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There are worse plagues on earth than
tears. I ask but that my death may find The Freedom to my life denied ; Ask but the folly of mankind Then, then at last, to quit my side. Spare me the whispering, crowded room, The friends who come, and gape, and go; The ceremonious air of gloomAll, which makes death a hideous show!
Nor bring, to see me cease to live, Some doctor full of phrase and fame, To shake his sapient head, and give The ill he cannot cure a name.
Nor fetch, to take the accustom'd toll
Of the poor sinner bound for death,
His brother-doctor of the soul,
To canvass with official breath
The future and its viewless things-
That undiscover'd mystery
Which one who feels death's winnowing
Must needs read clearer, sure, than he !
Bring none of these ; but let me be,
While all around in silence lies,
Moved to the window near, and see
Once more, before my dying eyes,
COLDLY, sadly descends
The autumn-evening. The field
Strewn with its dank yellow drifts
Of wither'd leares, and the elms.
Fade into dimness apace,
Silent ;--hardly a shout
From a few boys late at their plas!
The lights come out in the stritt.
In the school-room windows:- butas
Solemn, unlighted. austere,
Through the gathering darkness aris
The chapel-walls, in whose bound
Thou, my father! art laid.
There thou dost lie, in the gloom
Of the autumn evening. But ab!
That word, gloom, to iny mind
Brings thee back, in the light
Of thy radiant vigor, again ;
In the gloom of November we pass i
Days not dark at thy side ;
Seasons impair'd not the ray
Of thy buoyant cheerfulness clear.
Such thou wast! and I stand
In the autumn evening and think
Of bygone autumns with thee.
Fifteen years have gone round
Since thou arosest to tread.
In the summer-morning, the road
Of death, at a call unforeseen,
Sudden. For fifteen years,
We who till then in thy shade
Rested as under the bouglis
Of a mighty oak, have endured
Sunshine and rain as we might,
Bare, unshaded, alone,
Lacking the shelter of thee.
O strong soul, by what shore
Tarriest thou now? For that force.
Surely, has not been left rain!
Somewhere, surely, afar,
In the sounding labor-house rast
Of being, is practised that strength,
Zealous, beneficent, firm !
Yes, in some far-shining sphere.
Conscious or not of the past,
Still thou performest the word
of the Spirit in whom thou dost live-
Prompt, unwearied, as here !
Still thou upraisest with zeal
The humble good from the ground,
Sternly repressest the bad !
Still, like a trumpet, dost rouse
Bathed in the sacred dews of morn
The wide aerial landscape spread-
The world which was ere I was born,
The world which lasts when I am dead ;
Which never was the friend of one,
Nor promised love it could not give,
But lit for all its generous sun,
And lived itself, and made us live.
There let me gaze, till I become
In soul, with what I gaze on, wed !
To feel the universe my home ;
To have before my mind-instead
Of the sick room, the mortal strife,
The turmoil for a little breath-
The pure eternal course of life.
Not human combatings with death!
Thus feeling, gazing, might I grow
Composed, refresh'd, ennobled, clear ;
Then willing let my spirit go
To work or wait elsewhere or here!
Where the gaunt and taciturn host
Stands on the threshold, the wind
Shaking his thin white hairs-
Holds his lantern to scan
Our storm-beat figures, and asks :
Whom in our party we bring ?
Whom we have left in the snow ?
nose who with hal-open eyes
read the border-land dim
-vixt vice and virtue ; reviv'st,
accorest !--this was thy work ;
his was thy life upon earth.
hat is the course of the life
mortal men on the earth ?cost men edily about ere and there-eat and drink, natter and love and hate, ather and squander, are raised toft, are hurl'd in the dust, Eriving blindly, achieving othing; and then they dieerish ;-and no one asks Tho or what they have been, Core than he asks what waves, 1 the moonlit solitudes mild f the midmost Ocean, have swellid, oam'd for a moment, and gone. nd there are some, whom a thirst urdent, unquenchable, fires, Fot with the crowd to be spent, Fot without aim to go round n an eddy of purposeless dust, ffort unineaning and vain. Ah yes ! some of us strive Not without action to die Fruitless, but something to snatch From dull oblivion, nor all Hlut the devouring grave! We, we have chosen our pathPath to a clear-purposed goal, Path of advance !--but it leads A long, steep journey, through sunk Gorges, o'er mountains in snow. Cheerful, with friends, we set forthThen on the height, comes the storm. Thunder crashes from rock To rock, the cataracts reply, Lightnings dazzle our eyes. Roaring torrents have breach'd The track, the stream-bed descends In the place where the wayfarer once Planted his footstep-the spray Boils o'er its borders ! aloft The unseen snow-beds dislodge Their hanging ruin ; alas, Havoc is made in our train ! Friends who set forth at our side, Falter, are lost in the storm. We, we only are left ! With frowning foreheads, with lips Sternly compress'd, we strain on, On--and at nightfall at last Come to the end of our way, To the lonely inn ʼmid the rocks ;
Sadly we answer: We bring
Only ourselves ! we lost
Sight of the rest in the storm.
Hardly ourselves we fought through,
Stripp’d, without friends, as we are.
Friends, companions, and train.
The avalanche swept from our side.
But thou would'st not alone
Be saved, my father! alone
Conquer and come to thy goal,
Leaving the rest in the wild.
We were weary, and we
Fearful, and we in our march
Fain to drop down and to die.
Still thou turnedst, and still
Beckonedst the trembler, and still
Gavest the weary thy hand.
If, in the paths of the world,
Stones might have wounded thy feet,
Toil or dejection have tried
Thy spirit, of that we saw
Nothing-to us thou wast still
Cheerful, and helpful, and firm !
Therefore to thee it was given
Many to save with thyself ;
And, at the end of thy day,
O faithful shepherd ! to come,
Bringing thy sheep in thy hand.
And through thee I believe
In the noble and great who are gone;
Pure souls honor'd and blest
By former ages, who else-
Such, so soulless, so poor,
Is the race of men whom I see-
Seem'd but a dream of the heart,
Seem'd but a cry of desire.
Yes! I believe that there lived
Others like thee in the past,
Not like the men of the crowd
Who all round me to-day
Bluster or cringe, and make life
Hideous, and arid, and vile ;
But souls temper'd with fire,
Fervent, heroic, and good,
Helpers and friends of mankind.
Servants of God !-or sons
Shall I not call you ? because
Not as servants ye knew
Your Father's innermost mind,
That was Heine ! a'id we,
Myriads who live, who have lived,
What are we all, but a mood,
A single mood, of the life
Of the Spirit in whom we exist,
Who alone is all things in one ?
Spirit, who fillest us all !
Spirit, who utterest in each
New-coming son of mankind
Such of thy thoughts as thou wilt!
( thou, one of whose moods,
Bitter and strange, was the life
Of Heine--his strange, alas,
His bitter life !--may a life
Other and milder be mine !
May'st thou a mood more serene,
Happier, have utter'd in mine!
May'st thou the rapture of peace
Deep have embreathed at its core;
Made it a ray of thy thought,
Made it a beat of thy joy ! 1867.
His, who unwillingly sees One of his little ones lostYours is the praise, if mankind Hath not as vet in its march Fainted, and fallen, and died ! See! In the rocks of the world Marches the host of mankind, A feeble, wavering line. Where are they tending ?--A God Marshalld them, gave them their goal. Ah, but the way is so long ! Years they have been in the wild ! Sore thirst plagues them, the rocks, Rising all round, overa we; Factions divide them, their host Threatens to break, to dissolve. --Ah, keep, keep them combined ! Else, of the myriads who fill That army, not one shall arrive ; Sole they shall stray ; in the rocks Stagger for ever in vain. Die one by one in the waste. Then, in such hour of need Of your fainting, dispirited race, Ye, like angels, appear, Radiant with ardor divine ! Beacons of hope, ye appear ! Languor is not in your heart, Weakness is not in your word, Weariness not on your brow. Ye alight in our van! at your voice, Panic, despair, flee away. Ye move through the ranks, recall The stragglers, refresh the outworn, Praise, re-inspire the brave ! Order, courage, return; Eyes rekindling, and prayers, Follow your steps as ye go. Ye fill up the gaps in our files, Strengthen the wavering line, Stablish, continue our march, On, to the bound of the waste, On, to the City of God.
Savez-vous quelque bien qui console du regret d'un monde !
—Ah, twenty years, it cuts 1 All meaning from a name ! White houses prank where once were
Glion, but not the same!
And yet I know not! All unchanged
The turf, the pines, the sky !
The hills in their old order ranged ;
The lake, with Chillon by !
And, 'neath those chestnut-trees, where
And stony mounts the way,
The crackling husk-heaps burn, as if
I left them yesterday !
Across the valley, on that slope,
The huts of Avant shine !
Its pines, under their branches, ope
Ways for the pasturing kine.
Full-foaming milk-pails, Alpine fare,
Sweet heaps of fresh-cut grass,
Invite to rest the traveller there
Before he clinb the pass-
? Probably all who know the Vevey end of the Lake of Geneva, will recollect Glion, the moun tain-village above the castle of Chillon. Glioa now has hotels, pensions, and villas; but twenty years ago it was hardly more than the huts of Avant opposite to it,--huts through which goes that beautiful path over the Col de Jamau, futa lowed by so many foot-travellers on their way from Vevey to the Simmenthal and Thun.
“ Thou fledst me when the ungenial
Man's work-place, lay in gloom.
Return'st thou in her hour of birth,
Of hopes and hearts in bloom ?
And who but thou must be, in truth,
Obermann ! with me here ?
Thou master of my wandering youth,
But left this many a year !
Yes, I forget the world's work wrought,
Its warfare waged with pain ;
An eremite with thee, in thought
Once more I slip my chain,
And to thy mountain-chalet come,
And lie beside its door,
And hear the wild bee's Alpine hum,
And thy sad, tranquil lore!
Again I feel the words inspire
Their mournful calm ; serene,
Yet tinged with infinite desire
For all that might have been-
The harmony from which man swerved
Made his life's rule once more!
The universal order served,
Earth happier than before !
-While thus I mused, night gently ran
Down over hill and wood.
Then, still and sudden, Obermann
On the grass near me stood.
Those pensive features well I knew,
On my mind, years before,
Imaged so oft I imaged so true !
-A shepherd's garb he wore,
Montbovon. See Byron's Journal, in his Works, Vol. iii. p. 258. The river Saane becomes the Sarine below Montbovon. (Arnold).