Josias Homely


(A Fragment.)
—There is a nameless dread, or rather doubt,
Perhaps a mingling of them both, which falls
Like passing cloud upon the lonely heart,
Which hails the stranger—wheresoe'er he dwells.
The land may be his own dear isle,
The stranger of his kindred and his tongue ;
And Holman journeying in the wilderness,
In helpless darkness, to the Arab tents.
Feels not alone this dark depressing gloom.
How oft have I while wandering in the fields
Of merry England, felt the nameless pang.
Which told me novelty was nought to home.
—It needs not horrors of the forest old,
Untenanted of man and desolate—
Nor lands where man is but a wolf to man,
And to the stranger but a beast of prey—
Nor Lapland wastes—nor months of sunless snows.
The gloom is on the spirit, not the scene.
How eagerly at such a moment roams
From face to face the searching anxious eye ;
How drinks the thirsty ear each novel sound ;
How yearns the soul to know the character
Of the new world to which we are arrived.
A flood of new impressions strike the sense
And leave a deathless impress on the mind.
'Twas thus, a scene by no means new or rare
Remains engraven on a stranger's heart.

* * * * * *

The morning yet was in its freshest prime ;
The sky a bright untarnished sheet of blue :
The breeze was sea-ward bound, but on the shore
Fell on the waters with so light a wing,
That they but smiled to greet him as he pass'd';
The wavelet died ere it could reach the shore ;
The wild flowers seem'd to pine with too much joy,
And shut their timid eyes, as if to shun
The brightness of a day so beautiful ;
And no excuse for sadness could be seen.
We journeyed on amidst a jovial throng,
Ourselves made jovial by their rustic mirth.
The sturdy tillers of the ground, with joy.
Brought forth the produce of their useful toil,
And 'midst the roar of joyous festival
Proclaim'd hom little labour wantsfrom pride.

A sudden turn, at once, reveal'd a scene.
Which fell like darkness on a sun-lit sea
Upon the saddened heart. A silent crowd.
With eager looks of mute, respectful grief,
Compos'd it seem'd of every grade and class,
Waited for some sad spectacle, which all
Desired to see, yet all appeared to dread.
From beauty's diamond eye there fell a pearl
Of silent sympathy. The aged men
Shook their white locks with mute and deep distress ;
The sturdy sons of scarcely ceasing toil
Stood for a while in sad and troubled rest ;
And closer to her heart each mother held
Her darling boy ; and he look'd up and ask'd
Why sudden grief had lighted on the face,
Which e'er till now, had met his own with smiles.
And whv was this ?—I will record the cause
With trembling hand, but with exulting heart.
Read—haters of old England—ye who scorn
Devonia's rude and simple hearted sons,
Whose heartless emptiness has nurtured doubt
Of England's nobleness, or Devon's worth—
Learn why thus sorrow hush'd the market crowd,
'Twas sym'pathy with those who mourn had made them sad!

A father had bowed down to bless his boy
In all the agony of parting grief—
With these sweet words of blessing on his lips
Expired !

The fond heart render'd up its all,
And died. The past and future met. His soul
The struggle with them both could not endure.
All his past joys rush'd back upon his heart—
Its future desolation clip'd it round,
Like frozen zone of adamantine ice ;
It broke—his heart wept blood— and ceased to move !

O who allured by hopes of gain alone,
Could leave this his land of generous symimthies
For one of pearls, barbaric gold, and blood,
Nor cast a sad, unwilling look behind ?
He knew the dreadful contrast, and hefelt.
Too well he knew the dark, terrific truth,
'When Juggernaut his hundred victims claims
Ten thousand bleed to sate the sordid power,
The Moloch of the white man's worship—wealth ?
One holy aspiration filled his heart—
It broke in giving it—his spirit flew
To heaven, before the mercy seat, to pour
Its generous sacrifice—its offering pure,
A blessing on his country and his child!
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