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Therefore take from henceforth, as guides in the paths of existence,
Prayer, with their eyes raised to heaven, and Innocence, bride of man's childhood.
Innocence, child beloved, is a guest from the world of the blessed,
Beautiful, and in her hand a lily; on life's roaring billows
Swings she in safety, she heedeth them not, in the ship she is sleeping.
Calmly she gazes around in the turmoil of men; in the desert
Angels descend and minister unto her; she herself knoweth
Nought of her glorious attendance; but follows faithful and humble,
Follows so long as she may her friend; O do not reject her,
For she cometh from God and she holdeth the keys of the heavens.--
Prayer is Innocence' friend ; and willingly flieth incessant
"Twixt the earth and the sky, the carrier-pigeon of heaven.
Son of Eternity, fettered in Time, and an exile, the Spirit
Tugs at his chains evermore, and struggles like flames ever upward.
Still he recalls with emotion his Father's manifold mansions,
Thinks of the land of his fathers, where blossomed more freshly the flowers,
Shone a more beautiful sun, and he played with the winged angels.
Then grows the earth too narrow, too close; and homesick for heaven
Longs the wanderer again ; and the Spirit's longings are worship;
Worship is called luis most beautiful hour, and its tongue is entreaty.
Ah! when the infinite burden of life descendeth upon us,
Crushes to earth our hope, and, under the earth, in the grave-yard, -
Then it is good to pray unto God; for his sorrowing children
Turns he ne'er from his door, but he heals and helps and consoles them.
Yet is it better to pray when all things are prosperous with us,
Pray in fortunate days, for life's most beautiful Fortune
Kneels down before the Eternal's throne; and, with hands interfolded,
Praises thankful and moved the only Giver of blessings.
Or do ye know, ye children, one blessing that comes not from Heaven?
What has mankind forsooth, the poor! that it has not received ?
Therefore fall in the dust and pray! The seraphs adoring
Cover with pinions six their face in the glory of him who
Hung his masonry pendant on nought, when the world he created.
Earth declareth his might, and the firmament uttereth his glory.
Races blossom and die, and stars fall downward from heaven,
Downward like withered leaves ; at the last stroke of midnight, millenniums
Lay themselves down at his feet, and he sees them, but counts them as nothing.
Who shall stand in his presence? The wrath of the judge is terrific,
Casting the insolent down at a glance. When he speaks in his anger
Hillocks skip like the kid, and mountains leap like the roe-buck.
Yet,--why are ye afraid, ye children? This awful avenger,
Ah! is a merciful God! God's voice was not in the earthquake,
Not in the fire, nor the storm, but it was in the whispering breezes.
Love is the root of creation ; God's essence; worlds without number
Lie in his bosom like children ; he made them for this purpose only.
Only to love and be loved again, he breathed forth his spirit
Into the slumbering dust, and upright standing, it laid its
Hand on its heart, and felt it was warm with a flame out of heaven.
Quench, O quench not that flame! It is the breath of your being.
Love is life, but hatred is death. Not father nor mother
Loved you, as God has loved you; for 'twas that you may be happy
Gave he his only Son. When he bowed down his head in the death-hour
Solemnised Love its triumph; the sacrifice then was completed.
Lo! then was rent on a sudden the vail of the temple, dividing
Earth and heaven apart, and the dead from their sepulchres rising
Whispered with pallid lips and low in the ears of each other
Th' answer, but dreamed of before, to creation's enigma,-Atonement !
Depths of Love are Atonement's depths, for Love is atonement.
Therefore, child of mortality, love thou the merciful Father;
Wish what the Holy One wishes, and not from fear, but affection;
Fear is the virtue of slaves; but the heart that loveth is willing;
Perfect was before God, and perfect is Love, and Love only.
Lovest thou God as thou oughtest, then lovest thou likewise thy brethren;
One is the sun in heaven, and one, only one, is Love also.
Bears not each human figure the godlike stamp on his forehead?
Readest thou not in his face thine origin? Is he not sailing
Lost like thyself on an ocean unknown, and is he not guided
By the same stars that guide thee? Why shouldst thou hate then thy brother?
Hateth he thee, forgive! For 'tis sweet to stammer one letter
Of the Eternal's language ;-on earth it is called Forgiveness !
Knowest thou Him, who forgave, with the crown of thorns round his temples?
Earnestly prayed for his foes, for his murderers? Say, dost thou know him?
Ah! thou confessest his name, so follow likewise his example,
Think of thy brother no ill, but throw a veil over his failings,
Guide the erring aright; for the good, the heavenly Shepherd
Took the lost lamb in his arms, and bore it back to its mother.
This is the fruit of Love, and it is by its fruits that we know it.
Love is the creature's welfare, with God; but Love among mortals
Is but an endless sigh! He longs, and endures, and stands waiting,
Suffers, and yet rejoices, and smiles with tears on his eyelids.
Hope, --so is called upon earth, his recompense, -Hope, the befriending,
Does what she can, for she points evermore up to heaven, and faithful
Plunges her anchor's peak in the depths of the ave, and beneath it
Paints a more beautiful world, a dim, but a sweet play of shadows !
Races, better than we, have leaned on her wavering promise,
Having nought else but Hope. Then praise we our Father in heaven,
Him, who has given us more: for to us has Hope been transfigured,
Groping no longer in night; she is Faith, she is living assurance.
Faith is enlightened Hope; she is light, is the eye of affection,
Dreams of the longing interprets, and carves their visions in marble.
Faith is the sun of life; and her countenance shines like the Hebrew's,
For she has looked upon God; the heaven on its stable foundation
Draws she with chains down to earth, and the New Jerusalem sinketh
Splendid with portals twelve in golden vapours descending.
There enraptured she wanders, and looks at the figures majestic,
Fears not the winged crowd, in the midst of them all is her homestead.
Therefore love and believe; for works will follow spontaneous,
Even as day does the sun; the Right from the Good is an offspring,
Love in a bodily shape; and Christian works are no more than
Animate Love and faith, as flowers are the animate spring-tide.
Works do follow us all unto God; there stand and bear witness
Not what they seemed, -but what they were only. Blessed is he who
Hears their confession secure; they are mute upon earth until Death's hand
Opens the mouth of the silent. Ye children, does Death e'er alarm you?
Death is the brother of Love, twin-brother is he, and is only
More austere to behold. With a kiss upon lips that are fading
Takes he the soul and departs, and rocked in the arms of affection,
Places the ransomed child, new born, 'fore the face of its father.
Sounds of its coming already I hear,--see dimly his pinions,
Swart as the night, but with stars strewn upon them! I fear not before him.
Death is only release, and in mercy is mute. On his bosom
Freer breathes, in its coolness, my breast; and face to face standing,
Look I on God as he is, sun unpolluted by vapours;
Look on the light of the ages I loved, the spirits majestic,
Nobler, better than I ; they stand by the throne all transfigured,
Vested'in white, and with harps of gold, and are singing an anthem,
Writ in the climate of heaven, in the language spoken by angels.
You, in like manner, ye children beloved, he one day shall gather,
Never forgets he the weary ;-then welcome, ye loved ones, hereafter !
Meanwhile forget not the keeping of vows, forget not the promise,
Wander from holiness onward to holiness ; earth shall ye heed not;
Earth is but dust and heaven is light; I have pledged you to heaven.
God of the Universe, hear me! thou fountain of Love everlasting,
Hark to the voice of thy servant! I send up my prayer to thy heaven!
Let me hereafter not miss at thy throne one spirit of all these,
Whom thou hast given me here! I have loved them all like a father.
May they bear witness for me, that I taught them the way of salvation,
Faithful, so far as I knew of thy word; again may they know me,
Fall on their Teacher's breast, and before thy face may I place them,
Pure as they now are, but only more tried, and exclaiming with gladness,
Father, lo! I am here, and the children whom thou hast given me !
Weeping he spake in these words; and now at the beck of the old man
Knee against knee they knitted a wreath round the altar's enclosure.
Kneeling he read them the prayers of the consecration, and softly
With him the children read; at the close, with tremulous accents,
Asked he the peace of heaven, a benediction upon them.
Now should have ended his task for the day; the following Sunday
Was for the young appointed to eat of the Lord's holy Supper.
Sudden, as struck from the clouds, stood the Teacher silent and laid his
Hand on his forehead, and cast his looks upward; while thoughts high and holy
Flew through the midst of his soul, and his eyes glanced with wonderful brightness.
“On the next Sunday, who knows! perhaps I shall rest in the grave-yard !
Some one perhaps of yourselves, a lily broken untimely,
Bow down his head to the earth; why delay I? the hour is accomplished.
Warm is the heart;-I will so! for to-day grows the harvest of heaven.
What I began accomplish I now; for what failing therein is
I, the old man, will answer to God and the reverend father.
Say to me only, ye children, ye denizens new-come in heaven,
Are ye ready this day to eat of the bread of Atonement?
What it denoteth, that know ye full well, I have told it you often.
Of the new covenant a symbol it is, of Atonement a token,
Stablished between earth and heaven. Man by his sins and transgressions
Far has wandered from God, from his essence. 'Twas in the beginning,
Fast by the Tree of Knowledge he fell, and it hangs its crown o'er the
Fall to this day; in the Thought is the Fall; in the Heart the Atonement.
Infinite is the fall, the Atonement infinite likewise.
See! behind me, as far as the old man remembers, and forward,
Far as Hope in her flight can reach with her wearied pinions,
Sin and Atonement incessant go through the life-time of mortals.
Brought forth is sin full-grown; but Atonement sleeps in our bosoms
Still as the cradled babe; and dreams of heaven and of angels,
Cannot awake to sensation; is like the tones in the harp's strings,
Spirits imprisoned, that wait evermore the deliverer's finger.
Therefore, ye children beloved, descended the Prince of Atonement,
Woke the slumberer from sleep, and she stands now with eyes all resplendent,
Bright as the vault of the sky, and battles with sin and o'ercomes her.
Downward to earth he came and transfigured, thence reascended,
Not from the heart in like wise, for there he stills lives in the Spirit,
Loves and atones evermore. So long as Time is, is Atonement.
Therefore with reverence receive this day her visible token.
Tokens are dead if the things do not live. The light everlasting
Unto the blind man is not, but is born of the eye that has vision.
Neither in bread nor in wine, but in the heart that is hallowed
Lieth forgiveness enshrined; the intention alone of amendment
Fruits of the earth ennobles to heavenly things, and removes all
Sin and the guerdon of sin. Only Love with his arms wide extended,
Penitence weeping and praying; the Will that is tried, and whose gold flows
Purified forth from the flames; in a word, mankind by Atonement
Breaketh Atonement's bread, and drinketh Atonement's wine-cup.
But he who cometh up hither, unworthy, with hate in his bosom,
Scoffing at men and at God, is guilty of Christ's blessed body,
And the Redeemer's blood! To himself he eateth and drinketh
Death and doom! And from this, preserve us, thou heavenly Father!
Are ye ready, ye children, to eat of the bread of Atonement ?"
Thus with emotion he asked, and together answered the children
Yes! with deep sobs interrupted. Then read he the due supplications,
Read the form of Communion, and in chimed the organ and anthem;
O! Holy Lamb of God, who takest away our transgressions,
Hear us! give us thy peace! have mercy, have mercy upon us !
Th' old man, with trembling hand, and heavenly pearls on his eyelids,
Filled now the chalice and paten, and dealt round the mystical symbols.
O! then seemed it to me, as if God, with the broad eye of mid-day,
Clearer looked in at the windows, and all the trees in the churchyard
Bowed down their summits of green, and the grass on the graves 'gan to shiver.
But in the children (I noted it well; I knew it) there ran a
Tremor of holy rapture along their icy-cold members.
Decked like an altar before them, there stood the green earth, and above it
Heaven opened itself, as of old before Stephen; they saw there
Radiant in glory the Father, and on his right hand the Redeemer.
Under them hear they the clang of harpstrings, and angels from gold clouds
Beckon to them like brothers, and fan with their pinions of purple.
Closed was the Teacher's task, and with heaven in their hearts and their faces,
Up rose the children all, and each bowed him, weeping full sorely,
Downward to kiss that reverend hand, but all of them pressed he
Moved to his bosom, and laid, with a prayer, his hands full of blessings,
Now on the holy breast, and now on the innocent tresses.
THE TWO LOCKS OF HAIR.
FROM THE GERMAN OF PFIZER. A YOUTH, light-hearted and content,
I wander through the world; Here, Arab-like, is pitched my tent
And straight again is furled.
Yet oft I dream, that once a wife
Close in my heart was locked,
And in the sweet repose of life
A blessed child I rocked.
I wake! Away that dream,-away!
Too long did it remain !
So long, that both by night and day
It ever comes again.
The end lies ever in my thought;
To a grave so cold and deep
The mother beautiful was brought;
Then dropt the child asleep.
But now the dream is wholly o'er,
I bathe mine eyes and see ;
And wander through the world once
A youth so light and free.
Two locks,-and they are wondrous
Left me that vision mild ;
The brown is from the mother's
The blond is from the child.
And when I see that lock of gold,
Pale grows the evening-red;
And when the dark lock I behold,
I wish that I were dead.
FROM THE GERMAN.
O HEMLOCK-TREE! O hemlock-tree ! how faithful are thy branches !
Green not alone in summer time,
But in the winter's frost and rime!
O hemlock-tree! O hemlock-tree! how faithful are thy branches!
O maiden fair! O maiden fair! how faithless is thy bosom!
To love me in prosperity,
And leave me in adversity!
O maiden fair! O maiden fair! how faithless is thy bosom!
The nightingale, the nightingale, thou tak’st for thine example!
So long as summer laughs she sings,
But in the autumn spreads her wings,
The nightingale, the nightingale, thou tak’st for thine example !
The meadow brook, the meadow brook, is mirror of thy falsehood!
It flows so long as falls the rain,
In drought its springs soon dry again.
The meadow brook, the meadow brook, is mirror of thy falsehood !
ANNIE OF THARAW.
FROM THE LOW GERMAN OF SIMON DACH.
ANNIE of Tharaw, my true love of old,
She is my life, and my goods, and my gold.
Annie of Tharaw, her heart once again
To me has surrendered in joy and in pain.
Annie of Tharaw, my riches, my good,
Thou, O my soul, my flesh and my blood !
Then come the wild weather, come sleet or come snow,
We will stand by each other, however it blow.
Oppression, and sickness, and sorrow, and pain,
Shall be to our true love as links to the chain.
As the palm-tree standeth so straight and so tall,
The more the hail beats, and the more the rains fall,
So love in our hearts shall grow mighty and strong,
Through crosses, through sorrows, through manifold wrong.
Shouldst thou be torn from me to wander alone
In a desolate land where the sun is scarce known,-