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167. SELECT PASSAGES IN VERSE.
I. VOICE OF THE WIND.-HENRY TAYLOR.
HE wind, when first he rose and went abroad
Through the waste region, felt himself at fault, Wanting a voice, and suddenly to earth
Descended with a wafture and a swoop,
Where, wandering võl'atile, from kind to kind,
MINISTRATIONS OF NATURE.-COLERIDGE.
WITH other ministrations thou, O Nature,
Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets,
To be a jarring and discordant thing
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank? Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears: soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdest,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
IV. THE BELLS OF OSTEND.-BOWLES.
No, I never, till life and its shadows shall end,
Do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, běllowing and neighing loud,
Jessica, daughter of Shylock, in
the "Merchant of Venice."
"Os tend', a fortified seaport town of Belgium, province of W. Flanders, on the N. Sea. It is neatly built, being a watering-place sometimes resorted to by the Belgian court.
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Let no such man be trusted.
My soul is an enchanted boat,
Which, like a sleeping swan doth float
Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
Beside the helm, conducting it,
While all the winds with melody are ringing.
Upon that many winding river,
VII. PASTORAL MUSIC-BYRON.
A pastoral fable-pipes in the liberal air,
'Er'e bus, son of Chaos, in heathen mythology. The name signifies darkness, and is therefore applied to the
dark and gloomy space under the earth, through which the shades pass into Hades.
HE discovery of a statue, a vase, or even of a cameo, inspires art-critics and collectors with enthusiastic in'dustry, to search whether it be a copy or an original, of what age, and by what artist. But I think that a heart-hymn, sprung from the soul's deepest life, and which is, as it were, the words of the heart in those hours of transfiguration in which it beholds God, and heavenly angels, is nobler by far than any old simulacrum,' or carved ring, or heathen head, however ex'quisite in lines and feature!
2. To trace back a hymn to its source, to return upon the path along which it has trodden on its mission of mercy through generations, to witness its changes, its obscurations and reäppearances, is a work of the truëst religious enthusiasm, and far surpasses in importance the tracing of the ideas of mere art. For hymns are the expo'nents of the inmost piety of the Church. They are crystalline tears, or blossoms of joy, or holy prayers, or incarnated raptures. They are the jewels which the Church has worn: the pearls, the diamonds and precious stones, formed into amulets more potent against sorrow and sădnèss than the most famous charms of wizard or magician. And he who knows the way that hymns flowed, knows where the blood of piety ran, and can trace its veins and arteries to the very heart.
3. No other composition is like an experimental hymn. It is not a mere poëtic impulse. It is not a thought, a fancy, a feeling threaded upon words. It is the voice of experience speaking from the soul a few words that condense and often represent a whole life. It is the life, too, not of the natural feelings growing wild, but of regenerated feeling, inspired by God to a heavenly destiny, and making its way through troubles and hindrances, through joys and victories, dark or light, sad or serene, yet always struggling forward. Forty years the heart may have been in battle, and one verse shall express the fruit of the whole.
4. One great hope may come to fruit only at the end of many years, and as the ripening of a hundred experiences. As there be flowers that drink up the dews of spring and summer, and
'Sim' u la`crum, the likeness, resemblance, or representation of anything; an image, picture, figure, effigy, or statue.
feed upon all the rains, and, only just before the winter comes, burst forth into bloom, so it is with some of the noblest blossoms of the soul. The bolt that prostrated Saul gave him the exceeding brightness of Christ; and so some hymns could never have been written but for a heart-stroke that well-nigh crushed out the life. It is cleft in two by bereavement, and out of the rift comes fōrth, as by resurrection, the form and voice that shall never die out of the world. Angels sat at the grave's mouth; and so hymns are the angels that rise up out of our griefs and darkness and dismay.
5. Thus born, a hymn is one of those silent ministers which God sends to those who are to be heirs of salvation. It enters into the tender imagination of childhood, and casts down upon the chambers of its thought a holy radiance which shall never quite depart. It goes with the Christian, singing to him all the way, as if it were the airy voice of some guardian spirit. When darkness of trouble, settling fast, is shutting out every star, a hymn bursts through and brings light like a torch. It abides by our side in sickness. It goes forth with us in joy to syllable
6. And thus, after a time, we clothe a hymn with the memories and associations of our own life. It is garlanded with flowers which grew in our hearts. Born of the experience of one mind, it becomes the unconscious record of many minds. We sang it, perhaps, the morning that our child died. We sang this one on that Sabbath evening when, after ten years, the family were once more all together. There be hymns that were sung while the mother lay a-dying; that were sung when the child, just converted, was filling the family with the joy of Christ new-born, and laid, not now in a manger, but in a heart. And thus sprung from a wondrous life, they lead a life yet more wonderful. When they first come to us they are like the single strokes of a bell ringing down to us from above; but, at length, a single hymn becomes a whole chime of bells, mingling and discoursing to us the harmonies of a life's Christian experience.
7. And oftentimes, when in the mountain country, far from noise and interruption, we wrought upon these hymns' for our vacation tasks, we almost forgot the living world, and were lifted up by noble lyrics as upon mighty wings, and went back to the 'Hymns, "Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes," published in 1855.