Bernard Barton

«Which Things are a Shadow»

I SAW a stream whose waves were bright
  With morning’s dazzling sheen;
But gathering clouds, ere fall of night,
  Had darken’d o’er the scene:
      “How like that tide,”
      My spirit sighed,
      “This life to me hath been.”

The clouds dispersed; the glowing west
  Was bright with closing day;
And o’er the river’s peaceful breast
    Shone forth the sunset ray:—
      My spirit caught
      The soothing thought,
      “This life might pass away.”

I saw a tree with ripening fruit
  And shady foliage crown’d;
But, ah! the axe was at its root,
  And fell’d it to the ground:
      Well might that tree
      Recall to me
  The doom my hopes had found.

The fire consum’d it; but I saw
  Its smoke ascend on high—
A shadowy type, beheld with awe,
  Of that which will not die,
      But from the grave
      Will rise and have
  A refuge in the sky.

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