ePub 版

From the deep shade, that round the cloister lies,
Rolls through the air, and on the water dies.
What melting song wakes the cold ear of Night?
A funeral dirge, that pale nuns, robed in white,
Chant round a sister's dark and narrow bed,
To charm the parting spirit of the dead.
Triumphant is the spell! with raptured ear,
That uncaged spirit hovering, lingers near;-
Why should she mount? why pant for brighter bliss ?
A lovelier scene, a sweeter song, than this!"

Soon after the publication of the "Airs of Palestine," Mr. PIERPONT entered seriously upon the study of theology, first by himself, in Baltimore, and afterward as a member of the theological school connected with Harvard College. He left that seminary in October, 1818, and in April, 1819, was ordained as minister of the Hollis Street Unitarian Church, in Boston, as successor to the Reverend Doctor HOLLEY, who had recently been elected to the presidency of the Transylvania University, in Kentucky.

In 1835 and 1836, in consequence of impaired health, he spent a year abroad, passing through the principal cities in England, France, and Italy, and extending his tour into the East, visiting Smyrna, the ruins of Ephesus, in Asia Minor, Constantinople, and Athens, Corinth, and some of the other cities of Greece; of his travels in which, traces will occasionally be found in some of the short poems which he has written since his


Mr. PIERPONT has written in almost every metre,


Was it the chime of a tiny bell,

That came so sweet to my dreaming ear,— Like the silvery tones of a fairy's shell

That he winds on the beach, so mellow and clear, When the winds and the waves lie together asleep, And the moon and the fairy are watching the deep, She dispensing her silvery light,

And he, his notes as silvery quite,

While the boatman listens and ships his oar,
To catch the music that comes from the shore?-

Hark! the notes, on my ear that play,
Are set to words :-as they float, they say,
Passing away! passing away!"


But no; it was not a fairy's shell,

Blown on the beach, so mellow and clear; Nor was it the tongue of a silver bell,

Striking the hour, that fill'd my ear, As I lay in my dream; yet was it a chime That told of the flow of the stream of time. For a beautiful clock from the ceiling hung, And a plump little girl, for a pendulum, swung; (As you've sometimes seen, in a little ring That hangs in his cage, a Canary bird swing;) And she held to her bosom a budding bouquet, And, as she enjoy'd it, she seem'd to say, "Passing away! passing away!"

and many of his hymns, odes, and other brief poems, are remarkably spirited and melodious. Several of them, distinguished alike for energy of thought and language, were educed by events connected with the moral and religious enterprises of the time, nearly all of which are indebted to his constant and earnest advocacy for much of their prosperity.

In the preface to the collection of his poems published in 1840, he says, "It gives a true, though an all too feeble expression of the author's feeling and faith,-of his love of right, of freedom, and man, and of his correspondent and most hearty hatred of every thing that is at war with them; and of his faith in the providence and gracious promises of God. Nay, the book is published as an expression of his faith in man; his faith that every line, written to rebuke high-handed or under-handed wrong, or to keep alive the fires of civil and religious liberty,-written for solace in affliction, for support under trial, or as an expression, or for the excitement of Christian patriotism or devotion; or even with no higher aim than to throw a little sunshine into the chamber of the spirit, while it is going through some of the wearisome passages of life's history,—will be received as a proof of the writer's interest in the welfare of his fellowmen, of his desire to serve them, and consequently of his claim upon them for a charitable judgment, at least, if not even for a respectful and grateful remembrance."

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

While yet I look'd, what a change there came! Her eye was quench'd, and her cheek was wan: Stooping and staff'd was her wither'd frame,

Yet, just as busily, swung she on; The garland beneath her had fallen to dust; The wheels above her were eaten with rust; The hands, that over the dial swept Grew crooked and tarnish'd, but on they kept, And still there came that silver tone From the shrivell'd lips of the toothless crone,— (Let me never forget till my dying day The tone or the burden of her lay,)— Passing away! passing away!



Two hundred years! two hundred years!

How much of human power and pride, What glorious hopes, what gloomy fears

Have sunk beneath their noiseless tide!

The red man at his horrid rite,

Seen by the stars at night's cold noon, His bark canoe, its track of light

Left on the wave beneath the moon;

His dance, his yell, his council-fire,

The altar where his victim lay, His death-song, and his funeral pyre, That still, strong tide hath borne away. And that pale pilgrim band is gone,

That on this shore with trembling trod, Ready to faint, yet bearing on

The ark of freedom and of God.

And war-that since o'er ocean came,

And thunder'd loud from yonder hill, And wrapp'd its foot in sheets of flame,

To blast that ark-its storm is still.

Chief, sachem, sage, bards, heroes, seers,

That live in story and in song, Time, for the last two hundred years,

Has raised, and shown, and swept along.

"Tis like a dream when one awakes, This vision of the scenes of old; "Tis like the moon when morning breaks, "T is like a tale round watchfires told. Then what are we? then what are we?

Yes, when two hundred years have roll'd O'er our green graves, our names shall be A morning dream, a tale that's told. God of our fathers, in whose sight

The thousand years that sweep away Man and the traces of his might

Are but the break and close of day— Grant us that love of truth sublime,

That love of goodness and of thee, That makes thy children in all time To share thine own eternity.

[blocks in formation]



LOUD o'er thy savage child,
O God, the night-wind roar'd,
As, houseless, in the wild

He bow'd him and adored.
Thou saw'st him there,

As to the sky

He raised his eye In fear and prayer.

Thine inspiration came!
And, grateful for thine aid,
An altar to thy name

He built beneath the shade:
The limbs of larch
That darken'd round,
He bent and bound
In many an arch;

Till in a sylvan fane

Went up the voice of prayer, And music's simple strain Arose in worship there. The arching boughs,

The roof of leaves
That summer weaves,
O'erheard his vows.
Then beam'd a brighter day;
And Salem's holy height
And Greece in glory lay
Beneath the kindling light.
Thy temple rose

On Salem's hill,
While Grecian skill
Adorn'd thy foes.

Along those rocky shores,

Along those olive plains, Where pilgrim Genius pores O'er Art's sublime remains, Long colonnades

Of snowy white

Look'd forth in light Through classic shades.

Forth from the quarry stone

The marble goddess sprung; And, loosely round her thrown, Her marble vesture hung; And forth from cold

And sunless mines
Came silver shrines
And gods of gold.

The Star of Bethlehem burn'd!
And where the Stoic trod,
The altar was o'erturn'd,
Rained to an unknown God."
And now there are
No idol fanes
On all the plains
Beneath that star.

To honour thee, dread Power!

Our strength and skill combine;
And temple, tomb, and tower
Attest these gifts divine.
A swelling dome

For pride they gild,
For peace they build
An humbler home.

By these our fathers' host
Was led to victory first,
When on our guardless coast
The cloud of battle burst;
Through storm and spray,
By these controll'd,
Our natives hold
Their thundering way.

Great Source of every art!
Our homes, our pictured halls,
Our throng'd and busy mart,
That lifts its granite walls,
And shoots to heaven
Its glittering spires,
To catch the fires
Of morn and even;

These, and the breathing forms
The brush or chisel gives,
With this when marble warms,
With that when canvass lives;
These all combine

In countless ways
To swell thy praise,
For all are thine.


WHILE yet she lived, she walked alone
Among these shades. A voice divine
Whisper'd, "This spot shall be thine own;
Here shall thy wasting form recline,
Beneath the shadow of this pine."
"Thy will be done!" the sufferer said.

This spot was hallow'd from that hour;
And, in her eyes, the evening's shade
And morning's dew this green spot made
More lovely than her bridal bower.
By the pale moon-herself more pale

And spirit-like-these walks she trod;
And, while no voice, from swell or vale,
Was heard, she knelt upon this sod
And gave her spirit back to God.
That spirit, with an angel's wings,

Went up from the young mother's bed: So, heavenward, soars the lark and sings. She's lost to earth and earthly things;

But "weep not, for she is not dead, She sleepeth!" Yea, she sleepeth here,

The first that in these grounds hath slept. This grave, first water'd with the tear

That child or widow'd man hath wept,
Shall be by heavenly watchmen kept.

The babe that lay on her cold breast-
A rosebud dropp'd on drifted snow-
Its young hand in its father's press'd,
Shall learn that she, who first caress'd
Its infant cheek, now sleeps below.

And often shall he come alone,

When not a sound but evening's sigh
Is heard, and, bowing by the stone
That bears his mother's name, with none
But God and guardian angels nigh,

Shall say, "This was my mother's choice
For her own grave: O, be it mine!
Even now, methinks, I hear her voice
Calling me hence, in the divine
And mournful whisper of this pine."


THE Pilgrim Fathers,-where are they?—
The waves that brought them o'er

Still roll in the bay, and throw their spray
As they break along the shore:


Still roll in the bay, as they roll'd that day
When the Mayflower moor'd below,
When the sea around was black with storms,
And white the shore with snow.

The mists, that wrapp'd the Pilgrim's sleep,
Still brood upon the tide;

And his rocks yet keep their watch by the deep,
To stay its waves of pride.

But the snow-white sail, that he gave to the gale
When the heavens look'd dark, is gone ;-
As an angel's wing, through an opening cloud,
Is seen, and then withdrawn.

The Pilgrim exile,-sainted name!
The hill, whose icy brow
Rejoiced, when he came, in the morning's flame,
In the morning's flame burns now.
And the moon's cold light, as it lay that night
On the hill-side and the sea,

Still lies where he laid his houseless head ;-
But the Pilgrim,—where is he?

The Pilgrim Fathers are at rest;
When summer's throned on high,
And the world's warm breast is in verdure dress'd,
Go, stand on the hill where they lie.
The earliest ray of the golden day

On that hallow'd spot is cast;
And the evening sun, as he leaves the world,
Looks kindly on that spot last.


THE winds and waves were roaring;
The Pilgrims met for prayer;
And here, their God adoring,
They stood, in open air.
When breaking day they greeted,
And when its close was calm,
The leafless woods repeated

The music of their psalm.

Not thus, O God, to praise thee,

Do we, their children, throng;
The temple's arch we raise thee

Gives back our choral song.
Yet, on the winds that bore thee

Their worship and their prayers,
May ours come up before thee

From hearts as true as theirs!
What have we, Lord, to bind us

To this, the Pilgrims' shore!-—
Their hill of graves behind us,

Their watery way before,
The wintry surge, that dashes
Against the rocks they trod,
Their memory, and their ashes,—
Be thou their guard, O God!
We would not, Holy Father,

Forsake this hallow'd spot,
Till on that shore we gather

Where graves and griefs are not;
The shore where true devotion
Shall rear no pillar'd shrine,
And see no other ocean

Than that of love divine.


His falchion flash'd along the Nile;

His hosts he led through Alpine snows;
O'er Moscow's towers, that shook the while,
His eagle flag unroll'd-and froze.
Here sleeps he now alone: not one

Of all the kings whose crowns he gave,
Nor sire, nor brother, wife, nor son,

Hath ever seen or sought his grave,
Here sleeps he now alone; the star

That led him on from crown to crown
Hath sunk; the nations from afar

Gazed as it faded and went down.
He sleeps alone: the mountain cloud

That night hangs round him, and the breath
Of morning scatters, is the shroud

That wraps his mortal form in death.

The Pilgrim spirit has not fled;

High is his couch; the ocean flood
Far, far below by storms is curl'd,

It walks in noon's broad light;
And it watches the bed of the glorious dead,
With their holy stars, by night.

As round him heaved, while high he stood,'
A stormy and inconstant world.
Hark! Comes there from the Pyramids,
And from Siberia's wastes of snow,

It watches the bed of the brave who have bled,
And shall guard this ice-bound shore,

Till the waves of the bay, where the Mayflower lay, And Europe's fields, a voice that bids
The world he awed to mourn him? No:

Shall foam and freeze no more.

[blocks in formation]
« 上一頁繼續 »