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Thy very artlessness beguiled,
And folly's self seemed wise in thee;
I too can smile, when o'er that hour
The lights of memory backward stream,
Yet feel the while that manhood's power
Is vainer than my boyhood's dream.
Years have passed on, and left their trace
Of graver care and deeper thought;
And unto me the calm, cold face
Of manhood, and to thee the grace
Of woman's pensive beauty brought.
More wide, perchance, for blame than praise,
The school-boy's humble name has flown;
Thine, in the green and quiet ways
Of unobtrusive goodness known.
And wider yet in thought and deed
Diverge our pathways, one in youth;
Thine the Genevan's sternest creed,
While answers to my spirit's need
The Derby dalesman's simple truth.
For thee, the priestly rite and prayer,
And holy day, and solemn psalm;
For me, the silent reverence where
My brethren gather, slow and calm.
Yet hath thy spirit left on me
An impress Time has worn not out,
And something of myself in thee,
A shadow from the past, I see,
Lingering, even yet, thy way about;
Not wholly can the heart unlearn
That lesson of its better hours,
Not yet has Time's dull footstep worn
To common dust that path of flowers.
Thus, while at times before our eyes
The shadows melt, and fall apart,
And, smiling through them, round us lies
The warm light of our morning skies—
The Indian Summer of the heart —
In secret sympathies of mind,
In founts of feeling which retain
Their pure, fresh flow, we yet may find
Our early dreams not wholly vain l
THE LEGEND OF ST. MARK. 8
THE day is closing dark and cold,
With roaring blast and sleety showers;
And through the dusk the lilacs wear
The bloom of snow, instead of flowers.
I turn me from the gloom without,
To ponder o'er a tale of old,
A legend of the age of Faith,
By dreaming monk or abbess told.
On Tintoretto's canvas lives
That fancy of a loving heart,
In graceful lines and shapes of power,
And hues immortal as his art.
In Provence (so the story runs)
There lived a lord, to whom, as slave,
A peasant boy of tender years
The chance of trade or conquest gave.
Forth-looking from the castle tower,
Beyond the hills with almonds dark,
The straining eye could scarce discern
The chapel of the good St. Mark.
And there, when bitter word or fare
The service of the youth repaid,
By stealth, before that holy shrine,
For grace to bear his wrong, he prayed.
The steed stamped at the castle gate,
The boar-hunt sounded on the hill;
Why stayed the Baron from the chase,
With looks so stern, and words so ill ?
“Go, bind yon slavel and let him learn,
By scathe of fire and strain of cord,
How ill they speed who give dead saints
The homage due their living lord l’”
They bound him on the fearful rack,
When, through the dungeon's vaulted dark,
He saw the light of shining robes,
And knew the face of good St. Mark.
Then sank the iron rack apart,
The cords released their cruel clasp,
The pincers, with their teeth of fire,
Fell broken from the torturer's grasp.
And lo! before the Youth and Saint,
Barred door and wall of stone gave ay:
And up from bondage and the night
They passed to freedom and the day
O, dreaming monk 1 thy tale is true;—
O, painter true thy pencil's art;
In tones of hope and prophecy,
Ye whisper to my listening heart
Unheard no burdened heart's appeal
Moans up to God's inclining ear;
Unheeded by his tender eye,
Falls to the earth no sufferer's tear
For still the Lord alone is God
The pomp and power of tyrant man
Are scattered at his lightest breath,
Like chaff before the winnower's fan.
Not always shall the slave uplift
His heavy hands to Heaven in vain
God's angel, like the good St. Mark,
Comes shining down to break his chain
O, weary ones! ye may not see
Your helpers in their downward flight;
Nor hear the sound of silver wings
Slow beating through the hush of night!
But not the less gray Dothan shone,
With sunbright watchers bending low,
That Fear's dim eye beheld alone
The spear-heads of the Syrian foe.
There are, who, like the Seer of old,
Can see the helpers God has sent,
And how life's rugged mountain-side
Is white with many an angel tentl
They hear the heralds whom our Lord
Sends down his pathway to prepare;
And light, from others hidden, shines
On their high place of faith and prayer.
Let such, for earth's despairing ones,
Hopeless, yet longing to be free,
Breathe once again the Prophet's prayer:
“Iord, ope their eyes, that they may see l"
CALM on the breast of Loch Maree
A little isle reposes;
A shadow woven of the oak
And willow o'er it closes.
Within, a Druid's mound is seen,
Set round with stony warders;
A fountain, gushing through the turf,
Flows o'er its grassy borders.
And whoso bathes therein his brow,
With care or madness burning,
Feels once again his healthful thought
And sense of peace returning.
O ! restless heart and fevered brain,
Unquiet and unstable,
That holy well of Loch Maree
Is more than idle fable !
Life's changes vex, its discords stun,
Its glaring sunshine blindeth,
And blest is he who on his way
That fount of healing findeth !
The shadows of a humbled will
And contrite heart are o'er it:
Go read its legend—“TRUST IN Gop”—
On Faith’s white stones before it.