Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

When suddenly his mantle wide
His hands impatient flung aside,
And, lo! he met their wondering eyes
Complete in all a warrior's guise.
A moment there was awful pause,
When Berkley cried, “Cease, traitor! cease!
God's temple is the house of peace !”

The other shouted, “Nay, not so,
When God is with our righteous cause ;
His holiest places then are ours,
His temples are our forts and towers,

That frown upon the tyrant foe;
In this, the dawn of Freedom's day,
There is a time to fight and pray!”

And now before the open door

The warrior priest had ordered so
The enlisting trumpet's sudden roar
Rang through the chapel, o'er and o'er,

Its long reverberating blow,
So loud and clear, it seemed the ear
Of dusty death must wake and hear.
And there the startling drum and fife
Fired the living with fiercer life;
While overhead, with wild increase,
Forgetting its ancient toll of peace,

The great bell swung as ne'er before :
It seemed as it would never cease;
And every word its ardor flung
From off its jubilant iron tongue
Was,

“ WAR! WAR! WAR !”

“Who dares" — this was the patriot's cry, As striding from the desk he came

“Come out with me, in Freedom's name,

For her to live, for her to die?”
A hundred hands flung up reply,
A hundred voices answered, “I!

LXXXIV. — GOD.

DERZHAVIN.

GABRIEL ROMANOVITCH DERZHAVIN, a Russian lyrical poet, was born in Kasan, July 3, 1743 ; and died July 6, 1816. He gained distinction in the military and civil service of his country, and was made Secretary of State in 1791 by Catherine II. The following poem has been translated, not only into many European languages, but into those of China and Japan. It is said to have been hung up in the palace of th Emperor of China, printed in gold letters on white satin. Sir John Bowring, in his “Specimens of the Russian Poets,” published in 1821, was the first person who made the readers of England and America acquainted with the writings of Derzhavin and other Russian poets.

[ocr errors]

THOU eternal One! whose presence bright
All

space doth occupy, all motion guide : Unchanged through time's all devastating flight; Thou only God! There is no God beside ! Being above all beings! Mighty One! Whom none can comprehend and none explore; Who fill'st existence with Thyself alone : Embracing all, — supporting, — ruling o'er, — Being whom we call God, and know no more ! In its sublime research, philosophy May measure out the ocean-deep, — may count The sands or the sun's rays, - but God! for thee There is no weight nor measure ; one can mount Up to thy mysteries. Reason's brightest spark, Though kindled by thy light, in vain would try To trace thy counsels, infinite and dark ; And thought is lost ere thought can soar so high, Even like past moments in eternity.

Thou from primeval nothingness didst call,
First chaos, then existence : Lord ! on thee
Eternity had its foundation : all
Sprung forth from thee: of light, joy, harmony,
Sole origin : all life, all beauty thine.
Thy word created all, and doth create ;
Thy splendor fills all space with rays divine.
Thou art, and wert, and shalt be! Glorious! Great !
Light-giving, life-sustaining Potentate!

Thy chains the unmeasured universe surround,
Upheld by thee, by thee inspired with breath!
Thou the beginning with the end hast bound,
And beautifully mingled life and death!
As sparks mount upwards from the fiery blaze,
So suns are born, so worlds spring forth from thee :
And as the spangles in the sunny rays
Shine round the silver snow, the pageantry
Of heaven's bright army glitters in thy praise.

A million torches lighted by thy hand
Wander unwearied through the blue abyss :
They own thy power, accomplish thy command,
All gay with life, all eloquent with bliss.
What shall we call them ? Piles of crystal light,
A glorious company of golden streams,
Lamps of celestial ether burning bright,
Suns lighting systems with their joyous beams ?
But thou to these art as the noon to night.

Yes! as a drop of water in the sea,
All this magnificence in thee is lost.
What are ten thousand worlds compared to thee?
And what am I then? Heaven's unnumbered host,
Though multiplied by myriads, and arrayed

In all the glory of sublimest thought,
Is but an atom in the balance; weighed
Against thy greatness, is a cipher brought
Against infinity! O, what am I then? Naught!

Naught! yet the effluence of thy light divine,
Pervading worlds, hath reached my bosom too;
Yes! in my spirit doth thy spirit shine,
As shines the sunbeam in a drop of dew.
Naught! yet I live, and on hope's pinions fly
Eager towards thy presence ; for in thee
I live, and breathe, and dwell; aspiring high,
Even to the throne of thy divinity.
I am, O God! and surely thou must be !

Thou art ! directing, guiding all, thou art !
Direct my understanding, then, to thee;
Control my spirit, guide my wandering heart :
Though but an atom midst immensity,
Still I am something, fashioned by thy hand !
I hold a middle rank 'twixt heaven and earth.
On the last verge of mortal being stand,
Close to the realms where angels have their birth,
Just on the boundaries of the spirit-land!

.

The chain of being is complete in me;
In me is matter's last gradation lost,
And the next step is spirit, — Deity!
I can command the lightning, and am dust!
A monarch, and a slave; a worm, a god !
Whence came I here ? and how so marvelously
Constructed and conceived ? unknown ! this clod
Lives surely through some higher energy ;
For from itself alone it could not be !

Creator, yes! thy wisdom and thy word
Created me! thou source of life and good !
Thou spirit of my spirit, and my Lord !
Thy light, thy love, in their bright plenitude
Filled me with an immortal soul, to spring
Over the abyss of death, and bade it wear
The garments of eternal day, and wing
Its heavenly flight beyond this little sphere,
Even to its source,

to thee, its Author there

O thoughts ineffable! O visions blest!
Though worthless our conceptions all of thee,
Yet shall thy shadowed image fill our breast,
And waft its homage to thy Deity.
God! thus alone my lonely thoughts can soar;
Thus seek thy presence, Being wise and good !
Midst thy vast works admire, obey, adore;
And when the tongue is eloquent no more,
The soul shall speak in tears of gratitude.

LXXXV. - AROUND YOSEMITE WALLS.

CLARENCE KING.

ATE in the afternoon of October 5, 1864, a party of

us reached the edge of Yosemite,* and, looking down into the valley, saw that the summer haze had been banished from the region by autumnal frosts and wind. We looked in the gulf through air as clear as a vacuum, discerning small objects upon valley-floor and cliff-front.

That splendid afternoon shadow which divides the face of El Capitan was projected far up and across the valley, cutting it in halves, — one a mosaic of russets and yellows

* Pronounced Yo-sēm'i-te.

« PředchozíPokračovat »