Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

a

That nothing walks with aimless feet;

That not one life shall be destroyed,

Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;
That not a worm is cloven in vain ;

That not a moth with vain desire

Is shrivel'd in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another's gain.
Behold! we know not anything;

I can but trust that good shall fall

At last-far off at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream : but what am I?

An infant crying in the night:

An infant crying for the light :

And with no language but a cry.”—P. 77. This subservience of Knowledge to Faith appears from first to last as the Poet's confidence, for he every where takes the knowledge of the Heart as that margin of experience, of real contact with God, which gives strength and ground to trust the infinite unknown. Thus in the prefatory poem :

“Our little systems have their day;

They have their day and cease to be:

They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith : we cannot know;

For knowledge is of things we see ;

And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness : let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,

But more of reverence in us dwell ;

That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster.”

And the volume is closed and rounded with the same sentiment, that Faith grows out of Knowledge, and that Knowledge is Wisdom only when culminating in Faith.

“Half grown as yet, a child, and vain

She cannot fight the fear of death.
What is she, cut from love and faith,
But some wild Pallas from the brain

Of Demons ? fiery-hot to burst

All barriers in her onward race

For power. Let her know her place;
She is the second, not the first.
A higher hand must make her mild,

If all be not in vain ; and guide

Her footsteps, moving side by side
With wisdom, like the younger child :
For she is earthly of the mind,

But wisdom heavenly of the soul.

O, friend, who camest to thy goal
So early, leaving me behind,
I would the great world grew like thee,

Who grewest not alone in power

And knowledge, but from hour to hour

In reverence and in charity.”—P. 177. How truly religious is this noble affirmation of the rights of the Heart to have its experiences and testimonies taken for the holy pledges of God !

“If e'er when faith had fall’n asleep,

I heard a voice, ‘Believe no more,'

And heard an ever-breaking shore
That tumbled in the Godless deep ;
A warmth within the breast would melt

The freezing reason's colder part,

And like a man in wrath the heart
Stood

up

and answer'd 'I have felt.'”—P. 191.

a

The progress of individual man and of the race, and the successive changes even of the inanimate earth through the slow periods of geology, are all signs to the poet's heart of God's full intention to fulfil the longings after perfection, the prophetic intimations of the nature He has given. We have the earnest of His spirit; and such are the proofs with which Religion deals : all else is sense or science. And this faith touches all the springs of indi

[ocr errors]

vidual effort, for unless we co-operate with God's spirit where can be our confidence that we are born to such hopes ? All the inferences we may trace from the course of Providence are for us null and void, until we partake of the creative spirit, and feel the force of Christ's axiom, “My father worketh, and I work.” It is only the consciousness that there is no answering reality within, that could dim the prophecies of man's future blessedness and perfection.

“Contemplate all this work of Time,

The giant labouring in his youth ;

Nor dream of human love and truth,
As dying Nature's earth and lime;
But trust that those we call the dead,

Are breathers of an ampler day

For ever noble ends. They say
The solid earth whereon we tread
In tracts of fluent heat began,

And grew to seeming random forms,

The seeming prey of cyclic storms,
Till at the last arose the man;
Who throve and branch'd from clime to clime,

The herald of a higher race,

And of himself in higher place,
If so he type this work of time
Within himself, from more to more ;

And crown'd with attributes of woe

Like glories, move his course, and show
That life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,

And heated hot with burning fears;

And dipp'd in baths of hissing tears,
And batter'd with the shocks of doom
To shape and use. Arise and fly
The reeling Faun, the sensual feast;

Move upward, working out the beast,
And let the ape and tiger die.”—P. 183.

[ocr errors]

This faith can spiritually subdue all the outward and material evidences of decay and annihilation--the worm and the grave, but it cannot subdue the hunger of the heart for renewed personal communication. If it could, indeed, it would subdue the heart itself, the basis of Faith, for what redemption of His pledges could God owe to us, if it could become to us a matter of indifference whether our affections fed on phantoms or realities ? It is unsatisfied desire that promises the future.

I
wage

not
any

feud with Death
For changes wrought on form and face;

No lower life that earth's embrace
May breed with him, can fright my faith.
Eternal process moving on,

From state to state the spirit walks ;

And these are but the shatter'd stalks
Or ruined chrysalis of one.
Nor blame I Death, because he bare

The use of virtue out of earth;

I know transplanted human worth
Will bloom to profit, otherwhere.
For this alone on Death I wreak

The wrath that garners in my heart;

He put our lives so far apart

We cannot hear each other speak.”—P. 112. The sentiment of the last verse, somewhat impatiently and rebelliously expressed, under the influence of time and faith assumes towards the close of the volume this chastened and perfect form :

“ The face will shine
Upon me, while I muse alone;

The dear, dear voice that I have known
Will speak to me of me and mine :
Yet less of sorrow lives in me

For days of happy commune dead;
Less yearning for the friendship fled,
Than some strong bond which is to be.

[ocr errors]

There are two pieces which we wish to bring into immediate connection: the difference between all earthly partings and that parting which places the great gulf of death

between us and our friend; and the spiritual qualifications for any feeling of communion with the dead :

“Could we forget the widow'd hour

And look on Spirits breathed away,

As on a maiden in the day
When first she wears her orange-flower!
When crown'd with blessings she doth rise

To take her latest leave of home,

And hopes and light regrets that come
Make April of her tender eyes ;
And doubtful joys the father move,

And tears are on the mother's face,

As parting with a long embrace
She enters other realms of love ;
Her office then to rear, to teach,

Becoming as is meet and fit

A link among the days, to knit
The generations each with each ;
And, doubtless, unto thee is given

A life that bears immortal fruits

In such great offices as suit
The full-grown energies of heaven.
Ay me, the difference I discern!
How often shall her old fire-side

Be cheer'd with tidings of the bride,
How often she herself return,
And tell them all they would have told,

And bring her babe, and make her boast,

Till even those that miss'd her most,
Shall count new things as dear as old :
But thou and I have shaken hands,

Till growing winters lay me low;

My paths are in the fields I know,
And thine in undiscover'd lands."

“How pure at heart and sound in head,

With what divine affections bold

Should be the man whose thought would hold
An hour's communion with the dead.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »