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O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent! Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
“Scotland” is an extract from “The Cotter's Saturday Night."
1 Scotia. “Land of Scots” — from Scotus, Scot. A name given to Scotland.
SONG OF THE MYSTIC*
Rev. ABRAM J. RYAN
Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan, the poet-priest, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, August 15, 1839. When he was about seven years of age, his parents moved to St. Louis, where he was placed in school. Even as a boy, he had a fine mind, and his deeply religious tendency led him to study for the priesthood. Just after his consecration as a priest, in 1861, he joined the Confederate Army, serving throughout the war either as chaplain or soldier. After the war he continued his priestly service in various Southern cities, and besides ministering to the unfortunate, founded and edited literary and religious journals, and wrote verses. He died in Louisville, Kentucky, April 22, 1886.
I walk down the Valley of Silence
Down the dim, voiceless valley - alone!
Around me, save God's and my own;
As hovers where angels have flown!
Long ago was I weary of voices
Where music my heart could not win;
That fretted my soul with their din;
Where I met but the human — and sin.
I walked in the world with the worldly;
I craved what the world never gave;
*Reprinted by permission of the publishers, P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York City,
And I said: "In the world each Ideal,
That shines like a star on life's wave,
And sleeps like a dream in the grave."
And still did I pine for the perfect,
And still found the False with the True;
But caught a mere glimpse of its blue;
Veiled even that glimpse from my view.
And I toiled on, heart-tired of the Human,
And I moaned 'mid the mazes of men,
And I heard a voice call me. Since then
That lies far beyond mortal ken.
Do you ask what I found in the Valley?
'Tis my trysting place with the Divine.
And above me a Voice said, “Be mine."
An echo — “My heart shall be thine."
and I pray.
Do you ask how I live in the Valley?
and I dream
That fall on the roses in May:
Ascendeth to God night and day.
In the hush of the Valley of Silence
I dream all the songs that I sing;
And the music floats down the dim Valley,
Till each finds a word for a wing,
A message of peace they may bring.
But far on the deep there are billows
That never shall break on the beach;
That never shall float into speech;
Too lofty for language to reach.
And I have seen thoughts in the Valley –
Ah, me! how my spirit was stirred!
Their footsteps can scarcely be heard;
Too pure for the touch of a word!
Do you ask me the place of the Valley,
Ye hearts that are harrowed by care?
And God and His angels are there:
And one the bright mountain of Prayer.
HELPS FOR STUDY
What is the meaning of “mystic”?
Explain “harrowed by care."
Why do you think the poet places the Valley between the two mountains which he names “Sorrow” and “Prayer"?
The Sword of Robert Lee