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White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen, And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace ; The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But, when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer, The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled ;
The ghastly host was dead.
I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
Beleaguer the human soul.
Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light, Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.
· Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice, nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
But the rushing of Life's wave.
And, when the solemn and deep church-bell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The shadows sweep away.
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is filed ; Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR.
Yes, the Year is growing old,
And his eye is pale and bleared !
Sorely, — sorely!
The leaves are falling, falling,
Solemnly and slow ;
A sound of woe!
Through woods and mountain passes
The winds, like anthems, roll ; They are chanting solemn masses, Singing ; “ Pray for this poor soul,
Pray, — pray ! ”
And the hooded clouds, like friars,
Tell their beads in drops of rain, And patter their doleful prayers ; — But their prayers are all in vain,
All in vain !
There he stands in the foul weather,
The foolish, fond Old Year, Crowned with wild flowers and with heather, Like weak, despised Lear,
A king, - a king !