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When at the lattice, calm and mild, The mother in the twilight saw the vine-leaves stirred. “ Mother,” it seemed to say,
“I love thee;
My spirit writes the words above thee;
Where was the husband of that widowed thing.
That seraph's earthly sire ?
A soldier dares a soldier's fire :
Beneath a foreign sky
The wife, in silence, saw him die, But the fond boy's blue eyes gave drops like sunny rain. “ Mother!" the poor lad cried,
“ He's dying ! We are close by thee, father; thy bleeding side;
Dost thou not hear thy Arthur crying ?
Mother! his lips are closed; he's dying !" It was a stormy time, where the man fell;
And the youth shrunk and pined;
Consumption's worm his pulse entwined; “Prepare his shroud,” rang out the convent-bell,
Yet through his pain he smiled, To soothe a parent's grief;
Sad soul ! she could not be beguiled ; She saw the bud would leave the guardian leaf! “ Mother!” he faintly said,
66 Come near me!
I've prayed that I might still be near thee;
THE FESTAL BOARD.
COME to the festal board to-night,
For bright-eyed beauty will be there, Her coral lips in nectar steeped,
And garlanded her hair.
Come to the festal board to-night,
For there the joyous laugh of youth, Will ring those silvery peals, which speak
Of bosoms pure, and stainless truth.
Come to the festal board to-night,
For friendship, there, with stronger chain, Devoted hearts already bound For good or ill, will bind again.
Nature and art their stores out-poured ;
Joy beamed in every kindling glance; Love, friendship, youth, and beauty, smiled : What could that evening's bliss enhance ?
The guests, who round that table met?
As on the banquet's eve it set ?
How holds the chain which friendship wove?
It broke; and, soon, the hearts it bound Were widely sundered ; and for peace,
Envy, and strife, and blood, were found.
The merriest laugh which then was heard
Has changed its tones to maniac screams; As half-quenched memory kindles up
Glimmerings of guilt in feverish dreams.
And where is she, whose diamond eyes
Golconda's purest gems outshone ? Whose roseate lips of Eden breathed ?
Say, where is she, the beauteous one ?
Beneath yon willow's drooping shade,
With eyes now dim, and lips all pale, She sleeps in peace. Read on her urn,
"A broken heart." This tells her tale.
And where is he, that tower of strength,
Whose fate with hers, for life was joined ? How beats his heart, once honor's throne ?
How high has soared his daring mind ?
Go to the dungeon's gloom to-night:
His wasted form, his aching head,
Lies, shuddering, on a felon's bed.
Ask you of all these woes the cause ?
The festal board, the enticing bowl,
And maddened passions spurned control.
Learn wisdom then. The frequent feast
Avoid; for there, with stealthy tread,
Till death, at last, the banquet spread.
And shun, oh, shun the enchanted cup!
Though now its draught like joy appears,
And sadly mixed with blood and tears.
That is not likely to be a profitable Sabbath which is commenced without some suitable recollection, some sincere desire to improve and to sanctify it. Our first waking thoughts should be thus consecrated; should thus take possession of the mind, and pre-occupy it; otherwise those of a worldly kind will soon flow in; so that if we “do not our own works," we shall “think our own thoughts,” which is as great a sin in the sight of God. The Sabbath dawns not on ourselves alone, but also on the millions of our favored land; inviting all to forget the six days, in which they have labored, and done their work, and to remember this, and keep it holy. Alas! to multitudes how vain the summons! It is melancholy to reflect on the thousands who welcome it only as a day of indulgence, idleness, or amusement. The Sabbath sun, which ought to arouse them betimes to its sacred duties, does but witness their longer indulgence.
How many, who “rise early and sit up late," on other days, to attend diligently to their worldly affairs, when they awake and recollect that it is Sunday, resolve to have “a little more sleep, a little more folding of the hands to sleep!” And when at last they arise, if they do not allow themselves to engage in the business of other days, they do but fill up the heavy hours in the meanest indulgences; in the preparation or enjoyment of a luxurious meal, in the most trifling occupations, or in absolute idleness. Others rise early, indeed, but it is only in order to lengthen their holiday. How many such are thus preparing to profane the Sabbath! How are the roads and fields, in almost every part of our beautiful country, disfigured by these unhallowed visitants! How are our streets thronged with Sabbath-breakers! The doors of the houses of God are thrown wide open, and they would be welcome as well as others. “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" In vain is the affectionate invitation! They pass on, resolved to have their pleasure at whatever price.
But there is a brighter view of Sunday morning, to which it is refreshing to turn. How many are there, who have said of it, “ Early will I seek thee," and who, from their various and distant dwellings, have been, at the same hour, seeking, in their closets, a blessing on the welcome Sabbath! Their united supplications, uttered in various accents, and rising from the lowly cottage, the darksome hovel, as well as from abodes of comfort and affluence, ascend together, as an acceptable morning sacrifice to the throne of grace. Again: see from the streets and lanes, from the courts and alleys of our crowded cities, from the hamlets and villages, from the highways and hedges, what numbers of decent children now issue forth to their respective Sunday Schools! How many little feet are, at the same moment, pacing the streets on this blessed errand ! What an innumerable multitude would they form, could the whole of them be assembled on some vast plain before our view!
The crowded streets of a large city, on a Sunday morning, may also afford another observation which should excite our liveliest gratitude. To see multitudes, of every different denomination, quietly proceeding, in open day, unmolested and unquestioned, to their respective places of worship, is a beau tiful evidence of the religious privileges we enjoy. Every
man may now sit under his own vine; and, whoever might wish to do it, none dares to make him afraid. And now the voice of prayer and of praise is heard in our land. What numberless voices unite in that universal chorus, which ascends, like a cloud of incense, to the heavens! This, then, is another animating reflection for Sunday morning. But there are many who are absent from these solemnities, not from choice, but necessity. Sunday morning has a peculiar aspect in a sick chamber. Those now on the bed of languishing, who have hitherto neglected their Sabbaths, view it with peculiar emotions, feel its value, and resolve, if they are restored to health, to improve these precious seasons in future; while the true christian, from his sick bed, hails its cheerful beams, and hopes for a Sabbath of rest and profit, even there.
Let us now look at our own hearts, and make a practical reflection. This Sabbath sun, that shines on the millions of the human race, beams also on us; "on me,” let every
reader say; and to me the question is, how shall I employ it? I may not be one of the open Sabbath-breakers of the land; but am I not one of the countless multitude, who, while in form they “ keep a holy day,” yet secretly say, “What a weariness it is! When will it be over?” If so, reader, no longer, we beseech you, waste your time in pitying or despising the poor Indian and Hindoo, who have no Sabbath. No longer censure the pleasure-taking Sabbath-breaker. Let your charity begin at home, and remember, that if your Sabbaths are misimproved, you are in a far more alarming situation than the untaught savage, “who knows not his Lord's will!" Recollect, also, that the period is hastening, when the angel of Death shall swear concerning you, that “ Time," and its Sabbaths, “shall be no longer."
How still the morning of the hallowed day!