صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

THE PATIENCE OF THE POOR.

WHEN leisurely the man of ease

His morning's daily course begins, And round him in bright circle sees The comforts independence wins, He seems unto himself to hold

An uncontested natural right, In life a volume to unfold,

Of simple ever-new delight.

And if, before the evening close,

The hours their rainbow wings let fall, And sorrow shakes his bland repose,

And too continuous pleasures pall, He murmurs, as if nature broke

Some promise plighted at his birth, In bending him beneath the yoke

Borne by the common sons of earth. They starve beside his plenteous board, They halt behind his easy wheels; But sympathy in vain affords

The sense of ills he never feels. He knows he is the same as they,

A feeble, piteous, mortal thing, And still expects that every day

Increase and change of bliss should bring. Therefore, when he is called to know

The deep realities of pain,
He shrinks as from a viewless blow,
He writhes as in a magic chain:
Untaught that trial, toil, and care,

Are the great charter of his kind,
It seems disgrace for him to share

Weakness of flesh and human mind. Not so the people's honest child,

The field-flower of the open sky, Ready to live while winds are wild,

Nor, when they soften, loath to die; To him there never came the thought

That this, his life, was meant to be A pleasure-house, where peace unbought

Should minister to pride or glee.

You oft may hear him murmur loud

Against the uneven lots of Fate, You oft may see him inly bow'd

Beneath affliction's weight on weight:But rarely turns he on his grief

A face of petulant surprise,
Or scorns whate'er benign relief
The hand of God or man supplies.
Behold him on his rustic bed

The unluxurious couch of need,
Striving to raise his aching head,

And sinking powerless as a reed: So sick in both, he hardly knows

Which is his heart's or body's sore, For the more keen his anguish grows,

His wife and children pine the more. No search for him of dainty food,

But coarsest sustenance of life,

No rest by artful quiet wooed,

But household cries, and wants, and strife;

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Yet, brothers! God has given to few,

Through the long progress of our kind,
To read with eyes undimm'd and true
The blotted book of public mind;
To separate from the moment's will

The heart's enduring real desires,
To tell the steps of coming ill,

And seek the good the time requires. These are the prophets, these the kings, And lawgivers of human thought, Who in our being's deepest springs

The engines of their might have sought; Whose utterance comes, we know not whence, Being no more their own than ours, With instantaneous evidence

Of titles just and sacred powers.

But bold usurpers may arise

Of this as of another's throne; Persuasion waits upon the wise,

But waits not on the wise alone: An echo of your evil self

No better than the voice can be, And appetites of fame or pelf

Grow not in good as in degree.

Then try the speaker, try the cause,

With prudent care, as men who know The subtle nature of the laws

By which our feelings ebb and flow: Lest virtue's void and reason's lack

Be hid beneath a specious name, And on the people's helpless back

Rest all the punishment and shame.

[blocks in formation]

Why not believe the homely letter

That all you give will God restore? The poor man may deserve it better,

And surely, surely wants it more:
Let but the rich man do his part,

And whatsoe'er the issue be
To those who ask, his answering heart
Will gain and grow in sympathy.
-Suppose that each from nature got

Bare quittance of his labour's worth,
That yearly-teeming flocks were not,
Nor manifold-producing earth;
No wilding growths of fruit and flower,
Cultured to beautiful and good,
No creatures for the arm of power

To take and tame from waste and wood!

That all men to their mortal rest

Past shadow-like, and left behind No free result, no clear bequest,

Won by their work of hand or mind! That every separate life begun

A present to the past unbound, A lonely, independent, one, ́

Sprung from the cold mechanic ground!

What would the record of the past, The vision of the future be?

Nature unchanged from first to last,
And base the best humanity:
For in these gifts lies all the space

Between our England's noblest men And the most vile Australian race Outprowling from their bushy den. Then freely as from age to age,

Descending generations bear
The accumulated heritage

Of friendly and parental care,-
Freely as nature tends her wealth
Of air and fire, of sea and land,
Of childhood's happiness and health,

So freely open you your hand!
-Between you and your best intent
Necessity her brazen bar
Will often interpose, as sent

Your pure benevolence to mar;
Still every gentle word has sway
To teach the pauper's desperate mood
That misery shall not take away

Franchise of human brotherhood. And if this lesson come too late,

Wo to the rich and poor and all! The madden'd outcast of the gate

Plunders and murders in the hall; Justice can crush and hold in awe,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

HEART of the People! Working men!
Marrow and nerve of human powers;
Who on your sturdy backs sustain

Through streaming time this world of ours; Hold by that title,-which proclaims

That ye are undismay'd and strong, Accomplishing whatever aims

May to the sons of earth belong. Yet not on ye alone depend

These offices, or burdens fall;
Labour, for some or other end,

Is lord and master of us all.
The high-born youth from downy bed

Must meet the morn with horse and hound, While industry for daily bread

Pursues afresh his wonted round. With all his pomp of pleasure, he

Is but your working comrade now, And shouts and winds his horn, as ye Might whistle 1 y the loom or plough; In vain for him ha; wealth the use

Of warm repose and careless joy,When, as ye labour to produce,

He strives, as active, to destroy. But who is this with wasted frame,

Sad sign of vigour overwrought? What toil can this new victim claim? Pleasure, for pleasure's sake besought.

How men would mock her flaunting shows, Her golden promise, if they knew What weary work she is to those

Who have no better work to do! And he who still and silent sits

In closed room or shady nook, And seems to nurse his idle wits

With folded arms or open book: To things now working in that mind

Your children's children well may owe Blessings that hope has ne'er defined,

Till from his busy thoughts they flow. Thus all must work: with head or hand,

For self or others, good or ill; Life is ordain'd to bear, like land,

Some fruit, be fallow as it will: Evil has force itself to sow

Where we deny the healthy seed,— And all our choice is this,-to grow

Pasture and grain, or noisome weed. Then in content possess your hearts,

Unenvious of each other's lot,For those which seem the easiest parts

Have travail which ye reckon not: And he is bravest, happiest, best,

Who, from the task within his span, Earns for himself his evening rest,

And an increase of good for man.

THE VOICES OF HISTORY.

THE poet in his vigil hears

Time flowing through the night,A mighty stream, absorbing tears,

And bearing down delight: There, resting on his bank of thought He listens, till his soul

The voices of the waves has caught,The meaning of their roll.

First, wild and wildering as the strife
Of earthly winds and seas,
Resounds the long historic life

Of warring dynasties:-
Uncertain right and certain wrong
In onward conflict driven,

The threats and tramplings of the strong Beneath a brazen heaven.

The cavernous unsounded East
Outpours an evil tide,
Drowning the hymn of patriarch priest,
The chant of shepherd bride:
How can we catch the angel-word,
How mark the prophet-sound,
Mid thunders like Niagara's, heard
An hundred miles around?

From two small springs that rise and blend, And leave their Latin home,

The waters East and West extend,

The ocean-power of Rome:

Voices of victories ever-won,

Of pride that will not stay, Billows that burst and perish on The shores they wear away.

Till, in a race of fierce delight,
Tumultuous battle forth,

The snows amast on many a height,
The cataracts of the North:

What can we hear beside the roar, What see beneath the foam,

What but the wrecks that strew the shore, And cries of falling Rome?

Nor, when a purer faith had traced Safe channels for the tide,

Did streams with Eden-lilies graced
In Eden-sweetness glide;
While the deluded gaze admires

The smooth and shining flow,
Vile interests and insane desires

Gurgle and rage below.

If history has no other sounds,

Why should we listen more? Spirit! despise terrestrial bounds,

And seek a happier shore; Yet pause! for on thine inner ear A mystic music grows,― And mortal man shall never hear That diapason's close.

Nature awakes! a rapturous tone,
Still different, still the same,—
Eternal effluence from the throne
Of Him without a name;
A symphony of worlds begun,
Ere sin the glory mars,
The cymbals of the new-born sun,
The trumpets of the stars.

Then beauty all her subtlest chords
Dissolves and knits again,
And law composes jarring words
In one harmonious chain :
And loyalty's enchanting notes
Outswelling fade away,

While knowledge, from ten thousand throats,

Proclaims a graver sway.

Well, if, by senses unbefool'd,
Attentive souls may scan

Those great ideas that have ruled
The total mind of man;

Yet is there music deeper still, Of fine and holy woof, Comfort and joy to all that will Keep ruder noise aloof.

A music simple as the sky,
Monotonous as the sea,
Recurrent as the flowers that die
And rise again in glee;
A melody that childhood sings
Without a thought of art,
Drawn from a few familiar strings,
The fibres of the heart.

« السابقةمتابعة »