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And lo! from the assembled crowd
There rose a shout, prolonged and loud,
That to the ocean seemed to say,
“Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray;
Take her to thy protecting arms,
With all her youth and all her charms."
How beautiful she is ! how fair
She lies within those arms, that press
Her form with many a soft caress
Of tenderness and watchful care !
Sail forth into the sea, O ship!
Through wind and wave, right onward steer!
The moistened eye, the trembling lip,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear.
Sail forth into the sea of life,
O gentle, loving, trusting wife,
And safe from all adversity,
Upon the bosom of that sea
Thy comings and thy goings be!
For gentleness and love and trust
Prevail o'er angry wave and gust;
And in the wreck of noble lives
Something immortal still survives !
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State !
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast and sail and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope.
Fear not each sudden sound and shock;
'T is of the wave, and not the rock;
'T is but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale.
In spite of rock and tempest roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea.
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee :
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee,
are all with thee.
NANCY A. W. PRIEST, author of the following beautiful and touching poem, was born in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, in 1847; and died September 21, 1870. She received no other education than that of a common country district school, and was for several years an operative in a factory in Winchendon, Massachusetts. It was during the hour's interval from the toil of the mill that she composed this now famous poem, which was written on a piece of brown paper as she sat at a window overlooking the river. It was laid aside and forgotten ; but a year later it was accidentally found, and published in the "Springfield Republican,” in August, 1867, when the author was only twenty years of age. It appeared over the nom de plume of “ Lizzie Lincoln." Miss Priest afterwards became Mrs. A. C. Wakefield.
VER the river beckon to me
Loved ones who've crossed to the farther side;
The gleam of their snowy robes I see,
But their voices are drowned in the rushing tide.
There's one with ringlets of sunny gold,
And eyes the reflection of heaven's own blue;
He crossed in the twilight, gray and cold,
And the pale mist hid him from mortal view.
We saw not the angels who met him there ;
The gates of the city we could not see; Over the river, over the river,
My brother stands waiting to welcome me!
Over the river the boatman pale
Carried another, the household pet ;
Her brown curls waved in the gentle gale, –
Darling Minnie! I see her yet.
She crossed on her bosom her dimpled hands,
And fearlessly entered the phantom bark ;
We watched it glide from the silver sands,
And all our sunshine grew strangely dark. We know she is safe on the farther side,
Where all the ransomed and angels be ; Over the river, the mystic river,
My childhood's idol is waiting for me.
For none return from those quiet shores,
Who cross with the boatman cold and pale ; We hear the dip of the golden oars,
And catch a gleam of the snowy sail, And lo! they have passed from our yearning heart;
They cross the stream, and are gone for aye ; We may
not sunder the veil apart
That hides from our vision the gates of day;
We only know that their bark no more
May sail with us o'er life's stormy sea ;
Yet somewhere, I know, on the unseen shore,
They watch and beckon and wait for me.
And I sit and think, when the sunset's gold
Is flushing river and hill and shore,
I shall one day stand by the water cold,
And list for the sound of the boatman's oar
I shall watch for a gleam of the flapping sail ;
I shall hear the boat as it gains the strand ;
I shall pass from sight, with the boatman pale,
To the better shore of the spirit-land;
I shall know the loved who have gone before,
And joyfully sweet will the meeting be,
When over the river, the peaceful river,
The Angel of Death shall carry me.
LIX. - HYMN IN THE VALLEY OF CHAMOUNI.
AST thou a charm to stay the morning-star
In his steep course ? So long he seems to pause
On thy bald, awful head, O sovereign Blanc !
The Arve and Arveiron at thy base
Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful form,
Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines,
How silently! Around thee, and above, ,
Deep is the air and dark, substantial, black.
An ebon mass : methinks thou piercest it
As with a wedge. But when I look again,
It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine,
Thy habitation from eternity.
O dread and silent Mount! I gazed upon thee
Till thou, still present to the bodily sense,
Didst vanish from my thought : entranced in prayer
I worshipped the Invisible alone.
Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody, —
So sweet we know not we are listening to it,
Thou, the mean while, wast blending with my thought,
Yea, with my life, and life's own secret joy ;
Till the dilating soul, enrapt, transfused,
Into the mighty vision passing - there,
As in her natural form, swelled vast to heaven.
Awake, my soul ! not only passive praise
Thou owest ! not alone these swelling tears,
Mute thanks, and secret ecstasy! Awake,
Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake!
Green vales and icy cliffs ! all join my hymn.
Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale !
O, struggling with the darkness all the night,
And visited all night by troops of stars,
Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink, –
Companion of the morning-star at dawn,
Thyself earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
Co-herald, — wake, O wake, and utter praise !
Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in earth?
Who filled thy countenance with rosy light?
Who made thee parent of perpetual streams :
five wild torrents fiercely glad !
Who called you forth from night and utter death,
From dark and icy caverns called you forth,
Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks,
Forever shattered, and the same forever?
Who gave you your invulnerable life,
Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy,
Unceasing thunder, and eternal foam !
And who commanded,
and the silence came, “Here let the billows stiffen and have rest?”
Ye ice-falls ! ye that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain