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Hark! they whisper; angels say,
“Sister spirit, come away.”.
What is this absorbs me quite ?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can tbis be death?
The world recedes; it disappears;
Heaven opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring :
Lend, lend your wings ! I mount ! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Of all the thoughts of God that are
Born inward into souls afar,
Along the Psalmist's music deep,
Now tell me if that any is,
For gift or grace surpassing this-
“He giveth His beloved, sleep ?"
What would we give to our beloved ?
The hero's heart to be unmoved,
The poet's star-tuned heart to sweep,
The patriot's voice to teach and rouse,
The monarch's crown to light the brows-
“He giveth His beloved, sleep.”
What do we give to our beloved ?
A little faith all undisproved,
A little dust to over weep,
And bitter memories to make
The whole earth blasted for our sake.
“He giveth His beloved, sleep."
“Sleep soft, beloved!" we sometimes say,
Who have no tune to charm away
Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep:
But never doleful dream again
Shall break the happy slumber, when
"He giveth His beloved, sleep.
O earth, so full of dreary noises!
O men, with wailing in your voices !
O delved gold, the wailer's heap!
O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall!
God strikes a silence through you all,
And giveth His beloved, sleep.
His dews drop mutely on the hill,
His cloud above it saileth still,
Though on its slope men sow and reap:
More softly than the dew is shed,
Or cloud is floated overhead,
"He giveth His beloved, sleep."
Ay, men may wonder while they scan
A living, thinking, feeling man
Confirmed in such a rest to keep;
But angels say, and through the word
I think their happy smile is heard-
"He giveth His beloved, sleep."
For me, my heart that erst did go
Most like a tired child at a show,
That sees through tears the mummers leap,
Would now its wearied vision close,
Would child-like, on His love repose
Who giveth His beloved, sleep.
And friends, dear friends, when it shall be
That this low breath is
And round my bier ye come to weep,
Let One, most loving of you all,
Say, Not a tear must o'er her fall!
"He giveth His beloved, sleep.”
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar :
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I ne'er
express, yet cannot all conceal.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean-roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin-his control
Stops with the shore ;-upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth :there let him lay.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee-
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts :not so thou;-
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play-
Time writes no wrinkles on thine azure brow-
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form Glasses itself in tempests; in all time, Calm or convulsed-in breeze, or gale, or storm, Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime Dark-heaving ;-boundless, endless, and sublimeThe image of Eternity—the throne Of the Invisible! even from out thy slime The monsters of the deep are made: each zone Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
'Twas twilight, and the sunless day went down
Over the waste of waters ; like a veil, Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown
Of one whose hate is masked but to assail. Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown,
And grimly darkled o'er their faces pale, And the dim desolate deep : twelve days had Fear Been their familiar, and now Death was here. Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the braveThen some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,
As eager to anticipate their grave;
And the sea yawned around her like a hell,
And down she sucked with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.
And first one universal shriek there rushed,
Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash
Of echoing thunder; and then all was hushed,
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gushed,
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.
The boats, as stated, had got off before,
And in them crowded several of the crew;
And yet their present hope was hardly more
Than what it had been, for so strong it blew,