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SONNET. Rise, said the Master, come unto the feast : She heard the call and rose with willing feet; But thinking it not otherwise than meet For such a bidding to put on her best, She is gone from us for a few short hours Into her bridal closet, there to wait For the unfolding of the palace gate, That gives her entrance to the blissful bowers. We have not seen her yet, though we have been Full often to her chamber door, and oft Have listened underneath the postern green, And laid fresh flowers, and whispered short and soft ; But she hath made no answer, and the day From the clear west is fading fast away.
We count the broken lyres that rest
Where the sweet wailing singers slumber, But o'er their silent sister's breast
The wild flowers who will stoop to number? A few can touch the magic string,
And noisy fame is proud to win them; Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them! Nay, grieve not for the dead alone,
Whose song has told their hearts' sad story: Weep for the voiceless, who have known
The cross without the crown of glory! Not where Leucadian breezes sweep
O’er Sappho's memory-haunted billow, But where the glistening night-dews weep
On nameless sorrow's churchyard pillow.
O hearts that break, and give no sign,
Save whitening lip and fading tresses, Till Death pours out his cordial wine,
Slow-dropped from misery's crushing presses!
If singing breath or echoing chord
To every hidden pang were given,
What endless melodies were poured,
As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!
Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Lord, in this dust thy sovereign voice
First quickened love divine ;
I am all thine-thy care and choice,
My very praise thine.
I praise Thee, while thy providence
In childhood frail I trace,
For blessings given, ere dawning sense
Could seek or scan thy grace ;
Blessings in boyhood's marvelling hour,
Bright dreams and fancyings strange ;
Blessings, when reason's awful power
Gave thought a bolder range ;
Blessings of friends, which to my door
Unasked, unhoped, have come;
And choicer still, a countless store
Of eager smiles at home.
Yet, Lord, in memory's fondest place
I shrine those seasons sad,
When looking up, I saw thy face
In kind austereness clad.
I would not miss one sigh or tear,
Heart-pang or throbbing brow;
Sweet was the chastisement severe,
And sweet its memory now.
Yes ! let the fragrant scars abide,
Love-tokens in thy stead,
Faint shadows of the spear-pierced side,
And thorn-encompassed head.
And such thy tender force be still,
When self would swerve or stray,
Shaping to truth the froward will
Along thy narrow way.
Deny me wealth; far, far remove
The lure of power or name;
Hope thrives in straits, in weakness love, 35
And faith in this world's shame.
John Henry Newman.
I stood within the grave's o'ershadowing vault ; Gloomy and damp it stretched its vast domain ; Shades were its boundary; for my strained eye sought For other limit to its width in vain.
Faint from the entrance came a daylight ray,
And distant sound of living men and things;
This, in the encountering darkness passed away,
That, took the tone in which a mourner sings.
I lit a torch at a sepulchral lamp,
Which shot a thread of light amid the gloom ;
And feebly burning 'gainst the rolling damp,
I bore it through the regions of the tomb.
Around me stretched the slumbers of the dead,
Whereof the silence ached upon mine ear;
More and more noiseless did I make my tread,
And yet its echoes chilled my heart with fear.
The former men of every age and place,
From all their wanderings gathered; round me lay;
The dust of withered empires did I trace,
And stood 'mid generations past away.
I saw whole cities, that in flood or fire,
Or famine or the plague, gave up their breath ;
Whole armies whom a day beheld expire,
By thousands swept into the arms of Death.
I saw the old world's white and wave-swept bones,
A giant heap of creatures that had been;
Far and confused the broken skeletons
Lay strewn beyond mine eye's remotest ken.
Death's various shrines—the Urn, the Stone, the Lamp-
Were scattered round, confused, amid the dead ; 30
Symbols and Types were mouldering in the damp,
Their shapes were waning, and their meaning fled.
Unspoken tongues, perchance in praise or woe,
Were charactered on tablets Time had swept ;
And deep were half their letters hid below
The thick small dust of those they once had wept.
No hand was here to wipe the dust away ;
No reader of the writing traced beneath ;
No spirit sitting by its form of clay ;
Nor sigh nor sound from all the heaps of Death. 40
One place alone had ceased to hold its prey ;
A form had pressed it and was there no more ;
The garments of the Grave beside it lay,
Where once they wrapped Him on the rocky floor.
He only with returning footsteps broke
45 The eternal.calm wherewith the Tomb was bound; Among the sleeping Dead alone He woke, And blessed with outstretched hands the host around.
Well is it that such blessing hovers here,
To soothe each sad survivor of the throng
Who haunt the portals of the solemn sphere,
And pour their woe the loaded air along.
They to the verge have followed that they love,
And on the insuperable threshold stand ;
With cherished names its speechless calm reprove,
And stretch in the abyss their ungrasped hand.
But vainly there the mourners seek relief
From silenced voice, and shapes, Decay has swept,
Till Death himself shall medicine their grief,
Closing their eyes by those o'er whom they wept.
All that have died, the Earth's whole race, repose,
Where Death collects his treasures, heap on heap ;
O’er each one's busy day the nightshades close ;
Its Actors, Sufferers, Schools, Kings, Armies-sleep.
I mourn no more my vanished years :
Beneath a tender rain,
An April rain of smiles and tears,
My heart is young again.
The west winds blow, and singing low,
I hear the glad streams run ;
The windows of my soul I throw
Wide open to the sun.