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Night is the time to watch ;
On Ocean's dark expanse,
To hail the Pleiades, or catch
The full moon's earliest glance,
That brings unto the home-sick mind
All we have loved, and left behind.
Night is the time for care:
Brooding on hours misspent,
To see the spectre of despair
Come to our lonely tent;
Like Brutus, midst his slumb'ring host,
Startled by Cæsar's stalwart ghost.
Night is the time to muse:
Then, from the eye the soul
Takes flight, and, with expanding views,
Beyond the starry pole,
Descries athwart the abyss of night,
The dawn of uncreated light.
Night is the time to pray :
Our Saviour oft withdrew
To desert mountains far away;
So will his followers do ;-
Steal from the throng to haunts untrod,
And hold communion there with God.
Night is the time for death;
When all around is peace,
Calmly to yield the weary breath,
From sin and suffering cease:
Think of heaven's bliss, and give the sign
To parting friends :—such death be mine!*
* I have omitted the stanza beginning "Night is the time for toil,”—because, however beautiful in expression, it inculcates a false principle, inconsistent with a just economy of life.
He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress—
Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers-
And mark'd the mild, angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fix'd yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek,
And-but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,―
And but for that chill, changeless brow,
Where cold Obstruction's apathy
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon;
Yes, but for these, and these alone,
Some moments, aye, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power,
So fair, so calm, so softly seal'd,
The first, last look by death reveal'd!
Such is the aspect of this shore;
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Her's is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite, with parting breath;
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb,
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of feeling past away,—
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth, Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth!
Clime of the unforgotten brave!
Whose land, from plain to mountain cave,
Was Freedom's home, or Glory's grave,—
Shrine of the mighty! can it be,
That this is all remains of thee?
Approach, thou craven, crouching slave:
Say, is not this Thermopyla?
These waters blue that round you lave,-
Oh servile offspring of the free-
Pronounce what sea, what shore is this?—
The gulf, the rock of Salamis.
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Arise, and make again your own;
Snatch from the ashes of your sires
The embers of their former fires:
And he who in the strife expires,
Will add to theirs a name of fear,
That tyranny shall quake to hear;
And leave his sons a hope, a fame,
They too will rather die than shame:
For, Freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeath'd by bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft, is ever won.
Bear witness, Greece, thy living page
Attest it many a deathless age!
While kings, in dusty darkness hid,
Have left a nameless pyramid,
Thy heroes, though the general doom
Hath swept the column from their tomb,
A mightier monument command,-
The mountains of their native land!
"ROOM for the leper! room!"-And, as he came The cry pass'd on-" Room for the leper! room !"— Sunrise was slanting on the city's gates, Rosy and beautiful: and from the hills The early risen poor were coming in, Duly and cheerfully to their toil; and up Rose the sharp hammer's clink, and the far hum Of moving wheels, and multitudes astir, And all that in a city murmur swells,— Unheard but by the watcher's weary ear, Aching with night's dull silence,— —or the sick, Hailing the welcome light and sounds, that chase The death-like images of the dark away.
-"Room for the leper!" And aside they stoodMatron, and child, and pitiless manhood,—all Who met him on his way,-and let him pass. And onward through the open gate he came, A leper with the ashes on his brow, Sackcloth about his loins, and on his lip A covering,-stepping painfully and slow, And with a difficult utterance, like one Whose heart is with an iron nerve put down, Crying "Unclean! Unclean!"
'Twas now the first
Of the Judean autumn, and the leaves,
Whose shadows lay so still upon his path,
Had put their beauty forth beneath the eye
Of Judah's loftiest noble. He was young,
And eminently beautiful; and life
Mantled in elegant fulness on his lip.
And sparkled in his glance; and in his mien
There was a gracious pride, that every eye
Followed with benisons ;-and this was he!
And he went forth-alone! Not one of all
The many whom he loved, nor she whose name
Was woven in the fibres of his heart
Breaking within him now, to come and speak
Comfort unto him. Yea, he went his way,
Sick, and heart-broken, and alone,—to die!
For God had cursed the leper!
It was noon, And Helon knelt beside a stagnant pool In the lone wilderness, and bathed his brow, Hot with the burning leprosy, and touch'd The loathsome water to his fever'd lips, Praying that he might be so blest,—to die! -Footsteps approach'd; and with no strength to flee, He drew the covering closer on his lip, Crying, "Unclean! Unclean!" and in the folds Of the coarse sackcloth shrouding up his face, He fell upon the earth till they should pass. Nearer the stranger came, and bending o’er The leper's prostrate form, pronounced his name. "Helon!"-The voice was like the master-tone Of a rich instrument,-most strangely sweet; And the dull pulses of disease awoke, And, for a moment, beat beneath the hot And leprous scales with a restoring thrill! "Helon! arise !"-and he forgot his curse, And rose and stood before Him.
Love and awe
Mingled in the regard of Helon's eye,
As he beheld the stranger.-He was not
In costly raiment clad, nor on His brow
The symbol of a princely lineage wore ;—
No followers at His back,-
-nor in His hand
Buckler, or sword, or spear;—yet if He smiled,
A kingly condescension graced His lips,