The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/Noah


The ark was resting on the mountain's side,
And those who dwelt beneath its sheltering veil,
Look'd forth upon the earth—that sight denied
Their anxious gaze so long!—their cheeks grew pale
As Noah moved the covering from their frail,
Yet safe abode of refuge; for they thought
Of those dark hours, when, ever on the gale,
The voice of ruin and despair was brought,
Telling how wide a scathe destruction's hand had wrought.
And now they look'd abroad upon the scene
With a sick, painful interest, and a dread
Of seeing—what till now had only been
A picture of their thoughts—before them spread
In all its dark reality. The dead,
The guilty dead, seem'd rising to their sight,
As when in sinful happiness, their tread
Pass'd gayly o'er the earth, ere that long night
Of utter darkness pass'd above them with its blight.

Then how could those lone dwellers of the earth—
The only rescued—how could they but weep?
What though the lost ones, in their guilty mirth,
Had mock'd their pious prayers, and wrought them deep
And sore affliction? In one whelming sweep,
The wrath of God had crush'd them! and could now
The righteous triumph o'er their dreamless sleep?
But Noah—only he—upraised his brow,
As if his spirit could be moved by nought below.
And yet the green earth bore but little trace
Of its late ravage;—scatter'd here and there,
The wreck of some proud palace, or a place
Of their vain worship—with their pillars fair,
Grown o'er with sea-weed, and their treasures rare,
Gone to the ocean caverns;—but the light
Of the rich sunset melted through an air,
All fill'd with odours from a world as bright
As though it only waked in freshness from the night.

So thus they trod the silent world once more,—
Its only habitants!—all gather'd there,
And praising Him who bade the waters pour
Their whelming floods around them, and yet spare
The cherish'd few whom he had made his care,
And shielded with his love. And thus they grew,
Peaceful and calm, and hymns rose on the air
In grateful joyfulness; for then they knew
That all that scathe had pass'd forever from their view.