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THE

SABBATH.

How still the morning of the hallowed day!
Mute is the voice of rural labour, hushed
The ploughboy's whistle, and the milkmaid's song.
The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath
Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers,
That yester-morn bloomed waving in the breeze.
Sounds the most faint attract the ear,—the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
The distant bleating midway up the hill.
Calmness sits throned on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas,
The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale;
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles with heaven-tuned song; the lulling brook
Murmurs more gently down the deep-worn glen ;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O’ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals,
The voice of psalms,-the simple song of praise.

With dove-like wings, Peace o'er yon village

broods : The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din

Hath ceased ; all, all around is quietness.
Less fearful on this day, the limping hare
Stops, and looks back, and stops, and looks on man,
Her deadliest foe. The toil-worn horse, set free,
Unheedful of the pasture, roams at large ;
And, as his stiff unwieldy bulk he rolls,
His iron-armed hoofs gleam in the morning ray.

But chiefly Man the day of rest Hail, SABBATH ! thee I hail, the poor man's day. On other days the man of toil is doomed To eat his joyless bread, lonely ; the ground Both seat and board ; screened from the winter's

cold And summer's heat, by neighbouring hedge or tree; But on this day, embosomed in his home, He shares the frugal meal with those he loves ; With those he loves he shares the heart-felt joy Of giving thanks to God,—not thanks of form, A word and a grimace, but reverently, With covered face and upward earnest eye.

Hail, SABBATH! thee I hail, the

man's day: The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe The morning air, pure from the city's smoke ; While, wandering slowly up the river's side, He meditates on Him, whose power he marks In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough, As in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom Around its roots ; and while he thus surveys, With elevated joy, each rural charm, He hopes, yet fears presumption in the hope, That Heaven may be one SABBATH without end

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But now his steps a welcome sound recalls : Solemn the knell, from yonder ancient pile, Fills all the air, inspiring joyful awe: Slowly the throng moves o'er the tomb-paved

ground: The aged man, the bowed down, the blind Led by the thoughtless boy, and he who breathes With pain, and eyes the new-made grave well

pleased; These, mingled with the young, the gay, approach The house of God; these, spite of all their ills, A glow of gladness feel ; with silent praise They enter in. A placid stillness reigns, Until the man of God, worthy the name, Arise, and read the anointed shepherd's lays. His locks of snow, his brow serene,-his look Of love, it speaks, “ Ye are my children all, The grey-haired man, stooping upon his staff, As well as he, the giddy child, whose eye Pursues the swallow flitting thwart the dome.” Loud swells the song : 0 how that simple song, Though rudely chanted, how it melts the heart, Commingling soul with soul in one full tide Of praise, of thankfulness, of humble trust! Next comes the unpremeditated prayer, Breathed from the inmost heart, in accents low, But earnest.- -Altered is the tone; to man Are now addressed the sacred speaker's words. Instruction, admonition, comfort, peace, Flow from his tongue : O chief let comfort flow! It is most needed in this vale of tears : Yes, make the widow's heart to sing for joy ; The stranger to discern the Almighty's shield Held o'er his friendless head ; the orphan child

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Feel, 'mid his tears, I have a father still !
'Tis done. But hark that infant querulous voice !
Plaint not discordant to a parent's ear :
And see the father raise the white-robed babe
In solemn dedication to the Lord :
The holy man sprinkles with forth-stretched hand
The face of innocence ; then earnest turns,
And prays a blessing in the name of Him,
Who said, Let little children come to me ;
Forbid them not :* The infant is replaced
Among the happy band: they, smilingly,
In gay attire, hie to the house of mirth,
The poor man's festival, a jubilee day,
Remembered long.

Nor would I leave unsung
The lofty ritual of our sister land :
In vestment white, the minister of God
Opens the book, and reverentially
The stated portion reads. A pause ensues.
The
organ

breathes its distant thunder-notes,
Then swells into a diapason full :
The people rising, sing, With harp, with harp,
And voice of psalms ; harmoniously attuned
The various voices blend; the long-drawn aisles,
At every close, the lingering strain prolong.
And now the tubes a mellowed stop controls,

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* " And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not : for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." -Mark x, 13-16.

In softer harmony the people join,
While liquid whispers from yon orphan band
Recall the soul from adoration's trance,
And fill the eye with pity's gentle tears.
Again the organ peal, loud rolling, meets
The halleluiahs of the choir : Sublime,
A thousand notes symphoniously ascend,
As if the whole were one, suspended high
In air, soaring heavenward : afar they float,
Wafting glad tidings to the sick man's couch :
Raised on his arm, he lists the cadence close,
Yet thinks he hears it still : his heart is cheered ;
He smiles on death ; but, ah ! a wish will rise,-
"—Would I were now beneath that echoing roof!
No lukewarm accents from my lips should flow;
My heart would sing : and many a Sabbath-day
My steps should thither turn; or, wandering far
In solitary paths, where wild flowers blow,
There would I bless His name who led me forth
From death's dark vale, to walk amid these sweets ;
Who gives the bloom of health once more to glow
Upon this cheek, and lights this languid eye.”

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It is not only in the sacred fane That homage should be paid to the Most High ; There is a temple, one not made with hands, The vaulted firmament: far in the woods, Almost beyond the sound of city-chime, At intervals heard through the breezeless air ; When not the limberest leaf is seen to move, Save where the linnet lights upon the spray ; When not a floweret bends its little stalk, Save where the bee alights upon the bloom ;There, rapt in gratitude, in joy, and love,

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