Have I a right, because I deem it right,
Thus to dispose o'er weal and woe of thousands?
And what perchance may be my own reward?
A rash and unsuccessful rebel's fame,
The school-boy's sneer, the tyrant's welcome proof?
Oh ! where to find the right, the honest way
That leads midway these cliffs of doubt and fear
Into the haven of security?
[He steps to the window through which, when opened by him, the light of the moon is thrown into the room. Gazing without, he continues:]
Oh, peaceful Night! thou grateful balm of rest
To sorrow-burdened hearts and weary eyes:
So also pour thine blessings o'er my breast
And soothe its throes, relieve its cares and sighs.
Let me not falter in this grievous test,
But make for me a polar-star arise,
A beacon-light, to guide my darkened way
And cheer my spirit by its blissful ray!
[At this moment the hymn: "Abide with me!" intuned by the soldiers in the chapel, and accompanied by the organ, is faintly heard in the room. During the first verse Travis stands listening; when the second verse is begun, Travis, raising his arms to Heaven, speaks with the greatest ecstasy:]
Oh, song of peace! soul-touching melody!
That like a voice of God, like angels' strain,
From heavenly realms comes floating down to me,