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The Missionary.

‘t is an awful, all arduous thing to root out every affection for earthly things, so as to live only for another world. I am now far, very far, from you all; and as often as I look around and see the Indian scenery, I sigh to think of the distance which separates us.’ —Letters of Henry Martyn, from India.

“Say, whose is this fair picture, which the light
From the unshutter'd window rests upon
Even as a lingering halo? Beautiful!
The keen, fine eye of manhood, and a lip
Lovely as that of Hylas, and impressed
With the bright signet of some brilliant thought;
That broad expanse of forehead, clear and high,
Marked visibly with the characters of mind,
And the free locks around it, raven black,
Luxuriant and unsilver'd!—who was he?”

A friend, a more than brother. In the spring
And glory of his being he went forth
From the embraces of devoted friends,
From ease and quiet happiness, from more—
From the warm heart that loved him with a love
Holier than earthly passion, and to whom
The beauty of his spirit shone above
The charms of perishing nature. He went forth
Strengthened to suffer, gifted to subdue
The might of human passion, to pass on
Quietly to the sacrifice of all

[387] The lofty hopes of boyhood, and to turn
The high ambition written on that brow,
From its first dream of power and human fame,
Unto a task of seeming lowliness,
Yet God-like in its purpose. He went forth
To bind the broken spirit, to pluck back
The heathen from the wheel of Juggernaut;
To place the spiritual image of a God
Holy and just and true, before the eye
Of the dark-minded Brahmin, and unseal
The holy pages of the Book of Life,
Fraught with sublimer mysteries than all
The sacred tomes of Vedas, to unbind
The widow from her sacrifice, and save
The perishing infant from the worshipped river!

‘And, lady, where is he?’ He slumbers well
Beneath the shadow of an Indian palm.
There is no stone above his grave. The wind,
Hot from the desert, as it stirs the leaves
Heavy and long above him, sighs alone
Over his place of slumber.

“God forbid
That he should die alone!” Nay, not alone.
His God was with him in that last dread hour;
His great arm underneath him, and His smile
Melting into a spirit full of peace.
And one kind friend, a human friend, was near—
One whom his teachings and his earnest prayers
Had snatch'd as from the burning. He alone
Felt the last pressure of his failing hands
Caught the last glimpse of his closing eye,
And laid the green turf over him with tears,
And left him with his God.

“And was it well,
Dear lady, that this noble mind should cast
Its rich gifts on the waters? That a heart
Full of all gentleness and truth and love
Should wither on the suicidal shrine
Of a mistaken duty? If I read
Aright the fine intelligence which fills
That amplitude of brow, and gazes out
Like an indwelling spirit from that eye,
He might have borne him loftily among
The proudest of his land, and with a step
Unfaltering ever, steadfast and secure,
Gone up the paths of greatness,—bearing still
A sister spirit with him, as some star,
Preeminent in Heaven, leads steadily up
A kindred watcher, with its fainter berms
Baptized in its great glory. Was it well [388]
That all this promise of the heart and mind
Should perish from the earth, and leave no trams
Unfolding like the Cereus of the clime
Which hath its sepulchre, but in the night
Of pagan desolation—was it well?”

Thy will be done,O Father! —it was well.
What are the honors of a perishing world
Grasp'd by a palsied finger? the applause
Of the unthoughtful multitude which greets
The dull ear of decay? the wealth that loads
The bier with costly drapery, and shines
In tinsel on the coffin, and builds up
The cold substantial monument? Can these
Bear up the sinking spirit in that hour
When heart and flesh are failing, and the grave
Is opening under us? Oh, dearer then
The memory of a kind deed done to him
Who was our enemy, one grateful tear
In the meek eye of virtuous suffering,
One smile call'd up by unseen charity
On the wan lips of hunger, or one prayer
Breathed from the bosom of the penitent—
The stain'd with crime and outcast, unto whom
Our mild rebuke and tenderness of love
A merciful God hath bless'd.

“But, lady, say,
Did he not sometimes almost sink beneath
The burden of his toil, and turn aside
To weep above his sacrifice, and cast
A sorrowing lance upon his childhood's home,
Still green in memory? Clung not to his heart
Something of earthly hope uncrucified,
Of earthly thought unchastened? Did he bring
Life's warm affections to the sacrifice—
Its loves, hopes, sorrows—and become as one
Knowing no kindred but a perishing world,
No love but of the sin-endangered soul,
No hope but of the winning back to life
Of the dead nations, and no passing thought
Save df the errand wherewith he was sent
As to a martyrdom?”

Nay, though the heart
Be consecrated to the holiest work
Vouchsafed to mortal effort, there will be
Ties of the earth around it, and, through all
Its perilous devotion, it must keep
Its own humanity. And it is well.
Else why wept He, who with our nature veiled
The spirit of a God, o'er lost Jerusalem, [389]
And the cold grave of Lazarus? And why
In the dim garden rose his earnest prayer,
That from his lips the cup of suffering
Might pass, if it were possible?

My friend
Was of a gentle nature, and his heart
Gushed like a river-fountain of the hills,
Ceaseless and lavish, at a kindly smile,
A word of welcome, or a tone of love.
Freely his letters to his friends disclosed
His yearnings for the quiet haunts of home,
For love and its companionship, and all
The blessings left behind him; yet above
Its sorrows and its clouds his spirit rose,
Tearful and yet triumphant, taking hold
Of the eternal promises of God,
And steadfast in its faith.

Here are some lines
Penned in his lonely mission-house and sent
To a dear friend at home who even now
Lingers above them with a mournful joy,
Holding them well-nigh sacred as a leaf
Plucked from the record of a breaking heart.

Evening in Burmah.

A night of wonder! piled afar
     With ebon feet and crests of snow,
Like Himalaya's peaks, which bar
     The sunset and the sunset's star
From half the shadowed vale below,
     Volume and vast the dense clouds lie,
And over them, and down the sky,
     Paled in the moon, the lightnings go.

And what a strength of light and shade
     Is chequering all the earth below!
And, through the jungle's verdant braid,
     Of tangled vine and wild reed made,
What blossoms in the moonlight glow I
     The Indian rose's loveliness,
The ceiba with its crimson dress,
     The twining myrtle dropped with snow.

And flitting in the fragrant air,
     Or nestling in the shadowy trees,
A thousand bright-hued birds are there-
     Strange plumage, quivering wild and rare,
With every faintly breathing breeze;
     And, wet with dew from roses shed, [390]
The bulbul droops her weary head,
     Forgetful of her melodies.

Uprising from the orange-leaves,
     The tall pagoda's turrets glow;
O'er graceful shaft and fretted eaves,
     Its verdant web the myrtle weaves,
And hangs in flowering wreaths below;
     And where the clustered palms eclipse
The moonbeams, from its marble lips
     The fountain's silver waters flow.

Strange beauty fills the earth and air,
     The fragrant grove and flowering tree,
And yet my thoughts are wandering where
     My native rocks lie bleak and bare,
A weary way beyond the sea.
     The yearning spirit is not here;
It lingers on a spot more dear
     Than India's brightest bowers to me.

Methinks I tread the well-known street—
     The tree my childhood loved is there,
Its bare-worn roots are at my feet,
     And through its open boughs I meet
White glimpses of the place of prayer;
     And unforgotten eyes again
Are glancing through the cottage pane,
     Than Asia's lustrous eyes more fair.

Oh, holy haunts! oh, childhood's home!
     Where, now, my wandering heart, is thine?
Here, where the dusky heathen come
     To bow before the deaf and dumb,
Dead idols of their own design;
     Where in their worshipped river's tide
The infant sinks, and on its side
     The widow's funeral altars shine!

Here, where, mid light and song and flowers,
     The priceless soul in ruin lies;
Lost, dead to all those better powers
     Which link this fallen world of ours
To God's clear-shining Paradise;
     And wrong and shame and hideous crime
Are like the foliage of their clime,
     The unshorn growth of centuries!

Turn, then, my heart; thy home is here;
     No other now remains for thee:
The smile of love, and friendship's tear,
     The tones that melted on thine ear, [391]
The mutual thrill of sympathy,
     The welcome of the household band,
The pressure of the lip and hand,
     Thou mayst not hear, nor feel, nor see.

God of my spirit! Thou, alone,
     Who watchest o'er my pillowed head,
Whose ear is open to the moan
     And sorrowing of thy child, hast known
The grief which at my heart has fed;
     The struggle of my soul to rise
Above its earth-born sympathies;
     The tears of many a sleepless bed!

Oh, be Thine arm, as it hath been,
     In every test of heart and faith,—
The tempter's doubt, the wiles of men,
     The heathen's scoff, the bosom sin,—
A helper and a stay beneath;
     A strength in weakness, through the strife
And anguish of my wasting life—
     My solace and my hope, in death!



Written on hearing that the Resolutions of the Legislature of Massachusetts on the subject of Slavery, presented by Hon. C. Cushing to the House of Representatives of the United States, had been laid on the table unread and unreferred, under the infamous rule of ‘Patton's Resolution.’

And have they spurned thy word,
     Thou of the old Thirteen!
Whose soil, where Freedom's blood first poured,
     Hath yet a darker green?
To outworn patience suffering long
     Is insult added to the wrong?

And have they closed thy mouth,
     And fixed the padlock fast?
Dumb as the black slave of the South
     Is this thy fate at last?
Oh shame! thy honored seal and sign
     Trod under hoofs so asinine!

Call from the Capitol
     Thy chosen ones again,
Unmeet for them the base control
     Of Slavery's curbing rein! [392]
Uunmeet for men like them to feel
     The spurring of a rider's heel.

When votes are things of trade
     And force is argument,
Call back to Quincy's shade
     Thy old man eloquent.
Why leave him longer striving thus
     With the wild beasts of Ephesus!

Back from the Capital
     It is no place for thee!
Beneath the arch of Heaven's blue wall,
     Thy voice may still be free!
What power shall chain thy utterance there,
     In God's free sun and freer air?

A voice is calling thee,
     From all the martyr graves
Of those stern men, in death made free,
     Who could not live as slaves.
The slumberings of thy honored dead
     Are for thy sake disquieted.

So let thy Faneuil Hall
     By freemen's feet be trod,
And give the echoes of its wall
     Once more to Freedom's God!
And in the midst unseen shall stand
     The mighty fathers of thy land.

Thy gathered sons shall feel
     The soul of Adams near,
And Otis with his fiery zeal,
     And Warren's onward cheer;
And heart to heart shall thrill as when
     They moved and spake as living men.

Not on Potomac's side,
     With treason in thy rear,
Can Freedom's holy cause be tried:
     Not there, my State, but here.
Here must thy needed work be done,
     The battle at thy hearth-stone won.

Proclaim a new crusade
     Against the foes within;
From bar and pulpit, press and trade,
     Cast out the shame and sin.
Then speak thy now-unheeded word,
     Its lightest whisper shall be heard.

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