Page images

Of uncreated light have visited and lived ?-
Lived in the dreadful splendor of that throne,
Which One, with gentle hand the vail of flesh
Lifting, that hung 'twixt man and it, revealed
In glory ?-throne, before which, even now,
Our souls, moved by prophetic power, bow down,
Rejoicing, yet at their own natures awed ?-
Souls that Thee know by a mysterious sense,
Thou awful, unseen Presence-are they quenched,
Or burn they on, hid from our mortal eyes
By that bright day which ends not; as the sun
His robe of light flings round the glittering stars ?

And with our frames do perish all our loves ?
Do those that took their root and put forth iuds,
And their soft leaves unfolded in the warmth
Of mutual hearts, grow up and live in beauty,
Then fade and fall, like fair unconscious flowers ?
Are thoughts and passions that to the tongue give speech,
And make it send forth winning harmonies,
That to the cheek do give its living glow,
And vision in the eye the soul intense
With that for which there is no utterance-
Are these the body's accidents ?—no more?-
To live in it, and when that dies, go out
Like the burnt taper's flame?

0, listen, man!
A voice within us speaks that startling word,
“ Man, thou shalt never die!” Celestial voices
Hymn it unto our souls: according harps,
By angel fingers touched when the mild stars
Of morning sang together, sound forth still
The song of our great immortality :
Thick clustering orbs, and this our fair domain,
The tall, dark mountains, and the deep-toned seas,
Join in this solemn, universal song.
O, listen, ye, our spirits; drink it in
From all the air! 'Tis in the gentle moonlight;
'Tis floating ʼmidst day's setting glories; Night,
Wrapped in her sable robe, with silent step
Comes to our bed, and breathes it in our ears :
Night, and the dawn, bright day, and thoughtful eve,
All time, all bounds, the limitless expanse,
As one vast mystic instrument, are touched

By an unseen, living Hand, and conscious chords
Quiver with joy in this great jubilee.
The dying hear it; and as sounds of earth
Grow dull and distant, wake their passing souls
To mingle in this heavenly harmony.

The mysterious Music of Ocean.-Walsh's NATIONAL


“ And the people of this place say, that, at certain seasons, beautiful sounds are heard from the ocean.”—Mavor's Voyages.

LONELY and wild it rose,
That strain of solemn music from the sea,
As though the bright air trembled to disclose

An ocean mystery.

Again a low, sweet tone,
Fainting in murmurs on the listening day,
Just bade the excited thought its presence own,

Then died away.

Once more the gush of sound,
Struggling and swelling from the heaving plain,
Thrilled a rich peal triumphantly around,

And fled again.

O boundless deep! we know
Thou hast strange wonders in thy gloom concealed,
Gems, flashing gems, from whose unearthly glow

Sunlight is sealed.

And an eternal spring
Showers her rich colors with unsparing hand,
Where coral trees their graceful branches fling

O’er golden sand.

But tell, O restless main!
Who are the dwellers in thy world beneath,
That thus the watery realm cannot contain

The joy they breathe ?

Emblem of glorious might!
Are thy wild children like thyself arrayed,
Strong in immortal and unchecked delight,

Which cannot fade?

Or to mankind allied, Toiling with wo, and passion's fiery sting, Like their own home, where storms or peace preside,

As the winds bring ?

Alas for human thought!
How does it flee existence, worn and old,
To win companionship with beings wrought

Of finer mould !

'Tis vain the reckless waves Join with loud revel the dim ages flown, But keep each secret of their hidden caves

Park and unknown.

Summer Wind.-BRYANT.

It is a sultry day; the sun has drank
The dew that lay upon the morning grass ;
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors; the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droop:
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scorching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven,-
Their bases on the mountains—their white tops
Shining in the far ether,-fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer's eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,

Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays its coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
O come, and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now,
Among the nearer groves, chestnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes !
Lo where the grassy meadow runs in waves!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on their fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds and rustling of young boughs,
And sound of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gayly to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet; and silver waters break
Into small waves, and sparkle as he comes.

Summer Evening Lightning.-CARLOS Wilcox.

FAR off and low In the horizon, from a sultry cloud, Where sleeps in embryo the midnight storm, The silent lightning gleams in fitful sheets, Illumes the solid mass, revealing thus Its darker fragments, and its ragged verge; Or if the bolder fancy so conceive Of its fantastic forms, revealing thus Its gloomy caverns, rugged sides and tops With beetling cliffs grotesque. But not so bright The distant flashes gleam as to efface The window's image on the floor impressed, By the dim crescent; or outshines the light Cast from the room upon the trees hard by, If haply, to illume a moonless night,

The lighted taper shine; though lit in vain
To waste away unused, and from abroad
Distinctly through the open window seen,
Lone, pale, and still as a sepulchral lamp.

Spring.-N. P. WILLIS.*

THE Spring is here—the delicate-footed May,

With its slight fingers full of leaves and flowers;
And with it comes a thirst to be away,

Wasting in wood-paths its voluptuous hours-
A feeling that is like a sense of wings,
Restless to soar above these perishing things.
We pass out from the city's feverish hum,

To find refreshment in the silent woods;
And nature, that is beautiful and dumb,

Like a cool sleep upon the pulses broods.
Yet, even there, a restless thought will steal,
To teach the indolent heart it still must feel.
Strange, that the audible stillness of the noon,

The waters tripping with their silver feet,
The turning to the light of leaves in June,

And the light whisper as their edges meet-
Strange—that they fill not, with their tranquil tone,
The spirit, walking in their midst alone.
There's no contentment, in a world like this,

Save in forgetting the immortal dream;
We may not gaze upon the stars of bliss,

That through the cloud-rifts radiantly stream;
Bird-like, the prisoned soul will lift its eye
And sing—till it is hooded from the sky.

To Seneca Lake.-PERCIVAL. 1 On thy fair bosom, silver lake,

The wild swan spreads his snowy sail,

* This is a beautiful piece of poetry-more exquisitely finished than any of Mr. Willis's poetry which we have seen. Even a prejudiced mind (and there seem to be many such) cannot but admire it.-ED.

« PreviousContinue »