The Ruler's Faith
DEATH cometh to the chamber of the sick:
The ruler's daughter, like the peasant's child,
Turns pale as marble. Hark! that hollow moan,
Which none may soothe, and then the last faint breath
Subsiding with a shudder.
Deep the wail
That speaks an idol fallen from the shrine
Of a fond parent's heart. A withered flower
Is there, oh mother, where thy proudest hope
Solaced itself with garlands, and beheld
New buddings every morn.
Father, 'tis o'er!
That voice is silent which had been thy harp,
Quickening thy footsteps nightly toward thy home,
Mingling, perchance, an echo all too deep
Even with thy temple worship,
Should deal with God alone.
Breaketh the trance of grief! Whose radiant brow
In meekness and in majesty doth bend
Beside the bed of death?
"She doth but sleep;
The damsel is not dead'." A smothered hiss,
Contemptuous, rises from that wondering band,
Who beat the breast, and raise the license wail
Of Judah's mourning.
Look upon the dead!
Heaves not the winding-sheet? Those trembling lids,
What peers beneath their fringes, like the tint
Of dewy violet? The blanched lips dispart,
And what a quivering long-drawn sigh restores
Their rose-leaf beauty. Lo! that clay-cold hand
Doth clasp the Master's, and, with sudden spring,
That shrouded sleeper, like a timid fawn,
Hides in her mother's bosom. Faith's strong root
Was in the parent's spirit, and its fruit
Oh, mother! who doth gaze
Upon thy daughter, in that deeper sleep,
Which threats the soul's salvation, breathe her name
To thy Redeemer's ear, both when she smiles
In all her glowing beauty on the morn,
Or when at night her clustering tresses sweep
Her downy pillow, in the trance of dreams,
Or when at pleasure's beckoning she goes forth,
Or to the meshes of an early love
Yields her young heart, be eloquent for her,
Take no denial, till the gracious hand,
Which raised the ruler's dead, give life to her,
That better life, whose power surmounts the tomb.