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Or orison or hymn of deeper love,
That might have won the sceptic's sullen heart
To gradual adoration, and belief
Of Him who died for us upon the cross.
Yea! oft when thou wert well, and in the calm
Of thy most Christian spirit blessing all
Who look'd upon thee, with those gentlest smiles,
That never lay on hunian face but thine ;
Even when thy serious eyes were lighted up
With kindling mirth, and from thy lips distillid
Words soft as dew, and cheerful as the dawn,
Then, too, I could have wept, for on thy face,
Eye, voice, and smile, nor less thy bending frame,
By other cause impair'd than length of years,
Lay something that still turn’d the thoughtful heart
To nielancholy dreams, dreams of decay,
Of death and burial, and the silent tomb.
And of the tomb thou art an inmate now!
Methinks I see thy name upon the stone
Placed at thy head, and yet my cheeks are dry.
Tears could I give thee, when thou wert alive,
The mournful tears of deep foreboding love,
That might not be restrain'd; but now they seem
Most idle all! thy worldly course is o'er,
And leaves such sweet remembrance in my soul
As some delightful music heard in youth,
Sad, but not painful, even inore spirit-like
Than when it murmur'd through the shades of earth.
Short time wert thou allow'd to guide thy flock
Through the green pastures, where in quiet glides
The Siloah of the soul! Scarce was thy voice
Familiar to their hearts, who felt that heaven
Did therein speak, when suddenly it fell
Mute and forever! Empty now and still
The holy house which thou didst meekly grace,
When with uplifted hand, and eye devout,
Thy soul was breathed to Jesus, or explained
The words that lead unto eternal life.
From infancy thy heart was vow'd to God:
And aye the hope that one day thou might'st keep
A little fold froin all the storms of sin
Safe-shelter'd, and by reason of thy prayers
Warın’d by the sunshine of approving Heaven,
Upheld thy spirit, destined for a while
To walk far other paths, and with the crowd
Of worldly men to mingle. Yet even then,
Thy life was ever such as well became
One whose pure soul was fixed upon the cross!
And when with simple fervent eloquence,
Thou plead'st the poor man's cause, the listener oft
Thought how becoming would thy visage smile
Across the house of God, how beauteously
That man would teach the saving words of Heaven!
How well he taught them, many a one will feel
Unto their dying day; and when they lie
On the grave's brink, unfearing and composed,
Their speechless souls will bless the holy man
Whose voice exhorted, and whose footsteps led
Unto the paths of life ; nor sweeter hope,
Next to the gracious look of Christ, have they,
Than to behold his face, who saved their souls.
But clos'd on earth thy blessed ministry!
And while thy native Scotland mourns her son,
Untimely reft froin her maternal breast,
Weeps the fair sister-land, with whom ere while
The stranger sojourn’d, stranger but in birth,
For well she loved thee, as thou wert her own.
On a most clear and noiseless Sabbath-night I heard that thou wert gone, from the soft voice Of one who knew thee not, but deeply loved Thy spirit meekly shining in thy song. Atsuch an hour the death of one like thee Gave no rude shock, nor by a sudden grief Destroy'd the visions from the starry sky, Then settling in my soul. The moonlight slep With a diviner sadness on the air;. The tender dimness of the night appear'd Darkening to deeper sorrow, and the voice Of the far torrent from the silent hills Flow'd, as I listen’d, like a funeral strain Breath'd by some mourning solitary thing. Yet Nature in her pensiveness still wore A blissful sinile, as if she sympathized With those who grieved that her own Bard was dead, And yet was happy that his spirit dwelt At last within her holiest sanctuary, Mid long expecting angels.
And if e'er Faith, fearless faith, in the eternal bliss Of a departed brother, may be held By beings blind as we, that faith should dry All eyes that wecp for Grahame; or, through their tears, Show where he sits, angust and beautiful, On the right hand of Jesus, inid the saints
Whose glory he on earth so sweetly sang:
No fears have we when some delightful child
Falls from its innocence into the grave !
Soon as we know its little breath is gone,
We see it lying in its Saviour's breast,
A heavenly flower there fed with heavenly dew.
Childlike in all that makes a child so doar
To God and man, and ever consecrates
Its cradle and its grave, Grahame, wert thou !
And hadst thou died upon thy mother's breast
Ere thou couldst lisp her name, more fit for heaven
Thou scarce hadst been, than when thy honor'd head
Was laid into the dust, and Scotland wept
O'er hill and valley for her darling Bard.
How beautiful is genius when combined With holiness! Oh, how divinely sweet The tones of earthly harp, whose chords are touch'd By the soft hand of Piety, and hung, Upon Religion's shrine, there vibrating With solemn music in the ear of God. And must the Bard from sacred themes refrain? Sweet were the hymns in patriarchal days, That, kneeling in the silence of his tent, Or on some moonlight hill, the shepherd pour'd Unto his heavenly Father. Strains survive Erst chanted to the lyre of Israel, More touching far than ever poet breathed Amid the Grecian isles, or later times Have heard in Albion, land of every lay. Why therefore are ye silent, ye who know The trance of adoration, and behold Upon your bended knees the throne of Heaven, And him who sits thereon? Believe it not, That Poetry, in purer days the nurse, Yea! parent oft of blissful piety, Should silent keep from service of her God, Nor with her summons, loud but silver-ton'd, Startle the guilty dreamer from his sleep, Bidding him gaze with rapture or with dread On regions where the sky forever lies Bright as the sun himself, and trembling all With ravishing music, or where darkness broods O’er ghastly shapes, and sounds not to be borne.
Such glory, Grahame! thine: Thou didst despise To win the ear of this degenerate age By gorgeous epithets, all idly heap'd On theme of earthly state, or, idler still, By tinkling measures and unchasten'd lays,
Warbled to pleasure and her syren-train,
Profaning the best name of poesy.
With loftier aspirations, and an aim
More worthy man's immortal nature, Thou
That holiest spirit that still loves to dwell
In the upright heart and pure, at noon of night
Didst fervently invoke, and, led by her
Above the Aonian mount, send from the stars
Of heaven such soul-subduing melody
As Bethlehem-shepherds heard when Christ was born.
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow:
Long had I watched the glory moving on
O'er the still radiance of the lake below.
Tranquil its spirit seem'd, and floated slow!
Even in its very motion, there was rest :
While every breath of eve that chanced to blow,
Wafted the traveller to the beauteous west.
Emblem, methought, of the departed soul!
To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given;
And by the breath of mercy made to roll
Right onwards to the golden gates of Heaven,
Where, to the
eye of Faith, it peaceful lies,
And tells to man his glorious destinies.
LINES WRITTEN ON SEEING A PICTURE BY BERGHEM, OF
AN ASS IN A STORM-SHOWER.
Poor wretch! that blasted leafless tree,
More frail and death-like even than thee,
Can yield no shelter to thy shivering form;
The sleet, the rain, the wind of heaven,
Full in thy face are coldly driven,
As if thou wert alone the object of the storm.
Yet chill'd with cold, and drench'd with rain,
Mild creature, thou dost not complain
By sound or look of these ungracious skies ;
Calmly as if in friendly shed,
There stand'st thou, with unmoving head,
And a grave, patient meekness in thy half-closed eyes.
Long could my thoughtful spirit gaze
On thee ; nor am I loth to praise
Him who in moral mood this image drew;
And yet, methinks, that I could frame
An image different, yet the same,
More pleasing to the heart, and yet to Nature true.
Behold a lane retired and green,
Winding amid a forest-scene,
With blooming furze in many a radiant heap;
There is a browsing ass espied,
One colt is frisking by her side,
And one among her feet is safely stretch'd in sleep.
And lo! a little maiden stands,
With thistles in her tender hands,
Tempting with kindly words the colt to eat;
Or gently down before him lays,
With words of solace and of praise,
Pluck'd from the untrodden turf the herbage soft and sweet.
The summer sun is sinking down,
And the peasants from the market town
With cheerful hearts are to their homes returning ;
Groups of gay children too are there,
Stirring with mirth the silent air,
O'er all their eager eyes the light of laughter burning.
The ass hath yot his burthen still!
The merry elves the panniers fill :
Delighted there from side to side they swing.
The creature heeds nor shout nor call,
But jogs on careless of them all,
Whether in harmless sport they gaily strike or sing.
A gipsey-group! the secret wood
Stirs through its leafy solitude,
As wheels the dance to many a jocund tune;
T'h'unpannier'd ass slowly retires
From the brown tents, and sparkling fires,
And silently feeds on beneath the silent moon.
The Moon sits o'er the huge oak tree,
More pensive mid this scene of glee,
That mocks the hour of beauty and of rest;
The soul of all her softest rays
On yonder placid creature plays,
As if she wish'd to cheer the hardships of the opprest.
But now the silver moonbeams fade,
And, peeping through a flowery glade,
Hush'd as a wild-bird's nest, a cottage lies :