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The earth has washed away its stain.
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, Amidst 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, That, 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
Fit shrine for humble worshipper to hold
My heart is awed within me, when I think
How, on the faltering footsteps of decay,
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.
Scene from Hadad.—HILLHous E.
An apartment in Absalom's house. NATHAN and TAMAR.
JWathan. THou’RT left to-day, (would thou wert ever left Of some that haunt thee!) therefore am I come To give thee counsel.—Child of sainted Miriam, Fear not to look upon me; thou wilt hear The gentle voice of love, not stern monition. Commune with me as with a tender parent, Who cares for all thy wishes, hopes, and fears, Though prizing thy immortal gem above The transitory. Tamar. Have I not thus, ever ? JVath. But I would probe the tenderest of thy heart, Touch its disease, and give it strength again, And yet inflict no pain. . Tam. What means my lord 2 JVath. I know thee pure, and guileless as the dove, The easier prey; and thou art fair, to tempt The spoiler—nay, be not alarmed, but speak Openly to me. I would ask thee, princess, #.not displeasing, somewhat of the stranger, The Syrian, who aspires to David’s line. Tam. (averting her eyes.) If I can answer— JW'ath. Maiden, need I ask, I fear I need not, is he dear to thee ? 'Tis well. But tell me, hast thou ever noted, Amidst his many shining qualities, Aught strange or singular —unlike to others?— That caused thy wonder 2—even to thyself, Moved thee to say, How ! Wherefore’s this? Tam. Never. JWath. Nothing that marked him from the rest of men?— Hereafter you shall know why thus I question. Tam. O yes, unlike he seems in many things; In knowledge, eloquence, high thoughts. JVath. Proud thoughts Thou mean'st. Tam. I’m but a young and simple maid; But, father, he, of all my ears have judged, *Is master of the loftiest, richest mind.
JVath. How have I wronged him! deeming him more apt For intricate designs, and daring deeds, Than contemplation's solitary flights. Tam. Seer, his far-soaring thoughts ascend the stars, Pierce the unseen abyss, pervade, like light, The universe, and wing the infinite. JVath. (firing his eyes upon her.) What stores of love, and praise, and gratitude, He thence must bring to Him, whose mighty hand Fashioned their glories, hung yon golden orbs Amidst his wondrous firmament; who bids The day-spring know his place, and sheds from all Sweet influences; who bars the haughty sea, Binds fast his dreadful hail, but drops the dew Nightly upon his people ! How his soul, Returning from its quest through earth and heaven, Must glow with holy fervor –Doth it, maiden? Tam. Ah, father, father! were it so indeed, I were too happy. JVath. How !—expound thy words. Tam. Though he has trod the confines of the world, Knows all its wonders, and almost has pierced The secrets of eternity, his heart Is melancholy, lone, discordant, save When love attunes it into happiness. He hath not found, alas ! the peace which dwells But with our fathers’ God. JW'ath. And canst thou love One who loves not Jehovah 2 Tam. O, ask not. JW'ath. (servently.) My child, thou wouldst not wed an infidel? Tam. (in tears.) O no! O no JVath. Why, then, this embassage 2 Why doth your sire Still urge the king 2 Why hast thou hearkened it? Tam. There was a time when I had hopes, when truth Seemed dawning in his mind—and sometimes, still, Such heavenly glimpses shine, that my fond heart Refuses to forego the hope, at last, To number him with Israel. JVath. Beware : Or thou’lt delude thy soul to ruin. Say, Doth he attend our holy ordinances? Tam. He promises observance.