Page images
PDF
EPUB

In perils from the heathen," whom we strovo
To win from idols to the Lord of love,

Mid Afric's sands, as on our native heather,

We prayed and sang, rejoiced and wept together.

Such communing must cease; a little while Must I forego the sweetness of thy smile : Immortal

eyes

shall beam on me above, But not the eyes that taught me first to love : Yet let those words thy widowed woe beguile, Those Heaven-breathed words of hope, “A little while.”

And, oh my Saviour, be the wish forgiven,
If I would ask one hour's delay of Heaven, -
One hour forego that world of perfect bliss,
That I may cheer the lone one left in this !

Ι
And grant me speech ; for mortal words in vain
Strive with the task to win those scenes again,
Which, calmly rising o'er the fever's strife,
Entranced in bliss my final hours of life :

God's latest grace to me would I transfer,
If he permit, -my parting gift to her.

Have we not prayed, my Laura, have we not
Wove one fond wish with all our earthly lot?
Have we not watched and studied, sought and striven,
To hail on earth the dawning reign of Heaven,
When Christ shall bid the world prepare his home,
Hallow his name, and mark his kingdom come?

My soul goes back to those remembered hours, When Spring was young in Kentmere's vale of flowers, And we, with early hope and rapture rife, Were hovering on the summer-tide of life:

How dreamed we of that Sun, whose rising sway

Shall thaw the winter of the world away,

Shall loose life's fountain on the eternal hills

To cheer the nations with its thousand rills,

Shall bid the thorn unwonted fruits disclose,

And the dry desert blossom as the rose !

And once, bethink thee, when the mountain shower

Drove us for refuge to our favourite bower,

Where the grey rowan, o'er the torrent bent,
Held graceful dalliance with the laughing Kent,
Didst thou not point me where the tempest fled,
Chased hard by sunshine over Mardale-head,
And, based on Ling-mell-end and Harter-fell,

A mighty rainbow strode across Nan-bell ?2

E'en thus," thou saidst, “though lingering doubts are

furled

O'er the bright mysteries of the further world,
Where the known present meets the things unseen,
Hope's radiant archway spans the space between."

"
'Tis well to live in hope! but yesternight
E'en her fair bow dissolved in clearer light;
The shadows it illumed were cleft asunder,

And clear before me stretched that world of wonder.

Yet, ere I touch that bright prophetic theme,

I must find utterance for a sadder dream :

A dream !—but ah, the withering scenes it drew
Of mortal woe too present and too true!

There came a Spirit to my side, and stood As one deep wrapt in meditative mood, Scanning my face ; his soft, gazelle-like eye Was fixed on mine, and sadly, silently O'erflowed with angel-tears ; his form and face Were cast in mould of Afric's earlier race,

Ors like the graceful shapes that flit e’en now
O'er Amakosan plains and Stormberg's brow,
Haunting the hills that in their bosoms keep
The golden fountains of the young Gareep.*

"Tis ever thus," he sighed, "'tis Afric's doom To find her generous friends an early tomb! Yes, one by one, they came;—they came, like thee,

From yon

fair island of the Western sea,

From their green homes that smile besides the Rhine,
To reap the guerdon of a death like thine!
How long, oh Lord, how long! For many an age
I wander o'er my desolate heritage :
I waft to Thee the deep and general cry
From all its dark abodes of cruelty,

From the foul Fetish 6 in the lonely wood,

The demon-altars red with native blood,

The human freightage, won by Christian gold,
And crushed and festering in the slave-ship’s hold, -
From each and all I waft the blended groan,

And bid it plead for mercy at thy throne :
Oh, still in vain! still Mercy's gate is barred :
There comes no voice-no answer—no regard !”

He spake, and vanished; and I strove in vain
To rid my memory of his piteous strain :
My brain grew fevered; sights and sounds of fear
Glared on my eye, and thrilled my startled ear;
All was confusion,-laughter, scream, and yell,
Wild fiendish forms, the progeny of hell;
Anon a viewless arm was round me thrown,
Which hurried me away, and set me down
In a drear forest, where a shrine was placed,
Bedecked with quaint barbarity of taste ;
And, on his throne of sculls exalted high,

Some monster of obscene idolatry.

« PreviousContinue »