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IS IT COME?

227

Is it Come ?

IS
S it come? they said, on the banks of the Nile,

Who looked for the world's long-promised day,
And saw but the strife of Egypt's toil

With the desert's sand and the granite gray. From the Pyramid, temple, and treasured dead,

We vainly ask for her wisdom's plan; They tell us of the tyrant's dread:

Yet there was hope when that day began.

The Chaldee came with his starry lore,

And built up Babylon's crown and creed ; And bricks were stamped on the Tigris' shore

With signs which our sages scarce can read. From Ninus' temple and Nimrod's tower,

The rule of the old East's empire spread Unreasoning faith and unquestioned power

But still, Is it come? the watcher said.

The light of the Persian's worshiped flame

O’er the ancient bondage its splendor threw; And once, on the West a sunrise came,

When Greece to her freedom's trust was true: With dreams to the utmost ages dear,

With human gods, and with god-like men, No marvel the far-off day seemed near

To eyes that looked through her laurels then.

The Romans conquered and reveled too,

Till honor,and faith, and power were gone; And deeper old Europe's darkness grew

As, wave after wave, the Goth came on. The gown was learning, the sword was law;

The people served in the oxen's stead; But ever some gleam the watcher saw

And evermore, Is it come? they said.

Poet and seer that question caught,

Above the din of life's fears and frets ;
It marched with letters, it toiled with thought,

Through schools and creeds which the earth forgets. And statesmen trifle, and priests deceive,

And traders barter our world awayYet hearts to that golden promise cleave,

And still at times, Is it come? they say.

The days of the nations bear no trace

Of all the sunshine so far foretold;
The cannon speaks in the teacher's place-

The age is weary with work and gold;
And high hopes wither, and memories wane;

On hearth and altars the fires are dead;
But that brave faith hath not lived in vain
And this is all that our watcher said.

FRANCES BROWN.

A Song for the New Year (1867).
THE
'HE sea sings the song of the ages ;

The mountain stands mutely sublime ;
While the blank of Eternity's pages

Is filled by the fingers of Time. But Man robbeth sea of its wonder,

Making syllabled speech of its roar ; He rendeth the mountain asunder,

And rolleth his wheels through its core;
He delveth deep down for earth's treasure,

And every locked secret unbars ;
He scanneth the heavens at pleasure,

And writeth his name on the stars.

But purpose is weaker than passion,

And patience is dearer than blood;
And his face groweth withered and ashen

Ere he findeth and graspeth the good.

A SONG FOR THE NEIV YEAR.

229

He pursucth the phantom of beauty,

Or peddleth his valor for pelf;Till the iron of merciless duty

Has crashed through the armor of self. He soweth the life of his brother;

He wasteth the half of his soul ;The harvest is reaped by another,

And Death dippeth deep for his toll.

So the march of triumphal procession,

That Science is fain to begin,
Is hindered with painful digression

Of ignorance, folly, and sin.
Through mazes of needless confusion

The story of Freedom must bend ;
And the grandest and simplest conclusion

Go stumbling along to its end.
Yet a year does not slide o'er the border

Of time, but some progress it shows;
And a lustrum proves prescience and order-

So the drama creeps on to its close.

If the blood that was weaker than water

Too thinly and sluggishly ran,
Lo! the wine of the vintage of slaughter

Giveth strength to the sinews of man ;
And the shout of a lusty young nation

Shall greet his gray brothers with glee, And the swell of its ringing vibration

Sweep over the isles of the sea;
While Liberty looks for a morrow

That promiseth joyous increase,
As waneth her midnight of sorrow
And waxeth her morning of peace !

EDWIN R. JOHNSON.

A Psalm of Life. TELL 'ELL me not, in mournful numbers,

· Life is but an empty dream; For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem !”

Life is real! Life is earnest !

And the grave is not its goal: “Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”

Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow

Is our destined end or way; But to act that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !

Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no future, howe'er pleasant !

Let the dead Past bury its dead ! Act, act in the living Present,

Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time:

THE DAY'S RATION.

231

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

fate;

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for

any
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.

T

Know Thyself.
ΝΩΘΙ σεαυτόν ! And is this the prime

And heaven-sprung adage of the olden time?
Say, can'st thou make thyself? Learn first that trade :
Haply thou may’st know what thyself had made.
What hast thou, Man, that thou dost call thine own?
What is there in thee, Man, that can be known?
Dark fluxion, all unfixable by thought,
A phantom dim, of past and future wrought,
Vain sister of the worm, life, death, soil, clod.
Ignore thyself, and strive to know thy God!

SAMUEL T. COLERIDGE.

The Day's Ration.

WH

THEN I was born,

From all the seas of strength Fate filled a chalice, Saying, “ This be thy portion, child ; this chalice, Less than a lily's, thou shalt daily draw Froin my great arteries—nor less nor more.” All substances the cunning chemist Time Melts down into that liquor of my life

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