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The banner of the South. (Augusta, Ga.) 1868-1870, December 19, 1868, Page 3, Image 3

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A Christmas Carol. BY REV. A. 3. P.YAX. „ got roe toßinp a Christmas song, lh with musical mirth shall nng; _ Jinov I that the world’s groat throng H Whl care for the words I sing? r the voting and the gay chant the Christmas lay, For their voices and hearts are glad; „ ltf ili am old. and my locks are grey, U ADd they tell me my voice is sad. .. , Mce i could sing, when my heart beat warm ' With hones, bright as Life’s bright Spring; th( . spring hath tied, and the golden charm 3 Hath gone from the songs I sing. i nave lost the spell that my verse could weave O’er the souls of the old and young; vnd never again-how it makes me grieve— Shall I sing as once I sung. whv ask a song? ah! perchance you believe, Since my days are so nearly past, 'rve the sonar you’ll hear this Christmas Eve, 1 Is the old man’s best and last. Do vou want the jingle of rythm and rhyme ? ‘Art's sweet but meaningless notes, Or the music of Thought ? that, like the chime Os a grand Cathedral, floats Out of each word, and along each line, ' Into the spirit’s ear, r ifting it up, and making it pme For a something tar from Here: Bca”in' 7 the wings of the soul alott From earth and its shadows dim; soothing the breast with a sound as soft Asa dream or a Seraph’s hymn; Evoking the solemncst hopes and fears From our Being’s higher part, Dimming the eyes with radiant tears That flow from a spell-bound heart. Do thev want a song that is only a song, With no mystical meanings rife ? 0- a music that solemnly moves along— The undertone of life ? Well then, I'll sing; though I know not art, kor the Poet’s rhymes nor rules— A melody moves through my aged heart Not learned from books or schools; A music I learned in the days long gone— I cannot tell where or how— But no matter where, it still sounds on Back of this wrinkled brow; And down in my heart I hear it still, Like the echoes of far-off bells; Like the dreamy sound of a Summer rill Flowing through fairy dells. But what shall I sing for the world’s gay throng, And what the words of the old man’s song ? The world, they tell me, is so giddy grown, That Thought is rare; And thoughtless minds and shallow hearts alone Hold empire there: That fools have prestige, place, and power, and fame— Can it be true ? That wisdom is a scorn, a hissing shame, And wise are few ? They tell me, too, that all is venal, vain, With high and low ; That Truth aud Honor are the slaves of Gain; Can it be so ? ♦ That lofty Principle hath long been dead And in a shroud; That Virtue walks ashamed, with downcast head, Amid the crowd. They tell me, too, that few are they who own God’s Law and Love; wwws? That thousands, living for this Earth alone, Look not above; That daily, hourly, from bad to worse, Men tread the path, Blaspheming God, and careless of the curse Os his dread wrath. And must I sing for slaves of sordid gain, Or to the Few ? Shall I not dedicate this Christmas strain Who still are true ? No—not for the False shall I strike the strings Os the lyre that was mute so long; If I sing at all—the gray bard sings For the Few and the True his song. And ah! there is many a changeful mood That over my spirit steals; Beneath their spell, and in verses rude, Whatever he dreams or feels; Whatever the fancies this Christmas Eve Are haunting the lonely man; Whether they gladden, or whether they grieve. V He'll sing them as best he can, Though some of the strings of liis lyre are broke This holiest night of the year, Who knows how its melody may wake A Christmas smile and tear. No on with the mystic song. With its meanings manifold— Two tones in every word, Two thoughts in every tone; In the measured words that move along One meaning shall be heard, One thought to all be told— But, under it all, to me alone— And, under it all, to all unknown— As safe as under a coffin-lid, Beep meanings shall be bid— rind them out who can! The thou glits concealed and uiirevealed In the song of the lonely man ; ni sitting alone in Any silent room ... Tins long December night, atching the fire-flame fill the gloom With many a picture bright. Ah! how the fire can paint! His magic skill how strange! How every spark On the canvas dark Draws figures and forms so quaint! -And how the pictures change ! One moment how they smile! Aud in less than a little while, Iu the twinkling of an eye, Like the gleam of a Summer sky, ry The beaming smiles all die. T ; ou : guy to grave—from grave to gay, . ?lae< -s change iu the shadows grev. ' R . just as I wonder who are thev. Over them all, Bike a funeral pail, 1 |’°Ws of the shadows drop and fall, •Aiu. the charm is gone, And every one ' pictures lades away. A- the fire within my grate 1 ' : p u more than Raphael’s power, Is more than Raphael’s peer— . , w '- than he in a year; J~ e Pictures hanging ’round me here v n ..I 118 Christmas Eve, v vest’s pencil could create, J j, lu * <:r ' B ar t conceive. Ah . those cheerful faces « caring youthful graces; ou them until I seem a and half in a dream. -jero are brows without a mark, features without a shade: There are eyes without a tear; There are lips unused to sigh. Ah! never mind—you soou shall die 1 All those faces soon shall fade, Fade into the dreary dark, Like their pictures hauging here. Lo I those tearful faces, Bearing Age’s traces! I gaze on them, and they on me, Until I feel a sorrow steal Through my heart so drearily; There are faces furrowed deep; There are eyes that used to weep; There are brows beneath a cloud; There are hearts that want to sleep. Never mind! the shadows creep From the Death-laud; and a shroud, Tenderly as mother’s arm, Soon shall shield the old from harm; Soon shall wrap its robe of Rest Round each sorrow-haunted breast. Ah ! that face of Mother’s. Sister’s, too, and Brother's— And so many others, Dear in every name— And, wherever they are to-night, I know They look the very same As in their picture hanging here This night, to Memory dear, And painted by the flames, With tombstones in the back-ground, And shadow for their flames. And thus, with my pictures only, And the fancies they unweave Alone, and yet not lonelv, I keep my Christmas Eve. I’m sitting alone in my pictured room— h| But, no ! they have vanished all— m I m watching the fire-glow fade into gloom, * I’m watching the ashes fall. , And far away back of the cheerful blaze The beautiful visions of by-gone days Are rising before my raptured gaze. All! Christmas fire, so bright and warm. Hast thou a wizard’s magic charm To bring those far-off scenes so near And make my past days meet me here ? Tell me—tell me—how is it ? The past is past, aud here I sit, And there, lo ! there before me rise, Beyond yon glowing flame, The Bummer suns of childhood’s skies, les—yes— the very game! I saw them rise long, long ago; i played beneath their golden glow: And I remember yet, I often cried with strange regret, A\ hen in the West I saw them set. And there they are again ; The suns, the skies, the very days Os childhood, just beyond that blaze! But, ah! such visions almost craze The old man’s puzzled brain! I thought the Past was past! But, no, it cannot be; ’Tis here to-night with me! How is it, then ? the Past of Men Is part of one Eternity— The days of yore we so deplore, They are not dead—they are not fled, They live, and live forevermore. And thus my Past comes back to me With all its visions fair. Oh, Past! could Igo back to thee, And live forever there ! But, no ! there’s frost upon my hair; My feet have trod a path of Care; And worn and wearied here I sit, I am too tired to go to it. And thus with visions only, And the fancies they unweave, Alone, and yet not lonely, I keep my Christmas Eve. I’m sitting alone in my fire-lit room; But, no! the fire is dying. And the weary-voiced winds, in the outer gloom, Are sad, and I hear them sighing. The winds have a voice to pine— Plaintive, and pensive, and low— Hath it a heart, like mine or thine ? Kuoweth it weal or woe ? How it wails, in a ghost-like strain, Just against that window-pane ! As if it were tired of its long, cold flight, Aud wanted to rest with me to-night: Cease, night-winds, cease; Why should you be sad ? This is a night of joy and peace, And Heaven and Earth are glad! But still the wind’s voice grieves! Perchance o’er the fallen leaves, Which, in their Summer bloom, Danced to the music of bird and breeze, But, torn from the arms of their parent trees. I ie now in their wintry tomb, Mute types of man’s own doom. And thus with the night winds only, And the fancies they unweave, Alone, and yet not lonely, I keep my Christmas Eve. How long have I been dreaming here ? Or have I dreamed at all ? My fire is dead—my pictures fled— There’s nothing left but shadows drear. Shadows on the wall: Shifting, flitting, Round me, sitting In my old arm chair— Rising—sinking Round me, thinking. Till, in the maze of many a dream, I’m not myself; and I almost seem Like one of the shadows there. Well, let the shadows stay! I wonder who are they ? I cannot say; but I almost Believe They know to-night is Christmas Eve. And to-morrow is Christmas Day. Ah! there’s nothing like a Christmas Eve! To change Life’s bitter gall to sweet, And change the sweet to gall again; To take the thorns from out our feet— The thorns aud all their dreary pain, Only to put them back again. To take old stings from out our heart, Old stings that made Mi cm bleed and smart, Only to sharpen them the more, And press them back to the heart’s own core. Ah! no eve is like the Christina's Eve! Fears and hopes, and hopes and fears, Tears and smiles, and smiles and tears, Cheers and sighs, and sighs and cheers, Sweet and bitter, bitter, sweet, Bright and dark, and dark and bright, rill these mingle, all these meet, In this great aud solemn night. Ah! there’s nothing like a Christmas Eve ! To meet with a kindly glowing heart, From oil' our souls the snow aud sleet, The dreary drift of wintry years, Only to make the cold winds blow, Only to make a colder snow; And make it drift, and drift and drift, In flakes so icy cold and swift; Until the heart that lies below Is cold, and colder than the snow. And thus with the shadows only, And the dreamings they unweave; Alone, and yet not lonely, I keep my Christmas Eve. ’Tis passing fast! My fireless, lampless room Is a mass of moveless gloom: And without—a darkness vast, Solemn—starless—still! Heaven and Earth doth fill. But list! there soundeth a bell, With a mysterious ding, dong, dell! Is it, say, is it a funeral knell ? Solemn and slow, Now loud—now low; Pealing the notes of human woe Over the graves lying under the snow! Ah! that pitiless ding, dong, dell! Trembling along the gale, T nder the stars and over the snow. Why is it? whence is it sounding so? ■MIIII ©I mm jOrnnE Is it the toll of a bridal bell? Or is it a spirit's wail ? Solemnly—mournfully Sad —and how lomfuliy! Ding, dong, dell! Whence is it ? who can tell ? And the marvellous notes, they sink and swell Sadder, and sadder, and Radder still! How the sounds tremble! how they thrill! Every tone So like a moan; As if the strange bell's stranger clang Throbbed with a terrible human pang. Ding, dong, dell! • Dismally—drearily— Ever so wearily. Far off and faint as a Requiem plaint, Floats the deep-toned voice of the mystic bell. Piercingly—tlirillingly, Icily—chillingly Near—and more near, Drear, aud more drear, Soundeth the wild, weird ding, dong, dell. Now sinking lower, It toileth slower ! I list, and I hear it sound no more, And now, methinks, I know that bell; Know it well—know its knell— For I often heard it sound before. It is a bell—yet not a bell Whose sound may reach the ear! It tolls a knell—yet not a knell Which earthly sense may.hear. In every soul a bell of dole Ilangs ready, to be tolled; And from that bell a funeral knell Is often, often rolled; And Memory is the Sexton grey Who tolls the dreary knell; And nights like this he loves to sway And swing his mystic bell. ’Twas that I heard and nothing more, This lonely Christmas Eve; Then, for the dead I'll meet no more At Christmas, let me grieve, Night, be a Priest! put your dark stole on And murmur a holy prayer Over each grave, and for every one Lying down lifeless there f And over the dead stands the high-priest Night, Robed in his shadowy stole; And beside him 1 kneel, as Iris Acolyte, To respond to his prayer of dole. And list! he begins That psalm for sins, The first of the mournful seven, Plaintive and soft It rides aloft, Begging the mercy of Heaven To pity and forgive For the sake of those who live, The dead who have died unshriven. Miserere! Miserere! Still your heart and hush your breath ! The voices of Despair and Death Are shuddering through the psalm ! Miserere! Miserere! Lift your hearts! the Terror dies! Up in yonder sinless skies The psalms sound sweet and calm ! Miserere! Miserere! Very low, in tender tones, The"music pleads, the music moans: “I forgive, and have forgiven, The dead, who died unshriven !” De profnndis! De profuudis! Psalm of the dead and disconsolate! Thou hast sounded through a thousand years, And pealed above ten thousand biers; And still, sad Psalm, you mourn the fate Os sinners and just, When their souls are going up to God, Their bodies down to dust. Dread hymn! you wring the saddest tears From mortal eyes that fall, And your notes wake the darkest fears That human hearts appal! You sound o'er the good, you sound o’er the bad. And ever your music is sad, is sad. We seem to hear murmured, in every tone, For the saintly, a blessing; lor sinners, a curse. Psalm, sad Psalm! you must pray and grieve Over our Dead on this Christmas Eve. De profuudis ! De profnndis! And the Night chants the Psalm o’er the mortal clay, And the spirits immortal from far away, To the music of Hope sings this sweet-toned lay: You think of the Dead on Christmas Eve, Wherever the Dead are sleeping; And we, from a Land where we may not grieve, Look tenderly down on you, weepiug. You think us far; we are verv near, From you and the Earth though parted. We sing to-niglit to console and cheer The hearts of the broken-hearted. The Earth watches over the lifeless clay Os each of its countless sleepers; rind the sleepless Spirits that passed away Watch over all Earth’s weepers. We shall meet again in a brighter Land, Where farewell is never spoken; We shall clasp each other hand in..hand, rind the clasp shall not be broken, We shall meet again in a bright, calm clime, Where we’ll never know a sadness; rind our lives shall he filled, like a Christmas chime, With rapture and with gladness, The snows shall pass from our graves away, rind yon from the Earth, remember; rind the flowers of a bright, eternal May, Shall follow Earth’s December. When you think of us, think not of the tomb Where you laid us down in sorrow; But look aloft, and beyond Earth’s gloom, rind wait for the great To-morrow. rind the Pontiff, Night, with his dark stole on, Whisperetli soft and low: Requiescat! Requiescat! Peace! Peace ! to every one For whom we grieve this Christmas Eve, In their graves beneath the snow. The stars in the far-ofl' Heaven Have long since struck eleven ! rind hark! from Temple and from Tower, Soundeth Time’s grandest midnight hour, Blessed by the Saviour’s birth, rind Niglit putteth off its sable stole, Symbol of sorrow and sign of dole, For one with many a starry gem, To honor the Babe of Bethlehem, Who comes to Men, the King of them, Yet comes without robe or diadem, rind all turn toward the holy East, To hear the Song of the Christmas Feast. Four thousand years Earth waited, Four thousand years men prayed, Four thousand years the Nations sighed That their King so long delayed. The Prophets told His coming, The saintly for Him sighed; -Ind the Star of the Babe of Bethlehem Shone o’er them when they died. Their faces toward the Future— They longed to hail Die Light That, in after centuries, Would rise on Christmas night. But still the Sayiour tarried, In His Father’s home; rind the Nations wept and wondered why The Promised had not come. ritlast, Earth’s hope was granted, rind God was a Child of Earth; rind a thousand ringels chanted The lowly midnight birth. rib ! Bethlehem was grander That hour than Paradise; And the light of Earth that night eclipsed The splendors of the skies. Then let. us sing the riuthem The A ngels once did sing; United with the music of love and praise, The whole wide world will ring. Gloria in excelsis! Sound the thrilling song; In excelsis Deo? Roll the Hymn along. Gloria in excelsis! Let the Heavens ring; In excelsis Deo! Welcome, new-born King. Gloria in excelsis! Over the sea and land* In excelsis Deo! * Chant the rinthem grand. Gloria in excelsis! Let us all rejoice; Deo 1 "Lift each heart and voice. Gloria in excelsis! Swell the Hymn on high; In excelsis Deo! Sound it to the sky. Gloria in excelsis ! Sing it, sinful Earth! In excelsis Deo! For the Saviour’s birth. Thus joyful and victoriously, Glad and ever so gloriously; High as the Heavenß—wide as the Earth— Swelleth the Hymn of the Saviour’s birth. Lo! the Day is waking In the East afar; Dawn is faintly breaking— Sunk is every star. Christmas Eve has vanished With its shadows grey: rill its griefs are banished By bright Christmas Day. Joyful chimes are ringing O’er the land and seas, rind there comes glad singing Borne on every breeze. ° little ones so merry Bed-clothes coyly lift, rind, in such a hurry. Prattle f‘Christmas gift!” Little heads so curly, Knowing Christmas laws, Peep out very earlv For old “Santa Claus.” Little eyes are laughing O’er their Christmas toys; Older ones are quaffing Cups of Christmas joys. Hearts are joyous, cheerful, Faces all are gay; None are sad and tearful On bright Christmas. Day. , Hearts are light and bounding, All from care are free; Homes are all resounding With a happy glee. Feet with feet are meeting, Bent on Pleasure’s way; Souls to souls give greeting Warm on Christmas Day. Gifts are lsepi a-going Fast frofii hand to hand; Blessings are a flowing Over every land. One vast wave of gladness Sweeps its world-wide way, Drowning every sadness On this Christmas Day. Merry, merry Christmas, Haste around the Earth; Merry, merry Christmas, Scatter smiles and mirth. Merry, merry Christmas, Be to one and all; Merry, merry Christmas, Enter hut and hall. Merry, merry Christmas, Be to rich and poor! Merry, merry Christmas, Stop at every door. Merry, merry Christmas, Fill each heart with joy; Merry, merry Christmas, To each girl and boy. Merry, merry Christmas, Better gifts than gold; Merry, merry Christmas, To the young and old. Merry, merry Christmas! May the coming year Bring as merry a Christmas A nd as bright a cheer ! [For the Banner of the South.] THE CHAINLESS SPIRIT. The Centuries are remorseless icono clasts. Annihilation is their pastime, and destruction their favorite revelry.- Fragile realities are magnificently swept into nothingness, and if, while engaged in the congenial work of “treading out Empires,” they do not also “quench the stars,” it is only because they cannot pass the bounds set to their progress; but these Gothic children of Time, proud as they are of their Titanic strength, occasional ly meet with an ignominious repulse. After apparently demolishing some of the more obnoxious idol a of the age, they find that they have only killed the out ward form. Enshrined within is a living principle, and what seemed mere fungi, proved to he adamantine realities. One bright, and beautiful image they have utterly failed to destroy. Liberty ideal ized, defies the rude assaults of the Cen turies. A mere abstraction, it triumphs over the concrete; a Spirit Immortal and Eternal, it conquers and outlives such puny antagonists as ages, cycles, eons, and millenniums. It has survived the fall of a thousand thrones. With un shaken majesty it has viewed the rise cf Empires, the death of Nations the “wreck of matter and crush of worlds.” The recognized Queen of the Peoples, it points them to regeneration, glory, and renown. Enthroned in the very citadel of the soul, it holds undisputed sway over the regal realms of mina, and heart. A positive element of life, it is active alike in the most benighted barbarism, and in the highest civilization. Its history, ah! who cun write it'/ % Imagination alone, is equal to the task, and the picture it pre sents to the mind’s eye is as evanescent as it is beautiful. It falls on the palimps est of the brain as lightly as down upon the waters, and the impression is too sub tile to be tampered with by rude stylus or ruder tongues. Imagination dimly shadows forth the restless waves of mu tation as they rise and fall beneath the chaotic thought-germs, without form, though not void. We see the scattered elements coalesce, and crystalize into a thing of beauty,” instinct with life and motion. Glittering in the rays of lu minous splendor as showed upon it from the ladiant centre of Light, it flashes back the gorgeous gleam of an imperial oug it, and sTiines with a lustre that c azz es the imagination, and leads cap tive the senses. The airs of Heaven breathe upon the union, and among the finer issues,” rises a fairy-like Spirit, radiant as the “ sudden Iris ofthe skies ” and brighter than the brightest of the ethereal forms that sometimes stand on the shadowy border-land of dreams, and delight our mortal vision. Like Pal las, it springs into existence complete and full-drapericd, sceptred and diadem ed, its brow gleaming with gems, and radiant with the beauty of buried Cen turies. Its progress is onward and upward. Through the serried genera tions drawn out in dim perspective, it marches, alternately lavishing its favors on Roman or Greek, Gentile or Jew. Amid all # the revolutions of Time, and the moral and physical changes that sweep over the world, it continues to hold the highest place in the affections of hu manity Every spoken language clasps it into loving embrace, and adorns it with all the flowers of poesy, and the graces of speech. It graces Life, and illumines Death. Radiant Spirit! Its praises are chanted amid Alpine rocks, Arabian sands, and Polar snows. Animated Na ture, at ith its thousaud voices, joins iu the Lydian symphony as it rises in lowest and sweetest of strains, and the “sightless couriers of the air” pause to drink in the latest tone as it “ taints in murmurs on the listening day.’ Again it rises in a loud, triumphant peal, and as the grand anthem rolls its sonorous diapason through the vaulted arches of “ Gods First Temples,” it startles into life the responsive echoes slumbering along the confines of the material universe ! Rut the mind wearies in attempting to follow this meteor of the Ideal world. No Poet’s pen has ever rivited airy shape to a local habitation; no Painter has ever clothed it with form and color; no Sculptor has ever fashioned cold, and lifeless marble into its glorious similitude. The genius of Homer, of Apelles, and of Phidias, was powerless to give us even a counterfeit presentment of this sun-bright Spirit of the Ideal! Coriola. New York, Aug, 7th, 1808. Mr. Editor : Several of your corres pondents, very old and respectable, no doubt, seem to be wonderfully exercised as to the origin of our Plantation Bit ters. So long as these Bitters are all that we represent them to be, we do not know that it makes any difference from whom they come, or from whence they originated; but, for the information of the public generally, and old Capt. Wentz in particular, we will say that he told the truth, and that these Bitters originated in the West India Islands; that many of the ingredients have been used for •over a century; but that our combination of Calisaya is entirely new, and our own. The rum and other materials are the same, and, as your correspondent says, a better Bitters and Tonic is not made. We recommend them particularly for dyspeptics, fever and ague, debility, loss of appetite, and in all cases where a tonic and stimulant is required. P. H. Drake A Cos., 21 Park Row, N.Y. Magnolia Water. —Superior to the best imported German Cologne, and sold at half the price Quinine. — Quinine is produced from a forest tree in South America, known as the chinchona, of which then- are many varieties, lsut the chinchona can soya, and chinchona rubra, yield the medicine in greatest abundance. So great has been the demand that, in most of the districts whence it has been ob tained, the supplies are gradually dimin ishing: and, as no substitute of equal value is likely i ■ he found, it is of the utmost importance that new sources shall be discovered. In Jamaica, the chincho na rubra has been cultivated sufficiently to show that it will grow well on that Island, and the Government is urged to encourage and assist in its cultivation on an extended scale. It seems, however, that only upon mountains from 1,500 to 2,000 feet high, where the forests are often bedewed with mist, does this tree arrive to a perfection that will make its cultivation profitable; but there are several sections on the Island which will answer the requirements. Besides, there are other Islands in this quarter of the world where similar conditions ore vail, and if due efforts are made, the world’s supply of quinine may continue unexhausted. 3