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WRITTEN AT THE FALLS OF THE PASSAIC.
A LONE wayfarer from the northern land
I press thy dizzy verge, O rushing stream,
gaze far down the terrible gorge, where thou
Art madly plunging, - and my heart is full.
I have looked down where broader cataracts
Rush with a hoarser thunder, and have gone
Bearing but idle images away.
But thou, O sacred stream, within my
Hast held thy place with unforgotten things,
Ev'n from the morning light of memory,
Linked with her name who perished in thy waves. (?)
And now thou givest to my tearful gaze
A voice of sympathy, that shall henceforth
Re-echo in my heart, not as a tone
Of simple and glad beauty, but a voice
Of majesty, sublime in tenderness!
That tale oi' terror from my mother's lips,
That quivered telling it, - the fearful plunge
Down the wild steep to whirling depths below,
That quenched forever the sweet life of one
So fair, so beautiful, — the one lone flower
That breathed its fragrance on a sister's path, -
How hast thou told it mournfully again
To the sad listener bending o'er thy brink !
I ask thee and no word is answered — WHY?
Why from the bosom of that ancient home
Went forth its idol and its best beloved,
A bride but then, a bridal gift to thee? (m)
Thou answerest not. Ev'n as thou wrappest up
Thy waters when thou plungest, God bath wrapped
His providence in clouds, nor gives thee leave
To unveil the mystery. But as within
Thy pillared mists, the sunbeam writes itself
In seven-foll lines of promise and of hope,
That arch to heaven, so Faith with golden light
Traces the bow of promise on God's cloud,
And marks her radiant pathway to the skies.
And thou, green cedar, waving o'er the brink, (n)
Planted of God to mark her stepping stone
From earth to heaven, - breath perennial
Thy choicest fragrance on this hallowed air,
And wear thy verdurous crown unperishing ;
Even as her memory liveth, beautiful one,
Fadeless and fragrant in our heart of hearts.
And thou, sweet spirit, by this gateway gone,
Comest thou hither on the viewless wing
When shadows of the evening fall, as now?
My spirit yearneth toward thee, and my song
Would bear its holiest offering, as is meet
To such as thou. O chide not if I bring
More than a stranger's gift; if in my song
There breathes the burden of another's heart,
Stricken with terror in the dreadful hour
Such tidings came. The voice of eloquence
That charmed thy willing ear and won thy love,
And liers who blessed thee with maternal care,
Call thce no longer.
Down fathoms unnumbered,
Beneath the dark sea, Where thousands have slumbered,
There slumbereth he. Above the cold billow
No marble may rise, Nor cypress, nor willow,
May tell where he lies.
Yet hearts have enshrined him,
And love fondly keeps
An eye that shall find him,
Wherever he sleeps.
The wild waves are tramping,
The rude tempest blows,
Yet angels encamping,
Guard all his repose.
His rest he is taking,
'Till glory's bright morn Shall bring his awakening
Then mourn not to leave him,
Since Mercy hath said,
• Your faith shall receive him
Again from the dead.'
Light from these sombre halls,
Hath gone, dear Mary, with thy sunny smile,
And the chill presence of a cloud, the while,
Around me falls.
Morning in golden streams,
Pours in upon me from the rising day, -
But there's no gladness in its brightest ray,
Without thy beams.
Evening with lighted lamps, To cheer
solitude in vain ; The falling darkness, like an April rain
My spirit damps.
I wait your coming long, Wife of my youth, and those dear babes of ours ; Welcome your light again within these bowers,
Welcome your song.