Imagens das páginas

It rested on the scene,
More still and motionless than lie
The clouds of summer in the sky.
Beside it stood a hoary seer,

And through my heart a whisper ran, “God, or his angel shrouded here

Holds converse with this holy man."
Dark was that cloudy dwelling-place;

No glory on it seemed to dwell;
Yet still on every thing around,
On tree, on shrub, and heathy ground,

A streaming radiance fell;
And on that patriarch's awful face
Glowed with intense, unearthly grace.
Propped on his staff, in peace he stood,

Sandaled, and girded in his vest,
And his full beard in silver flowed

Far down his pure and quiet breast; His eye was on the cloud, as one

Who listens to momentous things, And seems with reverence to hear, Yet with more confidence than fear,

What some great herald brings. But as I gazed, a little boat,

Swift, without rudder, oars, or sail, Down through the ambient air afloat,

Bore onward one who seemed to hail The patriarch, — and he turned his head ;

He turned and saw a smiling boy,
Smiling in beauty and in youth,
With eyes in which eternal truth

Lay with eternal joy.
He touched that old man's snowy head,
And boat, youth, cloud, and patriarch fled!
A multitude of dreams have passed

Since this, and perished as they came; But in my mind imprinted fast

This lives, and still remains the same. The beauty of that gliding car;

The mystery of the cloud and sage;
Those plains in arid drought so stern;
That solemn hush, that seemed etern;-

In memory's living page,
Still stand in light, more real far
Than thousands of our day-dreams are !

First-mate was I of the Nancy,

A tight ship and a sound;
We had made a prosperous voyage,

And then were homeward bound.
We were sailing on the Tropic seas,

Before the trade-wind's power;
Day after day, without delay,

Full thirteen knots an hour.
The sea was as a glassy lake,

By a steady gale impressed;
There was nought for any man to do

But just what liked him best.
And yet the calm was wearisome;

The dull days idly sped;
And sometimes on a flute I played,

Or else a book I read.
And dallying thus one afternoon,

I stood upon the deck ;
When far off, to the leeward,

I saw a faintish speck.
Whether 't was rock, or fish, or cloud,

At first I did not know;
So I called unto a seaman,

That he might look also.
And as it neared, I saw for sure

That it must be a boat;
But my fellow swore it was not so,

But a large bamboo afloat.
We called a third unto us then,

That he the sight might see ;
Then came a fourth, a fifth, a sixth,

But no two could agree.
Nay, 't is a little boat," I said,

“And it roweth with an oar!" But none of them could see it so,

All differing as before. “ It cometh on ; I see it plain;

It is a boat!" I cried, “A liule boat o'erlaid with pearl,

And a little child to guide !"
And sure enough, a boat it was,

And worked with an oar;
But such a boat as 't was, no man

Had ever seen before.

[ocr errors]




Within it sate a little child,

The fairest eer was seen ;
His robes were like the amethyst,

His mantle of sea-green.
No covering wore he on his head,

And the hair that on it grew
Showered down in thick and wavy locks

of the sunniest golden hue. The rudest man on board our ship

Blest God that sight to see ;
For me I could do nought but weep,
Such power had it on me.

I'LL tell ye, if ye hearken now,

A thing that chanced to me It must be fifty years agone

Upon the southern sea.

The captain was a strong, stern man;

None liked him overwell;
And to a seaman standing near,
Said he, with voice and look austere,

Haul up yon cockle-shell!
And you, my boy, content you,

In this good ship to dwell!"
As one who gladly would believe

Some awful threat a joke,
So heard the child, with half a smile,

The words the captain spoke.
But when he saw them seize his boat,

And put his oar away,
The smile was gone, and o'er his face

Quick passed a pale dismay.
And then a passion seized his frame,

As if he were possessed ;
He stamped his little feet in rage,

And smote upon his breast. 'Twas a wicked deed as e'er was done

I longed to set him free;
And the impotence of his great grief

Was a grievous sight to me.
At length, when rage had spent itself,

His lofty heart gave way,
And, falling on his pretly knees,

At the captain's feet he lay.

There sat he in his pretty boat,

Like an angel from the sky,
Regarding us in our great ship,

With wonder in his eye.
The little oar slid from his hand;

His sweet lips were apart;
Within my soul I felt his joy ;

His wonder in my heart.
And as we tokened him to come,

His little boat he neared,
And smiled at all our friendly words,

Nor seemed the least aseared.
“Come hither a-board!" the captain said ;

And without fear of ill,
He sprang into the lordly ship,

With frank and free good will.
He was no son of the merman;

No syren full of guile;
But a creature like the cherubim,

From some unknown-of isle.
And strange to tell, his pleasant speech

Was English, every word;
And yet such English, sweet and pure,

As his I never heard.
There were three, he said, who dwelt with him

Within a tamarind-grove;
His parents and his sister young,-

A family of love.
His father, he said, had made his boat

From out a large sea-shell;
"And what a wondrous tale," said he,

" I shall this evening tell!" His robes, he said, his mother had wove

From roots of an Indian-tree;
And he laughed at the clothes the seamen wore,

With the merriest mockery.
When the little child had stayed with us,

May-be an hour or so,
He smiled farewell to all on board,

And said that he would go.
"For I must be back again," said he,

“For me they all will wait; I must be back again," quoth he,

"Or ever the day be late !" “He shall not go!" the captain said;

* Haul up his boat and oar ! The pretty boy shall sail with us

To the famous English shore !
“Thou shalt with me, my pretty boy;

I'll find thee a new mother;-
I've children three at home, and thou

To them shalt be a brother!"
"Nay, nay, I shall go back!” he said ;

" For thee I do not know;I must be back again," he cried,

* Before the sun be low!" Then sprang unto the vessel's side, And made as he would go.

"Oh take me back again !" he cried,

Let me not tarry here, And I'll give thee sea-apples,

And honey rich and clear;

“ And fetch thee heavy pearl-stones

From deep sea-caves below; And red tree-gold and coral-tree,

If thou wilt let me go!

“Or if I must abide with thee,

In thy great ship to dwell, Let me but just go back again,

To bid them all farewell !"

And at the word " farewell" he wept,

As if his heart would break; The very memory of his tears

Sore sad my heart doth make.
The captain's self was almost moved

To hear his woful cry ;
And there was not within the ship

One man whose eyes were dry.

When the captain saw the seamen's grief,

An angry man was he,
And shut his heart against the child,

For our great sympathy.
Down from the deck he took him

To his cabin all alone :
We saw him not for many a day,
But only heard his moan.

At length he woke from that dead woe,

Like one that long hath slept,
And cast his arms about my neck,

And long and freely wept.
I clasped him close unto my breast,

Yet knew not what to say,
To wile him from the misery

That on his spirit lay.
At length I did bethink me

Of Jesus Christ; and spake
To that poor lamb of all the woe.

He suffered for our sake.

It was a wicked deed, and Heaven

All wickedness doth hate ;
And vengeance on the oppressor,

It cometh soon or late,
As you will see. There something was,

Even from the very night
Whereon the captain stole the child,

On board that was not right.
From out the cabin evermore,

Where they were all alone,
We heard, oh piteous sounds to hear,

A low and quiet moan ;
And now and then cries sad enough

To move a heart of stone.
The captain had a conscious look,

Like one who doeth wrong,
And yet who striveth all the time

Against a conscience strong.
The seamen did not work at all

With a good will or a free ;
And the ship, as she were sullen too,

Went slowly over the sea.
"Twas then the captain from below

Sent down in haste for me.
I found him lying on his bed,

Oppressed with fever-pain;
And by his death-struck face, I saw

That he would not rise again, -
That he, so lately hale and strong,

Would never rise again. “I have done wickedly,” said he,

“ And Christ doth me condemn ;I have children three on land," groaned he,

“ And woe will come to them! “I have been weighed, and wanting found;

I've done an evil deed !
I pray thee, inate, 'tis not too late,

Take back this child with speed! “I have children three," again groaned he,

" And I pray that this be done! Thou wilt have order of the ship

When I am dead and gone: -
I pray thee do the thing I ask,

That mercy may be won!"
I vowed to do the thing he asked,

l'pon the Testament;
And true enough, that very day

To his account he went.
I took the little child away,

And set him on my knee,
In the free fresh air upon the deck,

But he spoke no word to me.
I feared at first that all his grief

Had robbed him of his speech, And that I ne'er by word or look,

His sunken soul could reach.

“For me and thee, dear child," I said,

" He suffered, and be sure He will not lay a pang on thee

Without he give the cure !" Like as the heavy clouds of night

Pass from the coming day, So cleared the sullen weight of woe

From his dear soul away. Oh happy hours of converse sweet ;

The Christian's hope he knew, And with an eager heart he gained

That knowledge sweet and new. And ever by my side he kept,

Loving, and meek, and still: But never more to him returned

His bold and wayward will :He had been tried and purified

From every taint of ill.

The eve whereon the captain died

I turned the ship about,
And said unto the seamen good,

We 'll find the island out."

So back unto the place we came,

Where we the child had found;
And two full days with anxious watch,

We sailed it all around.
And on the third, at break of day,

A far-off peak was seen;
And then the low-lands rose to view,

All woody, rich, and green.
Down on his knees the child he fell,

When the mountains came in view, And tears ran streaming from his eyes,—

For his own isle he knew.

And, with a wildly-piercing tone,

He cried, “Oh mother dear, Weep not, - I come, my mother!"

Long, long ere she could hear. And soon we saw a mountain-top

Whereon a beacon burned; Then as the good ship neared the land, An answer was returned.

But a blessing great went with the ship,

And with the freight she bore ;
The pearl-shells turned to great account,

So did the island's ore; -
But I someway lost my reckoning,

Nor found the island more.
And how the child became a man,

Or what to him befel,
As I never trod the island more,

Is not for me to tell,



"Oh give to me my boat!" he cried,

And give to me mine oar!" Just then we saw another boat

Pushed from the island-shore.
A carved boat of sandal-wood,

Its sail a silken mat,
All richly wrought in rainbow-dyes,

And three within her sat.
Down from the ship into the sea

The little boy he sprung ; And the mother gave a scream of joy,

With which the island rung.
Like some sea-creature beautiful

He swam the ocean-tide,
And ere we wondered at his skill

He clomb the shallop's side.
Next moment in his mother's arms

He lay, O sweet embrace !
Looking from her dear bosom up

Into her loving face.
The happiest and the sweetest sight

That e'er mine eyes will see,
Was the coming back of this poor child

Unto his family! - Now wot ye of his parentage ?

Sometime I'll tell you it; Of meaner matter many a time

Has many a book been writ. "T would make a pleasant history

Of joy scarce touched by woe, Of innocence and love; but now

This only must you know. His mother was of English birth,

Well-born, and young, and fair ; In the wreck of an East-Indiaman

She had been saved there. His father was the island's chief,

Goodly as man can be ; Adam, methinks, in Paradise

Was such a one as he.

THE TWO MARYS. Oh dark day of sorrow, Amazement and pain; When the promise was blighted The given was ta'en ! When the master no longer A refuge should prove ; And evil was stronger Than mercy and love! Oh dark day of sorrow, A basement and dread, When the Master beloved Was one with the dead! We sate in our anguish Afar off to see, For we surely believed not This sorrow could be ! But the trust of our spirits Was all overthrown; And we wept, in our anguish, Astonished, alone! At even they laid him With aloes and myrrh, In fine linen wound, in A new sepulchre. There, there will we seek him: Will wash him with care ; Anoint him with spices : And mourn for him there. Oh strangest of sorrow! Oh vision of fear! New grief is around us The Lord is not here!

"T is not for my weak speech to tell

The joy so sweet and good,
Of these kind, simple islanders,

Nor all their gratitude.
Whate'er the island held they gave;

Delicious fruits and wines,
Rich-tinted shells from out the sea,

And ore from out their mines.
But I might not stay; and that same day

Again we turned about, And, with the wind that changòd then

Went from the harbour out. -"T is joy to do an upright deed;

"T is joy to do a kind ; And the best reward of virtuous deeds

Is the peace of one's own mind.



Women, why shrink ye
With wonder and dread ? -
Seek not the living
Where slumbers the dead!

[blocks in formation]

Death has been conquered
The grave has been riven
For sin a remission
Hath freely been given !

Fearless in spirit,
Yet meek as the dove,
Go preach to the nations
This gospel of love.

For the night of the mighty Shall o'er you be cast ; And I will be with you, My friends, to the last,

I go to the father,
But I will prepare
Your mansions of glory,
And welcome you there.

CORN-FIELDS. In the young merry time of spring,

When clover 'gins to burst; When blue-bells nod within the wood,

And sweet May whitens first; When merle and mavis sing their fill, Green is the young corn on the hill. But when the merry spring is past,

And summer groweth bold,
And in the garden and the field

A thousand flowers unfold;
Before a green leaf yet is sere,
The young corn shoots into the ear.
But then as day and night succeed,

And summer weareth on,
And in the flowery garden-beds

The red-rose groweth wan, And holly-hock and sunflowers tall O'ertop the mossy garden wall: When on the breath of autumn breeze,

From pastures dry and brown, Goes floating, like an idle thought, The fair, white thistlo-down ;

There life never-ending; There bliss that endures; There love never-changing, My friends, shall be yours !

But the hour is accomplished !
My children, we sover —
But be ye not troubled,
I am with you for ever!

« AnteriorContinuar »