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And yet, with Him who counts the sands,
And holds the waters in his hands,
1 know a lasting record stands,
Inscribed against my name,
Of all this mortal part has wrought; -
Of all this thinking soul has thought:
And from these fleeting moments caught
For glory or for shame.
THE PEBBLE AND THE ACORNA
“I am a Pebble ! and yield to none!”
Were the swelling words of a tiny stone;—
“Nor time nor seasons can alter me;
I am abiding, while ages flee.
The pelting hail and the drizzling rain
Have tried to soften me, long, in vain ;
And the tender dew has sought to melt
Or touch my heart; but it was not felt.
There's none can tell about my birth,
For I'm old as the big, round earth.
The children of men arise, and pass
Out of the world, like the blades of grass;
And many a foot on me has trod,
That's gone from sight, and under the sod.
I am a Pebble ! but who art thou,
Rattling along from the restless bough '"
The Acorn was shock'd at this rude salute,
And lay for a moment abash'd and mute;
She never before had been so near
This gravelly ball, the mundane sphere:
And she felt for a time at a loss to know
How to answer a thing so coarse and low.
But to give reproof of a nobler sort
Than the angry look, or the keen retort,
At length she said, in a gentle tone,
“Since it has happen'd that I am thrown
From the lighter element where I grew,
Down to another so hard and new,
And beside a personage so august,
Abased, I will cover my head with dust,
And quickly retire from the sight of one
Whom time, nor season, nor storm, nor sun,
Nor the gentle dew, nor the grinding heel,
> Has ever subdued, or made to feel !”
And soon in the earth she sank away
From the comfortless spot where the Pebble lay.
But it was not long ere the soil was broke
By the peering head of an infant oak '
And, as it arose, and its branches spread,
The Pebble looked up, and, wondering, said,
“A modest Acorn—never to tell
What was enclosed in its simple shell!
That the pride of the forest was folded up
In the narrow space of its little cup !
And meekly to sink in the darksome earth,
Which proves that nothing could hide her worth !
And, oh! how many will tread on me,
To come and admire the beautiful tree,
Whose head is towering toward the sky,
Above such a worthless thing as Il
Useless and vain, a cumberer here,
I have been idling from year to year.
But never from this shall a vaunting word
From the humbled Pebble again be heard,
Till something without me or within
Shall show the purpose for which I've been "
The Pebble its vow could not forget,
And it lies there wrapt in silence yet.
The Frost look'd forth one still clear night,
And whisper’d, “Now I shall be out of sight:
So, through the valley, and over the height,
In silence I'll take my way.
I will not go on like that blustering train—
The Wind and the Snow, the Hail and the Rain—
Who make so much bustle and noise in vain;
But I'll be as busy as they.”
Then he flew to the mountain and powder'd its crest:
He lit on the trees, and their boughs he drest
In diamond beads; and over the breast
Of the quivering lake he spread
A coat of mail, that it need not fear
The downward point of many a spear
That he hung on its margin, far and near
Where a rock could rear its head.
He went to the windows of those who slept,
And over each pane, like a fairy, crept ;
Wherever he breathed, wherever he stept,
By the light of the moon, were seen
Most beautiful things: there were flowers and trees;
There were bevies of birds, and swarms of bees;
There were cities, with temples and towers, and these
All poetured in silver sheen .
But he did one thing that was hardly fair:
He peep'd in the cupboard, and finding there
That all had forgotten for him to prepare—
“Now, just to set them a-thinking,
I'll bite this basket of fruit,” said he,
“This costly pitcher I'll burst in three:
And the glass of water they've left for me
Shall ‘tchick '' to tell them I'm drinking.”
JOHN GREEN LEAF WHITTIER.
This true poet of freedom and humanity, known and loved in both hemispheres, is of a Quaker family, and was born near Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1808. Until he was eighteen years of age, he remained at home, passing his time in the district school, in assisting his father on the farm, and writing occasional verses for the “Haverhill Gazette.” After spending two years in the Academy at IIaverhill, he went to Boston in 1828, and became editor of the “American Manufacturer,” a newspaper devoted to the interest of a protective tariff. In 1830, he became editor of the “New England Weekly Review,” published at Hartford, and remained connected with it for about two years; during which period he published a volume of poems and prose sketches, entitled Legends of New England. He then returned home, and soon after was elected by the town of Haverhill a representative to the Legislature of his native State. In 1836, he was elected Secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and defended its principles as editor of the “Pennsylvania Freeman,” a weekly paper published in Philadelphia. About this time appeared his longest poem, Mogg Megone, an Indian story, which takes its name from a leader among the Saco Indians in the bloody war of 1677.
In 1840, Mr. Whittier removed to Amesbury, Massachusetts, where all his later publications have been written. In 1845 appeared The Stranger in Lowell, a series of sketches of scenery and character such as that famed manufacturing town might naturally suggest. In 1847, he became corresponding editor of the “National Era,” published at Washington, and gave to that paper no small share of its deserved celebrity. The next year, a beautifully-illustrated edition of all his poems, including his Voices of Freedom, was published by Mussey, of Boston. In 1849 appeared his Leares from Margaret Smith's Journal, written in the antique style by the fictitious fair journalist, who visits New England in 1678, and writes letters to a gentleman in England, to whom she is to be married, descriptive of the manners and influences of the times. In 1850 appeared his volume Old Portraits and Modern Sketches, a series of prose essays on Bunyan, Baxter, &c.; and, in the same year, Songs of Labor, and other Poems, in which he dignifies and renders interesting the mechanic arts by the associations of history and fancy. Since that time he has published Lays of Home, and The Chapel of the Hermits, and other Poems; while he frequently enriches the columns of the “National Era” with some felicitous prose essay, or some soul-stirring poem. Since the establishment of the “Atlantic Monthly” he has contributed to almost every number. * Though boldness, energy, and strength are Whittier's leading characteristies, and though many of his poems breathe, in soul-stirring language, a defiant tone to the oppressor, and show a hatred of slavery as intense, if possible, as it deserves, yet many of his prose works and poems are marked by a tenderness, a grace, and a beauty not exceeded by those of any other American writer. He thus unites qualities seemingly opposite in a heart every pulsation of which beats warmly for humanity.
Blest land of Judeal thrice hallow'd of song,
Where the holiest of memories pilgrim-like throng;
In the shade of thy palms, by the shores of thy sea,
On the hills of thy beauty, my heart is with thee.
With the eye of a spirit I look on that shore,
Where pilgrim and prophet have linger'd before;
With the glide of a spirit I traverse the sod
Made bright by the steps of the angels of God.
Lo, Bethlehem's hill-side before me is seen,
With the mountains around and the valleys between;
There rested the shepherds of Judah, and there
The song of the angels rose sweet on the air.
And Bethany’s palm-trees in beauty still throw
Their shadows at noon on the ruins below ;
But where are the sisters who hasten’d to greet
The lowly Redeemer, and sit at His feet?
I tread where the Twelve in their wayfaring trod;
I stand where they stood with the choseN of God,
Where His blessings were heard and His lessons were taught,
Where the blind were restored and the healing was wrought.
Oh, here with His flock the sad Wanderer came,
These hills HE toil'd over in grief, are the same, -
The founts where HE drank by the wayside still flow,
And the same airs are blowing which breathed on his brow!
And throned on her hills sits Jerusalem yet,
But with dust on her forehead, and chains on her feet;
For the crown of her pride to the mocker hath gone,
And the holy Shechinah is dark where it shone.
But wherefore this dream of the earthly abode
Of humanity clothed in the brightness of God?
Were my spirit but turned from the outward and dim,
It could gaze, even now, on the presence of Him.
Not in clouds and in terrors, but gentle as when,
In love and in meekness, HE moved among men;
And the voice which breathed peace to the waves of the sea,
In the hush of my spirit would whisper to me!
And what if my feet may not tread where HE stood,
Nor my ears hear the dashing of Galilee's flood,
Nor my eyes see the cross which HE bow'd him to bear,
Nor my knees press Gethsemane's garden of prayer.
Yet, Loved of the Father, Thy Spirit is near
To the meek, and the lowly, and penitent here;
And the voice of thy love is the same even now,
As at Bethany’s tomb, or on Olivet's brow.
Oh, the outward hath gone!—but, in glory and power,
The SPIRIT surviveth the things of an hour;
Unchanged, undecaying, its Pentecost flame
On the heart's secret altar is burning the same!
n the Report of the celebrated pro-slavery meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, on the 4th of 9th mouth, 1835, published in the “Courier” of that city, it is stated,—“The CLERGY of all denom notions attended in a body, LENDING THEIR SANction to THE PRocesDiNgs, and adding by their presence to the impressive character of the scene.”]
Just God! and these are they
Who minister at thine altar, God of Right!
Men who their hands with prayer and blessing lay
On Israel's Ark of light!
What! preach, and kidnap men?
Give thanks,—and rob Thy own afflicted poor?
Talk of Thy glorious liberty, and then
Bolt hard the captive's door!
What! servants of Thy own
Merciful Son, who came to seek and save
The homeless and the outcast,-fettering down
The task’d and plunder'd slavel
Pilot and Herod, friends !
Chief priests and rulers, as of old, combine!
Just God and holy is that church, which lends
Strength to the spoiler, Thine?
Paid hypocrites, who turn
Judgment aside, and rob the Holy Book
Of those high words of truth which search and burn
In warning and rebuke;
Feed fat, ye locusts, feed
And, in your tassell'd pulpits, thank the Lord
That, from the toiling bondman's utter need,
Ye pile your own full board.
How long, O Lord! how long
Shall such a priesthood barter truth away,
And, in Thy name, for robbery and wrong
At Thy own altars pray :
Is not Thy hand stretch'd forth
Visibly in the heavens, to awe and smite?
Shall not the living God of all the earth,
And heaven above, do right !
Woe, then, to all who grind
Their brethren of a common Father down
To all who plunder from the immortal mind
Its bright and glorious crown |
Woe to the priesthood' woe
To those whose hire is with the price of blood, -