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His was the mighty sway of eloquence;
His throne the pulpit, whence his power he dealt;
Strange, mastering power, of energy intense,
That more than music knows to rouse and melt:
'Twas not the strength of reason in him dwelt -
His thoughts, wherr written, failed - but oh! when heard,
All hearts, like seas the tempest's breath that felt,
Quick into wild tumultuous life were stirred,
Then rolled in billowy waves, submissive to his word.
How did that voice our bosom-tides upraise –
How, drunk with music, on its tones we hung,
Wben met our freedom's stormy birth to praise,
Of all our fathers' woes his faltering tongue
Told the sad tale; and tears like rain-drops sprung
Down droughty cheeks, long strangers to their flow :
But when with trumpei-note he told the young
Theirs for defence henceforth must be the blow,
How did our spirits leap, and long to find a foe!
But hark !-- he speaks — he calls his happy bride :
'Look up ! sweet love -- the moon-set hour is nigh,
The pallid queen, long sick, at length has died,
And stars, ashamed of rival brilliance, fly;
For the young east is winning every eye:
See! yon rose cloud that sails so sweetly there,
Bound like a ransumed spirit to the sky:
Up the blue deep it fades — it melts in air!
Such be thy gentle fate, when death no more will spare!'
The drowsy morn is stirring from his dream -
Lo! on his cheek the waking blushes play,
Through lash of trees now peeps bis trembling beam,
Now opes his awful eye upon the day!
From peak to peak, bright rushing far away,
The scattering sunbeams chuse the flying gloom;
Signals of light, with telegraphic sway,
To spire and hill-top, met with as they roam,
News-telling, that the king of light and life is come!
He comes! far-flashing in his car of gold !
Waken, ye clouds! put on your crimson dies;
Ye mists ! haste up the hill-side to behold!
Ye winds! call up the slumbering leaves with sighs :
Rouse, droning water-falls! salute the skies,
And wreathe fresh rainbows round your brows of spray!
Ye beasts !- birds! - insects !-all awake! arise !
To greet the coming of the lord of day:
Thou, too! oh, man, shouldst wake -- but wake to praise and pray!
"God of this wondrous scene! whose iron hand
Tore ope the lion-jaws of chasms — this strait
Of warring waters, this high mountain-land,
Yon Gaming globe, all tell me thou art great :
And oh ! with all my raptures, this dear mate
To share and sweeten, shows me thou art good.
I cannot thus unthankful bear thy weight
Of unbought bounties : oh! then let this flood
Of happy tears say all my failing accents should !'
Long do they kneel, and pour their silent prayers, Awed by the roar of falls, and dizzy brow Wheron they rest - still showering April tears : When hearts are full, the eyes wlll overflow, Be the deep burthen one of joy or wo: But soon those eye-born dews the breezes drink, Sooner than those which on the mosses glow : And now he leads her to the slippery brink, Where ponderous tides headlong plunge down the horrid chink.
Shuddered the solid frame-work of the rock,
Down the black gulf the waters, crushed, amazed,
Shivered to snowy atoms by the shock,
Shrieked dreadful : that her giddy head, half-crazed,
Hid in his sheltering bosom while he gazed.
Strong with the scent of beaten flint, the spray
Rushed like a wind, and high in air was raised ;
Drenching the lovers on its drizzling way:
And now it soars a cloud, and glitters in the day.
Ope thy sweet timid eyes!' he cries : 'behold
One smile of peace mid all the discord's roar!
A dreamy arch of azure, flame, and gold,
Now bridges wide the gulf from shore to shore :
Heaven's early mark of promise, that no more
The ruin past the wearied earth should wear :
Proof to the stream its trial-storm is o’er;
The seal of God set o'er the waters there,
To stamp the act as his, and bid them not despair.
Nor need they groan ; soon, guided by his hand;
Through rocky perils to yon flowery vale,
Long shall they journey through a pleasant land;
While freighted barks upon their bosom sail :
And briny tides their welcome face shall hail,
Sent half-way up the coming guests to greet:
Soon at their sea-home, whence they did exhale,
The kindred streams once more in peace shall meet :
Oh! thus through storms to rest, our God will guide our feet !
Now down the hill-side, o'er the valley-bridge,
Their venturous feet the wildest paths pursue;
They cross the village ; near the southern ridge:
They pass the gap, whence, startling to the view,
Tall cliffs wide-parted brightly bursting through,
The whole wild beauty of the fall is seen :
Gray rocks, black pools, and foam of snowy hue,
And far away, the cloven crags between,
The fleecy waters curve, with amber striped, and green,
They seek cool shelter from the sunny glow,
Where trees, leaf-thatched, an emerald roof have made,
Whose mottled shadow spots the turf below:
For quivering heat and dazzling glare pervade
All save the woodland's ever-evening shade :
There by the bank they rest, above the foam,
On tufted moss, thick sown with blossoms, laid;
Around, the laurel showers its rosy bloom,
Wreathes the bare-headed crags, and lights the forest-gloom.
Clear-throated birds sing loving songs, and leap,
Sweetest of all, wood-robins' bell-notes peal;
While dainty bees, that under flower-bells peep,
Give honied sounds for honied sweets they steal.
Coolness from streams, with odors from the vale,
The breezes bring, and yield them with a kiss :
Songs, odors, blossoms, breezes, all they feel
All breathe of Eden, and impart its bliss,
Wild bliss ! like that too tasted o'er a dread abyss !
Oh Love!-- no starry jewels of the night,
No breezy blessing of the balny spring,
No thrill that gives to mortal sense delight,
Such dreamy rapture as young Love, can bring,
When first he fans us with his downy wing:
Love on! - love on! young revellers, while ye may!
Life o'er your dim, benighted path can fling
No light more glorious than his mooniight ray,
Till love immortal breaks, and blends it with the day!
Now gently gliding from his twining arm,
To pluck, and bring him forest-flowers she goes;
He bids her mark the Kalmia's changing charm :
Red starry buds, and whitely opening blows,
How each bent 'stamen, as it loosens, throw's
With sudden spring its quickening powder there.
* Beware the cactus-flower! be cries : 'it grows
Thick-set with stings that guard its blossom fair :
'I would not have thee harmed, even by the tiniest hair.'
Sweet smiled her eyes, fair shone her happy brow,
Soft stirred her tresses in the gentle blast;
His doting eye still watched as, playful now,
Bright flowers and branches in the tide she cast ;
To mark their fatal voyage, sailing fast
From peace to ruin, in the swallowing foam.
He muses on the stream calm-gliding past :
Sweet stream, asleep, unconscious of its doom Perchance himself might sleep, nor dream of wreck to come!
Wearied at length, she seeks once more his side,
To list his accents, leaning on his breast :
Oft have I dreamed, by some such stilly tide,
Ere age comes on, we'll build our cot of rest';
Of love, of peace - oh! then of all possessed,
With happy children, sporting, or asleep --
With daughters, blooming as their mother, blest ;
Thus stream-like gliding to the solemn steep,
To wake in happy fields, where storms no more shall sweep.'
She answered soft: "The picture is most bright, .
But oh! with thee all scenes alike I prize!
Love, like the sun bedazzling all with light,
Alike to bloom and desert blinds my eyes;
The din of towns, that once I did despise,
Would charm liké mellow music, heard with thee:
And 'neath thy step would verdure ever rise!
Though sweet these birds we hear, these flowers we see, Still would I meet them all, wherever thou shouldst be !
Thrilled to the quick, he clasps her with a start, .
And straining, fastens on her lips a kiss,
That seemed to suck the life-blood from her heart :
She pales ! she droops in those dear arms of his !
But oh! 't is nothing but excess of bliss :
She dreams she floats mid girdling rainbows, driven,
Half-whirled, half-wafted, glancing down th' abyss;
Buoyed by the foam to spirit-shores forgiven:
He speaks — an angel-voice confirms her shadowy heaven.
Come, dearest heart! we waste our golden time;
Day is advanced, and duty bids us go.'
Noi yet,' she cries; 'from yonder brink sublime,
One long, last look' still let me cast below!'
He guides her there with cautious feet and slow;
Across a chasm they step, of blackest frown,
So deep, so strait, as if with sudden blow
Split by the axe of thunder; on the crown
Stands a lone starving pine, where, clinging, they look down.
'Awful !' he cries : 'how the bewildered tides
Stunned, battered, frightened, madly, vainly flock,
Now here, now there, along their prison's sides;
Where towers of square-hewn and intruding rock,
That rear their fronts, all outlet seem to block.
Some, angry-black, slink sidelong in a bay,
Sullen, or palsied by the dreadful shock :
At length, o'er heaps of tumbled fragments gray,
Out of the hideous pit they make their hurried way.
*Close down beneath our feet, now bend thy sight,
To yon black underlying lake; so clear,
It seems a foor of marble, veined with white;
Upon whose polished glass almost appear
Our overhanging faces mirrored there.
Cling closer now! How deep ! - yet still more deep
Sinks the full pool ; what sharp rocks, never bare,
What caves, there lurk! Come hence! the frightful steep Dizzies my steadier brain, and numbs my will to sleep.'
They leave the brink : 'And now,' he cries, 'for home!
Follow my steps !- this narrow path we take!
He moves before her, trusting she will come,
When sharply is his ear stabbed by a shriek !
He turns — he stares — he gasps -- he cannot speak;
For she is -- where ? — swift to the rocky brow,
Where late they stood, he springs, he flies, to seek
Horrors too wild for thought! – there, in the lake below, Sees the last sinking flutter of her robe of snow!
'She's fallen !- oh she's fallen!' with a shout,
Bewildered, stunned, he hurries to and fro;
Maddening at length, as each repeated thought
Confirms his ruin with its hammering blow;
With ringing brain, and eyes all blind with wo,
On to the brink he rushes with a bound,
That soon had quenched his torments far below,
Had not a stranger's hand by Heaven been found,
To drag him back to life, and force him from the ground.
Oh! why not leave him to that easier fate,
Sweetly to death within her arms to yield;
Safe from his present torture, and more late
His reason's strain, which never wholly healed !
That inky lake no cavern had revealed
More drear to him than life's lone wilderness;
The flintiest fragment of sunk rock concealed
Within its dankest, jaggiest recess,
Were downier bed, alas! than he again shall press!
I never look upon that fiendish pool
Without a thrill, though years have rolled away;
With smile so grim, with glance so deadly cool,
seems still watching with hushed voice for prey.
Down to its shore they wound -and there it lay,
Unbroke by wave or bubble on its gleam,
As though its breast no murder hid from day:
Like the false smile, of calm yet treacherous beam, That cunning Guilt puis on, when guiltless it would seem.
Now frantic threats of rash self-sacrifice,
Now sobs and prayers his frame alternate shake:
Oh! 't were enough to thaw a heart of ice,
To mark his sorrows like a flood o'ertake,
And on his head in pitiless masses break!
Soon gathering friends, with ready kindness, flew;
Long for the corse they searched i hat fatal lake,
At last, all dripping on the shore they drew
Oh ! agonizing sight, for lover's eyes to view!
Still as a dreaming statue, there she lay,
In all the sweet abandonment of sleep;
Her clinging robes her marble limbs display,
As nature chiselled in their graceful sweep :
Still round her cheeks her damp locks closely creep,
Where a smile hovers, like a sweet surprise,
One charm unstrangled by the heartless deep.
He sees — he kneels — he clings, with sobbing cries ;
All feel bis choking pangs, and hide their brimming eyes,
Weep not, poor mourner! o'er those perished charms :
She fell not wholly with her falling clay,
For underneath the everlastingarms'
Caught soft and bore her better part away,
Where treacherous steeps no more ehall fright or slay.
Bear well this cutting trial of his dart,
And God thy patience with her sight will pay:
Patience, the fragrance of the bruised heart,
Incense best loved of Him, who knows to heal the smart.
Oh! blessed knowledge, that all tears that shower
Enrich the heart, and make its harvest sure ;
That all our sighs, like gales of favoring power,
Waft the sonl's bark to starry port secure :
Then let each groan He dooms us to endure,
Be of his voice indwelling deemed the call
To guard our steps when danger's snares allure;
And every bruise be deemed, howe'er it gall,
The close grasp of his hand that would not let us fall.
Now from his fever dull collapse ensued,
With chill and torpor, both of heart and brain :
Oh! better far, than such cold, deadly #nood,
His frenzy's fire were kindled there again :
They bear her on; he follows with the train,
And all unconscious quits the fatal ground:
Friends give him words and tears - but all in vain;
Earth has no balsam for a heavenly wound:
He only finds the balm that the fell weapon found.
They bear the lovely ruin to the grave;,
He follows still, with measured step and slow :
Oh! who can watch unmoved, however brave,
His precious jewel sunk in earth below!
While heaps on heaps of heavy clay they throw,
All rescue osing with the load profound ?
But there he stood, with stony heart and brow,
Nor shuddering once, though others wept, was found;
Save when the first-dropped clod sent up its dull cold sound.
They lead him to his home--oh! dismal scene !
There is the hearth, and there the vacant chair :
The empty cup of joys that late had been,
The blooming garden, desert now and bare:
No child, no image of his lost one, there!
And this is home - oh! mockery of home!
Lone, dark, he sits, the prisoner of despair ;
Without a ray to cheer his dungeon-gloom,
Save the pale star of hope that shines beyond the tomb !
Passaic! ever when the generous sun
Unprisons Nature from her wintry gloom,
Waking young brooks to praise him as they run,
Winning all flowers to offer grateful bloom,
And pour their gushing worship in perfume;
Gay hearts shall haunt the wild and fatal steep
Where thy brave current, rushing to its doom,
Grows instant famous by a dazzling leap,
And shuddering on the brink, pause o'er the murderous deep.