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A SABBATH SCENE.
CARCE had the solemn Sabbath-bell
Scarce had the parson to his desk
A SABBATH SCENE.
When down the summer shaded street
A wasted female figure,
With dusky brow and naked feet,
She saw the white spire through the trees,
Like a scared fawn before the hounds,
She raised a keen and bitter cry,
A score of stout hands rose between
Age clenched his staff, and maiden eyes
"Who dares profane this house and day?"
Why, bless your soul, the wench 's a slave,
"I've law and gospel on my side,
"Of course I know your right divine
Plump dropped the holy tome, and o'er
Bound hand and foot, a slave once more,
I saw the parson tie the knots,
Although," said he, "on Sabbath day, All secular occupations
Are deadly sins, we must fulfil
Our moral obligations:
"And this commends itself as one To every conscience tender;
As Paul sent back Onesimus,
My Christian friends, we send her!
Shriek rose on shriek, the Sabbath air
I listened, with hushed breath, to hear
All still! - the very altar's cloth
Had smothered down her shrieking, And, dumb, she turned from face to face, For human pity seeking!
I saw her dragged along the aisle,
I heard the parson, over all,
The Lord devoutly thanking!
My brain took fire: "Is this," I cried,
"Foul shame and scorn be on ye all
And steal the Bible from the Lord,
“Than garbled text or parchment law
And God is true, though every book
Just then I felt the deacon's hand
I started up,
where now were church,
But, on the open window's sill,
O'er which the white blooms drifted,
The pages of a good old Book
The wind of summer lifted.
And flower and vine, like angel wings
Waved softly there, as if God's truth
And freely from the cherry-bough
As bird and flower made plain of old
So now I heard the written Word
Interpreted by Nature!
For to my ear methought the breeze
Bore Freedom's blessed word on;
THUS SAITH THE LORD: BREAK EVERY YOKE, UNDO THE HEAVY BURDEN!
NE day, along the electric wire
His manly word for Freedom sped; We came next morn: that tongue of fire Said only, He who spake is dead!"
Dead! while his voice was living yet,
In echoes round the pillared dome! Dead! while his blotted page lay wet
With themes of state and loves of home!
Dead! in that crowning grace of time,
Dead! he so great, and strong, and wise,
From the high place whereon our votes
We seemed to see our flag unfurled,
For the last battle of the world,