« 上一頁繼續 »
O'er the parched hill and the shrunk rivulet,
Shrunken, and mourning for its power lost
Of spreading fresh young life around the wood;
The yellow flowers hung down their heavy heads,
And shrill-toned insects sung from all the trees,
Yet beauty dwelt there still in piny dells,
By the cool river's bank, and in the wood,
Where danced the merry brook from stone to stone,
Thoughtless, unknowing of the sun's hot power ;
And broad green leaves spread a delicious shade,
And moss a soft
In such a spot
I saw her next; when merry voices chimed,
And laughter ringing like the waterfall,
Her voice, her laugh, the gayest: then I saw
That lovely child, - a child no longer now,
Changed, yet the same, - and oh how lovely still.
The years still loved her, - as they passed her by,
Each after each had poured into her heart
Treasures of childish happiness, glad life,
Full to o'erflowing, brimmed and running o'er,
Outgushing at those lustrous, sparkling eyes.
You would have thought they ne'er had learned to smile
Until that moment, but were pouring out
A lifetime's happiness at once ; and yet
Year after year aye found her still the same,
Ever as full of joy, as full of love.
And they who saw her most could scarcely rest
For happiness. Pain dwelt not where she came.
Her smile, her beaming eye, her hand's soft touch,
Unsealed the springs of joy in each sad heart,
And they, who came in sorrow, went in peace.
Such was she then. A moment and no more
I gazed on her, and then she passed along -
The sunlight gleamed upon her floating hair, —
She paused a moment, and looked back, her eyes
Gleaming with beauty, like a spirit of joy,
Of joy and love, lit from a rainbow down,
To bless our earth a moment ; -
then moved on A step, and disappeared.
Years passed away
Before we met again : full many a spring
Had deepened into summer; summer sped,
Swift-footed, into autumn, - when once more
I saw her, for a moment, as she stood
Near by that happy home, where her first years
Of happiness were spent. The autumn brown
Was busy by the roadside and the copse,
Plucking the yellow leaves from bush and tree,
And strewing them around. From out the wood
Echoed the squirrel's chirp, the ripe nut's fall,
Like heavy waterdrops ; the air was clear,
All sights and sounds distinct ; the sun shone warm
Upon the copse's border, where she stood,
Her feet half buried in the withered leaves
Piled deep along the edge. Yes, there she stood
Before me yet once more.
Oh God! how changed
From what I knew her first, from what she was
When last we met ; and yet how beautiful,
How nobly, sadly beautiful. No more
The merry childish heart gleamed from her eyes,
The happy home of joy and peace no more.
Those glorious eyes ! No longer in them shone
Sunlight and moonlight mingled. In her heart
Pale sorrow sat, nay, anguish, utter woe.
The certainty of utter sorrow dwelt
Where once was joy's bright seat. That poor, poor heart,
Sorrow itself scarce wished to dwell in it,
But rose and gazed from out those lustrous eyes,
Raising their long-fringed lids -- gazing so sad,
So wistfully, so hopelessly, that scarce
You dared to look at them, but felt relief
When, as they most were wont, they drooped again,
And looked no longer so.
Oh ! ask me not
The sorrows of her earthly lot. Enough
To know that no slight thing could alter thus
Her, who was once so different; ask no more,
But weep the bitter tears that then I wept,
Gazing a moment on that lovely one,
Lovely, oh lovely still ; years could not change,
Nor sorrow take away her nobleness,
Her perfect beauty. She was like a cloud,
On summer evening, lingering sad alone,
When all its mates are faded, lingering still,
Above the horizon, looking sadly down
Upon the earth, where late, not all alone,
It dwelt content,
- until it fades away,
And never comes again. And did she fade
Like to the cloud ?
She did. More years passed by, Until at last, when winter, still and cold, Spread its white mantle on the sleeping earth, And all was still and motionless as death, And yet not dead, but sleeping, - then I saw For the last time that noble one. She lay Dying, upon her couch ; life lingered yet In her enfeebled form, on her pale cheek. Life could not bear to lose her. But she lay Yet thinking, feeling, although motionless. You saw the thought and feeling in her eyes, Those wondrous eyes! They failed not, like the rest Of her departing powers; but as she drew Nearer the end, expanded more and more, Till all her life seemed concentrated there, All action, thought, and feeling, and they flamed Like flaming, dying embers. There she lay ; She spoke not, moved not. We who stood around
Could scarcely realize that we were ourselves,
All, at that moment, seemed a part of her.
We hung upon each breath of hers, nor word,
Nor motion, came from us. The moments passed,
But we heard not their footsteps. Till at last
A sudden shudder passed along her frame.
She started up, raising her head at once
From off her pillow, gazed around at us
With such a look, - so strange, and yet so calm,
Unearthly, and yet full of love and faith,
And hope and heavenly beauty, — so made up
Of all we know of earthly loveliness,
And all we dream of angels, so serene,
So earnest, sure, undoubting, that no change
Of time has dimmed its memory to me,
No other thought of life a moment come
Between it and my mind ; with such a look
She gazed on each of us, — then clasped her hands,
And casting up to Heaven those heavenly eyes,
“ Father, I come,” she said, --- and so she died.
tale. I said it was not strange ;
If thou still thinkst it so, thou little knowst
Of life and all its changes. And if still
Thou thinkst it sad, oh muse it o'er again,
And think and feel as I do, taught by it
No more to murmur at the ills of life,
To dwell no more upon its happiness,
But see in both their destined end, and look
Beyond its narrow bounds, to that True Life
Where earthly joys and sorrows all are past,
And trouble us no more than yonder bird,
Sitting beneath blue sky and purple cloud,
With snowy wing, regards these scenes below
The clouds and sunshine of our human life.
THE PRESENT TENDENCIES OF THE CHURCH.
A Dissertation read before the Union Ministerial Association.
BRETHREN, in view of the subject, with which your fraterpal bidding alone would have given me courage to grapple, you might well address me in the words of the Roman poet:
“Periculosæ plenum opus alex
Tractas, et incedis per ignes
Suppositos cineri doloso.” Vast, intangible, formless, featureless is the first aspect of the Church, which, in reverence for its divine Head, and in courtesy to its ill-compacted and jarring members, you thought fit to recognise as one, when you asked me to describe its present tendencies. Did you set me down in mid ocean, in a storm, when neither sun. nor stars appeared, and the waves were mountain high, and did you ask me to define the course of the tide, and to mark out the ocean currents, you would have assigned me a task closely analogous to the present. In very truth, my rowers have brought me into deep waters. But there was once enacted, on the deep and angry sea, a majestic drama, which foreshadowed the whole history of the Church, and in which we may, perhaps, be able to designate the point of time at which we stand.
Our Saviour once lay asleep in the hinder part of the ship, when the storm ran high, and the cry arose, But his timid fellow voyagers appealed to him for aid in their extremity; and he arose and rebuked the wind, and spread a profound calm over the waves, and the vessel went straight on to her port. Of late, the chaotic elements of the church universal, in their restless striving, in their tumultuous heaving, might well be likened to that inland sea of Galilee, with its eddying currents, and its quick, short swell. The navigators have long been at the point of despair; for their masts are strained, their vessel leaks at every seam, nor know they how near they may be to sunken rocks or engulphing whirlpools. They long ago began to cry for aid ; but, not as the disciples did, to the incarnate power and love of Jehovah. Like Jonah's fellow-mariners, they have cried, “ every man unto his god," — each to some new device or patent jugglery of his own, each to