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A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE.
This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The Past and Present here unite
Here runs the highway to the town;
Through which I walked to church with thee,
The shadow of the linden-trees
Between them and the moving boughs,
Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they:
I saw the branches of the trees
Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.
Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.
And ever and anon, the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves
Long was the good man's sermon,
Long was the prayer he uttered,
But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Part of the sunshine of the scene
Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
This memory brightens o'er the past,
THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD. THIS is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling, Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms; But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing Startles the villages with strange alarms.
Ah! what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary, When the death-angel touches those swift keys! What loud lament and dismal Miserere
Will mingle with their awful symphonies!
I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus,
On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer,
And loud, amid the universal clamour,
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong.
I hear the Florentine, who from his palace
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin;
The tumult of each sacked and burning village;
The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder,
Is it, O man, with such discordant noises,
Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
There were no need of arsenals nor forts:
The warrior's name would be a name abhorred!
Down the dark future, through long generations,
I hear once more the voice of Christ say "Peace!"
Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals
The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies!
The holy melodies of love arise.
IN the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadow-lands
Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song, Memories haunt thy pointed gables, like the rooks that round them throng:
Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough and bold, Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries old;
And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme,
In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many an iron band,
On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days
Every where I see around me rise the wondrous world of Art: Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common mart;
And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops carved in stone,
In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust,15
Here, when Art was still religion, with a simple, reverent heart,
Hence in silence and in sorrow, toiling still with busy hand,
Emigravit is the inscription on the tomb-stone where he lies;
Fairer seems the ancient city, and the sunshine seems more fair,
Walked of yore the Master-singers, chanting rude poetic strains.
From remote and sunless suburbs came they to the friendly guild, Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in spouts the swallows build.
As the weaver plied the shuttle, wove he too the mystic rhyme, And the smith his iron measures hammered to the anvil's chime;
Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flowers of poesy bloom
In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of the loom.
Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, laureate of the gentle craft,
But his house is now an ale-house, with a nicely sanded floor,
Painted by some humble artist, as in Adam Puschman's song, 18
And at night the swart mechanic comes to drown his cark and care,
Vanished is the ancient splendour, and before my dreamy eye
Not thy councils, not thy kaisers, win for thee the world's regard; But thy painter Albrecht Dürer, and Hans Sachs thy cobbler-bard.
Thus, O Nuremberg, a wanderer from a region far away,
As he paced thy streets and court-yards, sang in thought his careless lay;
Gathering from the pavement's crevice, as a floweret of the soil,
THE NORMAN BARON.
In his chamber, weak and dying,
In this fight was Death the gainer,
And the lands his sires had plundered,
By his bed a monk was seated,
From the missal on his knee;
And, amid the tempest pealing,
In the hall, the serf and vassal
Held that night their Christmas wassail;
Many a carol, old and saintly,
Sang the minstrels and the waits.
And so loud these Saxon gleemen
Till at length the lays they chaunted
Tears upon his eyelids glistened,
Turned his weary head to hear.