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Chiming the vesper hour of prayer,
O'er the mountain top and lowland dell. And infancy and age are seen,
Slow winding o'er the church-yard green.
It is the eve of rest; the light
Still lingers on the moss-grown tower, While to the drowsy ear of night,
Slowly it marks the evening hour.
'Tis hush'd! and all is silent there,
Save the low, fervent voice of prayer.
And now far down the quiet vale,
Sweet hymnings on the air float by;
Hushing the whip-poor-will's sad wail
With its own plaintive melody.
They breathe of peace, like the sweet strains
That swept at night o'er Bethlehem's plains.
And heads are bow'd, as the low hymn
Steals through that gray and time-worn pile;
And the altar lights burn faint and dim,
In the long and moss-grown aisle.
And the distant foot-fall echoes loud,
Above that hush'd and kneeling crowd.
And now beneath the old elm's shade,
Where the cold moon-beams may not smile;
Bright flowers upon the graves are laid,
And sad tears shed unseen the while.
The last sweet gift affection brings,
To deck the earth to which it clings.
How beautiful those simple flowers
Strown o'er that silent spot still sleep;
Still wet with summer's gentle showers,
As if they too could feel and weep!
They fade and die; the wintry wind
Shall leave no trace of them behind!
The bright new moon hath set: the light
Is fading on the far blue hills;
And on the passing breeze of night,
The music of their thousand rills
Comes echoing through the twilight gray,
With the lone watch-dog's distant bay.
The crowd hath pass'd away; the prayer
And low breathed evening hymn are gone ;
The cold mist only lingers there,
O'er the dark moss and mouldering stone. And the stars shine brightly o'er the glen, Where rest the quiet homes of men.
He sleeps beneath the larch tree's shade;
And kindly hands his cairn have made
Far up among the sunny hills,
Beside his own pure mountain rills;
Whose music, when the summer day
From the deep glens had pass'd away,
And from the far down village tower
The bell toll'd out the evening hour,
Would murmur round his moss-wreathed bed,
Its simple requiem o'er the dead.
It is a lonely grave—and here,
When the still summer eve draws near,
The eagle folds his dusky wing,
To list the storm's deep muttering
Far down among the mountain vales;
While o'er that verdant spot, the gales
Of evening stir the dark old pines;
And o'er the cloud's embattled lines,
The sun pours forth his last bright smile,
As if to bless that mouldering pile.
Long years have sped upon their flight,
And many a dark and weary night,
The cold rain-drops, with sullen dash,
Have swept the larch and mountain ash,
Since the first flow'rets bloom'd around,
The margin of that little mound.
It was a summer day-the bells,
From the deep mountain gorge and dells,
Were chiming on the morning breeze;
And 'neath the dark o'erhanging trees,
The muleteer sung on his way
Chanting his blithesome roundelay.
No tears were shed-no mutter'd prayer
Stole upward through the stilly air;
No flowers were strown-the mountain stream
Murmur'd his only requiem!
But when his native hills are bright
In the calm smile of summer's light;
And all the lowland woods are green,
By that lone grave sweet flowers are seen;
And travellers pause upon their way,
To list the birds' sad minstrelsy
From that old larch, and breathe a prayer,
For him who rests in silence there.
WILLIAM B. 0. PEABODY,
A NATIVE of Exeter, New Hampshire, was graduated at Cambridge, in 1816. He is now settled in the ministry at Springfield, in Massachusetts. His poems, which have appeared anonymously in various periodicals, show superior talent and good taste.
GOD of the earth's extended plains!
The dark green fields contented lie:
The mountains rise like holy towers,
Where man might commune with the sky:
The tall cliff challenges the storm
That lowers upon the vale below,
Where shaded fountains send their streams,
With joyous music in their flow.
God of the dark and heavy deep!
The waves lie sleeping on the sands,
Till the fierce trumpet of the storm
Hath summon'd up their thundering bands;
Then the white sails are dash'd like foam,
Or hurry trembling, o'er the seas,
Till calm'd by thee, the sinking gale
Serenely breathes, "Depart in peace.”
God of the forest's solemn shade!
The grandeur of the lonely tree,
That wrestles singly with the gale,
Lifts up admiring eyes to thee;
But more majestic far they stand,
When side by side, their ranks they form, To wave on high their plumes of green, And fight their battles with the storm.
God of the light and viewless air!
Where summer breezes sweetly flow,
Or, gathering in their angry might,
The fierce and wintry tempests blow;
All-from the evening's plaintive sigh,
That hardly lifts the drooping flower,
To the wild whirlwind's midnight cry-
Breathes forth the language of thy power.
God of the fair and open sky!
How gloriously above us springs
The tented dome, of heavenly blue,
Suspended on the rainbow's wings;
Each brilliant star, that sparkles through
Each gilded cloud, that wanders free
In evening's purple radiance, gives
The beauty of its praise to thee.
God of the rolling orbs above!
Thy name is written clearly bright
In the warm day's unvarying blaze,
Or evening's golden shower of light.
For every fire that fronts the sun,
And every spark that walks alone
Around the utmost verge of heaven,
Were kindled at thy burning throne.
God of the world! thy hour must come,
And nature's self to dust return!
Her crumbling altars must decay!
Her incense fires shall cease to burn! But still her grand and lovely scenes
Have made man's warmest praises flow;
For hearts grow holier as they trace
The beauty of the world below.
ON SEEING A DECEASED INFANT.
And this is death! how cold and still,
And yet how lovely it appears!
Too cold to let the gazer smile,
But far too beautiful for tears.
The sparkling eye no more is bright,
The cheek hath lost its rose-]
And yet it is with strange delight
I stand and gaze upon the dead.
But when I see the fair wide brow, Half shaded by the silken hair, That never look'd so fair as now, When life and health were laughing there I wonder not that grief should swell So wildly upward in the breast,
And that strong passion once rebel That need not, cannot be suppress'd.
I wonder not that parents' eyes
In gazing thus grow cold and dim,
That burning tears and aching sighs
Are blended with the funeral hymn;
The spirit hath an earthly part,
That weeps when earthly pleasure flies,
And heaven would scorn the frozen heart
That melts not when the infant dies.
And yet why mourn? that deep repose
Shall never more be broke by pain;
Those lips no more in sighs unclose,
Those eyes shall never weep again.
For think not that the blushing flower
Shall wither in the church-yard sod,
'Twas made to gild an angel's bower
Within the paradise of God.
Once more I gaze-and swift and far The clouds of death in sorrow fly,