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Oh! though oft depressed and lonely,
All my fears are laid aside
If I but remember only,
Such as these have lived and died.
I HAVE read, in some old, marvelous tale,
Some legend strange and vague, That a midnight host of specters pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead, There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen ; And with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace :
The mist-like banners clasped the air
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But, when the old cathedral-bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer, The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmèd air.
Down the broad.valley fast and far
The troubled army fled :
Up rose the glorious morning-star;
The ghastly host was dead.
I have read, in the marvelous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll, That an army of phantoms vast and wan
Beleaguer the human soul.
Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.
Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen;
And with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice nor sound is there
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air
But the rushing of Life's wave.
And, when the solemn and deep church-bell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled :
Faith shineth as a morning-star;
Our ghastly fears are dead.
MAIDEN with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies !
Thou whose locks outshine the sun, -
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run!
Standing with reluctant feet
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet i
Gazing with a timid glance
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse !
Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian ?
Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hear'st thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar ?
O thou child of many prayers !
Life hath quicksands, life hath snares:
Care and age come unawares.
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered;
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand :
Gates of brass can not withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear, through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.
Oh! that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds that can not heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart :
For a smile of God thou art.
The shades of night were falling fast
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device, –
His brow was sad; his eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath ;
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Slowly, in all his splendors dight,
The great sun rises to behold the sight.
The ocean old,
Strong as youth, and as uncontrolled,
Paces restless to and fro
Up and down the sands of gold.
His beating heart is not at rest;
And far and wide,
With ceaseless flow,
His beard of snow
Heaves with the heaving of his breast.
He waits impatient for his bride.
There she stands,
With her foot upon the sands,
Decked with flags and streamers gay,
In honor of her marriage-day;
Her snow-white signals fluttering, blending,
Round her like a vail descending,
Ready to be
The bride of the gray old sea.
On the deck another bride
Is standing by her lover's side.
Shadows from the flags and shrouds,
Like the shadows cast by clouds,
Broken by many a sunny fleck,
Fall around them on the deck.
The prayer is said,
The service read;
The joyous bridegroom bows his head;
And in tears the good old master
Shakes the brown hand of his son,
Kisses his daughter's glowing cheek
In silence, for he can not speak;
And ever faster
Down his own the tears begin to run.
The worthy pastor
The shepherd of that wandering flock
That has the ocean for its wold,
That has the vessel for its fold,
Leaping ever from rock to rock —
Spake, with accents mild and clear,
Words of warning, words of cheer,
But tedious to the bridegroom's ear.
He knew the chart
Of the sailor's heart, —
All its pleasures and its griefs ;
All its shallows and rocky reefs;
All those secret currents that flow
With such resistless undertow,