The First Morning of 1860.

One evening mid the summer flown1
Has stamp’d my memory more than any ;2
It pass’d us by among the many,3
And yet it stands there, all alone.4
We sate without our open’d room,5
While fell the eve’s transparent shade ;6
The out-door world, all warmth and bloom,7
To us a summer parlour made.8
The garden’s cultivated grace,9
The luxury of neatness round,10
The careless amplitude of space,11
The silence, and the casual sound,12
Told of a state thro’ many years13
Serenely safe in doing well ;14
And while we sate, there struck our ears15
The summons of the evening bell.16
It call’d to food, it call’d to rest,17
The many whom the rich man’s dome18
Had gathered in its ample breast,19
To them and him alike a home.20
That very hour, was thund’ring o’er21
A neighbouring land, the tramp of War,22
Which stalked along the lovely shore,23
Its shapes to blast, its sounds to mar.24
And ’gainst our own, the reflux wave25
Had pushed its harsh in-flooding swell :26
The clouds which there a tempest gave,27
In shadow on our own land fell.28
The pang my bosom rudely beat29
What if that fate our own had been ?30
What if or victory or defeat31
Had wrapp’d us in its woe, and sin ?32
What if it still our fate should be ?33
And the safe hours, enjoy’d like this,34
Amid our home-scenes safe and free,35
Should be the passing year of bliss ?36
The new one on the lecturn lies,37
Its leaves the turning hand await ;38
Those fresh unopen’d leaves comprise39
Th’ unread, but written words of Fate.40
O God ! what are they ? if they be41
The bloody words of ruffian war,42
Grant us success !— but rather far43
Avert the scourge of victory !44
Too dear the price ! Ah ! human forms45
Of guardian husbands, cherish’d sons46
Once children, hid from smallest harms47
Of mind and body, cherish’d ones !48
Shall ye stand up, the gallant mark49
Of the brute shot, and iron rod,50
And man’s frame, exquisite in work,51
Be treated like earth’s common clod ?52
Shall England’s polish’d glory, pure53
In freedom, wisdom, high estate,54
Her open Bible, and her poor55
Becoming one with rich and great,—56
Shall these high things be but the aim57
Of envious men, in rough affray,58
To try against the noble frame59
Their brutal skill to rob and slay ?60
Forbid it Thou, who to the strong,61
And wise, hast might and counsel lent ;62
And lead’st them danger’s path along,63
Audacious, firm, and confident.64
Forbid it, Thou, who to the weak65
Permittest to be strong in pray’r ;66
From Whom we wives and mothers seek67
Peace to endow the new-born year.68