« 上一頁繼續 »
Come, press my lips and lie with me
And hark! the wind-god, as he flies,
Sweet flower, that requiem wild is mine;
My grave shall be in yon lone spot,
Where, as I lie by all forgot,
A dying fragrance thou wilt o'er my ashes shed.
A Sabbath in Scotland.-Persecution of the Scottish Covenan
It is not only in the sacred fane,
That homage should be paid to the Most High:
Nor yet less pleasing at the heavenly throne,
Stretched on the sward, he reads of Jesse's son,
Thus reading, hymning, all alone, unseen,
They stood prepared to die, a people doomed To death;-old men, and youth, and simple maids, With them each day was holy; but that morn On which the angel said, See where the Lord Was laid, joyous arose; to die that day Was bliss. Long ere the dawn, by devious ways, O'er hills, through woods, o'er dreary wastes, they sought The upland moors, where rivers, there but brooks, Dispart to different seas. Fast by such brooks A little glen is sometimes scooped, a plat
With green sward gay, and flowers that stranger seem.
Amid the heathery wild, that all around
* Pron. time. † Pron. meekle-much.
Mounted, belonging to the cavalry.
And on the distant cairns the watcher's ear*
But years more gloomy followed; and no more
Of night, save when the wintry storm raved fierce,
It is a pleasant and impressive time, when at the close of divine service, in some small country church, there takes place the gentle stir and preparation for a baptism. A sudden air of cheerfulness spreads over the whole congregation; the more solemn expression of all countenances fades away; and it is at once felt, that a rite is about to be performed, which, although of a sacred and awful kind, is yet connected with a thousand delightful associations of purity, beauty, and innocence. Then there is an eager bending of smiling faces over the humble galleries-an unconscious rising up in affectionate curiosity-and a slight murmuring sound in which is no violation of the Sabbath sanctity of God's house, when in the middle passage of the church the party of women is seen, mātrons and maids, who bear in their bosoms, or in their arms, the helpless beings about to be made members of the Christian communion.
*Sentinels were placed on the surrounding hills, to give warning of the approach of the military.
There sit, all dressed becomingly in white, the fond and happy baptismal group. The babes have been intrusted, for a precious hour, to the bosoms of young maidens, who tenderly fold them to their yearning hearts, and with endearments taught by nature, are stilling, not always successfully, their plaintive cries. Then the proud and delighted girls rise up, one after the other, in sight of the whole congregation, and hold up the infants, arrayed in neat caps and long flowing linen, into their father's hands. For the poorest of the poor, if he has a heart at all, will have his infant well dressed on such a day, even although it should scant his meal for weeks to come, and force him to spare fuel to his winter fire.
And now the fathers are all standing below the pulpit, with grave and thoughtful faces. Each has tenderly taken his infant into his toil-hardened hands, and supports it in gentle and steadfast affection. They are all the children of poverty, and, if they live, are destined to a life of toil. But now poverty puts on its most pleasant aspect, for it is beheld standing before the altar of religion with contentment and faith.
This is a time, when the better and deeper nature of every man must rise up within him; and when he must feel, more especially, that he is a spiritual and an immortal being making covenant with God. He is about to take upon himself a holy charge; to promise to look after his child's immortal soul; and to keep its little feet from the paths of evil, and in those of innocence and peace. Such a thought
elevates the lowest mind above itself-diffuses additional tenderness over the domestic relations, and makes them who hold up their infants to the baptismal font, better fathers, husbands, and sons, by the deeper insight which they then possess into their nature and their life.
The minister consecrates the water-and as it falls on his infant's face, the father feels the great oath in his soul. As the poor helpless creature is wailing in his arms, he thinks how needful indeed to human infancy is the love of Providence! And when, after delivering each his child into the arms of the smiling maiden from whom he had received it, he again takes his place for admonition and advice before the pulpit, his mind is well disposed to think on the perfect beauty of that religion of which the Divine Founder said, "Suffer little children to be brought unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven!"
The rite of baptism had not thus been performed for several months in the kirk* of Lanark. It was now the hottest time of persecution; and the inhabitants of that parish found other places in which to worship God and celebrate the ordinances of religion. It was the Sabbath-day,—and a small congregation, of about a hundred souls, had met for divine service in a place of worship more magnificent than any temple that human hands had ever built to Deity. Here, too, were three children about to be baptized. The congregation had not assembled to the toll of the bell,-but each heart knew the hour and observed it; for there are a hundred sun-dials among the hills, woods, moors, and fields, and the shepherd and the peasants see the hours passing by them in sunshine and shadow.
The church in which they were assembled, was hewn, by God's hand, out of the eternal rocks. A river rolled its way through a mighty chasm of cliffs, several hundred feet. high, of which the one side presented enormous masses, and the other corresponding recesses, as if the great stone girdle had been rent by a convulsion. The channel was overspread with prodigious fragments of rock or large loose stones, some of them smooth and bare, others containing soil and verdure in their rents and fissures, and here and there crowned with shrubs and trees. The eye could at once command a long stretching vista, seemingly closed and shut up at both extremities by the coalescing cliffs.
This majestic reach of rivers contained pools, streams, rushing shelves, and waterfalls innumerable; and when the water was low, which it now was in the common drought,t it was easy to walk up this scene with the calm blue sky overhead, an utter and sublime solitude. On looking up, the soul was bowed down by the feeling of that prodigious height of unscaleable and often overhanging cliff. Between the channel and the summit of the far-extended precipices, were perpetually flying rooks and wood-pigeons, and now and then a hawk, filling the profound abyss with their wild. cawing, deep murmur, or shrilly shriek.
Sometimes a heron would stand erect and still on some little stone island, or rise up like a white cloud along the black walls of the chasm, and disappear. Winged creatures alone could inhabit this region. The fox and wild cat chose more accessible haunts.+ Yet here came the persecuted Christians, and worshipped God, whose hand hung over
† Pron. drout.
+ au as in aunt.