Home page The Occident and American Jewish Advocate Jews in the Civil War Jews in the Wild West History of Palestine The Occident Virtual Library


The Snow-Drop—An Allegory

By R. E. S.

The snow lay still on the earth, and hung like strings of pearls upon the graceful drooping branches of the Laburnum <<132>> trees. Spring had not yet gladdened the face of nature, with her sweet joyous smile; everything in field and garden looked sold and quiet, as the land of the shadow of death. Nature was sleeping so tranquilly, that her breath was scarcely audible even to the most observant of her children, and she loved to have it so; for it was her time of rest, when in dreams her spirit ascended to the Most High. In the midst of this deathlike stillness and repose, I beard the sound of a soft delicate step upon the ground; I listened, with a beating heart, and watched in breathless anxiety; but no human form approached, as I knelt in a little arbour of the garden, absorbed in profound adoration; for a religious awe had already taken possession of my soul.

I had not long remained in this position when I perceived a form of light gliding through the air, somewhat resembling those golden evening clouds which hover around the last glories of departing day—a soft delicious perfume spread through the atmosphere and filled me with intense joy.

Wings of a rainbow-hue gradually displayed themselves on this form, half human, half divine; a garment woven of the loveliest flowers, twined together their leaves and branches, so as almost to conceal the radiant vision. Her golden hair was encircled with buds of roses and jessamine. I gazed in an ecstasy of wonder and delight, every moment perceiving new beauties, which seemed to arise from earth and to descend from heaven, mingling harmoniously yet imperceptibly. Suddenly I was aroused from my dreamlike silence by a voice whose undulating softness resembled the sighs which the Aeolian harp utters to the passing breeze; the tender melody of that voice resounded through my heart, as it formed itself into these words: “Beautiful, and full delight is the task assigned me by the great Creator, the beneficent Author of all things!—to watch over the flowerets of earth; to awaken with the breath of love and joy their slumbering beauties; to call forth their hidden charms; to show them the first warmth of reviving happiness; to shed the perfume of my spirit upon their young beauty, that they may bask in the sunshine, and rejoice in the love of the Most Merciful. Now will I return, and at the foot of the heavenly throne pour forth the <<133>> gratitude due to Him, who rejoices in the joy of His children. But first let me awaken thee, pale clamberer, that I may commence—my work of love.”

With these words, the beauteous being bent her sweet eyes to the earth, and looked long and earnestly upon a small bed of mould, which was situated in a remote part of the garden; seeing at length a soft pale bud penetrating upwards through the snow, she continued, “Fairest and earliest child of the earth! approach and fear not.” At these words of encouragement, the delicate bud rose slowly and gradually from its icy bed; and the spirit fanning it with her fragrant wings, vanished from my sight. Some weeks had now elapsed, when I returned again to the arbour, and praying fervently that I might trace the Divine hand in all His works, and discover the truth and beauty in them all, I turned my eyes in the direction from whence had proceeded that exquisite vision. The bud was no longer there, but in its place a slender stalk of palest green, upon the top of which hung pendent a little bell of fairy dimensions and perfect whiteness; through the half-open leaves might be seen the delicate tint of soft green, pencilled by the angel’s touch.  With rapturous delight I watched the beautiful flower, and examined with attention the thin spiral leaves of dark green which encircled, but could not protect it, from the cold wind which shook it to and fro. “Sweetest blossom,” I exclaimed, “why art thou blooming in coldness and solitude, thus drooping and alone?”

At these words of sympathy, light and fragrance again pervaded the atmosphere, and the soft musical voice of the spirit fell once more upon my ear; but more radiant, far lovelier was she now than when I first beheld her. The sun had shed a brilliant light over the robe of flowers which encircled her. The fresh dew of an early spring morning sparkled in her hair, and on the lids of her long lashes; her eyes beamed with a softer light, and her movement was more joyous and elastic. Half flying, half gliding, she approached the flower, “Snow-drop,” said the spirit, “such is thy name, for out of the snow hast thou appeared, first-born of the spring! emblem of hope and innocence! I have watched thee from thy first appearance upon this earth;— long, long hut thou struggled against the darkness and the <<134>> gloom which surrounded thee; long went thou chilled by the cold breath of the frozen elements, but thou hast triumphed over all—thou hast come forth in blooming loveliness; meek and lowly at the recollection of thy past trials, thou bendest down thy sweet head like humility in Genius—emblem of love and hope! of joy and trust, of obedience and humility—type of all that is most perfect in the sight of God!”

Scarcely had the spirit uttered these words, when a distant chorus of angels was heard, approaching nearer and nearer. Humility they knew was the delight of the Most High, and they left their golden harps to take back an offering so acceptable to Him. “Ascend with us,” they sang, “and let us take to heaven this child of patience and humility.”

The spirit then ascended, bearing with her the delicate snow-drop, no longer desolate, but surrounded by a guard of the angelic host.