Imagens das páginas

Just as the little boat approached

The island bleak and bare. The boat ran up a creek, as if,

"Twere steered by angels good; And ere the evening prayer was done

Beside the youth she stood.
The chiefest joy it hath not words

Its deep excess to say;
And as if he had seen a sprite,

His spirit died away.
Then with clasped hands, and broken speech,

And tears that ceaseless flowed; He pourèd forth from his full heart

A fervent praise of God.

“The meanest of thy creatures, low

I bend before thy throne, And offer my poor self to make

Thy loving-kindness known! « Oh father, give me words of power,

The stony hearts to move ; Give me prevailing eloquence,

To publish forth thy love! “ Thy love which wearieth not; which like

Thy sun, on all doth shine!
Oh Father, let me worship Thee
Through life, by gladly serving Thee!
I love not life; I ask not wealth ;
My heart and soul, my youth and health,

My life, oh Lord, are thine!"
So spake the youth ; but now the boat

The glorious island neared,
Which, like a cloudland realm of bliss,

Above the sea appeared.
Skyward rose sunny peaks, pale-hued,

As if of opal glow;
And crested palms, broad-leaved and tall,

In valleys grew below.
A lovely land of flowers, as fair

As Paradise, ere sin
And sorrow, that corrupting pair,

With death had entered in.


A lovely land !-"And even now,"

Cried Marien,“ see they come, Children of love, my brother, now

To bid thee welcome home!

“But let us hence," said Marien;

And with the earliest morn,
Within the slender carved boat,

They left the isle forlorn.
A light breeze from the desert shore

Over the waters blew,
And the little boat sailed on before,

Till the isle was out of view.
As friends long parted, met once more,

They sat; and of times gone, And of the blessèd dead conversed,

As the slender boat sailed on.
And as they sailed, sweet Marien

Over the Gospel bent,
And read of joy that is in heaven

O'er sinners that repent;
And of the weary prodigal

Returning bowed with shame, And the good father hastening forth

To meet him as he came;
And how he bade the fairest robe

Be brought; the golden ring;
Shoes for the feel; and music sweet,

As if to hail a king. "For this, my son," said he, “ was dead,

And is alive; is found, Who was long lost; 'tis meet, therefore,

That stintless joy abound!" "Oh, child of woe," said Marien,

“ Look up, for thou art he ; And round about the Father's throne

Many rejoice for thee !" "Oh Lord, I bless thee,” said the youth,

* That of thy mercy great,
Thou hast vouchsafed to rescue me

From my forlorn estate !
And henceforth, to thy work of love

Myself I dedicate!

“For these, God kept thee in the wild,

From sinful men apart;
For these, his people, through distress

Made pure thy trusting heart! “Thy work is here! Go forth, 'mid these

Meek children of the sun, Oh servant of the Lord, and tell

What He for thee hath done!"
Down to the shore the thousands came,

A joyous, peaceful host,
To welcome Marien back, whom they

Had sorrowed for as lost.

" And welcome to thee, little child!"

They sang forth sweet and clear; “And welcome to the stranger poor,

Who cometh with thee here!" And then they brought him silken cloth,

Since he was meanly drest; And juicy, mellow fruits to eat, And perfumed waters for his feet,

And mats whereon to rest

And ever as they served him,

They sang forth sweet and low, “Would this repose might solace theo, These apples cure thy woe!"

And though the twain knew not their speech,

Yet well they understood
The looks of love that welcomed them,

Their actions kind and good.
With them for many a year abode

The youth, and learned their tongue ; And with the sound of Christian praise

The hills and valleys rung.
Oh beautiful beyond all lands

That lay beneath the moon,
Was that fair isle of Christian love

Of Christian virtues boon.
A joyful people there they dwelt,

Unsuffering from their birth;
Of simplest life; benignly wise ;

As angels on the earth.
And with them dwelt the holy youth,

Their chief, their priest, their friend,
Beloved and loving, for their sakes

Willing himself to spend.
Like to some ancient church of Christ,

From worldly taint kept free,
Lay this delicious isle of love

Amid its summer sea.
But now the work he had to do

Was done; and ere his day
Approached its noon, his strength, his life,

Was wearing fast away.
They saw his cheek grow thin and pale;

His loving eye grow dim;
And with surpassing tenderness

They sorrowed over him.
Old men, and youths, and women meek,

And children wild and young,
Followed his steps with watchful care,

And weeping round him hung. In flowery thickets of the hills

Sad mourners knelt in prayer, That God this servant so revered,

This friend beloved would spare. And round about his feet they sat,

Observant, meek, and still,
To gather up his latest words,

To do his slightest will.
Now all this while good Marien

Had wandered far and wide,
Through divers realms, for many a year,

The hand of Heaven her guide. And now unto the glorious isle

She came; but on the shore She saw no wandering company,

As she had seen before.
'Twas Sabbath eve, and o'er the isle

A solemn stillness lay;
A stillness, how unlike the calm

of many a Sabbath day!

A hush, as of suspended breath,

Ere some great grief began; For the mournful people silently

Stood round the dying man. Through the still vales went Marien,

And came at length to where,
'Mid flowering trees, knelt many a one

In agony of prayer.
Onward she went, not many steps,

With heart of mournful ruth,
When, like a dying angel laid,

She saw the holy youth. With closèd eyes and pallid lips

He lay, as one whose life Meeteth with death, yet waiteth still

The last conflicting strise. Beside him knelt she on the turf,

And spoke in accents low Words of strong love, which like new life

Seemed through the frame to go. He raised himself, and blessing God,

That He of him had care,
And now in his dark trial-hour,

Had sent his angel there ;
With low-toned voice, more musical

Than softest lute could make,
Looking upon his wecping friends

With fervent love, he spake. “Oh friends, beloved friends! weep not,

Nor be oppressed with woe; 'Tis of His will, who doeth right,

That I am called to go! “ Fain would I tarry, but the cry

Hath sounded in mine ear, • Haste to depart, the Lord hath need

Of thee no longer here! “Even like the Master whom I serve,

I pray ye not to grieve; But as ye have believed in me,

Also in Him believe! “I go, but leave you not forlorn,

As sheep without a guide ; — For Christ the unfailing Comforter

Shall still with you abide!
" Oh weep not, friends; a better home

Awaits me, and I go,
But to that home which is prepared

For ye who love me so!
Farewell, farewell! Unto my God,

And unto yours, I go!"
The Sabbath sun went down amid

A golden, cloudless sky;
And the freed spirit, cleansed from sin,

Arose to God on high.
Beneath the trees where he had died.

They buried him, and there
Enwove the flowery boughs to form
A quiet house of prayer.

Long time with them dwelt Marien,

Until she was sent forth,
At the Lord's bidding to perform

New service on the earth.
Good speed to thee, thou blessèd child,

May angels guide thy bark, 'Mid slumbrous calm, 'mid tempests wild,

And o'er the waters dark !
Good speed to thee, thou blessèd child

The angel of the poor —
And win from sorrow and from sin

The world from shore to shore !


Not he! for he loveth the children;

And holiday begs for all;
And comes with bis pockets full of gifts,

For the great ones and the small !
With a present for every servant;-

For in giving he doth not tire ; From the red-faced, jovial butler,

To the girl by the kitchen-fire. And he tells us witty old stories;

And singeth with might and main; And we talk of the old man's visit

Till the day that he comes again! Oh he is a kind old fellow,

For though that beef be dear, He giveth the parish paupers

A good dinner once a year! And all the workhouse children

He sets them down in a row,
And giveth them rare plum-pudding,

And two-pence a-piece also.
Oh, could you have seen those paupers,

Have heard those children young,
You would wish with them that Christmas

Came oft and tarried long! He must be a rich old fellow,

What money he gives away! There is not a lord in England

Could equal him any day!
Good luck unto old Christmas,

And long life, let us sing,
For he doth more good unto the poor

Than many a crowned king!


Now he who knows old Christmas,

He knows a carle of worth ; For he is as good a fellow,

As any upon the earth! He comes warm cloaked and coated,

And buttoned up to the chin,
And soon as he comes a-nigh the door,

We open and let him in.
We know that he will not fail us,

So we sweep the hearth up clean; We set him the old armed chair,

And a cushion whereon to lean. And with sprigs of holly and ivy

We make the house look gay, Just out of an old regard to him, —

For it was his ancient way. We broach the strong ale barrel,

And bring out wine and meat; And thus have all things ready,

Our dear old friend to greet. And soon as the time wears round,

The good old carle we see. Coming a-near; – for a creditor

Less punctual is than he! He comes with a cordial voice

That does one good to hear; He shakes one heartily by the hand,

As he hath done many a year. And after the little children

He asks in a cheerful tone, Jack, Kate, and little Annie,

He remembers them every one ! What a fine old fellow he is,

With his faculties all as clear, And his heart as warm and light

As a man's in his fortieth year! What a fine old fellow, in troth!

Not one of your griping elves, Who, with plenty of money to spare, Think only about themselves !

My friends, the spirit is at peace;

Oh do not trouble me with tears;
Petition rather my release,

Nor covet for me length of years,
Which are but weariness and woe;
Resign me, friends, before I go!
I know how strong are human ties;

I know how strong is human fear;
But visions open to mine eyes,

And words of power are in mine ear;
My friends, my friends, can ye not see,
Nor hear what voices speak to me?
“Thou human soul," they seem to say,

“We are commissioned from above, Through the dark portal to convey

Thee to the paradise of love; Thou need'st not shrink, thou need'st not fear; We, thy sure help, are gathered near !

A world of beauty in my mind,

A never-ceasing store.

“I hear you talk of mountains,

The beautiful, the grand; Of splintered peaks so grey and tall; Of lake, and glen, and waterfall; Of flowers and trees; - I ken them all;

Their difference understand.

“Thy weakness on our strength confide;

Thy doubt upon our steadfast trust; And rise up, pure and glorified,

From thine infirm and sinful dust. Rise up, rise up! the eternal day Begins to dawn — why wilt thou stay? “ Look forth — the day begins to dawn;

The future openeth to thy view; The veil of mystery is undrawn;

The old things are becoming new; The night of time is passing by : Poor trembler, do not fear to die! “Come, come! the gates of pearl unfold:

The eternal glory shines on thee! Body, relax thy lingering hold,

And set the struggling spirit free!" "Tis done, 'uis done!-- before my sight Opens the awful infinite: I see, I hear, I live anew! Oh friends, dear friends, -adieu, adieu!

“The harebell and the gowan

Are not alike to me, Are different as the herd and flock, The blasted pine-tree of the rock, The waving birch, the broad, green oak,

The river and the sea.

" And oh, the heavenly music,

That as I sit alone, Comes to mine inward sense as clear As if the angel voices were Singing to harp and dulcimer

Before the mighty Throne!


“ It is not as of outward sound,

Of breeze, or singing bird ; But wondrous melody refined ; A gift of God unto the blind; An inward harmony of mind,

By inward senses heard !

“ And all the old-world stories

That neighbours tell o' nights; Of fairies on the fairy mound, Of brownies dwelling under ground, Of elves careering round and round,

Of fays and water-sprites;
“All this to me is pleasantness, -

Is all a merry show;
I see the antic people play, -
Brownie and kelpie, elf and say,
In a sweet country far away,

Yet where I seem to go.

“Oh brother," said fair Annie,

To the blind boy at her side;
“Would thou could'st see the sunshine lie
On hill and valley, and the sky
Hung like a glorious canopy

O'er all things far and wide!
“Would thou could'st see the waters

In many a distant glen;
The mountain flocks that gaze around;
Nay, even this patch of stony ground,
These crags, with silver lichen crowned,

I would that thou could'st ken!
“Would thou could'st see my face, brother,

As well as I see thine;
For always what I cannot see
It is but half a joy to me.
Brother, I often weep for thee,

Yet thou dost ne'er repine!"
“And why should I repine, Annie ?"

Said the blind boy with a smile;
“I ken the blue sky and the grey ;
The sunny and the misty day;
The moorland valley stretched away

For many and many a mile! “I ken the night and day, Annie,

For all ye may believe;
And often in my spirit lies
A clear light as of mid-day skies ;
And splendours on my vision rise,

Like gorgeous hues of eve. " I sit upon the stone, Annie,

Beside our cottage door,
And people say, 'that boy is blind,'
And pity me, although I find

“But better far than this, Annie,

Is when thou read'st to me Of the dear Saviour meek and kind, And how he healed the lame and blind. Am I not bealed !- for in my mind

His blessèd form I see!

“Oh, love is not of sight, Annie,

Is not of outward things; For, in my inmost soul I know, His pity for all mortal woe; His words of love, spoke long ago,

Unseal its deepest springs!

“Then do not mourn for me, Annie,

Because that I am blind;The beauty of all outward sight; The wondrous shows of day and night; All love, all faith, and all delight, Are strong in heart and mind!"


What of this ? our blessed Lord

Loved such as we;How he blessed the little ones

Sitting on his knee!


WHERE shall I meet thee,

Thou beautiful one? Where shall I find thee,

For aye who art gone? What is the shape

To thy clear spirit given ? Where is thy home

In the infinite heaven? I see thee, but still

As thou wert upon earth, In thy bodied delight,

In thy wonder and mirth! But now thou art one

of the glorified band Who have touched the shore

of the far spirit-land! And thy shape is fair,

And thy locks are bright, In the living stream

Of the quenchless light. And thy spirit's thought

It is pure, and free From darkness and doubt

And from mystery! And thine ears have drunk

The awful tone of the First and Last,

Of the Ancient One! And the dwellers old

Thy steps have met, Where the lost is found,

And the past is yet. Where shall I find thee,

For aye who art gone ? Where shall I meet thee,

Thou beautiful one?

Hoar with the lapse of ages seemed

The silent land toward which I drew; And yet within myself I deemed

The dwellers in that land were few. A strong conviction seemed 10 rest

Upon my heart that I was then In the sole portion of the earth, Since creation's perfect birth,

Had held the sons of men ; And I was on a marvelling quest Of that small colony of the blest. How lone, how silent! not a sound

In earth or air, from wind or flood; But o'er the bare and barren ground

Brooded an endless solitude. It was an awful thing to tread

O'er grey and parched and mighty plains,
Where never living thing was seen,
Where the live heart had never been:

The blood chilled in my veins, —
Yet still I felt in spirit led
Across that wilderness of dread.
But lo! that deadness of the world,

Which seemed of an eternal power,
Like a light vapour was unfurled,

And I walked over fern and flower; Hills, robed in light celestial blue,

Bounded that amplitude of plain ;
And round me there were lofty trees,
Yet moveless, soundless to the breeze ;

And not a wild bird's strain,
Nor cry of beast, could still undo
The spell which silence o'er me threw.
But man was there. Not far aside,

One I beheld who strongly toiled;
He seemed a youth of solemn pride,

Of noble form, but dimmed and soiled
With rural labour and with care,

And he clove wood for sacrifice.
I listened for his sounding stroke,
There was no sound ; and now the smoke

Did from the pile arise ;
And he gazed on it with an air
Less marked by pleasure than despair.
But then a lovelier vision sprung

Before me; and between the tall
And shadowy trees, a low cloud hung,

So low, it scarcely hung at all; 'Twas like no cloud which sails the sky;

Around it all was clearly seen; It mixed not with the ambient air; Rolled on itself compact and fair,


We are poor and lowly born;

With the poor we bide; Labour is our heritage,

Care and want beside.
What of this ? our blessed Lord

Was of lowly birth,
And poor, toiling fishermen

Were his friends on earth!
We are ignorant and young ;

Simple children all; Gifted with but humble powers,

And of learning small.

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