Paradise of Martyrs (3)
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BOOK THE THIRD.
――――♦――――

-1-


I LOOK, once more, upon the awful sea!
I may not sing of it as lordly Childe—
Albeit with heart-throes—sang exultantly,
As of a steed that under its exiled
And haughty rider bounded with a wild
Feeling of kindred scorn and pride.   His fame
Was glorious in my boyhood; but 'tis soiled,
They tell me, now.   Oh, can it be that shame

Shall his bright memory hide who bears that
        laurelled name!


-2-


I gaze, once more, upon the awful sea—
Not with exultant, but with wondering thought,
And humbled feeling.   'Midst eternity
And boundlessness yon tiny white-sailed yacht,
In the far-off horizon, seems to float!
The wide-spread, silent moor, the tallest hills,
Breed no such thinking in me, awe, and doubt,
As this strange sense, all-undefined, that thrills

My bosom while the measureless sea my vision fills.


-3-


What is Existence?—what Eternity?
What lies beyond our outer life?   Thy waves,
For ever restless, change—O Living Sea!—
And our own breathing forms,—the dead, in graves,—
Change, ever!   Thy vast waters,—whether raves
The tempest, or the weary winds find sleep,
As poets sing, within thy neighbouring caves,—
The pulse of language with their motion keep,

And seem, like us, to shout and whisper, laugh and
        weep!


-4-


Thy waters are not dead.   They truly live:
More truly than the forms that in thee dwell.
These die; but thou dost still live on, and give
Thy outspread hands, when thy proud billows swell,
Unto the toiling sun, that ye may quell
Death's triumphs ever, and all Life renew.
Your progeny, the clouds and showers, dispel
Earth's barrenness.   And thus, all Life seems due,

On earth—O glorious ministers of God!—to you.


-5-


Many-voiced Sea—as the melodious One,
Wondering, did name thee, in the days of old—
It is a luxury, 'neath the summer's sun,
To loiter on this Cumbrian shore, and hold
Communion with thy voices manifold.
Scarce louder than the murmuring bee the sound
Seems, now I sit upon this beech sweet-knolled
With thyme, and where the rock-rose doth abound,

And crimson cranesbills clothe with beauty the rough
        ground.


-6-


And now the air doth tremble 'neath high noon,
And Languor reigns, how, with thy simple lay,—
Which hath to me from boyhood, been a boon,
And purest joys brings back to mind, alway,—
Thou, darling yellow-hammer, seemst to play
A witching treble to the waters' bass,—
While other birds are silent: even the gay
And tireless lark seeks now a resting-place,

And hides, beside his mate, among the tall ripe grass.


-7-


Sweet thoughts of pleasures past, thy soothing lull,
O Sea, calls up to memory; but thy shore,
To-morrow, may be strown with mast and hull
Of many a goodly ship, and mind me more
Of my own wrecks of purpose, and the poor
Fruition of endeavour to achieve
Great aims.   'Tis vain such failures to deplore,
Now I am near life's close; but still will grieve

The soul, though 'tis too late life's failures to retrieve.


-8-


Shall I behold thy waves when I have sailed
O'er this life's sea?   I shall live on, when Death
Hath claimed my clay—his portion.   But all-veiled
Is still the Future —the Eternal.   Breath
And pulse I cannot have when its frail sheath
The spirit quits; but yet the soul may gaze
Upon thy restless waves, as oft she fleeth
To do God's high behests,—and, without daze,

May, look, O glorious Sun, upon thy gladdening blaze.


-9-


Shall after-life be indolence?   Each thing
Living on earth, whether it will or nill,
The eternal purpose of the Eternal King
Doth most industriously and well fulfil,
Through every change—as thou dost, changing still,
Vast Sea, and still subserving in thy change
The ends of Him who holds thee by His will.
Surely, if franchised souls to some dull range

Were doomed, to God's known ways it were unlikeness
        strange!


-10-


Boundless as thy path seems to be, shall mine
Be, in the Future?   Yet, how shrinks the soul
At thoughts of boundlessness!   What! no confine—
No shore—but on, for ever;—and no goal—
No end!   Space still beginning, and the roll
Of days grown dateless, numberless!   And shall
This Self, that—like a prisoner on parole,
When It adventures forth to think, a thrall

Soon feels Itself, and hastens back to its poor cloisteral,


-11-


Dim-lighted home of flesh, affrighted at
The shapes of mystery It meets—soon quit the
        gloom
And glimmer of this earth, and try a state
Of veritable existence, in the womb
Of vastness all-illimitable, become
An unclothed spirit, and yet clothed upon
With immortality, fearless to roam
Through realms of life and realms of thought
        unknown,—

And still, for ever, feel Its journey scarce begun?


-12-


The soul within her prison-house of clay
Shrinks back at thought of such strange life
        unknown,
As if too perilous it were too stray
Through the wide universe of God alone—
Or, unconsorted, in some planet-zone
That girdles round some far-off solar fire,
With essences that large of ken have grown,
By myriad years of thought, yet never tire

To think and search; but ever pant for wisdom higher.


-13-


Alone, upon the pathless sea, rides yet
The tiny white-sailed yacht.   Since height
Of noon no bark, no shallop, or corvette,
No humble fisher's boat, hath come in sight:
Still lonelily she floats, with sails so white—
Far off—so that no help could landsmen lend,
Were skies to change, and storms to come, with night.
But, God is there!   No storm the ship can rend,

Unless,—His mandate given!—His ministers descend.


-14-


So God will be with my frail bark, and thine,
Frail brother, when the unknown seas we sail
Of unknown after-life.   The Eye Divine
Is on us here, in earthly calm or gale;
And on each soul that lives beyond the veil
Unrent—each dweller in eternity;
The Hand Divine supports alike all frail
Existences in heaven and earth that be—

For frail were even the archangels, Sovran, without
        Thee!


-15-


Why should I shrink and fear, while I can lean
On the Eternal One?   Yet, how I dread
The "inevitable hour"!   Some, with serene
Indifference, of the grave as of a bed
Of rest, tell us, they dream—nay, they would wed
Annihilation gladly; while the best
And holiest I have known on earth have said
They had no fear, but longed to reach the rest

That for the people of God remaineth, with the Blest.


-16-


With a glad heart I tell—the phantom foul
That threatened Nothingness, to terrify
And fill with agony my doubting soul
Hath ceased.   But still—What can it be to die?
That thought appals me.   Though with strengthened
        eye
I look triumphantly beyond the grave,
And feel my trustful spirit can rely
On Him who strong, for ever, is to save—

Yet, on Death's self I cannot look with challenge brave.—


-17-


The filmy cloud I saw arise, but now,
Hath spread along the sky—a dark portent
That storm is near.   So some slight signal, slow
Or swift, may warn me when my soul now blent
With flesh must leave it.   May Death's storm be spent
Quickly, O Blessed Father! if Thy will
It be,—or, rather, let the veil be rent
All in a moment, while I seek to fill

My daily task,—that so I, with ecstatic thrill,


-18-


May pass from mortal to immortal life.
Nay!—let me breathe no prayer so full of fear
And selfishness!   Up, to the battle's strife,
Once more! until the Master's voice shall cheer
Me, when—the mortal victory won—I hear
Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful one,
Enter into my joy, my servant dear!"—
Lord, let me fight until the battle's done—

Nor ever wish for rest until the battle's won!


-19-


My nightly task—the task of Duty—claims,
Again, my heart and mind; a task now hard—
Nay, harder than he knows, who 'mid fierce flames
Moulds melted metal; or, with body marred
And crampt-up limbs, from sun and daylight barred,
Hews at the coal-seam; or, whose mighty blows
Ring loud upon the anvil.   Small regard
The peasant lends me!   "Why for him unclose

The bar to knowledge? want of it he hardly knows;


-20-


"And why disturb him?" do ye ask, in scorn,
Or kindly?—"Leave him to his vulgar toil
And vulgar pleasures.   Teach him not to spurn
The lot of ignorance, and seek the broil
Of thought, lest he encounter the dread foil
To deeper thought all thinkers surely find."
I dare not join a project that would spoil
My brother-man, whom God hath given a mind

That may be nobly taught, and cultured, and refined.


-21-


It cannot be God's purpose that the soul
He meant to live for ever should be left
Untaught, and Man become a larger mole
To burrow in the earth, of light bereft,
Or crawl upon it like the reptile eft,
Unknowing of his heavenly destiny.
They practised on Man's freedom a fell theft
Who praised blind Ignorance, and said that she

Was Mother of Devotion.   Set Man fully free—


-22-


Free from the bonds of ignorance and control
Of priests—free from the shackles of his pride
And low self-worship.   Let him know the whole
Of Truth that hath been found, and do not hide
The fact that more Man knows not.   He will chide
Himself, most healthfully, and gladly flee
From error, when himself thus dignified
He fully feels with his own sovereignty

Of soul, as freeborn Man.   O set Man fully free!


-23-


And yet, though Knowledge be a precious boon
For Man, he who the task doth undertake
To teach men how to think, no mean poltroon
Must be in courage; nor, in weakness quake
At proud men's anger; nor, his task forsake
For others' coldness or dull sloth.   To say
And do as others, nor with boldness break
From tyrant custom, or the gilded way

Of fashion, marks the million: only units stray


-24-


In paths of independence, and assert
Their native dignity of Man.   And sloth
Seems rest so needful to poor men upgirt
For out-door labour through the day, it doth
Give pain to one, more than their ways uncouth,
To rouse them with hard messages of right
And wrong.   How, if they sleep, can one be wroth?
In sooth, he ventures on a work of might

Who strives to keep a weary ploughman wake at
        night.—


-25-


My task is done once more: the hour hath passed
More pleasantly than I foreboded.   Yet,
What drudgery 'tis to talk to looks aghast
With helpless wonder; or that seem to fret
With haste to leave you; or to figures set
As stark asleep as if nought but the loud
Last trump could consciousness in them beget;
While others glance around with spirit cowed,

As if they felt like leprous men among the proud!


-26-


How different were my labour amid shrewd
Auld Scotland; or th' West Riding, where our keen
Critics-in-fustian sit and inly brood;
Or, where Northumbrian miners with brave mien
Of kindly frankness earnestly upglean
Your thoughts; or, with the quick discerning throng
In noble Nottingham; or, my native scene
Of ancient Leicester; or, much more, among

Bold Birmingham's array of thinkers stern and strong;


-27-


Or, sceptical Northampton, where the knights
Of Crispin ply the awl, and challenge high
Hurl at old teachers ― following all new lights!
Or, grand old Norwich; or, in Bristol, eye
Of England's west, where good men truly vie
One with another in truly Christian deed;
Or even 'mid London's shallow foppish fry,―
One might with Truth the mind more easily feed,

Than get dull peasants to such teaching to take heed.


-28-


Poor English ploughmen! my very heart doth bleed
For you.   Your little children I have passed,
Driven forth in "gangs," to gather stones, or weed,
When scarcely it was daylight, o'er the vast
Wide fen of Lincolnshire, ― their eyes upcast
For pity at their driver ― the brute tool
Who pushed them on with curses; and "move fast,"
They must, or suffer his hard blows.   No school

For the poor ploughman's child!   He would be called
        a fool


-29-


By his own class, and proud by masters, who
Let his child learn to read God's word instead
Of toiling early and late, ― and learning, too,
To swear like the big driver, ― and lose dread
For foulest vice, where all restraints are fled,
And sex is rudely mixt.   The boy or girl
Brings home a few poor pence each day for bread:
What's all the learning that his head might whirl

With pride, compared with bread, to the poor peasant
        churl?


-30-


Oh, gentlemen of England! in your House
Of power and wisdom, can ye find no heart
To end this wrong so horribly infamous?
Ye could set free the Factory child, and thwart
The chimney-sweeper, who made infants smart
And weep for years; and ye could boldly vote
Twenty gold millions to break up the mart
Of demons who the souls and bodies bought

Of negroes: ― Why not seize this evil by the throat?


-31-


Landlords! upon your land this deed is done.
Doth not the tenant know your word is law?
Forbid the deed, then: tell him he must shun
The sin, and ye will cease the gain to claw,
And lower his rent.   "Idiot! expect to draw
Our teeth, as soon; or, ask to flay the skin
From off our backs!   We do not yield one straw!"―
Why, then, right honourables! your sordid sin

I would not share, if your whole rent-roll I could win.


-32-


The hour of sleep returns, and still I weigh
The sins of other men.   Upon my own
Black catalogue, with the like keen survey,
I fear, I do not dwell.   Lord, from Thy throne
Look down in mercy still on those who groan
O'er others' sins, and oft forget to judge
Their own!
                     When waking consciousness had flown,
My dreaming consciousness returned.   A drudge,

I seemed, at first, among old earthly scenes to trudge.


-33-


O'er Croyland Fen, methought, in evening gray,
I toiled, from rural Helpstone, ― where poor Clare
Was born, ― along the narrow winding way
The monks upraised, in dark old times, with care
And patient labour.   'Twas the desolate and rare
Vision renewed, of forty years gone by,
When ― myriad ages past ― no rude ploughshare
Had yet disturbed the marsh.   Far as the eye

Could reach there was no tree that grew beneath the
        sky.


-34-


A clump of reeds rose, here and there, around
A pool; and, ghostlike, up the bittern reared
Its head out of the clump, and then to the ground
Sank down, and hid itself, and boomed its weird
And shivering note.   But, what most strange appeared
Was that vast moving host of feathered things―
The countless flocks of geese, that homeward steered,
With deafening cackle, and with bleeding wings

Drooped to the ground, while, ― heedless of their
        sufferings―


-35-


The gooselike gosherd urged them with his staff.
The geese had just been plucked alive, ― their quill
To exchange for gold.   The gosherds, with a laugh,
Told me they helped the deed.   But I felt ill,
And hastened on, while overhead the shrill
Curlew, the lapwing, and the heron, flew;
And, far up in the sky, the soaring, still,
And lordly glede seemed taking surer view

Ere, pouncing, dartlike, down, his screaming prey he
        slew.


-36-


I went ― the pilgrim of romance to gaze
On Guthlac's ruined shrine ― the hoary pile
Of Croyland; and the image that pourtrays
King Ethelbald the Mercian, broken and vile,
On that triangular bridge that joined the isle
So sacred to profaner ground, in years
When monks held marish and mere for many a mile.
Darkness was falling as I gazed; and jeers

From ploughboys that beheld me pained my ticklish
        ears.


-37-


So on I passed, to shun the boyish crowd;
But soon, from weariness, lay down to rest
Upon a grassy hillock, o'er which bowed
A bush in which some late bird kept her nest.
And, as she crooled, I slept.
                                                       Among the Blest―
From sleep within my sleep again, I seemed
To wake surrounded with the host all drest
In light.   But they whom now I saw ― I dreamed―

Were souls I had in mortal life but lightly esteemed.


-38-


Stern devotees of medićval time
They were: brave venturers among savage tribes;
Daring reprovers, eke, of kingly crime
And priestly sloth; ― who heeded not the gibes
Of their own order; ― nor concealed, for bribes,
The sins of monarchs whose haught pomp affrayed,
Their trembling subjects; ― or whom timid scribes
Writ "holy," for they stalked in masquerade

Of cowl and hood, begirt with rope, in cloistered shade.


-39-


He whom men call the Apostle of Germany,
I saw ― Winfred of Crediton [1] ― our Saxon saint,
Named Boniface, when episcopal degree
Was given him by the pope.   In him no taint
Of Romish crime was found, natheless.   Restraint
Or fear he felt not for tiara or crown;
But, like a Christian true, set forth his plaint
'Gainst papal simony; and dared to frown

Upon the heathenish sins 'mong prelates shown.


-40-


While he hewed down the sacred oak of Thor,
And preached to Hessian and to Frisian throngs
Of barbarous men, and taught them to abhor
Idols and wizards and blood, and sing the songs
Of Christ, the Prince of Peace, ― sin that belongs
So often to magnanimous kings he dared
To scan: to Mercian Ethelbald the wrongs
Done to his people wisely he declared,

Until that regal heart to goodness he ensnared.


-41-


With Winfred walked his brethren who, of yore,
Were massacred, or slain, by heathen bands―
Eoban, and Adalhere, [2] and many more―
Meek, self-denying men ― men of clean hands,
And minds devout ― obeying Christ's commands
From love to Him who first loved them, and spread
O'er Frisic, Hessian, and Bavarian lands
The gospel of their Lord: giving the bread

Of life to perishing men: by no false zeal misled.


-42-


Remembering how, on earth, I lightly esteemed
The work of these stern toilers, whom I now
Rightly, by mystic gift of insight, deemed
True martyrs ― I beheld, with sudden glow,
Of pleasure, drawing near, in goodly row,
A band whom others lightly esteemed, on earth―
Lightly esteemed, and scorned, and trampled low;
But whose meek names I valued at right worth,

And oft felt proud I had with them one tie of birth.


-43-


Many of these meek ones died through men whose
        boast―
Oh, of such grievous sin, I blush to tell!―
Was rather than that liberty be lost
Of conscience for themselves they would rebel
Till doomsday: yet, like fiercest dogs of hell,
They worried men whose consciences felt fear
Of sin most tenderly; and tortures fell
Of whipping, hunger, and imprisonment drear,

And filthy, and foul, inflicted on God's servants dear.


-44-


Some of Old England were, and some of New.
Some were the victims of our boasted time
When kingly men in England overthrew
Crowned lawlessness and sanctimonious crime;
And some died when returned the kingly Mime
To reign and sin right royally.   The rest
Were martyred men and women from that clime
Across the sea where, in the distant West,

Their persecutors found a refuge they deemed blest.


-45-


Parnell, [3] I saw, the godly boy that death
Of heartless cruelty who died, i' the wall
Of Colchester's strong castle with last breath
Entreating they would let the happy thrall
Go home to Christ!   Young Burrough, [4] loved of all
His suffering mates, ― with pious Hubberthorn, [5]
And others, who in Newgate drank the gall
Of wrong so meekly; and Trowell, [6] who was torn

And bruised and beaten, till he ceased on earth to mourn.


-46-


Howgill [7] came on with these ― a valiant soul,
A noble warrior for his Lord, ― no name
His brethren held more worthy: in the goal
At Appleby he died, with sweet acclaim
Of praise to God that worthy to bear shame
He had been counted, for the Christ he loved!―
With these came hundreds, little known to fame,
Who died in dreary prisons, still unmoved,

By suffering, to desert the faith their souls approved.


-47-


New England's victims followed those of Old:
Victims whom barbarous Endicot pursued
With hatred ― helped by shepherds of Christ's fold!
Good Mary Dyar, [8] who climbed with fortitude
The gallows' ladder twice.   In mockery lewd
Called down the first time: soon with joy she clomb
Again, to die ― saying, sweetly, that she viewed
The Paradise of Christ, beyond the tomb,

Where she had been, in spirit, for days: her heavenly
        home!


-48-


Next, with unlyric names, [9] joined hand in hand,
Fraternally, came on the faithful sufferers twain
Whose naked bodies, as if they bore the brand
Of vilest felony, or shared the crime of Cain,
Were thrust into the ground, with foul disdain,
Even at the gallows' foot.   Then, Leddra, [10] bright
Hilarious soul, followed ― who met death's pain
Crying, "Lord, receive my spirit!" ― seeming God's light

To see, with dying eyes: blest Stephen's martyr-sight!


-49-


The souls of women, young and old, whom fiends
That dared to claim the name of Christian men
Whipped through New England towns [11] ― for they
        were "Friends,"―
A deadly crime! ― arrived with these.   And when
These unadorned new-comers met the ken
O' the Martyrs of the blinded Pagan rage
Of mediaeval times, in a green glen
Of Paradise, amazed, I saw them wage

A race of love to join ― as if their lineage


-50-


They knew was one; and though so far apart,
In time and place, they lived on earth, they felt
Their zeal for Christ proclaimed them of one heart.
"Brothers," spake Winfred, "when on earth we dwelt,
And preached to savage Teuton and fierce Kelt,
It scarce was strange that, blind with idol-zeal
And gust for sin, ― even while to Christ we knelt,―
They slew us, thinking then to rob and peel

Our tents of gold and silver we could not reveal


-51-


"As in our keeping, since no needless load
We carried, cumbered and bowed too much with sin.
But who your deaths and sufferings could forebode―
Your torturous martyrdoms ― from your own kin,
Your own dear flesh and blood?   Nay, that within
The bounds of likelihood might be; but they
Who took your lives professed high discipline
Of self-denial, and could not seek to slay

Ye that your gold and silver might become their prey.


-52-


"What was the gain they sought? what earthly good
Could they acquire in slaying ye?   No hoard
Of wealth ye had, that they should shed your blood
To seize it and possess."
                                            "Be Christ adored,"
Spake noble Howgill, "though their deed abhorred
We may not, by the nature of the mind,
Forget, we still feel loving pity toward
The men whom bigotry had rendered blind―

Nay, mad ― as still it maddens thousands of mankind.


-53-


"Dost thou not think, my brother, that as brave
Martyrs for wrong are sometimes found, as for
The right?   I doubt not but that some who drave,
Fiercely, our feeble ones with whipping sore,
From town to town, believed they did no more
Than bounden duty; and if called to bear
Smiting, the rod to death they would have bore
Sooner than name of foul apostate wear,

Or gold and silver as the apostate's guerdon share.


-54-


"It was not earthly gain our foes obtained,
Or sought.   Our deaths could not enrich our foes
In any sordid sense.   But still remained
In them the carnal mind that doth oppose
Itself to goodness.   Though, by outward shows
And loud profession, men do oft persuade
Themselves and others that within them glows
True Christian zeal, the proof is soon betrayed

That not one moment its pure fires their hearts
        pervade.


-55-


"How eagerly men praise great earnestness,
Though earnest men are caught by falsehood's bait
So easily!   Surely, men should laud much less
Quick zeal than slower wisdom.   They who wait,
Patient, at Wisdom's feet, regenerate
Become in spirit, and feel no tyrant will
To fetter the free mind ― to emasculate
The soul.   Their victories they win meekly, still

Not seeking to compel, but to persuade the ill:


-56-


"To win men over by conviction, clear
And calm, that so the settled mind in ease
May rest, and satisfaction.   Kings no fear
Have of their subjects if their reigning please.
But though meek men may bear kings' wrong decrees,
Their hearts will aye the sceptred wrong disown.
Force never truly reigns: its falseness frees
All men from heart-obedience to the throne:

For force is falseness, even to the simplest clown."


-57-


"Ay, force is falseness," said our Saxon saint;
"And neither force nor falseness masterdom
Can win for Truth.   With us failed false constraint,
When, backed with fancied power from Papal Rome,
We forced the Teuton nations to succumb
To Christ.   In vain we triumphed, as the oak
Of Thor I hewed in pieces.   Awe held dumb
Thor's worshippers to witness the bold stroke;

But soon their awe was gone ― revenge within them
        woke,


-58-


"And back to their old homage at the shrine
Of their old Thunder God they went with zeal,
While on ourselves they fell with leonine
And bloody rage.   God did, at length, His seal
Set to His truth, when wiser men the appeal
Made to their moral sense ― the meek yet broad
Attack on conscience ― which will straight reveal
Its living power in man, though long by fraud

It hath been lulled to slumber, or by force o'erawed.


-59-


"I would more wisdom had our earnest toil
Directed.   Savage men, like children, might,
We thought, be held by fear or kindly guile,
And taught to fall in reverence at the sight
Of saintly bones or gaudy incensed rite,
As they had fallen before the Sun and Moon,
And Thor and Woden.   Oh, that holy light
Upon our eager minds had clearer shone,

That their dark souls for Christ we might in love
        have won!"


-60-


"Ye worked according to your light.   And they
By their light ― twilight, rather," meekly said
Young Parnell, "now are judged, by Him whose
        sway
Knows neither weakness nor injustice.   Dread
In holiness are His commands: to tread
His courts in heaven, unfit they were: the praise
Of God and of the Lamb who for them bled
They could not sing: but just are all His ways:

Only transgressors of His law its sentence slays.


-61-


"None can transgress the law they never knew;
Therefore, the millions of the heathen live
Their after-life of trial where the view
Of truth and right and wrong God doth them give
In clearness, and His Spirit doth with them strive,
That they may yield their wills to Him, and share
Salvation by His Christ.   Alternative
Of choice they still to exercise may dare.

He saveth none by force: all freely His yoke bear.


-62-


"It is our highest bliss to feel we serve
Him freely, who to save us freely came―
To feel that we have no desire to swerve
From holiest service ― that we know no aim
Or will but ever, with the holy flame
Of love, to burn towards Him who loving gave
Himself for us.   How worthily His name
Could we extol, if each were but a slave

In act?   It would the worship of high heaven
        deprave."


-63-


"How clumsily men frame their theories
Of right!" Winfred resumed; "in our dark time,
We strove poor heathen men to christianize,
Believing unbelief a damning crime,
Even when of every Christian truth sublime
They were as ignorant as a child unborn!
Nay, this strange misbelief became the prime
Incentive to our warfare with their scorn

And spite, that we might save them from their fate
        forlorn.


-64-


"No gentler motives had our hearts impelled
To venture 'mid their swamps and forests wild,
And dare their savage rage.   Had we not held
Them lost ― lost irremediably ― exiled
From bliss for ever ― we could not have toiled
To martyrdom that we might save their souls.
Thank God! that now the darkness that defiled
Our vision is removed.   No wrong controls

His government: we now discern, wherever rolls


-65-


"A world that holds His creatures rational,
There all are judged by perfect equity;
Not equity by wits fantastical
Apparelled with the seeming drapery
Of fairness, though, in truth, 'tis tyranny
Abhorrent to the sense of right in man
Implanted by his Maker."
                                                  "We with thee
Adore," spake Leddra, "Him whose marvellous
        plan

Gives all within the moral and intelligent span


-66-


"Of His high rule probation fair and free
And noble.   How we could have feared that ire
Consuming from His holy hand must be
The lot, inevitably, of son and sire
In utter darkness born ― that endless fire
Should be their portion who ne'er knew His will,
And therefore could not guiltily conspire
Against His holy government, is still

Our wonder, and must aye our minds with wonder
         fill."


-67-


"And yet," after some silence, Adalhere
Spake thoughtfully, "when we beheld how base,
How vile, how shudderingly soul-stained they were
We saw bow down to idols;― how no trace
Of purity remained in them;― no place
Within their hearts for aught but lowest lust,
And dark desire, and passionate embrace
Of foul indulgence;― how could we have trust

That any of their fallen souls would live among the
        just?"


-68-


"And in God's holy word," spake Hubberthorn,
With slow and gentle speech, "we were not told
That when men's souls had passed their mortal
        bourne,
There might be to the gaze of some unrolled
A second scene of trial.   If so bold
Our minds had been as to affirm what none
Could truly say, in covenant new or old,
God clearly had revealed, ― nor His own Son,―

Had we not trespassed, and beyond our duty run?"


-69-


"To be not wise above the written word,"
Meekly, said Mary Dyar, "even when the power
Of God's own Holy Spirit within us stirred,
I always thought was safest.   Yet the hour
Hath been, on earth, when a rich spiritual shower
Of knowledge fell on us, from heaven, that shewed
Us meanings in the word which, heretofore,
We saw not.   May not deeper meanings crowd

The written page not yet revealed unto the proud,


-70-


"Who trust in their own reason?"
                                                              "If the heart
Of truth," young Burrough said, "seek truth from Him
Whose word is truth, will not He truth impart
Unto it in the reading, though with dim
Unlearnčd gaze the page be read?   They trim
The outward lamp in vain, to read and learn,
Whose minds with self-conceit unto the brim
Are filled; and do not for God's own light yearn:

The natural man doth not the things of God discern.


-71-


"The Gentiles having not the law, a law
Were to themselves, the apostle briefly wrote:
Briefly, yet fully.   Men may safely draw
Safe inference that the law of conscience ought
To be, and will be, only against them brought
When they are judged."
                           "But, since even conscience fails
To give a truthful light to men untaught
Christ's truth," said elder Howgill; "it curtails

Even good men's hope for men where heathenism
        prevails.


-72-


"Yet, if good men were wise as well, some aid
For reaching deeper truth they might have gained
By patient thought.   In God's own image made
His moral image ― man is not disdained
By his great Maker, though so foully stained
By sin.   He doth not cast men off ― their being spill―
As some men blunder God hath blundering reigned
In His own universe: not able ill

Or good to make of some, for lack of forming skill!


-73-


"God never moral agents made to end
Their being eternally, though they would break
His laws persistently, nor would amend
Their lives at His entreaty; ― nor doth He slake
His vengeance by inflicting on them ache
And torture endless, though they did not know
His law.   He doth poor heathen souls awake
To after-life, and therein doth bestrow

Their path with motives that may lead them from all
        low


-74-


"And base preferments into choice of good.
All glory to His holy name! in vain
Christ hath not for the heathen shed His blood;
Millions, in that great spiritual domain
Of Christ ― the after-life of men whom chain
Of earthly circumstances bound, enslaved,
And crushed with weight of evil, ― now the strain
Of gratitude swell high, that their depraved

And fallen souls Christ hath from endless ruin saved!"


-75-


" 'Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?'
I answered oft," spake humble Trowell, "when
Lewd London wits, falsely named erudite,
Mocked at all Christian teaching, in that den
Of beasts London became when citizen
Aped harlot king, in revelry and sneers
At purity and truth.   I answered men,
When any heathen soul 'fore God appears,

That he will find hard measure I can have no fears."


-76-


"And that the simplest faith is oft more wise
Than logic subtleties, I make no doubt,"
Again said Winfred; "yet the tears and cries
Of million sufferers in the lands without
Christ's gladdening gospel; and the maddened shout
Of thousands, when beneath the ponderous wheel
Of some huge idol's chariot falls, devout,
The Hindoo suicide; the hideous zeal

O' the heart for sin, which Asian city-crowds reveal;


-77-


"The brutal cannibalism and murderous strife
That stain so foully yon sweet South Sea isles;
The dark infanticide; the waste of life
In every vile indulgence that defiles
Both body and soul; the thrift of priestly wiles;
The fattening of the priest, and suffering lean
Of yon poor pilgrim, whom the thought beguiles
That he shall win heaven's bliss by tortures keen,

And crawling vilely on the earth, like things unclean.―


-78-


"Oh, who can think of Man where yet the sound
Of Christ's dear name was never heard, or where
Men's erring souls reject Him with profound
And stolid ignorance that His yoke to bear
Would make them free, ― and not desire to share,
Again, the cheering toil, the suffering sweet
Of Christ's blest heralds who His truth declare
To heathen men; and teach them to repeat

His name; and lead them for salvation to His feet!"


-79-


His look was lit with light of pitying love
For souls of men still living in the gall
Of bitterness and bond of sin.   Above,
Around, there seemed to glow, and soon to fall,
A crowning radiance, on the heads of all:―
A token bright that all the Martyr band
That loving spirit sweetly did enthral,
And that with joy, at God's supreme command,

They would return to earth to toil in heathen land!


-80-


"Let us rejoice," spake Winfred yet again,
"That now the ministry of love is ours,
As spirit-messengers from God to men;
That, sometimes, He our essences empowers
To aid with strength the poor weak soul that cowers
At shapes of superstition, and doth pant
For spiritual light where heathen darkness lours
On every side, and nought is ministrant

By tongue, or eye, or ear, unto the heart's deep want.


-81-


"But lately, Eoban and Adalhere
And I, most gladly hastened to obey
Our gracious Lord's behest, a poor fakeer
To help with spiritual whisperings of the way
Of life.   In old renowned Benares lay
His skeleton form upon an iron bed,
For five long years.   We heard him mourn and
        pray
To many demon gods with names of dread,

That he to purer light and safety might be led:


-82-


"He vowed to arise, and creep on hands and knees
To any idol's shrine, however long
The journey were, in order to appease
The wrath of Seeva, or the vengeance strong
Of Doorga or Kalee! or, with the thong
Of knotted whip to lash his fleshless frame;
Or scorch his limbs with fire; or any wrong
From men receive in silence, even to shame

Of spitting, or contempt outpoured upon his name.


-83-


"The light of conscience had grown feeble and dim;
But, as that light is quenchless in the breast
Even of the savage, it still lived in him―
Nay, had become a spectre of unrest
Unto him.   Bodily pain did not molest
His thought; beneath no suffering did he faint:
With burden of sin alone he was opprest:―
Oh, that he could be cleansed from sin's dark taint!―

He cried, all day, and oft all night, without restraint!


-84-


"At last, a sleek-fed Bramin saw him lie,
And proudly bade him rise, since now the coin
Was spent that he had saved by toil, ― whereby
His meagre food was bought, ― and said, 'Go, join
The crowd of labouring men, and cease to whine
About the burthen of thy sin, and strive
To bring fanams to Veeshnu's shrine ―
For that will better please the gods ― to give ―

Than thus, in sloth and pain, a loathsome life to live!'


-85-


"A crowd of gazers raised him; but the use
Of joints and thews was hard to be retrieved.
He lived, but paid the forfeit of the abuse
Of life for those five years: unto him cleaved
Palsy and pain, and inwardly he grieved,
Alway, with burthen of his sin weighed down.
The fakeer's iron bed, he still believed,
Nearer true light had brought him; and a groan

Oft told he wished for leaving it he could atone.


-86-


"His misery had grown sore, and all could tell
Around him that Insanity would claim
Him for her victim, if he could not quell
His fiery torture.   So with noisy blame
They urged him to remember the great name
Of Juggernauth, whose worshippers oft found
Relief o' the soul when, sunk in sin and shame,
They had of life been weary.   And, soon bound

To Orissa, toiling on, he reached the festal ground.


-87-


"But ― not to worship at the shrine obscene!
Twas God's own gracious Providence, we felt,
That led him thither.   One with humble mien,
A Christian teacher, stood, and meekly dealt
Out truth to the crowd.   Full soon the heart did
        melt
Of the poor listener!   'Twas the real relief
His soul so long had sought.   In tears he knelt
At Jesus' feet; and, like the dying thief,

At once was pardoned, and escaped from all earth's
        grief!


-88-


"His joy destroyed his earthly life, but brought
Him joy in heaven!   Oh, many will yet believe
In Jesus' saving truth, they long have taught
The dark Hindoo so patiently.   It doth them grieve
That they so little of success achieve ―
The lowly teachers who cross ocean wide
To win men's souls for Christ; but we perceive
Sure signs of coming harvest which shall wide

Wave o'er the world.   In grateful patience let us bide!"


-89-


"Ever in grateful patience, and in faith,"
Said meek young Parnell; "God hath also sent
Us to that land where men to shapes of death
And murder bow, while still to them is lent
Such light of conscience that, in discontent
With their own fallen nature, they still crave
To lose sin's burthen, or that life were spent.
And they who yield to Christian teaching brave

Endurance need, while their own sires around them
        rave


-90-


"With horrid cursing, and their mothers curse
More horridly the children they have borne;
And children curse their parents who rehearse
The name of Jesus, as their Saviour.   Scorn
And hatred, and a menaced life forlorn,
Or loss of limbs, or death, await on them
Who dare decide for Christ.   If some return
To their old vileness, bravely some contemn

All threats of danger, holding precious Truth's bright
        gem.


-91-


"They who, in England, mock the enterprise
Of Christian men that preach to the Hindoo,
And, scoffing, ask why he so long defies
Converting power, and is so hard to woo
Unto conviction, and change old for new,
Might cease their gibes if they would mark the tale
Of truthful witnesses.   How long the True
Shall thus be martyr to the False, we fail

To know: yet know the True most surely shall prevail.


-92-


"It shall prevail as surely as God lives
And giveth life to all that live throughout
His universe.   Himself the assurance gives;
And He Himself is Truth.   His foes so stout
Shall yield; the falsely wise shall cease to doubt;
Barbarian darkness shall behold His light;
And universal nations join the shout
That God hath come to reign in truth and might:

God and His Christ have come to bring the reign of
        Right!"


-93-


New radiance fell upon that company
Of loving Martyrs while young Parnell spake,
And lit their faces with such heavenly glee
Of holy love, it seemed in me to awake
Deep longing that I could such love partake.
But, now, soft strains of music that I seemed
To recognize began, forthwith, to break
Upon my spiritual ear: the strains I dreamed

I heard before: above, around, they sweetly
        streamed!


-94-


And lo! above the Martyr band appeared
The hand of golden light all quickly saw,
And, seeing, seemed with expectation cheered
Of higher joys.   It did their footsteps draw
Unto the terraced mountains, which, by law
Of their blest spiritual existence, all
Must at appointed seasons, with rapt awe
Ascend, to enter at the trumpet's call

High heaven, and share its worship beatifical.


-95-


The mountains ever green, my mind discerned,
Did picture endless life, and endless bliss,
Attained by all who climbed them ― all who yearned
To be for ever good: from wrong and vice
Set free ― from hate and rage and prejudice
For ever: and their essences imbued
With love and purity: no thought amiss:
No wrong affection: no solicitude ―

Except to be in holiness for aye renewed.


-96-


The mountains all were terraced, as I knew
Intuitively, that in the realm of rest so bright
No thought of labour might bedim the view
Of God's dear saints at home.   So light
Was the ascent, it seemed to some a flight
In ether.   Yet the sense of order stilled
Each mind, as if the want of it would blight
Their bliss.   So up they stepped, as troops well drilled

Step lightly, without toil: each heart with joyaunce
        filled!


-97-


And as they 'gan the terraces to climb,
I saw their steps were timed, as in my dream
I saw before: a triumph march sublime
It was; and as they marched they turned the theme
Of their late converse to a tuneful stream
Of choral song; and thus the Martyrs sung:―
"We come, O Lord, to share the quickening beam
Of Thy bright glory with a grateful tongue,

For that Thou hast our hearts with chords of gladness
        strung.


-98-


"We laud Thy wondrous love, eternal, vast,
And infinite as Thine own Self, that found
The ransom for our souls: the love Thou hast
Displayed for fallen man ― that doth abound
Even for the deeply fallen!   O that around
Thy throne may soon be gathered millions more
Who grope in heathen darkness, where the sound
Of Christ's blest name none bear, and none adore

Thy glorious majesty, Thy wisdom, love, and power.


-99-


"Reclaim the nations, Lord!   Bring back the lost
The wanderers through long ages!   From the chain
Of guilt and misery let the captive host
Of heathen men be freed!   O let the reign
Of Thy dear Son begin!   To swell the train
Of His long-promised triumph, let men come,
Who long in degradation dark have lain,
Blinded and maimed, in Superstition's gloom,―

By Christ redeemed, ― to share the brightness of our
        home!


-100-


"It would Thy heart rejoice that they were saved:
It would Thy saints rejoice to see them blest:
O Father, save our race by sin enslaved!
Thy Son hath died Thy holiness to manifest:
Send forth Thy healing Spirit to quell the pest
And plague of sin: Thy saving health dispense
O'er all the earth, till every human breast
Be consecrate to Thee with love intense:

All rebel wills be bowed in sweet obedience!"


-101-


Their song was longer; but a sudden sense
Grew in me that I must not share the sight
O' the City of God, or join the confluence
Into its gates of God's own Martyrs bright,
As heretofore, or scale the mountain's height;
But must return to earth.
                                               I woke, to wait
My final call.   Lord, while I strive to fight
The fight of faith, help me to vindicate

Thy truth, and win the fallen from their low estate!



END OF BOOK III.
――――♦――――


[BOOK IV.]


 

NOTES TO BOOK THE THIRD.
――――♦――――

1.—Stanza 39.


    WINFRED OF CREDITON in Devonshire (in the kingdom of Wessex), born in 680 A.D.—He was consecrated Bishop, and named BONIFACE by Pope Gregory II., in 723 A.D.  His life was written by Willibald, one of his disciples.—See "Life of St. Boniface, Archbishop of Mayence and Apostle of Germany."  By the Rev. Geo. W. Cox, S.C.L.  London, Joseph Masters: 1853.



2.—Stanza 41.


    EOBAN and ADALHERE.—There were others martyred in Friesland besides Boniface and these two.—For their names, see Cox's "Life of St. Boniface," p. 129.



3.—Stanza 45.


    JAMES PARNELL.—For the cruel martyrdom of this dear young Quaker lad, at Colchester Castle, in 1655—during the Protectorate of Cromwell—see Sewell's "History of the Rise, Increase, and Progress of the Christian People called Quakers."



4.—Stanza 45.


    EDWARD BOROUGH.—Stifled to death in Newgate.  For an account of his happy death, and for the eulogium pronounced on him after death, by his friend Howgill, see also Sewell's History.



5.—Stanza 45.


    RICHARD HUBBERTHORN.—Nearly on the same page Sewell relates the death of this devoted servant of Christ, also in Newgate prison.



6.—Stanza 45.


    JOHN TROWELL.—He was so beaten and bruised and crushed by the Trained Bands of King Charles II., who were sent to break up Quaker's meetings by force, that he died.—See the beginning of the 7th Book of Sewell's History.



7.—Stanza 46.


    FRANCIS HOWGILL.—He died in Appleby gaol, after five years' imprisonment.  His death was peacefully triumphant.—See the 9th Book of Sewell's History.



8.—Stanza 47.


    MARY DYAR.—Of all the New England Martyrs, this heroic and holy woman seems to have been the flower.  Her death—after prolonged ill-treatment and suffering—was joyous and exultant.—See the 5th Book of Sewell's History.



9.—Stanza 48.


    "Unlyric names."—William Robinson, a merchant of London, and Marmaduke Stevenson of Yorkshire, were condemned to be hanged along with Mary Dyar.  The three went hand in hand, exultantly, to the gallows.  Robinson and Stevenson being dead, Mary Dyar was ordered to ascend the ladder, which she did readily; but when they had tied her hands and bandaged her eyes, they told her she was reprieved.  Yet she was executed some months after.  The bodies of Robinson and Stevenson having hung till they were dead, they were cut down, and thrust naked into a hole dug for them at the foot of the gallows.—See Sewell's 5th Book.



10.—Stanza 48.


    WILLIAM LEDDRA.—He was chained to a log, both day and night, during a long winter, and in an open prison.  He died with the calmest resignation.—See Sewell's 6th Book.



11.—Stanza 49.


    "Whipped through New England towns."—The barbarous whipping of Elizabeth Hooton, a woman of threescore years of age, of Anne Colman, of Mary Tomkins, of Alice Ambrose, and others, is recited also by Sewell in his 6th Book.

 



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