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HYMN OF THE MOR...WIAN NUNS OF BETHLEHEM. 57
And the nuns’ sweet hymn was heard the while, Sung low in the dim, mysterious isle.
Take thy banner 1 May it wave
Proudly o'er the good and brave;
When the battle's distant wail
Breaks the Sabbath of our vale,
When the clarion's music thrills
To the hearts of these lone hills,
When the spear in conflict shakes,
And the strong lance shivering breaks.
“Take thy banner! and, beneath
The battle-cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it!—till our homes are freel
Guard it !—God will prosper thee!
In the dark and trying hour,
In the breaking forth of power,
In the rush of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.
“Take thy banner! But, when night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquished warrior bow,
Spare him —By our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endears,
Spare him l—he our love hath shared :
Spare him l—as thou wouldst be spared:
“Take thy banner!—and if e'er
Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier,
And the muffled drum should beat
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this crimson flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee.”
The warrior took that banner proud,
And it was his martial cloak and shroud!
I stood upon the hills, when heaven's wide arch
Was glorious with the sun's returning march,
And woods were brightened, and soft gales
Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales.
The clouds were far beneath me;—bathed in light,
They gathered mid-way round the wooded height,
And, in their fading glory, shone
Like hosts in battle overthrown,
As many a pinnacle, with shifting glance,
i. the gray mist thrust up its shattered lance,
And rocking on the cliff was left
The dark pine, blasted, bare, and cleft.
The veil of cloud was lifted, and below
Glowed the rich valley, and the river's flow
Was darkened by the forest's shade,
Or glistened in the white cascade;
Where upward, in the mellow blush of day,
The noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way.
I heard the distant waters dash, I saw the current whirl and flash,_ And richly, by the blue lake's silver beach, The woods were bending with a silent reach. Then o'er the vale, with gentle swell, The music of the village bell Came sweetly to the echo-giving hills; And the wild horn, whose voice the woodland fills, Was ringing to the merry shout, That faint and far the glen sent out, Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke Thro thick-leaved branches, from the dingle
If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget,
If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep
Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep,
Go to the woods and hills!—No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
THERE is a quiet spirit in these woods,
That dwells where'er the gentle south wind blows;
Where, underneath the white-thorn, in the glade,
The wild flowers bloom, or kissing the soft air,
The leaves above their sunny palms outspread.
With what a tender and impassioned voice
It fills the nice and delicate ear of thought,
When the fast ushering star of morning comes
O'er-riding the gray hills with golden scarf;
Or when the cowled and dusky-sandaled Eve,
In mourning weeds, from out the western gate,
Departs with silent pace! That spirit moves
In the green valley, where the silver brook,
From its full laver, pours the white cascade;
And, babbling low amid the tangled woods,
Slips down through moss-grown stones with end-
And frequent, on the everlasting hills,
Its feet go forth, when it doth wrap itself
In all the dark embroidery of the storm,
And shouts the stern, strong wind. And here, amid
The silent majesty of these deep woods,
Its presence shall uplift thy thoughts from earth,
As to the sunshine and the pure, bright air
Their tops the green trees lift. Hence gifted bards
Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades.
For them there was an eloquent voice in all
The sylvan pomp of woods, the golden sun,
The flowers, the leaves, the river on its ".
Blue skies, and silver clouds, and gentle winds,-
The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun
Aslant the wooded slope, at evening, goes,
Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in,
Mountain, and shattered cliff, and sunny vale,
The distant lake, fountains, and mighty trees,
In many a lazy syllable, repeating
Their old poetic i. to the wind.
And this is the sweet spirit, that doth fill The world; and, in these wayward days of youth, My busy fancy oft embodies it, As a bright image of the light and beaut That dwell in nature, of the heavenly forms We worship in our dreams, and the soft hues That stain the wild bird's wing, and flush the clouds When the sun sets. Within her eye The heaven of April, with its changing light, And when it wears the blue of May, is hung; And on her lip the rich, red rose. Her hair Is like the summer tresses of the trees, When twilight makes them brown; and on her
Blushes the richness of an autumn sky,
With ever-shifting beauty. Then her breath,
It is so like the gentle air of Spring,
As, from the morning's dewy flowers, it comes
Full of their fragrance, that it is a joy
To have it round us, and her silver voice
Is the rich music of a summer bird,
Heard in the still night, with its passionate cadence.
ON sunny slope and beechen swell,
The shadowed light of evening fell;
And, where the maple's leaf was brown,
With soft and silent lapse came down
The glory, that the wood receives,
At sunset, in its brazen leaves.
Far upward in the mellow light Rose the blue hills. One cloud of white, Around a far uplifted cone, In the warm blush of evening shone; . An image of the silver lakes, By which the Indian's soul awakes.
But soon a funeral hymn was heard, Where the soft breath of evening stirred The tall, gray forest; and a band Of stern in heart, and strong in hand, Came winding down beside the wave, To lay the red chief in his grave.
They sang, that by its native bowers
He stood, in the last moon of flowers,
And thirty snows had not yet shed
Their glory on the warrior's head;
But, as the summer fruit decays,
So died he in those naked days.
A dark cloak of the roebuck's skin
Covered the warrior, and within
Its heavy folds the weapons, made
For the hard toils of war, were laid ;
The cuirass, woven of plaited reeds,
And the broad belt of shells and beads.
Before, a dark-haired virgin train
Chanted the death dirge of the slain;
Behind, the long procession came
Of hoary men and chiefs of fame,
With heavy hearts, and eyes of grief,
Leading the war-horse of their chief.
Stripped of his proud and martial dress, Uncurbed, unreined, and riderless,