« PreviousContinue »
Startles the traveller, with a sound so drear,
The guide, as if he heard a dead-bell toll, Starts, drops his oar against the gunwale’s thole, Crosses himself, and whispers, “ A lost soul !”
“ No, Señor, not a bird. I know it well, -
“Poor fool! with hope still mocking his despair, He wanders, shrieking on the midnight air For human pity and for Christian prayer.
“ Saints strike him dumb! Our Holy Mother
hath No prayer for him who, sinning unto death, Burns always in the furnace of God's wrath !”
Thus to the baptized pagan's cruel lie,
Lending new horror to that mournful cry, · The voyager listens, making no reply.
Dim burns the boat-lamp: shadows deepen
round, From giant trees with snakelike creepers wound, And the black water glides without a sound.
But in the traveller's heart a secret sense
Lifts to the starry calm of heaven his eyes;
“Father of all!” he urges his strong plea, “ Thou lovest all: thy erring child may be Lost to himself, but never lost to Thee !
“ All souls are Thine; the wings of morning
bear None from that Presence which is everywhere, Nor hell itself can hide, for Thou art there.
6. Through sins of sense, perversities of will, Through doubt and pain, through guilt and
shame and ill, Thy pitying eye is on Thy creature still.
6. Wilt thou not make, Eternal Source and Goal ! In Thy long years, life's broken circle whole, And change to praise the cry of a lost soul ?”
A CROSS the sea I heard the groans m Of nations in the intervals Of wind and wave. Their blood and bones Cried out in torture, crushed by thrones,
And sucked by priestly cannibals.
I dreamed of freedom slowly gained
By martyr meekness, patience, faith. And lo! an athlete grimly stained, With corded muscles battle-strained,
Shouting it from the fields of death!
I turn me, awe-struck, from the sight,
Among the clamoring thousands mute,
Shall tread the darkness under foot.
I know the pent fire heaves its crust,
That sultry skies the bolt will form
Though with the earthquake and the storm.
God reigns, and let the earth rejoice!
I bow before His sterner plan. Dumb are the organs of my choice; He speaks in battle's stormy voice,
His praise is in the wrath of man !