Page images





A spirit whispered me one night,
In music th thrilled my nature through ;

Its form was like a column of moonlight;
Its presence like a violet bank in dew.

“Starry brother, knowest thou
The destiny before thee lying ?

The diadems that wait thy brow,

The loves beyond all pain or sighing-
The wonder land, the spirit band, that bursts upon the soul in dying?

Starry brother, knowest thou
The soul is an immortal barque,

Whose full blown sail and radient prow

Points to the spaces bright and dark ;-
From star to star its voyages are, of memories the immortal ark.

Here, as in ages yet unborn,

'Tis thought and toil gives victory; Less glorious is the tropic morn

Of sense-life, with its gorgeous sky, Than the high midnight of the mind, all stormy, starred, and shadowy.

Then, let the spirit element,

The heart and brain, the heat and light,
Awhile upon this planet sent,

Developed each by culture bright,
Expanding to the verge of time, grow up to purpose and to might.

That in successive lives to come

Each soul of power, progressively,
With new gifts shrined within a dome

Of wider sphered complexity,
May grow a deitific orb, self-centered in eternity.”

Oft in this casement o'er the sea,

When the low solemn stars arise,

I think with strange tears in mine eyes
Of thy strange home so far from me.

And deem, when winds sleep o'er the ground,
From the rich darkness of the night,
From yonder wastes of space and light.

I hear thy sweet voice murmuring round.

Perchance in thy new spirit sphere,

From some blue hill in yonder height,

Thou lookest across the silent night
And thinkest of me left lonely here,
As by this casement o'er the sea;

Or wandering up the mountain road,

Amid the rising worlds of God,
I people darkness sweet with thee.


We met in a summer sky; the stream

Sang by the hill side hieing ;
We part—the sky is bleak and gray,

And the river drearily sighing.
We meet, and in this heart remained

Thy voice for long days after ;
Thy look brimmed up my life with joys,

Too deep for speech or laughter;
“Why muse ye, then, so silent both ?”

Said once thy cheerful mother ;Ah! then, 'twas happiness enough.

To be near one another ;

66 Wilt thou not walk with us this noon?"

Cried friends, with sunny greeting-
But, sweeter then than all delights
Was our heart's lonely beating.-

We met in a summer sky; the stream

Sang by the hill side hieing;
We part—the sky is bleak and gray,

And the river drearily sighing.
Ere thy love came I dreamt love dreams,

And rhymed them many a morning ; Soon found I them so weak and cold

I tore them in my scorning. Then read I under sunny trees

Tales and love lays many,
To find if the deep joy I knew

Had e'er been felt by any :
Ah! then all earth thy likeness took,

Thine absence softly whiling;
The evening had thy modest look,

And morn thy gentle smiling :

And night, so breathless, deep, and starred,

Was like thy face while praying,
When filled with heavenly thoughts thine eyes
Shone through the dark hair's straying:

We met in a summer sky; the stream

Sang by the hill side hieing ;
We part-the sky is bleak and gra

And the river drearily sighing.


A DREAM OF AN ICEBERG. My dream commenced strangely. It was mid-summer time, and I had passed a couple of months at a pretty fishing village on the west coast, whither I had come from the capital, to enjoy relaxation and idleness; my only companion during the long rambles I took daily in the bright sunshine and fresh sea-wind, being a few volumes I had brought with me; when one evening, returning from a long walk, I took a fancy to step on board a small sloop, which lay at moorings by the side of the little hamlet pier. The hatches were closed, and the vessel for the time deserted, the men, as I supposed, having gone to enjoy themselves with their friends in the town, or at the little tavern ; and for some time I walked about the deck, listening to the water gurgling between the side of the vessel and the pier wall, and watching the distant golden sky growing dimmer and dimmer over the line of gray mountains which sloped landward from the plain—the reflection of the light-house lamp quivering on the dark glassy surface of the harbour—the increasing twinkles of the red candle sparks in the windows of the cottages on the steep above the shore, where the brown nets were spread, drying; and the drowsy descent of the gray twilight over the quiet panorama of beach and sea.

As the dusk, warm summer night fell around I experienced a not ungrateful sensation of strangeness at finding myself the only living thing on board this dark vessel, and fell into a reverie, in which gradually the inconstant sighing of the wind through the upper cordage, the occasional break, along the sides, of the cresting waves running in with the fresh tide, and now and then some vague sound in the dark hold, impressed upon my fancy a dim sense of a sort of life attaching to the lonely ship, which seemed as though it was murmuring inarticulate, but understood, replies to the familiar elements in which it had moved from land to land. So new and mystical was the effect of those solitary communings, which appeared to my imagination to assume, by degrees, a more intelligible distinctness, that for the time I wholly forgot my intention of returning to the village, and, stretching myself on the deck, already felt a novel and exciting feeling of mournful, elemental companionship, so to speak, established between my. self and the lonely dark vessel, the waves and sea airs; when glancing toward the silent shore, I perceived that a heavy fog, which had already blended the distant prospect with the sky, was rapidly concealing the village lights from my view; and hardly had I recognised this change, when even the harbour pier had become lost in the haze, and scarcely any object remained visible but the dark slender masts, pointing to a space in the sky, where a couple of stars still struggled with the prevailing dimness. I was, however, far from experiencing any fear or apprehension at the sudden advance of the cloudy atmosphere, in which all things were enveloped ; on the contrary, a sort of pleasing resignation, a sense of security, animated by one of mysterious, adventurous excitement, slowly possessed me, and even evinced a calm increase, when, looking up at the masts, and listening to the more rapid plash of the waves around, I became conscious that the vessel was in motion—that after a few moments we were rounding the lighthouse point, from which the lamp for a second threw its red glare on the decks and spars, and disappeared--and that in the freshening land wind we were bearing out upon the solitary sea.

It could not have been long after this that a slow feeling of weariness pervaded my frame; the fog had meanwhile, I thought, cleared away ; looking toward the land, I found it had disappeared; every sail swelled in the warm wind; I was speeding far out at sea, and the last thing I noticed ere I sunk into deep slumber, was a pale gleam slanting across a fog bank, whose long drift lay heavy along the eastern waters.

It was bright day when I awoke-a thousand miles, as I thought, from the land we had left; the sun glowed dazzlingly on the clear green undulating floor of the spacious ocean, through which the lovely white sailed vessel swept swiftly and joyously in the light wind, like some spirit, which, while luxuriating in its element, inspired by some earnest purpose, pursued its uninterrupted way. Had it been a living thing, I could hardly have felt more happy in the strange familiarity established between us, more delighted in the careless graces of its joyous movements, more security in its vigorous strength, or confidence in its unknown purpose; nor did the mystic barque itself seem unconscious; nay, as though animated occasionally with a sort of inner blind life and recognition of me, its solitary pasa senger, whenever I chanced to tighten some sail that flagged in a transient wind-lull

, or straighten its course when it momentarily diverged in some current, its upper sails seemed to swell with joy and pride, and rung with airy laughter, as laying its side to the sea, it again sprang impetuously from wave to wave, dancing along amid the sunny waters.

As thus we voyaged throughout the day, sometimes a warm haze crept over the sea, revealing in its silvery depths, dim visionary glimpses of shores and headlands, enchanted visions of beauty. But as thesun began to set, those casual appearances grew dimmer, grayer, and more gloomy; and as the moon rose from the level of the ocean, fronting the declining orb, a cold wind, methought, began to breathe from the distance, whither we were speeding, and far away on the foamy sea line, some faint objects, wbite and glittering appeared, which I knew not how, sent through my heart a chill of anxious foreboding. At length the sunset, which had superbly filled the west with its regions of purple and fiery cloud, began to fade; its long


glory of paradisial light, sinking dimmer and dimmer beyond ; and the while the ship seemed to speed quicker and quicker, again a thick mist, such as I thought had fallen upon the earth, the previous evening covered the ocean, and, folded in warm drowsy cloud, I once more, I thought, sunk into sleep.

A crash like thunder awoke me, -on all sides a scene of horror rushed upon my eyes. It was dim moonlight, and a glance showed me that the vessel which appeared to be one different from that in which I had so joyously sailed, had struck against an Iceberg, whose white, cold, floating mountain, loomed dimly in the mist anear; and that, split asunder, it was already sinking into the dark depths of the wild ocean. A minute after I awoke, indeed, the portion to which I clung, with one great beave, vanished from beneath me, hurling me into the sea, amid whose swirling gorges of foam it disappeared.

Twenty fathoms deep I seemed to sink into the cold, dark sea. Then, as in terror and confusion, again finding myself on the surface, I struck out despairingly, looking round for some fragment of wreck to cling to, but every vestige of it had vanished ; and I was alone, hundreds of miles from land, in the midst of the devouring ocean, in which the only object was the silent ice island, which rose some hundred feet away, its cold, bright pinnacles glimmering in the setting moon—amid the great waves which lashed its glittering sides, and rolled with sounds like thunder through the caverns which yawned around its base, along the water line.

Though this lonely berg looked cold and terrible as death itself, yet, impelled by the instinct of self-preservation, I swam toward it—reached one of its jutting promontories, and, after a fierce battle with the billows, wbich beat against me as I approached, repelled from its sides-after a long and slippery straggle, I finally made good my footing on its fearful shore. Here, indeed, my position was but one degree removed from the death which had just threatened me in the water; still the sense of even the transient security it afforded me was a relief from the borror I had lately experienced, and a faint hope of meeting with and signalling some vessel, and escaping the most terrible of deaths—a hope which grew out of despair itself,—began by degrees to animate my heart.

An hour—it could hardly have been more, though it seemed an agepassed, the while I clung desperately to the ice blocks which serrated the ledge of the berg, when the faint light of dawn began to throw its pale flush, deepening into trembling reflections of scarlet and orange, across the sea, when I forthwith commenced to climb the icy sides of the island, and making my way through its deep chinks and channels, through which numerous little rivulets trickled and tumbled, finally reached a lofty central elevation beneath which spread its glittering peaks and snowy valleys, and from which I ascertained the dimensions of the island, which appeared to me to be some quarter of a mile in circumference. I gazed around the ocean, but, alas ! it presented a complete solitude—not a sail was visible around the circuit of the horizon. Fearful as was this huge barren fragment of ice, however, I knew that it was floating rapidly southward, and that were I able to preserve my life for a few days, the chances were considerable

« PreviousContinue »