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  At Home  

 

I thought it pleasant when a manly sire
Weary of foreign travel, at the door
Of his own cottage left his dusty staff,
And entering in, sat down with those he loved
Beside the hearth of home;--and pleasant, too,
When a fond mother, absent for a day,
At eve returning, from the sunset hill
That overlooked her cot, descried her boys
Flying with joyous feet along the path
To greet her coming; and, with clasping hands
Of baby welcome, lead her through the gate
Of her sweet home.

                                     Pleasant I deemed it, too,
When a young man, a wanderer for years
From those he loved, at length sat down again
With sire and mother in the twilight hour
At home;--and when a gentle daughter, long
From mother's kiss and father's blessing far,
Heard once again their ne'er forgotten tones
Giving her joyous welcome home again,
I felt that life had few such joys as that.
And yet, methought there was--canst tell me why--
Thou, who in Earth alone hast found thy bliss?--
A higher, sweeter, purer joy than those,
When, free from sin and Earth's encumb'ring cares,
A ransomed soul went home to be with Christ.
I knew a man in life's strong; healthful prime--
Aye more, the flush of youth was on his brow,
And all his bounding pulses were astir
With the great joy of work for God, while hope--
Such hope as only Heaven-taught manhood fires
To loftiest ambition--pointed down
The radiant vista of the coming years
To deeds immortal. But the Master called,
And, in mid-race he heard--"Come home, my child!"--
And paused, and listened in surprise and doubt.

"Come home my child!" Then, listening, I heard
The pale lips murmur, while the head was bent
In reverent submission--"Oh, so soon?--
So soon, my Lord? Thou knowest there is much
I fain would do for thee!--thy precious lambs
To gather and to feed--thy sheep to lead
In quiet pastures, and thy name beloved
To herald forth, till Earth's remotest shore
Shall thrill with rapture, and send up to thee
The new-born utterance of love's great joy!"

"Come home, dear child!"--again the Master's voice--
And eagerly he flung his robe aside,
Ungirt his loins, and cast his sandals by;
And while he sweetly sang--"I love the Lord!"--
Entered the peaceful river, and went o'er,
To be forever with the Lord he loved.

                                             I knew an aged man,
Yet one scarce bent, with fresh, luxuriant hair
So beautifully white, and clear, blue, loving eyes;--
We almost worshipped that most princely man
In his pure, patriarchal beauty. But one day
A whisper came to him. It was so low
We heard it not, nor knew till he was gone--
Gone home! Our sun was set on earth,
Yet risen in Heaven; and through our falling tears
We saw our loved at home, thenceforth to be
Forever with the Lord--Oh, highest bliss--
Forever with his Lord!

                                             Our mother slept
At eve in a poor, earthly home. At dawn
She stood upon the golden shore, a sainted one,
A victor crowned. We wept, as well we might,
When we looked down upon those folded hands
Whose tender touch had often thrilled along
Our baby temples,--those pale, patient hands
That toiled for us what time sweet slumber lay
On our young eyelids, and in sunny dreams
We gathered wild flowers on the hill-side green,
Or chased the butterfly 'mid orchard blooms,
While she, till the night waned, toiled bravely on--
Not for herself, but us, then knelt and prayed
For each young sleeper, ere herself might sleep.

This morn she slept, and every line that grief
Had ever left on her pale, settled face,
And every furrow care had ever traced
Upon her brow had faded in the calm
Of that blest slumber. Did we softly tread,
And hold our breath suspended, in vague fear
Of breaking the sweet spell, or all too soon
Rousing those tired feet to tread again
Their round of daily toil?--or did we check
Our rising grief, lest one o'er-lab'ring sob
From hearts so full, should banish the sweet smile
Which the glad vision of her Lord's dear face
Had left upon her lips? It may be so,--
And yet the hour of weeping was not long;
For, 'mid the light by mortal eyes unpierced,
We caught the gleam of her unsullied robe,
And we rejoiced, beholding her at home!

    A little babe, a tiny, broken bud,
A snow-white, breathless lamb lay still and cold
Upon its mother's knees. She did not weep--
She did not pray; but with white, trembling lips
And stony gaze looked down upon her child,
And only moaned in gasping accents--"dead!
My tender babe, my lamb, my own sweet boy!--
Dead, silent, dead!"

                                        Then sweet, as borne
O'er silver seas, there came a voice that said,
"Do not their angels evermore behold
My Father's face in Heaven?
"--and, swift as thought,
Faith overswept the bounds of space, and caught
A glimpse of her beloved on Jesus' breast
Then tears gushed forth--a precious, healing flood--
And the lips murmured--"Safe, oh, safe at home!--
My bright boy waits at home, thank God, for me!"

Then let us ever when the righteous die
Speak of them joyously as gone before;
Not dead, but sweetly drawn within the veil
To the blest home we're nearing--to the house
Of Christ our Elder Brother, mansion fair,
Prepared and set in order by His hand,--
Their home, and ours to be; forevermore

       - Mrs. J. C. Yule


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