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Yet ne'er, perchance, did worshipper of yore
Of wrath, doubt, anguish, battling in the breast !
Not 'midst those aisles, through which a thousand years
Mutely as clouds, and reverently had swept ; Not by those shrines, which yet the trace of tears
And kneeling votaries on their marble kept ! Ye two were mighty in your pomp of gloom And trophied age, O temple, altar, tomb !
And you, ye dead-for in that faith ye slept, Whose weight had grown a mountain on my heart, Which could not there be loosed. I turned me to depart. I turned : what glimmered faintly on my sight
Faintly, yet brightening, as a wreath of snow Seen through dissolving haze? The moon, the night, Had waned, and dawn poured in-gray, shadowy,
slow, Yet dayspring still! A solemn hue it caught, Piercing the storied windows, darkly fraught
With stoles and draperies of imperial glow; And soft and sad that colored gleam was thrown Where pale, a picture from above the altar shone.
Thy form, thou Son of God !-a wrathful deep,
With foam, and cloud, and tempest round Thee spread And such a weight of night a night when sleep
From the fierce rushing of the billows fled.
But like a spirit in Thy gliding tread,
So still Thy white robes fell ! -no breath of air
Within their long and slumbrous folds had sway. So still the waves of parted, shadowy hair
From the dear brow flowed droopingly away!
Dark were the heavens above Thee, Saviour !—dark
But Thou !-o'er all thine aspect and array
Aid for one sinking! Thy lone brightness gleamed
On his wild face, just lifted o'er the wave. With its worn, fearful, human look, that seemed
To cry, through surge and blast—"I perish !--save!" Not to the winds-not vainly! Thou wert nigh. Thy hand was stretched to fainting agony,
Éven in the portals of the unquiet grave! O Thou that art the Life! and yet didst bear Too much of mortal woe to turn from mortal prayer!
But was it not a thing to rise on death,
With its remembered light, that face of thine,
Yet mournfully, mysteriously divine ?
And the pale glory of the brow !-a shrine
And more than all, the heaven of that sad smile,
The lip of mercy, our immortal trust! Did not that look, that very look, erewhile
Pour its o'ershadowed beauty on the dust? Wert Thou not such when earth's dark cloud hung oer
Thee? Surely Thou wert! My heart grew hushed before Thee,
Sinking with all its passions, as the gust Sank at Thy voice, along the billowy way: What had I there to do but kneel, and weep, and pray?
- The Forest Sanctuary.
AVE, SANCTISSIMA, ORA PRO NOBIS. Thy sad sweet hymn, at eve, the seas along :
Oh! the deep soul it breathed !-the love, the woe,
The fervor, poured in that full gush of song,
As it went floating through the fiery glow
Which seemed responsive in its murmuring flow
Ave, Sanctissima !
Ora pro nobis !
Watch us, while the shadows lie
O'er the dim waters spread;
Thine too hath bled !
Thou hast looked on death :
Aid us when death is near !
Sweet Mother, hear.
Ora pro nobis !
Ora, Mater, ora !
Ora pro nobis, Mater ! - What a spell
Was in those notes, with day's last glory dying On the flushed waters! Seemed they not to swell
From the far dust wherein my sires were lying With crucifix and sword ? Oh ! yet how clear Comes their reproachful sweetness to mine ear!
Ora—with all the purple waves replying, All my youth's visions rising in the strainAnd I had thought it much to bear the rack and chain !
-The Forest Sanctuary.
ELYSIUM. Fair wert thou in the dreams Of elder time, thou land of glorious flowers And summer winds and low-toned silvery streams,