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How precious were those tones on that sad verge of life,
Toll for the lover lost to the summoned bridal-train!
Bright glows a picture on his breast beneath th' unfathomed main.
fond wife and children dear!
Toll for the absent sire, who to his home drew near,
Toll for the loved and fair, the whelmed beneath the tide —
Toll for the hearts that bleed 'neath misery's furrowing trace!
Toll, toll, toll, o'er breeze and billow free,
And with thy startling lore instruct each rover of the sea:
Tell how o'er proudest joys may swift destruction sweep,
And bid him build his hopes on high-lone teacher of the deep.
HE GIVETH HIS BELOVED SLEEP.
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep. - PSALM cxxvii. 1, 2.
all the thoughts of God that are
"He giveth His beloved, sleep?"
What would we give to our beloved?
The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweep;
What do we give to our beloved?
"Sleep soft, beloved!" we sometimes say, But have no tune to charm away
Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep;
But never doleful dream again
Shall break the happy slumber when
O Earth, so full of dreary noises!
His dews drop mutely on the hill;
Though on its slope men sow and reap.
Ay, men may wonder when they scan
Confirmed in such a rest to keep;
For me, my heart, that erst did go
That sees through tears the mummer's leap,
"Who giveth His beloved, sleep."
And friends! - dear friends! - when it shall be
That this low breath is gone from me,
And round my bier ye come to weep
Let one, most loving of you all,
Say, "Not a tear must o'er her fall
He giveth His beloved, sleep."
SORROW FOR THE DEAD.
HE sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal, every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open; this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament?
Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns? Who, even when the tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved-when he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portals—would accept of consolation that must be bought by forgetfulness?
No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection, when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved is softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness, who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it, even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry?
No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn, even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave! the grave! It buries every error, covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down, even upon the grave of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him!
But the grave of those we loved, what a place for meditation! There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished
upon us, almost unheeded in the daily intercourse of intimacy: there it is that we dwell upon the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene; the bed of death, with all its stifled griefs, its noiseless attendance, its mute, watchful assiduities. The last testimonies of expiring love! the feeble, fluttering, thrilling, oh! how thrilling! pressure of the hand! The faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection! The last fond look of the glazing eye, turning upon us even from the threshold of existence! Ay, go to the grave of buried love and meditate. There settle the account with thy conscience for every past benefit unrequited, every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being who can never, never, never return to be soothed by thy contrition.
If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent; if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth; if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee; if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited pang to that true heart which now lies cold and still beneath thy feet; then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knock dolefully at thy soul; then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant in the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the unavailing tear, more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing.
Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret; but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living.
DEATH OF LITTLE NELL.
HE was dead. No sleep so beautiful and calm, so free from trace of pain, so fair to look upon. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God, and waiting for the breath of life: