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In some lone glen, where every sound is lull'd
To slumber, save the tinkling of the rill,
Or bleat of lamb, or hovering falcon's cry,
Stretch'd on the sward, he reads of Jesse's son ;
Or sheds a tear o'er him to Egypt sold,
And wonders why he weeps; the volume closed,
With thyme-sprig laid between the leaves, he sings
The sacred lays, his weekly lesson, conn'd
With meikle care beneath the lowly roof,
Where humble lore is learnt, where humble worth
Pines unrewarded by a thankless state.
Thus reading, hymning, all alone, unseen,
The shepherd-boy the Sabbath holy keeps,
Till on the heights he marks the straggling bands
Returning homeward from the house of prayer.
PERSECUTION AND SABBATH OF THE COVENANTERS.
WITH them each day was holy, every hour
They stood prepared to die, a people doom'd
To death;-old men, and youths, and simple maids.
With them each day was holy; but that morn
On which the angel said, See where the Lord
Was laid, joyous arose; to die that day
Was bliss. Long ere the dawn, by devious ways,
O'er hills, through woods, o'er dreary wastes, they sought
The upland muirs, where rivers, there but brooks,
Dispart to different seas: Fast by such brooks
A little glen is sometimes scoop'd, a plat
With green sward gay, and flowers that strangers seem
Amid the heathery wild, that all around
Fatigues the eye; in solitudes like these,
Thy persecuted children, Scotia, foil'd
A tyrant's and a bigot's bloody laws:
There, leaning on his spear, (one of the array,
Whose gleam, in former days, had scathed the rose
On England's banner, and had powerless struck
The infatuate monarch and his wavering host,)
The lyart veteran heard the word of God
By Cameron thunder'd, or by Renwick pour'd
In gentle stream; then rose the song, the loud
Acclaim of praise. The wheeling plover ceased
Her plaint; The solitary place was glad,
And on the distant cairns the watcher's ear
Caught doubtfully at times the breeze-borne note.
But years more gloomy follow'd; and no more
The assembled people dared, in face of day,
To worship God, or even at the dead
Of night, save when the wintry storm raved fierce,
And thunder-peals compell'd the men of blood
To couch within their dens; then dauntlessly
The scatter'd few would meet, in some deep dell
By rocks o'er-canopied, to hear the voice,
Their faithful pastor's voice: He by the gleam
Of sheeted lightning oped the sacred book,
And words of comfort spake: Over their souls
His accents soothing came,-as to her young
The heathfowl's plumes, when at the close of eve,
She gathers in, mournful, her brood dispersed
By murderous sport, and o'er the remnant spreads
Fondly her wings; close nestling 'neath her breast,
They, cherish'd, cower amid the purple blooms.
THE FUNERAL SERVICE.
BUT wood and wild, the mountain and the dale,
The house of prayer itself,-no place inspires
Emotions more accordant with the day,
Than does the field of graves, the land of rest :-
Oft at the close of evening-prayer, the toll,
The solemn funeral-toll, pausing, proclaims
The service of the tomb: the homeward crowds
Divide on either hand; the pomp draws near;
The choir to meet the dead go forth, and sing,
I am the resurrection and the life.
Ah me! these youthful bearers robed in white,
They tell a mournful tale; some blooming friend
Is gone, dead in her prime of years:T was she,
The poor man's friend, who, when she could not give,
With angel tongue pleaded to those who could:
With angel tongue and mild beseeching eye,
That ne'er besought in vain, save when she pray'd
For longer life, with heart resign'd to die,-~
Rejoiced to die; for happy visions bless'd
Her voyage's last days, and hovering round
Alighted on her soul, giving presage
That heaven was nigh:- what a burst
Of rapture from her lips! what tears of joy
Her heaven-ward eyes suffused! Those eyes are closed;
But all her loveliness is not yet flown:
She smiled in death, and still her cold pale face
Retains that smile; as when a waveless lake,
In which the wintry stars all bright appear,
Is sheeted by a nightly frost with ice,
Still it reflects the face of heaven unchanged,
Unruffled by the breeze or sweeping blast.
Again that knell! The slow procession stops:
The pall withdrawn, Death's altar, thick emboss'd
With melancholy ornaments-(the name,
The record of her blossoming age,)—appears
Unveil'd, and on it dust to dust is thrown,
The final rite. Oh! hark that sullen sound!
Upon the lower'd bier the shovell'd clay
Falls fast, and fills the void.—
AN AUTUMN SABBATH WALK.
WHEN homeward bands their several ways disperse, I love to linger in the narrow field
Of rest, to wander round from tomb to tomb,
And think of some who silent sleep below.
Sad sighs the wind, that from those ancient elms
Shakes showers of leaves upon the wither'd grass:
The sere and yellow wreaths, with eddying sweep,
Fill the furrows 'tween the hillock'd graves.
But list that moan! 't is the poor blind man's dog,
His guide for many a day, now come to mourn
The master and the friend-conjunction rare!
A man indeed he was of gentle soul,
Though bred to brave the deep: the lightning's flash
Had dimm'd, not closed, his mild, but sightless eyes.
He was a welcome guest through all his range!
(It was not wide :) no dog would bay at him;
Children would run to meet him on his way,
And lead him to a sunny seat, and climb
His knee, and wonder at his oft-told tales,
Then would he teach the elfins how to plait
The rushy cap and crown, or sedgy ship;
And I have seen him lay his tremulous hand
Upon their heads, while silent moved his lips.
Peace to thy spirit! that now looks on me
Perhaps with greater pity than I felt
To see thee wandering darkling on thy way.
But let me quit this melancholy spot,
And roam where nature gives a parting smile.
As yet the blue-bells linger on the sod
That copes the sheepfold ring; and in the woods
A second blow of many flowers appears;
Flowers faintly tinged, and breathing no perfume.
But fruits, not blossoms, form the woodland wreath
That circles Autumn's brow: the ruddy haws
Now clothe the half-leaved thorn; the bramble bends
Beneath its jetty load; the hazel hangs
With auburn branches, dipping in the stream
That sweeps along, and threatens to o'erflow
The leaf-strewn banks: Oft, statue-like, I gaze,
In vacancy of thought, upon that stream,
And chase, with dreaming eye, the eddying foam ;
Or rowan's cluster'd branch, or harvest sheaf,
Borne rapidly adown the dizzying flood.
A WINTER SABBATH WALK.
How dazzling white the snowy scene! deep, deep, The stillness of the winter Sabbath day,— Not even a foot-fall heard.-Smooth are the fields, Each hollow pathway level with the plain : Hid are the bushes, save that, here and there, Are seen the topmost shoots of brier or broom. High-ridged, the whirled drift has almost reach'd The powder'd key-stone of the church-yard porch. Mute hangs the hooded bell: the tombs lie buried, No step approaches to the house of prayer.
The flickering fall is o'er; the clouds disperse
And show the sun, hung o'er the welkin's verge,
Shooting a bright but ineffectual beam
On all the sparkling waste. Now is the time
To visit nature in her grand attire;
Though perilous the mountainous ascent,
A noble recompense the danger brings.
How beautiful the plain stretch'd far below!
Unvaried though it be, save by yon stream
With azure windings, or the leafless wood.
But what the beauty of the plain, compared
To that sublimity which reigns enthroned,
Holding joint rule with solitude divine,
Among yon rocky fells, that bid defiance
To steps the most adventurously bold!
There silence dwells profound; or if the cry
Of high-poised eagle break at times the calm,
The mantled echoes no response return.
But let me now explore the deep-sunk dell. No foot-print, save the covey's or the flock's, Is seen along the rill, where marshy springs Still rear the grassy blade of vivid green. Beware, ye shepherds, of these treacherous haunts, Nor linger there too long: the wintry day Soon closes; and full oft a heavier fall Heap'd by the blast, fills up the shelter'd glen. While gurgling deep below, the buried rill Mines for itself a snow-coved way. O! then, Your helpless charge drive from the tempting spot, And keep them on the bleak hill's stormy side, Where night-winds sweep the gathering drift away :
S the great Shepherd leads the heavenly flock
From faithless pleasures, full into the storms
Of life, where long they bear the bitter blast,
Until at length the vernal sun looks forth,
Bedimm'd with showers: Then to the pastures green
He brings them, where the quiet waters glide,
The streams of life, the Siloah of the soul.
9530 4671 100 R LITTLE CHILDREN BROUGHT TO JESUS.
"SUFFER that little children come to me,
Forbid them not:" Imboldened by his words,
The mothers onward press; but, finding vain
The attempt to reach the Lord, they trust their babes
To stranger's hands: The innocents alarmed,
Amid the throng of faces all unknown,
Shrink trembling,-till their wandering eyes discern
The countenance of Jesus beaming love
And pity; eager then they stretch their arms,
And, cowering, lay their heads upon his breast.
THE LARK, THE MERLE AND THE MAVIS.†
WITH earliest spring, while yet the wheaten blade Scarce shoots above the new-fallen shower of snow, The skylark's note, in short excursion, warbles: Yes! even amid the day-obscuring fall, I've marked his wing winnowing the feathery flakes, In widely-circling horizontal flight. But, when the season genial smiles, he towers In loftier poise, with sweeter fuller pipe, Cheering the ploughman at his furrow end,The while he clears the share, or, listening, leans Upon his paddle-staff, and, with raised hand, Shadows his half-shut eyes, striving to scan The songster melting in the flood of light.
On tree, or bush, no Lark was ever seen;
The daisied lea he loves, where tufts of grass
Luxuriant crown the ridge; there, with his mate,
He founds their lowly house, of withered bents,
And coarsest speargrass; next, the inner work
With finer, and still finer fibres lays,
Rounding it curious with his speckled breast.
How strange this untaught art! it is the gift,
The gift innate of Him, whithout whose will
Not even a sparrow falleth to the ground.