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VOICES OF THE TRUE HEARTED.

No. 10.

THE HUMAN SACRIFICE.

BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.

Some of the leading sectarian papers have lately published the letter of a clergyman, giving an account of his attendance upon a criminal, (who had committed murder during a fit of intoxication) at the time of his execution, in Western New York The writer describes the agony of the wretched being his abortive attempts at prayer-his appeal for life-his horror of a violent death; and after declaring his belief that the poor victim died without hope of salvation, concludes with a warm eulogy upon the Gallows, being more than ever convinced of its utility, by the awful dread and horror which it inspired.

Far from his close and noisome cell,

By grassy lane and sunny stream, Blown clover-field and strawberry dell, And green and meadow freshness, fell

The footsteps of his dream. Again from careless feet, the dew

Of summer's misty morn he shook : Again with merry heart he threw

His light line in the rippling brook. Back crowded all his school-day joys—

He urged the ball and quoit again, And heard the shout of laughing boys

Come ringing down the walnut glen. Again he felt the western breeze,

Its scent of flowers and crisping hay; And down again through wind-stirred trees He saw the quivering sun-light play. An angel in Home's vine-hung door, He saw his sister smile once more; Once more the truant's brown-locked head Upon his mother's knee was laid, And sweetly lulled in slumber there, With evening's holy hymn and prayer! He woke. At once on heart and brain The present terror rushed againClanked on his limbs the felon's chain! He woke to hear the church tower tell Time's footfall on the conscious bell, And, shuddering, feel that clanging din His life's last hour had ushered in; To see within his prison-yard, Through the small-window, iron-barred, The Gallow's shadow rising dim Between the sunrise heaven and him,A horror in God's blessed airA blackness in his morning light

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He saw the victim's tortured brow

The sweat of anguish starting there— The record of a nameless woe

In the dim eye's imploring stare, Seen hideous thro' the long, damp hairFingers of ghastly skin and bone Working and writhing on the stone! And heard, by mortal terror wrung From heaving breast and stiffened tongue, The choking sob and low hoarse prayer; As o'er his half-crazed fancy came A vision of the eternal flameIts smoky cloud of agoniesIts demon-worm that never diesThe everlasting rise and fall Of fire waves round the infernal wall: While high above that dark red flood, Black, giant like, the Gallows stood : Two busy fiends attending there; One with cold mocking rite and prayer, The other with impatient grasp, Tightening the death-rope's strangling clasp!

The unfelt rite at length was done

The prayer unheard at length was saidAn hour had passed :-the noon day sun Smote on the features of the dead! And he who stood the doomed beside, Calm guager of the swelling tide Of mortal agony and fear, Heeding with curious eye and ear Whate'er revealed the keen excess Of man's extremest wretchedness: And who, in that dark anguish, saw An earnest of the victim's fate, The vengeful terrors of God's law, The kindlings of Eternal HateThe first drops of that fiery rain Which beats the dark red realm of Pain,Did he uplift his earnest cries

Against the crime of Law, which gave His brother to that fearful grave, Whereon Hope's moon-light never lies,

And Faith's white blossoms never wave To the soft breath of Memory's sighs ;Which sent a spirit marred and stained, By fiends of sin possessed, profaned, In madness and in blindness stark, Into the silent unknown dark? No-from the wild and shrinking dread With which he saw the victim led

Beneath the dark veil which divides Ever the living from the dead,

And Nature's solemn secret hides, The man of prayer can only draw New reasons for his bloody Law; New faith in staying Murder's hand, By murder at that Law's command; New reverence for the Gallows-rope, As human nature's latest hope; Last relic of the good old time, When Power found license for its crime, And held a writhing world in check By that fell cord about its neck; Stifled Sedition's rising shout, Choked the young breath of Freedom out, And timely checked the words which sprung From Heresy's forbidden tongue; While, in its noose of terror bound, The Church its cherished union found, Conforming, on the Moslem plan, The motley-colored mind of man, Not by the Koran and the Sword, But by the Bible and the Cord!

Oh Thou! at whose rebuke the grave
Back to warm life the sleeper gave,
Beneath whose sad and tearful glance
The cold and changed countenance
Broke the still horror of its trance,
And waking saw with joy above,
A brother's face of tenderest love;

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Something of beauty from thy brow,
Something of lightness from thy tread,
Hath passed-yet thou art dearer now
Than when our vows were said.
A softer beauty round thee gleams
Chastened by time, yet calmly bright;
And from thine eye of hazel, beams

A deeper, tenderer light—

An emblem of the love which lives
Through every change, as time departs;
Which binds our souls in one, and gives
New gladness to our hearts!
Flinging a halo over life

Like that which gilds the life beyond! Ah! well I know thy thoughts, dear wife! To thoughts like these respond.

The mother, with her dewy eye,

Is dearer than the blushing bride Who stood, three happy years gone by, In beauty by my side!

OUR FATHER, throned in light above, Hath blessed us with a fairy childA bright link in the chain of loveThe pure and undefiled:

Rich in the heart's best treasure, still

With a calm trust we'll journey on, Linked heart with heart, dear wife! until Life's pilgrimage be done! Youth-beauty-passion-these will pass Like every thing of earth away— The breath-stains on the polished glass Less transient are than they.

But love dies not-the child of God—
The soother of Life's many woes-
She scatters fragrance round the sod
Where buried hopes repose!
She leads us with her radiant hand

Earth's pleasant streams and pasture by, Still pointing to a better land

Of bliss beyond the sky!

MARY HOWITT.

Priestess of Nature! in the solemn woods

And by the sullen sea, whose ceaseless roar Speaks of God's majesty for evermore, And where the cataracts dash their shattered floods Down to the iris-girdled gulfs which yawn

Eternally beneath, thy hand hath reared

Altars whereon no blood-stain hath appeared-
But there, at dewy eve, or kindling dawn,
Meek-hearted children, with their offerings

Of buds or bursting flowers, together kneel
In gladdest worship, till their spirits feel
A new and holier baptism; while the springs
Of joy are opened, and their waters flow
Forth to the laughing light, exulting as they go!

TO MY QUAKER COUSIN. "Don't tell me of the feelings, the fine sensibilities, the hope and joy, and the true poetry of man's life being blunted by the increase of years! Why, I'll hate old age, if it is true! Make this, if thee pleases, no longer an apology for the laziness thee is guilty of when thee ceases to give us and every

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body the scintillations of thy poetical genius.' It is not that thy days are in the yellow leaf,' but that they are days of downright-laziness!"

6

Extract from her letter.
Yes, thou art right, sweet coz! I own
I am a lazy rhymer-very,-
And seldom gives my harp a tone

Of willing music, sad or merry ;
Its strings are snapped, or out of tune,
And I myself am out of fashion,
For wailing ditties to the moon
Was never my peculiar passion.

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I never wet my thirsty lip

At Helicon's inspiring fountain, Nor even in fancy took a trip

To meet the Muses on their mountain. The voice of Fame is sweet enough,

Doubtless, for devotees who love her, But then her hill is quite too rough

And steep for me to clamber over.

Lazy and uninspired, can I

Write for thee canzonet or sonnet? Or, smitten by thy beauty, try

To perpetrate a song upon it? No-though thy charms of face and form Would madden, like a heavenly vision, When wine and love had rendered warm

Some dreamer of the fields Elysian!

No-though the wicked world should swear
Thou art the latest importation
From that bright realm where seraphs are
Bending for aye in adoration!
For beauty is at discount now

With the dull muse that weaves my numbers, Nor laughing eye, nor polished brow,

Gleams on her in her dreamless slumbers.

But, for the brightness of thy youth,

And for the chastened love I bear thee, And for thy gentleness and truth,

Which even thievish Time must spare thee, And for thy heart which overflows

With kindness for the wronged and lowly, And for thy guileless soul which glows With tenderest feelings, pure and holy

And for that fervent zeal for Right Which burneth in thy bosom ever, And for that steadfast faith whose might In perils's hour shall fail thee never

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Shutting from the spirit's eye, Light and glory from on highThink of these-and falter not ! Toil-until the slave is brought Up to light!

What though Hate Darkly scowls upon your path? Fear not ye the tyrant's wrathHope, and wait

For though long the strife endure,
Freedom's triumph shall be sure —
Toil in faith, for God hath spoken,
Every fetter shall be broken,
Soon or late.

Not in vain

Hath been heard your voice of warning

Lo a better day is dawning;

And again

Shall be heard, from sea to sea,
Loudest songs of jubilee,
Bursting from a franchised nation,
As it leaps in exultation
From the chair

THE FREEMAN.

He worthy is of freedom-only he

Who claims the boon for all-and, strong in right, Rebukes the proud oppressor by whose might The poor are crushed-for TRUTH hath made him free, And Love hath sanctified his liberty! When Tyranny his horrid head uprears,

And blasts the earth with pestilential breath, Girded with righteousness and strong in faith, He stems the tide of wrong; nor scoffs, nor jeers, Nor ruffian threats, nor fierce mobocracy, Can daunt his soul, or turn him from the path Where duty points. Not his the craven heart That shrinks when tyrants bluster in their wrath; But well in Freedom's strife he bears his part.

SOLITUDE.

The ceaseless hum of men-the dusty streets,
Crowded with multitudinous life-the din
Of toil and traffic-and the wo and sin,
The dweller in the populous city meets-
These have I left to seek the cool retreats

Of the untrodden forest, where, in bowers Builded by Nature's hand, inlaid with flowers, And roofed with ivy, on the mossy seats

Reclining, I can while away the hours
In sweetest converse with old books, or give
My thoughts to God-or fancies fugitive

Indulge, while over me their radiant showers Of rarest blossoms the old trees shake down,And thanks to HIM my meditations crown!

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