To some old familiar tune,
Sits and views the rippling pathway
Silvered by the gentle moon, -
So I sit to-night, enraptured
By the strains of History's lyre,
While the past, resplendent glowing
In imagination's fire,
Forms a long and glorious pathway
Over which my vision flies, -
Storied pathway, all along which
Many a deed immortal lies.
And as on the moonlit wave-way
Countless are the ripples bright,
And the eye with careless pleasure
Wanders o'er the path of light,
Till some higher wavelet, foam-capped,
Transiently arrests its sight, -
So I view the past historic.
Taking in the glorious whole,
Till some special name or epoch
Fixes thought and thrills my soul.
Lives of great men, glory-crowned,
From the decades grandly rise;
Then, like waves, majestic, transient,
Sink before my wondering eyes, -
Sink, but are they lost forever
In the "one stupendous whole"?
Are their souls but fleeting phases
Of the universal soul?
While the tiniest wave is trembling
For a moment on the sight,
Its ethereal light is mingling
With the vapors of the night, -
Vapors that shall soon be thronging
All along the eastern way,
Clad in purple and vermilion,
Heralds of the royal day.
Thus the men of ancient story
Linger through our night of time,
With our thoughts their thoughts commingling,
With our lives their lives sublime.
All around us they are thronging,
And I seem to hear them say:
"Falter not, O ye faint-hearted;
Gather wisdom while ye may.
Be not slothful, be not craven;
Boldly skyward press your way.
All that's noble is immortal,
Doubt and gloom shall end in day."
C. A. D.