'Twas night, or early morn; the busy street
Was for a time deserted, and no sound--
Save the quick pattering of the rain that beat
Against the casement, and the wind around
Sighing its dismal strains--broke the profound,
The solemn, gloomy stillness that seem'd meet
To lead the wakeful spirit from this earth--
Where Death has mark'd all creatures from their birth--
Up to the contemplation of yon spheres,
Unknown, unseen, and yet for ever near,
Where, "the dark valley" pass'd, years, endless years,
Nay, ages but like moments shall appear.
Oh! that "eternal shore,"
When Death shall be no more!
How widely differing from this mortal state,
Where we but draw our earliest breath
To yield it up again in death,
Obedient to the unchanging laws of fate!
'Twas night, and sleep had closed the weary eye,
And the dream-world its visionary gate
Had opened to my soul, and soaring high,
As if on angel-pinions borne aloft,
Methought I saw, above the azure sky,
As through a veil of silver light--so soft
And so subdued, yet clear, transparent, bland--
Oh, view sublime! it was the spirits' land.
Vainly would mortal thought try to portray
That heavenly scene, magnificent and grand.
No words of mortal language could convey
The slightest glimpse of that celestial home,
Where disembodied souls and angels roam
In bliss eternal; and the Godhead reigns
In majesty unspeakable, and might!
Methought around was shed a rosy light,
And, wafted to my ear, ecstatic strains
Came sweeping by, while forms, radiant in love,
In dignity and beauty, glorious, bright,
Seem'd floating there (that angel-hymn remains
But faintly on my waking mind). Above
Methought I gazed in wonderment and awe,
And as I gazed a cherub form I saw
Approach; his features were not strange to me.
Again--again I look'd. Ah, yes! 'twas he,
The cherub who was lent me for a space,
A short, short space on earth. Yes, I could trace
The well-remember'd features! To my side
He came: "This is the blessed morn," he said,
"When for the sons of earth the Saviour paid
That mighty ransom which has purchased grace,
And rose triumphant from the tomb! The wide,
The boundless universe this day rejoice.
Hark! songs of praise swell every angel voice,
And to commemorate this glorious day,
The dead, who died in Him, are call'd to rise
From yonder earth, where sleep their forms of clay,
And shape their course to meet Him in the skies.
Behold! the graves are bursting, shadowy hosts
This Easter morn will throng the air.
Alas! for them who have no share
In the redeeming mercy this day boasts."
I look'd, and lo! the shrouded dead
From their dark vaults seem'd to have fled;
The mould of many a grave was heaving,
Pale forms their silent tombs were leaving,
And, hovering o'er the ocean's dark blue waves,
The drown'd were rising from their sandy graves.
"Spirit!" I cried, "oh, take me to the spot
Where thy beloved brother lies." A smile
Was his reply. And quick as subtle thought
We pass'd far o'er the sea, to yonder isle,
And paused above the hallow'd ground we sought.
'Twas dawn's cool hour; the brilliant sun awhile
Had yet to linger ere his beams could play
With all the morning power of tropic day.
I gazed upon the sixteen mounds that press'd
Upon so many noble hearts--at rest.
Ah! side by side the much-mourn'd sleepers lay.
Sleepers no longer! On that morning blest, They, too, arose; the new-made graves were rent,
And, slow ascending, all those gallant forms
That oft had braved the ocean's wildest storms,
In their fresh shrouds their heavenward journey went;
But soon on one dear shade, as by a spell,
My gaze was fix'd. His eye upon me fell,
And, for a moment, stopping in his flight
To the eternal realms of joy and light,
He said: "Mother, farewell; grieve not for me,
My spirit from yon sinful world is free.
Oh! laud His holy name Who call'd me thence,
That wise, that merciful Omnipotence.
But 'watch and pray,'
That in the day
When death shall snatch thee to the grave,
Through Him Who hath the power to save
Thy parted soul may be accepted there."
He pointed upwards--then was lost in air!