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And she had won-aye, with her glorious boy
Upon her very breast-the victory!
Oh! let the erring oftener be forgiven,
That, in the shadowy twilight of the mind,
They stray a little from the perfect way!
If there is evidence in silent leaves,
And the still waters, of a present God,
And all who hear not messages of grace,
Must gather from its dim and hidden words
Their better solaces; remember ye
Who reckon lightly of the poor Hindoo,
That, in the scattering of the leaves of life,
His page was written more imperfectly.
The beautiful sun arose, and there was not
A stain upon the sky; the virgin blue
Was delicate as light; and, as the east
Eclipsed night's pale and starry jewelry,
The pure intensity of noon stole on,
Like the soft deepening of a northern eye.
"Come! my own glorious boy!" and forth he sprang, As he had been created of the morn
A spirit and an element of light.
"Come! Come!" and he was bounding airily
Beside his stately mother, laughing out
His lisping prattle of the promised boat,
As if her words had been in playfulness,
"That the bright waves should float him on to heaven."
The morning mist stole up, as Meina knelt
To offer him to God. Her eyes were dim;
But her fine forehead, and her calm, still lip,
Were fearfully subdued; and as the cloud
Which clothes the lightning slumbers, so they slept.
Her soul was in its strength. She held her boy
Upon her bosom, till she felt the throb
Of his warm pulses numbered on her heart,
And her low, leaden cadences, kept on!
His silken hair, as delicately soft
As the light wind that stirr'd it, floated up,
As if to plead at her transparent cheek;
But she had wooed its kisses till it came
To be a fond idolatry, and now
She nerved her as the strong heart answer'd it.
And the low words broke severally on,
Distinctly as a common orison!
There is a period in the wreck of hopes
By the affections garnered, calmer far
Than an untried serenity. It comes
With the stern conflict ever, and awaits
The passage of that hour, as if the soul
Were girded, and had champion'd suffering;
And it is strange, how a weak human heart
Will thus be quiet like a hushing storm,
And, with a fetter on its pulses, wait
To measure spirits for the mastery!
The low "Amen!" died on the silent air,
And Meina's heart was ready. The young boy
Sprang joyously away, as if her arms
Had prison'd him too long; and, as he saw
The painted boat heave lightly to the swell
Upon the reedy shore, and caught the breath
Of her wreathed helm of flowers, he gave a shout,
In his impatient gladness, and away,
Like a warm vision of aerial birth,
He bounded to implore that she would come.
Calmly and steadily came Meina on,
Led by her victim boy. The boat was there
Among the tall wet reeds, and she went in
And scann'd its light frame over, and arranged
Its mimic ornaments; and then again,
When she had seen it all, and he had grown
Impatient, she began to note once more
The frailties in its lightly plaited reeds,
As if she did not know that it was meant
To kill. It is a wonderful effect
Of nature in the heart, that in the strength
Of a mistaken duty, it will turn,
And almost trifle with its tenderness,
As if it half misgave that all was wrong.
"Come!" and he sprang into his mother's arms With a light leap, and, scarcely faltering
In his gay laugh, he look'd into her face,
And in a tone of fondness whisper'd her,
"Will the boat bear, dear mother?" She had quell'd
Her feelings until now; had nerved herself
To the light grace with which he bounded by;
Had heard his voice, and look'd upon his hair
In its light, breezy floatings, and had shut
Her heart up, with an iron thought, to all.
But this one doubt, half sadness as it came
From his delighted lips, and with his look
Of childlike and appealing confidence,
Was keener than a mother's heart could bear!
She bow'd her head, and struggled, as if life
Were bursting from its seal; and, as the thought
Rush'd over her to take her idol back,
And keep him for her God, he murmur'd low,
"And are you sure, my mother?" "No! my son!"
And the strong tide of nature gather'd back
With a resistless energy. She clasp'd
Her boy convulsively, and he had lived
To quicken, in its gifted elements,
The radiant spirit written on his brow,
But a high strengthening she knew not of,
Awaken'd her, and pressing down her lips
In a long fervent kiss upon his cheek,
She hush'd him into peace, and lifting up
Her face to heaven, she breathed the name of God,
And laid him down-for ever!
Went smoothly with the tide, and floated on
Till his dark eye was scarcely visible.
On, and yet on, she bounded! The bright waves
Seem'd playful in their leaping joyousness,
And the curl'd ripple feather'd at the prow
Like a glad thing of life. Had death grown slow?
Or were the waters "stay'd," that they should keep
Their cold embraces from him? On, still on,
With her quick undulations! Hope revived
In the sick heart of Meina, and she rose
To gaze more keenly forward. He was there,
And his small arms were lifted; and she thought
That, as he toss'd them upward, she could hear
A cadence of his sweet and silvery voice
Like a delighted shouting. It died off,
And then again she heard it. Was it joy
That broke upon her ear? oh! was there joy
In that long cry, thou mother? Hark to it!
"T is like the arrowy piercing of the wind!
He moveth, and she bade him to be still!
He riseth! 't is his boyish restlessness!
Look, Meina! Does he dash his little hands,
In mirth, upon the waters? Hark!
"Mother!" He calls thee! Is thy child afraid?
Again! How very fearfully it comes !
Help! Mother!" 't is a cry of agony!
He sinks! Fly! Fly! he calls to thee! Oh fly! "Mother!" God help thee! Dost thou see him now?
EXTRACT FROM A POEM DELIVERED AT THE DEPARTURE
OF THE SENIOR CLASS OF YALE COLLEGE, IN 1826.
WHAT is its earthly victory? Press on!
For it hath tempted angels. Yet press on!
For it shall make you mighty among men;
And from the eyrie of your eagle thought,
Ye shall look down on monarchs. Oh! press on!
For the high ones and powerful shall come
To do you reverence; and the beautiful
Will know the purer language of your brow,
And read it like a talisman of love!
Press on for it is godlike to unloose
The spirit, and forget yourself in thought;
Bending a pinion for the deeper sky,
And in the very fetters of your flesh,
Mating with the pure essences of heaven!
Press on!" for in the grave there is no work,
And no device."-Press on! while yet ye may !
JAMES WILLIAM MILLER,
Or Boston, joint editor with Mr Neal, of the Yankee and Boston Literary Gazette. His poetry possesses high merit. He has a rich and delicate fancy, and a happy facility of numbers.
THE calm, reposing shades of evening hours,
Thrown from the forest-tops on fields of flowers;
The gentle hill-side sloping to the plain;
The faint blue islet on the distant main;
And, over all, the reaching bend of sky,
Where floating clouds pass on, and others lie
In heavenly watch, that the gone sun hath shaded
With hues like rainbow arches broke and braided;
With idle oar uplift, the gliding barge,
O'er winding waters, with close-shaven marge;
And then, the wavy voices of the tide,
Lapsing along the narrowing river's side;
The low winds, passing mute across the plain,
Then murmuring their forest tones again,
And freshening to a cool and plaintive breeze,
Catching a dirge-like measure from the trees;
Such scenes before mine eye, such sounds that glide
Along the woody path and water's side,
Fling on my mind a deep poetic feeling,
From every hue and tone a beauty stealing:
Like a rich mantle it comes folding o'er me,
Woven of all the harmonies before me;
And then I close my eyes, and seem to see,
Within, the feeling thus enthralling me.
In such a musing mood a vision pass'd
Sudden before me, and was still then cast
Off from mine eye the dream's obscurity,
And was unveil'd, in its fine mystery.
Such reveries the sages of old days
Were wont to have, and call them visiting rays
From caring Deities, that they might then
Bless, with good thoughts and truth, the souls of men;
And on their eyes holy revealings broke,
And in their ears great teaching voices spoke.
The vision. It came forth, and there it stood,
And I beheld it; the tall, solemn wood
Smiled greenly in the slant sunbeams, that linger'd
Yet on the hovering cloud shapes, rosy finger'd,
Pointing Day's hidden place; along its edges
Wander'd a brooklet, loosing, 'neath the sedges
Frequent its silver course, and only telling
Its secret roaming by its musical welling;
And thence went down the long smooth slope; below
Spread out the meadow, with its exquisite show
Of tall grass waving verdantly, and flowers,
Lifting their grateful eyes for morning showers;
And clumps of bunchy hazel; farther still
Went by the river, as if with grave will
Going down straight, or curving with strong grace,
Passing, for ever, to his destined place.
Yet the sweet vision. From the dusky verging
Of the gray wood's recess it came emerging,
A dreamy shape, as of the sea-born daughter,
Light as a mist wreath o'er a moonlit water;