Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE PICTURE BIBLE.

(Ferdinand Freiligrath.)
Thou old and time-worn volume,

Thou friend of childhood's age,
How frequently dear hands for me

Have turned the pictured page!
How oft, his sports forgetting,

The gazing boy was borne
With joyous heart, by thy sweet art,

To tread the land of morn.1
Thou didst fling wide the portals

Of many a distant zone;
As in a glass I saw them pass,

Faces and forms unknown !
For a new world I thank thee!

The camel wandering free,
The desert calm, and the stately palm,

And the Bedouin's tent, I see.
And thou didst bring them near me,

Hero, and saint, and sage,
Whose deeds were told by the seers of old

On the book of books' dread page;
And the fair and bride-like maidens

Recorded in thy lines-
Well could I trace each form of grace

Amid thy rich designs.
And I saw the hoary patriarchs

Of old and simple days,
An angel-band, on either hand,

Kept watch upon their ways;

[ocr errors]

1 - The land of morning." By this bea Germans designate the East.

iful expression the I saw their meek herds drinking

By fount or river-shore, When mute I stood, in thoughtful mood,

Thine open page before. Methinks I see thee lying

Upon thy well-known chair ; Mine eager gaze once more surveys

The scenes unfolded there
As, years ago, I saw them,

With wonder and delight,
Each form renews its faded hues,

Fresh, beautiful, and bright.

Again I see them troining

In ceaseless shapes of change; Bright and grotesque each Arabesque,

Mazy and wild and strange;
Each fair design encircling

In varied shape and dress,
A blossom now, and then a bough,

But never meaningless.
As in old times, entreating,

I seek my mother's knee, That she may teach the name of each,

And what their meanings be; I learn, for every picture,

A text, a verse, a psalm ; With tranquil smile, my sire the while

Watches, well-pleased and calm,
Ye seem but as a fable,

O days that are gone by ;
That Bible old, with clasps of gold-

That young believing eye

Those loved and loving parents

That childhood blithe and gayThat calm content, so innocent

All—all are passed away!

TO THE RAINBOW.-(Campbell.)
Triumphal arch, that fill'st the sky

When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud Philosophy

To teach me what thou art.-
Still seem, as to my childhood's sight,

A midway station given,
For happy spirits to alight

Betwixt the earth and heaven.
Can all that optics teach unfold

Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold

Hid in thy radiant bow ?
When Science from Creation's face

Enchantment's veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place

To cold material laws !
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,

But words of the Most High,
Have told why first thy robe of beams

Was woven in the sky.
When o'er the green undeluged earth

Heaven's covenant thou didst shine, How came the world's grey fathers forth,

To watch thy sacred sign!

And when its yellow lustre smiled

O'er mountains yet untrod, Each mother held aloft her child,

To bless the bow of God.

Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,

The first-made anthem rang
On earth, deliver'd from the deep,

And the first poet sang.

Nor ever shall the Muse's eye

Unraptured greet thy beam. Theme of primeval prophecy,

Be still the prophet's theme ! The earth to thee her incense yields,

The lark thy welcome sin When glittering in the freshen’d fields,

The snowy mushroom springs. How glorious is thy girdle cast

O'er mountain, tower, and town, Or mirror'd in the ocean vast,

A thousand fathoms down !

As fresh in yon horizon dark,

As young thy beauties seem, As when the eagle from the ark

First sported in thy beam.

For, faithful to its sacred page,

Heaven still rebuilds thy span, Nor lets the type grow pale with age,

That first spoke peace to man.

MOONLIGHT SCENE. MERCHANT OF

VENICE.—(Shakespeare.) Act V. SCENE I.-Belmont, The Avenue to Portia's

House.

Enter Lorenzo and Jessica.
Lor. The moon shines bright :-in such a night

as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
And they did make no noise,—in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Trojan walls,
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.
Jes.

In such a night
Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew,
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,
And ran dismay'd away.
Lor.

In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.
Fes.

In such a night
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.
Lor.

In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice,
As far as Belmont.
Fes.

In such a night
Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
And ne'er a true one.
Lor.

In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.

« PreviousContinue »