Where may we learn that gentle spell?
Mother of Martyrs, thou canst tell!
Thou, who didst watch thy dying Spouse
With pierced hands and bleeding brows,
Whose tears from age to age are shed
O’er sainted sons untimely dead,
If e’er we charm a soul in pain,
Thine is the key-note of our strain.
How sweet with thee to lift the latch,
Where Faith has kept her midnight watch,
Smiling on woe: with thee to kneel,
Where fixed, as if one prayer could heal,
She listens, till her pale eye glow
With joy, wild health can never know,
And each calm feature, ere we read,
Speaks, silently, thy glorious Creed.
Such have I seen: and while they poured
Their hearts in every contrite word,
How have I rather longed to kneel
And ask of them sweet pardon’s seal;
How blessed the heavenly music brought
By thee to aid my faltering thought!
“Peace” ere we kneel, and when we cease
To pray, the farewell word is, “Peace.”
I came again: the place was bright
“With something of celestial light” —
A simple Altar by the bed
For high Communion meetly spread,
Chalice, and plate, and snowy vest. —
We ate and drank: then calmly blest,
All mourners, one with dying breath,
We sate and talked of Jesus’ death.
Once more I came: the silent room
Was veiled in sadly-soothing gloom,
And ready for her last abode
The pale form like a lily showed,
By Virgin fingers duly spread,
And prized for love of summer fled.
The light from those soft-smiling eyes
Had fleeted to its parent skies.
O soothe us, haunt us, night and day,
Ye gentle Spirits far away,
With whom we shared the cup of grace,
Then parted; ye to Christ’s embrace,
We to this lonesome world again,
Yet mindful of th’ unearthly strain
Practised with you at Eden’s door,
To be sung on, where Angels soar,
With blended voices evermore.
BURIAL OF THE DEAD
And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And He came and touched the bier; and they that bare him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.—St. Luke vii. 13, 14.
Who says, the wan autumnal soon
Beams with too faint a smile
To light up nature’s face again,
And, though the year be on this wane,
With thoughts of spring the heart beguile?
Waft him, thou soft September breeze,
And gently lay him down
Within some circling woodland wall,
Where bright leaves, reddening ere they fall,
Wave gaily o’er the waters brown.
And let some graceful arch be there
With wreathed mullions proud,
With burnished ivy for its screen,
And moss, that glows as fresh and green
As thought beneath an April cloud. —
Who says the widow’s heart must break,
The childless mother sink? —
A kinder truer voice I hear,
Which e’en beside that mournful bier
Whence parents’ eyes would hopeless shrink,