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And the nun's sweet hymn was heard the while, Sung low in the dim, mysterious aisle.
" Take thy banner ! May it wave
Proudly o’er the good and brave ;
When the battle's distant wail
Breaks the sabbath of our vale,
When the clarion's music thrills
To the hearts of these lone hills,
When the spear in conflict shakes,
And the strong lance shivering breaks.
6 Take thy banner! and, beneath
The battle-cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it !— till our homes are free !
Guard it !— God will prosper thee !
In the dark and trying hour,
In the breaking forth of power,
In the rush of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.
“ Take thy banner ! But, when night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquished warrior bow,
Spare him!— By our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endears,
Spare him !- he our love hath shared !
Spare him!- as thou wouldst be spared !
“ Take thy banner ! - and if e'er
Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier,
And the muffled drum should beat
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this crimson flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee."
The warrior took that banner proud,
And it was his martial cloak and shroud !
I stood upon the hills, when heaven's wide arch
Was glorious with the sun's returning march,
And woods were brightened, and soft gales
Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales.
The clouds were far beneath me; – bathed in light,
They gathered mid-way round the wooded height,
And, in their fading-glory, shone
Like hosts in battle overthrown,
As many a pinnacle, with shifting glance,
Through the gray mist thrust up its shattered lance,
And rocking on the cliff was left
The dark pine blasted, bare, and cleft.
The veil of cloud was lifted, and below
Glowed the rich valley, and the river's flow
Was darkened by the forest's shade,
Or glistened in the white cascade;
Where upward, in the mellow blush of day,
The noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way.
I heard the distant waters dash, I saw the current whirl and flash, And richly, by the blue lake's silver beach, The woods were bending with a silent reach. Then o'er the vale, with gentle swell, The music of the village bell Came sweetly to the echo-giving hills ; And the wild horn, whose voice the woodland fills, Was ringing to the merry shout, That faint and far the glen sent out,
Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke, Through thick-leaved branches, from the dingle
If thou art worn and hard beset With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget, If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep, Go to the woods and hills !
- No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.