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“ LIKE A SHADOW THAT DEPARTETH."
This shadow on the dial's face,
That steals, from day to day, With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Moments, and months, and years away ; This shadow, which, in every clime,
Since light and motion first began, Hath held its course sublime ;
What is it? mortal man!
Yet, in its calm career,
And still, through each succeeding year,
Nor only o'er the dial's face,
This silent phantom, day by day, With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Steals moments, months, and years away; From hoary rock, and aged tree,
From proud Palmyra's mouldering walls, From Teneriffe, towering o'er the sea,
From every blade of grass, it falls ; For still where'er a shadow sweeps,
The scythe of time destroys, And man at every footstep weeps
O’er evanescent joys ; Life's flowrets glittering with the dew of morn, Fair for a moment, then for ever shorn : -Ah! soon, beneath the inevitable blow, I too shall lie, in dust and darkness low.
Then time, the conqueror, will suspend
His scythe, a trophy, o'er my toub,
Each frail beholder's doom.
Though time's triumphant flight be shown,The truest index on its face,
Points from the churchyard-stone.
“ SLEEPING, BETWEEN TWO SOLDIERS, BOUND WITH
Thou thrice denied, yet thrice beloved,
Watch by thine own forgiven friend ; In sharpest perils faithful proved,
Let his soul love Thee to the end.
The prayer is heard-else why so deep
His slumber on the eve of death ? And wherefore smiles he in his sleep
As one who drew celestial breath ?
He loves and is beloved again
Can his soul choose but be at rest? Sorrow hath fled away, and pain
Dares not invade the guarded nest.
He dearly loves, and not alone :
For his winged thoughts are soaring high Where never yet frail heart was known
To breathe in vain affection's sigh.
He loves and weeps—but more than tears
Have sealed Thy welcome and his loveOne look lives in him, and endears
Crosses and wrongs where'er he rove:
That gracious chiding look, Thy call
To win him to himself and Thee, Sweetening the sorrow of his fall
Which else were rued too bitterly.
Even through the veil of sleep it shines,
The memory of that kindly glance ;The Angel watching by divines
And spares awhile his blissful trance.
His dream is changed—the Tyrant's voice
Calls to that last of glorious deedsBut as he rises to rejoice,
Not Herod but an Angel leads.
He dreams he sees a lamp flash bright,
Glancing around his prison-roomBut 'tis a gleam of heavenly light
That fills up all the ample gloom.
The flame, that in a few short years
Deep through the chambers of the dead Shall pierce, and dry the fount of tears,
Is waving o'er his dungeon-bed.
Touched he upstarts—his chains unbind
Through darksome vault, up massy stair, His dizzy, doubting footsteps wind
To freedom and cool moonlight air.
Then all himself, all joy and calm,
Though for a while his hand forego, Just as it touched, the martyr's palm,
He turns him to his task below;
The pastoral staff, the keys of heaven,
To wield awhile in grey-haired might, Then from his cross to spring forgiven
And follow Jesus out of sight.