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Some shading object, in a silver shower
Plumb down, and slower than the slowest snow,
Through all the sleepy atmosphere descends;
And where it lights, though on the steepest roof,
Or smallest spire of grass, remains unmoved.
White as a fleece, as dense and as distinct
From the resplendent sky, a single cloud
On the soft bosom of the air becalmed,
Drops a lone shadow as distinct and still,
On the bare plain, or sunny mountain's side:
Or in the polished mirror of the lake,
In which the deep reflected sky appears
A calm, sublime immensity below.
No sound nor motion of a living thing
The stillness breaks, but such as serve to soothe,
Or cause the soul to feel the stillness more.
The yellow-hammer by the way-side picks,
Mutely, the thistle's seed; but in her flight,
So smoothly serpentine, her wings outspread
To rise a little, closed to fall as far,
Moving like sea-fowl o'er the heaving waves,
With each new impulse chimes a feeble note.
The russet grasshopper at times is heard,
Snapping his many wings, as half he flies,
Half hovers in the air. Where strikes the sun,
With sultriest beams, upon the sandy plain,
Or stony mount, or in the close, deep vale,
The harmless locust of this western clime,
At intervals, amid the leaves unseen,
Is heard to sing with one unbroken sound,
As with a long-drawn breath, beginning low,
And rising to the midst with shriller swell,
Then in low cadence dying all away.
Beside the stream, collected in a flock, -
The noiseless butterflies, though on the ground,
Continue still to wave their open fans
Powdered with gold; while on the jutting twigs
The spindling insects that frequent the banks
Rest, with their thin transparent wings outspread
As when they fly. Ofttimes, though seldom seen,
The cuckoo, that in summer haunts our groves,
Is heard to moan, as if at every breath
Panting aloud. The hawk, in mid-air high.
On his broad pinions sailing round and round,
With not a flutter, or but now and then,
As if his trembling balance to regain,
Utters a single scream, but faintly heard,
And all again is still.
*TIs dying ! life is yielding place
To that mysterious charm,
Which spreads upon the troubled face
A fixed, unchanging calm,
That deepens as the parting breath
Is gently sinking into death.
A thoughtful beauty rests the while
Upon its snowy brow;
But those pale lips could never smile
More radiantly than now;
And sure some heavenly dreams begin
To dawn upon the soul within!
O that those mildly conscious lips
Were parted to reply—
To tell how death’s severe eclipse
Is passing from thine eye;
For living eye can never see
The change that death hath wrought in thee.
Perhaps thy sight is wandering far
Throughout the kindled sky,
In tracing every infant star
Amid the flames on high 5–
Souls of the just, whose path is bent
Around the glorious firmament.
Perhaps thine eye is gazing down
Upon the earth below,
Rejoicing to have gained thy crown,
And hurried from its wo
To dwell beneath the throne of Him,
Before whose glory heaven is dim.
Thy life! low cold it might have been,
If days had grown to years!
How dark, how deeply stained with sin,
With weariness and tears!
How happy thus to sink to rest,
So early numbered with the blest'
'Tis well, then, that the smile should lie
Upon thy marble cheek:
It tells to our inquiring eye
What words could never speak—
A revelation sweetly given
Of all that man can learn of heaven.
-Looking unto Jesus.-CHR1st IAN ExAMINEn.
THou, who didst stoop below, To drain the cup of wo, Wearing the form of frail mortality,+ y blessed labors done, Thy crown of victory won, Hast passed from earth—passed to thy home on high.
Man may no longer trace,
In thy celestial face,
The image of the bright, the viewless One;
or may thy servants hear,
Save with faith’s raptured ear,
Thy voice of tenderness, God’s holy Son!
Our eyes behold thee not, Yet hast thou not forgot Those who have placed their hope, their trust in thee; Before thy Father's face Thou hast prepared a place, That where thou art, there they may also be.
It was no path of flowers,
Through this dark world of ours,
Beloved of the Father, thou didst tread;
And shall we, in dismay,
Shrink from the narrow way,
When clouds and darkness are around it spread?
O thou, who art our life,
Be with us through the strife'
Was not thy head by earth's fierce tempests bowed
Raise thou our eyes above,
To see a Father’s love
Beam, like the bow of promise, through the cloud.
Even through the awful gloom,
Which hovers o'er the tomb,
That light of love our guiding star shall be;
Jur spirits shall not dread
The shadowy way to tread,
Friend, Guardian, Saviour, which doth lead to thee.
The garden of Absalom's house on Mount Zion, near the palace, overlooking the city. TAMAR sitting by a sountain.
Tamar. How aromatic evening grows! The flowers
And spicy shrubs exhale like onycha;
Spikenard and henna emulate in sweets.
Blest hour ! which He, who fashioned it so fair,
So softly glowing, so contemplative,
Hath set, and sanctified to look on man.
And, lo! the smoke of evening sacrifice
Ascends from out the tabernacle. Heaven
Accept the expiation, and forgive
This day's offences!—Ha! the wonted strain,
Precursor of his coming!—Whence can this—
It seems to flow from some unearthly hand—
Hadad. Does beauteous Tamar view, in this clear fount, Herself, or heaven?
Tam. Nay, Hadad, tell me whence Those sad, mysterious sounds.
Had. What sounds, dear princess?
Tam. Surely, thou know'st; and now I almost think
Some spiritual creature waits on thee.
Had. I heard no sounds, but such as evening sends
Up from the city to these quiet shades;
A blended murmur sweetly harmonizing
With flowing fountains, feathered minstrelsy,
And voices from the hills.
Tam. The sounds I mean Fioated like mournful music round my head, From unseen fingers. Had. When 2 Tam Now, as thou camest. Had. 'Tis but thy fancy, wrought To ecstasy; or else thy grandsire’s harp Resounding from his tower at eventide. I’ve lingered to enjoy its solemn tones, Till the broad moon, that rose o'er Olivet, Stood listening in the zenith; yea, have deemed Viols and heavenly voices answered him. Tam. But these— Had. Were we in Syria, I might say The naiad of the fount, or some sweet nymph, The goddess of these shades, rejoiced in thee, And gave thee salutations; but I fear Judah would call me infidel to Moses. Tam. How like my fancy! When these strains precede Thy steps, as oft they do, I love to think Some gentle being, who delights in us, Is hovering near, and warns me of thy coming; But they are dirge-like. Had. Youthful fantasy, Attuned to sadness, makes them seem so, lady. So evening’s charming voices, welcomed ever, As signs of rest and peace;—the watchman's call, The closing gates, the Levite's mellow trump Announcing the returning moon, the pipe Of swains, the bleat, the bark, the housing-bell, Send melancholy to a drooping soul. Tam. But how delicious are the pensive dreams That steal upon the fancy at their call! Had. Delicious to behold the world at rest. Meek Labor wipes his brow, and intermits The curse, to clasp the younglings of his cot; Herdsmen and shepherds fold their flocks—and, hark What merry strains they send from Olivet! The jar of life is still; the city speaks In gentle murmurs; voices chime with lutes Waked in the streets and gardens; loving pairs Eye the red west in one another's arms; And nature, breathing dew and fragrance, yields A glimpse of happiness, which He, who formed Earth and the stars, had power to make eternal,