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POEMS OF RELIGION.

201

And these — for beauty was the rule — The polished pavements, hard and cool, Redoubled, like a crystal pool.

And there the odorous feast was spread;
The fruity fragrance widely shed
Seemed to the floating music wed.
Seven angels, like the Pleiad seven,
Their lips to silver clarions given,
Blew welcome round the walls of heaven.

In skyey garments, silky thin,
The glad retainers floated in
A thousand forms, and yet no din:
And from the visage of the Lord,
Like splendor from the Orient poured,
A smile illumined all the board.

Far flew the music's circling sound;
Then floated back, with soft rebound,
To join, not mar, the converse round, -
Sweet notes, that, melting, still increased,
Such as ne'er cheered the bridal feast
Of king in the enchanted East.

Did any great door ope or close,
It seemed the birth-time of repose,
The faint sound died where it arose;
And they who passed from door to door,
Their soft feet on the polished floor
Met their soft shadows, – nothing more.

Then once again the groups were drawn Through corridors, or down the lawn, Which bloomed in beauty like a dawn. Where countless fountains leapt alway, Weiling their silver heights in spray, The choral people held their way.

There, midst the brightest, brightly shone
Dear forms he loved in years agone, –
The earliest loved, - the earliest flown.
He heard a mother's sainted tongue,
A sister's voice, who vanished young,
While one still dearer sweetly sung !

No further might the scene unfold ;
The gazer's voice could not withhold ;
The very rapture made him bold :
He cried aloud, with claspéd hands,
“O happy fields ! O happy bands !
Who reap the never-failing lands.

“O master of these broad estates,
Behold, before your very gates
A worn and wanting laborer waits 1
Let me but toil amid your grain,
Or be a gleaner on the plain,
So I may leave these fields of pain

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. . . . HE was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true church militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun ;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery,
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire, and sword, and desolation
A godly, thorough Reformation,
Which always must be carried on
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
A sect whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies ;
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss ;
More peevish, cross, and splenetic,
Than dog distract, or monkey sick;
That with more care keep holiday
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclined to,
By damning those they have no mind to ;
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipped God for spite ;
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.
SAMUEL BUTLER.

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With honest pride I scorn each selfish end ; My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and praise. To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays, The lowly train in life's sequestered scene ; The native feelings strong, the guileless ways; What Aiken in a cottage would have been ; Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there, I ween. II. November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh ; The shortening winter-day is near a close ; The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh, The blackening trainso' craws to their repose; The toilworn cotter frae his labor goes, This night his weekly moil is at an end, Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes, – Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend. III. At length his lonely cot appears in view, Beneath the shelter of an aged tree; Th’ expectant wee things, toddlin', stacher through To meet their dad, wi' flichterin' noisean'glee. His wee bit ingle, blinking bonmily, His clean hearthstane, his thriftie wifie's smile, The lisping infant prattling on his knee, Does a his weary carking cares beguile, And makes him quite forget his labor and his toil.

IV. Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in, At service out amang the fariners roun’; Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentierin A cannie errand to a neibor town ; Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown, In youthful bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, Comes hame, perhaps, to shew a bra' new gown, Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee, To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.

V. Wi' Joy unfeigned brothers and sisters meet, An each for other's weelfare kindly spiers: The social hours, swift-winged, unnoticed fleet; Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears; The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years; Anticipation forward points the view. The mother, wi' her needle an' her shears, Garsauld claes look amaist as weel's the new ; The father mixes a wi' admonition due.

VI. Their master's an' their mistress's command, The younkers a' are warnéd to obey; And mind their labors wi' an eydent hand, And ne'er, though outo'sight, tojauk or play;

“An' O, be sure to fear the Lord alway ! An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night ! Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray, Implore his counsel and assisting might; They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright !”

VII.

But, hark a rap comes gently to the door. Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same, Tells how a neibor lad cam o'er the moor, To do some errands and convoy her hame. The wily mother sees the conscious flame Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek; Wi' heart-struck anxious care inquires his name, While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak ; Weel pleased the mother hears it's nae wild, worthless rake. VIII. Wi’ kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben ; A strappin' youth ; he taks the mother's ele; Blithe Jenny sees the visit 's no ill ta'en ; The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy, But blate and lathefu', scarce can weel behave; The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy What makes the youth sae bashful an' sae grave; Weel pleased to think her bairn's respected like the lave.

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RELIGION. 203

The soupe their only hawkie does afford, That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood ; The dame brings forth, in complimental mood, Tograce the lad, her weel-hained kebbuck fell, An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid; The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, How 't was a townlond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell. XII.

The cheerful supper done, wi' serious face, They, round the ingle, form a circle wide; The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace, , The big ha'-Bible, ance his father's pride; His bonnet reverently is laid aside, His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare: Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, He wales a portion with judicious care; And “Letus worship God . " he says with solemn air. xi II.

They chant their artless notes in simple guise; They tune their hearts, by far the noblestaim : Perhaps “Dundee's" wild-warbling measures rise, Orplaintive “Martyrs,” worthy of the name; Or noble “Elgin” beets the heavenward flame, The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays : Compared with these, Italian trills are tame; The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

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The priest-like father reads the sacred page, How Abram was the friend of God on high ; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage With Amalek's ungracious progeny, Or how the royal bard did groaning lie Seneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire ; Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry; Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire; Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

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Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, – How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;

How He, who bore in heaven the second name,
Had not on earth whereon to lay his head :

How his first followers and servants sped;
The preceptssage they wrote to many a land;

How he, who lone in Patmos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand,

And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounced by
Heaven's command.

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Then, kneeling down, to heaven's eternal King, The saint, the father, and the husband prays :

Hope “springsexulting on triumphant wing,” That thus they all shall meet in future days; There ever bask in uncreated rays, No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, Together hymning their Creator's praise, In such society, yet still more dear; While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere. xvii. Compared with this, how poor Religion's pride, In all the pomp of method and of art, When men display to congregations wide, Devotion's every grace, except the heart The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert, The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole; But, haply, in some cottage far apart, May hear, well pleased, the language of the - soul; And in his Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.

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