Слике страница
PDF
ePub

'Twas on Tuesday night that she sickened;

She had been as blithe as a bird
All day, with the ticket you gave her,

And never another word
But “Mammie, just think of the music!"

And “Mammie, they'll give us ice cream ;
We can roll on the turf and pick posies--

Oh! Mammie, it is just like a dream!" And so, when the fever came on her,

It seemed the one thought in her brain; 'Twould have melted the heart in your breast, sir,

To hear her again and again
Beggin', “ Mammie, oh! please get me ready-

The boat will be gone off, I say ;
I hear the bell ring! where's my ticket?

Oh! won't we be happy to-day ?"
Three days she raved with the fever,

With her face and her hands like a flame; But on Friday, at noon, she grew quiet,

And knew ine and called me by name. My heart gave a leap when I heard it;

But oh, sir, it turned me to stone, The look round the mouth, pinched and drawn like

I knew God had sent for his own.
And she knew it too, sir, the creature,

And said when I told her the day,
In her weak little voice, “ Mammie, darlin',

Don't cry 'cause I'm going away.
To-morrow they'll go to the picnic,

They'll have beautiful times, I know; . But heaven is like it, and better,

And so I am ready to go.
"And, Mammie, I ain't a bit frightened;

There's many a little girl died;
And it seems like the dear lovin’ Saviour

Was standin' right here by my side.
Take my ticket, dear Mammie, and ask them

If some other child, poor and sad,
That hasn't got heaven and Jesus,

May go in my place and be glad.”
And then,“ wish good-by, Mammie, darlin',”

She drew my lips down to her own,
Then the one that she felt close beside her

Bent too, and I sat there-alone.
And so I have brought you the ticket,

Though my heart, sir, seems ready to break, To ask you to make some poor creature

Feel glad for my dead darlin's sake.

THE LOST CHURCH.-ROBERT TILNEY.

FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND,

It is believed that a church once stood in the depths of one of the German oak woods, but at su distant an age that all trace of it has passed away. The peasantry, however, believe that its bells are still heari ringing through the wooch On luis legend the poet has founded the following vision :

In yon dense wood full oft a bell

Is heard o'erhead in pealings hollow;
Yet whence it comes can no one tell,

Nor scarce its dark tradition follow.
For winds the chimes are wafting o'er,

Of the lost church in mystery shrouded;
The path way, too, is known no more,

That once the pious pilgrims crowded.
I lately in that wood did stray,

Where not a footworn path extended,
And from corruptions of the day

My ininost soul to God ascended;
And in the silent, wild repose

I heard that ringing-deeper, clearer;
The higher my aspirings rose,

The sound descended fuller, nearer.
That sound my senses so entranced,

My soul grew so retired and lowly,
I ne'er could tell how it had chanced

That I had reached a state so holy.
A century, it seemed to me,

Or more, had passed while I was dreaming,
When I a radiant place could see

Above the mists, with sunlight streaming.
The heavens a deep, dark blue appeared,

The sun's fierce light and heat were flowing,
And in the golden light, upreared,

A proud cathedral pile was glowing.
It seemed to me the clouds so bright,

As if on wings, that pile was raising,
Until its spires were lost to sight

Within the blessed heavens blazing.
And lo! that sweet bell's music broke

In quivering streams froin out the tower;
No mortal hand its tones awoke-

That bell was rung by holy power.
And through my beating heart, too, swept

That power in full and perfect measure;
And then in that high dome I stepped

With faltering feet and tiin'rous pleasure.

Yet can I not in words make known

What theu I felt. On windows painted,
And darkly clear, around me shown,

Were pious scenes of martyrs sainted.
Thus wondrous clear mine eyes before,

Did they of life a picture show me;
And out into a world I saw,

Of women and God's warriors holy.
I knelt before the altar there-

Devotion, love, all through me stealing-
And all the Heaven's glory fair

Was o'er me painted on the ceiling;
And lo! when next I upward gazed,

The dome's vast arch had burst, and-wonderl-
The Heaven's gate wide open blazed,

And every veil was rent asunder!
What glories on mine eyes did fall

While thus in reverent awe still kneeling,
Nhat holier sounds I heard than all

Of trumpet blast or organ pealing,
No words possess the power to tell !

Who truly would such bliss be feeling,
Go listen to the wondrous bell

That, weird-like, through the wood is pealing.

THE BLIND PREACHER.- WILLIAM WIRT.

It was one Sunday, as I was traveling through the county of Orange, that my eye was caught by a cluster of horses tied near a ruinous, old, wooden house, in the forest, not far from the roadside. Having frequently seen such objects be. fore, in traveling through these States, I had no difficulty in understanding that this was a place of religious worship Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the duties of the congregation; but I must confess that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness was not the least of my motives. On entering, I was struck with his preternatural appearance. He was a tall and very spare old man; hii head, which was covered with a white linen cap, his shriveled hands, and his voice, were all shaking under the influence of palsy; and a few moments ascertained to me that he was perfeotly blind.

The first emotions which touched my breast were those of mingled pity and veneration. But how soon were all my feelings changed! The lips of Plato were never more worthy of a prognostic swarm of bees than were the lips of this holy man! It was a day of the administration of the sacrament; and his subject, of course, was the passion of our Saviour. I had heard the subject handled a thousand times: I had thought it exhausted long ago. Little did I suppose that, in the wild woods of America, I was to meet with a man whose eloquence would give to this topic a new and more sublime pathos than I had ever before witnessed.

As he descended from the pulpit, to distribute the mystic symbols, there was a peculiar, a more than human, solemnity in his air and manner, which made my blood run cold, and my whole frame shiver. He then drew a picture of the sufferings of our Saviour; his trial before Pilate; his ascent up Calvary; his crucifixion; and his death. I knew the whole history; but never, until then, had I heard the circumstances so selected, so arranged, so colored! It was all new; and I seemed to have heard it for the first time in my life. His enunciation was so deliberate, that his voice trembled on every syllable; and every heart in the assembly trembled in unison. His peculiar phrases had such force of description, that the original scene appeared to be at that moment acting before our eyes. We saw the very faces of the Jews; the staring, frightful distortions of malice and rage. We saw the buffet: my soul kindled with a flame of indignation; and my hands were involuntarily and convulsively clinched.

But when he came to touch on the patience, the forgiving meekness, of our Saviour; when he drew, to the life, his blessed eyes streaming in tears to heaven; his voice breathing to God a soft and gentle prayer of pardon for his enemies, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"—the voice of the preacher, which all along faltered, grew fainter and fainter, until, his utterance being entirely obstructed by the force of his feelings, he raised his handkerchief to his eyes, and burst into a loud and irrepressible now of grief. The effect was inconceivable. The whole house resounded with the mingled groans and sobs and shrieks of the congregation.

It was some time before the tumult had subsided so far as to permit bim to proceed. Indeerl, judging by the usual but fallacious standard of my own weakness, I began to be l'er; uneasy for the situation of the preacher. For I could not conceive how he would be able to let his audience down from the height to which he hard wound them, without impairing the solemnity and dignity of his subject, or perhaps shocking them by the abruptness of the fall. But-no: the de. scent was as beautiful and sublime, as the elevation had been rapid and enthusiastic. The first sentence with which he broke the awful silence was a quotation from Rousseau : “Socrates died like a philosopher; but Jesus Christ, like a God !"

I despair of giving you any idea of the effect produced by this short sentence, unless you could perfectly conceive the whole manner of the man, as well as the peculiar crisis in the discourse. Never before did I completely understand what Demosthenes meant by laying such stress on delivery.

bring before you the venerable figure of the preacher, his blindness constantly recalling to your recollection old Homer, Ossian, and Milton, and associating with his performance the melancholy grandeur of their genius: you are to imagine that you hear his slow, solemn, well-accented enunciation, and his voice of affecting, trembling melody: you are to remember the pitch of passion and enthusiasm to which the congregation were raised; and then the few moments of portentous, death-like silence which reigned throughout the house: the preacher, removing his white handkerchief from his aged face (even yet wet from the recent torrent of his tears), and slowly stretching forth the palsied hand which holds it, begins the sentence: “Socrates died like a philosopher"—then pausing, raised his other hand, pressing them both, clasped together, with varmth and energy to his breast, lifting his “sightless bulls" to heaven, and pouring his whole soul into his tremulous voice -"but Jesus Christ-like a God!" If he had been in truth an angel of light, the etfect could scarcely have been more divine.

You are

« ПретходнаНастави »