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  Sabbath Memories  

 

I love thee, Sabbath morn!--I cannot say
    But 'tis because my father loved thee so,--
    Because my mother's care-worn face would grow
So sweetly placid in thy peaceful ray;--

It may be, that is part of what endears
    Thee, Sabbath, to my soul; for memory stirs
    Old buried thoughts of his voice and of hers--
Heard never more on Earth--till sudden tears

So sadly sweet well up, I bid them flow,
    They leave a Sabbath in the soul when past;
    As when the sky, by April clouds o'ercast,
Shows fairer in the sun's returning glow.

I see the grass-grown lane we trod of old,
    Dear father, sainted mother! while
    The Sabbath sun looked down with loving smile,
And touched the hills and streams with rippling gold.

I hear your voices as ye talked, what time
    In childish pride I walked before, and thought
    This world a paradise, and Earth full-fraught
With blessedness and love,--a summer clime

Of changeless beauty!--Ah! those streams flow on,
    Blue are those skies, as green the woods, as still
    The Sabbath hush that foldeth vale and hill
In sweet embrace, but ye, beloved, are gone!

She sleeps in stranger dust.--He, old and lone,
    Long waited by the river, staff in hand,
    Till a voice called him, and he sought that land
Where age takes on fresh youth to change unknown.

And we are parted, brothers, sisters dear--
    Alas, the band is broken!--One by one
    Ye left the hill-side green,--the Sabbath sun
Finds those old paths to-day, forsaken, drear.

And Mem'ry paints me yet another scene--
    A home, love-lighted by an earnest eye--
    A home, of fellowship so pure, so high.
I pause, and ask myself, have such things been?--

Or have I dreamed?--Was it a blessed dream?--
    A dream of peace, and rest, and hallowed calm,--
    The skies all sunshine, and the air all balm,--
The tranquil hours aglow with Heaven's own beam?--

A dream?--a dream?--the long, long, clouded day
    That ended in a longer, sadder night,
    When, in my home went out that blessed light,
And Love from its hushed chambers passed away?

O no!--oh no! 'Tis but the old, old tale
    Of human bliss and human agony,--
    Of morning's joy-bells ringing full and free,--
And evening's hollow winds and funeral wail!

Yet thou art left me, Sabbath! In thy light
    I sit and muse, this sweet, June morning, till
    The past, with all its varied scenes of good and ill,
Fades from my thought--fades, with the bliss and blight,

The short-lived transports of those buried years,--
    The summer flowers I gathered with such pains,--
    The gold I hoarded in slow-gathered grains,--
All lost,--the summer chilled by Autumn's tears,--

The long, lone, flowerless autumn--when the sun,
    Hurled from his zenith, shivered cold and pale
    On the horizon's verge--the funeral wail
O! tempest-burdened winds through forests dim,

And desolate, and drear,--all pass away
    This morn, O Sabbath, in thy hallowed light,
    And, glancing far beyond the infinite
Of thy blue heavens, where a clearer day

Lights the Eternal hills, I seem to see
    The Heavenly City, whence the radiant gleam
    Of a fair Temple, and a crystal stream
Of living water wanders down to me

In changeless light! O Home!--O Rest!-O Heaven!
    Thus to thy hallowed calm I'd look away,
    Sabbath of God!--Eternal Sabbath day!
Till to my soul thy tranquil rest is given.

       - Mrs. J. C. Yule


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