But voices low and gentle,
And timid glances shy,
That seem for aid parental
To sue all wistfully,
Still pressing, longing to be right,
Yet fearing to be wrong, —
In these the Pastor dares delight,
A lamb-like, Christ-like throng.
These in Life’s distant even
Shall shine serenely bright,
As in th’ autumnal heaven
Mild rainbow tints at night,
When the last shower is stealing down,
And ere they sink to rest,
The sun-beams weave a parting crown
For some sweet woodland nest.
The promise of the morrow
Is glorious on that eve,
Dear as the holy sorrow
When good men cease to live.
When brightening ere it die away
Mounts up their altar flame,
Still tending with intenser ray
To Heaven whence first it came.
Say not it dies, that glory,
’Tis caught unquenched on high,
Those saintlike brows so hoary
Shall wear it in the sky.
No smile is like the smile of death,
When all good musings past
Rise wafted with the parting breath,
The sweetest thought the last.
SUNDAY NEXT BEFORE ADVENT
Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing
be lost. St.
John vi. 12.
Will God indeed with fragments bear,
Snatched late from the decaying year?
Or can the Saviour’s blood endear
The dregs of a polluted life?
When down th’ o’erwhelming current tossed
Just ere he sink for ever lost,
The sailor’s untried arms are crossed
In agonizing prayer, will Ocean cease her strife?
Sighs that exhaust but not relieve
Heart-rending sighs, O spare to heave
A bosom freshly taught to grieve
For lavished hours and love misspent!
Now through her round of holy thought
The Church our annual steps has brought,
But we no holy fire have caught —
Back on the gaudy world our wilful eyes were bent.
Too soon th’ ennobling carols,
To hymn the birth-night of the Lord,
Which duteous Memory should have stored
For thankful echoing all the year —
Too soon those airs have passed away;
Nor long within the heart would stay
The silence of Christ’s dying day,
Profaned by worldly mirth, or scared by worldly fear.
Some strain of hope and victory
On Easter wings might lift us high
A little while we sought the sky:
And when the spirit’s beacon fires
On every hill began to blare,
Lightening the world with glad amaze,
Who but must kindle while they gaze?
But faster than she soars, our earth-bound Fancy tires.
Nor yet for these, nor all the rites,
By which our Mother’s voice invites
Our god to bless our home delights,
And sweeten every secret tear:-
The funeral dirge, the marriage vow,
The hollowed font where parents bow,
And now elate and trembling now
To the Redeemer’s feet their new-found treasures bear:-