« VorigeDoorgaan »
VOICES OF THE TRUE - HEARTED.
Smooth, and compose them;
EVENING SONG OF THE WEARY.
BY FELICIA D. HEMANS.
Loop up her tresses Escaped from the comb, Her fair auburn tresses; Whilst wonderment guesses Where was her home? Who was her father? Who was her mother ? Had she a sister ? Had she a brother? Or was there a dearer one Still, or a nearer one Yet, than all other ? Alas! for the rarity of Christian charity Under the sun! Oh! it was pitiful ! Near a whole city full, Home she had none. Sisterly, brotherly, Fatherly, motherly Feelings had changed : Love, by harsh evidence, Thrown from its eminence; Even God's providence Seeming estranged. Where the lamps quiver So far in the river, With many a light From window and casement, From garret to basement, She stood, with amazement, Houseless by night. The bleak wind of March Made her tremble and shiver; But not the dark arch, Or the black flowing river: Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery, Swift to be hurl'dAny where, any where, Out of the world! In she plunged boldly, No matter how coldly The rough river ranOver the brink of it, Picture it-think of it, Dissolute Man! Lave in it, drink of it, Then, if you can! Take her up tenderly, Lift her with care; Fashion's so slenderly, Young, and so fair ! Ere her limbs frigidly Stiffen too rigidly, Decently-kindly
Father of Heaven and Earth!
I bless thee for the night,
The soft, still night,
Of sound and light !
Flower-cup, and bud, and bell,
The bee's long murmuring toils are done,
O'er-wearied and o’er-wrought,
In the still night!
By the fire's dying light,
I bless thee, who hast given
The soft, still, holy night!
HOW JESUS WAS RECEIVED.
BY THEODORE PARKER.
Truth never yet fell dead in the streets; it has such affinity with the soul of man, that the seed, however broadcast, will catch somewhere, and produce its hundredfold. Some kept his sayings and pondered them in their heart. Others heard them gladly. Did priests and Levites stop their ears? Publicans and harlots went into the kingdom of God before them. Those blessed women, whose hearts God
VOICES OF THE TRUE.HEARTED.
had sown deepest with the orient pearl of faith; they | words so deep that a child could understand them; who ministered to him in his wants, washed his feet James and John leave all to follow him who had the with tears of penitence, and wiped them with the word of eternal life; and when that young carpenter hairs of their head, was it in vain he spoke to them? asks Peter, “Who sayest thou that I am ?" it has Alas, for the anointed priest, the child of Levi, the been revealed to that poor unlettered fisherman, not sons of Aaron, men who shut up inspiration in old by flesh and blood, but by the word of the Lord, and books, and believed God was asleep -- They stumbled he can say, “ Thou art the Christ the son of the in darkness, and fell into the ditch. But doubtless living God.” The Pharisee went his way, and there was many a tear-stained face that brightened preached a doctrine that he knew was false; the like fires new stirred, as truth spoke out of Jesus' fisherman also went his way; but which went to lips. His word swayed the multitude as pendent the flesh and the devil ? vines swing in the summer wind; as the spirit of We cannot tell, no man can tell, the feelings God moved on the waters of chaos, and said, “Let which the large free doctrines of absolute religion there be light," and there was light. No doubt awakened when heard for the first time. There many a rude fisherman of Gennesareth heard his must have been many a Simeon waiting for the words with a heart bounding and scarce able to keep consolation; many a Mary longing for the better in his bosom, went home a new man, with a legion part; many a soul in cabins and cottages and stately of angels in his breast, and from that day lived a life dwellings, that caught glimpses of the same truth, divine and beautiful. No doubt, on the other hand, as God's light shone through some crevice which Rabbi Kozeb Ben Shatan, when he heard of the piety made in the wall prejudice and superstition eloquent Nazarene and his Sermon on the Mount, had built up betwixt man and God; men who scarce said to his disciples, in private, at Jerusalem, « This dared to trust that revelation—too good to be true" new doctrine will not injure us prudent and educated such was their awe of Moses, their reverence for men; we know that men may worship as well out the priest. To them the word of Jesus must have of the temple as in it; a burnt offering is nothing ; sounded divine; like the music of their home sung the ritual of no value; the Sabbath like any other out in the sky, and heard in a distant land, beguiling day; the law faulty in many things, offensive in toil of its weariness, pain of its sting, affliction of some, and no more from God than other laws equally despair There must have been men, sick of forms good. We know that the priesthood is a human af- which had lost their meaning, pained with the fair, originated and managed like other human affairs. open secret of sacerdotal hypocrisy, hungering and We may confess all this to ourselves, but what is thirsting after the truth, yet whom error, and prejuthe use of telling it? The people wish to be deceived; dice, and priestcraft had blinded so that they dare let them. The Pharisee will conduct wisely like a not think as men, nor look on the sun-light God shed Pharisee— for he sees the eternal fitness of things— upon the mind. cven if these doctrines should be proclaimed. But this people, who know not the law, what will become of them? Simon Peter, James, and John, those
In a recent work of L. F. Tasistro— Random poor unlettered fishermen on the lake of Galilee, to shots and Southern Breezes”—is a description of a whom we gave a farthing and the priestly blessing, slave auction at New Orleans, at which the auctionin our summer excursion, what will become of them
eer recommends the woman on the stand as a good when told that every word of the law did not come
Christian! straight out of the mouth of Jehovah, and the ritual is nothing! They will go over to the flesh and the
A CHRISTIAN SLAVE. devil, and will be lost. It is true, that the law and the prophets are well summed up in one word, love God and man. But never let us sanction the saying, it would ruin the seed of Abraham, keep back the
A Christian-going, gone! kingdom of God, and « destroy our usefulness." Who bids for God's own image ? for His grace, Thus went it at Jerusalem. The new word was
Which that poor victim of the market-place Blasphemy,” the new prophet an“ Infidel,”
Hath, in her suffering, won ? side himself, had a devil.” But at Galilee, things
My God! Can such things be? took a shape somewhat different; one which blind Hast thou not said that whatso'er is done guides could not foresee. The common people, not | Unto thy weakest and thy humblest one, knowing the law, counted him a prophet come up Is even done to Thee ? from the dead, and heard him gladly. Yes, thousands of men, and women also, with hearts in their In that sad victim, then, bosoms, gathered in the field, and pressed about him Child of thy pitying love, I see Thee standin the city and the desert place, forgetful of hunger Once more the jest-word of a mocking-band, and thirst, and were fed to the full with his words, Bound, sold, and scourged again!
BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.
OF THE TRUE-HEARTED.
A Christian up for sale!
The songs of a nation are like wild flowers press
ed, as it were, by chance, between the blood-stained A heathen hand might deal
pages of history.
As if man's heart had paused for Back on your heads the gathered wrong of years; a moment in its dusty march, and looked back, with But her low broken prayer and nightly tears,
a flutter of the pulse and a tearsul smile, upon the Ye neither heed nor feel.
simple peacefulness of happier and purer days, gath
ering some wayside blossom to remind it of childCon well thy lesson o'er,
hood and home, amid the crash of battle or the din Thou prudent teacher ;-tell the toiling slave
of the market. Listening to these strains of pastoral No dangerous tale of Him who came to save
music, we are lured away from the records of patriThe outcast poor.
otic frauds of a cannibal policy which devours whole
nations with the refined appetite of a converted and But wisely shut the ray
polished Polyphemus who has learned to eat with a Of God's free gospel, from the simple heart; silver fork, and never to put his knife in his mouth, And to her darkened mind alone impart,
- we forget the wars and the false standards of honor One stern command-Obey.
which have cheated men into wearing the fratricidal
brand of Cain, as if it were but the glorious trace of So shalt thou deftly raise
a dignifying wreath, and hear the rustle of the leaves The market price of human flesh : and while, and the innocent bleat of lambs, and the low On thee, the pampered guest, the planters smile, murmur of lovers beneath the moon of Arcady, Thy church shall praise.
the long twilight of the north. The earth grows
green again, and flowers spring up in the scorching Grave reverend men shall tell
footprints of Alaric, but where love hath but only From Northern pulpits how Thy work was blest, smiled, some gentle trace of it remains freshly forWhile in that vile South Sodom, first and best
The infinite sends its messages to us by urThy poor disciples sell.
tutored spirits, and the lips of little children, and
the unboastful beauty of simple nature ; not with Oh shame! The Moslem thrall
the soun:l of trumpet, and the tramp of mail-clad Who with his master, to the Prophet kneels,
hosts. Simplicity and commonness are the proofs While turning to the sacred Kebla, feels
of Beauty's divinity. Earnestly and beautifully His fetters break and fall.
touching is this eternity of simple feeling from age Cheers for the turbaned Bey
to age,—this trustfulness with which the heart flings
forth to the wind its sybilline leaves to be gathered Of robber.peopled Tunis ! he hath torn
and cherished as oracles forever. The dark slave-dungeon open,
The unwieldy and hath
current of life whirls and writhes and struggles mudTheir inmates into day.
dily onward, and there in midcurrent the snowBut our poor slave in vain
white lilies blow in unstained safety, generation Turns to the Christian shrine his aching eyes —
after generation. The cloud-capt monuments of Its rites will only swell his market price,
mighty kings and captains crumble into dust and And rivet on his chain.
mingle with the nameless ashes of those who reared
them; but we know perhaps the name and even the God of all right! how long
color of the hair and eyes of some humble shepherd's Shall priestly robbers at thine altar stand,
mistress who brushed through the dew to meet her Listing in prayer to thee, the bloody hand,
lover's kiss, when the rising sun glittered on the And haughty brow of wrong?
golden images that crowned the palace-roof of Semi
ramis. Fleets and pavies are overwhelmed and Oh from the fields of cane,
forgotten, but some tiny, love-freighted argossy From the low rice-swamps, from the trader's cell,
launched (like those of the Hindoo maidens) upon From the black slave-ships foul and loathsome
the stream of time in days now behind the horizon, hell,
floats down to us with its frail lamp yet burning And coffle's weary chain,
Theories for which great philosophers wore their
hearts out, histories over which the eyes of wise Hoarse, horrible, and strong,
men ached for weary years, creeds for which hunRises to heaven that agonizing cry,
dreds underwent an exulting martyrdom, poems Filling the arches of the hollow sky,
which had once quickened the beating of the world's How long! Oh God! How long !
great heart, and the certainty of whose deathless.
VOICES OF THE TRUE-HEARTED.
ness had made death sweet to the poet, all these noble capabilities as men. He who aspires to the have mouldered to nothing, but some word of love, highest triumphs of the muse, must look at first for some outvent of a sorrow which haply filled only appreciation and sympathy only from the few, and one pair of eyes with tears, there seem to have be- must wait till the progress of education shall have come a part of earth's very lifeblood. They live enlarged the number and quickened the sensibility because those who wrote never thought whether and apprehension of his readers.
But the song: they would live or not. Because they were the writer finds his ready welcome in those homespun, children of human nature, human nature has ten- untutured artistic perceptions which are the birthderly fostered them, while children only begot to right of every human soul, and which are the sure perpetuate the foolish vanity of their father's name, pledges of the coming greatness and ennoblement of must trust for their support to such inheritance of the race. He makes men's hearts ready to receive livelihood as their father left them. There are no the teachings of his nobler brother. He is not pensions, and no retired lists in the pure democracy positively, but only relatively a greater blessing to of nature and truth.
his kind, since, in God's good season, by the sure A good song is as if the poet had pressed his heart advance of freedom, all men shall be able to enjoy against the paper, and that could have conveyed its, what is now the privilege of the few, and Shakspeare hot, tumultuous throbbings to the reader. The low, and Milton shall be as dear to the heart of the cot. musical rustle of the wind among the leaves is song- tager and the craftsman as Burns or Beranger. Full like, but the slow unfolding of the leaves and blos- of grandeur, then, and yet fuller of awsul responsisoms, and under them the conception and ripening bility is the calling of the song.writer. It is no of the golden fruit through long summer days of sun wild fancy to deem that he may shape the destiny of shine and of rain, are like the grander, but not more coming ages. Like an electric spark his musical beantiful or eternal, offspring of poesy. The song. I thought fits glittering from heart to heart, and from writer must take his place somewhere between the lip to lip through the land. Luther's noble hymns poet and the musician, and must form a distinct class made more and truer protestants than ever did his by himself. The faculty of writing songs is certain sermons or his tracts. The song hummed by some ly a peculiar one, and as perfect in its kind as toiling mother to beguile the long monotony of the that of writing epics. They can only be written by spinning-wheel, may have turned the current of her true poets; like the mistletoe they are slender and child's thoughts as he played about her knee, and delicate, but they only grow in oaks. Burns is as given the world a hero or apostle. We know not wholly a poet, but not as great a poet as Milton. when or in what soil God may plant the seeds of Songs relate to us the experience and hoarded learn- our spiritual enlightenment and regeneration, but ing of the feelings, greater poems detail that of the we may be sure that it will be in some piece of clay mind. One is the result of that wisdom which the common to all mankind. Some heart whose simple heart keeps by remaining young, the other of that feelings call the whole world kin. Not from mighty which it gains by growing old. Songs are like in- poet or deep-seeking philosopher will come the word spired nursery-rhymes which makes the soul child- which all men love to hear, but in the lowly Nazalike again. The best songs have always some tinge reth of some unlearned soul, in the rough manger of of a mysterious sadness in them. They seem writ-rudest, humblest sympathies, shall the true Messiah ten in the night-watches of the heart, and reflect the be born and cradled. In the inspired heart, not in spiritual moonlight, or the shisting flashes of the the philosophic intellect, all true reformis originate, northern-light, or the trembling lustre of the stars, and it is over this that the song.writer has unbridled rather than the broad and cheerful benediction of sway. He concentrates the inarticulate murmur the sunny day. Often they are the merest breaths. and longing of a trampled people into the lightning. vague snatches of half-heard music which fell dream- flash of a fiery verse, and, ere tbe guilty heart of the ily on the ear of the poet while he was listening for oppressor has ceased to flutter, follows the deafening grander melodies, and which he hummed over after- thunderclap of revolution. He gives vent to his wards to himself, not knowing how or where he love of a flower or a maiden, and adds so much to learned them.
the store of everyday romance in the heart of the A true song touches no feeling or prejudice of world, refining men's crude perceptions of beauty education, but only the simple, original elements of and dignifying their sweet natural affections. Once our common nature. And perhaps the mission of it was the fashion to write pastorals, but he teaches the song-writer may herein be deemed loftier and is that it is not nature to make all men talk like diviner than any other, since he sheds delight over rustics, but rather to show that one heart beats more hearts, and opens more rude natures to the under homespun and broadcloth, and that it alone is advances of civilization, refinement and a softened truly classical, and gives eternity to verse. humanity, by revealing to them a beauty in their Songs are scarcely amenable to the common laws own simple thoughts and feelings, which wins them of criticism. If anything were needed to prove the anconsciously to a dignified reverence for their own lutter foolishness of the assertion, that that only is
VOICES OF THE TRUE-HEARTED.
good poetry which can be reduced to good prose, we womb wherein we are shaping to be born in the next, might summon as witnesses the most perfect songs we are led upward from love to love till we arrive in our language. The best part of a song lies often at the love of God which is the highest love. Many not at all in the words, but in the metre perhaps, or things unseal the springs of tenderness in us ere the the structure of the verse, in the wonderful melody full glory of our nature gushes forth to the one bewhich arose of itself from the feeling of the writer, nign spirit which interprets for us all mystery, and and which unawares throws the heart into the same is the key to unlock all the most secret shrines of frame of thought. Ben Jonson was used to write beauty. Woman was given us to love chiefly to this his poems first in prose and then translate or distil end, that the sereneness and strength which the soul them into verse, and had we not known the fact, we wins from that full sympathy with one, might teach might have almost guessed it from reading some of it the more divine excellence of a sympathy with all, his lyrics, the mechanical structure of whose verse and that it was man's heart only which God shaped is as different from the spontaneous growth of a true in his own image, which it can only rightly emblem song (which must be itten one way or not at all) in an all-surrounding love Therefore we put first as a paper flower is from a violet. In a good song, the those songs which tell of love, since we see in them words seem to have given birth to the melody, and not an outpouring of selfish and solitary passion, but the melody to the words. The strain of music an indication of that beautiful instinct which prompts seems to have wandered into the poet's heart, and to the heart of every man to turn toward its fello vs have been the thread round which his thoughts have with a smile, and to recognise its master even in the crystallized. There is always something of person- disguise of clay; and we confess that the sight of the al interest in songs. They are the true diary of the rudest and simplest love-verses in the corner of a poet's spiritual life, the table-talk of his heart. village newspaper, oftener bring tears of delight into There is nothing egotistical in them, for the inward our eyes than awaken a sense of the ludicrous. In history of a poet is never a commonplace one, and fancy we see the rustic lovers wandering hand in egotism can only be a trait of little minds, its disa- hand, a sweet fashion not yet extinct in our quiet greeable quality lying wholly in this, that it con- New England villages, and crowding all the past stantly thrusts in our faces the egotist's individuality, and future with the blithe sunshine of the present. which is really the least noticeable thing about him. The modest loveliness of Dorcas has revealed to the We love to hear wonderful men talk of themselves, delighted heart of Reuben, countless other beauties, because they are better worth hearing about than of which, but for her, he had been careless. Pure anything else, and because what we learn of them is and delicate sympathies have overgrown protectingly not so much a history of self as a history of nature, the most exposed part of his nature, as the moss and a statement of facts therein which are so many covers the north side of the tree. The perception fingerposts to set us right in our search after true and reverence of her beauty has become a new and spiritual knowledge. Songs are translations from more sensitive conscience to him, which, like the the langnage of the spiritual into that of the natural wonderful ring in the fairy tale, warns him against world.
every danger that may assail his innocent self-respect. As love is the highest and holiest of all feelings, For the first time he begins to see something more so those songs are best in which love is the essence. in the sunset than an omen of to.morrow's weather. All poetry must rest on love for a foundation, or it The flowers, too, have grown tenderly dear to him will only last so long as the bad passions it appeals of a sudden, and, as he plucks a sprig of blue succoto, and which it is the end of true poesy to root out. ry from the roadside to deck her hair with, he is as If there be not in it a love of man, there must at truly a poet as Burns when he embalmed the “ mounleast be a love of nature which lies next below it, tain daisy" in deathless rhyme. Dorcas thrills at and which, as is the nature of all beauty, will lead its sight of quivering Hesperus as keenly as convert upward to that nobler and wider sympathy. Sappho did, and, as it brings back to her, she knows True poetry is but the perfect reflex of true know- not how, the memory of all happy times in one, she ledge, and true knowledge is spiritual knowledge clasps closer the brown, toil-hardened hand which which comes only of love, and which, when it has she holds in hers, and which the heart that warms it solved the mystery of one, even the smallest effluence makes as soft as down to her. She is sure that the of the eternal beauty which surrounds us like an at- next Sabbath evening will be as cloudlsss and happy mosphere, becomes a clue leading to the heart of the as this. She feels no jealousy of Reuben's love of seeming labyrinth. All our sympathies lie in such the flowers, for she knows that only the pure in heart close neighborhood, that when music is drawn from can see God in them, and that they will but teach one string, all the rest vibrate in sweet accord. As him to love better the wild-flower-like beauties in in the womb the brain of the child changes with a herself, and give him impulses of kindness and steady rise, through a likeness to that of one animal brotherhood to all. Love is the truest radicalism, and another till it is perfected in that of man, the lifting all to the same clear-aired level of humble, highest animal, so in this life, which is but as a thankful humanity. Dorcas begins to think that her