« AnteriorContinuar »
THE CYPRESS TREE OF CEYLON.
BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.
Or, shall the stir of outward things
Allure and claim the Christian's eye, When on the heathen watcher's ear
Their powerless murmurs die ?
Alas ! a deeper test of faith
Than prison cell or martyr's stake, The self-abasing watchfulness
Of silent prayer may make.
Ibn Batuta, the celebrated Mussulman traveller of the fourteenth century, speaks of a Cypress tree in Ceylon, universally held sacred by the natives, the leaves of which were said to fall only at certain intervals, and he who had the happiness to find and eat one of them, was restored, at once, to youth and vigor. The traveller saw several venerable Jogees, or saints, sitting silent and motionless under the tree, patiently awaiting the falling of a leaf.
They sat in silent watchfulness
The sacred cypress tree about,
Their failing eyes looked out.
Through weary night and lingering day-
And motionless as they.
The song of Ceylon's birds was sweet;
Bloomed brightly at their feet.
We gird us bravely to rebuke
Our erring brother in the wrong: And in the ear of Pride and Power
Our warning voice is stroug. Easier to smite with Peter's sword,
Than - watch one hour" in humbling prayer: Lise's “ great things,” like the Syrian lord
Our hearts can do and dare.
But Oh! we shrink from Jordan's side,
From waters which alone can save : And murmur for Abana's banks
And Pharpar's brighter wave.
Didst wake Thy weary ones again, Who slumbered at that fearful hour,
Forgetful of Thy pain;
O'er them the tropic night-storm swept,
The thunder crashed on rock and hill; The cloud-fire on their eye-balls blazed,
Yet there they waited still !
Bend o'er us now, as over them,
And set our sleep.bound spirits free, Nor leave us slumbering in the watch
Our souls should keep with Thee !
What was the world without to them?
The Moslem's sunset-call— the dance Of Ceylon's maids—the passing gleam
Of battle-flag, and lance ?
They waited for that falling leaf,
Of which the wandering Jogees sing : Which lends once more to wintry Age
The greenness of its spring.
In trustful patience wait to feel
A youthful freshness steal;
Shall we, who sit beneath that Tree,
Whose healing leaves of life are shed In answer to the breath of prayer
Upon the waiting head:
It is little : Bat in these sharp extremities of fortune, The blessings which the weak and poor can scatter Have their own season? 'Tis a little thing To give a cup of water ; yet its draught Of cool refreshment, drained by fever'd lips, May give a shock of pleasure to the frame More exquisite than when nectarean juice Renews the life of joy in happiest hours. It is a little thing to speak a phrase Of common comfort, which by daily use Has almost lost its sense; yet on the ear of him who thought to die unmourned, 'twill fall Like choicest music ; fill the glazing eye With gentle tears ; relax the knotted hand To know the bonds of fellowship again ; And shed on the departing soul a sense More precious than the benison of friends About the honored death-bed of the rich, To him who else were lonely, that another Of the great family is near and feels.
T. N. TALFORD.
Not to restore our failing forms,
And build the spirit's broken shrine, But, on the fainting soul to shed
A light and life divine :
Shall we grow weary in our watch
And murmur at the long delay? Impatient of our Father's time
And His appointed way?
THE SONG OF THE SHIRT.
BY THOMAS HOOD.
With fingers weary and woru, With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in nnwomanly rags, Plying her needle and thread
" Stitch ! stitch! stitch ! In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch She sang the Song of the Shirt !'
A Jew entered a Parsee temple, and beheld the sacred fire; what, said he to the priest, do ye worship the fire ? Not the fire, answered the priest; it is to us an emblem of the sun, and of his genial heat. Do you then worship the sun as your God ? asked the Jew. Know ye not this luminary also, is but a work of that Almighty Creator ?
We know it, replied the priest, but the unculcivated man requires a sensible sign, in order to form a conception of the Most High. And is not the sun, the incomprehensible source of light, an image of that invisible Being who blesses and preserves all things ?
The Israelite thereupon rejoined. Do your people then distinguish the type from the original ? They call the sun their God, and descending, even from this, to a baser object, they kneel before an earthly fame. Ye amuse the outward but blind the inward eye, and while ye hold to them the earthly, ye withdraw from them the heavenly light.- Thou shalt not make unto thee any image or any likeness.
How then do you designate the Supreme Being ? asked the Parsee.
We call him Jehovah, Adonia, that is, the Lord who is, who was, and who will be; answered the Jew.
Your appellation is grand and sublime, said the Parsee, but it is awful too!
A Christian then drew nigh and said—We call him Father.
The Pagan and the Jew looked at each other, and said-Here is at once an image and reality; it is a word of the heart, said they.
Therefore they raised their eyes to heaven, and said with reverence and ve-Our FATHER! And they took each other by the hand, and all three called one another brothers.-F. A. Krummecher.
« Work! work! work!
It's O! to be a slave
Where woman has never a soul to save, If this is a Christian's work!
Seam, and gusset, and band-
Till over the buttons I fall asleep, And sew them on in a dream!
6.0! Men, with sisters dear! 0! Men, with mothers and wives !
It is not linen you're wearing out,
Sewing at once, with a double thread, A SHROUD as well as a Shirt.
TO MY BOOKS.
BY CAROLINE E. S. NORTON.
“But why do I talk of Death? That Phantom of grisly bone;
I hardly fear his terrible shape, It seems so like my own
It seems so like my own Because of the fasts I keep;
Oh God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap!
Silent companions of the lonely hour,
Friends who can never alter or sorsake, Who for inconstant roving have no power,
And all neglect, perforce, must calmly takeLet me return to you; this turmoil ending,
Which worldly cares have in my spirit wrought; And, o'er your old familiar pages bending,
Refresh my mind with many a tranquil thought, Till, haply meeting there, from time to time,
Fancies, the audible echo of my own,
My native language spoke in friendly tone,
A beil os straw, And a crust of bread--and rags;
That shatter'd roof; and this naked Noor ; A table, a broken chair,
And a wall so blank my shadow I thank For sometimes falling there!
When Christ was born, no servile throng
Around the Saviour's manger met; No Natterers raised their fulsome song,
but what was Christ to Albert's pet?
• Work-work-work! From weary chime to chime,
Band, and gusset, and seam,-
Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumb'd, As well as the weary hand.
While underneath the eaves
As if to show me their sunny backs And twit me with the spring.
“Oh! but to breathe the breath Of the cowslip and primrose sweet
With the sky above my head, And the grass beneath my feet,
For only one short hour To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want And the walk that costs a meal!
God, who bas heard the widow's moan,
God, who has heard the orphan's cry; Thou, too, dost sit upon a throne,
But none round thee of famine die ! Things like this babe of royal birth,
Who boast their princely “right divine," Are but thy parodies on earth
Their's is oppression-mercy thine. Bring forth the babe! From foreign lands
Fresh kingly vampires flock to greet This new one in its nurse's hands,
(For royal mothers give no teat.) Bring forth the toy of princely whim,
And let your prayers mount night and day; For onght we not to pray for him
Who'll prey on us enough some Jay? 0! who would grudge to squander gold
On such a glorious babe as this? What though our babes be starved and cold,
They have no claim on earthly bliss. Ours are no mongrel German breed,
But English born and English bred; Then let them live and die in need,
While the plump Coburg thing is fed ! Christen the babe, Archbishop proud,
Strange servant of the lowly Christ; Thousands are to your purse allowed;
For him the smallest loaf sufficed. Though holy water's scanty now,
My lord you may dismiss your fears ; Take to baptize the infant's brow,
A starving people's bitter tears!
« Oh but for one short hour ! A respite however brief !
No blessed leisure for Love and Hope, But only time for Grief;
A little weeping would ease my heart, But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop Hinders needle and thread."
With fingers weary and worn, With eyelids heavy and red,
A Woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Stitch! stitch! stitch !
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
Would that its tone could reach the Rich, She sang this « Song of the Shirt."
BY FRANCES ANN BUTLER.
A STARVATION ANTHEM FOR THE ROYAL
While thousands starve and curse the light !
Shame knows no blush, however slight. Bring forth the babe; a nation's moans
Will ring sweet music in his ear, For well we know a people's groans
To royal ears were always dear.
Whene'er I recollect the happy time
Bring forth the babe ;-down, courtiers, down!
And bow your lackey knees in dust Before a child's beslobbered gown
(Our children cannot find a crust!)
THE EMIGRANT'S FAMILY. " Is it support thim, sir ?'' he replied. One of the strongest peculiarities-indeed, I may Lord bless ye, I never supported thim. They say passions—of the Irish, is their devoted fondness git supported some how or another; they've niver - for their offspring. curious illustration of this bin hungry yit-when they are it'll be time enough occurred to me on my recent journey through the to grumble.” Northern lakes. It happened to be what sailors call Irish all over, thought I-to-day has enough to do, very dirty weather, finished up by a tremendous let to-morrow look out for itself. gale, which obliged us to seek a shelter at a lump "Well then," I resumed, with a determined plunge, of aboriginal barrenness, called Manitou Island, would it be a relief to you to part from them ?" where we were obliged to remain five days. There I had mistaken my node of attack. He started,
a sew deck passengers—between live and six turned pale, and with a wild glare in his eyes, lite. hundred; and inasmuch as they had only provided rally screamed out: themselves with barely suflicient for the average
vi A relief! God be good to uz, what d'ye mean? time, provisions became alarmingly scarce, and 10 A relief? would it be a relief d'ye think, to have the possibility of a supply. To be sure, there was one hand chopped from me body; or the heart tore out of venerable ox—a sort of semi petrifaction, an orga. me breast ?" nic remnant--a poor attenuated, hornless, sightless, " You don't understand us," interposed my philanbovine patriarch, who obligingly yielded up his small thropic companion. ** Should one be enabled to residue of existence for our benefit. Indeed, it was place your child in case and comfort, would you quite a mercy that we arrived to relieve him from interfere with its well-doing?” a painful state of suspense; for so old and powerless The tact of woman! She had touched the chord was he, that if his last breadth had not been extract of paternal solicitude; the poor fellow was silent, ed, he certainly would not have drawn it by himself twisted his head about and looked all be wildered.
Well, as you may suppose, there was considerable The struggle between a father's love and his child's consternation on board. Short-very short allowance interest was evident and affe At last he said : was adopted to meet the contingency, and the poor God bless ye me lady, and all that thinks of the deck passengers had a terrible time of it. Amongst poor! Heaven knows I'd be glad to betther the the latter was an Irish emigrant, with his wife and child ; it is'nt in regard to myself, but—had'nt I betthree beautiful children, the eldest about seven years, ter go and speak to Mary; she's the mother of the all without the smallest subsistence, except what the child, and t'would be onreasonable to be givin' away charity of their fellow passengers could afford them; her children afore her face and she not know nothing and as they were scantily supplied, it can readily be of the mather.” imagined how miserably off was the poor family. “ Away with you then," said I, "and bring back However, it so happened that the beauty and intel word as soon as possible.” In about an hour he religence of the child, en attracted the attention of one turned, but with eyes red and swollen; and features of our lady passengers, who had them occasionally pale from excitement and agitation. brought into the cabin, and their hunger appeased. Well,” inquired I, " what success?" Gleesome, bright eyed little creatures they were, 6. Bedail 'twas a hard struggle, sir," said he, “but scrupulously clean, despite the poverty of their it's for the child's good, and Heaven give us strength parents, all life and happiness, and in blissful igno- to bear it." rance of the destitution by which they were sur « Very good, and which is it to be ?” rounded.
Why, sir, I've been spakin' to Mary, and she One day delighted with her proteges, the lady hap. thinks as Nora here is the ouldest she won't miss pened to say, half jestingly, “I wonder would this the mother so much, and if ye'll jist let her take a poor man part with one of those little darlings? Ipartin' kiss she'd give her to yez wid a blessin." should like to adopt it."
So my poor fellow took his children away, to look "I don't know,” said I ; si suppose we make the at one of them for the last time. It was not long ere inquiry."
he returned, but when he did he was leading the The man was sent for, and the delicate business second oldest. thus opened.
«How's this ?" said I, “ have you changed your " My good friend,” said the lady, “you are very mind ?” poor, are you not?”
“ Not exactly changed me mind, sir," he replied, His answer was peculiarly Irish : “poor! my " but I've changed the crather. You see sir, I've lady," said he. “ Be the powers of pewther! ir been spakin' to Mary, and whin it come to the ind, there's a poorer man nor myself troublin' the world, be goxey! she could'nt part with Norah, at all; God pity both of us, for we'd be about aquail.” they've got use to aich other's ways; but here's
“ Then you must find it difficult to support your little Biddy-she's purtier far if she'll do as well.” children,” said I, making a long jump towards our " It's all the same," said I, « let Biddy remain.” object.
May Heaven be yer guardian !" cried he, snatch.
ing her up in his arms, and giving her one long and THE WATER DRINKER'S SONG. hcarty kiss. "God be kind to thim that's kind to you, and thim that offers you hurt or harm, mayo! water for me! Bright water for me! their sowl niver see St. Pether!” So the bereaved and wine for the tremulous debauchee! father rushed away, and all that night the child re. It cooleth the brow, it cooleth the brain, mained with us; but early the next morning my It maketh the faint one strong again; friend Pat reappeared, and this time he had his It comes o'er the sense like a breeze from the sea, youngest child, a mere baby, snugly cuddled up in All freshness iike infant purity; his arms.
O water, bright water for me, for me! • What's the matter now?" said I.
Give wine, give wine to the debauchee ! Why, thin, sir," said he, with an expression of the most comic anxiety, "axin yer honoris pardon Fill to the brim! Fill, fill to the brim! for bein' so wake-hearted, whin l begin to think of Let the flowing crystal kiss the rim, Biudy's eyes-look at thim, they're the image of her For 1, like the flowers, drink naught but dew, mother's beda l-I could'nt let her go; but here's And my hand is steally and my eye is true. little Paudeen-he won't be much trouble to any O water, bright water’s a mine of wealth, one, for if he takes after his mother, he'll have the And the ores it yields are vigor and health; brightest eye and the sostest heart on the top of So water, pure water, for me, for me! creation; and if he takes after his father, he'll have And wine for the tremulous debauchee! a purty hard fist on a broad pair of shoulders to push Fill again to the brin-again to the brim! his way through the world. Take him, sir, and gi? For water strengtheneth life and limb; me Biddy."
To the days of the aged it addeth length, «Just as you like,” said I, having pretty good To the might of the mighty it addeth strength; guess how matters would eventuale. So he took It freshens the heart, it brightens the sight, away his pet Biday, and handed us the little toddling 'Tis like quafling a goblet of morning light; urchin. This chirping little vagabond won't be long so, water, I will drink nanght but thee, with us thought I. Ten minutes had scarcely Thou parent of health and energy! elapsed ere Pat rushed into the cabin, and seizing little Pauleen in his arms, he turned to me, and when over the hills, like a gladsone bride, with large tears bubbling in his eyes, cried :
Morning walks forth in her beauty's pride, “ Look at him sir-jist look at him--it's the And, leading a band of laughing hours, youngest. Ye would'nt have the heart to keep him Brushes the dew from the nodding flowers, from uz.
The long and short of it is, I've been spa- O! cheerły then my voice is heard, kin to Mary. I did'nt like to let Biddy go; but be Mingling with that of the soaring bird, me sowl, neither could live half a day without little Who flingeth abroad his matins loud, Paudeen. No, sir; no, we can bear the bitterness As he freshens his wing in the cold gray cloud. of poverty, but we can't part from our children, But when evening has quitted her sheltering yew, unless it's the will of Providence to take them from Drowsily flying and waving anew uz."
Her dusky meshes o'er land and sea-
And my dreams are of Heaven the livelong night;
So hurrah for thee, water! hurrah! hurrah !
Thou art silver and gold, thou art ribband and star! Slowly and softly let the music go As ye winil upwards to the gray church tower ;
His words seem'd oracles Check the shrill hautboy, let the pipe breathe low- That pierced their bosoms; and each man would turn Tread lightly on the path-side daisy flower;
And gaze in wonder on his neighbour's face For she ye carry was a gentle bud,
That with the like dumb wonder answer'd him : Loved by the unsunn'd drops of silver dew;
Then some would weep, some shout, some, deeper Her voice was like the whisper of the wood
touch'd, In prime of even, when the stars are few.
Keep down the cry with motion of their hands, Lay her all gently in the flowerful mould,
In fear but to have lost a syllable. Weep with her one brief hour, then turn away, The evening came, yet there the people stood, Go to hope's prison--and from out the cold As if 'twere noon, and they the marble sea, And solitary gratings many a day
Sleeping without a wave. You could have heard Look forth: 'tis said the world is growing old- The beating of your pulses while he spoke. And streaks of orient light in Time's horizon play.
BY HENRY ALFOND.