me pray? aye, I have prayed!
Each cliff and cave, each rock and glen,
Have heard my ardent lips invade
The ear of Heaven,—again, again.
And in the secret hour of night,
When all-revealing darkness brings
Its brighter world than this of light—
My spirit, borne on wizard wings,
Hath won its upward way afar,
And ranged the shoreless sea of dreams—
Hath touched at many a wheeling star
That shines beyond these solar beams;
And on the trackless deep of thought,
Like Him, who found this Western World,
’Mid doubt and storm my passage wrought,
Till weary fancy’s wing was furled—
And, as the sky-bent eagle, borne
Down by the lightning blast of heaven,
So was my outcast spirit torn,
And backward to its dwelling driven.
Yet not in vain, perchance, my tears,
My penitence, my patient prayer,
For, softened with the flow of years,
My breast is lightened of its care.
And once at night when meteors flew
Down on their glittering wings from heaven,
My mother’s spirit met my view,
Whispering of peace and sin forgiven!
Yet, though my lip to thee confess,
My wrestling bosom’s sweet relief,
Think not I count my crime the less,
That pitying Heaven hath soothed my grief.
No—yon wild rose hath sweet perfume
To scatter on this desert air;
Yet, hid beneath its fragrant bloom,
Sharp thorns are set, the flesh to tear.
And thus, repentance, while it brings
Forgiveness to the broken heart,
Still leaves contrition’s thousand stings
To waken sorrow with their smart.
my story—this my home,—
And I the monarch of the dell—
Above my head, the forest dome,—
Around, the battlements that swell
To heaven, and make my castle strong.
My messengers are winds that lave
Far reedy shores, and bring me song,
Blent with the murmurs of the wave.
And birds of every rainbow hue,
The antelope, and timid deer,
The wild goat mingling with the blue
Of heaven on yonder rock, are here.
And oft at morn, the mocking-bird
Doth greet me with its sweetest lay;
The wood-dove, where the bush is stirred,
Looks from its cover on my way.
I would not break the spider’s thread,—
The buzzing insect dances free;
I crush no toad beneath my tread,—
The lizard crawls in liberty!
I harm no living thing; my sway
Of peace hath soothed the grumbling bear,—
The wolf walks by in open day,
And fawns upon me from his lair.
Aye, and my heart hath bowed so low,
I gather in this solitude,
Joy from the love that seems to flow
From these brute tenants of the leafy wood.