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The midnight stars held their joyous way,
And the moon poured down her shadowy ray;
Sweet scents were flushed from the orange bowers,
And the fire-flies glanced amid wreathing flowers;
And peace was earth's;-yet a song of death,
Was borne on the quivering night-wind's breath.
'Twas a mournful dirge, and it wildly fell
On the listening ear as a thrilling spell;
And it breathed of stricken hopes; and woe
Burst forth from amid the strains' deep flow;
And it seemed that the exile's heart was wrung,
With a withering sorrow as they sung.
For they were a band of Afric's sons,
And lonely and sad those banished ones;
Long torn away from their childhood's home,
Their hearts were far o'er the ocean foam;
And they breathed o'er the dead a requiem wild,
-O'er the dead from his kindred soil exiled.
And e'en the heart of the strong man bowed,
As he gazed on the loved in his pallid shroud;
And burning tears from their cells found way,
And lost thoughts sprang to the light of day;
And memories fond o'er his spirit rushed,
As a torrent whose waters might not be hushed.
Far was their home o'er the billowy sea,
The home of their laughing infancy;
And youth's bright visions had round them smiled,
As they gaily roam'd o'er the desert wild,―
Or listed the rush of the dread simoom,
Or the wild beast chased 'mid the forest's gloom.
But years had fled,-and a fevered dream
Seemed life in the flash of memory's beam;
The chain-the lash-they had known of these,
Their wail was borne on the morning breeze;
Stern sorrow had strung their hearts to grief—
Say what to the stricken could bring relief?
O, naught on earth! yet amid its gloom,
Burst a ray that shed glory o'er the tomb ;
And they drank of the living spring of peace,
As they thought of that home where all sorrows cease;
And the broken spirit found repose,
As light o'er its eventide arose.
Port Royal, Jamaica.
MORN on the waters !-and, purple and bright,
Bursts on the billows the flushing of light;
O'er the glad waves, like a child of the sun,
See the tall vessel goes gallantly on;
Full to the breeze she unbosoms her sail,
And her pennon streams onward, like hope, in the gale;
The winds come around her, in murmur and song,
And the surges rejoice as they bear her along;
See! she looks up to the golden-edged clouds,
And the sailor sings gaily aloft in the shrouds :
Onward she glides, amid ripple and spray,
Over the waters-away, and away!
Bright as the visions of youth, ere they part,
Passing away, like a dream of the heart!
Who, as the beautiful pageant sweeps by,
Music around her, and sunshine on high-
Pauses to think, amid glitter and glow,
Oh! there be hearts that are breaking below!
Night on the waves!-and the moon is on high,
Hung, like a gem, on the brow of the sky,
Treading its depths in the power of her might,
And turning the clouds, as they pass her, to light!
Look to the waters !-asleep on their breast,
Seems not the ship like an island of rest?
Bright and alone on the shadowy main,
Like a heart-cherished home on some desolate plain!
Who-as she smiles in the silvery light,
Spreading her wings on the bosom of night
Alone on the deep, as the moon in the sky,
A phantom of beauty-could deem, with a sigh,
That so lovely thing is the mansion of sin,
And souls that are smitten lie bursting within?
Who-as he watches her silently gliding—
Remembers that wave after wave is dividing
Bosoms that sorrow and guilt could not sever,
Hearts which are parted and broken for ever?
Or deems that he watches, afloat on the wave,
The death-bed of hope, or the young spirit's grave?
'Tis thus with our life; while it passes along,
Like a vessel at sea, amid sunshine and song!
Gaily we glide, in the gaze of the world,
With streamers afloat, and with canvass unfurled;
All gladness and glory, to wandering eyes,
Yet chartered by sorrow, and freighted with sighs :--
Fading and false is the aspect it wears,
As the smiles we put on, just to cover our tears;
And the withering thoughts which the world cannot know,
Like heart-broken exiles, lie burning below!
EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY HOPES.
When sorrow o'er the spirit reigns, with dark and powerful sway,
She tears from eyes that else were blind, the flimsy veil away;
She points to life with all its scenes of misery and care;
And at her touch, youth's glorious hopes melt into empty air.
Yet pleased, we linger in the maze, the flowery maze of youth,
Which wears, deceitful tho' it be, the loveliness of truth.
The visions that we fain would grasp—they still elude our view;
And still, enchanted by the spell, unwearied we pursue.
So does the treacherous mirage, with its false delusive glow,
A lake of purest beauty, to the dying traveller show,—
urges his remaining strength to reach the tempting plain, But when arrived, it fades at once to barren sand again.
Where shall the blighted spirit turn, when earthly hope is fled?
Is there no balm to soothe the breast, whose cherished joys are dead?
Yes! for a purer, higher hope, to fainting souls is given,
A star whose ray shall never die—a fadeless hope in heaven!
Oh! sorrow o'er the spirit reigns with bright and glorious sway, She turns our eyes from earthly joys, and fading hopes away; She points to that bright land, where grief shall never enter more, And bids us seek a dwelling there when time and space are o'er: