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My brother !--one long-cherished thought has been
At my heart's fountain,—that we might hath trod,
Linked in one destiny along life's road,
E’en as in heart: sweet fellowship! But 'tween
Our shadowings and their ends doth intervene
One that doth love us, shaping all for good.
His hand around me in my
In syllables of mercy, have I seen
Visibly charactered. I read and bless
The high behest with heartfelt thankfulness.
My brother !—there is that which sweet to me
Whispereth, if I attain that heavenly shore,
That I shall be with thee, nor seas no more
Nor mountains part us everlastingly.
Her ways were ways of innocence and glee,
But pain is all her dower, and stern disease,
While darkness shrouds the shore where sorrows cease;
At Death's dim portal, wed with agony,
She sits, ʼmid sights of fevered phantasy;
While ever and anon Ocean's wild roar,
And that dark shadowy boat, is at the door;
And earth-born vapours veil that star on high
That lights eternity: but yet to Heav'n
At each calm interval to anguish given
She lifted her full eye, and thankful smile:
Meek soul, to sorrow reconciled awhile,
And each dark hour with thorns of sorrow strewn,
Shall add a gem to thine eternal crown.
Far o'er the aërial roof dark curtains crowd ;
The groves in greener freshness, far and near,
Like souls with sorrow stricken, lovelier wear
The darkness, 'neath the dark and watery shroud,
Save here askance and there, on ruined wall,
Or knotted trunk grotesque, stray gleamings fall,
And stilly heard, from out the neighbouring wood,
The lonely bird singing to solitude,
Singing of silvery lights with Autumn blending,
And rays that cheer the Winter; naught to wake
The trees all motionless on leaden lake!
Then the arched Heav'ns came down in shades descending,
And all was twilight, save, beyond the gloom,
A yellow gleam slumbering upon a tomb.
Calm and still hour, how coldly beautiful!
Above-the Moon in the most dark serene,
With all her stars : below-one varied scene
Of wild resplendency, gentle as wool
Or kingly ermine: storied pine-trees, full
Loaded with hanging beauty, towers of green
Erewhile, now snowy pyramids are seen,
With stars that peep between. Nature's soft rule,
Dropping the shadow-like and noiseless shower
Of shelter, on the night and wintry hour,
Making them lovely! 'Tis the same doth suage
Sorrow's keen edge, and builds for silvery age
A snow-embowered and hoary hermitage,
The covering of an unseen holy Power.
THE EVENING AFTER A SNOW STORM.
The wind and snow which on the hedgerow clings,
Have been at play, and shapes of beauteous mould
Their tricks of vagrant fantasy unfold ;
Haply in semblance of celestial things.
Where now the Sun his parting lustre flings,
Careful to spare, innocuous and cold,
He sees below all silvery pure, and brings
The skies in gentle rivalry to gold,
Staining the clouds that tend his evening bower.
O Lord, if these so marvellously fair,
The things Thou doest for one passing hour,
So delicately gentle, soft, and pure,
Then what must be those scenes which shall endure,
And those Thy mansions which eternal are?
“ Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them."
And are we then alone on holy ground,
Most gracious Father ?— Are we then alone,
Because the world regards not, and is gone?
Where are the solemn dead which lie around, -
Are they not with us ?-Are thy courts not crowned
With spiritual hosts about, while the sweet tone
Still lingers round thine Altars ?--Are they flown, Bearing no m ore to see their God disowned ?
Has the great Michael left us, mighty arm,
Gabriel our fortitude, and the blest charm
Of Raphael's healing name? In my heart's fear
I heard a voice, “ Be still, and lowly bend;
While two or three remain, thy Lord is here,
And where His presence is, His Hosts attend.”
Is there no sound about our Altars heard
Of gliding forms that long have watched in vain
For slumbering discipline to break her chain, And aim the bolts by Theodosius feared ?
“ Let us depart:"—these English souls are seared, Who for one grasp of perishable gold,
Would have the curse by holy men of old
Laid on the robbers of the shrines they reared;
Who shout for joy to see the ruffian band
Come to reform, where ne'er they came to pray,
E’en where, unbidden, Seraphs never trod.
Let us depart, and leave the apostate Land
To meet the rising whirlwind as she may,
Without her guardian Angels and her God.
Seek we some realm where virgin souls may pray
In faith untarnished by the sophist's scorn,
And duly raise on each diviner morn The Psalm that gathers in one glorious lay All chants that e'er from heaven to earth found way :
Majestic march! as meet to guide and time
Man's wandering path in life's ungenial clime,
As Aaron's trump for the dead Ark's array.
Creed of the Saints, and Anthem of the Blest,
And calm-breathed warning of the kindliest love
That ever heaved a wakeful mother's breast,
(True love is bold, and gravely dares reprove,)
Who knows but myriads owe their endless rest
To thy recalling, tempted else to rove?
And they who grudge the Omnipotent His praise,
What wonder if they grudge the dead his hope?
The irreverent restless eye finds room and scope, E'en by the grave, to wrangle, pry, and gaze. Heaven in its mercy hides, but man displays;
Heaven throws a gleam, where they would darken all;
A shade, where they, forgetting worm and pall,
Sing triumph; they excite, but Heaven allays.
Alas! for England's mourners, if denied
The soothing tones of Hope, though faint and low,
Or swoln up high, with partial tearless pride!
Better in silence hide their dead, and go,
Than sing a hopeless dirge, or coldly chide
The faith that owns release from earthly woe.”
But Faith is cold, and wilful men are strong,
And the blithe world, with bells and harness proud,
Rides tinkling by, so musical and loud,
It drowns the Eternal Word, the Angelic Song;
And one by one the weary listless throng
Steals out of Church, and leaves the Choir unseen
Of wingèd Guards to weep, where prayer had been, That souls immortal find that hour too long. Most fatal token of a falling age! Wit ever busy, Learning ever new, Unsleeping Fancy, Eloquence untired ;Prayer only dull! The Saint's and Martyr's page A tedious scroll; the scorned and faithful few Left to bewail such beauty undesired.