Page images

"And if you please to see them now,
You've but to say the word”
"Have done!" said I to the Nautilus,
“Or I'll throw thee overboard.

"Have done!" said I, "thou mariner old,
And steer me back to land,"
No other word spake the Nautilus,
But took the helm in hand.

I looked up to the lady moon,

She was but like a glow-worm's spark; And never a star shone down to us,

Through the sky, so high and dark.

And we had no mast, we had no ropes,

And every sail was rent;

And the stores I brought from the charmed isle,
In the seven days' sail were spent.

But the Nautilus was a patient thing,
And he steer'd with all his might
On that up-hill sea, and he never slept,
And he kept the course aright.

And for thrice seven nights we sail'd and sail'd:
At length I saw the bay

Where I built my bark, and my mother's house, 'Mong the green hills where it lay.

"Farewell!" said I to the Nautilus,
As I leapt to the shore:
"Thou art a skilful mariner,

But I'll sail with thee no more."


ONCE, when I was a thoughtless child,
I sate beneath a tree,
Beside a little running stream,

And a mariner sate by me;

And thus he spake:-"For seventy years
I've sail'd upon the sea.

"Thou thinkest that the earth is fair,
And full of strange delight;
Yon little brook, that murmurs by,

Is glorious in thy sight.

"Thou callest yon poor butterfly
A very marvellous thing,
And listen'st, in a fond amaze,
When the morning lark doth sing.

"Thou speak'st as if God only made
Valley, and hill, and tree,

Yet I blame thee not, thou simple child!
Wise men have spoke like thee.
"But glorious are the ocean-fields,—
On land you're trammell'd round;
On the right, and on the left likewise,
Doth lie forbidden ground.

"But the ocean-fields are free to all, Where'er they list to go,

With the heavens above, and round about,
And the wide, wide sea below.

"Oh! it gladdeneth much my very soul
The smallest ship to see;
For I know, where'er a sail is spread,
God speaketh audibly.

"Up to the north,-the polar north,
With the whalers did I go,
'Mong the mountains of eternal ice,

To the land of the thawless snow.

"We were hemmed in by icy rocks,
The strength of man was vain;
But at once the arm of God was shown,
The rocks were rent in twain!
"The sea was parted for Israel,
The great Red Sea, of yore,
And Moses, and the Hebrew race,
In joy went, dry-shod, o'er.

"And a miracle as great was wrought

For us in the polar sea,

When the rocks were rent, from peak to base,
And our southern course was free!

"Yet, amid those seas so wild and stern,
Where man hath left no trace,
The sense of God came down to us,
As in a holy place.

"Great kings have piled up pyramids,
And built them temples grand;
But the sublimest temple far
Is in yon northern land.

"Its pillars are of the adamant,

By a thousand winters hew'd; Its priests are the awful silence,

And the ancient solitude!

"And then we sailed to the tropic seas,
That are like crystal clear;
Thou wilt marvel much, thou little child,
Their glorious things to hear.

"I have looked down to those ocean depths, Many thousand fathoms low,

And seen, like woods of mighty oak,
The trees of coral grow:-

"The red, the green, and the beautiful
Pale-branch'd like the chrysolite,
Which, amid the sun-lit waters, spread
Their flowers intensely bright.

"Some, they were like the lily of June,
Or the rose of Fairy-land,
Or as if some poet's glorious thought
Had inspired a sculptor's hand.

"And then the million creatures bright

That, sporting, went and came! Heaven knows, but I think in Paradise It must have been the same:

"When 'neath the trees that God had set,
The land was free to all;
When the lion gamboll'd with the kid,
The great ones with the small.

"There are no wastes of burning sand,

There's neither heat nor cold;
And there doth spring the diamond mine,
There flow the veins of gold.

"There, with the divers of the East,

Who down in those depths have been, I've conversed of the marvels strange, And the glories they had seen.

“And they say, each one, not halls of kings With the ocean-caves can vie,

With the untrod caves of the carbuncle,
Where the great sea-treasures lie.

"And well I wot it must be so:
Man parteth evermore

The miser-treasures of the earth;
The sea hath all its store.

"Then I've cross'd the line full fifteen times, And down in the southern sea

I've seen the whales, like bounding lambs,
Leap up, the strong, the free :-

"Leap up, the creatures that God had made,
To people the isleless main;
They have no bridle in their jaws,
And on their necks no rein.

"But, my little child, thou sittest here,

Still gazing on yon stream,

And the wondrous things that I have told
To thee are as a dream;-

"But to me they are as living thoughts,
And well I understand,
Why the sublimest sea is still

More glorious than the land:

"For when at first the world awoke
From its primeval sleep;

Not on the land the Spirit of God
Did move, but on the deep!"


On the third day of creation,

Before mankind had birth,

Ten thousand thousand flowers sprang up,
To beautify the earth:

From the rejoicing earth sprang up
Each radiant, bursting bud;
And God looked down, at eventide,
And saw that they were good.

And now, as then, ten thousand flowers
From the gracious earth outburst,
And every flower that springeth up
Is goodly as at first:

The red rose is the red rose still;
And from the lily's cup
An odour, fragrant as at first,
Like frankincense goes up.-
Oh, flowers, fair shining flowers,
Like crowned kings ye are!
Each, in the nature of its kind,
Unchanging as a star:-
Empires have fallen to decay,
Forgotten e'en in name-
All man's sublimest works decay,
But ye are still the same!


Ye flowers - ye little flowers
Were witnesses of things,
More glorious and more wondrous far
Than the fall and rise of kings!—
Ye, in the vales of Paradise,

Heard how the mountains rang, When the sons of God did shout for joy, And the stars of morning rang!

Ye saw the creatures of the earth,
Ere fear was felt, or pain;
Ye saw the lion with the lamb

Go sporting o'er the plain!
Ye were the first that from the earth

Sprang, when the floods were dried, And the meek dove from out the ark Went wandering far and wide ;And when upon Mount Ararat

The floating ark was stayed, And the freshness of the flowering earth The Patriarch first surveyed,

Ye saw across the heavens

The new-made bended bow,-
Ye heard the Eternal bind himself,
Upon its glorious show,
That never more the waters wild
Should rage beyond their shore;
That harvest-time and time of seed
Should be for ever more!


Oh flowers! sweet, goodly flowers!
Ye were loved, in times of old,
And better worth were crowns of flowers
Than crowns of beaten gold.
They wore ye at the marriage-feast,
When merry pipes were blown ;
And, o'er their most beloved dead,

Fit emblems, were ye strewn!
-The poets ever loved ye,

For in their souls ye wrought,
Like seas, and stars, and mountains old,
Enkindling lofty thought!

But greater far than all

Our blessed Lord did see
How beautiful the lilies grew,
In the fields of Galilee:-
Consider now these flowers, he said,
They toil not, neither spin,-

[blocks in formation]

OH! poverty is a weary thing, 't is full of grief and "Ay, though the children weep all day, and with pain, down-drooping head It boweth down the heart of man, and dulls his cun- Each does his small craft mournfully!- the hungry ning brain, must be fed ;

It maketh even the little child with heavy sighs And that which has a price to bring, must go, to buy complain!

The children of the rich man have not their bread to


They hardly know how labour is the penalty of sin;
Even as the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin.

And year by year, as life wears on, no wants have
they to bear;

In all the luxury of the earth they have abundant share;

They walk among life's pleasant ways, and never know a care.

The children of the poor man young, each one,

us bread!"

[blocks in formation]

doth cling,

With love that hath no feignings false, unto each gentle thing!

Therefore most sorrowful it was those children small to see,

Most sorrowful to hear them plead for their pet so piteously;

though they be "Oh! mother dear, it loveth us; and what beside have we?

Early in the morning they rise up before the rising sun,
And scarcely when the sun is set, their daily task is


Few things have they to call their own, to fill their hearts with pride,

The sunshine of the summer's day, the flowers on the highway side,

"Let's take him to the broad, green hills," in his impotent despair,

Said one strong boy, "let's take him off, the hills are wide and fair;

I know a little hiding-place, and we will keep him there!"

Or their own free companionship, on the heathy com- "T was vain!--they took the little lamb, and straightmon wide.

Hunger, and cold, and weariness, these are a frightful three;

But another curse there is beside, that darkens poverty:

way tied him down,

With a strong cord they tied him fast;—and o'er the common brown,

And o'er the hot and flinty roads, they took him to the town.

It may not have one thing to love, how small soe'er The little children through that day, and throughout

it be.

A thousand flocks were on the hills- -a thousand flocks, and more,—

Feeding in sunshine pleasantly,—they were the rich

man's store;

[blocks in formation]

There was the while, one little lamb, beside a cottage Oh! poverty is a weary thing, 't is full of grief and

[blocks in formation]

A little lamb that did lie down with the children It keepeth down the soul of man, as with an iron 'neath the tree;


That ate, meek creature, from their hands, and nes- It maketh even the little child, with heavy sighs tled to their knee;


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

I have hated none - -I have known no pride,―

Yet have sinned as few men beside:

I have bound myself by oath and spell,

To the faery people of field and fell,—
With solemn rites and mysteries;

[ocr errors]

Can the church absolve such sins as these?"
"My son," said the friar, "tell to me
How such enchantment fell on thee;
For thou hadst sinned, or it might not be."
The sick man lay on the greensward low,

But he raised himself and his words were slow:
"I dwelt, as the minstrel dwells at best,
The thymy wold was my couch of rest;
I watched on the ancient mountains grey,
I dwelt in the greenwood, day by day;
I knew each bird that singeth free,

I had knowledge of each herb and tree;
I called each little star by name,
I watched the lightning's subtle flame;
I was learned in the skies and seas,
And earth's profoundest mysteries.
But best I loved, in the moonlight glade,
To be where the faëry people played;
And list to their music, sweet and low,
Too soft for joy, too wild for woe!
And I tuned, both even and morn,
To the witching airs of the faery horn,

Till I knew them all, and at will could bring
The revellers wild from their grassy ring.
Then I sate with them at a banquet spread,
I drank their wine that was ruby red,
And a deadly sleep came o'er my brain;-
But when I opened my eyes again,
I was not beneath my earthly tree
A heavy darkness hung over me.
I lay in a couch-like chariot wide,
And one who drove me sat beside;
I heard him urge the horses fleet,

And I heard the sound of their ceaseless feet;
On they went, o'er the rugged road,
For days and days, with their easy load;
Swiftly we sped, and the passing air

Was cool on my cheek. and lifted my hair;-
On we went over mountains high,

And roaring waters, we journeyed by ;

[ocr errors][merged small]


But then there were frightful, creeping things,
The coil of the adder, the harpy's wings,-
The screech of the owl, the death-bed moan,-
And eyes that would turn the blood to stone!
I was set to the feast- and half in dread
I drank of the cup, and I ate the bread:
I was told to bathe and half in fear
I bathed myself in those waters clear; -
I ate - I drank - I bathed—and then
I could no longer have part with men.
I dwelt 'mong the faëries, their merry king.—
I danced on the earth, in the charmed ring;

I learned the songs of awful mirth,
That were made ere man abode on earth;
In the time of chaos, stern and grey,
'Mid ruins of old worlds passed away.

A careless, joyful life I led,

Till thrice seven years, as a day, had sped ;
Ther: a longing wish was in my mind,
To dwell once more among human kind:
So up I rose, but I told to none,
What journey I was departing on;
And at the close of a summer's day,

I laid me down on the Leeder brae.
Ere long, came one, and a friar was he,
Muttering over his rosary;

He was lean, and crabbed, and old,

His voice was thick, and his prayers were cold,— He moved not my heart; then came there by A fair child, chasing a butterfly;

'Twas a lovely boy with his free light hair,
Like a sunny cloud, o'er his shoulders bare;
And as he danced in his glee along,
He filled the air with a joyful song;

I blessed the child from my inmost heart,
With a faëry gift, that could ne'er depart.
Next came a maiden, all alone,
And down she sate on a mossy stone:
Fair was she, as the morning's smile,
But her serious eye had a tear the while;

Then she raised to heaven her thoughtful look,
And drew from her bosom a clasped book;
Page by page of that book she read,-

Hour by hour I listened ;

And through thick woods, where the air was cold:
O'er sandy wastes, and the furzy wold:

Day after day, as it seemed to me,
In a gloom like the night of eternity.
At length, I sate in another land,
With the faery people on either hand;

Still on she read, sedate and low,

And at every word I was wrung with woe;
For she taught what I ne'er had known before
The holy truths of the Christian lore!
And I saw the sinful life I led,

And my human heart was shook with dread;
And I, who had lived in pleasures wild,
Now wept in awe, like a stricken child!

Down I knelt, and I strove to pray,
But never a hope to my soul found way;
For with that spell I was bound and bound,
And with elvish snares was compassed round;
But a prayer was ever on my tongue,
For soon I learnt that prayers were strong,
To unweave the webs that were in my track,
To win my soul to the faëry back.

I have wrestled hard, I have fiercely striven
'Gainst them, and for my peace with heaven;-
But now my strength doth ebb apace—
Father, can the church award me grace,
And among the blessed a dwelling-place?"
My son," the reverend friar spake,
"Behold! how the faery web shall break;

With thee, the dead are blest:- they have gone forth,

Thou knowest not whither, but to some fair home,
Brighter, far brighter than our summer earth,-
Where sorrow cannot come.

It matters not to thee, that angel-guest
Nor spirit hath come down to tell thee where
Lie those delicious islands of the blest,-

[ocr errors]

Thou knowest that they are!

What marvel, then, that thou shouldest shed no tear,
Standing beside the dead, that thou shouldst

Thyself with flowers, and thy bright beauty wear
Even in the house of death?

Thou hast fought the fight-thou hast battled long-Oh! thou undoubting one, who from the tree

And the victor here is not the strong;

But the gates of heaven are opened wide,
And the contrite heart is the sanctified!
Give up-stand Hike the Hebrews, still
And behold the wonders of God's will;-
Lay down thy strift- lay down thy pride-
Lay all thy hope on Christ who died,
And thou art saved;- for at his spell
Not faery webs, but the gates of hell
Are dashed aside, like the morning mist
Oh, vainly might fay or fiend resist!
Have faith! 't is the spell of glory, given
To burst all bars on the way to heaven;
Have faith-have heaven, my son."-There ran
A sudden joy through the dying man;
And the holy father bent his knee,
Chanting, "Te laudamus, Domine!"

Of life hast plucked and eaten, well mayst thou, Unknowing evil, walk in spirit free,

With thine unclouded brow!

Thy faith is knowledge, and without a fear
Lookest thou onward in the light revealed!
Thou blessed child! In thee will I revere
The truth which God has sealed.

I will not doubt-like thee I will arise,
And clothe my soul in light, nor more repine
That life, and death, and heaven, are mysteries:
Thy strong faith shall be mine!

Then may I see the beautiful depart,

The fair flowers of my spring-time fade and die,
With an unquestioning, unrebellious heart,
Strong in God's certainty!

[blocks in formation]



"I WAS at William Penn's country-house, called Pensbury, in Pennsylvania, where I staid some days. Much of my time I spent in seeing William Penn, and many of the chief men among the Indians, in council concerning their former covenant, now renewed on his going away for England. To pass by several particulars, I may mention the following: They never broke covenant with any people,' said one of their great chiefs; and, smiting his hand upon his head, he said, they made not their covenants there, but here,' said he, smiting on his breast three times.

[ocr errors]

"I, being walking in the woods, espied several wigwams, and drew towards them. The love of God filled my heart; and I felt it right to look for an interpreter, which I did. Then I signified that I was come from a far country with a message from the Great Spirit (as they call God,) and my message was to endeavour to persuade them that they should not be drunkards, nor steal, nor kill one another, nor fight, nor put away their wives for small faults; for

« PreviousContinue »