« ForrigeFortsett »
Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door;
Come to visit me once more;
Noble longings for the strife,
Weary with the march of life! They, the holy ones and weakly,
Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly,
Spake with us on earth no more! And with them the Being Beauteous,
Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me,
And is now a saint in heaven. With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me,
Lays her gentle hand in mine. And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saint-like,
Looking downward from the skies. Utter'd not, yet comprehended,
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer,
Breathing from her lips of air.
All my fears are laid aside,
Such as these have lived and died !
THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD.
This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,
Like a huge organ, rise the burnish'd arms; But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing
Startles the villagers with strange alarms. Ah! what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary,
When the death-angel touches those swift keys ! What loud lament and dismal Miserērè
Will mingle with their awful symphonies ! I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus,
The cries of agony, the endless groan, Which, through the ages that have gone before us,
In long reverberations reach our own.
On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer,
Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's song,
O’er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong.
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din,
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin;
The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns;
The wail of famine in beleaguer'd towns;
The bursting shell, the gateway wrench'd asunder,
The rattling musketry, the clashing blade;
The diapason of the cannonade.
With such accurséd instruments as these,
And jarrest the celestial harmonies ?
Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestow'd on camps and courts,
There were no need of arsenals nor forts:
The warrior's name would be a name abhorréd!
And every nation that should lift again
Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain! 1
Down the dark future, through long generations,
The echoing sounds grow fainter, and then cease;
I hear once more the voice of Christ say, “Peace !"
The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies !
The holy melodies of love arise.
Maiden! with the meek, brown eyes,
Would that the ninth and tenth verses of this fine poem might be engraved upon the mind and heart of every man and woman, in both hemispheres, that speaks the English tongue !
Thou whose locks outshine the sun, Golden tresses, wreathed in one, As the braided streamlets run! Standing, with reluctant feet, Where the brook and river meet, Womanhood and childhood fleet! Gazing, with a timid glance, On the brooklet's swift advance, On the river's broad expanse ! Deep and still, that gliding stream Beautiful to thee must seem, As the river of a dream. Then why pause with indecision, When bright angels in thy vision Beckon thee to fields Elysian ? Seest thou shadows sailing by, As the dove, with startled eye, Sees the falcon's shadow fly? Hear'st thou voices on the shore, That our ears perceive no more, Deafen'd by the cataract's roar ? O thou child of many prayers ! Life hath quicksands,-life hath snares ! Care and age come unawares ! Like the swell of some sweet tune, Morning rises into noon, May glides onward into June. Childhood is the bough, where slumber'd Birds and blossoms many-number'd ;Age, that bough with snows encumber'd. Gather, then, each flower that grows When the young heart overflows, To embalm that tent of snows. Bear a lily in thy hand ; Gates of brass cannot withstand One touch of that magic wand. Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth, In thy heart the dew of youth, On thy lips the smile of truth. Oh, that dew, like balm, shall steal Into wounds that cannot heal, Even as sleep our eyes doth seal; And that smile, like sunshine, dart Into many a sunless heart, For a smile of God thou art.
Beware! The Israelite of old, who tore
The lion in his path,—when, poor and blind,
Shorn of his noble strength, and forced to grind
His desperate hands, and in its overthrow
A cruel mockery of his sightless woe;
Shorn of his strength, and bound in bonds of steel, Who may, in some grim revel, raise his hand,
And shake the pillars of this commonweal,
The shades of night were falling fast,
In happy homes he saw the light
“ Try not the pass !" the old man said;
“Oh, stay,' the maiden said, “and rest
“ Beware the pine-tree's wither'd branch!
At break of day, as heavenward
There, in the twilight cold and gray,
LITERARY FAME. Time has a Doomsday-Book, upon whose pages he is continually recording illustrious names. But, as often as a new name is written there, an old one disappears. Only a few stand in illuminated characters never to be effaced. These are the high nobility of Nature,-Lords of the Public Domain of Thought. Posterity shall never question their titles. But those, whose fame lives only in the indiscreet opinion of unwise men, must soon be as well forgotten as if they had never been. To this great oblivion must most men come. It is better, therefore, that they should soon make up their minds to this: well knowing that, as their bodies must ere long be resolved into dust again, and their graves tell no tales of them, so must their names likewise be utterly forgotten, and their most cherished thoughts, purposes, and opinions have no longer an individual being among men; but be resolved and incorporated into the universe of thought.
Yes, it is better that men should soon make up their minds to be forgotten, and look about them, or within them, for some higher motive, in what they do, than the approbation of men, which is Fame; namely, their duty; that they should be constantly and quietly at work, each in his sphere, regardless of effects, and leaving their fame to take care of itself. Difficult must this indeed be, in our imperfection; impossible, perhaps, to achieve it wholly. Yet the resolute, the indomitable will of man can achieve much-at times even this victory over himself;