« PreviousContinue »
The weapons which your hands have found
Are those which Heaven itself has wrought, Light, Truth, and Love ;—your battle ground
The free, broad field of Thought.
No partial, selfish purpose breaks
The simple beauty of your plan, Nor lie from throne or altar shakes
Your steady faith in man.
The languid pulse of England starts
And bounds beneath your words of power, The beating of her million hearts
Is with you at this hour!
Oh, ye who, with undoubting eyes,
Through present cloud and gathering storm, Behold the span of Freedom's skies,
And sunshine soft and warm,
Press bravely onward !--not in vain
Your generous trust in human kind; The good which bloodshed could not gain
Your peaceful zeal shall find.
Press on !—the triumph shall be won
Of common rights and equal laws, The glorious dream of Harrington,
And Sidney's good old cause.
Blessing the cotter and the crown,
Sweetening worn Labor's bitter cup, And, plucking not the highest down,
Lifting the lowest up.
Press on !-and we who may not share
The toil or glory of your fight, May ask, at least, in earnest prayer,
God's blessing on the right!
THE QUAKER OF THE OLDEN TIME.
THE Quaker of the olden time!
How calm and firm and true,
He walked the dark earth through
The thousand lures of sin
The purity within.
With that deep insight which detects
All great things in the small,
The spiritual life of all,
By love and not by law;
He rather felt than saw.
He felt that wrong with wrong partakes,
That nothing stands alone,
His brother's sin his own.
Of evils great or small,
Which called away from all.
Oh! Spirit of that early day,
So pure and strong and true, Be with us in the narrow way
Our faithful fathers knew.
The cross of Truth to bear,
Our daily lives a prayer!
ALL grim and soiled and brown with tan,
I saw a Strong One, in his wrath,
Along his path.
Essayed in vain her ghostly charm:
With strange alarm.
Fraud from his secret chambers fled
Before the sunlight bursting in : Sloth drew her pillow o'er her head
To drown the din.
“Spare,” Art, implored, “yon holy pile ;
That grand, old, time-worn turret spare ;" Meek Reverence, kneeling in the aisle,
Cried out, “Forbear!”
Gray-bearded Use, who, deaf and blind,
Groped for his old accustomed stone, Leaned on his staff, and wept, to find
His seat o'erthrown.
Young Romance raised his dreamy eyes,
O’erhung with paly locks of gold: " Why smite,” he asked in sad surprise,
“ The fair, the old ?”
Yet louder rang the Strong One's stroke,
Yet nearer flashed his axe’s gleam; Shuddering and sick of heart I woke,
As from a dream.
I looked : aside the dust-cloud rolled
The Waster seemed the Builder too; Up springing from the ruined Old
I saw the New
'Twas but the ruin of the badThe wasting of the wrong
and ill ; Whate’er of good the old time had
Was living still. Calm
grew the brows of him I feared;
Like breaking day.
O'er swarded war-mounds grazed the cow;
The spade and plough. Where frowned the fort, pavilions gay
And cottage windows, flower-entwined, Looked out upon the peaceful bay
And hills behind.
Through vine-wreathed cups with wine once red,
The lights on brimming crystal fell, Drawn, sparkling, from the rivulet head
And mossy well.
Through prison walls, like Heaven-sent hope,
Fresh breezes blew, and sunbeams strayed, And with the idle gallows-rope
The young child played. Where the doomed victim in his cell
Had counted o’er the weary hours, Glad school-girls, answering to the bell,
Came crowned with flowers.
Grown wiser for the lesson given,
I fear no longer, for I know
The best fruits grow.
The outworn rite, the old abuse,
The pious fraud transparent grown, The good held captive in the use
Of wrong alone, These wait their doom, from that great law
Which makes the past time serve to-day; And fresher life the world shall draw
From their decay.
The new is old, the old is new,
Still sweeping through.
So wisely taught the Indian seer;
Destroying Seva, forming Brahm, Who wake by turns Earth's love and fear,
Are one, the same.
As idly as, in that old day,
Thou mournest, did thy sires repine,
Shall sigh for thine.
The eternal step of Progress beats
Which God repeats !
A charmed life old goodness hath ;
Is not for death.