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Communings With Nature.


By Grace Aguilar.

Night! Solemn Night, what mighty spell is thine,
That with such thrilling accents to the soul,
Thou whisperest thy tale of things divine,
'Till springing upward from this earth's control,
The soaring spirit feels awhile set free,
Yet clings in fond devotion, Night! To thee.

What deep calm bearest thou in thy starry zone,
In the rich purple of thy midnight sky,
'Till the full heart thrills 'neath the solemn tone
Of moaning breezes as they pass and die;—
Hast thou not eloquence, all, all thine own,
That sunshine hears not,—day hath never known?

Night! lovely Night! I stood in forests dense,
The wild savannahs of the mighty West,
Where the red Indian rears his reedy fence,
And 'neath far-spreading cedars sinks to rest,
Lulled into slumber by the rushing sound
Which far Niag'ra sends on echoes round.

I traced the shadow of the giant trees,
Moveless in solemn grandeur 'gainst the sky,
Or bending slowly to the fragrant breeze,
In graceful greeting as it passed them by;
A young moon smiled in faint and timid light—
All was so calm—I blessed thee, lovely Night!

I stood where holy Jumna's crystal stream
Gushed softly 'midst the Brahmin's sacred bowers,
Where its blue waters in the moonlight gleam,
Decked with rich shrubs and nature's loveliest flowers,
Where the bright diamond glimmers from the mine,
And the rich gold decks many a silent shrine;

Where 'mid the ruins of a dreamy past,
Affection's fane its glittering dome uprears;
Whose marble terraces dim lustre cast
O'er that rich gorgeousness,—and told of tears;
And flowers flung far their scent and glist'ning light;—
Where was the loved? Thou wert not changed, oh Night!

All heavily and slow my camel paced,
Where Afric's desert stretched her trackless sand,
Where never glistening green the eye hath traced,
Nor gushing founts the wavy palm hath fanned;—
All, all was drear and desolate around,
But Night's deep calm e'en there my spirit bound.

Joyously, joyously, o'er the blue deep,
The light bark seeketh a lovelier strand,
The white waves dash where rich corals sleep,
And glittering gems deck the yellow sand:
Joyously, joyously, the day sped by,
And smiled o'er the galley the sunset sky.

And thou, oh soft Night! thy shadows fell,
Lulling e'en Ocean to sleep on thy breast—
'Till the waves gushed by with a whispering swell,
As fearing to wake the deep Ocean's rest;
And thy stars gleamed forth with such quiv'ring light,
Still! Still—thou wert changeless, oh lovely Night!

And thou wert beauteous in the Grecian Isles,
Where fregrant myrtle and dark olives twine,
Where o'er rich Dorian fanes bright sunlight smiles,
And blushing roses wreathe the purple vine;
And dreamy visions with sweet music came;
'Till life seemed changed—thou only wert the same.

Night, solemn Night! faint shadows of the past
Were round me! Rome with her rich memories,
Embodying forms, the spell of fancy cast,
'Till voices murmur'd in each passing breeze:
And awed and silenced, sadness o'er me stole,
Calming awhile th' aspirings of my soul.

How changed fair Italy! how desolate
The paradise of nature, bearing yet
Such sweet sad echoes of a happier fate,
Such lingering glory, tho' her sun hath set;
Oh, what dark changes might that earth unfold—
Yet thou didst shrine her, Night! e'en as thou didst of old.

I stood once more in England's lordly bowers,
And life in youth and loveliness were round;
No shade of darkness dashed the joyous hours,
Nor grief's sad echo the full chords had found;
And glittering lamps of ev'ry varied shade,
A second sunshine of those halls had made.

And music's thrilling notes came on the air,
Waking sweet mem'ries in the wanderer's heart,
And smiles for faithful love were round me there,
Like soft reviving waters, to impart
Coolness to my weary soul. E'en here, oh, Night!
Thou look'st down still, so mildly, beautifully bright.

The scene was changed around me; dark and dense
The breath of midnight, as it slowly past,
And burned my brow; watching with wo intense,
I knelt where Death his darkening shadow cast,
The child of care and sorrow, yet a soul
All too ethereal for this world's control.

The room was close and small, and not a sound
Of nature's music stole upon my ear;
The giant city slept 'mid hush profound,
And not a tree, a shrub, a flower was near,
To breathe its fragrance on the heated mind,
Or wake sweet melodies in th' passing wind.

The very storm that heavily rush'd past
Was voiceless all, as if the massive walls
Of human prisons chain'd the mighty blast;
And not a breath of freedom softly falls
On the pent spirit, bidding it awake,
And to th' inspiring winds high answer make.

I looked forth from the casement, open wide,
I sought to woo the silent winds awhile;
But not a sound or sight in love replied,
My lonely watch in kindness to beguile;
Walls raised on walls in dark and dusky gloom,
So close and still,—that city seemed a tomb.

Upwards, in sadness turned my straining eye
Scarce seeking aught to break the witchy fell
That had enchained me. Oh how that dark sky,
Those starry orbs flung down their soothing spell,
In such low whispers the fond tale to tell,
The beauteous visions I had loved so well!

Night! holy Night! oh be to me unfurled
What of deep myst'ry thou bearest on thy wing,
The silent wing that o'er a weary world,
Such healing balm all voicelessly doth fling;—
Speak to me! Answer me! Thou hast a tone,
Full, thrilling, mighty—all, oh, all thine own.

There came a voice in answer to that cry,
Which my soul heard in that lone, mournful hour,
In low, yet solemn accents, to reply,
And breathe the myst'ry of her thrilling power,—
"I do but shadow forth the deep, deep Love,
Omniscient, changeless, which waits thee above.

"I but whisper faintly, and from afar,
Low tales of things divine, and softly send
Glimmerings of love undying in each star,
Which there hath smiled since chaos was at end;
I tell thee of an Eye whose lightning glance
Embraceth all of earth and heav'n's expanse;

"Of Him who know'th not shadow of a change,
From age to age enduring still the same,
Whose love and truth no mortal can estrange,
Whose might, earth, ocean, sky, aloud proclaim;—
I bid thee look on high,—and feel my breast,
Yearning to fold thee, type of his own rest.

"Day is for earth, its pleasures and its care,
Its toil and sadness till life's dream is sealed;
Upward each fainting soul, 'tis mine to bear,
'Till things and hopes immortal, stand revealed;—
This, this is mine! Earth unto day is given,
But Night hath holier task—her theme is heaven."