixt the booming thunder Of Windsor forest's deepest glade, spasms.
A dying woman lay; And Earth has need of Prophets fiery-lipped Three little children round her stood, And deep-souled, to announce the glorious And there went up from the greenwood dooms
A woful wail that day.
For of the noblest of the land
And, central in the ring,
ROBERT and CAROLINE SOUTHEY.
They were not brawny men who bowed,
O, bid the morning stars combine
FROM "PARADISE LOST." .... The seraph Abdiel, faithful found Among the faithless, faithful only he ; Among inuumerable false, unmoved, Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified, His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ; Nor number, nor example with him wrought Toswerve from truth, or change his constant mind, Though single. From amidst them forth he passed, Long way through hostile scorn, which he sus
tained Superior, nor of violence feared aught; And with retorted scorn his back he turned' On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.
Behind them lay the gleaming rows,
Doubling the splendor of the plain,