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Befits the Christian bard, whose golden lyre Should own no string that sounds to aught but Heaven.
Borne on that sigh, her gentle spirit rose
Buoyant through yon blue concave; and shook off
(Half angel ere it fled) its beauteous clay*:
To its bright home by sister seraphs led,
And by glad myriads of the sainted just
Greeted with hymns of triumph. So the lark,
Late in some sunless cottage nook confined,
The toy of froward youth, if chance throw wide
Its prison doors and bid the captive range
Free as its kindred choir, with strange delight
Hears and obeys; and, soaring to the skies,
Floats on light plume amid the liquid noon +.
O ye, around whose knee a daughter's arms
(As, tottering on, she hail'd your wish'd return)
Have fondly fasten'd; whose transported ear
Has drunk the prattler's accents, as she lisp'd
Your welcome back with many a proffer'd kiss,
And smiles which art would emulate in vain-
Weep for the lost Jaïrus. Ye have known
What 'twas, amid the million cares and woes
(Man's hapless lot below) to find at home
That magic circle, o'er whose charmed round,
Save by the guidance of the wizard fates,
Nor cares nor woes intrude. O, pause and think,
Even in your noontide blaze of rapture think,
If God his fostering beam should turn aside,
What darkness may be yours! and, while ye kneel
*Amidst the trifling discordancy of the Evangelists, which occurs in this place, it may be proper to state that I have followed St. Matthew.
† Nare per æstatem liquidam.
In grateful fervour to protecting Heaven,
In generous sadness for Jaïrus weep.
No; o'er his agonies rejoice: rejoice,
That sharpest suffering led his anxious step
To life's pure source, and bid him from that fount
Exhaustless drink and live. With show of hate
Thus oft kind Mercy, mask'd in anger's guise,
Smites whom she loves. The mad tornado oft
Sweeps on rough wing across a smiling land;
And what was Eden, ere the spoiler came,
Lies a waste wilderness: but thence the breeze,
Which stagnant erst in sultry stillness slept,
Is quicken'd into health, and genial gales
Play round the languid temple. Borne from far,
Where Nubia melts beneath the burning day,
Oft the broad torrent with resistless flood
Whelms infant Spring; and trembling Egypt views
O'er his soft bloom the wide spread deluge close:
Yet thence emerging soon the rosy boy,
With lusty sinew by the billow strung,
Quaffs the rich tide and thrives at every pore.
Haste then to Christ, and prostrate at his feet,
With hope's bright ardour glowing in thine heart,"
Implore his sovereign aid. To that bless'd ear
The good man's sorrows never rise in vain.
O, tell him that thy child, thy manhood's joy,
The' expected grace and guardian of thine age,
In Death's chill gripe has wither'd, like a flower
Scathed by the summer storm.-But no; forbear!
He knows thy woes: thy bosom's inmost pulse
Throbs to his eye. And lo, with eager haste
Zealous through thronging crowds he presses on,
At thine and pity's summons! Stay him not,
Ye curious, ye diseased: And thou whose blood
Twelve tedious springs the' insatiate plague * has
Catch not his robe; though thou art wretched too,
Revere a parent's anguish. Wondrous man!
Even from his hem, by faith's pure finger touch'd,
The healing virtue flows, nor aught delays
His onward foot.
And now the deafening din Of minstrel mourners marks the drear abode, Where fast the maiden slumbers; undisturb'd By wailing friends, the deep funereal dirge, And all the pomp of grief. And now her hand The Saviour takes; now from the' Almighty lip Issues the irresistible decree,
'Damsel, arise.' Her mortal sleep dispell'd,
And life's new vigour tingling through her veins,
Instant she wakes, as from a raptured dream
Chased by the morn's soft whisper; and beholds,
With all the daughter rushing to her eyes,
Her father by her side. O, what was then
His gush of joy, as to his bounding heart
He caught, he clasp'd her close! Not more the bliss
The patriot hero feels, whose lifted arm [coasts
Guards his loved Prince, while round his country's
Invasion's hovering harpies scream for prey:
Not more his bliss when, sheath'd the hallow'd
(Its work of glory done, and in the dust [steel
The' insulting foe laid low) with honest toil,
'Mid the dear pledges of domestic love,
He tills the fields his unbought valour saved.
And so when, sign of universal doom,
'Midst heaven's circumference, yon golden orb
Shall veil his flaming forehead; and the moon,
Portentous phase! on ether's azure vest
Glare a red blood-spot; while in fearful course
Athwart or backward, whirling through the void,
The lawless planets rush; and earth, convulsed,
Deep to her centre shakes-on Death's dull ear
Again the thrilling voice shall burst; again
From his gaunt grasp the shrouded victim rend,
And pour through all his caves empyreal day.
No single corse, as when with joy's wild throb
Close to his heaving breast Jaïrus strain'd
His rescued child; but swarms, to equal whom
Night's spangled host or Libya's world of sand
Were faint comparison, to sudden life
Shall start amazed. With keen compunction some,
Self-sentenced ere they meet their righteous Judge,
Shall to the crashing rocks and mountains cry
To screen them from his presence. Fruitless prayer!
Nor rocks nor whelming mountains can subdue
The conscious bosom's anguish: deep within,
Coil'd round their life-strings, lies the' immortal
And gnaws with sharp remorse the quivering heart.
Others (and O may he, whose feeble hand
Frames this weak verse, the chosen number swell!)
Their mortal clay resign'd, in heavenly forms
Shall rise, resplendent as the summer sun
Even in his midday lustre ; and with bliss,
O'erpaying years of bitterest agony,
Hear the glad accents: Faithful servants, come;
Receive your promised meed. Your toils were
And great is their reward.
The God ye served, Steadfast when passion sapp'd and scorn assail'd, He, He is yours: for you is twined the wreath
Of Eden's greenest amaranth, and for you Flung wide the' eternal portals. Enter in, Your task complete, your race of duty run, And share the joys and glories of your Lord.'
O THOU, who from thy heaven of Love
To Man, in mercy, came,
And took, descending from above,
His Nature and his Name;
Humanity!-Thou sent of God,
When Earth was heard to mourn,
To trace the steps our Saviour trod,
And wait till his return;
Here, Angel Virtue! shake thy plumes,
Their incense here impart,
And wing the willing hand that comes
With succour from the heart.
Close at thy side see Faith attend,
And point her golden rod;
While Hope, still brightening to the end,
Here seeks her parent God.
O God, may these three Graces bind
In one resplendent zone
The destinies of humankind,
And hang them to thy Throne.