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In the midst of the congregation,
Where the heads were bowed in prayer,
Mine own was bowed in the silence,
With the worshipers throng├Ęd there.

 

The radiant, glittering splendor
Of the great dome chandeliers
Broke in a thousand lusters,
Like a passion that shook with tears.

 

"Amen." There stole from the organ
A whispering symphony,
With the low breathed words of the chanters,
Chanting, "Come unto me

 

"All ye that are heavy laden,
And I will give you rest,"
While a holy hush descended
Like balm upon every breast.

 

When the organ, supplanting the voices,
Uprose like a swelling tide,
And swept with resistless rapture
My heart shore far and wide,

 

I felt a thrill as of anguish,
And tears to my eyelids start,
While the billows of passionate music
Broke heavily on my heart.

 

I was carried away from the present,
Back to the vanished past,
Back to the fair hill country
Of a youth that fled so fast.

 

Instead of the grand cathedral,
With carven and vaulted dome,
Its gorgeous gilded fretwork,
Its sensuous, somber gloom,

 

I sat in the homely precincts
Of an old church far away,
That was young with its eldest tenants,
With them it was long grown gray.

 

Low roof that a modern steeple
Would look on with disdain;
Bare walls and small-paned windows
That knew no deeper stain

 

Than the shadows of firs and beeches,
With the sunlight filtered through,
And falling on saintly foreheads,
Uplift in each high old pew.

 

No bell rang out the summons,
On the sweet, soft summer air;
We knew by the holy stillness,
That the Sabbath peace was there,

 

As along each dusty highway,
All feet were wont to tend,
Toward that sacred threshold
As to a common end.

 

And there were friendly greetings,
With hand-clasps warm and true;
And looks of happy lovers,
Ah, happier than they knew!

 

Uprose the aged preacher,
With the peace of God on him;
And the fresh young men and maidens,
In the gallery raised the hymn.

 

The ancient viol sounded,
It seemed a heavenly lyre,
By youth and love surrounded,
With an aureole of fire.

 

Again I saw assembled,
The dead and living there,
As erst with their kindly faces,
Their hushed and reverent air;

 

While out from my heart's recesses,
Old dreams and old fancies came,
With the rapturous, turbulent trouble,
Of illusions too sweet to name.

 

Cold distrust was a laggard comer,
In hearts that were young and true;
And life was a long, bright summer,
And the rose with the myrtle grew.

 

Oh! when the last benediction,
Breathed out in that lofty fane,
I woke from my dream like a dreamer
With the pang of a sudden pain.

 

The radiant, glittering splendor
Of the great dome chandeliers
Broke in a thousand lusters
Through the glimmering of my tears.

 

I felt the sacred chrism
Of a memory most divine,
And I knew that nearer Heaven
No heart had been than mine!