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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 Bechuan
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 brink;
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,
And blank horizon, round and round,
Spread,-void of living sight or sound.
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 near!"
203.—THE INCHCAPE ROCK.
No stir in the air, no stir in the sea,--
The ship was still as she might be;
Her sails from heaven received no motion;
Her keel was steady in the ocean.
Without either sign or sound of their shock,
The waves flowed over the Inchcape rock;
So little they rose, so little they fell,
They did not move the Inchcape bell.
The holy abbot of Aberbrothok
Had floated that bell on the Inchcape rock;
On the waves of the storm it floated and swung,
And louder and louder its warning rung.
When the rock was hid by the tempest's swell,
The mariners heard the warning bell ;
And then they knew the perilous rock,
And blessed the priest of Aberbrothok.
The sun in heaven shone so gay,—
All things were joyful on that day;
The sea-birds screamed as they sported round,
And there was pleasure in their sound.
The float of the Inchcape bell was seen,
A darker speck on the ocean green;
Sir Ralph, the rover, walked his deck,
As he fixed his eye on the darker speck.
He felt the cheering power of spring,–
It made him whistle, it made him sing;
His heart was mirthful to excess;
But the rover's mirth was wickedness.
His eye was on the bell and float:
Quoth he, “My men, pull out the boat;
And row me to the Inchcape rock,
And I'll plague the priest of Aberbrothok."
The boat is lowered, the boatmen row,
And to the Inchcape rock they go;
Sir Ralph bent over from the boat,
And cut the warning bell from the float.
Down sank the bell with a gurgling sound;
The bubbles rose and burst around.
Quoth Sir Ralph, “The next who comes to the rock
Will not bless the priest of Aberbrothok.”
Sir Ralph, the rover, sailed away, -
He scoured the seas for many a day;
And now, grown rich with plundered store,
He steers his course to Scotland's shore.
So thick a haze o'erspreads the sky
They could not see the sun on high;
The wind had blown a gale all day;
At evening it hath died away.
On the deck the rover takes his stand;
So dark it is they see no land.
Quoth Sir Ralph, “It will be lighter soon,
For there is the dawn of the rising moon.'
“Canst hear,” said one, “the breakers roar?
For yonder, methinks should be the shore.
Now where we are I cannot tell,
But I wish I could hear the Inchcape bell."
They hear no sound; the swell is strong;
Though the wind hath fallen they drift along;
Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock,-
Alas! it is the Inchcape rock!
Sir Ralph, the rover, tore his hair;
He beat himself in wild despair.
The waves rush in on every side;
The ship is sinking beneath the tide.
But ever in his dying fear
One dreadful sound he seemed to hear,--
A sound as if with the Inchcape bell
The Evil Spirit was ringing his knell.
True worth is in being, not seeming
In doing each day that goes by
Some little good—not in the dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There's nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.
We get back our mete as we measure-
We cannot do wrong and feel right;
Ņor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight. The air for the wing of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren; But alway the path that is narrow
And straight, for the children of men. 'Tis not in the pages of story
The heart of its ills to beguile,
Though he who makes courtship to Glory
Gives all that he hath for her smile.
For when from her heights he has won her,
Alas! it is only to prove
That nothing's so sacred as honor,
And nothing so loyal as love!
We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses,
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small,
But just in the doing; and doing
As we would be done by, is all.
Through envy, through malice, through hating,
Against the world early and late,
No jot of our courage abating-
Our part is to work and to wait.
And slight is the sting of his trouble
Whose winnings are less than his worth;
For he who is honest is noble,
Whatever his fortunes or birth.
205.—THE BURIAL OF MOSES.
MRS. C. F. ALEXANDER. By Nebo's lonely mountain, on this side Jordan's wave, In a vale in the land of Moab there lies a lonely grave; But no man dug that sepulchre, and no man saw it e'er, For the angels of God upturned the sod and laid the dead man there. That was the grandest funeral that ever passed on earth ; But no man heard the tramping, or saw the train go forth ; Noiselessly as the daylight comes when the night is done, And the crimson streak on ocean's cheek grows into the great sun, Noiselessly as the spring-time her crown of verdure weaves, And all the trees on all the hills open their thousand leavesSo, without sound of music or voice of them that wept, Silently down from the mountain crown the great procession swept. Perchance the bald old eagle, on gray Beth peor's height, Out of his rocky eyrie looked on the wondrous sight; Perchance the lion, stalking, still shuns the hallowed spot ; For beast and bird have seen and heard that which man knoweth Lo, when the warrior dieth, his comrades in the war,
(not. With arms reversed and muffled drum, follow the funeral car. They show the banners taken, they tell his battles won, And after him lead his masterless steed while peals the minute gun. Amid the noblest of the land men lay the sage to rest, And give the bard an honored place, with costly marble dressed, In the great minster transept, where lights like glories fall, And the choir sings, and the organ rings along the emblazoned wall. This was the bravest warrior that ever buckled sword; This the most gifted poet that ever breathed a word;
And never earth's philosopher traced with his golden pen,
On the deathless page, truths half so sage as he wrote down
And had he not high honor ? the hillside for his pall;
To lie in state while angels wait with stars for tapers tall ;
And the dark rock pines, like tossing plumes,over his bier to wave;
And God's own hand, in that lonely land, to lay him in the grave.
In that deep grave, without a name, whence his uncoffined clay
Shall break again, O wondrous thought ! before the judgment day,
And stand, with glory wrapped around, on the hills he never trod,
And speak of the strife that won our life with the incarnate Son
of God. O lonely tomb in Moab's land, o dark Bethpeor's hill, Speak to these curious hearts of ours, and teach them to be still. God hath his mysteries of grace,- ways that we cannot tell; He hides them deep, like the secret sleep of him he loved so well.
When the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods,
Sage beneath the spreading oak
Šat the Druid, hoary chief;
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage and full of grief.
“ Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
'Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.
“Rome shall perish : write that word
In the blood that she has spilt,-
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
“Rome, for empire far renowned,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground:
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates !
“Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name;
Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,
Harmony the path to fame.