The midnight hour had struck, and all around
Was still as the deep grave; no human sound
Jarr'd on the quiet of that scene of peace;
No sound, save ocean's waves, that never cease
Their hollow murm'ring, while they ebb and flow,
Passing from thunders loud to whispers low;
And rustling of the lilac-arrow'd canes,
Swept by light zephyrs floating o'er the plains;
And the soft sighing of the balmy breeze
Stirring amid yon groups of waving trees,
Whose feathery branches glisten'd, as the bright
Calm moonbeams shed around their holy light.
It was a lovely scene: the starry sky
Shone brilliant with its glorious orbs on high;
And the cool air of night had chased awhile
Day's glowing heat from yonder tropic isle,
Where slept a beauteous boy. No native he
Of lands that gem the Caribbean sea;
His birth-place was where Albion's white cliffs stand.
And while he slept, behold--a radiant band
Of forms ethereal round his low couch glide!
He starts! and restless turns from side to side,
When, hark! A strain of melody, sweet, clear,
As if the golden harps of heaven were near,
Breaks on the silence of the dewy night,
Putting each evil influence to flight;
And these the words those blessed spirits sung,
As o'er the fair-hair'd slumberer they hung:
"Sleep, earth-born cherub! softly sleep!
Their watch an angel trio keep
Around thy couch of hush'd repose.
Why pales upon thy cheek the rose?
Why startest thou? Thy snowy arms
Why toss aloft? What dream alarms
Thine infant mind? Peace, peace, sweet boy,
We bring thoughts to thy soul of joy.
No evil spirits hover near,
Such as inspire dark guilt with fear;
No envious demons dare intrude
To tempt thy peaceful heart from good.
We'll fan thee with our glittering wings,
From whence celestial fragrance springs;
We'll soothe thee with some heavenly strain,
Till thou art lull'd to peace again."
The favour'd child of earth while sleeping caught
These angel tones, with seraph music fraught.
Sweet peace unto his youthful heart they sent,
And though he could not see the forms that bent
In shadowy outline there, around his bed,
He smiled, and gently raised his graceful head,
As if some visitor beloved to greet,
Then on his pillow sank in slumbers sweet.
One shade then sign'd another by his side--
"Stay, Edwin, and watch o'er thy sister's child,
Our brother's darling boy!" The spirit smiled
As only angels smile, while he replied:
"Go, seek the other object of your care!
I will remain to guard this flow'ret fair."
Then blending with the far moon's silver ray,
Floated two forms 'midst the soft air away.
On angels' wings they swiftly flew
Over the gleaming coral strand;
Soon to those isles they bade adieu
That 'midst the deep Atlantic stand.
And many a bark behind they left,
With white sails set to catch the breeze;
Still hastening on, the air they cleft,
Till they had pass'd the dark blue seas.
Another land they greeted then. There, too, night held her silent reign
O'er all the busy haunts of men; One spirit knew them well again;
Leading the way, he stopp'd above
Earth's greatest city's spires and domes;
And with bright looks of seraph love
They enter'd where a lily blooms.
She oped her eyes of violet hue
And, sweetly smiling, gazed around,
As if those kindred forms she knew,
Or strange intelligence had found.
"Hail! lovely scion of our mortal race!
Fair promise in thy lineaments we trace.
Dear babe! may thou and he--our distant care--
The tender, saving love of Jesus share!
And when your term of life at length is run,
May glory's crown by both be haply won!
May ye, when past the chequer'd scenes of time,
Ascend to dwell in yonder spheres sublime!"
The spirits linger'd for a moment more,
Then, ere the sleeping sons of earth awoke,
And the first dawning streaks of morning broke,
They vanish'd from this world's sin-tainted shore,
And mounting where their home celestial lies,
The angel trio met above the skies.