« PreviousContinue »
30. He slept. The maiden whispered low, " To them, to thee, my sinking voice, “I pray you try to find me, dame,
Beloved! would fain once more proA friend who to the church would go, claim, And say why here to-night I came. In Christ alone may those rejoice 20.
Deceived by every other name. The woman went, and Jane remained
31. With all she e'er had loved the best, • In all but Him our sins have been, His hand upon her bosom strained, And wrestlings fierce of fevered mind; Her face by his, but not in rest.
In Him alone on earth is seen 21.
God's perfect Will for all mankind. In herlarge eyes the unthought-of tears
32. Gathered fully, gathered slowly, “ The shadows round me close and And o'erflowed their azure spheres,
press, Drops of pain, but pure and holy. But still that radiant Star I see, 22.
And more I seem its light to bless The lingering minutes, measured out Than aught near worlds could give to By that sad rain, drew on and on,
me. Till Henry feebly turned about,
33. And raised his eyes, and heaved a 1. Through chill and fire, and smoke groan.
and pain, 23.
It calmly shines with widening orb, • Dear Jane," he said, "
And while to those, great beams I love!
strain, I feel I have not long to stay ; All dark, all brightness they absorb." 'Tis good, almost my hopes above,
34. That you are not away.
His upward look drew light and peace 24.
From some unclouded source above; “'Tis not that I have much to tell The tears of Jane had learnt to cease, Before my lips their breath resign; And she was hushed in fearless love. But, oh! 'tis peace, 'tis more than well,
35. While thus my hand is clasped in But, sighing slow, he turned from thine.
To gaze at her, his lamp on earth, “ For here upon my bed of death With thoughts that need not be forIs with me all that earth can give;
given, Thus God supports the fearless faith For they, too, claimed a sinless birth. Which cannot cease to live.
“ My more than dear, my wife”_he “ My mother, and that humble friend, said The boys that were my flock, and thou, • I leave a toilsome lot to thee; To none beside my thoughts extend, To bear, a widow, though unwed, Sàve Him whose heaven is near me The lonely memory of me.
“ So young, so beautiful as thou, “ My boys again I fain would see, To feel thou art on earth alone, And speak once more my frequent tale, That none can be, as I am now, That only Reason makes men free, Thy first whole hope, and all thy That Right and Truth can never fail. own; 28.
38. - That Reverence is the bond for With few or none beside the heart man
To cheer, uphold, and comprehend; With all of highest men may know; With thoughts at which the crowd That Love must work by Wisdom's would start, plan,
And grief which they would vainly Or be a false and boastful show :
39. “ That Conscience holds supernal “ Still hope! still act! be sure that power
life, To rend or heal the human breast; The source and strength of every good, And that in guilt's most dismal hour Wastes down in feeling's empty strife, God still may turn its war to rest. And dies in dreaming's sickly mood,
43. - To toil in tasks, however mean, - Thou wilt have angels near above, For all we know of right and true- By whom invisible aid is given; In this alone our worth is seen ; They journey still on tasks of love, 'Tis this we were ordained to do. And never rest except in heaven. 41.
44. “ So shalt thou find in work and “ The God who gave in me a friend, thought
Is more than any friend to all; The peace
that sorrow cannot give; Upon my grave before him bend, Though grief's worst pangs to thee be And He will hear thy lonely call. taught,
45. By thee let others nobler live. “One kiss, my Jane-I now must 42.
rest." “ Oh! wail not in the darksome forest, His eyes grew faint, his eyelids closed, Where thou must needs be left alone, And when her lips to his were pressed, But, e'en when memory is sorest, His lips in death reposed. Seek out a path, and journey on.
8. 66 Oh! father, father, list to me; - Oh! taller far than spire or trees, The tale that I shall tell,
That form above me bowed ;
Concealed him all in cloud.
9. “ Last night upon my bed I lay, « I knew 'twas not an earthly thing And prayed that I might sleep,
That there before me rose ; But still my wakeful thoughts would Some nameless ghost-land's ghostly stay,
king, And still I could not weep.
Whose look my life-blood froze. 3.
10. 6. The moonshine filled my room with « And when he fixed his gaze on me light,
I turned my eyes away, A stream of silver air,
And there before his foot could see And all the window-panes were bright, A grave that open lay. And showed the stars so fair.
« I could not choose but enter there ; “ I lay and looked, when, lo! a hand, And passing down the new-made A giant hand outspread;
cell, Methought the moonlit skies it I left the clear and moonlit air, spanned,
Where dark his shadow fell. And darkened o'er my bed.
“ With easy slope the passage dived, • This hand of giant size, I say, And on I travelled far and slow, It beckoned me to rise,
Till through the vault my steps arI saw its shadow where I lay,
rived I felt it on my eyes.
Where light from heaven appeared to 6.
flow. "I rose and went, I passed the
" I saw a valley broad and green, And, father! I beheld,
Where trees and rocks were scattered Where stood the old Yew-tree be
And hills of ancient wood were seen A form that heavenward swelled. Encircling all the quiet ground. 7.
14. “ It seemed a dark gigantic man, « Old trees and vast, with caves of Who sat upon a mound;
shade, His face not well my eye could scan, Bright waters foaming down the For darkness wrapped it round.
Green hues that dappled all the glade, More softly gleamed with shifting Gray rocks that lay in awful sleep. dyes, 15.
And flushing drank the blissful sound. " And over all a sky was spread
26. Of woodland violet's deepest glow, “ The trees were piles of trembling While amber pale and ruby red
flame, Hung o'er the aerial hills below. The rocks like diamonds heaped the 16.
sod, “ And 'mid this sky without a moon Each star a living eye became, Great beaming stars of golden blaze, And all, methought, were eyes of God. Like flaming garlands thickly strewn,
27. Filled all the world with pearly rays. “ The stream that shimmered down 17.
the hill “ Then o'er my head a sound I knew In waves of clearest crimson ran ; Of many swift and gentle wings; And thatsweetsinger, brightening still, Sweet airy music o'er me flew, Grew lovelier far than man. And seemed to wheel in blended rings.
“ His words upon the glowing stream “ And sooner then than eye could Sank melting down, and borne along
Upon the mingled floods of dream With life the earth and skies o'er. All floated in accord to song. flowed,
29. And grass and rock, and hill and tree, “ The world was changed around me, Ten thousand radiant beings showed. all 19.
To arches, rock, and tree were grown; “'Twas Angels all, a dazzling throng, I stood amid a pillared hall, With wings of rose and golden down, Beneath a roof of carven stone. With hair of sunbeams pale and long,
30, To each bright face a streaming crown.
“ The windows beamed with many a 20.
hue “ They floated o’er the trees and Of living forms in smooth array ; rocks,
Again those Angel hosts I knew, They sat o'er all the grassy dell, And through them shot the light of They bid the hills in glancing flocks, day. And seemed amid the stars to dwell.
“ They twinkling shone with radiance “ And One to me, the nearest there, keen, Upon a brown and craggy steep,
With eyes whose brightness dazzled Raised up toward heaven a face so
And thousands round the walls were With inmost joy I longed to weep.
With hands upraised in prayer di“ He held a branch of darkest yew
vine. That dropped with glittering tears of
“ Before me, 'mid a depth of gloom, And loud he sång a song that drew I mark'd one high enormous shade, All things around beneath the strain. And him I knew, compelled by whom 23.
His giant hand I first obeyed. “ He sang of love, and death, and life,
33. And worlds and hearts, the homes of “Like some great dusky crag he these;
towered, Of peace that conquers every strife, In cloudy folds involved and dim; Of grief whose pang the spirit frees; As midnight's darkest heaven he 24.
lowered, “ Of all that is, and journeys on
The world's whole strength reposed From worst of ill to best of good;
in him, For not a moment e'er is gone
34. But in the next survives renewed. “ But, oh! a form before him lay, 25.
And watch o'er this he seemed to “ And while he sang, the earth and keep; skies,
'Twas Henry's form in twilight gray, And all those countless forms around, That corpse-like slept an icy sleep.
VOL. XLIV. NO, CCLXXIII.
42. « And when that frozen face I saw, 6 Above him poured a blaze of light, So calm, so chill, without a breath, And, looking whence it flowed, The giant shape I knew with awe, The boundless form was dazzling And owned the king was Death.
The darkness round him glowed. “ The dread lips moved; a voice there
“ Like God he sat, serene and mild, Like midnight wind in trees : In snowy whiteness clad ; All shook around, as waves a flame His face with sunlike glory smiled, Beneath a gusty breeze.
And made all being glad. 37.
44. “I claim my own,' the Shadow said; “No roof wasthere; the stars of heaven . If any answers, No!
Were shining round his head, His life must ransom this, my dead, And o'er his brow a Crown of Seven Who thus shall 'scape from wo.' Their wondrous lustre shed. 38.
45. « O’er all those Angel faces fell « In circling lines the Angel race, A sad and helpless gloom ;
A world of lights, rose high ; The building seemed a mouldering And joy shone bright in every face, cell,
And love in every eye. A dark and misty tomb.
“ But Angels' looks were nought to “ Then loud I spake, with swelling me, voice,
Who saw beside me clear « To him thy respite give,
My Henry's eyes, that now could ser, And hear my swift and willing choice Nor taught me more to fear. To die that he may live.'
“ No voice of God or Angel spoke, “ Before the lowly bier I knelt, And I was Henry's own; And kissed the lips and eyes,
But when upon my bed I woke,
• But still I saw his fondest gaze, “There dawned again my Henry's look, Who bade affright be dumb ; And feebly met my view ;
And, filled with peacefullest amaze, With sighs and throbs his bosom shook, I knew my end was come.” His eyes my presence knew.
5. Upon the spring-clad fields and woods, The smooth sweet air is blowing round, The churchyard graves and tall It is a Spirit of hope to all ; church-tower,
It whispers o'er the wakening ground, The warm, pure daylight softly broods, And countless daisies hear the call. And fills with life the morning hour.
It mounts and sings away to heaven, The vast sepulchral Yew-tree waves, And 'mid each light and lovely cloud; And feels the sunshine cheer the shade, To it the lark's loud joys are given, And e'en the low and grassy graves And young leaves answer it aloud. Appear in living slumber laid.
It skims above the flat green meadow, The only sad and helpless thing, And darkening sweeps the gray millThat May-day makes not less forlorn, stream ; Is that old man, to whom the spring Along the hill it drives the shadow, Is dead, and dead the breezy morn. And sports and warms in the skiey beam. 4.
8. These live not now, for all is dead But round that hoar and haggard man With her who lies below the sod; It cannot shed a glimpse of gladness ; His daughter from his life is fled, He wastes beneath a separate ban, And leaves but dust by spectres trod. An exile to a worļd of sadness.
20. Upon a bench before his door
And, lo! at last the old man's gaze He sits, with weak and staring eyes, Is brightened with a gleam of sense, He sits and looks, for straight before A butterfly all yellow plays The grave that holds his daughter Above the grave, nor wanders thence, lies.
And see, below the flutterer's dance, If any come with him to speak, From earth a streak of colour springIn dull harsh words he bids them go; ing; For this strong earth he seems too It is the primrose leaves that glance, weak,
To him his daughter's presence bringFor breathing life too cramped and ing. slow.
To her 'twas May's most precious A gnawing rage, an aimless heat,
flower, Have scored and set his grating face; That well she loved, and tended oft ; His eyes like ghosts the gazer greet, Its pale stars filled her hawthorn bower The guards of misery's dwelling-place. With clustering fancies mild and soft. 12.
23. A sun-dial pillar left alone,
She strewed it o'er her mother's grave, On which no dial meets the eye; Its grace with Henry loved to note ; A black mill-wheel with grass o'er. To Simon oft the flower she gave, grown
And fixed it in his Sunday coat. That hears no water trickle by ;
And now, with gradual change of heart, Dark palsied mass of severed rock, He saw it peep above the sod Deaf, blind, and sere to sun and rain; Where she was laid : it seemed to start A shattered gravestone's time-worn A special sign for him from God. block
25. That only shows the name of_Jane. An hour he sat, and marked it well, 14.
Then rose and would behold it near ; 'Tis thus he sits from hour to hour, His face no more was hard and fell, Amid the breeze beneath the sky; No more the man was numbed and And still, when beats the noisy shower, drear. The cottage doorway keeps him dry.
Another hour upon his staff With open door he shelters there, He leant, and pored above the grave; A pace behind his outward seat ; He gave at length a silent laugh, And, fixed upon his old arm-chair, And seemed to grasp some purpose Looks through the rain from his re
Then eager tow'rd his house he went, Upon his daughter's grave he stares, And took his old and idle spade, As if her form he thought would rise, And round his fields with fixed intent For all to him the semblance wears He walked, and many pauses made. Of mist that has his daughter's eyes.
And where below the hedge-row shade He heeds not passing beast nor men, A little tuft of primrose grew, Nor wain at hand, nor distant plough; He dug it with his churchyard spade, Not e'en a burial draws his ken- As if 'twere gold that thence he drew. He is no longer Sexton now.
And so with sods of yellow flowers But while, like some gray stump, he
He filled his basket full and gay, sits,
And back in evening's quiet hours Dried up at root, and shorn of all, Towards the church he took his way. Still nature round him works and
Beside the grave of Jane he stood, And fills and lights her festival. And round it smoothly dug the ground; 19.
With clods as many as he could, And e’en around his daughter's grave, He made a primrose border round. Where Life for him in Death is cold,
31. Fair growth goes on, and grasses wave, His work was done, and brightly sank And coloured flies their reyels hold. The day's last light upon his head;