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MOST earnest was his voice! most mild his look,
As with raised hands he blessed his parting flock.
He is a faithful pastor of the poor ;-
He thinks not of himself; his Master's words,
Feed, feed my sheep,* are ever at his heart,
The cross of CHRIST is aye before his eyes.
O, how I love, with melted soul, to leave
The house of prayer, and wander in the fields
Alone! What though the opening spring be chill!
Although the lark, checked in his airy path,
Eke out his song, perched on the fallow clod,
That still o'ertops the blade! Although no branch
Have spread its foliage, save the willow-wand,
That dips its pale leaves in the swollen stream!
"So, when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith unto him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”—John xxi. 15—17.
What tho' the clouds oft lower! Their threats but end
In sunny showers, that scarcely fill the folds
Of moss-couched violet, or interrupt
The merle's dulcet pipe,—melodious bird!
He, hid behind the milk-white sloe-thorn spray,
(Whose early flowers anticipate the leaf,)
Welcomes the time of buds, the infant year.
Sweet is the sunny nook, to which my steps Have brought me, hardly conscious where I roamed, Unheeding where,- —so lovely all around, The works of GOD, arrayed in vernal smile.
Oft at this season, musing, I prolong My devious range, till, sunk from view, the sun Emblaze, with upward-slanting ray, the breast And wing unquivering of the wheeling lark, Descending, vocal, from her latest flight; While, disregardful of yon lonely star,The harbinger of chill night's glittering host,Sweet Redbreast, SCOTIA's Philomela, chants, In desultory strains, his evening hymn.
A SUMMER SABBATH WALK.
DELIGHTFUL is this loneliness! it calms
My heart pleasant the cool beneath these elms,
That throw across the stream a moveless shade.
Here nature in her midnoon whisper speaks:
How peaceful every sound!—the ringdove's
Moaned from the twilight centre of the grove,
While every other woodland lay is mute,
Save when the wren flits from her down-coved nest,
And from the root-sprig trills her ditty clear,-
The grasshopper's oft-pausing chirp,-the buzz,
Angrily shrill, of moss-entangled bee,
That, soon as loosed, booms with full twang away,-
The sudden rushing of the minnow shoal,
Scared from the shallows by my passing tread.
Dimpling the water glides, with here and there
A glossy fly, skimming in circlets gay
The treacherous surface, while the quick-eyed trout
Watches his time to spring; or, from above,
Some feathered dam, purveying midst the boughs,
Darts from her perch, and to her plumeless brood
Bears off the prize :-sad emblem of man's lot!
He, giddy insect, from his native leaf,
(Where safe and happily he might have lurked),
Elate upon ambition's gaudy wings,
Forgetful of his origin, and, worse,
Unthinking of his end, flies to the stream;
And if from hostile vigilance he 'scape,
Buoyant he flutters but a little while,
Mistakes the inverted image of the sky
For heaven itself, and, sinking, meets his fate.
Now let me trace the stream up to its source Among the hills; its runnel by degrees Diminishing, the murmur turns a tinkle. Closer and closer still the banks approach, Tangled so thick with pleaching bramble-shoots, With brier, and hazel branch, and hawthorn spray, That, fain to quit the dingle, glad I mount Into the open air: grateful the breeze
That fans my throbbing temples! smiles the plain
Spread wide below: how sweet the placid view!
But O! more sweet the thought, heart-soothing
That thousands and ten thousands of the sons
Of toil partake this day the common joy
Of rest, of peace, of viewing hill and dale,
Of breathing in the silence of the woods,
And blessing Him who gave the Sabbath day.
Yes, my heart flutters with a freer throb,
To think that now the townsman wanders forth
Among the fields and meadows, to enjoy
The coolness of the day's decline; to see
His children sport around, and simply pull
The flower and weed promiscuous, as a boon,
Which proudly in his breast they smiling fix.
Again I turn me to the hill, and trace The wizard stream, now scarce to be discerned ; Woodless its banks, but green with ferny leaves, And thinly strewed with heath-bells up and down.
Now, when the downward sun has left the glens,
Each mountain's rugged lineaments are traced
Upon the adverse slope, where stalks gigantic
The shepherd's shadow thrown athwart the chasm,
As on the topmost ridge he homeward hies.
How deep the hush! the torrent's channel, dry,
Presents a stony steep, the echo's haunt.
But hark, a plaintive sound floating along!
'Tis from yon heath-roofed shielin; now it dies
Away, now rises full; it is the song
Which He, who listens to the halleluiahs
Of choiring Seraphim,-delights to hear;
It is the music of the heart, the voice
Of venerable age,-of guileless youth,
In kindly circle seated on the ground
Before their wicker door: behold the man!
The grandsire and the saint; his silvery locks
Beam in the parting ray; before him lies,
Upon the smooth-cropt sward, the open book,
His comfort, stay, and ever-new delight!
While, heedless, at his side, the lisping boy
Fondles the lamb that nightly shares his couch.
AN AUTUMN SABBATH WALK.
WHEN homeward bands their several ways disperse, I love to linger in the narrow field
Of rest; to wander round from tomb to tomb,
And think of some who silent sleep below.
Sad sighs the wind, that from those ancient elms
Shakes showers of leaves upon the withered grass :
The sere and yellow wreaths, with eddying sweep,
Fill up the furrows 'tween the hillocked graves.
But list that moan! 'tis the poor blind man's dog,
His guide for many a day, now come to mourn
The master and the friend-conjunction rare!
A man he was indeed of gentle soul,
Though bred to brave the deep: the lightning's flash
Had dimmed, not closed, his mild, but sightless eyes.
He was a welcome guest through all his range;
(It was not wide :) no dog would bay at him:
Children would run to meet him on his way,
And lead him to a sunny seat, and climb
His knee, and wonder at his oft-told tales.