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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems. I. “Which Things are a Shadow”

Bernard Barton (1784–1849)

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.