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When all your spirit seemed absorbed in praise
For that vast Power which held you on your ways
When human strength no longer could avail,
I heard you, with your grave face growing pale,
And thin lips trembling, tell how unseen hands
Had pushed you on along the burning sands;
Had in primeval forest shown a path ;
Had soothed the fervours of barbaric wrath ;
Stood by you, when on green Bambireh's shore
The savage sought to bathe his hands in gore;
Upheld you when around you, one by one,
Companions fell beneath the angry sun,
Or died from stealthy stroke of javelin.
'Twas destiny. It led you,-through the din
Of waters pouring over broken rocks
To unimagined depths with fearful shocks,
Down the great river to the broad salt sea,
And penetrated Congo's mystery.
At the fell moment when your strength was spent,
Your star's light shone resplendent in your tent ;
Grim voices cried 'Rise up ! strive on once more,
For near you sounding ocean beats the shore!'
You fixed a steadfast gaze upon the sky,
And, star-led, staggered on-to victory!
Ah, friend ! ere Congo's mystic course was planned, Through the dark continent to Afric's strand;
Your lot was cast, your destiny was sealed,
Your star's gleam ready was to be revealed,
Your spirit was ordained, your task was set.
Methinks your inspiration lingers yet.
I love to think that Stanley's star will shine
To guide him once again along the line
Of Afric's giant stream, that he may see
New nations strong, progressive, earnest, free,
Upspringing where, forlorn and faint, he stood
In years before, and gazed upon a flood
Stained with the blood of slaves.
Perchance in time
Some dusky poet, in a grateful rhyme,
Will proudly say, 'One came, a conqueror;
Peace on his lips, yet terrible in war ;
He brought us help and happiness; he sought
No glory for himself; he only thought
Of his great predecessor in the strife
To waken Africa to higher life ;
And when his immemorial work was done,
He named this current “River Livingstone.
Dear friend, while you across the weary fields
Of unknown Africa carved out your way,
My heart went with you, and my love still yields
A glad devotion on this welcome day
Which brings you homeward, crowned with lasting bays,
Hailed by unnumbered voices filled with praise !
THEE I love all else above,
Now I lie a-dying ;
Kiss me on my lips, O love !
Sight and breath are flying !
Nestle near my heart, fond dove,
Till it stills its beating ;
From thy heart to my soul, love,
Then send tender greeting.
I KNOW the splendid jessamines can fill
The air with perfume, and the breeze that brings
The magic odour has a power to thrill
The senses of the little bird that sings
In yonder thicket, and to give a tone
Of sorrow to his sweet, melodious moan.
I know the soft reflection of the stars
Is tremulous along the mighty stream ;
I know that nought above deters or mars
The beauty of the morning moon's faint gleam ;
And yet my spirit strangely seems to wear
A veil through which nor earth nor heaven are fair.
I know a blessing cometh with a curse ;
I know a waking cometh with a dream;
I know a better followeth a worse ;
I know an ocean lies beyond the stream ;
I know the perfume hath desire to bless;
I think the bird once sang of happiness;
Yet all is dust and ashes
the light Is bloody, and the air is filled with fire ; And nothing but the swift, o'erwhelming night Can keep me from a vision grim and dire, For night is pitiful, and hides the face Which cannot lighten with repentant grace.
I know a soul that lost a treasure fair.
Poor soul ! it nursed a wild, consuming pain !
Dear soul ! its sorrow was too hard to bear,
Yet soulfully it struggled, though in vain.
It rose to Heaven and strode upon the skies ;
It delved to hell, and heard the demons' cries ;
Then once again it took its place on earth,
Resolved to bear its bitter
It could not move itself to worldly mirth,
But it had stronger, braver, purer grown :
Yet when it fell to thinking on its loss,
It seemed to murmur at its heavy cross.
The end of all things did it most desire,
Save one eternal, sweet, delightful calm;