Page images
PDF

And never king's or conqueror's brow
Wore higher look than his did now.

He bent beneath the headsman's stroke

With an uncovered eye;
A wild shout from the numbers broke

Who thronged to see him die.
It was a people's loud acclaim,
The voice of anger and of shame—

A nation's funeral cry;
Rome's wail above her only son, .
Her patriot, and her latest one.

L. E. Landon.

FLIGHT OF XERXES.

I Saw him on the battle-eve,

When like a king he bore him;
Proud hosts in glittering helm and greave,

And prouder chiefs before him:
The warrior and the warrior's deeds,
The morrow and the morrow's meeds—
No daunting thoughts came o'er him:
He looked around him, and his eye
Defiance flashed to earth and sky!

He looked on ocean—its broad breast

Was covered with his fleet;
On earth—and saw from east to west

His bannered millions meet;
While rock and glen, and cave and coast,
Shook with the war-cry of that host,

The thunder of their feet!
He heard the imperial echoes ring—
He heard, and felt himself a king!

I saw him next alone; nor camp
Nor chief his steps attended;

Nor banner's blaze, nor courser's tramp
With war-cries proudly blended.

He stood alone, whom Fortune high
So lately seemed to deify;

He who with Heaven contended
Fled, like a fugitive and slave,—
Behind the foe, before the wave!

He stood—fleet, army, treasure gone,

Alone, and in despair;
While wave and wind swept ruthless on,

For they were monarchs there;
And Xerxes in a simple bark,
Where late his thousand ships were dark,

Must all thy fury dare ;—

Thy glorious revenge was this,

Thy trophy, deathless Salamis!

Jewsbury.

THE FUGITIVE SLAVE.

He stood, all bleeding on the bank, above the frothing river; He heard the wild waves roaring past, he saw their white

crests quiver; He knew that far o'er that billowy war, hands were waiting

to deliver. Dark was the might of the ocean flood, and thunder-voiced

the roar With which the broad St. Lawrence leaped by the green

Canadian shore; But close behind, the gusty wind the planter's curses bore. The fugitive raised his tearful gaze wild gleaming to the

sky:— "O Heaven!" he murmured, "give me strength to reach

yon shore, or die: From whip, from chain, from slavery's stain and bondman's

bread I fly. I'm weak with hunger—spent with toil—for long hath been

my flight; And cruel eyes have traced my steps, unceasing, day and

night: Have for me care, whilst thus I dare yon battling water's

might."

They came with blood-stained lash and gun; they stood

above the flood, And shook on high the felon whip, thick with its clotted

blood; But the dauntless slave, 'mid the foaming wave, laughed at

their baffled mood. He reached the bank, he sprang to land;—'twas British soil

he trod! The soil where ne'er a bondman's print defiles the holy sod; But the eye turns up, like a wild-flower's cup, free, glad, and

light, to God! He looked to earth, he looked to heaven, he laughed in

frenzied glee; He felt the new-sprung power within, bestirring boundingly; And he shouted high, to earth and sky, "Free!—before

Heaven free!" Au Arab steed on a desert plain; a bark on the blue seawave; An eagle soaring, his tawny wing in the golden light to lave;— He was nobler than all—he had shivered the thrall, and

spurned the name of a slave!

Baine.

SONG OF LABOUR.

All honour to the hard-worn hands

That earth-born toil are bearing!
And honour to the sturdy bands

That earth's cold crusts are sharing!
By forge and field their arms they wield,

By bench and anvil toiling;
In serried strength, our country's shield,

They keep her flag from soiling.

The good cordwainer sits him down

Upon his throne of leather,
And covets not the tyrant's crown,

Where clustered jewels gather:
High prizes he the soul that's free,

The mind by power unbroken;

To him loud mirth and jocund glee
Are freedom's language spoken.

'" Ye ho! ye ho!" the seamen shout

From every crested billow;
"Ye ho! heigh ho!" each watch about,

Like music, lulls his pillow:
And 'midst the storm his heart is warm,

The light of home is burning,
And kindly thoughts like blossoms swarm,

With genial spring returning.

Up from the forge the sparkling blaze

Lights on the smith to glory;
The yeoman stout, with morning's rays,

Shakes down night's tear-drops rosy;
And solid health with solid wealth

Keeps step with footfall steady;
Nor comes old age with creeping stealth,

But finds them ripe and ready.

Oh! all things labour that have birth,

From mote to towering mountain;—
The oak that springs from out the earth,

The water in its fountain:
Each blazing star, that beams afar,

Its motion ceases never;
And myriad worlds of spirits are

To good works bound for ever.

Then honour to the lusty hands

That earth-born toil are bearing! And honour to the sturdy bands

That earth's cold crusts are sharing! By forge and field their arms they wield,

By bench and anvil toiling;
In serried strength, our country's shield,

They keep her flag from soiling.

I. P. Sbkkard.

WHAT IS PRAYER?

Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,

Uttered or unexpressed; The motion of a hidden fire

That trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh,

The falling of a tear;
The upward glancing'of the eye,

When none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech

That infant lips can try;
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach

The Majesty on high.

Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,

Returning from his ways;
While angels in their songs rejoice,

And cry, "Behold, he prays!"

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,

The Christian's native air;
His watchword at the gates of death—

He enters heaven with prayer.

The saints in prayer appear as one,

In word, and deed, and mind; While with the Father and the Son

Sweet fellowship they find.

Nor prayer is made by man alone—

The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on the eternal throne,

For mourners intercedes.

0 Thou, by whom we come to God,

The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer Thyself hast trode:

Lord, teach us how to pray!

MONTOOMERT.

« PreviousContinue »