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- Canadian Wild Flowers - 20/36 -


Come not in festal robes as once ye came, The bride is here but she is not the same As when ye saw her to the altar led, And called down blessings on her fair young head. The cheek is pale that with the rose could vie, There is no lustre in that rayless eye, Upon those pallid lips there is no breath, And she alas is now the bride of Death! Henceforth what soul will ever dare to trust In things that crumble at a breath to dust? And who would dream of earthly joy and bliss Taught by a lesson terrible as this?

Short-sighted mortal hastening to the tomb, Gaze on the scene, and realize thy doom! All tongues and nations mingle with the clay; Art thou less subject unto death than they? The conquerors of the world have left their throne Before a mandate mightier than their own,-- Rank, pride and power have sunk into the grave, And Caesar moulders with the meanest slave. Canst thou escape his all-destroying breath And bid defiance to the victor Death? What strange enchantment has allured thine eyes? Shake off the spell! immortal soul, arise! Oh, burst thy fetters ere it be too late, Regain thy freedom and thy lost estate,-- A thousand angels hover round thy track, They plead with thee, they long to lead thee back.

The sacrifice too great? bethink thee, soul! A few more suns above thy head may roll, A few at most and thou wilt trembling stand Just on the borders of the spirit land. Who ever stood there calm and undismayed, And smiled to see all earthly prospects fade? Not he who lived for things of time alone, Who won a name, a fortune or a throne; Who added field to field, and store to store, And cried at last, "Oh, for one moment more!" But he whose eye could pierce the dreary tomb, He who could say amid the gathering gloom,-- "There is my home and there my Saviour stands With smiling brow and with extended hands!" Would'st thou depart with that exulting cry, In glorious hope of immortality? Thy heart all joy, and praise thy latest breath? _The holy life insures the happy death!_ Oh, thou wilt wonder in that trying hour.

When home, and love, and friendship lose their power To cheer and comfort, thou could'st ever prize What then will sink to nothing in thine eyes-- Time for repentance then? beware! beware! How many souls are yearly shipwrecked there! Like him of old they cry--"Go now thy way"-- And keep repentance for their dying day; But God is jealous of his honor still, He asks a ready mind, a hearty will, And those who through a life-time break his laws, Despite his mercy and his glorious cause, Who seek their own enjoyment and their ease, And only yield when death demandeth these,-- May find too late they were deceived at last, And mourn the summer and the harvest past!

There's not in heaven itself a lovelier sight, Nor one which angels view with more delight, Than youthful soldiers of Immanuel's cross, In life's glad morning counting all as loss, Since they have proved a dying Saviour's love, And placed their treasures and their hearts above. Let pleasure woo them with her syren voice, They heed her not--they've made a nobler choice; Let others walk the shining path of fame, They dare to suffer poverty and shame, And turning from the world's enchanted bowers, To consecrate their youth and all their powers To Him they serve, and even here they find More real pleasure than they e'er resigned.

The best they have in early life they bring A free-will offering to their God and King; And in that hour when heart and flesh shall fail, Their song of triumph ringing through the vale, Will mingle with the anthems of the blest, Who wait to hail them to their heavenly rest. Would'st thou depart with that exulting cry In glorious hope of immortality? I read an answer in that beaming face, _Behold thy Saviour--fly to his embrace!_

THE BATTLE-FIELD.

Strewn on the battle-plain, After the fight was done, And the bloody victory won, Were a thousand heaps of slain. Rider and horse there lay, But the war-steed neighed no more, And the gallant form he bore Upon that eventful day, Shattered, and marred, and ghastly pale, Had fallen beneath the deadly hail.

Prince and peasant were there! Rich and poor, master and slave, Wise and simple, timid and brave; Old men with snow-white hair, Young men of noble birth, Boys just from their native shore, And the homes they shall see no more, Stretched on the cold, damp earth; And mother and sister may watch in vain, They never shall press those lips again.

Clasped in a fond embrace Was a young and gentle pair, And the love that was pictured there Made holy that dreadful place. Near by a chieftain bled, While his faithful dog still kept A mournful watch where he slept, And mourned above the dead, Then gazed on the pallid lips and brow: It is death--does he comprehend it now?

Just as they fell they lay-- Struck down in the dreadful strife; And the latest look they wore in life Death had not taken away: Some with a pleasant smile, Foeman with foemen at peace, Croat, and Frank, and Tyrolese, All in one ghastly pile, From the Seine, the Po, and the Land of Song, Oh, where were the souls of that countless throng?

Gone to the bar of God! Gone from the battle's din, Gone with their weight of sin, To the solemn bar of God! Woe to ambition and pride! Woe to the tyrant king Who dares from his subjects wring What God has never denied! Aye, woe to him, for the record stands, And the blood of the slain is on his hands.

DEAD AND FORGOT.

Dead and forgot! How sad the lot When wintry tempests blow To lie all cold 'Neath the churchyard mould, And in a year or so To have our very name unsaid, Unless it chance to fall From careless lips that say, "She's dead,"-- She's dead, and that is all!

But sadder still That one should fill The place we thought our own: That a form more light, And an eye more bright Should guard our dear hearth-stone; That where we strayed another's feet At morn and eve should roam, And another's voice--perchance more sweet-- Make music in our home!

That where we locked Our hands and talked Amid our chosen flowers, The lips we pressed Should be caressed By other lips than ours,-- That other eyes should watch for him, And other arms embrace, Until our image growing dim Yield to another's face.

And this is love! O injured Dove! Thy wings have many a stain: But pure and white In the Land of Light They shall be spread again; The deep, true love our spirits crave Earth has never supplied;


Canadian Wild Flowers - 20/36

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