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And earnest thoughts within me rise,
When I behold afar, Suspended in the evening skies,
The shield of that red star.
O star of strength! I see thee stand
And smile upon my pain; Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,
And I am strong again.
Within my breast there is no light,
But the cold light of stars;
To the red planet Mars.
The star of the unconquered will,
He rises in my breast. Serene, and resolute, and still,
And calm, and self-possessed
And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,
That readest this brief psalm, As one by one thy hopes depart,
Be resolute and calm.
O fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know ere long, Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.
FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS.
WHEN the hours of Day are numbered,
And the voices of the Night Wake the better soul, that slumbered,
To a holy, calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
And, like phantoms grim and tall, Shadows from the fitful fire-light
Dance upon the parlour wall;
Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door;
Come to visit me once more;
He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife,
Weary with the march of life!
They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more!
And with them the Being Beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saint-like,
Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,
Breathing from her lips of air.
O, though oft depressed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside,
Such as these have lived and died !
SPAKE full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
God hath written in those stars above; But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love.
Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours; Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth,—these golden flowers.
And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part Of the self-same, universal being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart. Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds that open only to decay ;
Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gayly in the golden light; Large desires, with most uncertain issues,
Tender wishes, blossoming at night!
These in flowers and men are more than seeming,
Workings are they of the self-same powers, Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers
Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born; Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;
Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;
Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink ;
Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone, But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;
In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers ;
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
And with childlike, credulous affection
We behold their tender buds expand; Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
I HAVE read, in some old marvellous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But, when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
The ghastly host was dead.