網頁圖片
PDF

Whose flowers the water, like a gentle nurse,
Bears on its bosom, quietly gave way,
And leaned, in graceful attitudes, to rest.
How strikingly the course of nature tells,
By its light heed of human suffering,
That it was fashioned for a happier world!
King David’s limbs were weary. He had fled
From ń. Jerusalem; and now he stood,
With his faint people, for a little rest
Upon the shore of Jordan. The light wind
Of morn was stirring, and he bared his brow
To its refreshing breath; for he had worn
The mourner's covering, and he had not felt
That he could see his people until now.
They gathered round him on the fresh green bank,
And spoke their kindly words; and, as the sun
Rose up in heaven, he knelt among them there,
And bowed his head upon his hands to pray.
Oh! when the heart is full—when bitter thoughts
Come crowding thickly up for utterance,
And the poor common words of courtesy
Are such a very mockery—how much
The bursting heart may pour itself in prayer!
He prayed for Israel; and his voice went up
Strongly and fervently. He prayed for those
Whose love had been his shield; and his deep tones
Grew tremulous. But, oh! for Absalom—
For his estranged, misguided Absalom—
The proud, bright being, who had burst away
In all his princely beauty, to defy
The heart that cherished him—for him he poured,
In agony that would not be controlled,
Strong supplication, and forgave him there,
Before his God, for his deep sinfulness.

+ + +: +: +

The pall was settled. He who slept beneath Was straightened for the grave; and, as the folds Sunk to the still proportions, they betrayed The matchless symmetry of Absalom. His hair was yet unshorn, and silken curls Were floating round the tassels as they swayed To the admitted air, as glossy now As when, in hours of gentle dalliance, bathing The snowy fingers of Judea's girls. His helm was at his feet: his banner, soiled

With trailing through Jerusalem, was laid,
Reversed, beside him: and the jewelled hilt,
Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade,
Rested, like mockery, on his covered brow.
The soldiers of the king trod to and fro,
Clad in the garb of battle; and their chief,
The mighty Joab, stood beside the bier,
And gazed upon the dark pall steadfastly,
As if he feared the slumberer might stir.
A slow step startled him. He grasped his blade
As if a trumpet rang; but the bent form
Of David entered, and he gave command,
In a low tone, to his few followers,
And left him with his dead. The king stood still
Till the last echo died: then, throwing off
The sackcloth from his brow, and laying back
The pall from the still features of his child,
He bowed his head upon him, and broke forth
In the resistless eloquence of wo:—

“Alas! my noble boy! that thou should'st die!
Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair!
That death should settle in thy glorious eye,
And leave his stillness in this clustering hair
How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,
My proud boy Absalom'

“Cold is thy brow, my son 1 and I am chill,
As to my bosom I have tried to press thee.
How was 1 wont to feel my pulses thrill,
Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee,
And hearthy sweet “my father” from these dumb
And cold lips, Absalom'

“The grave hath won thee. I shall hear the gush -
Of music, and the voices of the young;

And life will pass me in the mantling blush,
And the dark tresses to the soft winds flung;-

But thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shalt come - To meet me, Absalom

“And, oh! when I am stricken, and my heart,
Like a bruised reed, is waiting to be broken,

How will its love for thee, as I depart,
Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep token

It were so sweet, amid death’s gathering gloom,
To see thee, Absalom' -

“And now, farewell: 'Tis hard to give thee up,
With death so like a gentle slumber on thee:–
And thy dark sin!—Oh! I could drink the cup,
If from this wo its bitterness had won thee.
May God have called thee, like a wanderer, home
My erring Absalomi”

He covered up his face, and bowed himself
A moment on his child: then, giving him
A look of melting tenderness, he clasped
His hands convulsively, as if in prayer;
And, as a strength were given him of God,
He rose up calmly, and composed the pall
Firmly and decently, and left him there,
As if his rest had been a breathing sleep.

[ocr errors]

God of the earth's extended plains!
The dark green fields contented lie:
The mountains rise like holy towers,
Where man might commune with the sky:
The tall cliff . the storm
That lowers upon the vale below,
Where shaded fountains send their streams,
With joyous music in their flow. -

God of the dark and heavy deep !
The waves lie sleeping on the sands,
Till the fierce trumpet of the storm
Hath summoned up their thundering bands:
Then the white sails are dashed like foam,
Or hurry, trembling, o'er the seas,
Till, calmed by thee, the sinking gale
Serenely breathes, Depart in peace.

God of the forest’s solemn shade 1
The grandeur of the lonely tree,
That wrestles singly with the gale,
Lifts up admiring eyes to thee;

But more majestic far they stand,
When, side by side, their ranks they form,

To wave on high their plumes of green,
And fight their battles with the storm.

God of the light and viewless air!
Where summer breezes sweetly flow,
Or, gathering in their angry might,
The fieroe and wintry tempests blow;
All—from the evening's plaintive sigh,
That hardly lifts the drooping flower,
To the wild whirlwind's midnight cry—
Breathe forth the language of thy power.

God of the fair and open sky!
How gloriously above us springs
The tented dome, of heavenly blue,
Suspended on the rainbow’s rings:
Each brilliant star, that sparkles through,
Each gilded cloud, that wanders free
In evening’s purple radiance, gives
The beauty of its praise to thee.

God of the rolling orbs above :
Thy name is written clearly bright
In the warm day's unvarying blaze,
Or evening's golden shower of light.
For every fire that fronts the sun,
And every spark that walks alone
Around the utmost verge of heaven,
• Were kindled at thy i. throne.

God of the world ! the hour must come,
And nature’s self to dust return;
Her crumbling altars must decay;
Hull incense fires shall cease to burn;
But still her grand and lovely scenes
Have made man’s warmest praises flow,
For hearts grow holier as they trace.
The beauty of the world below.

The Garden of Gethsemane.—J. PIERPont.

O’ER Kedron's stream, and Salem's height,
And Olivet's brown steep,

Moves the majestic queen of night,

And throws from heaven her silver light,
And sees the world asleep;-

All but the children of distress,
Of sorrow, grief, and care—

Whom sleep, though prayed for, will not bless;-

These leave the couch of restlessness,
To breathe the cool, calin air.

For those who shun the glare of day,
There's a composing power,

That meets them, on their lonely way,

In the still air, the sober ray
Of this religious hour.

'Tis a religious hour;-for he,
Who many a grief shall bear,

In his own body on the tree,

Is kneeling in Gethsemane,
In agony and prayer.

O, Holy Father, when the light
Of earthly joy grows dim,

May hope in Christ grow strong and bright,

To all who kneel, in sorrow’s night,
In trust and prayer like him.

[ocr errors]

THou art, O Lord, my only trust,
When friends are mingled with the dust,
And all my loves are gone.
When earth has nothing to bestow,
And every flower is dead below,
I look to thee alone.

« 上一頁繼續 »