I will fear you, O stars,
I have felt it! Go on, while the world is asleep,
Golden islands, fast moored in God’s infinite deep.
Hark, hark to the words of sweet fashion, the harpings of yore!
How they sang to Him, seer and saint, in the far away lands:
“The heavens are the work of Thy hands;
They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure;
Yea, they all shall wax old,—
But Thy throne is established, O God, and Thy years are made sure;
They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure,—
They shall pass like a tale that is told.”
Doth He answer,
the Ancient of Days?
Will He speak in the tongue and the fashion of men?
(Hist! hist! while the heaven-hung multitudes shine in His praise,
His language of old.) Nay, He spoke with them first; it was then
They lifted their eyes to His throne;
“They shall call on Me, ‘Thou art our Father, our God, Thou alone!’
For I made them, I led them in deserts and desolate ways;
I have found them a Ransom Divine;
I have loved them with love everlasting, the children of men;
I swear by Myself, they are Mine.”
THE MORNING WATCH.
THE COMING IN OF THE “MERMAIDEN.”
The moon is bleached as white as wool,
And just dropping under;
Every star is gone but three,
And they hang far asunder,—
There’s a sea-ghost all in gray,
A tall shape of wonder!
I am not satisfied with sleep,—
The night is not ended.
But look how the sea-ghost comes,
With wan skirts extended,
Stealing up in this weird hour,
When light and dark are blended.
A vessel! To the old pier end
Her happy course she’s keeping;
I heard them name her yesterday:
Some were pale with weeping;
Some with their heart-hunger sighed,
She’s in,—and they are sleeping.
O! now with fancied greetings blest,
They comfort their long aching:
The sea of sleep hath borne to them
What would not come with waking,
And the dreams shall most be true
In their blissful breaking.
The stars are gone, the rose-bloom comes,—
No blush of maid is sweeter;
The red sun, half way out of bed,
Shall be the first to greet her.
None tell the news, yet sleepers wake,
And rise, and run to meet her.
Their lost they have, they hold; from pain
A keener bliss they borrow.
How natural is joy, my heart!
How easy after sorrow!
For once, the best is come that hope
Promised them “to-morrow.”
CONCLUDING SONG OF DAWN.
(Old English Manner.)
A MORN OF MAY.
All the clouds about the sun lay up in golden creases,
(Merry rings the maiden’s voice that sings at dawn of day;)
Lambkins woke and skipped around to dry their dewy fleeces,
So sweetly as she carolled, all on a morn of May.