Obrazy na stronie

Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.

Thou couldst develop, if that withered tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
How the world looked when it was fresh and young,
And the great deluge still had left it green;
Or was it then so old, that history's pages
Contained no record of its early ages?

Still silent, incommunicative elf?

Art sworn to secrecy? Then keep thy vows! But, prythee, tell us something of thyself;

Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house ! Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumbered, What hast thou seen, what strange adventures numbered?

Since first thy form was in this box extended,

We have, above-ground, seen some strange mutations: The Roman empire has begun and ended,

New worlds have risen, we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.

Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, Marched armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread, O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,

And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?

If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
The nature of thy private life unfold:

A heart has throbbed beneath that leathern breast,
And tears adown that dusty cheek have rolled:

Have children climbed those knees, and kissed that face? What was thy name and station, age and race?

Statue of flesh-immortal of the dead!
Imperishable type of evanescence!

Posthumous man, who quit'st thy narrow bed,

And standest undecayed within our presence! Thou wilt hear nothing till the judgment morning, When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning!

Why should this worthless tegument endure,
If its undying guest be lost forever?

O, let us keep the soul embalmed and pure

In living virtue; that, when both must sever, Although corruption may our frame consume, Th' immortal spirit in the skies may bloom!


Hymn to the Flowers.

DAY-STARS, that ope your eyes with morn to twinkle
From rainbow galaxies of earth's creation,
And dew-drops on her lovely altars sprinkle
As a libation!


Ye matin worshippers, who, bending lowly
Before the uprisen sun, God's lidless eye,
Throw from your chalices a sweet and holy
Incense on high!

[ocr errors]

Ye bright mosaics, that with storied beauty
The floor of nature's temple tessellate,

that a


What numerous emblems of instructive duty
Your forms create!

'Neath cloistered boughs, each floral bell that swingeth,
And tolls its perfume on the passing air,

Makes Sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth
A call to prayer.

Not to the domes where crumbling arch and column
Attest the feebleness of mortal hand,

But to that fane, most catholic and solemn,
Which God hath planned,-

To that cathedral, boundless as our wonder,

Whose quenchless lamps the sun and moon supply;
Its choir the winds and waves; its organ thunder ;
Its dome the sky.

There, as in solitude and shade I wander

Through the lone aisles, or, stretched upon the sod, Awed by the silence, reverently ponder

The ways of God, —

Your voiceless lips, O flowers, are living preachers;
Each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book,
Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers
From loneliest nook.

Floral apostles, that in dewy splendor

Weep without sin and blush without a crime,
O, may I deeply learn, and ne'er surrender

Your love sublime!

"Thou wast not, Solomon, in all thy glory,
Arrayed," the lilies cry, "in robes like ours:
How vain your grandeur! O, how transitory
Are human flowers!

In the sweet-scented pictures, heavenly artist,

With which thou paintest nature's wide-spread hall, What a delightful lesson thou impartest Of love to all!

Not useless are ye, flowers, though made for pleasure, Blooming o'er fields and wave by day and night; From every source your sanction bids me treasure Harmless delight.

Ephemeral sages, what instructors hoary

For such a world of thought could furnish scope? Each fading calyx a "memento mori," Yet fount of hope.

Posthumous glories, angel-like collection,

Upraised from seed or bulb interred in earth, Ye are to me a type of resurrection

And second birth.

Were I, O God, in churchless lands remaining,
Far from all teachers and from all divines,
My soul would find in flowers of thy ordaining,
Priests, sermons, shrines.


A Song for St. Cecilia's Day.

FROM harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began.
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,


And could not heave her head,

The tuneful voice was heard from high,
"Arise, ye more than dead!"

Then cold and hot, and moist and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's power obey.

From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony

Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.

What passion cannot music raise and quell?
When Jubal struck the chorded shell,
His listening brethren stood around,

And, wondering, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound.

Less than a God, they thought, there could not dwell Within the hollow of that shell,

That spoke so sweetly and so well.

What passion cannot music raise and quell?

The trumpet's loud clangor

Excites us to arms,

With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.

The double, double, double beat
Of the thundering drum

Cries, "Hark! the foes come !

Charge, charge! 'tis too late to retreat."

The soft, complaining flute

In dying notes discovers

The woes of hopeless lovers,

Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling lute.

« PoprzedniaDalej »