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Female Scriptural Characters


by Mrs. R. Hyneman

Leah and Rachel.

Morn breaks; And now each lofty mountain top
Unveils its beauties, And the heavy mist
That all night long hung o’er them like a shroud,
Slowly and silently is gathered up;
Fold after fold the snowy, vapory mass
Ascends, and leaves the fresh, pure, smiling earth
Awaiting, like a bride, to greet her lord
In bloom and beauty.

                          See! Where glides a form
Between the water’s edge and yonder group
Of graceful willows; beauty hath she none,
And yet, methinks that sorrowing face might win
A gleam of pity from a savage breast.
‘Tis she! The first of womankind whose love
Was unrequited.

Thou lovest, and vainly! dark and fearful power;
That thus can sway weak woman’s earthly lot,
Joy of a moment, born to be forgot!
She lavishes her wealth of love, her dower,
On one who marks with cold and careless eyes,
The deep outpouring of the young heart’s sacrifice.

Thou sad, pale trembler, who with tearful eye
Dost mark thy lord’s approach, and vainly yearn
For one kind greeting, one poor, cold return
Of all the love thou offerest, one reply
To the deep throbbing of that faithful heart;
Sad dove, that sitt’st with folding wings apart,
Brooding o’er miseries in mercy given,
To teach thy soul, and lead it back to heaven.

Thou glidest from the busy haunts of men,
In the still dawn, and quiet dewy eve,
And ‘neath the vine’s cool graceful foliage, when
The midnight moon looks down, and waters heave
And leap beneath her light, thy voice in prayer
Steals on the silence of the midnight air;
And a faint whispering hope around thee breathes,
And from the faded flowers that mem’ry wreathes,
Thou may’st perchance gather one bud to bless
Thy sorrowing heart, and sheer its loneliness.

Not such thy fate, thou fair and happy bride.*
Away! Away at early eventide,
Thou fliest swift to meet thy loved one’s voice,
Sound that can make thy woman’s heart rejoice,
And send a rapturous thrill of hope and pride
Through all thy frame; ah, happy in thy love,
Happy to know that earth holds nought beside
So dear to either--the bright sky above,
The fair earth spread before thee like a shrine,
A universal temple, where the soul
May offer up its sacrifice divine,
Of prayer, free, gushing from the heart without control.

* Rachel.

Yet thine was woman’s lot, thine her deep grief,
And thine her gleams of sunshine light and grief,
Her transient tears, and smiles, alas, her all
Of light and evanescent power.--Recall
The past, turn o’er the ancient, sacred page,
And trace the fate of man from youth to age:
‘Tis still the same: a few brief years of pain,
And dust returns to dust, earth claims again
Her kindred earth,--Then let the path we’ve trod,
Whether in tears or smiles, still upward lead to God.

Rebekah Hyneman Index