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And I, ‘Right gladly would I see him swallow
His fill beneath the slimy lake immersed,
Ere that again our road on land we follow.'
Before the beach itself to view doth tender
Thou shalt have joy of thy desire rehearsed.' And soon I saw unto that vile offender
Such outrage by the miry folk applied
Whereof yet thanks and praise to God I render. *To Philip Argenti,' one and all they cried,
And 'gainst himself with teeth and biting gory
The passionate Florentine with them vied. Then we passed on, nor more of them my story
Narrates. But in our ears a cry resounded
Whereat mine eye its glance exploratory
My son, the city that of Dis is named,
With fearful citizens, a crowd unbounded.' Then, 'Lo, distinct already,' I exclaimed,
"The minarets gleam from out the vale nocturnal,
Vermilion all, as if in fire they flamed Below.' And he to me, "The fire eternal
Within them burns, its ruddy hue exposing,
As thou dost witness, in this depth infernal.' Now the deep fosses had we reached, inclosing
The land around, of comfort all forsaken ;
Bare iron seemed its lofty walls composing. But not till we a circuit long had taken,
Came we where Phlegyas cried with voice of power,
• Lo here the port: come forth.' With senses shaken I saw some thousands on the gate-way tower
Of heaven-rained spirits, who with anger fired
Cried, 'Who is this that ere his death-day lower, To view the dead world's kingdom hath aspired!'
But my sage master made a sign, declaring
That he to speak apart with them desired.
And said, 'Come thou alone, and let him wander
Who on this realm hath entered with such daring. Bid him on his fool's journey homeward ponder,
And test his powers; for thou shalt tarry, leaving
Him whom thou led'st through that drear country yonder.'
Loud in my ears their curses so indignant;
O my dear Master, O my guide benignant,'
Seven times and more, from risk of harm malignant
To ruin; but if we from our course are driven,
Together be our quick return effected.'
Said, 'Fear thee not; no one hath power to hurt thee
Or bar thy road; by such high power 'tis given.
With food and comfort for thy soul offended,
Since I in this low realm will not desert thee.'
There left me waiting in perplexed condition,
While aye and no within my brain contended.
But no long time he parleying with them tarries,
For all within resolve on prohibition.
Shut to the gates, who after such repelling
Back unto me his tardy footsteps carries.
Of confidence o'erthrown, he spoke and sighed,
• Who bars my access unto sorrow's dwelling ?' And then to me, 'Be not thou terrified
At my annoyance; I will beat them under
Whoe'er within to stay us be allied.
At gate less secret once was it displayed,
Whose portals yet stand without locks asunder.
From thence already through the circles presses,
Descending without escort undismayed,
(To be continued.)
MUSINGS OVER THE CHRISTIAN YEAR
AND LYRA INNOCENTIUM.
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
METRE and meaning alike are grave, sad, and full of awe, on this last Sunday of the great Forty Days, the Sunday of Rogation or prayer
marking the close of the time when our risen Lord still remained upon earth. This solemn time is compared to the deep stillness before a summer shower-only broken by the sweet full note of a bird singing in the distance.
Like that bird, in these still days of prayer,' should the entreaty of the Church be heard, 'mourning as a dove;' or as the solitary bird that in the east sitteth alone on the housetop,' filling the night with soft plaintive murmurs. 'O deliver not the soul of Thy turtle-dove unto the multitude of Thine enemies,' may well be her cry, for her plaint must be a penitential one
• Teach her to know and love her hour of prayer.'
Surely—when we remember the scant observance of 'hours of prayer' in 1823, compared with the Church's present custom, we feel as if this entreaty had been in some degree fulfilled. And observe the rarer faith becomes, the more earnest intercession must needs grow to be among the faithful who utter the voice of the Church on earth, bewailing the errors of herself and her children, like Hosea's 'lost returning spouse.'
The parallel in the next verse is carried on to the penitence before Mount Sinai of the Israelites after their idolatry, the subject of the Lessons for the Evening. Here we must take the Church to be represented by Israel, their petitions being gathered into one, and expressed by Moses; as those of the Church are presented before the Throne by our Lord Himself.
Israel's was a sin against a ratified covenant, it was a relapse ; and so are the sins the Church has to mourn, with 'an intenser cry' than the pre-baptismal sins of ignorance can be mourned. And whereas special intercessions were needed for Aaron, the priest, as guiltiest of all in the matter of the golden calf, so error or sin among her priesthood, is above all bewailed by the Church. When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth ?'
Appalled by looking back at the long course of sins that stain our Israel, from the first even until now, and at the darker shades of the future, we suddenly seem as it were to cry from out of the congregation beneath the mountain, seeing Moses, or rather our own true Mediator, bearing the pledge of the covenant we have violated-freshly granted to replace that pledge that Moses shattered on the granite rocks, because those who had sworn to it had instantly set it at naught. We can only cry,
• Withdraw Thine hand, nor dash to earth
'Tis forfeit like the first, we own it all
Yet for love's sake
Let it not fall;
That nearest to Thine Altar lie,
There is, of course, an allusion to the deadness of heart of a great part of the clergy in the time when these verses came from a sad and anxious soul, burthened with a sense of the negligence and other errors that lay heavy on the Church. Heavily they lie still; great are the sins, and terrible the shortcomings, for which we still need to intreat our Great Intercessor, ou Moses out of ght, to plead with His Father. And yet, in some degree, things are better. If evil has grown, the good has grown; and it is living active good-not almost passive-as it was when this mournful awe-struck Rogation prayer came from the comparatively young pilgrim-priest.
Next time we hear his voice, it is no longer under the penitential shadow of Sinai; but he is singing joyously, near the borders of the promised land, to the fresh young generation who have grown up, unscathed by the recollection of Egypt's slavish luxuries-guided always by the Law-guiltless of the faithless murmur-leading the chant over the morning task
Comrades, haste, the tent's tall shading
Lies along the level sand;
Airs of morning
This fresh, bright, joyous morning song is to be taken really as the song of an Israelite manna-gatherer, not of a Christian disguised under his character, though certain verses are of universal application-as
• Trust Him-care not for the morrow
Should thine omer overflow,
Wouldst thou store it?
Or again :
· For that one, that heavenly morrow,
We may watch and toil to-day;
Most beautiful is the anticipation of the Land of Promise :
Not by manna showers at morning
Shall our board be then supplied,
Yearly feed us,
There, no prophet's touch awaiting,
From each cool deep cavern start,
Rills that from their first creating
Oft we hear them
There follows the question—will Canaan, when it is gained, be full and perfect rest? It is answered
Observe, it is Salem-Peace-that is selected as what Moses barely beheld. The Israelite argues, as St. Paul did, that the Land of Promise is not all, but there remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God.'
The song is sung, no doubt, with a thought of Him who like Moses, was taken from His people ere they entered fully on His promises; and like them we may sing
• Deeps of blessing are before us ;
Only, while the desert sky
Glean we manna-
So may we gather up the Bread of Life, and strive to be of the number of those who stand on the Sea of glass mingled with fire, and sing the Song of Moses and of the Lamb.
Once more we feel that to sow in tears is to reap in joy. He who began with mourning, as a turtle-dove, the transgression beneath Mount Sinai, ends by beguiling the wilderness of Paran with the blithesome Song of the Manna-gatherers.
SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION.
"SEED-TIME' is the suggestive title of the beautiful verses that are appropriated to this spring-tide Sunday during the ten days of Expectation.
The earth, we are reminded, kindly receives the seeds committed to her bosom, cherishes them, and reproduces them after their kind -tree, herb, or reed'-and with large increase. How unlike our hearts, where the great Sower hath set celestial flowers, and watered