Oremus! Oremus! Look down on us, Father!
Like visions of Patmos Thy last judgments gather
The angels of doom, in bright, terrible beauty,
Rise up from their thrones to fulfil their stern duty.
Woe to us, woe! the thunders have spoken,
The first of the mystical seals hath been broken.
Through the cleft thunder‐cloud the weird wierd coursers are rushing
Their hoofs will strike deep in the hearts they are crushing;
And the crown'd and the proud of the old kingly races
Fall down at the vision, like stars from their places:
Oremus! Oremus! The pale earth is heark'ning;
Already the spirit‐steeds round us are dark'ning.
With crown and with bow, on his white steed immortal,
The Angel of Wrath passes first through the portal;
But faces grow paler, and hush'd is earth's laughter,
When on his pale steed comes the Plague Spirit after.
Oremus! Oremus! His poison‐breath slayeth;
The red will soon fade from each bright lip that prayeth.
Now, with nostrils dilated and thunder hoofs crashing,
On rushes the war‐steed, his lurid eyes flashing;
There is blood on the track where his long mane is streaming,
There is death where the sword of his rider is gleaming.
Woe to the lands where that red steed is flying!
There tyrants are warring, and heroes are dying.
Oh! the golden‐hair'd children reck nought but their playing,
Thro' the rich fields of corn with their young mothers straying;
And the strong‐hearted men, with their muscles of iron,
What reck they of ills that their pathway environ?
There's a tramp like a knell—a cold shadow gloometh
Woe! 'tis the black steed of Famine that cometh
At the breath of its rider the green earth is blasted,
And childhood's frail form droops down pallid, and wasted;
The soft sunny hair falleth dank on the arm
Of the mother, whose love shields no longer from harm:
For strength is scarce left her to weep o'er the dying,
Ere dead by the loved one the mother is lying.
But can we only weep, when above us thus lour
The death‐bearing wings of the angels of power;
When around are the arrows of pestilence flying
Around, the pale heaps of the famine‐struck lying
—No, brother of sorrow, when life's light is weakest,
Look up, it is nigh the redemption thou seekest.
Still WORK, though the tramp of the weird spirit‐horses,
Fall dull on the ear, like the clay upon corses;
Still Freedom must send forth her young heroes glowing,
Though her standard be red with their life‐current flowing;
Still the preacher must cast forth the seed, as God's sower,
Though he perish like grass at the scythe of the mower.
Still do the Lord's work through life's tragical drama,
Though weeping goes upward like weeping at Rama;
The path may be thorny, but Spirit eyes see us;
The cross may be heavy, but Death will soon free us:
Still, strong in Christ's power we'll chant the Hosanna,
Fling down Christ's defiance—Υπαγε Σατανα!
I see in a vision the shadowy portal,
That leadeth to regions of glory immortal;
I see the pale forms from the seven wounds bleeding,
Which up to God's Throne the bright angels are leading;
I see the crown placed on each saint bending lowly,
While sounds the Trisagion—Holy, thrice Holy!
I have Paradise dreams of a band with palm‐branches,
Whose wavings give back their gold harps' resonances,
And a jewelled‐walled city, where walketh in splendour
Each one who his life for God's truth did surrender.
Who would weep their death‐doom, if such bliss we inherit,
When the veil of the human falls off from the spirit?
The Christian may shrink from the last scenes of trial,
And the woes yet unknown of each mystical vial;
But the hosts of Jehovah will gather beside him,
The rainbow‐crowned angel stoop downward to guide him;
And to him, who as hero and martyr hath striven,
Will the Crown, and the Throne, and the Palm‐branch be given.