« PreviousContinue »
A garland for the old gray hairs, whose locks
Recovering thought, the venerable sire Beheld, and recognized his darling boy, Thus beautiful and innocent, engaged In the same worship with himself. His heart Leap'd at the sight, he flung away despondence, While joy unspeakable and full of glory Broke through the pagan darkness of his soul. He ran, and snatch'd the infant in his arms, Embraced him passionately, wept aloud, And cried, scarce knowing what he said, - My Son ! My Son ! there is a God! there is a God ! . *And oh! that I may love Thee too !' rejoin'd The child, whose tongue could find no other words Than prayer; For if Thou art, Thou must be good.' - He is! He is! and we will love Him too; Yea and be like Him,-good, for he is good!' Replied the ancient father in amazement.
Then wept they o'er each other, till the child Exceeded, and the old man's heart reproved him For lack of reverence in the excess of joy: The ground itself seem'd holy; heaven and earth Full of the presence, felt not seen, of Him, The Power above all power, the Light above All light, the Name above all other names; Whom he had call'd upon, whom he had found, Yet worshipp'd only as, 'The Unknown God,'That nearest step which uninstructed man Can take, from Nature up to Deity. To Him again, standing erect, he pray'd; And while he pray'd, high in his arms he held That dearest treasure of his heart, the child Of his last dying daughter,-now the sole Hope of his life, and orphan of his house. He held him as an offering up to heaven, A living sacrifice unto the God Whom he invoked : Oh! Thou who art!' he cried, • And hast reveal'd that mystery to me, Hid from all generations of my fathers, Or, if once known, forgotten and perverted; I may not live to learn Thee better here; But oh ! let this my son, mine only son, Whom thus I dedicate to Thee;- let him, Let him be taught thy will, and choose Obedience to it;may he fear thy power, Walk in thy light, now dawning out of darkness; And oh! my last, last prayer,-to him reveal The unutterable secret of thy name! He paused; then with the transport of a seer Went on:- That name may all my nation know; And all that hear it worship at the sound, When Thou shalt with a voice from Heaven proclaim it; And so it surely shall be.'
For Thou art; And if Thou art, Thou must be good!' exclaim'd The child, yet panting with the breath of prayer. They ceased; then went rejoicing down the mountains, Through the cool glen, where not a sound was heard, Amidst the dark solemnity of eve, But the loud purling of the little brook, And the low murmur of the distant ocean. Thence, to their home beyond the hills, in peace They walk'd; and when they reach'd their humble
threshold, The glittering firmament was full of stars. -He died that night; bis grandchild lived to see The Patriarch’s prayer and prophecy fulfill’d.
THE STRANGER'S TIDINGS.
"I DEEMED it he-for each word thou hast spoken
His image to my drooping fancy gave; But now I know it by this precious token,
This Holy Book, which I at parting gave;
Thinking upon the boon that I did crave,
Girt by my sons I was a goodly tree, Spreading its roots and vigorous branches wide ?
Alas! I knew not how I stripped should be !
My eldest by a raging fever died,
Two in the battle, two upon the sea, And last, my youngest hope, the forest bough Droops o'er his grave, and I am childless now!
III. • Stranger, repeat thy tidings, word by word,
Nor shall my sorrow interrupt thee more; For well I see my daily prayers were heard,
And God with blessing made his cup run o'er!" The stranger answered :— Like a wounded bird
Which, tangled in the net, essays to soar, Yet cannot leave its prison-bonds behind, So fed I to the desert, from mankind.
* Long bad my soul been vexed with evil men;
They whom I trusted had betrayed my faith; Therefore far better seemed it, in the den
Of the wild beast to hide my spirit's scathe, Than dwell with man, more cruel far, whose ken
To love, and hope, and simple truth is death ;I sought the desert, but my soul's despair, Blasting my peace, went with me, even there.
*I dwelt among the hunters of the waste,
Seeking in their benighted natures, day.Vain quest, amid the ignorant and debased!
Then to the unpeopled wilds I fed away, Still hurrying onward in my bootless haste;
Or 'neath the o'er-arching forest trees I lay. Dubious of purpose, miserable and blind, Seeking for what on earth we may not find.
*Thus as I lay, in my unquiet mood,
One early morn, beneath a spicy tree, I heard a low voice, tender and subdued,
Pour forth to God an earnest prayer for me! I rose, and in a green nook of the wood
Beheld thy son upon his bended knee ;Unseen I stood, and each word strong, yet calm, Fell o'er my spirit like a healing balm.
VII. • He rose—“ And who art thou?” amazed I cried,
“How know'st thou my soul's darkness and distress?” “My brother,” he with fervent voice replied,
“ I am a dweller in the wilderness, And oft in forest-wilds and caves abide;
And thus, one eve, o'erspent with weariness, I heard thy plaints-my native tongue I heard, And my heart burned within me at each word.
VIII. ««From that day, vainly have I sought for thee
With yearning love, in many a lonely spot, Troubling my soul with fond anxiety,
Even as a mother-though thou know'st it not;
A blessing to this desert,—and I sought
I left my father's house, and native strand,
And God hath blessed my labours in this land;