Miscellaneous Poems (4)
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THE MERCHANT AND THE MOURNER.

A SIMPLE STORY.

 

I LINGERED at a lordly gate, before a lordly hall,
With grove and garden girt around, with low and mossy wall;
And from the gate a gravelled path swept gracefully and wide,
Up to the stately steps beneath the pillared door of pride.

Within that princely dwelling-place, the painter's masterhand
Had hung the walls with poesy from many a lovely land;
There soft Italia's sunny vales in quiet semblance smiled,
With mountain, lake, and waterfall, from Switzerland the wild.

And there were books of mental life, in student-like array,
More for the solace of the soul, than splendour or display;
And goodly instruments of sound were placed in order there,
Which woke to pleasant voice beneath the fingers of the fair.

And mirrors set in massy gold, shed lustre on the sight,
And lamps of cunning workmanship diffused a mellow light;
And costly carpets clothed the floor, and couches offered ease,
And every fireside comfort met the child of wealth to please.

And in the far-extended grounds, triumphant Art had been,
To bring within her proper bounds the wild luxuriant scene;
There built the rock, there sang the bird of homely English dyes,
There flower and fruitage bloomed and blushed, in spite of angry skies.

There bowers of shady solitude allured the musing mind,
Sweet spots of sylvan loveliness, secure from sun and wind;
And there, reflecting cloud and star, transparent waters lay,
Scarce ruffled by the swan that moved along her silent way.

And he who owned that paradise, the merchant of renown,
The guardian of the hamlet, and the honoured of the town,
Who duly went to 'change and church, and sought the shades of woe,
Was, in the springtide of his years, among the lowest, low.

But kindness centred in his soul, even in his boyish days;
Grant him the means of giving peace,—he did not wish for praise:
The best of human sympathies awoke within his breast;
His words, his deeds, his secret tears, the hidden power confessed.

More kindred grew his upright heart to all the human race,
The language of benevolence was written on his face
With self-denying prudence he, without or fear or guile,
Wooed Fortune in her mazy haunts, until she deigned to smile.

Wealth came, but did not bring the mien of insolence and pride;
Respectful to the powerful, he loved all else beside:
Thus with his gold and gentleness he blessed the needy throng,
A constant guardian of the weak, a pattern to the strong.

At length, to please a polished taste, he bought him house and land,
And paid for household luxuries with large and liberal band;
Sat down in peace and plenitude, with mind unwarped and free,
Like Wisdom (so the poet sings), with children round his knee.

I lingered at his lordly gate, the while my feeling rose
In silent homage to the man, and prayed for his repose;
And o'er my inward vision passed a scene remembered well,
Linked with a little history, which I essay to tell.

One evening, in my wanderings near to our noisy town,
When Autumn breathed upon the woods, and turned their foliage brown;
I paused beside a lowly cot that looked upon the road,
Lifted the latch, and stood within the comfortless abode.

There on the fireless hearthstone sat a well-known female form,
Whose haggard features bore the mark of many a mental storm:
The fire of joy, the bloom of health, from eye and cheek were fled,
And grief had sown its early grey upon that drooping head.

Her sombre garments hung around her, labour-stained and wild;
And on her milkless bosom lay a weak and wailing child;
The cleanly cap of widowhood around her visage pale,
With her decayed and dreary weeds, disclosed too sad a tale.

I knew it all.—Six months before, i'the very prime of Spring,
When, all the world of flowers was out, birds, bees upon the wing,
When every hue was loveliness, and every sound was mirth,
A sudden cloud and silence fell upon the joyous earth.

Her loving husband, ailing long, with his departing breath
Muttered a blessing on her cheek, then slept the sleep of death:
Gone was the father firm and fond, the husband true and kind;
But tears, despair, and poverty, alas! remained behind.

His violin hung on the wall; the hat he used to wear;
There in the corner leaned his staff; here stood his vacant chair;
His favourite bird yet sang aloft, at its capricious will;
And the old Bible that he loved, lay in the window still.

But nearly all beside had gone for scanty means of life,
And not without a parting pang of deep and inward strife;
Then, even then, her eldest-born dead on her pallet lay,
Calmly the mother-mourner said—"She died but yesterday!"

Dear God! what could that woman do, and all her helpless brood,
In the cold desert of the world, for shelter and for food?
Who would bestow upon her child a coffin and a grave?—
I prayed within my inmost soul that Heaven would stoop to save.

Startling my thoughts, some gentle hand smote the rude cottage door,
And one, affliction's comforter, stopped o'er the sanded floor;
The merchant's daughter, fair and young, by many a heart beloved,
Her father's graceful almoner, where'er her footsteps moved.

She gazed around the sad abode with quick and mute surprise,
While precious drops of sympathy suffused her earnest eyes;
She sate her down all pensively, with joy-abandoned air,
And for a moment seemed to breathe her soul in secret prayer.

With unobtrusive questions she drew forth the widow's woe,
While the rich blood upon her check went flitting to and fro:
With parted lips, and patient ear, the dark account she heard,
Till the deep fountains of her heart with kindred grief were stirred.

She laid a purse of tinkling gold within the widow's palm,
Rose to depart, and spoke again, with voice subdued and calm:—
"Mourner, the God who gave us wealth, hath sent His servant here;
Remember in thy after-need, my father's house is near."

She went with blessings on her head, with beauty in her face,
A sister of sweet Charity,—a messenger of grace;
She went in virgin holiness, bent on her pure, employ,
Leaving within the widow's heart, peace, thankfulness, and joy.

Like dews and showers in springtide hours, shed from, the wings of night,
Felt by the green and grateful earth, when wakes the morning light,—
The merchant's bounty fell abroad, spontaneous and the same,
Refreshing many a languid soul that wist not whence it came.

When Heaven exalteth such as he, what hand would bring them down?
What heart repine at rising worth? what face at virtue frown?
As well the fields might curse the clouds, because they ride so high,
And envious flowers upbraid the stars that burn along the sky.

It is a rare and pleasant task to sing of generous power!
Oh! for a theme so free from pain, for every passing hour!
When shall our mournful harps forget that sad, unheeded song,
Of wants, tears, toils, and ignorance, too truthful and too long!

 

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CHRISTMAS.

 

BLEST Morn, by the Redeemer made the holiest of the year!
In the encircling silence now I feel thy drawing near;
The very frost-wind stealing past, upon my forehead flings
A freshness, wafted by the stir of thy advancing wings:
In clustering constellations, too, the star-troops seem to burn
In all their bright emblazonry, to welcome thy return.
Hail to thy coming once again, thou spiritual time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Rejoice, my spirit, hopefully; yon temple's hoary tower
Gives to the far-pervading night the consecrated hour;
And human voices, here and there, uplift with glad acclaim
A sweet old song of thankfulness to God's transcendent name;
While fancy hears the angel hymn, and sees the star whose ray
Smiled on the lowly manger-roof where GOD Incarnate lay.
Hail to thy coming once again, then praise-inspiring time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Imagination hovers o'er thee, glorious Palestine!
Proud birth-place of the Saviour, that prodigy divine;
Thou saw'st His miracles of love, His excellence of life,
And how He bore with holy calm the malice and the strife
Of cruel and calumnious power, of unbelieving pride,
Though sold, scourged, menaced, and reviled, and by His own
            denied.
Hail to thy coming once again, thou solemnizing time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Land which behold upon His brow the diadem of thorns,
Planted by ruffian hands, amid indignities and scorns;
While some, more reckless than the rest, exulting in their deeds,
Spat in that pale and patient face, distained with bloody beads,
Whence came with meek humility the words of sorrow true,
"Father, forgive their ignorance, they know not what they do!"
Hail to thy coming once again, thou sad yet soothing time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Land which behold, when Heaven had brimmed His earthly cup
            with woes,
His ordeal of sanguine sweat, His agonizing throes,
What time in lone Gethsemane's funereal depths of shade,
A more than human misery was on His spirit laid;
The while with pinched and parched lips, he murmured—"From
            thy Son
Oh! pass this draught of bitterness; but still, Thy will be done!"
Hail to thy coming once again, thou mournful, musing time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Land which beheld the final scene of man-redeeming love,
When the dear Jesus loosed His soul to wing its way above;
While rude, remorseless men looked on with wild and wolfish
            eyes,
Laughed at the spectacle, nor deemed how great the sacrifice,
Till earth put on the dreary robe of black, unnatural night,
Shook tower and temple on her breast, and smote them with
            affright.
Hail to thy coming once again, thou awe-creating time,
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Sweet to behold thy influence o'er all the Christian world;
To see the banner of "good will" spontaneously unfurled;
To find our daily fears forgot, our enmities forgiven,
And hearts grow dearer each to each, and nearer unto heaven:
To know that 'midst the multitudes one simultaneous tone
Of joyance and benevolence respondeth to our own.
Hail to thy coming once, again, thou humanizing time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving and sublime!

In crowded cities men forego their wretchedness and wrongs,
New pleasure lighteth up their eyes, and leapeth from their
            tongues;
In palace and in cottage homes, one sentiment is rife;
On mountain slopes, in lonely glens, awakes more buoyant life;
In stern, unpeopled forest glooms, on 'wildering seas and wide,
Hand claspeth hand, soul clings to soul, and care is cast aside.
Hail to thy coming once again, thou sympathetic time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Blest season! when the friendly draught, in darkness prisoned long,
Flows o'er the laughing lip, and wakes the slumbering voice of song;
When music thrills the holly bough, and stirs the languid breast,
And frankly from the glowing heart is flung the harmless jest;
When modest maidenhood grows gay, and childhood frolics wild,
And age remembers lovingly that Jesus was a Child.
Hail to thy coming once again, thou free and festive time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

Blest season! yet not blest to all, save in the holy sense
Of sweet salvation, and the power of high omnipotence;
How many at this festal time confront the coming year
With desperate hearts, upbraiding eyes, and souls which know no
            cheer:
Oh! that the human family could each and all partake
One creed, one comfort, and one joy, blythe Christmas! for thy
            sake.
Hail to thy coming once again, then meditative time!
Morn of a mighty mystery, soul-saving, and sublime!

 

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SONNET TO THE OLD YEAR.

 

THOU slumberest with the past, old forty-four,
        But then hast left thy foot-prints on the earth,
        And good will grow thereon; yet at thy birth
How many hearts grew glad, that throb no more!
Mine was distraught, and aching to the core,
        When jolly winter brought thee by the hand
        To claim allegiance for thee; bright and bland
Thou gav'st me merry morning at the door.
'Twas answered with good will, and I forgot
In thy blythe presence my untoward lot,
        Grew bold and cheerful, resolute to thrive;
Alas for my resolves! behold me now
Receive with scanty store and care-worn brow
        Thy young successor, hopeful forty-five!

 

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MIDNIGHT IMAGININGS:

Composed during Sickness.

 

WITH an angry wing, and an awful wail,
Sad o'er my roof-tree hurries the gale
Of moonless November, drenched and drear,
With a dirge-like tone for the falling Year;
Flinging the fierce and incessant rain
Full on the sounding window-pane.
Without, in the damp and deserted street,
Is heard the brief tread of belated feet,
And the vulgar reveller reeling along,
Answers the wind with a snatch of song;
While, muffled and hoarse, in the driving shower,
The watchman heralds the midnight hour.

        Now in the tempest there comes a lull,
And I mark on my chamber-walls, bare and dull,
The ghostly shadows that frown and fade,
By the flickering fire of my night-fire made:
I list to the cricket-song, shrill and lone,
And the purr of the cat on the dim hearthstone,
And the restless clock, and the breathing deep
Of dear ones around me, who calmly sleep.
Alas! no repose for my aching lids!
The fever within me that burns, forbids
The natural blessing that falls so mild
On the stalwart man, and the sinless child.
But blest be the Being who takes and gives;
Who governs the humblest thing that lives,
Who hath laid His hand on my wayward soul,
With a just reproof and a kind control,—
Sweet fancies and memories still remain
To fill up the pauses of fitful pain.
Even now is the spirit of thought at play,
Like a passenger bird on its trackless way,
That stoopeth to rest on those far-off isles
Where lingering Summer in beauty smiles.

        Gone is the storm, and the wind, and the gloom,
Gone the blank walls of my cheerless room;
Rafter and roof are vanished from sight,
And the starless robe of November night;
And I walk like a creature for gladness born,
In the first faint flush of a Spring-tide morn,
Where the dew-pearls lie on the flowery grass,
Bathing my feet as I pensively pass.
Heaves the round sun o'er the cold, clear line
Of the mountain fringed with the sombre pine
Kindles the cloud with a rosier gleam,
Laughs in the lustre the singing stream,
Smile the rich woods in their gayest of green,
And the slumbering meadow slopes lying between.
The lark is above me, the first to pay
Melodious tribute to regal Day;
And the linnet replies from the hawthorn bush,
To the echoing call of the woodland thrush;
Crows the shrill cock from his home on the hill,
Starts into labour the moss-grown mill,
Rings from the forest the woodman's stroke,
Soars from the hamlet the feathery smoke:
Fresh airs and musical wander about,
Laden with sweets from the flowers flung out;
The mantle of May on the landscape lies,
No shadow shuts out the blue breadth of the skies;
While the unsealed springs of enjoyment start,
In the healthful pulse, and the grateful heart.

        Leaning against the far western steep,
With his fiery foot in the glowing deep,
The Sun-god sits, and stains the skies
With gorgeous glooms and dazzling dyes;
Mingling and changing, melting soon,
As the pearly face of the milder moon
Looks from the star-paved portals of night,
Pervading the air with her clear sweet light.

        I pace the smooth surface of sea-sands wide,
Wrinkled and ribbed by the downward tide;
Where the foam-fringed waves, that sink and swell
On rounded pebble and glistening shell,
With the muffled hum of the distant town,
Sent on the seaward breezes down,
Make lovely music, and thrill the chords
Of memories far "too deep for words!"
With stately spar, and clustering sail
Big with the breath of the wayward gale,
The shadowy ships go forth afar,
By the life-like needle and Arctic star
Obedient now to the calm command
Of the master's word, and the helmsman's hand;
Till they sink from sight o'er the dusky line
Where the grey sky stoops to the level brine;
And fancy follows them over the main,
And the heart asks—"Shall they return again?"

        But my moonlight vision is past, and now
With a languid limb, and a beaded brow,
O'er the odorous field, and the footworn stile,
I thoughtfully wander; but tarry awhile
Where the prostrate meadow-grass, dry and dun,
Absorbeth the rays of the summer sun;
While the rustic group, "man, maiden, and boy,"
Who have left for an hour their sweet employ,
Sit aloof, 'mid the music of bird and bee,
In the ample shade of the broad beech-tree.
On—on to the woods that I love so well,
Where beauty, and quiet, and coolness dwell:
I am there in the heart of the wildest shade,
Where the red deer glances athwart the glade;
To a deeper gloom, to a lovelier spot,
Where the wanderer's foot may disturb him not;
Where the leveret springs as I slowly pass
Through the pensile fern and the pliant grass,
As though 'twere forbidden for man to Team
In the tangled haunts of her sylvan home.

        At length on the sward, in a side-long rest,
With a busy brain and a tranquil breast,
I lie where the harebell about my knees
Stoops low to the kiss of the roving breeze.
Around me a shadowy realm appears
Of woods with the strength of a hundred years,
With slumb'rous aisles that charm the sight
With doubtful distance, and dubious light;
Above me, a roof where the heaven of blue
Through a legion of leaves breaks sweetly through;
Beside me, the page of the poet, whose name
Is a world-uttered word with a world-wide fame;
And I take it up lovingly, turning awhile
From charm unto charm, with a tear and a smile,
Till I plunge in a cluster of sweets outright,
Re-dreaming "the Dream of a Midsummer's Night."
O'ercome by the region of moonlight spells,
Half hid in a curtain of wild blue-bells,
In the dim deep forest-paths far away,
I repose by the side of the Queenly Fay,
And fancy that Puck, so mischievous and wise,
Is dropping his juice in my languid eyes;
And I feel the light fingers of welcome, sleep,
With a healing touch o'er my senses creep.
For this brief visit of calm, sweet rest,
Oh, God! in Thy mercies be praised and blest!
Sustain me and guard me, a helpless thing,
By the shadow and strength of Thy holy wing.

 

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THE TEMPLE OF NATURE.

 

WERE there no temple reared by mortal hands,
        No altar stone, no consecrated shrine,
        No edifice for purposes divine,
To congregate the people of the lands,—
Still would the flame of adoration's fire
Survive in human hearts, and heavenward aspire.

What need of graceful arch and storied pane
        To a poor suffering sinner on his knees?
        The universe has greater things than these
Wherewith to decorate God's boundless fane;
And many voices of sublimer powers,
Which send unto the skies a grander psalm than
                ours.

With never-failing lamps the heavens are hung,
        The mighty sun by fiery robes embraced,
        The changeful moon, so beautiful and chaste,
The crowded stars in countless systems strung,
And meteors speeding with a fearful flight
Through all the realms of space, and swathed in
                marvellous light.

And there are sounds of worship that arise
        From birds and trees, in many a sigh and song,
        From winds and waters hurrying along,
From restless oceans heaving towards the skies:
And flowers, fruits, spices, streams of incense send
Up to the floating clouds, where they in sweetness
                blend.

On mountain tops we'd breathe our matin hymn,
        While the lark chanted to the new-born day;
        At noon retire, to meditate and pray
In the old forest aisles, so cool and dim;
At night, amid our household seek the Lord,
And learn the precious truths shrined in His
                blessed Word.

And yet, 'tis well that men should congregate
        To read, expound, and venerate the Page,
        Which shall extend from brightening age to age
The hopeful promise of a holier state;
'Tis well to meet with souls that look above,
To form and propagate a brotherhood of love,

Oh! for one simple creed, which all could share,
        The mildest, purest, mercifulest, best,
        That we might follow God's divine behest,
And worship Him in gladness everywhere;
Free from all doubt, intolerance, and pride,
Pursue the better way, with Jesus for our guide.

 

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LEGENDARY FRAGMENT.

 

"MAIDEN, as bright as the Hunter's star,
When it shines in its cloudless home afar;
Dove of the forest, whose timorous eyes
Are tender as April's tearful skies;
Whose hand is as small as the red oak leaf,
Whose foot as the lark's spread wing is brief;
Whose step is the step of the antelope's child,
As it bounds o'er the prairie, gracefully wild;
Whose voice is as soft as a rill in the moon,
Or the brooklet's flow at the hour of noon;—
Whither, O maiden! goest then now,
With the drooping form, and thy bashful brow?"

"I go to the Idols this springtide morn,
That my loving heart may be less forlorn;
I go to lay down the gifts of my Brave,
Whom they from all danger can shield and save:
The song-sparrow's crest I take with me,
For it sang to us both from the forest tree;
And the spirit-bird's tail, so rich and rare,
And the shells that were dyed in the sunset fair,
And the beads that he brought from a far-off land.
And the skin of the lynx that fell by his hand,
Before the mocassins bedecked his feet,
Ere he murmured to me his love-tale sweet.
I go to ask them to shield his heart
Against the Maha and his poisonous dart;
To give to his arm true vigour and aim,
To his feet the speed of the prairie-flame;
To make his voice like the thunder-boom,
When the hills are clothed with a lurid gloom:
And when there is Maha blood on the track,
And a cluster of Pawnee scalps at his back,
To let him return to my longing breast,
That he may have solace, and joy, and rest,
While I wipe the sweat from his weary brow,
And love him as deeply as I do now:—
The, Idols, man, woman, and dog of stone,
That stand on the willow-bank, wildly alone."

 

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THE PAUPER'S GRAVE.

 

BEHOLD ye how calmly he sinks to death!
        His last pulse flutters, his eyes grow dim;
But those who await his parting breath
        Can cherish no feeling of grief for him;
Unmoved as his prison walls they stand,
        Till the tide of existence has ebbed away,
Prepared with a rude and remorseless band
        To render to earth the insulted clay.
He dies,—and already some hungry slave
Is breaking the sod for the Pauper's grave.

With many a jest on his woes untold,
        They lift from its pallet the lifeless load;
Ere the stirless streams of his veins are cold,
        They hurry him forth to his last abode;
Nor friendship nor love attends him there,
        Not a knell is rung, not a tear is shed;
But hurried and brief is the burial prayer,
        By a worldly priest o'er the sacred dead:
But the minion of power, and unfeeling knave,
Deign not to look on the Pauper's grave.

But where can the wife of his bosom be?—
        With a broken heart she has gone before;
And the son whom he taught to be just and free?—
        He selleth his blood on a foreign shore.
But the dove of his household, has she, too, flown?—
        Alas! there is woe in the lost one's name,
For a pitiless destiny brought her down
        To the harlot's ruin, remorse, and shame:
And he, the fond father, who yearned to save,
Forgets his despair in a Pauper's grave.

Born on our own unconquered soil,
        His life was pure, though his lot was hard;
His days were devoted to painful toil,
        And precarious bread was his best reward;
But his arm waxed faint, and his Workhouse doom
        Was darker far than the lot he bore;
For, shut from the world in a living tomb,
        Nor mother nor offspring beheld him more.
Arise and avenge him, ye good and brave,
For blood cries out from the Pauper's grave!

 

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VINDICATORY STANZAS.

 

WHATE'ER I am, whatever sign I wear upon my sleeve,
Whatever creed my inmost heart may prompt me to believe;
Whatever right I recognise, whatever wrong endure,—
I ne'er can yield my honest love for freedom and the poor.

The lowly and the suffering, the life-blood of the earth,
I'm one of them,—to one of them I owe my childrens' birth;
And in my after years ears of life, however high my state,
I never can forget to feel for their unhappy fate.

For freedom, did I say?   Ah! yes,—for freedom just and true;
But not the lawless monster of the rancour-breathing few,
Who glide like serpents into hearts by toil and sorrow torn,—
On them, and their unholy deeds, I fling my proudest scorn.

The poetry of England, in all its forms and hues,
The glowing words, the living thoughts, of her transcendent muse;
The poetry that clings around her temples, halls, and towers,
And nestles in the sylvan depths of all her vales and bowers;

The poetry that clothes alike the cottage and the throne,
And speaks from all her classic haunts with high majestic tone:
These have my deepest reverence,—in these my thoughts rejoice;
But "the poetry of Poverty should have a fitting voice."

It hath a voice, a stirring voice, sent from a thousand tongues,
From hearts that wish for all its rights, and feel for all its wrongs:
'Tis not the voice of fierce complaint, loud insolence and threat,
But that of calm persuasive power, the best and surest yet.

And mine, too,—feeble though it be, and of a fitful sound,
But still the echo of a heart, of sympathies profound,—
Shall sometimes mingle with the rest, in pain or peril's hour,
To warn, cheer, teach, and elevate, if such maybe its power.

A little song of cheerfulness, to make their labours light;
A strain to open out their souls, and make them think aright;
A lesson which may lead them on to mend their common weal;—
But not the stern anathema of false and fiery zeal.

There are who with a puny pride my outward errors scan;
Alas! what little power is theirs to judge the inner man!
They think that my poor yielding heart, which impulse still controls,
Is narrow as their sympathies, and niggard as their souls.

Could they but read the hidden book, the life-book in my breast,
With sorrows, which they never knew, a thousand-fold impressed;
Could they but read its sentiments, its yearnings, love, and trust,
And weigh its good against the ill,—they could not but be just.

But that is not for them; and I dare not presume to claim
More virtues than the lowliest who bear the human name:
But in this world, where men applaud, mistake, misjudge, condemn,
I only ask that charity which I would give to them.

There's good in all things, and 'tis ours to seek it everywhere,
And when 'tis found, to honour it, and foster it with care;
There's good in all the various forms of still and stirring life;
For all the boundless universe with excellence is rife.

And man hath always something good, or be he high or low,
In intellect or circumstance, in happiness or woe:
His errors pity and remove, with mild and manly will,
And be his higher gifts your care and admiration still.

My badge is that which singles me from out the lower clay;
My motto, hope and thankfulness for blessings day by day;
My creed, that holy creed of love which CHRIST Himself has given;
My party, all who walk the earth anticipating Heaven!

 

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RETROSPECTION.

 

"I MIGHT have been"—oh! sad, suggestive words!
        So full of hidden meaning, yet so vain!
How sadly do they sound on memory's chords,
        And waken feelings of regretful pain!
I might have been a wiser, better man,
        With signs of well-won honour on my brow,
Had I adhered to nature's simple plan,
        Or reasoned with myself, as I do now.
True that my life has been with ills beset,
        Early neglect, and poverty, and gloom,
Within whose shades—how well remembered yet!—
        My mind found neither sustenance nor room;
Yet, with instinctive longing for the right,
It sought for fitting food, and struggled towards the light.

Too late to gather up the waste of years,
        And turn to profit the encumbering dross;
The gold has vanished,—and these sudden tears
        Attest my silent sorrow for the loss.
Too late to win the humble meed of fame
        I hoped and strove for in my early days;
Too late to cast the shadow from my name,
        And turn the world's hard censure into praise;
Too late to ask the dear beloved and lost,
        Forgiveness for stern word and galling deed,
Uttered and done at such a fearful cost
        That I am bankrupt,—and too late to plead:
But oh, my God! here on my suppliant knee
I ask,—Am I too late for mercy and for Thee?

 

_________________________

 
SUPPLICATION.

 

OH! help me in my deepest need,
        My Father, Friend, and Lord!
And make me drink with eager lip
        The waters of Thy Word;
So I may rise refreshed and glad,
        Unbowed by earthly ill,
My business and my pleasure both
        To do Thy holy will.

For His dear sake, who left Thy side
        A fallen race to save,
To take all agony from death,
        All terror from the grave,
Receive me 'mong the chosen ones
        Who journey towards the sky,
And fit me for that perfect home
        Where love can never die!



THE END.

 



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