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The shell, that solaced me in saddest hour,
On the dark cypress; and the strings which rung With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o'er,
Or, when the breeze comes by, moan, and are heard no
And must the harp of Judah sleep again?
Shall I no more reanimate the lay ?
O Thou who visitest the sons of men,
Thou who dost listen when the humble pray, One little space prolong my mournful day; One little lapse suspend thy last decree!
I am a youthful traveller in the way,
And this slight boon would consecrate to Thee,
Ere I with Death shake hands, and smile that I am free.
CCCVII. PROF. JO. WILSON, 1785-1854.
1. THE OCEAN AT MIDNIGHT.
It is the midnight hour:-the beauteous sea,
Calm as the cloudless heaven, the heaven discloses,
While many a sparkling star, in quiet glee,
Far down within the watery sky reposes.
As if the Ocean's heart were stirr'd
With inward life, a sound is heard,
Like that of dreamer murmuring in his sleep;
'Tis partly the billow, and partly the air,
That lies like a garment floating fair
Above the happy deep.
The sea, I ween, cannot be fann'd
By evening freshness from the land,
For the land it is far away;
But God hath will'd that the sky-born breeze
In the centre of the loneliest seas
Should ever sport and play.
The mighty Moon she sits above,
Encircled with a zone of love,
A zone of dim and tender light
That makes her wakeful eye more bright:
She seems to shine with a sunny ray,
And the night looks like a mellow'd day!
The gracious Mistress of the Main
Hath now an undisturbéd reign,
And from her silent throne looks down,
As upon children of her own,
On the waves that lend their gentle breast
In gladness for her couch of rest!
2. THE EVENING CLOUD.
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun, A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow: Long had I watched the glory moving on O'er the still radiance of the lake below. Tranquil its spirit seem'd, and floated slow! E'en in its very motion there was rest: While every breath of eve that chanced to blow Wafted the traveller to the beauteous West. Emblem, methought, of the departed soul! To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given And by the breath of mercy made to roll Right onwards to the golden gates of heaven, Where, to the eye of faith, it peaceful lies, And tells to man his glorious destinies.
How wild and dim this life appears!
One long deep heavy sigh,
When o'er our eyes, half closed in tears,
The images of former years
Are faintly glittering by!
And still forgotten while they go!
As, on the sea-beach, wave on wave,
Dissolves at once in snow.
The amber clouds one moment lie,
Then, like a dream, are gone!
Though beautiful the moon-beams play
On the lake's bosom, bright as they,
And the soul intensely loves their stay,
Soon as the radiance melts away,
We scarce believe it shone!
Heaven-airs amid the harp-strings dwell;
And we wish they ne'er may fade ;-
They cease; and the soul is a silent cell,
Where music never play'd!
Dreams follow dreams, through the long night-hours,
Each lovelier than the last;
But, ere the breath of morning-flowers,
That gorgeous world flies past;
And many a sweet angelic cheek,
Whose smiles of love and fondness speak,
Glides by us on this earth;
While in a day we cannot tell
Where shone the face we loved so well,
In sadness, or in mirth !
CCCVIII. REV. G. CROLY, 1785—1860.
This was the ruler of the land,
When Athens was the land of fame;
This was the light that led the band,
When each was like a living flame :
The centre of earth's noblest ring,
Of more than men, the more than king
Yet not by fetter, nor by spear,
His sovereignty was held or won;
Fear'd-but alone as freemen fear,
Loved-but as freemen love alone;
He waved the sceptre o'er his kind,
By nature's first great title-mind.
Resistless words were on his tongue :
Then eloquence first flash'd below,
Full arm'd to life the portent sprung,
Minerva from the thunderer's brow!
And his the sole, the sacred hand,
That shook her ægis o'er the land.
He perish'd, but his wreath was won,
He perish'd on his height of fame;
Then sank the cloud on Athens' sun;
Yet still she conquer'd in his name.
Fill'd with his soul, she could not die-
Her conquest was posterity!
'Twas noon! a blood-red banner played Above thy rampart port, Belgrade;
From time to time the gong's deep swell
Rose thundering from the citadel;
And soon the trampling charger's din
Told of some mustering pomp within.
But all without was still and drear,
The long streets wore the hue of fear,
All desert, but where some quick eye.
Peered from the curtained gallery:
Or crouching low from roof to roof
The Servian glanced, then shrank aloof,
Eager, yet dreading to look on
The business to be that day done.
The din grew louder, crowding feet
Seemed rushing to the central street;
'Twas filled the city's idle brood
Scattered before, few, haggard, rude:
Then came the Spahis bounding on,
With kettle-drum and gonfalon :
And ever at the cymbal's clash,
Upshook their spears the sudden flash,
Till, like a shattered, sable sail,
Wheeled o'er their rear the black horse-tail,
All hurrying on, like men who yield,
Or men who seek, some final field.
They led a captive; the Pashaw
From his large eye draws back with awe;
All tongues are silent in the group,
Who round that fearful stranger troop:
He still has homage, though his hands
Are straining in a felon's bands.
No Moslem he; his brow is bare,
Save one wild tress of raven hair,
Like a black serpent deeply bound,
Where once sat Servia's golden round.
His neck bends low, and many a stain
Of blood shows how it feels the chain!
A peasant's robe is o'er him flung,
A swordless sheath beside him hung.
He sits a charger, but a slave
Now holds the bridle of the brave.
And now they line the palace-square,
A splendid sight, as noon's full glare
Pours on their proud caparison,
Arms rough with gold and dazzling stone,
Horse-nets, and shawls of Indian dye,
O'er brows of savage majesty.
But where's the fettered rider now?
A flag above, a block below,
An Ethiop headsman louring near,
Show where must close his stern career,
A thousand eyes are fixed to mark
The fading of his eye's deep spark,
The quickened heaving of his breast;
But all within it is at rest:
There is no quivering nerve; his brow
Scarce bent upon the crowd below,
He stands in settled, stately gloom,
A warrior's statue on his tomb.
A trumpet rang; the turbaned line
Clashed up their spears, the headsman's sign.
Then, like the iron in the forge,
Blazed thy dark visage, Czerni George!
He knew that trumpet's Turkish wail,
His guide through many a forest vale,
When, scattering like the hunted deer,
The Moslem felt his early spear;
He heard it when the Servian targe
Broke down the Delhis' desperate charge,
And o'er the flight his scimitar
Was like the flashing of a star:
That day, his courser to the knee
Was bathed in blood, and Servia free!
That day, before he sheathed his blade,
He stood a sovereign in Belgrade;
The field, the throne, were on that eye,
Which wandered now so wild and high.
The hour had waned; the sunbeam fell
Full on the palace pinnacle,