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THE SKY LARK. In allusion to the asserted fact, that the Lark, rising high in air, per
ceives the day-break and begins his song, before it is perceptible on the ear:h.
Why dost thou sing so sweet a lay,
When not a beam of light is seen
In valley or on hill ?
The drowsy Thrush is in his nest,
The Linnet slumbers yet-
I do not hear the watch-dog bark,
Or the herded cattle bleat.
What dost thou see, thou watchful Bird !
As from thy airy height,
So far above the slumbering world
Thou look'st upon the night?
While earth's low dwellings lie enwrapt
In night's obscurity,
Beyond the reach of mortal ken,
Is there a light to thee?
Then loud and louder raise thy notes,
And let the wakeful hear
That, midnight darkness as it seems,
The day is even near.
And so let him who knows to rise
To truth's celestial seat,
While earth and its false seemings, lie
In darkness at his feet
Whose holy spirit walks with God
In piety serene-
Devotion's meditative child,
Intent on things unseen
So let him sing his matin song,
Before the world awakes;
And warble of the day-time near,
Or e'er the morning breaks.
(A true Story.*)
Ah, where are they whose sympathizing hearts o'erflow
With all the gen'rous feelings pity can bestow;
Whose thought is love, whose love, an ever kindling flame
Fanned into greater fervour, by the very name,
Of human shame and sorrow? To their list’ning ear,
I turn to tell a tale of slav'ry and of fear;
A tale, which tho' it raise the son of Mammon's scorn,
Will deeply sink in hearts of Britons freely boru;
And in the Christian's breast will many thoughts inspire,
Of faith's firm hold, and glowing love's seraphic fire.
In that dark land, where freedom's voice is scarcely known,
There lived a negro boy, unpitied and alone,
With not one heart to love him, or one voice to cheer
His path of toil and suff'ring, or to help him bear
The load of obloquy, and scorn upon him shed,
Tears all his solace, bitterness his daily bread:
But heav'nly mercy gave, what human hearts denied,
And from the gospel mirror, pour'd a rapid tide
Of light and cheering beams o'er his desponding soul,
That chased the gloom, and made the wounded spirit whole:
Till then, he had oft murmur'd at the cruel hand
Of av'rice and oppression : now the stern command
Is heard, and is obey'd. Religion makes him meek,
Christ his example, he can turn the smitten cheek;
Can unrepining bow beneath his wretched lot,
Secure, whoe'er forgets him, Christ forgets him not.
Firm to one point alone, all others he can yield,
There duty calls, and there his resolution sealed
With many a prostrate vow of gratitude and love,
Supported by an unseen pow'r, shall faithful prove.
His Saviour's worship, and the study of his word
With him are sacred duties; here he owns no Lord,
But him to whom his most devoted thoughts are giv'n,
Whose slightest word's his law, whose faintest smile his heav'n.
Yet there were those, whose envy mark'd the youthful saint,
Like Daniel he was holy, and they made complaint
Of the poor slave's devotion to his new-found God:
Their malice took effect, and soon he felt the rod,
'The human scourge; by art infernal, surely made
The stigmatizing badge of that nefarious trade;
Which blacker than the bue its wretched victim wears,
Plants its sad fields in blood, and reaps the crop in tears ;
Nor in this hour of anguish saw he e'en one look
Of pity. The cold blood almost his heart forsook;
When to increase his woe, the savage master said,
“Where's now thy God ?"-A moment, and he raised his head,
And what was meant for torture, served but to compose
The tumult of his spirits; well the suff'rer knows
He is not left alone. Meekly he said, “He's here,
I feel his sacred presence, and he makes me bear
Without repining, what else had pow'r to fan
My soul into a flame of rage, O barb'rous man.”
But who shall teach the furious tiger to be tame?
Repulsed, he will but rage the more; it was the same
With him who wore the tiger's breast in human guise :
Again he plies the lash, again the despot cries,
“Where now is he you term your helper and your Lord,
Where all his promised aid, his vainly trusted word ?"
Not vainly trusted, I can hear his cheering voice
In gentle whispers, speaking to my soul, “Rejoice,
Rejoice, poor sufferer, that to thee 'tis given
Thro' tribulation's gloomy vale, to reach at heav'n;
Pity and pray for him, whose fury shall but break,
Spite of itself, all chains, all bondage from thy neck;
Speed thy long wished for flight, and ope to thy glad eye
The untold vision of a blest eternity.”
He paused, and on his murd'rer cast his languid gaze,
Then turned to heav'n his eye, that spoke of love and praise ;
Will not these melting looks and words the savage touch?
No! man, lost man, lists only to his passions. Such
As trust corrupted guides, must even go astray;
Can they be right, who blindly choose the devious way?
Sin, whilst with freedom's shade it cheats our willing minds,
Close and more close each day our galling fetters binds.
Malice, Satanic vice, put forth its utmost power,
And silenced baffled conscience in this guilty hour.
and only once, the harsh demand is made,
“ Where think you now is he on whom your trust is stayed ?"
E'en whilst the tyrant spake, the oft-repeated stroke,
The fragile thread of human life had almost broke;
Yet calm amidst his agony the sufferer stood,
O’er bis pale face there was a radiant smile diffused,
That told he knew his house was founded on the rock,
And therefore would sustain unmoved the final shock.
“Say not he is not here—’tis he who bids me pray,
E'en with my dying breath, that he will deign to stay
His arm, and from the book of an avenging God,
Blot this recorded crime with all-atoning blood
Lay your proud spirit prostrate at his sovereign feet,
Make pardon welcome, tears of penitence most sweet-
Bestow such treasures from his mercy's bounteous store,
That having much forgiven, you may love the more”-
He said-one glance of rapturè gave-it was the last-
One sigh-one feeble struggle--and the spirit past.
To the Assistant of Education.
The reading of your Listener's observations on the uses of musick, brought to my mind a circumstance that occurred to me many years agone, but of which the impression is fresh upon my memory. It happened to me to be present at a large dinner party, to which, for the sake of their musick, a number of professional singers had been invited. Braham was there, and Storace, and Mrs. Dickinson, and many others, whose names I do not remember. I had dined at that table many times before, without hearing any words of acknowledgment to the Deity, or any mention of his name, except in oaths. But now as all was to be musick, a grace was sung. I suppose this may be a common thing at publick festivals, but as these are places ladies do not much frequent, this
was the only time I ever heard it. Beautiful beyond description appears to me this burst of sacred harmony, uttered as it was by lips profane, but in such stile as might be expected from the powers of the performers. Of the forty persons present, I perhaps might be the only one who thought of God at all on the occasion: but I did think, and did deeply feel; and though not very seriously disposed at the time, could not easily get rid of the impression, or reconcile myself to the unhallowed conversation that ensued upon this divine commencement.
I have often thought since, that if from lips not true, and from hearts not grateful, a mere ceremony could be so impressive ; how beautiful it might be, breathed in simplicity by voices tuned to sing the praises of their God. I have thought that were I at the head of an establishment it should be tried. The doors should be shut, the servants should be in waiting, and before the covers were taken off, and when the cloth was removed, a strain of music should be heard, very brief, very simple, and yet solemn, expressive of harmony in the hearts of those assembled to be partakers together of God's bounty, and a pledge that his gifts should not be misused, nor his presence forgotten, nor any unkindly feelings manifested during the time of the repast.
In our manner of saying grace before meals in general, it is impossible for a thinking person not to perceive that it is not often what it is meant to be. I do not speak of those parties where no one acknowledges the Giver or the gift. Where no feeling is, one form may be as good as another-perhaps the omission as good as any-for I have heard grace said where it could be little else than a breach of the third commandment. Neither do I speak of those set parties of religious people, in which I have generally heard it said with much reverence and attention. What is in my mind is the blessing usually asked in the domestic circle, where the members of it are really not unmindful of their God. It seems to me it is not so solemn and effectual a ceremony as it