« VorigeDoorgaan »
himself and his loathing for it so increased, that in his latter days these confessions became the sincere voice of his heart.
• The world cannot understand the penitence of the saints ;' and therefore, many will never know how the holier a man became, the deeper became his spirit of repentance: no bitter cry, like Esau's; but a sweet fragrance of intense love, longing for perfection, and tenderness at all that transgressed the law of One so beloved.
Such penitence is indeed, in the sight of Heaven,
• Fresher than steam of dewy grove,
THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT.
This is one of the grandest and most finished compositions in the whole Christian Year; but it is one, the scope of which can hardly be understood except by a somewhat scholarly mind.
The text is the parable of the strong man armed, and the Stronger than he, who taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. The application is to the victory over Satan, and the consecration of those treasures of the yearning classic world which once belonged to the kingdom of the prince of this world; but now are the enjoyment of the Christian. Before the Gospel was proclaimed, poets and philosophers were struggling towards the truth, and the words and forms of beauty that expressed these yearnings, are, now that Satan's dominion is overthrown, replete with bright and holy thoughts to the believer. So even his own region of heathen fable has been won from Satan, and become our spoil.
Perhaps the first draft of this poem expressed the idea with greater distinctness, and it went more into details, though as a whole it was less finished. It was in four-line stanzas, without the two longer lines that now conclude them. It opened in the same manner with the fall of Lucifer ; but it was without that simile, carried through three exquisite descriptive verses, of the Israelites obtaining the spoil of Canaan. In lieu of this, the now consecrated but once heathen symbols are enumerated in lines we would not willingly lose.
• The Laurel from the conqueror's brow,
Thy righteous arm entwined,
O'er his own heart and mind.
Thou gav'st to chastity,
Who love but only Thee.
* Such books as Anstice's Greek Choric Poems, Isaac Williams's Christian Scholar, and Gladstone's Homer, bear ample witness to this.
Or if upon earth's darksome breast
They find some spirit rare,
Gives back Thine Image fair;
With thankful, not adoring gaze,
"Tis theirs to look and muse
If such the twilight hues.
That scan the heaven's height,
And count the speed of light,
Meek souled humility;
The secrets of the sky.
To Love is given to win and wear
The poet's crown of bays;
Their unintended praise.
Since Thou hast claimed Thy right,
By touch of gospel light.'
These allusions are now merely touched on in the stanza,
• The olive wreath, the ivied wand,
The sword in myrtles drest,
Now wakes a vision blest :
Perhaps they were altered because authority for the application of the ivy to ast omers of old, and to humility now, is not easy to trace, and the verse on it is evidently imperfect; perhaps, also, the whole construction of the poem was recast in consequence of Hurrell Froude's criticism (see a letter in his Remains) on some of the poetry being 'Sternholdy and Hopkinsy,' an imputation to which its present form certainly is not liable. The final verse
• There's not a strain to memory dear,
There's not a flower in classic grove,
But minds us of Thy love. -is of the original; but the two added lines give a still deeper and more universal significance
O Lord, our Lord, and spoiler of our foes,
A very different note is struck in the poem in the Lyra, on “Ill Temper. It is a meditation for the benefit of those concerned with children, on the two 'evil spirits' that form the special torment and temptation of their otherwise happy age. Sullenness and Passion, compared in the two first verses to the hard, sunless, pitiless, grey frost, and to the wild and furious storm. In each case the sun is there, and one change of wind would render all bright and cheery; and
So waits the Lord behind the veil.' To Him then should the dumb deaf sullen spirit of the child be borne by urgent intercessions, remembering how He cast out such from the possessed on earth. And in like manner, the passionate temper is likened to the frenzied boy, whose father waited at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration.
Raffaelle's conception of that scene was dear to the author; and there is a striking sentence in his Prelections, in which he vindicates the poetical propriety of the juxtaposition of the Transfiguration above, and the ravings below, as showing the true calm of the Kingdom of Heaven close to the wild distresses of earth. Here the same idea is present, and is brought forward for the encouragement and comfort of such as feel anger an absolute overmastering force, so driving out all power of resistance for the moment, as to bring them to despair. He bids them 'wait untired' in prayer and patience and resolution. "Believe and all may be.' The same Hand that tamed the lunatic youth will drive back the fierce spirit of wrath, and give the victory at last. Has not Baptism been the pledge of grace to conquer? and
• Within thee, if thou wilt, be sure
That happy hours strong spells endure,
(To be continued.)
MEDIEVAL SEQUENCES AND HYMNS.
No. XIV.-ON THE CROWN OF THORNS.
(Si vis vere gloriari)
If thou wouldst win the prize
On those who heavenward rise;
Learn in His steps to tread,
On His most sacred Head.
The Monarch of Creation
This Crown did condescend
At His life's bitter end.
With this in battle stood
Triumphant on the wood.
This then the Warrior's helmet,
The Victor's laurel this,
The Pontiff's mitre is.
To shame and pain untold,
Hath touched and made it gold.
The virtue of Christ's Passion
Hath mightily gone forth, And shed on that rude circlet
Its gift of countless worth ; That Passion which enduring
The hard and thorny wood, Those doomed to death eternal,
Hath satisfied with good.
Of evil it is platted
To us who slight His Word; The thorny points deep wound us,
Which wounded once our Lord; But when our sins are purged,
And we in grace abide, Behold, the crown is golden,
The points are turned aside.
O kind, O righteous Jesu,
Grant to us all Thy power, That we may be victorious
In death's approaching hour; So fashion Thou our conduct
In this our mortal strife, That we the crown may merit Of everlasting life.
DEEP are the depths, O Lord,
From which I cry to Thee;
To hearken, not to see.
That searching gaze to stand ?
My pardon in Thy hand.
Too closely on my pain ;
I fear to sin again.
And dark my weary breast;
As I for love and rest.
I will not cease to hope,
The sun comes up the slope.
Who died that you might live,
Still whispered, 'I forgive.'
Forgive Thy servants too ;
With silver gleam the moon's soft beams
Fell on the sleeping wave,
The stillness of the grave;