« PreviousContinue »
I bless thee that thou speakest
Thus to an humble child; The God of Jacob calls to me
In gentle tones and mild; Thine enemies before thy face
Are scattered in dismay: Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth,
And heareth to obey.
THE DANCE OF DEATH.
CHANT ROYAL, AFTER HOLBEIN.
"Contra vim MORTIS Non est medicamen in hortis."
I've stood before thee all my days,
Have ministered to thee;
Thou speakest unto me.
More beautiful than day:
And heareth to obey.
He is the despots' Despot. All must bide,
Later or soon, the message of his might; Princes and potentates their heads must hide,
Touched by the awful sigil of his right; Beside the Kaiser he at eve doth wait And pours a potion in his cup of state;
The stately Queen his bidding must obey;
No keen-eyed Cardinal shall him affray; And to the Dame that wantoneth he saith
“Let be, Sweetheart, to junket and to play . ." There is no king more terrible than Death.
The lusty Lord, rejoicing in his pride,
He draweth down; before the armed Knight
He crosseth the strong Captain in the fight;
Nor for the Abbess' wailing will delay;
No bawling Mendicant shall say him nay;
Nor can the Leech his chilling finger stay
The Wine-bibber,--the Roisterer by night;
Him 'twixt the pledging and the cup shall smite; Woe to the Lender at usurious rate, The hard Rich Man, the hireling Advocate;
Woe to the Judge that selleth right for pay:
Woe to the Thief that like a beast of prey With creeping tread the traveler hurryeth:
These, in their sin, the sudden sword shall slay. There is no king more terrible than Death. He hath no pity,-nor will be denied.
When the low hearth is garnished and bright,
And steals the Infant in the Mother's sight;
Nay, nor the Blind that stumbleth as he may;
Nay, the tired Ploughman,-at the sinking ray, — In the last furrow,-feels an icy breath,
And knows a hand hath turned the team astray. There is no king more terrible than Death.
In this glad time of Spring
Crowning her joys.
-Hymn for a Spring Festival.
He hath no pity. For the new-made Bride,
Blithe with the promise of her life's delight, That wanders gladly by her Husband's side,
He with the clatter of his drum doth fright; He scares the Virgin at the convent gate. The Maid half-won, the Lover passionate;
He hath no grace for weakness or decay;
The tender Wife, the Widow bent and gray,The feeble Sire whose footsteps faltereth,
All these he leadeth by the lonely way There is no king more terrible than Death.
When fear's abroad on sea, on plain, on lake,
When wounded patriots fall, with spent canteens
And shattered swords, upon the wrecked fascines, When everything that is but injureth, Then he applies his balm, that soothes and
cleans: There is no friend more generous than Death.
Youth, for whose ear and monishing, of late
Have thou thy joy of living and be gay;
But know not less that there must come a day, — Aye, and perchance e'en now it hasteneth, –
When thine own heart shall speak to thee and
Yea, in despite of vessel weakly manned,
Amid the lightning, wind, or hail, or rain,
Yea, mock at all disaster we may deign,
We have a friend, o'er seers, or kings, or deans,
Who, though the world to chaos drear careens, Yet with us lingereth and comforteth,
And with his touch our souls anew impregns: There is no friend more generous than Death.
There is no king more terrible than Death.
THE PRAISE OF DEATH.
All wants and woes by him are known and
spanned; His mercy knoweth never halt or wane. He hath no choice; the lowly and the grand
Alike win answer praying at his fane. His touch is light as 'twere the snow's soft fake, But O! no other touch such change can make, Such change from wintry wastes to summer
greens, From wails of woe to pleasure's highest pæans, As that light touch he giveth when he saith:
“Go where nor gloom nor sorrow intervenes!” There is no friend more generous than Death.
He is the Friend of friends. In his chill hand
Is cooling for the fever and the pain
To strive against all occult powers in vain.
Is peace for warring kings and weeping queens,
Is dreamland's glory after earth's drear scenes, Is freedom from the fluttering, pain-filled breath,
Is love, is joy, instead of hate's gangrenes: There is no friend more generous than Death.
Friend, Death is our friend! The weary.he doth
take Where nevermore hearts toil, or long, or quake, Where peace the soul from earth and sorrow
weans, Where being ever greater glory gleans, Where, free from dross, the immortal reveleth
O'er flowerful meads in heaven's wide demesnes: There is no friend more generous than Death.
HENRY A. Van FredeNBERG.
Sweet gifts hath he for all who make demand:
The weary wealthy, they with mark of Cain Upon the forehead, they of famine's band,
All they who glare and rant in glee insane, They who in flames faint at the torturing stake, Through hatred or for holy conscience' sake,
They who deplore the deed that life demeans,
They who have tired of earth's illusive sheens, Come suppliant to this wraith who wavereth,
And he, assenting, to their pleading leans: There is no friend more generous than Death.
A NATIONAL HYMN.
When pestilence is lowering o'er the land,
When horror pallid, grisly, sole doth reign, When foes invade with sword and ruthless brand,
When grief doth every aching heart o'erstrain,
Hail, Freedom! Thy bright crest
Mirror the glories of a world thine own!
Shows us thy paths with deathless flowers strown;
Sweet is the toil of peace,
To loyal men who live by Freedom's laws;
To freemen sworn to save a rightful cause.
WHAT MY LOVER SAID.
Welded in war's fierce flame,
The sacred Constitution was ordained;
An age has passed and left it yet unstained,
By the merest chance, in the twilight gloom
In the orchard path he met me;
Oh I tried, but he would not let me.
With my face bent down above it, While he took my hand as he whispering said, (How the clover lifted each pink, sweet head, To listen to all that my lover said;
Oh, the clover in bloom, I love it!)
Honor the few who shared
To face war's desperate tide at the full flood;
blood, They fell, but o'er their glorious grave Floats free the banner of the cause they died to
In the high, wet grass went the path to hide,
And the low, wet leaves hung over;
In the arms of my steadfast lover.
While he closed the path before me, And he looked down into my eyes and said, (How the leaves bent down from the boughs o'er
head, To listen to all that my lover said,
Oh, the leaves hanging lowly o'er me !)
In radiance heavenly fair
That flag, that never stooped from victory's
In war's grand agony were sanctified
Had he moved aside but a little way,
I could surely then have passed him; And he knew I never could wish to stay, And would not have heard what he had to say,
Could I only aside have cast him.