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Far from the cruel man, far from the plunderer,
Far from the track of the mean and the vile.
And when death, with the last of its terrors, assails him,
And all but the last throb of memory fails him,
He'll think of the friend, far away, that bewails him,
And light up the cold touch of death with a smile.
And there shall the dew shed its sweetness and lustre,
There for his pall shall the oak leaves be spread;
The sweet brier shall bloom, and the wild grape shall cluster,
And o'er him the leaves of the ivy be shed.
There shall they mix with the fern and the heather,
There shall the young eagle shed its first feather,
The wolves with his wild dogs shall lie there together,
And moan o'er the spot where the hunter is laid.
MEEK dwellers mid yon terror-stricken cliffs!
With brows so pure, and incense-breathing lips,
Whence are ye?—Did some white-winged messenger
On Mercy’s missions trust your timid germ
To the cold cradle of eternal snows?
Or, breathing on the callous icicles,
Bid them with tear-drops nurse ye —
—Tree nor shrub
Dare that drear atmosphere; no polar pine
Uprears a veteran front; yet there ye stand,
Leaning your cheeks against the thick-ribbed ice,
And looking up with brilliant eyes to Him
Who bids you bloom unblanched amid the waste
Of desolation. Man, who, panting, toils
O'er slippery steeps, or, trembling, treads the verge
Of yawning gulfs, o'er which the headlong plunge
Is to eternity, looks shuddering up,
And marks ye in your placid loveliness—
Fearless, yet frail—and, clasping his chill hands,
Blesses your pencilled beauty. 'Mid the pomp
Of mountain summits rushing on the sky,
*This piece is, perhaps, the finest of Mrs. Sigourney’s poetry. . It is in some respects so sublime, that it forcibly reminds us of Coleridge's Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouny.—ED.
And chaining the rapt soul in breathless awe,
He bows to bind you drooping to his breast,
Inhales your spirit from the frost-winged gale,
And freer dreams of heaven.
-o.A. Child's first Impression of a Star.—N. P. WILL1s.
SHE had been told that God made all the stars
That twinkled up in heaven, and now she stood
Watching the coming of the twilight on,
As if it were a new and perfect world,
And this were its first eve. How beautiful
Must be the work of Nature to a child
In its first fresh impression! Laura stood
By the low window, with the silken lash
§. soft eye upraised, and her sweet mouth
Half parted with the new and strange delight
Of beauty that she could not comprehend,
And had not seen before. The purple folds
Of the low sunset clouds, and the blue sky
That looked so still and delicate above,
Filled her young heart with gladness, and the eve
Stole on with its deep shadows, and she still
Stood looking at the west with that half smile,
As if a pleasant thought were at her heart.
Presently, in the edge of the last tint
Of sunset, where the blue was melted in
To the faint golden mellowness, a star
Stood suddenly. A laugh of wild delight
Burst from her lips, and, putting up her hands,
Her simple thought broke forth expressively—
“Father, dear father, God has made a star!”
“Room for the leper! Room!” And, as he came,
The cry passed on—“Room for the leper! Room!”
Sunrise was slanting on the city gates
Rosy and beautiful, and from the hills
The early risen poor were coming in,
Duly and cheerfully, to their toil, and up
Rose the sharp hammer's clink, and the far hum
Of moving wheels and multitudes astir,
And all that in a city murmur swells,
Unheard but by the watcher's weary ear,
Aching with night's dull silence, or the sick
Hailing the welcome light, and sounds that chase
The death-like images of the dark away.
“Room for the leper!” And aside they stood, Matron, and child, and pitiless manhood—all Who met him on his way—and let him pass. And onward through the open gate he came, A leper with the ashes on his brow, Sackcloth about his loins, and on his lip A covering, stepping painfully and slow, And with a difficult utterance, like one Whose heart is with an iron nerve put down, Crying “Unclean –Uncleans”
'Twas now the depth Of the Judean summer, and the leaves, Whose shadows lay so still upon his path, Had budded on the clear and flashing eye Of Judah’s loftiest noble. He was young, And eminently beautiful, and life Mantled in eloquent fulness on his lip, And sparkled in his glance; and in his mien There was a gracious pride that every eye Followed with benisons—and this was he With the soft airs of summer there had come A torpor on his frame, which not the speed Of his best barb, nor music, nor the blast Of the bold huntsman's horn, nor aught that stirs The spirit to its bent, might drive away. The blood beat not as wont within his veins; Dinness crept o'er his eye; a drowsy sloth Fettered his limbs like palsy, and his port, With all its loftiness, seemed struck with eld. Even his voice was changed—a languid moan Taking the place of the clear, silver key; And brain and sense grew faint, as if the light, And very air, were steeped in sluggishness. He strove with it awhile, as manhood will, Ever too proud for weakness, till the rein Slackened within his grasp, and in its poise The arrowy jereed like an aspen shook.
Day after day he lay as if in sleep.
His skin grew dry and bloodless, and white scales
Circled with livid purple, covered him.
And then his nails grew black, and fell away
From the dull flesh about them, and the hues
Deepened beneath the hard, unmoistened scales,
And from their edges grew the rank white hair,
—And Helon was a leper!
Day was breaking When at the altar of the temple stood The holy priest of God. The incense lamp Burned with a struggling light, and a low chant Swelled through the hollow arches of the roof Like an articulate wail; and there, alone, Wasted to ghastly thinness, Helon knelt. The echoes of the melancholy strain Died in the distant aisles, and he rose up, Struggling with weakness, and bowed down his head Unto the sprinkled ashes, and put off His costly raiment for the leper's garb, And, with the sackcloth round him, and his lip Hid in a loathsome covering, stood still Waiting to hear his doom:
Depart! depart, O child
Of Israel, from the temple of thy God;
For He has smote thee with his chastening rod,
And to the desert wild,
From all thou lov'st, away thy feet must flee,
That from thy plague His people may be free.
Depart! and come not near
The busy mart, the crowded city, more;
Nor set thy foot a human threshold o'er,
And stay thou not to hear
Voices that call thee in the way; and fly
From all who in the wilderness pass by.
Wet not thy burning lip
In streams that to a human dwelling glide;
Nor rest thee where the covert fountains hide;
Nor kneel thee down to dip
The water where the pilgrim bends to drink,
By desert well, or river's grassy brink.
And pass not thou between
The weary traveller and the cooling breeze,
And lie not down to sleep beneath the trees
Where human tracks are seen;
Nor milk the goat that browseth on the plain,
Nor pluck the standing corn, or yellow grain.
And now departs and when
Thy heart is heavy, and thine eyes are dim,
Lift up thy prayer beseechingly to Him
Who, from the tribes of men,
Selected thee to feel his chastening rod.
Depart, O leper! and forget not God!
And he went forth—alone; not one, of all
The many whom he loved, nor she whose name
Was woven in the fibres of the heart
Breaking within him now, to come and speak
Comfort unto him. Yea, he went his way,
Sick and heart-broken, and alone, to die;—
For God hath cursed the leper!
It was noon, And Helon knelt beside a stagnant pool In the lone wilderness, and bathed his brow, Hot with the burning leprosy, and touched The loathsome water to his fevered lips, Praying that he might be so blessed—to die! Footsteps approached, and, with no strength to flee, He drew the covering closer on his lip, Crying “Uncleans Uncleans” and, in the folds Of the coarse sackcloth, shrouding up his face, He fell upon the earth till they should pass. Nearer the stranger came, and, bending o'er The leper's prostrate form, pronounced his name. —“Helon!”—the voice was like the master-tone Of a rich instrument—most strangely sweet; And the dull pulses of disease awoke, And for a moment beat beneath the hot And leprous scales with a restoring thrill. “Helon, arise!” and he forgot his curse, And rose, and stood before him.
Love and awe Mingled in the regard of Helon’s eye