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When the wild turmoil of this wearisome life,
With its scenes of oppression, corruption, and strife —
The proud man's frown, and the base man's fear —
The scorner's laugh, and the sufferer's tear —
And malice, and meanness, and falsehood and folly,
Dispose me to musing and dark melancholy;
When my bosom is full, and my thoughts are high,
And my soul is sick with the bondman's sigh —
Oh! then there is freedom, and joy and pride,
Afar in the desert alone to ride!
There is rapture to vault on the champing steed,
And to bound away with the eagle's speed,
With the death-fraught firelock in
my hand — The only law of the desert land!
Afar in the desert I love to ride, With the silent bush-boy alone by my side,
Away — away from the dwellings of men,
By the wild deer's haunt, by the buffalo's glen;
By valleys remote where the oriby plays
Where the gnu, the gazelle, and the
hartebeest graze, And the kudu and eland unhunted
By the skirts of gray forest o'erhung
with wild vine! Where the elephant browses at peace
in his wood, And the river-horse gambols unscared
in the flood. And the mighty rhinoceros wallows
In the fen where the wild ass is drinking his fill.
Afar in the desert I love to ride, With the silent bush-boy alone by my side,
O'er the brown karroo, where the
bleating cry Of the springbok's fawn soundsplain
And the timorous quagga's shrill
whistling neigh Is heard by the fountain at twilight
Where the zebra wantonly tosses his mane,
With wild hoof scouring the desolate plain;
And the fleet-footed ostrich over the waste
Speeds like a horseman who travels
Hieing away to the home of her rest, Where she and her mate have scooped
their nest, Far hid from the pitiless plunderers
In the pathless depths of the parched karroo.
Afar in the desert I love to ride, With the silent bush-boy alone by my side.
Away — away — in the wilderness vast,
Where the white man's foot hath
never passed, And the quivered Coranna or Bech
Hath rarely crossed with his roving clan;
A region of emptiness, howling and drear,
Which man hath abandoned from famine and fear;
Which the snake and the lizard inhabit alone,
With the twilight bat from the yawning stone;
Where grass, nor herb, nor shrub takes root,
Save poisonous thorns that pierce the foot:
And the bitter-melon, for food and drink,
Is the pilgrim's fare by the salt-lake's
A region of drought, where no river glides,
Nor rippling brook with osiered sides;
Where sedgy pool, nor bubbling fount,
Nor tree, nor cloud, nor misty mount, Appears, to refresh the aching eye; But the barren earth and the burning
sky, [round, And the blank horizon, round and Spread — void of living sight or
And here, while the night-winds round me sigh,
And the stars burn bright in the midnight sky, As I sit apart by the desert stone, Like Elijah at Horeb's cave, alone, "A still small voice" comes through the wild
(Like a father consoling his fretful child),
Which banishes bitterness, wrath,
and fear, — Saying — Man is distant, but God is
[From Solomon.] THE WISE MAN IN DARKNESS.
Happy the mortal man, who now at last
Has through the doleful vale of misery passed;
Who to his destined stage has carried on
The tedious load, and laid his burdens down;
Whom the cut brass or mounded marble shows
Victor o'er life and all her train of woes.
He happier yet, who, privileged by
To shorter labor, and a lighter weight,
Received but yesterday the gift of breath,
Ordered to-morrow to return to death.
But oh! beyond description, happiest
Who ne'er must roll on life's tumultuous sea;
Who with blessed freedom from the general doom
Exempt, must never force the teeming womb,
Nor see the sun, nor sink into the tomb.
Who breathes must suffer; and who
thinks must mourn; And he alone is blest who ne'er was
Supreme, all-wise, eternal Potentate!
Sole Author, sole Dispenser of our fate!
Enthroned in light and immortality!
Whom no man fully sees, and none can see!
Original of beings! Power divine! Since that I live, and that I think, is
Benign Creator, let Thy plastic hand Dispose its own effect. Let Thy command
Restore, great Father, Thy instructed
And in my act, may Thy great will be done!
Adelaide Anne Procter.
ONE BY ONE.
One by one the sands are flowing,
Some are coming, some are going,
One by one thy duties wait thee,
Let no future dreams elate thee, Learn thou first what these can teach.
One by one (bright gifts from Heaven)
Joys are sent thee here below; Take them readily when given, Ready too to let them go.
One by one thy griefs shall meet thee.
Do not fear an armed band; One will fade as others greet thee; Shadows passing through the land.
Do not look at life's long sorrow;
See how small each moment's pain, God will help thee for to-morrow,
So each day begin again.
Every hour that fleets so slowly
Luminous the crown, and holy,
Do not linger with regretting,
Nor, the daily toil forgetting,
Hours are golden links, God's token,
Take them, lest the chain be broken Ere the pilgrimage be done.
Judge not; the workings of his brain And of his heart thou canst not see;
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
In God's pure light may only be A scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.
The look, the air, that frets thy sight,
The soul has closed in deadly fight
Whose glance would scorch thy smiling grace,
And cast thee shuddering on thy face!
The fall thou darest to despise,—
has suffered it, that he may rise
Or, trusting less to earthly things.
May henceforth learn to use his wings.
And judge none lost; but wait and see,
With hopeful pity, not disdain:
And love and glory that may raise
My God, I thank Thee who hast made
The earth so bright;
Beauty and light;
Noble and right 1
I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
Circling us round,
Some love is found.
I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain; That shadows fall on brightest hours;
That thorns remain; So that earth's bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.
For Thou who knowest, Lord, how soon
Our weak heart clings,
Yet all with wings,
I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
To long for more:
Not known before.
I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blest,
A perfect rest,—
On Jesus' breast!
A LOST CHORD.
Seated one day at the organ,
And my fingers wandered idly
I do not know what I was playing,
But I struck one chord of music,
It flooded the crimson twilight,
And it lay on my fevered spirit
It quieted pain and sorrow,
It seemed the harmonious echo
It linked all perplexed meanings
Into one perfect peace,
As if it were loth to cease.
I have sought, but I seek it vainly, That one lost chord divine,
That came from the soul of the organ, And entered into mine.
It may be that death's bright angel
It may be that only in heaven
Hush! speak low; tread softly;
Draw the sheet aside; — Yes, she does look peaceful;
With that smile she died.
Yet ster n want and sorrow
Even now you trace
Of the still white face.
Bestless, helpless, hopeless,
Now,— how still the violets
She who toiled and labored
For her daily bread; See the velvet hangings
Of this stately bed.
Yes, they did forgive her;
Brought her home at last; Strove to cover over
Their relentless past.
Ah, they would have given
To see her just look happy
They strove hard to please her,
All you know is deadened,
And besides, one sorrow
Was beyond them: healing
If she had but lingered
Or had this letter reached her
I can almost pity
Even him to-day; Though he let this anguish
Eat her heart away.
Yet she never blamed him: —
How this sorrow happened;
I have read the letter;
Many a weary year,
There are thousands here.
If she could but hear it,
See,— I put the letter
Even these words, so longed for,
Do not stir her rest;
For God judges best.
She needs no more pity,—
But I mourn his fate, When he hears his letter
Came a day too late.
Let thy gold be cast in the furnace,
Do not fear the hungry fire.
And thy gold shall return more precious.
Free from every spot and stain; For gold must be tried by fire, As a heart must be tried by pain!
In the cruel fire of sorrow,
Cast thy heart, do not faint or wail; Let thy hand be firm and steady,
Do not let thy spirit quail: But wait till the trial is over,
And take thy heart again; For as gold is tried by fire.
So a heart must be tried by pain!
I shall know by the gleam and glitter
Of the golden chain you wear, By your heart's calm strength in loving.
Of the fire they have had to bear. Beat on, true heart, forever;
Shine bright, strong golden chain; And bless the cleansing fire,
And the furnace of living pain!
A WOMAN'S QUESTION.
Before I trust my fate to thee,
Before I let thy future give
Before I peril all for thee,
I break all slighter bonds, nor feel
A shadow of regret:
That holds thy spirit yet?
As that which I can pledge to thee?
Does there within thy dimmest
Look deeper still. If thou canst feel
Within thy inmost soul, That thou hast kept a portion back
While I have staked the whole; Let no false pity spare the blow,
But in true mercy tell me so.