Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Sabbath Evening
By Frederic Mellen
 
LIST! 1 there is music in the air:
  It is the sabbath evening bell,
Chiming the vesper hour of prayer,
  O’er the mountain top and lowland dell.
And infancy and age are seen,        5
Slow winding o’er the church-yard green.
 
It is the eve of rest; the light
  Still lingers on the moss-grown tower,
While to the drowsy ear of night,
  Slowly it marks the evening hour.        10
’T is hush’d! and all is silent there,
Save the low, fervent voice of prayer.
 
And now far down the quiet vale,
  Sweet hymnings on the air float by;
Hushing the whip-poor-will’s sad wail        15
  With its own plaintive melody.
They breathe of peace, like the sweet strains
That swept at night o’er Bethlehem’s plains.
 
And heads are bow’d, as the low hymn
  Steals through that gray and time-worn pile;        20
And the altar lights burn faint and dim,
  In the long and moss-grown aisle.
And the distant foot-fall echoes loud,
Above that hush’d and kneeling crowd.
 
And now beneath the old elm’s shade,        25
  Where the cold moon-beams may not smile;
Bright flowers upon the graves are laid,
  And sad tears shed unseen the while.
The last sweet gift affection brings,
To deck the earth to which it clings.        30
 
How beautiful those simple flowers
  Strown o’er that silent spot still sleep;
Still wet with summer’s gentle showers,
  As if they too could feel and weep!
They fade and die; the wintry wind        35
Shall leave no trace of them behind!
 
The bright new moon hath set: the light
  Is fading on the far blue hills;
And on the passing breeze of night,
  The music of their thousand rills        40
Comes echoing through the twilight gray,
With the lone watch-dog’s distant bay.
 
The crowd hath pass’d away; the prayer
  And low breathed evening hymn are gone;
The cold mist only lingers there,        45
  O’er the dark moss and mouldering stone.
And the stars shine brightly o’er the glen,
Where rest the quiet homes of men.
 
Note 1. Mellen, of Portland, is a brother of Grenville Mellen, who is noticed in the preceding pages. The following pieces are all which we have at hand from his pen. [back]
 
 
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