The morn of spirit-land appears

And bids all gloom be gone.

The bird wings onward still,

Sees Christ in heaven above,
Speeds, lights at the Almighty's feet

And drops the leaf of love.

Then Jesus takes the gift,

His glories on it beam-
He wends where fadeless roses bloom

By Jordan's sacred stream.

He breaks a “Wonder-Flower"

From Sharon's garden near ;-
There glows within the calyx bright,

A happy angel's tear-
The dovelet rises, wings

Adown from light's first sphere,
And earthward sweeping gently brings

The rose to prisoners here.—(iii. 135.)

The “Wonder-Flower” may also be translated “Miracle-Flower," which indeed the gift of illumination and consolation from the Lord may well be called by a Church else imprisoned in the “chambers of her own imagery." "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is disquieted till it resteth in Thee,” said St. Augustine. We fancy the doctrine of the “merely reflex action of prayer” would have found scant favour with Stagnelius, for he knew it was not in man to discern the exact limits of the possibilities of Infinite Love.

The further history of the mystical rose, and the contentment it should inspire, are prettily told in the following :

A dove flies softy through the prison-bars
And brings a letter to Christ's captive bride.
• Maiden, despair not! Scorn the tyrant's pride
Whose dread seraglio seems the haunt of Mars.

Yon turban with its crescent bright and stars,
Yon doliman which gold and pearls divide,
Yon Sultan marching with victorious stride,

'Mid battle-music of wild Janitchars, –
From all such splendour turn away thy face,
Rank's fawning slaves are vanity's disgrace.

[blocks in formation]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The food of conscience pure, the happy dream,
His Bride he seeks not where war's furies gleam,

His Church is gentleness, for Charity
By fountain cool, and fragrant rose-laid way
In white-robed harmlessness of peace would stay.

Soon shall the noise of Sin be stilled by Right
Christ shall return on judgment's trumpet-blast,

Maiden, despair not, scorn the tyrant's might,
The strength of Antichrist shall cease at last.

(iii. 151.) Faith in a Divine Human, uncreate and infinite,* procures for the soul intuitions the rational faculty may not too curiously seek to circumscribe. Christianity is a woof of the miraculous woven into the web of law, and religion never maintained a normal vitality where a conviction thereof was suppressed. Thus in the drama of the "Martyrs," just before Perpetua teaches Flavius to desire the “advent of the Lord's city, the New Jerusalem, inhabited by grace and truth,” Stagnelius makes her say,

The Word which made the heart,
Alone can teach the heart the Word of prayer :
E'en as the eye sees not by its own strength
If gentle light of day illume it not.
A iniracle is needed for mere dust
To commune with its God: only the Spirit, -
The Sacred Dove who, with its silver wings
Hovers supreme above time's darksome sea,-
Can teach our heart the sweet responsive sigh.

(ii. 288.) In some such hour of confidence the bride sings the following song. Its very rhymes are mystical in form, for each verse starts with unison, breaks into temporary dissidence, then subsides into happy conjunction; while the sentiment of the poem commences with the individual and ends with the general bliss of the Church Universal.

My Jesus, Thou the Word Divine
Alone canst soothe this heart of mine.
As all heaven's stars in ceaseless bound

Drink from the sun their needed fire
And in its beams wend circling round,

And tell they have one common sire,
So manhood's pulse derives from Thee

Its primal life and sanctity. “Take care that you do not think of the Lord as of a man like yourself, but rather think of Him as a man who is God.”--Swedenborg, “ Ath. Cr." 12. Compare D. L. and W., 285, at the end.

The noontide-sky,-an ocean bright
With suns and planets hid in light,-
Each gentle flow'ret of the vale,

The midnight cope of shining stars ;
The zephyr ; thunder ; nightingale ;

High soaring eagles ; lowliest spars,
Declare though Sin time's master be,
Our life exists alone from Thee.
Far from the darksome path of earth
Our being, Lord, from Thee had birth,
And thus we find no true repose

While in the sphere of sin and pain.
Home to Thy heart affection goes,

As echo seeks the voice again,-
Our spirit in its banishment
Can win from Time no sure content.
From Thee, O Source of Light, we sever,
But Thou from us departest never,
In vain earth turns itself away

And seeks to fly the noontide beam m;
Its glories still, reflected, stay

In star and crystal, plant and stream :
So sleep the prison'd soul sets free
To dream of walks in peace with Thee.
From azure sky the moonbeams cold
Strew silver in the track of gold :
A tender sadness chills its light.

So memories of lost happiness ;-
Clear on the altar-cloth of night

The past re-lives in imaged bliss,
And calm as eve in amber vale
Faith, Hope and Charity prevail.
The Polar World, a darksome tomb,
Felt gentle heaven disperse its gloom,
For races wandering in the shade

Aurora Borealis rose,
Brightly its wondrous glories played

O’er mount and forest, seas and snows :
From hill and dale death's shroud was riven,
And moist-eyed hope saw mercy given.
So death-bound time and space are stirred,
By Heaven's Divine, Evangel Word,
The golden stars that glow above

Beam hallelujahs from the skies, Earth feels again the light of love,

And, freed, sings forth the heart's surprise. O joy! the world escapes death's ban, Messiah comes, the Word made Man !

Sweet are the tidings Jesus brings
To us Time's lonesome wanderlings.
Yon Cross the sign that makes all clear,

Yon Cross the key to all the grace.
Brightly the form illumes heaven's sphere,

So Jesus thenceforth shines through space.
Blood, water, fire make spirits sweet,
The Cross alone can these complete.—(iii. 128.)

Only in a symbolical sense can meaning be won from such a conclusion. The next poem, on the other hand, is so intensely realistic and frank, that the reader may require to be reminded that it is a parable. It is further remarkable as involving an anticipation of Tulk's incarnation theory, for Mary, as has been stated, represents the intellectual principle.

Jesus looked down from heaven with searching glance,
He sought on earth some maid of woman born,
A virgin pure as Sharon's fragrant flowers,
One whose first offspring once for all should shake
Hell's gloomy powers, and set poor mortals free
From sin and death and matter's brutal bonds,
Fruits these of primal guilt.

Mary was seen
Walking through Bethlehem's grove in evening sweet.
Pensive she mused ʼmong palms and lilies fair-
Now plucking flowers by some meandering stream,
And dewing them with meditation's tear ;
Now looking with her full-orbed, seraph-eyes
Up to the azure infinite above.

Then Jesus moved with fondness all divine,
Spake thus to suns and planets, princedoms, powers, -
“Now, O my friends, is reconcilement's hour !"
Swift, with light-cleaving wings, swept Gabriel down,
Setting his glowing face for Bethlehem.
He spake “Hail Mary!” and the joyful sound
Spread from his ruby lips to blooming groves,
And all the heavens that strain re-echoed round
In angel songs and “harping symphonies ;"
White streamlets murmured and high branches thrilled
“Hail, blessed Mary, darling Bride of God!"
And still resounded in the wild wave's roar,
The ember's crackling, and that joy and grief
Which rule alternate in each mortal breast,
“Hail, holy Mary! blessed for evermore !”—(iii. 76.)


We will now bring these translations to a close by the following tender poem of “Shepherd and Fountain”


I know a fountain calm and bright,

Its source where roses play,
One gushing leap, one gentle sweep

Then clear, it sinks to stay.
Afar a noisy river speeds

Blanched o'er with snow-white foam,
Its echoing lay sounds miles away

By woods and village-home.
The voice of dove and nightingale

Soars high aloft and dies,
Then, marged by leaves, the fountain heaves

Its face to heaven and sighs.
Heaven smiles response, contentment springs

And joys a breast erst sad,
’Neath sky aglow the ripple's flow

Reflects love's features glad.
The fount looks down in pensive thoughts

Till all the host of heaven
Love-mirror'd kiss ; light leaps to bliss,

And ecstasy is given.
Then o'er the path from cedar-heights

A Gentle Shepherd wends
Past waters loud, through mistland's shroud

He walks till echo ends.
Flower-wreathed, the Shepherd still descends,

The vestal fount shines near,
On ripples low love's features glow-

A Shepherd pictured clear!
Like wine's warm blush, like milk's pure hue

His face, reflected, heams;
The waters swell 'neath beauty's spell

And tremble with Love dreams.
This Gentle Shepherd wouldst thou know?

This fount by lowly sod ?-
The spring lies sure in conscience pure,

The Shepherd's name is God. — (iii. 88.) From what we have shown, it will be readily admitted that Stagnelius was no mere rhymster; but when we consider his numerous other well-rounded poems, and recollect that he died at thirty years of age, he becomes an object almost of wonder. His melancholy disposition no doubt favoured his muse, and it is said that he was in the habit of writing only when he felt himself in poetic mood. It is noteworthy, too, that whatever was penned one day was re-read the next, and if not found up to the standard, was immediately destroyed—a great kindness towards posterity, for what is merely worth speaking ought never to be written.

« VorigeDoorgaan »