Imagens das páginas
PDF

A FOREST HYMN The groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave, And spread the roof above them, - ere he framed The lofty vault, to gather and roll back The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood, Amid the cool and silence, he knelt down, And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks And supplication. For his simple heart Might not resist the sacred influences Which, from the stilly twilight of the place, And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound Of the invisible breath that swayed at once All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed His spirit with the thought of boundless power And inaccessible majesty. Ah, why Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore Only among the crowd, and under roofs That our frail hands have raised ? Let me, at least, Here, in the shadow of this aged wood, Offer one hymn— thrice happy, if it find Acceptance in His ear.

Father, Thy hand Hath reared these venerable columns, Thou Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down Upon the naked earth, and, forthwith, rose All these fair ranks of trees. They, in thy sun, Budded, and shook their green leaves in thy breeze, And shot toward heaven. The century-living crow Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died Among their branches, till, at last, they stood, As now they stand, massy, and tall, and dark, Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold Communion with his Maker. These dim vaults,

These winding aisles, of human pomp or pride
Report not. No fantastic.carvings show
The boast of our vain race to change the form
Of thy fair works. But thou art here -- thou fill'st
The solitude. Thou art in the soft winds
That run along the summit of these trees
In music;-thou art in the cooler breath
That from the in most darkness of the place
Comes, scarcely felt; the barky trunks, the ground,
The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with thee.
Here is continual worship; - nature, here,
In the tranquillity that thou dost love,
Enjoys thy presence. Noiselessly, around,
From perch to perch, the solitary bird
Passes; and yon clear spring, that, midst its herbs,
Wells softly forth and visits the strong roots
Of half the mighty forest, tells no tale
Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left
Thyself without a witness, in the shades,
Of thy perfections. Grandeur, strength, and grace
Are here to speak of thee. This mighty oak —
By whose immovable stem I stand and seem
Almost annihilated — not a prince,
In all that proud old world beyond the deep,
E’er wore his crown as loftily as he
Wears the green coronal of leaves with which
Thy hand has graced him. Nestled at his root
Is beauty, such as blooms not in the glare
Of the broad sun. That delicate forest flower,
With scented breath and look so like a smile,
Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mold,
An emanation of the indwelling Life,
A visible token of the upholding Love,
That are the soul of this wide universe.

My heart is awed within me when I think Of the great miracle that still goes on,

In silence, round me — the perpetual work
Of thy creation, finished, yet renewed
For ever. Written on thy works I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.
Lo! all grow old and die — but see again,
How on the faltering footsteps of decay
Youth presses - ever gay and beautiful youth
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly that their ancestors
Molder beneath them, Oh, there is not lost
One of earth's charms: upon her bosom yet,
After the flight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies,
And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle hate
Of his arch enemy Death — yea, seats himself
Upon the tyrant's throne — the sepulcher,
And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From thine own bosom, and shall have no end.

There have been holy men who hid themselves Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived The generation born with them, nor seemed Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks Around them; - and there have been holy men Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus. But let me often to these solitudes Retire, and in thy presence reassure My feeble virtue. Here its enemies, The passions, at thy plainer footsteps shrink And tremble and are still. O God! when thou Dost scare the world with tempests, set on fire The heavens with falling thunderbolts, or fill, With all the waters of the firmament, The swift dark whirlwind that uproots the woods And drowns the villages; when, at thy call,

Uprises the great deep and throws himself
Upon the continent, and overwhelms
Its cities — who forgets not, at the sight
Of these tremendous tokens of thy power,
His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by?
Oh, from these sterner aspects of thy face
Spare me and mine, nor let us need the wrath
Of the mad, unchained elements to teach
Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate
In these calm shades, thy milder majesty,
And to the beautiful order of thy works
Learn to conform the order of our lives. Bryant.

FROM JULIUS CÆSAR
This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar;
He only, in a general-honest thought,
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle; and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “ This was a man.”

- Shakespeare. ODE RECITED AT THE HARVARD

COMMEMORATION
Such was he, our Martyr-Chief,

Whom late the Nation he had led,

With ashes on her head,
Wept with a passion of an angry grief:
Forgive me, if from the present things I turn
To speak what in my heart will beat and burn,
And hang my wreath on his world-honored urn.
Nature, they say, doth dote,
And cannot make a man
Save on some worn-out plan,

Repeating us by rote:
For him her Old-World moulds aside she threw,

And, choosing sweet clay from the breast

Of the unexhausted West,
With stuff untainted shaped a hero new,
Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true.

How beautiful to see
Once more a shepherd of mankind indeed,
Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead;
One whose meek flock the people joyed to be,

Not lured by any cheat of birth,

But by his clear-grained human worth,. And brave old wisdom of sincerity!

They knew that outward grace is dust;

They could not choose but trust
In that sure-footed mind's unfaltering skill,

And supple-tempered will
That bent like perfect steel to spring again and thrust.
His was no lonely mountain-peak of mind,
Thrusting to thin air o'er our cloudy bars,
A sea-mark now, now lost in vapors blind;
Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined,

Fruitful and friendly for all human kind,
Yet also nigh to heaven and loved of loftiest stars.

Nothing of Europe here,
Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still,

Ere any names of Serf and Peer
Could Nature's equal scheme deface
And thwart her genial will;

Here was a type of the true elder race,
And one of Plutarch's men talked with us face to face.

I praise him not; it were too late;
And some native weakness there must be
In him who condescends to victory
Such as the Present gives, and cannot wait,

Safe in himself as in a fate.
So always firmly he:

« AnteriorContinuar »