Puslapio vaizdai

heart, though the pious will consents to lift the consecrated signs

“ With such compelling cause to grieve

As daily vexes household peace,

And chains regret to his decease,
How dare we keep our Christmas-eve ;

Which brings no more a welcome guest

To enrich the threshold of the night

With shower'd largess of delight,
In dance and song and game and jest.

Yet go, and while the holly boughs

Entwine the cold baptismal font,

Make one wreath more for Use and Wont
That guard the portals of the house ;

Old sisters of a day gone by,

Gray nurses, loving nothing new;

Why should they miss their yearly due
Before their time? They too will die.”—P. 47.

The next Christmas, the outward calm is recovered, and the tears dried, but there sleeps at the heart," the quiet sense of something lost:" on the last, whose record we have, the spiritual Hope is quite in the ascendant. Christ, and all who slept in him, are alive that day; and comforted Sorrow has become ardent, longing, perhaps impatient, Faith. The dirge of death gives place to the hymn of confidence: and the heart of the reader, somewhat oppressed by the long melancholy, rejoices at last to have the claims of Earth and Heaven harmonized in the trustful. ness of love and expectation. It is finely marked by the incidents of domestic history appearing in the poem, that this effect had been aided by the liberation from overpowering associations consequent on a change of dwelling. The old bells, now heard no more, had tones that could recal only one set of feelings. The change of scene has helped to break the bond of use, and give the Future its rightful power.

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Ring out wild bells to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light:

The year is dying in the night;
Ring out wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

For those that here we see no more;

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And antient forms of party strife ;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,

The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite,

Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.”—P. 163.

The deepest interest of these poems is in the strivings of the spirit to hold converse with the dead, to conceive aright the nature of the unseen ties that may still connect the loving and faithful of each world, and through the heart


to reason against and set aside the fear of widening separation between souls in different conditions of existence, and subject perhaps to different laws and measures of spiritual growth. There is much curiosity, both of a physical and of a moral kind, which simple love should silence, taking her own trusts and prophecies as sufficient for her confidence, as Mary was satisfied to ask no questions of Lazarus, of his four days' sojourn beyond mortality, in her full contentment with his presence, and that of the holy Love which gave him back.

“Her eyes are homes of silent prayer,

Nor other thought her mind admits

But, he was dead, and there he sits,
And he that brought him back is there.
Then one deep love doth supersede

All other, when her ardent gaze

Roves from the living brother's face,
And rests upon the Life indeed.

All subtle thought, all curious fears,

Borne down by gladness so complete,
She bows, she bathes the Saviour's feet

With costly spikenard and with tears.
Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers,

Whose loves in higher love endure ;

What souls possess themselves so pure,
Or is there blessedness like theirs ? "-P. 51.

There is no more common trepidation of the heart, than that new and inconceivable modes of existence may so deprive us of all fellowship “in the links that bind the changes” of the dead, that never can we be truly mated again. The fear belongs to the speculative, not to the spiritual nature. It is powerfully put in one of these poems, and nobly answered in the next.

“I vex my heart with fancies dim :

He still outstript me in the race ;

It was but unity of place
That made me dream I rank'd with him.

And so may Place retain us still,

And he the much-beloved again,

A lord of large experience, train
To riper growth the mind and will :

And what delights can equal those

That stir the spirit's inner deeps,

When one that loves, but knows not, reaps
A truth from one that loves and knows ? ” —P. 64.

Love indeed is the only condition of intercourse, and so he speaks his confidence out of the noble trusts of the heart :

“I loved thee, Spirit, and love, nor can

The soul of Shakspeare love thee more." Nor does Love fear the holiness of God's sainted ones. How noble, how truly Christian and trustful, is this vindication of the boldness of earthly affection, even through much consciousness of failure, weakness, and sin, to meet the inspecting eye of the righteous dead. The heart suggests no fears, so long as the will is loyal, and the aspiration that admits us to God, cannot be rejected by any that stand between us and Him.

Do we indeed desire the dead

Should still be near us at our side ?

Is there no baseness we would hide ?
No inner vileness that we dread ?

Shall he for whose applause I strove,

I had such reverence for his blame,

See with clear eye some hidden shame,
And I be lessened in his love?

I wrong


with fears untrue :
Shall love be blamed for want of faith ?

There must be wisdom with great Death;
The dead shall look me thro' and thro'!

Be near us when we climb or fall :

Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours

With larger, other, eyes than ours
To make allowance for us all.”-P. 73.

Again how true to love, and therefore to God, is the strong desire for personal identity and recognition, though compelled to struggle with spiritual trusts and weapons against some of nature's signs of individual decay! There is something spiritual even in the constancy with which he clings to the “eternal form” that shall still individualize, “ divide the eternal soul from all beside," as a protest and protection against the heartless mockery of any “remerging in the general Soul."

“ The wish that of the living whole

No life may fail beyond the grave;

Derives it not from what we have
The likest God within the soul ?
Are God and Nature then at strife,

That Nature lends such evil dreams ?

So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life ;
That I, considering every where

Her secret meaning in her deeds,

And finding that of fifty seeds
She often brings but one to bear ;
I falter where I firmly trod,

And falling with my weight of cares
Upon the great world's altar-stairs
That slope through darkness up to God;
I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,

And gather dust and chaff, and call

To what I feel is Lord of all,

And faintly trust the larger hope."-P. 79. The fears and doubts that issue out of the perishableness of our bodies and the sins of our souls, are worthily extinguished by the cries of the heart, and the prophecies of the spirit, accredited by Faith as God's own voice and word. That faith is itself not the evidence, but the reality of a divine nature in us.

“Oh yet we trust that somehow good

Will be the final goal of ill,

To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;


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