Page images
PDF
EPUB

Above all things look thou well around, if indeed stern duty forceth

thee To draw the sword of justice, and stain it with the slaughter of thy

fellows.

ShE that lieth in thy bosom, the tender wife of thy affections, Must obey thee, and be subject, that evil drop not on thy dwelling. The child that is used to constraint, feareth not more than he

loveth; But give thy son his way, he will hate thee and scorn thee together. The master of a well-ordered home knoweth to be kind to his

servants; Yet he exacteth reverence, and each one feareth at his post. There is nothing on earth so lowly, but duty giveth it importance; No station so degrading, but it is ennobled by obedience : Yea, break stones upon the highway, acknowledging the Lord in

thy lot, Happy shalt thou be, and honorable, more than many children of

the mighty. Thou that despisest the outward forms, beware thou lose not the

inward spirit; For they are as words unto ideas, as symbols to things unseen. Keep, then, the form that is good: retain, and do reverence to ex

ample ;

And in all things observe subordination, for that is the whole duty

of man.

A HORSE knoweth his rider, be he confident or timid,
And the fierce spirit of Bucephalus stoopeth unto none but Alex-

ander; The tigress roused in the jungle by the prying spaniels of the

fowler, Will quail at the eye of man, so he assert his dignity; Nay, the very ships, those giant swans breasting the mighty

waters, Roll in the trough, or break the wave, to the pilot's fear or courage: How much more shall man, discerning the Fountain of authority, Bow to superior commands, and make his own obeyed ! And yet, in travelling the world, hast thou not often known A gallant host led on to ruin by a feeble Xerxes ? Hast thou not often seen the wanton luxury of indolence

Sullying with its sleepy mist the tarnished crown of headship?
Alas! for a thousand fathers, whose indulgent sloth
Hath emptied the vial of confusion over a thousand homes :
Alas! for the palaces and hovels, that might have been nurseries

for heaven,
By hot intestine broils blighted into schools for hell:
None knoweth his place, yet all refuse to serve;
None weareth the crown, yet all usurp the sceptre :
And perchance some fiercer spirit, of natural nobility of mind,
That needed but the kindness of constraint to have grown up great

and good, Now, – the rich harvest of his heart choked by unweeded tares, All bold to dare and do, unchecked by wholesome fear, A scoffer about bigotry and priestcraft, a rebel against government

and God, And standard-bearer of the turbulent, leading on the sons of

Belial, Such a one is king of that small state, head tyrant of the thirty, Brandishing the torch of discord in his village-home: And the timid Eli of the house, yon humble parish-priest, Liveth in shame and sorrow, fearing his own handy-work; The mother, heartstricken years agone, hath dropped into an early

grave; The silent sisters long to leave a home they cannot love ; The brothers, casting off restraint, follow their wayward wills; And the chance guest, early departing, blesseth his kind stars, That on his humbler home hath brooded no domestic curse. Yet is that curse the fruit; wouldest thou the root of the evil ? A kindness - most unkind, - that hath always spared the rod; A weak and numbing indecision in the mind that should be mas

ter ; A foolish love, pregnant of hate, that never frowned on sin; A moral cowardice of heart, that never dared command.

A KINGDOM is a nest of families, and a family a small kingdom; And the government of whole or part differeth in nothing but ex

tent. The house, where the master ruleth, is strong in united subjection, And the only commandment with promise, being honored, is a

blessing to that house: But and if he yieldeth up the reins, it is weak in discordant an

archy,

And the bonds of love and union melt away, as ropes of sand.
The realm, that is ruled with vigor, lacketh neither peace nor

glory, It dreadeth not foes from without, nor the sons of riot from within ; But the meanness of temporizing fear robbeth a kingdom of its

honor, And the weakness of indulgent sloth ravageth its bowels with dis

cord. The best of human governments is the patriarchal rule; The authorized supremacy of one, the prescriptive subjection of

many; Therefore the children of the East have thriven from age to age, Obeying, even as a god, the royal father of Cathay : Therefore, to this our day, the Rechabite wanteth not a man, (10) But they stand before the Lord, forsaking not the mandate of their

sire. Therefore shall Magog among the nations arise from his northern

lair, And rend, in the fury of his power, the insurgent world beneath

him: For the thunderbolt of concentrated strength can be hurled by the

will of one, While the dissipated forces of many are harmless as summer

lightning

OF REST.(11)

In the silent watches of the night, calm night that breedeth

thoughts, (12) When the task-weary mind disporteth in the careless play-hours of

sleep, I dreamed ; and behold, a valley, green, and sunny, and well watered, And thousands moving across it, thousands and tens of thousands : And though many seemed faint and toil-worn, and stumbled often,

and fell,

Yet moved they on unresting, as the ever-flowing cataract.
Then I noted adders in the grass, and pitfalls under the flowers,
And chasms yawned among the hills, and the ground was cracked

and slippery:
But Hope and her brother Fear suffered not a foot to linger;
Bright phantoms of false joys beckoned alluringly forward,
While yelling, grisly shapes of dread came hunting on behind:
And ceaselessly, like Lapland swarms, that miserable crowd sped

along To the mist-involved banks of a dark and sullen river. There saw I, midway in the water, standing a giant fisher, And he held many lines in his hand, and they called him Iron Des

tiny. So I tracked those subtle chains, and each held one among the

multitude. Then I understood what hindered, that they rested not in their

path: For the fisher had sport in his fishing, and drew in his lines con

tinually, And the new-born babe, and the aged man, were dragged into that

dark river: And he pulled all those myriads along, and none might rest by the

way, Till many, for sheer weariness, were eager to plunge into the drown

ing stream.

So I knew that valley was Life, and it sloped to the waters of Death. But far on the thither side spread out a calm and silent shore, Where all was tranquil as a sleep, and the crowded strand was

quiet: And I saw there many I had known, but their eyes glared chillingly

upon me, As set in deepest slumber; and they pressed their fingers to their

lips. Then I knew that shore was the dwelling of Rest, where spirits

held their Sabbath, And it seemed they would have told me much, but they might not

break that silence; For the law of their being was mystery: they glided on, hushing as

they went. Yet farther, under the sun, at the roots of purple mountains,

I noted a blaze of glory, as the night-fires on northern skies;
And I heard the hum of joy, as it were a sea of melody;
And far as the eye could reach were millions of happy creatures
Basking in the golden light; and I knew that land was Heaven.
Then the hill whereon I stood split asunder, and a crater yawned

at my feet,
Black and deep and dreadful, fenced round with ragged rocks;
Dimly was the darkness lit up by spires of distant flame ;
And I saw below a moving mass of life, like reptiles bred in cor-

ruption, Where all was terrible unrest, shrieks and groans and thunder.

So I woke, and I thought upon my dream; for it seemed of wis

dom's ministration. What man is he that findeth rest, though he hunt for it year after

year? As a child he had not yet been wearied, and cared not then to

court it; As a youth he loved not to be quiet, for excitement spurred him into

strife; As a man he tracketh rest in vain, toiling painfully to catch it, But still is he pulled from the pursuit, by the strong compulsion of

his fate. So he hopeth to have peace in old age, as he cannot rest in man

hood, But troubles thicken with his years, till Death hath dodged him to

the grave. There remaineth a rest for the spirit on the shadowy side of life ; But unto this world's pilgrim no rest for the sole of his foot. Ever, from stage to stage, he travelleth wearily forward, And though he pluck flowers by the way, he may not sleep among

the flowers. Mind is the perpetual motion; for it is a running stream From an unfathomable source, the depth of the divine Intelligence; And though it be stopped in its flowing, yet hath it a current within ; The surface may sleep unruffled, but underneath are whirlpools of

contention. Seekest thou rest, O mortal ? — seek it no more on earth, For destiny will not cease from dragging thee through the rough

wilderness of life; Seekest thou rest, О immortal?-hope not to find it in heaven,

« PreviousContinue »