« PoprzedniaDalej »
And all about the courtly stable
Bright harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.
A passage from ROGERS. The lark has sung his carol in the sky, The bees have humm'd their noontide lullaby ; Still in the vale the village bells ring round, Still in Llewellyn-hall the jests resound. For now the caudle-cup is circling there, Now, glad at heart, the gossips breathe their prayer, And, crowding, stop the cradle to admire The babe, the sleeping image of his sire.
A few short years—and then these sounds shall hail
The day again, and gladness fill the vale;
So soon the child a youth, the youth a man,
Eager to run the race his fathers ran.
Then the huge ox shall yield the broad sirloin ;
The ale, now brew'd, in floods of amber shine:
And, basking in the chimney's ample blaze,
Mid many a tale told of his boyish days,
The nurse shall cry, of all her ills beguiled,
- 'Twas on these knees he sat so oft and smiled.”
And soon again shall music swell the breeze;
Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees
Vestures of nuptial white; and hymns be sung,
And violets scatter'd round; and old and young,
In every cottage-porch with garlands green,
Stand still to gaze, and gazing, bless the scene;
While, her dark eyes declining, by his side,
Moves in her virgin-veil the gentle bride.
And once, alas! nor in a distant lour,
Another voice shall come from yonder tower ;
When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen,
And weeping 's heard where only joy has been;
When by his children borne, and from his door
Slowly departing to return no more,
He rests in holy earth with them that went before.
And such is human Life ; so gliding on,
It glimmers like a meteor and is gone!
Yet is the tale, brief though it be, as strange,
As full methinks of wild and wondrous change,
As any that the wandering tribes require,
Stretch'd in the desert round their evening fire;
As any sung of old in hall or bower
To minstrel-harps at midnight's witching hour!
THE TWO ANGELS. The following, by Professor LONGFELLOW, appeared in Bentley's Miscellany. Two angels, one of Life and one of Death,
Pass’d o'er the village as the morning broke ; The dawn was on their faces, and beneath,
The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of smoke. Their attitude and aspect were the same,
Alike their features and their robes of white; But one was crown'd with amaranth, as with flame,
And one with asphodels, like flakes of light. I saw them pause on their celestial way;
Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppress’d : “ Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray
The place where thy beloved are at rest !" And he, who wore the crown of asphodels,
Descending, at my door began to knock, And my soul sank within me, as in wells
The waters sink before an earthquake's shock. I recognised the nameless agony,
The terror, and the tremor, and the pain, That oft before had fill'd and haunted me,
And now return'd with threefold strength again. The door I open'd to my heavenly guest,
And listen'd, for I thought I heard God's voice; And, knowing whatsoe'er He sent was best,
Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.
Then with a smile, that fill'd the house with light,
“My errand is not Death, but Life,” he said ; And ere I answer'd, passing out of sight,
On his celestial embassy he sped.
'Twas at thy door, O friend ! and not at mine,
The angel with the amaranthine wreath Pausing descended, and with voice divine
Whisper'd a word that had a sound like Death.
Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
A shadow on those features fair and thin ;
And softly, from that hush'd and darken'd room,
Two angels issued, where but one went in.
All is of God! If He but wave his hand
The mists collect, the rain falls thick and loud, Till with a smile of light on sea and land,
Lo! He looks back from the departing cloud. Angels of Life and Death alike are his ;
Without his leave they pass no threshold o'er ; Who, then, would wish or dare, believing this,
Against his messengers to shut the door ?
REMORSE. This fine scene, so full of dramatic power and gloomy with poetic imagery, is from ALEXANDER SMITH's Life Drama.
Good men have said
That sometimes God leaves sinners to their sin,
He has left me to mine, and I am changed;
My worst part is insurgent, and my will
Is weak and powerless as a trembling king
When millions rise up hungry. Woe is me!
My soul breeds sins as a dead body worms !
They swarm and feed upon me. Hear me, God!
Sin met me and embraced me on my way :
Methought her cheeks were red, her lips had bloom ;
I kiss'd her bold lips, dallied with her hair :
She sang me into slumber. I awoke-
It was a putrid corse that clung to me,
That clings to me like memory to the damn'd,
That rots into my being. Father! God!
I cannot shake it off! It clings, it clings !-
I soon will grow as corrupt as itself.
God sends me back my prayers, as a father
Returns unoped the letters of a son
Who has dishonour'd him.
Have mercy, Fiend!
Thou Devil, thou wilt drag me down to hell !
Oh, if she had proclivity to sin
Who did appear so beauteous and so pure,
Nature may leer behind a gracious mask
And God himself may be I'm giddy, blind ;
The world reels from beneath me.
[Catches hold of the parapet. (An Outcast approaches.) Wilt pray for me?
GIRL (shuddering). 'Tis a dreadful thing to pray.
Why is it so ?
Hast thou, like me, a spot upon thy soul,
That neither tears can cleanse, nor fires eterne ?
I request them.
For ne'er did a dishevell’d woman cling,
So earnest-pale to a stern conqueror's knees,
Pleading for a dear life, as did my prayer
Cling to the knees of God. He shook it off,
And went upon His way. Wilt pray for me?
Sin crusts me o'er as limpets crust the rocks.
I would be thrust from every human door;
I dare not knock at Heaven's.
Poor homeless one! There is a door stands wide for thee and me
The door of hell. Methinks we are well met.
I saw a little girl three years ago
With eyes of azure and with cheeks of red-
A crowd of sunbeams hanging down her face ;
Sweet laughter round her; dancing like a breeze.-
I'd rather lair me with a fiend in fire
Than look on such a face as hers to night.
But I can look on thee, and such as thee !
I'll call thee “Sister ; " do thou call me “Brother.”
A thousand years hence, when we both are damn'd,
We'll sit like ghosts upon the wailing shore,
And read our lives by the red light of hell.
Will we not, Sister?
O thou strange wild man, Let me alone : what would you seek with me?
Your ear, my Sister. I have that within
Which urges me to utterance. I could accost
A pensive angel, singing to himself
Upon a hill in heaven, and leave his mind
As dark and turbid as a trampled pool,
To purify at leisure. I have none
To listen to me, save a sinful woman
Upon a midnight bridge.-She was so fair,-
God's eye could rest with pleasure on her face.
Oh God, she was so happy! Her short life
As full of music as the crowded June
Of an unfallen orb. What is it now?
She gave me her young heart, full, full of love ;
My return--was to break it. Worse, far worse ;
I crept into the chambers of her soul,
Like a foul toad, polluting as I went.
I pity her--not you. Man trusts in God;
He is eternal. Woman trusts in man;
And he is shifting sand.
Poor child, poor child ! We sat in dreadful silence with our sin,