Saul

I STOOD beside the shadowy lake,
I watch'd the glorious brimful tide,
In lines of foamy music break
Against her shingly side.

The wild hills by her waters kiss'd,
Hung round her soft as soft might be,
They glimmer'd through a silver mist,
Down on a silver sea.

And where their darkest ridge upheaves,
A rich red light was streaming o'er,
— Like a great heap of crimson leaves,
Piled on a purple floor —

Red in the western heaven on high,
Red in the burning lake below,
And deep-red in the Eastern sky
That kindled with the glow.

So like, methought, a noble life,
Attemper'd well in every part,
No jarring element at strife
With God's grave in the heart.

I came another eventime —
The long blue tide had ebb'd away;
A sullen ridge of sand and slime
Under the mountains lay.

The crimson light in heaven might burn,
The purple hue might wrap the hill,
But down below was no return,
For all was dark and still.

Wandering along the lonely shore,
The curlew gave her sorrowful call,
Like a good angel weeping sore
Over a sinner's fall.

For that wild scene was like a heart
Whence God's full tide of grace is driven,
That dwells in wilful sin apart,
And hath no share in heaven.

I thought of Ramah's regal feast,
I thought of red Gilboa's plain,
Of bright hopes in that kingly breast,
Of that unworthy slain:

Of all the promise rich that lay
Around thy glorious youth, great Saul!
Of stubbornness that spurn'd at sway,
And pride that marr'd it all.

Sweet lake! again thy tide shall draw
Soft rippling to thy mountains' feet —
Against thy nature's gentle law
Thy wild heart never beat.

But never more God's holy dew
Came to that God-forsaken man,
Till wilfulness, rebellion grew,
And pride to madness ran.

O, when we read with wondering eyes,
The hero's greatness, and his sin,
Self-doubting be the thoughts that rise,
Sharp be the glance within!

We too would walk our own wild way —
Our hearts are wilful every one,
Ever the hardest prayer to pray,
Is Christ's, " Thy will be done. "

So catch we Nature's lesson still,
Her harmony of hue and tone,
That heart, and mind, and fretful will,
Move to God's will alone.
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