Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to see,

And God, himself, the garment made

That had a place within their hearts, as one of tho Which they are clothèd in ;

family. In the perfectness of beauty Each several flower is made,

But want, even as an armed man, came down upon And Solomon, in all his pomp,

their shed, Was not like them arrayed ;

The father laboured all day long, that his children They are but of the field, yet God

might be fed ; Has clothed them as ye see :

And, one by one, their household things, were sold Oh, how much more, immortal souls,

to buy them bread. Will he not care for ye!

That father, with a downcast eye, upon his thres

hold stood, Gaunt poverty each pleasant thought had in his heart

gubdued ; THE SALE OF THE PET LAMB OF THE " What is the creature's life to us ?" said he, " 't will COTTAGE.

buy us food! OH! poverty is a weary thing, 't is full of grief and " Ay, though the children weep all day, and with pain,

down-drooping head It boweth down the heart of man, and dulls his cun- Each does his small craft mournfully!- the hungry ning brain,

must be fed ; It maketh even the liule child with heavy sighs And that which has a price to bring, must go, to buy complain!

us bread!" The children of the rich man have not their bread 10 It went–oh! parting has a pang the hardest heart to win:

wring, They hardly know how labour is the penalty of sin ; But the tender soul of a little child with fervent love Even as the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin.

doth cling, And year by year, as life wears on, no wants have With love that hath no feignings false, unto each they to bear;

gentle thing! In all the luxury of the earth they have abundant share ;

Therefore most sorrowful it was those children small They walk among life's pleasant ways, and never Most sorrowful to hear them plead for their pet so know a care.

piteously; — The children of the poor man — though they be " Oh! mother dear, it loveth us; and what beside young, each one,

have we ? Early in the morning they rise up before the rising sun, And scarcely when the sun is set, their daily task is “Let's take him to the broad, green hills,” in his done.

impotent despair,

Said one strong boy, “ let 's take him off, the hills are Few things have they to call their own, to fill their

wide and fair; hearts with pride,

I know a little hiding-place, and we will keep him The sunshine of the summer's day, the flowers on there!"

the highway side, Or their own free companionship, on the heathy com- 'T was vain!—they took the little lamb, and straightmon wide.

way tied him down, Hunger, and cold, and weariness, these are a frightful With a strong

cord they tied him fast ;—and o'er the three;

common brown, But another curse there is beside, that darkens po

And o'er the hot and flinty roads, they took him to

the town. verty :It may not have one thing to love, how small soe'er The little children through that day, and throughout it be.

all the morrow A thousand flocks were on the hills -- a thousand From everything about the house a mournful thought flocks, and more,

did borrow; Feeding in sunshine pleasantly,—they were the rich The very bread they had to eat was food unto their man's store ;

sorrow! There was the while, one little lamb, beside a cottage Oh! poverty is a weary thing, 't is full of grief and door:

pain — A little lamb that did lie down with the children It keepeth down the soul of man, as with an iron 'neath the tree;

chain; That ate, meek creature, from their hands, and nes. It maketh even the little child, with heavy sighş tled to their knee ;

complain!

THE FAERY OATH.

I rose,

“Thy voice is weak, thine eyes are dim,”
The holy father said to him;
“ The damp of death is on thy brow,-
What thy sin ? - confess it now!
Confess it - ere it be too late; -
Is it blood, or pride, or restless hate ?"
“I have shed no blood," he thus replied, -
“I have hated none - I have known no pride,-
Yet have sinned as few men beside :
I have bound myself hy oath and spell,
To the faëry people of field and fell,-
With solemn rites and mysteries ; —
Can the church absolve such sins as these ?"
“My son," said the friar, “ tell to me
How such enchantment fell on thee;
For thou hadst sinned, or it might not be."
The sick man lay on the greensward low,
But he raised himself and his words were slow:-
I dwelt, as the minstrel dwells at best,
The thymy wold was my couch of rest;
I watched on the ancient mountains grey,
I dwelt in the greenwood, day by day;
I knew each bird that singeth free,
I had knowledge of each herb and tree;
I called each little star by name,
I watched the lightning's subtle flame;
I was learned in the skies and seas,
And earth's profoundest mysteries.
But best I loved, in the moonlight glade,
To be where the faëry people played ;
And list to their music, sweet and low,
Too soft for joy, too wild for woe!
And I tuned, both even and morn,
To the witching airs of the faëry horn,
Till I knew them all, and at will could bring
The revellers wild from their grassy ring.
Then I sate with them at a banquet spread,
I drank their wine that was ruby red,
And a deadly sleep came o'er my brain ;-
But when I opened my eyes again,
I was not beneath my earthly tree –
A heavy darkness hung over me.
I lay in a couch-like chariot wide,
And one who drove me sat beside ;
I heard him urge the horses fieet,
And I heard the sound of their ceaseless feet;
On they went, o'er the rugged road,
For days and days, with their easy load;
Swisily we sped, and the passing air
Was cool on my cheek, and lifted my hair;-
On we went - over mountains high,
And roaring waters, we journeyed by ;
And through thick woods, where the air was cold :
O'er sandy wastes, and the surzy wold:
Day after day, as it seemed to me,
In a gloom like the night of eternity.
At length, I sate in another land,
With the faëry people on either hand;

Where was that land, I cannot say -
Its light was not like the light of day,
Its air was not like the air of earth -
”T was the wondrous land where dreams have birth
There were glorious things of shape divine,
There were fountains, that poured forth purple wine
There were trees, that bent with their golden load
Of fruits, that all gifts of mind bestowed !
The very air did breathe and sigh,
As if o'erburthened with melody! -
But then there were frightful, creeping things,
The coil of the adder, the harpy's wings,-
The screech of the owl, the death-bed moan,-
And eyes that would turn the blood to stone!
I was set to the feast - and half in dread
I drank of the cup, and I ate the bread :
I was told to bathe - and half in fear
I bathed myself in those waters clear;—
I ate - I drank - I bathed - and then
I could no longer have part with men.
I dwelt 'mong the faëries, their merry king,-
I danced on the earth, in the charmèd ring;
I learned the songs of awful mirth,
That were made ere man abode on earth;
In the time of chaos, stern and grey,
'Mid ruins of old worlds passed away.
A careless, joyful life I led,
Till thrice seven years, as a day, had sped;
Then a longing wish was in my mind,
To dwell once more among human kind:
So
up

but I told to none,
What journey I was departing on;
And at the close of a summer's day
I aid me down on the Leeder brae.
Ere long, came one, and a friar was he,
Muttering over his rosary ;
He was lean, and crabbed, and old, -
His voice was thick, and his prayers were cold,
He moved not my heart; - - then came there by
A fair child, chasing a butterfly;
’T was a lovely boy — with his free light hair,
Like a sunny cloud, o'er his shoulders bare ;
And as he danced in his glee along,
He filled the air with a joyful song;
I blessed the child from my inmost heart,
With a faëry gift, that could ne'er depart.
Next came a maiden, all alone,
And down she sate on a mossy stone:
Fair was she, as the morning's smile,
But her serious eye had a tear the while ;
Then she raised to heaven her thoughtful look,
And drew from her bosom a clasped book ;
Page by page of that book she read, -
Hour by hour I listened ;:
Still on she read, sedate and low,
And at every word I was wrung with woe;
For she taught what I ne'er had known before
The holy truths of the Christian lore!
And I saw the sinful life I led,
And my human heart was shook with dread
And I, who had lived in pleasures wild,
Now wept in awe, like a stricken child !

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Down I knelt, and I strove to pray,

With thee, the dead are blest:— they have gone But never a hope to my soul found way;

forth, For with that spell I was bound and bound,

Thou knowest not whither, but to some fair home,
And with elvish snares was compassed round ; - Brighter, far brighter than our summer earth,
But a prayer was ever on my tongue,

Where sorrow cannot come.
For soon I learnt that prayers were strong,
To unweave the webs that were in my track,

It matters not to thee, that angel-guest
To win my soul to the fairy back.

Nor spirit hath come down to tell thee where

Lie those delicious islands of the blest,-I have wrestled hard, I have fiercely striven 'Gainst them, and for my peace with heaven ;

Thou knowest that they are! But now my strength doth ebb apace

What marvel, then, that thou shouldest ehed no tear Father, can the church award me grace,

Standing beside the dead, that thou shouldst And among the blessed a dwelling-place ?"

wreathe My son," the reverend friar spake,

Thyself with flowers, and thy bright beauty wear " Behold! how the faëry web shall break;

Even in the house of death?
Thou hast fought the fight—thou hast battled long-
And the victor here is not the strong ;

Oh! thou undoubting one, who from the tree
But the gates of heaven are opened wide,

Of life hast plucked and eaten, well mayst thou And the contrite heart is the sanctified!

Unknowing evil, walk in spirit free, Give up — stand like the Hebrews, still

With thine unclouded brow! And behold the wonders of God's will ;

Thy faith is knowledge, and without a fear Lay down thy strift - lay down thy pride

Lookest thou onward in the light revealed ! Lay all thy hope on Christ who died,

Thou blessed child! In thee will I revere
And thou art saved ;- for at his spell

The truth which God has sealed.
Not faëry webs, but the gates of hell
Are dashed aside, like the morning mist

I will not doubt - like thee I will arise,
Oh, vainly might fay or fiend resist!

And clothe my soul in light, nor more repine Have faith! 't is the spell of glory, given

That life, and death, and heaven, are mysteries : To burst all bars on the way to heaven;

Thy strong faith shall be mine!
Have faith — have heaven, my son.” — There ran
A sudden joy through the dying man;

Then may I see the beautiful depart,
And the holy father bent his knee,

The fair flowers of my spring-time fade and die, Chanting, “ Te laudamus, Domine !"

With an unquestioning, unrebellious heart,

Strong in God's certainty !

CHILD'S FAITH.

AMERICA.

À STORY OF THE INDIAN WAR.

BEAUTIFUL it is to behold thee sit,

Listening the words thy father speaks of death! To see thine nnrebellious soul submit,

And thine unquestioning faith! that I had thy faith, thou gentle child !

Thy trust in the bright future, — and could see
Clearly, by human reasoning, undefiled,

The spiritual land, like thee!
Teach me thy love, thou meek philosopher!

Show me thy nightly visions, bright-eyed seer !
Give me thy faith! — why should I blindly err,

And shrink with anxious fear?
Why should my soul be dark, while I can pour

Forth from my feeble longings, light on thine ?
Why tremble I, where thou canst proudly soar ?

Oh that thy faith were mine!
Death cannot chill thy heart, nor dim thine eye,

For thou dost fear it not; -- thou hast no dread,
In looking towards the future mystery.--

No dark fears for the dead.

“I was at William Penn's country-house, called Pensbury, in Pennsylvania, where I staid some days. Much of my time I spent in seeing William Penn, and many of the chief men among the Indians, in council concerning their former covenant, now renewed on his going away for England. To pass by several particulars, I may mention the following: • They never broke covenant with any people,' said one of their great chiefs; and, smiting his hand upon his head, he said, they made not their covenants there, but here,' said he, smiting on his breast three times.

"I, being walking in the woods, espied several wig. wams, and drew towards them. The love of God filled my heart; and I felt it right to look for an interpreler, which I did. Then I signified that I was come from a far country with a message from the Great Spirit (as they call God,) and my message was to endeavour to persuade them that they should not be drunkards, nor steal, nor kill one another, nor fight, nor put away their wives for small faults; for

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

They read of rapine, war, and woe,

A party by an English fire,Of Indian warfare in the wood,

Or stern and ruthless ire. They read of torture worse than death

Of treachery dark — of natures base – Of women savage as the beast

of the red Indian race. “Hold!" said the matron of the hearth,

A woman beautiful in age; " And let me of the Indian speak;

Close, close that faithless page!

!

“Four needy brothers, coarse and dull;

A patrimony, quite outspent ;
A mother, long since in her grave;

A father, weak and indolent!
“At twenty he had ta'en a mate,

A creature gentle, kind, and fair; Poor, like himself, but well content

The forest-life to share. “She left an old white-headed sire ;

A mother loving, thoughtful, good; She left a home of love, to live

For him, within the wood. “ And that old couple did provide,

Out of their need, for many a want Else unforeseen; their daughter's dower

In gifts of love, not scant. “ His father with cold scorn received

So dowered a daughter, without name; Nor could his purposed exile win

Either assent or blame. “All was a chill of indifference;

And from his father's gate he went, As from a place where none for him

Had kindred sentiment. “And in the western world they dwelt;

Life, like a joyous summer morn, Each hope fulfilled ; and in the wild

To them were children born. “All that his youth had dreamed he found

In that life's freshness; peril strange ; Adventure; freedom; sylvan wealth;

And ceaseless, blameless change. " And there he, and his heart's true mate,

Essay'd and found how sweet to live, 'Mid Nature's store, with health and love,

That life so primitive! " But that sweet life camo to an end.

As falls the golden-eared corn Before the sickle, earthly bliss

In human hearts is shorn.

[ocr errors]

“ My father was the youngest born

In an old rural English hall;
The youngest out of five stout sons,

With patrimony small.
“His boyhood was in greenwood spent;

His youth was all a sylvan dream; He tracked the game upon the hills;

He angled in the stream. Quiet was he, and well content,

With naught to fret, and none to chide; For all that his young heart desired

The woods and streams supplied. “Small knowledge had a youth so trained,

College or school ne'er knew his face ; And yet as he grew up, he grew

Superior to his race. “ His brethren were of sordid sort,

Men with coarse minds, and without range; He grew adventurous and bold,

Inquisitive of change. “And, as he grew, he took to books,

And read whate'er the hall supplied ; Histories of admirals, voyages old,

And travel far and wide. “He read of settlers, who went forth

To the far west, and pithed their tent Within the woods, and grew, ere long

To a great, prosperous settlement.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

“ Sickness — bereavement widowhood

Oh, these three awful words embrace
A weight of mortal woe that fell

Upon our sylvan dwelling-place! “It matters not to tell of pangs,

Of the heart-broken, the bereft; I will pass over death and tears, I will pass on 10 other years,

When only two were left! “I and a sister; long had passed

The anguish of that time, and we Were living in a home of love,

Though in a stranger's family. “ Still in the wilderness we dwelt,

And were grown up towards womanhood; When our sweet life of peace was stirred

By tales of civil feud. “ By rumours of approaching war,

Of battle done, of armed bands; Or horrid deeds of blood and fire,

Achieved by Indian hands. “We heard it first with disbelief;

And long time after, when had spread Wild war throughout the land, we dwelt

All unassailed by dread. “For they with whom our lot was cast,

Were people of that Christian creed Who will not fight, but trust in God

For help in time of need. “ The forest round was like a camp,

And men were armèd day and night; And every morning bronghi fresh news

To heighten their affright. “ Through the green forest rose the smoke

Of places burn'd the night before ; And from their victims, the red scalp

The excited Indian tore. “ This was around us, yet we dwelt In

peace upon the forest bound; Without defence, without annoy,

The Indian camp'd all round. “ The door was never barr’d by night,

The door was never closed by day; And there the Indians came and went,

As they had done alway. "For these of Onas are the sons,'

Said they, 'the upright peaceful men! Nor was harm done to those who held

The faith of William Penn. “But I this while thought less of peace,

Than of the camp and batile stir; For I had given my young heart's love

Unto a British officer.
“ Near us, within the forest-fort,

He lay, the leader of a band
Of fierce young spirits, sworn to sweep

The Indian from the land

6. The native Indian from his woods

Ideem'd it cowardly and base, And, with a righteous zeal I pled

For the free forest-race. “ But he, to whom I pled, preferr'd

Sweet pleading of another sort; And we met ever 'neath the wood

Outside the forest-fort. “ The Indian passed us in the wood,

Or glared upon us from the brake; But he, disguised, with me was safe,

For Father Onas' sake. " At length the crisis of the war

Approach'd, and he, my soul's beloved, With his hot band, impatient grown,

Yet further west removed. “There he was taken by the foe,

Ambush'd like tigers 'mid the trees : You know what death severe and dread

The Indian to his foe decrees. “ A death of torture and of fire

Protracted death; I knew too well, Outraged and anger'd, as of late

Had been the Indian spirit, fell Would be their vengeance, and, to him,

Their hate implacable. * When first to me his fate was told,

I stood amazed, confounded, dumb; Then wildly wept and wrung my hands,

By anguish overcome. “• Wait, wait!' the peaceful people said ;

• Be still and wait, the Lord is good! But when they bade me trust and wait, I went forth in my anguish great,

To hide me in the wood.
“I had no fear; the Indian race

To me were as my early kin:
And then the thought came to my brain,
To go forth, and from death and pain,

My best-beloved to win.
“With me my fair, young sister went,

Long journeying on through wood and swamp; Three long days' travel, ere we came

To the great Indian camp. “We saw the Indians as we went:

Hid 'mong the grass with tiger ken; But we were safe, they would not harm

The daughters of the peaceful men. “ In thickets of the woods at length

We came to a savannah green ; And there, beneath the open day,

The Indian camp was seen.
"I turned me from that scene of war,

And from the solemn council-talk,
Where stood the warriors, stern, and cold,
War-crested, and with bearing bold,
Listening unto a sachem old,
Who held aloft a tomahawk.

« AnteriorContinuar »