A Sea-Side Reverie.

The voices of the dead, and songs of other days.”

Is there a place where the souls of the just,1
Forsaking mortality’s loathsome dust,2
In purity rest till that awful day,3
When this sorrowing world shall pass away ?4
When after this short life’s terrible close,5
And after death’s icy and dark repose,6
The good and the guilty that trump shall hear7
A summons of joy, or a sound of fear8
That last loud trump, whose awakening call9
Shall proclaim the eternal doom of all.10
Is there a place where the spirits of bliss11
Can look down on a world so sad as this ?12
Where, with purest love, they behold the worth13
Of the faithful hearts whom they left on earth ?14
Or can the soul’s intellectual flame15
Lie torpid, and cold with man’s mortal frame,16
Like that in corruption’s arms to await,17
An endless pain, or a happier state ?18
Can the mind of man, the immortal soul,19
Which on earth seems bounding from earth’s control20
Can that spirit by death to flesh be linked,21
All its ardour quenched, and its hope extinct ?22
Oh, no ! there’s a bright and a blissful sphere,23
Where it soars when freed from its bondage here ;24
And it soothes the mourner’s heart to think,25
While in tears he bends o’er the cold grave’s brink26
It soothes his sorrowing heart to know,27
Though the form he loved may moulder below28
The spirit he loved—the immortal part29
The truth, and the love, and the goodness of heart,30
And the faith which raises the mind to God31
These never can rest in death’s dark abode :32
And though mortal eyes cannot pierce the gloom,33
The mysterious realms beyond the tomb34
Though we know too well, that when life is o’er35
The loved ones depart, and are seen no more36
Yet we feel (and there’s comfort in feeling thus)37
They live, though unheard and unseen by us ;38
And we think, though freed from all earthly ill,39
They hover in pity around us still.40
Oh ! who that has roved by the pale moon’s light,41
In the deep repose of a summer’s night42
When the gray mist rests on the meadows green,43
And the distant mountains are dimly seen44
When the sea in its rage resounds no more,45
But in murmuring whispers seeks the shore,46
As calm, as if ever at rest, it flows,47
The faithless calm of a lion’s repose48
When the tranquil wind is so soft and weak,49
That there’s warmth in the breeze that fans your cheek50
When nothing is heard but the sea-bird’s note,51
Or a lively song from a fisherman’s-boat,52
Or the rills which, gushing through arching caves,53
At intervals drip in the dark blue waves : —54
Oh ! who that has roved in a night like this,55
And thought of the phantoms of boyish bliss56
When every thought must have caused a sigh,57
And a burning tear for days gone by58
Oh ! who has not gazed on the clear sky then,59
With thoughts never uttered, though felt by men,60
Till his heart was sad, and his eyes were dim,61
And the scenes of this world were lost to him ;62
And, unaided by sight, he seemed to view63
Realms deep in the sky’s dark beautiful blue64
Realms brighter than all he had thought most bright65
Delightful, exceeding this world’s delight ;66
With all that his youth thought purest and best,67
Made purer and better—by angels blest.68
With feelings like these, I have often stood69
Near the ocean, in night’s calm solitude,70
And gazed from the beech and its sounding surge,71
To the misty horizon’s utmost verge,72
Where one softened tint is perceived alone,73
And water and sky seem to melt in one ;74
And then while the tremulous moonbeams shine75
On the waves, in a dazzling and golden line,76
Which, unquenched and glowing, appears to glide77
Like a lava stream through the darker tide :78
Then, whilst on the waters I mutely gaze,79
I think of the pleasures of other days ;80
And the faces and forms so sadly dear ;81
And the words I heard, but no more can hear ;82
And the tales that can never again be told ;83
And the pressure of hands that now are cold ; —84
’Tis then we encourage the fond belief,85
That those whom we grieve for behold our grief ;86
That from them we receive the Hope, which takes87
The severest pang from a heart that aches ;88
And when we remember that they are blest,89
And that we are in sorrow, we feel ’ tis best90
To follow their steps in Death’s awful track,91
Without one selfish wish to call them back.92