[inside front cover, includes illustration: Rev. J. H. Chant]
Gleams of Sunshine
Joseph Horatio Chant
Printed for the Author by
[handwritten: PS 8455 H35G4]
Copyright, Canada, 1915
by J. H. CHANT.
The memory of my beloved wife,
Mary Matilda McKim
Who, by her gentle disposition,
sound judgement, and earnest Christian life,
not only proved herself my true
helpmate for over 46 years,
made our home a place of constant
peace and abounding joy,
I dedicate this book.
J. H. C.
Page 50, 1.5
“worldy” corrected to “worldly”
Page 61, 16.1
“Arcoss” corrected to “Across”
Gleams of Sunshine
O Thou, who art the source of joy and light,
The great Revealer of the will Divine;
Thyself Divine, all nature owns Thy might,
And bows in homage at a beck of Thine,
Afford me light to guide my unskilled hand,
And by Thy Spirit all my thoughts command.
To Thy great name I dedicate my powers,
Yielding to Thee what Thou with blood hast bought,
Resolved that Thou shalt have my days and hours,
And for Thy sake shall every work be wrought;
O deign to use me, if it be Thy will,
And my poor heart with love and gladness fill.
If this strange impulse which I feel within
To write this book proceeds, O Lord, from Thee, [page 7]
Let it not die, nor be defiled by sin,
But let the work from self and sin be free,
And prove a guide to home and bliss above,
And help to fill this warring world with love.
The Master’s touch I know it sadly lacks,
And may not please the nice artistic taste
Of some fine mind that naught but gold attracts;
Some may not count these iron-filings waste;
Like magnets, to which gold will not adhere,
May they find ore in this to bless and cheer.
In this plain pitcher, Lord, Thy blessing pour,
That from it men their raging thirst may slake,
And when exhausted is the scanty store,
Then let the earthen vessel quickly break;
Its end is gained if Thou art glorified,
And men have learned to love the Christ who died.
As flowers drink in the solar rays and dew,
And in return give bloom and odors sweet,
So would I to Thy Spirit’s touch prove true,
And render that return which seemeth meet;
Come, dews of grace! Great Sun, illume my heart!
That I to some sad soul may joy impart. [page 8]
FATHER OF UNIVERSAL MAN
Father of Universal Man,
Where’er in this wide world he roam,
Not known to thee by kith or clan,
Nor height, nor breadth of mental dome,
Nor babbling tongue, nor sounding creed,
But by his woe and common need.
The pushing Anglo-Saxon race,
The Celts with wealth of heart and mind,
The Esquimaux of leaden face,
The Arabs whom no chain can bind,
With hardy Boers and all the rest,
Are with one common Father blest.
And all are brothers, though at times
Our flashing swords obscure the sun.
We ring aloud our Christmas chimes,
But louder sounds the booming gun,
And brother is by brother slain,
And kindred ties are rent in twain. [page 9]
Yet Thou art true whate’er betide;
Thy heart o’er human woe doth melt;
For men of every race Christ died,
And, as a zone, Thy love would belt
All human kind from pole to pole
Into one grand, harmonious whole.
Men war with men in every clime,
Commotions rock this earthly ball;
Our souls are covered o’er with grime—
Sad fruits of our Adamic fall,
But grace shall triumph in the end,
And good the evil far transcend.
Thy throne remains forever firm,
And here, amidst the strife of men,
We find with joy a heavenly germ
Which shall re-stock this world again
With fruitful plants of righteousness,
If Thou, O God, but deign to bless.
Help us that we may not deny
Our brotherhood in hour of strife;
When swords shall from their scabbards fly,
And great the sacrifices of life,
May we in pity o’er them bend,
And help to wounded foe extend. [page 10]
If we are working out Thy plan,
Give our brave soldiers arms of steel,
And may each prove himself a man—
To God and to his nation leal,
And never falter in the fight,
But die, if need be, for the right.
May right prevail in this dread war,
Though we be humbled in the dust;
To fail our end is better far
Then gain it, if it be unjust,
But if our aims with Thine agree—
We trust—and leave results with Thee.
The world moves on; let none essay
To block it in its onward course,
Lest they like chaff be swept away
As by a supernatural force;
For laggards progress does not wait—
Keep pace with time or bide your fate.
May our brave foes rise in defeat
To higher form of liberty;
And Freedom’s flag, as seemeth meet,
Wave over all from sea to sea;
Pushed on as by the hand of fate
To nationhood, both firm and great. [page 11]
GOD’S PLAN IS BEST
Thy plan is best, though it may not agree
With my conceptions of my needs and rights,
And faith may fail to scale its azure heights;
Yet still I trust, and leave my cause with Thee.
With single eye I sought to do Thy will.
I felt Thy smile and left results with Thee;
If they have failed, then that is naught to me—
I did my part, and am Thy servant still.
The hearts of men are in Thy mighty hand;
Naught is concealed from Thy all-searching sight;
Canst Thou not turn them to the left or right?
The raging ocean calms at Thy command.
The aching clay may circumscribe my sphere;
Yet in confinement I may labor still
In work which harmonizes with Thy will,
And o’er rejoice to have my Master near. [page 12]
Thoughts of Thy love with yet remain with me,
And in my silent hours may shape assume,
And by their measures help to lift the gloom
Of this dark world, and bring men nearer Thee.
Whate’er may come, I will not, Lord, complain;
My plan is Thine, I have no other choice.
In work or rest ’tis meet I should rejoice;
Contentment in my lot is blessed gain. [page 13]
Dear Canada, our native land,
Our love for thee grows day by day;
Our fathers left the olden strand,
O’er sea and rapids made their way,
And by their energy and skill
They laid thy firm foundation deep,
And sowed the seed o’er vale and hill
Which we, their sons, are called to reap.
The wilderness blooms as the rose;
The old-time hardships are unknown;
And wealth in streams of commerce flows
From sea to sea—a nation grown—
Still youthful, but with thews of steel
To throttle foes that may arise;
Yet loving touch sore hearts to heal,
And lift us nearer to the skies. [page 14]
We cannot boast as blue a sky
As smiles o’er many an Alpine plain,
Nor are our mountain peaks as high
As theirs, yet we have other gain:
Our hills are rich in yellow gold
Our plains are broad and fertile too;
Our lakes and streams hold wealth untold,
And grander forests never grew.
Our sky is bright to healthy eyes;
Pure ozone lades the air we breathe;
Our climate we have learned to prize;
Nor do we o’er our winters grieve;
For nature throws her ermine robe
O’er purple hills and vales as well;
No portion of this earthly globe
As gay as this, with sleigh and bell.
But soon the winter wears away,
And plants long sheltered now are seen,
And April showers and smiling May
Soon clothe the earth in living green.
Monotony is thus unknown—
Each season is a glad surprise,
In which God’s truth and love are shown,
And hope within us never dies. [page 15]
Our sons, inured to noble toil,
Grow strong in arm and broad in mind;
Some stay at home to till the soil,
Others in various callings find
Their missions—but where’er their place
In the great drama of our day,
They, as a class, win in the race,
And the behests of Heaven obey.
The gold of monarchy have we,
Without the useless silt and dross;
And like our cousins, all are free,
Yet we have no election boss.
No union here of Church and State,
Yet Church and State full well agree
That nations never can be great
If they refuse to bow the knee.
We make the nation’s weal or woe,
As one may shape his future life.
“God’s mill,” ’tis said, “grinds fine, tho’ slow,”
A fact lost sight of in the strife
For place and power in Church and State
And think God cares not what we do;
But to our doubt he whispers “wait,”
And time proves Him both just and true. [page 16]
From England and from sunny France
Our fathers came, long years ago;
On Abraham’s plain with sword and lance
They fought as foes—gave blow for blow.
The victors and the conquered now
Recall that day with mutual pride;
To their grand destiny all bow,
And as true as peers, stand side by side.
So give me Canada before
The fairest land beneath the sky.
We stretch our arms from shore to shore
And all are free, both low and high;
An infant nation yet, ’tis true,
But strong in muscle and in nerve,
We hold our own, give all their due,
And God’s great purpose humbly serve. [page 17]
The fields lie bare before me now,
The fruit is gathered in,
Not even seen a grazing cow,
Nor heard the blackbird’s din.
The heath is brown, and ivy pale,
The woodbine berries red,
And withered leaves borne on the gale
Sink down on peaty bed.
At morn the fence was covered o’er
With a pale sheet of rime;
The earth was like a marble floor,
But now is turned to grime.
For Autumn rains are falling fast,
And swells the running brook;
The Indian Summer, too, is past;
For snowfall soon we look. [page 18]
When presses hard my load of care,
And other friends from me depart,
I want a friend my grief to share,
With faithful speech and loving heart.
I want a friend of noble mind,
Who loves me more than praise or pelf,
Reproves my faults with spirit kind,
And thinks of me as well as self—
A friend whose ear is ever closed
Against traducers’ poison breath;
And, though in me be not disclosed
An equal love, yet loves till death—
A friend who knows my weakness well,
And ever seeks to calm my fears;
If words should fail the storm to quell,
Will soothe my fevered heart with tears— [page 19]
A friend not moved by jealousy
Should I outrun him in life’s race;
And though I doubt, still trusts in me
With loyal heart and cloudless face.
True friendship knows both joy and grief,
The sweetest pleasure, keenest pain;
Its sharpest pangs are ever brief,
Mere flitting clouds before the rain.
But soon the joy returns again
With bluer sky and brighter light;
The grief proves but a narrow glen
All full of flowers, though hid from sight.
And e’en in the darkness we inhale
The fragrant odors love emits;
Friendship like this can never fail—
On love’s strong throne its monarch sits.
True friendship is of greater worth
Than words, though they were solid gold.
To all the glittering gems of earth
I it prefer, a thousandfold. [page 20]
One Friend I have who knows my heart,
And loves me with a changeless love;
I love Him, too—nor death can part
Us two, for we will love above.
A woman’s love to His is faint;
No brother cleaves as close as He;
No seraph words could ever paint
The love this Friend now bears to me. [page 21]
Our lives seem filled with things of little worth;
A thousand petty cares arise each day
Which bring our soaring thoughts from heaven to earth,
Reminding us that we have feet of clay;
Yet we will not from path of duty stray
If we amidst them all cleave to the right;
Nor great nor small are actions in His sight;
Through lowly vale He shows our feet the way.
Our early dreams may not be realized;
The roseate sky now proves quite commonplace;
The constellations we so highly prized
Have vanished all—nor left the slightest trace
Of former glory in its azure face,
But high o’er all beams out the polar star
To guide us safe through rock and sandy bar;
Life is complete and its cap-stone is grace. [page 22]
TO MR. RUDYARD KIPLING*
True laureate of the Anglo-Saxon race,
Whose words have won the hearts of young and old;
So free from cant, and yet replete with grace,
Or prose or verse it glows like burnished gold;
Thy muse is ever loyal to the truth,
And those who know thee best forget thy youth.
Unbend thy bow and rest with us awhile;
Thy active mind requires a healthy brain;
Death’s shadow has gone back upon the dial,
And thou art left a higher goal to gain;
The future will eclipse the brilliant past;
Fear not; thy ideal will be reached at last.
* These lines were written directly after Mr. Kipling’s recovery from severe illness.
To do the grandest work one must needs be
Endowed by Nature for the master task;
Yea more, he must possess the light to see
Those mysteries which nature seems to mask,
And this can gain but in the royal way—
’Tis dread experience leads from gloom to-day.
The Master saw a struggling youth, and smiled,
Pleased with his work in main; but, knowing too
His latent power, if it could be beguiled
From hiding-place, much greater work would do,
He took his servant’s hand and led the way
Through vale of sorrow up to brighter day.
By other path this height is ne’er attained,
Nor books nor schools its hidden wealth unveil.
Philosophy and art have treasures gained,
But in this quest they must forever fail—
Experience only can the gift impart,
Bring needed light and regulate the heart. [page 24]
To solace those who grieve one must have felt
In his own heart the rending pangs of pain;
The heart that suffers not will never melt
At others’ woes, though free from selfish stain;
What we have felt and seen we truly know,
And thus endowed, our tears for others flow.
So leave thy much-loved lyre awhile unstrung
Till health again invigorate thy frame;
With brain renewed, with vigorous heart and lung
Take up thy work once more, and greater frame—
A richer man by far than e’er before,
For thou hast treasure on the other shore. [page 25]
MEN BELOW DECK
The battleship its anchor weighs,
And belches forth its thunder;
It commodore all classes praise,
And at his victories wonder;
And well they may—for braver man
Ne’er wielded sword or sabre;
But tell me, brother, if you can,
Who did the lowly labor.
Below the deck in engine room,
As oilers and coal heavers?
Amidst the smut and ghastly gloom,
Who worked the iron levers?
And thus it is in other lines;
Brave men are often hidden
“Below the deck,” in shops and mines,
To higher plane unbidden. [page 26]
The men on deck the praise receive,
But meagre thanks the others;
As honest men they seldom grieve,
And envy not their brothers;
A common cause they gladly serve,
Though in a lowly station,
From path of duty never swerve—
Loyal to God and nation.
For when the smoke has cleared away,
And din of battle ended,
On upper deck, in bright array,
By angel bands attended,
The whole ship’s crew will then appear,
From high and lowly station,
And each the words “well done” shall hear,
’Midst shouts of acclamation. [page 27]
“OTHERS SAVE WITH FEAR”
Some men there are who stand so straight,
So equipoised, that others’ fate
Seems to depend on their behest;
And useless all our every quest
To gain perfection or renown,
Unless we touch the flowing gown
Of these high-priests, whose shadows fall
Within themselves, if fall at all.
Others are not as straight as these,
But more like rough and gnarled trees;
But little beauty they display;
Shadows they cast across the way;
And from them men with scorning turn,
Or, if they speak, their accents burn
Like capsicum on chafed skin,
And leave a smarting wound within. [page 28]
Once noble men, when turned aside
By fleshly lust or sinful pride,
Each one becomes a broken bell
On which the angry fiends of hell
Ring out their discord, harsh and loud,
As if with demon powers endowed.
Colossal once through grace they were;
Colossal still, though cleft and bare.
On northern rocks is often seen
The impress of some southern sheen,
The brightness of a warmer bloom,
Unknown to winter’s frost and gloom.
The fossil flower of epoch fair
Has left its lasting impress there.
So in some men whose hearts are cold
You find a trace of days of old.
While we deplore the Arctic chill,
The frigid heart, the ice-bound will,
We must admire the fossil trace,
Still seen, of early days of grace.
Hiding from sight as best we can
The traces of the fallen man,
We feast our eyes upon the fair,
Though fossil, lines that linger there. [page 29]
How to restore is our concern,
As we o’er their declensions mourn.
Can such dire ruin be repaired?
Only if God’s strong arm be bared.
But we must do a brother’s part,
And try to thaw the frozen heart;
Not by the fire of wrath above,
But by the melting coals of love.
As bullets smooth are farther shot,
Because rough angles they have not,
So gentle wats and loving speech
Are sure the erring heart to reach,
While jagged deeds and words unkind,
Like pebbles rough, much fiction find;
They fall before they reach the goal,
And seldom help the needy soul.
To truth be loyal, but take a care
That with true zeal tact have a share.
The lightning when it strikes the tree
Runs with the grain, as oft you see;
Those who at angling are adepts,
Choose well their bait and guard their steps;
So if you would the sinner gain,
Bait well your hook, or mark the grain. [page 30]
In the courts of truth tread softly,
Though your tread be firm and bold;
Your steps may awaken echoes,
Resounding through years untold.
The trend of the age is onward,
And you should not lag behind;
If men’s minds are bound with fetters,
Perchance you may some unbind.
Our creed, say you, needs revising,
In line with the growth of light;
Be sure you have made real progress
Before you assume the right,
By stroke of pen, to unsettle
The faith of the long ago;
For many who err in judgement
Stand fast to the truth they know. [page 31]
You bring from the mine rare jewels,
That you think the world should see;
But, perhaps, their estimation
With your own may not agree;
They may lack discrimination,
And their worth may not discern;
So polish them at your leisure,
And give the world time to learn.
Before you dig up the old tree
That sheltered in ages past
The earth’s noblest men and women
From the fury of the blast,
See that your sapling is rooted,
And no borer at its base,
And its boughs both strong and spreading.
To cover an erring race.
Bear down on the lever gently,
Or the rock may be o’erturned!
Or, perchance, your lever shattered,
And little experience learned!
Take time to adjust your fulcrum,
Then thrust home your iron bar;
Bear down and the rock is lifted,
Is lifted without a jar. [page 32]
Your views are, perhaps, exotic—
Young shoots from a tropic brain,
They need to be better rooted
To endure the wind and rain;
You may well admire the markings
On each graceful stem and leaf,
But if taken from the hot-house,
They will surely come to grief.
Before they have wholly perished
They may please admiring eyes,
The old be thrown on the dunghill,
To receive your floral prize;
They adorn the porch and window,
And brighten the wayside bed,
But we waken some summer morning
To find our new treasures dead.
’Tis better to make haste slowly,
Than to antedate your day;
The farmer waits for the sunshine,
To transmute the grass to hay.
When the fields are ripe for harvest
Fear neither the heat or rain,
But thrust in your sharpened sickle,
And gather the golden grain. [page 33]
“IT WAS MY FAULT” *
Those men are deemed heroes who rush on the foe
Regardless of danger, and seek not to know
What others may do;
Stern duty demands it— why should they falter
If all they hold dear is laid on the altar,
And conscience be true?
The greatest of all is the man who can say
When battle is over and foe gained the day,
“The fault was in me:
My plan miscarried through miscalculation;
On me rests the blame, and not on the nation:
My soldiers are free.”
In George Stewart White, and men of like mind,
Our nation can rest, for in them you will find
A true manliness;
Their failures acknowledged are failures no more;
Defeat to such men only opens the door
To future success.
* General White’s words.
KEPT THE FLAG FLOATING
“Thank God, we have kept the flag floating.”—General White.
Some men, like French, display much dash;
They boldly rush upon the foe,
Their sword-blades like the lightning flash,
As they on helm or hauberk clash;
Nor fear the foeman’s blow.
We praise them for their gallant deeds;
They are the men the Empire needs.
But true as they are those who stand
Within the fort beleaguered round;
Resources few at their command,
Their army but a feeble band,
Yet bravely hold their ground;
And o’er their blood-bespattered coats
The Union Jack in triumph floats.
Reduced their strength through lack of food,
And fever germs on vitals preyed;
Yet they o’er trouble did not brood,
By night or day of cheerful mood;
This burden on them weighed—
To keep the flag afloat—in brief,
Till Buller came to their relief. [page 35]
Brave White, accept our meed of praise!
We crown thee equal to the best
Of heroes of the olden days,
Whose deeds inspired the poets’ lays!
We need no further quest;
But this with gratitude we note,
Thy valour kept the flag afloat!
Valor like thine does not surprise
When we review thy noble past;
A hero is the one who tries,
Though he may not to ideal rise—
His plan may fail at last—
Yet is too brave to lay the blame
On other, but takes all the shame.
“The fault was mine,” thy language then,
Revealing the divinest grace
Possessed by truly noble men,
And, prophecy of triumph, when
With foe brought face to face,
The choice remains, defeat or death,
The flag will float till latest breath. [page 36]
She brought her alabaster flask
Well-filled with precious nard;
Nor did she deem the act a task,
Nor look for great reward;
She only thought of His great love,
And felt her gift was small
For Him who left His home above
To suffer death for all.
But her blest Lord more highly prized
The loving heart that gave;
For loveless gifts are e’er despised,
Yet men oft seek to pave
The way that leads to glory land
With deeds devoid of grace;
But only those who love can stand
Approved before His face. [page 37]
A WORLD REDEEMED
This world is but the shadow
Of the world that is to be,
A ripple on the surface
Of a deep, unfathomed sea.
God’s plans are always perfect,
But log ages intervene
From the planning of the temple
To the glow upon its sheen;
But we can be co-workers
In accomplishing his plan;
For in God’s purpose is a place
For every son of man.
The germ may be developed
In a more salubrious clime,
All obstacles surmounted
In the onward march of time,
And nature’s forces harnessed
Will their destiny fulfil,
And things now deemed supernal
Respond to human will;
For God has so adjusted
The laws of this earthly sphere,
That by man’s help his plans unfold,
And order doth appear. [page 38]
The words of God’s own prophets
Concerning these latter days
Of mighty transformations,
To our great Redeemer’s praise;
When wastes shall glow in beauty,
And the savage beast be kind,
Though they have prior fulfilment
In the realm of soul and mind;
Will then be more than figure,
Though that we all count sublime;
The earth will wear its regal robes
In every land and clime.
This is but a sample
Of the life that is to be;
There we know the perfect lesson,
Here we learn the a—b—c;
And the life beyond is fashioned
By the thoughts and deeds of this;
Fitting it for realms of darkness,
Or for never-ending bliss;
For those alone will sorrow
Who receive His grace in vain,
But those who wrought with God will prove
That godliness is gain. [page 39]
ALASKAN BOUNDARY SETTLEMENT
My neighbor’s farm and mine lie side by side,
And nothing should our mutual trust divide;
But they who made th’ original survey
Were guided by the stars, the records say,
So that the line that marks out our domain
Is indistinct, and puzzling doubts remain.
Our farms are large, and portions near the line
With rocky soil and stunted spruce and pine,
With scarce a wigwam or a ranger’s hearth,
We left untilled, and deemed of little worth;
The petals of this desert rose unfold,
When man discovers mines of yellow gold.
“Where is the boundary line?” is now the cry.
Each stakes his claim and gives his reason why;
One sought an exit to the main highway,
The other closed the gates and gained the day
In custom duties on the shining ore,
And stores for man and beast that inland pour. [page 40]
Each claimed his own, whatever that may be,
Yet, neighbors true, we feared to disagree.
We studied maps and treaties old and new,
Yet each his own line-fence declared was true;
Then, to avoid unseemly strife, we chose
To settle our dispute as friends, not foes.
My neighbor chose three men in his employ,
I three, at least, accepted them with joy;
Not chosen these to arbitrate our case,
But from material at command to trace,
In harmony with law, the primal line
For boundary fence, between his farm and mine.
I lost my case—all but one narrow lane!
All other gates are closed, but why complain?
Diminished somewhat is my large estate,
But self-respect remains—nor place for hate;
O’er our line-fence we grasp each other’s hand,
And for the right, united, ever stand. [page 41]
My sweet primrose with thy open face,
And with fringe-like leaves, without a trace
Of coarseness, either in flower or stem,
Among all my plants thou art the gem.
My lovely lilies soon disappear;
Thy bloom is constant through all the year;
In summer’s heat and winter’s cold,
Undimmed the light of thy floral gold.
Or if thy color be pink, or blue,
Or white as snow, thou art ever true;
My room is bright with thy smiling eyes,
And thy fragrance rare I also prize. [page 42]
Thou hast done thy part, my little pet—
Let me keep thy roots forever wet,
But guard with care all thy tender leaves
And growing crown, which the earth-crust heaves.
Thou dost heaven-ward tend, aspiring high,
To kiss the stars in the vaulted sky,
And they look down from the azure blue,
My sweet primrose—they are smiling, too. [page 43]
Upon the “table-rock” I stand,
And gaze into the depths profound,
In ecstasy at sights so grand,
And deafened by the sound
Of rushing waters, as they leap
Like maddened steeds, down hillside steep.
The falling spray my head bedews,
As gently as a vernal shower;
Or, as the Holy Ghost imbues
In consecrated hour,
The soul that inly yearns for love,
And seeks it from the throne above.
But I see more than chasm deep,
Than falling spray and rushing tide.
Sublime, indeed, the awful leap;
The awe will long abide—
God’s rainbow hangs in colors bight,
A thing of beauty in my sight. [page 44]
Our cousins on the other side
And we too often disagree;
Puffed up, I fear, at times, with pride,
Each strong, and brave, and free;
But we forget the stormy past,
Our lands and hearts are linked at last.
The “Union-Jack” hangs o’er my head,
The “Stars and Stripes” my cousin rears,
But old-time grievances are dead
For all the coming years;
As separate flags they still may wave,
But we are one the world to save. [page 45]
MY SISTER NELL AND I
We strolled down by the river side,
My sister Nell and I,
To watch the waters onward glide,
And vessels passing by.
On Nature’s floor of lovely green,
Bedecked with flowers of gold,
The purple sassafras as sheen,
Which trumpet vines enfold.
We played our youthful games for hours,
And told our childish tales;
Adorned each brow with fragrant flowers,
And slept ’neath cooling gales.
For I was then but nine years old,
And she was only seven;
Yet joys like ours can ne’er be told—
They savored much of heaven.
Close by the bank, in shady nooks,
The waxen lilies grew;
We called them fish, and with our hooks
To shore full many drew. [page 46]
With these I made a wreath for Nell.
She was so good and pure,
They seemed to suit her brow so well,
Yet could not long endure
The heated brow and dewless air—
The river suits them best;
But graced awhile her golden hair,
As dove would silken nest.
Frail like the lilies too, was Nell.
The fever’s scorching blast
Swept by, and my fair flowerette fell,
And to the dust was cast.
But now she blooms in glory land,
Close by the tree of Life;
Better to bloom at God’s right hand
Than in this world of strife.
I hope some day to meet her there,
And as in days of yore
We plucked the lilies, pure and fair,
Up there we’ll gather more. [page 47]
GATHER THE WAYSIDE FLOWERS
’Tis well to have a goal in mind,
A life-aim, high and true;
Clear as the day, and well defined,
And ever kept in view.
But God has strewn along the way
Bright flowers of every hue.
Gather the brightest while you may,
For they were meant for you.
Heaven’s joy transcends the joys of earth,
But if earth’s joys be pure
They must have had a heavenly birth,
And bless while they endure;
So pluck the flower before it fades—
Drink from the purling stream;
Nor look for sorrow’s darkening shades,
But for the morning gleam. [page 48]
Life’s burdens lose full half their weight
If gay our spirits be;
The rest beyond we antedate,
And serve, though ever free.
Our lamentations all will end,
Exchanged for smile and song,
And men will mark our upward trend
By joy-points all along.
The poet wrote, “no room for mirth;”
Much less for sigh and frown.
“A vale of tears” may be this earth—
’Tis so to every clown.
The desert blossoms as the rose,
And joy flows everywhere;
The star of hope in brightness glows,
No room for dark despair.
Before we reach God’s heaven above,
Enjoy His heaven below;
And by the ministries of love
A Christlike nature show;
For he who lives a selfish life
Must lose the joy of this;
For highest good, vain is our strife,
If man share not our bliss. [page 49]
HIDE THEIR SCARS!
A painter, high in worldly fame,
Was sought to reproduce by art
A likeness of the man whose name
Sent darts of anguish through the heart
Of mighty monarchs in his day;
For he by arms subdued the world.
Kingdoms and empires owned his sway
And bowed beneath his flag unfurled.
But Alexander bore a scar,
Deep marked upon his royal brow;
To paint him thus would greatly mar
The monarch’s beauty; as a slough
Would mar the beauty of a lawn,
Where queenly feet are wont to tread;
Or like the cloud at early dawn,
Which hides some glory ’neath its spread. [page 50]
To leave it out would not be true,
For Alexander bore the scar;
The painter this resolved to do,
Which would be true, yet would not mar:
To paint the monarch’s head reclined,
With his fore-finger on his brow;
And thus much grace with art combined,
Like ornament on vessel’s prow.
The finger rested on the scar,
As if mere chance had placed it there;
And hid from sight this fruit of war,
And left a likeness true and fair.
So let us try, as best we can,
To cover o’er each ugly scar
Upon the brow of mortal man,
So none may see it, near nor far. [page 51]
“ASHAMED, BUT NOT AFRAID”
O God, I am ashamed to die,
But not the least afraid;
Tho’ death’s dark shadow draweth nigh,
Atonement has been made
For every member of our race,
And I on it rely,
And hope immortal blooms thro’ grace;
I’m not afraid to die.
But Thou hast done great things for me,
And I have nothing done.
To set my sin-bound spirit free,
Was sacrificed Thy Son;
And every day by Thy kind hand
Rich blessings are bestowed;
Oh, how can I before Thee stand,
Or rest in Thine abode [page 52]
With self-respect, or feel at home
With no returns to show,
My whole life like the worthless foam
On time’s incessant flow.
Oh, that in life’s great harvest field,
I may some reaping do;
Early and late the sickle wield,
And prove a reaper true.
And when the summons comes from Thee,
While I on Christ rely,
Thou wilt not be ashamed of me,
Nor I ashamed to die. [page 53]
Up to Dunbar our Cromwell went,
Not to invade was his intent;
But they who first King Charles sold
Now turn their backs on friends of old,
And principles they then held dear
Were sacrificed for self, I fear.
Another Stuart they receive,
Who knew too well how to deceive;
The most perfidious of his race,
Corrupt in life, and void of grace,
The menial of the Papacy;
And yet content by oath to free
Himself from Holy See’s control,
And covenant to save his soul
By the Scotch Presbyterian mode,
As to the crown this paved the road.
But Cromwell brooked not this control;
He wished man free to save his soul
As conscience may to him dictate,
Without subservience to the State. [page 54]
He saw also thro’ the disguise
Of one well versed in fraud and lies,
And saw how England’s liberties
Were threatened by this scheme of his
So up to Dunbar Cromwell went;
To break this compact his intent,
Conserve the rights of Britons true
To worship God in desk and pew
As conscience may to them dictate,
Without control of king, or state,
Or Papal “bull,” or legate’s rod—
Only accountable to God.
On Sunday night he reached Dunbar.
From darkened sky gleamed not a star;
The way he travelled o’er was drear,
Made doubly so by Scotchmen’s fear.
At his approach like sheep they fled,
Made frantic by an awful dread
Of red-hot irons, spear, and sword,
Of breasts thrust thro’, and bodies gored,
Which they were told would be their lot
When Cromwell came. So from each cot
They bore away what pleased them best,
And to the flames consigned the rest.
But now Dunbar is reached; yet he
Finds himself in extremity; [page 55]
Midst swamps and bogs unfit to tent,
By Lammermoor from hillside rent,
Leslie in front defiant stands
A noble army he commands
Of thousands two score seven, or more,
Ready on Cromwell shot to pour.
Behind the sea cut off retreat;
With such great odds can he compete?
The mountain sheep may safely tread
The Lammermoor, but men may dread
To cross this heath at any time;
Much more now, midst the rain and slime,
Will Cromwell with the smaller score
Dare to cross o’er to Dunbar shore?
Tho’ shipped were half his guns and men
The foe falls ere he turn again.
With foresight keen, like one inspired,
He saw the end ere Leslie fired.
“THE LORD,” said he, as rapt he stands,
“HATH GIVEN THEM INTO OUR HANDS!”
’Tis the ninth month and second day,
A wild, wet night, historians say.
Quit you like men, and bravely stand;
Death’s wrestle now is close at hand;
Heed not the hoarse sea’s doleful moan,
As on the cliffs its waves are thrown. [page 56]
Think not of life nor kindred dear—
Who goes to war should nothing fear
But God, whose eye-lids never sleep—
His Israel He will safely keep.
Oh, pray! but keep your powder dry—
Your part do, then on God rely.
Stand to your arms the whole night thro’
Or lie awake with arms in view.
And you, ye Scots, your lights blow out,
But stay not in your strong redoubt.
’Midst shocks of corn your shelter seek,
And rest in sleep; your foe is weak,
Yet ere another night comes ’round
In deeper slumber shall be found
Full many of your stalwart host,
And stilled for aye their every boast.
In Cromwell’s camp all night was heard
The voice of prayer in tones which stirred
The tender hearts of “Ironside” men,
As never can be told by pen.
Ere shone the first faint streak of morn,
The Scots beneath the shocks of corn,
Stretched out full length in quiet sleep,
Hear a loud blast and upward leap
To seize their arms and face the foe.
Too late the warning! or, too slow [page 57]
Their movements when the trump was heard,
Yet rang along the lines the word
Of battle-cry by Leslie sent,
“The Covenant! The Covenant!”
While high and strong was Cromwell’s boast,
“The Lord of Hosts! The Lord of Hosts!”
With master skill he struck the blow,
And when shone out the crimson glow
Of morning sun upon the sea,
Brave Leslie’s men began to flee.
“They run! Oh, I protest they run!
Let God arise! Let God arise!
And scattered be His enemies!”
Loud Cromwell cried. The work was done.
Then rose from England’s host a cry
Which rent the very heavens on high.
Now halt they on the battle field
And to the Lord their homage yield—
And sing this song with hearts devout:
“O praise the Lord, ye nations all!
Laud Him all peoples on this ball!
His mercy towards us e’er is great;
His truth and grace for sinners wait,
Let all the people shout!” [page 58]
The armies met on Marston Moor,
’Midst lightning’s flash and thunder’s roar;
As murky clouds sweep o’er the sky,
God’s cannonade with man’s will vie.
The Royalists in phalanx strong,
By fiery Rupert led along,
From Bolton’s cruel massacre
Towards York, in hope to keep it free
From the Roundheads at any cost.
“If York be lost, my crown is lost”—
Wrote Charles to this trusted chief,
And he must bring it prompt relief.
The foe’s true strength he did not know,
But dazzled much by victory’s glow
He hoped with ease to overthrow
The untrained volunteers;
Nor did he for brave Cromwell care,
Tho’ he had asked “is Cromwell there?”
Would not his grenadiers
Scatter those yeomen to their fields,
To hold their ploughs instead of shields? [page 59]
Thus confident of great success
He asked his chaplain now to bless
From God’s own word their going out,
And seemed to hear the victor’s shout,
While from the ranks of Roundheads rose
Triumphant hymns, ere came the blows.
Now Rupert madly dashes out,
“God and the King!” his battle shout;
Charges the parliamentary ranks
In centre, heedless of the flanks,
Defeats Lord Fairfax and Leven,
Scatters like leaves their untrained men.
Remorselessly he hewed them down,
And chased their leaders far from town.
But Cromwell kept his men restrained
Till Rupert thought the victory gained.
His eye was all ablaze with fire,
And burned his soul with righteous ire;
Then sharp and passionate came the cry,
“Charge, in the name of the Most High!”
His features now most clearly show
A strange, enthusiastic glow.
With zeal he wraps himself about,
And fires men’s hearts with glance and shout.
“For God and King,” is Rupert’s cry.
“For truth and peace we dare to die!” [page 60]
Shouts Cromwell, all the lines along,
Which holds as with a mighty thong
Th’ immortal hosts of Puritans,
While on them fall the Royal bans.
As Roundheads, Rupert them derides;
Not Roundheads now, but Ironsides.
The heavens were black, the storm still raged,
As tho’ with earth a war it waged,
But raged a fiercer war just then,
Not forces blind, but men with men;
For two score thousand men were there;
And booming cannon rent the air.
* * * * *
The Cavaliers were scattered wide,
Brought to the dust their haughty pride;
Across the beanfield Rupert fled,
His standard gone, his garments red;
His men by many hundreds turned
To ask for mercy, nor were spurned;
While he left all and to York sped,
Heedless of stores, or Royal dead.
To Cromwell’s swords as stubble they,
And Truth and Peace had gained the day. [page 61]
OIL THE CRICKET
“Mamma, what noises do I hear?
They keep me wide awake.”
“The chirping crickets, little dear;
What funny noise they make!”
“Yes, ma, but touch their tongues with oil,
To take the squeak away;
For soon it will their voices spoil,
To squeak thus night and day.”
Well done, my little girl of three;
’Twould tune our speaking gear
To utter sweeter melody
For your attentive ear,
If it were oiled a little, too,
For harsh too oft its tones;
Though formed to thrill with pleasure true,
It gives forth shrieks and groans,
Which fall discordant on the ear,
And budding pleasures spoil,
And speaking gear, likewise I fear;
So bring along the oil. [page 62]
The leaf is faded, and decayed the flower,
The birds have ceased to sing in wayside bower,
The babbling brook is silenced by the cold,
And hill and vale the frost and snow enfold.
The life we see seems hasting to the tomb
Nor sun, nor star, relieves the dismal gloom;
The good man suffers with the base and vile,
And honesty and truth give place to guile.
* * * * *
Things are not always as they seem to be;
The outer surface only man may see.
The summer sleeps beneath the quilt of snow,
Behind the clouds is hid the solar glow,
The babbling brook will burst its icy bands,
And birds will sing, and tress will clap their hands. [page 63]
The fallen leaf has left a bud behind,
And flowers will bloom of brightest hue and kind;
For when we look beneath the outward crust
With vision clear, and free from worldly lust,
We will behold a brighter world than this,
With less of curse and much of noble bliss;
For God’s kind hand in all our conflicts here
Is clearly seen and doubts must disappear;
The end He has in view is most benign;
The fire will dross consume and gold refine. [page 64]
VICTORY GAINED AND LIFE LOST
As fought the Paladins of old,
With gleaming swords and spirit bold,
To thwart the schemes of base Lothar,
Give France to Karl in holy war,
So would we battle for the right,
Tho’ we may perish in the fight.
Our trusty blade, not made of steel,
While wounding deep, doth also heal;
With this, and clad in Christian mail,
The hosts of sin we would assail,
To gain the world for Christ, tho’ we
Should fall while shouting victory! [page 65]
THE BAPTISM OF CLOVIS
Five hundred years have nearly passed away
Since that glad morn, when o’er fair Bethl’hem’s plain
A light resplendent as the glow of day,
Shone down from heaven, and holy angels deign
To sing the sweetest song e’er heard by mortal ear,
Which fills sad hearts with joy and drives away their fear.
Clovis, of the brave Franks, the king, and sheen,
Heard from Aurelian of a maid to wed,
Matchless in feature, and of graceful mein—
“Zenobia, of the Alps,” Aurelian said,
“The daughter of Chilperic, the Burgundian king,
Clotilda is her name; fair maids her praises sing. [page 66]
“She dwells among the Alps, in forest glade,
And by the shore of its most famous lake;
But fairer than that land is this fair maid;
And brighter than its peaks at morn’s awake;
A Christian girl is she, who’s heart God has renewed,
And her fine, comely mind with grace and truth embued.”
Then Clovis, by Aurelian, sent a ring
To this fair damsel, whom he hoped to wed;
She took the ring; and soon fair songsters sing
The marriage hymn, as he to altar led
This lovely Christian maid. They plight their nuptial vows;
And the old priest invoked a blessing on their brows.
Then on her head a coronet was placed,
And she sat down by Clovis on his throne;
And never was a throne so highly graced,
Nor ever monarch felt less sad and lone;
He found in her a bride, and counsellor, as well,
And happy are the men who in her palace dwell. [page 67]
In tones of eloquence and words of power,
The wond’rous story of the cross she told;
Christ’s lowly birth, pure life, and of the hour
When He, to bring us to the heavenly fold,
Bore on the cross our sins, and opened mercy’s door,
Then from the dead arose to reign for evermore.
Soon on Tolbiac’s bloody field the king
Led on his troops against a mighty foe;
A foe too strong; for soon, though no weakling,
Clovis retreats—his men returned no blow;
But fled as timid sheep before a beast of prey;
The conquering Alemanni will surely win the day.
“O king! cry on Clotilda’s Christ for aid!”
Shouted Aurelian, as the monarch fled;
Then, on his helmet, Clovis his hand laid,
And lifting it, these words the monarch said:
“My gods have failed to help: O Christ, Clotilda’s God,
Grant me Thy mighty aid, and I will kiss Thy rod.” [page 68]
On the French pennons triumph perches now;
The foe is routed by Clotilda’s God;
And Clovis wished to have upon his brow
The symbol of her faith; for ’neath the rod
Of the eternal King he bows his regal will,
And waits, with heart devout, Christ’s purpose to fulfil.
On Rheims now dawns a cloudless Christmas morn;
And flags of silk and satin grace each tower;
This is the day Clotilda’s Christ was born,
And to His cause a great triumphal hour,
For see, on carpet stretched from church to palace door,
A grand procession march, of two-score priests or more!
Remigius had led the way, and then,
Assisted by his priests, on monarch’s brow,
And on the brows of full six thousand men,
As they before the holy altar bow;
The water from the font he sprinkled down like rain,
Thankful that his blest Lord so many hearts should gain. [page 69]
THE WATER LILY
This lovely lily, so pure and white,
Seems covered o’er with celestial light;
As if it grew on the “Tree of Life,”
And not down here, in this world of strife;
Too pure for earth it now seems to be;
My queenly wife, it was meant for thee.
Its wax-like petals with graceful bend,
Drink in the sunbeams as they descend;
And lade with fragrance the heated air,
As it floats around us everywhere;
And the world grows better by its advent,
This lovely lily, so kindly sent.
It rested once on its crystal bed;
Neither wind, nor wave, occasioned dread;
Admired by all as they passed it by,
Though the contrast oft produced a sigh;
In purer soil than affords this earth
This lovely lily must have had its birth. [page 70]
Dive down in search, where the root is found;
In vain you look for the purer ground;
The root is fixed in the foulest mud;
And from it grows this pure lily bud;
While speckled frogs, and the slimy eels,
Around its roots find their daily meals.
As lilies fair from the foul mud grow,
So oft it is with good men below;
In daily life they absorb the pure,
And the adverse elements endure;
And rise, through grace, to a higher sphere,
Their hearts in heaven, and their root down here.
Though foul the world where they have their growth,
Unfit the soil, and the climate both,
The blood of Christ does their stains remove;
His power to keep they all daily prove;
As lilies pure are these plants of grace,
Though growing now in so foul a place. [page 71]
“HE SHALL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR”
Every tear that dims the eye,
Or bedews the careworn cheek,
Will our God, who reigns on high,
With a hand so kind and meek,
Wipe away, nor leave a trace
Of its stain on eye or face.
He alone life’s ills can right.
Each His tender pity needs;
None are hidden from His sight;
“Every tear,” the promise reads—
Every tear shall cease to flow,
Cease, likewise, the cause of woe.
O may I in Him confide
While I tread this vale of tears!
Walking closely by His side
He will dissipate my fears,
And when ends the weary strife,
May I share the tearless life! [page 72]
THE TAJ OF AGRA
The Shah Jehan sat with his much-loved wife,
The Empress Mahal, one hot summer day,
In a cool arbor far from courtly strife,
Close by the Jumna, winding on its way.
In silence played they long their game of chess,
But Jehan’s eye rose oft to Mahal’s brow,
His ardent love he could not well repress,
Nor tried—she was his own rich jewel now.
He stayed the game to breathe some words of love
And press her lips with lips that knew no guile,
And felt the thrill, and peace like white-winged dove
Flew down, and she repaid with loving smile. [page 73]
Then said, “What would you do if I should die?”
He paused a moment, some bright thought to woo,
And then, in solemn tone, made this reply:
“This thing, by Allah’s help, I’ll surely do:
“I’ll build upon the spot where we now sit
The grandest tomb a woman ever had;
All sombre tints I deem would be unfit;
For never have such tints thy bosom clad.
“Of pure white marble shall its walls be built,
Adorned with gold, and earth’s most costly gems;
Each minaret shall glow like jewelled hilt,
Sarcophagus surpass kings’ diadems.
“Then to the world it shall the truth proclaim
That Moomtaza surpassed all woman kind,
And I esteemed her more than gold or fame:
Thus cycles vast will find our names combined.”
The summer breeze now sighed among the flowers
As they play on with solemn thoughts; and sweet
As running brook passed by the pleasant hours,
And likewise passed the burning summer heat. [page 74]
And like the fading day, the Empress, too,
For scarce a year had passed ere set her sun,
But Shah Jehan, to promise ever true,
Thought of the tomb his loving wife had won.
No common architect would he engage;
From far and near he sought with eager heart.
At last there came one Issa, gifted sage,
Whose plan pleased the great shah in whole and part.
On the same spot where they that day had played
The game of chess, and he the promise gave,
The massive stone foundation strong was laid,
On which would rest a palace o’er her grave.
Then Issa disappeared, but where, none knew;
Cast in the Jumna stream, by foes, some thought.
They dragged the stream, nor came the slightest clue,
And on his fate the oracles were dumb.
The years rolled by, yet Jehan rested not,
Tho’ hope, so long delayed, endangered gloom,
Content to live himself in any cot;
But no inferior hand must touch her tomb. [page 75]
Seven years had gone, when Issa came again,
And offered this excuse for his delay,
“The soil is spongy all along this glen—
To have it settle I have stayed away.
“I now can build on base that will not sink,
Though pierced the clouds which bend so kindly down,
’Twere fit this long delay, dost thou not think?
So chide me not nor on thy servant frown.”
Then on this base as firm as granite rock,
He built its walls as fair as falling snow,
And built them well, nor storm, nor earthquake shock
Has moved, tho’ built two hundred years ago.
For ten long years wrought twenty thousand men,
While many thousand carts the marble drew;
And proud Jehan told o’er his love again;
To love so Jacob-like the years seemed few.
From every part of his domain they brought
Rare gems and precious stones of every hue;
Skilled hands, in form of birds and flowers in-wrought
In snow-white walls, these gems the building through, [page 76]
The name of God, one hundred times save one,
On the sarcophagus, by cunning hand,
Then lined with gold ere they pronounced it done;
But then the grandest tomb in any land.
By Titans built, it seems, as mountain high
Of pure white marble, based on pink sand-stone;
In length it is a thousand feet well nigh,
Its width three hundred feet by measure shown.
It seems a temple of the living One,
Though tomb to hide the dust of Jehan’s queen.
It serves each purpose well—her course was run,
Returned to God, love must the dust ensheen.
To many hearts it speaks of God and rest,
And lifts our thoughts above the things of earth;
It teaches us that love will give its best,
And then regard its gifts of little worth. [page 77]
ENGLAND’S BRAVE SONS
The yeoman lays aside his soil-stained smock,
And from his herd selects a trusty steed,
And sallies forth to help in hour of need;
Nor dreads the battle’s shock.
The artisan from mine, or shop, or store,
Responds at duty’s call without delay,
Nor stops to ask, “What will my nation pay?
It calls—what needs he more?
The man of law—the herald of the cross—
The painter, skilled—he of the healing art—
The man of trade—come each with loyal heart,
Nor calculates his loss.
But brave as these are those of noble birth;
Genteel in manner, but with athlete frames,
They do full honor to their ancient names,
And prove by deeds their worth.
Palatial homes have they and wealth untold;
Nor need to labor, and no cause for fret,
But deeds of noble sires they ne’er forget;
Deem honor more than gold. [page 78]
Brave lads are these on whom we may rely.
They go uncalled, content the gaps to fill,
And in their places fall, if God so will,
For they fear not to die.
The whole Empire is loyal to the core.
From far-off East, brave Indians seek the fray,
And on French soil have clearly shown that they
Were true to flag they bore.
Their old-time leader greets his men once more,
Bestows his parting blessing ere his death,
And praised their valor with his final breath,
Then crossed to other shore.
Our own brave youth by thousands answer call,
And in our common cause enroll their names;
With cultured minds and well-developed frames
They stand like granite wall.
For truth and brotherhood all face the foe;
Themselves they cannot save, but others may.
But, live or die, they hope to win the day.
To sacrifice they go! [page 79]
A Prize Birthday Poem, 1885.
We do not sing of vast domain—
Empires as vast as ours are seen,
And o’er their millions despots reign;
We sing the virtues of our Queen.
We think of her when but a maid
The message came, “the King is dead!”
And at her feet a crown was laid;
In deep distress of mind, she said:
“In my behalf I ask your prayers.”
Then falling on her knees to pray,
She told the Lord her fears and cares,
And sought from Him strength for her day.
He seemed to say, “Child, do not fear;
I will uphold thee with my hand,
And I will make thy pathway clear,
Thy throne establish in the land.” [page 80]
’Twas thus began Victoria’s reign,
And God has made her throne secure;
Her enemies will plot in vain,
For it is destined to endure.
But while she sits on regal throne,
And acts full well a regal part,
She reigns not on the throne alone,
She reigns to-day in England’s heart.
Her queenly heart with pity throbs
For every suffering subject’s woes;
In lowly cot, ’midst groans and sobs,
She like a ray of sunshine goes.
As sweet perfume by outward gale
Is carried far o’er sea and land,
So queenly virtues never fail
To touch true hearts on every strand.
In every land her name is blest;
She is beloved by old and young;
From pole to pole, from east to west,
The song, “God save the Queen,” is sung.
Through sorrows deep her path has led,
And tender ties have sundered been;
Bright hopes were buried with her dead,
And love has kept their memory green. [page 81]
By grief secluded from the world,
Her path through lonely years she trod,
And oft her life has been imperilled;
But she has leaned upon her God.
And as she wept a nation’s tears
In heartfelt sympathy were shed;
Forgetting their own griefs and biers,
They wept beside the royal dead.
With grateful hearts her natal day
We loyal Britons hail again,
And join with millions as they pray
“God bless our Queen! Long may she reign!”
And when at last life’s glories fade,
And robes of state are laid aside,
When nature’s debt to dust is paid
And charms no more earth’s pomp and pride,
May angel bands her spirit bear
Up to the palace of her King,
Where she a fadeless crown shall wear,
And the new song with rapture sing. [page 82]
A stately church by pious hands erected long ago,
Was found to lack a vesper bell, by which the poor might know
The hour of prayer, the hour of mass, and who had lately died,
The hour when gent and bonny lass, so timid at his side,
Would stand before the surpliced priest, and twain would pledge their troth,
The hour in which the priest would vent on heretic his wrath.
The faithful then were called upon to bring from home and mine
The metal for the holy bell, which must be strong and fine.
In smelting pot of massive size they placed the needed ore;
A molten mass it soon became, but ere in mould they pour,
And thus provide a bell for God to grace His temple fair,
In crowds the people came, to see the metal glowing there. [page 83]
Then as they passed, with hearts devout, each took a silver coin
And dropped it in the glowing mass—no priest did this enjoin.
They wished to show their grateful love to Him who bore their sin;
A simple form which love took on, not done God’s grace to win.
Nor did they hope to win applause from priest and saintly friar;
If God were pleased they asked no more, nor more did they desire;
Nor did they deem their silver lost, though little dreamed they then
The grand result of their small gifts, which now is known to men.
Their coins were for a moment seen, like flakes of snow on sward,
And then they melted out of sight, yet, seen by their blest Lord,
They mingled with the glowing mass, and when in high church tower
The bell was hung and daily rung, all people felt its power.
Its booming tones were soft and sweet, and echoed o’er their hills [page 84]
In a grand symphony of praise, subduing all their wills,
And calling forth from old and young a burst of rapturous praise.
Their gifts, though small, were not despised; God turned them into lays.
This world is one great smelting pot in which life’s ore is cast,
And from it God will some day bring a bell, destined to last
And ring aloud in thunder tones wherever man is found.
Oh, may we, by kind words and deeds, give it a silver sound!
Each word though short, each deed though small, if for the Master’s sake
Are said and done, like silver coin, our blessed Lord will take,
And skillfully will blend them with the coarser ore of earth,
And grander music none have heard e’er since time had its birth.
Then from this bell of silver tone will sound o’er hill and vale:
“The work men do in Jesus’ name is never known to fail.” [page 85]
Every flower that decks the way,
Whether it be dun or gay,
Fills a place in God’s great plan,
Serving Him, while pleasing man.
Every star that gilds the night
With its beams of silver light
Has its mission to fulfil,
As assigned it by God’s will.
Feathered songsters all declare
As they cleave the ambient air,
“He who made us made our lays,
Giving each a note of praise;
Each one’s note, unique and sweet,
Helps to make the song complete;
Various tones, yet all agree,
Forming one grand symphony.” [page 86]
So, also, does God’s own hand
Fix in place each grain of sand,
Tiny though that grain may be
Hangs on it the destiny
Of a world, yea, systems whole,
As they in their orbits roll;
Should it from its globe remove,
Worlds would clash and chaos prove.
When we reach the world of mind
Law and order still we find;
In God’s purpose is a plan
For the life of every man.
Free, he may his own course choose,
Help divine through pride refuse,
But disorder will ensue—
Life a wreck! Yet God is true. [page 87]
In gentle showers the rain descends,
And softly falls the dew.
The dewdrop with the raindrop blends;
The tiny stream they form then wends
Its way the grasses through.
And kindred streams with it combine
And form a rivulet;
Then on it runs like trailing vine,
Lays bare the roots of oak and pine,
And other brooks are met.
The swelling stream meanders on,
Gives power to busy mills,
And bears huge ships its breast upon,
Gives drink to kine and lovely fawn,
And drinks up other rills. [page 88]
A lady’s foot had changed its course,
And drank it dry a lamb,
Had they but sought it at its source;
But now it rushes on with force
And leaps the mighty dam.
Thus is it with our influence here;
Each look, each word, each deed,
Is like the rain, or dewdrop clear—
Though tiny things they now appear,
They to the ocean lead.
As grains of sand make up the hill
Which towers above the plain,
And drops combine to swell the rill
Which helps the mighty sea to fill,
So does our influence gain. [page 89]
Doomed to decay are all things here;
Whate’er their form or worth,
Color and beauty disappear,
Or turn to mother earth.
The luscious fruits which please the taste
And please the eye as well,
Sometimes reduced to rot and waste,
Ere from the tree they fell—
Some gathered with a gentle hand,
And stored away with care,
To serve a place in banquet grand,
Some favorite peach or pear,
Is found diseased in skin and core,
And loathsome to the sight,
When ’tis too late to gather more,
And comes the festal night. [page 90]
So is it with all earthly joy—
It pleases for a time,
As toy may please a growing boy,
Though costing but a dime;
But soon he tires and asks for more,
Appropriate to his age;
So, though a man may higher soar
And greater aims engage
His active mind, he, like the child,
Soon looks for something new.
Too oft are men by this beguiled
And fail to find the true.
But he who goes to Christ for rest,
Finds fruit that ne’er decays.
He sups with Christ as welcome guest,
And glory crowns his days. [page 91]
THE HEROES OF OUR DAY
Heroic deeds in every age
Command the world’s esteem;
Each finds a place in history’s page,
’Midst gloom a glory beam.
And we full oft revert to this,
To show man’s true descent
From Him who is the source of bliss,
Tho’ now by passions rent.
But we need not consult the past;
The present bears this fruit:
The hero race will ever last;
The tree is sound at root.
And never has the world excelled
The present in this line;
Our loving Lord has not withheld
From us this trait divine. [page 92]
And we should not from them withhold
The praise we feel is due
For deeds of love, and actions bold,
For spirit kind and true.
Their worth we now should recognize,
Not chant it o’er their graves;
The hero of the past we prize,
No less the man who braves
The dangers of the present hour,
The sneers which now are rife,
Not for the sake of earthly power,
Nor yet to save his life.
But for the good of fellow man,
And for his Master’s sake,
He shuns no cross, and fears no ban;
’Tis these a hero make. [page 93]
THE BIG BEAR CREEK
The waters of the Big Bear creek
Glide slowly on their way;
The western lakes they surely seek,
Which they will reach some day;
But sluggishly they seek their end—
They scarcely seem to move;
Yet through the fields and round each bend
Their progress daily prove.
By debris borne upon their breast,
And strewn along each shore,
They slowly move, but never rest,
Yet turbid evermore.
But when they reach the Johnson bend
And the Sni Chartna meet,
The turbid and the sky-blue blend—
The union is complete.
And soon is lost all trace of mud;
Of azure tint the whole;
With heaven’s own hue the rolling flood
Has gained the long-sought goal. [page 94]
So is it with the soul renewed
While on its heaven-bound way,
With grace divine it is embued,
Yet shows the trace of clay.
And though to rest it never halts,
Its progress is so slow;
Alas, it has too many faults,
Nor much of heavenly glow.
But when God’s sanctifying grace
Shall meet it from above,
You seek in vain for sinful trace—
It now is full of love.
A new impulse it then receives
Which speeds it on its way;
To it no stain of sin now cleaves—
It seeks its perfect day.
And as the azure stream has found
Its home in brimming lake,
So shall the soul thus heavenward bound
Of God’s own joy partake. [page 95]
THE FROST ON THE WINDOW
Feathery frost on the window-pane,
Who placed you there? “I cannot explain,”
Each little feather at once replied;
“But this I know, I’m the children’s pride,
As they think I fell from an angel’s wing,
And coming to earth must rich blessings bring.
“I once formed part of a lovely bay;
The sun shone out, and I turned to spray,
And rose aloft on the ambient air,
To the regions high where all is rare;
Then I mingled with my old friends again,
Who were my neighbors in the haunts of men.
“On the blustering wind, I rode along,
Sometimes hard tossed by the tempest strong,
And then at rest, as when in the bay,
Though much enlarged, the wise savants say;
Though I cannot tell you how long my sleep,
With a chill I woke and began to weep. [page 96]
“And my ample form much smaller grew,
By the cold compressed to a drop of dew;
Then down I fell, swift as bounding deer,
And knew no more till I fell right here;
But how I became so like a feather
Is a problem I can unravel never.
“But, oh, how the sun begins to burn!
I think I must to the clouds return.
Farewell, my boy! but you must not fret;
We meet again, as we now have met,
If not as a feather, perhaps a tree,
Or whatever the Wise One may make of me.” [page 97]
“WILT THOU HARASS A DRIVEN LEAF?”
O harass not a driven leaf,
Nor stubble dry in wrath pursue;
A life so brief load not with grief,
Nor with thine arrow pierce me through.
The fragile leaf, by tempest tost,
Is scarcely worth a passing thought;
The brook is crossed, and then is lost;
There let it lie, a thing of naught.
The stubble dry ne’er grows again;
To golden grain it gave its sap.
It died, and then ’twas left by men
To rot betimes, or some mishap.
Am I not like the stubble dry
And fragile leaf by tempest strewed?
Must I not die, then tell me why
A thing so frail is thus pursued? [page 98]
A voice replies: “Thy life is frail,
Much like the leaf and stubble dry;
Thy strength must fail, and as the gale
Bears them away, so must thou die;
“But live again, in bliss, or pain;
For death to man does not end all;
Life is not vain, if thou but gain
A home in heaven, when I shall call!
“To fit thy soul for endless rest,
I harass now the driven leaf,
But though sore pressed and grief distressed,
The life of sorrow will be brief.
“And when released from suffering clay,
Thy blood-bought spirit shall arise
To endless day. Then thou shalt say,
The ways of God are good and wise.” [page 99]
The gem is not this ode itself;
Hardly can it aspire so high.
Earth has its gems; but all its wealth,
Increased by thousands, cannot buy
Man’s soul, the gem of priceless worth,
Made in God’s image at its birth;
Ordained to live for evermore;
Redeemed by blood from sin and hell;
Transformed by grace, God’s love to tell;
And at His feet its homage pour.
Lordly are its endowments, too;
Superb its destiny, if true;
Only below, said one who knew,
Unfallen angels round God’s throne.
Lord, may this gem be Thine alone. [page 100]
A grand stairway do these clouds appear
As they heavenward rise, tier upon tier,
With clearly-marked space of blue between,
Compared with which human art looks mean.
Do the angels tread this grand staircase,
When they come to earth to bless our race,
And lend their aid to each struggling soul
As he ascends toward the heavenly goal?
Was this the ladder by Jacob seen,
That reached from heaven to the mattress green
On which he lay all the lonely night
Till God afforded the blessed sight,
And made him feel, tho’ an exile here,
His father’s God would be ever near—
The servant’s cry would to heaven arise,
And blessings fall from the bending skies? [page 101]
But no staircase do the angels need;
They come to earth at a greater speed,
Not step by step, nor on eagle’s wing,
Nor beams of light do their message bring.
Though heaven be far beyond mortal ken,
Assisted by all the arts of men,
A moment’s time and the space is passed,
And heaven’s best gifts at our feet are cast.
Not a cloud stairway, nor ladder long,
Connects this earth with the land of song;
The Saviour bends from the opening skies—
He smiles in love, and our souls arise.
As flakes of steel to the magnet fly,
And mists ascend to the sun on high,
So we are drawn by the cords of love
From the earth below to the thrones above.
O lift me up from my bed of clay,
To dwell with Thee in the realms of day.
If ’tis Thy will I should tarry still,
Prepare me, Lord, for Thy Holy Hill. [page 102]
Exquisite mosses, so lovely and green,
Covering the rocks with emerald sheen;
Hiding the scars which convulsions have made;
Blessing the mound where our angel was laid;
Forming a carpet on which we may tread;
Clothing with beauty the rotten and dead;
Sheathing from storm-blasts the young forest tree—
Beautiful mosses, examples for me.
Trod under footboy all kinds of men;
Gracing the mountain or hid in the fen;
Never adorning the brow of the fair;
Seldom deemed worthy some corner to share
In the bouquets that are cast in the way
Princely feet tread on reception’s proud day;
The glory of roses do not attain;
Beautiful mosses, ye grow not in vain. [page 103]
Answer the end by your Maker designed.
Humble your bloom, but your mission is kind.
Those will most prize you who knew you the best.
Cover me o’er when I lie down to rest;
Cover, likewise, in the marble my name,
Hiding forever that index of shame;
But tell to the world, “as life he passed through,
He covered some scars and aimed to be true.” [page 104]
THE GRANDEST THEME
The grandest theme for tongue, or pen,
Is not the heavens supernal;
Nor mighty deeds of God-like men,
Though they may be eternal;
Nor Alpine heights, nor lovely vale,
With brooks and grazing cattle;
Nor awful roar of rushing gale,
Beyond the noise of battle;
Nor clashing arms, nor trembling earth;
Nor heaving waves of ocean;
Nor record of a nation’s birth;
Nor heaven’s cloud-cars in motion.
The grandest theme, for tongue, or pen,
Above all else in glory;
Which suits alike, all sinful men,
Is the sweet Gospel story, [page 105]
Which tells me of my Saviour’s love
And infinite compassion,
Which brought Him from His throne above
To Calvary’s cross and passion.
And now the holy angels sing,
With blood-washed souls in glory,
A song which makes heaven’s arches ring
About this Gospel story. [page 106]
The hills are clad in purple and in gold,
The ripened maize is gathered in the shock,
The frost has kissed the nuts, their shells unfold,
And fallen leaves are floating on the lock.
The flowers their many-colored petals drop;
But seed-pods full ad ripe they leave behind,
A prophecy of more abundant crop,
And proof that nature in decay is kind.
But still the dahlia blooms, and pansies, too;
The golden-rod still rears its yellow crest.
The sumach bobs are now of crimson hue,
The luscious grape has donned its purple vest.
The forest trees, so long arrayed in green,
Wear now a robe like Joseph’s coat of old,
Brighter than that on eastern satrap seen,
Tho’ clad was he in purple and fine gold. [page 107]
The woodbine twined about the giant oak
Blends with its purple-red a brighter shade.
Co-mingled thus our praises they evoke
Tho’ we know well this glory soon must fade.
The fields are green with grass and new-sown wheat,
Tho’ here and there a brown stalk may appear,
A dying rag-weed, ripened by the heat,
To reproduce an hundred-fold next year.
The melon yellows in the kindly sun,
The peach puts on its blush like virtuous maid,
The gourd its snow-white band like brow of nun,
While flower and gum the air with fragrance lade.
The swallows gather on the fence and wire,
Chatter a loud farewell to barn and nest,
And then on wings which never seem to tire
They fly away in southern bowers to rest.
The thrush no longer sings its tender song
In osage thicket, or in locust hedge,
But pipes its notes the negro boys among,
On cotton plant, or Alabama sedge. [page 108]
The blackbird lingers by the flowing brook,
Or perches proudly on the shock of corn;
The lark still hovers round its meadow nook,
And soars and sings as on a vernal morn.
The robin, too, is loth to quit the lawn
And visits yet his nest beneath the eaves;
I hear his cheering notes at early dawn—
To part with these old friends my spirit grieves.
But soon these feathered songsters must away,
Ere winter’s frosts shall chill them thro’ and thro’;
In other lands lands they find the summer day,
The opening flower, and the refreshing dew.
The air, tho’ chill, is not surcharged with death,
But health-inspiring germs it bears along.
We drink in vigor with our every breath,
And life appears like spring, each day a song.
God spreads a carpet for our weary feet,
Richer than those which grace the palace floor;
The rainbow hues are in it all complete,
And tints, I think, of full a thousand more. [page 109]
God with His hands of wind for woof collects
The forest leaves, and weaves them with the grass,
With nap of richest hues the fabric decks,
And spreads it out for feet of every class.
A haze at times may veil the smiling sky,
The sun his golden locks exchange for gray;
But soon a western blast comes sweeping by—
The mists depart, and glory crowns the day.
The lowing cattle roam from field to field;
No more content in narrow bounds to stay;
The ozone in the autumn air has healed
Their every ill, and lo, the dull beasts play.
This season has its lesson each should learn—
The fading leaf reminds us of our doom;
But whether like the stately tree, or fern,
In hope we travel onward to the tomb.
We look not for the Winter, but the Spring,
When we shall glow in beauty from the skies;
Each now his tribute sheaf of praise should bring,
Then hear his Lord’s “Well done!” O glorious prize. [page 110]
Some flowers are brighter far in hue
Than others by their side,
But God baptizes all with dew,
And spreads His mantle wide
To cover all for half the day,
From rays of scorching sun,
Though some may shine in colors gay,
And some in sober dun.
And I account each one my friend,
The stately and the plain.
Diverse their hue, but not their end;
For me none bloom in vain;
For all proclaim their Maker’s skill,
And point to bloom above;
In God’s great plan their part fulfil,
And whisper “God is love.” [page 111]
The fragrance lades the summer air
With health-inspiring germs,
Ascend on high as nature’s prayer,
Suggesting well the terms
Of God-accepted prayer from man,
Odors of grateful praise;
For though in penitence began,
It ends in joyful lays. [page 112]
The winter through I lay asleep,
Unconscious and unseen;
The howling winds disturbed me not,
Nor felt the frost tho’ keen.
Thick blankets covered me about,
And kept me dry and warm,
And weeks and months passed quickly by
And I received no harm.
At last I felt uneasy in
My cosy little cot,
Tho’ it was lined with the softest down.
The cause I knew not what.
I struggled hard to free myself,
But struggled all in vain;
My blankets felt the strain, ’tis true,
And opened to the rain,
But just enough for me to see
The frowning sky o’erhead;
I closed my eyes, in sad affright,
And wished that I was dead. [page 113]
But soon a change came o’er my frame,
Much like electric shock;
Oh, how I longed for some rare key
With which I might unlock
My prison door, for I now felt
The breath of coming Spring,
And heard, likewise, her merry laugh,
Like silver bells its ring.
My lips were close to blanket rent,
I ceased my useless strife,
And she bent over me in love,
And kissed me into life. [page 114]
O beautiful sky of every hue;
Golden and purple, crimson and blue,
With some sombre lines thrown in between,
And some bright spots of emerald green.
The earth is wed to the sun it seems,
And to grace the robe of his royal bride
No pains are spared, nor a tint untried,
And thus complete it with glory gleams.
He wields his brush as an artist now;
Lo beauty glows on the earth’s fair brow!
And the lovely flowers at once arise
To match the glow of the radiant skies,
The sparkling dewdrops at morn are seen,
Close nestling among the petals rare,
Like crystal studs in a maiden’s hair,
Brighter then gems which adorn a queen. [page 115]
BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES
Buttercups and daisies growing everywhere,
In the field of clover, on the hillside fair,
And in lovely valley, tilled with greatest care.
Naught but weeds and rubbish, in the farmer’s eyes,
Drawing off the nurture from the grain they prize,
And their great luxuriance sore their patience tries.
But the dews of heaven give them richest bloom,
And their smiling beauty drives away our gloom;
For such little beauties surely there is room.
In this world of sorrow flowers ne’er bloom in vain,
Though they in their blooming sap the golden grain,
And drink in the moisture of the latter rain; [page 116]
For our Heavenly Father deemed it wise and good
To diffuse this beauty with the grain for food.
And this wise arrangement He has never rued.
Teaching us this lesson we are slow to learn;
Man lives not for eating nor for duties stern,
But to serve God’s pleasure, then to Him return.
Room for joy is given and for purest bliss,
And we may all find them in a world like this,
If our aims are sordid all this gold we miss;
But if we are faithful and to God inclined,
Seeing Him in nature, and of heavenly mind,
Aiming to be like Him, and by grace refined,
We shall live forever where there is no gloom;
Though the path to glory leadeth through the tomb;
But a moment’s darkness—flowers that ever bloom. [page 117]
THE MOSS ROSE
’Tis said, long since an angel came to earth,
Sent by his Lord, to help with loving hand
A suffering one, afflicted form his birth.
The limb was healed as by divine command,
But He felt weak, for strength from Him had gone,
A sacrifice which love could not withhold;
So he sought shelter till the morning dawn,
But none received—they prized not love, but gold.
Then ’neath a rose bush did the angel lie,
And rested well until the break of day,
When much refreshed he sought his home on high,
But ere he started on his upward way,
He said to sheltering rose, in loving voice,
“What man refused thou hast afforded me.
What is thy wish? Make known to me thy choice;
The God of love and power will grant it thee!” [page 118]
“I ask no brighter hue,” the rose replied.
“Both old and young smile on me as they pass,
My buds adorn the bosom of the bride,
And hide among the locks of lovely lass;
With fragrance, too, I own myself content,
For naught on earth surpasses me in this;
But if, indeed, my Maker thee has sent
I ask but this, to consummate my bliss:
“I feel the cold, both in my bark and bud,
When Autumn winds sweep o’er the western hill,
And frozen dewdrops oft my branches stud,
Which mar my beauty and my juices chill.
Give me an extra garb, ’tis all I lack.”
“Thou hast thy wish, I shelter found in thee,
I take delight in kind to pay thee back.
Let softest moss thy extra garment be.”
Then touched the angel bark, and bud, and leaf,
And softest green moss suffused it o’er and o’er.
He lingered near it for a moment brief,
Plucked off a bud, which he to heaven bore;
And now the rose smiles at the raging storm,
Defies the wind and nipping frost as well;
Its fragrance still retains, and lovely form,
While nestling budlets this old story tell. [page 119]
I fear not, my Father, the tempest’s loud roar,
Nor dread the huge breakers on the rock-girded shore;
Thy presence is with me, my refuge is near,
With help all-sufficient; oh, why should I fear?
Tho’ billows of sorrow should roll o’er my head,
My sun sink in darkness, and joys be all dead,
Thy presence will cheer me, and spectres will flee,
For who can molest me while trusting in thee? [page 120]
My lot on earth is not all mirth,
Nor is it constant gloom;
Some joys decay and fall away,
But leave much lasting bloom.
My wishes are not always met,
And cares press hard at times;
Yet joyous strains ne’er sink to fret,
Tho’ dollars shrink to dimes.
My earthly lot boasts not a cot,
No foot of land I own,
No bank account nor phosphate mount,
Nor credit for a loan;
But I can read my title clear
To mansion, robe, and crown;
I couple these with lot down here,
And sing, tho’ foes may frown. [page 121]
GOD’S FOOT ON THE CRADLE
The air is chill with the frost of doubt,
And men’s hearts are sadly failing;
They do not hear the great Victor’s shout;
But indulge in bitter wailing.
“The old gives place to the new,” they say,
“And fond hopes are daily buried;
Our cherished views are oft borne away,
As if by the tempest hurried.
“The world is stirred to its very heart,
And the Church shares the commotion;
With systems old, we are loathe to part,
To sail on an unknown ocean.
The world now heaves like the great sea’s breast,
And rocks like an infant’s cradle;
And looking up, by sore grief oppressed,
We find the sky draped in sable.” [page 122]
I will not fear, though the earth should rock,
If God’s foot be on the cradle;
But rest in peace midst the tempest’s shock,
Rejoicing that God is able
To still the world with His mighty hand,
If His timid child should waken;
Or, if it rock, He will by me stand;
And my heart shall not be shaken. [page 123]
GOD’S GIFTS TO BE ENJOYED
From God’s all bounteous hand descend
Rare gifts in rich effusion,
And with those gifts no poisons blend,
Nor is their end delusion;
So do not spurn if He bestow
Those forms arrayed in beauty;
If thus His gifts with radiance glow,
Enjoyment is a duty.
Come, deck your brows with leaves and flowers,
Ye fair ones, nothing fearing;
Adorn your homes and train your bowers
Nor deem this sin’s appearing;
We do not fit ourselves for bliss
By scorning all adorning;
We may enjoy the good of this
And share heaven’s brighter morning. [page 124]
A garment plain may have its stain,
And saintly brows lack sweetness;
But he who would heaven’s glory gain
Must here acquire a meetness;
So eat and drink, rejoice and sing,
But don’t forget the ending;
The bells of earth more sweetly ring
If we are heavenward tending.
The world we use, but not abuse,
If we enjoy its beauty;
And they who all its joys refuse
Miss privilege and duty.
Then prize earth’s joys, but prize much more
The bloom beyond the river;
God’s gifts enjoy, but e’er adore
The ever blessed Giver. [page 125]
THE HIGHEST GOAL
The highest goal is not success,
If that be made the aim;
But faithfulness, tho’ counted less,
Is what God promises to bless:
These goals are not the same.
And if I am to do my best
In every line of life,
My effort will be surely blest,
And I will find in toil sweet rest,
Tho’ in a world of strife.
And when before the throne I stand
To answer for the use
Of gifts received from God’s own hand,
He will not then, in wrath, demand
From me some strong excuse, [page 126]
To show why I had not attained
The goal of grand success,
Such as some noted men have gained,
For if my work is not sin-stained
God will my failures bless.
And I will hear Him say, “My son,
A throne thou hast attained;
Without applause thy race was run,
’Midst failures oft thy work was done,
Life’s highest goal is gained.” [page 127]
JOY IN THE MORNING
The night of affliction, with its long hours of sadness,
Will soon pass away to be remembered no more;
And the weeping will end in a morning of gladness;
For no sorrow is known on the evergreen shore.
In this world we shall have tribulation and sorrow;
’Tis enough for the subject to be as his king;
But if we are faithful, joy will come with the morrow,
And with the blood-washed a new song shall we sing. [page 128]
“HE SHALL DWELL ON HIGH”
Tossed about in strange commotion
Like the surface of the ocean
When the wind, its waters lashing,
Sends great billows, roaring, dashing
O’er the breakers, which for ages
Have withstood the storms it wages,
See those clouds, so like this ocean,
How they whirl in strange commotion.
Dust and vapor now are meeting,
Each the other wildly greeting;
As one hand another grasping,
So are these each other clasping;
Now they whirl in form fantastic
And great trees with boughs elastic
With loud moans are lowly bending,
Leaves and fruit to earth descending. [page 129]
Eyes ’most blinded, nerves all shaken,
By this fearful storm o’ertaken,
As it swept on toward the sunrise;
Yet, I chanced to lift my dim eyes
Upward, when, O sight entrancing,
I beheld, to west advancing,
Other clouds, in higher current,
Unlike earth’s, so wild and errant.
Far above the wild commotion,
Like great ships on peaceful ocean,
Floating westward, grand and steady,
Were those clouds, as if made ready,
As great cars, with grand pavilions,
To convey the ransomed millions
From this earth where storms are raging
To that land of charms engaging.
Life on earth is a probation;
Storms fit well in this relation;
Yet, above, are peaceful regions,
Where ne’er come hell’s dreaded legions.
Looking toward the things eternal,
We may rise to realms supernal,
Where earth’s dust will not defile us
Nor the cunning foe beguile us. [page 130]
To this higher plain, O lift me,
Gracious Lord! ere Satan sift me,
Far above this noisy Babel;
Far above earth’s clouds, all sable;
Up so far no darts can reach me,
Where the Holy Ghost will teach me;
And, in perfect peace abiding,
I will sing while heavenward riding! [page 131]
BAG YOUR GAME
Two men, well versed in use of arms,
Set out, ’tis said, in search of game.
Each felt that hunting had its charms,
Yet widely differed they in aim.
Both felt their need of wholesome food
For present use and winter’s store;
But one was of a careless mood—
Than the day’s sport he asked no more.
No game he bagged from morn till night,
Content to show his master skill
In hitting every bird at sight,
And shooting down the deer at will.
Grand sport he deemed it, day by day,
As in the tangled forest brake
He brought the bounding stag to bay,
Or shot the wood-duck in the lake. [page 132]
As he each night to home returned
He sang the pleasure of the chase;
But had not yet the lesson learned
That he was loser in the race.
Yet, when sat in the winter’s cold
And game had fled to warmer clime,
He had no stock to sell for gold,
Nor food: and past his harvest time.
The chase the other prized as well;
But bagged his game as best he could,
And thus had lots of pelts to sell—
For self and wife the choicest food.
In the pursuit of game a thrill
Of keenest joy shot through his heart;
But joy complete he knew not till
He went his way joy to impart.
While he with wife and children shared
The roasted duck and venison,
He felt he as a king had fared;
And though of earth a denizen,
Such food would give both strength and cheer
To meet lifes daily toil aright,
And winter months he did not fear,
His larder filled, and prospect bright. [page 133]
The search for Truth with pleasure thrills;
To find it, we our end attain—
Possessed, new joy the spirit fills,
And to retain is highest gain.
The pleasure of pursuit is lost
If truth itself is not secured.
O buy the truth at any cost,
And from your aim be not allured! [page 134]
My greatest grief is not my own;
That often proves a blessing,
For in my grief God’s care is shown,
And as I am not left alone,
It never proves distressing;
But when my brother’s grief I bear
The weight then seems excessive;
His heavy load I inly share,
And loaded down by double care,
My burden feels oppressive.
Yet I remember Him who bore
The world’s greatest load of sorrow,
And know that He on me will pour
The needed grace to bear the more,
To-day and on the morrow. [page 135]
Remembrance of the past will joy impart
If in that past the conscience was supreme;
But if the soul be made an auction mart,
And thoughts and deeds be sold for what you deem
The price of virtue, then the called-up past
Will be like hooks of steel to hold thee fast.
Or like the stings those nettles left behind
Which I so fondly handled in my play;
I deemed the friend who warned me true and kind,
And in great haste I threw the weeds away,
But soon the burning flesh reminded me
’Twere safer far from all such weeds to flee. [page 136]
The cloud that flitted o’er the saintly brow
Which now a crown of life so well adorns,
When you by ways and means you know not now,
Did what your soul with holy horror scorns,
Will stay with you long as you live on earth,
And be like gall to spoil your cup of mirth.
The smiles of those we bless are lasting, too;
We feel their cheering glow each cloudy day.
As falls on wilted flower the healing dew,
So they refresh, and chase our gloom away;
We feel though weak we have not lived in vain,
And know God smiles tho’ we cannot explain.
The footprints on the rock time wears away;
The rock itself soon crumbles into dust;
But memories of the past have come to stay,
Nor flood, nor fire, nor the consuming rust,
Can ever from the soul the past erase.
Guard thou thy life, O man, with heavenly grace. [page 137]
THE ROYAL WAY
Perfection ever is the price of toil.
Of marchings long, and hardships by the way,
Of burdens borne, oft in the heat of day,
’Tis then as right the victor claims the spoil.
The world admires the wreath upon his brow,
But he alone can tell how much it cost,
And how to gain it he had all things lost.
Results men see, but not the when, or how.
The stately elm which rears its head so high,
And spreads abroad so gracefully its boughs,
Beneath which may repose a herd of cows,
Grows under ground as well as toward the sky.
The bridge which spans the swiftly-flowing stream
O’er which the iron horse, by night and day,
With heavy tread speeds on its busy way,
Rests not on sand, nor slender post and beam. [page 138]
Below the shifting sand, on solid rock,
The mason safely laid the buttress stone,
And labored long before his work was shown;
But he built well—his work endures each shock.
This work takes time; we chafe at the delay
And try to gain the summit at a bound,
But find full soon our hopes dashed to the ground;
Yet there remains for all the royal way.
And he who would true eminence attain
Must heed the word of Him who came to serve,
Nor from this path a single moment swerve,
If he the great reward would surely gain.
This is the royal way—to serve in love—
Servant to servants ever aim to be
Like Him who gave His life to ransom thee;
Then shalt thou sit with Him on throne above. [page 139]
The well-built house with walls of brick, or stone,
May tremble some if struck by the cyclone;
The most established saint may trials feel,
As flint may turn the edge of finest steel.
Satanic hosts may rush in like a flood,
Allied with foes of our own flesh and blood,
The elements of earth and hell combine,
Yet tho’ he trembles, stands in strength divine;
He rests secure on the unyielding rock.
The top may sway, but base feels not the shock;
His heart is fixed, nor earth nor hell can move;
They wrench not loose, but his allegiance prove.
Christ wept with Mary at her brother’s grave;
Laid down His life a rebel world to save;
Tried, like ourselves, and like us too, infirm,
Yet knew no sin in either root or germ;
Let us be like Him while we sojourn here,
Then storms and earthquakes we need never fear. [page 140]
I know in part, but know not all,
The part I know is known;
What know I not I hope with Paul
To know before the throne.
Till then where knowledge fails I trust
The truth God has revealed,
As known by me, forever must
Be like the truth concealed.
I know God is, tho’ hid from sight,
And know He cares for me;
In blessing me He takes delight,
And I by faith can see
His skilful hand and loving heart,
In all my life’s affairs,
And feel content to know but part
If He knows all my cares. [page 141]
I know God gave His Son to die
A sacrifice for man,
And live all who on Him rely,
And meet His claims I can,
Yet I know not how in Him meet
The human and divine;
But God He is, and at His feet
I fall, and feel Him mine.
Nor do I understand the change
The spirit wrought in me;
A work so great exceeds my range,
But I can feel and see
The inward peace, and outward trend,
And hear likewise His voice,
The outward with the inward blend,
And answer to my choice.
I know not how mind touches mind
And thoughts spring into life;
Nor know the mystic bands which bind,
Like husband to the wife,
My loving Lord and my poor soul,
But this I know full well,
If I submit to His control
I cannot sink to hell. [page 142]
I know the world shakes to its base,
And man still wars with man,
The bane of sin rests on our race,
And Satan leads the van;
But hope exults within my breast
Tho’ darkness shrouds the sky;
God is the friend of the oppressed,
The good will never die.
I know not why my plans should fail
When I have plan’d for God,
And on this ground my foes assail,
But I still kiss the rod,
For tho’ I cannot tell the why
My heart is filled with peace;
I can on my dear Lord rely,
And wait for my release.
I know He is both true and kind,
And has my good at heart.
His discipline will only bind
With cords which naught can part,
My heart’s affections to His throne,
And fit me for my rest,
Nor do I tread life’s path alone;
He knows, and I am blest. [page 143]
“SALUT AUX BLESSIS”
A group of mounted officers
Ride up and fall in line;
Their gleaming swords hang at their sides,
Chevrons their arms entwine;
They bare their heads as pass along
A train of wounded men,
Their shattered comrades from the field
They ne’er meet again.
“Salut aux Blessis!” loud they cry.
The wounded soldiers hear,
And for a time forget their pain,
And swell the lusty cheer.
Thus should it be in other lines;
The men who lead the van
Should e’er accord a brother’s cheer
To every wounded man. [page 144]
The “rank and file” the wounds receive;
Sometimes the leader, too;
But honest wounds none should despise;
The bearer may be true.
He stood his ground ’gainst mighty odds,
And dared the shot and shell;
So bare your heads, ye scarless ones,
And say, “Thou hast done well!” [page 145]
Each human life with mysteries is replete;
They press upon us in its early dawn,
And multiply apace as years roll on,
And at each turn we must their problems meet.
Reason is blind, and fails their end to see,
Misjudges God and gathers only woe,
And from this spring much turbid waters flow.
Only the pure in heart from doubt are free;
They read aright the writing on the wall
Which solves the problems of our earthly lot;
To them God draws aside the veil, and shows
The golden threads with which the garment glows,
And why one dwells in palace, one in cot,
And how His love is working good to all. [page 146]
Is brotherhood to flesh confined?
Is there no kinship of the soul?
To have it thus, I am resigned,
If ’tis my God-appointed goal;
For there are those whom I hold dear,
Who claim with me a common sire,
That we, with one accord, revere,
And love holds out midst flood and fire.
But is the family so small
Of which I fondly claim a part?
Is there no other I may call
A brother, and within my heart
Cherish for him, whate’er his name,
Or rank, or color, or his creed,
A love of pure and changeless flame,
And feel I render but his meed? [page 147]
Thank God for brotherhood so broad
That all the human race may share
A kinship, never yet outlawed,
Tho’ types of it have been too rare.
But bigotry is doomed to die,
And hate, a relic of the past;
The golden age is drawing nigh,
And all one family at last! [page 148]
SHE DEARLY LOVED THE FLOWERS
I saw her first when she was old,
Her form devoid of grace;
Her locks that once were yellow gold
Were white, and on her face
Were furrows deep, which told of pain,
And toil, and worldly fret,
Which all, alas, had been in vain,
But nature claimed the debt.
Her eyes were gray and lacked in glow,
Her voice some thought was gruff,
And when excited was not slow
To use a sharp rebuff;
For she in speech was free from art;
Men feared her verbal stroke,
And yet they said, “She has a heart;
She never wears a cloak.” [page 149]
Her creed, perhaps, was heterodox,
If creed she ever had.
She knew far more of pans and crocks,
But this was not her fad;
Her light, I fear, did not shine out
In pious talk and airs,
In fact I entertain a doubt
If she oft said her prayers.
Her light, if dim, was never hid,
Yet looked not for applause;
For kindly deeds she often did,
In line with highest laws.
She lacked it may be that rare grace
Which some I know endowers,
Yet good in her I gladly trace—
She dearly loved the flowers. [page 150]
MY PANSY PETS
My pansy pets are sleeping well
Beneath their quilt of snow;
How they can breathe I cannot tell,
Nor how their rootlets grow;
But soon the snow will melt away
And April showers descend;
Then shall appear colors gay
Each little pansy friend.
Of pride it may not show a trace;
Of lowly mind, alway;
But will not blush to show its face
All through the lifelong day:
Its fragrance other flowers surpass,
In form more stately, too.
But when you see my pets in mass,
Thank God they ever grew. [page 151]
For though the human face may frown,
Or show a heart of guile,
My pansy pets as you look down
Will look at you and smile;
Nor will they murmur if you should
Pluck off their brightest bloom;
Their mission is to do us good,
And smile away our gloom. [page 152]
LOVE BETTER THAN KNOWLEDGE
O Thou Eternal One, look down
Upon an erring child of earth;
Thy handiwork with knowledge crown,
Or life will seem of little worth;
By Thine own light illume my way,
And turn this darkness into day.
I hear a whisper in my heart—
“Than knowledge, better far is love;
Thy knowledge here is but in part,
The perfect waits for Thee above:
Walk now by faith, and leave to me
The things now wrap’d in mystery.”
Weighed down with mysteries profound
I lean upon Thy loving breast;
The great unknown still girts me round,
But Thou art mine, and here I rest;
Unsolved the mysteries remain;
But they no longer give me pain. [page 153]
My finite mind may never grasp
The thought of Thy immensity;
But I Thy hand more firmly clasp—
To feel Thee near suffices me;
For Thou art knowledge, power, and love,
The same in earth and heaven above. [page 154]
A SUFFERING GOD
Man is like God in miniature,
When he is at his best;
His motives and impulses pure,
His heart and will at rest;
No conflict in himself is felt,
His light no earthly beam,
While love encircles like a belt,
And conscience is supreme.
As thus endowed a creature may
The keenest sufferings feel;
Not such as rack the frame of clay,
Which art of man may heal;
But pain untold at others’ woes,
And deadly blight of sin,
Which right and virtue overthrows,
And blackens all within. [page 155]
And may not God have suffered much
Ere reached the gory cross?
Did not our woe the God-heart touch?
Did He not feel our loss?
The “Man of Sorrows” we adore,
And own His sufferings real;
But suffered He as God before;
For God can sorrow feel. [page 156]
Looking o’er this written page,
Many blurs and blots are seen;
Crooked strokes, at every stage—
Oh, that it again were clean,
As at first I found it, when
I defiled it with my pen!
Gladly would I all erase;
But along the lines of blue
You could still the failure trace
In the paper’s darkened hue;
Though the words could not be seen,
You could trace where they had been.
I will try to do my best,
Though my ideal be not gained;
On the Master’s scrip shall rest
Eager eyes, till is attained
Some resemblance to His hand;
If no more I can command. [page 157]
Like my life, this written sheet,
So unlike the pattern given;
Crooked strokes, I oft repeat;
Oh, that from it could be riven
All the blurs and blots of sin;
All the self that’s found within.
I can not the past erase.
Christ shall blot the crooked out,
Leaving not the slightest trace
Of my sin, the lines about;
And will give me grace to write
Pages pleasing in His sight.
I will try to do my best,
As He gives me strength and light,
Leaving with Him all the rest;
He will keep life’s pages white;
And the copy shall be shown
Perfected, before His throne. [page 158]
An artist skilled beyond the sons of men
With pleasure scanned the pictures on the wall,
Rare works of art, each one pronounced a gem,
The product of his hand, both great and small;
Each filled its place in the designer’s plan;
Conceived in full before the work began.
Pleased was the artist with results as shown;
But his ideal was not as yet attained;
If needed this, as palace needs a throne,
But throne a king—then is perfection gained,
When his great masterpiece hangs in its place,
And the great artist looks in his own face. [page 159]
THE JOHNSTOWN DISASTER, 1889
Look down, ye Alleghenies, into the Conemaugh vale,
And see the rising waters, and hear the bitter wail;
The swollen streams now empty their contents in the lake,
The waters rise to kiss the skies and walls of granite shake.
Oh, hear that awful booming; the dam has given way!
An avalanche of water God’s hand alone can stay!
Oh, leap, ye hills, before it and keep this torrent back,
Or devastated towns and homes will mark its onward track!
Look down, ye Alleghenies, upon this vale of woe;
Ten thousand corpses at your base their soulless faces show; [page 160]
Some hid beneath the debris, some covered o’er with slime,
Their spirits fled to meet their God, beyond the shores of time.
The aged sire and lassie; the careworn mother, too,
With her strong son, whom she had hoped would guard life’s journey thro’,
Are lying there together, the old and young alike;
Their plans and purposes cut off, no power to love or strike.
Bow down, ye Alleghenies, and weep o’er thousands slain,
Who yesterday were all intent this present world to gain.
Their active brain is sleeping, their busy hands are still,
Bright hopes are blasted in an hour, ambitions cease to thrill;
Their mansions, with their bodies, the flood has borne away—
The rich and poor together rest till resurrection day. [page 161]
Now leap for joy, ye mountains, for all is not in vain!
For as it was in Noah’s flood, it ever will remain!
God cares for those who love Him; He holds them in His hand,
And wind and wave obey His will, and rest at His command;
Some sank beneath the freshet, and now with others lie,
But God prepared another ark to bear their souls on high.
See, floating with the wreckage, borne onward by the tide,
A loving mother with her babe close sheltered at her side;
One hand has grasped a rafter, the other guards her child;
Oh, how she pleads with God and man in accents loud and wild!
Men hear but give no answer, no human hand can save;
Her voice, alas, is hushed in death by the relentless wave; [page 162]
But God has heard her pleading, and now His angel bears
Their deathless souls to dwell with Him, where free from toils and cares,
Her voice rings out in gladness the notes of that blest psalm
The prophet heard the elders sing, of “Moses and the Lamb.”
And see this lovely maiden, a mother’s hope and pride,
The sunbeam of a Christian home, and the affianced bride
Of one who loved her dearly, and loved her not in vain,
For he had won a loyal heart, and hand without a stain;
But he lies ’neath the billows, and she will join him soon.
Hark! hark! she sings in accents sweet, to old familiar tune!
“Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,” etc. [page 163]
Her prayer, also, is answered, for see, the roof is bare!
The current swept the slippery raft, the maiden is not there!
An angel band descended, her lover led the way,
And now she joins her loved and lost in realms of endless day!
Look down, ye Alleghenies, from your colossal heights,
And witness an heroic deed, bright gleam ’midst horrid sights.
See, Periton has mounted his famous large bay steed,
And flies, not to the mountains, but at his greatest speed
He gallops down the valley, to warn of pending fate,
And cries aloud, “Flee for your lives! flee, ere it be too late!
The Conemaugh dam is broken, destruction comes apace!
Leave all and to the mountains flee; leave all and win the race!” [page 164]
Each creek becomes a river, each pool a little sea,
The tidal wave comes rushing on, men know not where to flee,
But on he rides, still shouting, as angels did of old,
“Flee! Flee ye to the mountain! Flee! forsake your homes and gold!”
His horse now shares his spirit, and leaps each swollen stream.
With panting flanks and nostrils wide, and breath like scalding steam,
He dashes down the roadway, and fairly seems to fly,
Obedient to his rider’s rein, resolved to do or die.
Some heed our hero’s warning. See, toward the hills they fly!
Will Periton now turn aside, or like a hero die?
Straight on he goes, brave fellow; to turn aside he scorned,
His life he deems of little worth if other men be warned. [page 165]
We honor those brave soldiers, who scaled the rampart height,
To plant the standard of their queen in the defence of right,
The fire was hot before them, and bursting shells o’erhead,
Yet on they pressed, till bullet-pierced they fell—our honored dead;
But he, I hold, was braver, who ran his race alone,
No comrade’s cheer to urge him on, no bugle blast was blown,
Nor grand review to follow if he should win the day;
But thoughts of self were all too weak his onward course to stay.
Spur up your steed, brave fellow—the flood is at his heels!
Too late! the waves now gird him round; the gallant rider reels;
Entombed beneath the debris his warning voice is stilled,
But he, I trust, ran not in vain; his mission is fulfilled. [page 166]
Like Jesus, he saved others, yet would not save himself;
The plaudits of the world sought not, but scorned its praise and pelf.
He still sat in the saddle, and held the guiding rein,
Yet wind and wave awoke him not, and thunders roared in vain.
His spirit had ascended, death set the hero free,
And God shall say in His great day, “Thou didst it unto Me!”
Look down, ye Alleghenies, with ever-darkening frown,
Upon the selfishness which caused the ruin of Johnstown.
A reservoir was fashioned, of full three miles in length,
An inland lake, kept back by dam of insufficient strength;
No mills were driven by it; no water-works supplied;
A few rich men, for selfish sport, claimed all these waters wide. [page 167]
They rode upon its surface in skiff, and bark canoe,
Shot grouse and duck, caught fish and eel, and held their title true;
For other people’s safety took not a single thought—
Ten thousand lives were less to them than fish thus daily caught.
The dam revealed its weakness by frequent leaks, but they
Turned not aside to strengthen it till came the fateful day;
But God, who rules the nations, to whom all bow the knee,
Will say to them on judgement day, “Ye did it not to Me.” [page 168]
EYE HATH NOT SEEN
Somewhere in the realms supernal
Is a home prepared for me,
Where my joys shall be eternal,
And my spirit ever free;
Mortal vision helps not here,
God conceals it from my sight,
By effulgent beams of light;
Oh that He would bring it near!
But I hear a voice say, softly,
“Be content to leave it so,
For God’s thoughts are far too lofty
For a man like thee to knew;
Human spirits must be free
From their tenements of clay,
Ere they bear that full-orbed day,
Bide thy time and thou shalt see.” [page 169]
I cannot draw back the curtain
That conceals the glory land,
Yet my hope is sure and certain,
For the tracings of God’s hand
On the outside do appear,
Like the cherubim of old,
Wrought in needle-work and gold,
Bringing all the glory near,
He who made the lovely flowers
Which adorn both shrub and tree,
Climbing vine, and shady bowers,
In this beauty speaks to me:
’Tis the curtain of His tent,
Hiding much, yet much reveals,
Type of the Elysian fields;
Glory streams thro’ woof and rent. [page 170]
The words we speak on the empty air,
Are never lost, but recorded there;
The process we may not comprehend,
Nor how the words with the air may blend,
But science shows what results may be;
Accept the fact, is enough for me.
The waves of sound may have died away
As ripples faint on a sheltered bay;
But though now faint will be heard again,
By God, ourselves, and the sons of men.
As sound e’en now may be multiplied;
The faintest moan like the roaring tide;
The housefly’s tread with its tiny feet
Like tramp of horse on the stone-paved street.
So, though now faint, will those voices be,
When Christ shall come in His majesty;
Our quicken’d sense will the echo hear,
Like blast of horn to the timid deer. [page 171]
In pleasant tones will the echoes be,
Of words of love and of happy glee,
Which we address to the friends we love,
Or offer up to our Lord above.
But, unlike those, all the echoes heard,
Of angry tones, and each sword-like word;
As we here mete to our fellow men,
The Judge shall mete in full measure then.
The thoughts we think may be lasting, too,
Though not inscribed on the azure blue;
On the tissued walls of the soul’s great dome,
May be found those thoughts ne’er more to roam.
And like our thoughts, may we not become
The thought we think, be ourselves the sum?
May thoughts of God on my heart be graved,
And I be known as a sinner saved. [page 172]
IS THERE A BRIGHTER WORLD?
Beneath the surface of a shallow lake,
Where grasses rank and mammoth rushes grow.
And playful fish their bright fins nimbly shake,
Or madly chase each other to and fro,
The larva of the dragon-fly submerged,
In family large, had taken their abode,
And tho’ the waves around them daily surged,
Upon the bending grass they safely rode.
Content were they with life as there enjoyed;
To brighter world they never had aspired,
Had they not felt unfilled an aching void,
And heard a whisper of a life attired
In sapphire robes, ’midst gleams of golden light,
Above their present world, so dank and chill,
Where all day long they wing their happy flight
From roses sweet to lovely daffodil.
But some essayed to doubt if it were so.
Who ever had returned to make it known?
One volunteered that he would upward go,
To bring report; but he was not full grown, [page 173]
And fainted when he reached the surface air,
And falling, round a reed his form he curled,
Then cried, “Delusion! I have been up there
And could not find a trace of brighter world.”
Yet others could not still the voice within,
Nor disregard tradition’s hopeful tale.
They called a council; but it caused some din,
And all their efforts seemed at first to fail,
Till one wise head suggested this compact,
Expressed, no doubt, in dragon larva lore;
That if that brighter life were actual fact,
And all who rose in golden sunshine soar,
Each must return to tell the joyful tale,
And o’er the waters shake his sapphire wings,
So all may see, and their bright comrade hail,
And talk about the tidings which he brings.
Now each returns, clad in his bright array;
Skims o’er the grassy lake with gauze-like wings,
Attracts their notice by his plumage gay,
And they collect to hear the news he brings.
Then, holding fast, he buzzes out his song,
And seeks to woo them to a brighter world.
And he succeeds; for see, the larva strong
Climb up the grass, and soon in light enfurled, [page 174]
They wait the growth of wings, then burst their shells,
Shake loose the gauzy folds, and soar away;
But soon come back again their joy to tell,
And help their brothers to a brighter day.
Perhaps our loved ones do not always stay
In far-off heaven, and leave their comrades lone;
Tho’ yet unseen, may hover round our way,
And see our toil, and hear our daily moan;
And tho’ we cannot see their lovely forms,
Nor hear full well the whispers of their voice,
May shield us oft in life’s tempestuous storms,
And when we victories gain, with us rejoice.
They whisper thoughts, perhaps, if not word sounds,
And help to waken longings for our rest;
And thus allure our hearts beyond earth’s bounds
To joy and home, upon our Saviour’s breast.
O may I heed the whispers which they bring,
And seek the grace which will my heart prepare
To climb from earth and take on angel wing,
Then soar aloft, to find my home up there! [page 175]
A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN
As the caged eagle neared the mountain range,
O’er which he oft had soared on pinions strong,
He clapped his wings, moved by some impulse strange,
And then fell dead his prison floor along.
So Moses stood on Pisgah’s heights alone,
With sight undimmed, and unabated strength;
He gazed with rapture on the vision shown,
Of the fair land in all its breadth and length;
He saw the vale of Eschol clad with vine,
Mount Libbanus adorned with lordly trees,
Gilead and Achor, with their lowing kine,
And verdant Sharon swept by the sea breeze;
He saw the spot where Jacob’s ladder stood,
The oaks at Mamre where their father prayed,
Saw Bashan with its pastures and its wood,
And the rude cave where Abram Sarah laid. [page 176]
Saw the whole land—its hills and vales and streams,
Its lakes and pools, its vineyards and its groves,
A wealth and glory far beyond his dreams;
Better, it seemed, than all earth’s treasure troves.
God then revealed a glimpse of His own face,
Which Moses once desired, but God withheld,
But finished now the God-ordained race,
The battle fought, and every passion quelled.
As he beholds the glory of his Lord,
And looks within the pearly gates ajar,
Snaps, in an instant, life’s frail brittle cord,
And he is where the holy angels are.
So is it, likewise, with most dying saints;
They see e’en here the beatific sight;
The spirit then breaks thro’ this world’s restraints,
And enters into heaven’s effulgent light.
Not sorrow snaps the silver cord, but joy;
Not woe, but bliss, expands the golden bowl
The pitcher breaks when free from earth’s alloy,
And fails the wheel when heaven has filled the soul. [page 177]
THE END WE SOUGHT
The end we sought is not attained,
But wisdom has been won,
And thus a higher goal is gained.
That like the moon has sadly waned,
While this shines as the sun.
A shorter route to India’s strand
Columbus failed to find.
That was an object truly grand,
But in the wealth of this fair land
Grandeur and good combine. [page 178]
I stand to-day on higher ground
Than ever reached before,
Yet from this summit I have found,
Outlined full many more,
Which seem to pierce the vaulted sky,
And prove my effort vain
But God will set my feet on high,
Thro’ grace I shall attain.
Yet higher still my ideal stands,
Its peak but dimly seen,
But hope impels, and love commands,
And faith discerns its sheen;
And when I reach its shining height
Heaven’s gate will open wide;
I’ll see the beatific sight,
And rest at Jesus’ side. [page 179]
I would not cherish a wish or thought
Displeasing, Lord, to Thee;
Thy will is good, and with wisdom fraught,
And that suffices me.
I cannot alter a plan of Thine,
And would not if I could;
I acquiesce in the will divine,
And find my highest good.
At times my vessel drifts near the shore,
And the beacon lights expire,
The surf-capped waves swell more and more,
And threaten with ruin dire;
But only the surface sea is rough;
The ocean’s depths are calm,
And a star affords me light enough,
The Star of Bethlehem. [page 180]
And by its light I discern the sand
And rocks along the coast,
And turn away toward a fairer land,
And standing at my post,
I guide my bark thro’ the tempest wild,
Borne on by wind and tide,
Till God receives His weak, erring child,
And shelters near His side.
“Lo, I come, O Lord, to do Thy will!”
Shines from my star divine,
And my heart cries out, “In me fulfill
Also, Thy wise design.”
I would not alter a plan of thine
If I the power possessed;
My will is lost in the will divine,
’Tis here I find my rest. [page 181]
“PAINT ME AS I AM, WARTS AND ALL”—Cromwell.
Brave soul, ’twere well if all the same would say,
And artists aim their patron’s wish t’ obey.
What signifies a wart, or e’en a scar?
Leave both, skilled hand, and paint us as we are.
The crowfeet paint, the wrinkles on the brow,
The hollow cheek, the form inclined to bow,
The tear-dim’d eye, the hair well streaked with gray,
The hardened hand, begrim’d with soot and clay,
And if you use the seer’s revealing glass,
Remember this, “All flesh is as the grass.” [page 182]
“I WAS THERE”
When the French soldier from the field returned,
Begrimed with smoke and blood, he felt content,
As from Napoleon, he this fact had learned,
That thro’ his marshall, medals would be sent,
The name of battlefield each one would bear,
And, also, in large letters “I was there.”
In others’ triumphs we may well rejoice,
If in their triumphs good to us redounds;
But in the glory we can have no choice,
And our rejoicings are but empty sounds.
If you would in the victor’s glory share,
Be then prepared to add this, “I was there.”
The victor’s joy belongs to him alone;
He stood his ground ’midst storms of shot and shell;
Thro’ his brave stand the foe has been o’erthrown,
And he alone the victor’s tale can tell.
He now lies down to die ’neath glory’s glare,
For he can say to others, “I was there!” [page 183]
Not in some neutral nook must we remain;
The battle rages, we must share the strife;
The world, once lost, we must for Christ regain,
And each lay hold upon eternal life.
Who share His conflicts will His glory share;
Then looking down to earth say, “I was there!”
Those who before the throne are robed in white,
Passed thro’ the conflict and the foe o’ercame;
Boldly they stood as champions for the right,
And thus have won thro’ grace enduring fame,
And when the roll is called, each will declare,
“Here am I, Lord, I fought for Thee down there!” [page 184]
He loves not much who loves not honor more;
If men lack this then love must lack as well;
If this possessed no tongue love’s depths can tell;
The heart an ocean filled from shore to shore.
Seeing in him the possibility
Of likeness to the great and Blessed One;
It may be even now in him begun.
I love him much for what I hope to be,
And show my love by yielding him his due;
For sentimental love is ever vain,
It cannot peace, much less heaven’s favor gain;
But those who love in deed are blessed and true. [page 185]
A TRUE MAN
With purpose strong to do or die,
The race of life he ran,
With love supreme to God on high,
And equal love to man.
Some flaws the earthen vessel marred,
Which all could clearly see;
Within was found the precious nard;
From guile his heart was free.
In motive e’er is found the sin;
Let that to God be true,
And he the Judge’s smile will win,
And man’s approval too. [page 186]
MY OLD SWEETHEART
My old sweetheart is away to-day;
I feel as I did of old,
In my courting days, when far away
I yearned for her more than gold.
I thought of her handsome, smiling face,
Her noble and cultured brow,
Of her gentle ways, and charming grace;
I missed her less then than now.
Through the long years of our wedded life,
Now nearly a full two score,
She has proved herself a loving wife,
And a sweetheart evermore.
Our love has grown with the flight of time,
As the mountain stream may grow;
Or as a tree in a genial clime
When free from the frost and snow. [page 187]
The tempest may madly rage without,
We have lasting peace within;
And confidence ne’er gives place to doubt,
Nor concord to noisy din.
She will soon return again to me,
From her visit in the West,
And the dear face that I long to see
Will be nestling on my breast.
And I will feel as in olden time,
With a love not dreamed of then;
No happier man in any clime
Is known to the sons of men.
And when we part at the silent tomb,
’Twill be but a passing day
Before we meet where there is no gloom,
And sweethearts forever stay.
* * * * * *
Full forty-six years of wedded life,
Enjoyed with my sweetheart here;
They were happy years, devoid of strife,
And full of Christian cheer;
Then her Master called her spirit home,
And I am left to walk alone. [page 188]
Ere long my journey, too, will end,
And my spirit to God arise;
Perhaps he may my sweetheart send
To escort me to the skies;
And there with our Saviour we shall be,
Yet sweethearts still through eternity. [page 189]