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VERSES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE
JOSEPH BROWNE, OF LOTHERSDALE,
ONE OF THE PEOPLE CALLED QUAKERS, WHO HAD SUFFERED
A LONG CONFINEMENT IN THE CASTLE OF YORK, AND
LOSS OF ALL HIS WORLDLY PROPERTY, FOR CONSCIENCE
“SPIRIT, leave thine house of clay,
Lingering dust, resign thy breath!
Spirit, cast thy chains away;
Dust, be thou dissolved in death!”
Thus thy guardian angel spoke,
As he watched thy dying bed;
As the bonds of life he broke,
And the ransomed captive fled.
“Prisoner, long detained below;
Prisoner, now with freedom blest;
Welcome, from a world of woe,
Welcome to a land of rest!”
Thus thy guardian angel sang,
As he bore thy soul on high;
While with hallelujahs rang
All the region of the sky.
Ye that mourn a father's loss,
Ye that weep a friend no more!
Call to mind the Christian cross
Which your friend, your father bore.
Grief and penury and pain
Still attended on his way,
And oppression's scourge and chain,
More unmerciful than they.
Yet while travelling in distress,
('T was the eldest curse of sin,)
Through the world's waste wilderness,
He had Paradise within.
And along that vale of tears
Which his humble footsteps trod,
Still a shining path appears,
Where the mourner walked with GOD.
Till his Master, from above,
When the promised was come,
Sent the chariot of His love
To convey the wanderer home.
Saw ye not the wheels of fire,
And the steeds that cleft the wind ?
Saw ye not his soul aspire,
When his mantle dropped behind?
Ye who caught it as it fell,
Bind that mantle round your breast;
So in you his meekness dwell,
So on you his spirit rest!
Yet, rejoicing in his lot,
Still shall Memory love to weep
O'er the venerable spot
Where his dear cold relics sleep.
Grave! the guardian of his dust,
Grave! the treasury of the skies,
Every atom of thy trust
Rests in hope again to rise.
Hark! the judgment-trumpet calls,-
“Soul, rebuild thine house of clay;
Immortality thy walls,
And Eternity thy day!”
Oh for evening's brownest shade!
Where the breezes play by stealth In the forest-cinctured glade, Round the hermitage of Health;
While the noon-bright mountains blaze In the sun's tormenting rays.
O'er the sick and sultry plains,
Through the dim delirious air,
Agonizing silence reigns,
And the wanness of despair :
Nature faints with fervent heat,
Ah! her pulse hath ceased to beat!
Now in deep and dreadful gloom,
Clouds on clouds portentous spread, Black as if the day of doom
Hung o'er Nature's shrinking head: Lo! the lightning breaks from high, God is coming !-GOD is nigh!
Hear ye not His chariot-wheels,
As the mighty thunder rolls ? Nature, startled Nature reels,
From the centre to the poles: Tremble! ocean, earth, and sky! Tremble !-GOD is passing by!
Darkness, wild with horror, forms
His mysterious hiding-place;
Should He, from His ark of storms,
Rend the veil, and show His face,
At the judgment of His eye
All the universe would die.
Brighter, brdader lightnings flash,
Hail and rain tempestuous fall; Louder, deeper thunders crash,
Desolation threatens all; Struggling Nature gasps for breath In the agony of death.
GOD of vengeance from above,
While Thine awful bolts are hurles, Oh, remember Thou art Love!
Spare! oh, spare a guilty world! Stay Thy flaming wrath awhile, See Thy bow of promise smile!
Welcome, in the eastern cloud,
Messenger of mercy still!
Now, ye winds! proclaim aloud,
Peace on Earth, to Man goodwill!”
Nature! God's repenting child,
See thy Parent reconciled!
Hark! the nightingale, afar,
Sweetly sings the sun to rest,
And awakes the evening star
In the rosy-tinted west;
While the moon's enchanting eye
Opens Paradise on high!
Cool and tranquil is the night,
Nature's sore afflictions cease,
For the storm, that spent its might,
Was a covenant of peace :
Vengeance drops her harmless rod!
Mercy is the Power of GOD!
TO THE MEMORY OF A FEMALE WHOM SICKNESS HAD
RECONCILED TO THE 'NOTES OF SORROW,' Who corresponded with the Author under this signature on the first publication of his
poems in 1806, but died soon after ; when her real name and merits were disclosed to him by one of her surviving friends.
My song of Sorrow reached her ear ;
She raised her languid head to hear,
And, smiling in the arms of death,
Consoled me with her latest breath.
What is the poet's highest aim,
His richest heritage of fame?
To track the warrior's fiery road,
With roc, spoil, destruction strowed,
While nations bleed along the plains,
Dragged at his chariot-wheels in chains ?-
With fawning hand to woo the lyre,
Profanely steal celestial fire,
And bid an idol's altar blaze
With incense of unhallowed praise?--
With siren strains, Circean art,
To win the ear, beguile the heart,
Wake the wild passions into rage,
And please and prostitute the age?
No to the generous bard belong
Diviner themes and purer song =
To hail religion from above,
Descending in the form of love,
And pointing through a world of strife
The narrow way that leads to life ;-
To pour the balm of heavenly rest
Through sorrow's agonizing breast;
With Pity's tender arms embrace
The orphans of a kindred race ;
And in one zone of concord bind
The lawless spoilers of mankind ;-
To sing in numbers boldly free
The wars and woes of liberty;
The glory of her triumphs tell,
Her nobler suffering when she fell,
Girt with the phalanx of the brave,
Or widowed on the patriot's grave,
Which tyrants tremble to pass by,
Even on the car of victory.
These are the bard's sublimest views,
The angel visions of the muse,
That o'er his morning slumbers shine ;
These are his themes—and these were mine.
But pale despondency, that stole
The light of gladness from my soul,
While Youth and Folly blindfold ran
The giddy circle up to man,
Breathed a dark spirit through my lyre,
Dimmed the noon radiance of my fire,
And cast a mournful evening hue
O’er every scene my fancy drew.
Then though the proud despised my strain,
It flowed not from my heart in vain;
The lay of freedom, fervour, truth,
Was dear to undissembling youth,
From manly breasts drew generous sighs,
And Virtue's tears from Beauty's eyes.
My song of Sorrow reached her ear; She raised her languid head to hear,