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The baby in its cradle slept,
My mother sang the while:
What wonder if there softly crept
Across his lips a smile?
And once, a silent, suffering boy,
Bowed with unwonted pain,
I felt my bosom thrill with joy
To hear her soothing strain.
The stealing tear my eye bedims,
My heart is running o'er:-
The music of a mother's hymns
Shall comfort me no more.
"THERE IS A LAND IMMORTAL."
THERE is a land immortal,
The beautiful of lands;
Beside its ancient portal
A sentry grimly stands:
He only can undo it,
And open wide the door;
And mortals who pass through it
Are mortal nevermore.
That glorious land is Heaven,
And Death the sentry grim:
The Lord thereof has given
The opening keys to him;
And ransomed spirits, sighing
And sorrowful for sin,
Pass through the gate in dying,
And freely enter in.
Though dark and drear the passage
That leads unto the gate,
Yet grace attends the message
To souls that watch and wait;
And at the time appointed
A messenger comes down,
And guides the Lord's anointed
From cross to glory's crown.
Their sighs are lost in singing;
They're blessed in their tears;
Their journey heavenward winging,
They leave on earth their fears.
Death like an angel seeming,
"We welcome thee!" they cry:
Their eyes with glory gleaming,
'Tis life for them to die.
AN EVENING STORM AT THE SEASIDE.
OH, GLORIOUS is the sight to see!
And gentle bosoms, burning
With pure and holy ecstasy
Their vision upward turning
Bless God for storm as well as calm,
Alike the theme of wonder,
And reverend voices swell the psalm
To him who wields the thunder.
Ho, brothers! this of mortal life
Most truly is the limning:
What joy, what woe, what peace, what strife,
The burden of our hymning!
Though dark the clouds within the breast,
Though horrors round us gather,
Our Lord will give His perfect rest
To all who love the Father.
Over the land and over the sea
The thunder peals are crashing, And merrily-oh, how merrily
The countless drops are plashing!
Down pours the wild fantastic rain
On maple and the willow,
And roof and wall and window-pane,
And meadow, beach, and billow.
The curtain rises: far away
The cohorts stern are flitting;
The sun comes forth in grand array
On a throne of glory sitting.
The clouds that shroud the flying storm
With bows of promise lighting,
Majestic beauty wreathes the form
Whose mission seemed so blighting.
The heat is on the land and sea,
And every breast is panting;
Still from the westward, burningly,
The fervid rays are slanting;
When, lo! a long-drawn line of cloud,
Far in the north-east quarter,
Sends mutterings ominous and loud
Over the land and water.
See night-black clouds, up-toppling fast,
To heights of heaven soaring,
Whose heralds sound a startling blast
As troops of lions roaring.
The hurrying winds rush to and fro
Like armies struck with panic,
While streams of liquid lightning flow
From cloudy mounts volcanic.
SOMETIMES IN QUIET REVERY.
SOMETIMES in quiet revery
When day is growing dim,
The heart is singing silently
A sweet unwritten hymn.
The strains are not to measure wrought
By cunning of the mind,
But seem like hymning angels brought
From Heaven, and left behind.
The misty hills of bygone grief,
Once dark to look upon,
Stand out like blessings in relief
Against the setting sun.
The rain may fall, the wind may blow;
The soul unhindered sings,
While, like the bird 'neath sheltering bough,
She sits with folded wings-
A brief and pleasant resting space,
A glance at Beulah land,
Before she girds herself apace
For work that waits the hand.
Then giving thanks to Him who poured
Refreshments in her cup,
She hears the calling of her Lord,
And takes her labor up.
HE WAS a man endow'd like other men,
With strange varieties of thought and feeling;
His bread was earn'd by daily toil; yet when
A pleasing fancy o'er his mind came stealing,
He set a trap and snared it by his art,
And hid it in the bosom of his heart.
He nurtured it and loved it as his own,
And it became obedient to his beck;
He fixed his name on its submissive neck,
And graced it with all graces to him known,
And then he bade it lift its wing and fly
Over the earth, and sing in every ear Some soothing sound the sighful soul to cheer, Some lay of love to lure it to the sky.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN.
If ANY man must fall for me to rise,
Then seek I not to climb. Another's pain
I choose not for my good. A golden chain,
A robe of honor is too poor a prize
To tempt my hasty hand to do a wrong Unto a fellow man. This life hath woe Sufficient, wrought by man's satanic foe;
And who that hath a heart would dare prolong Or add a sorrow to a stricken soul
That seeks some healing balm to make it whole?
My bosom owns the brotherhood of man;
From God and truth a renegade is he
Who scorns a poor man in his poverty,
Or on his fellow lays his supercilious ban.
LEWIS C. BROWNE.
EWIS CREBASA BROWNE was born in 1810. His early opportunities for education were slender. His youth was passed in farm and clerk work and in teaching school. At the age of twenty-three he became a minister of the Universalist denomination, and is now the oldest living representative of its clergy, with two or three exceptions. His principal parishes were at Fort Plain and Troy, N. Y., Nashua, N. H., Norwich, Conn., Hudson, Canton and Newark, N. Y. In 1835 he wrote "Briers and Berries," which was originally published in the Utica Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate, whence it found its way all over this country and even to England. In middle life Mr. Browne produced but few poems, but almost half a century later, with seriously failing eyesight the poetic vision seemed restored to him in a remarkable manner, and after the age of seventy he wrote "Threescore and Ten," "The Model Minister," and "Teaching School and Boarding Around." He has written little beside these, and has been too reticent, both in producing and in publishing. For some years he has lived on a small farm at Honeoye Falls, N. Y., some twenty miles from Rochester. He has perfect possession of his mental faculties, and has retained his physical vigor in large measure, except that his eyesight has been very feeble for upwards of thirteen years. He has preached but little during this period, but occasionally has officiated by reciting the scripture selections, and the hymns as well as his sermon from memory. Those who have been privileged to hear these services describe them as exceedingly impressive and affecting. I. B.
THREESCORE AND TEN.
"OUR age to seventy years is set;"
'Twas so the sacred lyrist sung.
I've crossed that boundary, and yet
My inner being seemeth young.
I feel no wrinkles on the heart,
Time has not chilled the social glow,
Music and chastened mirth impart
Their pleasing spell of long ago.
The birds that carol at the dawn,
The bees that through the clover swarm,
And children playing on the lawn,
For me have lost no early charm.
Science, invention, art and song,
The life and progress of the age,
The warfare with the false and wrong
That patriots and Christians wage,
All that promotes the weal of men,
Or keeps them on their upward way,
Attracts me at threescore and ten
As under life's meridian ray.
And though my eye is doubly dim,
And natural force begins to wane,
Less strong of arm and lithe of limb,
Still thought and memory remain.
But early friends of whom I dream
Are growing fewer year by year,
And if I linger I shall seem
A lone belated stranger here.
The friendly deference I meet
From younger travelers near and far, When crossing o'er the crowded street, Or stepping from the halted car, Reminds me that the Alpine snow Has drifted over brow and beard; 'Tis sweet to be beloved, I know,
But solemn thus to be revered.
It tells me that the hour is near,
Although the journey has been long, When I from earth shall disappear
And mingle with the silent throng.
But earth will smile as gay and green
And Heaven still shine in gold and blue,
When I have vanished from the scene,
And friends will soon their calm renew.
How little good we can achieve
With all the foils encountered here!
Then it were weak and vain to grieve
When passing to a purer sphere.
New ranks will rush with deed and thought
To bear the moral standard high;
And the small good that I have wrought
Has taken root and cannot die.
And on this truth I rest my heart:
Since all to future life aspire,
He who implanted will not thwart
This inborn, deathless, pure desire.
As the long-voyaging Genoese
To the new world he sought drew near, The balm of flowers borne on the breeze Came from the land his faith to cheer.
So when we near the Eden shore,
Before its hills of light are seen, The fragrance of its peace comes o'er The narrowing sea that flows between.
BRIERS AND BERRIES.
'TWAS on a cloudy, gloomy day,
About the middle of September
If rightly I the date remember-
For certainly I cannot say—
When I, astride my pacing gray,
Was plodding on my weary way
To spend a night and preach the Word
To people who had never heard
The Gospel, or, to say the least,
Had never viewed it as a "feast
Of fat things full of marrow."
In silence as I rode along
And crossed the silver Unadilla, The robin sung his plaintive song And faintly drooped the fading lily. The smoky sky, no longer blue,
Assumed a dim and dusky gray, And autumn o'er my spirit threw The coloring of its own decay, And I almost forgot the words
Of Him who preached of flowers and birds-
The lily and the sparrow.
I had been pondering o'er and o'er
The trials of the traveling preacher;
The heavy burdens that he bore
In carrying truth to every creature;
His wearied brain and frame worn down,
Emaciated and dyspeptic;
The hardened bigot's iron frown;
The jest of scoffer and of skeptic;
One mocking Revelation's page,
Another ridiculing reason;
With the rude storms he must engage
And all inclemencies of season.
In this despondent, somber mood
I rode perhaps a mile or two,
When, lo! beside the way there stood
A little girl with eyes of blue,
Light hair and lips as red as cherries;
And through the briers with much ado
She wrought her way to pick the berries.
Quoth I, "My little girl, it seems
To me you buy your berries dear,
For down your hand the red blood streams,
And down your cheek there rolls a tear."
"Oh yes," said she, "but then, you know,
There will be briers where berries grow."
These words came home with keen rebuke
To me, annoyed by petty jostles,
And brought to mind the things that Luke
Has written of the old Apostles
Who faced the world without a fear,
And counted even life not dear.
And since, from that good hour to this,
In sunny, dark, or stormy weather,
I still reflect that woe and bliss
In life's deep cup are found together.
Come smiling friend or frowning foe:
"There will be briers where berries grow."
TEACHING SCHOOL AND BOARDING AROUND.
MY THOUGHTS go back to the rosy prime,
And memory paints anew the scenes
Afar in the bleak New England clime,
Though half a century intervenes.
On a highway corner the school-house stands
Under an elm-tree, broad and tall,
And rollicking children in laughing bands
Come at the master's warning call.
They pile together their sleds and skates,
Hang hats and hoods in the entry-way,
And gathering pencils, books and slates,
Diligent study succeeds to play.
A mountain stream turns a gray stone mill,
That runs with a low and slumberous sound;
And there in fancy I wander still,
Teaching school and boarding around.
Near by is a farm-house, large and square,
With doors and casements of faded red,
A stoop that shades from the summer glare,
And wood well piled in the sheltering shed.
There's an ancient barn with swallow-holes
High in the gable, three in a line.
The lithe bay colt in the deep snow rolls;
From racks of hay feed the docile kine.
Closely are huddled the timorous sheep
As the flails resound on the threshing-floor;
The pilfering poultry stealthily creep
And silently watch at the open door
For each stray kernel of shelling grain.
Full of content was the lot I found
Among the farm-folk, honest and plain,
Teaching school and boarding around.
The farmer's table has lavish supplies:
Chicken and sausage of flavor rare,
Crullers and cookies and puddings and pies
Are items rich in the bill of fare.
The teacher sleeps in a wide soft bed
Kept clean for guests in the great spare room,
With gay chintz curtains over his head,
And blankets wove in the old hand-loom.
The thrifty wife, ere the break of day,
Springs from her rest, though the morn is cool,
And, breakfast ended, we haste away
O'er the shining crust to the district school.
No man could blend so much of force and beauty,
Such radiant imagery with tones so grand,
Such strong persuasion to the way of duty,
Such skill to move, to soften and command.
Before the Father, meek and reverential,
He bowed submissive as the feeble lamb;
Bold as a lion when with arm potential
He bravely battled against fraud and sham.
Shrewd as the serpent, watchful, wise and wary,
Still like the dove he knew no stain of guile;
He scorned in speech from his true thought to vary
Whether the multitude might frown or smile.
With manly strength, the tenderness of woman
Was in his texture exquisitely wrought;
His charity encircled all that's human;
His chiselled brow beamed with electric thought.
Goodness and genius were so deftly blended
In the broad countenance, so strong and kind;
A heart so simple with a mind so splendid
In him alone so happily combined.
His work is done; and what shall be the sequel? What ripened fruitage shall his mission yield? His place is vacant, he has left no equal,
So skilled a reaper in the whitened field. Still as I read his words of light and splendor, In treasured volumes from the laden shelf,
I hear that voice, full, round, clear, deep and tender, His living sermons are so like himself.