The Aurora on the Clyde.

September 1850.

Ah me ! how heavily the night comes down !1
Heavily—heavily :2
Fade the curved shores—the blue hills’ serried throng3
The darkening tides we oared with light and song4
Joy melts from earth as sunshine from the sky,5
And Patience, with sad eye,6
Takes up her staff, and drops her withered crown.7
Our frail boat heaves upon the heaving river,8
Wearily—wearily :9
The flickering shore-lights come and go by fits ;10
Towering from wave to sky, dusk Silence sits11
Death at her feet—above, infinity12
Between, borne restless by,13
Our various-freighted bark, like life, floats ever.14
Ah, pale, sad hour ! too early night, that falls15
Come not so fast !  Return—return, bright day,17
Kind voices, smiles—clear mountains, sunny bay !18
In vain ! life’s dial cannot backward fly :19
The dark time draweth nigh.20
Hearken, my soul! When earth’s sounds cease, God calls,21
Light—light, on the black river ! Lo, it gleams22
Solemnly—solemnly :23
Like troops of pale ghosts on their pensive march,24
Treading the far heavens in a luminous arch,25
Each after each—phantasms serene and high26
Of that eternity27
Where all earth’s keenest griefs grow dim as dreams.28
Drink in the glory, oh my bruised soul,29
Silently—silently :30
Gaze—till is lulled all pain, all vain desires.31
See how that radiant bow of pillared fires32
Spans the dark hills like dawn, until they lie33
In soft tranquillity,34
And all night’s ghastly shades asunder roll.35
Again—again ! the vision changes fast,36
That was heaven’s gate with its light-glimmering road,38
But this is heaven—the tented throne of God !39
Hung with flame curtains of celestial dye40
That wave perpetually ;41
While to and fro the winged angels haste.42
I see no more the stream, the boat that moves43
And we who sit, prisoned in troublous clay.45
It is not night, it is immortal day,46
Where God’s sole presence fills the immensity,47
And each, His servant high,48
For ever praises and for ever loves.49
Oh soul, forget the weight that drags thee down50
Deathfully—deathfully !51
Know thyself ! As this radiance wraps thee round,52
Let it melt off the chains that long have bound53
Thy strength! Stand free before thy God, and cry,54
Oh Father, here am I !55
Give to me as thou wilt—first cross, then crown !’56