« PreviousContinue »
And stagnate and corrupt; till, changed to poison,
They break out on him like a loathsome plague-spot:
Then we call in our pampered mountebanks
And this is their best cure !-uncomforted
And friendless solitude, groaning and tears,
And savage faces, at the clanking hour
Seen through the steams and vapour of his dungeon,
By the lamp's dismal twilight So he lies
Circled with evil, till his very soul.
Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed
By fellowship with desperate deformity! ..
With other ministrations thou, O Nature!
Healest thy wandering and distempered child.
Thou pourest on him thy soft influences,
Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets,
Tby melodies of woods, and winds, and waters,
Till he relent, and can no more endure :
To be a jarring and discordant thing,
Amid this general dance and minstrelsy ;
But, bursting into tears wins back his way;
His angry spirit healed and humanized
By the benignant touch of love and beauty.
To the Rosemary.—H. K. WHITE.
Sweet scented flower ! who'rt wont to bloom
On January's front severe,
And o'er the wintry desert drear
To waft thy waste perfume !
Come, thou shalt form my nosegay now,
And I will bind thee round my brow;
And, as I twine the mournful wreath,
I'll weave a melancholy song,,
And sweet the strain shall be, and long
The melody of death.
Come funeral flower! who lov'st to dwell
With the pale corse in lonely tomb,
And throw across the desert gloom
A sweet, decaying smell --
Come, press my lips and lie with me ..
Beneath the lowly alder tree :
And we will sleep a pleasant sleep,
And not a care shall dare intrude,
To break the marble solitude,
So peaceful and so deep.
And hark! the wind-god, as he flies,
Moans hollow in the forest trees,
And, sailing on the gusty breeze,
Mysterious musick dies.
Sweet flower, that requiem wild is mine;
It warns me to the lonely shrine,
The cold turf altar of the dead;
My grave shall be in yon lone spot,
Where, as I lie by all forgot,
A dying fragrance thou wilt o'er my ashes shed.
A Sabbath in Scotland.-Persecution of the Scottish Covenant.
It is not only in the sacred fane,
That homage should be paid to the Most High :
There is a temple, one not made with hands-
The vaulted firmament: far in the woods,
Almost beyond the sound of city-chime,
At intervals heard through the breezeless air ;
When not the limberest leaf is seen to move,
Save where the linnet lights upon the spray;
When not a floweret bends its little stalk,
Save where the bee alights upon the bloom;-
There, rapt in gratitude, in joy, and love,
The man of God will pass the Sabbath noon;
Silence, his praise ; his disembodied thoughts,
Loosed from the load of words, will high ascend
Beyond the empyrean.
Nor yet less pleasing at the heavenly throne,
The Sabbath service of the shepherd-boy,
In some lone glen, where every sound is lulled
To slumber, save the tinkling of the rill,
Or bleat of lamb, or hovering falcon's cry,
Stretched on the sward, he reads of Jesse's son ;
Or sheds a tear o'er him to Egypt sold,
And wonders why he weeps; the volume closed,
With thyme-sprig laid between the leaves, he sings
The sacred lays, his weekly lesson conned
With meikle* care beneath the lowly roof,
Where humble lore is learnt, where humble worth
Pines unrewarded by a thankless state.
Thus reading, hymning, all alone, unseen,
The shepherd-boy the Sabbath holy keeps,
Till on the heights he marks the straggling bands
Returning homeward from the house of prayer."
In peace they home resort. O blissful days!
When all men worship God as conscience wills...
Far other times our fathers' grandsires knew,
A virtuous race, to godliness devote.
· They stood prepared to die, a people doomed
To death ;-old men, and youths, and simple maids,
With them each day was holy; but that morn
On which the angel said, See where the Lord .
Was laid, joyous arose; to die that day
Was bliss. Long ere the dawn, by devious ways,
O’er hills, through woods, o'er dreary wastes, they sought
The upland moors, where rivers, there but brooks,
Dispart to different seas. Fast by such brooks
A little glen is sometimes scooped, a plat
With green sward gay, and flowers that stranger seem.
Amid the heathery wild, that all around
Fatigues the eye : in solitudes like these
Thy persecuted children, Scotia, foiled
A tyrant's and a bigot's bloody laws :
There, leaning on his spear (one of the array,
Whose gleam, in former days, had scathed the rose
On England's banner, and had powerless struck
The infatuate monarch and his wavering host)
The lyartt veteran heard the word of God
By Cameron thundered, or by Renwick poured
In gentle stream; then rose the song, the loud
Acclaim of praise ; the wheeling ployer ceased
Her plaint; the solitary place was glad :
* Pron. meekle,-much. † Mounted, belonging to the cavalry,
And on the distant cairns the watcher's ear* .
Caught doubtfully at times the breeze-borne note.
But years more gloomy followed ; and no more
The assembled people dared, in face of day,
To worship God, or even at the dead
Of night, save when the wintry storm raved fierce,
And thunder-peals compelled the men of blood
To couch within their dens ; then dauntlessly
The scattered few would meet, in some deep dell
By rocks o’er-canopied, to hear the voice,
Their faithful pastor's voice: he, by the gleam
Of sheeted lightning, oped the sacred book,
And words of comfort spake: over their souls
His accents soothing came,-as to her young
The heathfowl's plumes, when, at the close of eve,
She gathers in, mournful, her brood dispersed
By murderous sport, and o’er the remnant spreads
Fondly her wings ; close nestling 'neath her breast,
They, cherished, cower amid the purple blooms.
The Baptism.-Wilson. It is a pleasant and impressive time, when at the close of divine service, in some small country church, there takes place the gentle stir and preparation for a baptism. A sudden air of cheerfulness spreads over the whole congrega. tion; the more solemn expression of all countenances fades away; and it is at once felt, that a rite is about to be performed, which, although of a sacred and awful kind, is yet connected with a thousand delightful associations of purity, beauty, and innocence. Then there is an eager bending of smiling faces over the humble galleries—an unconscious rising up in affectionate curiosity-and a slight murmuring sound in which is no violation of the Sabbath sanctity of God's house, when in the middle passage of the church the party of women is seen, matrons and maids, who bear in their bosoms, or in their arms, the helpless beings about to be made members of the Christian communion.
* Sentinels were placed on the surrounding hills to give warning of the approach of the military.
There sit, all dressed becomingly in white, the fond and happy baptismal group. The babes have been intrusted, for a precious hour, to the bosoms of young maidens, who tenderly fold them to their yearning hearts, and with endearments taught by nature, are stilling, not always success. fully, their plaintive cries. Then the proud and delighted girls rise up, one after the other, in sight of the whole congregation, and hold up the infants, arrayed in neat caps and long flowing linen, into their fathers' hands. For the poorest of the poor, if he has a heart at all, will have his infant well dressed on such a day, even although it should scant his meal for weeks to come, and force him to spare fuel to his winter fire.
And now the fathers are all standing below the pulpit, with grave and thoughtful faces. Each has tenderly taken his infant into his toil-hardened hands, and supports it in gentle and steadfast affection. They are all the children of poverty, and, if they live, are destined to a life of toil. But now poverty puts on its most pleasant aspect, for it is beheld standing before the altar of religion with contentment and faith.
This is a time, when the better and deeper nature of every man must rise up within him; and when he must feel, more especially, that he is a spiritual and an immortal being making covenant with God. He is about to take upon himself a holy charge ; to promise to look after his child's immortal soul; and to keep its little feet from the paths of evil, and in those of innocence and peace. Such a thought elevates the lowest mind above itself-diffuses additional tenderness over the domestick relations, and makes them, who hold up their infants to the baptismal font, better fathers, husbands, and sons, by the deeper insight which they then possess into their nature and their life.
The minister consecrates the water and as it falls on his infant's face, the father feels the great oath in his soul. As the poor helpless creature is wailing in his arms, he thinks how needful indeed to human infancy is the love of Providence ! And when, after delivering each his child into the arms of the smiling maiden from whom he had received it, he again takes his place for admonition and advice before the pulpit, his mind is well disposed to think on the perfect beauty of that religion of whom the Divine Founder said, 6 Suffer little children to be brought unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven!”