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[From The Christian Year.] THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT.
(The Christian Inheritance.)
See Lucifer like lightning fall,
Dashed from his throne of pride;
This world of Thine, by him usurped too long,
Now opening all her stores to heal Thy servants' wrong.
So when the first-born of Thy foes
Dead in the darkness lay,
When Thy redeemed at midnight rose
And cast their bonds away,
The orphaned realm threw wide her gates, and told Into freed Israel's lap her jewels and her gold.
And when their wondrous march was o'er,
Among their fathers' tombs ;
A land that drinks the rain of Heaven at will, Whose waters kiss the feet of many a vine-clad hill;
Oft as they watched, at thoughtful eve,
Sweep o'er the billowy corn, and heave
The tresses of the palm,
Just as the lingering Sun had touched with gold, Far o'er the cedar shade, some tower of giants old;
It was a fearful joy, I ween,
To trace the Heathen's toil,
The limpid wells, the orchards green,
Left ready for the spoil,
The household stores untouched, the roses bright Wreathed o'er the cottage walls in garlands of delight.
And now another Canaan yields
Lo! here the 'unknown God' of thy unconscious praise!
The olive-wreath, the ivied wand,
Each legend of the shadowy strand
As little children lisp, and tell of Heaven,
So thoughts beyond their thought to those high Bards
And these are ours: Thy partial grace
The tempting treasure lends :
These relics of a guilty race
Are forfeit to Thy friends;
What seemed an idol hymn, now breathes of Thee,
Tuned by Faith's ear to some celestial melody.
There's not a strain to Memory dear,
There's not a sweet note warbled here,
O Lord, our Lord, and spoiler of our foes,
There is no light but Thine: with Thee all beauty glows.
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
O for a sculptor's hand,
That thou might'st take thy stand,
Thy wild hair floating on the eastern breeze,
Thy tranced yet open gaze
Fixed on the desert haze,
As one who deep in heaven some airy pageant sees.
Where each old poetic mountain
Inspiration breathed around. Gray.
2 See Burns's Works, i. 293. Dr. Currie's edition.
In outline dim and vast
Their fearful shadows cast
The giant forms of empires on their way
To ruin one by one
They tower and they are gone,
Yet in the Prophet's soul the dreams of avarice stay.
No sun or star so bright
In all the world of light
That they should draw to Heaven his downward eye:
He sees the angel's sword,
Yet low upon the earth his heart and treasure lie.
Lo! from yon argent field,
To him and us revealed,
One gentle Star glides down, on earth to dwell.
Our eyes may see it glow,
And as it mounts again, may track its brightness well.
To him it glared afar,
A token of wild war,
The banner of his Lord's victorious wrath :
But close to us it gleams,
Its soothing lustre streams
Around our home's green walls, and on our church-way path.
We in the tents abide
Which he at distance eyed
Like goodly cedars by the waters spread,
While seven red altar-fires
Rose up in wavy spires,
Where on the mount he watched his sorceries dark and dread.
He watched till morning's ray
On lake and meadow lay,
And willow-shaded streams, that silent sweep
Around the bannered lines,
Where by their several signs
The desert-wearied tribes in sight of Canaan sleep.
He watched till knowledge came
Not of those magic fires at random caught :
Flashed o'er him, high and bright,
Flashed once, and died away, and left his darkened thought.
And can he choose but fear,
Who feels his God so near,
That when he fain would curse, his powerless tongue
In blessing only moves?—
Alas! the world he loves
Too close around his heart her tangling veil hath flung.
Sceptre and Star divine,
Who in Thine inmost shrine
Hast made us worshippers, O claim Thine own;
More than Thy seers we know--
O teach our love to grow
Up to Thy heavenly light, and reap what Thou has sown
FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
(The Lilies of the Field.)
Sweet nurslings of the vernal skies,
Relics ye are of Eden's bowers,
As pure, as fragrant, and as fair,
Fall'n all beside-the world of life,
But cheerful and unchanged the while
In the world's opening glow.
The stars of heaven a course are taught
Ye dwell beside our paths and homes,
Your innocent mirth may borrow.
Ye fearless in your nests abide
Nor may we scorn, too proudly wise,
By all but lowly eyes:
For ye could draw th' admiring gaze
Ye felt your Maker's smile that hour,
As when He paused and owned you good;
His blessing on earth's primal bower,
Ye felt it all renewed.
What care ye now, if winter's storm
Alas! of thousand bosoms kind,